Main Text

4.1

Thunder. Enter the three Witches
Editor’s Note Link 1

first witch Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.

Editor’s Note Link 2

second witch Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined.

pg 168 Editor’s Note Link 3

third witch Harpier cries—'tis time, 'tis time.

Link 4

first witch Round about the cauldron go—

Critical Apparatus5In the poisoned entrails throw.

Editor’s Note6Toad, that under cold stone

7Days and nights has thirty-one,

Editor’s Note Link 8Sweltered venom sleeping got:

9Boil thou first i'th' charmèd pot.

10

all Double, double, toil and trouble,

Link 11Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Editor’s Note Link 12

second witch Fillet of a fenny snake

Link 13In the cauldron boil and bake;

Link 14Eye of newt, and toe of frog,

Link 15Wool of bat, and tongue of dog;

Editor’s Note16Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,

Editor’s Note Link 17Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing:

18For a charm of powerful trouble,

Link 19Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble.

20

all Double, double, toil and trouble,

21Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

22

third witch Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

pg 169

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 23Witch's mummy, maw and gulf

Editor’s Note Link 24Of the ravined salt-sea shark;

Editor’s Note Link 25Root of hemlock, digged i'th' dark;

Editor’s Note Link 26Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Editor’s Note27Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Editor’s Note Link 28Slivered in the moon's eclipse;

Editor’s Note29Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;

Editor’s Note Link 30Finger of birth-strangled babe

Editor’s Note Link 31Ditch-delivered by a drab:

Editor’s Note Link 32Make the gruel thick and slab;

Editor’s Note33Add thereto a tiger's chawdron,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus34For th' ingredience of our cauldron.

35

all Double, double, toil and trouble,

36Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Editor’s Note Link 37

second witch Cool it with a baboon's blood,

38Then the charm is firm and good.

Editor’s Note Enter Hecate, and the other three Witches
pg 170 39

hecate O well done: I commend your pains,

Link 40And everyone shall share i'th' gains—

41And now about the cauldron sing

Editor’s Note42Like elves and fairies in a ring.

Link 43Enchanting all that you put in.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Music, and a song
Critical Apparatus44

fourth witch Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray,

45Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus46Titty, Tiffin, keep it stiff in,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus47Firedrake, Puckey, make it lucky,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus48Liard, Robin, you must bob in.

pg 171 Critical Apparatus49

chorus of witches Round, around, around, about, about,

50All ill come running in, all good keep out.

Critical Apparatus51

fifth witch Here's the blood of a bat.

fourth witch Put in that, O, put in that!

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus52

sixth witch Here's lizard's brain.

fourth witch Put in a grain!

Critical Apparatus53

fifth witch The juice of toad, the oil of adder,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus54Those will make the younker madder!

Critical Apparatus55

fourth witch Put in, there's all, and rid the stench.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus56

sixth witch Nay, here's three ounces of the red-haired wench.

Critical Apparatus57

chorus of witches Round, around, around, about, about,

58All ill come running in, all good keep out.

pg 172 Editor’s Note Link 59

second witch By the pricking of my thumbs.

Link 60Something wicked this way comes—

Link 61Open locks, whoever knocks.

Enter Macbeth
Link 62

macbeth How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?

Editor’s Note63What is't you do?

all the witches A deed without a name.

Editor’s Note Link 64

macbeth I conjure you, by that which you profess.

Editor’s Note65Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:

Link 66Though you untie the winds, and let them fight

Editor’s Note Link 67Against the churches; though the yeasty waves

Editor’s Note Link 68Confound and swallow navigation up;

Editor’s Note Link 69Though bladed corn be lodged, and trees blown down,

Link 70Though castles topple on their warders' heads;

Editor’s Note Link 71Though palaces and pyramids do slope

Editor’s Note72Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 73Of nature's germen tumble all together,

pg 173

Link 74Even till destruction sicken: answer me

75To what I ask you.

first witch Speak.

second witch Demand.

third witch We'll answer.

76

first witch Say, if th'hadst rather hear it from our mouths,

Editor’s Note77Or from our masters.

macbeth Call'em: let me see'em.

