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tive readiness, and which will come uncalled into his thoughts to-morrow.

In this work, when it shall be found that much is omitted, let it not be forgotten that much likewise is performed; and though no book was ever spared out of tenderness to the author, and the world is little solicitous to know whence proceed the faults of that which it condemns; yet it may gratify curiosity to inform it, that the "English Dictionary" was written with little assistance of the learned, and without any patronage of the great; not in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of academic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow. It may repress the triumph of malignant criticism to observe, that if our language is not here fully displayed, I have only failed in an attempt which no human powers have hitherto completed. If the lexicons of ancient tongues, now immutably fixed, and comprized in a few volumes, be yet, after the toil of successive ages, inadequate and delusive; if the aggregated knowledge and co-operating diligence of the Italian academicians, did not secure them from the censure of Beni; if the embodied critics of France, when fifty years had been spent upon their work, were obliged to change its economy, and give their second edition another form, I may surely be contented without the praise of perfection, which, if I could obtain, in this gloom of solitude, what would it avail me? I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.




nearer approaches may be made; and finding my dictionary about to be reprinted, I have endeavoured, by a revisal, to make it less reprehensible. I will not deny that I found many parts requiring emendation, and many more capable of improvement. Many faults I have corrected, some superfluities I have taken away, and some deficiences I have supplied. I have methodised some parts that were disordered, and illuminated some that were obscure. Yet the changes or additions bear a very small proportion to the whole. The critic will now have less to object, but the student who has bought any of the former copies needs not repent; he will not, without nice collation, perceive how they differ; and usefulness seldom depends upon little things.


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HAVING been long employed in the study and cultivation of the English language, I lately published a Dictionary like those compiled by the academies of Italy and France, for the use of such as aspire to exactness of criticism, or elegance of style.

But it has been since considered that works of that kind are by no means necessary to the greater number of readers, who, seldom intending to write or presuming to judge, turn over books only to amuse their leisure, and to gain degrees of knowledge suitable to lower characters, or necessary to the common business of life: these know not any other use of a dictionary than that of adjusting orthography, and explaining terms of science, or words of infre quent occurrence, or remote derivation.

MANY are the works of human industry, which
to begin and finish are hardly granted to the
same man. He that undertakes to compile a
dictionary, undertakes that, which, if it com-
prehends the full extent of his design, he knows
himself unable to perform. Yet his labours,
though deficient, may be useful, and with the
hope of this inferior praise, he must incite his
activity, and solace his weariness.
Perfection is unattainable, but nearer and and others were too idle to supply them.

For these purposes many dictionaries have been written by different authors, and with different degrees of skill; but none of them have yet fallen into my hands by which even the lowest expectations could be satisfied. Some of their authors wanted industry, and others literature some knew not their own defects,

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For this reason a small dictionary appeared yet to be wanting to common readers; and, as I may without arrogance claim to myself a longer acquaintance with the lexicography of our language than any other writer has had, I shall hope to be considered as having more experience at least than most of my predecessors, and as more likely to accommodate the nation with a vocabulary of daily use. I therefore offer to the public an Abstract or Epitome of my former Work.

In comparing this with other dictionaries of the same kind, it will be found to have several advantages.

VII. To the words, and to the different senses of each word, are subjoined from the large dictionary the names of those writers by whom they have been used; so that the reader who knows the different periods of the language, and the time of its authors, may judge of the ele

I. It contains many words not to be found in gance or prevalence of any word, or meaning of any other.

a word; and without recurring to other books,
may know what are antiquated, what are un-
usual, and what are recommended by the best

The words of this Dictionary, as opposed to
others, are more diligently collected, more ac-
curately spelled, more faithfully explained, and
more authentically ascertained. Of an Abstract
it is not necessary to say more; and I hope it
will not be found that truth requires me to say

II. Many barbarous terms and phrases by which other dictionaries may vitiate the style, are rejected from this.

III. The words are more correctly spelled, partly by attention to their etymology, and partly by observation of the practice of the best authors.

IV. The etymologies and derivations, whether from foreign languages or from native roots, are more diligently traced, and more distinctly noted.

V. The senses of each word are more copiously enumerated, and more clearly explained.

VI. Many words occurring in the elder authors, such as Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton, which had been hitherto omitted, are here carefully inserted; so that this book may serve as a glossary or expository index to the poetical writers.







