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Meet we the med'cine of the fickly weal,
Len. Or so much as it needs,
SCENE, the Castle of Dunsinane.
Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants.
'Till Birnam-wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm? Was he not born of woman? spirits, that know All mortal consequences, have pronounc'd it : • Fear not, Macbeth; no man, that's born of woman, * Shall e'er have power upon thee.-- Then fly false Thanes, And mingle with the English epicures. (43) The mind I sway by, and the heart I bear, Shall never sag with doubt, nor shake with fear.
Fly, false Tbaness And mingle with tbe English epicures.] I thought this passage might deserve a note, if it were only to excuse our author from any imputation of throwing a slur on the English of his own times, for gluttony and epicurism. He had no such intention; but arifully throws in a satirical reflection in which he is countenanc'd by history. The fact is this. Hardicanute, (or Canutus III.) the Dane, a contemporary of Macbeib, and who reign'd bere just before the usurpation of the latter in Scotland, was a Prince of a courteous and liberal nature; but, withal, such a lover of good cheer, that he would have his table cover'd four times a day, and largely furnish'd. So that the Englishmen were said to have learn'd from him exceffive gluttony in diet, and intemperance in drinking. He reign'd barely two years, and was succeeded by Edward the Conf:for. Now as Edward lent a force against Scotland, Macbeth malevolently is made to charge this temperate Prince (in his subjects,) with the ricts of his predeceffor. And the infinuation may seem to bear the harder, because Hardicanute and Edward were allied by a double tye of affinity. It may please fome readers, if I subjoin a Mort sketch of their pedigree and relation to one another,
Enter a Servant.
Macb. Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Ser. The English force, so please you.
Ethelred. X Emma. X Canutus.
Edward the confeffor.
Hardicanute, and Tbira; who married
Edith: who married with Edward the Con
feffor. So that Edward and Hardicanute were brothers by the mother; and Edward married Hardicanute's own fister's daughter. (44)
My way of life Is fal'n into the sear:) i. e. The progress of my life. So, in a frago
επί γήρως εδώ. Tho', I am aware, that some commentators have thought, im by a poetical licence, and with regard to the measure, is put for åso. jeil, upon the threshold of old age.
ment of Menander;
Curses not loud but deep, mouth-horour, breath,
Macb. I'll fight, 'till from my bones my flesh be hackt; Give me my armour.
Sey. "'Tis not needed yet.
níacb. I'll put it on.
Doet. Not so fick, my Lord,
Macb. Cure her of that:
Doct. Therein the patient
Macb. Throw phyfick to the dogs, I'll none of it
Dost. Ay, my good Lord; your royal preparation
I will not be afraid of death and bane, 'Till Birnam-forest come to Dunsinane.
Doct. Were I from Dunfinane away, and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here. [Exeunt.
SCENE changes to Birnam-Wood. Enter Malcolm, Siward; Macduff, Siward's Sox, Men
teth, Cathness, Angus, and Soldiers marching. Mal. Vousins, I hope, the days are near at hand,
That chambers will be safe.
Mal. Let every soldier hew him down a bough,
Sold. It hall be done.
Siw. We' learn no other, but the con£dent tyrant
Mal. 'Tis his main hope :
Macd. Let our just censures
Siw. The time approaches,
SCENE changes to the Castle of Dunsinane. Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers with drums and colţurs, Macb. he :
Ang out our banners on the outward walls, Will laugh a fiege to scorn.
Here let them lye, 'Till famine and the ague eat them up: Were they not forc'd with thofe that should be ours, We might have met them dareful, beard to beard, And beat them backward home. What is that noise:
[A cry within of women. Sey. It is the cry of women, my good Lord.
alacb. I have almoft forgot the taste of fears:
Sry. The Queen, my Lord, is dead.
Macb. She should have dy'd hereafter;
The (45) And all arır yesterdays bave lighted fools
The way to liudy death -] This reading is as old as the 2d ejition in folio; but, furely, it is paying too great a compliment to the capacities of tools It would much better fort with the character of wile men, to itudy how to die from the experience of past times. I have reitor'd the reading of the first folio, which Mr. Pope has thrown out of his text. The way
10 dusty death. i. e. D.ath, which reduces us to dust and ashes, Metuvopia ef.ai pro firenti. Or, perhaps, the poet might have wrote;
I he way to dusky death.
Myself, as far as I could well discern