Editor’s Note Link 78

first witch Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten

Editor’s Note Link 79Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten

Editor’s Note80From the murderer's gibbet, throw

Critical Apparatus81Into the flame.

all the witches Come high or low:

Link 82Thy self and office deftly show.

Thunder. Editor’s Note First Apparition, an armed head
83

macbeth Tell me, thou unknown power—

first witch He knows thy thought:

84Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

Critical Apparatus85

first apparition Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth: beware Macduff,

86Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me; enough.

Critical Apparatus Descends
pg 174 Link 87

macbeth Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;

Editor’s Note Link 88Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word more—

89

first witch He will not be commanded: here's another

90More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition, a bloody child
91

second apparition Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth.

Editor’s Note92

macbeth Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.

Critical Apparatus93

second apparition Be bloody, bold, and resolute: laugh to scorn

Link 94The power of man; for none of woman born

95Shall harm Macbeth.

Descends
96

macbeth Then live Macduff—what need I fear of thee?

Critical Apparatus Link 97But yet I'll make assurance double sure,

98And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live,

Link 99That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,

Critical Apparatus100And sleep in spite of thunder.

Thunder. Third Apparition, a child crowned, with a tree in his hand

What is this

101That rises like the issue of a king,

Link 102And wears upon his baby-brow the round

103And top of sovereignty?

104

all the witches Listen, but speak not to't.

Link 105

third apparition Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care

Link 106Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:

107Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus108Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinan Hill

pg 175

Critical Apparatus109Shall come against him.

Descends

macbeth That will never be:

Editor’s Note Link 110Who can impress the forest, bid the tree

Editor’s Note Link 111Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements, good—

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus112Rebellious dead, rise never till the Wood

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 113Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth

Editor’s Note Link 114Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath

Editor’s Note115To time, and mortal custom. Yet my heart

Link 116Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art

Editor’s Note117Can tell so much—shall Banquo's issue ever

118Reign in this kingdom?

all the witches Seek to know no more.

119

macbeth I will be satisfied. Deny me this,

120And an eternal curse fall on you—let me know.

Critical Apparatus Cauldron descends

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 121Why sinks that cauldron? (Hautboys) And what noise is this?

122

first witch Show.

123

second witch Show.

124

third witch Show.

125

all the witches Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;

126Come like shadows, so depart.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus A show of eight kings, the last with a glass in his hand, and Banquo
pg 176 127

macbeth Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down—

128Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair,

Link 129Thou other gold-bound-brow, is like the first;

130A third, is like the former. Filthy hags,

Link 131Why do you show me this?—A fourth? Start eyes!

Link 132What, will the line stretch out to th' crack of doom?

Link 133Another yet? A seventh? I'll see no more—

Critical Apparatus Link 134And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass

135Which shows me many more; and some I see

Editor’s Note Link 136That two-fold balls, and treble sceptres carry.

137Horrible sight—now I see 'tis true,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 138For the blood-baltered Banquo smiles upon me,

139And points at them for his. What, is this so?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Exeunt kings and Banquo
Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus140

hecateAy sir, all this is so. But why

Link 141Stands Macbeth thus amazèdly?

Link 142Come sisters, cheer we up his sprites,

143And show the best of our delights.

Link 144I'll charm the air to give a sound,

Editor’s Note Link 145While you perform your antic round:

Editor’s Note146That this great King may kindly say,

pg 177

147Our duties did his welcome pay.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Music. The Witches dance, and vanish with Hecate
Critical Apparatus148

macbeth Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour

Link 149Stand aye accursèd in the calendar.

Editor’s Note150Come in, without there.

Enter Lennox

lennox What's your grace's will?

Critical Apparatus151

macbeth Saw you the Weïrd Sisters?

lennox No, my lord.

152

macbeth Came they not by you?

lennox No indeed, my lord.

Link 153

macbeth Infected be the air whereon they ride,

154And damned all those that trust them. I did hear

Editor’s Note Link 155The galloping of horse. Who was't came by?

156

lennox 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word:

Editor’s Note157Macduff is fled to England.

macbeth Fled to England?

