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MACB. I have done the decd :-Didst thou not
hear a noise ? LADY M. I heard the owl scream, and the crick
ets cry. Did not you speak? МАСв.
When? Ladr M.
As I descended? Ladr M. Ay.
Donalbain. MACB. This is a sorry fight.8
[Looking on his hands.
as the poet had drawn the lady and her husband, it would be thought the act should have been done by her. It is likewise highly juft; for though ambition had subdued in her all the sentiments of nature towards present objects, yet the likeness of one past, which she had been accustomed to regard with reverence, made her unnatural passions, for a moment, give way to the sentiments of instinct and humanity. WARBURTON.
The same circumstance on a similar occasion is introduced by Statius in the Vth book of his Thebaid, v. 236:
Ut vero Alcimeden etiamnum in murmure truncos
8 This is a forry hight.] This expression might have been borrowed from Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. V. c. i. ft. 14:
• To whom as they approched, they espide
LaDr M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
one cried, murder! That they did wake each other; I stood and heard
them : But they did say their prayers, and address'd them Again to sleep.
LADY M. There are two lodg’d together.
other ; As they had seen me, with these hangman's hands, Listening their fear.2
I could not say, amen, When they did say, God bless us.'
9 As they had seen me,] i. e. as if. So, in The Winter's Tale :
“ As we are mock'd with art.” Steevens. 2 Listening their fear.] i. e. Listening to their fear, the particle omitted. This is common in our author. Thus, in Julius Cæfar, Act IV. sc. i:
and now, Octavius, “ Liften great things." Contemporary writers took the same liberty. So, in The World tofs'd at Tennis, by Middleton and Rowley, 1620:
Listen the plaints of thy poor votaries.”
“ There, in rich seats, all wrought of ivory,
“ Of warbling birds.” Steevens. 3. When they did say, God bless us.] The words_did say, which render this hemistich too long to unite with the next in forming a verse, persuade me that the passage originally ran thus :
I could not say, amen, When they, God bless us. i. e. when they could say God bless us. Could say, in the second line was left to be understood; as before
and, Amen, the other :" i. e. the other cried Amen. But the players, having no idea of the latter ellipfis, supplied the syllables that destroy the measure.
STEEVENS VOL. VII.
Consider it not so deeply. Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce,
amen? I had most need of blessing, and amen Stuck in my throat.
LADY M. These deeds must not be thought
3 the ravell'd Neave of care,] Sleave fignifies the ravell’d knotty part of the filk, which gives great trouble and embarrallment to the knitter or weaver. HEATH.
Drayton, a poet of Shakspeare's age, lias likewise alluded to leave or ravelled filk, in his Quest of Cynthia :
“ At length I on a fountain light,
• With grass, like fleave, was matted.”. LANGTON, Sleave is properly silk which has not been twisted. It is mentioned in Holinshed's Hifory of England, p. 835: “ Eight wild men all apparelled in green moss made with seved filk.” Again, in The Muses' Elizium, by Drayton :
thrumb’d with grass “ As soft as sleave or farcenet ever was.” Again, ibidi “ That in the handling feels as foft as any fleave."
STEEVENS. Sleave appears to have signified coarse, soft, unwrought filk. Seta grossolana, İtal. Cotgrave in his Dict. 1660, renders foye flosche, « ñeave filk.” See also, ibid : “ Cadarce, pour faire capiton. The tow, or coarsest part of hilke, whereof fleave is made."-In Troilus and Cressida we have", Thou idle immaterial skein of fleave silk.''
MALONE. 4 The death of each day's life, fore labour's baih, &c.] In this encomium upon fleep, amongst the many appellations which are given it, fignificant of its beneficence and friendliness to life, we find one which conveys a different idea, and by no means agrees
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
with the rest, which is : The death of each day's life. I make no question but Shakspeare wrote:
The birth of each day's life : The true characteristick of sleep, which repairs the decays of labour, and affifts that returning vigour which supplies the next day's activity. WARBURTON.
The death of each day's life, means the end of each day's labour, the conclusion of all that buffle and fatigue that each day's life brings with it. STEEVENS.
Sleep, that knits up the ravella fleave of care,
Baim of hurt minds,] Is it not probable that Shakspeare remembered the following verses in Sir Philip Sydney's Astropheb and Stella, a poem, from which he has quoted a line in The Merry Wives of Windfor?
“ Come sleepe, O Neepe, the certain knot of peace,
“ The indifferent judge between the high and low.” So also, in The Famous Historie of George Lord Fauconbridge, &c. bl. let: Yet sleep, the comforter of diftreffed minds, could not lock up her eyes." Again, in Golding's Translation of Ovid's Metamorphofes, B. VIII. 1587:
At such a time as folkes are wont to find release “ Of cares that all the day before were working in their lieds,
By sleep," &c. Again, ibid. B. XI:
“ O sleepe, quoth the, the rest of things, O gentlest of the
goddes, • Sweete Neepe, the peace of mind, with whom crookt care
is aye at odds; “ Which cherishest men's weary limbs appalled with toyling
fore, rt And makes them as fresh to worke, and luftie as before." The late Mr. Gray had perhaps our author's “ death of each day's life" in his thoughts, when he wrote
“ The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.” MALONE. He might as probably have thought on the following passage in the first scene of the second part of K. Henry IV:
- a fullen bell “ Remember'd knolling a departed friend." STEEVENS,
What do you mean?
I'll go no more:
Infirm of purpose!
[Exit. Knocking within.
5 Chief nourisher in life's feaft;] So, in Chaucer's Squiere's Tal., V. 10661; Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit:
“ The norice of digestion, the slepe." STEVENS.
. ] Could Shakspeare mean to play upon the fimilitude of gild and guilt? JOHNSON.
This quibble too frequently occurs in the old plays. A few instances (for I could produce a dozen at least) may lufice: