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Macd. He has no children-All my pretty ones? Did you say all : -Oh, hell-kite ! -All?
He has no children--] It has been observed by an anonymous critic, that this is not said of Macbeth, who had children, but of Malcolm, who, having none, supposes a father can be so easily comforted.
John. He has no children,--] The meaning of this may be, either that Macduff could not by retaliation revenge the murder of his children, because Macbeth had none himself; or that if he had any, a tather's feelings for a father wonld have prevented him from the deed. I know not from what passage we are to infer that Macbeth had children alive. The Chronicle does not, as I remember, mention any. The same thought occurs agaiu in King John :
“ He talks to me that never had a son." STEEV. • He has no children. This remark is evidently applicable to Malcolm and not to Macbeth. 'He talks to me that never had a son,' in King Johu is of exactly the same import as, ' He has no children, although Mr. S. has employed it for a contrary purpose. But this, indeed, is by no means uncommon with him. Like Butler's famous Logician,
“ His arguments directly tend,
So, good-night :
My mind she has mated, —---] Astonished, confounded. John. The expression is taken from chess-playing :
“ –-ihat so young a warrior
Steer. My mind she has mated.' "Mated' from the French matter, to humble, i.e. She has damped my spirits.
Mr. Steevens's quotation is foreigu to the present expression. Mated has no allusion to chess-playing either here or in Sol, and Pers. In both it is the French word matter; but in the latter the term has something more in it than humbled, it means conquered. B.
. Len. There is Siward's son, And many unrough youths, that even now Protest their first of manhood.
--Unrough youths,-) An odd expression. It means smootb-fac'd, unbearded. STEEY.
“ Unrough” is surely unhardy ; such as have never experienced the fatigues of war. B.
Len. Or so much as it needs,
To der the sovereign fower, &c.]
.'" De wing your princely band with pity's tear.” STEEV.
"To dew the sovereign flower. This is by no means an uncommon verb. Io the M. N. D. we have :
“To dew my orbs upon the green.” B.
Macb. Bring me no more reports; let them fly all: Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear.
Bring me no more reports, fc.] Tell me not any more of desertions--Let all my subjects leave me--I am safe till, &c.
"Reports. The reports are not respecting desertions, but the number of the enemy. It would be very strange of Macbeth cared not for the support of those whom he deemed his friends.
• Let them fy all.'. “Let them fly all seems not to mean, let my subjects leave me, as Johnson supposes, but let the reports be unheeded; or as we should now say, give them to the winds. B. - Mal. For where there is advantage to be given, Both more and less have given him the revolt; And none serve with him but constrained things, Whose hearts are absent too.
For where there is advantage to be given,
Bcth more and less have given him the recoll ;) The propriety of the expression, advantage to be given, instead
of advantage given, and the disagreeable repetition of the word , given in the next line, incline me to read :
--where there is a 'vantage to be gone, .
Both more and less have given him the revolt. Adrantage or 'rantage, in the time of Shakspeare, significd opportunity. He shut up himself and his soldiers (says Malcolm) in the castle, because when there is an opportunity to be gone, they all desert him.
More and less is the same with greater and less. So, in the . interpolated Manderille, a book of that age, there is a chapter of India the More and the Less. John.
• For where there is advantage,' &c. The repetition of given' has much of Shakspeare's manner. The lines as they now stand will bear an easy explanation.
“ The soldiers of Macbeth (higla and low) have, on the advantages held out to them by the.opposing arniy, fed from bim.”
" For the advantage to be given to them, they have given him the revolt.” We here find a liule of that concetto of which our author was so fond. B. Macb. The time has been, my senses would
Fell of hair. My hairy part, my capillitium. Pell is skin. John. ,,
“ Fell of hair.” Fell is likewise many, numerous. See Chaucer. And that is the sense required here. B.
Re-enter fighting, and Macbeth is slain. Retreat und florish. Enter with drum and colors, Malcolm, Cld-Siward, Rosse, Thanes and Soldiers.
Re-enter. This stage-direction is taken from the folio, and proves, that the players were not even skilful enough to prevent impropriety in those circumstances which fell immediate. ly under their own care. Macbeth is here killed on the stage, and a moment after Macduff enters, as from another place, with his head on a spear. Of the propriety of ancient stagedirections, the following is no bad specimen : Enter Sybilla lying in childbed, with her child lying by her, and ber nurse, &c." Heywood's Golden Age, 1611. Steev.
« Re-enter." There is nothing faulty in this stage direction. When Macbeth is slain the scene closes : after which, Malcolm, Old Siwara, &e. enter as on a new one: that is, on another part of the field of battle. This must be evident to every attentive person, for had not the scene been changed, Malcolm and Macduff would naturally have greeted each other on the fall of Macbeth, Beside the word retreat sufficiently marks it. Mr. Stevens's stage direction, by the way, is much more liable to censure, when he tells us that “ Macduff enters with his head," and if Macbeth be really lying dead on the present scene, and Macduff enters on it, he must, according to Mr. S. carry his own head on a speur. Macduff, however, does not enter with his head on a spear, but on his shoulders. He comes in as from the other part of the field, with Macbeth's head on a spear, indeed, and so the old copy has very clearly set it down. B.
ACT I. SCENE I.
most? That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge.-Gone
ril, Our eldest born, speak first.
Where nature doth with merit challenge.-] Where the claim of merit is superadded to that of nature; or where a upor or degree of natural filial affection is joined to the claim of other merits. STEEV.
“Challenge,” in this place, seems to be rivalry, competition. “ Where nature doth with merit challenge"-where nature and merit are contending for superiority. In other words, whera natural affection and acquired excellence are found. B.
Gon. A love that makes breath poor