Editor’s Note158

lennox Ay, my good lord.

Editor’s Note Link 159

macbeth (aside) Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits;

Editor’s Note Link 160The flighty purpose never is o'ertook

161Unless the deed go with it. From this moment,

Editor’s Note Link 162The very firstlings of my heart shall be

163The firstlings of my hand. And even now

pg 178

Editor’s Note164To crown my thoughts with acts—be it thought and done:

165The castle of Macduff I will surprise,

Link 166Seize upon Fife; give to th' edge o'th' sword

167His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls

Editor’s Note Link 168That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool,

169This deed I'll do, before this purpose cool;

Editor’s Note170But no more sights.—Where are these gentlemen?

171Come bring me where they are.

Exeunt

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
4.1.1 brinded strictly 'tawny with bars of another colour'; doubtless a sort of tabby cat presumably Graymalkin, the First Witch's familiar (1.1.8)
Editor’s Note
2 hedge-pig hedgehog; OED records the word only in this context, where it may be intended to imply the female.
Editor’s Note
3 Harpier The Third Witch's familiar: the name has been associated with 'harpy', the mythical bird-woman, spirit of vengeance, but there is no evidence for this: Thomas lists only common animals and insects as familiars.
Critical Apparatus
4.1.5 throw.] rowe; throw‸ f
Editor’s Note
6–8 Toad They were regarded as particularly ugly and loathsome; they do secrete an acrid poison in the sweat glands which is unpleasant rather than dangerous. Witches were often said to transform themselves into toads, and to use their poison. Foakes cites Agnes Sampson's 'confession' of her attempt to poison King James in Edinburgh: 'took a black toad, and did hang up the same by the heels, three days, and collected and gathered the venom as it dropped' News from Scotland (1591), B2v (see Introduction, p. 78 n. 1). Toads do, like other amphibians, hibernate, but not in order to sweat: why 'thirty-one days' (a calendar month) nobody seems to know.
Editor’s Note
8 Sweltered OED has 'exuded like sweat', but it is literally 'sweated out'.
Editor’s Note
12 Fillet 1. band, strip; 2. slice (as of meat or fish); (2) is usually given, but (1) seems to me at least as likely
fenny muddy (or, possibly, a fen-dwelling snake)
Editor’s Note
16 blind-worm usually the slow-worm, which has very small eyes, but also used of the adder. Both slow-worms and newts were thought, wrongly, to be poisonous.
Editor’s Note
17 howlet either owl, or young owl. or Little Owl: a dialect form of owlet (OED)
Critical Apparatus
23 Witch's] f (Witches), singer; Witches' theobald
Editor’s Note
23 mummy The dried and/or embalmed flesh of a dead body was widely used for medicinal purposes, by no means exclusively in witchcraft; hence the word was used of powder or ointment derived from the mummified flesh.
maw and gulf Both words refer to the stomach and are connected with voracious appetites; 'maw' can also be the throat or gullet.
Editor’s Note
24 ravined glutted on its prey (cf. 'ravenous')
Editor’s Note
25 hemlock a common, poisonous, plant
dark Muir comments that the time when herbs were gathered was thought to affect their power.
Editor’s Note
26 blaspheming i.e. anti-Christian
Editor’s Note
27 slips of yew twigs of yew, used for mourning, but generally regarded (especially the berries) as poisonous
Editor’s Note
28 Slivered cut or torn off
moon's eclipse seen as a particularly sinister form of darkness (see l. 25)
Editor’s Note
29 Turk, and Tartar infidels, notorious for cruelty and sensuality
Editor’s Note
30 birth-strangled babe As well as being a horrid image, this refers to the idea that unbaptized babies were condemned to Hell.
Editor’s Note
31 Ditch-delivered delivered in a ditch—suppressing the unwanted child
drab prostitute
Editor’s Note
32 slab Adjective from the noun (OED, sb.2 2) meaning slimy matter, ooze, or sludge; later use of the adjective for 'semi-solid' derives from this line.
