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King. Oh, valiant cousin! worthy gentleman !
Cap. + As whence the sun 'gins his reflexion


be opened by such a stroke. It is remarkable, that Milton, who in his youth read and imitated our poet much, particularly in his Comus, was mifled by this corrupt reading. For in the manuscript of that poem, in Trinity-College library, the following lines are read thus ;

" Or drag him by the curls, and cleave his fialpe

Down to the hippes.. An evident imitation of this corrupted passage. But he alter'd it with better judgment to:

to a foul death 66 Curs'd as his life.” WARBURTON. The learned commentator is certainly right in his alteration of nave into nape; but notwithstanding his fagacity in that point, he seems to be mistaken in his description of the stroke. To unseam, is to dissever, to cut in two. The word is thus used by B. and Fletcher in the first of their Four Plays in One :

not a vein runs here, “ But Sophocles would unseam.". To unseam a man from the nape to the chops, is a plain exact description as can be given of cutting off the head at the neck by a blow from the hinder part quite through to the fore part where it joins the chops, according to our common idea of decollation. The words will scarcely bear the other interpretation of cutting his fcull in two through the crown of the head and sagittal future. That would be unseaming him down to the nape and the chops ; but Macbeth's blow is from the nape to the chops. The

blow in Milton was copied from the romances he was fo fond'of, which are full of such downward cleaving strokes; and could never be taken from the aukward, upward, almost impossible one in this corrupted paffage of Shakespeare. STEEYENS.

4 As when the sun gins bis reflection] Here are two readings in the copies, gives, and 'gins, i. e. begins. But the latter I think is the right, as founded on observation, that storms generally come from the east. As from the place (says he) whence the fun begins his course, (viz. the east) shipwrecking storms proceed, so, &c. For the natural and constant motion of the ocean is from east to west; and the wind has the same general direction. Præcipua & generalis (ventorum] caufa eft ipse Sol qui aërem rarefacit & attenuat. Aër enim rarefactus multo majorem locum poftulat. Inde fit ut Aër à fole impulsus alium vicinum aërem magno impetu protrudat; cumque Sol ab Oriente in occidentem circumrotetur, præcipuus ab eo aëris impulsus fiet versus occidentem. Varenii Geogr. l. 1. c. xiv. prop. 10. See also Dr. Halley's Ac


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Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break 5;
So from that spring, whence comfort seem'd to come,
6 Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, inark :
No sooner justice had, with valour arm’d,
Compell’d these skipping Kernes tò trust their heels;
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,

This provés

count of the Trade Winds of the Alonfoons. This being so, it is no wonder that storms should come most frequently from that quarter; or that they should be moit violeit, becaufe there is a concurrence of the natural motions of wind and wave. the true reading is 'gins; the other reading not fixing it to that quarter. For the fun may give its reflection in any part of its course above the horizon ; but it can begin it only in one, The Oxford editor, however, sticks to the other reading, gives: and fays, that, by the sun's giving his reflexion, is meant the rain-bow, the strongest and most remarkable reflexion of any the fren gives. He appears by this to have as good a hand at reforming our physics as our poetry. This is a discovery, that shipwrecking storms proceed from the rainbow. But he was mifled by his want of skill in Shakespeare's phraseology, who, by the sun's reflexion, means only the fun's light. But while he is intent on making his author speak correctly, he flips himself. The rainbow is no more a reflexion of the sun than a tune is a fiddle. And, though it be the most remarkable effect of reflected light, yet it is not the Nrongeft. WARBURTON. There are not two readings both the old folios have 'gins:

JOHNSON The thought is expressed with some obfcurity, but the plain meaning is this : As the fame quarter, whence the blesing of day-light arises, fometimes fends us, by a dreadful reverse, the calamities of storms and tempests; so the glorious event of Macbeth's victory, which promised us the comforts of peace, was immediately succeeded by the alarming notes of the Norweyan invasion. The natural history of the winds, &c. is foreign to the explanation of this paffage. Shakespeare does not mean, in conformity to anty theory, to fay that storms generally come from the east. If it be allowed that they sometimes i flue from that quarter, it 19 sufficient for the purpofe of his comparison. STEEVENS.

thunders break;] The word break is wanting in the oldest copy. The other folios and Rowe read breaking: Mr. Pope made the emendation. STÈËVENS.

