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Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
Macb. Pr’ythee, peace.
Lady M. What beast was’t, then, That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place Did then adhere,” and yet you would make both ; They have made themselves, and that their fitness now Does unmake you. I have given suck; and know How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn, as you Have done to this. -
Macb. If we should fail,
Lady M. We fail But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep, (Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey Soundly invite him,) his two chamberlains" Will I with wine and wassel” so convince," That memory, the warder of the brain,
1 The adage of the cat is among Heywood's Proverbs, 1566:—“The cat would eate fishe, and would not wet her feete.”
2. “Who dares do more is none.” The old copy, instead of “do more,” reads “no more:” the emendation is Rowe's.
3 Adhere in the same sense as cohere.
4 The circumstance relative to Macbeth's slaughter of Duncan's chamberlains is copied from Holinshed's account of king Duffe's murder by Donwald.
5 Wassel is thus explained by Bullokar in his Expositor, 1616: “Wassaile, a term usual heretofore for qugjing and carowsing; but more especially signifying a merry cup (ritually composed, deckt and fill'd with country liquor) passing about amongst neighbours, meeting and entertaining one another on the vigil or eve of the new year, and commonly called the wassail bol.”
6 To convince is to overcome.
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
Lady M. Who dares receive it other,
Macb. I am settled, and bend up Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show; False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
ACT II. SCENE I. The same. Court within the Castle.
Enter BANQUO and FLEANCE, and a Servant, with a torch before them.
Ban. How goes the night, boy?
Fle. The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.
Ban. And she goes down at twelve.
1. A limbeck is a vessel through which distilled liquors pass into the reo So shall the receipt (i.e. receptacle) of reason be like this empty VeSSel.
* Quell is murder; from the Saxon quellan, to kill.
Fle. - I take’t, 'tis later, sir. Ban. Hold, take my sword.—There's husbandry in heaven ;
Their candles are all out.—Take thee that too.
Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch.
Who's there P
Macb. A friend.
Ban. What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's abed. He hath been in unusual pleasure, and Sent forth great largess to your officers:* This diamond he greets your wife withal, By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up” In measureless content.
Macb. Being unprepared,
Ban. - * All’s well.
Macb. I think not of them; Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
1 It is apparent from what Banquo says afterwards, that he had been solicited in a dream to attempt something in consequence of the prophecy of the witches, that his waking senses were shocked at; and Shakspeare has here most exquisitely contrasted his character with that of Macbeth. Banquo is praying against being tempted to encourage thoughts of guilt even in his sleep; while Macbeth is hurrying into temptation, and revolving in his mind every scheme, however flagitious, that may assist him to complete his purpose. The one is unwilling to sleep, lest the same phantoms should assail his resolution again, while the other is depriving himself of rest through impatience to commit the murder.
2 The old copy reads offices. Officers of a household was the common term for servants.
3 Steevens has explaimed “to shut up,” by “to conclude,” and the examples he has adduced are satisfactory. 4 Being unprepared, our desire to entertain the king honorably was constrained by defective means, otherwise our zeal should have been manifest by more liberal entertainments.
Would spend it in some words upon that business,
Ban. At your kind'st leisure. Macb If you shall cleave to my consent,”—when 'tis It shall make honor for you. Ban. So I lose none,
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
Ban. Thanks, sir; the like to you! [Exit BAN.
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 P Come, let me clutch thee;—
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
* Consent is accord, agreement, a combination for a particular purpose, By “if you shall cleave to my consent,” Macbeth means, “if you shall adhere to me (i. e. agree or accord with my views), when 'tis (i. e. when events shall fall out as they are predicted), it shall make honor for you.” Macbeth mentally refers to the crown which he expected to obtain in consequence of the murder that he was about to commit. We comprehend all that passes in his mind; but Banquo is still in ignorance of it.
* Dudgeon, for handle ; “a dudgeon dagger is a dagger whose handle is made of the root of box.”
* Gouts, drops; from the French gouttes.