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COPYRIGHT, 1877 AND 1898, BY 


W. P. 3 


THIS edition of Macbeth, first published in 1877, is 
now revised on the same general plan as the Merchant 
of Venice and other plays that have preceded it. 

Most of the notes on textual -variations (of less im- 
portance in this play than in some others, as the folio 
text is the only early one) have been either omitted or 
abridged. Teachers in secondary schools or in colleges 
who may wish to give more attention to this subject 
will of course make use of Dr. Furness's encyclopedic 
edition of the play, which in other ways also they will 
find indispensable. 

I have likewise omitted most of the " Critical Com- 
ments " from the introduction and elsewhere, as the 
books from which they were taken are now generally 
accessible in public and school libraries. For these 
extracts I have substituted comments of my own, in the 
course of which I have attempted to settle some ques- 
tions that have been much discussed, but, to my think- 
ing, never satisfactorily answered. I have endeavoured 
to show how Shakespeare himself answers them, instead 
of reading into the play what is not there, as some 
excellent critics seem to me to have done. 

In the Appendix I have discussed certain questions 
concerning the character of Banquo that have been 
raised in recent years by German and other critics ; 
and concerning the part of Hecate, which I cannot 
believe to be from the hand of Shakespeare. These 


6 Preface 

questions, also, I endeavour to settle by the internal 
evidence of the play. 

I have retained the extracts from Holinshed in the 
introduction to the Notes, because I think they will 
interest many readers and students who may not have 
Furness's edition at hand, or would not look the matter 
up in a separate book. Young students might well 
read parts of it with the teacher, as a quaint specimen 
of Elizabethan prose. 

The Notes have been carefully revised throughout, 
some being abridged, some expanded, and new one 1 ,, 
added, including a considerable number in place of 
those referring to my editions of other plays. Thu 
book is now absolutely complete in itself. 

I believe that teachers and students will prefer trm 
new edition to the old one ; but both can be used, with 
out serious inconvenience, in the same class or club. 




The History of the Play . . . ... . 9 

The Historical Sources of the Play. . . . . 12 

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth . . . . . 15 

MACBETH . . . . . . . . . -43 

Act I 45 

Act II . . . ... . . . . . . 67 

Act III . 83 

Act IV . .105 

Act V . . . . ... V . .128 

HOTES . .......... 149 

APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . 282 

Comments on Some of the Characters .... 282 

The Time- Analysis of the Play . . . . . 296 

List of Characters in the Play 299 





Macbeth was first printed in the folio of 1623, where 
it occupies pages 131 to 151 inclusive, in the division 
of " Tragedies." It was registered in the books of the 
Stationers' Company, on the 8th of November, 1623, by 
Blount and Jaggard, the publishers of the folio, as one 
of the plays " not formerly entered to other men." It 
was written between 1604 and 1610; the former limit 
being fixed by the allusion to the union of England and 
Scotland under James I. (iv. i. 121), and the latter by 
the MS. Diary of Dr. Simon Forman, who saw the play 


io Macbeth 

performed "at the Globe, 1610, the 2oth of April, 
Saturday." It may then have been a new play, but it 
is more probable, as nearly all the critics agree, that 
it was written in 1605 or 1606. The accession of 
James made Scottish subjects popular in England, and 
the tale of Macbeth and Banquo would be one of the 
first to be brought forward, as Banquo was held to be 
an ancestor of the new king. A Latin " interlude " on 
this subject was performed at Oxford in 1605, on the 
occasion of the king's visit to the city; but there is no 
reason for supposing that Shakespeare got the hint of 
his tragedy from that source. 

It is barely possible that there was an earlier play on 
the subject of Macbeth. Collier finds in the Registers 
of the Stationers' Company, under date of August 27, 
1596, the entry of a " Ballad of Makdobeth," which he 
gives plausible reasons for supposing to have been a 
drama, and not a " ballad " properly so called. There 
appears to be a reference to the same piece in Kemp's 
Nine Days' Wonder, printed in 1600, where it is called 
a " miserable stolne story," and said to be the work of 
" a penny Poet." 

Steevens maintained that Shakespeare was indebted, 
in the supernatural parts of Macbeth, to The Witch, a 
play by Thomas Middleton, which was discovered in 
manuscript towards the end of the eighteenth century. 
Malone at first took the same view of the subject, 
but finally came to the conclusion that Middleton's 
play was the later production, and that he must there- 

Introduction 1 1 

fore be the plagiarist. The Clarendon Press editors 
take the ground that there are portions of Macbeth 
which Shakespeare did not write ; that these were inter- 
polated after the poet's death, or at least after he had 
ceased to be connected with the theatre ; and that " the 
interpolator was, not improbably, Thomas Middleton." 
These views have found little favour with other 
Shakespearian critics. A more satisfactory explana- 
tion of the imperfections of the play ascribes them to 
the haste with which it was written. White, who refers 
its composition to " the period between October, 1604, 
and August, 1605," remarks : " I am the more inclined 
to this opinion from the indications which the play 
itself affords that it was produced upon an emergency. 
It exhibits throughout the hasty execution of a grand 
and clearly conceived design. But the haste is that of 
a master of his art, who, with conscious command of 
its resources, and in the frenzy of a grand inspiration, 
works out his composition to its minutest detail of 
essential form, leaving the work of surface finish for 
the occupation of cooler leisure. What the Sistine 
Madonna was to Raphael, it seems that Macbeth was to 
Shakespeare a magnificent impromptu ; that kind of 
impromptu which results from the application of well- 
disciplined powers and rich stores of thought to a sub- 
ject suggested by occasion. I am inclined to regard 
Macbeth as, for the most part, a specimen of Shake- 
speare's unelaborated, if not unfinished, writing, in the 
maturity and highest vitality of his genius. It abounds 

12 Macbeth 

in instances of extremest compression and most daring 
ellipsis, while it exhibits in every scene a union of 
supreme dramatic and poetic power, and in almost 
every line an imperially irresponsible control of lan- 
guage. Hence, I think, its lack of completeness of 
versification in certain passages, and also some of the 
imperfection of the text, the thought in which the 
compositors were not always able to follow and appre- 


Shakespeare drew the materials for the plot of 
Macbeth from Holinshed's " Chronicles of Englande, 
Scotlande, and Ireland," the first edition of which was 
issued in 1577, and the second (which was doubtless 
the one the poet used) in 1586-87. The extracts 
from Holinshed in the notes will show that the main 
incidents are taken from his account of two separate 
events, the murder of Duncan by Macbeth, and that 
of King Duffe, the great-grandfather of Lady Macbeth, 
by Donwald. It will be seen, too, that Shakespeare 
has deviated in other respects from the chronicle, 
especially in the character of Banquo. 

Although, as Knight remarks, " the interest of Mac- 
beth is not an historical interest," so that it matters 
little whether the action is true or has been related as 
true, I may add, for the benefit of my younger readers, 
that the story of the drama is almost wholly apocry- 

Introduction 13 

phal. The more authentic history is thus summarized 
by Sir Walter Scott : - 

" Duncan, by his mother Beatrice a grandson of Mal- 
colm II., succeeded to the throne on his grandfather's 
death, in 1033 : he reigned only six years. Macbeth, 
his near relation, also a grandchild of Malcolm II., 
though by the mother's side, was stirred up by ambi- 
tion to contest the throne with the possessor. The 
Lady of Macbeth also, whose real name was Graoch, 
had deadly injuries to avenge on the reigning prince. 
She was the granddaughter of Kenneth IV., killed 
1003, fighting against Malcolm II.; and other causes 
for revenge animated the mind of her who has been 
since painted as the sternest of women. The old annal- 
ists add some instigations of a supernatural kind to the 
influence of a vindictive woman over an ambitious hus- 
band. Three women, of more than human stature and 
beauty, appeared to Macbeth in a dream or vision, and 
hailed him successively by the titles of Thane of Cro- 
marty, Thane of Moray, which the king afterwards 
bestowed on him, and finally by that of King of Scots ; 
this dream, it is said, inspired him with the seductive 
hopes so well expressed in the drama. 

" Macbeth broke no law of hospitality in his attempt 
on Duncan's life. He attacked and slew the king at 
a place called Bothgowan, or the Smith's House, near 
Elgin, in 1039, and not, as has been supposed, in his 
own castle of Inverness. The act was bloody, as was 
the complexion of the times ; but, in very truth, the 

14 Macbeth 

claim of Macbeth to the throne, according to the rule 
of Scottish succession, was better than that of Duncan. 
As a king, the tyrant so much exclaimed against was, 
in reality, a firm, just, and equitable prince. 1 Appre- 
hensions of danger from a party which Malcolm, the 
eldest son of the slaughtered Duncan, had set on foot 
in Northumberland, and still maintained in Scotland, 
seem, in process of time, to have soured the temper of 
Macbeth, and rendered him formidable to his nobility. 
Against Macduff, in particular, the powerful Maormor 
of Fife, he had uttered some threats which occasioned 
that chief to fly from the court of Scotland. Urged by 
this new counsellor, Siward, the Danish Earl of North- 
umberland, invaded Scotland in the year 1054, display- 
ing his banner in behalf of the banished Malcolm. 
Macbeth engaged the foe in the neighbourhood of his 
celebrated castle of Dunsinane. He was defeated, but 
escaped from the battle, and was slain at Lumphanan 
in 1056." 

Whether Shakespeare was ever in Scotland is a ques- 
tion that has been much discussed. Knight {Biography, 
ed. 1865, p. 420 fol.) endeavours to prove that the poet 
visited that country in 1589, but most of the editors 
agree that there is no satisfactory evidence of his hav- 
ing ever been there.' 2 

1 This view is confirmed by Mr. E. A. Freeman (Norman Conquest, 
ii- P- 55) : " All genuine Scottish tradition points to the reign of Macbeth 
as a period of unusual peace and prosperity in that disturbed land." 

2 For a good summary of the discussion see Furness's Macbeth, 
p. 407 fol. (488 fol. in revised ed.). 

Introduction 15 


Concerning the two leading characters of the play, 
Macbeth and his Lady, there has been much discussion 
and a wide divergence of opinion. Let us examine the 
play for such facts relating to them as we can discover, 
and consider what inferences we may draw from these 
facts as to the characters and relations of the pair. 

At the opening of the play Macbeth is the thane of 
Glamis and a captain in the Scottish army, which has 
just won a victory over the king of Norway, who was 
aided by a force of rebels under the command of the 
thane of Cawdor. Macbeth and his fellow-captain 
Banquo have performed prodigies of valour in the bat- 
tle, and are on their way home from the field when 
they are met by the three witches, as Shakespeare calls 
them, and as they are called in the old chronicle from 
which he took the main incidents of his plot. They 
appear to be simply the witches of ancient superstition, 
hags who have gained a measure of superhuman 
knowledge and power by a league with Satan, to whom 
they have sold their souls and pledged their service. 
From the first scene of the play we learn that they 
have planned this meeting with Macbeth, whom, in 
reply to his startled question, "What are you?" they 
hail, one after another, as " thane of Glamis," then 
" thane of Cawdor," and finally, " Macbeth, that shalt 
be king hereafter ! " Banquo then asks what prediction 
they have for him ; and in turn they address him as 

1 6 Macbeth 

" Lesser than Macbeth and greater," " Not so happy, 
yet much happier," and add, " Thou shalt get kings, 
though thou be none." Macbeth would fain have them 
tell him more, but they vanish with no response to his 
eager appeal. 

A moment later, Ross and Angus arrive as messen- 
gers from King Duncan, by whose command they hail 
Macbeth as " thane of Cawdor." 

Here occurs one of the inconsistencies of the play 
which puzzle the critics. In the interview with the 
Witches Macbeth had said : 

" By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis, 
But how of Cawdor ? the thane of Cawdor lives, 
A prosperous gentleman." 

This may have been said merely to draw out an explana- 
tion from them, though he must have been aware that 
Cawdor was a traitor who had just been conquered and 
taken prisoner in the battle from which he himself was 
returning. But when Ross hails Macbeth as " thane of 
Cawdor," the latter replies: 

" The thane of Cawdor lives ; why do you dress me 
In borrowed robes ? " 

Angus then states that Cawdor lives indeed, but is con- 
demned to death for treason ; but just what his treason 
was he does not know. This is not easily explained, as 
Ross, who is now present with Angus, had in a former 
scene informed Duncan of Cawdor's presence in the 

Introduction 17 

battle as an ally of the Norwegian king ; and Ross him- 
self had been directed to see Cawdor executed, and his 
title given to Macbeth. 

We know, however, that such inconsistencies not un- 
frequently occur in plays that appear to have been 
written less hurriedly than Macbeth evidently was ; and 
this may be an instance of the kind. If scene 2 of this 
act is an addition by another hand, as some suppose, 
Shakespeare may not be responsible for the fault. 

In the soliloquy that follows this announcement of 
the new honour conferred upon him, Macbeth says : 

" Two truths are told 
As happy prologues to the swelling act 
Of the imperial theme. I thank you, gentlemen. 
[Aside.] This supernatural soliciting 
Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, 
Why hath it given me earnest of success, 
Commencing in a truth ? I am thane of Cawdor. 
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion 
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, 
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, 
Against the use of nature ? Present fears 
Are less than horrible imaginings. 
My thought, whose murther yet is but fantastical, 
Shakes so my single state of man that function 
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is 
But what is not." 

Here, almost at the moment when the prediction con- 
cerning the thaneship of Cawdor is fulfilled, we find 
Macbeth meditating murder, that he may bring about 


1 8 Macbeth 

the fulfilment of the prediction that he shall be king 
hereafter. To one critic at least this seems rather sud- 
den, but he ascribes it to the rapidity with which the 
action of this play rushes on from first to last. To my 
thinking, it is in perfect keeping with one of the most 
marked characteristics of Macbeth, his active imag- 
ination. This is the key to much that he afterwards 
says and does. 

In The Tempest, when Antonio is tempting Sebastian 
to murder King Alonso, he says : 

" What might, 
Worthy Sebastian ? O, what might ? . . . 

The occasion speaks thee, and 
My strong imagination sees a crown 
Dropping upon thy head." 

This might be said of Macbeth at this point in his 
career. Not only is he sure that the prophecy is to be 
fulfilled, but, to quote the words of the Lady in another 
scene, he " feels now the future in the instant." His 
strong imagination sees the crown suspended over his 
head, as later he sees the air-drawn dagger marshalling 
him the way to murder. The golden prize hangs 
within his reach. It is held only by the slender thread 
of an old man's life. He has but to cut that thread, 
and the crown is his. " Come, let me clutch thee ! " is 
his mental exclamation. But the " horrid image " of 
the murder comes before his mind's eye with equal 
vividness, and makes his seated heart knock at his 

Introduction 19 

ribs. The bloody deed is as yet but " fantastical " a 
thing of fancy but it is as real to him and as frightful 
as the ghost of Banquo, which is no outward apparition, 


"A [spectre] of the mind, a false creation, 

Proceeding from the heat -oppressed brain." 

It is the bloody business which informs thus to his eyes 
that makes the fearful visions of his excited imagina- 
tion seem to take palpable shape before him. 

Is this the first suggestion of murder that has occurred 
to Macbeth ? Some of the best critics believe that he 
had meditated this bloody treason before the beginning 
of the play. They infer this from what Lady Macbeth 
says, when, in a subsequent scene, he determines that 
he will proceed no further in this business of murder 
(i. 7. 49):- 

" When you durst do it, then you were a man ; 
And, to be more than what you were, you would 
Be so much more the man. A T or time nor place 
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both." 

This is the only passage in the play that can be con- 
strued as a hint that Macbeth had plotted the taking- 
off of Duncan at some earlier time, and that the Lady 
had advised him to wait for a more favourable oppor- 
tunity. I do not think that we are driven to this inter- 
pretation, or that it is necessary, if we reject it, to 
suppose that a scene has been lost or omitted in which 
the pair had discussed their plans for the crime. There 

20 Macbeth 

has been an interval sufficient for such discussion, but 
Shakespeare did not deem it necessary or desirable to 
introduce it into the play. We have evidence in the 
play as it stands that the words I have quoted from 
Lady Macbeth's speech cannot refer to a time previous 
to the dramatic action. Such a supposition is inconsis- 
tent with her soliloquy after reading Macbeth's letter in 
which he tells her the Witches have predicted that he is 
to be king. She fears his nature, which will not permit 
him to " catch the nearest way" that is, to kill Dun- 
can. If at any former time he had proposed to kill 
him, she could have no doubt of his being willing to do 
it now. She could not have thought that, though he 
had ambition, he was without the illness that should 
attend it, and that the valour of her tongue must over- 
come his repugnance to the crime. A moment after- 
wards she asserts that she will have to commit the 
crime herself. At the close of that terrible apostrophe 
to the spirits of darkness in which she prays that she 
may be unsexed and filled with direst cruelty, she 

says : 

" Come, thick night, 

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, 
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, 
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, 
To cry < Hold, hold ! ' " 

She is to use the knife, not urge 'her husband to do 
what she assumes he will fear to do. When Macbeth 
comes in, she says to him : 

Introduction 21 

" He that 's coming 

Must be provided for; and you shall put 
This night's great business into my dispatch." 

She will be responsible for dispatching this business. 
Macbeth says : " We will speak further ; " but she tells 
him that all he is to do is only to " look up clear," and 
not to betray their purpose by his perturbed countenance. 
" Leave all the rest to me," are her parting words. 

When Macbeth next appears (i. 7), we find that he 
is to " bear the knife " against his kinsman and king, 
and when the Lady comes in, it is evident that this is 
the plan on which they have agreed. She tells him 
that he has " sworn " to do the deed, and after she has 
satisfied him that there is no danger of failure he is 
ready for the " terrible feat." 

Here we see that there has been a change in their 
plans. The Lady is not to kill Duncan, but Macbeth is 
to undertake it. He has " sworn " to do it. This must 
have been arranged at an interview between the two 
scenes we have been considering. There was time for 
such an interview, but if there had not been, it would 
not have troubled Shakespeare. In this play a whole 
scene occurs (iii. 6) to which no possible time can be 
assigned, and such scenes are found in other of the plays. 

In the present instance, however, there is no such 
impossibility. Duncan arrives at the castle before 
dark, as the dialogue outside the walls (i. 6) clearly 
shows. The banquet is some hours later. In the 
interim the king may be supposed to be resting in 

22 Macbeth 

his chamber after the journey. Macbeth and the Lady 
have the opportunity for " speaking further " concern- 
ing their plot, as he had proposed. The vision of 
the crown again rises to his imagination, and he is 
impatient to cut the thread that prevents his clutching 
it. He seems to have suggested some rash way of 
doing this at once, and doing it himself, but the Lady 
sees that neither the time nor the place which he pro- 
poses is suited to the purpose. She suggests that it 
will be safer to wait until a later hour, when the king 
and everybody but themselves is in bed. Since she 
now finds that Macbeth is willing to do the killing, she 
naturally transfers that part of the business to him ; 
but, lest his fears and scruples should lead him to 
waver again, she exacts an oath that no compunctious 
visitings of nature shall shake his fell purpose to bear 
the knife himself. When, in the scene that follows, his 
thought of the risk of failure makes him shrink from 
doing what he has sworn to do, she overwhelms him 
with bitterest reproaches for his cowardice and perfidy, 
and, to relieve his apprehensions, adds to the pre- 
cautions already agreed upon the drugging of the 
possets furnished to the king's guards when they re- 
tire with him to his chamber. This reassures Mac- 
beth, and his courage is at last screwed to the 

This may or may not have been precisely what 
Shakespeare had in mind for filling the gap between 
the two scenes in which the pair soliloquize and confer 

Introduction 23 

concerning the method of the murder ; but it is certain 
that we are not compelled to assume that the Lady's 
allusion to Macbeth's readiness to kill the king at some 
former time and place must refer to a period before 
the beginning of the play. If that had been Shake- 
speare's meaning, he would have given us some more 
distinct intimation of it than this single passage fur- 
nishes. This interpretation, I may add, is not only 
inconsistent with what the Lady says of her husband's 
nature, but also with what he himself says (or solilo- 
quizes) when he finds the prophecy of the Witches ful- 
filled in part by his being made thane of Cawdor. If 
the purpose of killing Duncan had occurred to him 
before that time, the " horrid image " of the suggestion 
could not have affected him as it does. Rather would 
he have welcomed the prophecy as a supernatural en- 
couragement of his plot of murder and usurpation. The 
obvious meaning of his words is that the plot is then 
first suggested to him, and that the horror of it almost 
overwhelms him. His imagination sees not only the 
crown, but the blood that must stain his hands if they 
are to clutch it before it falls. No wonder that for the 
moment the sorry sight of that blood, though only 
fantastical, makes him hesitate : 

" If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, 
Without my stir." 

But it is only for the moment that he can reason thus 
rationally and virtuously. Again his eyes turn to the 

24 Macbeth 

resplendent prize, and the blood that must be shed to 
gain it is forgotten. 

We may now consider it settled beyond any reason- 
able doubt that the purpose of attaining the crown by 
the murder of Duncan occurs independently to both 
Macbeth and his wife. Neither suggests it to the 
other ; their guilt in this respect is equal. 

It may also be noted here that we have no right to 
say, as certain critics have done, that the Witches insti- 
gate Macbeth to the crime. They simply predict what 
is to be his destiny. They suggest no means or method 
for bringing about the fulfilment of the predictions ; 
they say not a word to incite him to sinful thought or 
deed. Their prophetic message once delivered in the 
briefest form possible, they vanish, paying no attention 
to the entreaties of Macbeth that they will stay and tell 
him more. 

Their prophecies, moreover, are not addressed to Mac- 
beth alone, but also to Banquo, in whose soul they ex- 
cite no thought or purpose of evil. He accepts them 
as prophecies, nothing more, and shows little interest in 
them until Ross and Angus come and hail Macbeth as 
thane of Cawdor. Then, so far from welcoming them 
as propitious intimations of good fortune, he warns his 
companion that they may prove to be due to the machi- 
nations of evil spirits, who 

" tell us truths, 

Win us with honest trifles to betray 's 
In deepest consequence." 

Introduction 25 

To Macbeth, on the other hand, the very fact that the 
supernatural soliciting has begun with a truth is proof 
that it cannot be ill. Yet, as his conscience admonishes 
him, it cannot be good, for it tempts him to crime ; and 
he admits that he is ready to " yield " to that temptation. 

Here we begin to see what manner of man he really 
is. Up to this time he has won golden opinions from 
all sorts of people, and apparently has deserved them. 
But, like so many other men of excellent reputation, he 
has hitherto been upright only because his virtue has 
never been subjected to any severe test. When a great 
temptation assails him, he falls like Lucifer, never to rise 

Macbeth is utterly destitute of moral principle. His 
ambition for the crown once aroused, he determines to 
murder his king, who has just bestowed new honours 
upon him, and to whom he is bound by ties of kinship 
as well as of loyalty. When later he hesitates to commit 
the crime he has planned, it is not from any compunc- 
tion of conscience, but from " sheer moral cowardice " 
from fear of the consequences in this life. Shake- 
speare has taken pains to make this clear in Macbeth 's 
soliloquy (i. 7) : 

" If it were done when 't is done, then 't were well 
T were done quickly"; 

that is, if the deed were really done, if that were the end 
of it, the quicker it is done the better. 

26 Macbeth 

" If the assassination 

Could trammel up the consequence, and catch 
With his surcease success; that but this blow 
Might be the be-all and the end-all here, 
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, 
We 'd jump the life to come." 

That is, if the murder could thwart or control the pos- 
sible consequences here, only here, in this world, he 
would risk whatever might follow in the life to come. 
But, as he goes on to say, there is the danger of retribu- 
tion here. Our bloody deeds return to plague us here. 
The cup we have poisoned for another is thrust to our 
own lips. Those words, " We'd jump the life to come," 
show that, in thinking of the possible consequences in 
this life, the risk of detection, disgrace, and punish- 
ment, he does not for the moment forget or ignore the 
retributions of another world. He deliberately defies 
them. Like the men who were supposed to sell their 
souls to the devil for wealth or power in this life, he is 
willing to pay the final price that the crime involves if 
present success can be assured. If Satan were present 
to pledge this, Macbeth would close the bargain at once ; 
as this is impossible, he hesitates for the moment, but 
only for the moment only while the thought of possi- 
ble failure is uppermost in his mind. As soon as his 
wife has explained how the murder can be made to 
appear the act of the grooms, his hesitation is at an 
end. How exultantly he welcomes the assurance that 
others can be made to bear the imputation of the crime ! 

Introduction 27 

But while waiting for the fatal signal which the Lady 
is to give by striking the bell, he gives way again to 
horrible imaginings. The dagger he is to use floats 
before his eyes ; but it does not frighten him from his 
purpose : 

" Thou marshalls't me the way that I was going, 
And such an instrument I was to use." 

The visionary dagger becomes bloody, but the real one 
is not yet red, and he decides that the former is nothing 
but a " dagger of the mind " to which the anticipation 
of the bloody business has given apparent shape. His 
imagination reverts to the night the time for " wicked 
dreams " and wicked deeds for witchcraft and for 
Murder, with stealthy pace moving like a ghost toward 
his fell design. So will he move, invoking the sure and 
firm-set earth not to betray his approach to the sleep- 
ing victim. But he checks the poetic musings. It is 
the time for action. "Whiles I threat he lives." The 
bell rings. 

" I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. 
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell 
That summons thee to heaven or to hell. 

It is a knell that strikes for himself no less than for 
Duncan ; and it summons him, not to the earthly 
heaven of his hopes, the joy he anticipates in the 
attainment of royal power, but to the hell of guilty 
fears that permit no sleep by night and no peace or 

28 Macbeth 

rest by day, but drive him on from crime to crime until 
retribution overtakes him at last. 

Though, at this particular time, Macbeth would not 
have carried out his plot against Duncan if the Lady 
had not overcome his cowardly fear of the consequences, 
it does not follow that he would never have screwed 
his courage up for the deed without her influence. 
The vision of the promised crown, the glittering prize 
of his unholy ambition, would still hover above his 
head, stimulating his imagination and alluring him to 
the nearest way of gaining it. He would be ever on 
the watch for a favourable opportunity of doing the 
murderous deed necessary for its acquisition, and, 
with or without the encouragement of his companion 
in guilt, he would nerve himself to the fatal stroke that 
would enable him to clutch it. The exigencies of the 
drama require that he should do it now, and the Lady, 
with her clear head and strong will, furnishes the 
stimulus needed to spur him on to instant action. 

Let us now turn for a time to her, and endeavour to 
get a fair conception of her character. As we have 
seen, the intention of murder occurred to her without 
any suggestion from her husband. So far as that was 
concerned, both were equally guilty. They were also 
equally ambitious ; but I believe that she was ambitious 
for him rather than for herself. They are bound to 
each other by strong ties of conjugal affection ; but her 
love, if not the stronger, is the more unselfish, as the 
love of woman is apt to be. 

Introduction 29 

Mrs. Kemble (Notes upon Some of Shakespeare's Plays] 
calls Lady Macbeth " a masculine woman," but adds 
that " she retains enough of the nature of mankind, if 
not of womankind, to bring her within the circle of our 
toleration and make us accept her as possible" I be- 
lieve, however, that she goes too far in denying to the 
Lady " all the peculiar sensibilities of her sex," and in 
saying, " there is no doubt that her assertion that she 
would have dashed her baby's brains out if she had 
sworn to do it, is no mere figure of speech but very 
certain earnest." To my thinking, it was a figure of 
speech in a sense, though " certain earnest " in another 
sense. Macbeth has sworn to do a dreadful deed from 
which he now shrinks. She says to him that if she had 
sworn to do anything, however horrible and unnatural, 
she would do it. The particular illustration of the 
quality of her resolution which she gives is the strong- 
est she can imagine the murder of her own babe at 
a time when to do it would be the utmost conceivable 
outrage to maternal affection ; a deed which she knows 
she could never do or think of doing, much less swear 
to do, but which she would do if she had sworn to do 
it. That would be a murder infinitely worse than the 
one Macbeth has sworn to do, the murder of an 
innocent and helpless babe her own babe a 
murder for which there could be no imaginable 
motive, but the oath once spoken should be kept, 
though to keep it would tear her very heart-strings 

30 Macbeth 

It is significant that Lady Macbeth, when she 
first resolves to commit the crime, feels that she must 
repudiate the instincts of her sex before she can do it : 

" Come, you spirits 

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, 
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full 
Of direst cruelty ! make thick my blood, 
Stop up the access and passage to remorse, 
That no compunctious visitings of nature 
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between 
The effect and it ! " 

Elsewhere Shakespeare has depicted two women the 
only two in his long gallery of female characters who 
are monsters of wickedness, without a single redeeming 
trait ; and he has emphasized the fact that such women 
have unsexed themselves and ceased to be women. 
They are Goneril and Regan, the unnatural daughters 
of Lear. Note what Albany says to Goneril : 

" See thyself, devil ! 

Proper [native] deformity seems not in the fiend 
So horrid as in woman. . . . 
Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, 

[that is, thou whose natural self has been covered or 
lost, so that thou art a mere thing, not a woman] 

Bemonster not thy feature ! . . . 

Howe'er thou art a fiend, 
A woman's shape doth shield thee." 

[Though a fiend, she still has the outward shape of 
woman, or she should die.] 

Introduction 31 

Neither Goneril nor Regan prays to be unsexed, for 
they are only fiends in a female form ; nor would the 
prayer have occurred to Lady Macbeth if she had not 
been a woman, notwithstanding her treason to woman- 
hood. She feels that she must for the time abjure the 
natural instincts and sensibilities of her sex, if she is to 
do the bloody deed which is to give her ambitious hus- 
band the crown without waiting for fate to fulfil itself. 
She is not destitute of all feminine sensibilities, as 
Mrs. Kemble assumes, but struggles against them, 
represses them by sheer strength of will. 

Mrs. Kemble even goes so far as to say that the 
Lady's inability to stab Duncan because he resembled 
her father as he slept " has nothing especially feminine 
about it," but is " a touch of human tenderness by which 
most men might be overcome " ; but to concede human 
tenderness to the Lady is inconsistent with the assump- 
tion that she could have murdered the infant at her 
breast. We cannot doubt that Shakespeare introduced 
this touch to remind us again that she was a woman, and 
not a monster, like the daughters of Lear. This is 
quite in his manner. It is like Shylock's allusion to 
the ring that Leah gave him when he was a bachelor, 
which shows that, hardened and merciless though he 
was, he was not utterly destitute of human tender- 

Professor Moulton (Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artisf) 
is more just in his conception of Lady Macbeth. As 
he remarks, " Her intellectual culture must have quick- 

J2 Macbeth 

ened her finer sensibilities at the same time that it built 
up a will strong enough to hold them down " ; and her 
keen delicacy of nature continually strives to assert 
itself. When she calls on the spirits of darkness to 
unsex her, "she is trembling all over with repugnance 
to the bloody enterprise, which nevertheless her royal 
will insists upon her undertaking." Her career in the 
play " is one long mental war ; and the strain ends, as 
such a strain could only end, in madness." She seems 
to feel this herself when later Macbeth is lamenting 
that, though he had most need of blessing, " Amen 
stuck in his throat," and she exclaims: 

"These deeds must not be thought 
After these ways; so, it will make us mad." 

But the next moment, when he refuses to take back 
the daggers he has brought from the chamber of death, 
her indomitable will enables her to do it herself. She 
must not allow her strength to give way while it is 
necessary to carry out the plan which is in danger of 
failing through his weakness. She can even indulge 
in a ghastly pun the only one in the play as she 
snatches the daggers from his hand : 

" If he does bleed, 

I '11 gild the faces of the grooms withal, 
For it must seem their guilt" 

And while Macbeth is still idly staring at his blood) 
hands with " poetical whining," as another aptly calls 

Introduction 33 

it, she can return, with hands as red as his, and say 
with bitter sneers at his unmannerly wailing : 

" My hands are of your colour, but I shame 
To wear a heart so white. . . . 
A little water clears us of this deed." 

But ah ! the difference between man and woman ! 
He, now so weak that he cannot look on the man he 
has murdered, he who laments that great Neptune's 
ocean cannot wash the stain from his hands, goes 
on from crime to crime until he himself can say : 

" I am in blood 


Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, 
Returning were as tedious as go o'er; " 

and later : 

"I have supp'd full with horrors; 
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, 
Cannot once start me." 

He revels in ''murder, knowing neither fear nor re- 

She, on the other hand, though now she can ridicule 
his weak moaning over his bloody hands and display 
her own that are red with the gore of the same murder, 
calmly declaring that a little water will clear them of 
the stain she has nerved herself to this seeming 
brutality by force of will, desperately repressing all 
feminine sensibility out of love for him and sympathy 
in his ambitious purposes. She can do this while it is 
necessary to strengthen him and save him from failure 

34 Macbeth 

and detection ; but when she is once assured that he 
is no longer dependent on inspiration and support from 
her, the woman nature reasserts itself. She is not, 
as he is, insensible to remorse. She can silence for 
the time the voice of conscience, but it soon makes 
itself heard. 

We have the first evidence of this in the scene (ii. 3) 
where the murder is discovered by the nobles. Mac- 
beth has made the mistake of killing the grooms, but 
when Macduff asks, " Wherefore did you so ? " he gets 
out of the predicament by ascribing the act to " the 
expedition of his violent love," which outran the dicta- 
tion of his " reason." Then follows the hypocritically 
pathetic description of the dead king : 

" His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood, 
And his gash'd stabs [looking] like a breach in nature 
For ruin's wasteful entrance ; " 

and the supposed assassins : 

" Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers 
Unmannerly breech'd with gore." 

Lady Macbeth sees that he does not need her help at 
this critical moment, and the strain upon her nerve and 
will is at once relaxed. This sufficiently explains her 
fainting, which I believe to be real and not feigned ; 
though the vivid picture of the scene of murder may 
have been in part, if not wholly, the cause of the swoon, 
the enormity of the crime being thus brought home to 
her conscience. Macbeth may have thought that the 

Introduction 35 

fainting was a trick to divert attention from his mistake, 
if his attempt to justify it should not be successful, and 
this may account for his paying no attention to her at 
the moment ; but this is quite as likely to have been 
due to his excitement, or to the promptness with which 
Macduff and Banquo " look to the lady." 

When she next appears on the stage (iii. 2), we see 
that the attainment of the coveted prize has brought no 
relief from the remorse she suffers. She is unhappy in 
her new dignity the more because he whom her love 
had helped to gain it likewise finds no joy in the acqui- 
sition. She laments for him as for herself more for 
him than for herself when she says : . 

" Nought 's had, all 's spent, 
Where our desire is got without content ; 
'T is safer to be that which we destroy 
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy." 

This to herself and it is the cry of a broken heart 
that has brought wretchedness upon itself and the 
object of its devotion by a crime to which it was 
prompted by love ; and with the same unselfish affec- 
tion she tries in the very next breath to comfort him, 
hiding the wound in her own breast : 

" How now, my lord ! why do you keep alone, 
Of sorriest fancies your companions making, 
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died 
With them they think on ? Things without all remedy 
Should be without regard; what 's done is done." 

36 Macbeth 

These sorry fancies, as we have just seen, are her com- 
panions no less, but she will not let him see it. 

But her misery is that of a troubled conscience, to- 
gether with pity and sympathy for him. His is the 
same that first made him shrink from the crime no 
pangs of conscience, no touch of remorse, but cowardly 
fear of the consequences of his crime : 

" We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it ; 
She '11 close and be herself, whilst our poor malice 
Remains in danger of her former tooth." 

It is not that he has committed the crime, but that he 
must eat his meals in fear, and sleep in the affliction of 
terrible dreams dreams of detection and retribution. 
" Better be with the dead " than live in this " torture of 
the mind ! " Already he meditates new crimes to save 
himself from the results of the first. " Things bad 
begun make strong themselves by ill." And the new 
crimes he can commit without stimulus or help from 

After this she appears in the drama only twice : in 
the banquet scene, where again he is saved by her 
presence of mind from the exposure of his guilt which 
his distracted imagination threatens to bring about ; 
and in the scene where her own share in that guilt is 
unconsciously disclosed as she walks in sleep. 

After the banquet is broken up, instead of giving way 
to bitter reproaches, she endeavours to sooth his troubled 
spirit. As Mrs. Jameson remarks, there is " a touch of 

Introduction 37 

pathos and tenderness " in this which makes it " one of 
the most masterly and most beautiful traits of character 
in the play." 

Shakespeare evidently intended that Lady Macbeth's 
complicity in the guilt of her husband should be limited 
to the murder of Duncan. It is a significant fact that 
Macbeth does not make her a confidant of his plot for 
killing Banquo and Fleance. Indeed, he distinctly 
avoids doing this after having vaguely hinted at the 
design. This partly because, as I have said, he does 
not need her help, but partly, I believe, because he has 
an instinctive feeling that she would not approve the 
course he has resolved upon. She certainly would 
have opposed it as at once impolitic and unnecessary. 
The Witches had not predicted that Banquo should be 
king, but only that his children should, and Fleance was 
but a boy as yet. There was far greater danger to Mac- 
beth from the suspicions which the death of Banquo and 
his son might excite than from a possible attempt of 
theirs to play the bloody part Macbeth had played in 
the assassination of Duncan. Macbeth himself lays 
more stress on the prediction that Banquo's issue are to 
be his successors on the throne than he does on his 
fears that Banquo may suspect he killed Duncan, and 
that this may lead to his own overthrow. Banquo's 
" royalty of nature " is a perpetual rebuke to his own 
baser self, and his knowledge of the prophecies of the 
Witches is a menace, but the thought that most rankles 
in the breast of Macbeth is that all he has gained by the 

3 8 Macbeth 

murder of the gracious Duncan is a " fruitless crown " 
and " barren sceptre," which are to be snatched from 
him by " an unlineal hand." 

Some critics have thought that the Lady meant to sug- 
gest putting Banquo and Fleance out of the way when, 
in reply to Macbeth's reference to the fact that they are 
still living, she says, " But in them Nature's copy 's not 
eterne " ; but she simply reminds him that they are not 
immortal. This interpretation is fully confirmed by 
the fact that, on his replying, " There 's comfort yet ; 
they are assailable," and adding that before the night 
passes " there shall be done a deed of dreadful note," 
she does not understand his hint, but asks, " What 's to 
be done ? " a question which he evades. It is plain, 
however, that he still feels doubtful of her approval of 
the deed, which he would not have been if he had 
understood her preceding speech as suggesting it. 

For myself, I am inclined to believe that the dis- 
appearance of the Lady from the stage after the banquet 
scene indicates that, from the time of Banquo's murder, 
Macbeth was less and less inclined to seek her company 
and sympathy. In the conversation before the banquet 
she asks him, " Why do you keep alone ? " and it is in 
the same scene (iii. 2) that he avoids telling her that 
he has already engaged the murderers to waylay Banquo 
and his son. Even then their lives had begun to sepa- 
rate, and they would naturally get farther and farther 
apart. There is no reason to suppose that she knew of 
the plot for the destruction of Macduff's family, against 

Introduction 39 

which she would have protested more earnestly than 
against his designs upon Banquo, :f he had made them 
known to her. His fears and suspicions urge him on 
to the bloody deeds which later Macduff describes to 

Malcolm : 

" Each new morn 

New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows 
Strike heaven on the face." 

Ross confirms the reports : 

" Alas, poor country ! 
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot 
Be call'd our mother, but our grave ; where nothing, 
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile; 
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air 
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems 
A modern ecstasy. The dead man's knell 
Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives 
Expire before the flowers in their caps, 
Dying or ere they sicken." 

A terrible picture of what Macbeth is doing alone, in 
his insane suspicion of those about him and of every- 
body, near or far, who might suspect his guilt and be 
moved to avenge it. After his second interview with 
the Witches, who have deluded him with false assurances 
of safety and success, he seeks no other counsel and 
has no other confidant. 

The Lady meanwhile, left to herself, ignorant of what 
is going on abroad, bears the burden of her remorse 
alone. Shut out from all sympathy, she broods over 
the crime to which she was tempted by love and the 

40 Macbeth 

hope that it would bring not only royal power but all 
its accompaniments of pleasure and honour, but the 
fruits of which have been only disappointment, disgust, 
and misery to her husband and herself ; and the con- 
sciousness of her sin and folly is like a consuming fire 
in her breast. Bereft of all worldly hope and all human 
sympathy, she is driven to despair. The season of all 
natures, sleep, denies her its comfort and relief. In 
perturbed wanderings at night she lives over the events 
of that other night when her hands were bathed in the 
life-blood of Duncan. No water now will clear them of 
the stain. The agonizing cry, " Out, damned spot ! " 
is vain ; and " there's the smell of the blood still," 
which all the perfumes of Arabia cannot remove or dis- 

The Doctor's direction that the means of self- 
destruction be removed from her, and that she be 
watched closely, indicates his apprehension of what 
the end may be ; and though it is not distinctly stated 
afterwards that she did lay violent hands on herself, 
we can hardly doubt that this was the manner of her 

When her death is announced to Macbeth (v. 5), he 
is already so estranged from her, and so absorbed in 
his selfish ruminations on his own situation, that it 
excites only a feeling of vexation that it should have 
occurred just then. " She should have died hereafter " 
not, he seems to mean, when he had so much else 
to worry and annoy him. In his talk with the Doctor 

Introduction 41 

about her, in a former scene (v. 3), he appears to be 
impatient, rather than sympathetic, because she is sick ; 
and now that the sickness has proved fatal, he indulges 
in no expressions of grief, but, after this brief reference 
to her ill-timed decease, he relapses into mournful 
reflections upon his own condition and prospects. He 
does not refer to her again, nor is there any allusion 
to her except in Malcolm's last speech, where he 
couples her with Macbeth as " this dead butcher and 
his fiend-like queen." The son of the murdered Duncan 
might naturally call her so ; but, except for her share 
in that single crime she does nothing to deserve 
the title; and for that one crime she has paid the 
penalty of a life of disappointment, wretchedness, and 

Let me say, before dismissing her from our con- 
sideration, that I cannot think of her as a masculine 
woman, or, as Campbell describes her, " a splendid 
picture of evil, ... a sort of sister of Milton's Luci- 
fer, and, like him, externally majestic and beautiful." 
Beautiful, indeed, we can imagine her to be, but with 
a beauty delicate and feminine perhaps, as Mrs. Sid- 
dons suggests, even fragile. Shakespeare gives us no 
hint of her personal appearance except where he makes 
her speak of her "little hand"; but that really settles 
the question. 1 

Macbeth 's career from first to last confirms the esti- 

1 For a summary of critical opinion on the subject, see the 

42 Macbeth 

mate we form of him when he hears the predictions 
of the Witches. At that time, as I have said, he seems 
as noble as he was valiant. He is ambitious, but two 
paths to power and fame are open to him the path 
of rectitude, of loyalty, of patriotism, of honour ; and 
the nearer way of treason, regicide, and dishonour. He 
lacks the moral courage and strength to choose the 
former. He cannot wait for fate to fulfil itself, but 
anticipates the working out of its decrees by impatiently 
taking the first step in the other path. He knows it is 
the wrong path, but it is only the first step that costs 
him even any transient struggle. Thenceforward, as 
we have seen, he can go on from crime to crime with 
only brief spasms of hesitation, due not to compunction 
or shrinking from sin, but only to his apprehensions of 
the possible consequences of his first deed of blood 
discovery, disgrace, disaster, retribution in this life. 
The life to come he ignores, as he did at the start, and 
pursues the downward course, selfish, pitiless, remorse- 
less, impious, to the inevitable tragic end. 



DUNCAN, King of Scotland. 


BA A N Q B uo, H ' !' g^neralsof the king's army. 



ME S NTEiTH, f n bl <= men of Scotland. 



FLEANCE, son to Banquo. 

SIWAKD, Earl of Northumberland, gen- 
eral of the English forces. 

Young SIWARD, his son. 

SEYTON, an officer attending on Mac- 

Boy, son to Macduff. 

An English Doctor. 
A Scotch Doctor. 
A Sergeant. 
A Porter 
An Old Man. 

Gentlewoman attending on Lady Mac- 
Three Witches. 

Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, 
Murderers, Attendants, and Mes- 

SCENE: Scotland ; England. 




SCENE I. A Desert Place 

Thunder and lightning. Enter three \Vitches 

First Witch. When shall we threelmeet atain 
In thunder, lightning, or in rain ? 

Second Witch. When the hurly-burly 's done, 
When the battle 's lost and won. 

Third Witch. That will be ere the set of sun. 

First Witch. Where the place ? 

Second Witch. Upon the heath. 

Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth. 

4 6 Macbeth [ Act J 

First Witch. I come, Graymalkin ! 
Second Witch. Paddock calls. 

Third Witch. Anon. I0 

^A$. Fair is fpul.jmd fojuysffair^/. 
Hover Ithrough'the fog/and filthy air/ [Exeunt. 

I I 

SCENE II. ^4 C##z/ near Forres 

Alarum within. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONAL- 
BAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding 

Duncan. What bloody man is that ? He can report, 
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt 
The newest state. 

Afalcjilm^ -/ ^Thjaj&thejwjrgeaat . 
Whojiki,a g^d.and har(W soldier fought 
'Gainst m4 captivity. Hail, braVe friend! 
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil 
As thou didst leave it. 

\ergeant. I /, Dcbb^tfuHt^ptopdy 

As twq spent swimmers than do clingi togemer t 
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald 
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that 10 

The multiplying villanies of nature 
Do swarm upon him from the western isles 
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied ; 
And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, 
Show'd like a rebel's whore. But all 's too weak ; 

Scene II] Macbeth 47 

For brave Macbeth well he deserves that name 

Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel, 

Which smok'd with bloody execution, 

Like valour's minion carved out his passage 

Till he fac'd the slave ; 

Which ne'er shook hands nor bade farewell to him, 

Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps 

And fix'd his head upon our battlements. 

Duncan. O valiant cousin ! worthy gentleman ! 
Sergeant. As whence the sun gins his reflection 
Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break, 
So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come 
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark : 
No sooner justice had with valour arm'd 
CompelPd these skipping kerns to trust their heels, 30 
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage, 
With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men 
Began a fresh assault. 

Duncan. Dismay'd not this 

Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo ? 

, ; Sergeant. Yes ; 

^As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. 
If I say sooth, I must report they were 
As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks, 
So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe. 
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, 
Or memorize another Golgotha, -P 

I cannot tell 
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help. 

48 Macbeth [Act I 

Duncan. So well thy words become thee as thy 

wounds ; 

They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons. 

\_Exit Sergeant, attended 

Who comes here ? 

Enter Ross 

Malcolm. The worthy thane of Ross. 

Lennox. What a haste looks through his eyes ! Sc 

should he look 
That seems to speak things strange. 

Ross. God save the king > 

Duncan. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane ? 

Ross. From Fife, great king, 

Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky 
And fan our people cold. Norway himself, 50 

With terrible numbers, 
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor, 
The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict, 
Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, 
Confronted him with self-comparisons, 
Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm, 
Curbing his lavish spirit ; and, to conclude, 
The victory fell on us. 

Duncan. Great happiness ! 

Ross. That now 

Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition ; 
Nor would we deign him burial of his men 60 

Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch 
Ten thousand dollars to our general use. 

Scene Hi] Macbeth 


Duncan. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive 
Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death, 
And with his former title greet Macbeth. 
Ross. I '11 see it done. 
Duncan. What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won. 


Thunder. Enter the three Witches 

First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister ? 

Second Witch. Killing swine. 

Third Witch. Sister, where thou ? 

First Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her la 
And munch'd, and munch 'd, and munch'd. 'Give m 

quoth I. 

' Aroint thee, witch ! ' the rump-fed ronyon cries. 
Her husband 's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger ; 
But irt a sieve I '11 thithef^aail, 
And, like a rat without a tall, 
I '11 do, I '11 do, and I '11 do. 

Second Witch. I '11 give thee a wind. 

First Witch. Thou 'rt kind. 

Third Witch. And I another. 

First Witch. 'I myself have all the other, 
And the very ports they blow, 
All the quarters that they know 
I' the shipman's card. 
I '11 drain him dry as hay ; 
Sleep shall neither night nor day 


3 n. 


50 Macbeth [Act l 

Hang upon his pent-house lid. 2- 

He shall live a man forbid ; 

Weary se'nnights nine times nine 

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine. 

Though his bark cannot be lost, 

Yet it shall be tempest-tost. 

Look what I have. 

Second Witch. Show me, show me. 

First Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, 
Wrack'd as homeward he did come. [Drum within 

Third Witch. A drum, a drum 1 3-* 

Macbeth doth come. 

All. The weird sisters, hand in hand, 
Posters of the sea and land, 
Thus do go about, about ; 
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine, 
And thrice again, to make up nine. 
Peace ! the charm 's wound up. 


Macbeth. So foul and fair a day I have not seen. 

Banquo. How far is 't call'd to Forres ? What are 


So wither'd and so wild in their attire, 40 

That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth, 
And yet are on 't ? Live you ? or are you aught 
That man may question ? You seem to understand me, 
By each at once her choppy finger laying 
Upon her skinny lips. You should be women, 

Scene III] Macbeth 

\ I I 

And yet your beardk forbid] me td interpret 


That you are so. 

Macbeth. Speak, if you can ; what are you ? 

First Witch. All hail, Macbeth ! hail to thee, thane 
of Glamis ! 

Second Witch. All hail, Macbeth ! hail to thee, thane 
of Cawdor ! 

Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king 
hereafter ! 5<J 

Banquo. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to 


Things that do sound so fair ? I' the name of truth, 
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed 
Which outwardly ye show ? My noble partner 
You greet with present grace and great prediction 
Of noble having and of royal hope, 
That he seems rapt withal ; to me you speak not. 
f you can look into the seeds of time, 
And say which grain will grow and which will not, 
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear 60 

Your favours nor your hate. 

First Witch. Hail! 

Second Witch. Hail ! 

Third Witch. Hail ! 

First Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. 

Second Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier. 

Third Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be 

none '. 
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo 1 

52 Macbeth [Act I 

First Witch. Banquo and Macbeth, all hail ! 

Macbeth. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. 
By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis, 71 

But how of Cawdor ? The thane of Cawdor lives, 
A prosperous gentleman ; and to be king 
Stands not within the prospect of belief, 
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence 
You owe this strange intelligence ? or why 
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way 
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you, 

[ Witches vanish. 

Banquo. The earth hath bubbles as the water has, 
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd ? So 

Macbeth. Into the air, and what seem'd corporal 

As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd ! 

Banquo. Were such things here as we do speak about ? 
Or have we eaten on the insane root 
That takes the reason prisoner ? 

Macbeth. Your children shall be kings. 

Banquo. You shall be king. 

Macbeth. And thane of Cawdor too ; went it not so ? 

Banquo. To the selfsame tune and words. W T ho 's 
here ? 

Enter Ross and ANGUS 

Ross. The king hath happily receiv'd, Macbeth, 
The news of thy success ; and when he reads 90 

Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, 

Scene III] Macbeth 


His wonders and his praises do contend 
Which should be thine or his. Silenc'd with that, 
In viewing o'er the rest o' the selfsame day, 
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, 
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, 
Strange images of death. As thick as tale 
Came post with post, and every one did bear 
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence, 
And pour'd them down before him. 

Angus. We are sent 100 

To give thee from our royal master thanks ; 
Only to herald thee into his sight, 
Not pay thee. 

ftoss. And for an earnest of a greater honour, 
He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor ; 
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane ! 
For it is thine. 

Banquo. What, can the devil speak true ? 

Macbeth. The thane of Cawdor lives; why do you 

dress me 
In borrow 'd robes ? 

Angus. Who was the thane lives yet, 

But under heavy judgment bears that life no 

Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combin'd 
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel 
With hidden help and vantage, or that with both 
He labour'd in his country's wrack, I know not ; 
But treasons capital, confess'd and prov'd, 
Have overthrown him. 

54 Macbeth [Act I 

Macbeth. \Aside\ Glamis, and thane of Cawdor ! 

The greatest is behind. Thanks for your pains. 
Do you not hope your children shall be kings, 
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me 
Promis'd no less to them ? 

Banquo. That trusted home 120 

Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, 
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 't is strange ; 
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,. 
The instruments of darkness tell us truths, 
Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's 
In deepest consequence. 
Cousins, a word, I pray you. 

Jffacbeth. [Aside] Two truths are told, 

As happy prologues to the swelling act 
i i Of the imperial theme. I thank you, gentlemen. 
\Aside\ This supernatural soliciting 130 

Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, 
Why hath it given me earnest of success, 
Commencing in a truth ? I am thane of Cawdor. 
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion 
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair 
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, 
Against the use of nature ? Present fears 
Are less than horrible imaginings. 
My thought, whose murther yet is but fantastic? 
Shakes so my single state of man that function / 140 
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is 
But what is not. 

Scene IV] Macbeth 5 

Banquo. Look how our partner 's rapt. 

Macbeth. [Aside] If chance will have me king, why, 

chance may crown me 
Without my stir. 

Banquo. New honours come upon him, 

Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould 
But with the aid of use. 

Macbeth. [Aside] Come what come may, 

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. 

Bang KO. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure. 

Macbeth. Give me your favour ; my dull brain was 


vVith things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains 150 
Are register'd where every day I turn 
The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. 
Think upon what hath chanc'd, and at more time, 
The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak 
Our free hearts each to other. 

Banquo. Very gladly. 

