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Thy very stones prate of my where-about,
may likewise be observed that Falstaff in the fifth act of The Merry Wives of Windsor says to Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page, “ Di. vide me like a bribe-buck, each a haunch: I will keep my sides to myself,” &c. Falstaff certainly did not think them, like those of Ovid's lover, paft service; having met one of the ladies by alsignation. I believe, however, a line has been lost after the words “ stealthy pace.” MALONE.
Mr. Malone's reasons &c. for this supposition (on account of their length) are given at the conclusion of the play, with a reference to the foregoing observations.
How far a Latinism, adopted in the English version of a Roman poet; or the mention of loins (which no dictionary acknowledges as a synonyme to fides); can justify Mr. Malone's restoration, let the judicious reader determine.
Falstaff, dividing himself as a buck, very naturally says he will give away his beft joints, and keep the worst for himself. A fide of venison is at once an established term, and the least elegant part of the carcase fo divided—But of what use could fides, in their Ovidian sense, have been to Falstaff, when he had already parted with his haunches?
It is difficult to be serious on this occasion. I may therefore be pardoned if I observe that Tarquin, just as he pleased, might have walked with moderate steps, or lengthened them into frides; but, when we are told that he carried his “ fides" with him, it is natural to ak how he could have gone any where without them.
Nay, further,—However fides (according to Mr. Malone's interpretation of the word) might have 'proved efficient in Lucretia's bedchamber, in that of Duncan they could anfwer no such purpose, as the lover and the murderer succeed by the exertion of very different
organs. I am, in short, of the Fool's opinion in King Lear
“ That going should be us'd with feet,” and, consequently, that fides are out of the question. Such restorations of superannuated mistakes put our author into the condition of Cibber's Lady Dainty, who, having been cured of her disorders, one of her physicians says—" Then I'll make her go over them again.” Steevens.
With Tarquin's ravishing &c.] The juftness of this fimilitude is not very obvious. But a stanza, in his poem of Tarquin and L16crece, will explain it:
“ Now ftale upon the time the dead of night,
And take the present horror from the time, Which now suits with it."— Whiles I threat, he
lives; Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.'
[A bell rings. • No noise but owls' and wolves' dead-boding cries; « Now serves the season that they may surprise “ The filly lambs. Pure thoughts are dead and still, " While luft and murder wake, 10 ftain and kill.”
WARBURTON. Thou sure and form-fet earth,] The old copy-Thou forre &c. which, though an evident corruption, directs us to the reading
I have ventured to substitute in its room. So, in Act IV. sc. iii :
“ Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis fure." STEEVENS, which way they walk,] The folio reads:
which they may walk,- STEEVENS, Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
6 Thy very ftones prate of my where-about,] The following pasfage in a play which has been frequently mentioned, and which Langbaine says was very popular in the time of queen Elizabeth, A Warning for faire Women, 1599, perhaps suggested this thought:
i Mountains will not suffice to cover it,
“ And point at us to be the murderers.” MALONE. 7 And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it.] i. e. left the noise from the stones take away from this midnight season that present horror which suits so well with what is going to be acted in it. What was the horror he means? Silence, than which nothing can be more horrid to the perpetrator of an atrocious design. This shows a great knowledge of human nature. WARBURTON. . Whether to take horror from the time means not rather to catch it as communicated, than to deprive the time of horrour, deserves to be considered. JOHNSON,
The latter is surely the true meaning. Macbeth would have nothing break through the universal silence that added such a horror to the night, as luited well with the bloody deed he was about to perform. Mr. Burke, in his Esay on the Sublime and Beautiful,
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.
observes, that “ all general privations are great, because they are all terrible;" and, with other things, he gives filence as an instance, illustrating the whole by that remarkable passage in Virgil, where amidst all the images of terror that could be united, the circumftance of filence is particularly dwelt upon :
« Dii quibus imperium eft animarum, umbræque filentes,
« Et Chaos et Phlegethon, loca nocte filentia late.” When Statius in the Vth book of the Thebaid describes the Lemnian massacre, his frequent notice of the silence and folitude both before and after the deed, is striking in a wonderful degree :
• Conticuere domus," &c. Steevens. In confirmation of Steevens's ingenious note on this passage, it may be observed, that one of the circumstances of horror enumerated by Macbeth is,-Nature feems dead. M. Mason. So also, in the second Æneid :
“ Horror ubique animos, fimul ipfa filentia terrent." Dryden's well-known lines, which exposed him to so much ridicule,
« An horrid stillness first invades the ear,
“ And in that filence we the tempeft hear," show, that he had the same idea of the awfulness of silence as our poet, MALONE.
Whiles I threat, he lives; Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.) Here is evidently a false concord; but it must not be corrected, for it is ne. cessary to the rhyme.--Nor is this the only place in which Shakspeare has facrificed grammar to rhyme. In Cymbeline, the song in Cloten's serenade runs thus :
“ Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
“ And Phæbus 'gins to rise,
« On chalic'd flowers that lies." And Romeo says to Friar Lawrence:
both our remedies
it is a knell That fummons thee to heaven, or 10 hell.] Thus Raleigh, speaking of love, in England's Helicon, 4to. 1600:
Enter Lady Macbeth.
Ladr M. That which hath made them drunk,
hath made me bold: What hath quench'd them, hath given me fire :
Hark! - Peace! It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman, Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is a
bout it: The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms Do mock their charge with snores: 3 I have
drugg'd their possets, 4
“ It is perhaps that fauncing bell,
" That toules all into heauen or hell.” Sauncing is probably a mistake for sacring. STEEVENS. 2 It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the ftern't good-night.] Shakspeare has here improved on an image he probably found in Spenser's Faerie Queene, v. vi. 27:
The native belman of the night,
MALONE, the surfeited grooms Do mock their charge with snores :) i. e. By going to sleep, they trifle and make light of the trust reposed in them, that of watching by their king. So, in Othello : '“ O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love." MALONE.
their possets,] It appears from this passage, as well as
That death and nature do contend about them,
MACB. [Within.] Who's there?—what, ho!
LADY M. Alack! I am afraid they have awak’d, And 'tis not done the attempt, and not the deed, Confounds us :-Hark!-I laid their daggers ready, He could not miss them. Had he not resembled My father as he Nept, I had done't.”—My husband?
from many others in our old dramatick performances, that it was the general custom to eat polets just before bed-time. So, in the first part of K. Edward IV. by Heywood; thou shalt be welcome to beef and bacon, and perhaps a bag-pudding; and my daughter Nell shall pop a poffet upon thee when thou goeft to bed.” Macbeth has already said:
“ Go bid thy mistress when my drink is ready,
« She strike upon the bell.” Lady Macbeth has also just observed
“ That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold :" and in The Merry Wives of Windfor, Mrs. Quickly promises Jack Rugby a posset at night." Steevens.
death and nature do contend about them, Whether they live, or die.] Of this image our ancient writers were peculiarly fond. Thus again, in Twine's translation of the story of Prince Appollyn, “ Death strived with life within her, and the conflict was daungerous and doubtfull who thould preuaile." Again, in All's Well that ends well:
thy blood and virtue
Nature and sickness
Hark!–1 laid their daggers ready,
He could not miss them.] Compare Euripides, --Oreftes, V. 1291 -where Electra stands centinel at the door of the palace whilft Orestes is within for the purpose of murdering Helen.' The dread of a surprize, and eagerness for the bufiness, make Electra conclude that the deed must be done ere time enough had elapsed for attempting it. She listens with anxious impatience; and hearing nothing, expresses strong fears left the daggers thould have failed. Read the whole passage. S. W.
Had he not resembled