« AnteriorContinuar »
Whence is that knocking! How is't with me, when every noise appals me? What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood 8
“ Cand. You have a silver beaker of my wife's?
“ And being gilt, the guilt lies more on you.”
“ Though guilt condemns, 'tis gilt must make us glad." And, lastly, from Shakspeare himself:
England Thall double gild his treble guilt,” Henry IV. P. II. Again, in King Henry
Suscipit, ó Gelli, quantum non ultima Tethys,
Catullus in Gellium, 83-
Lucret. L. 6. v. 1074.
Although the waves of all the northern sea
MALONE. 9 The multitudinous feas incarnardine,) To incarnardine is to stain any thing of a felh colour, or red. Carnardine is the old term for carnation. So, in a comedy called Any Thing for a quiet Life:
“ Grograms, fattins, velvet fine,
Making the green-one red.9
By the multitudinous feas, perhaps the poet meant, not the seas of every denomination, as the Caspian, &c. (as some have thought,) nor the many-coloured seas, (as others contend,) but the seas which swarm with myriads of inhabitants. Thus Homer:
« Ποντον επ' ΙΧΘΥΟΕΝΤΑ φιλων απανευθε φερέσιν.” The word is used by Ben Jonson, and by Thomas Decker in The Wonderful Year, 1603, in which we find “ the multitudinous Spawn.” It is objected by Mr. Kenrick, that Macbeth in his prefent disposition of mind would hardly have adverted to a property of the sea, which has so little relation to the object immediately before him; and if Macbeth had really spoken this speech in his castle of Inverness, the remark would be juft. But the critick should have remembered, that this speech is not the real effusion of a diftempered mind, but the composition of Shakspeare; of that poet, who has put a circumstantial account of an apothecary's shop into the mouth of Romeo, the moment after he has heard the fatal news of his beloved Juliet's death ;-and has made Othello, when in the anguish of his heart he determines to kill his wife, digress from the object which agitates his soul, to describe minutely the course of the Pontick sea.
Mr. Steevens objects in the following note to this explanation, thinking it more probable that Shakspeare should refer is to some visible quality in the ocean,” than “ to its concealed inhabitants ;" to the waters that might admit of discoloration,” than, rs to the fishes whose hue could fuffer no change from the tinct of blood.” But in what page of our author do we find his allusions thus curiously rounded, and complete in all their parts ? Or rather does not every page of these volumes furnish us with images crouded on each other, that are not naturally connected, and sometimes are even discordant? Hamlet's proposing to take up arms against a sea of troubles is a well known example of this kind, and twenty others might be produced. Our author certainly alludes to the waters, which are capable of discoloration, and not to the fishes. His allusion to the waters is expressed by the word seas; to which, if he has added an epithet that has no very close connection with the subject immediately before him, he has only followed his usual practice.
If however no allusion was intended to the myriads of inhabi. tants with which the deep is peopled, I believe by the multitudinous seas was meant, not the many-waved ocean, as is suggested, but the countless masses of waters wherever dispersed on the surface of the globe ; the multitudes of seas, as Heywood has it in a passage quoted below, that perhaps our author remembered : and indeed it must be owned that his having used the plural feas seems to counte
Re-enter Lady Macbeth. Lapr M. My hands are of your colour; but I
nance such an interpretation ; for the fingular sea is equally suited to the epithet multitudinous in the sense of Ovcarta, and would certainly have corresponded better with the subsequent line.
MALONE. I believe that Shakspeare referred to some visible quality in the ocean, rather than to its concealed inhabitants; to the waters that might admit of discoloration, and not to the fishes whose hue could suffer no change from the tinet of blood. Waves appearing over waves are no unapt symbol of a crowd. - A fea of heads" is a phrase employed by one of our legitimate poets, but by which of them I do not at present recollect. Blackmore in his Job has swelled the same idea to a ridiculous bulk :
“ A waving fea of heads was round me spread,
“ And ftill fresh streams the gazing deluge fed.” He who beholds an audience from the stage or any other multitude gazing on any particular object, muft perceive that their heads are raised over each other, velut unda supervenit undam. If therefore our author by the “ multitudinous sea” does not mean the aggregate of seas, he must be understood to design the multitude of waves, or ibe waves that have the appearance of a multitude. Steevens.
