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He brings great news. The raven himself is hoarse,
[Exit Attendant. That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here; And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, Stop up the access and passage to remorse ; That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake
purpose, nor keep peace between The effect, and it. Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall
, you murd’ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night, And pallo thee in the dunnest smoke of hell! That my keen knife see not the wound it makes; Nor heaven.peep through the blanket of the dark,
Hold, hold ! Great Glamis ! worthy Cawdor!
To cry, ,
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
1 6 That tend on mortal thoughts.” Mortal and deadly were synonymous,
2 Lady Macbeth's purpose was to be effected by action. “To keep peace between the effect and purpose," means to delay the execution of her purpose, to prevent its proceeding to effect." Sir Wm. Davenant's strange alteration of this play sometimes affords a reasonably good commentary upon it. Thus in the present instance:
'Tis ripened to effect.” 3 To pall, from the Latin pallio, to wrap, to invest, to cover or hide as with a mantle or cloak.
4 Drayton, in his Mortimeriados, 1596, has an expression resembling this.
“ The sullen night in mistie RUGGE is wrapped." And in his Polyolbion, which was not published till 1612, we again find it:
“Thick vapors that like ruggs still hang the troubled air.” On this passage there is a long criticism in the Rambler, No. 168; to which Johnson, in his notes, refers the reader.
This ignorant present, and I feel now
My dearest love,
And when goes hence? Mach. To-morrow,--as he purposes.
O, never Shall sun that morrow see! Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men May read strange matters.—To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue : look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under it. He that's coming Must be provided for; and you shall put This night's great business into my despatch; Which shall to all our nights and days to come, Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. Macb. We will speak further.
clear To alter favor ever is to fear. Leave all the rest to me.
SCENE VI. The same. Before the Castle. Hautboys. Servants
Servants of Macbeth attending.
Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, BANQUO, LEN
ox, MACDUFF, Rosse, Angus, and Attendants.
Dun. This castle hath a pleasant seat: the air
This guest of summer,
1 Favor is countenance.
2 i. e. convenient corner.
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed, The air is delicate.
Enter LADY MACBETH.
See, see! our honored hostess !
All our service,
Where's the thane of Cawdor ?
1 « This short dialogue,” says sir Joshua Reynolds, “has always ap peared to me a striking instance of what in painting is termed repose. The conversation very naturally turns upon the beauty of the castle's situation, and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlets' nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks, that where those birds most breed and haunt, the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so necessary to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds."
2 The explanation by Steevens of this obscure passage seems the best which has been offered :-“ Marks of respect importunately shown are sometimes troublesome, though we are still bound to be grateful for them as indications of sincere attachment. If you pray for us on account of the trouble we create in your house, and thank us for the molestations we bring with us, it must be on such a principle. Herein I teach you, that the inconvenience you suffer is the result of our affection; and that you are therefore to pray for us, or thank us only as far as prayers and thanks can be deserved for kindnesses that fatigue, and honors that oppress. You are, in short, to make your acknowledgments for intended respect and love, however irksome our present mode of expressing them may have proved."To bid is here used in the Saxon sense of to pray. God yield us, is God 1eward us.
3 i. e. we, as hermits, or beadsmen, shall ever pray for you.
Your servants ever
Give me your hand :
SCENE VII. The same. A Room in the Castle.
Hautboys and torches.
Enter, and pass over the stage, a Sewer, and divers
Servants with dishes and service. Then enter MACBETH.
. Macb. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere
1 In compt, subject to accompt.
2 A sewer, an officer so called from his placing the dishes on the table. Asseour (French), from asseoir, to place.
3 This passage has been variously explained. The following is probably its meaning :-"Twere well it were done quickly, if, when 'tis done, it were done (or at an end); and that no sinister consequences would ensue. If the assassination, at the same time that it puts an end to Duncan's life, could make success certain, and that I might enjoy the crown unmolested, we'd jump the life to come, i. e. hazard or run the risk of what may happen in a future state. To trammel up was to confine or tie up. Surcease is cessation. “To surcease or to cease from doing something; supersedeo (Lat.); cesser (Fr.)”_Baret. 4 To commend, was anciently used in the sense of the Latin comm
mendo, to commit, to address, to direct, to recommend.
To our own lips. He's here in double trust :
Enter Lady MACBETH.
Lady M. He has almost supped. Why have you
left the chamber? Macb. Hath he asked for me? Lady M.
Know you not, he has ?
Was the hope drunk,
1 « The sightless couriers of the air,” are what the Poet elsewhere calls the viewless winds.
2 Which o'erleaps itself. It has been proposed to read, which o'erleaps its selle," i. e. saddle (Fr.).