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3. WITch. All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king
hereafter. Ban. Good fir, why do you start; and seem to
fear Things that do found so fair?-I'the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace, and great prediction Of noble having, and of royal hope,
- thane of Glamis !) The thaneship of Glamis was the ancient inheritance of Macbeth's family. The castle where they lived is still standing, and was lately the magnificent residence of the earl of Strathmore. See a particular description of it in Mr. Gray's letter to Dr. Wharton, date) from Glames Cafile. STEEVENS. e t hane of Cawdor!) Dr. Johnson observes in his Journey to the Western Ijlands of Scotland, that part of Colder Cafle, from which Macbeth drew his second title, is itill remaining
STEEVENS. ? Are ye fantastical,] By fantastical is not meant, according to the common fignification, creatures of his own brain; for he could not be so extravagant to ask such a question: but it is used for supernatural, spiritual. WARBURTON.
By fantastical, he means creatures of fantasy or imagination: the question is, Are these real beings before us, or are we deceived by illusions of fancy? Johnson.
So, in Reginald Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, 1584: “ He affirmeth these transubstantiations to be but fantastical, nit according to the veritie, but according to the appearance.” The faine expression occurs in All's Loft by Linh, 1633, by Rowley :
" — or is that thing,
" Merely phantaftical ". Shakspeare, however, took the word from Holinshed, who in his account of the witches, says; “ This was reputed at first but some vain fantajlical illusion by Macbeth and Banquo.”
STEEVENS, 3 Of noble having,) Having is estate, possession, fortune. So, in Twelfth Night:
• my having is not much;
That he seems rapt withal ;s to me you speak not:
1. Wirch. Hail !
be none : So, all hail, Macbeth, and Banquo!
1. Witch. Banquo, and Macbeth, all hail ! MACB. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me
more : By Sinel's death, I know, I am thane of Glamis ; But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman; and, to be king,
Again, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Bevys of Hampton, bl. l. no date :
“ And when he heareth this tydinge,
“ He will go theder with great having." See also note on The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act III. sc. ii.
Steevens. s That he seems rapt withal;] Rapt is rapturously affected, extra fe raptus. So, in Spenser's Faerie Queen, IV. ix. 6:
" That, with the sweetness of her rare delight,
“ The prince half rapt, began on her to dote.” Again, in Cymbeline :
" What, dear fir, thus raps you?" Steevens. 6 By Sinel's death,] The father of Macbeth. Pope.
His true name, which however appears, but perhaps only typographically, corrupted to Synele in Hector Boethius, from whom, by means of his old Scottish translator, it came to the knowledge of Holinshed, was Finleg. Both Finlay and Macbeath are common surnames in Scotland at this moment. Ritson.
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
[Witches vanish. Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are ofthem :-Whither are they vanish'd ? M4CB. Into the air; and what seem'd corporal,
melted As breath into the wind.-'Would they had staid !
Ban.Were such things here, as we do speak about? Or have we eaten of the insane root," That takes the reason prisoner?
7- eaten of the insane root,] The infane root is the root which makes insane. THEOBALD.
Shakspeare alludes to the qualities anciently ascribed to hemlock. So, in Greene's Never too late, 1616: “ You gaz'd against the fun, and so blemished your sight; or else you have eaten of the roots of hemlock, that makes men's eyes conceit unseen objects." Again, in Ben Jonson's Sejanus : :
" they lay that hold upon thy fenfes,
“ As thou hadît snuft up hemlock.” Steevens. The commentators have given themselves much trouble to ascer. tain the name of this root, but its name was, I believe, unknown to Shakspeare, as it is to his readers; Sir Thomas North’s transla. tion of Plutarch, having probably furnished him with the only knowledge he had of its qualities, without specifying its name. In the Life of Antony, (which our author must have diligently read,) the Roman soldiers, while employed in the Parthian war, are said to have suffered great distress for want of provisions. “In the ende (says Plutarch) they were compelled to live of herbs and rootes, but they found few of them that men do commonly eate of, and were enforced to taste of them that were never eaten before ; among the which there was one that killed them, and made them out of their wits; for he that had once eaten of it, his memorye was gone from him, and he knew no manner of thing, but only busied himself in Vol. VII.
MACB. Your children shall be kings.
You shall be king. Macb. And thane of Cawdor too; went it not
so? Bán. To the self-fame tune, and words. Who's
Enter Rosse, and Angus.
Rosse. The king hath happily receiv’d, Macbeth, The news of thy fuccess : and when he reads Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, His wonders and his praises do contend, Which should be thine, or his : Silenc'd with that," In viewing o'er the rest o' the self-fame day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afеard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale,
digging and hurling of stones from one place to another, as though it had been a matter of great waight, and to be done with all polfible fịcede.” Malone. 8 His wonders and his praises do contend,
Which should be thine, or his : &c.] i. e. private admiration of your deeds, and a desire to do them publick justice by commendation, contend in his mind for pre-eminence.-Or,-There is a contest in his mind whether he should indulge his desire of publishing to the world the commendations due to your heroiim, or whether he thould remain in silent admiration of what no words could celebrate in proportion to its defert.
Mr. M. Mason would read wonder, not wonders ; for, says he, " I believe the word wonder, in the sense of admiration, has no plural.” In modern language it certainly has none; yet I cannot help thinking that, in the present instance, plural was opposed to plural by Shakspeare. STEVENS.
Silenc'd with that,] i. e. wrapp'd in silent wonder at the deeds performed by Macbeih, &c. MALONE.
" ------ As shick as iale,] Mcaning, that the news came as thick
Came post with post; and every one did bear
We are sent,
as a tale can travel with the post. Or we may read, perhaps, yet better :
- As thick as tale,
Came post with poft ;
JOHNSON So, in King Henry VI. P. III. AC II. sc. i:
“ Tidings, as swiftly as the post could run,
" Were brought," &c. Mr. Rowe reads—as thick as hail. STEEVÉ NS.
The old copy reads Can post. The emendation is Mr. Rowe's. Dr. Johnson's explanation would be less exceptionable, if the old copy had -- As quick as tale. Thick applies but ill to tale, and seems rather to favour Mr. Rowe's emendation.
“ As thick as hail,” as an anonymous correspondent observes to me, is an expression in the old play of King John, 1591 :
" breathe out damned orisons,
" As thick as hail-ftones 'fore the spring's approach." The emendation of the word can is supported by a passage in K. Henry IV. P. II:
And there are twenty weak and wearied posts:
“ Come from the north.” MALONE. Dr. Johnson's explanation is perfectly justifiable. As thick, in ancient language, signified as fast. To speak thick, in our author, does not therefore mean, to have a cloudy indiftin&t utterance, but to deliver words with rapidity. So, in Cymbeline : Act III. sc. ii :
“ fay, and speak thick,
“ To this fame bleiled Milford.”
“ And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish,
“ Would turn &C.-To seem like him.” Thick therefore is not less applicable to tale, the old reading, than to hail, the alteration of Mr. Rowe. STEEVENS.