Imatges de pÓgina

Sent forth great largess to your offices :5
This diamond he greets your wife withal,
By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up
n measureless content.

Macb. Being unprepar'd,

Our will became the servant to defect;
Which else should free have wrought.

Ban. All's well.

I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
To you they have show'd some truth.

Macb. I think not of them :

Yet, when we can intreat an hour to serve,
Would spend it in some words upon that business,
If you would grant the time.

Ban. At your kind'st leisure.

Macb. If you shall cleave to my consent,-when 'tis, It shall make honour for you.6

Ban. So I lose none,

In seeking to augment it, but still keep

My bosom franchis'd, and allegiance clear,

I shall be counsel'd.

Macb. Good repose, the while!

Ban. Thanks, sir; The like to you! [Exit BANQUO. Macb. Go, bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, She strike upon the bell. Get thee to-bed. [Exit Ser. -Is this a dagger, which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee :

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible

To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but

A dagger of the mind; a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable

As this which now I draw.

Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.

[5] Offices are rooms appropriated to servants and culinary purposes.


[6] Macbeth expresses his thought with affected obscurity; he does not mention the royalty, though he apparently had it in his mind. If you shall cleave to my consent, if you shall concur with me when I determine to accept the crown when 'tis, when that happens which the prediction promises, it shall make honour for you JOHNS.

That Banquo was apprehensive of a design upon the crown, is evident from his reply, which affords Macbeth so little encouragement, that he drops the subject. RITSON.

Mine eyes are made the fools o'the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest: I see thee still;
And on thy blade, and dudgeon, gouts of blood,
Which was not so before.-There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business, which informs

Thus to mine eyes.-Now o'er the one half world,
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; now witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,

Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost.—Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
The very stones prate of my where-about,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it.2-Whiles I threat, he lives;
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.

[A Bell rings.

[7] Dudgeon-the haft or handle of a dagger. STEEV. [8] Or drops, French. POPE.-Gouts is the technical term for the spots on some part of the plumage of a hawk: or perhaps Shakspeare used the word in allusion to a phrase in heraldry. STEEV.

[9] That is, over our hemisphere all action and motion seem to have ceased. This image, which is, perhaps, the most striking that poetry can produce, has been adopted by Dryden, in his Conquest of Mexico:

"All things are hush'd as Nature's self lay dead,
The mountains seem to nod their drowsy head;
The little birds in dreams their songs repeat,

And sleeping flow'rs beneath the night dews sweat,
Even lust and envy sleep!"

These lines, though so well known. I have transcribed, that the contrast between them and this passage of Shakspeare may be more accurately ob. served. Night is described by two great poets, but one describes a night of quiet, the other of perturbation. In the night of Dryden, all the disturbers of the world are laid asleep; in that of Shakspeare, nothing but sorcery, lust, and murder, is awake. He that reads Dryden, finds himself lulled with serenity, and disposed to solitude and contemplation He that peruses Shak. speare, looks around alarmed, and starts to find himself alone. One is the night of a lover; the other of a murderer. JOHNS.

[] Probably Shakspeare wrote: The curtain'd sleeper. The folio spells the word sleepe. STEEV.--Mr. S's emendation is entitled to a place in the It is clearly Shakspeare's own word. RITSON.


[2] Macbeth would have nothing break through the universal silence that added such a horror to the night, as suited well with the bloody deed he was about to perform. Mr. Burke, in his Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful, ob serves that all general privations are great, because they are all terrible;" and, with other things, he gives silence as an instance, illustrating the whole by that remarkable passage in Virgil, where amidst all the images of terror that could be united, the circumstance of silence is particularly dwelt upon : "Dii quibus imperium est animarum, umbræque silentes,

Et Chaos et Phlegethon, loca nocte tacentia late." STEEV.

Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell

That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.

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Lady M. That which hath made them drunk, hath

made me bold :

What hath quench'd them, hath given me fire:



It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman, Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it: The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms

Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd their possets, 3

That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live, or die.

Macb. [Within.] Who's there?what, ho!
Lady M. Alack! I am afraid they have awak'd,
And 'tis not done:-the attempt, and not the deed,
Confounds us :-Hark!-I laid their daggers ready,
He could not miss them.-Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done't. 4-My husband?

