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SCENE I. An open Place.
Thunder and Lightning. Enter three Witches.
1 Witch. When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
2 Witch. When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won:
3 Witch. That will be ere set of sun.
Upon the heath: 3 Witch. There to meet with Macbeth. 1 Witch. I come, Graymalkin!"
All. Paddock calls:-Anon.-
Graymalkin!] To understand this passage, we should suppose one familiar calling with the voice of a cat, and another with the croaking of a toad, which in the north is called paddock. 2 Fair is foul, and
foul is fair:] I believe the meaning is, that to us, perverse and malignant as we are, fair is foul, and foul is fair. Johnson.
A Camp near Fores.
Alarum within. Enter King DUNCAN, MALCOLM,
DONALBAIN, LENOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Soldier.
Dun. What bloody man is that? He can report,
This is the sergeant,
Doubtfully it stood;
to that, &c.] i. e. in addition to that. + Of Kernes and Gallowglasses is supplied;] Kernes and Gallowglasses are light and heavy armed foot, “ Hinc conjecturæ vigorem etiam adjiciunt arma quædam Hibernica, Gallicis antiquis similia, jacula nimirum peditum levis armaturæ quos Kernos vocant, nec non secures & loricæ ferreæ peditum illorum gravioris armaturæ, quos Galloglassios appellant."' Waræi Antiq. Hiber. cap. vi.
5 And fortune, on his damned quarrel —] Quarrel was formerly used for cause, or for the occasion of a quarrel, and is to be found in that sense in Holinshed's account of the story of Macbeth, who, upon the creation of the Prince of Cumberland, thought, says the historian, that he had a just quarrel to endeavour after the
The sense therefore is, Fortune smiling on his execrable cause, &c. JOHNSON.
Show'd like a rebel's whore: But all's too weak:
Dun. O, valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
Sold. As whence the sun ’gins his reflexion Shipwrecking 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, Compell’d these skipping Kernes to trust their heels; But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage, With furbish'd arms, and new supplies of men, Began a fresh assault. Dun.
Dismay'd not this
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
6 A8 whence the sun 'gins his reflexion--] The thought is expressed with some obscurity, but the plain meaning is this: As the same quarter, whence the blessing of day-light arises, sometimes sends 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 news of the Norweyan invasion.
I cannot tell:
wounds; They smack of honour both:-Go, get him surgeons.
[Exit Soldier, attended.
Who comes here?
The worthy thane of Rosse. Len. What a haste looks through his eyes! So
should he look, That seems to speak things strange. Rosse.
God save the king! Dun. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane? Rosse.
From Fife, great king, Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky, And fan our people cold. Norway himself, with terrible numbers, Assisted by that most disloyal traitor The thane of Cawdor, 'gan 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; Dun.
Great happiness! Rosse. That now
flout the sky,] The banners may be poetically described as waving in mockery or defiance of the sky. The sense of the passage, however, collectively taken, is this: Where the triumphant futter of the Norweyan standards ventilates or cools the soldiers who had been heated through their efforts to secure such numerous trophies of victory.
8 Tiu that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof,] This passage may be added to the many others, which show how little Shakspeare knew of ancient mythology. Lapt in proof, is, defended by armour of proof.
Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition;
Rosse. I'll see it done.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
1 Witch. A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd:
Give me, quoth I:
Saint Colmes' inch,] Colmes' inch, now called Inchcomb, is a small island lying in the Firth of Edinburgh, with an abbey upon it, dedicated to St. Columb; called by Camden Inch Colm, or The Isle of Columba.
Aroint thee, witch!] Aroint, or avaunt, be gone. POPE.
—the rump-fed ronyon--] The chief cooks in noblemen's families, colleges, religious houses, hospitals, &c. anciently claimed the emoluments or kitchen fees of kidneys, fat, trotters, rumps, &c. which they sold to the poor. The weird sister in this scene, as an insult on the poverty of the woman who had called her witch, reproaches her poor abject state, as not being able to procure better provision than offals. Ronyon means scabby or mangy woman. Fr. rogneur.