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Mal. This is the Serjeant,
Cap. Doubtful long it stood :
King. Oh, valiant coufin! worthy gentleman ! .
Cap. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection, Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break; (1)
So (1) As whence the sun 'gins bis reflection, Shi; wracking forms, and direful thunders break;] Mr. Pope has degraded this word, 'gins, against the general authority of the copies, without any reason assign'd for so doing; and substituted, gives, in the room of it. But it will soon be obvious, how far our author's good obfer. vation and knowledge of nature goes to establish his own reading, 'gins. For the sense is this;" As from the place, from whence Hi the fun begins his course, (viz. the East,) ihipwrecking storms “ proceed; &c."-And it is to in fact, that storms generally come from the East. And it must be fo in reason, because the natural and conftant motion of the ocean is from East to West: and because the motion of the wind has the same general direction. Præcipua & generalis [Ventorum] caufa eft ipse Sol, qui igneo fuo jubare aerem rarefacit & attenuat; imprimis illum, in quem perpendiculares radios mittit, Jove supra quem bæret. Aer enim rarefaétus multo majorem locum poftulat.
Iride fit, ut aer a sole impulfus alium vicinum aerem magno impetu prosudur; cumque Sol ab Oriente in occidentem circumrotetur, præcipuus ab
So from that spring, whence comfort seem'd to come, (2)
King. Dismay'd not this
So eo aëris impulsus fiet versus occidentem.---Quia plerumque ab aëris per Solem rarefactione oritur, qui cum continue feratur ab Oriente in occia dentem, majori quoque impetu protruditur aër ab Oriente in occidentem, Varenii Geographi “l. i. c. 14, &c. 20. prop. 10. and 15.----This being fo, it is no wonder that ftorms should come most frequently from that quarter; or that they should be most violent, because here is a concurrence of the natural motions of wind and wave. This proves clearly, that the true reading is 'gins, i. e. begins: for the other reading does not fix it to ibat quarter: for the sun may give its reflection in any part of its course above the horizon; but it can begin it only in one.
Mr. Warburton. (2) So from that spring, whence comfort secm'd to come, Discomfort Swelld.) I have not disturb’d the text here, as the sense does not absolutely require it; tho' Dr. Tbirlby prescribes a very in. genious and easy correction :
So from that spring, wbence comfort seem'd to come,
Discomforts well’d. i. e. stream'd, flow'd forth: a word that peculiarly agrees with the metaphor of a spring. The original is Anglo-Saxon peallian, scaturire; which very well expresses the diffufion and scattering of water from its head. CHAUCER has used the word in these acceptations.
For whiché might she no lengir restrain
Troil. & Crel: l. iv. v. 709. I can no more, but here out cast of all welfare abide the daie of my deth, or els to se the fight that might all my wellynge sorowes voide, and of the fode make an ebbe.
Testament of Love. (3)
I must report they were As cannons overcharg'd witb double cracks,] Cannons overcharg'd with cracks I have no idea of : My pointing, I think, gives the easy and natural sense. Masbeth and Banquo were like cannons, over
So they redoubled strokes
the foe :
King. So well thy words become thee, as thy wounds : They snack of honour both. Go, get him furgeons,
Enter Rofile and Angus. But who comes here?
Mal. The worthy Thane of Rose.
Len. What haste looks through his eyes?
Rosse. God save the King !
Rolle. From Fife, great King, Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky, And fan our people cold. Norway, himself with numbers terrible, (4) Afifted by that most disloyal traitor The Thane of Cawdor, 'gan a dismal conflict ; "Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapt. in proof, (3) Confronted him with felf-comparitons, Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm, charg'd; why? because they redoubled strokes on the foe with twice the fury, and impetuosity, as before.
(4) Norway himself, with numbers terrible,
Afifted by tbat, &c.) Norway himself affifted, &c. is a reading we owe to the editors, not to the poet. That energy and contrast of expression are loft, which my pointing restores. The sense is, Nore way, who was in himself terrible by his own numbers, when aslifted by Cawdor, became yet more terrible. (5) 'Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapt in proof,
Confronted b m with self-comparisons,
Curbing bis lavish spirit.], Here again we are to quarrel with the transposition of an innocent comma; which however becomes dangerous to sense, when in the hands either of a careless or ignorant editor. Let us see who is it that brings this rebellious arm? Why, it is Bellona's bridegroom: and who is he, but Macbeth. never believe, our author meant any thing like this. My regulation of the pointing restores the true meaning; that the loyal Macbeth confronted the disoyal Cawdor, arm to arm.
Curbing his lavish spirit. To conclude,
Rolle. Now Sweno, Norway's King, craves composition:
King. No more that Thane of Cardor shall deceive Our bofom int’reft. Go, pronounce his death ; And with his former title
Macbeth. Rolle. I'll see it done. King. What he hath loft, noble Macbeth hath won.
SCENE changes to the Heath.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
i Witch Here hast thou been, fifter ?
2 Witch. Killing swine. 3 Witch, Sifter, where thou ?
i Witch. A failor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, And mouncht, and mouncht, and mouncht. Give me,
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
i Witch. I myself have all the other,
He shall live a man forbid ; (6)
2 Witch. Shew me, new me. 1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrackt as homeward he did come. [Drum within
3 Witch. A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come! All. The Weird fifters, hand in hand, (7)
(6) He shall live a man forbid:] i. e. as under a curse, an Interdiation. So, afterwards, in this play;
By bis own interdiction stands accurs'd. So, among the Romans, an outlaw's fentence was aqua & ignis inter• dictio. i. e. He was forbid the use of water and fire: which imply'd the neceffity of banishment,
(7) The weyward fifters, hand in hand, ] The Witches are here speaking of themselves; and it is worth an enquiry why they should file themselves the weyward, or wayward sifters. This word in its general acceptation signifies, perverse, froward, moody, obftinate, untračtable, &c. and is every where so used by our Shakespeare. To content ourfelves with two or three instances;
Fy, fy, how wayward is this foolish love,
Two Gent, of Verona.
Love's Labour loft,
Macbeth. It is improbable, the Witches would adopt this epithet to themselves, in
any of these senses; and therefore we are to look a little farther for the poet's word and meaning. When I had the first suspicion of our author being corrupt in this place, it brought to my mind the following passage in CHAUCER's Troilus and Crescide. lib. iii. v. 618.
But O fortune, executrice of wierdes.
I was foon confirm'd in my suspicion, upon happening to dip into Heylin's Cosmography, where he makes a short recital of the story of Macbeth and Banquo.
These two (Jay's be,) travelling together thro' a forest, were met by three Fairies, Witches, Wierds, the Scots call them, & C.,
I presently recollected, that this story must be recorded at more length by Holingshead; with whom I thought it was very probable