Macbeth. Till then, enough. Come, friend/, 


SCENE IV. Forres. The P0fac& 

LENNOX, and Attendant 

Duncan. Is execution done on Cawd/r ? Are not 
Those in commission yet return 'd ? 

Malcolm. Afy lie g e ' 

They are not yet come back. But lAiave spoke 


[Act I 

With one that' saw him die, whoVlid report 
That very.'frankly he confess'd hiV treasons, 
Implor/d your highness' pardon, and set forth 
A deep repentance. Nothing in his life 

fcame him like the leaving it; he dit 
/As one that had been studied in his dea\h 
To throw away the dearest thing he owec 
As 't were a careless trifle. 

Duncan. There 's no art, 

To find the mind's construction in the face ; 
He was a gentleman on whom I built 
An absolute trust. 


O worthiest cousin 
The sin of my ingratitude even now 
Was heavy on me ; thou art so far before 
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow 
To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserv'd, 
That the proportion both of thanks and payment 
Might have been mine ! only I have left to say, 2 

More is thy due than more than, all can pay. 

Macbeth. The service and the loyalty I owe, 
In doing it, pays itself. Yojir highness' part 
Is to receive our duties ; and our duties 
Are to your throne and state children and servants, 
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing 
Safe toward your love and honour. 

Duncan. Welcome hither ; 

Scene IVJ Macbeth 


I have begun to plant thee, and will labour 

To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo, 

That hast no less deserv'd, nor must be known 30 

No less to have done so, let me infold thee 

And hold thee to my heart. 

Banquo. There if I grow, 

The harvest is your own. 

Duncan. My plenteous joys, 

Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves 
In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes, 
And you whose places are the nearest, know 
We will establish our estate upon 
Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter 
The Prince of Cumberland ; which honour must 
Not unaccompanied invest him only, 40 

But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine 
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness, 
And bind us further to you. 

Macbeth. The rest is labour, which is not us'd for 


I '11 be myself the harbinger and make joyful 
The hearing of my wife with your approach, 
So humbly take my leave. 

Duncan,/ My worthy Cawdor ! 

i, [Aside] The Prince of Cumberland ! that is 

M which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, 
f For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires ! 5 

I Let not light see my black and deep desires ; 

58 Macbeth [Act I 

The eye wink at the hand ; yet let that be . 
Which the eye fears, when it is done, tose^/ [Exit. 
Duncan. True, worthy Banquo : he isnm so valiant, 
And in his commendations I am fed ; 
It is a banquet to me. Let 's after him, 
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome ; 
It is a peerless kinsman. \Flourish. Exeunt. . 


SCENE V. Inverness. A Room in Macbeth' 1 s Castle 
Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a. letter 

Lady Macbeth [Reads]. They met me in the day 
of success ; and I have learned by the perfectcst report, 
they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When 
I burned in desire to question them further, they made 
themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I 
stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the 
king, who all-hailed me 'Thane of Caw dor '; by which 
title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred 
me to the coming on of time, with ' Hail, king that 
shalt be! 11 This have I thought good to deliver thce, 10 
my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not 
lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what 
greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and 

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be 
What thou art prom is 'd. Yet do I fear thy nature ; 
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness 
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, 

Scene V] Macbeth 


Art not without ambition, but without 
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly, 
That wouldst thou holily, wouldst not play false, 21 
And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou 'dst have, great 


That which cries, ' Thus thou must do, if thou have it,' 
And that which rather thou dost fear to do 
Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither, 
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, 
And chastise with the valour of my tongue 
All that impedes thee from the golden round 
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem 
To have thee crown 'd withal. 

Enter a Messenger 

What is your tidings? 30 
Messenger. The king comes here to-night. 
Lady Macbeth. Thou 'rt mad to say it. 

Is not thy,m asterjtfkh him? who, were't so, 
WonTcl hav* inform 'd for preparation.! 

Messenger. So please you, it us true; our thane is 


One of my fellows had the speed of him, 
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more 
Than would make up his message. 

Lady Macbeth. Give him tending ; 

He brings great news. - {Exit Messenger. 

The raven himself is hoarse 
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan 

60 Macbeth [Act I 

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits 40 

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, 

And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full 

Of direst cruelty ! make thick my blood ; 

Stop up the access and passage to remorse, 

That no compunctious visitings of nature 

Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between 

The effect and it ! Come to my woman's breasts, 

And take my milk for gall, you murthering ministers, 

Wherever in your sightless substances 

You wait on nature's mischief ! Come, thick night, 50 

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, 

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, 

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark 

To cry ' Hold, hold !' 


Great Glamis ! worthy Cawdor ! 
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter ! 

Thy letters have transported mebeyond 

l/- t/ v * I \j -. >**!** 
Tnis ignorant prasent, and 1 1 fuel now 

The future in the! instant. ' 

Macbeth. My dearest love, 

Duncan comes here to-night. 

Lady Macbeth. And when goes hence ? 

Macbeth. To-morrow, as he purposes. 

Lady Macbeth. O, never 60 

Shall sun that morrow see ! 
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men 

Scene vi] Macbeth 6 1 

May read strange matters. To beguile the time, 
Look like the time ; bear welcome in your eye, 
Your hand, your tongue ; look like the innocent flower, 
But be the serpent under 't. He that's coming 
Must be provided for ; and you shall put 
This night's great business into my dispatch, 
Which shall to all our nights and days to come 
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. 70 

Macbeth. We will speak further. 

Lady Macbeth. Only look up clear; 

To alter favour ever is to fear. 
Leave all the rest to me. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. Before Macbetfts Castle 

Hautboys and torches. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, 
ANGUS, and Attendants 

Duncan. This castle hath a pleasant seat ; the air 
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself 
Unto our gentle senses. 

Banquo. This guest of summer, 

The temple-haunting martlet, does approve 
By his lov'd mansionry that the heaven's breath 
Smells wooingly here ; no jutty, frieze, 
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird 
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle. 
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd 
The air is delicate. 

62 'Macbeth [Act I 


Duncan. See, see, our honour'd hostess ! 10 

The love that follows us sometime is^our trouble, 
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you 
How you shall bid God 'ield us for your pains 
And thank us for your trouble. 

Lady Macbeth. All our service 

In every point twice done and then done double 
Were poor and single business, to contend 
Against those honours deep and broad wherewith 
Your majesty loads our house ; for those of old, 
And the late dignities heap'd up to them, 
We rest your hermits. 

Duncan. Where 's the thane of Cawdor ? 20 

We cours'd him at the heels and had a purpose 
To be his purveyor ; but he rides well, 
And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him 
To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess, 
We are your guest to-night. 

Lady Macbeth, Your servants ever 

Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in 


To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, 
Still to return you own. 

Duncan. Give me your hand ; 

Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly, 
And shall continue our graces towards him. 30 

By your leave, hostess. \Excun, 

Scene VII] Macbeth 

SCENE VII. Macbeth' s Castle 

Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers Ser- 
vants with dishes and service, and pass over the stage. 
Then enter \MACBETH 

MacbetJ/ If it were done when 't is done, then 't were 


It were done quickly : if the assassination 
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch 
With his surcease success ; that but this blow 
Might be the be-all and the end-all here, 
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, 
We 'd jump the life to come. But in these cases 
We still have judgment here ; that we but teach 
Bloody instructions, wh$n\being taught return 
To plague the inventor^.) TmS even-handed justice 10 
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice 
To our own lips. He '*Jjer-e. in double trust : 
First, as I am his kinsmVh ami his subject, 
Strong both against the *!eed ; then, as his host, 
Who should against hja^urtherer shut the door, 
Not bear the knife myel> Besides, this Duncan 
Hath borne his facuteieso meek, hath been 
So clear in his great officeWhat his virtues 
Will plead like angel^njmpet-tongu'd against 
The deep damnationi^of^isZfcaking-off ; 20 

And pity, like a naked new-born babe, 
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin, hors'd 

64 Macbeth [Act I 

Upon the sightless couriers of the air, 

Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, 

That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur 

To prick the sides of my intent, but only 

Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself^ 

And falls on the other. 


How now ! what news ? 

Lady Macbeth. He has almost supp'd; why have you 
left the chamber ? 

Macbeth. Hath he ask'd for me ? 

Lady Macbeth. Know you not he has ? 30 

Macbeth. We will proceed no further in this business.- 
He hath honour'd me of late ; and I have bought 
Golden opinions from all sorts of people, 
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, 
Not cast aside so soon. 

Lady Macbeth. Was the hope drunk 

Wherein you dress'd yourself ? hath it slept since ? 
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale 
At what it did so freely ? From this time 
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard 
To be the same in thine own act and valour 4 o 

As thou art in desire ? Wouldst thou have that 
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life, 
And live a coward in thine own esteem. 
Letting ' I dare not ' wait upon ' I would,' 
Like the poor cat i' the adage ? 

Scene VII] Macbeth 65 

Macbeth. Prithee, peace ! 

I dare do all that may become a man ; 
Who dares do more is none. 

Lady Macbeth. What beast was 't then 

That made you break this enterprise to me ? 
When you durst do it, then you were a man ; 
And, to be more t|ian what you were, you would 50 
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place 
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both ; 
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now 
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know 
How tender 't is to love the babe that milks me. 
I would, while it was smiling in my face, 
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums 
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you 
Have done to this. 

Macbeth. If we should fail ? 

Lady Macbeth. We fail. 

But screw your courage to the sticking-place, 60 

And we '11 not fail. When Duncan is asleep 
Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey 
Soundly invite him his two chamberlains 
Will I with wine and wassail so convince 
That memory, the warder of the brain, 
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason 
A limbeck only. When in swinish sleep 
Their drenched natures lie as in a death, 
What cannot you and I perform upon 
The unguarded Duncan ? what not put upon 7 




[Act. I 

His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt 
Of our great quell ? 

Macbeth. Bring forth men-children only ; 

For thy undaunted mettle should compose 
Nothing but males. Will it not be receiv'd, 
When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two 
Of his own chamber and us'd their very daggers, 
That they have done 't ? 

Lady Macbeth. Who dares receive it other, 

As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar 
Upon his death ? 

Macbeth. I am settled, ami bend lip 

Each corporal agent to this terrib e f^at. Jo 

Away, and mock the time ..with Ja rest show ; 

what the fal >e heart doth know. 


SCENE I. Court of Macbeth 's Castle 

'nter BANQUO, and FLEANCE bearing a torch before him 

Banquo. How goes the night, boy ? 

Fkance. The moon is down, I have not heard the 


Banquo. And she goes down at twelve. 
Fleance. I take 't, 't is later, sir. 

Banquo. Hold, take my sword. There 's husbandry 

in heaven ; 

Their candles are all out. Take thee that too. 
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, 
And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers, 


68 Macbeth [Act n 

Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature 
Gives way to in repose ! 

Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch 

Give me my sword. 
Who 's there ? 10 

Macbeth. A friend. 

Banquo. What, sir, not yet at rest ? The king 's 


He hath been in unusual pleasure, and 
Sent forth great largess to your offices. 
This diamond he greets your wife withal, 
By the name of most kind hostess ; and shut up 
In measureless content. 

Macbeth. Being unprepar'd, 

Our will became the servant to defect, 
Which else should free have wrought. 

Banquo. All 's well. 

I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters ; 20 

To you they have show'd some truth. 

Macbeth. I think not of them ; 

Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve, 
We would spend it in some words upon that business, 
If you would grant the time. 

Banquo. At your kind'st leisure. 

Macbeth. If you shall cleave to my consent, when 

't is, 
It shall make honour for you. 

Banquo. So I lose none 

Scene I] Macbeth 69 

In seeking to augment it, but still keep 
My bosom franchis'd and allegiance clear, 
I shall be counsell'd. 

Macbeth. Good repose the while ! 

Banquo. Thanks, sir ; the like to you ! 30 

{Exeunt Banquo and Fleance. 

Macbeth. Go bid thy mistress, when my drink 'is 

She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed. 

\Exit Servant. 

Is this a dagger which I see before me, 
The handle toward my hand ? Come, let me clutch 


I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. 
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible 
To feeling as to sight ? or art thou but 
A dagger of the mind, a false creation, 
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain ? 
I see thee yet, in form as palpable 40 

As this which now I draw. 
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going, 
And such an instrument I was to use. 
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, 
Or else worth all the rest ; I see thee still, 
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, 
Which was not so before. There 's no such thing ; 
It is the bloody business which informs 
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one half world 
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse 5 

yo Macbeth [Act n 

The curtain 'd sleep ; witchcraft celebrates 

Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd Murther, 

Alarum 'd by his sentinel the wolf, 

Whose howl 's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, 

With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design 

Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth, 

Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear 

Thy very stones prate of my whereabout, 

And take the present horror from the time, 

Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat he lives ; 6<v 

Words to the heat of deeds too cool breath gives. 

[A bell rings . 

I go, and it is done ; the bell invites me. 
Hear it not, Duncan, for it .is a knell 

Knell j 

' v/ I'- *" \ - *-T ~~ I 

That sumjmons theej to heaven or to hejl. \Exit 


SCENE II. The Same 

Lady Macbeth. That which hath made them drunk 

hath made me bold ; 
What hath quench'd them hath given me fire. Hark I 

Peace ! 

It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman 
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it. 
The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms 
Do mock their charge with snores ; I have drugg'd 
their possets, 


Scene II] Macbeth \T f ?I 

That death and nature do contend about them, 
Whether they live or die. 

Macbeth. [ Within] Who's there ? what, ho ! 

Lady Macbeth. Alack, I am afraid they have awak'd, 
And 't is not done. The attempt and not the deed 10 
Confounds us. Hark ! I laid their daggers ready ; 
He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled 
My father as he slept, I had done 't. My husband ! 


Macbeth. I have done the deed. Didst thou not 

hear a noise ? 
Lady Macbeth. I heard the owl scream and the 

crickets cry. 
Did not you speak ? 

Macbeth. When ? 

Lady Macbeth. Now. 

Macbeth. As I descended ? 

Lady Macbeth. Ay. 
Macbeth. Hark ! 
Who lies i' the second chamber ? 

Lady Macbeth. Donalbain. 

Macbeth. This is a sorry sight. {Looking on his 
hands. 20 

Lady Macbeth. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. 
Macbeth. There 's one did laugh in 's sleep, and one 

cried ' Murther ! ' 
That they did wake each other. I stood and heard them ; 

72 Macbeth [Act II 

But they did say their prayers and address'd them 
Again to sleep. 

Lady Macbeth. There are two lodg'd together. 

Macbeth. One cried ' God bless us ! ' and ' Amen ' 

the other, 

As they had seen me with these hangman's hands, 
Listening their fear. I could not say ' Amen ' 
When they did say ' God bless us ! ' 

Lady Macbeth. Consider it not so deeply. 30 

Macbeth. But wherefore could not I pronounce 

' Amen ' ? 

I had most need of blessing, and ' Amen ' 
Stuck in my throat. *k 

Lady Macbeth. These deeds must not be thought 
After these ways ; so, it will make 'us mad. 

Macbeth. Methought I heard a voice cry ' Sleep no 

more ! ^x 

Macbeth does murther sleep V the innocent sleep, 
Sleep that knits up the ravelrd sleave of care, 
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, ^^^ 
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, 
Chief nourisher in life's feast, -^^ 

Lady Macbeth. What do you mean ? .p 

Macbeth. Still it cried ' Sleep no more ! ' to all the 

house : 

' Glamis hath murther'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor 
Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.' 

Lady Macbeth. Who was it that thus cried ? Why, 
worthy thane, 

Scene II] Macbeth 


You do unbend your noble strength, to think 
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water, 
And wash this filthy witness from your hand. 
Why did you bring these daggers from the place ? 
They must lie there ; go carry them, and smear 
The sleepy grooms with blood. 

Macbeth. I '11 go no more. 50 

I am afraid to think what I have done ; 
Look on 't again I dare not. 

Lady Macbeth. Infirm of purpose ! 

Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead 
Are but as pictures ; 't is the eye of childhood 
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, 
I '11 gild the faces of the grooms withal; 
For it must seem their guilt. \Exit. Knocking within. 

Macbeth. Whence is that knocking ? 

How is 't with me, when every noise appals me ? 
What hands are here ? Ha ! they pluck out mine eyes. 
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood 60 

Clean from my hand ? No ; this my hand will rather 
The multitudinous seas incarnadine, 
Making the green one red. 

Lady Macbeth. My hands are of your colour, but I 

To wear a heart so white. \Knocking within.'} I hear 

a knocking 
At the south entry ; retire we to our chamber. 

74 Macbeth [Act n 

A little water clears us of this deed ; 

How easy is it, then ! Your constancy 

Hath left you unattended. [Knocking within.'] Hark ! 

more knocking. 

Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us 70 

And show us to be watchers. Be not lost 
So poorly in your thoughts. 

Macbeth. To know my deed, 't were best not know 

myself. [Knocking within. 

Wake Duncan with thy knocking ! I would thou couldst ! 


SCENE III. The Same 
Enter a Porter. Knocking within 

Porter. Here 's a knocking indeed ! If a man 
were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning 
the key. [Knocking withinJ] Knock, knock, knock ! 
Who 's there, i' the name of Beelzebub ? Here 's a 
farmer, that hanged himself on th' expectation of 
plenty. Come in time ; have napkins enow about 
you, here you '11 sweat for 't. [Knocking within^] 
Knock, knock ! Who 's there, in th' other devil's 
name ? Faith, here 's an equivocator, that could 
swear in both the scales against either scale ; who 10 
committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could 
not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator. 
[Knocking within.'] Knock, knock, knock ! Who 's 
there ? Faith, here 's an English tailor come hither, 

Scene III] Macbeth 75 

for stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor ; 
here you may roast your goose. [Knocking within.] 
Knock, knock ; never at quiet ! What are you ? But 
this place is too cold for hell. I '11 devil-porter it no 
further ; I had thought to have let in some of all pro- 
fessions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting 20 
bonfire. [Knocking u>ithin.~\ Anon, anon ! I pray 
you, remember the porter. [Opens the gate. 


Maeduff. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to 

That you do lie so late ? 

Porter. Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second 

Maeduff. Is thy master stirring ? 


Our knocking has awak'd him ; here he comes. 

Lennox. Good morrow, noble sir. 

Macbeth. Good morrow, both. 

Maeduff. Is the king stirring, worthy thane ? 

Macbeth. Not Y et - 

Maeduff. He did command me to call timely on 
him ; 3<> 

I have almost slipp'd the hour. 

Macbeth. I' 11 bring you to him. 

Maeduff. I know this is a joyful trouble to you, 
But yet 't is one. 

7 6 Macbeth [Act n 

Macbeth. The labour we delight in physics pain. 
This is the door. 

Macduff. I '11 make so bold to call, 

For 't is my limited service. \Exit. 

Lennox. Goes the king hence to-day ? 

Macbeth. He does ; he did appoint so. 

Lennox. The night has been unruly. Where we lay, 
Our chimneys were blown down, and, as they say, 
Lamentings heard i' the air, strange screams of death, 
And prophesying with accents terrible 41 

Of dire combustion and confus'd events t- 

New hatched to the jwoeful time ; the! obscure/ bird 
Clamour'd'the livelong nigjit ; some [say the earth 
Was feverous and did shake. 

Macbeth. 'T was a rough night. 

Lennox. My young remembrance cannot parallel 
A fellow to it. 

Re-enter MACDUFF 

Macduff. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor 

Cannot conceive nor name thee ! 


What 's the matter ? 

Macduff. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece. 
Most sacrilegious murther hath broke ope 51 

The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 
The life o' the building. 

Macbeth. What is 't you say ? the life ? 

Lennox. Mean you his majesty ? 

Scene III] Macbeth 


Macduff. Approach the chamber, and destroy your 


With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak ; 
See, and then speak yourselves. 

\Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox. 

Awake, awake ! 

Ring the alarum-bell. Murther and treason ! 
Banquo and Donalbain ! Malcolm ! awake ! 
Shake, off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit, 60 

And look on death itself ! up, up and see 
The great doom's image ! Malcolm ! Banquo ! 
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites, 
To countenance this horror. Ring the bell. 

\Bett rings. 

Lady Macbeth. What 's the business, 
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley 
The sleepers of the house ? speak, speak ! 

Macduff. O gentle lady, 

'T is not for you to hear what I can speak ; 
The repetition, in a woman's ear, 
Would murther as it fell. 


O Banquo, Banquo ! 7 
Our royal master 's murther'd. 

Lady Macbeth. Woe, alas 1 

What, in our house ? 

Banquo. Too cruel any where. 

78 Macbeth [Act II 

Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself, 
And say it is not so. 

Re-enter MACBETH and LENNOX 

Macbeth, Had I but died an hour before this chance, 
I had liv'd a blessed time ; for from this instant 
There 's nothing serious in mortality. 
All is but toys ; renown and grace is dead ; 
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees 
Is left this vault to brag of. So 


Donalbain. What is amiss ? 

Macbeth. You are, and do not know 't ; 

The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood 
Is stopp'd, the very source of it is stopp'd. 

Macduff. Your royal father 's murther'd. 

Malcolm. O, by whom ? 

Lennox. Those of his chamber, as it seem 'd, had done 't. 
Their hands and faces were all badg'd with blood ; 
So were their daggers, which unwip'd we found 
Upon their pillows. 

They star'd, and were distracted ; no man's life 
Was to be trusted with them. 9 o 

Macbeth. O, yet I do repent me of my fury, 
That I did kill them. 

Macduff. Wherefore did you so ? 

Macbeth. Who can be wise, amaz'd, temperate and 

Scene III] Macbeth 79 

Loyal and neutral, in a moment ? No man ; 

The expedition of my violent love 

Outrun the pauser reason. Here lay Duncan, 

His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood, 

And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature 

For ruin's wasteful entrance ; there, the murtherers, 

Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers too 

Unmannerly breech'd with gore. Who could refrain, 

That had a heart to love, and in that heart 

Courage to make 's love known ? 

Lady Macbeth. Help me hence, ho ! 

Macduff. Look to the lady. 

Malcolm. [Aside to Donalbain~\ Why do we hold our 

That most may claim this argument for ours ? 

Donalbain. {Aside to Maholni\ What should be 

spoken here, where our fate, 
Hid in an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us ? 
Let 's away ; 
Our tears are not yet brew'd. 

Malcolm. [Aside to Donalbain~\ Nor our strong sorrow 
Upon the foot of motion. 

Banqiio. Look to the lady. - no 

[Lady Macbeth is carried out. 
And when we have our naked frailties hid, 
That suffer in exposure, let us meet 
And question this most bloody piece of work, 
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us ; 
In the great hand of God I stand, and thence 

80 Macbeth [Act n 

Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight 
Of treasonous malice. 

Macduff. And so do I. 

All. So all. 

Macbeth. Let 's briefly put on manly readiness, 
And meet i' the hall together. 

All. Well contented. 

[Exeunt all but Malcolm and Donalbain. 

Malcolm. What will you do ? Let 's not consort with 
them ; 120 

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office 
Which the false man does easy. I'll to England. 

Donalbain. To Ireland, I ; our separated fortune 
Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are, 
There 's daggers in men's smiles ; the near in blood, 
The nearer bloody. 

Malcolm. This murtherous shaft that 's shot 

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way 
Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse ; 
And let us not be dainty of leave-taking, 
But shift away. There 's warrant in that theft 130 

Which steals itself when there 's no mercy left. \_Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. Without the Castle 
Enter Ross and ati old Man 

Old Man. Threescore and ten I can remember well, 
Within the volume of which time I have seen 

Scene IV] Macbeth 8 1 

Hours dreadful and things strange ; but this sore night 
Hath trifled former knowings. 

Ross. Ah, good father, 

Thou seest, the heavens? as troubled with man's act, 
Threaten his bloody stage ; by the clock 't is day, 
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp. 
Is 't night's predominance or the day's shame 
That darkness does the face of earth entomb 
When living light should kiss it ? 

Old Man. 'T is unnatural, 10 

Even like the deed that 's done. On Tuesday last, 
A falcon, towering in her pride of place. 
Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd. 

Ross. And Duncan's horses a thing most strange 

and certain 

Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, 
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, 
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make 
War with mankind. 

Old Man. 'T is said they eat each other. 

Ross. They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes 19 
That look'd upon 't. Here comes the good Macduff. 


How goes the world, sir, now ? 

Macduff. Why, see you not ? 

Ross. Is 't known who did this more than bloody 

Macduff. Those that Macbeth hath slain. 


82 Macbeth [Act n 

.Ross. Alas, the day ! 

What good could they pretend ? 

Macduff. They were suborn 'd ; 

Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's two sons, 
Are stolen away'and fled, which puts upon them 
Suspicion of the deed. 

Ross. 'Gainst nature still ; 

Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up 
Thine own life's means ! Then 't is most like 
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth. 30 

Macduff. He is already nam'd, and gone to Scone 
To be invested. 

Ross. Where is Duncan's body? 

Macduff. Carried to Colme-kill, 
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors 
And guardian of their bones. 

Ross. . Will you to Scone ? 

Macduff. No, cousin, I '11 to Fife. 

Ross. Well, I will thither. 

Macduff. Well, may you see things well done there ; 

adieu ! 
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new I 

Ross. Farewell, father* 

Old Man. God's benison go with you, and with those 
That would make.good of bad and friends of foes I 41 




SCENE I. Forres. A Room in the Palace 


Banquo. Thou hast it now, king, Cawdor, Glamis, 


As the weird women promis'd, and I fear 
Thou play'dst most foully for 't. Yet it was said 
It should not stand in thy posterity, 


84 Macbeth [Act in 

But that myself should be the root and father 

Of many kings. If there come truth from them 

As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine 

Why, by the verities on thee mad good, 

May they not be my oracles as well 

And set me up in hope ? But hush ! no more. 10 

Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as king ; LADY MAC- 
BETH, as queen ; LENNOX, Ross, Lords, Ladies, and 

Macbeth. Here 's our chief guest. 

Lady Macbeth. If he had been forgotten, 

It had been as a gap in our great feast 
And all-thing unbecoming. 

Macbeth. To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir, 
And I '11 request your presence. 

Banquo. Let your highness 

Command upon me, to the which my duties 
Are with a most indissoluble tie 
For ever knit. 

Macbeth. Ride you this afternoon ? 

Banquo. Ay, my good lord. 

Macbeth. We should have else desir'd your good 
advice, 20 

Which still hath been both grave and prosperous, 
In this day's council ; but we '11 take to-morrow. 
Is 't far you ride ? 

Banquo. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 
'Twixt this and supper ; go not my horse the better, 

Scene I] Macbeth 85 

^\ "-1 I "") 

I musqbecomel a borroweij of the night/ 

For a dark hour or twain. 

Macbeth. Fail not our feast. 

Banquo. My lord, I will not. 

Macbeth. We hear our bloody cousins are bestow 'd 
In England and in Ireland, not confessing 30 

Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers 
With strange invention ; but of that to-morrow, 
When therewithal we shall have cause of state 
Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse ; adieu, 
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you ? 

Banquo. Ay, my good lord ; our time does call 
upon 's. 

Macbeth. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot ; 
And so I do commend you to their backs. 
Farewell. -^_ \Exit Banquo. 

Let e\Jery man'be master ofjhis time! 4 

Till seVen at night. To make society 
The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself 
Till supper-time alone ; while then, God be with you ! 
\Exeunt all but Macbeth and an Attendant. 
Sirrah, a word with you : attend those men 
Our pleasure ? 

Attendant. They are, my lord, without the palace 

Tacbeth. Bring them before us. - {Exit Attendant. 

To be thus is nothing, 
But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo 
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature 

86 Macbeth [Act m 

Reigns that which would be fear'd ; 't is much h 
dares, '5 

And, to that dauntless temper of his mind, 
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour 
To act in safety. There is none but he 
Whose being I do fear ; and under him 
My Genius is rebuk'd, as it is said 
Mark Antony's was by (taesar. He chid the sisters, 
When first they put tjje Tmme of king upon me, 
And bade them speak to hi^); then prophet-like 
They hail'd him fath^- to a line of kings. 
Upon m^^jhead'Jthey prac'd a fruitless crown, 60 

And put a baran so^we4ri my gripe, 
Thence to^e^renchid wim an unlineal hand, 
No son of mine ( _succ'8eding. If 't be so, 
For Banquo's issue 4wtve f^I'd my mind ; 
For them the gracious Duncan "have I murther'd ; 
Put rancours ia^ the vfcteel of my peace 
Only for theni; nd s% flalne eternal jewel 
Given to the common^ghemy of man, 
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings 
Ra^he^_than so, come, fate, into the list, * 
And champion "ma to theTifterance 1 Who 's 

Re-enter Attendant, with frvo Murderers 

Now go to the door, and stay there till we call. 

\Exit Attendant. 
Was it not yesterday we spoke together ? 

First Murderer. It was, so please your highness. 

Scene I] Macbeth 87 

Macbeth. Well then, now 

Have you consider'd of my speeches ? Know 
That it was he in the times past which held you 
So under fortune, which you thought had been 
Our innocent self. This I made good to you 
In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you, 
How you were borne in hand, how cross 'd, the instru- 
ments, 8o 
Who wrought with them, and all things else that might 
To half a soul and to a notion craz'd 
Say ' Thus did Banquo.' 

First Murderer. You made it known to us. 

Macbeth. I did so, and went further, which is now 
Our point of second meeting. Do you find 
Your patience so predominant in your nature 
That you can let this go ? Are you so gospell'd 
To pray for this good man and for his issue, 
Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave 
And beggar 'd yours for ever ? 

First Murderer. We are men, my liege. 

Macbeth. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men, 91 

As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, , 
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are ^tep?(Jk*r ' 
All by the name of dogs. The valued file 
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle, 
The housekeeper, the hunter, every one 
According to the gift which bounteous nature 
Hath in him clos'd, whereby he does receive 
Particular addition, from the bill 

88 Macbeth [Act m 

That writes them all alike ; and so of men. 100 

Now if you have a station in the file, 

Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say 't, 

And I will put that business in your bosoms, 

Whose execution takes your enemy off, 

Grapples you to the heart and love of us, 

Who wear our health but sickly in his life, 

Which in his death were perfect. 

Second Murderer. I am one, my liege, 

Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world 
Have so incens'd that I am reckless what 

I do to spite the world. 

First Murderer. And I another no 

So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune, 
That I would set my life on any chance, 
To mend it or be rid on 't. 

Macbeth. Both of you 

Know Banquo was your enemy. 

Both Murderers. True, my lord. 

Macbeth. So is he mine, and in such bloody dis- 

That every minute of his being thrusts 
Against my near'st of life ; and though I could 
With barefac'd power sweep him from my sight 
And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not, 
For certain friends that are both his and mine, 120 

Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall 
Who I myself struck down : and thence it is, 
That I to your assistance do make love, 

Scene II] Macbeth 89 

Masking the business from the common eye 
For sundry weighty reasons. 

Second Murderer. We shall, my lord, 

Perform what you command us. 

First Murderer. Though our lives 

Macbeth. Your spirits shine through you. Within 

this hour at most 

I will advise you where to plant yourselves, 
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time, 
The moment on 't, for 't must be done to-night, 130 
And something from the palace ; always thought 
That I require a clearness. And with him 
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work 
Fleance his son, that keeps him company, 
Whose absence is no less material to me 
Than is his father's, must embrace the fate 
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart ; 
I '11 come to you anon. 

Both Murderers. We are resolv'd, my lord. 

Macbeth. I '11 call upon you straight ; abide within. 

[Exeunt Murderers. 

It is concluded ; Banquo, thy soul's flight, 140 

If it find heaven, must find it out to-night. [Exit. 

SCENE II. The Same. Another Room 
Enter LADY MACBETH and a Servant 

Lady Macbeth. Is Banquo gone from court ? 
Servant. Ay, madam, but returns again to-night. 

90 Macbeth [Act m 

Lady Macbeth. Say to the king, I would attend his 

For a few words. 

Servant. Madam, I will. \Exit. 

Lady Macbeth. Nought 's had, all 's spent, 

Where our desire is got without content ; 
'T is safer to be that which we destroy 
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. 


How now, my lord ! why do you keep alone, 

Of sorriest fancies your companions making, 

Using those thoughts which should indeed have died 10 

With them they think on ? Things without all remedy 

Should be without regard ; what 's done is done. 

Macbeth. We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it ; 
She '11 close and be herself, whilst our poor malice 
Remains in danger of her former tooth. 
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds 


Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep 
In the affliction of these terrible dreams 
That shake us nightly ; better be with the dead, 
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent, to peace, 20 
Than on the torture of the mind to lie 
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave ; 
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well. 
Treason has done his worst ; nor steel, nor poison, 

Scene II] Macbeth 

9 1 

Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, 
Can touch him further. 

Lady Macbeth. Come on. 

Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks ; 
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night. 

Macbeth. So shall I, love, and so, I pray, be you. 
Let your remembrance apply to Banquo ; 30 

Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue : 
Unsafe the while that we 

Must lave our honours in these flattering streams, 
And make our faces visards to our hearts, 
Disguising what they are. 

Lady Macbeth. You must leave this. 

Macbeth. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife ! 
Thou know'st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives. 

Lady Macbeth. But in them nature's copy 's not 

Macbeth. There 's comfort yet, they are assailable ; 
Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown 40 

His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons 
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums 
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done 
A deed of dreadful note. 

Lady Macbeth. What 's to be done ? 

Macbeth. Be -innocent of the knowledge, dearest 


Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night, 
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day, 
And with thy bloody and invisible hand 

92 Macbeth [Act m 

Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond 
Which keeps me pale ! Light thickens, and the crow 
Makes wing to the rooky wood ; 51 

Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, 
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse. 
Thou marvell'st at my words, but hold thee still ; 
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. 
So, prithee, go with me. 

SCENE III. A Park near the Palace 

First Murderer. But who did bid thee join with us ? 

Third Murderer. Macbeth. 

Second Murderer. He needs not our mistrust, since 

he delivers 

Our offices and what we have to do 
To the direction just. 

First Murderer. Then stand with us. 

The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day ; 
Now spurs the lated traveller apace 
To gain the timely inn, and near approaches 
The subject of our watch. 

Third Murderer. Hark ! I hear horses. 

Banquo. [ Withhi\ Give us a light there, ho ! 

Second Murderer. Then 't is he ; the rest 

That are within the note of expectation 10 

Already are i' the court. 

First Murderer. His horses go about. 

Scene IV] Macbeth 93 

Third Murderer. Almost a mile ; but he does usually, 
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate 
Make it their walk. 

Second Murderer. A light, a light ! 

Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE with a Torch 

Third Murderer. 'T is he. 

first Murderer. Stand to 't. 

Banquo. It will be rain to-night. 

First Murderer. Let it come down. 

\They set upon Banquo. 

Banquo. O, treachery ! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly ! 
Thou mayst revenge. O slave ! [Dies. Fleance escapes. 

Third Murderer. Who did strike out the light ? 

First Murderer. Was 't not the way ? 

Third Murderer. There 's but one down ; the son is 

Second Murderer. We have lost 

Best half of our affair. 21 

First Murderer. Well, let 's away and say how much 
is done. {Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. Hall in the Palace 

A Banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MAC- 
BETH, Ross, LENNOX, Lords, and Attendants 

Macbeth. You know your own degrees ; sit down. 

At first 
And last the hearty welcome. 

94 Macbeth [Act in 

Lords. Thanks to your majesty. 

Macbeth. Ourself will mingle with society 
And play the humble host. 
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time 
We will require her welcome. 

Lady Macbeth. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our 

For my heart speaks they are welcome. 

First Murderer appears at the door 

Macbeth. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' 


Both sides are even ; here I '11 sit i' the midst. 10 

Be large in mirth ; anon we '11 drink a measure 
The table round. [Approaching the door\ There 's 

blood upon thy face. 
Murderer. 'T is Banquo's then. 
Macbeth. 'T is better thee without than he within. 
Is he dispatch'd ? 

Murderer. My lord, his throat is cut ; that I did for 

Macbeth. Thou art the best o' the cut-throats; yet 

he 's good 

That did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it, 
Thou art the nonpareil. 

Murderer. Most royal sir, 

Fleance is scap'd. 

Macbeth. \Aside~\ Then comes my fit again. I had 
--else been perfect, 

Scene IV] Macbeth 95 

Whole as the marble, founded as the rock, 

As broad and general as the casing air ; 

But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in 

To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo's safe ? 

Murderer. Ay, my good lord ; safe in a ditch hej 


With twenty trenched gashes on his head, 
The least a death to nature. 

Macbeth. Thanks for that. 

[Aside] There the grown serpent lies ; the worm that 's 


Hath nature that in time will venom breed, 30 

No teeth for the present. Get thee gone ; to-morrow 
We '11 hear ourselves again. [Exit Murderer. 

Lady Macbeth. My royal lord, 

You do not give the cheer ; the feast is sold 
That is not often vouch 'd, while 't is a-making, 
'T is given with welcome. To feed were best at home ; 
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony ; 
Meeting were bare without it. 

Macbeth. Sweet remembrancer! 

Now good digestion wait on appetite, 
And health on both ! 

Lennox. May 't please your highness sit. 

The Ghost of Banquo enters, and sits in Macbeth' s 

Macbeth. Here had we now our country's honour 
roof'd 4 

96 . Macbeth [Act in 

Were the grac'd person of our Banquo present, 
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness 
Than pity for mischance ! 

J?oss. His absence, sir, 

Lays blame upon his promise. Please 't your highness 
To grace us with your royal company. 

Macbeth. The table 's full. 

Lennox. Here is a place reserv'd, sir. 

Macbeth. Where ? 

Lennox. Here, my good lord. What is 't that moves 
your highness ? 

Macbeth. Which of you have done this ? 

Lords. What, my good lord ? 

Macbeth. Thou canst not say I did it ; never shake 50 
Thy gory locks at me. 

JRoss. Gentlemen, rise ; his highness is not well. 

Lady Macbeth. Sit, worthy friends, my lord is often 


And hath been from his youth ; pray you, keep seat, 
The fit is momentary ; upon a thought 
He will again be well. If much you note him, 
You shall offend him and extend his passion ; 
Feed, and regard him not. Are you a man ? 

Macbeth. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that 
Which might appal the devil. 

Lady Macbeth. O proper stuff ! 60 

This is the very painting of your fear ; 
This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, 
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts, 

Scene IV] Macbeth 97 

Impostors to true fear, would well become 
A woman's story at a winter's fire, 
Authoriz'd by her grandam. Shame itself! 
Why do you make such faces ? When all 's done, 
You look but on a stool. 

Macbeth. Prithee, see there ! behold ! look ! lo ! how 

say you ? 

Why, what care I ? If thou canst nod, speak too. 70 
If charnel-houses and our graves must send 
Those that we bury back, our monuments 
Shall be the maws of kites. \Ghost vanishes. 

Lady Macbeth. What, quite unmann'd in folly? 

Macbeth. If I stand here, I saw him. 

Lady Macbeth. Fie, for shame ! 

Macbeth. Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden 


Ere human statute purg'd the gentle weal ; 
Ay, and since too, murthers have been perform'd 
Too terrible for the ear. The time has been 
That when the brains were out the man would die, 
And there an end ; but now they rise again, 80 

With twenty mortal murthers on their crowns, 
And push us from our stools. This is more strange 
Than such a murther is. 

Lady Macbeth. My worthy lord, 

Your noble friends do lack you. 

Macbeth. I do forget. 

Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends ; 
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing 


98 Macbeth [Act m 

To those that know me. Come, love and health to 


Then I '11 sit down. Give me some wine, fill full. 
I drink to the general joy o' the whole table, 
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss ; 90 
Would he were here ! to all and him we thirst, 
And all to all. 

Lords. Our duties, and the pledge. 

Re-enter Ghost 

Macbeth. Avaunt ! and quit my sight ! let the earth 

hide thee ! 

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold ; 
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes 
Which thou dost glare with. 

Lady Macbeth. Think of this, good peers, 

But as a thing of custom ; 't is no other, 
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time. 

Macbeth. What man dare, I dare. 

Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, 100 

The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger ; 
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves 
Shall never tremble : or be alive again, 
And dare me to the desert with thy sword ; 
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me 
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow ! 
Unreal mockery, hence ! \Ghost vanishes. 

Why, so ; being gone, 
I am a man again. Pray you, sit still. 

Scene IV] Macbeth 


Lady Macbeth. You have displac'd the mirth, brc 

the good meeting, 
With most admir'd disorder. 

Macbeth. Can such things be, no 

And overcome us like a summer's cloud, 
Without our special wonder ? You make me strange 
Even to the disposition that I owe, 
When now I think you can behold such sights, 
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks 
When mine is blanch 'd with fear. 

Ross, What sights, my lord ? 

Lady Macbeth. I pray you, speak not; he grows 

worse and worse ; 

Question enrages him. At once, good night ; 
Stand not upon the order of your going, 
But go at once. 

Lennox. Good night ; and better health 120 

Attend his majesty ! 

Lady Macbeth. A kind good night to all ! 

[Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. 
Macbeth. It will have blood, they say; blood will 

have blood. 
Stones have been known to move and trees to 

speak ; 

Augurs and understood relations have 
By magot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth 
The secret'st man of blood. What is the night ? 
Lady Macbeth. Almost at odds with morning, w! 
is which. 

ioo Macbeth [Act in 

Macbeth. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his 

, person 
At our great bidding ? 

Lady Macbeth. Did you send to him, sir ? 

Macbeth. I hear it by the way, but I will send ; 130 
There 's not a one of them but in his house 
I keep a servant fee'd. I will to-morrow, 
And betimes I will, to the weird sisters ; 
More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know, 
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good 
All causes shall give way ; I am in blood 
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, 
Returning were as tedious as go o'er. 
Strange things I have in head that will to hand, 
Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd. 140 

Lady Macbeth. You lack the season of all natures, 

Macbeth. Come, we '11 to sleep. My strange and self- 

Is the initiate fear that wants hard use ; 
We are yet but young in deed. [Exeunt. /^- 

SCENE V. A Heath 
Thunder. Enter the three Witches, meeting HECATE 

First Witch. Why, how now, Hecate ! you look angerly. 

Hecate. Have I not reason, beldams as you are, 
Saucy and overbold ? How did you dare 
To trade and traffic with Macbeth 

-v ,- 

Scene V] Macbeth 


In riddles and affairs of death ; 

And I, the mistress of your charms, 

The close contriver of all harms, 

Was never call'd to bear my part, 

Or show the glory of our art ? 

And, which is worse, all you have done 10 

Hath been but for a wayward son, 

Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do, 

Loves for his own ends, not for you. 

But make amends now ; get you gone, 

And at the pit of Acheron 

Meet me i' the morning ; thither he 

Will come to know his destiny. 

Your vessels and your spells provide, 

Your charms and every thing beside. 

I am for the air ; this night I '11 spend 20 

Unto a dismal and a fatal end. 

Great business must be wrought ere noon. 

Upon the corner of the moon 

There hangs a vaporous drop profound, 

I '11 catch it ere it come to ground ; 

And that, distill'd by magic sleights, 

Shall raise such artificial sprites 

As by the strength of their illusion 

Shall draw him on to his confusion. 

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear 30 

His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear ; 

And you all know security 

Is mortals' chiefest enemy. 

Hfe i 

102 Macbeth [Act in 

[Music and a song within : ' Come away, come 

away,' etc. 

Hark ! I am call'd ; my little spirit, see, 
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me. [Exit. 

First Witch. Come, let 's make haste ; she '11 soon be 
back again. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. Forres. The Palace 
Enter LENNOX and another Lord 

Lennox. My former speeches have but hit your 


Which can interpret farther ; only I say 
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious 


Was pitied of Macbeth marry, he was dead ; 
And the right-valiant Banquo walk'd too late, 
Whom, you may say, if 't please you, Fleance kill'd, 
For Fleance fled ; men must not walk too late. 
Who cannot want the thought, how monstrous 
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain 
To kill their gracious father ? damned fact ! 10 

How it did grieve Macbeth ! did he not straight 
In pious rage the two delinquents tear, 
That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep ? 
Was not that nobly done ? Ay, and wisely too ; 
For 't would have anger'd any heart alive 
To hear the men deny 't. So that, I say, 
He has borne all things well ; and I do think 

Scene VI] Macbeth 


That had he Duncan's sons under his key 

As, an 't please heaven, he shall not they should find 

What 't were to kill a father ; so should Fleance. 20 

But, peace ! for from broad words, and 'cause he fail'd 

His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear 

Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell 

Where he bestows himself ? 

Lord. The son of Duncan, 

From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth, 
Lives in the English court, and is receiv'd 
Of the most pious Edward with such grace 
That the malevolence of fortune nothing 
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff 
Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid 30 

To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward, 
That by the help of these, with Him above 
To ratify the work, we may again 
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights, 
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives, 
Do faithful homage and receive free honours; 
All which we pine for now. And this report 
Hath so exasperate the king that he 
Prepares for some attempt of war. 

Lennox. Sent he to Macduff ? 

Lord. He did ; and with an absolute ' Sir, not I,' 40 
The cloudy messenger turns me his back, 
And hums, as who should say ' You '11 rue the time 
That clogs me with this answer.' 

Lennox. And that well might 

104 Macbeth [Act m 

Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance 
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel 
Fly to the court of England and unfold 
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing 
May soon return to this our suffering country 
Under a hand accurs'd ! 

Lord. I '11 send my prayers with him. 




SCENE I. A Cavern. In the Middle, a Boiling 
Cauldron. Thunder 

Enter the three Witches 

First Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd. 
Second Witch. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin'd. 
Third Witch. Harpier cries, 't is time, 't is time. 
First Witch. Round about the cauldron go ; 
In the poison'd entrails throw. 


io6 Macbeth [Act IV 

Toad, that under cold stone 

Days and nights has thirty-one 
Swelter'd venom sleeping got, 
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot. 

All. Double, double toil and trouble ; 10 

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

Second Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake, 
In the cauldron 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 howlet's wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 

All. Double, double toil and trouble ; 20 

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

Third Witch. 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 30 

Ditch-deliver'd by a drab, 
Make the gruel thick and slab ; 
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, 
For the ingredients of our cauldron. 

Scene i] Macbeth I0 y 

All. Double, double toil and trouble ; 
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

Second Witch. Cool it with a baboon's blood, 
Then the charm is firm and good. 


Hecate. O, well done ! I commend your pains ; 
And every one shall share i' the gains : 40 

And now about the cauldron sing, 
Like elves and fairies in a ring, 
Enchanting all that you put in. 

\J\fusic and a song: 'Black spirits,' etc. Hecate 


Second Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs, 
Something wicked this way comes. 
Open, locks, 
Whoever knocks ! 


Macbeth. How now, you secret, black, and midnight 

hags ! 
What is 't you do ? 

All. A deed without a name. 

Macbeth. I conjure you, by that which you profess, 
Howe'er you come to know it, answer me : 51 

Though you untie the winds and let them fight 
Against the churches ; though the yesty waves 
Confound and swallow navigation up ; 

io8 Macbeth [Act IV 

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 germens tumble all together, 

Even till destruction sicken ; answer me 60 

To what I ask you. 

First Witch. Speak. 

Second Witch. Demand. 

Third Witch. We '11 answer. 

First Witch. Say, if thou 'dst rather hear it from our 

Or from our masters. 

Macbeth. Call 'em ; let me see 'em. 

First Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten 
Her nine farrow ; grease that 's sweaten 
From the murtherer's gibbet throw 
Into the flame. 

All. Come, high or low ; 

Thyself and office deftly show ! 

Thunder. First Apparition : an armed Head 

Macbeth. Tell me, thou unknown power. 
First Witch. He knows thy thought ; 

Hear his speech, but say thou nought. 70 

First Apparition. Macbeth ! Macbeth ! Macbeth ! 

beware Macduff ; I u _ v L) M - 

Beware the thane of Fife. 1 Dismiss) me^ enough. 

\ [Descends. 

Scene i] Macbeth 109 

Macbeth. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution 


Thou hast harp'd my fear aright ; but one word more, 
First Witch. He will not be commanded; here 's 

More potent than the first. 

Thunder. Second Apparition : a bloody Child 

Second Apparition. Macbeth ! Macbeth ! Macbeth ! 

Macbeth. Had I three ears, I 'd hear thee. 

Second Apparition. Be bloody, bold, and resolute ; 

laugh to scorn 

The power of man, for none of woman born So 

Shall harm Macbeth. [Descends. 

Macbeth. Then live, Macduff ; what need I fear of thee ? 
But yet I '11 make assurance double 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. 

Thunder. Third Apparition : a Child crowned, with a 
tree in his hand 

What is this, 

That rises like the issue of a king, 
And wears upon his baby brow the round 
And top of sovereignty ? 

All. Listen, but speak not to 't. 

Third Apparition. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take 
no care 9 

no Macbeth [Act IV 

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. 

Macbeth. That will never be. 

Who can impress the forest, bid the tree 
Unfix his earth-bound root ? Sweet bodements ! good ! 
Rebellion's 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 100 

Throbs to know one thing : tell me, if your art 
Can tell so much, shall Banquo's issue ever 
Reign in this kingdom ? 

AIL Seek to know no more. 

Macbeth. I will be satisfied ; deny me this, 
And an eternal curse fall on you ! Let me know 
Why sinks that cauldron ? and what noise is this ? 


First Witch. Show ! 

Second Witch. Show ! 

Third Witch. Show ! 

All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; nc 

Come like shadows, so depart. 

A show of eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand ; 
Banquo's Ghost following 

Macbeth. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo ; 

Scene I] Macbeth i ii 

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 120 

That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry. 

Horrible sight ! Now I see 't is true ; 

For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me, 

And points at them for his. [Apparitions vanish. 

What, is this so ? 
First Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so ; but why 

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly ? 

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprights, 

And show the best of our delights. 

I '11 charm the air to give a sound, 

While you perform your antic round, 13 

That this great king may kindly say 

Our duties did his welcome pay. 

Music. The Witches dance, and then vanish, with 


Macbeth. Where are they ? Gone ? Let this perni- 
cious hour 

Stand aye accursed in the calendar ! 

Come in, without there 1 

1 1 2 Macbeth [Act IV 


Lennox. What 's your grace's will ? 

Macbeth. Saw you the weird sisters ? 

Lennox. No, my lord. 

Macbeth. Came they not by you ? 

Lennox. No indeed, my lord 

Macbeth. 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 ? 140 

Lennox. 'T is two or three, my lord, that bring you 

Macduff is fled to England. 

Macbeth. Fled to England ! 

Lennox. Ay, my good lord. 

Macbeth. \Aside ] 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 ; 
The castle of Macduff I will surprise, 150 

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 '11 do before this purpose cdol. 
But no more sights ! Where are these gentlemen ? 
Come, bring me where they are. \Exeunt. 

Scene II] Macbeth nj 

SCENE II. Fife. A Room in Macduff 's Castle 
Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Ross 

Lady Macduff. What had he done, to make him fly the 

Ross. You must have patience, madam. 

Lady Macduff. He had none ; 

His flight was madness. When our actions do not, 
Our fears do make us traitors. 

Ross. You know not 

Whether it was his wisdom or his fear. 

Lady Macduff. 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 ; for the poor wren, 
The most diminutive of birds, will fight, ro 

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. 

Ross. My dearest coz, 

I pray you, school yourself ; but for your husband, 
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows 
The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much 


But cruel are the times when we are traitors 
And do not know ourselves ; when we hold rumour 


114 Macbeth [Act IV 

From what we fear, yet know not what we fear, 20 

But float upon a wild and violent sea 

Each way and move. 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 ! 

Lady Mac duff. Father 'd he is, and yet he 's father 

Ross. 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. 

Lady Macduff. Sirrah, your father 's dead : 30 

And what will you do now ? How will you live ? 

Son. As birds do, mother. 

Lady Macduff. What, with worms and flies ? 

Son. With what I get, I mean ; and so do they. 

Lady Macduff. Poor bird 1 thou 'dst never fear the 

net nor lime, 
The pitfall nor the gin. 

Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are. 

not set for. 
My father is not dead, for all your saying. 

Lady Macduff. Yes, he is dead ; how wilt thou do 
for a father ? 

Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband ? 

Lady Macduff. Why, I can buy me twenty at any 
market. 40 

Son. Then you '11 buy 'em to sell again. 

Scene II] Macbeth I IT 

Lady Macduff. Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and 

yet, i' faith, 
With wit enough for thee. 

Son. Was my father a traitor, mother ? 

Lady Macduff. Ay, that he was. 

Son, What is a traitor ? 

Lady Macduff. Why, one that swears and lies. 

Son. And be all traitors that do so ? 

Lady Macduff. Every one that does so is a traitor, 
and must be hanged. 5 o 

Son. And must they all be hanged that swear and lie ? 

Lady Macduff. Every one. 

Son. Who must hang them ? 

Lady Macduff. Why, the honest men. 

Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there 
are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and 
hang up them. 

Lady Macduff. Now, God help thee, poor monkey ! 
But how wilt thou do for a father ? 59 

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. 

Lady Macduff. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st ! 

Enter a Messenger 

Messenger. Bless you, fair dame ! I am not to you 


Though in your state of honour I am perfect. 
I doubt some danger does approach you nearly. 


Macbeth [Act iv 

If you will take a homely man's advice, 

Be not found here ; hence, with your little ones. 

To fright you thus, methinks I am too savage ; 

To do worse to you were fell cruelty, 70 

Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve 

I dare abide no longer. {Exit. 

Lady Macduff. 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 ? 