9 Making the green-one red.] The same thought occurs in The Downfal of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :
“ He made the green sea red with Turkish blood." Again :
“ The multitudes of feas died red with blood." Apother not unlike it is found in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. II. c. X. ft. 48:
“ The whiles with blood they all the shore did stain,
“ And the grey ocean into purple dye.” Again, in the 19th song of Drayton's Polyolbion : “ And the vast greenish sea discolour'd like to blood.”
Steevens. The same thought is also found in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Fletcher, 1634 :
“ Thou mighty one, that with thy power haft turn’d
“ Green Neptune into purple." The present passage is one of those alluded to in note As you like i!, Vol. VI. p. 175, in which, I apprehend, our author's
To wear a heart so white." [Knock.] I hear a knock
words have been refined into a sense that he never thought of. The other is in Othello :
“ Put out the light, and then put out the light.” The line before us, on the suggestion of the ingenious author of The Gray's-Inn Journal, has been printed in some late editions in the following manner :
Making the green-one red. Every part of this line, as thus regulated, appears to me exceptionable. One red does not found to my ear as the phraseology of the age of Elizabeth; and the green, for the
green one, or for the green sea, is, I am persuaded, unexampled. The quaintness introduced by such a regulation seems of an entirely different colour from the quaintnesses of Shakspeare. He would have written, I have no doubt, “ Making the green fea, red," (So, in The Teme peft:
“ And 'twixt the green sea and the azure vault
“ Set roaring war.”) if he had not used the word seas in the preceding line, which forced him to employ another word here. As to prevent the ear being offended, we have in the passage before us," the green one,” instead of “ the green sea," so we have in K. Henry VIII, Ad I. fc. ii : “ lame ones," to avoid a similar repetition :
They have all new legs, and lame ones." Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
“ A stage where every man must play a part,
« And mine a fad one." Though the punctuation of the old copy is very often faulty, yet in all doubtful cases, it ought, when supported by more decisive circumstances, to have some little weight. In the present instance, the line is pointed as in my text :
Making the green one, red. Malone. If the new punctuation be dismissed, we must correct the foregoing line, and read" the multitudinous fea; for how will the plural-seas, accord with the green one ?” Besides, the sense conveyed by the arrangement which Mr. Malone would reject, is countenanced by a passage in Hamlet : “ Hath now his
dread and black complexion smear'd “ With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
« Now is he total gules.” i. e. one red. The expression" one red,” may also be justified by language yet more ancient than that of Shakspeare. In Genefis, ii. 24. (and several other places in scripture) we have one flesh.".
At the south entry :-retire we to our chamber:
knocking: Get on your nightgown, left occafion call us, And show us to be watchers :-Be not lost So poorly in your thoughts. MACB. To know my deed, — 'twere best not know myself.
[Knock. Wake Duncan with thy knocking!" Ay,'would thou could'st!!
Again, in our Liturgy: - be made one fold under one shep-, herd.” But, setting aside examples, are there not many unique phrases in our author? Steevens.
My hands are of your colour ; but I shame
To wear a heart so white.] A fimilar antithesis is found in Marlowe's Luft's Dominion, written before 1593 : “ Your cheeks are black, let not your foul look white."
MALONE. 3 To know my deed,-'twere best not know myself.) i. e. While I have the thoughts of this deed, it were beft not know, or be left to, myself. This is an answer to the lady's reproof:
be not loft So poorly in your thoughts. WARBURTON. 4 Wake Duncan with thy krocking!] Macbeth is addressing the person who knocks at the outward
gate.—Sir William D'Avenant, in his alteration of this play, reads--and intended probably to point) “ Wake, Duncan, with this knocking !” conceiving that Macbeth called upon Duncan to awake. From the same misapprehenfion, I once thought his emendation right; but there is certainly no need of change. MALONE.
See Mr. Malone's extract from Mr. Whately's Remarks on some of the characters of Shakspeare, at the conclusion of this tragedy.
Steevens. 3 Ay, 'would thou could'A!] The old copy has—I; but as ay, the affirmative particle, was thus written, I conceive it to have been designed here. Had Shakspeare ineant to express “ I would,” he might perhaps only have given us—'Would, as on many other occalions, --The repentant exclamation of Macbeth, in my judge.