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1 The fringed curtains of thine eye advance.
Why Shakspeare should have condescended to the elaborate nothingness, not to say nonsense of this metaphor (for what is meant by advancing "curtains?") I cannot conceive; that is to say, if he did condescend; for it looks very like the interpolation of some pompous, declamatory player. Pope has put it into his treatise on the Bathos.
Myself am Naples.”—This is a very summary and kingly style. Shakspeare is fond of it. How, now, France ?" says King John to King Philip, "I'm dying, Egypt!" says Antony to Cleopatra.
MACBETH AND THE WITCHES.
This scene fortunately comprises a summary of the whole subsequent history of Macbeth.
A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.
1st Wi. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd,
2nd Wi. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin'd,
In the caldron boil and bake:
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Enter HECATE and the three other WITCHES
(Music and a Song, Black Spirits, &c.)
2nd Wi. By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes :—
Mac. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags, What is 't you do?
A deed without a name.
Mac. I conjure you, by that which you profess (Howe'er you come to know it), answer me: Though you untie the winds, and let them fight Against the churches: though the yesty waves Confound and swallow navigation up;
Though bladed corn be lodg'd, and trees blown down;
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of nature's germins tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken, answer me
1st Wi. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths, Or from our masters'?
Call them, let me see them.
Into the flame.
Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises.
Mac. Tell me, thou unknown power,-
Hear his speech, but say thou naught.
App. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife.-Dismiss me ;-Enough.
He knows thy thought;
Mac. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution thanks; Thou hast harp'd my fear aright :—But one word more ;— 1st Wi. He will not be commanded. Here's another,
More potent than the first.
Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises.3
App. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth !—
Had I three ears, I'd hear thee App. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
Mac. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance doubly 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.—What is this?
Thunder. An Apparition of a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand,
That rises like the issue of a king;
And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty!
Listen, but speak not to 't. App. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are; Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Mac. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; down!
Why do you show me this? a fourth? Start, eyes!
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Eight Kings appear, and pass over the stage in order; the last with a glass in his hand; Banquo following.
That this great king may kindly say,
(Music. The Witches dance, and vanish.)
Mac. Where are they? Gone?-Let this pernicious hour,
What's your grace's will?
No, indeed, my lord.
Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word,
Fled to England?
Mac. Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits:
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 :
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;
But no more sights !4-Where are these gentlemen?
3" Apparition of a bloody child."—The idea of a "bloody child," and of his being more potent than the armed head, and one of the masters of the witches, is very dreadful. So is that of the child crowned, with a tree in his hand. They impersonate, it is true, certain results of the war, the destruction of Macduff's children, and the succession of Banquo's; but the imagination does not make these reflections at first; and the dreadfulness still remains, of potent demons speaking in the shapes of children.