Enter Murderers 

What are these faces ? 
First Murderer. Where is your husband ? 
Lady Macduff. I hope, in no place so unsanctified So 
Where such as thou mayst find him. 

First Murderer. He 's a traitor. 

Son. Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain ! 

First Murderer. What, you egg ! 

[Stabbing him. 
Young fry of treachery 1 

Son. He has kill'd me, mother ; 

Run away, I pray you 1 [Dies. 

Exit Lady Macduff, crying ' Murther ! ' 
[Exeunt Murderers, following her- 

Scene in] Macbeth 117 

SCENE III. England. Before the King's Palace 

Malcolm. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and 

Weep our sad bosoms empty. 

Macduff. Let us rather 

Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men 
Bestride our down-fallen birthdom. 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 yell'd out 
Like syllable of dolour. 

Malcolm. What I believe, I '11 wail ; 

What know, believe ; and what I can redress, 
As I shall find the time to friend, I will. 10 

What you have 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 some- 

You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom 
To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb 
To appease an angry god. 

Macduff. I am not treacherous. 

Malcolm. But Macbeth is. 

A good and virtuous nature may recoil 
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon ; 20 

n8 Macbeth [Act IV 

That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose. 
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell ; 
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, 
Yet grace must still look so. 

Macduff. I have lost my hopes. 

Malcolm. Perchance even there where I did find my 


Why in that rawness left you wife and child, 
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love, 
Without leave-taking ? I pray you, 
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours, 
But mine own safeties ; you may be rightly just, 3* 

Whatever I shall think. 

Macduff. Bleed, bleed, poor country 1 

Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure, 
For goodness dare not check thee 1 wear thou thy 

wrongs ; 

The title is affeer'd ! Fare thee well, lord ; 
I would not be the villain that thou think'st 
For the whole space that 's in the tyrant's grasp, 
And the rich East to boot. 

Malcolm. Be not offended ; 

I speak not as in absolute fear of you. 
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke ; 
It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash 40 

Is added to her wounds. I think withal 
There would be hands uplifted in my right, 
And here from gracious England have I offer 
Of goodly thousands ; but for all this, 

Scene III] Macbeth 119 

When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head 
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country 
Shall have more vices than it had before, 
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever, 
By him that shall succeed. 

j/dtu'/yfc What should he be ? 

Malcolm. It is myself I mean, in whom I know 50 
A.11 the particulars of vice so grafted 
That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth 
Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state 
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd 
With my confineless harms. 

Macduff. Not in the legions 

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd 
In evils to top Macbeth. 

Malcolm. I grant him bloody, 

Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, 
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin 
That has a name ; but there 's no bottom, none, 60 

In my voluptuousness. Your wives, your daughters, 
Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up 
The cistern of my lust, and my desire 
A-ll continent impediments would o'erbear 
That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth 
Than such an one to reign. 

Macduff. Boundless intemperance 

In nature is a tyranny ; it hath been 
The untimely emptying of the happy throne, 
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet 

I20 Macbeth [ Act IV 

To take upon you what is yours ; you may 
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty, 
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink. 
We have willing dames enough. There cannot be 
That vulture in you to devour so many 
As will to greatness dedicate themselves, 
Finding it so inclin'd. 

Malcolm. With this there grows 

In my most ill-compos'd affection such 
A stanchless avarice that, were I king, 
I should cut off the nobles for their lands, 
Desire his jewels and this other's house ; So 

And my more-having would be as a sauce 
To make me hunger more, that I should forge 
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal, 
Destroying them for wealth. 

Macduff. This avarice 

Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root 
Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been 
The sword of our slain kings : yet do not fear ; 
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will, 
Of your mere own. All these are portable, 
With other graces weigh'd. 9 

Malcolm. But I have none ; the king-becoming graces, 
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness, 
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, 
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, 
I have no relish of them, but abound 
In the division of each several crime, 

Scene III] Macbeth 121 

Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should 
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, 
Uproar the universal peace, confound 
All unity on earth. 

Macduff. O Scotland, Scotland ! 100 

Malcolm. If such a one be fit to govern, speak ; 
I am as I have spoken. 

Macduff. Fit to govern ! 

No, not to live. O nation miserable ! 
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd, 
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again, 
Since that the truest issue of thy throne 
By his own interdiction stands accurs'd 
And does blaspheme his breed ? Thy royal father 
Was a most sainted king ; the queen that bore thee, 
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet, no 

Died every day she liv'd. Fare thee well ! 
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself 
Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast, 
Thy hope ends here ! 

Malcolm. Macduff, this noble passion, 

Child of integrity, hath from my soul 
Wip'd the black scruples, reconcil'd my thoughts 
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth 
By many of these trains hath sought to win me 
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me 
From over-credulous haste ; but God above 120 

Deal between thee and me ! for even now 
I put myself to thy direction and 

122 Macbeth 

Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure 
The taints and blames I laid upon myself, 
For strangers to my nature. I am yet 
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn, 
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own, 
At no time broke my faith, would not betray 
The devil to his fellow, and delight 
No less in truth than life ; my first false speaking 130 
Was this upon myself. What I am truly 
Is thine and my poor country's to command ; 
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach, 
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men, 
Already at a point, was setting forth. 
Now we '11 together, and the chance of goodness 
Be like our warranted quarrel ! Why are you silent ? 
Macduff. Such welcome and unwelcome things at 

'T is hard to reconcile. 

Enter a Doctor 

Malcolm. Well, more anon. Comes the king forth, 
I pray you ? , 40 

Doctor. Ay, sir ; there are a crew of wretched souls 
That stay his cure. Their malady convinces 
The great assay of art ; but at his touch, 
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand, 
They presently amend. 

Malcolm. I thank you, doctor. [Exit Doctor. 

Macduff. What 's the disease he means ? 

HI Macbeth 123 

Malcolm. 'T is call'd the evil ; 

A most miraculous work in this good king, 
Which often, since my here-remain in England, 
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven, 
Himself best knows ; but strangely-visited people, 150 
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye, 
The mere despair of surgery, he cures, 
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, 
Put on with holy prayers ; and 't is spoken, 
To the succeeding royalty he leaves 
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue, 
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy, 
And sundry blessings hang about his throne 
That speak him full of grace. 

Enter Ross 

Macduff. See, who comes here ? 

Malcolm. My countryman ; but yet I know him not. 

Macduff. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither. 161 

Malcolm. I know him now. Good God, betimes re- 
The means that makes us strangers ! 

Ross. Sir, amen. 

Macduff. Stands Scotland where it did ? 

Ross. Alas, poor country I 

Almost afraid' to know itself. It cannot 
Be call'd our mother, but our grave ; where nothing, 
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile ; 
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent the air 


Macbeth [Act IV 

Are made, not mark'd ; where violent sorrow seems 
A modern ecstasy ; the dead man's knell 170 

Is there scarce ask'd for who ; and good men's lives 
Expire before the flowers in their caps, 
Dying or ere they sicken. 

Macduff. O, relation 

Too nice, and yet too true ! 

Malcolm. What 's the newest grief ? 

Ross. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker ; 
Each minute teems a new one. 

Macduff. How does my wife ? 

Ross. Why, well. 

Macduff. And all my children ? 

Ross. Well too. 

Macduff. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace ? 

Ross. No ; they were well at peace when I did leave 

Macduff. Be not a niggard of your speech ; how 
goes 't? iSc 

Ross. When I came hither to transport the tidings, 
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour 
Of many worthy fellows that were out ; 
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather, 
For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot. 
Now is the time of help ; your eye in Scotland 
Would create soldiers, make our women fight, 
To doff their dire distresses. 

Malcolm. Be 't their comfort 

We are coming thither. Gracious England hath 

Scene III] Macbeth 125 

Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men ; 190 

An older and a better soldier none 
That Christendom gives out. 

Ross. Would I could answer 

This comfort with the like ! But I have words 
That would be howl'd out in the desert air, 
Where hearing should not latch them. 

Macduff. What concern they ? 

The general cause ? or is it a fee-grief 
Due to some single breast ? 

Ross. No mind that 's honest 

But in it shares some woe, though the main part 
Pertains to you alone. 

Macduff. If it be mine, 

Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it. 200 

Ross. Let not your ears despise my tongue for 


W 7 hich shall possess them with the heaviest sound 
That ever yet they heard. 

Macduff. Hum ! I guess at it. 

Ross. Your castle is surpris'd, your wife and babes 
Savagely slaughter'd ; to relate the manner 
Were, on the quarry of these murther'd deer, 
To add the death of you. 

Malcolm. Merciful heaven ! 

What, man ! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows, 
Give sorrow words ; the grief that does not speak 
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break. 210 

Macduff. My children too ? 

I2 6 Macbeth [Act iv 

Wife, children, servants, all 

That could be found. 

Macduff. And I must be from thence ! 

My wife kill'd too ? 

Ross. I have said. 

Malcolm. Be comforted ; 

Let 's make us medicines of our great revenge, 
To cure this deadly grief. 

Macduff. He has no children. All my pretty ones ? 
Did you say all ? O hell-kite ! All ? 
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam 
At one fell swoop ? 

Malcolm. Dispute it like a man. 

Macduff. I shall do so ; 220 

But I must also feel it as a man. 
I cannot but remember such things were, 
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on, 
And would not take their part ? Sinful Macduff, 
They were all struck for thee ! naught that I am, 
Not for their own demerits, but for mine, 
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now ! 

Malcolm. Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let 

Convert to anger ; blunt not the heart, enrage it. 

Macduff. O, I could play the woman with mine 
eyes, 230 

And braggart with my tongue ! But, gentle heavens, 
Cut short all intermission ; front to front 
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself ; 

Scene ill] Macbeth 127 

Within my sword's length set him ; if he scape, 
Heaven forgive him too ! 

Malcolm. This tune goes manly. 

Come, go we to the king ; our power is ready, 
Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth 
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above 
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you 


The night is long that never finds the day. 240 




SCENE I. Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle 

Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman 

Doctor. I have two nights watched with you, but 
can perceive no truth in your report. When was it 
she last walked ? 

Gentlewoman. Since his majesty went into the 
field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her 
nightgown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth 
paper, fold it, write upon 't, read it, afterwards seal 
it, and again return to bed ; yet all this while in a 
most fast sleep. 


Scene I] Macbeth 129 

Doctor. A great perturbation in nature, to receive 10 
at once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of 
watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her 
walking and other actual performances, what at any 
time have you heard her say ? 

Gentlewoman. That, sir, which I will not report 
after her. 

Doctor. You may to me, and 't is most meet you 

Gentlewoman. Neither to you nor any one, having 
no witness to confirm my speech. 20 

Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper 

Lo you, here she comes ! This is her very guise; and, 
upon my life, fast asleep ! Observe her ; stand close. 

Doctor. How came she by that light ? 

Gentlewoman. Why, it stood by her ; she has light 
by her continually, 't is her command. 

Doctor. You see, her eyes are open. 

Gentlewoman. Ay, but their sense are shut. 

Doctor. What is it she does now ? Look, how she 
rubs her hands. 

Gentlewoman. It is an accustomed action with 30 
her, to seem thus washing her hands ; I have known 
her continue in this a quarter of an hour. 

Lady Macbeth. Yet here 's a spot. 

Doctor. Hark ! she speaks ; I will set down what 
comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more 



Macbeth [Act v 

Lady Macbeth. Out, damned spot ! out, I say ! 
One, two ; why, then 't is time to do 't. Hell is 
murky! Fie, my lord, fie ! a soldier, and afeard ? 
What need we fear who knows it, when none can 40 
call our power to account ? Yet who would have 
thought the old man to have had so much blood in 
him ? 

Doctor. Do you mark that ? 

Lady Macbeth. The thane of Fife had a wife ; 
where is she now? What, will these hands ne'er 
be clean ? No more o' that, my lord, no more o' 
that ; you mar all with this starting. 

Doctor. Go to, go to ; you have known what you 
should not. 50 

Gentlewoman. She has spoke what she should not, 
I am sure of that; heaven knows what she has 

Lady Macbeth. Here 's the smell of the blood 
still ; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten 
this little hand. Oh, oh, oh 1 

Doctor. What a sigh is there ! The heart is 
sorely charged. 

Gentlewoman. I would not have such a heart in 
my bosom for the dignity of the whole body. 60 

Doctor. Well, well, well, 

Gentlewoman. Pray God it be, sir. 

Doctor. This disease is beyond my practice ; yet 
I have known those which have walked in their sleep 
who have died holily in their beds. 

Scene ii] Macbeth 131 

Lady Macbeth. Wash your hands, put on your 
nightgown ; look not so pale. I tell you yet again, 
Banquo 's buried ; he cannot come out on 's grave. 

Doctor. Even so? 

Lady Macbeth. To bed, to bed ! there 's knocking 70 
At the gate ; come, come, come, come, give me your 
hand. What 's done cannot be undone. To bed, to 
bed, to bed ! [Exit. 

Doctor. Will she go now to bed ? 

Gentlewoman. Directly. 

Doctor. Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural 


Do breed unnatural troubles ; infected minds 
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. 
More needs she the divine than the physician. 
God, God forgive us all ! Look after her ; Bo 

Remove from her the means of all annoyance, 
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night ; 
My mind she has mated, and amaz'd my sight. 
[ think, but dare not speak. 

Gentlewoman. Good night, good doctor. 


SCENE II. The Country near Dunsinane 
Drum and colour. Enter MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, 

ANGUS, LENNOX, and Soldiers 
Menteith. The English power is near, led on by 

Macbeth [Act \ 

His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff. 
Revenges burn in them ; for their dear causes 
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm 
Excite the mortified man. 

Angus, Near Birnam wood 

Shall we well meet them ; that way are they coming. 

Caithness. Who knows if Donalbain be with his 
brother ? 

Lennox. For certain, sir, he is not. I have a file 
Of all the gentry ; there is Siward's son, 
And many unrough youths that even now 10 

Protest their first of manhood. 

Menteith. What does the tyrant ? 

Caithness. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies. 
Some say he 's mad ; others, that lesser hate him, 
Do call it valiant fury ; but, for certain, 
He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause 
Within the belt of rule. 

Angus. Now does he feel 

His secret murthers sticking on his hands ; 
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach. 
Those he commands move only in command, 
Nothing in love ; now does he feel his title 20 

Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe 
Upon a dwarfish thief. 

Menteith. Who then shall blame 

His pester'd senses to recoil and start, 
When all that is within him does condemn. 
Itself for being there ? 

Scene Hi] Macbeth 133 

Caithness. Well, march we on, 

To give obedience where 't is truly owed. 
Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal, 
And with him pour we in our country's purge 
Each drop of us. 

Lennox. Or so much as it needs, 

To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds. 30 
Make we our march towards Birnam. 

[Exeunt, marching. 

SCENE III. Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle 
Enter MACBETH, Doctor, and Attendants 

Macbeth. Bring me no more reports ; let them fly all. 
Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane 
I cannot taint with fear. What 's the boy Malcolm ? 
Was he not born of woman ? The spirits that know 
All mortal consequences have pronounc'd me thus : 
' Fear not, Macbeth ; no man that 's born of woman 
Shall e'er have power upon thee.' Then fly, false 


And mingle with the English epicures ; 
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear 
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear. 10 

Enter a Servant 

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-fac'd loon ! 
Where gott'st thou that goose look ? 

I 34 Macbeth [Act v 

Servant. There is ten thousand 
Macbeth. Geese, villain ? 

Servant. Soldiers, sir 

Macbeth. Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, 
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch ? 
Death of thy soul ! those linen cheeks of thine 
Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face ? 
Servant. The English force, so please you. 
Macbeth. Take thy face hence. .<;* [Exit Servant 
Seyton ! ( I am sick at heart. 

When I behold Seyton, I say! This push 20 

Will cheer me ever, or dis-ease me now. 
I have liv'd long enough : my way of life 
Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf, ' 
And that which should accompany old age, 
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 
I must not look to have ; but, in their stead, 
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, 
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. 

Seyton ! 


Seyton. What 's your gracious pleasure ? 
Macbeth. What news more ? 30 

Seyton. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported. 
Macbeth. I '11 fight till from my bones my flesh be 

Give me my armour. 

Seyton. 'T is not needed yet. 

Macbeth. I '11 put it on. 

Scene ill] Macbeth 135 

Send out moe horses, skirr the country round ; 

Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour. 

How does your patient, doctor ? 

Doctor. Not so sick, my lord, 

As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies 
That keep her from her rest. 

Macbeth. Cure her of that. 

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd, 40 

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain, 
And with some sweet oblivious antidote 
Cleanse the stuff' d bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart ? 

Doctor. Therein the patient 

Must minister to himself. 

Macbeth. Throw physic to the dogs, I '11 none of it. 
Come, put mine armour on ; give me my staff. 
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me. 
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast 50 
The water of my land, find her disease, 
And purge it to a sound and pristine health, 
I would applaud thee to the very echo, 
That should applaud again. Pull 't off, I say. 
What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug, 
Would scour these English hence ? Hear'st thou of 

Doctor. Ay, my good lord ; your royal preparation 
Makes us hear something. 

Macbeth. Bring it after me. 

Macbeth [Act v 

I will not be afraid of death and bane 59 

Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane. [Exit. 

Doctor. Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, 
Profit again should hardly draw me here. [Exit. 

SCENE IV. Country near Birnam Wood 

Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, old SIWARD and 
LENNOX, Ross, and Soldiers, marching 

Malcolm. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand 
That chambers will be safe. 

Menteith. We doubt it nothing. 

Siward. What wood is this before us ? 

Menteith. The wood of Birnam. 

Malcolm. Let every soldier hew him down a bough, 
And bear 't before him ; thereby shall we shadow 
The numbers of our host and make discovery 
Err in report of us. 

Soldiers. It shall be done. 

Siward. We learn no other but the confident tyrant 
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure 
Our setting down before 't. 

Malcolm. 'T is his main hope ; 10 

For where there is advantage to be given, 
Both more and less have given him the revolt, 
And none serve with him but constrained things 
Whose hearts are absent too. 

Macduff. Let our just censures 

Scene V] Macbeth 137 

Attend the true event, and put we on 
Industrious soldiership. 

Siward. The time approaches 

That will with due decision make us know 
What we shall say we have and what_we owjk^. 
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes! relate/ 
But certain i^sue strokes must arbitrate,* 
Towards which advance the war. {Exeunt, marchit 


SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the CasUe 

Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and 


Macbeth. Hang out our banners on the outward walls ; 
The cry is still ' They come ! ' Our castle's strength 
Will laugh a siege to scorn ; here let them lie 
Till famine and the ague eat them up. 
Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours, 
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard, 
And beat them backward home. [A cry of women within. 

What is that noise ? 

Seyton. It is the cry of women, my good lord. [Exit. 
Macbeth. I have almost forgot the taste of fears ; 
The time has been my senses would have cool'd 10 
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair 
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir 
As life were in 't. I have supp'd full with horrors ; 
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, 
Cannot once start me. 


Macbeth [Act V 

Re-enter SEYTON 

Wherefore was that cry 
Seyton. The queen, my lord, is dead. 
Macbeth. }She shoujlcl|nave died jnereafter"* 
There would have been a time for such a word. 1 
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day 
To the last syllable of recorded time, 
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle ! 
Life 's but a walking shadow, a poor player 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage 
And then is heard no more ; it is a tale 
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing. / 

Enter a Messenger 

Thou com'st to use thy tongue ; thy story quickly. 

Messenger. Gracious my lord, 30 

I should report that which I say I saw, 
But know not how to do it. 

Macbeth. Well, say, sir. 

Messenger. As I did stand my watch upon the hill, 
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought, 
The wood began to move. 

Macbeth. Liar and slave ! 

Messenger. Let me endure your wrath if 't be not so. 

Scene VI] Macbeth 139 

Within this three mile may you see it coming ; 
I say, a moving grove. 

Macbeth. If thou speak'st false, 

Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive 
Till famine cling thee ; if thy speech be sooth, 40 

I care not if thou dost for me as much. 
I pull in resolution, and begin 
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend 
That lies like truth : ' Fear not, till Birnam wood 
Do come to Dunsinane ; ' and now a wood 
Comes toward/ Dunsinane. Arm, arm/pid out! ^L 
If this which he avouches does appear, v 
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here. 
I gin to be aweary of the sun, 

And wish the estate o' the world were now undone. 
Ring the alarum-bell ! Blow, wind ! come, wrack ! 51 
At least we '11 die with harness on our back. {Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. Dunsinane. Before the Castle 

Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, old SIWAPD, 

MACDUFF, and their Army, with boughs 
Malcolm. Now near enough ; your leavy screens throw 


And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle, 
Shall with my cousin, your right-noble son, 
Lead our first battle ; worthy Macduff and we 
Shall take upon 's what else remains to do, 
According to our order. 


Macbeth [Act V 

Siward. Fare you well. 

Do we but find the tyrant's power to-night, 
Let us be beaten if we cannot fight. 

Macduff. Make all our trumpets speak ; give them all 

Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death. 


SCENE VII. Another Part of the Field 

Alarums. Enter MACBETH 
Macbeth. They have tied me to a stake ; I cannot 


But, bear-like, I must fight the course. What 's he 
That was not born of woman ? Such a one 
Am I to fear, or none. 

Young Siward. What is thy name ? 

Macbeth. Thou 'It be afraid to hear it. 

Young Siward. No ; though thou call'st thyself a 

hotter name 
Than any is in hell. 

Macbeth. My name 's Macbeth. 

Young Siward. The devil himself could not pro- 
nounce a title 
More hateful to mine ear. 

Macbeth. No, nor more fearful. 

Scene vii] Macbeth 141 

Young Siward. Thou liest, abhorred tyrant ; with my 
sword I0 

I '11 prove the lie thou speak'st. 

\They fight, and young Siward is slain. 
Macbeth. Thou wast born of woman. 

But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, 
Brandish 'd by man that 's of a woman born. [Exit. 

Alarums. Enter MACDUFF 

Macduff. That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy 

face ! 

If thou be'st slain and with no stroke of mine, 
My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still. 
I cannot strike at wretched kerns whose arms 
Are hir'd to bear their staves ; either thou, Macbeth, 
Or else my sword with an unbatter'd edge 
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be ; 20 
By this great clatter one of greatest note 
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune ! 
And more I beg not. {Exit. Alarums. 

Enter MALCOLM and old SIWARD 

Siward. This way, my lord. The castle 's gently 

render 'd ; 

The tyrant's people on both sides do fight ; 
The noble thanes do bravely in the war ; 
The day almost itself professes yours, 
And little is to do. 

Macbeth [Act V 

Malcolm. We have met with foes 

That strike beside us. 

Si-ward. Enter, sir, the castle. 

\Exeunt. Alarum. 

SCENE VIII. Another Part of the Field 

Macbeth. Why should I play the Roman fool, and 


On mine own sword ? whiles I see lives, the gashes 
Do better upon them. 


Macduff. Turn, hell-hound, turn ! 

Macbeth. Of all men else I have avoided thee. 
But get thee back ; my soul is too much charg'd 
With blood of thine already. 

Macduff. I have no words ; 

My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain 
Than terms can give thee out ! [ They fight. 

Macbeth. Thou losest labour. 

As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air 
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed. 10 
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests ; 
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield 
To one of woman born. 

Macduff. Despair thy charm, 

And let the angel whom thou still hast serv'd 

Scene VIII] Macbeth 143 

Tell thee Macduff was from his mother's womb 
Untimely ripp'd. 

Macbeth. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so, 
For it hath cow'd my better part of man ! 
And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd, 
That palter with us in a double sense ; 20 

That keep the word of promise to our ear 
And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee. 

Macduff. Then yield thee, coward, 
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time ; 
We '11 have thee, as our rarer monsters are, 
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit, 
' Here may you see the tyrant.' 

Macbeth. I will not yield, 

To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, 
And to be baited with the rabble's curse. 
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, 3 

And thou oppos'd, being of no woman born, 
Yet I will try the last. Before my body 
I throw my warlike shield ; lay on, Macduff, 
And damn'd be him that first cries ' Hold, enough ! ' 

{Exeunt, fighting. Alarums. 

Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colottrs, 
MALCOLM, old SIWARD, Ross, the other Thanes, 
and Soldiers 

Malcolm. I would the friends we miss were safe 

144 Macbeth [Act V 

Si-ward. Some must go off ; and yet, by these I see, 
So great a day as this is cheaply bought. 

Malcolm. Macduff is missing, and your noble son. 

Ross. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt ; 
He only liv'd but till he was a man, 40 

The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd 
In the unshrinking station where he fought, 
But like a man he died. 

Siuiard. Then he is dead ? 

Ross. Ay, and brought off the field; your cause of 


Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then 
It hath no end. 

Si-ward. Had he his hurts before ? 

Ross. Ay, on the front. 

Si-ward. Why then, God's soldier be he ! 

Had I as many sons as I have hairs, 
I would not wish them to a fairer death ; 
And so his knell is knolPd. 

Malcolm. He 's worth more sorrow, 50 

And that I '11 spend for him. 

Siward. He 's worth no more ; 

They say he parted well and paid his score, 
And so God be with him ! Here comes newer comfort. 

Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH 's head 

Macduff. Hail, king! for so thou art. Behold, 

The usurper's cursed head ; the time is free. 

Scene VIII] 


I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl, 
That speak my salutation in their minds ; 
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine : 
Hail, King of Scotland ! 

All. Hail, King of Scotland ! [Flourish, 

Malcolm. We shall not spend a large expense of time 
Before we reckon with your several loves 61 

And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, 
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland 
In such an honour nam'd. What 's more to do 
Which would be planted newly with the time, 
As calling home our exil'd friends abroad 
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny, 
Producing forth the cruel ministers 
Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen, 
Who, as 't is thought, by self and violent hands 70 

Took off her life, this, and what needful else 
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace 
We will perform in measure, time, and place ; 
So, thanks to all at once and to each one, 
Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. 

[Flourish. Exeunt 






THE METRE OF THE PLAY. It should be understood at the 
outset that metre, or the mechanism of verse, is something alto- 
gether distinct from the music of verse. The one is matter of rule, 
the other of taste and feeling. Music is not an absolute necessity 
of verse; the metrical form is a necessity, being that which consti- 
tutes the verse. 

The plays of Shakespeare (with the exception of rhymed pas- 
sages, and of occasional songs and interludes) are all in unrhymed 
or blank verse ; and the normal form of this blank verse is illus 
trated by the first line of the second scene in this play : " 
bloody man is that? He can report." 



This line, it will be seen, consists of ten syllables, with the even 
syllables (2d, 4th, 6th, 8th, and loth) accented, the odd syllables 
(ist, 3d, etc.) being unaccented. Theoretically, it is made up of 
five/i?/of two syllables each, with the accent on the second sylla 
hie. Such a foot is called an iambus (plural, iambusis, or th'j 
Latin iambi), and the form of verse. is called iambic. 

This fundamental law of Shakespeare's verse is subject to certain 
modifications, the most important of \\hich are as follows : 

1. After the tenth syllable an unaccented syllable (or even two 
such syllables) may be added, forming what is sometimes called a 
female line; as in line 8 of the second scene: "As two spent 
swimmers that do cling together." The rhythm is complete with 
the second syllable of together, the last syllable being an extra one. 
Other examples in the same scene are lines 9, n, 14, and 52. IP 
ii. 4. 10 we have two extra syllables, the rhythm being complete 
with the second syllable of unnatural. 

2. The accent in any part of the verse may be shifted from an 
even to an odd syllable ; as in lines 6 and 10 of the second scene : 

" Say to the king the knowledge of the broil. 

# # # * # 
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that." 

In both lines the accent is shifted from the second to the first syl- 
lable. This change occurs very rarely in the tenth syllable, anJ 
seldom in the fourth ; and it is not allowable in two successive ac- 
cented syllables. 

3. An extra unaccented syllable may occur in any part of the. 
line ; as in lines 60 and 62. In 60 the second syllable of burial if 
superfluous: and in 62 the second syllable ot general. 

4. Any unaccented syllable occurring in an even place immedi- 
ately before or after an even syllable which is properly accented, is 
reckoned as accented for the purposes of the verse ; as, for instance, 
m lines 2 and 5. In 2 both by and the are metrically equivalent to 
accented syllables; and so with the last syllable of captivity in 5 

Notes 151 

Other examples are the third syllable of multiplying and the last of 
villanies in line n, the last of battlements in 23, the first of over- 
chargd in 37, and the last of memorize and Golgotha in 40. In 
i. 3. 130, "This supernatural soliciting," three of the five accents 
are of this nature. In ii. 2. 62, " The multitudinous seas incarna- 
dine," the polysyllables have each two accents, the other one being 
on seas. 

5. In many instances in Shakespeare words must be lengthened 
in order to fill out the rhythm : 

(a) In a large class of words in which e or i is followed by an- 
other vowel, the e or i is made a separate syllable ; as ocean, opin- 
ion, soldier, patience, partial, marriage, etc. For instance, line 3 
of the second scene appears to have only nine syllables, but sergeant 
(see note on the word) is a trisyllable. In 18 execution is metri- 
cally five syllables, and reflection is a quadrisyllable in 25. Many 
similar instances are mentioned in the Notes. This lengthening 
occurs most frequently at the end of the line ; but in line 19, if 
carv'd is a monosyllable (as in the folio and some of the modern 
editions) minion must be a trisyllable. Cf. observation (five syl- 
lables) in A. Y. L. ii. 7. 41 : " With observation, the which he 
vents," etc. 

() Many monosyllables ending in r, re, rs, res, preceded by a 
long vowel or diphthong, are often made dissyllables ; as fare, fear, 
dear, fire, hair, hour, your, etc. In iv. 3. 1 1 1 (" Died every day 
>,he liv'd. Fare thee well ! ") Fare is a dissyllable. If the word is 
repeated in a verse, it is often both monosyllable and dissyllable ; 
,\s in M. of V. iii. 2. 20 : "And so, though yours, not yours. 
Trove it so," where either yours (preferably the first) is a dissyl- 
lable, the other being a monosyllable. In/. C. iii. I. 172 : "As fire 
drives out fire, so pity, pity," the first fire is a dissyllable. 

(c) Words containing / or r, preceded by another consonant, are 
often pronounced as if a vowel came between the consonants ; 
as in i. 5. 39 of this play: "That croaks the fatal entrance 
[ent(e)rance] of Duncan;" and iii. 2. 30: "Let your remem- 


brance [rememb(e)rance] apply to Banquo; " also in T. of S. ii. i. 
158 : "While she did call me rascal fiddler" [fidd(e)ler] ; All's 
Well, iii. 5. 43 : "If you will tarry, holy pilgrim" [pilg(e)rim] ; 
C. of E. v. i. 360: "These are the parents of these children" 
(childeren, the original form of the word). 

(</) Monosyllabic exclamations (ay, O, yea, nay, hail, etc.) and 
monosyllables otherwise emphasized are similarly lengthened (like 
Hail in i. 2. 5 of this play) ; also certain longer words ; as com- 
mandement in M. of K iv. I. 442; safety (trisyllable) in Ham. 
i. 3. 21; business (trisyllable, as originally pronounced) in/. C. iv. 
i. 22: "To groan and sweat under the business" (so in several 
other passages) ; and other words mentioned in the notes to the 
plays in which they occur. 

6. Words are also contracted for metrical reasons, like plurals 
and possessives ending in a sibilant, as horse (see note on ii.4. 14 of 
this play), sense (see on v. I. 27), princess, marriage (plural and pos- 
sessive), image, etc. So many contracted superlatives, like kindest 
(see other examples in this play referred to in note on ii. i. 24), and 
other words mentioned in the notes on this and other plays. 

7. The accent of words is also varied in many instances for met- 
rical reasons. Thus we find both revenue and revenue in the first 
scene of the M. N. D. (lines 6 and 158), 6bscure and obscure, 
pursue and pursue, distinct and distinct, etc. 

These instances of variable accent must not be confounded with 
those in which words were uniformly accented differently in the 
time of Shakespeare; like aspect, authdrized (see note on iii. 4. 66), 
chdstise (see on i. 5. 27), imp6rtune, persever (never persevere}, 
perseverance (see note on iv. 3. 93), purveyor (see on i. 6. 22), 
rheumatic, etc. 

8. Alexandrines, or verses of twelve syllables, with six accents, 
occur here and there; as in i. 2. 38, 58, 64, etc., in this play. They 
must not be confounded with female lines with two extra syllables 
(see on I above), or with other lines in which two extra unaccented 
syllables may occur. 

Notes 1 53 

9. Incomplete verses, of one or more syllables, are scattered 
through the plays. See ii. I. 20, 41, 51, 66, etc., in this play. 

10. Doggerel measure is used in the very earliest comedies 
(Z. L. L. and C. of E. in particular) in the mouths of comic char- 
acters, but nowhere else in those plays, and never anywhere after 
1597 or 1598. 

11. Rhyme occurs frequently in the early plays, but diminishes 
with comparative regularity from that period until the latest. Thus, 
in Z. Z. Z. there are about 1 100 rhyming verses (about one-third 
of the whole number), in the M. N. D. about 900, in Rich. II. 
and R. and J. about 500 each, while in Cor. and A. and C. there are 
only about 40 each, in the Temp, only two, and in the W. T. none 
at all, except in the chorus introducing act iv. Songs, interludes, 
And other matter not in ten-syllable measure are not included in 
this enumeration. In the present play, out of some 2000 verses, 
about 100 are in rhyme, with about 130 shorter ones. 

Alternate rhymes are found only in the plays written before 
1599 or 1600. In Z. Z. Z. we find 242 such lines, in the M. of V. 
only four lines at the end of iii. 2. In Much Ado and A. Y. L. we 
also find a few lines, but none at all in subsequent plays, like the 

present one. 

Rhymed couplets, or "rhyme-tags," are often found at the end c 
scenes; as in the first scene, and twenty other scenes, of the pres- 
ent play. In Ham. 14 out of 20 scenes, and in the M. of V. 13 
out of 20, have such "tags" ; but in the latest plays they are not 
so frequent. The Temp., for instance, has but one, and the Win- 
ter's Tale none. 

In this play, the first scene, and portions of other scenes in which 
the Witches appear, are in trochaic metre, the accents being on the 
odd syllables (ist, 3 d, 5th, etc.). See the first note on act i. 

12 In this edition of Shakespeare, the final -ed of past tenses 
and participles is printed -V when the word is to be pronounced in 
the ordinary way; as in s&ow'J, line 15, and fatd, line 20, of the 
second scene. But when the metre requires that the -ed be made a 

154 Notes' 

separate syllable, the e is retained; as in carved, line 19, of the 
same scene, where the word is a dissyllable. The only variation 
from this rule is in verbs like cry, die, etc., the -ed of which is very 
rarely, if ever, made a separate syllable. 

This is a subject to which the critics have given very little atten- 
tion, but it is an interesting study. In many of the plays we find 
scenes entirely in verse or in prose, and others in which the two are 
mixed. In general, we may say that verse is used for what is dis- 
tinctly poetical, and prose for what is not poetical. The distinction, 
however, is not so clearly marked in the earlier as in the later 
plays. The second scene of the M. of V., for instance, is in prose, 
because'Portia and Nerissa are talking about the suitors in a familiar 
and playful way; but in the T. G. of V., where Julia and Lucetta 
are discussing the suitors of the former in much the same fashion, 
the scene is in verse. Dowden, commenting on Kick. //., re- 
marks : " Had Shakespeare written the play a few years later, we 
may be certain that the gardener and his servants (iii. 4) would 
not have uttered stately speeches in verse, but would have spoken 
homely prose, and that humour would have mingled with the 
pathos of the scene. The same remark may be made with refer- 
ence to the subsequent scene (v. 5) in which his groom visits the 
dethroned king in the Tower." Comic characters and those in low 
life generally speak in prose in the later plays, as Dowden inti- 
mates, but in the very earliest ones doggerel verse is much used 
instead. See on 10 above. 

The change from prose to verse is well illustrated in the third 
scene of the M. of V. It begins with plain prosaic talk about a 
business matter; but when Antonio enters, it rises at once to the 
higher level of poetry. The sight of Antonio reminds Shylock of 
his hatred of the Merchant, and the passion expresses itself in verse, 
the vernacular tongue of poetry. We have a similar change in 
the first scene of /. C, where, after the quibbling " chaff " of the 
mechanics about their trades, the mention of Pompey reminds the 

Notes 155 

Tribune of their plebeian fickleness, and his scorn and indignation 
flame out in most eloquent verse. 

The reasons for the choice of prose or verse are not always so 
clear as in these instances. We are seldom puzzled to explain the 
prose, but not unfrequently we meet with verse where we might 
expect prose. As Professor Corson remarks {Introduction to Shake- 
speare, 1889), " Shakespeare adopted verse as the general tenor of 
his language, and therefore expressed much in verse, that is within 
the capabilities of prose; in other words, his verse constantly 
encroaches upon the domain of prose, but his prose can never be 
said to encroach upon the domain of verse." If in rare instances 
we think we find exceptions to this latter statement, and prose 
actually seems to usurp the place of verse, I believe that careful 
study of the passage will prove the supposed exception to be appar- 
ent rather than real. 

The present play is almost entirely in verse, the only prose being 
the letter in i. 5, the Porter's part (ii. 3), and v. i, which is all in 
prose except the last nine lines. 

the many books that might be commended to the teacher and the 
critical student are the following: Halliwell-Phillipps's Outlines 
of the Life of Shakespeare (7th ed. 1887); Sidney Lee's Life of 
Shakespeare (1898; for ordinary students the abridged ed. of 1899 
is preferable); Schmidt's Shakespeare Lexicon (3d ed. 1902); 
Littledale's ed. of Dyce's Glossary (1902); Bartlett's Concordance 
to Shakespeare (1895); Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar (1873); 
Furness's "New Variorum" ed. of Macbeth (revised ed. 1903; 
encyclopedic and exhaustive) ; Dowden's Shakspere: His Mind and 
Art (American ed. 1881); Hudson's Life, Art, and Characters of 
Shakespeare (revised ed. 1882); Mrs. Jameson's Characteristics of 
Women (several eds., some with the title, Shakespeare Heroines) ; 
Ten Brink's Five Lectures on Shakespeare (1895); Boas ' s shake ~ 
speare and His Predecessors (1895); Dyer's Folk-lore of Shake- 
speare (American ed. 1884); Gervinus's Shakespeare Commentaries 



(Bunnett's translation, 1875); Wordsworth's Shakespeare^ Knowl- 
edge of the Bible Qd ed. 1880); Elson's Shakespeare in Music 

Some of the above hooks will be useful to all readers who are 
interested in special subjects or in general criticism of Shakespeare. 
Among those which are better suited to the needs of ordinary 
readers and students, the following may be mentioned: Phin's 
Cyclopedia and Glossary of Shakespeare (1902, more compact and 
cheaper than Dyce); Dowden's Shakspere Primer (1877, small 
but invaluable); Rolfe's Shakespeare the Boy (1896, treating of 
the home and school life, the games and sports, the manners, 
customs, and folk-lore of the poet's time); Guerber's Myths of 
Greece and Rome (for young students who may need information 
on mythological allusions not explained in the notes). 

Black's Judith Shakespeare (1884, a novel, but a careful study 
of the scene and the time) is a book that I always commend to 
young people, and their elders will also enjoy it. The Lambs' 
Tales from Shakespeare is a classic for beginners in the study of 
the dramatist ; and in Rolfe's ed. the plan of the authors is carried 
out in the Notes by copious illustrative quotations from the plays. 
Mrs. Cowden-Clarke's Girlhood of Shakespeare 's Heroines (sev- 
eral eds.) will particularly interest girls ; and both girls and boys 
will find Bennett's Master Skylark (1897) anf l Imogen Clark's 
Will Shakespeare's Little Lad (1897) equally entertaining and 

H. Snowden Ward's Shakespeare's Town and Times (1896) and 
John Leyland's Shakespeare Country (1900) are copiously illus- 
trated books (yet inexpensive) which may be particularly com- 
mended for school libraries. 

A book that may be specially commended to teachers and 
students in connection with the present play is Shakespeare 
Studies: Macbeth, by Misses Porter and Clarke (American Book 
Co.). It will be found very suggestive of topics for discussion, col- 
lateral reading, etc. 

Notes 157 

ABBREVIATIONS IN THE NOTES. The abbreviations of the 
names of Shakespeare's plays will be readily understood ; as 
T. N. for Twelfth Night, Cor. for Coriolanus, 3 Hen. VI. for 
The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth, etc. P. P. refers to 
The Passionate Pilgrim; V. and A. to Venus and Adonis ; L. C. 
to Lover's Complaint ; and Bonn, to the Sonnets. 

Other abbreviations that hardly need explanation are Cf. (confer, 
compare), Fol. (following), Id. (idem, the same), and Pro!, (pro- 
logue). The numbers of the lines in the references (except for the 
present play) are those of the " Globe " edition (the cheapest and 
best edition of Shakespeare in one compact volume), which is now 
generally accepted as the standard for line-numbers in works of ref- 
erence (Schmidt's Lexicon, Abbott's Grammar, Dowden's Primer, 
the publications of the New Shakspere Society, etc). 

lowing extracts from Holinshed contain all the passages referred to 
by the various commentators. The text is that of the edition of 
1587, which was undoubtedly the one that Shakespeare used. 1 

" It appears that King Duffe, who commenced his reign ' in the 
yeare after the incarnation 968, as saith Hector Boetius,' treated 
' diuers robbers and pillers of the common people ' in a style which 
created no small offence; some were executed, and the rest were 
obliged ' either to get them ouer into Ireland, either else to learne 
some manuall occupation wherewith to get their liuing, yea though 
they were neuer so great gentlemen borne.' There was therefore 
great murmuring at such rigorous reforms. But, 

" ' In the meane time the king [Duffe] fell into a languishing 
disease, not so greeuous as strange, for that none of his physicians 
could perceiue what to make of it. For there was scene in him 
no token, that either choler, melancholic, flegme, or any other 

i For these extracts and the thread of narrative connecting them, I 
am indebted (by permission) to Furness's edition of Macbeth. I have 
added a few explanatory foot-notes. (Ed.) 

158 Notes 

vicious humor did any thing abound, whereby his bodie should be 
brought into such decaie and consumption (so as there remained 
vnneth l anie thing vpon him saue skin and bone). 

" ' And sithens it appeared manifestlie by all outward signes and 
tokens, that naturall moisture did nothing faile in the vitall spirits, 
his colour also was fresh and faire to behold, with such liuelines of 
looks, that more was not to be wished for; he had also a temperat 
desire and appetite to his meate & drinke, but yet could he not 
sleepe in the night time by any prouocations that could be deuised, 
but still fell into exceeding sweats, which by no means might be 
restreined. The physicians perceiuing all their medicines to want 
due effect, yet to put him in some comfort of helpe, declared to 
him that they would send for some cunning physicians into furreigne 
parts, who happilie being inured with such kind of diseases, should 
easilie cure him, namelie so soone as the spring of the yeare was 
once come, which of it selfe should helpe much thervnto.' 

" The Chronicle goes on to state that the ' king being sicke yet 
he regarded iustice to be executed,' and that a rebellion which 
arose was kept from his knowledge, 'for doubt of increasing his 
sickness.' It then proceeds : 

" ' But about that present time there was a murmuring amongst 
the people, how the king was vexed with no naturall sicknesse, but 
by sorcerie and magicall art, practised by a sort of witches dwelling 
in a towne of Murrey land, called Fores. 

"' Wherevpon, albeit the author of this secret talke was not 
knowne: yet being brought to the kings eare, it caused him to 
send foorthwith certeine wittie persons thither, to inquire of the 
truth. They that were thus sent, dissembling the cause of their 
iornie, were receiued in the darke of the night into the castell of 
Fores by the lieutenant of the same, called Donwald, who continu- 

1 Scarcely, hardly. Cf. 2 Hen. VI. ii. 4. 8 : 

" Uneath may she endure the flinty streets 
To tread them with her tender-feeling feet." (Ed.) 

Notes 159 

ing faithfull to the king, had kept that castell against the rebels to 
the kings vse. Vnto him therefore these messengers declared the 
cause of their comming, requiring his aid for the accomplishment of 
the kings pleasure. 

" ' The souldiers, which laie there in garrison had an inkling that 
there was some such matter in hand as was talked of amongst the 
people ; by reason that' one of them kept as concubine a yoong 
woman, which was daughter to one of the witches as his paramour, 
who told him the whole maner vsed by hir mother & other hir 
companions, with their intent also, which was to make awaie the 
king. The souldier hauing learned this of his lemman, 1 told the 
same to his fellowes, who made report to Donwald, and hee shewed 
it to the kings messengers, and therwith sent for the yoong damo- 
sell which the souldier kept, as then being within the castell, and 
caused hir vpon streict examination to confesse the whole matter 
as she had scene and knew. Wherevpon learning by hir con- 
fession in what house in the towne it was where they wrought there 
mischiefous mysterie, he sent foorth souldiers, about the middest 
of the night, who breaking into the house, found one of the witches 
resting vpon a wodden broch an image of wax at the fier, resem- 
bling in each feature the kings person, made and deuised (as is to 
be thought) by craft and art of the diuell : an other of them sat 
reciting certeine words of inchantment, and still basted the image 
with a certeine liquor verie busilie. 

'"The souldiers finding them occupied in this wise, tooke them 
togither with the image, and led them into the castell, where being 
streictlie examined for what purpose they went about such manner 
of inchantment, they answered, to the end to make away the king : 
for as the image did waste afore the tire, so did the bodie of the 
king breake foorth in sweat. 2 And as for the words of inchant- 

i Leman ; i.e. mistress, paramour. Cf. T. N. ii. 3. 26 and 2 Hen. IV. 

v. 3. 49. . 

2 This kind of witchcraft is very ancient. We find it in the Idyls of 
Theocritus and the Eclogues of Virgil ; also in Horace (Efodes, xvii. 

1 60 Notes 

ment, they serued to keepe him still wak'ing from sleepe, so that as 
the wax euer melted, so did the kings flesh : by the which meanes 
it should haue come to passe, that when the wax was once cleane 
consumed, the death of the king should immediatlie follow. So 
were they taught by euil spirits, and hired to worke the feat by 
the nobles of Murrey land. The slanders by, that heard such an 
abhominable tale told by these witches, streightwaies brake the 
image, and caused the witches (according as they had well de- 
serued) to bee burnt to death. 

" ' It was said that the king, at the verie same time that these 
things were a dooing within the castell of Fores, was deliuered of 
his languor, and slept that night without anie sweat breaking foorth 
vpon him at all, & the next daie being restored to his strength, was 
able to doo anie maner of thing that lay in man to doo, as though 
he had not beene sicke before anie thing at all. But howsoeuer it 
came to passe, truth it is, that when he was restored to his perfect 
health, he gathered a power of men, & with the same went into 
Murrey land against the rebels there, and chasing them from 
thence, he pursued them into Rosse, and from Rosse into Cath- 
nesse, where apprehending them, he brought them backe vnto 
Fores, and there caused them to be hanged vp, on gallows and 

" ' Amongest them there were also certeine yoong gentlemen, 
right beautifull and goodlie personages, being neere of kin vnto 
Donwald capteine of the castell, and had beene persuaded to be 
partakers with the other rebels, more through the fraudulent coun- 
sell of diuerse wicked persons, than of their owne accord ; where- 
vpon the foresaid Donwald lamenting their case, made earnest 
labor and sute to the king to haue begged their pardon ; but 
hauing a plaine deniall, he conceiued such an inward malice towards 
the king, (though he shewed it not outwardlie at the first) that the 

76 and Satires, i. 8. 30). See also the story of " The Leech of Folke- 
stone " in The Itigoldsby Legends. (Ed.) 

Notes 1 6 1 

same continued still boiling in his stomach, and ceased not, till 
through setting on of his wife, and in reuenge of such vnthanke- 
fulnesse, hee found meanes to murther the king within the foresaid 
castell of Fores where he vsed to soiourne. For the king being in 
that countrie, was accustomed to lie most commonlie within the 
same castell, hauing a speciall trust in Donwald, as a man whom he 
neuer suspected. 

" ' But Donwald, not forgetting the reproch which his linage had 
susteined by the execution of those his kinsmen, whome the king 
for a spectacle to the people had caused to be hanged, could not 
but shew manifest tokens of great griefe at home amongst his 
familie : which his wife perceiuing, ceassed not to trauell with him, 
till she vnderstood what the cause was of his displeasure. Which 
at length when she had learned by his owne relation, she as one 
that bare no lesse malice in hir heart towards the king, for the like 
cause on hir behalfe, than hir husband did for his friends, coun- 
selled him (sith the king oftentimes vsed to lodge in his house 
without anie gard about him, other than the garrison of the castell, 
which was whollie at his commandement) to make him awaie, and 
shewed him the meanes wherby he might soonest accomplish it. 

" ' Donwald thus being the more kindled in wrath by the words 
of his wife, determined to follow hir aduise in the execution of so 
heinous an act. Whervpon deuising with himselfe for a while, 
which way hee might best accomplish his curssed intent, at length 
he gat opportunitie, and sped his purpose as followeth. It chanced 
that the king vpon the daie before he purposed to depart foorth 
of the castell, was long in his oratorie at his praiers, and there con- 
tinued till it was late in the night. At the last, comming foorth, he 
called such afore him as had faithfullie serued him in pursute and 
apprehension of the rebels, and giuing them heartie thanks, he be- 
stowed sundrie honorable gifts amongst them, of the which number 
Donwald was one, as he that had beene euer accounted a most 
faithfull seruant to the king. . . . 

'"Then Donwald, though he abhorred the act greatlie in his 


1 62 Notes 

heart, yet through instigation of his wife, hee called foure of his 
seruants vnto him (whome he had made priuie to his wicked intent 
before, and framed to his purpose with large gifts) and now declar- 
ing vnto them, after what sort they should worke the feat, they 
gladlie obeied his instructions, & speedilie going about the murther, 
they enter the chamber (in which the king laie) a little before cocks 
crow, where they secretlie cut his throte as he lay sleeping, without 
anie buskling 1 at all: and immediatlie by a posterne gate they 
caried foorth the dead bodie into the fields,- and throwing it vpon 
an horsse there prouided readie for that purpose, they conuey it 
vnto a place, about two miles distant from the castell, where they 
staied, and gat certeine labourers to helpe them to turne the course 
of a little riuer running through the fields there, and digging a deepe 
hole in the chanell, they burie the bodie in the same, ramming it vp 
with stones and grauell so closelie, that setting the water in the 
right course againe, no man could perceiue that anie thing had 
beene newlie digged there. This they did by order appointed them 
by Donwald as is reported, for that the bodie should not be found, 
& by bleeding (when Donwald should be present) declare him to 
be guiltie of the murther. For such an opinion men haue, that the 
dead corps of anie man being slaine, will bleed abundantlie if the 
murtherer be present. But for what consideration soeuer they 
buried him there, they had no sooner finished the work, but that 
they slue them whose helpe they vsed herein,. and streightwaies 
therevpon fled into Orknie. 

" ' Donwald, about the time that the murther was in dooing, got 
him amongst them that kept the watch, and so continued in com- 
panie with them all the residue of the night. But in the morning 
when the noise was raised in the kings chamber how the king was 
slaine, his bodie conueied away, and the bed all beraied with bloud; 
he with the watch ran thither, as though he had knowne nothing 
of the matter, and breaking into the chamber, and finding cakes of 
bloud in the bed, and on the floore about the sides of it, he foorth- 
1 Bustling, commotion. (Ed.) 

Notes 163 

with slue the chamberleins, as guiltie of that heinous murther, and 
then like a mad man running to and fro, he ransacked euerie cor- 
ner within the castell, as though it had beene to haue scene if he 
might haue found either the bodie, or anie of the murtherers hid in 
anie priuie place : but at length comming to the posterne gate, and 
finding it open, he burdened the chamberleins, whome he had slaine, 
with ail the fault, they hauing the keies of the gates committed to 
their keeping all the night, and therefore it could not be otherwise 
(isaid he) but that they were of counsell in the committing of that 
most detestable murther. 

" ' Finallie, such was his ouer earnest diligence in the seuere in- 
quisition and triall of the offenders heerein, that some of the lords 
bugan to mislike the matter, and .to smell foorth shrewd tokens, 
that he should not be altogither cleare himselfe. But for so much 
as they were in that countrie, where hee had the whole rule, what 
by reason of his friends and authentic togither, they doubted to 
vtter what they thought, till time and place should better serue 
therevnto, and heerevpon got them awaie euerie man to his home. 