ACT I. SCENE I.- -Enter three Witches.

In order to make a true estimate of the abilities and merit of a writer, it is always necessary to examine the genius of his age, and the opinions of his contemporaries. A poet who should now make the whole action of his tragedy depend upon enchantment, and produce the chief events by the assistance of supernatural agents, would be censured as transgressing the bounds of probability, he would be banished from the theatre to the nursery, and condemned to write Fairy Tales instead of Tragedies; but a survey of the notions that prevailed at the time when this


play was written, will prove that Shakspeare
was in no danger of such censures, since he only
turned the system that was then universally
admitted to his advantage, and was far from
overburthening the credulity of his audience.

The reality of witchcraft or enchantment, which though not strictly the same, are confounded in this play, has in all ages and countries been credited by the common people, and in most by the learned themselves. These phantoms have indeed appeared more frequently, in proportion as the darkness of ignorance has been more gross; but it cannot be shown, that the brightest gleams of knowledge have at any time been sufficient to drive them out of the world. The time in which this kind of credu

cumstances concurred to propagate and confirm
this opinion.
brated for his knowledge, had, before his arrival
The king, who was much cele-
in England, not only examined in person a wo-

lity was at its height, seems to have been that of the holy war, in which the Christians imputed all their defeats to enchantment or diabolical opposition, as they ascribe their success to the assistance of their military saints; and the learn-man accused of witchcraft, but had given a very ed Mr. Warburton appears to believe ("Sup. formal account of the practices and illusions of to the Introduction to Don Quixote") that the evil spirits, the compacts of witches, the cerefirst accounts of enchantments were brought into monies used by them, the manner of detecting this part of the world by those who returned them, and the justice of punishing them, in his from their eastern expeditions. But there is al- dialogues of Dæmonologie, written in the Scotways some distance between the birth and ma- tish dialect, and published at Edinburgh. This turity of folly as of wickedness: this opinion book was, soon after his accession, reprinted at had long existed, though perhaps the application London; and as the ready way to gain King of it had in no foregoing age been so frequent, James's favour was to flatter his speculations, nor the reception so general. Olympiodorus, the system of Dæmonologie was immediately in Photius's Extracts, tells us of one Libanius, adopted by all who desired either to gain prewho practised this kind of military magic, and ferment or not to lose it. Thus the doctrine of having promised χώρις ὁπλιτῶν κατὰ Βαρβάρου ἐνεργεῖν, witchcraft was very powerfully inculcated ; and to perform great things against the Barbarians, as the greatest part of mankind have no other without soldiers, was, at the instance of the Em- reason for their opinions than that they are in press Placidia, put to death, when he was about fashion, it cannot be doubted but this persuasion to have given proofs of his abilities. The emmade a rapid progress, since vanity and credupress showed some kindness in her anger by cut- lity co-operated in its favour, and it had a tenting him off at a time so convenient for his re- dency to free cowardice from reproach. The putation. infection soon reached the parliament, who, in the first year of King James, made a law, by which it was enacted, ch. xii. That, "if any person shall use any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit; 2. Or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil or cursed spirit to or for any intent or purpose; 3. Or take up any dead man, woman, or child out of the grave,-or the skin, bone, or any part of the dead person, to be employed or used in any manner of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 4. Or shall use, practise, or exercise any sort of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 5. Whereby any person shall be destroyed, killed, wasted, consumed, pined, or lamed in any part of the body; 6. That every such person, being convicted, shall suffer death."

But a more remarkable proof of the antiquity of this notion may be found in St. Chrysostom's book de Sacerdotio, which exhibits a scene of enchantments not exceeded by any romance of the middle age; he supposes a spectator, overlooking a field of battle, attended by one that points out all the various objects of horror, the engines of destruction, and the arts of slaughter. Δεικνύτο δὲ ὅτι παρὰ τοῖς ἐναντίοις καὶ πετομένους ἵππους διά τινος μαγγανείας, καὶ ὁπλίτας δι ̓ ἀέρος φερομένους, καὶ πάσην γοητείας δύναμιν καὶ ἰδίαν. Let him then proceed to show him in the opposite armies horses flying by enchantment, armed men transported through the air, and every power and form of magic. Whether St. Chrysostom believed that such performances were really to be seen in a day of battle, or only endeavoured to enliven his description, by adopting the notions of the vulgar, it is equally certain, that such notions were in his time received, and that therefore they were not imported from the Saracens in a later age; the wars with the Saracens, however, gave occasion to their propagation, not only as bigotry naturally discovers prodigies, but as the scene of action was removed to a greater distance, and distance either of time or place is sufficient to reconcile weak minds to wonderful relations.

