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So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Scene X. True Fortitude. (6) I dare do all that may become a man, Who dares do more, is none.
The n.urdering Scene, Macbeth alone. Is this a dagger which I fee before me, The handle tow'rd my hand ? come let me clutch thee, I have thee not, and yet I see thee ftill. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling, as to fight? or art thou but
(6) I dare, &c.] The whole present scene well deferves a place here, however I shall only beg leave to refer the reader to it. “ 'The arguments, says Jobnson, by which lady Macbeth perfuades her husband to commit 'the murder, afford a proof of Shakespear's knowledge of human nature. She urges the excellence and dignity of courage, a glittering idea, which has dazzled mankind from age to age, and animated sometimes the honse-breaker, and Sometimes the conqueror : but this sophism Macbeth has forever destroyed, by distinguishing true from falle fortitude, in a line and a half, of which it may almost be said, that they ought to be tow immortality on the author, though his other productions had been loft," &c. See his 16th note:
A dagger of the mind, a false creation
* Gouts, i. e. drops.
(7) Now o'er, &c.] That is, over our bemispbere all action and motion fiem to bave ceased. This image, which is, perhaps, the mok Striking that poetry can produce, has been adopted by Dryden, in his Conqu:ff of Mexico.
All things are hush'd as nature's self lay dead,
Even lust and envy Neep! These lines, though so well known, I have transcribed, that the contrast between them and this passage of Shakespear, may be more accurately observed. -- Night is described by two great poets, but one describes a night of quiet, the other of percubation Ip the night of Dryden, all the disturbers of the world are laid asleep : in that of Shakespear, nothing but sorcery, lust, and murder is awake. He that reads vryden, finds himself. lull’d with serenity, and dispos'd to solitude and contemplation : he that peruses Shakespear, looks round alarmed, and starts to find himself alone. One is the night of a lover, the other that of a murderer. JOHNSON
(8) With Tarquin's ravishing strides, tow'rds his design
prate of my whereabout;
[A bell rings.
(8) With, &c.] The reading in the old books is,
With Tarquin's ravishing sides towards, &c. Which Mr. Pope alter'd to that in the text. Mr. Johnson is for reading,
With Tarquin ravishing, slides tow'rd, &c. Because a ravishing pride is an action of violence, impetuosity, and tumult; and because the progression of ghosts is fo different from strides, that it has been in all ages represented to be as Mi ton expresses it,
Smooth siding without step. It seems to me, the poet only speaks of the filence, and secrecy wherewith the ghosts were supposed to move ; and, as when people walk with a stealthy pace, or as it is called on tip-toe, they generally take long Atrides, not stepping frequently, I thould judge firides to be the proper reading ; befide, I think the two verbs coming in that manner together not entirely elegant ; slides towards his design, and moves like a ghoft, seem too near a tautology. I am the more explicit in this paffage, as any remark of so ingenious a person deserves all attention, We may observe, Sbakespear, in his poem of Tarquin and Lucrece, says of Tarquin entring the lady's chamber,
Into the chamber wickedly he stalks. (9) Tbou, &c.] Hear not, О earth, my steps, left thy very Stones should prate, should tell of where I am, and what I am about to perpetrate, and by their prating, or making a noise, take away that filence, the present horror, from the time, which fo well suits with it." For what could be more dreadful to such a mind as Macbeth's, than so universal a filence, when all nature deeply huth'd, muft seem to his guilty mind, as listening to his purpose, and attending to the act he was about to perform?
Enter Lady. Lady. That which hath made them drunk, hath
made me bold : What hath quench'd them, hath giv'n me fire. Hark!
peace! It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bell-man, Which gives the stern's good night--he is about it The doors are open ; and the surfeited grooms Do mock their charge with snores. I've drugg'd their
Lady. Alack! I am afraid, they have awakd ;
a noise ? Lady. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets cry. Did not you speak ?
Macb. When ?
(Looks on his hands. Lady. A foolish thought, to say, a forry fight. Macb. There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one
cry'd murder ! They wak'd each other; and I food and heard them;
But they did say their prayers, and address them
Lady. There are two lodg’d together.
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
Lady Consider it not so deeply.
Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce Amen? I had moft need of blessing, and Amen Stuck in my throat.
Lady. These deeds must not be thought, After these ways; fo, it will make us mad. Macb. Methought, I heard a voice cry, sleep no
more ! Macbeth doth murder sleep; the innocent sleep i Sleep, chat knits up the raveil'd fleeve of care, (10) 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. What do you mean?
Macb. Still it cry'd, sleep no more, to all the house ; Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor Shall Deep no more ; Macbeth shall sleep no more ! Lady. Who was it, that thus cry'd ? why (11) worthy
(10) The Death, &c.) Shakespear frequently speaks of Neep as the image of death : at the end of the 4th Scene in this Act, Macduff calls it death's counterfeit : Jeep that krits up the raveli'd neeve of care-alludes to leav'd filk ravell'd. (11) Why, &c.] Should not this be read,
Why, worthy Thane,
Do you Enbend your noble strength ?