Imatges de pÓgina
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Enter SEYTON.
Ser. What is your gracious pleasure ?
Масв. .

What news more ? Sey. All is confirm’d, my lord, which was re

ported. Macb. I'll fight, till from my bones my flesh be

hack'd. Give me my armour. SEY.

'Tis not needed yet. Macb. I'll put it on. here? For this plain reason; because May (the month) both in manuscript and print always is exhibited with a capital letter; and it is exceedingly improbable that a compositor at the press should ose a small w instead of a capital M.

But, without going further into this subject, it is sufficient for our purpose, that the text, as it is exhibited in the ancient copy, affords an obvious, easy sense, without any emendation whatsoever. MALONE.

My way of youth occurs in Massinger, in two passages, one of which Mr. Mason has quoted incorrectly, and assigned the other to a wrong play:

“ If that when I was mistress of myself,
“ And in my way of youth pure and untainted.”

Roman Actor. “ In way of youth I did enjoy one friend.” Very Woman. Mr. Gifford understands it to be merely a periphrasis for youth; as way of life here is merely, he thinks, life.' Boswell.

the sear,] Sear is dry. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas, 1639 :

sear winter

“ Hath seald the sap up.” And Milton has—“ Ivy never sear.Shakspeare has the same thought in his 73d Sonnet :

“ That time of year thou may’st in me behold,

“ When yellow leaves,” &c. Steevens. Again, in our author's Lover's Complaint, where the epithet is so used, as clearly to ascertain the meaning of “the sear, the yellow leaf,” in the passage before us : spite of heaven's fell

rage,
“Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age.

MALONE. We have the same expression and sentiment in Spenser's Pastorals, January :

Also my lustful leaf is drie and seare." Boswell.

8

9

Send out more horses, skirr the country round"; Hang those that talk of fear'.-Give me mine ar

mour.How does your patient, doctor ? Doct.

Not so sick, my lord, As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies, That keep her ? from her rest. Масв.

Cure her of that: Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd'; Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow; Raze out the written troubles of the brain; And, with some sweet oblivious antidote *,

- SKIRR the country round ;) To skirr, I believe, signifies to scour, to ride hastily. The word is used by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Martial Maid :

“ Whilst I, with this and this, well mounted, skirr'd

A horse troop, through and through." Again, in King Henry V..

“ And make them skirr away, as swift as stones

“ Enforced from the old Assyrian slings.” Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Bonduca :

the light shadows, · That, in a thought, scur o'er the fields of corn, “ Halted on crutches to them.” Steevens. TALK or fear.] The second folio reads " stand in fear."

HENDERSON. ? That keep her -] The latter word, which was inadvertently omitted in the old copy, was added by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.

3 Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd ;] In The Spanish Tragedy Isabella thus complains :

“ So that you say, this herb will purge the eye,
“ And this the head; but none of them will purge the heart :

No, there's no medicine left for my disease, “ Nor any physick to recure the dead.” Malone. 4 And, with some sweet oblivious antidote,] Perhaps, as Dr. Farmer has observed, our poet here remembered Spenser's description of Nepenthe:

“ Nepenthe is a drinck of sovereign grace,
« Devized by the gods for to asswage
“ Harts grief, and bitter gall away to chace, -
“ Instead thereof sweet peace and quietage
It doth establish in the troubled mynd.”

Fairy Queen, b. iv. c. iii. st. 34. Malone.

Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff",
Which weighs upon the heart?

Our author's idea might have been caught from the sixth book of the Æneid, where the effects of Lethe are described :

Lethæi ad fluminis undam

Securos latices, et longa oblivia potant. Thus translated by Phaer, 1558 : “ These liquors quenching cares, and long forgetful draughts

thei drink “ That of their liues, and former labours past, they neuer

thinck." Thus also Statius, Theb. i. 341 :

Grata laboratæ referens oblivia vitæ. STEVENS. s Cleanse the stuff'p bosom of that perilous stuff,] Stuff'd is the reading of the old copy; but, for the sake of the ear, which must be shocked by the recurrence of so harsh a word, I am willing to read-foul, as there is authority for the change from Shakspeare himself, in As You Like It, Act II. Sc. VI. :

“Cleanse the foul body of the infected world." We properly speak of cleansing what is foul, but not what is stuffed. Steevens.

