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such as is forced and unnatural, it cannot be doubted that it was originally written, The dearest thing he own'd; a reading which needs neither defence nor explication.
NOTE X. King. There's no art, To find the mind's construction in the face. The construction of the mind is, I believe, a phrase peculiar to Shakespeare; it implies the frame or disposition of the mind, by which it is determined to good or ill.
Save tow'rds your love and honour. Of the last line of this speech, which is certainly, as it is now read, unintelligible, an emendation has been attempted, which Mr. Warburton and Mr. Theobald have ad itted as the true reading.
Fiefs to your love and honour. My esteem of these criticks, inclines me to believe, that they cannot be much pleased with the expressions Fiefs to love, or Fiefs to honour; and that they have proposed this alteration rather because no other occurred to them, than because they approved it. I shall therefore propose a bolder change, perhaps with no better success, but sua cuique placent. I read thus,
Save tow'rds your love and honour. We do but perform our duty when we contract all our views to your service, when we act with no other principle than regard to your love and honour.
It is probable that this passage was first corrupted by writing safe for save, and the lines then stood thus,
Doing nothing Safe tow'rd your love and honour. Which the next transcriber observing to be wrong, and yet not being able to discover the real fault, altered to the present reading.
-Thou’dst have, great Glamis, That which cries, “ thus thou must do if thou have it,
“ And that,” &c. As the object of Macbeth's desire is here introduced speaking of itself, it is necessary to read,
-Thou'dst have, great Glamis,
To have thee crown'd withal. For seem, the sense evidently directs us to read seek. The crown to which fate destines thee, and which preternatural agents endeavour to
bestow upon thee. The golden round is the diadem.
-Come all you spirits
Mortal thoughts. This expression signifies not the thoughts of mortals, but murtherous, deadly, or destructive designs. So in Act 5th.
Hold fast the mortal sword. And in another place,
With twenty ovrtal murthers.
-Nor keep pace between Th' effect and it The intent of Lady Macbeth, evidently is to wish that no womanish tenderness, or conscientious remorse, may hinder her purpose
from proceeding to effect; but neither this, nor indeed any other sense, is expressed by the present reading, and therefore it cannot be doubted that Shakespeare wrote differently, perhaps thus :
That no companctious visitings of nature
Th'effect and ito To keep pace between, may signify to pass between, to intervene. Pace is on many occasions a favourite of Shakespeare. This phrase is indeed
not usual in this sense, but was it not its novelty that gave occasion to the present corruption?
NOTE XV.-SCENE VIII.
Banquo. This guest of summer,
The air is delicate.
propose a slight alteration to be made, by substituting site for seat, as the ancient word for situation; and sense for senses, as more agreeable to the measure; for which reason likewise I have endeavoured to adjust this passage,
Heaven's breath Smells wooingly here. No jutting frieze, By changing the punctuation, and adding a syllable thus,
-Heaven's breath Smells wooingly. Here is no jutting frieze. Those who have perused books printed at the time of the first editions of Shakespeare, know that greater alterations than these are necessary almost in every page, even where it is not to be doubted that the copy was correct.
NOTE XVI.The arguments by which Lady Macbeth persuades her husband to commit the murder, afford
a proof of Shakespeare'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 housebreaker; and sometimes the conqueror : but this sophism Macbeth has for ever destroyed by distinguishing true from false fortitude, in a line and a half; of which it
almost be said, that they ought to bestow immortality on the author, though all his other productions had been lost.
I dare do all that may become a man,
Who dares do more is none. This topick, which has been always employed with too much success, is used in this scene with peculiar propriety, to a soldier by a woman. Courage is the distinguishing virtue of a soldier, and the reproach of cowardice cannot be borne by any man from a woman, without great impatience.
She then urges the oaths by which he had bound himself to murder Duncan, another art of sophistry by which men have sometimes deluded their consciences, and persuaded themselves that what would be criminal in others, is virtuous in them; this argument Shakespeare, whose plan obliged him to make Macbeth yield, has not confuted, though he might easily have shown that a former obligation could not be vacated by a latter.
Like the poor cat i' th' adage. The adage alluded to is, The cat loves fish, but dares not wet her foot,