The reformation did not immediately arrive at its meridian, and though day was gradually encreasing upon us, the goblins of witchcraft still continued to hover in the twilight. In the time of Queen Elizabeth was the remarkable trial of the witches of Warbois, whose conviction is still commemorated in an annual sermon at Huntingdon. But in the reign of King James, in which this tragedy was written, many cir

Thus, in the time of Shakspeare, was the doctrine of witchcraft at once established by law and by the fashion, and it became not only unpolite, but criminal, to doubt it; and as prodigies are always seen in proportion as they are expected, witches were every day discovered, and multiplied so fast in some places, that Bishop Hall mentions a village in Lancashire, where their number was greater than that of the houses. The Jesuits and Sectaries took advantage of this universal error, and endeavoured to promote the interest of their parties by pretended cures of persons afflicted by evil spirits, but they were detected and exposed by the clergy of the established church.

might be easily allowed to found a play, espeUpon this general infatuation Shakspeare cially since he has followed with great exactness such histories as were then thought true; nor can it be doubted that the scenes of enchant

ment, however they may now be ridiculed, were both by himself and his audience thought awful and affecting.

Kerns are light-armed, and Gallow-glasses heavy-armed soldiers. The word quarry has no sense that is properly applicable in this place, and therefore it is necessary to read,

And fortune on his damned quarrel smiling.

Quarrel was formerly used for cause, or for the occasion of a quarrel, and is to be found in that sense in Hollingshead's account of the story of Macbeth, who, upon the creation of the Prince of Cumberland, thought, says the historian, that he had a just quarrel to endeavour after the The sense therefore is, fortune smiling in his execrable cause, &c.




The meaning of this passage as it now stands


Of Kerns and Gallow-glasses was supply'd;
And fortune on his damn'd quarry smiling,
Show'd like a rebel's whore.

The merciless Macdonel,-from the Western is, so should he look, that looks as if he told things
strange. But Rosse neither yet told strange
things, nor could look as if he told them;
Lenox only conjectured from his air that he had
strange things to tell, and therefore undoubtedly

If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
So they redoubled strokes upon the foe.

Mr. Theobald has endeavoured to improve the sense of this passage by altering the punctuation thus:

-They were

As cannons overcharged, with double cracks
So they redoubled strokes-


He declares with some degree of exultation, that he has no idea of a cannon charged with double cracks; but surely the great author will not gain much (by an alteration which makes him say of a hero, that he redoubles strokes with double cracks, an expression not more loudly to be applauded, or more easily pardoned, than that which is rejected in its favour. That a cannon is charged with thunder or with double thunders, may be written not only without nonsense, but with elegance; and nothing else is here meant by cracks, which in the time of this writer was a word of such emphasis and dignity, that in this play he terms the general dissolution of nature the crack of doom.

There are among Mr. Theobald's alterations others which I do not approve, though I do not always censure them; for some of his amendments are so excellent, that, even when he has failed, he ought to be treated with indulgence and respect.

King. But who comes here?

Mal. The worthy Thane of Rosse.

Lenor. What haste looks through his eyes?

So should he look that seems to speak things strange.

-What haste looks through his eyes?

So should he look, that teems to speak things strange.

He looks like one that is big with something of importance, a metaphor so natural, that it is every day used in common discourse.


Thunder. Enter the three Witches.

1st Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
2d Witch. Killing swine.

3d Witch. Sister, where thou?

1st Witch. A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap,
And mouncht, and mouncht, and mouncht. Give
me, quoth I.

(1) Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' th' Tiger:
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And like a rat without a tail,

I'll do I'll do and I'll do.

2d Witch. I'll give thee wind.

1st Witch. Thou art kind.
3d Witch. And I another.

