Imatges de pÓgina

Macd. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once, 'Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor.

Mal. Well; more anon.-Comes the king forth, I

pray you!

Doct. Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls, That stay his cure: their malady convinces 9 The great assay of art; but, at his touch, Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand, They presently amend.

Mal. I thank you, doctor.

Macd. What's the disease he means?
Mal. "Tis call'd the evil :

[Exit Doctor.

A most miraculous work in this good king;
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures ;
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers: and 'tis spoken,
To the succeeding royalty he leaves

The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy;

And sundry blessings hang about his throne,

That speak him full of grace.

Enter RosSE.

Macd. See, who comes here?

Mal. My countryman; but yet I know him not. Macd. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither. Mal. I know him now: Good God, betimes remove The means that make us strangers!

Rosse. Sir, Amen.

Macd. Stands Scotland where it did?

Rosse. Alas, poor country;

Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot

Be call'd our mother, but our grave: where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile ;
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air,
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems

[9] i. e. overpowers, subdues. STEEV.


[1] To rent is an ancient verb, which has been long ago disused. STEEV.

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A modern ecstacy; the dead man's knell

Is there scarce ask'd, for who; and good men's lives Expire before the flowers in their caps,

Dying, or ere they sicken.

Macd. O, relation,

Too nice, and yet too true!

Mal. What is the newest grief?

Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker; Each minute teems a new one.

Macd. How does my wife?

Rosse. Why, well.

Macd. And all my children?
Rosse. Well too.

Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
Ros. No; they were well at peace, whenIdid leave them.
Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech; How goes it?
Rosse. When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
Of many worthy fellows that were out;
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
For that I saw the tyrant's power afoot :

Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
To doff their dire distresses.

Mal. Be it their comfort,

We are coming thither: gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward, and ten thousand men ;
An older, and a better soldier, none

That Christendom gives out.

Rosse. 'Would I could answer

This comfort with the like! But I have words,
That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
Where hearing should not latch them. 3

Macd. What concern they?

The general cause? or is it a fee-grief,
Due to some single breast?

Rosse. No mind, that's honest,

But in it shares some woe; though the main part
Pertains to you alone.

[2] That is, no more regarded than the contorsions that fanatics throw themselves into. The author was thinking of those of his own times. WARB. [3] To latch (in the North country dialect) signifies the same as to catch. STEEV.

[4] A peculiar sorrow; a grief that hath a single owner. The expression is, at least to our ears, very harsh. JOHNSON.

Macd. If it be mine,

Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.

Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever, Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound That ever yet they heard.

Macd. Humph! I guess at it.

Rosse. Your castle is surpriz'd; your wife, and babes, Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,

Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer, 5
To add the death of you.

Mal. Merciful heaven!

What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words: the grief, that does not speak,
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
Macd. My children too?

Rosse. Wife, children, servants, all

That could be found.

Macd. And I must be from thence !

My wife kill'd too?

Rosse. I have said.

Mal. Be comforted:

Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge,

To cure this deadly grief.

Macd. He has no children.6-All my pretty ones?

Did you say, all ?———O, hell-kite !—


What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,

At one fell swoop ?7

Mal. Dispute it like a man. 8
Macd.. I shall do so;

But I must also feel it as a man:

I cannot but remember such things were,

-Did heaven look on,

That were most precious to me.

And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,

Fell slaughter on their souls: Heaven rest them now!
Mal. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief

[5] Quarry is a term used both in hunting and falconry. In both sports it means the game after it is killed. STEEV.

[6] It has been observed by an anonymous critic, that this is not said of Macbeth, who had children, but of Malcolm, who, having none, supposes a father can be so easily comforted. JOHNS.

[7] Swoop is the descent of a bird of prey on his quarry. [8] i, e. contend with your present sorrow like a man.



Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes,
And braggart with my tongue!-But, gentle heaven,
Cut short all intermission; front to front,

Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself;
Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
Heaven forgive him too!

Mal. This tune goes manly.

Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above

Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;
The night is long, that never finds the day.



SCENE 1.-Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle. Enter a Doctor of Physic, and a waiting Gentlewoman.


I HAVE two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked ?

Gent. Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

Doc. A great perturbation in nature! to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching. -In this slumbry agitation, besides her walking, and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?

Gent. That, sir, which I will not report after her.

Doc. You may, to me; and 'tis most meet you should. Gent. Neither to you, nor any one; having no witness to confirm my speech.

Enter Lady MACBETH, with a taper.

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close. Doc. How came she by that light?

[9] See St. John's Revelation, ch. xiv. v. 15. HARRIS.

Gent. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her continually; 'tis her command.

Doc. You see, her eyes are open.

Gent. Ay, but their sense is shut,

Doc. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

Gent. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands; I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.

Lady M. Yet here's a spot.

Doc. Hark, she speaks: I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly. Lady M. Out, damned spot! out, I say!-One; Two; Why, then 'tis time to do't-Hell is murky!

Fie, my lord, fie a soldier, and afear'd? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?-Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

Doc. Do you mark that?

Lady M. The thane of Fife had a wife; Where is she now ?-What, will these hands ne'er be clean ?— No more o'that, my lord, no more o'that you mar all with this starting.

Doc. Go to, go to; you have known what you should


Gent. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that: Heaven knows what she has known.

Lady M. Here's the smell of the blood still all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh oh oh!

Doc.What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged. Gent. I would not have such a heart in my bosom, for the dignity of the whole body.

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[1] Lady Macbeth is acting over, in a dream, the business of the murder of Duncan, and encouraging her husband, as when awake. She therefore would not have even hinted the terrors of hell to one whose conscience she saw was too much alarmed already for her purpose. She certainly imag ines herself here talking to Macbeth, who (she supposes) had just said Hell is murky, (i. e. hell is a dismal place to go to in consequence of such a deed) and repeats his words in contempt of his cowardice,

Hell is murky!Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afear'd? This explanation, I think, gives a spirit to the passage, which has hitherto appeared languid, being, perhaps, misapprehended by those who placed a fall point at the conclusion of it. STEEV.

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