Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAIN,

Don. What is amiss ?
MACB.

You are, and do not know it:
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
Is stopp'd; the very source of it is stopp'd.

Macd. Your royal father's murder'd.
MAL.

O, by whom? Le». Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had

done't:
Their hands and faces were all badg'd with blood,
So were their daggers, which, unwip'd, we found
Upon their pillows:9
They star'd, and were distracted; no man's life
Was to be trusted with them.

MACB. O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
That I did kill them.
Мясо.

Wherefore did you fo ? Macb. Who can be wise, amaz’d, temperate, and

furious, Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man: "The expedition of my violent love

8 -badg'd with blood, I once thought that our author wrote hath'd; but badgd is certainly right.

So, in the second part of K. Henry VI. . . “ With murder's crimson badge." MALONE. 9 - their daggers, which, unwip'd, we found

Upon their pillows :) This idea, perhaps, was taken from The Man of Lawes Tale, by Chaucer, l. 5027, Mr. Tyrwhite's edit:

" And in the bed the blody knif he fond.” See also the foregoing lines. STEEVENS.

Out-ran the pauser reason.—Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood; ?
And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature,

CAPROI.

2

Here lay Duncan, His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood;] Mr. Pope has endeavoured to improve one of these lines by subftituting goary blood for golden blood, but it may easily be admitted that he, who could on such an occasion talk of lacing the filver skin, would lace it with golden blood. No amendment can be made to this line, of which every word is equally faulty, but by a general blot.

It is not improbable, that Shakspeare put these forced and unnatural metaphors into the mouth of Macbeth as a mark of artifice and dissimulation, to show the difference between the studied lan. guage of hypocrisy, and the natural outcries of sudden passion. This whole speech, so considered, is a remarkable instance of judgement, as it consists entirely of antithesis and metaphor.

JOHNSON. To gild any thing with blood is a very common phrase in the old plays. So Heywood, in the second part of his Iron Age, 1632 :

we have gilt our Greekish arms - With blood of our own nation.” Shakspeare repeats the image in K. John:

5. Their armours that march'd hence so filver bright,
“ Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood..

Steevens. His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood;] The allusion is to the decoration of the richest habits worn in the age of Shakspeare, when it was usual to lace cloth of silver with gold, and cloth of gold with filver. The second of these fashions is mentioned in Much ado about Nothing, Act III. sc. iv : “ Cloth of gold,-laced with filver.Steevens,

We meet with the same antithesis in many other places. Thus, in Much ado about Nothing :

to see the fish “ Cut with her golden oars the filver stream." Again, in The Comedy of Errors :

“ Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs." MALONE. The allusion is so ridiculous on such an occasion, that it discovers the declaimer not to be affected in the manner he would represent himself. The whole speech is an unnatural mixture of farq fetch'd and common-place thoughts, that shows him to be acting a part, WARBURTON.

For ruin's wasteful entrance: 3 there, the murderers, Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers Unmannerly breech'd with gore:4 Who could re

frain,

3 a breach in nature,

For ruin's wafteful entrance :) This comparison occurs likewise in A Herring's Tayle, a poem, 1598: “ A batter'd breach where troopes of wounds may enter in.”

STEEVENS. 4 Unmannerly breech'd with gore : 1 The expression may mean, that the daggers were covered with blood, quite to their breeches, i. e. their bilts or handles. The lower end of a cannon is called the breech of it; and it is known that both to breech and to wbreech a gun are common terms. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Cufton: of the Country:

“ The main spring's weaken’d that holds up his cock,

- He lies to be new breech'd." Again, in A Cure for a Cuckold, by Webster and Rowley : - Unbreech his barrel, and discharge his bullets.”

STEEvers. Mr. Warton has juftly observed that the word unmannerly is here used adverbially. So friendly is used for friendlily in K. Henry IV. P. II. and faulty for faultily in As you like it. A passage in the preceding scene, in which Macbeth's visionary dagger is described, strongly supports Mr. Steevens's interpretation :

" I see thee ftill;
“ And on thy blade, and dudgeon, [i. e. hilt or haft] gouts

of blood, " Which was not fo before.” The following lines in King Henry VI. P. III. may perhaps, after all, form the best comment on these controverted words:

" And full as oft came Edward to my side, .." With purple faulchion, painted to the hilt

In blood of those that had encounter'd him." So also, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587 :

“ a naked sword he had,

“ That to the hilts with blood was all embrued.” The word unmannerly is again used adverbially in K.Henry VIII:

“ If I have us'd myself unmannerly, " So also Taylor the Water-poet, Works, 1630, p. 173: “ These and more the like such pretty aspersions, the outcast rubbish of my company hath very liberally and unmannerly and ingratefully be Mowed upon me,” MALONE.