3 Discomfort fivells. t-oba inition ] Discomfort the natural oppofite to comfort. Well’d, for flowed, was an emendation. The common copies have, discomfort fivells.





With furbish'd arms, and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh afsault.

King. Dismay'd not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo ?

Cap. 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,
8 Or memorize another Golgotha,

I can

7. As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks ;

So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:] Mr. Theobald has endeavoured to improve the sense of this pasfage by altering the punctuation thus :

they were
As cannons overcharg'd, with double cracks

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

They doubly redoubled Arekes. JOHNSON. I have followed the old reading. "In Rich. II. act I. we find this passage in support of it :

"And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,

“ Fall, &c." STEEVĚNS.

8 Or memorize another Golgotha, ] Memorize, for make memorable. WARBURTON,

-memorize another Golgotha,] That is, to transmit another Golgotha to posterity. The word, which fome suppose to trave been coined by Shakespeare, is used by Spenser in a fonnet to lord Buckhurst prefixed to his Paftorals. 1579

I cannot tell :
But I am faint, my galhes cry for help.
King. So well thy words become thee, as thy

They smack of honour both :-Go, get him surgeons.

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9 Enter Rolle.


Who comes here?

Mal. The worthy thane of Roffe.
Len. What a haste looks through his eyes? So

should he look',
That seems to speak things ftrange.

Rolle. “ In vaine I thinke, right honourable lord,

" By this rude rime to memorize thy name.” WARTON. The word is likewise used by Chapman, in his translation of the second book of Homer, 1598.

-which let thy thoughts be sure to memorize."
Again, in The Fawne, by Marston, i6o6:

-oh, let this night
66 Be ever memoriz'd with prouder triumphs."
Again, in Daniel's dedication to the tragedy of Philotas:

Design our happiness to memorizė.
Again, in Drayton's Polyolbion, song 5:

" Which to succeeding times Thall memorize your stories." Again, in the 21st song;

" Except poor widows' cries to memorize your theft." Again, in the Miracles of Moses :

" That might for ever memorize this deed.” And again, in a copy of verses prefixed to fir Arthur Gorges's translation of Lucan, 1614: • Of them whose acts they mean to memorize."

STEEVENS. Enter Rolle and Angus.] As only the thane of Rosse is spoken to, or speaks any thing in the remaining part of this scene, Angus is a superfluous character, the king expressing himself in the singular number;

Whence cams thou, worthy Tisane?
I have printed it, Enter Rolle only. STEEVENS.

-So should he look,
That seems to speak things strange.]
The meaning of this passage as it now stands, is, so should be look,
that looks as if he told things frange. But Roile neither yet

told strange things, nor could look as if he told them; Lenox only


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Rose. God save the king!
King. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane ?

Rolle. From Fife, great king,
Where the Norweyan banners · Aout the sky,
And fan our people cold.
Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
Aflisted by that most disloyal traitor
The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict :
'Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapt in proof,
3 Confrontçd him 4 with lelf-comparisons,


conjectured from his air that he had ftrange things to tell, and therefore undoubtedly faid :

What baste looks through his eyes?

So should he look, that teems to speak things strange. He looks like one that is big with something of importance ; a metaphor so natural that it is every day used in common discourse.

JOHNSON. The following paffage in Cymbeline seems to afford no unapt coin ment upon this :

one but painted thus,
“Would be interpreted a thing perplex’d, &c."
Again, in the Tempeft:

-prithee, fay on :
" The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim

« A matter from thee.. Again, in K. Richard II :

" Men judge by the complexion of the sky, &c.
“ So may you, by my dull and heavy eye,
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to lay;" STEEVENA,

flout the sky,]: To flout is to dash any thing in another's face. WARBURTON.

To flout does never signify to dash any thing in another's fact: To fiout is rather to mock or insult. The banners are very poetically described as waving in mockery: or defiance of the sky. So, in K. Edvard III. 1599:

And new replenish'd pendants cuff the air,
" And beat the wind, that for their gaudiness

" Struggles to kiss them."' STEEVENS.

3 Confronted him with felf-comparisons,] The difioyal Cawdor, says Mr. Theobald. Then contes another, and says, a strange forgetfulness in Shakespeare, trhen Macbeth had taken the Thane of Cawdor prisoner, not to know that he was Fallen into the kingos displeasure for rebellion. But this is only



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