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Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
highly, That would'st thou holily ; would'st not play false, And yet would'st wrongly win : thou’d'st have, great
Glamis, That which cries, Thus thou must do, if thou have it; And that which rather thou dost fear to do, Than wißest pould be undone. Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; 4 And chástise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round,
a thou’d'At have, great Glamis,
That which cries, Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that, &c.] As the object of Macbeth's desire is here introduced speaking of itself, it is necessary to read,
thou d'A have, great Glamis,
JOHNSON. 3 And that which rather thou dost fear to do,] The construction, perhaps, is, thou would't have that, (i. e. the crown,] which cries unto thee, thou must do thus, if thou wouldd have it, and thou must do that which rather, &c. Sir T. Hanmer without necessity reads—And that's what rather. The difficulty of this line and the succeeding hemiftich seems to have arisen from their not being considered as part of the speech uttered by the object of Macbeth's ambition. As such they appear to me, and I have therefore distinguished them by Italicks. MALONE. This regulation is certainly proper, and I have followed it.
STEEVENS. 4 That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;] I meet with the same expression in lord Sterline's Julius Cæfar, 1607: “ Thou in my bosom us'd to pour thy spright.” MALONE,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seemn
s the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.] For seem, the sense evidently directs us to read seek. The crown to which fate destines thee, and which preternatural agents endeavour to bestow upon thee. The golden round is the diadem. JOHNSON. - So, in A&IV:
« And wears upon his baby brow the round
“ And top of sovereignty.” Steevens. Metaphysical for supernatural. But doth seem to have thee crown'd withal, is not sense. To make it so, it should be supplied thus : doth seem desirous to have. But no poetic licence would excuse this. An easy alteration will restore the poet's true reading :
To have crown'd thee withal. i. e. they seem already to have crown'd thee, and yet thy dispofition at present hinders it from taking effect. WARBURTON.
The words, as they now stand, have exactly the same meaning. Such arrangement is sufficiently common among our ancient writers.
STEEVENS. I do not concur with Dr. Warburton, in thinking that Shakspeare meant to say, that fate and metaphysical aid seem so have crowned Macbeth.-Lady Macbeth means to animate her husband to the attainment of “ the golden round,” with which fate and supernatural agency seem to intend to have him crozuned, on a future day. So, in All's well that ends Well:
"-Our dearest friend
" To have us make denial.” There is, in my opinion, a material difference between>" To have thee crown'd,”-and “ To have crown'd thee;" of which the learned commentator does not appear to have been aware."
Metaphysical, which Dr. Warburton has justly observed, means fupernatural, seems in our author's time to have had no other meaning. In the English Dictionary by H. C. 1655, Metaphyfick: are thus explained : « Supernatural arts," MALONE.
Enter an Attendant.
Atten. The king comes here to-night.
Thou’rt mad to say it:
coming: One of my fellows had the speed of him ; Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more Than would make up his message. LaDr. M.
Give him tending, He brings great news. The raven himself is hoarse,
6- The raven himself is hoarse,] Dr. Warburton reads :
- The raven himself's not hoarse, • Yet I think the present words may stand. The messenger, says the servant, had hardly breath to make up his message; to which the lady answers mentally, that he may well want breath, such a message would add hoarseness to the raven. That even the bird, whose harsh voice is accustomed to predict calamities, could not croak the entrance of Duncan but in a note of unwonted harshness.
Johnson. The following is, in my opinion, the sense of this passage. Give him tending; the news he brings are worth the speed that made him lose his breath. [Exit Attendant.] 'Tis certain now the raven himself is spent, is hoarse by croaking this very message, the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements.
Lady Macbeth (for she was not yet unfexed) was likelier to be deterred from her design than encouraged in it by the supposed thought that the message and the prophecy, (though equally secrets to the messenger and the raven,) had deprived the one of speech, and added harshness to the other's note. Unless we absurdly suppose the inessenger acquainted with the hidden import of his meflage, Speed alone had intercepted his breath, as repetition the raven's voice; though the lady considered both as organs of that destiny which hurried Duncan into her meshes. Fuseli.
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Mr. Fuseli's idea, that the raven has croaked till he is hoarse with croaking, may receive support from the following passage in Romeo and Juliet:
" make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine
" With repetition of my Romeo's name.” Again, from one of the parts of King Henry VI:
“Warwick is boarse with daring thee to arms." STEEYENS.
- Come, come, you fpirits -] For the sake of the metre I have ventured to repeat the word --come, which occurs only once in the old copy.
All had been added by Sir William Davenant, to supply the same deficiency. Steevens.
8 mortal thoughts,] This expression signifies not the thoughts of mortals, but murderous, deadly, or destructive designs. So, in ÁA V:
" Hold fast the mortal sword.” And in another place : • “ With twenty mortal murders.” Johnson.
In Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil, by T. Nashe, 1592, (a very popular pamphlet of that time,) our author might have found a particular description of these spirits, and of their office.
“ The second kind of devils, which he most employeth, are those northern Martii, called the spirits of revenge, and the authors of massacres, and seedsmen of mischief; for they have commission to incense men to rapines, facrilege, theft, murder, wrath, fury, and all manner of cruelties : and they command certain of the southern spirits to wait upon them, as also great Arioch, that is termed the spirit of revenge." MALONE.
9- remorse ;] Rem:orse, in ancient language, signifies pity. So, in King Lear:
“ Thrill’d with remorse, oppos'd against the act.” Again, in Othello :
" And to obey shall be in me remorse -." See notes on that passage, Act III. sc.iii. STEEVENS.
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
9 nor keep peace between
The effe it, and it !] The intent of Lady Macbeth evidently is to wish that no womanish tenderness, or conscientious remorse, may hinder her purpose from proceeding to effect; but neither this, nor indeed any other sense, is expressed by the present reading, and therefore it cannot be doubted that Shakspeare wrote differently, perhaps thus :
That no compunctious visitings of nature
The effect and it. To keep pace between, may signify to pass between, to intervene. Pace is on many occasions a favourite of Shakspeare's. This phrase is indeed not usual in this sense; but was it not its novelty that gave occasion to the present corruption ? JOHNSON.
and it!] The folio reads, and hit. It, in many of our ancient books, is thus spelt. In the first stanza of Churchyard's Discourse of Rebellion, &c. 1570, we have, Hit is a plague-Hit venom castes~Hit poy foneth all-Hit is of kinde-Hit staynes the ayre. STEEVENS.
The correction was made by the editor of the third folio.
Lady Macbeth's purpose was to be effected by action. To keep peace between the effect and purpose, means, to delay the execution of her purpose; to prevent its proceeding to effect. For as long as there should be a peace between the effect and purpose, or in other words, till hoftilities were commenced, till fome bloody action should be performed, her purpose [i. e. the murder of Duncan could not be carried into execution. So, in the following passage in King John, in which a corresponding imagery may be traced :
« Nay, in the body of this fieshly land,
“ Between my conscience and my cousin's death." A similar expression is found in a book which our author is known to have read, the Tragicall Hystorie of Romeus and Juliet, 1562 :
“ In absence of her knight, the lady no way could
The would." Sir W. D'Avenant's strange alteration of this play sometimes affords a reasonably good comment upon it. Thus, in the present initance: