« AnteriorContinuar »
I dare do all that may become a man;
What beast was't, then,
I have given suck, and know
. We fail'?
6 Who dares do more is none.] The old folios, instead of “ do more," read no more.” The correction was made by Southern, in his folio, 1685.
? We fail ?] This is the punctuation of the folios, 1623, 1632, 1664, and 1685, and in this case, perhaps, we may take it as some evidence of the ancient mode of delivering the two words, “ We fail !” interrogatively. Malone substituted a mark of admiration,“ We fail !" and Steevens pursued the same course; but it may be doubted by some whether both these modes are not wrong, and that Lady Macbeth means merely to follow up what her husband says, by stating the result of failure, which, however, in the next line, she supposes impossible, if Macbeth be but resolute in his purpose.
8 Will I with wine and wassel so CONVINCE,] i. e. so orercome. The word is again used in the same sense, A. iv. sc. 3; and we have already had it so applied in “ Love's Labour's Lost," Vol. ii. p. 377.
Th’ unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
Bring forth men-children only!
Who dares receive it other,
I am settled; and bend up
The Same Court within the Castle.
Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE, with a torch before him'.
I take't, 'tis later, sir. Ban. Hold, take my sword.—There's husbandry in
9 Of our great QUELL!] To" quell” and to kill are in fact the same word in their origin, from the Saxon ccellan. Here “quell” is used substantively.
| Enter Banquo, and Fleance, with a torch before him.] This is the old stagedirection, which says nothing about a servant, as in the modern editions. Fleance carried the torch before his father.
? There's HUSBANDRY in heaven,] i.e. thrift, or frugality in heaven.
Their candles are all out. - Take thee that too.
Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch.
Macb. A friend.
I think not of them :
kind'st leisure. Macb. If
you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis, It shall make honour for you*. Ban.
So I lose none
3 Sent forth great largess to your OFFICES.] It is not only needless, but improper, with Malone, to change “ offices” of the old copies into officers. There were various “ offices” in the residences of the nobility, and servants belonging to each : to send largess to the “offices” in Macbeth's castle, was to give it to the persons employed in them. 4 If you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis,
It shall make honour for you.] This passage has occasioned a good deal of discussion, but the sense seems evident : "If (says Macbeth) you shall adhere to my opinion, when that leisure arrives, it shall make honour for you."
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
Good repose, the while !
[Exeunt BANQUo and FLEANCE'. Macb. Go; bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
[Exit Servant. Is this a dagger, which I see before me, The handle toward my hand ? Come, let me clutch
5 Exeunt Banquo and Fleance.] All the modern editors seem to have forgotten that Fleance had also to quit the stage, and merely note “Exit Banquo.” Fleance, no doubt, stood back while his father and Macbeth were talking together, and he goes out with Banquo, still carrying the torch. This was part of the economy of the old stage, which could not spare a performer merely for the purpose of carrying a torch, which might be borne by Fleance. When Macbeth enters with a servant, the “servant with a torch” is expressly mentioned in the stage-direction of the folios, and Macbeth has to send a necessary message by him to Lady Macbeth—“Go ; bid thy mistress,” &c.
6 And on thy blade, and Dudgeon, Gouts of blood,] The “ dudgeon” is the handle or haft of a dagger : “gouts” of blood are drops of blood, from the Fr. goutte. The word was unusual in this sense.
The curtain d sleep: witchcraft celebrates'
[A bell rings. I go,
and it is done: the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell, That summons thee to heaven or to hell. [Exit.
? The curtain'd sleep : witchcraft celebrates] So all the old copies : editors since the time of Davenant (Mr. Knight is an exception) have inserted now before“ witchcraft," but surely injuriously, as regards the effect of the line: it is much more impressive in the original ; and, as has been often remarked, we have no right to attempt to improve Shakespeare's versification : if he thought fit to leave the line here with nine syllables, as he has done in other instances, some people may consider him wrong, but nobody ought to venture to correct him.
8 With Tarquin’s ravishing strides,] The folios have sides, out of which it is not easy to extract sense : the objections made to “strides” (which was Pope's word) have been two-fold ; first, that it is not the reading of the old copies; and next, that“ strides” does not indicate a “stealthy pace," or moving “like a ghost." We cannot see the force of the last objection, inasmuch as a person with such a purpose would take “strides,” in order that as few foot-falls as possible might be heard : neither is “strides” inconsistent with secrecy and silence. It was most likely a misprint.
9 Thou sure and firm-set earth,) In the old copies of 1623 and 1632 it stands soure, instead of “sure ;" but, no doubt, in the MS. from which the tragedy was printed in 1623, the word was written seure, a not very unusual mode of spelling it at that time ; and hence the corruption, which became sour in the folio, 1685.
- which way they walk,] The folios read," which they may walk," obviously wrong. The Rev. Mr. Barry proposes another alteration of the old text, by reading, “ where they may walk ;” but wh was not used, as he supposes, for a contraction of where in manuscripts of the time: it was sometimes the contraction of “ which,” and if we conclude that “they” and “way" had been transposed, and may misprinted for “way,” it gives us the ordinary, and, we apprehend, the correct reading.