Editor’s Note
33 chawdron entrails (especially as used in cooking)
Critical Apparatus
34 cauldron] f (Cawdron)
Editor’s Note
34 ingredience ingredients (for a mixture)
cauldron F spells it 'cawdron' here, but 'cauldron' elsewhere; either a compositor's slip from 'chawdron' above, or a deliberate variant to stress the rhyme.
Editor’s Note
37 baboon Often stressed on the first syllable. Supposedly a lustful ape, i.e. 'hot', related to 'cool' as the toad's 'cold stone' was to 'swelter'.
Editor’s Note
38.1 The entry of Hecate is generally taken to be an addition (as in 3.5); I take it to be part of a revision affecting the whole scene up to l. 146; see Introduction, pp. 53–4.
the other three Witches There has been much argument about this, largely unnecessarily; clearly other witches are required as a singing and dancing chorus for Hecate (the Weïrd Sisters never do either). My only doubt is whether 'three' is right: It is, of course, the magic number for Hecate, but could so easily be repeated accidentally from the usual s.d. for the Witches' entries. In any case the song and dance team soon increased to a full chorus, see Introduction, pp. 34–47; they may possibly have been children originally, see l. 42.
Editor’s Note
42 Highly inappropriate for the Weïrd Sisters, but perfectly possible for attendants on Hecate.
Critical Apparatus
43.1] f (continuing 'Blacke Spirits, &c.'); A Charme Song: about a Vessel witch
Editor’s Note
43.1–58 Middleton headed this 'A Charm Song', appropriately; it may even have been a traditional one, see Appendix B. The only pre-Restoration text surviving is in The Witch, and it is possible that it always differed in Macbeth, but the differences in Davenant are slight (see notes on ll. 54 and 56). The texts collated are Witch, Yale, 1674. Oxford (it is not in 1673); as in 3.5.36–68. texts not cited against a particular item agree with copy. The brewing duplicates much of what the Weïrd Sisters have already done, but here the tone is specifically bawdy ('keep it stiff in' etc.), as theirs was not. The 'charm' is aimed in l. 54 at seducing a 'younker'. and in The Witch that is Hecate's intention; but the game seems more appropriate to the children who sing it than to Hecate, even when she is (in Middleton) a randy old witch. The term is even more ironic in Macbeth, and Davenant (or someone before him) made a clumsy substitution. I have arranged the song for the three other Witches, leaving Hecate as spectator (see Appendix B).
Critical Apparatus
44–58] witch, yale, 1674, oxford; not in f, 1673
Critical Apparatus
44 fourth witch] This edition; not in witch; Hec: yale. 1674. oxford
Critical Apparatus
46] no prefix witch: prefix 1 Witch yale, 1674: fourth witch oxford
Titty, Tiffin] witch; Tiffin Tiffin yale, 1674
Editor’s Note
46–8 These lines might well be given to separate voices, e.g. Fifth, Sixth, Fourth Witches, to keep sequence; Hecate's participation seems unlikely. The Spirits' names are set out (with others) in a table at the end of a pamphlet, which is quoted in Appendix B, and referred to here as Record: Scot summarized in an addendum. Davenant reduced them to three by treating the first name in each line as an adjective.
Editor’s Note
46 Titty May derive from the extra teat witches used to feed their familiars. 'Tettey a he like a gray cat' (Record).
Tiffin 'Tiffing' was used of drinking. 'Tyffyn a she, like a white lamb' (Record).
Critical Apparatus
47] no prefix witch; prefix 2: yale Firedrake.] witch. Fire drake‸ yale. 1674
Editor’s Note
47 Firedrake A dragon in German mythology; used of Bardolph in Henry V, and of Face as the Alchemist's assistant in Ben Jonson's play, The Alchemist. Not mentioned in Record or Scot.
Puckey See note on 3.5.42. Possibly confused with Pygin in Record (Pidgin in Scot), 'a she, like a black toad'.
Critical Apparatus
48] no prefix witch: prefix Hec: yale Liard.] witch (Liand): Lyer‸ yale, 1674
Editor’s Note
48 Liard The word meant 'grey', probably associated here with 'liar'. 'Lyard red like a lion or hare' (Record).