ACT II. Scene IV. "'For the space of six moneths togither, 
alter this heinous murther thus committed, there appeered no 
sunne by day, nor moone by night in anie part of the realme, but 
still was the skie couered with continuall clouds, and sometimes 
suche outragious vvindes arose, with lightenings and tempests, that 
the people were in great feare of present destruction. Monstrous 
sights also that were scene within the Scotish kingdome that yeere ' 
['-.hat is, of King Duffe's murder, A.u. 972] ' were these, horsses in 
Louthian, being of singular beautie and swiftnesse, did eate their 
owne flesh, and would in no wise taste anie other meate. In Angus 
there was a gentlewoman brought foorth a child without eies, 
nose, hand, or foot. There was a sparhawke also strangled by an 

" Thus far the Chronicle of King Duffe supplied Shakespeare with 
some of the details and accessories of his tragedy; and we now turn 
to the history of the hero himself, Macbeth. But there is one other 



incident recorded by Holinshed, on one of the few intermediate 
pages of his Chronicle, between the stories of King Duffe and Mac- 
beth, which I cannot but think attracted Shakespeare's notice as he 
passed from one story to the other, and which was afterward worked 
up by him in connection with Duncan's murder. 1 As far as I am 
aware, it has never been noted by any editor or commentator. It 
seems that Kenneth, the brother and one of the successors of Duffe, 
was a virtuous and able prince, and would have left an unstained 
name had not the ambition to have his son succeed him tempted 
him to poison secretly his nephew Malcome, the son of Duff and 
the heir apparent to the throne. Kenneth then obtained from a 
council at Scone the ratification of his son as his successor. ' Thus 
might he seeme happie to all men,' continues Holinshed, ' but 
yet to himselfe he seemed most vnhappie as he that could not but 
still live in continuall feare, least his wicked practise concerning 
the death of Malcome Duffe should come to light and knowledge 
of the world. For so commeth it to passe, that such as are pricked 
in conscience for anie secret offense committed, haue euer an vn- 
quiet mind.' [What follows suggested, I think, to Shakespeare 
'the voice,' at ii. 2. 35, that cried 'sleep no more.'] 'And (as the 
fame goeth) it chanced that a voice was heard as he was in bed in 
the night time to take his rest, vttering vnto him these or the like 
woords in effect: "Thinke not Kenneth that the wicked slaughter 
of Malcome Duffe by thee contriued, is kept secret from the knowl- 
edge of the eternall God," &c. . . . The king with this voice being 
striken into great dread and terror, passed that night without anie 
sleepe comming in his eies. 

"'After Malcolme ' [that is, 'after the incarnation of our Saviour 
1034 yeeres,'] 'succeeded his nephue Duncane, the sonne of his 
daughter Beatrice : for Malcolme had two daughters, the one which 
was this Beatrice, being giuen in marriage vnto one Abbanath 

1 The reader will bear in mind (see p. 157, foot-note) that I am 
quoting Dr. Furness here, and that it is to him that this interesting 
discovery is due. (Ed.) 

Notes 165 

Crinen, a man of great nobilitie, and thane of the Isles and west 
part of Scotland, bare of that manage the foresaid Duncane. The 
other called Doada, was maried vnto Sinell the thane of Glammis, 
by whome she had issue [see allusion to Sinel in I. 3. 71] one 
Makbeth a valiant gentleman, and one that if he had not beene 
somewhat cruell of nature, might haue beene thought most woorthie 
the gouernement of a realme. On the other part, Duncane was so 
soft and gentle of nature, that the people wished the inclinations 
and maners of these two cousins to haue beene so tempered and 
enterchangeablie bestowed betwixt them, that where the one had 
too much clemencie, and the other of crueltie, the means vertue 
betwixt these two extremities might haue reigned by indifferent 
partition in them both, so should Duncane haue proued a woorthie 
king, and Makbeth an excellent capteine. The beginning of Dun- 
cans reigne was verie quiet and peaceable, without anie notable 
trouble ; but after it was perceiued how negligent he was in pun- 
ishing offenders, manie misruled persons tooke occasion thereof 
to trouble the peace and quiet state of the common-wealth, by 
seditious commotions which first had their beginnings in this 

" ' Banquho the thane of Lochquhaber, of whom the house of the 
Stewards is descended, the which by order of linage hath now for a 
long time inioied the crowne of Scotland, euen till these our daies, 
as he gathered the finances due to the king, and further punished 
somewhat sharpelie such as were notorious off endors, being assailed 
by a number of rebels inhabiting in that countrie, and spoiled of 
the monie and all other things, had much a doo to get awaie with 
life, after he had receiued sundrie grieuous wounds amongst them. 
Yet escaping their hands, after hee was somewhat recouered of his 
hurts and was able to ride, he repaired to the court, where making 
his complaint to the king in most earnest wise, he purchased at length 
that the offenders were sent for by a sergeant at armes, to appeare 
to make answer vnto such matters as should be laid to their charge : 
but they augmenting their mischiefous act with a more wicked 

1 66 Notes 

deed, after they had misused the messenger with sundrie kinds of 
reproches, they finallie slue him also. 

"'Then doubting not but for such contemptuous demeanor 
against the kings regall authoritie, they should be inuaded with all 
the power the king could make, Makdowald one of great estimation 
among them, making first a confederacie with his neerest friends 
and kinsmen, tooke vpon him to be chiefe captiene' of all such 
rebels, as would stand against the king, in maintenance of their 
grieuous offenses latelie committed against him. Manie slanderous 
words also, and railing tants this Makdowald vttered against h'is 
prince, calling him a faint-hearted milkesop, more meet to gouerne 
a sort of idle moonks in some cloister, than to haue the rule of such 
valiant and hardie men of warre as the Scots were. He vsed also 
such subtill persuasions and forged allurements, that in a small tine 
he had gotten togither a mightie power of men: [see i. 2, 9-i;i] 
for out of the westerne Isles there came vnto him a great mull i- 
tude of people, offering themselues to assist him in that rebellious 
quarell, and out of Ireland in hope of the spoile came no smill 
number of Kernes and Galloglasses, offering gladlie to serue vncler 
him, whither it should please him to lead them. 

"'Makdowald thus hauing a mightie puissance about him, in- 
countered with such of the kings people as were sent against him 
into Lochquhaber, and discomfiting them, by mere force tooke their 
capteine Malcolme, and after the end of the battell smote off his 
head. This ouerthrow being notified to the king, did put him in 
woonderfull feare, by reason of his small skill in warlike affaires. 
Calling therefore his nobles to a councell, he asked of them their 
best aduise for the subduing of Makdowald & other the rebels. 
Here, in sundrie heads (as euer it happeneth) were sundrie opin- 
ions, which they vttered according to euerie man his skill. At 
length Makbeth speaking much against the kings softnes, and ouer- 
much slacknesse in punishing offendors, whereby they had such 
time to assemble togither, he promised notwithstanding, if the 
charge were committed vnto him and vnto Eanquho, so to order 

Notes 167 

the matter, that the rebels should be shortly vanquished & quite put 
ilowne, and that not so much as one of them should be found to 
make resistance within the countrie. 

" ' And euen so it came to passe : for being sent foorth with a 
new power, at his entring into Lochquhaber, the fame of his 
comming put the enimies in such feare, that a great number of 
them stale secretlie awaie from their capteine Makdowald, who 
neuerthelesse inforced thereto, gaue battell vnto Makbeth, with the 
residue which remained with him : but being ouercome, and fleeing 
for refuge into a castell (within the which his wife & children were 
inclosed) at length when he saw how he could neither defend the 
hold anie longer against his enimies, nor yet vpon surrender be suf- 
fered to depart with life saued, hee first slue his wife and children, 
a ad lastlie himselfe, least if he had yeelded simplie, he should haue 
beene executed in most cruell wise for an example to other. Mak- 
beth entring into the castell by the gates, as then set open, found 
the carcasse of Macclowald lieng dead there amongst the residue of 
the slaine bodies, which when he beheld, remitting no peece of his 
cruell nature with that pitifull sight, he caused the head to be cut 
off, and set vpon a poles end, and so sent it as a present to the king 
who as then laie at Bertha. The headlesse trunke he commanded 
to bee hoong vp vpon an high paire of gallowes. 

" ' Them of the westerne Isles suing for pardon, in that they had 
aided Makdowald in his tratorous enterprise, he fined at great sums 
of moneie : and those whome he tooke in Lochquhaber, being come 
thither to beare armor against the king, he put to execution. Her- 
vpon the Ilandmen conceiued a deadlie grudge towards him, calling 
him a couenant-breaker, a bloudie tyrant, & a cruell murtherer of 
them whome the kings mercie had pardoned. With which reproch- 
full words Makbeth being kindled in wrathfull ire against them, had 
passed ouer with an armie into the Isles, to haue taken reuenge 
vpon them for their liberall * talke, had he not beene otherwise per- 

1 Too free. S. uses it in a'similar sense = licentious, wanton. Cf. 
Much Ado, iv. i. 93; Ham. iv. 7. 171 ; Otli. ii. i. 165, etc. (Ed.) 

1 68 Notes 

suaded by some of his friends, and partlie pacified by gifts presented 
vnto him on the behalfe of the Ilandmen, seeking to auoid his dis- 
pleasure. Thus was iustice and law restored againe to the old 
accustomed course, by the diligent means of Makbeth. Imme- 
diatlie wherevpon woord came that Sueno king of Norway was 
arriued in Fife with a puissant armie, to subdue the whole realme 
of Scotland. 

"'The crueltie cf this Sueno was such, that he neither spared 
man, woman, nor child, of what age, condition or degree soeuer 
they were. Whereof when K. Duncane was v certified, he set all 
slouthfull and lingering delaies apart, and began to assemble an 
armie in most spedie wise, like a verie valiant capteine : for often- 
times it happeneth, that a dull coward and slouthfull person, con- 
streined by necessitie, becommeth verie hardie and actiue. There- 
fore when his whole power was come togither, he diuided the same 
into three battels. The first was led by Makbeth, the second by 
Banquho, & the king himselfe gouerned in the maine battell or 
middle ward, wherein were appointed to attend and wait upon his 
person the most part of all the residue of the Scotish nobilitie. 

"'The armie of Scotishmen being thus ordered, came vnto Cul- 
ros, where incountering with the enimies, after a sore and cruell 
foughten battell, Sueno remained victorious, and Malcolme with 
his Scots discomfited. Howbeit the Danes were so broken by this 
battell, that they were not able to make long chase on their eni- 
mies, but kept themselues all night in order of battell, for doubt 
least the Scots assembling togither againe, might haue set vpon 
them at some aduantage. Onjthe morrow, when the fields were 
discouered, and that it was perceiued how no enimies were to be 
found abrode, they gathered the spoile, which they diuided amongst 
them, according to the law of armes. Then was it ordeined by com- 
mandement of Sueno, that no souldier should hurt either man, 
woman, or child, except such as were found with weapon in hand 
readie to make resistance, for he hoped now to conquer the realme 
without further bloudshed. 

Notes 169 

"'But when knowledge was giuen how Duncane was fled to the 
castell of Bertha, and that Makbeth was gathering a new power to 
withstand the incursions of the Danes, Sueno raised his tents & 
comming to the said castell, laid a strong siege round about it. 
Duncane seeing himselfe thus enuironed by his enimies, sent a 
secret message by counsell of Banquho to Makbeth, commanding 
him to abide at Inchcuthill, till he heard from him some other 
newes. In the meane time Duncane fell in fained communication 
with Sueno, as though he would haue yeelded vp the castell into 
his hands, vnder certeine conditions, and this did he to driue time, 
and to put his enimies out of all suspicion of anie enterprise ment 
against them, till all things were brought to passe that might serue 
for the purpose. At length when they were fallen at a point for ren- 
dring vp the hold, Duncane offered to send foorth of the castell 
into the campe greate prouision of vittels to refresh the armie, 
which offer was gladlie accepted of the Danes, for that they had 
beene in great penurie of sustenance manie daies before. 

"'The Scots heereupon tooke the iuice of mekilwoort berries, 
and mixed the same in their ale and bread, sending it thus spiced 
& confectioned, in great abundance vnto their enimies. They 
reioising that they had got meate and drinke sufficient to satisfie 
their bellies, fell to eating and drinking after such greedie wise, 
that it seemed they stroue who might deuoure and swallow vp 
most, till the operation of the berries spread in such sort through 
all the parts of their bodies, that they were in the end brought into 
a fast dead sleepe,that in manner it was jmjpossible to awake them. 
Then foorthwith Duncane sent vnto Makbeth, commanding him 
with all diligence to come and set vpon the enimies, being in easie 
point to be ouercome. Makbeth making no delaie, came with his 
people to the place where his enimies were lodged, and first killing 
the watch, afterwards entered the campe, and made such slaughter 
on all sides without anie resistance that it was a woonderfull matter 
to behold, for the Danes were so heauie of sleepe that the most 
part of them were slaine and neuer stirred: other that were awak- 



ened either by the noise or other waies foorth, were so amazed and 
dizzie headed vpon their wakening, that they were not able to make 
anie defense : so that of the whole number there escaped no more 
but onelie Sueno himselfe and ten other persons, by whose helpe 
he got to his ships lieng at rodejn the mouth of Taie. 

". ' The most part of the mariners, when they heard what plentie 
of meate and drinke the Scots had sent vnto the campe, came from 
the sea thither to be partakers thereof, and so were slaine amongst 
their fellowes: by meanes whereof when Sueno perceiued how 
through lacke of mariners he should not be able to conueie awaie 
his nauie, he furnished one ship throughlie with such as were left, 
and in the same sailed backe into Norwaie, cursing the time that he 
set forward on this infortunate iournie. The other ships which he 
left behind him, within three daies after his departure from thence, 
were tossed so togither by violence of an east wind, that beating 
and rushing one against another, they sunke there, and lie in the 
same place euen vnto these daies, to the great danger of other such 
ships as come on that coast : for being couered with the floud when 
the tide commeth, at the ebbing againe of the same, some part of 
them appeere aboue water. 

" 'The place where the Danish vessels were thus lost, is yet called 
Drownelow sands. This ouerthrow receiued in manner afore said 
by Sueno, was verie displeasant to him and his people, as should 
appeere, in that it was a custome manie yeeres after, that no knights 
were made in Norwaie, except they were first sworne to reuenge 
the slaughter of their countriemen and friends thus slaine in Scot- 
land. The Scots hauing woone so notable a victorie, after they 
had gathered & divided the spoile of the field, caused solemne pro- 
cessions to be made in all places of the realme, and thanks to be 
giuen to almightie God, that had sent them so faire a day ouer their 
enimies. But whilest the people were thus at their processions, 
woord was brought that a new fleet of Danes was arriued at King- 
come, sent thither by Canute king of England, in reuenge of his 
brother Suenos ouerthrow. To resist these enimies, which were 

Notes 1 7 1 

alreadie landed, and busie in spoiling the countrie ; Makbeth and 
Banquho were sent with the kings authoritie, who hauing with 
them a conuenient power, incountred the enimies, slue part of 
them, and chased the other to their ships. They that escaped and 
got once to their ships, obteined of Makbeth for a great summe of 
gold [see i. 2. 60-62], that such of their friends as were slaine at 
this last bickering, might be buried in saint Colmes Inch. In 
memorie whereof, manie old sepultures are yet in the said Inch, 
there to be scene grauen with the armes of the Danes, as the maner 
of burieng noble men still is and heeretofore hath beene vsed. 

"'A peace was also concluded at the same fime betwixt the 
Danes and Scotishmen, ratified (as some haue written) in this wise : 
That from thencefoorth the Danes should neuer come into Scotland 
to make anie warres against the Scots by anie maner of meanes. 
And these were the warres that Duncane had with forren enimies, 
in the seventh yeere of his reigne. Shortlie after happened a 
strange and vncouth woonder, which afterward was the cause of 
much trouble in the realme of Scotland, as ye shall after heare. 

ACT I. Scene III. '"It fortuned as Makbeth and Banquho 
iournied towards Fores, where the king then laie, they went sport- 
ing by the waie togither without other companie, saue onelie them- 
selues, passing thorough the woods and fields, when suddenlie in 
the middest of a laund, there met them three women in strange 
and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world, whome when 
they attentiuelie beheld, woondering much at the sight, the first of 
them spake and said; All haile Makbeth, thane of Glammis (for he 
had latelie entered into that dignitie and office by the death of his 
father Sinell). The second of them said ; Haile Makbeth thane of 
Cawder. But the third said; All haile Makbeth that heereafter 
shalt be king of Scotland. 

"'Then Banquho; What manner of women (saith he) are you, 
that seeme so little fauourable vnto me, whereas to my fellow 
heere, besides high offices, ye assigne also the kingdome, appointing 
foorth nothing for me at all ? Yes (saith the first of them) we 



promise greater benefits vnto thee, than vnto him, for he shall 
reigne in deed, but with an vnluckie end : neither shall he leaue 
anie issue behind him to succeed in his place, where contrarilie 
thou in deed shalt not reigne at all, but of thee those shall be 
borne which shall gouern the Scotish kingdome by long order of 
continuall descent. Herewith the foresaid women vanished imme- 
diatlie out of their sight. This was reputed at the first but some 
vaine fantasticall illusion by Mackbeth and Banquho, insomuch 
that Banquho would call Mackbeth in iest king of Scotland; and 
Mackbeth againe would call him in sport likewise, the father of 
manie kings. But afterwards the common opinion was, that these 
women were either the weird sisters, that is (as ye would say) the 
goddesses of destinie, or else some nymphs or feiries, indued with 
knowledge of prophesie by their necromanticail science, bicause 
euerie thing came to passe as they had spoken. For shortlie after, 
the thane of Cawder being condemned at Fores of treason against 
the king committed ; his lands, liuings, and offices were giuen of the 
kings liberalise to Mackbeth. 

"'The same night after, at supper, Banquho iested with him and 
said; Now Mackbeth thou hast obteined those things which the two 
former sisters prophesied, there remaineth onelie for thee to pur- 
chase that which the third said should come to passe. Wherevpon 
Mackbeth reuoluing the thing in his mind, began euen then to 
deuise how he might atteine to the kingdome : but yet he thought 
with himselfe that he must tarie a time, which should aduance him 
thereto (by the diuine prouidence) as it had come to passe in his 
former preferment. 

" ' But shortlie after it chanced that king Duncane, hauing two 
sonnes by his wife which was the daughter of Siward earle of 
Northumberland, he made the elder of them called Malcolme 
prince of Cumberland, as it were thereby to appoint him his suc- 
cessor in the kingdome, immediatlie after his deceasse. 

ACT I. Scene IV. "'Mackbeth sore troubled herewith, for 
that he saw by this means his hope sore hindered (where, by the 

Notes 173 

old lawes of the realme, the ordinance was, that if he that should 
succeed were not of able age to take the charge vpon himselfe, he 
that was next of bloud vnto him should be admitted) he began to 
take counsell how he might vsurpe the kingdome by force, hauing 
a iust quarell so to doo (as he tooke the matter) for that Duncane 
did what in him lay to defraud him of all inaner of title and claime, 
which he might in time to come prete-.d vnto the crowne. 

"'The woords of the three weird misters also (of whom before ye 
haue heard) greatlie incouraged him herevnto, but speciallie his 
wife lay sore vpon him to attempt the thing, as she that was verie 
ambitious, burning in vnquenchable desire to beare the name of a 
queene. At length therefore, communicating his purposed intent 
with his trustie friends, amongst whome Banquho was the chiefest, 
vpon confidence of their promised aid, he slue the king at Enuerns, 
or (as some say) at Botgosuane, in the sixt yeare of his reigne. 

ACT II. Scene IV. "'Then hauing a companie about him of 
such as he had made priuie to his enterprise, he caused himselfe 
to be proclaimed king, and foorthwith went vnto Scone, where (by 
common consent) he receiued the inuesture of the kingdome 
according to the accustomed maner. The bodie of Duncane was 
first conueied vnto Elgine, & there buried in kinglie wise; but after- 
wards it was rempued and conueied vnto Colmekill, and there laid 
in r. sepulture amongst his predecessors, in the yeare after the birth 
o f our Sauiour, 1046. 

" Malcolme Cammore and Donald Bane the sons of king Dur>- 
:ane, for feare of their Hues (which they might well know that Mack- 
beth would seeke to bring to end for his more sure confirmation in 
the estate) fled into Cumberland, where Malcolme remained, till time 
that saint Edward the sonne of Etheldred recouered the dominion 
of England from the Danish power, the which Edward receiued 
Malcolme by way of most friendlie enterteinment; but Donald 
passed ouer into Ireland, where he was tenderlie cherished by the 
king of that land. Mackbeth, after the departure thus of Duncanes 
sonnes, vsed great liberalise towards the nobles of the realme, 


thereby to win their fauour, and when he saw that no man went 
about to trouble him, he set his whole intention to mainteine 
iustice, and to punish all enormities and abuses, which had chanced 
through the feeble and slouthfull administration of Duncane.' 

" [And so vigorously did Macbeth carry out his reforms, that 
' these theeues, barretters, and other oppressors of the innocent 
people' . . . 'were streight waies apprehended by armed men, 
and trussed vp in halters on gibbets, according as they had iustlie 
deserued. The residue of misdooers that were left, were punished 
and tamed in such sort, that manie yeares after all theft and reif- 
fings were little heard of, the people inioieng the blissefull benefit 
of good peace and tranquilitie. Mackbeth shewing himselfe thus a 
most diligent punisher of all iniuries and wrongs attempted by anie 
disordered persons within his realme, was accounted the sure 
defense and buckler of innocent people; and hereto he also applied 
his whole indeuor, to cause yoong men to exercise themselues in 
vertuous maners, and men of the church to attend their diuine ser- 
uice according to their vocations. 

" ' He caused to be slaine sundrie thanes, as of Cathnes, Suther- 
land, Stranauerne, and Ros, because through them and their 
seditious attempts, much trouble dailie rose in the realme.' . . . 
'To be briefe, such were the woorthie dooings and princelie acts 
of this Mackbeth in the administration of the realme, that if he had 
atteined therevnto by rightfull means, and continued in vpright- 
nesse of iustice as he began, till the end of his reigne, he might 
well haue beene numbred amongest the most noble princes that 
anie where had reigned. He made manie holesome laws and 
statutes for the publike weale of his subiects.' Holinshed here 
' sets foorth according to Hector Boetius ' some of the laws made 
by Macbeth, and for one of them the king certainly deserves a 
handsome notice from some of our most advanced reformers of the 
present day : ' The eldest daughter shall inherit hir fathers lands, 
as well as the eldest sonne should, if the father leave no sonne 
behind him.'] 

Notes 175 

"'These and the like commendable lawes Makbeth caused to be 
put as then in vse, gouerning the realme for the space of ten yeares 
in equall iustice. But this was but a counterfet zeale of equitie 
shewed by him, partlie against his naturall inclination to purchase 
thereby the fauour of the people. Shortlie after, he began to shew 
what he was, in stead of equitie practising crueltie. . . . For the 
pricke of conscience (as it chanceth euer in tyrants, and such as 
atteine to anie estate by vnrighteous means) caused him euer to 
feare, least he should be serued of the same cup as he had min- 
istred to his predecessor. The woords also of the three weird 
sisters would not out of his mind, which as they promised him the 
kingdome, so likewise did they promise it at the same time vnto the 
posteritie of Banquho. 

ACT III. Scenes I. and III. "'He willed therefore the same 
Banquho with his sonne named Fleance, to come to a supper that 
he had prepared for them, which was in deed, as he had deuised, 
present death at the hands of certeine murderers, whom he hired 
to execute that deed, appointing them to meete with the same 
Banquho and his sonne without the palace, as they returned to 
their lodgings, and there to slea them, so that he would not haue 
his house slandered, but that in time to come he might cleare him- 
selfe, if anie thing were laid to his charge vpon anie suspicion that 
might arise. 

" ' It chanced yet by the benefit of the darke night, that though 
the father were slaine, the sonne yet by the helpe of almightie God 
reseruing him to better fortune, escaped that danger: and after- 
wards hauing some inkeling (by the admonition of some friends 
which he had in the court) how his life was sought no lesse than 
his fathers, who was slaine not by chancemedlie l (as by the hand- 
ling of the matter Makbeth woould haue had it to appeare), but 

l The old law term for manslaughter. Dalton, in his Country Justice 
(1620), says: " Manslaughter, otherwise called chancemedley ; is the kill- 
ing a man feloniously, . . . and yet without any malice forethought," 
etc. (Ed.) 



euen vpon a prepensed deuise : wherevpon to auoid further perill 
he fled into Wales.' 

[The old historian here makes a digression in order to ' rehearse 
the originall line of those kings, which haue descended from the 
foresaid Banquho.' It will suffice here to note that (according to 
Holinshed) Fleance's great-grandson Alexander had two sons, from 
one of whom descended ' the carles of Leuenox and Dernlie,' and 
from the other came Walter Steward, who ' maried Margerie Bruce 
daughter to king Robert Bruce, by whome he had issue king 
Robert the second of that name,' ' the first ' (says French, Shake- 
speareana Genealogica, p. 291) 'of the dynasty of Stuart, which 
continued to occupy the throne until the son of Mary Queen of 
Scots, James, the sixth of the name, was called to the throne of 
England, as James the First.'] 

" ' But to returne vnto Makbeth, in continuing the historic, and 
to begin where I left, ye shall vnderstand that after the contriued 
slaughter of Banquho, nothing prospered with the foresaid Mak- 
beth : for in maner euerie man began to doubt his owne life, and 
durst vnneth appeare in the kings presence; and euen as there were 
manie that stood in feare of him, so likewise stood he in feare of 
manie, in such sort that he began to make those awaie by one sur- 
mised cauillation or other, whome he thought most able to worke 
him anie displeasure. 

" ' At length he found such sweetnesse by putting his nobles thus 
to death, that his earnest thirst after bloud in this behalfe might in 
no wise be satisfied : for ye must consider he wan double profile 
(as hee thought) hereby : for first they were rid out of the way 
whome he feared, and then againe his coffers were inriched by 
their goods which were forfeited to his vse, whereby he might the 
better mainteine a gard of armed men about him to defend his 
person from iniurie of them whom he had in anie suspicion. Fur- 
ther, to the end he might the more cruellie oppresse his subjects 
with all tyrantlike wrongs, he builded a strong castell on the top 
of an hie hill called Dunsinane, situate in Cowrie, ten miles from 

Notes 1 77 

Perth, on such a proud height, that standing there aloft, a man 
might behold well neere all the countries of Angus, Fife, Stermond, 
and Ernedale, as it were lieng vnderneath him. This castell then 
being founded on the top of that high hill, put the realme to great 
charges before it was finished, for all the stuffe necessarie to the 
building could not be brought vp without much toile and busi- 
nesse. But Makbeth being once determined to haue the worke 
go forward, caused the thanes of each shire within the realme 
to come and helpe towards that building, each man his course 

" ' At the last, when the turne fell vnto Makduff e thane of Fife 
to builde his part, he sent workemen with all needfull prouision, 
and commanded them to shew such diligence in euerie behalfe, 
that no occasion might bee giuen for the king to find fault with 
him, in that he came not himselfe as other had doone, which he 
refused to doo, for doubt lest the king bearing him (as he partlie 
vnderstood) no great good will, would laie violent handes vpon 
him, as he had doone vpon diuerse other. Shortly after, Makbeth 
comming to behold how the worke went forward, and bicause he 
found not Makduff e there, he was sore offended, and said; I per- 
ceiue this man will neuer obeie my commandements, till he be 
ridden with a snaffle: but I shall prouide well inough for him. 
Neither could he afterwards abide to looke vpon the said Mak- 
duff e, either for that he thought his puissance ouer great; either 
else for that he had learned of certeine wizzards, in whose words 
he put great confidence (for that the prophesie had happened so 
right, which the three faries or weird sisters had declared vnto him) 
how that he ought to take heed of Makduffe, who in time to cr?me 
should seeke to destroie him. 

Acr IV. Scene 7. "'And suerlie herevpon had he put Mak- 
duffe to death, but that a certeine witch, whome hee had in great 
trust, had told that he should neuer be slaine with man borne of anie 
woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castell 
of Dunsinane. By this prophesie Makbeth put all feare out of his 

iy8 Notes 

heart, supposing he might doo what he would, without anie feare 
to be punished for the same, for by the one prophesie he beleeued 
it was vnpossible for anie man to vanquish him, and by the ether 
vnpossible to slea him. This vaine hope caused him to doo inanie 
outragious things, to the greeuous oppression of his subiects. At 
length Makduffe, to auoid perill of life, purposed with himselfe to 
passe into England, to procure Malcolme Cammore to claime the 
crowne of Scotland. But this was not so secretlie deuised by 
Makduffe, but that Makbeth had knowledge giuen him thereof: 
for kings (as is said) haue sharpe sight like vnto Lynx, and long 
ears like vnto Midas. For Makbeth had in eurie noble mans house 
one slie fellow or other in fee with him, to reueale all that was said 
or doone within the same, by which slight he oppressed the most 
part of the nobles of his realme [see iii. 4. 131]. 

ACT IV. Scene II. " ' Immediatlie then, being aduertised where- 
about Makduffe went, he came hastily with a great power into 
Fife, and foorthwith besieged the castell where Makduffe dwelled, 
trusting to haue found him therein. They that kept the house, 
without anie resistance opened the gates, and suffered him to enter, 
mistrusting none euill. But neuerthelesse Makbeth most cruellie 
caused the wife and children of Makduffe, with all other whom he 
found in that castell, to be slaine. 

ACT IV. Scene HI, "'Also he confiscated the goods of Mak- 
duffe, proclaimed him traitor, and confined him out of all the parts 
of his realme; but Makduffe was alreadie escaped out of danger, 
and gotten into England vnto Malcolme Cammore, to trie what 
purchase hee might make by means of his support to reuenge the 
slaughter so cruellie executed on his wife, his children, and other 
friends. At his comming vnto Malcolme, he declared into what 
great miserie the estate of Scotland was brought, by the detestable 
cruelties exercised by the tyrant Makbeth, hauing committed manie 
horrible slaughters and murders, both as well of the nobles as com- 
mons, for the which he was hated right mortallie of all his liege 
people, desiring nothing more than to be deliuered of that intoller- 

Notes 179 

able and most heauie yoke of thraldome, which they susteined at 
such a caitifes hands. 

" ' Malcolme hearing Makduffes woorcls, which he vttered in verie 
lamentable sort, for meere compassion and verie ruth that pearsed 
his sorrowfull hart, bewailing the miserable state of his countrie, he 
fetched a deepe sigh; which Makduffe perceiuing, began to fall 
most earnestlie in hand with him, to enterprise the deliuering of the 
Scotish people out of the hands of so cruell and bloudie a tyrant, 
as Makbeth by too manie plaine experiments did shew himselfe to 
be : which was an easie matter for him to bring to passe, consider- 
ing not onelie the good title he had, but also the earnest desire of 
the people to haue some occasioned ministred, whereby they might 
be reuenged of those notable iniuries, which they dailie susteined 
by the outragious crueltie of Makbeths misgouernance. Though 
Malcolme was verie sorrowfull for the oppression of his countrie- 
men the Scots, in maner as Makduffe had declared; yet doubting 
whether he were come as one that ment vnfeinedlie as he spake, or 
else as sent from Makbeth to betraie him, he thought to haue some 
further triall, and therevpon dissembling his mind at the first, he 
answered as followeth. 

" ' I am trulie verie sorie for the miserie chanced to my countrie 
of Scotland, but though I haue neuer so great affection to relieue 
the same, yet by reason of certeine incurable vices, which reigne in 
me, I am nothing meet thereto. First, such immoderate lust and 
voluptuous sensualitie (the abhominable founteine of all vices) fol- 
loweth me, that if I were made king of Scots, I should seeke to 
defloure your maids and matrones, in such wise that mine intemper- 
ancie should be more importable vnto you than the bloudie tyrannic 
of Makbeth now is. Heereunto Makduffe answered : this suerly is a 
verie euill fault, for many noble princes and kings haue lost both Hues 
and kingdomes for the same; neuerthelesse there are women enow 
in Scotland, and therefore follow my counsell, Make thy selfe king, 
and I shall conueie the matter so wiselie, that thou shall be so satis- 
fied at thy pleasure in such wise, that no man shall be aware thereof. 

i8o Notes 

" ' Then said Malcolme, I am also the most auaritious creature 
on the earth, so that if I were king, I should seeke so manie waies 
to get lands and goods, that I would slea the most part of all the 
nobles of Scotland by surmised accusations, to the end I might 
inioy their lands, goods, and possessions; and therefore to shew 
you what mischiefe may insue on you through mine vnsatiable 
couetousnes, I will rehearse vnto you a fable. There was a fox 
hauing a sore place on him ouerset with a swarme of flies, that 
continuallie sucked out hir bloud : and when one that came by and 
saw this manner, demanded whether she would haue the flies 
driuen beside hir, she answered no: for if these flies that are 
alreadie full, and by reason thereof sucke not verie egerlie, should 
be chased awaie, other that are emptie and fellie 1 an hungred, 
should light in their places, and sucke out the residue of my bloud 
farre more to my greeuance than these, which now being satisfied 
doo not much annoie me. Therefore saith Malcolme, suffer me to 
remaine where I am, least if I atteine to the regiment of your 
realme, mine inquenchable auarice may prooue such; that ye 
would thinke the displeasures which now grieue you, should seeme 
easie in respect of the vnmeasureable outrage, which might insue 
through my comming amongst you. 

" ' Makduffe to this made answer, how it was a far woorse fault 
than the other: for auarice is the root of all mischiefe, and for 
that crime the most part of our kings haue beene slaine and brought 
to their finall end. Yet notwithstanding follow my counsel!, and 
take vpon thee the crowne. There is gold and riches inough in 
Scotland to satisfie thy greedie desire. Then said Malcolme againe, 

1 The obsolete adverb corresponding to the adjective fell, and = 
fiercely, cruelly. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. vi. u. 48 : 

" How many flyes, in whottest sommers day, 
Do seize upon some beast whose flesh is bare, 
That all the place with swarmes do overlay, 
And with their litle stings right felly fare," etc. (Ed.) 

Notes 181 

I am furthermore inclined to dissimulation, telling of leasings, 1 and 
all other kinds of deceit, so that I naturallie reioise in nothing so 
much, as to betraie & deceiue such as put anie trust or confidence 
in my woords. Then sith there is nothing that more becommeth a 
prince than constancie, veritie, truth, and iustice, with the other 
laudable fellowship of those faire and noble vertues which are com- 
prehended onelie in soothfastnesse, 2 and that lieng vtterlie ouer- 
throweth the same; you see how vnable I am to gouerne anie 
prouince or region : and therefore sith you haue remedies to cloke 
and hide all the rest of my other vices, I praie you find shift to 
cloke this vice amongst the residue. 

" ' Then said Makduffe : This yet is the woorst of all, and there I 
leaue thee, and therefore saie; Oh ye vnhappie and miserable 
Scotishmen, which are thus scourged with so manie and sundrie 
calamities, ech one aboue other ! Ye haue one curssed and 
wicked tyrant that now reigneth ouer you, without anie right 
or title, oppressing you with his most bloudie crueltie. This 
other that hath the right to the crowne, is so replet with the in- 
constant behauiour and manifest vices of Englishmen, that he is 
nothing woorthie to inioy it : for by his owne confession he is not 
onelie auaritious, and giuen to vnsatiable lust, but so false a traitor 
withall, that no trust is to be had vnto anie woord he speaketh. 
Adieu, Scotland, for now I account my selfe a banished man for 
euer, without comfort or consolation : and with those woords the 
brackish teares trickled downe his cheekes verie abundantlie. 

" ' At the last, when he was readie to depart, Malcolme tooke 
him by the sleeue, and said : Be of good comfort Makduffe, for I 
haue none of these vices before remembred, but haue iested with 

1 Falsehoods. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. ii. 9. 51: "And all that fained is, 
as leasings, tales, and lies." See also Psalms, iv. 2, v. 6, T. N. i. 5. 
105, Cor. v. 2. 22. (Ed.) 

2 Truthfulness. On sooth = truth, see note on i. 2. 36 below. Cf. 
shamefastness (= modesty), of which our modern shamefacedness is a 
corruption. (Ed.) 

1 82 Notes 

thee in this manner, onelie to prooue thy mind : for diuerse times 
heeretofore hath Makbeth sought by this manner of meanes to 
bring me into his hands, but the more slow I haue shewed my selfe 
to condescend to thy motion and request, the more diligence shall 
I vse in accomplishing the same. Incontinentlie heereupon they 
imbraced ech other, and promising to be faithfull the one to the 
other, they fell in consultation how they might best prouide for all 
their businesse, to bring the same to good effect. Soone after, 
Makduffe repairing to the borders of Scotland, addressed his let- 
ters with secret dispatch vnto the nobles of the realme, declaring 
how Malcolme was confederat with him, to come hastilie into 
Scotland to claime the crowne, and therefore he required them, 
sith he was right inheritor thereto, to assist him with their powers 
to recouer the same out of the hands of the wrongfull vsurper. 

"'In the meane time, Malcolme purchased such fauor at king 
Edward's hands, that old Siward earle of Northumberland, was ap- 
pointed with ten thousand men to go with him into Scotland, to 
support him in this enterprise, for recouerie of his right. After 
these nevves were spread abroad in Scotland, the nobles drew into 
two seuerall factions, the one taking part with Makbeth, and the other 
with Malcolme. Heereupon insued oftentimes sundrie bickerings, 
& diuerse light skirmishes : for those that were of Malcomes side, 
would not ieopard to ioine with their enimes in a pight 1 field, till 
his comming out of England to their support. But after that Mak- 
beth perceiued his enemies power to increase, by such aid as came 
to them foorth of England with his aduersarie Malcolme, he re- 
coiled backe into Fife, there purposing to abide in campe fortified, 
at the castell of Dunsinane, and to fight with his enimies, if they 
ment to pursue him; howbeit some of his friends aduised him, that 
it should be best for him, either to make some agreement with 

l Pitched. Cf. T. and C. v. 10. 24 : 

" You vile abominable tents, 
Thus proudly pight upon our Phrygian plains." {Ed.) 

Notes 183 

Malcolme, or else to flee with all speed into the lies, and to take 
his treasure with him, to the end he might wage l sundrie great 
princes of the realme to take his part, reteine strangers, in whome 
he might better trust than in his owne subiects, which stale dailie 
from him : but he had such confidence in his prophesies, that he 
beleeued he should neuer be vanquished, till Birnane wood were 
brought to Dunsinane; nor yet .to be slaine with anie man, that 
should be or was borne of anie woman. 

ACT V. Scene IV. "'Malcolme following hastilie after Mak- 
beth, came the night before the battell vnto Birnane wood, and when 
his armie had rested a while there to refresh them, he commanded 
euerie man to get a bough of some tree or other of that wood in his 
hand, as big as he might beare, and to march foorth therewith in 
such wise, that on the next morrow they might come closelie and 
without sight in this manner within viewe of his enimies. On the 
morrow when Makbeth beheld them comming in this sort, he first 
maruelled what the matter ment, but in the end remembered him- 
selfe that the prophesie which he had heard long before that time, 
of the comming of Birnane wood to Dunsinane castell, was likelie 
to be now fulfilled. Neuerthelesse, he brought his men in order of 
battell, and exhorted them to doo valiantlie, howbeit his enimies 
had scarsely cast from them their boughs, when Makbeth per- 
ceiuing their numbers, betooke him streict to flight, whom Mak- 
duffe pursued with great hatred euen till he came vnto Lunfan- 
naine, where Makbeth perceiuing that Makduffe was hard at his 
backe, leapt beside his horsse, saieng; Thou traitor, what meaneth 
it that thou shouldest thus in vaine follow me that am not appointed 
to be slaine by anie creature that is borne of a woman, come on 
therefore, and receiue thy reward which thou hast deserued for thy 

1 Hire, bribe. Cf. Cor. v. 6. 40 : 

" I seem'd his follower, not partner, and 
He wag'd me with his countenance, as if 
I had been mercenary." (Ed.) 

1 84 


paines, and therwithall he lifted vp his swoord thinking to haue 
slaine him. 

ACT V. Scene VIII. " ' But Makduffe quicklie auoiding l from 
his horsse, yer he came at him, answered (with his naked swoord in 
his hand) saieng : It is true Makbeth, and now shall thy insatiable 
crueltie haue an end, for I am euen he that thy wizzards haue 
told thee of, who was neuer borne of my mother, but ripped out 
of her wombe : therevvithall he stept vnto him, and slue him in the 
place. Then cutting his head from his shoulders, he set it vpon a 
pole, and brought it vnto Malcolme. This was the end of Mak- 
beth, after he had reigned 17 yeeres ouer the Scotishmen. In the 
beginning of his reigne he accomplished manie woorthie acts, verie 
profitable to the common-wealth, (as ye haue heard) but afterward 
by illusion of the diuell, he defamed the same with most terrible 
crueltie. He was slaine in the yeere of the incarnation 1057, and 
in the 16 yeere of king Edwards reigne ouer the Englishmen. 

" ' Malcolme Cammore thus recouering the relme (as ye haue 
heard) by support of king Edward, in the 16 yeere of the same 
Edwards reigne, he was crowned at Scone the 25 day of Aprill, in 
the yeere of our Lord 1057. Immediatlie after his coronation he 
called a parlement at Forfair, in the which he rewarded them with 
lands and liuings that had assisted him against Makbeth, aduancing 
them to fees and offices as he saw cause, & commanded that 
speciallie those that bare the surname of anie offices or lands, should 
haue and inioy the same. He created manie carles, lords, barons, 
and knights. Manie of them that before were thanes, were at this 
time made carles, as Fife, Menteth, Atholl, Leuenox, Murrey, 
Cathnes, Rosse, and Angus. These were the first carles that haue 
beene heard of amongst the Scotishmen, (as their histories doo 
make mention.) ' 

1 Withdrawing, dismounting. Cf. W. T. 1.2. 462: " Let us avoid;" 
Cor. iv. 5. 34 : " here's no place for you ; pray you, avoid." See also 
I Samuel, xviii. n. (Ed.) 

Notes 185 

" In the ' fift Chapter ' of ' the eight Booke of the historic of 
England,' Shakespeare found the account of young Siward's death 
(v. 7):- 

"'About the thirteenth yeare of king Edward his reigne (as 
some write) or rather about the nineteenth or twentith yeare, as 
should appeare by the Scotish writers, Sivvard the noble earle of 
Northumberland with a great power of horssemen went into Scot- 
land, and in battell put to flight Mackbeth that had vsurped the 
crowne of Scotland, and that doone, placed Malcolme surnamed 
Camoir, the sonne of Duncane, sometime king of Scotland, in the 
gouernement of that realme, who afterward slue the said Mack- 
beth, and then reigned in quiet. Some of our English writers say 
that this Malcolme was king of Cumberland, but other report him 
to be sonne to the king of Cumberland. But heere is to be noted, 
that if Mackbeth reigned till the yeare 1061, and was then slaine 
by Malcolme, earle Si ward was not at that battell; for as our 
writers doo testifie, he died in the yeare 1055, which was in the 
yeare next after (as the same writers affirme) that he vanquished 
Mackbeth in fight, and slue manie thousands of Scots, and all those 
Normans which (as ye haue heard) were withdrawen into Scotland, 
when they were driuen out of England. 

" ' It is recorded also, that in the foresaid battell, in which earle 
Siward vanquished the Scots, one of Siwards sonnes chanced to be 
slaine, whereof although the father had good cause to be sorrowfull, 
yet when he heard that he died of a wound which he had receiued 
in fighting stoutlie in the forepart of his bodie, and that with his 
face towards the enimie, he greatlie reioised thereat, to heare that 
he died so manfullie. But here is to be noted, that not now, but a 
little before (as Henrie Hunt, saith) that earle Sivvard went into 
Scotland himselfe in person, he sent his sonne with an armie to 
conquere the land, whose hap was there to be slaine; and when 
his father heard the newes, he demanded whether he receiued 
the wound whereof he died, in the forepart of the bodie, or in the 
binder part : and when it was told him that he receiued it in the 

1 86 Notes 

forepart ; I reioise (saith he) euen with all my heart, for I would 
not wish either to my sonne nor to my selfe any other kind of 
death.' " 

mentioned on p.. 9 above is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. 
The sketch of Macbeth is as follows, the spelling being modernized : 

"In Macbeth, at the Globe, 1610, the 2Oth of April, Saturday, 
there was to be observed first how Macbeth and Banquo, two 
noblemen of Scotland, riding through a wood, there stood before 
them three women, fairies or nymphs, and saluted Macbeth, saying 
three limes unto him, Hail, Macbeth, king of Codor, for thou shall 
be a king, but shall beget no kings, etc. Then said Banquo, What, 
all to Macbeth and nothing to me? Yes, said the nymphs, Hail, to 
thee, Banquo; thou shall beget kings, yet be no king. And so they 
departed, and came to the Court of Scotland, to Duncan king of 
Scots, and it was in the days of Edward the Confessor. And 
Duncan bade them both kindly welcome, and made Macbeth [sic'] 
forthwith Prince of Northumberland, and sent him home to his 
own castle, and appointed Macbeth to provide for him, for he 
would sup with him the next day at night, and did so. And Mac- 
beth contrived to kill Duncan, and through the persuasion of his 
wife did that night murder the king in his own castle, being his 
guest. And there were many prodigies seen that night and the 
day before. And when Macbeth had murdered the king, the blood 
on his hands could not be washed off by any means, nor from his 
wife's hands, which handled the bloody daggers in lading them, by 
which means they became both much amazed and affronted. The 
murder being known, Duncan's two sons fled, the one to England, 
the [other to] Wales, to save themselves ; they being fled, they 
were supposed guilty of the murder of their father, which was noth- 
ing so. Then was Macbeth crowned king, and then he for fear of 
Banquo, his old companion, that he should beget kings but be not 
king himself, he contrived the death of Banquo, and caused him to 

Notes 1 87 

be murdered on the way as he rode. That next night, being at 
supper with his noblemen, whom he had bid to a feast, to the 
which also Banquo should have come, he began to speak of noble 
Banquo, and to wish that he were there. And as he thus did, 
standing up to drink a carouse to him, the ghost of Banquo came 
and sat down in his chair behind him. And he, turning about to 
sit down again, saw the ghost of Banquo, which fronted him so that 
he fell in 'a great passion of fear and fury, uttering many words 
about his murder, by which, when they heard that Banquo was 
murdered, they suspected Macbeth. Then Macduff fled to England 
to the king's son, and so they raised an army and came into Scot- 
land, and at Dunscenanyse overthrew Macbeth. In the mean time, 
while Macduff was in England, Macbeth slew Macduff's wife and 
children, and after, in the battle, Macduff slew Macbeth. Observe 
also how Macbeth's queen did rise in the night in her sleep, and 
walked, and talked and confessed all, and the Doctor noted her 



In the Folio of 1623 the acts and scenes are all marked, though 
the play is perhaps the worst printed in the volume. 

SCENE I. i. This trochaic metre is elsewhere used by S. when 
supernatural beings are speaking; as in Temp, and M. N. D. 

The folios put an interrogation mark at the end of the first line. 

3. Hurly-burly. Doubtless an onomatopoetic word, as Peacham 
explained it in the Garden of Eloquence in 1577: " Onomatopeia, 
when we invent, devise, fayne. and make a name intimating the 
sound of that it signifyeth, as hurlyburly, for an uprore and 
tumultuous stirre" S. uses hurly-burly only here and in I Hen. IV. 

Scene II] Notes 189 

v. I. 78, where it is an adjective. He has hurly in the same sense 
in T. of S. iv. I. 216: "amid this hurly;" K. John, iii. 4. 169: 
" Methinks I see this hurly all on foot;" and 2 Hen. IV. iii. i. 25: 
"That with the hurly death itself awakes." 

8. Graymalkin. Also spelled Grimalkin ; it means a gray cat. 
Malkin is a diminutive of Mary, and, like maukin (or mawkiii) 
which is the same word, is often used as a common noun and 
contemptuously (= kitchen-wench); as in Cor. ii. i. 224 and Per. 
iv. 3. 34. Cf. Tennyson, Princess, v. 25 : "a draggled mawkin." 
Malkin is the name of one of the witches in Middleton's Witch. 

9. Paddock. A toad. R. Scot {Discovery of Witchcraft, 1584) 
says: "Some say they [witches] can keepe divels and spirits in the 
likenesse of todes and cats." Cf. Ham. iii. 4. 190. In New Eng- 
land " bull-paddock " is a popular synonym for bullfrog. 

10. Anon. Presently, immediately : especially by waiters, instead 
of the modern "coming." Cf. I Hen. IV. ii. I. 5, ii. 4. 29, 36, 41, 
49, 58, etc. 

11. Fair is foul, etc. "The meaning is, that to us, perverse and 
malignant as we are, fair is foul, and foul is fair" (Johnson). Cf. 
Spenser, F. Q. iv. 8. 32 : " Then faire grew foule, and foule grew 
faire in sight." 

SCENE II. A few of the critics believe that this scene was not 
written by S., but there seems to be no sufficient reason for reject- 
ing it. 

i. Bloody. Bodenstedt (cited by Furness) remarks that "this 
word bloody reappears on almost every page, and runs like a red 
thread through the whole piece ; in no other of Shakespeare's 
dramas is it so frequent." 

3. Sergeant. Here a trisyllable. 

5. Hail. Metrically equivalent to a dissyllable. 

6. Say . . . the knowledge. Tell what you know. Cf. Cymb. 
iv. 2. 376: "say his name;" C. of E.\. \. 29: "say, in brief, the 
cause," etc. 


Notes [Act I 

Broil. Battle; as often in S. Cf. i Hen. IV. i. i. 3, 47> Cor. 
iii. 2. Si, Oth. i. 3. 87, etc. 

9. Choke their art. Drown each other by rendering tb.eir skill 
useless. Cf. Mark, v. 13. 

10. To that. To that end. " His multiplied villainies fit him 
for that rebel's trade" (Moberly). 

13. Of kerns and gallowglasses. Of = with; as often. Kerns 
were light-armed soldiers. See Rich. IT. ii. i. 156: "rough rug- 
headed kerns." Gallowglasses were heavy-armed troops. Cf. 2 
Hen. VI. iv. 9. 26 : " Of gallowglasses and stout kerns." S. takes 
both words from Holinshed (see p. 1 66). Cf. v. 7. 17 below. See 
also Drayton, Heroical Epist. : 

" Bruce now shall bring his Redshanks from the seas, 
From the isled Oreads and the Hebrides; 
And to his western havens give free pass 
To land the Kerne and Irish Galliglasse." 

14. Quarrel. As the word occurs in Holinshed's relation of this 
very fact, it is probably the right one, but many editers retain 
quarry, the reading of the early eds. For quarrel in this sense 
{cause or occasion of a quarrel) cf. Bacon, Essay 8 : " So as a Man 
may have a Quarrell to marry, when he will ;" Latimer, Sermon on 
Christmas Day: "to live and die in God's quarrel," etc. Cf. iv. 3. 
137: "our warranted quarrel." 

15. Showed. Appeared. Cf. M. of V. iv. 1.196: 

" And earthly power doth then show likest God's 
When mercy seasons justice." 

The meaning is that Fortune, while she smiled on him, deceived 

19. Minion. Favourite, darling. It is the French mignon. Cf. 
Temp.'\\. i. 98: "Mars's hot minion,"etc. The word would be 
a trisyllable if we followed the folio " carv'd," but the editors gen- 
erally make carved a dissyllable. 

Scene II] Notes 19! 

21. Which. If this is the right word, it is equivalent to -who. 
There may be some corruption of the text. 

22. Nave. Navel. Cf. Nash, Dido (1594): "Then from the 
navel to the throat at once He ript old Priam." 

24. Cousin. Macbeth and Duncan were both grandsons of 
King Malcolm. See on i. 3. 127 below. 

25. Gins. Not a contraction of begin, but the original word. 
Schmidt also gives it as a complete word, and recognizes can in 
L. L. L. iv. 3. 106 as its past tense an old form which Spenser 
sometimes uses. 

The general meaning of this passage is : " As thunder and storms 
sometimes come from the East, whence we expect the sunrise, so 
out of victory a new danger arises." 

31. Norweyan. The spelling of the folio, as in line 49 and i. 3. 
95 below. Surveying vantage = perceiving his opportunity ; used 
in a different sense in Rich. III. v. 3. 15 : " Let us survey the van- 
tage of the field." 

32. FurbisKd. Burnished; that is, not before used in the fight, 
not yet stained with blood. 

34. Captains. A trisyllable here; like the old form capitain. 

36. Sooth. Truth. Cf. v.. 5. 40 below. 

37. Cracks. Charges; the effect being put for the cause. For 
crack = report, cf. Temp. i. 2. 203 and T. of A. ii. I. 3. The word 
was much stronger in sense (as applied to sounds) than now. Cf. 
iv. i. 117 below. 

38. Doubly redoubled. Cf. Rich. II. i. 3. 80 : " thy blows, doubly 

40. Memorize. Make memorable, render famous. The mean- 
ing is, " make another Golgotha, which should be celebrated like 
the first." Cf. Hen. VIII. iii.* 2. 52. For Golgotha, see Mark, 
XV. 22. 

41. I cannot tell. I know not what to say or think of it ; as in 
T. of S. iv. 3. 22 : "I cannot tell; I fear 't is choleric." 

43. So well. We should say, as well. 


Notes [Act i 

45. Thane. An Anglo-Saxon nobleman, inferior in rank to an 
eorl and ealdorman. 

46. So should he look, etc. The meaning is, " So should he look 
that appears to be on the point of speaking things strange," or 
" whose appearance corresponds with the strangeness of his mes- 
sage." Cf. Rich. II. iii. 2. 194-197. 

49. Flout. Mock. Cf. K. John, v. I. 72 : " Mocking the air 
with colours idly spread." 

53. Cawdor. Cawdor Castle is about five miles south of Nairn 
and about fifteen miles from Inverness. The royal license to build 
it was granted by James II. in 1454. There is a tradition that a 
" wise man " counselled the Thane of Cawdor to load an ass with 
a chest full of gold, and to use the money in building a castle at the 
third hawthorn tree at which the beast should stop. The advice 
was followed, and the castle built round the tree, the trunk of 
which is still shown in the basement of the tower. The castle is 
still in excellent preservation, being used as a summer residence by 
the Earl of Cawdor. 

