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Hec. Have I not reason, beldams, as you are,
• Plutoe's blew fire, and Hecat's tree,
Dr. Fanftus. Malone. 7 for a wayward son,
Spiteful, and wrathfül; who, as others do,
Loves for his own ends, not for you.] Inequality of measure, (the first of these lines being a foot longer than the second) together with the unnecessary and weak comparison--as others do, incline me to regard the passage before us as both maimed and interpolated, Perhaps it originally ran thus :
- for a wayward son,
Loves for his own ends, not for you. But the repetition of the article a being casually omitted by fome transcriber for the theatre, the verse became too short, and a fresh conclusion to it was supplied by the amanuensis, who overlooked the legitimate rhyme who, when he copied the play for publication.
If it be necessary to exemplify the particular phraseology introduced by way of amendment, a passage in the Witch by Middleton, will sufficiently answer that purpose:
What death is't you desire for Almachildes?
A sudden, and a subtle. In this instance, the repeated article a is also placed before two adjectives referring to a substantive in the preceding line. See also The Pasion Letiers, Vol. IV. p. 155: “ Pray God send us a good world and a peaceable.” Again, in our author's King Henry IV : “ A good porily man, i’faith, and a corpulent."
Again, in an ancient MS. entitled The boke of huntyng, that is cleped majster of game : “ It [the Boar] is a prowde beest, a feers, and a perilous." Steevens.
But make amends now: Get you gone,
8 t he pit of Acheron -] Shakspeare seems to have thought it allowable to bestow the name of Acheron on any fountain, lake, or pit, through which there was vulgarly supposed to be a communication between this and the infernal world. The true original Acheron was a river in Greece; and yet Virgil gives this name to his lake in the valley of Amsanctus in Italy. Steevens.
9 Unto a dismal-fatal end.] The old copy violates the metre by needless addition :
Unto a dismal and a fatal end. I read-difmal-fatal. Shakspeare, as Mr. Tyrwhitt obferves in a note on King Richard III. is fond of these compound epithets, in which the firit adjective is to be considered as an adverb. So, in that play we meet with childish-foolish, Jenseless-obflinate, and mortalfiaring. STEEVENS.
2- vaporous drop profound;] That is, a drop that has profound, deep, or hidden qualities. JOHNSON.
This vaporous drop seems to have been meant for the same as the virus lunare of the ancients, being a foam which the moon was supposed to shed on particular herbs, or other objects, when strongly solicited by enchantment. Lucan introduces Eriétho using it. 1.6:
“---et virus large lunare miniftrat.” Steevens. } jlights,] Arts; fubtle practices. Johnson.
He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
Song. [within.] Come away, come away,* &c. Hark, I am call'd; my little fpirit, fee, Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me. Exit. 1.Witch. Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.
Len. My former speeches have but hit your
4 Come away, come away, &c.] This entire fong I found in 2 MS. dramatic piece, entitled, “ A Tragi-Coomodie called The Witch; long fince acted &c. written by Thomas Middleton." The Hecate of Shakspeare has said
“ I am for the air,” &c. The Hecate of Middleton (who, like the former, is fummoned away by aerial spirits) has the same declaration in almost the same words
“ I am for aloft” &c. Song. “ Come away, come away :
Lin the wire “ Heccat, Heccat, come away,” &c.] See my note among Mr. Malone's Prolegomena, Article Maco beth, [Vol. I.] where other coincidences &c. are pointed out.
STEEVENS. s Enter Lenox, and another Lord.) As this tragedy, like the rest of Shakspeare's, is perhaps overstocked with personages, it is not casy to allign a reason why a nameless character should be introduced here, since nothing is said that might not with equal propriety have been put into the mouth of any other disaffected man,
Which can interpret further: only, I say,
kill'd, For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late. Who cannot want the thought, how monstrous 6 It was for Malcolm, and for Donalbain, To kill their gracious father ? damned fact ! How it did grieve Macbeth! did he not straight, In pious rage, the two delinquents tear, That were the Naves of drink, and thralls of sleep? Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too ; For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive, To hear the men deny it. So that, I say, He has borne all things well: and I do think, That, had he Duncan's sons under his key, (As, an't please heaven, he shall not,) they should
find What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance. But, peace !—for from broad words, and 'cause he
fail'd His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear,
I believe therefore that in the original copy it was written with a very common form of contraction Lenox and An. for which the transcriber, instead of Lenox and Angus, set down Lenox and an. other Lord. The author had indeed been more indebted to the transcriber's fidelity and diligence, had he committed no errors of greater importance. Johnson. s Who cannot want the thought,] The sense requires :
Who can want the thoughtYet, I believe, the text is not corrupt. Shakspeare is sometimes incorrect in these minutie. MALONE. I monftrous -] This word is here used as a trisyllable. .
Macduff lives in disgrace: Sir, can you tell
The son of Duncan,"
7 The son of Duncan,] The old copy-fons. MALONE. Theobald corrected it. Johnson.
8- on his aid -] Old copy—upon. STEVENS. . 9 Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives;] The construction is-Free our feasts and banqucts from bloody knives. Perhaps the words are transposed, and the line originally stood :
Our feasts and banquets free from bloody knives. MALONE. Aukward tranfpofitions in ancient language are so frequent, that the passage before us might have passed unsuspected, had there not been a possibility that the compositor's eye caught the word free from the line immediately following. We might read, frighi, or fray (a verb commonly used by old writers) but any change perhaps is needless. STEVENS.
2 - and receive free honours,] Free may be either honours freely beftowed, not purchased by crimes; or honours without Navery, without dread of a tyrant. JOHNSON.
3- exasperate - 1 i. e, exasperated. So contaminate is used for contaminated in K. Henry V. Steevens.
4 the king,] i. e. Macbeth, The old copy has, less intelligibly,—their. STEEVENS.