« AnteriorContinuar »
His pendent bed, and procreant cradle: Where
Most breed and haunt, I have observ'd, the air
Enter Lady MACBETH.
See, see! our honour'd hostess! The love that follows us, sometime is our trouble, Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you, How you shall bid God yield us for your pains, And thank us for your trouble. Lady M.
All our service In every point twice done, and then done double, Were poor and single business, to contend Against those honours deep and broad, wherewith Your majesty loads our house: For those of old, And the late dignities heap'd up to them,
We rest your hermits."
Where's the thane of Cawdor? We cours'd him at the heels, and had a purpose
The love that follows us, sometime is our trouble,
And thank us for your trouble] This passage is undoubtedly obscure, and the following is the best explication of it I am able to offer:
Marks of respect, importunately shown, are sometimes troublesome, though we are still bound to be grateful for them, as indications of sincere attachment. If you pray for us on account of the trouble we create in your house, and thank us for the molestations we bring with us, it must be on such a principle. Herein I teach you, that the inconvenience you suffer, is the result of our affection; and that you are therefore to pray for us, or thank us, only as far as prayers or thanks can be deserved for kindnesses that fatigue, and honours that oppress. You are, in short, to make your acknowledg ments for intended respect and love, however irksome our present mode of expressing them may have proved.-To bid is here used in the Saxon sense to pray. STEEVENS.
7 We rest your hermits] Hermits, for beadsmen.
To be his purveyor: but he rides well;
/ And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him To his home before us: Fair and noble hostess,
We are your guest to-night.
Your servants evers
Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in
To make their audit at your highness' pleasure,
Still to return your own.
Give me your hand:
The same. A Room in the Castle.
Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over the
stage, a Sewer, and divers Servants with dishes and service. Then enter MACBETH.
Macb. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly: If the assassination
8 Your servants ever, &c.] The sense is:-We, and all who belong to us, look upon our lives and fortunes not as our own properties, but as things we have received merely for your use, and for which we must be accountable, whenever you please to call us to our audit; when, like faithful stewards, we shall be ready to answer your summons, by returning you what is your own.
9 Enter- -a Sewer,] A sewer was an officer so called from his placing the dishes upon the table. Asseour, French; from asseoir, to place.
If the assassination, &c.] Of this soliloquy the meaning is not very clear; I have never found the readers of Shakspeare agreeing about it. I understand it thus:
"If that which I am
about to do, when it is once done and executed, were done and ended without any following effects, it
Could trammel up
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,-
That tears shall drown the wind.-I have no spur
would then be best to do it quickly: if the murder could terminate in itself, and restrain the regular course of consequences, if its success would secure its surcease, if, being once done successfully, without detection, it could fix a period to all vengeance and enquiry, so that this blow might be all that I have to do, and this anxiety all that I have to suffer; if this could be my condition, even here in this world, in this contracted period of temporal existence, on this narrow bank in the ocean of eternity, I would jump the life to come, I would venture upon the deed without care of any future state. But this is one of those cases in which judgment is pronounced and vengeance inflicted upon us here in our present life. We teach others to do as we have done, and arc punished by our own example. JOHNSON.
2 Hath borne his faculties so meek,] Faculties, for office, exercise of power, &c.
Vaulting ambition, which o'er-leaps itself,
Enter Lady3 MАСВЕТН.
Lady M. He has almost supp'd; Why have you left the chamber?
Macb. Hath he ask'd for me?
Know you not, he has?
Macb. We will proceed no further in this busi
He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought
Was the hope drunk,
Enter Lady] The arguments by which Lady Macbeth persuades her husband to commit the murder, afford a proof of Shakspeare's knowledge of human nature. She urges the excellence and dignity of courage, a glittering idea which has dazzled mankind from age to age, and animated sometimes the housebreaker, and sometimes the conqueror; but this sophism Macbeth has for ever destroyed, by distinguishing true from false fortitude in a line and a half; of which it may almost be said, that they ought to bestow immortality on the author, though all his other productions had been lost:
I dare do all that may become a man,
This topick, which has been always employed with too much success, is used in this scene, with peculiar propriety, to a soldier by a woman. Courage is the distinguishing virtue of a soldier; and the reproach of cowardice cannot be borne by any man from a woman, without great impatience.
She then urges the oaths by which he had bound himself to murder Duncan, another art of sophistry by which men have sometimes deluded their consciences, and persuaded themselves what would be criminal in others is virtuous in them: this argument Shakspeare, whose plan obliged him to make Macbeth yield, has not confuted, though he might easily have shown that a former obligation could not be vacated by a latter; that obligations, laid on us by a higher power, could not be over-ruled by obligations which we lay upon ourselves. JOHNSON.
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
I dare do all that may become a man;
If we should fail,
Would'st thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem ;] Do you wish to obtain the crown, and yet would you remain such a coward in your own eyes all your life, as to suffer your paltry fears, which whisper, "I dare not," to controul your noble ambition, which cries out, “I would?" STEEVENS.
5 Like the poor cat i' the adage?] The adage alluded to is, The cat loves fish, but dares not wet her feet:
"Catus amat pisces, sed non vult tingere plantas."