Robin Goodfellow. see note on 3.5.42. 'Two spirits like toads, their names Tom & Robin' (Record).
Critical Apparatus
49 chorus of witches] yale (Chor:); not in witch; all oxford
Round, around, around] witch; A round a round a round yale; A round, a round 1674
Critical Apparatus
51 fifth witch] This edition; 1. witch witch, yale, 1674; fourth witch oxford
fourth witch] This edition; Hec. witch, yale, 1674, oxford
O] witch; before first 'put' yale, 1674
Critical Apparatus
52 sixth witch] This edition; 2. witch, yale, 1674; fifth witch oxford
lizard's brain] yale; Libbards Bane witch, oxford (leopard's)
fourth witch] This edition; Hec. witch, yale, 1674, oxford
a grain] yale; againe witch
Editor’s Note
52 lizard's brain … a grain witch may be correct here, but there is no obvious reason for Davenant to introduce the lizard, whereas Crane could have misread; 'a grain' is stronger than 'again'. Lizards, like snakes, are often associated with witchcraft; see Appendix B. 'Grain', originally a measure of corn, was used as a minimal measure for any substance, especially solids; the lizard might be pulverized, but its dried brain would hardly be more than a grain in any case.
Critical Apparatus
53 fifth witch] This edition; 1. witch, yale, 1674; fourth witch oxford
The … the ] witch; Here's … here's yale, 1674
Critical Apparatus
54] no prefix yale; prefix 2. witch; fifth witch oxford
younker] witch (yonker); charme grow yale, 1674
Editor’s Note
54 younker young man, usually a fashionable one
Critical Apparatus
55 fourth witch] This edition; Hec. witch, oxford; 2: yale, 1674
Put … stench ] witch (Put in: ther's all. and rid the Stench); Put in all these, 'twill raise the stanch yale, 1674
Critical Apparatus
56 sixth witch] This edition; Fire 〈stone〉 witch; Hec: yale, 1674; a witch oxford
the] witch; a yale, 1674, oxford
Editor’s Note
56 sixth witch The line is given to Firestone in The Witch (see note on 3.5.50), and to Hecate by Davenant, which demeans her.
red-haired wench Red hair was often alluded to as poisonous, e.g. Chapman, Bussy D'Ambois, 3.2.18, 'the poison of a red-haired man'. Judas, the traitor, was represented as red-haired, so was Mary Magdalene, the prostitute, which may be suggested by the definite article here.
Critical Apparatus
57 chorus of witches] yale (Chor:); all witch, oxford
Critical Apparatus
57–8] witch (Round: around: around &c); A round a round &c yale, 1674
Editor’s Note
59 pricking tingling
Editor’s Note
63, 81, 104, 118, 125 all the witches Probably only the first three witches speak.
Editor’s Note
63 A deed without a name 'Naming' conferred identity, and sanctity, as in baptism; to be without one was to be alienated from the Name (of God), and bastardy was associated with the Devil. But the phrase is more resonant than its sources.
Editor’s Note
64 that which you profess i.e. fore-knowledge
Editor’s Note
65 Howe'er … know it i.e. by the black arts
Editor’s Note
67 yeasty turbid, frothy, as in fermentation
Editor’s Note
68 navigation shipping (this sense survived in USA until 1850)
Editor’s Note
69 lodged beaten down
Editor’s Note
71 slope bend downwards
Editor’s Note
72–4 the treasure … sicken A complex climax to the sequence from l. 66, very closely comparable to Lear's 3.2.1–9, cursing the storm, except that where Lear's was all in the imperative. Macbeth's is all conditional, governed by the repeated 'though'. Lear 3.2.8–9 reads: 'Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once | That makes ingrateful man.' 'Germens' are germs, that is seeds, not of disease, but of all creation, in Lear's line 'moulded' into all the forms of nature. The general sense of Macbeth's lines is the same, the chaos and destruction of all the sources of the living universe, but the syntax is less clear, 'treasure' means treasury, the structure that contains the germens, as well as the treasure that is contained, and both 'tumble', though in different senses: the building altogether collapses, as the castles, palaces, and pyramids have; nature's germens all tumble together in a chaos of mutual destruction. In effect, two separate sentences conclude simultaneously and lead to the finality of 'Even till destruction sicken'; Muir suggests that the simplest gloss is that destruction sickens of surfeit. but the obvious force is that destruction destroys itself—the phrase is reminiscent of Donne's 'Death thou shalt die' (Divine Meditations, 10).
