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1. Witch. Ay, Sir, all this is so. — But why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, chear we up his sprights 24?),
And show the best of our delights ;
Il 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.

[Musick. The Witches dance and vanish. ]
Macb. Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar 248)!
Come in, without there!

Enter Lenor.
Len.

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

No, my lord.
Macb. Came they not by you?
Len.

indeed,

my

lord. Macb. 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.
Macb.

Fled to England ?
Len. Ay, my good lord.

Macb. Time, thou anticipat'st 24%) my dread exploits :
The flighty purpose never is o’ertook,
Unless the deed go with it. From this moment,
The very firstlings 250) of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize

upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword

No,

said to be boltered. Such a term, is therefore strictly applicable to Banquo, who had twenty trenched gashes on his head. Steerens.. 24?) sprights i, e. spirits. Steevens. 248) In the ancient almanacks the unlucky days were distinguished by a mark of reprobation. Sieerens. 2+9) To anticipate is here to prevent, by taking away the opportunity. Johnson. 250) Firstling in ita primitive sense is ihe first produce or offspring. Here it means the thing first thought or done. Steevens.

His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace his line 251). No boasting like a fool;
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool:.
But no more sights ! Where are these gentlemen ?
Come, bring me where they are.

(Exeunt. )

SCENE I 1.

Fife. A Room in Macduffs Castle.
Enter Lady Macduff, her Son and Rosse.
L. Macd. What had be done, 'to make him fly the land ?
Rosse. You must have patience, Madam.
L. Macd.

He had none;
His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors 252).
Rosse.

You know not, Whether it was his wisdom, or his fear.

L. Macd. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes, His mansion, and his titles, in a place From whence himself does fly? He loves us not, He wants the natural touch 255): for the poor wren, The most diminutive of birds, will fight, Her young ones in her nest, against the owl. All is the fear, and nothing is the love; As little is the wisdom, where the flight So runs against all reason. Rosse.

My dearest coz', I pray you, school yourself. But, for your husband, He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows The lits o’the season 25). I dare not speak much further, But cruel are the times, when we are traitors, And do not know ourselves 255); when we hold rumour From what we fear 256), yet know not what we fear;

vens.

251) That trace his line i. e. follow, succeed in it. Sree

252) i. e. our Right is considered as an evidence of our guilt. Steevens. 253) Natural sensibility. He is not touched with natural affection. Johnson. 25*) Perhaps the meaning is,

what is most fitting to be done in every conjunclure. Anonymous. 255) i. e. when we are considered by the state as traitors, while at the same time we are unconscious of guilt: when we appear to others so different from what we really are, that we seem not to know ourselves. Malone. 256) to hold

But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way, and move 25?). I take my leave of you;
Shall not be long but I'll be here again :
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!
L. Macd. Father'd he is , and

yet

he's 'fatherless.
Posse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my, disgrace, and your discomfort.
I take my leave at once.

[Exit Rosse.]
L. Macd.

Sirrah 258), your father's dead;
And what will you do now? How will you

live?
Son. As birds do, mother.
L. Macd.

What, with worms and flies !
Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.

L. Macd. Poor bird! thou 'dst never fear the net, nor lime, The pit - fall, nor the gin.

Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for. My father is not dead, for all your saying.

L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?
Son. Nay, how, will you do for a husband ?
L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.

L. Macd. Thou speak’st with all thy wit; and yet, i' faith, With wit enough for thee.

Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?
L. Macd. Ay, that he was.
Son. What is a traitor ?
L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies.
Son. And be all traitors, that do so ?

a

means, in this place, to believe, as we såy, I hold such a thing to be true i. e. I take it, I believe it to be so. The sense of the whole passage will then be: When we are led by our fears to beliere every rumour of danger we hear, yet are not conscious to ourselves of any crime for which we should be disturbed with those fears. Steevens. 257) Perhaps the poet wrote: And each way move. If they Noated each way, it was needless to inform us that they moved. The words may have been casually transposed, and erroneously pointed. Steevens. 358) Sirrah in our author's time was not a' term of reproach, but generally used by masters to servants, parents to children etc. So before, in this play, Macbeth says to his servant: Sirrah, . word

you: attend those men our pleasure? Malone.

L. Macd. Every one, that does so, is "a traitor, and must be hang'd.

Son. And must they all be hang'd, that swear and lie?
L. Macd. Every one.
Son. Who must hang them?
L. Macd. Why, the honest men.

Son. Then the liars and swearers are frols: for there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men, and hang

up them.

little ones.

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L. Macd. God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father?

Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him: if you Would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father. L. Macd. Poor prattler! how thou talk'st?

Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honour I am perfect 259).
I doubt, some danger does approach you nearly.
If

you will take a homely man's advice, Be not found here; hence, with

your
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
To do worse to you, were fell cruelty 260), -
Which is too nigh your person, Heaven preserve you!
I dare abide no longer.

[Exit Messenger.)
L. Macd.

Whither should I fly?
I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this earthly world; where, to do harm
Is often laudable; to do good, sometime,
Accounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas!
Do I put up that womanly defence,
To say, I have done no harm ? What are these faces ?.

Enter Murderers.
Mur. Where is your husband ?

L. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified,
Where such as thou may'st find him.
Mur.

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He's a traitor.

259) i. e. I am perfectly acquainted with your rank of ho.

Steevens. 269) To do worse is, to let her and her children be destroyed without warning. Johaso n.

nour.

Son. Thou ly’st, thou shag-ear'd villain 261).
Mur. What,

[stabbing him.)
Young fry of treachery?
Son.

He has kill'd me, mother: Run away, I pray you. (Dies. Exit L. Macduff, crying murder

and pursued by the murderers. ]

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SCENE III.
England. A Room in the King's Palace.

Enter Malcolm and Macduff
Mal. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.
Macd.

Let us rather Hold fast the mortal sword;

d, like good men,
Bestride our down - Fall'n birthdom 262). Each new morn,
New widows howl;* new orphans cry: new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland, and yelld out
Like syllable of dolour 263).
Mal.

What I believe, r'll wail ;
What'know, believe; and, what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend 364), I will.
What you haye spoke, it may be so perchance.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest: you have lov'd him well;
He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young; but something
You may deserve of him through me; and wisdom 265)

361) Perhaps we should read shag - hair'd, for it is an abusive epithet very often used in our ancient plays etc. Sreevens, 964) Down- falln birthdom. The allusion is to a man whom something valuable is about to be taken by violence, and who, that be may defend it without incumbrance, lays it on the ground and slands over it with his weapon in his hand. Our birthdom, or birthright, says he, lies on the ground; let us, like men who are 10 fight for what is dearest to them, not abandon it, but stand over it and defend it. Jolinson. 263) and yelld out like syllable of dolour. This presents a ridiculous image. But what is jusiquated under it is noble; that the portents and prodigies, in the skies, of which mention is made before, showed that heaven sympathised with Scotland, Warburton. 20*) to friend i. e. to befriend. sieerens. , 265) and wisdom, that is, and 'tis wisdom. Healb.

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