54. Till that. That is often used as " a conjunctional affix," with 
if, but, lest, when, etc. 

Bellona's bridegroom. No doubt S. means to compare Macbeth 
to Mars (cf. Rich. II. ii. 3. 100 : " the Black Prince, that young 
Mars of men"), though Mars was not the husband of Bellona. 
Lapp'd in proof = clad in armour of proof. Cf. Cymb. v. 5, 360: 
"lapp'd In a most curious mantle; " and Rich. II. i. 3. 73: "Add 
proof unto mine armour with thy prayers." 

55. Confronted him, etc. That is, gave him as good as he 
brought, showed he was his equal. Him refers to Norway. 

57. Lavish. Unrestrained, insolent. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. iv. 4. 62: 
"lavish manners; " and I Hen. VI. ii. 5. 47: "his lavish tongue." 

58. That now. The omission of so with that is common. Cf 
i. 7. 8, ii. 2. 7, ii. 2. 23, iv. 3. 6, iv. 3. 82, etc. 

59. Composition. Terms of peace. Cf. M. for M. i. 2. 2 : " If 
the duke with the other dukes come not to composition with tne 

Scene III] Notes 193 

king of Hungary, why then all the dukes fall upon the king." 
Norways 1 = Norwegians'. 

61. Saint Colme's Inch. The Island of St. Columba, now Inch- 
colm, an islet in the Firth of Forth, about two miles south of Aber- 
dour. Here are the remains of a monastery founded in 1123 by 
Alexander II., who had been driven on the island by stress of 
weather. There is also an oratory of rude construction, probably as 
old as the gth century. St. Columba is said to have resided here for 
a time; but the island must not be confounded with Colmes-kill, 
Icolmkill, or lona, the Island of St. Columba, on the west coast of 
Scotland, where " the gracious Duncan " (see ii. 4. 33 below) was 
laid beside his royal predecessors. Inch (the Gaelic inis, island) is 
found in the names of many Scotch islands, as Inchkeith, Inchken- 
neth, Inchmurrin, Inchcruin, Clairinch, Torrinch, Bucinch, etc. 

62. Dollars. Of course, an anachronism, the thaler, or dollar, 
having been first coined about 1518, in the Valley of St. Joachim, 
Bohemia. Thaler is derived from thai, valley. 

64. Bosom interest. Intimate affection. Cf. M. of V. iii. 4. 17: 
" bosom lover." Present = immediate. Cf. J. C. ii. 2. 5 : " Go bid 
the priests do present sac/ifice; " 2 Hen. IV. iv. 3. 80: "To York, 
to present execution." So presently = instantly; as in iv. 3. 145 
below. See another example in the next note. 

SCENE III. 2. Killing swine. Witches were often suspected of 
malice against swine. " Harsnet observes that, about that time, a 
sow could not be sick of the measles, nor a girl of the sullens, but 
some old woman was charged with witchcraft " (Johnson.) Stee- 
vens cites A Detection of Damnable Driftes practized by Three 
Witches, etc. (1579): "she came on a tyme to the house of one 
Robert Lathburie, . . . who, dislyking her dealyng, sent her home 
emptie ; but presently after her departure, his hogges fell sicke and 
died, to the number of twentie." 

5. Give me. For the omission of the direct object, cf. R. and J. 
iv. i. 121 : " Give me, give me ! " 

i^4 Notes [Act I 

6. Aroint thee. Cf. Lear, iii. 4. 129 : " Aroint thee, witch, aroint 
thee!" The meaning is evidently "Away with thee!" but the 
derivation of aroint is unknown (New Eng. Diet.}. 

Rump-fed. According to Colepepper, this means fed on offal 
(kidneys, rumps, and other scraps being among the low perquisites 
of the kitchen given away to the poor) ; but more likely it means 
well-fed: "she fed on best joints, I hungry and begging for a 
chestnut" (Moberly). Ronyon = a. scabby or mangy woman. 
The word is used again in M. W. iv. 2. 195. 

7. Aleppo. From this place there was a large caravan trade to 
Ispahan, Bussora, and Damascus. In Hakluyt's Voyages (1589) 
there are accounts of a voyage made to Aleppo by the ship Tiger of 
London, in 1583. Cf. '/'. ;V. v. i. 65 : "And this is he that did 
the Tiger board." 

8. A sieve. A favourite craft with witches. Sir W. Davenant 
says, in his Albovine (1629) : "He sits like a witch sailing in a 

9. Without a tail. It was believed that a witch could take the 
form of any animal, but that the tail would be wanting. Accord- 
ing to Sir F. Madden, one distinctive mark of a werwolf, or human 
being changed to a wolf, was the absence of a tail. 

10. / 'It do. That is, like a rat, gnaw through the hull of the 
Tiger and make her leak. 

11. / '// give thee a wind. Witches were generally supposed to 
sell winds. Cf. Sumner's Last Will and Testament (1600) : 

" in Ireland and Denmark both, 
Witches for gold will sell a man a wind, 
Which, in the corner of a napkin wrap'd, 
Shall blow him safe unto what coast he will." 

15. And the very ports they blow. That is, to which they 

17. The shipmates card. The card of the compass. Halliwell- 
Phillipps quotes The Loyal Subject: 

Scene III] Notes 195 

" The card of goodness in your minds, that shews ye 
When ye sail false ; the needle touch'd with honour, 
That through the blackest storms still points at happiness," etc. 

Cf. also Pope, Essay on Man, ii. 108 : 

" On life's vast ocean diversely we sail, 
Reason the card, but passion is the gale." 

For shipman, cf. T. and C. \. 2. 172; also I Kings, ix. 27 and 
Acts, xxvii. 27, 30. 

20. Pent-house lid. A pent-house was a porch with sloping roof, 
common in the domestic architecture of the time of S. There 
was one on the house in which he was born. Cf. Much Ado, 
iii. 3. 1 10 : " under this pent-house," etc. ; also Drayton, David 
and Goliath : 

" His brows, like two steep pent-houses, hung down 
Over his eyelids." 

21. Forbid. Under a ban, or accursed. 

32. Weird. The folios have " weyward," but weird is Holin- 
shed's word. " The weird sisters " is Gawin Douglas's translation 
of Virgil's " Parcae." For the dissyllabic pronunciation of the 
word, cf. ii. i. 20, iii. 4. 133, and iv. I. 136. 

33. Posters. Rapid travellers. 

34. About, about, etc. The witches here take hold of hands 
.and dance in a ring nine times, three rounds for each witch. Mul- 
tiples of three were specially affected by witches. 

38. Foul and fair. Macbeth and Banquo appear to be talking 
about the recent battle and its varying fortune. 

39. Forres. Forres is on the southern shore of the Moray Frith, 
about twenty-five miles from Inverness. At its western extremity 
there is a height commanding the river, the level country to the 
south, and the town. Here are the ruins of an ancient castle, a 
stronghold of the Earls of Moray. Some believe that it was the 
residence of Duncan, and afterwards of Macbeth, when the court 


Notes [Act I 

was at Forres. Not far distant is the famous "blasted heath," uf 
which Knight says : " There is not a more dreary piece of moor- 
land to be found in all Scotland. It is without tree or shrub. A 
few patches of oats are visible here and there, and the eye reposes 
on a fir plantation at one extremity; but all around is bleak and 
brown, made up of peat and bog water, white stones and bushes of 
furze. The desolation of the scene in stormy weather, or when the 
twilight fogs are trailing over the pathless heath or settling down 
upon the pools, must be indescribable." 

43. That man may question. With whom man may hold con- 
verse, or whom he may question. 

46. Beards. Cf. Beaumont and Fletcher, Honest Man's for- 
tune, ii. I : 

" And the women that 

Come to us, for disguises must wear beards ; 
And that 's, they say, a token of a witch." 

See also M. W. iv. 2. 202 : " I think the 'oman is a witch indeed; 
I like not when a 'oman has a great peard." 

48. Glamis. In Scotland pronounced as a monosyllable, with 
the first vowel as in alms. Glamis, or Glammis, is a village about 
twenty-five miles north-east of Perth, in a very beautiful situation. 
Near by is Glamis Castle, " perhaps the finest and most picturesque 
of the Scottish castles now inhabited." In its present form, it 
dates back only to the I7th century, though portions of it are much 
older. The original castle was frequently used as a residence by 
the Scottish kings, especially by Alexander II. in 1263-64. Robert 
II. gave it to John Lyon, who had married his daughter, but in 
1537 it reverted to the Crown, and James V. occupied it for some 
time. In front of the manse at Glamis is an ancient sculptured 
obelisk called " King Malcolm's Gravestone," and here tradition 
says he was buried. 

Sir Walter Scott says : " I was only nineteen or twenty years old 
when I happened to pass a night in this magnificent old baronial 
castle. The hoary old pile contains much in its appearance, and in 

Scene III] Notes 197 

the traditions connected with it, impressive to the imagination. It 
was the scene of the murder of a Scottish king of great antiquity; 
not indeed the gracious Duncan, with whom the name naturally 
associates it, but Malcolm II. It contains also a curious monu- 
ment of the peril of feudal times, being a secret chamber, the en- 
trance to which, by the law or custom of the family, must only be 
known to three persons at once the Earl of Strathmore, his heir- 
apparent, and any third person whom they may take into their 
confidence. The extreme antiquity of the building is vouched by 
the immense thickness of the walls, and the wild and straggling 
arrangement of the accommodation within doors. I was conducted 
to my apartment in a distant corner of the building; and I must 
own that, as I heard door after door shut, after my conductor had 
retired, I began to consider myself too far from the living and 
somewhat too near the dead." 

51. Good sir, why do you start, etc. Coleridge comments on 
this speech and the context as follows : 

" But O ! how truly Shakespearian is the opening of Macbeth's 
character given in the unpossessedness of Banquo's mind, wholly 
present to the present object an unsullied, unscarified mirror ! 
And how strictly true to nature it is that Banquo, and not Macbeth 
himself, directs our notice to the effect produced on Macbeth's 
mind, rendered temptable by previous dalliance of the fancy with 
ambitious thoughts : 

' Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear 
Things that do sound so fair ? ' 

And then, again, still unintroitive, addresses the witches : 

' I' the name of truth, 
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed 
Which outwardly ye show ? ' 

Banquo's questions are those of natural curiosity such as a girl 
would put after hearing a gipsy tell her school-fellow's fortune; 
all perfectly general, or rather planless. But Macbeth, lost in 

198 Notes [Act i 

thought, raises himself to speech only by the witches being about 
to depart: 'Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more;' and all 
that follows is reasoning on a problem already discussed in his 
mind on a hope which he welcomes, and the doubts concerning 
the attainment of which he wishes to have cleared up." 

53. Fantastical. That is, creatures of fantasy, or imagination. 
The word occurs in Holinshed's account of this interview with the 
weird sisters (see p. 172). Cf. line 139 below, and Kick. II. i. 

3- 299- 

54. Show. Appear. See on i. 2. 15. 

56. Having. Possession, estate. Cf. M. W.\\\. 2. 73: "The 
gentleman is of no having;" T. of A. ii. 2. 153 : 

" The greatest of your having lacks a half 
To pay your present debts." 

See also Hen. VIII. ii. 3. 23 and iii. 2. 159. 

57. That. On the omission of so, see i. 2. 58 above. 

60. Who neither beg, etc. Who neither beg your favours nor 
fear your hate. Cf. ii. 3. 48 below, and IV. T. iii. 2. 164: 

" Though I with death and with 
Reward did threaten and encourage him." 

The figure (called by some rhetoricians a form of chiasmus, or 
chiasni) is a favourite with S. See other examples of it in 
i Hen. VI. \. 5. 23, 24, C. of E. ii. 2. 115-120, M. N. D. iii. i. 113, 
114 (where five verbs are followed by five nouns), Temp. i. 2. 
334, 335, A. and C. iii. 2. 15-18 (six nouns and verbs) and iv. 15. 
25, 26, Ham. iii. I. 158, 159, Lear, iv. 2. 65, 66, and Cymb. iii. 
I. 3, 4. In the last three instances the order of nouns and verbs is 

65. Lesser. Still sometimes used as an adjective, but never ad- 
verbially, as in T. and C. ii. 2. 8: "Though no man lesser fears 
the Greeks than I." See also v. 2. 13 below. 

66. Happy. Fortunate; like the Latin felix. Cf. Lear, iv. 
6. 230. 

Scene III] Notes 199 

67. Get. Beget; but not a contraction of that word. See note 
on i. 2. 25 above. 

71. Sine!. The father of Macbeth, according to Holinshed. 
Ritson says his true name was Finleg (Finley). 

72. Johnson asks: " How can Macbeth be ignorant of the state 
of the thane whom he has just defeated and taken prisoner (see i. 
2. 50 fol.), or call him a prosperous gentleman who has forfeited 
his title and life by open rebellion? He cannot be supposed to 
dissemble, because nobody is present but Banquo, who was equally 
acquainted with Cawdor's treason." See Introduction, p. 16 above. 

76. Owe. Own, have; as very often. Cf. Rich. IL iv. I. 184: 
"That owes two buckets," etc. 

81. Corporal. Corporeal. S. never uses corporeal or incor- 
poreal. He has incorporal in Ham. Hi. 4. 118: " the incorporal 


On. Cf. /. C. i. 2. 71 : "jealous on me;" M. of V. ii. 6. 
67 : " glad on 't," etc. The insane root is an example of " pro- 
lepsis"; insane = making- insane. It is impossible to decide what 
plant is meant. Steevens quotes Greene, Never too Late (1616) : 
" you have eaten of the roots of hemlock, that makes men's eyes 
conceit unseen objects." " Root of hemlock " is one of the ingre- 
dients of the witches' cauldron, iv. I. 25. Douce cites Batman, 
Uppon Bartholome de Prop. Kerum : " Henbane ... is called in- 
sana, mad, for the use thereof is perillous, for if it be eate or 
dronke, it breedeth madnesse, or slow lyknesse of sleepe." The 
deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna} has also been suggested. 
Gerard, in his Herball, says of it : " This kinde of Nightshade 
causeth sleepe, troubleth the minde, bringeth madness, if a few 
of the berries be inwardly taken." John Bauhin, in his Histjria 
Plantarum, says : " Hyoscyamus was called herba insana." Insane 
is used by S. only here. The accent is on the first syllable. 

89. Ross. Some editors print the name Rosse; but as French 
(Shakespeareana Genealogtca) points out, that is " an Irish dignity," 
and should not be confounded with this Scottish title, which 

2OO Notes [Act i 

" really belonged to Macbeth, who, long before the action of the 
play begins, was Thane, or more properly, Maormor of Ross by the 
death of his father, Finley." 

92, 93. Thine refers to praises, his to wonders, and the reference 
is to the conflict in the king's mind between his astonishment at the 
achievement and his admiration of the achiever. Silenced with 
that has been variously explained, but it probably refers to this 
mental conflict. 

96. Nothing afeard. Nothing is often used adverbially. S. uses 
afeard 32 times and afraid 44 times (including the poems as well 
as the plays). 

97. As thick as tale. That is, as fast as they could be counted. 
The folio reading is " as thick as Tale Can post with post," etc. 
Came for "Can" is generally adopted. Tale, in this sense (num- 
bering, counting), is not found elsewhere in S., but it was then a 
common word. Cf. Exodus, v. 8. 18, I Samuel, xviii. 27, I Chron- 
icles, ix. 28, etc. Some editors, however, adopt the plausible emen- 
dation, "As thick as hail." 

106. Addition. Title. Cf. Cor. i. 9. 66, Hen. V. v. 2. 467, 
Ham. i. 4. 20, M. W. ii. 2. 312, etc. 

107. Devil. Metrically a monosyllable, like the Scotch de'ii. 
So whether in 1 1 1 just below. 

108. The thane of Cawdor lives, etc. See on line 72 above. 

109. Who. He who; a common ellipsis. 

112. Line. Strengthen, fortify. Cf. i Hen. IV. ii. 3. 86: "To 
line his enterprise;" Hen. V. ii. 4. 7 : "To line and new repair our 
towns of war." 

113. Vantage. See on i. 2. 31 above. 

114. Wrack. The spelling wreck is never found in the early 
eds. It rhymes with back in v. 5. 52 below, and in four other 
passages in S. ; also with alack once. 

1 20. Trusted home. Trusted completely. Cf. the expression 
still in use, " to strike home." 

121. Enkindle you unto. Incite you to hope for. Cf. A. Y. L. 

Scene III] Notes 2OI 

i. I. 179: "nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither" 
(that is, incite him to it). 

127. Cousins. The word was loosely used in the time of S., 
being applied by him to nephew, niece, uncle, brother-in-law, and 
grandchild. It was sometimes a mere complimentary title given by 
one prince to another or to distinguished noblemen. 

128. Swelling act. Cf. Hen. V. prol. 4: 

" princes to act, 
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene." 

130. Soliciting. That is, incitement. 

135. Unfix my hair. Cf. v. 5. 11-13. 

136. Seated. Fixed, firmly placed. Cf. Milton, P. L. vi. 644: 
"the seated hills." 

137. Present fears. For fear = object of fear, cf. M. N. ZX v. 

I. 21 : 

" Or in the night, imagining some fear, 

How easy is a bush suppos'd a bear ! " 

139. Fantastical. See on 53 above. Murther and murder are 
used indiscriminately in the early eds. 

140. My single state of man. Here single may mean "indi- 
vidual " (Schmidt) or perhaps " weak," as others explain it. On the 

passage, cf./. C. ii. I. 67: 

"the state of man, 

Like to a little kingdom, suffers then 
The nature of an insurrection." 

Cf. also T. and C. ii. 3. 184: 

" 'rwixt his mental and his active parts 
Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages, 
And batters down himself." 

For single = weak, unsupported, cf. Temp. i. 2. 432 : " A single 
thiiTg, as I am now." This may also be the meaning in i. 6. 16 

2O2 Notes [Act i 

That function, etc. " All powers of action are oppressed and 
crushed by one overwhelming image in the mind, and nothing is 
present to me but that which is really future. Of things now about 
me I have no perception, being intent wholly on that which has yet 
no existence " (Johnson). 

144. Stir. Motion, action. Cf. Rich. II. ii. 3. 51, etc. 

Come. Cf. R. of L. 1784: "Weak words, so thick come in his 
poor heart's aid." 

145. Our strange garments. That is, new ones. 

147. Time and the hour, etc. That is, time and occasion will 
carry the thing through, let its nature be what it will. A singular 
verb (like runs here) is often found with two singular nominatives, 
even when they are not so closely connected in sense as in this 

149. Favour. Indulgence, pardon. Wrought = agitated. Cf. 
W. T. v. 3. 58 : - 

" If I had thought the sight of my poor image 
Would thus have wrought you." 

151. Registered. That is, in his memory. 

154. The interim having weighed. That is, having allowed time 
for weighing, or considering it. 

SCENE IV. 9. Had been studied. Had made it his study. Cf. 
M. of V, ii. 2. 205 : 

" Like one well studied in a sad ostent 
To please his grandam." 

10. Owed. See on i. 3. 76 above. 

11. As'twere. As if it were. Cf. ii. 2. 27 below; and for care- 
less in the passive sense (= uncared-for), cf. sightless = invisible, in 
i. 7. 23. 

There 's no art, etc. " Duncan's childlike spirit makes a mo- 
ment's pause of wonder at the act of treachery, and then fling." 
itself, like Gloster in King Lear, with still more absolute trust ana 

Scene IV] Notes 203 

still more want of reflection, into the toils of a far deeper and darker 
treason. The pause on the word trust, shortening the line by two 
syllables, is in this point of view very suggestive" (Moberly). 

19. Proportion. The proper proportion. Cf. T. and C. i. 3. 87 : 
" proportion, season, form." 

20. Mine. In my power, mine to give ; as all in the next lint- 
means all / have. 

23. Pays itself. Is its own reward. 

27. Safe toward. With sure tendency, or certain direction. 

30. Nor. We should now use And. Cf. M. of V. iii. 4. n: 
"Nor shall not now." 

33. My plenteous joys, etc. Cf. R. and J. iii. 2. 102: 
" Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring; 
Your tributary drops belong to woe, 
Which you, mistaking, offer up to joy ; " 

and W. T. v. 2. 47 : " There might you have beheld one joy crown 
another, so and'in such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to take 
leave of them, for their joy waded in tears." 

37. We will establish our estate, etc. The throne of Scotland 
was originally not hereditary. 

39 Cumberland. When the successor to the throne was desig- 
nated in the lifetime of the king, the title of Prince of Cumberland 
was bestowed upon him. Cumberland was at that time helc 
Scotland of the crown of England as a fief. 

45. Harbinger. Used here in its original sense of an officer 
whose duty it was to ride in advance of the king and secure lodg- 
ings for the royal retinue. Nares cites the old play of Albumaz, 

vii. 137: 

" I have no reason, nor spare room lor any. 
Love's harbinger hath chalk'd upon my heart, 
And with a coal writ on my brain, for Flavia, 
This house is wholly taken up for Flavia" 

It appears that the custom was kept up as late as the time of 
Charles II. Hawkins, in his Life of Bishop Ken, says: "On the 

204 Notes [Act i 

removal of the court to pass the summer at Winchester, Bishop 
Ken's house, which he held in the right of his prebend, was 
marked by the harbinger for the use of Mrs. Eleanor Gwyn; but 
he refused to grant her admittance, and she was forced to seek for 
lodgings in another place." 

50. Stars, hide your fires ! This does not imply that it is now 
night, but only that he looks forward to night as the time for com- 
mitting the crime. 

52. The eye, etc. Let the eye not see what the hand does. 

54. Full so valiant. Quite as brave as you say. While Macbeth 
has been soliloquizing, Duncan and Banquo have been talking about 
his recent deeds. 

56. Banquet. Feast. It sometimes meant merely the dessert. 
Cf. T. of S.v. 2. 9 : - 

" My banquet is to close our stomachs up 
After our great good cheer." 

58. It is. The it is here used with "affectionate familiarity." 
Often it expresses contempt or detestation ; as in Temp. i. 2. 309, 
M. of V. i. 2. 15, Hen. V. iii. 6. 70, etc. 

SCENE V. 2. By the perfectest report. By the best intelligence 
that of experience. 

4. They made themselves air. Sheridan Knowles remarks that 
in the look and tone with which Mrs. Siddons delivered the word 
air "you recognized ten times the wonder with which Macbeth 
and Banquo actually beheld the vanishing of the witches." 

5. Whiles. Properly the genitive of while, meaning "of, or 
during, the time." Cf. Matthew, v. 25. 

6. Missives. Messengers; as in the only other instance in which 
S. uses the word (A. and C. ii. 2. 74). 

7. All-hailed. The folio has the hyphen. Cf. Florio (ftal. 
Diet.) : " Salutare, to salute, to greet, to alhaile." 

10. Deliver thee. Report to thee. Cf. Temp. v. i. 313: "I'll 
deliver all," etc. 

Scene V] Notes 205 

17. It is too full o 1 the milk of human kindness. For the meta- 
phor, cf. iv. 3. 98 below, R. and J. iii. 3. 55, and Lear, i. 4. 364. 

20. The illness should. The evil which should. S. uses ill- 
ness only here; and the word does not occur at all in Milton's 

22-25. Thou >dst have, etc. The general meaning seems to be : 
" You want to have what can only be obtained on conditions which 
it proclaims of itself; you wish also to have what you rather fear to 
do than wish not to be done." 

25. Hie thee. Here, as in "Look thee " (W. T. iii. 3- I l6 )> 
"Hark thee" (Cymb. i. 5. 32), etc., thee seems to be used for 


27. Chastise. Accented by S. on the first syllable. Cf. Rich. II. 

ii. 3. 104. 

28. The golden round. Cf. iv. I. 88: 

" And wears upon his baby brow the round 
And top of sovereignty." 

29. Metaphysical. Supernatural (to which word it is etymolog- 
ically analogous). S. uses the word nowhere else. Cf. Flono's 

World of Wordes, 1598: " Metafisico, one that professeth things 
supernaturall." On seem, cf. i. 2. 4? above ; also A. W. iii. 6. 9 4 = 
"that so confidently seems to undertake this business," etc. Doth 
seem to have is nearly equivalent to would have. 

30. Tidings. Like news, used by S. both as singular and 


31 Thou 'rtmad, etc. "The lady's self-control breaks down 

for a moment at hearing that Duncan is rushing into the toils; 
and is only by a powerful effort regained in the next words 


35 Had the speed of him. Has outstripped him. 
37. Tending. Attendance; or tendance, which S. uses instead. 
Cf. T. of A. i. i. 57, Hen. VIII. iii. 2. 149, Cymb. v. 5. 53, etc. 
Tending occurs as a noun only here. 

206 Notes [Act i 

38. The raven himself is hoarse, etc. Cf. James Russell Lowell's 
remarks on the passage (Among My Books, p. 186) : 

" Here Shakespeare, with his wonted tact, makes use of a vulgai 
superstition, of a type in which mortal presentiment is already em- 
bodied, to make a common ground on which the hearer and Lady 
Macbeth may meet. After this prelude we are prepared to be pos- 
sessed by her emotion more fully, to feel in her ears the dull tramp 
of the blood that seems to make the raven's croak yet hoarser than 
it is, and to betray the stealthy advance of the mind to its fell pur- 
pose. For Lady Macbeth hears not so much the voice of the bode- 
ful bird as of her own premeditated murder, and we are thus made 
her shuddering accomplices before the fact. Every image receives 
the colour of the mind, every word throbs with the pulse of one 
controlling passion. The epithet fatal makes us feel the implacable 
resolve of the speaker, and shows us that she is tampering with her 
conscience by putting off the crime upon the prophecy of the Weird 
Sisters to which she alludes. In the word battlements, too, not only 
is the fancy led up to the perch of the raven, but a hostile image 
takes the place of a hospitable one ; for men commonly speak of 
receiving a guest under their roof or within their doors. When 
Duncan and Banquo arrive at the castle, their fancies, free from all 
suggestion of evil, call up only gracious and amiable images. The 
raven was but the fantastical creation of Lady Macbeth's over- 
wrought brain. 

' This guest of summer, 
The temple-haunting martlet, doth approve 
By his lovd mansionry that the heaven's breath 
Smells ivooingly here ; no jutty, frieze, 
Buttress, or coign of vantage, but this bird 
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle." 

" The contrast here cannot but be as intentional as it is marked. 
Every image is one of welcome, security, and confidence. The sum- 
mer, one may well fancy, would be a very different hostess from hei 
whom we have just seen expecting them. And why temple-haunting, 

Scene V] Notes 207 

unless because it suggests sanctuary? O immaginativa, eke si ne 
rubi delle cose di fuor, [O imagination, who takest away outward 
things], how infinitely more precious are the inward ones thou 
givest in return ! If all this be accident, it is at least one of those 
accidents of which only this man was ever capable." 
39. Entrance. A trisyllable here. 

41. Mortal. Deadly; as very often in S. and other writers. On 
tend, see on 37 above. 

42. Top-full. Used again in K.John, iii. 4. 180. 

44. Access. Accented as here by S. except in Ham. ii. I. no. 
Remorse = relenting, pity; as in V. and A. 257: "'Pity,' she 
cries, 'some favour, some remorse!'" See also Temp. v. I. 76, 
M. ofV. iv. I. 20, K. John, ii. I. 478, etc. So S. uses remorseful 
= pitiful (T. G. of V. iv. 3. 13, A. W. v. 3. 58, etc.) and remorse- 
less = pitiless (J?. of L. 562, Ham. ii. 2. 609, etc.). This last word 
is still used in the same sense. 

46. Keep peace between, etc. Come between the purpose and 
its accomplishment; "as one who interferes between a violent 
man and the object of his wrath keeps peace." 

48. Take my milk for gall. That is, turn it to gall. 

49. Sightless substances. Invisible forms. See on careless, i. 4. 
II, and cf. i. 7. 23 below. 

51. Pall. Wrap (Latin pallire, from pallium}. Used by S. 
only here, and perhaps by no other writer as a verb. Of course, 
pall become vapid (Ham. v. 2. 9, A. and C. ii. 7. 88) is an 
entirely different word. 

53. Blanket. This word has sorely troubled the critics. Cole- 
ridge suggested "blank height," but omitted it in the 2d ed. of his 
Table Talk. Blackness and blankest are other attempts at emen- 
dation where none is needed. Malone remarks: "Blanket was 
perhaps suggested by the coarse woollen curtain of S.'s own theatre, 
through which, probably, while the house was but yet half-lighted, 
he had himself often peeped." Whiter (quoted by Furness) says : 
" Nothing is more certain than that all the images in this pas- 

208 Notes [Act I 

sage are borrowed from the stage. The peculiar and appropriate 
dress of Tragedy is a pall * and a knife. When tragedies were 
represented, the stage was hung with black. ... In R. of I.. 
(764-770) there is a wonderful coincidence with this passage, in 
which we have not only ' Black stage for tragedies and murders 
fell,' but also ' comfort-killing Night, image of hell,' corresponding 
with thick Night and the dunnest smoke of hell. Again, in line 
788, we have 'Through Night's black bosom should not peep 
again.' " But, whatever may have suggested it, blanket, though 
homely, is Shakespearian. 

55. Hereafter. Mrs. Jameson remarks : " This is surely the very 
rapture of ambition ! and those who have heard Mrs. Siddons pro- 
nounce the word hereafter cannot forget the look, the tone, which 
seemed to give her auditors a glimpse of the awful future, which 
she, in her prophetic fury, beholds upon the instant." 

57. Ignorant. "Unknowing; I feel by anticipation those future 
honours, of which, according to the process of nature, the pres- 
ent time would be ignorant" (Johnson). Feel is metrically a 

63. To beguile the time. That is, to deceive the world. 

65. Look like the innocent flower, etc. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 2. 19: 

"And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower, 
Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder ; " 

and 2 Hen. VI. iii. i. 228 : "The snake roll'd in a flowering bank." 
72. To alter favour, etc. To bear an altered face marks fear in 
you and creates it in others. On favour = face, cf. /. C. i. 2. 91 : 
" Your outward favour," etc. See also Proverbs, xxxi. 30. 

SCENE VI. Sir Joshua Reynolds remarks : " This short dia- 
logue between Duncan and Banquo has always appeared to me a 

1 Cf. Milton, // Pens. 97 : 

" Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy 
In sceptred pall come sweeping by." (Ed.) 

Scene VI] Notes 209 

striking instance of what in painting is termed repose. Their con- 
versation very naturally turns upon the beauty of the situation, and 
the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlets' 
nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks that where those birds 
most breed and haunt the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet 
and easy conversation gives that repose so necessary to the mind 
after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly 
contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds." 

3. Gentle senses. That is, which it makes gentle, or soothes; an 
instance of " prolepsis," or the anticipation, in an adjective, of the 
result of the action. There is a striking example of this figure in 
Keats's Isabella : 

" So the two brothers and their murder'd man 
Rode past fair Florence ; " 

the murder'd man being not yet despatched, though soon to be so. 
Cf. i. 3. 84 and iii. 4. 76 below. 

4. Martlet. The folios have " Barlet." The emendation is 
Rowe's, and is adopted by all the editors. It is supported by M. of 
V. ii. 9. 28 : " Like the martlet, Builds in the weather on the out- 
ward wall." Cf. T. of A. iii. 6. 31. Approve = \rtov&; as often in 
S. Cf. M. of V. iii. 2. 79, 2 Hen. IV, i. 2. 1 80, A. W. iii. 7. 
13, etc. 

5. Mansionry. Theobald's emendation for the " Mansonry " of 
the folios. Mansionry is found nowhere else, but it is generally 
adopted by the editors here. 

6. Jutty. The folios read " jutty frieze " without a comma be- 
tween, as if jutty were an adjective. It is not, however, found as 
an adjective, though it occurs both as a substantive and as a verb. 
For the latter, see Hen. V. iii. I. 13 : " O'erhang and jutty his con- 
founded base." S. uses the word only twice. 

7. Coign of vantage. Convenient corner. Cf. Cor. v. 4. I. As 
an architectural term it is now commonly written quoin. 

11-14. The love, etc. "Duncan says that even love sometimes 


Notes [Act i 

occasions him trouble, but that he thanks it as love, notwithstand- 
ing; and that thus he teaches Lady Macbeth, while she takes 
trouble on his account, to ' bid God yield,' or reward, him for giving 
that trouble." S. uses sometime and sometimes indifferently, both in 
this sense and as an adjective = former. God 'te/d is a corruption 
of " God yield." " God ild " and " God dild " are common forms 
of it in the old writers. Cf. A. Y. L. iii. 3. 76, v. 4. 56, A. and C. 
iv. 2. 33, Ham. iv. 5. 41, etc. 

1 6. Single business. That is, small business. Cf. i. 3. 140 
above. To contend against = to vie with. 

19. To them. Cf. iii. I. 51 below. 

20. Hermits. We as hermits, or beadsmen, will pray for you. 

21. Cours'd. Chased. Cf. Lear, iii. 4. 58: "to course his own 
shadow," etc. 

22. Purveyor. An officer sent forward to provide food for the 
king and his retinue, as the harbinger to obtain lodging. The 
word, used nowhere else by S., is accented on the first syllable. 

23. Holp. An old past tense and participle of help ; used by S. 
much oftener than helped. Cf. Rich. II. v. 5. 62, Temp. i. 2. 63, etc. 

26. In compt. In account, accountable. Cf. A. W.\. 3. 57, etc. 
31. By your leave. Duncan gives his hand to Lady Macbeth, 
and leads her into the castle. 

SCENE VII. The sewer in the stage-direction was the servant 
who put the dishes on the table, and tasted of them before serving 
them. Cf. Rick. II. v. 5. 99. 

i, 2. The punctuation given is essentially that of the folios, and 
is followed by most of the editors. A few point it thus : 

" If it were done when 't is done, then 't were well. 
It were done quickly if the assassination 
Could trammel," etc. 

If we retain the old pointing which seems best, on the whole 
the meaning is: "If the act were really over when done, then the 
sooner we accomplish it the better." 

Scene VII] Notes 211 

3. Trammel up. Entangle as in a net. A trammel was a kind 
of net. Cf. Quarles, Emblems : " Nay, Cupid, pitch thy trammel 
where thou please." In Spenser it is a net for the hair; as in 
F. Q.u. 2. 15: 

" Her golden lockes she roundly did uptye 
In breaded tramels" (that is, braided nets). 

4. His surcease. Its conclusion, or cessation. His was often 
used for its, which was just coming into use in the time of S. Sur- 
cease has no etymological connection with cease, being derived from 
the Fr. surseoir (Lat. supersedere), S. uses it as a noun only 
here; but as a verb in R. of L. 1766, Cor. iii. 2. 121, and R, and J. 
iv. I. 97. Success is used in its ordinary sense; as in i. 3. 90, 132, 
and i. 5. 2 above. It sometimes means "sequel, what follows"; 
as in T. and C. ii. 2. 117: "fear of bad success," etc. 

6. But here. Only here, only in this life. 

Shoal. The folios have " Schoole," which some critics would 
retain, but shoal is generally adopted. It means " this shallow of 
human life, as opposed to the great abyss of eternity." 

7. Jump. For jump risk, hazard, cf. Cor. iii. I. 154: "To 
jump a body with a dangerous physic;" and Cymb. v. 4. 188: 
" jump the after inquiry on your own peril." 

8. That. So that ; as in line 25 below. See on i. 3. 57 above. 
II. Commends. Offers, commits. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 3. 116: 

"His glittering arms he will commend to rust;" A. and C. iv. 8. 
23 : " Commend unto his lips thy favouring hand," etc. See also 
iii. i. 38 below. 

17. Faculties. Official powers or prerogatives. Cf. Hen. VIII. 

i. 2. 73 : 

" If I am 

Traduced by ignorant tongues, which neither know 
My faculties nor person." 

20. Taking-off. Cf. Lear, v. I. 65: "His speedy taking off." 
See also iii. i. 104 below. 


Notes [Act i 

21. A naked new-born babe. " Either like a mortal babe terrible 
in helplessness ; or like heaven's child-angels, mighty in love and 
compassion" (Moberly). 

22. Cherubin. Cf. Temp. i. 2, 152: "a cherubin," etc. The 
form cherubim is not used by S. He has the plural cherubins in 
Sonn. 114. 6. 

23. Sightless. See on i. 5. 49 above. 

25. 7%#/ (ears, etc. See on 8 above. Cf. T. and C. iv. 4. 55 : 
" Where are my tears? Rain, to lay this wind." 

I have no spur, etc. Malone says : " There are two distinct 
metaphors. I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent : I have 
nothing to stimulate me to the execution of my purpose, but am- 
bition, which is apt to overreach itself; this he expresses by the 
second image, of a person meaning to vault into his saddle, who, 
by taking too great a leap, will fall on the other side." 

28. On the other. That is, the other side; but there is no 
necessity for supplying " side," as some have done. 

32. Bought. Acquired, gained; a figurative use of the word 
natural enough, and common in S. Cf. L. L. L. i. I. 5 : 

" The endeavour of this present breath may buy 
That honour," etc. 

Cf. also the use of purchase in Rich. II. i. 3. 282 and M. of V. 
ii. 9. 43. 

35. Was the hope drunk, etc. A mixture of metaphors ; but 
the sense is clear : " Were you drunk when you formed your bold 
plan, and are you now just awake from the debauch, to be crest- 
fallen, shrinking, mean-spirited?" The dressed was apparently 
suggested by the figure just used by Macbeth. For a similar figure, 
without the " mixture," see K.John, iv. 2. 116. 

41. Wouldst thou have, etc. Do you desire the crown, yet 
resolve to live a coward because your daring will not second your 
desire ? 

45. The poor cat, etc. Johnson quotes the Low Latin form of 

Scene VII] Notes 

the proverb : " Catus amat pisces, sed non vult tingere plantas." 
In French it is " Le chat aime le poisson, mais il n'aime pas a 
mouiller ses pattes." Cf. Heywood's Proverbs, 1566: "The cate 
would eate fishe, and would not wet her feete." 

47. Who dares do more is none. Cf. At. for M. ii. 4. 134: 

" Be that you: are, 
That is, a woman ; if you be more, you're none." 

Hunter would retain the folio reading ("no more"), and give the 
line to Lady Macbeth. 

What beast, etc. If this enterprise be not the device of a man, 
what beast induced you to propose it? 

48. Break. Here followed by to, as it would be now, but often 
in S. by with; as inf. C. ii. i. 150, Hen. VIII. v. I. 47, etc. 

52. Adhere. Cohere, be suitable. Cf. M. W. ii. I. 62 and T. N. 
iii. 4. 86. 

53. That their fitness. Cf. ii. 2. 61 and iii. 6. 48 below. 

59. We fail. Mrs. Jameson says: " In her impersonation of the 
part of Lady Macbeth, Mrs. Siddons adopted successively three 
different intonations in giving the words we fail. At first a quick 
contemptuous interrogation ' we fail? ' Afterwards with the note 
of admiration 'we fail!' and an accent of indignant astonish- 
ment, laying the principal emphasis on the word we we fail! 
Lastly, she fixed on what I am convinced is the true reading 
'we fail.' with the simple period, modulating her voice to a deep, 
low, resolute tone, which settled the issue at once as though she 
had said, ' if we fail, why then we fail, and all is over.' This is con- 
sistent with the dark fatalism of the character and the sense of the 
line following, and the effect was sublime, almost awful." 

Compare what Fletcher (Studies of Shakespeare} says : " Her quiet 
reply, 'We fail,' is every way most characteristic of the speaker 
expressing that moral firmness in herself which makes her quite 
prepared to endure the consequences of failure and, at the same 
time, conveying the most decisive rebuke of such moral cowardice 

2I 4 

Notes [Act i 

in her husband as can make him recede from a purpose merely on 
account of the possibility of defeat a possibility which, up to the 
very completion of their design, seems never absent from her own 
mind, though she finds it necessary to banish it from that of her 

60. But screw your courage, etc. A metaphor from screwing up 
the chords of stringed instruments. Cf. Cor. i. 8. n : " Wrench up 
thy power to the highest; " and T. N. v. i. 125 : 

"And that I partly know the instrument 
That screws me from my true place in your favour." 

64. Wassail. Originally, the "toast," or form of words (=be 
well, a health to you!) in which healths were pledged in drinking; 
thence a drinking-bout or carousal; and also applied to the spiced 
ale or wine used on such occasions. Cf. L. L. L. v. 2. 318: "At 
wakes and wassails; " Ham. i. 4. 9: "keeps wassail," etc. Con- 
vince = overcome (Lat. convincere)', as in iv. 3. 142 below. See 
also Oth. iv. i. 28. 

66. Shall be a fume. Cf. Temp. v. I. 67: 

" The ignorant fumes that mantle 
Their clearer reason." 

Receipt. Receptacle; the only instance of this meaning in S. Cf. 
Matthe-LV, ix. 9 : " the receipt of custom." 

67. Limbeck. Alembic; as in So tin. 119.2. Cf. Milton, P. L. 
iii. 605 : " Drain'd through a limbec." 

68. A death. A kind of death, a sleep like death. Cf. IV. T. 
iv. 2. 3. 

71. Spongy. Drunken. In M. of V. i. 2. 108, the guzzling Ger- 
man is compared to a sponge. 

72. Quell. Murder. Quell in Old English = kill, which is origi- 
nally the same word. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. ii. 7. 40 : 

"and well could weld [wield] 
That cursed weapon, when his cruell foes he queld." 

Scene VII] Notes 215 

Man-queller (= manslayer, murderer) occurs in 2 Hen. IV. ii. 
I. 58. The redoubtable "Jack" was formerly called "the giant - 
queller," instead of " giant-killer." 

73. Mettle. In the early eds. no distinction is made between 
metal and mettle. 

74. Received. Accepted as true, believed. Cf. M. for M. i. 3. 


" For so I have strew'd it in the common ear, 
And so it is receiv'd ; " 

T. G. of V. v. 4. 78 : " And once again I do receive thee honest," 

77. Other. Otherwise. Cf. v. 4. 8 below. 

79. Bend up. Strain, like a bow. Cf. Hen. V. Hi. I. 16: 

" Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit 
To his full height." 

80. Each corporal agent. All my bodily powers. 

81. Mock Hie time. See on i. 5. 63 above. 


SCENE I. The old stage-direction says nothing about "a ser- 
vant with a torch," as in many modern eds.; though "a Torch" 
sometimes means a torch-bearer, as " a Trumpet " means a trtimpeter. 

4. Husbandry. Thrift, economy. Cf. Ham. i. 3. 77 : " borrow- 
ing dulls the edge of husbandry." S. several times uses heaven as 
plural (= heavenly beings). Cf. Rich. II. i. 2. 7: 

" Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven : 
Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth, 
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads ; " 

For the metaphor, cf. M. of V. v. i. 220: "these blessed candles 
of the night; " R. and J. iii. 5. 9 : " Night's candles are burnt out; " 
and Sonn. 21. 12 : " those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air." 

Scene I] Notes 21 J 

5. Take thee that too. Probably his shield or targe. 

6. Heavy. Drowsy, sleepy; as often. Cf. R. of L. 121, 163, 
1574, Temp, \. z. 189, 194, 198, M. N. D. v. I. 380, etc. 

9. Give me my sword. He does not recognize Macbeth at first, 
and does not know whether the late-comer is friend or foe. 

14. Offices. The servants' quarters. Cf. Rich. //. i. 2. 69, etc. 

15. This diamond, etc. Grant White says that this "shows the 
result of hasty writing," because Banquo " had been charged to 
deliver a diamond to Lady Macbeth " and had not done it; but 
the preceding dialogue shows that he had just received it, and that 
he supposed Macbeth and his wife had retired for the night. 

1 6. Shut up. The expression has been much discussed. It is 
commonly explained as = " concluded "; but I am inclined to think 
it means that the king is now shut up in his chamber, having retired 
with measureless content, or satisfaction. 

1 8. Our -Mill, etc. Our will had to submit to our deficient means 
instead of being free to carry out our wishes. 

22. When, etc. When we can ask you to put an hour at our 

24. Kindest. Cf. "stern'st" (ii. 2. 4), "near'st" (iii. I. 117), 
and "secret'st" (iii. 4. 126) below; all harsh contractions. 

25. If you, etc. If you adhere to my party whenever it is estab- 

In Davenant's version of Macbeth, this passage reads : 

" If when the Prophesie begins to look like truth 
You will adhere to me, it shall make honour for you." 

28. Franchis'd. Free, unstained. 

31. My drink. This night-cup or posset was a common indul- 
gence of the time. Cf. ii. 2.6: "I have drugg'd their possets." 

33. Is (his a dagger, etc. " A delusion appearing after the man- 
ner of the Highland second sight ; more substantial than the ' im- 
age of murder' which shakes his soul in i. 4, but not accepted 

2i 8 Notes [Act ii 

and believed by him like the apparition of Banquo afterwards " 

34. Toward. S. used toward and towards (see line 55 below) 
interchangeably, or as either suited his ear; at least, both are 
found in the early eds. Cf. i. 3. 152, i. 4. 27, i. 6. 30, v. 4. 21, etc. 

36. Sensible. Perceptible, tangible. Cf. M. of V. ii. 9. 89: 
"sensible regreets," etc. 

44, 45. Mine eyes, etc. Either my eyes are deceived while the 
other senses are not, or they are more trustworthy than the latter. 

46. Dudgeon. This undoubtedly means here the handle of a 
dagger, but its derivation is doubtful. It was some kind of wood 
used by turners; boxwood, according to several old authorities. 
Gerard, in his Herball, under the article Box-tree, says : " The 
root is likewise yellow, and harder than the timber, but of greater 
beauty, and more fit for dagger-hafts, boxes, and such like uses. 
. . . Turners and cutlers, if I mistake not the matter, doe call this 
wood dudgeon, wherewith they make dtidgeon-hafted daggers." 

Gouts. Drops (Fr. gotttte), S. uses the word (in this sense) 
only here. 

48. Informs. Creates forms; or, perhaps, takes form, shapes 

49. The one-half world. Cf. I Hen. IV. iv. I. 136: "this one 
half year." 

50. Abuse. Deceive ; as often. Cf. Temp. v. 1 . 112: " some 
enchanted trifle to abuse me; " Much Ado, v. 2. 100 : " the prince 
and Claudio mightily abused," etc. In iii. 4. 142, " self-abuse " 
means self-deception. 

52. Hecate's. A dissyllable. Cf. Lear,\. I. 112 : "The mys- 
teries of Hecate and of night; " Ham. iii. 2. 269 : "With Hecate's 
ban thrice blasted, thrice infected." See also iii. 2. 41 and iii. 5. i 

53. Alaruni'd. The same word as alarmed. The derivation 
(Ital. air anne} may be illustrated by Holland's Livy, p. 331 : 
"This sayd, he runs downe with as great a noyse and showting as 

Scene II] Notes 219 

he could, crying, at arme, help help citizens, the castle is taken by 
the enemie, come away to defense." 

54. Whose howl 's his watch. Who marks the nightwatches by 

55. Strides. The folios have " sides," which a few editors retain, 
making it a verb = matches. Cf. Rich. II. i. 3. 268 : " Every 
tedious stride I make;" and Harrington's Ariosto, 1591 : "He 
takes a long and leisurable stride." The word as then used was not 
inconsistent with " stealthy pace." 

59. And take, etc. That is, break the silence that added such a 
horror to the night as suited well with the deed he was about to 

60. Whiles. See on i. 5. 5 above. 

62. The bell invites me. See 32 above. 

63. Knell. Alluding to the " passing bell " which was formerly 
tolled when a person was dying. 

SCENE II. The folio has "Scena Secunda" here, but some 
editors make no change of scene. I adhere to the old division of 
scenes solely to avoid confusion in referring to this part of the 

i. That which hath made them drunk, etc. Some critics have 
supposed that the Lady had taken wine to support her courage. 
But in saying "That which hath made them drunk," she implies 
that she herself was not drunk. Is anything more meant than that 
she had taken her regular night-cup (see on ii. I. 31 above), and 
that she felt the slightly stimulating effect of the " posset " ? The 
grooms would not have been " drunk," or stupefied, if their possets 
had not been drugged. 

3. The fatal bellman, etc. Cf. Webster's Duchess of Malfi, 

iv. 2 : 

" I am the common bellman, 

That usually is sent to condemn'd persons 
The night before they suffer." 


Notes [Act ii 

See also R. of L. 165 : "No noise but owls' and wolves' death- 
boding cries; " Rich. III. iv. 4. 509 : " Out on you, owls ! nothing 
but songs of death," etc. 

5. Grooms. Originally, servants of any kind. 

6. Possets. See on ii. I. 31 above. Randle Holmes {Academy 
of Armoiirie, 1688) says : " Posset is hot milk poured on ale or sack, 
having sugar, grated bisket, and eggs, with other ingredients, 
boiled in it, which goes all to a curd." This explains why the 
posset is often spoken of as "eaten." Cf. M. IV. v. 5. 180 : "Thou 
shall eat a posset to-night at my house." S. uses posset as a verb 
in Ham. \. 5. 68 : 

" And with a sudden vigour it doth posset 
And curd, like eager droppings into milk, 
The thin and wholesome blood." 

7. That. So that. See on i. 3. 57 above, and cf. line 23 below. 

8. Who 's there? what, ho ! Macbeth fancies that he hears some 
noise (see line 14), and in his nervous excitement he rushes to the 
balcony, and calls beneath, "Who 's there ?" In his agony, how- 
ever, he waits for no answer, but hurries back into the chamber to 
execute the murder. 

ii. Confounds. Ruins, destroys; the most common meaning of 
the word in S. Cf. iv. I. 54 and iv. 3. 99 below. See also M. of V. 
iii. 2. 78, Rich. If. iii. 4. 60, etc. 

20. Sorry. Sad. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. v. I, 14: 

"To whom as they approched, they espide 
A sorie sight as ever scene with eye, 
An headlesse Ladie lying him beside 
In her own blood all wallow'd woefully." 

24. Addressed them. "Made themselves ready" (Schmidt). Cf. 
M. W. iii. 5. 135, M. of V. ii. 9. 19, etc. 

27. As they had seen me, etc. See on i. 4. n above. 
Hangman. Executioner. Cf. M. of V. iv. i. 125: "the hang- 

Scene II] Notes 221 

man's axe." It is applied jocosely to Cupid in Much Ado, iii. 2. 1 1 : 
" the little hangman dare not shoot at him." 

28. Listening. Used transitively, as in Much Ado, iii. I. I2,/. C. 
iv. I. 41, and Rich. II. ii. I. 9. 

33. Thought. That is, thought of. 

34. So. If we so think of them. 

35-40. We follow Johnson and most of the recent editors in 
limiting what the " voice " says to " Sleep no more ! Macbeth does 
murther sleep!" The earlier editors generally, except Johnson, 
make the "voice" continue to "feast"; but all from "the innocent 
sleep " is evidently his own conscience-stricken reflections on the 
imaginary utterances. 

37. Sleave. Coarse, soft, unwrought silk. Cf. Florio, Ital. Diet., 
1598 : " Sfilazza. Any kind of ravelled stuffe, or sleave silk; " also 
" Capitone, a kind of coarse silk, called sleave silke." Cf. T. and C. 
v. i. 35: "Thou idle immaterial skein of sleave-silk." See also 
Drayton, Quest of Cynthia : 

" The bank, with daffidillies dight, 
With grass, like sleave, was matted." 

40. Nourisher. Cf. Chaucer, C. T. 10661: "The norice of 
digestion, the sleep." Rushton (quoted by Furness) cites Ovid, 
Met. xi. 623 : 

" Somne, quies rerum, placidissime Somne deorum, 
Pax animi, quern cura fugit, qui corda diurnis 
Fessa ministeriis mulces, reparasque labori." 

Cf. Golding's quaint translation (1587) : 

" O sleepe, quoth she, the rest of things, O gentlest of the goddes 
Sweet sleepe, the peace of mind, with whom crookt care is aye at odds ; 
Which cherishest men's weary limbs appall'd with toyling^sore, 
And makest them as fresh to worke, and lustie as before." 
46. Brainsickly. Madly; the only instance of the adverb in S. 

The adjective brainsick occurs six times. Cm get some water, etc., 

cf. v. I. 66. 

222 Notes [Act II 

55. A painted devil. Cf. Webster, White Devil: "Terrify 
babes, my lord, with painted devils." 

56. / 'II gild, etc. Though there is no real resemblance between 
the colour of blood and that of gold, to gild with blood was an ex- 
pression not uncommon in the i6th century. Gold was popularly 
and very generally styled red, as it still is in poetry sometimes. So 
we have "golden blood," ii. 3. 97 below. Cf. K. John, ii. i. 316: 
" all gilt with Frenchmen's blood." For the quibble on gilt and 
guilt, cf. 2 Hen. IV. iv. 5. 129 and Hen. V. ii. chorus, 26. See also 
Middleton, A Mad World : "Though guilt condemns, 't is gilt must 
make us glad;" Marlowe, Hero and Leander : 

" That, this word gilt including double sense, 
The double guilt of his incontinence 
Might be express'd," etc. 

57. That knocking. Macduff and Lennox are knocking at the 
south gate, as the next scene shows. 

On the dramatic purpose of this knocking, De Quincey remarks : 
"The murderers, and the murder, must be insulated cut off by 
an immeasurable gulf from the ordinary tide and succession of human 
affairs locked up and sequestered in some deep recess;, we must 
be made sensible that the world of ordinary life is suddenly arrested 
laid asleep tranced racked into a dread armistice; time must 
be annihilated; relation to things without abolished; and all must 
pass self-withdrawn into a deep syncope and suspension of earthly 
passion. Hence it is that when the deed is done, when the wort 
of darkness is perfect, then the world of darkness passes away like 
a pageantry in the clouds: the knocking at the gate is heard; and 
it makes known audibly that the reaction has commenced; the 
human has made its reflux upon the fiendish; the pulses of life are 
beginning to beat again; and the reestablishment of the goings-on 
of the world in which we live first makes us profoundly sensible of 
the awful parenthesis that had suspended them." 