Critical Apparatus
73 germen] f (Germaine); germains pope; Germins theobald conj.; germens globe
all together] f (altogether)
Editor’s Note
73 germen F's 'germaine' is simply an old spelling; there is no need to read 'germens' as most editors do if we assume the possibility of a collective form, though this is not recorded before 1759 (OED 3. Bot., an ovary).
Editor’s Note
77 our masters Evidently the spirits (devils) who impersonate the apparitions.
Editor’s Note
78–9 that … farrow Apparently sows that eat their young were thought to be poisonous. See Holinshed, History of Scotland (1577). itemizing the laws of Kenneth II: 'If a sowe eate hir pigges, let hyr be stoned to death and buried.'
Editor’s Note
79 farrow litter of piglets
sweaten exuded (from the gibbet)
Editor’s Note
80 gibbet Not only used of gallows, but also of the similar structure (upright post with projecting arm) from which the bodies of executed criminals were hung in chains.
Critical Apparatus
81. 104 118. 125 all the witches] f (All.)
Editor’s Note
82.2 armed head There have been various interpretations of the symbolism of the apparitions, including improbable assumptions that the armed head is Macbeth's, or Macduff's. They remain, as they undoubtedly should, cryptic, but it is true that the sequence 'armed head', 'bloody babe', 'crowned child holding a tree' (presumably of fertility) suggests a meaningful sequence through death to rebirth—from which Macbeth will be excluded. Since the first three apparitions are all directed to 'descend', it seems most likely that they come up on a trap (or traps, but one would suffice), possibly with smoke from below. (See p. 74)
Critical Apparatus
4.1.85] rowe; as two lines Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth | Beware Macduffe f (Space.)
Critical Apparatus
86.1 Descends] f (He Descends)
Editor’s Note
88 harped given voice to, guessed
Editor’s Note
92 three ears All the apparitions call him three times.
Critical Apparatus
93] rowe; two lines ending … resolute | … scorne f (Space.)
Critical Apparatus
97 assurance‸ ] pope; assurance: f
Critical Apparatus
100–1] rowe; lines ending … Thunder | … King f (F puts 'What is this' normally to the beginning of the line after the s.d., and then fills out with the whole of 101.)
Critical Apparatus
108 Dunsinan] This edition; Dunsmane f; Dunsinane rowe
Editor’s Note
108 Birnam Wood … Dunsinan Hill f varies between 'Byrnam' and 'Byrnan' (Birnan, Birnane, Byrnane), and between 'Dunsmane' (possibly a misreading of 'Dunsinane') and 'Dunsinane'; 'Birnam' seems to be usual now; Ordnance Survey maps have 'Dunsinnan', which places the stress on the second syllable as it is in this line, but later in the play it is on the third; I have adopted 'Dunsinan' to allow the variation which was usual with all proper nouns. They are a few miles apart, about 20 miles north of Perth.
Critical Apparatus
109 Descends] f (Descend.)
Editor’s Note
110 impress enlist for military service
Editor’s Note
111 bodements predictions
Critical Apparatus
112 dead] f; head theobald
Editor’s Note
112 Rebellious dead dead that will not stay buried; it could refer to all Macbeth's victims, but Banquo is the obvious one. Theobald's emendation to 'head', still often followed, is as unconvincing as it is unnecessary.
Critical Apparatus
113 our high-placed] f (our high plac'd); on's high place oxford
Editor’s Note
113 our high-placed Macbeth Macbeth retains the royal 'we' as long as he is 'high-placed'; compare 'my' and 'me' in ll. 115–16. It has been thought odd that he should speak of himself in this way, but he is contemplating himself objectively as 'high-placed' both here and with 'his breath' in the next line. Oxford's emendation does not seem to me an improvement.
