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MUR. 'Tis Banquo's then.

MACB. 'Tis better thee without, than he within.5 Is he defpatch'd?

MUR. My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for


MACB. Thou art the best o'the cut-throats: Yet he's good,

That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,

Thou art the nonpareil.


Fleance is 'scaped.

Moft royal fir,

MACB. Then comes my fit again: I had elfe been

Whole as the marble, founded as the rock:
As broad, and general, as the cafing air: ene one
But now, I am cabin'd cribb'd, confin'd, bound in
To faucy doubts and fears. But Banquo's fafe?


MUR. Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,
With twenty trenched gashes on his head;
The leaft a death to nature.

'Tis better thee without, than he within.] The fenfe requires that this paffage fhould be read thus:

'Tis better thee without, than him within.

That is, I am better pleafed that the blood of Banquo fhould be on thy face than in his body.

The author might mean, It is better that Banquo's blood were on thy face, than he in this room. Expreffions thus imperfect are common in his works. JOHNSON.

I have no doubt that this last was the author's meaning.



trenched gashes-] Trancher, to cut. Fr. So, in Arden

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Thanks for that :

There the grown ferpent lies; the worm,' that's fled, Hath nature that in time will venom breed,

No teeth for the prefent.-Get thee gone; to-morrow We'll hear, ourselves again.


[Exit Murderer. My royal lord, You do not give the cheer: the feaft is fold,


That is not often vouch'd, while 'tis a making, 'Tis given with welcome: To feed, were best at


From thence, the fauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.


Sweet remembrancer!

Now, good digeftion wait on appetite,9

And health on both!


May it please your highness fit?


[The ghost of BANQUO rifes, and fits in MACBETH'S



the worm,] This term in our author's time was applied to all of the ferpent kind. MALONE.

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the feaft is

cold, and not without plaufibility. Such another phrafe occurs in The Elder Brother of Beaumont and Fletcher :

"You must be welcome too:-the feaft is flat elfe."

But the fame expreffion as Shakspeare's, is found in The Romaunt

of the Rofe:

Good dede done through praiere,

Is fold, and bought to dere." STEEVENS.


The meaning is, That which is not given cheerfully, cannot be called a gift, it is fomething that must be paid for. JOHNSON. It is ftill common to fay, that we pay dear for an entert tainment, if the circumstances attending the participation of it prove irksome

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9 Now, good digeftion wait on appetite,] So, in K. Henry VIII: "A good digeftion to you all.” STEEVENS.

The ghost of Banquo rifes,] This circumftance of Banquo's ghost feems to be alluded to in The Puritan, firft printed in 1607, and ridiculously afcribed to Shakspeare: "We'll ha' the ghost i' th' white fheet fit at upper end o' th' table." FARMer.

MACB. Here had we now our country's honour


Were the grac'd perfon of our Banquo prefent;
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness,
Than pity for mischance!



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His abfence, fir,

Lays blame upon his promife. Please it your high


To grace us with your royal company ?

MACB. The table's full.


MACB. Where?


Here is a place referv'd, fir.

Here, my lord. What is't that

moves your highness?

MACB. Which of you have done this?


What, my good lord? MACB. Thou canst not say, I did it: never shake Thy gory locks at me.

ROSSE. Gentlemen, rife; his highness is not well.

3 Than pity for mifchance!] This is one of Shakspeare's touches of nature. Macbeth by these words discovers a consciousness of guilt; and this circumftance could not fail to be recollected by a nice obferver on the affaffination of Banquo being publickly known. Not being yet rendered fufficiently callous by "hard ufe," Macbeth betrays himself (as Mr. Wheatley has observed,) by an over-acted regard for Banquo, of whose absence from the feaft he affects to complain, that he may not be suspected of knowing the caufe, though at the fame time he very unguardedly drops an allufron to that caufe." MALONE.

These words do not feem to convey any consciousness of guilt on the part of Macbeth, or allufion to Banquo's murder, as Mr. Wheatley fuppofes. Macbeth only means to fay I have more caufe to accuse him of unkindness for his abfence, than to pity him for any accident or mifchance that may have occafioned it.'

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Here, my lord. &c.] The old copy-my good lord; an interpolation that spoils the metre. The compofitor's eye had caughtgood from the next speech but one. STEEVENS.

LADY. M. Sir, worthy friend:my lord is often thus,

And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep feat; The fit is momentary; upon a thought


He will again be well: If much you note him,
You fhall offend him, and extend his paffion;
Feed, and regard him not Are you a man?
MACB. Ay, anda bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appal the devil.


O proper stuff! 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,
(Impoftors to true fear,) would well become
A woman's ftory, at a winter's fire,

Authoriz'd by her grandam.


Shame itself!

upon a thought-] i. e. as fpeedily as thought can be exerted. So, in King Henry IV. P. I: “ Iaud, with a thought, feven of the eleven I pay'd." Again, in Hamlet:

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as fwift

As meditation, or the thoughts of love." STEEVENS.

extend his poffion; ] Prolong his fuffering; make his fit longer. JOHNSON.


O proper stuff!] This fpeech is rather too long for the circumftances in which it is fpoken. It had begun better at, Shame itself!


Surely it required more than a few words, to argue Macbeth out of the horror that poffeffed him. M. MASON.

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(Impoftors to true fear,) would well become &c.] . e. thefe flaws and ftarts, as they are indications of your needlefs tears, are the imitators or impoftors only of thofe which arife from a fear well grounded. WARBURTON.

Flaws are fudden gufts. JOHNSON!

So, in Coriolanus:

"Like a great fea-mark, standing every flaw." STEEVENS. Again, in Venus and Adonis:

"Gufts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds." MALONE.

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Why do you make fuch faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool.

MACB. Prythee, fee there! behold! look! lo!
how fay you?

Why, what care I? If thou canft nod, speak too.—
If charnel-houses, and our graves, muit fend
Thole that we bury, back, our monuments
Shall be the inaws of kites.8


What! quite unmann'd in folly?9

MACB. If I ftand here, I faw him.


Fie, for fhame!

MACB. Blood hath been fhed ere now, i'the
olden time,2

Impoftors to true fear, mean impoftors when compared with true
Such is the force of the prepofition to in this place.


M. MASON. So, in K. Henry VIII. "Fetch me a dozen crab-tree ftaves, and Arong ones; thefe are but switches to them." STEEVENS.

To may be used for of. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona we have an expreffion refembling this:

"Thou counterfeit to thy true friend." MALONE.

Shall be the maws of kites.] The fame thought occurs in Spenfer's Faery Queen, B. II. c. viii:

"But be entombed in the raven or the kight." STEEVENS. "In fplendidiffimum quemque captivum, non fine verborum contumelia, fæ viit: ut quidem uni fuppliciter fepulturam precanți refpondiffe dicatur, jam iftam in volucrum fore poteftatem." Sueton. in Auguft. 13. MALONE.

9 What! quite unmann'd in folly?] Would not this question be forcible enough without the two laft words, which overflow the metre, and confequently may be fufpected as interpolations?



—ï'the olden time,] Mr. M. Mason proposes to read “the golden time," meaning the Golden age: but the ancient reading may be juftified by Holinfhed, who, fpeaking of the witches, fays, they refembled creatures of the elder world ;" and in Twelfth Night we have

66 --dallies with the innocence of love,

Like the old age.

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