1st Witch. I myself have all the other,
And the (2) very points they blow,

All the quarters that they know,

I' th' Ship-man's card

I will drain him dry as hay
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
Weary seven-nights nine times nine,
He shall live a man (3) forbid ;

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine;
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost,
Look what I have.

2d Witch. Show me, Show me.

(1) Aroint thee, witch,

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In one of the folio editions the reading is anoint thee, in a sense very consistent with the common accounts of witches, who are related to perform many supernatural acts by the means of unguents, and particularly to fly through the air to the place where they meet at their hellish festivals. In this sense anoint thee, witch, will mean, away, witch, to your infernal assembly. This reading I was inclined to favour, because I had met with the word aroint in no other place; till looking into Hearne's Collections, I found it in a very old drawing that he has published, in which St. Patrick is represented visit

ing hell, and putting the devils into great confusion by his presence, of whom one that is driving the damned before him with a prong, has a label issuing out from his mouth with these words, out out aropnt, of which the last is evidently the same with aroint, and used in the same sense as in this passage.

(2) And the very points they blow.

As the word very is here of no other use than to fill up it is likely that Shakspeare the verse, wrote various, which might be easily mistaken for very, being either negligently read, hastily pronounced, or imperfectly heard.

(3) He shall live a man forbid.

Mr. Theobald has very justly explained forbid by accursed, but without giving any reason of his interpretation. To bid, is originally to pray, as in this Saxon fragment:

He is wis thaet bit & bote, &c. He is wise that prays and improves.

As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in opposition to the word bid in its present sense, it signifies by the same kind of opposition to curse, when it is derived from the same word in its primitive meaning.


The incongruity of all the passages in which the Thane of Cawdor is mentioned, is very remarkable; in the second scene the Thanes of Rosse and Angus bring the king an account of the battle, and inform him that Norway,

Assisted by that most disloyal traitor

The Thane of Cawdor, 'gan a dismal conflict. It appears that Cawdor was taken prisoner, for the king says in the same scene,

-Go, pronounce his death,

And with his former title greet Macbeth.

Yet though Cawdor was thus taken by Macbeth, in arms against his king, when Macbeth is saluted, in the fourth scene, Thane of Cawdor, by the Weird Sisters, he asks,

How of Cawdor? the Thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman.

And in the next line considers the promises, that he should be Cawdor and King, as equally unlikely to be accomplished. How can Macbeth be ignorant of the state of the Thane of Cawdor, whom he has just defeated and taken prisoner, or call him a prosperous gentleman, who has forfeited his title and life by open rebellion? Or why should he wonder that the title of the

rebel whom he has overthrown should be con ferred upon him? He cannot be supposed to dissemble his knowledge of the condition of Cawdor, because he inquires with all the ardour of curiosity, and the vehemence of sudden astonishment; and because nobody is present but Banquo, who had an equal part in the battle, and was equally acquainted with Cawdor's treason. However, in the next scene, his ignorance still continues; and when Rosse and Angus present him from the king with his new title, he cries out,

-The Thane of Cawdor lives.

Why do you dress me in his borrowed robes ?

Rosse and Angus, who were the messengers that in the second scene informed the king of the assistance given by Cawdor to the invader, having lost, as well as Macbeth, all memory of what they had so lately seen and related, make this answer,

Whether he was

Combined with Norway, or did line the rebels
With hidden help and vantage, or with both
He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not.

Neither Rosse knew what he had just reported, nor Macbeth what he had just done. This seems not to be one of the faults that are to be imputed to the transcribers, since, though the inconsistency of Rosse and Angus might be removed, by supposing that their names are erroneously inserted, and that only Rosse brought the account of the battle, and only Angus was sent to compliment Macbeth, yet the forgetfulness of Macbeth cannot be palliated, since what he says could not have been spoken by any other.


The thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man,—

The single state of man seems to be used by Shakspeare for an individual, in opposition to a commonwealth, or conjunct body of men.


Macbeth.--Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs thro' the roughest day.

I suppose every reader is disgusted at the tautology in this passage, time and the hour, and will therefore willingly believe that Shakspear: wrote it thus,

Come what come may, Time! on!-the hour runs thro' the roughest day. Macbeth is deliberating upon the events

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