62. The multitudinous feat. As admirably descriptive as 

Scene III] Notes 22J 

Homer's wo\v<f>\olff(3oio 6a\dffffr)s. One can almost hear in it the 
sound of the sea with its numberless waves. 

Incarnadine. Used as adjective and noun before the time of 
S., but as a verb first by him. Carew uses the verb in his Obsequies 
to the Lady Anne Hay, 1639 (" Incarnadine Thy rosy cheek "), but 
he probably borrowed it from S. 

63. Making, etc. The folio has " Making the Greene one, Red," 
and some of the earlier editors follow that pointing; but of course 
Macbeth dwells upon the conversion of the tiniversal green into one 
pervading red. Cf. Ham. ii. 2. 479 : " Now is he total gules; " and 
Milton, Comns, 133: "And makes one blot of all the air." 

65. A heart so white. Cf. Marlowe, Lust^s Dominion (written 
before 1593): "Your cheeks are black, let not your soul look 

68. Your constancy, etc. Your firmness has forsaken you. Cf. 
A. W. ii. I. 87, /. C. ii. I. 299, etc. 

70. Nightgown. A dressing-gown. Cf. v. i. 6 below. See also 
Much Ado, Hi. 4. 18, Oth. iv. 3. 34, and stage-direction in/. C. ii. 2. 
In Macbeth's time, and for centuries later, it was customary for both 
sexes to sleep without any other covering than that belonging to 
the bed. 

72. Poorly. Without spirit, dejectedly. Cf. Rich. II, Hi. 3. 128: 
" To look so poorly and to speak so fair." Cf. poor in R. of L. 710. 

74. Wake Duncan with thy knocking ! An apostrophe to the 
person knocking; not to Duncan, as some would make it. 

SCENE III. The Porter's part in this scene has been the subject 
of much discussion. Coleridge says of it : " This low soliloquy of 
the Porter and his few speeches afterwards I believe to have been 
written for the mob by some other hand, perhaps with Shake- 
speare's consent; and that finding it take, he with the remaining 
ink of a pen otherwise employed just interpolated the words : 

" ' I '11 devil-porter it no further : I had thought to have let in some of 
all professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire.' 


Notes [Act ii 

Of the rest not one syllable has the ever-present being of Shake- 

Mr. J. W. Hales, in a paper read before the New Shakspere 
Society, May 22, 1874 (see the Transactions, 1874, p. 255 fol.), 
takes the ground : 

" (i.) That a Porter's speech is an integral part of the play. 
(ii.) That it is necessary as a relief to the surrounding horror, 
(iii.) That it is necessary according to the law of contrast elsewhere 


(iv.) That the speech we have is dramatically relevant. 
(v.) That its style and language are Shakespearian." 

After the reading of this paper Mr. Tom Taylor remarked : " The 
reasons set forth by Mr. Hales appear to me so consonant with what 
we know of Shakespeare, the general character of his plays, his lan- 
guage, and the relation of serious and comic in his treatment of 
dramatic subjects, that to me they carry absolute conviction that 
the Porter's speech is an integral part of the play." 

Dr. Furnivall says that he asked Dr. George Macdonald what he 
thought of the Porter's speech, and the reply was : " Look at the 
grim humour of it. I believe it 's genuine." He put the same ques- 
tion to the poet Browning, who answered : " Certainly the speech is 
full of humour; and as certainly the humour and the words are 
Shakespeare's. I cannot understand Coleridge's objection to it. 
As to Lamb, I 've no doubt that he held the speech genuine, for he 
said that, on his pointing out to his friend Munden the quality of 
the Porter's speech, Munden was duly struck by it, and expressed 
his regret at never having played the part." At the meeting of the 
New Shakspere Society, June 26, 1874, Dr. Furnivall stated that 
Mr. Hales's conclusions had been accepted by every critic in Eng- 
land whose opinion he had asked; among them Mr. Tennyson, 
Mr. J. Spedding, Mr. A. J. Ellis, Professor Dowden, and Professor 
H. Morley. 

2. Porter of hell-gate. Cf. Oth. iv. 2. 90 : 

Scene III] Notes 


" You, mistress, 

That have the office opposite to St. Peter, 
And keep the gate of hell." 

Old. A "colloquial intensive" used several times by S.; as in 
M. of V. iv. 2. 16, 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 21, M. W. i. 4. 5, Much Ado, 
v. 2. 98. Mr. J. R. Wise {Shakespeare : His Birthplace, etc. ) says : 
" Whenever there has been an unusual disturbance or ado . . . the 
lower orders round Stratford-on-Avon invariably characterize it by 
the phrase, ' There has been old work to-day.' " Cf. the modern 
slang expression, " a high old time." 

4. A farmer, etc. Malone quotes Hall, Satires, iv. 6: 

" Ech Muck-worme will be rich with lavvlesse gaine, 
Altho he smother vp mowes of seuen yeares graine, 
And hang'd himself when corne grows cheap again." 

This helps to fix the date of the play in 1606; for the price of 
wheat in that year was lower than it was for thirteen years after- 
wards, and barley and malt were considerably cheaper than in the 
next two years. 

6. Come in time. That is, you 've come in time; probably allud- 
ing to his suicide. Napkins = handkerchiefs. Cf. Z. C. 15 : "Oft 
did she heave her napkin to her eyne; " also Oth. iii. 3. 287, 290, 
321, etc. Enoiv is the plural of enough. Cf. M. of V. iii. 5. 24: 
"Christians enow." See also Id. iv. I. 29, Hen. V. iv. I. 240, etc. 

15. A French hose. Cf. The Black Year, by Anthony Nixon, 
1606: "Gentlemen this year shall be much wronged by their tay- 
lors, for their consciences are now much larger than ever they were, 
for where [whereas] they were wont to steale but half a yeard of 
brood cloth in making up a payre of breeches, now they do largely 
nicke their customers in the lace too," etc. In M. of V. i. 2. 80 
there is another reference to the large "round hose" borrowed 
from France. Cf. also Hen. V. iii. 7. 56. 

1 6. Roast your goose. Playing upon the two meanings of goose. 

1 7. At quiet. Dr. Furnivall remarks that, " as S. uses both ' in 


226 Notes [Act ii 

rest' and 'at rest,' there is nothing strange in his using both ' i n 
quiet ' and 'at quiet.' " Cf. Judges, xviii. 27. 

20. The primrose way, etc. Cf. Ham. i. 3. 50 : " the primrose 
path of dalliance; " and A. IV. iv. 5. 56: "the flowery way that 
Jeads to the broad gate and the great fire." 

25. The second cock. The time meant is shown by A', and J. iv. 
4. 3 : " The second cock hath crow'd, ... 't is three o'clock." Cf. 
Lear, iii. 4. 121 and M. N. D. ii. I. 267. 

30. Timely. S. often uses adjectives ending in -ly as adverbs. 
Cf. unmannerly in loi below, etc. We have timely as an adjective 
in iii. 3. 7. 

34. Physics. Cures. Cf. Cymb. iii. 2. 34 : " For it doth physic 
love." See also W. T.\. I. 43 and Temp. iii. I. I. 

35. So bold to call. Cf. M. of V. iii. 3. 10 : " So fond to come 
abroad," etc. 

36. Limited. Appointed. Cf. M. for M. iv. 2. 176: "having 
the hour limited; " K.John, v. 2. 123: "warrant limited," etc. 

42. Combustion. Used by S. only here and in Hen. VIII. v. 4. 
51; in both instances figuratively. Combustions occurs in V. and 
A. 1162: "As dry combustious matter is to fire." 

43. Obscure. Accent on the first syllable, as in Rich. II. iii. 3. 
154, etc. Dissyllabic adjectives and participles are often thus ac- 
cented when coming before a noun, but on the final syllable when 
in the predicate. The obscure bird is " the nightly owl " ( T. A. ii. 
3. 97). See on ii. 2. 3 above. 

45. Cf. Cor. i. 4. 6 1 : 

"Thou madest thine enemies shake, as if the world 
Were feverous and did tremble." 

The reference is to an ague, or " shaking fever," as it is called in 
K. John, ii. i. 228. 

48. Tongue nor heart, etc. Cf. i. 3. 60 above. On the use of 
the negatives, cf. Sonn. 86. 9 : "He nor that affable familiar ghost 
. . . cannot boast." 

Scene III] Notes 227 

50. Confusion. Destruction. Cf. iii. 5. 29 below; also K. John, 

iv. 3- 153- 

51. Hath broke ope, etc. This has been called "a confusion of 
metaphors," but it is not really such. The temple is the body (cf. 
2 Corinthians, ci. 16), and the life of the building has been stolen 
from it by the murderer. 

56. Gorgon. For the allusion to the Gorgon's head, cf. T. and 
C.v. 10. 18: 

" Go into Troy and say there Hector 's dead ; 
There is a word will Priam turn to stone." 

60. Death's counterfeit. Cf. R. of L. 402: "the map of death" 
(that is, sleep) ; and M. N. D. iii. 2. 364 : " death-counterfeiting 

62. The great doom's image. An image of the Last Judgment. 
Cf. Lear, v. 3. 264. 

64. Countenance. Be in keeping with. 

66. Parley. CLparle in Rich. II. i. 1. 192 and 3 Hen. VI. v. 1 . 16. 

75. Had I but died, etc. Cf. W. T. iv. 4. 472: 

" If I might die within this hour, I have liv'd 
To die when I desire." 

77. Mortality. Human . life. Cf. R. of L. 403 : " life's mor- 
tality; " K.John, v. 7. 5 : " the ending of mortality; " M. for M. 
iii. 2. 196: "No might nor greatness in mortality," etc. 

78. Is dead. The singular verb with two -singular nominatives is 
not rare in S. Lees in the next line seems to be treated as virtually 

86. Badg'd. Not elsewhere used as a verb by S. Cf. the noun 
in 2 Hen. VI. iii. 2. 200 : " Murder's crimson badge." 

^.Expedition. Haste. Cf. T. G. of V. i. 3. 37 :" the speediest 
expedition," etc. 

96. Outrun. These past indicative forms in u are common in S. 

97. Lac'd. To lace was "to adorn with a texture sewed on." 

22 8 Notes [Act ii 

S. uses it literally in Muck Ado, iii. 4. 20 : " cloth o' gold, and cuts, 
and laced with silver; " and figuratively, as here, in R. and J. iii. 


" What envious streaks 

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east ! " 

and Cymb. ii. 2. 22 : 

" White and azure lac'd 

With blue of heaven's own tinct." 

See also Sonn. 67. 4. For golden blood, see on ii. 2. 56 above. 

98. A breach in nature. Steevens cites Sidney, Arcadia : " bat- 
tering down the wals of their armour, making breaches almost in 
every place, for troupes of wounds to enter ; " and A Herring's 
Tayk, 1598: "A batter'd breach where troopes of wounds may 
enter in." 

101. Breech V -with gore. Covered with blood as with a garment. 
Corruption of the text has been suspected, and various emendations 
have been proposed. 

103. Make 's. The abbreviation 's for his (also for us) was com- 
mon even in serious style. 

104. T. Whately {Remarks on Characters of 5.) says : "On 
Lady Macbeth's seeming to faint while Banquo and Macduff are 
solicitous about her, Macbeth, by his unconcern, betrays a con- 
sciousness that the fainting is feigned." Fletcher {Studies of S.), 
referring to this theory that the fainting is feigned, remarks : " We 
believe, however, that the reader will bear in mind the burst of 
anguish which had been forced from her by Macbeth's very first 
ruminations upon his act : 'These deeds must not be thought After 
these ways; so, it will make us mad.' Remembering this, he will 
see what a dreadful accumulation of suffering is inflicted upon her 
by her husband's own lips [ii. 3. 93-98], painting in stronger, 
blacker colours than ever the guilty horror of their common deed." 

105. Argument. Theme, subject. Cf. Sonn. 76. 10 : " And you 
and love are still my argument," etc. See also Milton, P. /,. i. 24 : 
" the highth of this great argument." 

Scene IV] Notes 229 

107. Hid in an auger-hole. Concealed in obscure places. Cf. 
Cor. iv. 6. 87 : " Confin'd Into an auger's bore." 

109. Nor our strong sorrow, etc. Cf. iv. 3. 209, and 3 Hen. 
VI. iii. 3. 22 : " And give my tongue-tied sorrows leave to 

in. When we have, etc. When we have clothed ourselves anJ 
no longer suffer with cold. The Porter had observed that the place 
was " too cold for hell." 

1 1 6. Pretence. Intention, purpose. Cf. W. T. iii. 2. 18, Cor. 
i. 2. 20, etc. In ii. 4. 24 below we have/r^</ = intend, design. 

118. Put on manly readiness. That is, dress ourselves. So 
ready = dressed. Cf. Cymb. ii. 3. 86 : 

" Cloten. Your lady's person ; is she ready? 
Lady. Ay, 

To keep her chamber; " 

and the stage-direction in i Hen. VI. ii. I. 38: "The French leap 
ever the walls in their shirts. Enter, several ways, the Bastard of 
Orleans, Alencon, and Reignier, half ready and half unready." 

122. Easy. Easily; the adjective used adverbially, as often. 

125. There 's. The singular verb is often used before a plural 
subject. Cf. Cymb. iv. 2. 371 : "There is no more such masters," 
etc. Near nearer; as in Rich. II. iii. 2. 64 : " Nor near nor 
farther off," etc. 

127. Hath not yet lighted. Has not yet spent its force. 

129. Dainty of. Particular about. Cf. T. and C. i. 3. 145 : 
" grows dainty of his worth." 

130. There 's warrant, etc. Cf. A. W. ii. i. 33 : 

" Bertram. I '11 steal away. 

First Lord. There 's honour in that theft." 

SCENE IV. 4. Trifled. Made trivial. In Elizabethan writers 
intransitive verbs are often made transitive. 


Notes [Act ii 

Knowings. Experiences. Cf. Cymb. i. 4. 30 and ii. 3. 102; but 
the plural is used by S. only here. 

6. Threaten his bloody stage. " Frown upon the earth where 
such horrors are enacted " (Moberly). 

7. Strangles the travelling lamp. Cf. the description of the sun 
in I Hen. IV. i. 2. 226 : 

"breaking through the foul and ugly mists 
Of vapours, that did seem to strangle him." 

The folio has here " the trauailing Lampe." In the time of S. the 
present distinction between travel and travail was not recognized, 
the forms being used indiscriminately without regard to the 

8. Is V night 's predominance, etc. "Is it that night is aggres- 
sive, or that the day is ashamed to appear ? " Predominant and 
predominance were astrological terms. Cf. Lear, i. 2. 134 : 
" Knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance ; " 
A. W. i. i. 211 : 

" Helena. The wars have so kept you under that you must needs 
have been born under Mars. 

Parolles. When he was predominant ? " 

See also W. T. i. 2. 202. 

10. On the description of prodigies that follows, cf. extract from 
Holinshed, p. 163 above. 

12. Towering and place are terms of falconry. Donne in one 
of his poems says of a hawk : " Which when herself she lessens in 
the aire, You then first say that high enough she towers." Place 
= pitch, the highest flight of the hawk. For pitch, cf. Rich. II. 
i. i. 109: "How high a pitch his resolution soars!" See also 
I Hen. VI. ii. 4. ii and/. C. i. I. 78. 

13. Mousing. "A very effective epithet, as contrasting the fal- 
con, in her pride of place, with a bird that is accustomed to seek 
its prey on the ground " (Talbot). 

14. Horses. A monosyllable here. Cf. sense in v. I. 27 below, 

Scene IV] Notes 23 1 

and in Sonn. 112. 10. In A. and C. iii. 7. 7 we have " horse " = 
"horses" ; and in K.John, ii. I. 289, "horse back" for "horse's 

15. Minions. Darlings. See on i. 2. 19 above. 

17. As. As if. See on i. 4. n and ii. 2. 27. 

1 8. Eat. Changed by many critics to ate, which is nowhere 
found in the early copies. The present is there more frequently 
printed " eate." For the participle S. uses both eat (as in L. L. L. 
iv. 2. 26, Rich. //. v. 5. 85, etc.) and eaten (see i. 3. 84 and iv. I. 
64 in the present play). 

24. Pretend. See on ii. 3.116 above. 

28. Ravin up. Devour ravenously. Cf. M. for M. I. 2. 133 : 
"Like rats that ravin down their proper bane." In iv. I. 24 below 
we have " ravin'd " = ravenous. Cf. A. W. iii. 2. 120 : "the ravin 

29. Like. Likely; as often in S. Cf. M. of V. ii. 7. 49 : " Is 't 
like that lead contains her ? " 

31. Scone. Of this ancient town, which was situated about two 
miles and a half from Perth, few memorials now remain. Of Scone 
Abbey, founded by Alexander I. in 1107, in which the Scottish 
kings from that date down to the time of James II. were crowned, 
nothing is left but part of an aisle now used as a mausoleum by the 
Earl of Mansfield, on whose estate it stands. The old market-cross 
of Scone also remains in the pleasure-grounds of Scone Palace, as 
the seat of the earl is called. At the north side of the mansion is a 
tumulus, known as the Moat Hill, said to have been composed of 
earth from the estates of those who here attended on the kings. 

The famous "stone of Scone," which served for many ages as 
the seat on which the kings were crowned, now forms part of the 
English coronation-chair (see cut on p. 271). The connection 
that the stone is supposed to have with the destinies of the Scots is 
commemorated in ancient verse, 1 which has been thus rendered: 

1 " Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocumque locatum 
Invenient lapidem regnare tenentur ibidem." 

Notes [Act ii 

" Unless the Fates are faithless grown, 

And prophet's voice be vain, 
Where'er is found this sacred stone, 
The Scottish race shall reign." 

According to national tradition, this stone was the pillow of Jacob 
at Bethel, and long served for the coronation-seat of the kings of 
Ireland. It is said to have been brought from Ireland to lona by 
Fergus, the son of Ere, then to have been deposited in Dunstaff- 
nage Castle (still standing near Oban), and to have been trans- 
ported thence to Scone by Kenneth II. in the year 842. Its history 
from that date is well authenticated, but the rest is of course more 
or less mythical. 

33. Colme-kill. " The cell (or chapel) of Columba," now 
known as Icolmkill, or lona, a barren islet, about eight miles south 
of Staffa. Here St. Columba, an Irish Christian preacher, founded 
a monastery in A.D. 563, and here he died about A.D. 597, or at the 
time when Augustine landed in Kent to convert the English. 
From this monastery in lona Christianity and civilization sprea*', 
not only through Scotland, but even to the Orkneys and Iceland. 
Hence the island came to be considered holy ground, and there 
was a traditionary belief that it was to be specially favoured at the 
dissolution of the world. According to the ancient prophecy, 

" Seven years before that awful day 

When time shall be no more, 
A watery deluge shall o'ersweep 

Hibernia's mossy shore ; 
The green-clad Isla, too, shall sink, 

While with the great and good, 
Columba's happier isle shall rear 

Her towers above the flood." 

It is not to be wondered at that monarchs desired to be buried in 
this sacred spot, and that thus it became the cemetery where, as 
Collins has sung, 

" The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid " 

Scene IV] 



"Scotland, Ireland, and Norway. No trace of their tombs now re- 
mains, the oldest monuments left on the island being those of Irish 
ecclesiastics of the I2th century. Besides these there are the ruins 
of a chapel (of the nth century), of a nunnery (founded about 
1180), and of the cathedral church of St. Mary, built early in the 
1 3th century. Of the three hundred and fifty sculptured stone 
crosses which formerly adorned the island, only two are still stand- 
ing. All the others were thrown into the sea, about the year 1560, 
by order of the anti-Popish Synod of Argyll. 

36. Thither. That is, to Scone. 

40. Benison. Cf. Lear, i. i. 268: "our grace, our love, our 
benison; " Id. iv. 6. 229 : "The bounty and the benison of heaven." 



SCENE I. 7. Shine. " Appear with all the lustre of conspicuous 

truth" (Johnson). 

234 Notes [Act in 

10. Hush, no more. "These words are in perfect moral keeping 
with Banquo's previous resolute fightings against evil suggestions" 
(Clarke). Sennet (also written sennit, senet, synnef, cynet, signet, 
and sygnati) occurs often in the old stage-directions, and seems to 
indicate a particular set of notes on the trumpet, or cornet, different 
from a flourish. 

13. All-thing. Everyway. Cf. the adverbial use of nothing and 

14. Solemn. Ceremonious, formal. Cf. T. A. v. 2. 115: 
"solemn feast" (also in A. W. ii. 3. 187); T. of S. iii. 2. 103: 
" our solemn festival," etc. 

16. Command upon me. "Command upon" is not found else- 
where in S., but in Per. iii. i. 3 we have the noun similarly used : 

" and thou, that hast 
Upon the winds command, bind them in brass." 

The -which. Not unfrequent in S. Cf. v. 8. 41 below. 

21. Still. Always, ever; as very often in S. Cf. M. of V. i. I. 
I7 ! 36, Temp. i. 2. 229, Rich. II. ii. i. 22, etc. Grave = weighty, 
of importance; as in Rich. III. ii. 3. 20: "politic grave counsel." 
Prosperous to our advantage. 

25. Go not my horse, etc. Cf. Rich. II. ii. I. 300: "Hold out 
my horse, and I will first be there." The better = better than usual, 
or than I expect he will. 

29. Are bestow 'd. Have betaken themselves. Cf. iii. 6. 24 below; 
also Ham. iii. I. 33, 44, Hen. V. iv. 3. 68, etc. 

33. Therewithal, etc. That is, we shall have other state matters 
to discuss along with it. Cf. Hen. V. 5. i . 45 : " any cause of 

38. Commend. See on i. 7. 1 1 above. 

42. The sweeter welcome. It is doubtful whether welcome is a 
noun or an adjective. In the latter case, sweeter is used adverbially. 
S. uses both ourself and ourselves in this " regal " sense. Cf. 

Scene I] Notes 235 

Rich. If. i. i. 16: " ourselves will hear;" Id. 1.4.42: "We will 
ourself in person," etc. 

43. While then. Till then. While and whiles are occasionally 
so used. Cf. T. N. iv. 3. 28 : 

" He shall conceal it 
Whiles you are willing it shall come to note." 

See also Rich. II. i. 3. 22. 

God be with you is metrically = " God b' wi' you." Our good-by 
(cf. the Fr. adieu} is a contraction of this contraction. 

48. But to be safely thus. We must assume "is something" in 
antithesis to " is nothing." 

50. Would be feared. Is to be feared, should be feared. 

51. To. In addition to. Cf. i. 6. 19. 

55. My Genius, etc. Cf. A. and C. ii. 3. 19: 

" Thy demon, that 's thy spirit which keeps thee, is 
Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable, 
Where Caesar's is not ; but near him thy angel 
Becomes a fear, as being o'erpower'd." 

This is from North's Plutarch : " For thy demon, said he (that 
is to say, the good angel and spirit that keepeth thee), is afraid of 
his; and being courageous and high when he is alone, becometh 
fearful and timorous when he cometh near unto the other." 

62. With. By; as with is often used with the agent or the cause. 

64. Fil'd. Defiled; but not that word contracted. It is used in 
prose: as in Holland's Pliny, xiv. 19: "If the grapes have been 
filed by any ordure or dung falne from above thereupon." 

66. Vessel. Often used figuratively by S. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. iv. 
4. 44, /. C. v. 5. 13, W. T. iii. 3. 21, etc. 

67. Eternal jewel. Immortal soul. Cf. Rich. II. i. I. 180: 

"A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest 
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast." 

For the use of eternal, cf. K. John, iii. 4. 18: "the eternal spirit." 

236 Notes [Act m 

70. The list. Elsewhere S. has lists in this sense. Cf. Rich. II. 
i. 2.. 52, Id. i. 3. 32, 38, 43, i Hen. VI. v. 5. 32, etc. He has list 
several times in the more general sense of boundary, limit; as in 
A. W. ii. i. 33, i Hen. IV. iv. I. 51, Ham. iv. 5. 99, etc. 

71. Champion me to the utterance. Fight with me a entrance ; 
often incorrectly printed a I* entrance, as in the quotation that fol- 
lows : " A challenge, or a combat a r entrance, to extremity, was a 
fixed term in the law of arms, used when the combatants engaged 
with an odium internecinum, an intention to destroy each other, in 
opposition to trials of skill at festivals, or on other occasions, where 
the contest was only for reputation or a prize" (Johnson). Cf. 
Cymb. iii. I. 73: "Behoves me keep at utterance" (that is, defend 
to the uttermost). 

79. Passed in probation -with you. Spent in proving to you. 
For probation = proof, cf. Oth. iii. 3. 365, M. for M. v. I. 156, 
Cymb. v. 5. 362, etc. 

80. Borne in hand. Kept in expectation, flattered with false 
hopes. Cf. T. of S. iv. 2. 3, Cymb. v. 5. 43, Ham. ii. 2. 67, etc. In 
1572, an act was passed against "such as practise abused sciences, 
whereby they bear the people in hand that they can tell their desti- 
nies," etc. 

82. To a notion craz'd. Even to the most feeble apprehension. 
Cf. Lear, i. 4. 248: "His notion weakens; " Cor. v. 6. 107: "his 
own notion," etc. 

87. GospeWd. Governed by gospel precepts. See Matthew, v. 44. 

88. To pray. As to pray. See on ii. 3. 35 above. 

91. Ay, in the catalogue, etc. Yes, in a mere list of men as male 
human beings you would be reckoned, just as the meanest cur is 
counted among dogs. 

93. Shoughs. An obsolete spelling of shocks, or rough-coated 
dogs. Water-rugs were " a kind of poodle," and " demi-wolves, a 
cross between dogs and wolves, like the Latin fycisci." Clept is the 
participle from clepe, to call. Cf. Ham. i. 4. 19: "They clepe us 
drunkards; " L. L. L. v. i. 23 : " he clepeth a calf cauf; " V. and A. 

Scene I] Notes 2J7 

995 : " She clepes him king of graves," etc. Yclept is the same par- 
ticiple with the old English prefix. S. uses it in L. L. L.\. I. 42 
and v. 2. 602. 

94. The valued file. The classification according to value or 
quality, as distinguished from the " catalogue," or " the bill that 
writes them all alike." Schmidt makes valued an adjective; some 
take it to be the passive participle used in an active sense 
(= valuing). 

96. Housekeeper. Watch-dog. In Topsell's Hist, of Beasts 
(1658) the "housekeeper" is enumerated among dogs. 

98. Clos'd. Enclosed. Cf. R. andj. i. 4. 1 10 : "a despised life 
clos'd in my breast." 

99. Addition. See on i. 3. 106. From apart from; as often. 
105. Grapples. On the metaphor, cf. Ham. i. 3. 63: "Grapple 

them to thy soul with hoops of steel." See also Hen. V. iii. prol. 18. 

in. Tugged with fortune. Pulled about in wrestling with for- 
tune. Cf. W. T. iv. 4. 508 : " Let myself and fortune Tug for the 
time to come." See also K. John, iv. 3. 146, 2 Hen. VI. iii. 2. 
173, etc. 

113. On 'f. Of it. Cf. line 130 below, and see on i. 3. 84 above. 

115. Distance. Alienation. It was a fencing term, denoting the 
space between antagonists. Cf. M. W. ii. I. 233: "In these times, 
you stand on distance, your passadoes, stoccadoes, and I know not 
what;" Id. ii. 3. 27: "thy punts, thy stock, thy reverse, thy dis- 
tance," etc. See also A. W. v. 3. 212, K. andj. ii. 4. 22, etc. 

117. My nearest of life. My inmost life. See on ii. I. 24: 
" kind'st leisure." 

119. Rid my will avouch it. Let my will answer for it, own it 
as an arbitrary act. Cf. M. N. D.\. I. 106, Hen. V. v. I. 77, etc. 

1 20. For. Because of, for the sake of. 

121. Loves. The plural is used because the love of several per- 
sons is referred to. This use of the plural with abstract nouns is 
very common in S. Cf. Rich. II. iv. I. 314: "your sights;"/^, 
v. 2. 38 : " our calm contents," etc. See also v. 8. 61 below. 

238 Notes [Act m 

122. Who. Often used for whom. Cf. iii. 4. 42 and iv. 3. 171 below. 

128. Advise. Instruct. Cf. Lear, \. 3. 23, Hen. VIII. i. 2. 
107, etc. 

129. The perfect spy o' the time. The precise time when you 
may look for him. Various emendations have been suggested. 
Mr. F. A. Marshall ("Henry Irving" ed.) reads and points thus: 
"Acquaint you, with a perfect spy, o' the time; " taking with as 
= by, and spy as referring to the 3d Murderer, whom he intends to 
send. He quotes iii. 3. 2-4 in support of this view. 

130. On't. Of the time; or, perhaps, of the deed. 

131. Something from. At some distance away from. Always 
thought, etc. = it being kept in mind that I must be free from 

133. Rubs. Hindrances, impediments; a term in bowling. See 
Rich. II. iii. 4. 4, Hen. V. ii. 2. 188, v. 2. 53, Cor. iii. I. 60, etc. 

136. Embrace. Undergo, suffer. Cf. T. G. of V. v. 4. 126: 
"Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death." 

137. Resolve yourselves. Come to a determination, make up your 
minds. Cf. A. and C. iii. n. 9, 3 Hen. VI. i. I. 49, W. T. v. 3. 
86, etc. 

140. It is concluded. It is settled. Hunter remarks that such 
negotiations with assassins were not uncommon in the age of Eliza- 
beth. An instance had recently occurred in the neighbourhood of 
Stratford. Lodqwick Grevile, who dwelt at Sesoncote, in Glouces- 
tershire, and at Milcote, in Warwickshire, coveting the estate of one 
Webb, his tenant, plotted to murder him and get the estate by a 
forged will. This was successfully accomplished by the aid of two 
servants whom Grevile engaged to do the deed. Fearing detection, 
one of the assassins afterwards murdered his comrade. The body 
was found, and the investigation led to the arrest and conviction 
of Grevile and his servant, the surviving murderer. Grevile stood 
mute, and was pressed to death on November 14, 1589. The cir- 
cumstance must have been well known to S., as the Greviles were 
at this time patrons of the living of Stratford. 

Scene II] Notes 239 

SCENE II. 5. Content. Satisfaction. Clarke remarks : "This 
brief soliloquy allows us to see the deep-seated misery of the mur- 
deress, the profound melancholy in which she is secretly steeped; 
while on the instant that she sees her husband she can rally her 
forces, assume exterior fortitude, and resume her accustomed hard- 
ness of manner, with which to stimulate him by remonstrance almost 
amounting to reproach." 

9. Sorriest. See on ii. 2. 20 above. 

10. Using. Cherishing. S. joins use with a great variety of 

1 1 . IVitfiotit all remedy. Beyond all remedy ; or all = any, as in 
Hen. VIII. iv. I. 113: "without all doubt; " Sonn. 74. 2: "with- 
out all bail." 

13. Scotch? d. Wounded. Cf. Cor. iv. 5. 198 : "he scotched him 
and notched him," etc. 

16. Frame of things. Cf. Ham. ii. 2. 310: "This goodly frame, 
the earth." Both the worlds = heaven and earth. Cf. Ham. iv. 5. 
134, where it means " this world and the next." 

20. To gain our peace. The later folios have " our place," which 
is adopted by some editors; but "the repetition of the word. peace 
seems very much in S.'s manner; and . . . there is something 
much higher in the sentiment conveyed by the original word than 
in that of place. In the very contemplation of the murder of Ban- 
quo, Macbeth is vainly seeking for peace. Banquo is the object 
that makes him eat his meal in fear and sleep in terrible dreams " 

21. On the torture, etc. "To lie upon the rack of our own 
thoughts, in a frenzy of restlessness." Ecstasy in S. means " any 
state of being beside one's self." Cf. iv. 3. 170 below. See also 
Temp. iii. 3. 108, Much Ado, ii. 3. 157, etc. 

23. Life's fitful fever. Cf. M.for M. iii. i. 75 : "a feverous life." 
27. Gentle my lord. Like " Gracious my lord " (v. 5. 30 below), 

" Good my lord," etc. Sleek is not used elsewhere as a verb by S. 

Cf. Milton, Camus, 882: "Sleeking her soft alluring locks." 


Notes [Act in 

30. Let your remembrance, etc. " Take care to do all honour 
to Banquo by looks and words of the deepest respect ; though our 
royalty will never be safe, so long as it is necessary to keep our 
honours bright by steeping them in flattery " (Moberly). Remem- 
brance is here a quadrisyllable; as in IV. T. iv. 4. 76. 

34. Visards. Masks. Cf. M. W. iv. 4. 70, L. L. L. v. 2. 242, 
246, 271, 385, 404, etc. 

35. Leave. Leave off. Cf. "Where did I leave?" in V. and A. 
715 and Rich. II. v. 2. 4; and "Where left we last?" in T. of S. 
iii. I. 26. 

37. Lives. See on i. 3. 147. 

38. But in them, etc. This has been supposed to suggest their 
murder; but see p. 38 above. Copy copyhold, or terminable 
tenure of land, as distinguished from freehold. 

41. Cloistered. Steevens remarks: "The bats wheeling round 
the dim cloisters of Queen's College, Cambridge, have frequently 
impressed on me the singular propriety of this original epithet." 

42. Shard-borne. The old English name of the horny wing-cases 
of the beetle was shards. Cf. A. and C. iii. 2. 20 : " They are his 
shards and he their beetle " (that is, they serve as wings for him) ; 
Cymb. iii. 3. 20 : " the sharded beetle." 

44. Note. The word is used for " any distinction or eminence." 
Cf. A. IV. v. 3. 14: "Offence of mighty note; " L. C. 233: " of 
holiest note," etc. 

45. Chuck. A term of endearment, corrupted from chick. Cf. 
Oth. iii. 4. 49: "What promise, chuck?" and see Id. iv. 2. 24, 
A. and C. iv. 4. 2, Hen. V. iii. 2. 26, etc. 

46. Seeling. Blinding; a term in falconry. " To seel is to close 
the eyelids partially or entirely, by passing a fine thread through 
them; this was done to hawks until they became tractable" 
(Nares). Cf. Oth. i. 3. 270 and iii. 3. 210; also A. and C. iii. 

13. 112. 

49. Cancel, etc. Cf. Rich. III. iv. 4. 77 : " Cancel his bond of 
life, dear God, I pray; " and Cymb. v. 4. 27: 

Scene III] Notes 24! 

" take this life, 
And cancel these cold bonds." 

50. Light thickens. Cf. A. and C. ii. 3. 27 : 

" He beats thee 'gainst the odds ; thy lustre thickens 
When he shines by." 

51. Kooky. Rook-haunted, frequented by rooks or crows. Clarke 
remarks : " The very epithet rooky appears to us to caw with the 
sound of many bedward rooks bustling and croaking to their several 

52. Drowse. Used by S. only here and in I Hen. IV. iii. 2. 81. 

53. Whiles. See on ii. i. 60. For the plural preys (perhaps = 
"their several preys"), cf. iii. i. 121 and v. 8. 61. Rouse is used 
intransitively by S. only here and in v. 5. 12. 

56. Go with me. " Understand what my meaning is." For go 
witk = agree, accord, cf. Ham. i. 2. 15, i. 3. 28, i. 5. 49, Lear, iv. 
7. 5, etc. 

SCENE III. Some critics have thought that the 3d Murderer 
was Macbeth himself in disguise. See Furness, p. 160 (revised 
ed. p. 200), and Notes and Queries for Sept. ii, Oct. 2, Nov. 13, 
and Dec. 4, 1869. The theory is sufficiently refuted by Macbeth's 
talk with the 1st Murderer in iii. 4. 

2. He needs not our mistrust, etc. " We may trust him, for Mac- 
beth has evidently told him all we have to do. Macbeth's uneasi- 
ness makes him reinforce the party with a cleverer hand " (Moberly). 

6. Lated. Belated. Used by S. only here and in A. and C. iii. 
11.3: "I am so lated in the world." 

7. To gain the timely inn. Probably, to gain the inn betimes; 
or timely " welcome, opportune." 

10. The note of expectation. The list of expected guests. For 
note, cf. M. W. iv. 2. 64, T. of S. i. 2. 145, etc. 

14. Enter Fleance with a torch. Here again Fleance carries the 
torch to light his father. The " Servant " of some modern eds. is 
an interpolation. See on ii. I. I. 

242 Notes [Act in 

SCENE IV. i. At first And last. Probably = once for all. 
3. Our self. See on iii. i. 42. 

5. Her state. Her chair of state at the head of the table. O. 
T. N. ii. 5. 50: "Sitting in our state; " I Hen. IV. ii. 4. 415' 
"This chair shall be my state; " Cor. v. 4. 22: "He sits in hil 
state," etc. In best time is used by S. only here, though he often 
has "in good time." 

6. Reqinre. Request, ask; not in the stronger sense of "de 
mand." Cf. Hen. VIII. ii. 4. 144: " In humblest manner I require 
your highness; " A. and C. iii. 12. 12: 

" Lord of his fortunes he salutes thee, and 
Requires to live in Egypt," etc. 

8. Speaks. Says. Cf. Oth. v. 2. 327 and iv. 3. 154 below. 

ii. Large. Unrestrained. Cf. A. and C. iii. 6. 93: "large IT 
his abominations." 

Anon. Macbeth has just caught sight of the murderer standing 
at the door, and wishes to dismiss him before pledging the measure 
On measure, cf. Oth. ii. 3. 31. 

14. 'Tis better, etc. Tis better that the blood should be on .- 
thy face than in his body. If we accept this explanation, he withi* 
= within him. Cf. A. and C. iii. 13. 98 : " So saucy with the hanc 
of she here." 

19. Nonpareil. S. always uses the definite article with this word, 
except in Temp. iii. 2. 108. 

20. Scap'd. Not " 'scap'd," as often printed. The word is foun<) 
in prose; as in Bacon, Adv. of L. ii. 14. 9: "such as had scapeA 
shipwreck." S. uses it much oftener than escape. Cf. the noun in 
M. of V. ii. 2. 174. 

23. Casing. Surrounding. Cf. Oth. iii. 3. 464: "You element? 
that clip us round about." 

25. Saucy. Formerly used in a stronger sense than now, an<? 
often = insolent, overbearing. Cf. Oth. i. i. 129, J. C. i. 3. 12, etc 

27. Trenched gashes. Cf. V. and A. 1052: 

Scene IV] Notes 243 

" the wide wound that the boar had trench'd 
In his soft flank; " 

und T. G. of V. iii. 2. 7 : 

" This weak impress of love is as a figure 
Trenched in ice." 

29. Worm. Frequently used by Elizabethan writers for a ser- 
pent. Cf. M. for M. iii. I. 17, M. N. D. iii. 2. 71, A. and C. v. 2, 
2143, 256, 261, 268, etc. 

32. We '// hear ourselves again. We '11 talk the matter over 
again. For ourselves = each other, cf. K. John, ii. i. 407: 
" Make work upon ourselves," etc. 

33. The feast is sold, etc. It is like selling a feast, not giving it, 
if you do not often assure your guests that it is given gladly. The 
theer = the usual welcome. 

35. To feed, etc. Mere feeding had better be done at home. 

36. From thence. Away from home. See on iii. i. 131 above. 

38. Now good digestion, etc. Cf. Hen. VIII. i. 4. 92 : 

" A good digestion to you all ; and, once more, 
I shower a welcome on ye. Welcome, all." 

Or. Bucknill calls this "a somewhat physiological grace." 

39. May Y please your highness sit. That is, to sit. Cf. 
Ren. VIII. i. 4. 19, etc. We have the to inserted after please 
just below in line 45. 

40. Roofd. Under one roof. S. does not use the verb roof in 
its modern sense. 

41. Grac'd. Honoured, or honourable. 

42. Who. See on iii. I. 122. The passage means, " I hope I 
may have cause to accuse him of unkindness for his absence rather 
t;han to pity him for any mischance that may have occasioned it." 

43-45. His absence, etc. Hunter remarks that it is during this 
speech that the ghost first becomes visible to Macbeth. Me had 
been about to take his seat according to the invitation of Lennox, 

244 Notes [Act m 

but now, full of horror, instead of doing so, he starts back, which 
leads to the invitation of Ross. 

Some critics have thought that it is Duncan's ghost, not Banquo's 
that first appears. It is said that lines 71-73 cannot apply to 
Banquo, who had not been buried; but the same objection may be 
made to the words, " thy bones are marrowless " (94), addressed 
to the second ghost. These are simply Macbeth's vivid expression 
of the general idea of coming back from the dead, and must not lie 
taken literally. Macbeth was thinking and speaking of Banquo, 
and it is both natural and dramatically proper that his ghost, if any, 
should rise at the mention of his name; and the second appearance 
is in response to Macbeth's renewed reference to him. This view 
is confirmed by Dr. Forman's testimony (see p. 187). 

50. Thou canst not say I did it. This proves that the ghost was 

55. Upon a thought. Used by S. only here. It is = " with a 
thought," which occurs in Temp. iv. i. 64, J. C. v. 3. 19, A. and C. 
iv. 14. 9, i Hen. IV. ii. 4. 241, etc. Cf. K. John, iv. 2. 175: "fly 
like thought;" L. L. L. iv. 3. 330: "as swift as thought," etc. 

57. Extend his passion. Prolong the fit. Passion is used by S. 
of any violent commotion of the mind. Cf. iv. 3. 114 below. 

60. O proper stuff '.' Ironical and contemptuous. Proper (= fine, 
pretty, etc.) is often so used. Cf. 2 Hen. VI. i. i. 132 : "A proper 
jest, and never heard before; " Hen. VIIT. i. i. 98: "A proper title 
of a peace; " Much Ado, i. 3. 54: "A proper squire! " On stuff, 
cf. Temp. ii. i. 254: " What stuff is this?" 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 214: 
" Here 's goodly stuff toward ! " etc. 

63. Flaws. The word (= gust of wind) is here used figuratively; 
as in M.for M. ii. 3. 1 1 : " the flaws of her own youth," etc. 

64. Impostors to true fear. Impostors when compared with true 
fear; a not uncommon use of to. 

66. Authorized by. Given on the authority of. Cf. L. C. 104: 
"His rudeness so with his authoriz'd youth; " and Sonn. 35. 6: 
"Authorizing thy trespass with compare." S. uses the word in 

Scene IV] Notes 245 

these three places only, and in all with the accent on the second 

72. Our momiments, etc. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. ii. 8, 16: 

" What herce or steed (said he) should he have dight, 
But be entombed in the raven or the kight ? " 

76. Human. It is " humane " in the folios, in which the modern 
" human " is nowhere found. The accent is always on the first syl- 
lable, unless W. T. Hi. 2. 166 is an exception. In Milton, the 
modern distinction, in meaning and accent, between humane and 
human is recognized. In S. it is sometimes difficult to determine 
which of the two senses best fits the word. Gentle is proleptic. 
Cf. i. 6. 3. 

80. There an end. Cf. Rich. II. v. I. 69. 

81. Mortal. See on i. 5. 41; and cf. iv. 3. 3. 

84. Lack. Miss; as in Cor. iv. I. 15, A. Y. L. iv. I. 182, A. and C. 
ii. 2. 172, etc. 

85. Muse. Wonder. Cf. T. G. of F. i. 3. 64^: " Muse not that 
I thus suddenly proceed," etc. 

91. To all and him, etc. I long to drink his health and that of 
all; and to wish every one all good. Cf. /. C. iv. 3. 160, Hen. VIII. 
i. 4. 38, etc. 

95. Speculation. Sight; or, perhaps, intelligent vision, that of a 
living person. Cf. T. and C. iii. 3. 109. The eyes are called 
"speculative instruments" in Oth. i. 3. 271. 

100. Russian bear. Cf. Hen. V. iii. 7. 154- 

101. Arnfd. "Armoured; " to use a word applied nowadays to 
ironclad ships of war. For the Hyrcan tiger, cf. 3 Hen. VI. i. 4- 
155: "tigers of Hyrcania," and Ham. ii. 2. 472: "the Hyrcanian 
beast." In M. of V. ii. 7. 41, we have " Hyrcanian deserts." Hyr- 
cania was a district south and southeast of the Caspian Sea. It 
has been said that English poets probably derived their ideas of 
Hyrcania and the tigers from Pliny's Natural History, but not 
through Holland's translation, which was not published till 1601. 

246 Notes [Act in 

It seems to me quite as likely that they had in mind Virgil's men^ 
tion of the beasts in &n. iv. 367 : " Hyrcanaeque admorunt ubera 

104. Dare me to the desert, etc. Cf. Rich. II. \. I. 62-66. 

105. If trembling I inhabit then. This is the great crux of the 
play, and space would fail for enumerating the various emendations 
and explanations that the critics have suggested. Grant White 
remarks that the use of inhabit is " highly figurative and exceed 
ingly rare, but neither illogical nor without example." Cf. Psalms, 
xxii. 3 : " O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Steeven.' 
thinks that inhabit may mean " stay within doors," and cites A. Y. L 
iii. 3. 10 : " O knowledge, ill-inhabited ! worse than Jove in ? 
thatched house! " (that is, ill-lodged). 

106. The baby of a girl. A babyish girl; or, perhaps, baby -* 
doll; a meaning found h\ Sidney, Jonson, and other writers of the 
time. Walker quotes Sidney, Arcadia : " young babes think babier. 
[dolls] of wondrous excellency, and yet the babies are but babies; '' 
and Astrophel and Stella: "Sweet babes must babies have, buX 
shrewd [bad] girls must be beaten." 

107. Mockery. Mimicry, delusive imitation. Cf. Rich. II, iv. I 
260 and Hen. V. iv. prol. 53. 

109. Displaced. Banished. S. uses broke as the participle oftener 
than broken. 

no. Admired. To be wondered at, strange; if it be not used 
ironically = admirable. 

in. Overcome. Spread over, overshadow. Cf. Spenser, F. Q 
iii. 7. 4: "All coverd with thick woodes that quite it overcame." 

112, 113. You make me strange, etc. "You render me a stran^ 
ger to, or forgetful of, the brave disposition which I know I possess, 
and make me fancy myself a coward, when I perceive that I am ter- 
rified by a sight that has not in the least alarmed you " (Malone) . 
So Schmidt makes disposition here = " natural constitution of th^ 
mind." For owe = own, possess, see i. 3. 76, i. 4. 10, etc. 

1 16. Mine. Possibly, as some explain it, referring to ruby, not 

Scene IV] Notes 247 

to cheeks ; but S. did not always trouble himself to make his pro- 
nouns agree in number with their antecedents. He very often has 
a singular relative (or at least one used as the subject of a singular 
verb) with a plural antecedent; as in Cymb. i. 6. 117 : "your graces 
tnat charms." 

119. Stand not, etc. That is, do not be particular about retiring 
m the order of your rank (as court etiquette required). Cf. the 
first line of this scene. 

123. Stones, etc. Mr. Paton (Notes and Queries, Nov. 6, 1869, 
v;ited by Furness) suggests that there may be an allusion " to the 
vocking stones, or 'stones of judgment,' by which it was thought 
the Druids tested the guilt or innocence of accused persons." 
There was one of these stones near Glamis Castle, and if S. visited 
Scotland (which is, on the whole, improbable) he may have seen it. 

124. Augurs, etc. It is doubtful whether the word means augurs 
</r auguries, but the latter is more probable. For augur in our 
modern sense he uses augur er in^A C. ii. i. 200 and 2. 37, Cor. ii. 
r. i, A. and C. iv. 12. 4 and v. 2. 337. Augur occurs only in Sonn. 
407. 6: "And the sad augurs mock their own presage; " and in 
The Phcenix and the Turtle, 7 : "Augur of the fever's end." 

125. Afagot-pies. Magpies. Minsheu and Cotgrave both have 
(tiaggatapie, and Middleton magot o' pie. Chough, according to 
Schmidt, is the Corvus monedula. Cf. Temp. ii. I. 266: "I my- 
self could make A chough of as deep chat," etc. 

126. Secret" st. See on kindest, ii. I. 24. What =" in what 
state, how far advanced." 

127. At odds. At variance, contesting; as in M. W. iii. I. 54, 
Rich. III. ii. I. 70, etc. 

128. How saVst thou, etc. "What do you think of this circum- 
stance, that Macduff refuses to come," etc. Cf. T. G. of V. ii. 5. 
43 and M. of V. i. 2. 58. On deny = refuse, cf. Temp. i. 2. 80, 
M. of V. iii. 3. 26, Rich. II. ii. I. 204, etc. See also iv. I. 104 

130. By the way. Indirectly, casually. 

248 Notes [Act m 

136. I am in blood, etc. For the repetition of in, cf. Cor. ii. i. 
18: "In what enormity is Marcius poor in?" and A, Y. L. ii. 7. 
139 : " The scene wherein we play in." For the figure, cf. M. N. D. 
iii. 2. 47-49- 

138. As goober. As to go over. 

140. Scanned. Examined carefully. Cf. Ham. iii. 3. 75 and 
Oth. iii. 3. 245. 

141. The season of all natures. That which keeps them fresh; 
a figure taken from the use of salt for preserving meat, and a 
favourite one with S. Cf. Much Ado, iv. I. 144, T. N. i. I. 30, 
JR. and J. ii. 3. 72, etc. 

142. Self-abiise. Self-deception. See on ii. I. 50. 

143. The initiate fear. The fear of a novice, or of one who has 
not had " hard use " (hardening experience) in crime. 

SCENE V. This scene, in my opinion, is certainly an interpola- 
tijn. See Appendix. 

i. Hecate. For the pronunciation, see on ii. i. 52. It is a 
trisyllable in I Hen. VI. iii. 2. 64. Milton makes it a dissyllable 
in Comus, 135, but a trisyllable in Comus, 535, the only other 
instance in which he uses the word. 

Anger ly. Angrily. Cf. K.John, iv. I. 82. 

7. Close. Secret. Cf. R. and J. \. i. 155, Cymb. iii. 5. 86, etc. 

13. Loves. Macbeth has not made love to the Witches; and 
this reference to his having done so would of itself be sufficient to 
prove that S. did not write the scene. 

23. The corner of the moon. Cf. Milton, Comus, 1016: 

" And from thence can soar as soon 
To the corners of the moon." 

24. Profound. "Having deep or hidden qualities" (Johnson); 
but probably the writer used the word for the sake of the rhyme, 
with slight regard to the meaning. 

26. Sleights. Artifices. The word occurs also in 3 Hen. VI. 
iv. 2. 2O. 

Scene V] Notes 249 

27. Artificial. Produced by art, or made visible by art. The 
word is used in the active sense (artful, working artistically) in 
M. N. D. iii. 2. 203 : " like two artificial gods." 

29. Confusion. Destruction. See on ii. 3. 50. 

32. Security. Carelessness. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 2. 34, etc. 

33. The folio has the stage direction, " Sing within. Come 
away, come away, &V." It undoubtedly refers to the following 
" Song " in The Witch of Middleton : 

" Song above. 

Come away, come away, 
Hecate, Hecate, come away ! 
Hec. I come, I come, I come, I come, 

With all the speed I may, 
With all the speed I may. 
Where 's Stadlin? 

[ Voice above^\ Here. 
Hec. Where 's Puckle? 
[ Voice abovel\ Here ; 

And Hoppo too, and Hellwain too; 
We lack but you, we lack but you ; 
Come away, make up the count. 
Hec. I will but 'noint, and then I mount. 

[A Spirit like a cat descends. 

[ Voice abovel\ There 's one comes down to fetch his dues, 
A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood ; 
And why thou stay'st so long 

I muse, I muse, 

Since the air 's so sweet and good. 
Hec. O, art thou come? 

What news, what news? 
Spirit. All goes still to our delight : 

Either come, or else 
Refuse, refuse. 

Hec. Now I 'm furnish'd for the flight. 
Fire. Hark, hark, the cat sings a brave treble in her own language. 

250 Notes [Act in 

Hec. \going up.] Now I go, now I fly, 

Maikin my sweet spirit and I. 

O, what a dainty pleasure 't is 

To ride in the air 

When the moon shines fair, 

And sing and dance, and toy and kiss ! 

Over woods, high rocks, and mountains, 

Over seas, our mistress' fountains, 

Over steep 1 towers and turrets, 

We fly by night, 'mongst troops of spirits : 

No ring of bells to our ears sounds, 

No howls of wolves, no yelps of hounds; 

No, not the noise of water's breach, 

Or cannon's throat our height can reach. 
[ Voices above.] No ring of bells," etc. 

In Davenant's version of Macbeth, this passage is inserted, with 
some variations, and until the MS. of The Witch was discovered it 
was supposed to be his composition. 

SCENE VI. I. Have but hit your thoughts. Have only con- 
firmed (or agreed with) your suspicions. 

2. Only I say. I only say. Only is often thus misplaced. Cf. 
/. C. v. 4. 12 : " Only I yield to die," etc. 

3. Borne. Managed, conducted. Cf. line 17 below; also 
2 Hen. IV. iv. 4. 88, Cor. v. 3. 4, etc. 

4. Marry. A corruption of Alary, and originally a mode of 
swearing by the Virgin. It is often, as here, equivalent to a mono- 
syllable. On of by, cf. 27 below. 

