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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,
" Will rive an oak.”
“ 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
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
“ 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 think you of a wassel ?
-thou and Ferret
“ Which is the bowl,” &c.
« 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.
-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."
-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.”
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
sequence of the prophecy of the witches, that his
" From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
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."
Our will became the servant to defe&t;