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Macbeth to be the murderer; for he was the nearest in blood to the two princes, being the cousin-german of Duncan.
STEEVENS. 320. This murderous shaft that's shot,
Hath not yet lighted ; -] The shaft is not yet lighted, and though it has done mischief in its flight, we have reason to apprehend still more before it has spent its force and falls to the ground. The end for which the murder was committed is not yet attained. The death of the king only could neither insure the crown to Macbeth, nor accoinplish any other purpose, while his sons were yet living, who had therefore just reason to apprehend they should be removed by the
Such another thought occurs in Bussey D'Ambóis, 1606:
• The chain-shot of thy lust is yet aloft,
“ And it must murder," &c. Steevens. 339.
in her pride of place,] Finely expressed, for confidence in its quality. WARBURTON.
This is found among the prodigies consequent on king Duffe's nturder :
« There was a sparhawk strangled by an owl.”
STEEVENS. 342. minions of their race,] Theobald reads:
-minions of the race, very probably, and very poetical. JOHNSON.
Their is probably the true reading, the same expression being found in Romeus and Juliet, 1562, a poem which Shakspere had certainly read :
" There were two ancient stocks, which Fortune
high did place
MALONE. Most of the prodigies just before mentioned are related by Holinshed, as accompanying king Duffe's death; and it is in particular asserted, that horses of singular beauty and swiftness did cat their own flesh. Macbeth's killing Duncan's chamberlains is taken froin Donwald's killing those of king Duffe.
STEEVENS. 354. What good could they pretend?] To pretend, in this instance, as in many others, is simply to design.
STEEVENS. See catch-word Alphabet. 361. Then 'tis most like,
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.] Macbeth, by his birth, stood next in the succession to the crown, immediately after the sons of Duncan. King Malcolm, Duncan's predecessor, had two daughters, the eldest of whom was the mother of Duncan, the youngest, the mother of Macbeth. Holinshed.
STEEVENS. 366. -Colmes-kill;] Colmes-hill, or Colm-kill, is the fanious lona, one of the western isles, which Dr. Johnson visited, and describes in his Tour. Holinshed scarcely mentions the death of any of the ancient kings of Scotland, without taking notice of their being buried with their predecessors in Colmes-kill.
Colmes-hill is one of the numerous corruptions of the second folio, in a former scene of this play. Kill is the true word, and in the Erse language signifies a burying-place.
Line 7. As upon thee, Macbeth, their specches shine] Shine, for prosper.
WARBURTON. Shine, for appear with all the lustre of conspicuous truth.
JOHNSON. I rather incline to Dr. Warburton's interpretation, So, in K. Henry VI. Part I:
“ Heaven, and our lady gracious, hath it pleased “ To shine on my contemptible estate."
STEEVENS. 17. Lay your-] The folio roads, Let your
Sreevens. The change was suggested by Sir W. Davenant's alteration of this play: it was made by Mr. Rowe.
MALONE. 28. Go not my horse the better,] ii e. if he does not go well. Shakspere often uses the comparative for tlie positive and superlative. So, in K. Lear:
-her smiles and tears « Were like a better day.” Again, in Macbeth: it hath cow'd my
of man." Again, in P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural H н
History, b. ix, C. 46. " -Many are caught out of their fellowes hands, if they bestirre not themselves the better.” It may mean, If my horse does not
the better for the haste I shall be in to avoid the night.
STEEVENS. The expression is rather elliptical, than ungram. matical.
Henley. 67. For Banquo's issue have 1 fil'd my mind;] We should read :
-'filed my mind; i. e. defiled.
WARBURTON. This mark of contraction is not necessary. To file is in the bishop's Bible.
JOHNSON. So, in the Revenger's Tragedy, 1608 :
“ He called his father villain, and me strumpet,
" A name I do abhor to file my lips with.” Again, in the Miseries of inforc'd Marriage, 1607 :
-like smoke through a chimney that files all the way it goes."' Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, b. iii.
“ She lightly lept out of her filed bed.”
STEEVENS. -the common enemy of man,] It is always an entertainment to an inquisitive reader, to trace a sentiment to its original source; and therefore, though the term enemy of man, applied to the devil, is in itself natural and obvious, yet some may be pleased with being informed, that Shakspere probably borrowed it from the first lines of the Destru&tion of Troy, a book which he is known to have read. This expres
sion, however, he might have had in many other places. The word fiend signifies enemy. JOHNSON: 73. -come, fate, into the list, And champion me to the utterance !
-] We meet with the same expression in Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, p. 331. 349:
“ That war not put by Greikis to utterance." Again, in the History of Graund Amoure and la belle Pucelle, &c. by Stephen Hawes, 1555 :
“ That so many monsters put to utteraunce." Shakspere uses it again in Cymbeline, act iii. line 78.
STEEVENS. -past in probation with you ;
How you were borne in hand, &c.] i, e. past in proving to you, how you were, &c. So, in Othello :
-so prove it,
- To hang a doubt on.” A comma therefore should seem more proper than á semicolon at the end of this line.
MALONE. 84. How you were borne in hand; -] i, e. made to believe what was not true, what would never happen or be made good to you. In this sense Chaucer lises it, Wife of Bath's Prol. p. 78. 1. 2. 32.
“ A wise wife shall, &c.
« Berin them in honde that the cowe is wode.” And our author in many places, see Measure for Meas sure, act i. line 395.
WARNER. 92 - Are you so gospell’d,] I believe that
gospell’d means, kept in obedience to that precept of