That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage, to make his love known?
Ladr M.

Help me hence, ho ! Macd. Look to the lady.s

Though so much has been written on this passage, the commen tators have forgotten to account for the attendants of Duncan being furnished with daggers. The fact is, that in Shakspeare's time a dagger was a common weapon, and was usually carried by servants and others, suspended at their backs. So, in Romeo and Juliet : ri Then I will lay the serving creature's dagger on your pate.”. Again, ibid:

“ This dagger hath mista'en; for lo! his house
• Is empty on the back of Mountague,
“ And is mifheathed in my daughter's bofom !”

MALONE. The sense is, in plain language, Daggers filthily-in a foul manner, -heath'd with blood. A scabbard is called a pilche, a leather coat, in Romeo ;- but you will ask, whence the allusion to breeches? Dr. Warburton and Dr. Johnson have well observed, that this speech of Macbeth is very artfully made up of unnatural thoughts and language: in 1605 (the year in which the play appears to have been written) a book was published by Peter Erondell (with commendatory poems by Daniel, and other wits of the time,) called The French Garden, or a Summer Dayes Labour, containing, among other matters, some dialogues of a dramatick cast, which, I am persuaded, our author had read in the English; and from which he took, as he supposed, for his present purpose, this quaint expression. I will quote literatim from the 6th dialogue : “ Boy! you do nothing but play tricks there, go fetch your master's' filver-hatched daggers, you have not brushed their breeches, bring the brushes, and brush thein before me.”-Shakspeare was deceived by the pointing, and evidently supposes breeches to be a new and affected term for scabbards. But had he been able to have read the French on the other page, even as a learner, he must have been set right at once. " Garçon, vous ne faites que badiner, allez querir les poignards argentez de vos maistres, vous n'avez pas espousseté leur haut-de-chausjes,"_their breeches, in the common sense of the word : as in the next fentence bas-de-chauffes, fockings, and so on through all the articles of drefs. FARMER.

s Look to the lady.] Mr. Wheatley, from whose ingenious remarks on this play I have already made a large extract, justly obferves that “ on Lady Macbeth's seeming to faint,-while Banquo

MAL.

Why do we hold our tongues, That most may claim this argument for ours? : Don. What should be spoken here, Where our fate, hid within an augre-hole, May rush, and seize us? Let's away; our tears Are not yet brew'd. MAL.

Nor our strong sorrow on?

and Macduff are solicitous about her, Macbeth, by his unconcern, betrays a consciousness that the fainting is feigned.”

I may add, that a bold and hardened villain would from a refined policy have assumed the appearance of being alarmed about her, left this very imputation should arise against him: the irresolute Macbeth is not sufficiently at ease to act such a part.

MALONE. 6

here, Where our fare, hid within an augre-hole,] The oldest copy reads only " -- in an augre-hole." I have adopted the correction of the second folio, within, Mr. Malone reads

Here, where our fate, hid in an augre-hole.” Steevens. In the old copy the word here is printed in the preceding line. The lines are disposed so irregularly in the original edition of this play, that the modern editors have been obliged to take many liberties fimilar to mine in the regulation of the metre. In this very speech the words our tears do not make part of the following line, but are printed in that subsequent to it. Perhaps however the regulation now offered is unneceflary; for the word where may have been used by our author as a diffillable. The editor of the second folio, to complete the measure, reads-within an augre. hole. A word having been accidentally omitted in K, Henry V : “ - Let us die in [fight],” Mr. 'Theobald, with equal impropriety, reads there—" Let us die instant :but I believe neither transcriber or compositor ever omitted half a word. MALONE.

More skilful and accurate compositors than those employed in our present republication, cannot easily be found; and yet, I be. lieve, even they will not deny their having occasionally furnished examples of the omission of half a word. STEEVENS.

within an augre-hole,] So, in Coriolanus :

" - confin'd

“ Into an angre's bore.” Steevens. 7 01 ] The old copy-upon. STEEVENS,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »