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How of Cawdor ? the Thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosp'rous gentleman.And in the next line considers the promises, that he should be Cawdor and King, as equally unlikely to be accomplished. How can Macbeth be ignorant of the state of the Thane of Cawdor, whom he has just defeated and taken prisoner, or call him a prosperous gentleman who has forfeited his title and life by open rebellion ? Or why should he wonder that the title of the rebel whom he has overthrown should be conferred upon him? He cannot be supposed to dissemble his knowledge of the condition of Cawdor, because he inquires with all the ardour of curiosity, and the vehemence of sudden astonishment; and because nobody is present but Banquo, who had an equal part in the battle, and was equally acquainted with Cawdor's treason. However, in the next scene, his ignorance still continues; and when Rosse and Angus present him from the king with his new title, he cries out
- The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in his borrowed robes ? Rosse and Angus, who were the messengers that in the second scene informed the king of the assistance given by Cawdor to the invader, having lost, as well as Macbeth, all memory of what they had so lately seen and related, make this answer,
Whether ber did line with both
Whether he was
He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not. Neither Rosse knew what he had just reported, nor
Macbeth what he had just done. This seems not to be one of the faults that are to be imputed to the transcribers, since, though the inconsistency of Rosse and Angus might be removed, by supposing that their names are erroneously inserted, and that only Rosse brought the account of the battle, and only Angus was sent to compliment Macbeth, yet the forgetfulness of Macbeth cannot be palliated, since what he says could not have been spoken by any other.
The thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
The single state of man seems to be used by Shakespeare for an individual, in opposition to a commonwealth, or conjunct body of men.
Macbeth.-- Come what come may, Time and the hour runs thro' the roughest day. I suppose every reader is disgusted at the tautology in this passage, time and the hour, and will therefore willingly believe that Shakespeare wrote it thus,
--Come what come may, Time! on ! — the hour runs thro' the roughest day. Macbeth is deliberating upon the events which are to befal him; but finding no satisfaction from his own thoughts, he grows impatient of reflection, and resolves to wait the close without harassing himself with conjectures,
--Come what come may. But to shorten the pain of suspense, he calls upon time in the usual style of ardent desire, to quicken his motion,
Time! on! He then comforts himself with the reflection that all his perplexity must have an end,
The hour runs thro' the roughest day. This conjecture is supported by the passage in the letter to his lady, in which he says, They referrd me to the coming on of time with Hail King that shall be.
As 'twere a careless trifle. As the word ow'd affords here no sense but such as is forced and unnatural, it cannot be doubted that it was originally written, The dearest thing he own'd; a reading which needs neither deferce nor explication.
King.–– THERE's no art, To find the mind's construction in the face. The construction of the mind is, I believe, a
phrase peculiar to Shakespeare ; it implies the frame or disposition of the mind, by which it is determined to good or ill.
Macbeth. The service, and the loyalty I owe,
Of the last line of this speech, which is certainly, as it is now read, unintelligible, an emendation has been attempted, which Mr. Warburton and Mr. Theobald have admitted as the true reading.
My esteem of these criticks, inclines me to believe, that they cannot be much pleased with the expressions Fiefs to love, or Fiefs to honour; and that they have proposed this alteration rather because no other occurred to them, than because they approved it. I shall therefore propose a bolder change, perhaps with no better success, but sua cuique placent. I read thus,
Our duties Are to your throne and state, children and servants, Which do but what they should, in doing nothing Sare tow'rds your love and honour. We do but perform our duty when we contract all
our views to your service, when we act with no other principle than regard to your love and honour.
It is probable that this passage was first corrupted by writing safe for save, and the lines then stood thus,
-Doing nothing Safe tow'rd your love and honour. Which the next transcriber observing to be wrong, and yet not being able to discover the real fault, altered to the present reading.
SCENE VII. -Thou’dst have, great Glamis, That which cries, “ thus thou must do if thou have it,
“ And that,” &c. As the object of Macbeth's desire is here introduced speaking of itself, it is necessary to read,
- Thou’dst have, great Glamis, That which cries, “thus thou must do if thou have me.”
- Hie thee hither,
To have thee crown’d withal. For seem the sense evidently directs us to read scek. The crown to which fate destines thee, and