As I browse through An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language by Skeat, I am continually inspired and mesmerized by the wealth of references related to the world of the English language. I am in love with words and as I browse this book for a new word of the day, I am continually surprised by what I find.
Within each reference is an example of the earliest literary works known to use the word in question. As I flicked through pages and my eyes scanned entries, I stopped at the word supernatural only to discover the literary example given was from a line in Macbeth.
The works by William Shakespeare provide the aspiring writer with a wealth of beautifully crafted words and Macbeth is one of his most recognized and enjoyed masterpieces.
Thankfully, Macbeth is not subject to copyrights in the United States so I was able to find the reference given.
Entry: Miraculous. Derivation: French and Latin. Can be found in Macbeth. Older versions of the word: supernaturel and supernaturall (as is used in Macbeth).
Below is the example of supernatural being used in Macbeth. I confess I have not read Macbeth but only in parts. I had to read through the scenea t the beginning to understand why this word was being used. If you are vaguely familiar with Macbeth you may know of the scene with the witches. I cannot remember when exactly but I do recall seeing this in a film. The witches project that Macbeth shall be king of many regions and he enters a dialogue with Banquo as to what this could mean — particularly when Ross and Angus enter the scene basically confirming what the witches have foretold:
The supernatural reference will be highlighted. When reading this, be sure to substitute the v’s for u’s.
Macb. Two Truths are told,
As happy Prologues to the swelling Act
Of the Imperiall Theame. I thanke you Gentlemen:
This supernaturall solliciting
Cannot be ill; cannot be good.
If ill? why hath it giuen me earnest of successe,
Commencing in a Truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.
If good? why doe I yeeld to that suggestion,
Whose horrid Image doth vnfixe my Heire,
And make my seated Heart knock at my Ribbes,
Against the vse of Nature? Present Feares
Are lesse then horrible Imaginings:
My Thought, whose Murther yet is but fantasticall,
Shakes so my single state of Man,
That Function is smother’d in surmise,
And nothing is, but what is not
Banq. Looke how our Partner’s rapt
Macb. If Chance will haue me King,
Why Chance may Crowne me,
Without my stirre
Banq. New Honors come vpon him
Like our strange Garments, cleaue not to their mould,
But with the aid of vse
Macb. Come what come may,
Time, and the Houre, runs through the roughest Day
Banq. Worthy Macbeth, wee stay vpon your leysure
Macb. Giue me your fauour:
My dull Braine was wrought with things forgotten.
Kinde Gentlemen, your paines are registred,
Where euery day I turne the Leafe,
To reade them.
Let vs toward the King: thinke vpon
What hath chanc’d: and at more time,
The Interim hauing weigh’d it, let vs speake
Our free Hearts each to other
Banq. Very gladly
Macb. Till then enough: