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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. •‡

1 Witch. Where the place?

2 Witch.

Upon the heath:

3 Witch. There to meet with Macbeth.

1 Witch. I come, Graymalkin!1

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Fair is foul, and foul is fair:2

Hover through the fog and filthy air. [Witches vanish.

† i. e. when the storm is over.


66 ere the set of sun." MAlone.

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, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt

The newest state.


This is the sergeant,

Who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought
'Gainst my captivity: - Hail, brave friend!
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil,
As thou didst leave it.


Doubtfully+ it stood;

As two spent swimmers, that do cling together, And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald (Worthy to be a rebel; for, to that, a

The multiplying villainies of nature

Do swarm upon him,) from the western isles
Of Kernes and Gallowglasses is supplied; 4
And fortune, on his damned quarrel 5 smiling,

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3 to that, &c.] i. e. in addition to that, or, to that end. 4 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." Warai 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 crown. The sense therefore is, Fortune smiling on his execrable cause, &c. JOHNSON.

Show'd like a rebel's whore: But all's too weak:
For brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name,)
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smok'd with bloody execution,

Like valour's minion,

Carv'd out his passage, till he fac'd the slave;
And ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements.

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.


Dismay'd not this

Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?


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,
Or memorize another Golgotha,

I cannot tell :

But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.

6 As 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.

Dun. So well thy words become thee, as thy wounds; They smack of honour both: -Go, get him surgeons. [Exit Soldier, attended.

Enter Rosse.

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.


God save the king!

From Fife, great king,

Dun. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?

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;


Rosse. That now

Great happiness!

Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition;
Nor would we deign him burial of his men,
Till he disbursed, at Saint Colmes' inch,

Ten thousand dollars to our general use.



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 flutter of the Norweyan standards ventilates or cools the soldiers who had been heated through their efforts to secure such numerous trophies of victory. 8 Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof,] Lapt in proof, is, defended by armour of proof. By Bellona's bridegroom we may understand Macbeth, but why, the critics have not told us.


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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.

Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest: - Go, pronounce his death†, And with his former title greet Macbeth.

Rosse. I'll see it done.

Dun. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.




A Heath.

Enter the three Witches.

1 Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?

2 Witch. Killing swine.

3 Witch. Sister, where thou?

1 Witch. A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap,

And mounch'd and mounch'd, and mounch'd: - Give

me, quoth I:

Aroint thee, witch'! the rump-fed ronyon2 cries.

Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'the Tiger:

But in a sieve I'll thither sail,

And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.

1 Witch. Thou art kind.

3. Witch. And I another.

1 Witch. I myself have all the other;

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i Aroint thee, witch!] Aroint, or avaunt, be gone. POPE. 2 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. rogneux.

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