Editor’s Note
114 lease of nature natural lease of life. See proverb 'no man has lease of his life', Dent M327.
Editor’s Note
114–15 pay his breath | To time breathe till his time is due
Editor’s Note
115 mortal custom customary death
Editor’s Note
117 ever always
Critical Apparatus
120.1] not in f
Critical Apparatus
121 Hautboys] f (Hoboyes) at end of line
Editor’s Note
121 noise often used of agreeable sounds, especially from a group of musicians
Critical Apparatus
126.1–2] hanmer (subst.); A shew of eight Kings, and Banquo last, with a glasse in his hand f
Editor’s Note
126.1–2 F's direction is no doubt a conflation of separate marginal notes, confused by copyist or compositor; it has to be emended to fit ll. 134 and 138.
Editor’s Note
126.1 eight Kings A correct count of the Stuart kings of Scotland, but omitting Mary Queen of Scots, who was James's mother, beheaded by Elizabeth, his predecessor on the English throne. See Introduction, pp. 73–4. There is no need for eight actors if they move round back-stage and re-enter with different emblems (depending on the structure of the theatre).
Critical Apparatus
134 eighth] f (eight)
Editor’s Note
136 two-fold balls, and treble sceptres Referring to James's unifying of the kingdoms of Scotland and England: Scottish kings were invested with one sceptre and one orb, English kings with two sceptres and one orb.
Critical Apparatus
138 blood-baltered] f (Blood-bolter'd)
Editor’s Note
138 blood-baltered blood-matted hair; or simply 'clotted'—OED gives 'bolter' as a spelling of 'balter' in this sense
Critical Apparatus
139.1] globe (subst., after his); not in f
Editor’s Note
139.1 Exeunt … Banquo F gives no exit: most, if not all, of the kings have no doubt disappeared already.
Critical Apparatus
140 hecate] oxford (conj. Cambridge); 1 f
Editor’s Note
140 hecate F gives this to the First Witch, but it is generally agreed to be in Hecate's distinctive tone, and it introduces another dance, which seems to be her prerogative. Hecate, once she is there, becomes in a sense First Witch, and there may be confusion in the prefixes (see E. B. Lyle, 'The Speech-Heading "I" in Act IV Scene I of the Folio Text of Macbeth', The Library, 25 (1970), 150–1). The speech probably displaced an original one for the First Witch (see note on l. 38.1)
Editor’s Note
145 antic round grotesque dance
Editor’s Note
146–7 The conventional dedication of a masque: no doubt it could be dedicated to James at a performance in his presence, but it is here dedicating an anti-masque to Macbeth.
Critical Apparatus
147.1–2 with Hecate] not in f
Editor’s Note
147.1 The Witches dance See Appendix B.
with Hecate F gives no exit for her; many editors, and some stage-directors, take her off after l. 43, but it seems far more likely that she presides over the whole show and vanishes with the dance.
Critical Apparatus
148] rowe; two lines ending … Gone | … houre f (Space.)
Editor’s Note
150 without there i.e. you who are outside there
Critical Apparatus
151 Weïrd] f (Weyard)
Editor’s Note
155 horse horses (a collective plural still in use derived from OE)
Editor’s Note
157 See Introduction, p. 52.
Editor’s Note
158 The short line suggests a pause before Macbeth's soliloquy.
Editor’s Note
159 anticipat'st forestallest
Editor’s Note
160–1 The flighty … go with it 'the flying (swift) purpose will never be caught up with unless the deed follows as quickly as it'; i.e. an intention must be carried out instantly or it will be too late
Editor’s Note
162 firstlings first concepts (literally 'first offspring')
Editor’s Note
164 be it thought and done Variation on 'no sooner said than done', Dent S117.
Editor’s Note
168 trace him in his line follow him in his lineage, i.e. his relatives and, possibly, dependants
Editor’s Note
170 But no more sights The passionate appeal for an end to visions is heard: his sight from here on is as literal as the moving of Birnam Wood; see Introduction, p. 5.
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