The recurrence of the word stuff, in this passage, is very unpleasing to the ear, but there is no ground, I think, to suspect the text to be corrupt : for our author was extremely fond of such repetitions. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra :

“ Now for the love of love."
“The greatest grace lending grace."

All's Well that Ends Well.
- with what good speed
“ Our means will make us means."

All's Well that Ends Well. “ Is only grievous to me, only dying." King Henry VIII. Upon his brow shame is asham'd to sit.”

Romeo and Juliet. “ For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie

Thy now unsur'd assurance to the crown.” King John. Believe me, I do not believe thee, man.” Ibid. “ Those he commands, move only in command —'

Macbeth. The words stuff and stuff'd, however mean they may sound at present, have, like many other terms, been debased by time, and appear to have been formerly considered as words proper to be used in passages of the greatest dignity. As such, Shakspeare has employed them in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter's Tale, Julius Cæsar, &c. Again, in The Tempest, in a passage where the author certainly aimed at dignity:

Doct.

Therein the patient Must minister to himself. Macb. Throw physick to the dogs, I'll none of

it. Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff :Seyton, send out.-Doctor, the thanes fly from

me :Come, sir, despatch :-If thou could'st, doctor, cast The water of my land , find her disease, And purge it to a sound and pristine health, I would applaud thee to the very echo, That should applaud again.-Pull’t off, I say.

“ And, like this unsubstantial pageant, faded,
“ Leave not a rack behind.—We are such stuff

“ As dreams are made of." In a note on a passage in Othello, Dr. Johnson observes, that

stuff, in the Teutonick languages, is a word of great force. The elements (he adds) are called in Dutch hoefd stoffen, or head. stuffs." MALONE.

The present question is not concerning the dignity of the word — stuffed, but its nauseous iteration, of which no example has been produced by Mr. Malone; for that our author has indulged himself in the repetition of harmonious words, is no proof that he would have repeated harsh ones.

I may venture also in support of my opinion) to subjoin, that the same gentleman, in a very judicious comment on King Henry IV. Part II. has observed, “ that when a word is repeated without propriety, in the same, or two succeeding lines, there is great reason to suspect some corruption." Steevens.

To show Mr. Steevens's inconsistency, I will transcribe what he says in Othello, vol. ix. p. 316, on the line

If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash." “ It is scarce necessary to support the present jingle of the word trash; it is so much in our author's manner, although his worst." Is trash more harmonious than stuff? Boswell. 6 cast

The water of my land,] “ To cast the water " was the phrase in use for finding out disorders by the inspection of urine. So, in Eliosto Libidinoso, a novel, by John Hinde, 1606 : “Lucilla perceiving, without casting her water, where she was pained,” &c. Again, in The Wise Woman of Hogsdon, 1638 : “ Mother Nottingham, for her time, was pretty well skilled in casting waters.

STEEVENS.

What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug, Would scour these English hence ?-Hear'st thou

of them? Doct. Ay, my good lord ; your royal preparation Makes us hear something. Macb.

Bring it after me.-I will not be afraid of death and bane, Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane. [Erit.

Doct. Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here. [Exit.

SCENE IV.

Country near Dunsinane: A Wood in view.

Enter, with Drum and Colours, Malcolm, old

SWARD and his Son, Macduff, Menteri, CATHNESS, ANGUS, Lenox, Rosse, and Soldiers marching.

Mal. Cousins, I hope, the days are near at hand, That chambers will be safe. Ment.

We doubt it nothing. Sww. What wood is this before us ? MENT.

The wood of Birnam. Mal. Let every soldier hew him down a bough?, ,

6 – senna,] The old copy reads-cyme. Steevens. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

1 Let every soldier hew him down a bough,] A similar incident is recorded by Olaus Magnus, in his Northern History, lib. vii. cap. xx.

“ De Stratagemate Regis Hachonis per Frondes : “ Nec accelerationi prospera fortuna defuit : nam primam et secundam vigilum stationem suspenso tacitoque itinere prætervectus, cum ad extremas sylvarum latebras devenisset, jussit abscissos arborum ramos singulorum suorum manibus gestari. Quod cum milites in tertiâ statione constituti adverterant, mox Sigaro nuntiant se insolitam et stupendam rei novitatem admirantibus oculis subjecisse. Visum quippe erat nemus suis sedibus evulsum ad regiam usque properare. Tum Sigarus animo ad insidiarum conVOL. XI.

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