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This is a metaphor from an engine formed by mechanical complication. The sticking-place is the stop which suspends its powers, till they are discharged on their proper object; as in driving piles, &c. So, in Sir W. Davenant's Cruel Brother, 1630 :

- There is an engine made,
“ Which spends its strength by force of nimble

“ For they, once screwed up, in their return

" Will rive an oak.”
Again, in Coriolanus, act i. sc. viii.

Wrench up thy power to the highest." Perhaps, indeed, Shakspere had a more familiar image in view, and took his metaphor from the screwing up the chords of string-instruments to their proper degree of tension, when the peg remains fast in its sticking-place, i. e. in the place from which it is not

STEEVENS. 505. Will I with wine and wassel so convince] To convince is, in Shakspere, to overpower or subdue, as in this play:

Their malady convinces The great assay of art."

JOHNSON. So, in the old comedy of Cambyses : “ If that your heart addicted be the Egyptians to

convince." Again, in Holinshed : L"thus mortally fought, intending to vanquish and convince the other."

-and wassel What was anciently called was-haile (as appears from


to move.

Selden's notes on the ninth song of Drayton's Polyolbion), was an annual custom observed in the country on the vigil of the new year; and had its beginning, as some say, from the words which Ronix, daughter of Hengist, used, when she drank to Vortigern, lovered king was-heil; he answering her, by direction of an interpreter, drinc-heile ; and then, as Geoffry of Mon

mouth says,

“ Kuste hire and sitte hire adoune and glad dronke

hire heil, “ And that was tho’in his land the verst was-hail, “ As in langage of Saxoyne that me might evere

iwite, “ And so wel he paith the folc about, that he is

not yut voryute." Afterwards it appears that was-haile, and drinc-heil, were the usual phrases of quaffing among the English; as we may see from Thomas de la Moore in the Life of Edward 11. and in the lines of Hanvil the monk, who preceded him :

« Ecce vagante cifo distento gutture wass-heil,

Ingeminant wass-heilBut Selden rather conjectures it to have been an usual ceremony among the Saxons before Hengist, as a note of health-wishing, supposing the expression to be corrupted from wish-heil.

Wassel or Wassail is a word still in use in the mid-' land counties, and signifies at present what is called Lambs Wool, i.e. roasted apples in strong beer, with sugar and spice. See Beggar's Bush, act iv. sc. 4.

" What

" What think you of a wassel ?

-thou and Ferret
“ And Ginks to sing the song: I for the structure,

“ Which is the bowl,” &c.
Again, in a song introduced in Laneham's Narrative
of Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment at Kenelworth-Castle,

« For wine and wastell he had at will." Wassel is, however, sometimes used for general riot, intemperance, or festivity. On this occasion I believe it means intemperance.

Ben Jonson personifies wassel thus:- Enter Wassel like a neat sempster and songster, her page bearing a brown bowl, drest with ribbands and rosemary, before her.

STEEVENS. 506. - the warder of the brain,] A warder is a guard, a centinel. So, in another play of Shakspere : “Where be these warders, that they wait not here?!

STEEYENS. 507 -the receipt of reason] i.e. the receptacle.

MALONE. 508. A limbeck only :-) That is, shall be only a vessel to emit fumes or vapours.

Johnson. 512.

-who shall bear the guilt

Of our great quell.] Quell is murder, man. quellers being in the old language the term for which murderers is now used.

JOHNSON. So, in Chaucer's Tale of the Nonnes Priest, v. 15396, late edition. " The dokes cryeden as men wold hem quelle."


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-and bend up] A metaphor from the bow. So, in King Henry V. act iii. sc. 1.

-bend up every spirit “ To his full height.”



Line 1. BANQUO.] The place is not marked in the old edition, nor is it easy to say where this encounter can be. It is not in the hall, as the editors have all supposed it, for Banquo sees the sky; it is not far from the bedchamber, as the conversation shews: it must be in the inner court of the castle, which Banquo might properly cross in his way to bed.

JOHNSON. 6. Their candles are all out.] The same expression occurs in Romeo and Juliet :

Night's candles are burnt out." Again, in our author's 21st sonnet: “ As those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air.”


Merciful powers!
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts, that nature

way to in repose !] It is apparent, from what Banquo says afterwards, that he had been solicited in a dream to attempt something in con



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sequence of the prophecy of the witches, that his
waking senses were shocked at; and Shakspere
has here finely contrasted his character with that of
Macbeth. Banquo is praying against being tempted
to encourage thoughts of guilt even in his sleep;
while Macbeth is hurrying into temptation, and re-
volving in his mind every scheme, however flagitious,
that may assist liim to complete his purpose. The
one is unwilling to sleep, lest the same phantoms
should assail his resolution again, while the other is
depriving himself of rest through impatience to com-
mit the murder. The same kind of invocation occurs
in Cymbeline :

" From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
* Guard me!"

STEEVENS. 14. He hath to-night, &c.] To-night was first introduced by Sir Wm. Davenant.


-shut up] To shut up, is to conclude. So, in the Spanish Tragedy:

“ And heavens have shut up day to pleasure us. Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, b. iv. c. 9.

“ And for to shut up all in friendly love."
Again, in Reynold's God's Revenge against Murder,
1621, fourth edit. p. 137 : -though the parents
have already shut up the contract.” Again, in Stowe's
account of the earl of Essex's speech on the scaffold :
“ he shut up all with the Lord's prayer." STEEVENS.
19. Being unprepard,

Our will became the servant to defe&t;
Which else should free have wrought.] This is


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