Page images
PDF
EPUB

1 The fringed curtains of thine eye advance. Why Shakspeare should have condescended to the elaborate nothingness, not to say nonsense of this metaphor (for what is meant by advancing " curtains ?”) I cannot conceive ; that is to say, if he did condescend; for it looks very like the interpo. lation of some pompous, declamatory player. Pope has put it into his treatise on the Bathos.

2 « Myself am Naples.”—This is a very summary and kingly style. Shakspeare is fond of it. “How, now, France ?" says King John to King Philip, “ I'm dying, Egypt !” says Antony to Cleopatra.

MACBETH AND THE WITCHES.

This scene fortunately comprises a summary of the whole subsequent history of Macbeth.

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.

Enter three Witches.
1st Wi. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd,
2nd Wi. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin'd,
3rd Wi. Harper cries :-Tis time, 'tis time.
1st Wi. Round about the caldron go;

In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has, thirty-one,
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
Ali . Double, double, toil and trouble ;

Fire, burn; and, caldron, bubble.
2nd Wi. Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the caldron boil and bake :
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble;
Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble,

An. Double, double, toil and trouble ;

Fire, burn; and, caldron, bubble. 3rd Wi. scale of dragon, tooth of wolf;

Witches' mummy; maw, and gulf,
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark ;
Root of hemlock, digg'd i’ the dark :
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew,
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse ;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips ;
Finger of birth-strangled babe,
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab;
Make the gruel thick and slab;
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,

For the ingredients of our caldron.
All. Double, double, toil and trouble,

Fire, burn; and, caldroft, bubble. 2nd Wi. Cool it with a babson's blood.

Enter HECATE and the three other WITCHES
Hec. O, well done! I commend your pains ;
And every one shall share i' the gains,
And now about the caldron sing,
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

(Music and a Song, Black Spirits, &c.) 2nd Wi. By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes :-
Open, locks, whoever knocks.

Enter MACBETH.
Mac. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags,
What is 't you do?
All.

A deed without a name.
Mac. I conjure you, by that which you profess
(Howe'er you come to know it), answer me:
Though you untie the winds, and let them fight
Against the churches : though the yesty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up;
Though bladed corn be lodg'd, and trees blown down;
Though castles topple on their warders' heads;
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of nature's germins tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken, answer me
To what I ask you.

1st Wi. Speak.
2nd Wi.

Demand.
3rd Wi.

We'll answer.
1.8t Wi. Say, if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters'?
Mac.

Call them, let me see them.
1st Wi. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow ; grease, thať s sweaten
From the murderer's gibbet, throw
Into the flame.

All. Come, high or low;
Thyself, and office, deftly show.

Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises.
Mac. Tell me, thou unknown power,— .
1st Wi.

He knows thy thought ;
Hear his speech, but say thou naught.

App. Macbeth ! Macbeth ! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the Thane of Fife. -Dismiss me ;-Enough.

(Descends.)
Mac. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution thanks ;
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright:-But one word more;

18t Wi. He will not be commanded. Here's another, More potent than the first.

Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises.3
App. Macbeth ! Macbeth! Macbeth !
Мас.

Had I three ears, I'd hear thee
App. Be bloody, bold, and resolute ; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.

Mac. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance doubly sure,
And take a bond of fate : thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,

And sleep in spite of thunder.—What is this?
Thunder. An Apparition of a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand,

rises.
That rises like the issue of a king;
And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty!
AN.

Listen, but speak not to 't.
App. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are;
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until

Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.

(Descends.)

Мас.

That will never be;
Who can impress the forest ; bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root? sweet bodements ! good!
Rebellious head, rise never, till the wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time, and mortal custom.-Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing; Tell me (if your art
Can tell so much) shall Banquo's issue ever
Reign in the kingdom ?
All.

Seek to know no more.
Mac. I will be satisfied ; deny me this
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know :-
Why sinks that caldron ? and what noise is this?

(Hautboys.)

1st Wi. Show!
2nd Wi. Show!
3rd Wi.

Show !
All. Show his eyes and grieve his heart,

Come like shadows, so depart.

Eight Kings appear, and pass over the stage in order; the last with a

glass in his hand ; Banquo following.

Mac. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; down!
Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs:-And thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow is like the first ;-
A third is like the former ;-Filthy hags !
Why do you show me this ? a fourth ? Start, eyes!
What! will the line stretch out to the crack of doom ?
Another yet?-A seventh ?-I'll see no more:
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
Which shows me many more; and some I see,
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry:
Horrible sight !-Now, I see, 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.-What, is this so?
1st Wi. Aye, sir, all this is so :-But why

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights :
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antique round;

That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

(Music. The Witches dance, and vanish.)

Mac. Where are they? Gone ?—Let this pernicious hour,
Stand aye accursèd in the calendar !-
Come in, without there!

Enter Lenox.
Len.

What's your grace's will ?
Mac. Saw you the weird sisters ?
Len.

No, indeed, my lord.
Mac. Infected be the air whereon they ride;
And damn'd all those that trust them !-I did hear
The galloping of horse; who was 't came by?

Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word,
Macduff is fled to England.
Mac.

Fled to England ?
Len. Ay, my good lord.
Mac. Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits :
The flighty purpose never is o’ertook,
Unless the deed go with it: From this moment,
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done :
This castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize upon Fife ; give to the edge o' the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool;
But no more sights !4-Where are these gentlemen ?
Come, bring me where they are.

(Exeunt.)

3Apparition of a bloody child.The idea of a “ bloody child," and of his being more potent than the armed head, and one of the masters of the witches, is very dreadful. So is that of the child crowned, with a tree in his hand. They impersonate, it is true, certain results of the war, the destruction of Macduff's children, and the succession of Banquo's; but the imagination does not make these reflections at first; and the dreadfulness still remains, of potent demons speaking in the shapes of children.

« PreviousContinue »