Macb. I have done the deed :- -Didst thou not hear a noise ?

Lady M. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?

Macb. When?

Lady M. Now.

Macb. As I descended?

Lady M. Ay.

Macb. Hark-Who lies i'the second chamber?
Lady M. Donalbain.

Macb. This is a sorry sight. [Looking on his hands.
Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

[3] It appears from this passage, as well as from many others in our old dramatic performances, that it was the custom to eat possets just before bedtime. Mrs. Quickly promises Jack Rugby a posset at night. STEEV.

[4] This is very artful. For, as the poet has drawn the lady and her husband, it would be thought the act should have been done by her. It is likewise highly just; for though ambition had subdued in her all the sentiments of nature towards present objects, yet the likeness of one past, which she had been accustomed to regard with reverence, made her unnatural passions, for a moment give way to the sentiments of instinct and humanity. WARB.

Macb. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one

cried, murder!

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That they did wake each other; Istood and heard them: But they did say their prayers, and address'd them Again to sleep.

Lady M. There are two lodg'd together.

Macb. One cry'd, God bless us! and, Amen, the other; As they had seen me, with these hangman's hands. Listening their fear, I could not say, Amen,

When they did say, God bless us.

Lady M. Consider it not so deeply.

Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce, amen? I had most need of blessing, and amen

Stuck in my throat.

Lady M. These deeds must not be thought After these ways; so, it will make us mad.

Macb. Methought, I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep ; Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,s The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast ;

Lady M. What do you mean ?

Macb. Still it cried, Sleep no more! to all the house: Glamis hath murder'd sleep; and therefore Cawdor Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more! Lady M. Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,

You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things :-Go, get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.-
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: Go, carry them; and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.

Macb. I'll go no more :

I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on't again, I dare not.

Lady M. Infirm of purpose!

Give me the daggers: The sleeping, and the dead,

[3] Sleave signifies the ravelled knotty part of the silk, which gives great trouble and embarrassment to the knitter or weaver. HEATH.

Drayton, a poet of Shakspeare's age, has likewise alluded to sleaved or rarelled silk, in his Quest of Cynthia:

"At length 1 on a fountain light,
Whose brim with pinks was platred,
The banks with daffadillies dight,

With grass, like sleave was matted."


Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,

For it must seem their guilt. [Exit. Knocking within. Macb. Whence is that knocking?

How is't with me, when every noise appals me? What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnardine,"

Making the green-one red.

Re-enter Lady MACBETH.

Lady M. My hands are of your colour; but I shame To wear a heart so white. [Knock.] I hear a knocking At the south entry :-retire we to our chamber :

A little water clears us of this deed:

How easy is it then? Your constancy

Hath left you unattended.-[Knocking.] Hark! more knocking:

Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call us,
And show us to be watchers :-Be not lost

So poorly in your thoughts.

Macb. To know my deed,-'twere best not know my



Wake Duncan with thy knocking ay, 'would thou

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(6) Suscipit, o Gelli, quantum non ultima Tethys,


Nec genitor nympharum abluit oceanus." Catul. in Gel. 83. STEEV. (7) To incarnardine is to stain any thing of a flesh colour, or red. Carnardine is the old term for Carnation. STEEV.

The word may be exemplified fromCarew's Obsequies to the Lady Anne Hay: "One shall en sphere thine eyes; another shall

Impearl thy teeth; a third, thy white and small
Hand shall besnow; a fourth, incarnadine

Thy rosy cheek." WAKEFIELD.

(8) One red does not sound to my ear as the phraseology of the age of Eliz. abeth; and the green, for the green one, or for the green sea, is, I am per. suaded, unexampled.


The expression-"one red," may be justified by language more ancient than that of Shakspeare. In Genesis, ii. 24, and in several other places in scripture, we have one flesh." Again in our Liturgy :"-be made one fold under one shepherd." STEEV.

(9) i.e. While I have the thoughts of this deed, it were best not know, or be lost to, myself. This is an answer to the lady's reproof. WARB.

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