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You lack the season of all natures, sleep.)
“ You lack the season,”. &c. Cesin, the old word for rest, ceasing from fatigue, would be more expressive. Be-side, sleep cannot be called the season of natures, i. e. of all persons : though sleep may be desired at a particular season or time. B.
Len. Men must not walk too late.
Who cannot want the thought .
“ Who can want the thought- -" Yet, I believe, the text is not corrupt. Shakspeare is sometimes incorrect in these minutiæ. MAL.
“ Want the thought.” Shakspeare's incorrectness stands not in need of Mr. Malone's apology. “Who cannot want the thought,” &c. is: who cannot wish to be sensible of the monstrousness, the atrocity of the deed? The text is undoubtedly right. B..
1 Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice ; and once the hedge-pig whin'd.) . Mr. Theobald reads, twice and once, &c. and observes that odd numbers are used in all enchantments and magical operations. The remark is just, but the passage was misunderstood. The second Witch only repeats the number which the first bad mentioned, in order to confirm what she had said; and then adds, that the hedge-pig had likewise cried, though but once. Or what seems more easy, the hedge-pig had wbined thrice, and after an interval had whined once again.
Even numbers, however, were always reckoned inauspicious. So, in the Honest Lawyer, by S. S. 1616: “Sure 'tis not a lucky time; the first crow I heard this morning, cried twice. This even, sir, is no good number.". Twice and once, however, might be a cánt expression. So, in K. Hen. IV. P. II. Si
lence, says," I have been merry twice and once, ere now.” STBEV
« Thrice; and once.” Mr. Theobald -was right in reading “ twice and once," but without knowing why he was right: and Mr. Steevens is wrong in saying that the “ second witch only repeats," &c. It should be remembered that Hecate, who presided over enchantments, never attended the sacrifices 'till she had been called upon precisely seven times. The brinded cat having mewed thrice, the hedge-pig whined twice and once, and harper cried once, the magical number was completed; the invocation was in form. The third witch accordingly says: “ 'Tis time, 'tis time," i.e.“ We may now begin our incantations.” B.
Mac. What-e'er thou art, for thy good caution,
thanks; Thou hast harp'd my fear aright.
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright :-) To harp, is to touch on a passion as a harper touches a string. STEEY.
“ Harp'd my fear,” should perhaps be “happ'd my fear," i. e. caught or interpreted my fears aright. :
To “happe,” is to catch. Happer, fr. “ harp on" is dwell on—which will not do here. B."
Rosse. But, for your husband,
The fits o' the season.-) . The fits of the season should appear to be, from the following passage in Coriolanus, the violent disorders of the season, its convulsions :
"- but that “ The violent fit o'th' times craves it as physic. STEEV. “ He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows,
“ The fits o' the season.” The meaning is, -He is wise and judicious, and knows. how to conduct himself according to the temper of the times. It is not the physical, but the political or moral state of the world, that we are to understand in these instances. B.
Rosse.. When we hold rumor.
When we hold rumour
From what we fear,--] To hold rumour significs to be governed by the authority of .. rumour. WARB.
When we hold rumour,' &c. I do not understand the present reading. I believe the words are shuffled out of their places, and that we should read,
"When we hold fear
The meaning will then be,“ that reports will frequently awaken our fears; but that those reports are sometimes so very vague and uncertain, that strictly speaking we know not what we fear.” B.
hery vague amears; but thabe," that remhat we fez
Mes. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you
known, Though in your state of honor I am perfect.
--in your state of honor I am perfect.] i. e. I am perfectly acquainted with your talk of honor. Steev.
' In your state of honor I am perfect. The sense of the passage is mistaken by reason of the wrong pointing of it. It is not of the lady's honor but his own that he is speaking. It should be printed,
Iain not to yoù known,
Each new morn,
As if it felt with Scotland, and yelld out
and yelld out Like syllable of dolor.] This presents a ridiculous image. But what is insinuated under it is noble; that the portents and prodigies in the skies, of which mention is made before, shewed that heaven sympathised with Scotland: WARB. The ridicule, I believe, is only visible to the commentator..
- STERT. * And yelld out,' &c. Warburton speaks of a ridiculous image. It may be necessary then to inform Mr. Steevens or his admirers, that a ridiculous image is not ridicule. B.
Macd. Bleed, bleed, poor country!
His title is affear'd
What Mr. Pope says of the law term is undoubtedly true ; but there is no reason why we should have recourse to it for the explanation of this passage. Macduff first apostropbises his country, and afterwards points to Malcolm, saying, that his title was afear'd, i. e, frighted from exerting itself. Throughout the ancient éditions of Shakspeare, the word afraid is written as it was formerly pronounced, afcar'd. The old copy reads-The title, &c. i. e. the regal title is afraid to assert itself. STLEY.
If we read, The title is affeer'd, the meaning may be:Pooj country, wear thou thy wrongs, the title to them is legally settled by those who had the final judication of it. Afeerers had the power of confirming or moderating fines and amercements. TOLLET.
· Ilis title is affear'd. Mr. Steevens's ridiculous interpretation must be struck out. Mr. Tollet has rightly explained afseer'd. We must, however, read :
“ His title is affeer’d,” i.e. “ Tyranny's title is now secure.” B.
Mal. Now we'll together; And the chance of
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent:
And the chance, of goodness, beuhe our warranted quarrel.- ] The chance of goodness, as it is commonly read, conveys no sense. If there be not some more important error in the passage, it should at least be pointed thus :
and the chance of goodness, be like our warranted quarrel !-That is, may the event be', of the goodness of heaven, [pro justilro dirina] answerable 10 the cause.
The author of the Rerisal concejves the sense of the passage to be rather this : And may the success of that goodness, which is about to exert itself in my behalf, be such as may be equal to the justice of my quarrel. But I am inclined to believe that Shakspeare wrote:
and the chance, O goodness, Be like our warranted quarrel ?-This some of his transcribers wrote a small o, which another imagined 10 mean of. If we adopt this reading, the sense will be : And Othou sorervign Goudness, to whom we now appeal, may our fortune answer to our cause. John.
And the chance of goodness,' &c. The chance of goodness,' is an expression which I cannot understand. The words are certainly misplaced. I therefore read:
“ Now we'll together; and the chance be like
silent ?" i. e.“ may our fortune be such as the justice of our quarrel demands.”
• Of goodness,' i. e. in the name of goodness, is a mode of speech peculiar to the Scots; and common with them at the present day. B.
Rosse. Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that
rent the air, Are made, not mark'd.
---rent the air,] To rent is an ancient verb which has been long ago disused. STEEV.
Rent the air.' ' Rent' i. e. rended. Rented' is the same, a participle of the verb to rend: which verb is as much in use at the present day as at any foriner time. B.