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Thanks for that: There the grown serpent lies; the worm, that's fled, Hath nature that in time will venom breed, No teeth for the present.-Get thee gone ;to-morrow We'll hear, ourselves again. [Exit Murderer. LaDr M.
My royal lord,
Sweet remembrancer !-
May it please your highness fit? [The ghost of BANQUO rises, and sits in MACBETH'S
-the feast is
the worm,] This term in our author's time was applied to all of the serpent kind. MALONE.
the feast is fold, &c.) Mr. Pope reads :cold, --and not without plausibility. Such another phrase occurs in The Elder Brother of Beaumont and Fletcher :
“ You must be welcome too :--the feast is flat else." But the same expression as Shakspeare's, is found in The Romannt of the Role:
• Good dede done through praiere,
Is fold, and bought to dere.” Steevers. The meaning is,- That which is not given cheerfully, cannot be called a gift, it is something that must be paid for. JOHNSON.
It is still common to say, that we pay dear for an entertainment, if the circumítances attending the participation of it prove irksome
HENLEY. y Now, good digestion wait on appetite,] So, in K. Henry VIII:
" A good digestion to you all.” STEEVENS. 2 The ghost of Banquo rises,] This circumstance of Banquo's gheft feems to be alluded to in The Puritan, first printed in 1607, and ridiculously ascribed to Shakspeare: “ We'll ha' the ghoi i'th' while sheet fit at upper end oth' table.” FARMER.
MACB. Here had we now our country's honour
His absence, fir,
Macb. The table's full.
Here is a place reserv’d, fir.
Here, my lord.* What is't that moves your highness ? Macb. Which of you have done this? LORDS.
What, my good lord ? Macb. Thou canst not say, I did it: never shake Thy gory locks at me.
Rosse. Gentlemen, rise; his highness is not well.
3 Than pity for mischance ! ] This is one of Shakspeare's touches of nature. Macbeth by these words discovers a consciousness of guilt; and this circumstance could not fail to be recollected by a nice observer on the affaffination of Banquo being publickly known. Not being yet rendered fufficiently callous by " hard usé," Macbeth betrays himself (as Mr. Wheatley has observed,)“ by an over-acted regard for Banquo, of whose absence from the feast he affects to complain, that he may not be suspected of knowing the cause, though at the same time he very unguardedly drops an allofion to that cause." MALONE.
These words do not seem to convey any consciousness of guilt on the part of Macbeth, or allusion to Banquo's murder, as Mr. Wheatley supposes. Macbeth only means to say->“ I have more cause to accuse him of unkindness for his absence, than to pity him for any accident or mischance that may have occasioned it."
4 Here, my lord. &c.] The old copy—my good lord ; an interpolation that spoils the metre. The compositor's eye had caught good from the next speech but one, STEEVENS,
Ladr M. Sit, worthy friends :—my lord is often
thus, And hath been from his youth : 'pray you, keep seat ; The fit is momentary; upon a thought He will again be well: If much you note him, You shall offend him, and extend his passion;s Feed, and regard him not.- Are you a man?
MACB. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that Which might appal the devil. LADY. M.
O This is the very painting of your fear: This is the air-drawn dagger, which, you said, Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws, and starts, (Impostors to true fear,) would well become? A woman's story, at a winter's fire, Authoriz’d by her grandam. Shame itself!
proper stuff! 6
upon a thought-) i. e, as speedily as thought can be exerted. So, in King Henry IV. P.I: “ - and, with a thought, seven of the eleven I pay'd.” Again, in Hamlet:
as swift “ As meditation, or the thoughts of love." STEVENS. -extend his passion;] Prolong his fuffering; make his fit longer. JOHNSON.
6 O proper fluff!) This speech is rather too long for the circumstances in which it is spoken. It had begun better at, Shame itself!
JOHNSON, Surely it required more than a few words, to argue Macbeth out of the horror that possessed him. M. Mason. 2-0, these flaws, and starts,
(Impostors to true fear,) would well become &c.] i. e. theft flaws and starts, as they are indications of your needlefs fears, are the imitators or impostors only of those which arise from a fear well grounded. WARBURTON.
Flaws are fudden gusts. JOHNSON.
“ Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw." STEVENS. Again, in Venus and Adonis :
“ Gults and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.” MALONE,
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
how say you?
LADY M. What! quite unmann'd in folly?..
Fie, for shame! MACB. Blood hath been shed ere now, i'the
Impostors to true fear, mean impostors when compared with true fear. Such is the force of the preposition to in this place.
M. MASON. So, in K. Henry VIII. “ Fetch me a dozen crab-tree staves, and strong ones; these are but switches to them.” Steevens, TO may
be used for of. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona we have an expression resembling this :
“ Thou counterfeit to thy true friend." MALONE. 8 Shall be the maws of kites.] The same thought occurs in Spen. ser's Faery Queen, B. II. c. viii:
• But be entombed in the raven or the kight." STEEVENS. “ In splendidissimum quemque captivum, non fine verborum contumelia, fæviit: ut quidem uni fuppliciter fepulturam precanti respondiffe dicatur, jam iftam in voluerum fore poteftatem.” Sueton. in August. 13. MALONE.
9 What! quite unmann'd in folly?] Would not this question be forcible enough without the two laft words, which overfiow the metre, and consequently may be suspected as interpolations ?
STEEVENS. i'the olden time,] Mr. M. Mason proposes to read~" the golden time," meaning the Golden age : but the ancient reading may be justified by Holinthed, who, speaking of the witches, says, they “ resembled creatures of the elder world;" and in Twelfth Night we have
dallies with the innocence of love, • Like the old age.”
Ere human statute purg'd the gentle wcal; -
My worthy lord, Your noble friends do lack
I do forget : Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends; I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing To those that know me. Come, love and health
to all ; Then I'll sit down :- Give me some wine, fill
full :I drink to the general joy of the whole table,
Again, in “ Thystorye of Jacob and his twelve fones” bl. 1. printed by Wynkyn de Worde:
«i' of 'dedes done in the olde tyme." Again, in oar Liturgy_" and in the old time before them."
STEEVENS. 2 Ere human fatute purg'd the gentle weal;] The gentle weal, is, the peaceable community, the state made quiet and safe by human fatutes.
“ Mollia securæ peragebant otia gentes." JOHNSON. In my opinion it means “ that state of innocence which did not require the aid of human laws to render it quiet and secure."
M. Mason. 3. Do not mufe at me,] To muse anciently signified to wander, to be in amaze. So, in King Henry IV. P. II. AC IV:
“ I muse, you make so night a question.” Again, in All's well that ends well: “ And rather mufe, than ask, why I entreat you."