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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 interpolation 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.
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.
Witches' mummy; maw, and gulf,
2nd Wi. Cool it with a baboon's blood.
Enter HECATE and the three other WITCHES
And every one shall share i' the gains,
And now about the caldron sing,
(Music and a Song, Black Spirits, &c.)
2nd Wi. By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes :Open, locks, whoever knocks.
Mac. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags, What is 't you do?
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 palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
1st Wi. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters'?
Call them, let me see them.
1st Wi. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease, that's sweaten
From the murderer's gibbet, throw
Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises.
Mac. Tell me, thou unknown power,-
He knows thy thought;
Hear his speech, but say thou naught.
Mac. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution thanks;
Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises.3
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,
That rises like the issue of a king;
And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty!
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
Who can impress the forest; bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root? sweet bodements! good!
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
Mac. I will be satisfied; deny me this
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know :-
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!
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
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,
Come in, without there!
What's your grace's will?
Mac. Saw you the weird sisters ?
No, indeed, my lord.
Mac. Infected be the air whereon they ride;
The galloping of horse; who was 't came by?
Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word,
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;
But no more sights !4-Where are these gentlemen ?
3" Apparition 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.