8. Who cannot -want, etc. The sense, as Malone pointed out, 
seems to require can instead of cannot ; but it is a peculiar form 
of "double negative," occasionally used by S. Cf. M. of V. iv. I. 
161 : " Let his lack of years," etc. See also A. Y. L. ii. 3. 12, 

1 Davenant gives " Over steeples, towers, and turrets," which is proba- 
bly the true reading. In another part of the play, Hecate says " In 
moonlight nights, on steeple-tops," etc. 

Scene VI] Notes 251 

W. T. iii. 2. 55, Cymb. i. 4. 23, etc. Monstrous (which Capell 
printed " monsterous ") is metrically a trisyllable. 

10. Fact. Delias points out that S. uses this word only in a bad 
sense = an evil deed; never in the sense of reality as opposed to 
fiction. The only meaning Schmidt gives for the word is "evil 
deed, crime." It occurs in S. fourteen times: R. of L. 239, 349; 
M.for M. iv. 2. 141, v. i. 439J A. W. iii. 7- 47; w - T - 2 - 86 '> 
l Hen. VI. iv. I. 30; 2 Hen. VI. i. 3. 176, ii. i. 173; T. A. iv. I. 
39; T. of A. iii. 5. 16; Cymb. iii. 2. 17; /Vr. iv. 3. 12, and the 
present passage. If it is a mere coincidence that the word always 
has this bad sense, it is curious enough to be worth noting. 

13. Thralls. Slaves, bondmen. S. uses the noun six times, and 
always in this sense except in P. P. 266 (quite certainly not his), 
where it means slavery. Cf. I Hen. VI. i. 2. 1 17, ii. 3- 36, Rick. III. 
iv. i. 46, and Sonn. 154. 12. 

21. From. In consequence of, on account of. Cf. Hen. VIII. 
i. 2. 152, Ham. ii. 2. 580, etc. Z?rW=free, unrestrained. Cf. 
Ham. iii. 4. 2: "his pranks have been too broad to bear with; " 
T. of A. iii. 4. 64: " Who can speak broader than he that has no 
house to put his head in? Such may rail against great buildings." 
See also iii. 4. 23 above. FaiCd His presence = failed to be pres- 
ent. Cf. iii. i. 27: "Fail not our feast;" Lear, ii. 4. I44 : 
"Would fail her obligation," etc. 

24. Bestows himself. See on iii. I. 29 above. 

25. Holds. Withholds; as in K.John, ii. I. 282, Hen. V. ii. 4- 

94, etc. 

27. The most pious Edward. Edward the Confessor. On of, 

cf. 4 above. 

30 On upon = " for the purpose of," cf. Oth. \. I. loo, etc. 

35. Free. Remove, do away with. Cf. Cymb. iii. 6. 80 : " Would 
I could free 't ! " Malone made the plausible suggestion that t 
line originally stood, "Our feasts and banquets free from K 


36. Free honours. " Either honours freely bestowed, not pur 

252 Notes [Act m 

chased by crimes; or honours without slavery, without dread of 
a tyrant" (Johnson). 

38. Exasperate. Cf. T. and C. v. I. 34: "Why art thou then 
exasperate?" So "consecrate" (T. A. \. I. 14, M. N. D. v. I. 
422), "create" {M. JV. D. v. I. 412), and sundry other words 
directly derived from Latin perfect participles. Cf. Milton, P. L. 
iii. 6: "Bright effluence of bright essence increate; " Id. iii. 208: 
" But to destruction sacred and devote," etc. Examples might be 
added from the poets of our own time. 

41. Cloudy. Frowning; or, perhaps, gloomy, sullen. C'f. 
2 Hen. VI. iii. I. 155: "cloudy brow."^ Sometimes it means 
"under a cloud," sorrowing; as in Rich. III. ii. 2. 112: "You 
cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers; " R. of L. 1084: "But 
cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see," etc. On the expletive use 
of me, cf. M. of V. i. 3. 85, ii. 2. 15, etc. 

42. As who shozild say. Cf. M. of V. i. 2. 45, Rich. II. v. 4. 8, etc. 

48, 49. Our siijfering country, etc. That is, our country suffer- 
ing under, etc. Cf. Hen, VIII. iii. I. 134: "a constant woman to 
her husband; " Rich. II. iii. I. 9: "A happy gentleman in blood 
and lineaments," etc. See also v. 8. 7 below : 

" thou bloodier villain 
Than terms can give thee out." 



SCENE I. The Hecate part of this scene is doubtless spurious, 
as in iii. 5 above. 

1. Britided. Meaning the same as brindled, which is a "diminu- 
tive " of it. S. uses it only here. Milton has it twice (/". Z. vii. 
466 and Comus, 443), in both cases applied to the lion. 

2. Hedge-pig. Krauth (quoted by Furness) remarks: "The 
urchin, or hedgehog, is nocturnal in its habits, weird in its move- 
ments; plants wither where it works, for it cuts off their roots. 
Fairies of one class were supposed to assume its form. Urchin 
came to mean fairy without reference to the hedgehog shape; 


254 Notes [Act iv 

hence, because fairies are little and mischievous, it came to be ap- 
plied to a child." 

3. Harpier. Some eds. have " Harper," others " Harpy." It 
may be a corruption of the latter word. Cries " gives them the 
signal" (Steevens). 

6. Cold. A dissyllable. There is a shiver in the prolongation 
of the word. Cf. 3 Hen. VI. iv. 3. 14 : " While he himself keeps 
in the cold field." 

8. Venom. Cf. A. Y. L. ii. I. 13 : "the toad, ugly and venom- 
ous ; " Rich. HI. \. 2. 148 : " Never hung poison on a fouler 
toad ; " and many other passages in which the same idea occurs. 
Hunter says : "There is a paper by Dr. Davy in the Philosophical 
Transactions of 1826, in which it is shown that the toad is venom- 
ous, and moreover that ' sweltered venom ' is peculiarly proper, the 
poison lying diffused over the body immediately under the skin." 
Whether Dr. Davy, in his dissection of the toad, found also the 
" precious jewel in his head," is not stated. 

1 6. Blind-worm. The slow- worm. Cf. M. N. D. ii. 2. ii: 
"Newts and blind-worms." In T. of A. iv. 3. 182, it is called the 
" eyeless venom'd worm." 

17. Howlefs. The old spelling, altered in some eds. to "owlet's." 
Cf. Holland's Pliny, x. 17 : "Of Owles, or Howlets." 

23. Mummy. Cf. Oth. iii. 4. 74 : 

" there's magic in the web of it : 

The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk ; 
And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful 
Conserv'd of maidens' hearts." 

On maw, cf. iii. 4. 73 above. Gu!/= gullet; as, figuratively, in 
R. of L. 557, and Cor. i. i. 101. 

24. Ravin 1 d. Ravenous; like ravin in A. W. iii. 2. 129 : "the 
ravin lion." See on ii. 4. 28. 

2 5- Digged. The only form used by S. for the past tense and 
participle of dig. Cf. Rich. 77. iii. 3. 169, T. A. v. i. 135, etc. 

Scene I] Notes 255 

The same is true of Milton (see P. L. i. 690, vi. 516, etc.) and ot 
the Bible (Genesis, xlix. 6, 1. 5, Exodus, vii. 24, etc.). 

27. Yew. This tree was reckoned poisonous. 

28. Slivered. This word, which is common in this country (at 
least in New England), must be less familiar in England, as editors 
there think it necessary to explain it. 

Eclipse. An unlucky time. Cf. Sonn. 107. 5 : 

" The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd, 
And the sad augurs mock their own presage." 

See also Milton, Lycidas, 101 : 

" It was that fatal and perfidious bark, 
Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark." 

32. Slab. Viscous, glutinous. Slabby has the same meaning. 

33. Chaudron. Entrails. Steevens found in a cookery book, 
printed in 1597, a receipt " to make a pudding of a calf's chaldron." 
At the coronation feast of Elizabeth of York, queen of Henry VII., 
one of the dishes was " a swan with chaudron," meaning sauce 
made with its entrails. 

37. Baboon's. Accented here on the first syllable, but on the 
second in T. of A. i. I. 260: " Into baboon and monkey," etc. 

38. The stage-direction in the folios is " Enter Hecat, and the 
other three Witches" ; but there is no good reason for supposing 
that there are any other witches in the scene than those already on 
the stage. Steevens suggested that others might be brought in to 
join in the coming dance. 

43. The stage-direction is from the 1st folio. The "Song" is 
found in The Witch of MiddleWh, where it begins thus : 

" Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray, 
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may ! " 

Davenant introduced this much of it into his version. 

44. Pricking, etc. It is a very ancient superstition that all sud- 


Notes [Act IV 

den pains of the body, which could not naturally be accounted for, 
were presages of somewhat that was shortly to happen. 

50. Conjure. S. always has the accent on the first syllable, 
except in R. and J. ii. i. 26, Oth. I. 3. 105, and Ham. v. i. 279. 

53. Yesty. Foamy. Cf. Ham. v. 2. 198, where it is used figura- 
tively = light, frivolous. 

55. Bladed. In the blade. Cf. M. N. D. i. i. 211 : "the bladed 
grass." On lodged ( = thrown down, laid), cf. Rich. II. iii. 3. 162. 

57. Slope. S. has the word nowhere else, either as verb or 
noun. Its transitive use here is peculiar. 

59. Gennens. Germs, seeds. The folios have " germaine " or 
" germain." Cf. Lear, iii. 2. 8 : " Crack nature's moulds, all ger- 
mens spill at once " (" germaines " or " germains " in the early eds.). 

60. Sicken. Be surfeited. Cf. T. N. i. i. 3. 

65. Farrow. A litter of pigs. Steevens cites the law of Ken- 
neth II., of Scotland, given by Ilolinshed : "If a sowe eate hir 
pigges, let hyr be stoned to death and buried." Sweaten is an 
irregular form, used here for the rhyme. 

68. The armed head represents symbolically Macbeth's head cut 
off and brought to Malcolm by Macduff (v. 8. 53). The bloody 
child 'is Macduff (v. 8. 15). The child crowned, -with a tree in his 
hand, is the royal Malcolm (v. 4. 4). 

78. Had I three ears, etc. Whately {Rhetoric, iv. 2. 2), in illus- 
trating the imperfection of any system of marks or signs to indicate 
tones in elocution, says of this passage : " No one would dispute 
that the stress is to be laid on the word three, and thus much might 
be indicated to the reader's eye; but if he had nothing else to trust 
to, he might chance to deliver the passage in such a manner as to 
be utterly absurd; for it is possMe to pronounce the emphatic 
word three in such a tone as to indicate that ' since he has but two 
ears he cannot hear.' " 

84. And take a bond of fate. This legal metaphor is often used 
by S. Cf. iii. 2. 49 above. 

85. Pale-hearted fear. See on ii. 2. 65. 

Scene I] Notes 257 

88. The round, etc. On round, cf. i. 5. 28; and on top, see 
Temp. iii. I. 38 : " the top of admiration ; " 2 Hen. VI. i. 2. 49 : 
"the top of honour;" M. for M. ii. 2. 76: "the top of 
judgment," etc. 

93. Great Birnam wood, etc. The incident of the moving 
forest is found in various myths. Cf. the story of King Griinewald, 
which Professor Schwarz has preserved in his Hessian Notabilia 
derived from oral tradition : " A King had an only daughter, who 
possessed wondrous gifts. Now, once upon a time there came his 
enemy, a King named Griinewald, and besieged him in his castle, 
and, as the siege lasted long, the daughter kept continually encour- 
aging her father in the castle. This lasted till May-day. Then all 
of a sudden the daughter saw the hostile army approach with green 
boughs : then fear and anguish fell on her, for she knew that all 
was lost, and said to her father : 

" ' Father, you must yield, or die, 

I see the green-wood drawing nigh." " 

See other instances in Grimms' Tales, and elsewhere. 

The village of Birnam is a modern suburb of Dunkeld, which 
is about sixteen miles from Perth. Birnam Hill (1580 feet high) 
rises in front of the village, at present almost bare of trees, though 
an attempt is being made to clothe it again with fir saplings taken 
from the original " Birnam Wood." In the rear of the hotel are 
two trees, an oak and a plane, which are believed to be a remnant 
of this famous forest. The Dunsinane hills, twelve miles distant, 
are visible from the northern side of Birnam Hill, which, as a recent 
writer remarks, "is precisely the point where a general, in full march 
towards Dunsinane, would be likely to pause to survey the plain 
which he must cross, and from this spot would the leafy screen 
devised by Malcolm become necessary to conceal the number of the 
advancing army." Dunsinane is here accented on the second syl- 
lable; but elsewhere in the play on the last syllable, or the first and 

258 Notes [Act IV 

last. The former is the local pronunciation, according to Chambers'* 

95. Impress. Press (as in Rich. II. iii. 2. 58, etc.), force into his 
service. Cf. i Hen. IV. i. I. 21, etc. 

96. Bodements. Prophecies. Used by S. only here and in 
T. and C. v. 3. 80. 

98. Our high-placed Macbeth. This seems strange in Macbeth's 
mouth, and I have seen no satisfactory explanation of it. The pas- 
sage, from Sweet bodements good ! to mortal custom, is probably either 
corrupt or spurious. 

99. Lease of nature. That is, the natural period. 
106. Noise. Music. Cf. Temp. iii. 2. 144: 

" the isle is full of noises, 
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not." 

See also Cor. iii. i . 95, Ham. v. 2. 360, etc. Cf. too Spenser, F. Q. 
i. 12, 39 : " During the which there was a heavenly noise; " Milton, 
Hymn on Nativ. 97: "the stringed noise; " Ode at a Solemn 
Mustek, 18: "that melodious noise;" and Coleridge, Ancient 
Mariner : 

" It ceased ; yet still the sails made on 

A pleasant noise till noon 

A noise like of a hidden brook 

In the leafy month of June, 

That to the sleeping woods all night 

Singeth a quiet tune." 

The word was also used in the sense of a company of musicians, as 
in 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 13. 

in. The stage-direction in the folio reads: "A shew of eight 
Kings, and Banquo last, with a glasse in his hand." This has bee^ 
regarded as inconsistent with what Macbeth says in line 119; bvt 
the figures shown in the glass are not included. 

1 1 6. Start, eyes ! Apparently meaning, " Start from your sockets, 
so that I may see nothing more." 

Scene II] Notes 

117. The crack of doom. The burst of sound at the day of doom; 
or the thunder announcing that day. Cf. T. A. ii. i. 3: "thunder's 
crack;" and Temp. i. 2. 203: " cracks of sulphurous roaring." See 
also on i. 2. 37 above. 

121. Twofold balls. This may refer to the double coronation of 
James, at Scone and Westminster; or, as otherwise explained, to 
the two islands, while the treble sceptres refers to the three king- 
doms (England, Scotland, and Ireland), Henry VIII. having taken 
the title of King of Ireland in 1542. 

123. Blood-bolter 'd. Clotted or matted with blood. According 
to the New English Diet. (Oxford) battered \s related to the provin- 
cial baiter, to become matted. 

127. Sprights. This is the spelling of the folio, and is preferred 
by some editors when, as here, the word does not refer to appari- 
tions. Cf. V. and A. 181 : "And now Adonis, with a lazyspright; " 
R. of L. 121 : " with heavy spright," etc. 

130. Antic. The folio has "Antique" here. We find "antick" 
and " antique " (the accent always on the first syllable) used pro- 
miscuously in the early eds. without regard to the meaning. 

144. Anticipafst. Dost prevent. Cf. Sonn. 118.9: "to antici- 
pate The ills that were not," etc. 

145. Flighty. Fleeting. Used by S. nowhere else. Overtook is 
the usual form of the participle in S. 

147. Firstlings. First produce or offspring. Cf. T. and C. 
prol. 27 : " The vaunt and firstlings of those broils." 

150. The castle of Macduff. Tradition makes this Dunnemarle 
Castle near Culross, on the Forth. 

152. All unfortunate souls, etc. All who are so unlucky as to 
be of his lineage. 

153. Trace. Follow. Cf. Hen. VIII. iii. 2. 45 : "Now all my 
joy Trace the conjunction ! " See also I Hen. IV. iii. I. 47. 

SCENE II. 4. Traitors. The treason is the desertion of his 

260 Notes [Act iv 

7. -Titles. Possessions, property; whatever he had title to. 

9. Touch. Sensibility, or feeling. Cf. T. G. of V. ii. 7. 18, 
A. W. i. 3. 122, A. and C. i. 2. 187, etc. 

The poor wren, etc. Harting ( Ornithology of S.~) remarks that 
the wren is not the smallest of birds, that it is doubtful whether it 
would fight against a bird of prey in defence of its young, and that 
the owl will not take young birds from the nest. 

12. All is the fear. The fear is all that can have influenced him. 

15. For. As regards. Cf. Rich. II. v. 3. 137: "But for our 
trusty brother-in-law," etc. 

17. The jits o 1 the season. The chances or uncertainties of the 
time. Cf. Cor. iii. 2. 33. 

1 8. When we are traitors, etc. That is, are counted traitors, 
but are not conscious of being such. 

19. When we hold rumour, etc. When we believe rumours 
because of our fears, yet know not why we should fear, being con- 
scious of no fault. 

On from =. because of, cf. iii. 6. 21 above. 

22. Each way and move. A doubtful passage; but none of the 
emendations are satisfactory. If move is what S. wrote, it is prob- 
ably a noun (= movements, motion) rather than a verb (=toss 
about), as some make it. 

23. Shall. The ellipsis of the nominative when it can be readily 
supplied is not uncommon. 

29. ft would be my disgrace. That is, I should give way to 
unmanly weeping. Cf. Hen. V. iv. 6. 30 : 

" But I had not so much of man in me, 
And all my mother came into mine eyes, 
And gave me up to tears." 

See also T. N. ii. I. 42, for the "mother" excuse. 

30. Sirrah. Used playfully. It was ordinarily addressed to 
inferiors, and was considered disrespectful, or unduly familiar, if 
applied to a superior. Cf. Much Ado, iv. 2. 14: 

Scene II] Notes 261 

" Dogberry . . . Yours, sirrah ? 
Conrad*. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade." 

It was also addressed to women. See A. and C. v. 2. 229 : 
" sirrah Iras, go." 

32. With worms. On worms. Cf. Rick. II. iii. 2. 175 : "I live 
with bread like you." 

34. Lime. Bird-lime. Cf. Temp. iv. I. 246 and T. G.ofV.\\. 

35. Gin. Snare. Cf. T. N. ii. 5. 92, 2 Hen. VI. iii. I. 262, etc. 
See also Psalms, cxl. 5. 

36. They. It is a question whether this refers to the traps just 
mentioned, or to birds. In either case, the meaning is that in life 
traps are not set for the poor but for the rich. 

47. Swears and lies. That is, proves false to his oath, perjures 

56. Enow. See on ii. 3. 6 above. 

65. In your state, etc. I am perfectly acquainted with your 
noble rank and character. Clarke remarks : " The man sees her in 
her own castle, and knows her to be its lady mistress; but he also 
seems to know that she is a virtuous, a kind, a good lady as well 
as a noble lady, and therefore comes to warn her of approaching 
danger." On perfect, cf. W. T. iii. 3. I : 

"Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath touch'd upon 
The deserts of Bohemia ? " 

and Cymb. iii. I. 73 : 

" I am perfect 

That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for 
Their liberties are now in arms." 

66. / doubt. I suspect, fear. Cf. M. W. i. 4. 42, etc. 

67. Homely. Plain, humble. S. also uses it in the other sense 
of plain-featured, ugly; as in T. G. of V. ii. 4. 98, C. of E. ii. I. 
89, etc. 

70. To do worse. That is, to let her and her children be 

262 Notes [Act iv 

destroyed without warning (Johnson). Another explanation as- 
sumes that the messenger was one of the murderers who, actuated 
by pity and remorse, had outstripped his companions to give warn- 
ing of their approach. 

75. Sometime. See on i. 6. II above. 

81. Where. On where following so, cf. T. and C. iii. 3. 155: 
"So narrow Where one but goes abreast." 

82. Shag-haired. Cf. 2 Hen. VI. iii. I. 367: "a shag-hair'd 
crafty kern" (the "rough, rug-headed kerns" of Rich. II. ii. I. 
156). On egg, cf. L. L. L. v. i. 78: " thou pigeon-egg of discre- 
tion; " and T. and C.\. I. 41 : " Finch-egg ! " 

83. Fry. Cf. V. and A. 526 : " No fisher but the ungrown fry 

SCENE III. Before the King's Palace. Some eds. have " A 
Room in the King's Palace " ; but cf. line 140 : " Comes the king 
forth, I pray you? " 

3. Mortal. Deadly. Cf. i. 5. 41 above. 

4. Bestride. Stand over to defend. Cf. C. of E. v. I. 192: 

" When I bestrid thee in the wars and took 
Deep scars to save thy life ; " 

and 2 Hen. IV. i. i. 207 : 

" Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land, 
Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke." 

Birthdom (used by S. nowhere else) mother country. 
6. Strike heaven, etc. Cf. M. of V. ii. 7. 45 : 

" The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 
Spets in the face of heaven." 

We have also " the face of heaven ' in Rich. III. iv. 4. 239; "the 
cloudy cheeks of heaven" in Rich. II. iii. 3. 57. The sun is called 
" the eye of heaven " in i. 3. 275, and " the searching eye of heaven " 

Scene III] Notes 263 

in iii. 2. 37, of the same play. For that = so that, see on i. 2. 58 

8. Syllable. Expression, cry. Cf. the figurative use of the word 
in v. 5. 21 below. 

10. To friend. On to = for, cf. J, C. iii. I. 143: "I know that 
we shall have him well to friend; " Rich. II. iv. I. 307 : " I have a 
king here to my flatterer," etc. See also Matthew, iii. 9, Luke, 
iii. 8, etc. 

1 2. Blisters our tongues. We have the same figure in R. andj. 
iii. 2. 90, L. L. L. v. 2. 335, and W. T. ii. 2. 33. Sole name = mere 
name, very name. 

14. Touch' d. Cf. iii. 2. 26 above. 

15. And wisdom. And it is wisdom. The ellipsis of it is, there 
is, and simple is occurs not unfrequently. 

19. Recoil. Fall off, degenerate (Schmidt). Cf. Cymb. i. 6. 
128: " Recoil from your great stock." In an imperial fharge = 
when acting by a king's command. 

21. Transpose. Change, transform. It has the same meaning 
in the only other passage where S. uses it, M. N. D. i. I. 233 : 

" Things base and vile, holding no quality, 
Love can transpose to form and dignity." 

24. Look so. That is, look like grace. Cf. M. for M. ii. I. 297 : 
" Mercy is not itself that oft looks so." My hopes = my hope of 
being welcomed by you as an ally. 

25. Perchance, etc. Perhaps because your own course (in leav- 
ing your family as you did) compels me to distrust you. 

26. Rawness. Want of due preparation. S. uses the word only 
here, but the adverb rawly (also used but once) has a similar sense 
in Hen. V. iv. I. 147: "children rawly left." 

27. Motives. Often applied by S. to persons. Cf. T. of A. v. 
4. 27, Oth. iv. 2. 43, A. and C. ii. 2. 96, etc. 

29. Jealousies. " The plural indicates the repeated occasions for 
his suspicion to which the arrival of messengers from Scotland gives 

264 Notes [Act iv 

rise, not merely his present feelings towards Macduff ; and this plura! 
occasioned the two others, dishonours and safeties" (Delius). See 
on iii. I. 121 above. 

34. Affeer'd. Confirmed, sanctioned. It is a law term, applied 
to the fixing of a fine in cases where it is not fixed by the statute. 
Toilet explains the passage thus: "Poor country, wear thou thy 
wrongs; the title to them is legally settled by those who had the 
final adjudication of it." 

37. To boot. In addition; still in colloquial use, at least in New 

39. / think, I think on the fact that, bear in mind that. Cf. iii. 
I. 131 : "always thought," etc. 

43. England. The king of England. Cf. line 189 below. See 
also K. John, iii. 4. 8: "And bloody England into England gone; " 
Hen. V. iii. 6. 131 : " England shall repent his folly; " Id. iii. 6. 166 : 
"Though France himself," etc.; W. T. i. I. 23: " Sicilia cannot 
show himself overkind to Bohemia," etc. 

49. What should he be ? What = who ; as often. Cf. Hen. V. 
iv. 3. 18: "What's he that wishes so?" etc. 

52. Opened. Unfolded, like buds or leaves; carrying out the 
metaphor in grafted. 

55. Confineless. Boundless. Not found elsewhere in S., but we 
have " fineless " in the same sense in Of A. iii. 3. 1 73 : " riches fineless." 

57. Top. Overtop, surpass. Cf. Cor. ii. I. 23: "topping all 
others in boasting," etc. 

58. Luxurious. Lustful, licentious; the only sense in which S. 
uses the word. Cf. Much Ado, iv. I. 42, etc. Luxury is used in a 
kindred sense; as in Rich. III. iii. 5. 80, Ham. i. 5. 83, etc. 

59. Sudden. Violent, impetuous, passionate. Cf. A. Y. L. ii. 7. 
151 : " Sudden and quick in quarrel; " Of A. ii. I. 279 : " he is rash 
and very sudden in choler," etc. 

64. Continent. Restraining. Cf. Lear, i. 2. 182 : "a continent 
forbearance." Cf. also the use of the noun in Lear, iii. 2. 58, 
A. and C. iv. 14. 40, etc. 

Scene III] Notes 265 

66. Such an one. Cf. 101 below, where we have "such a one." 
Both forms are found in the early eds. 

67. In nature. In its nature. 

71. Convey your pleasures. Indulge them secretly. So in 
Rich. III. iv. 2. 96, " convey letters " = send them secretly. Cf. 
also Lear, i. 2. 109, and Hen. V. i. 2. 74. Convey was used as a 
cant term for steal; as in M. W. i. 3. 32, Kick. II. iv. I. 317, etc. 

72. The time you may so hoodwink. "That no man shall be 
aware thereof" (Holinshed). 

77. Ill-composed. Compounded of evil qualities. Cf." well com- 
posed " in T. and C. iv. 4. 79. Affection disposition. 

78. Stanchless. Insatiate. Cf. stanch = satiate, in T. A. iii. 1.15. 

82. That. So that. See on i. 3. 57 above. Forge = frame, fab- 
ricate; used by S. in both a good and a bad sense. Cf. A. W. i. I. 
85 : "The best wishes that can be forged in your thoughts; " Id. 
iv. i. 26: "the lies he forges," etc. 

86. Summer-seeming. Which appears to belong to youth, and 
to pass with it. It is contrasted with avarice, which is lifelong. 

88. Poisons. Rich harvests, plenty. Cf. Sonn. 53. 9 : 

" Speak of the spring and foison of the year; 
The one doth shadow of your beauty show, 
The other as your bounty doth appear." 

See also Temp. ii. I. 163, iv. i. no, etc. 

89. Mere own. Absolutely your own. Cf. line 152 below, and 
also Oth. ii. 2. 3 : " the mere perdition (that is, entire destruction) 
of the Turkish fleet; " Hen. VIII. iii. 2. 329: "the mere undoing 
(the utter ruin) of all the kingdom," etc. 

Portable. Endurable; as in Lear, iii. 6. 115: "How light and 
portable my pain seems now." In the only other instance of the 
word in S. it is used in the literal modern sense : " an engine not 
portable " ( T. and C. ii. 3. 144)- Holinshed has importable in this 
connection : " mine intemperancie should be more importable vnto 
you," etc. 

266 Notes [Act iv 

90. Weighed with. Weighed against, counterbalanced by. 

92. Verity. Truthfulness, honesty. Cf. A. Y. L. iii. 4. 25 : "his 
verity in love." Temperance = self-restraint. Cf. M. for M. iii. 2. 
251, Hen. VIII. i. i. 124, Cor. iii. 3. 28, Ham. iii. 2. 8, etc. 

93. Perseverance. Accented on the second syllable, as in 
T. and C. iii. 3. 150. S. uses the word nowhere else. Per sever 
he always accents on the penult ; as in T. G. of V. iii. 2. 25 : 
"Ay, and perversely she persevers so." See also C. of E. ii. 2. 
217, M. N. D. iii. 2. 237, etc. 

95. Relish of. Not = relish for, but smack or flavour of. Cf. 
2 Hen. IV. i. 2. I ii : " some smack of age, some relish of the salt- 
ness of time; " Ham. iii. 3. 92: "no relish of salvation." 

98. The sweet milk, etc. Cf. i. 5. 17 above. 

99. Uproar. Stir up to tumult. It is found nowhere else as a 

104. Untitled. Without rightful title. 

105. Wholesome. Healthy, prosperous. Cf. M. W. v. 5. 63: 
" In state as wholesome as in state 't is fit ; " Lear, i. 4. 230 : " whole- 
some weal," etc. 

106. Since that. See on i. 2. 54 above. 

108. Breed. Parentage. Cf. Rich. II. ii. i. 45: "This happy 
breed (race) of men; " and Id. ii. i. 52: "royal kings, Fear'd by 
their breed" (on account of their birth), etc. 

in. Died every day she liv'd. Lived a life of daily mortifica- 
tion (Delius). Cf. I Corinthians, xv. 31 : "I die daily." Fare is a 

118. Trains. Artifices, lures. Cf. the use of the verb (= entice, 
allure) in C. of E. iii. 2. 45, L. L. L. i. i. 71, i Hen. IV. v. 2. 21, etc. 

119. Modest wisdom, etc. Cautious wisdom holds me back. 
123. Unspeak. Cf. "unsay" in Rich. II. iv. i. 9, M. N. D. i. I. 

181, Hen. VIII. v. i. 177, etc. 

133. Here-approach. Cf. " here-remain " in line 148. 

134. Old Siward. He was the son of Beorn, Earl of Northum- 
berland, and rendered great service to King Edward in the sup- 

Scene III] Notes 267 

pression of the rebellion of Earl Godwin and his sons, 1053. 
According to Holinshed, Duncan married a daughter of Siward; 
but in v. 2. 2 S. calls Siward Malcolm's uncle. 

135. At a foint. Like at point = completely, prepared for any 
emergency. Cf. Ham. i. 2. 200 : " Arm'd at point; " Lear, i. 4. 347 : 
" keep At point a hundred knights," etc. 

136. The chance, etc. May the chance of success be as certain 
as the justice of our cause. 

140-159. The authenticity of these lines has been disputed. 
Fleay ascribes them to Middleton. Hales suggests that, if they are 
an interpolation, S. may himself have inserted them for the Court 

142. Stay his cure. Wait to be healed by him. Cf. T. G. of V. 
ii. 2. 13 : " My father stays my coming; " M. of V. ii. 8. 40: " But 
stay the very riping of the time," etc. Convinces, etc. = overpowers 
the utmost efforts of medical skill. On convinces, cf. i. 7. 64 above. 

145. Presently. Immediately. See on i. 2. 64 above. 

146. The evil. The scrofula, or " the king's evil," as it was long 
called. Edward's miraculous powers were believed in by his con- 
temporaries, and were recognized by Pope Alexander III., who can- 
onized him. The power of healing was claimed for his successors 
early in the twelfth century. James the First's practice of touching 
for the evil is mentioned several times in Nichols's Progresses. 
Charles I., when at York, touched seventy persons in one day. 
Charles II. touched when an exile at Bruges, and also after his 
restoration. One of Dr. Johnson's earliest recollections was the 
being taken to be touched by Queen Anne in 1712. A form of 
prayer to be used at the ceremony was introduced into the Book 
Common Prayer as early as 1684, and was retained up to 1719. 
As late as 1745 Prince Charles at Holyrood touched a child for tl 

CV ^' I TT ' 

149. Solicits. Moves by his prayers. Cf. Rich. II. i. 2. 2 
"Doth more solicit me than your exclaims." 
152. Mere. See on line 89 above. 

268 Notes [Act iv 

153. A golden stamp. There is no evidence that the Confessor 
hung a golden coin or stamp about the necks of the patients, but 
this custom prevailed in later days. Previously to Charles II.'s 
time some current coin, as an angel, was used for the purpose, but 
in his reign a special medal was struck and called a " touch-piece." 
The touch-piece which Queen Anne hung round the neck of Dr. 
Johnson is preserved in the British Museum. On stamp coin, cf. 
M. W. iii. 4. 16: "Stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags; " and 
Cymb. v. 4. 24 : " they weigh not every stamp." 

154. Spoken. Said. See on iii. 4. 8 above. 

160. My countryman. He recognizes him as such by his dress. 

163. Means. S. sometimes uses means as a singular. QX.M.ofV. 
ii. 1. 19: "that means;" W. T. iv. 4. 632 : "this means;" C. of E. 
i. I. 76: "Other means was none," etc. He also often uses the 
singular mean; as in IV. T. iv. 4. 89, Oth. iii. I. 39, J. C. iii. I. 
161, etc. 

170. Modern. Ordinary, common; as in R. and J. iii. 2. 120: 
"modern lamentation;" A. W. ii. 3. 2: "modern and familiar," 
etc. For ecstasy, see on iii. 2. 22. 

171. Scarce ask'd for who. See on iii. I. 122 above. 

172. Flowers in their caps. It was customary with the High- 
landers, when on a march, to stick sprigs of heath in their bonnets. 

173. Or ere. Cf. Temp. i. 2. ii, Ham. i. 2. 147, etc. The or, 
like the ere, is the Anglo-Saxon &r, which is found in Early English 
in the forms er, air, ar, ear, or, etc. Ere seems to have been added 
to or for emphasis when the meaning of the latter was coming to 
be forgotten. 

174. Too nice. Too precise or minute; not "too fancifully 
minute," as some explain it. " Notwithstanding the relation is so 
full of distressing particulars, it is yet too true " (Noble Butler). 

175. That of an four's age, etc. If a man tells of a crime that 
is an hour old, it exposes him to derision. 

176. Teems. Brings forth. Cf. T. of A. iv. 3. 179, and Hen. V. 
v. 2. 51. 

Scene III] Notes 269 

177. Children. A trisyllable here. The word was originally 

179. At peace. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 2. 127: 

" Richard. I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke. 
Scroop. Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord." 

183. Were out. Had taken the field. In Lear, i. I. 33 (" He 
hath been out nine years ") out = abroad, in foreign countries. 

184. Witness 'd. Made credible. 

185. For that. See on 106 above. Power = army, forces; as 
often. Cf. line 236 below. The plural was used in the same sense 
(so force and forces now). 

191. None. There is none. See on 15 above. 

192. Gives out. Shows. Cf. W. T. iv. 4. 149. T. N. iii. 4. 203, 
OtA. iii. 3. 209, etc. 

195. Latch. Catch. Cf. Sonn. 113.6: 

" For it no form delivers to the heart 
Of bird, or flower, or shape, which it doth latch." 

In M. N. D. iii. 2. 36 some make it = smear; a meaning found 
nowhere else. 

196. A fee-grief. A grief that affects a single person; like 

property held in fee. 

202. Possess them with. Fill them with. Cf. K.John, iv. 2. 203 : 
"Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears?" See also 
I Hen. IV. ii. 2. 112, Hen. VIII. ii. \. 158, M. W. i. 3- " etc - 

206. Quarry. Dead bodies; literally, the game killed in hunt- 
ing Cf. Cor. i. i. 202, and Ham. v. 2. 375. 

208. Ne'er pull your hat, etc. Cf. the old ballad of Northum- 
berland betrayed by Douglas " : 

" He pulled his halt down over his browe, 
And in his heart he was full woe," etc. 

209. The grief that does not speak, etc. Steevens quotes Web- 
ster, White Devil: 

270 Notes [Act iv 

" Poor heart, break ; 
These are the killing griefs which dare not speak." 

Cf. V. and A. 329: 

" the heart hath treble wrong 

When it is bacr'd the aidance of the tongue." 

210. Whispers. Cf. Much Ado, iii. 1.4: " Whisper her ear," etc. 

212. Must be. Was destined to be. 

216. He has no children. Some refer this to Macbeth : " there- 
fore my utmost revenge must fall short of the injury he has inflicted 
upon me." I prefer, with Malone, to apply it to Malcolm. Cf. 
K.John, iii. i. 91: "He talks to me that never had a son." 
Moberly refers it to Macbeth, but explains it thus : " Had he had 
children, he could not have done it." He cites 3 Hen. VI. v. 5. 


" You have no children, butchers ; if you had, 

The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse." 

220. Dispute it. Fight against it; or, perhaps, "reason upon 
it," as some explain it. 

223. That. On that following such, cf. /. C. i. 3. 1 16 : " to such 
a man That is no fleering tell-tale," etc. 

225. Naught. Worthless thing. Cf. Ham. iii. 2. 157: "You are 
naught," etc. 

229. Convert. Change. Cf. R. of L. 592 : " For stones dissolv'd 
to water do convert; " Id. 691 : "This hot desire converts to cold 
disdain; " Much Ado, i. I. 123: "Courtesy itself must convert to 
disdain," etc. 

232. Intermission. Delay. Cf. M. of V. iii. 2. 201 : 

" You lov'd, I lov'd ; for intermission 
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you." 

234. Scape. See on iii. 4. 20 above. 

235. Too. " If I don't kill him, then I am worse than he, and 
I not only forgive him myself, but pray God to forgive him also. " 
On the adverbial use of manly, cf. iii. 5. I above. 

Scene I] 



Coleridge observes: "How admirably Macduff's grief is in har- 
mony with the whole play ! It rends, not dissolves the heart. 
'The tune of it goes manly.' Thus is S. always master of himself 
and of his subject a genuine Proteus; we see all things in him, 
as images in a calm lake, most distinct, most accurate, only more 
splendid, more glorified." 

237. Our lack, etc. We need only the king's leave to set out; 
or, perhaps, to take our leave of the king. 

239. Put on. Instigate, incite; as in Lear, \. 4. 227, Oth. ii. 3. 
357, etc. For instruments applied to persons, cf. i. 3. 124 and iii. 
1 . 80 above. 



SCENE I. 4. Went into the field. Steevens thinks S. forgot that 
he had shut up Macbeth in Dunsinane; but, as Boswell notes, Ross 

272 Notes [Act V 

says (iv. 3. 185) that he had seen "the tyrant's power afoot." The 
strength of his adversaries, and the revolt of his own troops (v. 2. 
18), had probably led him to retreat into his castle. 
6. Nightgown. See on ii. 2. 70 above. 

11. Effects. Actions. Cf. Ham. iii. 4. 129, Lear, i. I. 1 88, ii. 4. 
182, etc. 

12. Slumbery. Used by S. only here. 

13. Actual. "Consisting in doing anything, in contradistinction 
to thoughts or words" (Schmidt); as in Oth. iv. 2. 153, the only 
other instance of the word in S. 

22. Close. Hidden; as in/. C. i. 3. 131, etc. 

25. 'T is her command. Dr. Bucknill asks : " Was this to avert 
the presence of those 'sightless substances' (i. 5. 49) once im- 
piously invoked ? She seems washing her hands, and ' continues 
in this a quarter of an hour.' What a comment on her former 
boast, ' A little water clears us of this deed ! ' >: 

27. Are shut. The folio reading, generally changed to " is shut." 
Sense is apparently a plural like horse, etc. See on ii. 4. 14. Cf. 
Sonn. 112. 10: 

" my adder's sense 
To critic and to flatterer stopped are." 

38. Hell is murky. Steevens thinks that she imagines herself 
talking to Macbeth, and that these are his words which she repeats 
contemptuously; but it seems better (with Clarke and Noble Butler) 
to regard them as the expression of her own dread of hell. 

48. You mar all, etc. Alluding to the terror of Macbeth, when 
the Ghost broke in on the banquet. 

49. Go to. Often used as an expression of exhortation or re- 
proof. Cf. Temp. iv. I. 253, Oth. iv. 2. 194, etc. See also Genesis, 
xi. 3, 4, 7 and xxxviii. 16, 2 Kings, v. 5, etc. 

54. Smell. Verplanck, after remarking that " the more agree- 
able associations of this sense " are often used for poetic effect, 
adds : " But the smell has never been successfully used as a means 
of impressing the imagination with terror, pity, or any of the deeper 

Scene II] Notes 273 

emotions, except in this dreadful sleep-walking scene of the guilty 
Queen, and in one parallel scene of the Greek drama, as wildly 
terrible as this. It is that passage of the Agamemnon of yEschylus, 
where the captive prophetess, Cassandra, wrapt in visionary in- 
spiration, scents first the smell of blood, and then the vapours of 
the tomb breathing from the palace of Atrides, as ominous of his 
approaching murder." 

58. Sorely charged. Heavily laden. Cf. iv. 3. 210: "the o'er- 
fraught heart." 

60. The dignity, etc. The queenly rank of the lady. 

64. Which. See on i. 2. 21 above. 

68. On J s. Of his. Cf. "on 't," i. 3. 42, and iii. I. 130. See 
also Lear, i. 4. 114, iv. 5. 20, etc. 

81. Remove, etc. Lest she commit suicide. On annoyance, cf. 
K.John, v. 2. 150, T. and C. i. 3. 48, etc. 

83. Mated. Bewildered, paralyzed. Cf. V. and A. 909, C. of E. 
iii. 2. 54, v. i. 281, and 2 Hen. VI. iii. I. 265. 

SCENE II. 3. Revenges. For the plural, see on iii. 1. 1 21, and cf. 
M.forM. iv. 3. 140, A. IV. v. 3. 10, T. N.V.I. 385, Cor. iv. 5. 143, etc. 

Dear causes. Causes in which they are intensely interested. 
Cf. Lear, iv. 3. 53: "Some dear cause." Dear often meant 
" earnest, heartfelt, vital," and was applied to what was disagree- 
able or hateful as well as what was agreeable and lovable. 

4. Alarm. Call to arms. See on " alarum'd," ii. I. 53 above. 

5. The mortified man. "The veriest ascetic " (Moberly). Cf. 
L. L. L.\. i. 28. Schmidt explains mortified as " deprived of vital 
faculty, made apathetic and insensible." There is little to choose 
between the two. 

8. File. List. See on iii. I. 94 above. 

10. Unrough. Beardless. Cf. Temp. ii. I. 250: "rough and 
razorable." See also W. T. \. 2. 128, iv. 4. 744, etc. 

11. Protest. Proclaim. Cf. iii. 4. 105 : and on first of manhood, 
iii. I. 117. 


274 Notes [Act v 

13. Lesser. S. uses it several times as an adverb. See on i. 3. 65. 
15. He cannot buckle, etc. We have the same metaphor in 
T. and C. ii. 2. 30 : 

" And buckle in a waist most fathomless 
With spans and inches so diminutive 
As fears and reasons." 

Distempered = disordered, disorganized. 

1 8. Minutely. Happening every minute, continual; used no- 
where else by S. 

20. Nothing. Adverbial, as in v. 4. 2. For the figure that fol- 
lows, cf. i. 3. 145. 

23. Pestered. Troubled, perplexed. Cf. Ham. i. 2. 22, T. and 
C, v. I. 38, etc. On to recoil (= for recoiling), cf. iv. 3. 19. 

27. Medicine. Some critics take this to mean physician (Fr. 
medecin), as in A. W. ii. I. 75 and W. T. iv. 4. 598; but the next 
line rather favours taking it in its ordinary sense. Him may refer 
to Malcolm, as Heath suggests, not to medicine. It is not easy to 
decide between the two interpretations. Cf. iii. 4. 76. 

30. Dew. Also used as a verb in V. and A. 66, M. N. D. ii. I. 
9, R. andf. v. 3. 14, etc. 

SCENE III. i. Them. That is, the thanes. 

3. Taint. Be infected. Cf. Cymb. i. 4. 148, and T. N. iii. 4. 145. 

5. For prono unce, cf. Hen. VIII. i. I. 196. 

8. English epicures. The Scotch often accused the English 
of gluttony. The English too brought similar charges against 
their Continental neighbours. Delius quotes from the drama of 
Edward III., falsely attributed to Shakespeare : 

" Those ever-bibbing epicures, 
Those frothy Dutchmen, puff "d with double beer." 

9. The mind I sway by. That is, am directed by. Some ex- 
plain it, "by which I bear rule." 

10. Sag. Droop. The word appears to be only provincial in 

Scene III] Notes 275 

England. Like some other words I have noted in S., it is still in 
common use in New England. See on sliver' d, iv. i. 28 above. 

13. There is. The singular verb is often used with numbers, 
which seem to be viewed as an aggregate. 

15. Lily-liver '</. Cowardly. Cf. Lear, ii. 2. 18: " A lily-liver'd, 
action-taking knave; " M. of V. iii. 2. 86 : " livers white as milk; " 
2 Hen. IV. iv. 3. 113: "the liver white and pale," etc. Patch = 
clown, fool; as in Temp. iii. 2. 71, C. of E. iii. I. 32, etc. 

1 6. Linen cheeks. Steevens quotes Hen. V. ii. 2. 74: "Their 
cheeks are paper." See on iii. 4. 1 16. 

20. Push. Attack, onset; as in_/. C., v. 2. 5, etc. 

21. Will cheer me, etc. The ist folio has " Will cheere me euer, 
or dis-eate me now"; the other folios have " disease " for "dis- 
eate." Capell conjectured " disseat," which has been generally 
adopted by the editors, with Bishop Percy's suggestion of " chair " 
for cheer. S. uses neither disseat nor the verb chair anywhere else. 
Furness suggests dis-ease, which, as he remarks, " is the logical 
antithesis to cheer, and is used with no little force in the earlier 
versions of the New Testament." Cf. Luke, viii. 49 (both in Cran- 
mer's Version, 1537, and in the version of 1581) : "Thy daughter 
is dead, disease not the Master." Cotgrave gives "disease, 
trouble," etc., as translations of the Fr. malaiser. Furness might 
have added as a confirmation of his reading that in the only other 
instance in which S. uses disease as a verb it is in this sense. See 
Cor. i. 3. 117: " She will but disease our better mirth." He uses 
the noun disease in the sense of trouble, vexation; as in A. W. v. 
4. 68 and T. of A. iii. I. 56. 

23. On yellow leaf, cf. Sonn. 73. I : 

" That time of year thou mayst in me behold 
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang 
Upon those boughs," etc. 

24. Old age. Clarke suggests that Macbeth's mention of himself 
as in the autumn of life is " one of those touches of long time 

276 Notes [Act v 

systematically thrown in at intervals, to convey the effect of a suf- 
ficiently elapsed period for the reign of the usurper since his murder 
of the preceding king, Duncan." Furness asks : " May we not add 
as one of these ' touches ' the tardy recognition of Ross by Malcolm 
in iv. 3. 160?" 

35. Moe. More; used only with plural or collective nouns. Cf. 
Much Ado, ii. 3. 72 : " Sing no more ditties, sing no moe " (where 
it rhymes with so, as it does in R. of L. 1479); J. C. ii. I. 72: 
"there are moe with him," etc. Skirr = scour ; used by S. only 
here and in Hen. V. iv. 7. 64, where it is intransitive. 

43. Oblivious. Causing forgetfulness. S. uses the word only here 
and in the compound " all-oblivious " (forgetful of all), Sonn. 55. 9. 

44. Stujfd bosom of that perilous stuff. There may be a corrup- 
tion of the text here, as many critics have supposed, but similar 
repetitions are not uncommon in S. Cf. v. 2. 19 and v. 8. 72 in the 
present play. See also A. and C. \. I. 44, A. W. ii. i. 163, v. I. 35, 
R. and J. iii. 2. 92, K. John, ii. i. 471, etc. 

48. Staff. Lance, according to Schmidt; as in K. John, ii. i. 
318, Rich. III. v. 3. 65, 341, Much Ado, v. I. 138, etc. It may be 
" the general's baton," as .Wright explains it. 

50. Come, sir, dispatch. This is said to the attendant who is 
buckling on the armour. The agitation of the speaker's mind is 
marked by the conflicting orders he gives the man. Cast was the 
technical term for finding out disorders by inspection of the urine. 

52. Purge, etc. Cf. iii. 4. 76 above. 

55. Senna. The reading of the 4th folio. The 1st has " Cyme " ; 
the 2d and 3d, " Geny." 

59. Bane. Ruin, destruction; as in T. and C, iv. 2. 98, T. A. 
v. 3. 73, etc. 

61, 62. This second "rhyming tag" may be spurious. 

SCENE IV. 2. That chambers will be safe. The allusion may 
be to the spies mentioned at iii. 4. 131; or, perhaps, to Duncan's 

Scene V] Notes 277 

6. Discovery. This refers to Macbeth's spies. 

10. For set down = sit down, or begin a siege, cf. Cor. i. 2. 28, 
i. 3. lio, T. of A. v. 3. 9, etc. 

11. Given. The sense seems to require "gain'd," "ta'en," or 
"got," all of which have been suggested as emendations; but it 
may mean " given them." 

12. More and less. Great and small. Cf. I Hen. IV. iv. 3. 68: 
" More and less came in with cap and knee; " 2 Hen. IV. i. i. 209 : 
" And more and less do flock to follow him," etc. 

14. Let our just censures, etc. "Let our just decisions on the 
defection of Macbeth's followers attend upon the actual result of 
the battle, and let us meanwhile be industrious soldiers; that is, 
let us not be negligent through security" (Elwin). On censure = 
judgment, opinion, cf. IV. T. ii. I. 37, Hen. VIII. i. I. 33, Rich. III. 
ii. 2. 144, etc. 

1 8. Owe. Here used in the modern sense, as in i. 4. 22 and 
v. 2. 26. For the other meaning (= have, possess) cf. i. 3. 76, i. 4. 
10, and iii. 4. 113. "The decision of the battle will show us what 
we have, and at the same time what it is our duty yet to do." 

20. Arbitrate. Decide. Mere speculations are of no use; fight- 
ing must settle it. 

SCENE V. 5. Forced. Reinforced, strengthened. 

6. Dareful. Used nowhere else by S. 

7. Beat. S. uses both beat and beaten for the participle, but the 
latter more frequently. 

10. CooTd. Felt the chill of fear or apprehension. 

11. Fell. Literally, skin. Cf. A. IV. iii. 2. 55 and Lear, v. 3. 24. 

12. Treatise. Tale, story; as in V. and A. 774 and Much Ado, 
i. 3. 317, the only other instances in which S. uses the word. On 
rouse, cf. iii. 2. 53 above. 

13. As. As if. Cf. i. 4. ii above. On the passage, cf. Ham. 
iii. 4. 121. For with, see on iv. 2. 32. 

14. Direness. Horror. Not used elsewhere by S. 

278 Notes [Act v 

15. Once, Ever, at any time; as in iv. 3. 167. Cf. Rich. II. ii. 
3. 91, Ham. i. 5. 121, etc. Start startle ; as in T. and C. v. 2. 
101, etc. 

17. She should have died hereafter. It has been suggested that 
should ' would (" She would have died some day ") ; but it is 
probably an expression of disgust that it should have happened 
when he had so much else to trouble him. 

21. Last syllable. Cf. A. W. iii. 6. 75: "even to the utmost 
syllable of your worthiness." 

23. Dusty. Collier quotes Anthony Copley, Fig for Fortune, 
1596: "Inviting it to dusty death's defeature." 

24. A poor player, etc. Cf. T. and C. i. 3. 153: "Like a strut- 
ting player." S. has frequent figurative allusions to the stage; as 
in i. 3. 128 and ii. 4. 6 above. 

30. Gracious my lord. See on iii. 2. 27 above. 

37. This three mile. On this, cf. i Hen. IV. iii. 3. 54; and for 
mile in the plural, M. W. iii. 2. 33, Much Ado, ii. 3. 17, etc. 

40. Cling. Shrink or shrivel up. Moor, in his Suffolk Words, 
gives: "Clung: shrunk, dried, shrivelled; said of apples, turnips, 
carrots," etc. 

42. Pull in. Rein in, check. Cf. Fletcher, Sea Voyage, ii. I : 

" All my spirits, 

As if they had heard my passing-bell go for me, 
Pull in their powers and give me up to destiny." 

" Pall in " and " pale in " have been suggested as emendations. 

49. Gin. See on i. 2. 25. On aweary, cf. M. of V. i. 2. 2, 
M. N. D.\. i. 255, etc. 

50. The estate of the world. From the context this would seem 
to mean " this worldly life," and undone = ended. It is otherwise 
explained as " the world's settled order." 

51. Alarum-bell. See on ii. i. 53. On wrack, cf. i. 3. 114. 

52. Harness. Armour; as in T. and C. v. 3. 31, A. and C. iv. 8. 
15, etc. See also I Kings, xxii. 34, 2 Chronicles, xviii. 33 and ix. 24. 

Scene VII] Notes 

SCENE VI. I. Leavy. Leafy. Cf. Much Ado, ii. 3. 75. 

2. Show. See on i. 3. 54 above. 

4. Battle. Battalion. Cf. /. C. v. I. 4, v. 3 108, /fen. P. iv. 3. 

69, etc. 

7. >o /<? but find. If we only find. 
10. Harbingers. See on i. 4. 45 above. 

SCENE VII. i. They have tied, etc. Cf. Lear, iii. 7. 54: "I 
am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course; " also/. C. iv. 
i. 48: "For we are at the stake, And bay'd about with many ene- 
mies " Bear-baiting was a favourite sport in the olden time. The 
bear was tied to a stake, and a certain number of dogs allowed to 
attack him at once. Each of these attacks was called a course. 
Steevens quotes Brome, The Antipodes, 1638: "You shall , 
ten-dog courses at the great bear." 

2 What V he, etc. See on iv. 3. 49 above. 
4. Young Siward. His name was really Osbeorn ; but his co 
Siward was slain in the same battle. 
7. Than any is. Any which is. 
17. Kerns. See on i. 2. 13 above. 

18 Staves. The word Oaf was applied both to the shaft of 
lance' and to the lance itself. See on v. 3. 48- After thou, must 
be encountered," or something equivalent, is understood. 

20. Undeeded. Not used elsewhere by S.; and the same is true 
of clatter in the next line. 

spiriting gently." 

27 Itself firofesses. Declares itself. 

29! Strike beside us. Strike the air," or - deliberately miss us.' 

Ci.$Hen. VI.\\. i. 129: 

Their weapons like to lightning came and went; 
Our soldiers', like the night-owl's lazy flight, 

28o Notes [Act v 

Or like an idle thresher with a flail, 

Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends." 

SCENE VIII. There is no new scene in the folios. 

1. The Roman fool. This alludes perhaps to Cato, whose suicide 
is mentioned in J. C.v. i. 101; or it may refer more generally to 
" the high Roman fashion of self-destruction, as in Brutus, Cassius, 
Antony," etc. 

2. Whiles. See on i. 5. 5. 

4. Of all men, etc. A "confusion of construction," common 
even now. 

7. Bloodier villain, etc. For the transposition, see on iii. 6. 48. 

9. Easy. The adjective for the adverb, as often. Intr enchant 
that cannot be cut; the active word in a passive sense. Tren- 
chant is used actively in T. of A. iv. 3. 115. 

13. Despair. Not elsewhere used transitively by S. The verb 
is similarly used in Ben Jonson's verses prefixed to the folio of 
1623 : 

" Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage, 
Or influence, chide, or cheere the drooping Stage ; 
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like night, 
And despaires day, but for thy Volumes light." 

14. Angel. Genius, demon; as in A. and C. ii. 3. 21. We have- 
angel in a bad sense in 2 Hen. IV. i. 2. 186, Lear, iii. 6. 34, C. of E, 
iv. 3. 20, etc. Still^ constantly; as in iii. i. 21, etc. 

18. My better part of man. Cf. A. and C. iv. 6. 39 : " my latter 
part of life," etc. 

20. Palter. Equivocate. Cf. T.and C. ii. 3. 244,^. C. ii. 1. 126, etc. 

24. And live to be the show, etc. Thus Antony threatens Cleo- 
patra in A. and C. iv. 12/36. For the time, cf. i. 5. 63, i. 7. 81, and 
iv. 3. 72. 

26. Upon a pole. That is, upon a cloth hung to a pole. No ex- 
planation would seem to be needed, but some critics have thought 
it necessary to change pole to " scroll " or " cloth." 

Scene VIII] Notes 28 1 

34. Him. The cases of pronouns are often confused by S. and 
other writers of the time. See on iii. 4. 14 above. 

36. Go off. Die; as "take off" = kill, in i. 7. 20 and iii. I. 104. 

40. On only . . . but, cf. 2 Hen. IV. i. \. 192: "My lord, your 
son had only but the corpse," etc. 

41. The which. See on iii. I. 16 above. 

42. Unshrinking station. Unshrinking attitude. Cf. Ham. iii. 
4. 58, and A. and C. iii. 3. 22, where station is similarly used. 

49. Wish them to. Wish to them; " the relation of the dative 
and accusative peculiarly inverted." 

52. Parted. Departed, died. Cf. Hen. V. ii. 3. 12, Rich. III. 
ii. i. 5, etc. Qn paid his score, cf. line 39 above. 

54. Stands. This is explained by Holinshed, who states that the 
tyrant's head was set upon a pole. 

56. Pearl. Used somewhat like flower as applied to more than 
one person in " the flower of the kingdom," etc. 

61. Loves. See on iii. I. 121 above : also L. L. L. v. 2. 793, 798, 
W. T. i. i. 10, /. C. iii. 2. 241, etc. 

66. ExiPd friends abroad. See on iii. 6. 48. Cf. 7 above. 

68. Producing forth. Bringing forward; that is, in a court of 
justice. Cf. J. C. iii. I. 228: "Produce his body to the market- 
place." See also W. T. iii. 2. 8, A. W. iv. 1 . 6, A". John, i. i. 46, etc. 

70. Self and violent hands. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 2. 166: "self and 
vain conceit." 

72. The grace of .Grace. This is a favourite repetition with S. 
Cf. T. G. of V. iii. I. 146, and A. W. ii. I. 163. See on v. 3. 44. 

74. One. Rhyming with Scone, in accordance with the old pro- 
nunciation of one (like own). Cf. V. and A. 293, and Sonn. 39. 6. 

75. Scone. See on ii. 4. 31 above. 



BANQUO. Several critics have taken the ground that Banquo 
was not " the soul of honour " that has generally been assumed. 
The German Flathe (quoted by Furness in his " New Variorum " 
edition of the play) argued in 1863 that he was a bad character. 
In 1893 a little book entitled, Some Few Notes on Macbeth, was pri- 
vately printed by Mr. M. F. Libby, English master of the Jameson 
Avenue Collegiate Institute, Toronto, the main purpose of which 
was to prove " that Cawdor died unjustly, that he was no traitor, 
but an honourable gentleman, sacrificed to ambition by Macbeth, 
Banquo, and Ross." 

In Poet-lore for January, 1 899, Mr. C. S. Buell agrees with these 
critics in their estimate of Banquo. These novel views are main- 
tained by all three writers with much ingenuity, but I believe they 
can be shown to be wrong in every particular. 

In the first place, it is pretty certain that the play was written 
just after James came to the throne. Banquo was held to be an 
ancestor of the new king, and Shakespeare directly refers to this in 
iv. I, where, in the line of spectral monarchs called up by the 
Weird Sisters, some appear " That twofold balls and treble sceptres 
carry," and the blood-boltered Banquo smiles and "points at them 
as his." Is it conceivable that the ancestor of the sovereign whom 
the dramatist thus desired to compliment would be represented as 
the accomplice of the regicide Macbeth? 

Note, also, Macbeth's own estimate of Banquo as expressed when 
he is meditating his murder (iii. i. 48) : 


Appendix 283 

" Our fears in Banquo 
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature 
Reigns that which would be fear' d ; 'tis much he dares, 
And, to that dauntless temper of his mind, 
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour 
To act in safety." 

Shakespeare is fond of making his villains pay an honest tribute to 
the worth of the men against whom they are plotting ; and Mac- 
beth, like Orlando, lago, Edmund, Antonio (in The Tempest, ii. I. 
286), and others, does it here as he had done it before with refer- 
ence to the gracious Duncan. Observe that he goes out of his way, 
so to speak, in order to do it. This makes it the more significant; 
and, as in other instances of the kind, Shakespeare meant that we 
should note it. Otherwise, it would have been quite sufficient to 
make Macbeth base his fears of Banquo solely upon the fact that 
the Weird Sisters had " hailed him father to a line of kings." 

Banquo, as Macbeth admits, is noble, wise, and brave; but 
Heaven help him when a perverse critic is determined to " spell 
him backward," or " turn him the wrong side out ! " Banquo warns 
his friend to beware of trusting " the instruments of darkness," even 
when they tell us truths; " but, we are told, "he is preaching, not 
so much to Macbeth as to himself." The critic goes on to read a 
deal of stuff into Banquo's simple and honest utterance which is 
not there. " Realizing the danger of falling into temptation," he 
yet believes " that the only way to really fall is by doing something." 
I cannot see how this is implied in what Banquo has said; but our 
critic sees it and much more. The Weird Sisters have " asked him 
to do nothing, to say nothing that will prevent Macbeth from carry- 
ing out his scheme; " and he decides to obey them, "arguing with 
himself that he is not his brother's keeper, and that what Macbeth 
may do is no concern of his." But at this time why should he as- 
sume or even suspect that Macbeth is going to do anything, good 
or bad, to bring about the fulfilment of the prophecy? He does, to 
be sure, observe that his " partner 's rapt." Well might any man 

284 Appendix 

be at predictions so strange and startling, especially when at the 
very moment they begin to be verified; and what more natural than 
that a friend, noticing his absorption, should ascribe it to the " new 
honours come upon him " ? But our critic asks : " Is it possible 
that Banquo does not suspect what Macbeth is thinking of in so 
absorbed a manner? Why is it necessary to call attention to his 
rapt condition at all?" To the first question I reply: Yes, it is 
possible; indeed, that he should suspect is inconceivable. Up to 
this time Macbeth has won "golden opinions from all sorts of 
people," Banquo included, as we know from what he has said 
(though not recorded by Shakespeare) in a following scene (i. 4. 
54) when Duncan replies : 

" True, worthy Banquo : he is full so valiant, 
And in his commendations I am fed; 
It is a banquet to me." 

To the second question the obvious answer is that it is Shake- 
speare's device and a very common one with him for breaking 
up a long soliloquy, and at the same time giving another actor 
something to say that will at once be natural and also serve to 
relieve him from the awkwardness of standing and looking on with 
nothing to say. 

The critic answers his own questions by saying that " two pos- 
sible explanations present themselves," the first of which is " that 
Banquo, in his innocence, meant what he said." So far as Banquo 
is concerned, that is a perfectly natural and satisfactory explana- 
tion; for, as I have shown, Banquo at this time had no reason for 
suspecting that the thought of murdering Duncan had entered 
Macbeth's mind. Macbeth's soliloquy tells us that it had, but 
Banquo would not have believed it if anybody else had sug- 
gested it. 

It was natural, moreover, that he should refrain from telling Ross 
and Angus what had just occurred; but if he had told them, it is 

Appendix 285 

absurd to say that " Duncan would never have been murdered by 
the hand of Macbeth." This is a palpable non sequitur. 

" But a second opportunity (to escape from destruction) was to 
come to" Banquo just before he retired for the night. He is 
sleepy, but does not want to go to sleep, because " a heavy summons 
lies like lead upon" him. This is merely due to Shakespeare's 
fondness for presentiments (illustrated so often in the plays), and 
does not show, as we are told by the critic, that " he feels, yes, he 
knows, that all is not as it should be," etc. He utters the prayer 

(ii. I. 7) : 

" Merciful powers 

Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature 
Gives way to in repose! " 

As the critic admits, this is " capable of the construction ordina- 
rily put upon it, a devout prayer that he may be kept from bad 
dreams " ; but he reads into it " more than meets the ear " or any 
unbiassed judgment namely, that Banquo is " terrified by his wak- 
ing thoughts as well," which have taken a " cursed " turn ! Simi- 
larly, his natural exclamation of surprise when Macbeth is hailed 
Thane of Cawdor " What, can the devil speak true?" shows 
that "the real fall" of Banquo occurs; "the temptation is 
complete ! " 

When Macbeth endeavours to draw from Banquo some assurance 
that he will be loyal to him after he becomes king, adding that " it 
shall make honour for " him, Banquo, like the honest man he is, 
replies that this may be (" I shall be counsell'd," that is, will give 
due consideration to what Macbeth may then have to propose) if 
he loses no honour " in seeking to augment it," etc. Here again 
our critic reads into his words what is not justified by any fair 
understanding of them; he assumes that Macbeth wants him to 
help bring the prophecy of sovereignty to pass, " and yet he does 
not warn his friend," but goes off to bed to "dream of the honour 
that is so soon to come ! " 

After the murder of Duncan is known, Banquo, who perhaps 

286 Appendix 

suspects that Macbeth had a hand in it, is the first to propose an 
investigation of this " most bloody piece of work." Then follows 
that noble utterance, in which he pledges himself, in God's name, 
to do his uttermost " to know it further " (ii. 3. 1 14) : 

" Fears and scruples shake us ; 
In the great hand of God I stand, and thence 
Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight 
Of treasonous malice." 

It would seem that this at least could not be twisted or tortured to 
support the theory we are considering ; but our critic is equal to 
the occasion. Ah ! " Fears and scruples ! " The scruples are 
scruples of conscience, "because he has not done all he should 
have done"; and he fears "that he may fail to convince and so 
may bring ruin upon himself." So " his fears get the better of his 
scruples, and he remains silent." He is now " forever knit with a. 
most indissoluble tie to the fortunes of Macbeth," and " his doom 
is sealed ! " 

Of course " Fears and scruples shake us " is naturally connected 
with what precedes. " Scruples " means " doubts, perplexities," 
as in the only other instance of the word in this play (iv. 3. 116) 
and often in other plays. Well might doubts and fears shake not 
Banquo alone but all the rest at the discovery of this mysterious 
act of treason and murder. What can be done but endeavour to 
probe the mystery? When Banquo suggests this, all heartily ap- 
prove it. 

But our critic would have Banquo tell at the moment what he 
knows of the prophecy of the Weird Sisters and suspects of Mac- 
beth. He would have been a fool, a madman, to have done it. 
This was neither the time nor the place for doing it, and to have 
done it would almost inevitably have defeated the ends of justice. 
Banquo displays here the " wisdom " for which Macbeth gives him 
credit, and his fellow nobles have the good sense to recognize 
the fact. 

Appendix 287 

The flight of Malcolm and Donalbain enables Macbeth to throw 
the suspicion of the murder upon them, and he secures the throne. 
Banquo evidently has seen that he can have no hope of turning 
the current of popular feeling against the murderer and usurper, as 
he now believes Macbeth to be. It is not until after the coronation 
(iii. i. I ) that Shakespeare makes him distinctly indicate his sus- 
picions, and he is murdered on the evening of that day. In the 
conversation with Macbeth that follows the soliloquy, and which 
takes place in the presence of Lady Macbeth and others, he is 
compelled to disguise his true feelings and to indulge in common- 
place expressions of allegiance. Had he lived we may safely 
assume that he would have taken the earliest prudent opportunity 
of uniting his fortunes with those of Macduff and the fugitive 
princes against the bloody tyrant. 

Much stress is laid by the critic on the fact that Banquo " dwells 
upon the prophecy" that he is to be the father of a line of kings. 
" It is a sweet morsel for him to chew upon." Why should he not 
feel an honest pride in it? He has seen that the prophecies of the 
Weird Sisters inevitably fulfil themselves, and he is willing to wait 
for the fulfilment of the prediction which concerns himself, or rather 
his descendants, though it may not be fulfilled until after his own 
death. Perhaps he remembered the significant utterances of the 
Weird Sisters " Lesser than Macbeth, and greater," " Not so 
happy, yet much happier " and understood their deeper mean- 
ing: greater, because of "his royalty of nature"; happier, in not 
giving his eternal jewel to the common enemy of man, only to feel, 

like Macbeth, that 

" Nought 's had, all 's spent 
Where our desire is got without content." 

Indeed, this utterance of the Weird Sisters really settles the 
question we are considering. It fixes the character of Banquo, &nd 
foreshadows the moral lesson of the play. At the outset Macbeth 
and Banquo appear together. They are friends and equals in rank 
and fortune. They are brave soldiers who up to this time bave 

288 Appendix 

won equal reputation in the field, and both alike can look forward 
to further honour and promotion. As they are returning from the 
battle with the forces of Norway the three hags cross their path. 
Their mission is to Macbeth, whom they have come to meet (i. I. 
7). They have no errand for Banquo, but after hearing their pro- 
phetic message to Macbeth, he asks them to speak to him, though 
he neither begs their favour nor fears their hate. They know the 
man, as they knew Macbeth, and the Power that makes for right- 
eousness, whose ministers they are through the mysterious agency 
of evil, compels them to speak truth to him as they have spoken it 
to his friend. It is because their wiles have no power over him 
that he is happier than Macbeth, whom their prophecies instigate 
to crime and drive to destruction. If Macbeth had been offered the 
choice of being either king or the mere ancestor of kings, he would at 
once have decided on the former. The greater and happier fortune 
of Banquo did not consist alone or chiefly in the sovereignty that 
was to come to his descendants. 

It seems to me, moreover, that to make Banquo bad would 
destroy the artistic balance of the drama. The royal pair of 
criminals, " magnificent in sin," need no iniquitous rivals near 
their infernal throne. Banquo is wanted on the other side. To 
Macbeth he seems, like Duncan, an obstacle in his ambitious 
career. He kills Duncan to get the throne, he kills Banquo in 
the hope of securing the succession to the throne for his own 
family. There is no "poetic justice" in either case; both, like 
Macduff's wife and children, are innocent victims of the sin of 
others, not of their own. 

It is not to be wondered at that a critic who can believe Banquo 
bad should adopt (as Mr. Buell does) the notion that Macbeth was 
the third murderer. That question is settled beyond dispute by the 
fact that when one of the murderers appears in iii. 4, Macbeth does 
not know that Fleance has escaped. His surprise and disgust on 
learning this are evidently real, being expressed in soliloquy, which 
gives us what the person actually believes and feels. If Macbeth 

Appendix 289 

had been present when Banquo was slain, Shakespeare would not 
have introduced one of the murderers in that scene, or would have 
let Macbeth dismiss him as soon as he had reported what was 

Mr. Libby, on the other hand, makes Ross the third murderer. 
He says of that worthy thane : " Ross, from a desire to curry favour 
with Macbeth, and from other motives, traduced and ruined Cajv- 
dor : Macbeth and Banquo allowed Cawdor to be ruined, that the 
words of the Witches might prove true : Cawdor was in the camp, 
unaware of the plot against him, and the conspirators, armed with 
the hasty command of the king, put him to death with complete 
injustice." Later Ross, having thus put Macbeth under obligations 
to him, follows the new Thane of Cawdor to Inverness, and becomes 
his chief minister after his accession to the throne of the murdered 
Duncan. " He is jealous of Banquo, who is the only courtier able 
to be his rival as chief adviser of Macbeth. He is the actual assas- 
sin of Banquo (the 'Third Murderer ' of iii. 3). At the banquet he 
does all that a skilful intriguer can do to assist Lady Macbeth in 
protecting Macbeth in his aberration. Later on he becomes the 
agent of Macbeth in the murder of the Macduffs. At this time he 
sees Macbeth's power on the wane, and deserts him solely on that 
account. He goes to England and finds Macduff and Malcolm, 
and throws in his lot with the cause he rejected in iii. 4, when 
Macduff remained loyal toward Malcolm. He returns with the 
prince, sees Macbeth defeated, and as a reward of endless treachery 
is made an earl, escaping immediate punishment that the Fates 
may torture him later, in which he resembles lago, whom he also 
resembles in many other respects." 

I shall not waste time and space in defending Ross against these 
charges. I doubt whether the reader who has not seen Mr. Libby's 
book can, from a study of the small part that Ross has in the play, 
even guess what the critic supposes he finds in support of his theory 
concerning the man. 

HECATE. As I have said (p. 248 above), I fully agree with the 


290 Appendix 

critics who believe that the part of Hecate is an interpolation by 
another hand than Shakespeare's. 

In the first place, the measure of Hecate's speeches is against the 
theory that Shakespeare could have written them. She speaks in 
iambics, while the eight-syllable lines that he puts into the mouth 
of supernatural characters witches, fairies, spirits, etc. are regu- 
larly trochaic. In iii. 5, which is spurious throughout, the two lines 
of the First Witch are iambic, like those of the same personage in 
iv. i. 125-132 ("Ay, sir, all this," etc.), which are also an obvious 
interpolation; but elsewhere she and her sisters speak only in tro- 
chaics when not using the ordinary blank verse, as occasionally 
they do. 

Again, every word that Hecate utters is absurdly out of keeping 
with the context. In iii. 5, she begins by chiding the Witches for 
daring to " trade and traffic " with Macbeth without calling on her 
to bear her part. The reference to trading and trafficking appears 
to have been suggested by the common notion that the help of 
witches was to be secured by a bargain with them; and there 
seems to be a similar reference in iv. i. 40, where Hecate, com- 
mending the Witches, says, " And every one shall share i' the gains." 
What can this possibly mean ? What were the " gains " in the busi- 
ness? Macbeth has offered the Witches no bribe, nor have they 
intimated that they expect or desire any. 

Besides, as mistress of the Witches, Hecate certainly has no 
reason to find fault with what they have done, or with the manner 
in which Macbeth has acted under their inspiration. She could 
not herself have managed the affair better. Wherein, so far as 
the Witches are concerned, has Macbeth proved " a wayward son, 
spiteful and wrathful"? 

But this leads up to the reference to love, introducing an idea 
which Shakespeare has entirely excluded from his delineation of 
the Witches. He was familiar with it from his readings in Regi- 
nald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, where we are told that " in a 
moone light night they [the Witches] seeme to be carried in the 

Appendix 291 

aire to feasting, singing, dansing, kissing, culling, and other acts of 
venerie, with such youths as they love and desire most," etc. In 
The Witch of Middleton, which some critics have believed to be 
earlier than Macbeth, this idea is repeatedly introduced. Hecate, 
for instance, says of Sebastian : 

" I know he loves me not, nor there 's no hope on 't; 
'T is for the love of mischief I do this, 
And that we 're sworn to, the first oath we take." 

Other allusions of this kind in the play are too gross for quotation 
here. The curious reader can refer to Middleton or to the extracts 
from the play in Furness's edition of Macbeth. 

Some editors who did not doubt the authorship of this scene 
have felt that " loves " was incongruous here, and have suggested 
sundry emendations; as "lives for his own sake; " "loves evil tor 
his own sake," etc. But these readings merely substitute one diffi- 
culty for another. Why should Macbeth be supposed to " live " or 
to " love evil " for the sake of the Witches rather than his own? 

Hecate also tells the Witches to meet her " at the pit of Ache- 
ron," for "thither he [Macbeth] will come to know his destiny." 
The Folio does not indicate the locality of iv. I ; it simply has 
" Thunder. Enter the three Witches" like iii. 5. Rowe was the 
first to insert " A Dark Cave " or " A Cavern," etc., as Capell 
and later editors have it. The Cowden-Clarkes have this note on 
" Acheron " : " The Witches are poetically made to give this name 
to some foul tarn or gloomy pool in the neighbourhood of Mac- 
beth's castle, where they habitually assemble." This is not satis- 
factory. The place is one where Lennox comes (iv. I. 135), though 
not to consult the Witches. I suspect that Shakespeare had in 
mind the blasted heath where Macbeth first encountered them. 
However that may be, the reference of Hecate to Acheron is best 
explained as one of the many incongruities in this poor stuff thrust 
into the play by some hack writer at the suggestion of a theatrical 

292 Appendix 

Hecate's mention of the moon is suggested by the familiar idea 
(often found in Shakespeare's own work) of the "watery moon," 
not by the mythological connection of the goddess with that orb; 
and profound (" a vaporous drop profound ") was probably intro- 
duced for the rhyme, though some critics have thought the epithet 
profoundly Shakespearian. Hecate says that she is going to use it 
for magic influence on Macbeth, but we hear nothing of it after- 
ward. In iv. i the infernal cuisine seems to be entirely in charge 
of the three Witches, and Hecate appears only to commend them 
for what they have done. 

As I have already said, the speech of the First Witch after the 
procession of spectral kings (iv. I. 125-132) is another interpola- 
tion, and no less out of keeping than the stuff ascribed to Hecate. 
"What, is this so?" is appended to the preceding speech of Mac- 
beth to prepare the way for it. Omit this and the Witch's speech, 
and Macbeth's " Where are they? " follows naturally on the sudden 
disappearance of the apparitions. The inserted speech is thrust in 
solely to prepare the way for the dance; and what could be more 
ridiculous than the reason given for this performance? 

" Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprights, 
And show the best of our delights. 
I '11 charm the air to give a sound 
While you perform your antic round, 
That this great king may kindly say 
Our duties did his welcome pay." 

Imagine Macbeth, in his present mood, waiting patiently to see 
this beldame ballet through, and then, when the withered ttanseuses 
vanish, exclaiming : 

" Where are they ? Gone ? Let this pernicious hour 
Stand aye accursed in the calendar! " 

The attempt to " cheer up his sprights," even from the stand- 
point of Shakespeare's unauthorized collaborator, was evidently a 

Appendix 293 

dismal failure. It did not occur to him to modify the speech that 
follows his preposterous interpolation. 

A writer in Poet-lore is compelled to admit " the inferiority of 
Hecate's words, from a poetic standpoint," but the explanation of it 
is an amusing "trick of desperation." It is "an evidence of her 
genuineness as a creation of Shakespeare," who, " with his subtle 
sense of discrimination, made her what she represented to the popu- 
lar mind : a creature approaching the reality of the human, vul- 
gar, prosaic, practical, yet in power akin to the divine." That was 
also the popular conception of the devil ; and Milton, though 
familiar with Shakespeare, evidently missed an opportunity in not 
modelling his Satan after the pattern of this vulgar Hecate. 

I may remind the reader that the managers of Shakespeare's day 
were much given to these sensational additions to Shakespeare's 
plays. The Hymen of As You Like It and the Vision in Cymbeline 
are clear instances of the kind. Some critics regard the Masque 
in The Tempest as another, but I cannot agree with them. Songs 
(like those from Middleton in iii. 5 and iv. I of Macbeth) and dances 
were often thus interpolated. These facts render the theory I have 
here advocated the more probable. 

LADY MACBETH'S PHYSIQUE. Dr. J. C. Bucknill, in his Mad 
Folk of Shakespeare (1867), asks, " What was Lady Macbeth's form 
and temperament? " Mrs. Kemble, as we have seen (p. 29 above), 
calls her " a masculine woman," but the majority of critics who have 
discussed the question think otherwise; and I heartily agree with 
them. Dr. Bucknill goes on to say: " In Maclise's great painting 
of the banquet scene she is represented as a woman of large and 
coarse development : a Scandinavian Amazon, the muscles of whose 
brawny arms could only have been developed to their great size by 
hard and frequent use; a woman of whose fists her husband might 
well be afraid. . . . Was Lady Macbeth such a being? Did the 
fierce fire of her soul animate the epicene bulk of a virago? Never ! 
Lady Macbeth was a lady, beautiful and delicate, whose one vivid 
passion proves that her organization was instinct with nerve-force, 

294 Appendix 

unoppressed by weight of flesh. Probably she was small; for it is 
the smaller sort of women whose emotional fire is the most fierce, 
and she herself bears unconscious testimony to the fact that her 
hand was little. . . . Although she manifests no feeling towards 
Macbeth beyond the regard which ambition makes her yield, it is 
clear that he entertains for her the personal love which a beautiful 
woman would excite. . . . Moreover, the effect of remorse upon 
her own health proves the preponderance of nerve in her organiza- 
tion. Could the Lady Macbeth of Maclise, and of others who have 
painted this lady, have been capable of the fire and force of her 
character in the commission of her crimes, the remembrance of them 
would scarcely have disturbed the quiet of her after-years. We 
figure Lady Macbeth to have been a tawny or brown blond Rachel, 
with more beauty, with gray and cruel eyes, but with the same slight, 
dry configuration and constitution, instinct with determined nerve- 

In a foot-note, Dr. Bucknill states that when he wrote the above he 
was not aware that Mrs. Siddons held a similar opinion as to Lady 
Macbeth's personal appearance. I append what Mrs. Siddons says on 
this subject in her " Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth " : 

" In this astonishing creature one sees a woman in whose bosom 
the passion of ambition has almost obliterated all the characteristics 
of human nature; in whose composition are associated all the sub- 
jugating powers of intellect, and all the charms and graces of per- 
sonal beauty. You will probably not agree with me as to the 
character of that beauty; yet, perhaps, this difference of opinion 
will be entirely attributable to the difficulty of your imagination 
disengaging itself from that idea of the person of her representative 
which you have been so long accustomed to contemplate. Accord- 
ing to my notion, it is of that character which I believe is generally 
allowed to be most captivating to the other sex fair, feminine, 
nay, perhaps, even fragile 

" ' Fair as the forms that, wove in Fancy's loom, 
Float in light visions round the poet's head.' 

Appendix 295 

" Such a combination only, respectable in energy and strength of 
mind, and captivating in feminine loveliness, could have composed 
a charm of such potency as to fascinate the mind of a hero so 
dauntless, a character so amiable, so honourable as Macbeth to 
seduce him to brave all the dangers of the present and all the 
terrors of a future world; and we are constrained, even whilst we 
abhor his crimes, to pity the infatuated victim of such a thraldom." 

Campbell, on the other hand, in his Life of Mrs. Siddons, says 
of Lady Macbeth : " She is a splendid picture of evil, ... a sort 
of sister of Milton's Lucifer; and, like him, we surely imagine her 
externally majestic and beautiful. Mrs. Siddons's idea of her having 
been a delicate and blond beauty seems to me to be a pure caprice. 
The public would have ill exchanged such a representative of Lady 
Macbeth for the dark locks and the eagle eyes of Mrs. Siddons." 

Maginn {Shakespeare Papers, 1860) remarks: "Shakespeare 
gives us no hint as to her personal charms, except when he makes 
her describe her hand as ' little.' We may be sure that there were 
few ' more thoroughbred or fairer fingers ' in the land of Scotland 
than those of its queen, whose bearing in public towards Duncan, 
Banquo, and the nobles is marked by elegance and majesty, and 
in private by affectionate anxiety for her sanguinary lord." 

Fletcher (Studies of Shakespeare, 1847) says: "[Shakespeare] 
has combined in Macbeth an eminently masculine person with a 
spirit in other respects eminently feminine, but utterly wanting the 
feminine generosity of affection. To this character, thus contrasted 
within itself, he has opposed a female character presenting a con- 
trast exactly the reverse of the former. No one doubts that he has 
shown us in the spirit of Lady Macbeth that masculine firmness of 
will which he has made wanting in her husband. The strictest 
analogy, then, would lead him to complete the harmonizing con- 
trast of the two characters by enshrining this ' undaunted mettle ' 
of hers in a frame as exquisitely feminine as her husband's is mag- 
nificently manly. This was requisite, also, in order to make her 
taunts of Macbeth's irresolution operate with the fullest intensity. 

296 Appendix 

Such sentiments from the lips of what is called a masculine-looking 
or speaking woman have little moral energy compared with what 
they derive from the ardent utterance of a delicately feminine voice 
and nature. Mrs. Siddons, then, we believe, judged more correctly 
in this matter than the public." 

Dowden quotes Mrs. Siddons and Dr. Bucknill approvingly, and 
says of the Lady : " Her delicate frame is filled with high-strung 
nervous energy. . . . She is Macbeth's ' dearest chuck.' " 

Mr. F. S. Boas {Shakspere and his Predecessors, 1896) says: "It 
is plain that the woman who is addressed by her husband as ' my 
dearest chuck,' and who talks of her ' little hand,' must have been 
feminine in feature and in bearing. . . . She is not a tigress like 
Regan, a she-wolf like Margaret of Anjou, but a woman with the 
instincts of womanhood, which she cannot crush without a deliberate 
effort of will." 


This is summed up by Mr. P. A. Daniel in his paper " On the 
Times or Durations of the Action of Shakspere's Plays " ( Transac- 
tions of New Shakspere Society, 1877-79, p. 207), as follows: 

"Time of the Play nine days represented on the stage, and in- 

Day i. Act I. sc. i. to iii. 
" 2. Act I. sc. iv. to vii. 
" 3. Act II. sc. i. to iv. 

An interval, say a couple of weeks. 
" 4. Act III. sc. i. to v. 

[Act III. sc. vi., an impossible time.] 
" 5. Act IV. sc. i. 

[Professor Wilson supposes an interval of certainly not 
more than two days between Days 5 and 6; Paton 
marks two days, The general breathless haste of the 

Appendix 297 

play is, I think, against any such interval between 
Macbeth's purpose and its execution.] 
Day 6. Act IV. sc. ii. 

An interval. Ross's journey to England. Paton allows 

two weeks. 
" 7. Act IV. sc. iii., Act V. sc. i. 

An interval. Malcolm's return to Scotland. Three 

weeks, according to Paton. 
" 8. Act V. sc. ii. and iii. 
" 9. Act V. sc. iv. to viii." 

On i. 3 Mr. Daniel comments as follows : " Ross and Angus come 
from the King. Ross describes how the news of Macbeth's success 
reached the King, by post after post. He appears to have entirely 
forgotten that he himself was the messenger; he, however, greets 
Macbeth with the title of Cawdor, and Angus informs Macbeth 
that Cawdor lies under sentence of death for ' treasons capital,' but 
whether he was in league with Norway, or with the rebel [Mac- 
donwald], or with both, he knows not. Ross did know when, in 
the preceding scene, he took the news of the victory to the King ; 
but he also appears to have forgotten it; at any rate he does not 
betray his knowledge. Macbeth's loss of memory is even more re- 
markable than Ross's. He doesn't recollect having himself defeated 
Cawdor but a few short hours we might say minutes ago; and 
the Witches' prophetic greeting of him by that title, and Ross's 
confirmation of it, fill him with surprise ; for, so far as he knows 
(or recollects, shall we say?), the thane of Cawdor lives, a prosper- 
ous gentleman." 

As to the interval between Days 3 and 4, Mr. Daniel says : " Be- 
tween Acts II. and III. the long and dismal period of Macbeth's 
reign described or referred to in Act III. sc. vi., Act IV. sc. ii. and 
iii., and elsewhere in the play, must have elapsed. Macbeth him- 
self refers to it where, in Act III. sc. iv., speaking of his Thanes, 
he says : 

298 Appendix 

" ' There 's not a one of them but in his house 
I keep a servant fee'd.' 

And again : 

" ' I am in blood 

Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, 
Returning were as tedious as go o'er." 

Yet, almost in the same breath he says : 

" ' My strange and self-abuse 
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use : 
We are yet but young in deed.' 

" And the first words with which Banquo opens this Act ' Thou 
hast it now," etc. would lead us to suppose that a few days at the 
utmost can have passed since the coronation at Scone; in the same 
scene, however, we learn that Malcolm and Donalbain are bestowed 
in England and in Ireland: some little time must have elapsed 
before this news could have reached Macbeth. Professor Wilson 
suggests a week or two for this interval. Mr. Paton would allow 
three weeks." 

Of iii. 6, Mr. Daniel says : " It is impossible to fix the time of 
this scene. In it ' Lennox and another Lord ' discuss the position 
of affairs. The murder of Banquo and the flight of Fleance are 
known to Lennox, and he knows that Macduff lives in disgrace 
because he was not at the feast, but that is the extent of his knowl- 
edge. The other lord informs him that Macbeth did send to Mac- 
duff, and that Macduff has fled to England to join Malcolm; and 
that 'thereupon Macbeth 'prepares for some attempt of war.' All 
this supposes the lapse, at the very least, of a day or two since the 
night of Macbeth's banquet; but in the next scene to this we find 
we have only arrived at the early morning following the banquet, 
up to which time the murder of Banquo could not have been 
known; nor had Macbeth sent to Macduff, nor was the flight of the 
latter known. The scene in fact is an impossibility in any scheme 
of time, and I am compelled therefore to place it within brackets. 

Appendix 299 

See Professor Wilson's amusing account of this ' miraculous ' 
scene in the fifth part of Dies Boreales [reprinted in New Shak- 
spere Society Transactions, 1875-76, pp. 351-58]." 


The numbers in parentheses give the number of lines the char- 
acters have in each scene. 

Duncan : i. 2(15), 4(36), 6(18). Whole no. 69. 

Malcolm: i. 2(6), 4(10); ii. 3(14); iv. 3(141); v. 4(11), 6(6), 
7(2), 8(20). Whole no. 210. 

Sergeant: i. 2(35). Whole no. 35. 

Lennox: 1.2(2); ii. 3(20); iii. 4(5), 6(32); iv. 1(6); v. 2(7). 
Whole no. 72. 

Ross: i. 2(18), 3(16); ii. 4(26); iii. 4(5); iv. 2(19), 3(41); 
V. 8(9). Whole no. 134. 

Macbeth: i. 3(50), 4(16), 5(4), 7(48); ii. 1(45), 2(39), 3(33); 
iii. 1(114), 2(40,4(105); iv. i(75); v - 3(55) 5(44). 7( IO )> 8 ( 26 )- 
Whole no. 705. 

Banquo: i. 3(42), 4(2), 6(8); ii. 1(24), 3(11); iii. 1(21), 3(4). 
\Vhole no. 112. 

Angus : i. 3(12); v. 2(9). Whole no. 21. 

Messenger : i. 5(5); iv. 2(9); v. 5(9). Whole no. 23. 

Porter : ii. 3(40). Whole no. 40. 

Macduff: ii. 3(40), 4(14); iv. 3(91); v. 4(3), 6(2), 7(10), 
8(19). Whole no. 179. 

Donalbain : ii. 3(9). Whole no. 9. 

Old Man: ii. 4(11). Whole no. ii. 

Attendant: iii. 1(1). Whole no. I. 

1st Murderer: iii. i(io), 3(11), 4(7); iv. 2(4). Whole no. 32. 

2d Murderer : iii. 1(8), 3(9). Whole no. 17. 

^d Murderer : iii. 3(8). Whole no. 8. 

300 Appendix 

Servant: iii. 2(2); v. 3(3). Whole no. 5. 
Lord: iii. 4(3), 6(21). Whole no. 24. 
1st Apparition : iv. 1(2). Whole no. 2. 
2d Apparition : iv. 1(4). Whole no. 4. 
^d Apparition : iv. 1(5). Whole no. 5. 
English Doctor : iv. 3(5). Whole no. 5. 
Scotch Doctor : v. 1(38), 3(9). Whole no. 47. 
Menteith: v. 2(10), 4(2). Whole no. 12. 
Caithness: v. 2(11). Whole no. n. 
Seyton: v. 3(3), 5(2). Whole no. 5. 

Old Siward: v. 4(10), 6(3), 7(6), 8(11). Whole no. 30. 
Young Siward : v. 7(7). Whole no. 7. 
Fleance : ii. 1(2). Whole no. 2. 
Son to Alacduff : iv. 2(21). Whole no. 21. 
\st Witch: i. 1(6), 3(34); iii. 5(2); iv. 1(40). Whole no. 82. 
zd Witch: i. 1(6), 3(12); iv. 1(30). Whole no. 48. 
$d Witch: i. 1(5), 3(14); iv. 1(29). Whole no. 48. 
Hecate : iii. 5(34) ; iv. 1(5). Whole no. 39. 
Lady Macbeth: i. 5(71), 6(11), 7(43); ii. 2(46), 3(6); iii. 1(3), 
2(18), 4(40); v. 1(23). Whole no. 261. 
Lady Alacduff : iv. 2(42). Whole no. 42. 
Gentlewoman: v. 1(27). Whole no. 27. 
"All": ii. 3(2); iii. 5(1). Whole no. 3. 

In the above enumeration parts of lines are counted as whole 
lines, making the total of lines in the play greater than it is. The 
actual number of lines is: i. 1(12), 2(67), 3(156), 4(58), 5(74), 
6(30. 7(82); ii. 1(64), 2(73), 3(152), 4(41); iii. 1(142), 2(56), 
3(22), 4(144), 5(37), 6(49); iv. 1(156), 2(85), 3(240); v. 1(87), 
2 (3 I ) 3( 62 ). 4(21). 5(5 2 ) 6 (io), 7(29), 8(75). Whole no. in 
the play, 2108. The line-numbering is that of the Globe ed. 

Macbeth is the shortest of the plays, with the exception of the 
Comedy of Errors (1778 lines) and The Tempest (2065). 


abuse (= deceive), 218. 

battle (= battalion), 279. 

chuck, 240. 

access (accent), 207. 

bellman, 219. 

clept, 236. 

actual, 272. 

Bellona, 192. 

cling, 278. 

addition (= title), 200, 

bend up, 215. 

cloistered, 240. 


benison, 233. 

close (= secret), 248,272. 

addressed (= made ready), 

bestowed, 234, 251. 

closed (= enclosed) , 237. 


bestride, 262. 

cloudy ( = frowning) , 252. 

adhere (= cohere), 213. 

Birnam, 257. 

coign, 209. 

admired (= admirable) , 

birthdom, 262. 

cold (dissyllable), 254. 


bladed, 256. 

Colme-kill, 232. 

advise (= instruct), 238. 

blanket, 207. 

combustion, 226. 

afeard, 200. 

blind-worm, 254. 

commend (= offer), 211, 

affeered, 264. 

blood-boltered, 259. 


alarm, 273. 

bloody, 189. 

composition, 192. 

alarumed, 218. 

bodements, 258. 

compt, 210. 

Aleppo, 194. 

boot, to, 264. 

connneless, 264. 

all-hailed, 204. 

borne (= managed), 250. 

confound (= ruin), 220. 

all-thing, 234. 

borne in hand, 236. 

confusion (=ruin), 227, 

angel (= genius), 280. 

bosom interest, 193. 


angerly, 248. 

both the worlds, 239. 

conjure (accent). 256. 

anon, 189, 242. 

bought (= gained), 212. 

content (= satisfaction) , 

antic, 259. 

brainsickly, 221. 


anticipate (= prevent), 

break to (with), 213. 

continent (adjective), 264. 


breeched, 228. 

convert (intransitive), 

approve (= prove), 209. 

breed (= race) , 266. 


arbitrate, 277. 

brinded, 253. 

convey, 265. 

argument (= theme), 228. 

broad (= free), 251. 

convince ( = overcome) , 

armed (= armoured), 245. 

broil (= battle), 190. 

214, 267. 

aroint, 194. 

bruited, 279. 

corporal, 199. 

artificial, 249. 

countenance (verb), 227. 

as (= as if), 202, 220, 231, 

cancel, 240. 

course, 279. 


captains (trisyllable), 191. coursed, 210. 

as who should say, 252. 

card (of compass) , 194. 

cousin, 191, 201. 

at a point, 267. 

careless (passive), 202. 

crack (of doom), 259. 

at first and last, 242. 

casing, 242. 

cracks (= charges), 191. 

at odds, 247. 

Cawdor Castle, 192. 

Cumberland, 203. 

at quiet, 225. 

censure ( = judgment) , 

auger-hole, 229. 


dainty of, 229. 

augurs, 247. 
authorized (accent), 244. 

champion (verb), 236. 
chastise (accent), 205. 

dear, 273. 
deliver (= report) , 204. 

choke their art, 190. 

demi-wolves, 236. 

baboon (accent), 255. 

chaudron, 255. 

deny (= refuse), 247. 

baby (= doll), 246. 

cheer, 243. 

despair (transitive), 280. 

badged, 227. 

cherubin, 212. 

devil (monosyllable), 200. 

bane (= ruin), 276. 

children (trisyllable) , 269. 

dew (verb, 274). 

banquet, 204. 

chough, 247. 

digged, 254. 


302 Index of Words and Phrases 

direness, 277. 

Forres, 195. 

his (= its), 211. 

dis-ease, 275. 

frame, 239. 

holds (= withholds), 251. 

displaced (= banished), 

franchised, 217. 

holp, 210. 


free (= remove), 251. 

home (= completely) , 200. 

dispute, 270. 

from (= apart from), 237, 

homely, 261. 

distance (= alienation), 


horses (metre), 230. 


from (= because of ) , 260. 

hose (French), 225. 

distempered, 274. 

from (= on account of) , 

housekeeper (dog), 237. 

dollars, 193. 

25 1 - 

howlet, 254. 

doubt (= suspect), 261. 

fry, 262. 

human ( = humane), 245. 

drowse, 241. 

fume, 214. 

hurly-burly, 188. 

dudgeon, 218. 

furbished, 191. 

husbandry (= thrift), 216. 

Dunsinane, 257. 

Hyrcan, 245. 

gallowglasses, 190. 

each way and move, 260. 

gentle my lord, 239. 

ignorant, 208. 

easy (adverb), 229, 280. 

gentle (proleptic), 209. 

ill-composed, 265. 

eat (= ate), 231. 

gently (= readily), 279. 

illness (= evil), 205. 

eclipse, 255. 

germens, 256. 

impress (= press), 258. 

ecstasy, 239. 

get (= beget), 199. 

in (repeated), 248. 

effects (= actions), 272. 

gild (with blood), 222. 

incarnadine, 223. 

egg, 262. 

gilt (play upon), 222. 

Inchcolm, 193. 

embrace(= undergo), 238. 

gin (= begin), 191, 278. 

informs, 218. 

England (= King of Eng- 

gin (= snare), 261. 

inhabit, 246. 

land), 264. 

give out (= show), '269. 

initiate (adjective), 248. 

enkindle unto, 200. 

Glamis Castle, 196. 

insane (proleptic), 199. 

enow, 225, 261. 

go off (= die), 281. 

instruments (of persons), 

entrance (metre), 207. 

go to, 272. 


estate, 278. 

go with me, 241. 

intermission, 270. 

eternal jewel, 235. 

God 'ield, 210. 

intrenchant, 280. 

evil (= scrofula), 267. 

golden (blood), 222, 228. 

lona, 232. 

exasperate, 252. 

Golgotha, 191. 

it (of persons), 204. 

expedition, 227. 

goose (tailor's), 225. 

Gorgon, 227. 

jump (= risk), 211. 

fact (= evil deed), 251. 

gospelled, 236. 

jutty, 209. 

faculties, 211. 

gouts, 218. 

fail (his presence), 251. 

graced, 243. 

kerns, 190, 279. 

fantastical, 198, 201. 

grave = (weighty), 234. 

knell (= passingbell),2i9. 

fare (dissyllable), 266. 

Graymalkin, 189. 

knowings, 230. 

farrow, 256. 

grooms, 220. 

favour, 202, 208. 

gulf (= gullet), 254. 

laced, 227. 

fear (= cause of fear), 201. 

lack (= miss), 245. 

fee-grief, 269. 

hail (dissyllable), 189. 

lamp (travelling), 230. 

fell (= skin), 277. 

hangman, 220. 

lapped, 192. 

file (= list), 237, 273. 

happy (= fortunate) , 198. 

large (= unrestrained), 

filed (=defiled), 235. 

harbinger, 203. 


firstlings, 259. 

harness (= armour), 278. 

latch (= catch), 269. 

fits o" the season, 260 

Harpier, 254. 

lated, 241. 

flaws, 244. 

having (= possessions), 

lavish (= insolent), 192. 

flighty, 259. 


leave (= leave off), 240. 

flout, 192. 

heaven (plural), 216. 

leavy, 279. 

foisons, 265. 

heavy (= drowsy), 217. 

lesser, 198, 274. 

for (= as regards) , 260. 

Hecate, 218, 248. 

like (= likely), 231. 

for (= because of), 237. 
forbid (= accursed) , 195. 

hedge-pig, 253. 
here-approach, 266. 

lily-livered, 275. 
limbeck, 214. 

forced, 277. 

hermits (beadsmen), 210. 

lime (= bird-lime\ 261. 

forge (= frame), 265. 

him (= he), 281. 

limited (=appointed), 226. 

Index of Words and Phrases 303 

line (= strengthen), 200. 
list (= lists), 236. 

note (= notoriety), 240. proportion, 203. 
nothing (adverb), 200. prosperous, 234. 

listening (transitive), 221. 

protest, 273. 

lodged, 256. 

oblivious, 276. pull in, 278. 

loves (plural), 237. 

obscure (accent), 226. purveyor, 210. 

luxurious (= licentious), 

of (= by), 250, 251. 

push (= onset), 275. 


offices, 217. 

put on (= set at work), 

old (colloquial), 225. 


magot-pies, 247. 

on (= of) , 199, 237, 238, 

mansionry, 209. 

273. quarrel, 190. 

marry, 250. 

one (pronunciation), 281. quarry, 269. 

martlet, 209. 

once (= ever), 278, 

quell (= murder), 214. 

mated (= bewildered) , 

opened, 264. 


or ere, 268. 

ravin, 231. 

maukin (ormawkin), 189. 

other (= otherwise), 215. 

ravined, 254. 

maw, 254. 

ourselves (= each other), rawness, 263. 

medicine, 274. 

243. readiness, 229. 

memorize, 191. 
mere (= absolute) , 265, 

out (= in the field), 269. receipt(= receptacle), 214. 
overcome, 246. receive (= believe), 215. 

267. | owe (=own), 199, 202, recoil (= fall off), 263." 

metaphysical, 205. i 246, 277. 

relish of, 266. 

mettle, 215. 

remembrance (metre), 

mile (plural), 278. Paddock, 189. 


minion (= darling), 190, pall (= wrap), 207. 

remorse (= pity) , 207. 

231. palter, 280. 

require (= request), 242. 

minutely (= every min- parley, 227 

resolve yourselves, 238. 

ute), 274. parted (=died), 281. 

ronyon, 194. 

missives (= messengers), passion, 244. 

roofed, 243. 

204. i patch (=fool), 275. 

rooky, 241. 

mockery, 246. pearl, 281. 

Ross, 199. 

modern (= ordinary), 268. . pent-house, 195. 

round(= crown), 205, 257. 

moe, 276. perfect, 261. 

rouse (intransitive), 241. 

monstrous (trisyllable), perseverance (accent), 

rub, 238. 

251. 266. 

rump-fed, 194. 

mortal (= deadly), 207, pestered, 274. 

245, 262. physic (= cure), 226. 

safe toward, 203. 

mortality (= life), 227. place (in falconry), 230. 

sag, 274. 

mortified, 273. poorly, 223. 

Saint Colme's Inch, 193. 

motives (persons), 263. portable, 265. 

saucy, 242. 

mousing, 230. possess with, 269. 

say (= tell), 189. 

mummy, 254. posset, 220. 

scanned, 248. 

murther, 201. 

posters, 195. 

scaped, 242, 270. 

muse (= wonder), 245. 

power (= army) , 269. 

Scone, 231. 

predominance, 230. 

scotched, 239. 

napkin, 225. 

present (= immediate) , 

screw, 214. 

naught, 270. 193. 

season, 248. 

nave (= navel), 191. \ presently (= at once), 193, 

seated (= fixed), 201. 

near (= nearer) , 229. 


security, 249. 

near'st, 237. 

pretence (= purpose) , 229. 

seeling, 240. 

nice (= precise), 268. 

pretend (= intend), 229, shipman, 194. 

nightgown, 223. 

231. self (adjective), 281. 

noise (= music), 258. 

probation (= proof) , 236. self-abuse, 248. 

nonpareil, 242. 

producing forth, 281. sennet, 234. 

Norways', 193. 

profound, 248. 

sense (plural), 272. 

Norweyan, 191. 

proof (= armour), 192. 

sensible, 218 

note (= list), 241. 

proper (ironical), 244. sergeant (metre), 189. 

304 Index of Words and Phrases 

set down, 277. 

stay (= wait for) , 267. 

ranspose, 263. 

sewer, 210. 

still (= always), 234, 280. 

realise, 277. 

shag-haired, 262. 

stir (= motion), 202. 

renched, 242. 

shard-borne, 240. 

studied, 200. 

rifled, 229. 

shine, 233. 

success, 211. 

ugged, 237. 

shoal, 211. 

sudden (= violent), 264. 

wofold balls, 259, 

shoughs, 236. 

summer-seeming, 265. 

show (= appear) , 190, 198, 

surcease, 211. 

undeeded, 279. 


surveying, 191. 

unrough, 273. 

shut up, 217. 

sway by, 274. 

unspeak, 266. 

sicken (=be surfeited), 

sweaten, 256. 

untitled, 266. 


syllable, 263. 

upon a thought, 244. 

sightless (= invisible), 

uproar (verb), 266. 

202, 207, 212. 

taint (= be infected), 274. 

using (= cherishing), 239 

Sinel, 199. 

taking-off, 211. 

utterance, to the, 236. 

single, 201, 210. 

tale (= counting), 200. 

sirrah, 260. 

teems (transitive), 268. 

valued (= valuing), 237. 

Siward, 266. 

temperance, 266. 

vantage, 191. 

skirr, 276. 

tending, 205. 

venom (adjective), 254. 

slab, 255. 

thane, 192. . 

verity (= truthfulness). 

sleave, 221. 

that, 152. 


sleights, 248. 

the which, 234, 281. 

vessel, 235. 

slivered, 255. 

thee (= thou), 205. 

visards, 240. 

slope (transitive), 256. 

thickens, 241. 

slumbery, 272. 

think, 264. 

wassail, 214. 

so (omitted), 192, 198, 

thought (= kept in mind) , 

water-rugs, 236. 

211, 220, 265. 


weird, 195. 

sole, 263. 

thralls (= slaves), 251. 

what, 264, 279. 

solemn (= formal), 234. 

tidings (number), 205. 

which (= who), 191. 

solicit (= move by pray- 

timely (= betimes), 241. 

while (= till), 235. 

ers), 267. 

timely (adverb), 226. 

whiles, 204, 219, 241. 

soliciting, 201. 

titles (= claims). 260. 

who (= whom), 238, 243. 

something (adverb), 238. 

to (= compared with), 

wholesome (= healthy), 

sometime, 210, 262. 



sooth, 191. 

to (= for), 263. 

with (= by), 235. 

sorry, 220, 239. 

to (= in addition to), 235. 

with (= on), 261. 

speak (= say), 242. 

to (omitted), 243. 

without (= beyond), 239. 

speculation, 245. 

top (= crown) , 257. 

witnessed, 269. 

spoken (= said), 268. 

top (verb), 264. 

worm (= serpent), 243. 

spongy (= drunk), 214. 

top-full, 207. 

wrack, 200. 

sprights, 259. 

touch (= sensibility), 260. 

wren, 260. 

spy o' the time, 238. 

toward (and towards) , 

wrought (= agitated), 

staff (= lance), 276,279. 



stamp (= coin) , 268. 

towering (in falconry), 

stanchless, 265. 


yesty, 256. 

start (= startle), 278. 

trace, 259. 

yew (poisonous), 255. 

state (= chair), 242. 

trains (= tricks), 266. 

station (= attitude), 281. 

trammel up, 211. 







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