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the gospel, “to pray for those that despitefully use
STEEVENS. 96. We are men, my liege.] That is, we have the same feelings as the rest of mankind, and, as men, are not without a manly resentment for the wrongs which we have suffered, and which you have now recited.
MALONE. 99. Shoughs,- ] Shoughs are probably what we now call shocks, demi-wolves, lyciscæ ; dogs bred between wolves and dogs.
Johnson. This species of dogs is mentioned in Nash's Lenten Stuffe, &c. 1599:
-a trundle-tail, tike, or shough or two."
STEEVENS. 100. the valued file] Is the file or list where the value and peculiar qualities of every thing is set down, in contradistinction to what he immediately mentions, the bill that writes them all alike. File, in the second instance, is used in the same sense as in this, and with a reference to it. -Now, if you belong to any class that deserves a place in the valued file of man, and are not of the lowest rank, the common herd of mankind, that are not worth distinguishing from each other.
File and list are synonymous, as in the last act of this play:
I have a file
“ Of all the gentry.” Again, in Heywood's dedication to the second part of his Iron Age, 1632 : “. -to number you in the file and list of my best and choicest well-wishers." Shakspere likewise has it in Measure for Measure :
“ The greater file of the subject held the duke to be wise.” In short, the valued file is the catalogue with prices annexed to it.
STEVENS. 119. So weary with disasters,. tugg'd with fortune,] Tugg'd with fortune may be, tugg'd or worried by fortune.
JOHNSON. 125. -in such bloody distance, ] By bloody distance is here meant, such a distance as mortal enemies would stand at from each other when their quarrel must be determined by the sword. This sense seems evident from the continuation of the metaphor, where every minute of his being is represented as thrusting at the nearest part where life resides.
STEEVENS. 141. Acquaint you with the perfe&t spy o’the time,] What is meant by the spy of the time, it will be found difficult to explain ; and therefore sense will be cheaply gained by a slight alteration. -Macbeth is assuring the assassins that they shall not want directions to find Banquo, and therefore says:
Acquaint you with a perfect spy o'the time. Accordingly a third murderer joins them afterwards at the place of action.
Perfect is well instructed, or well informed, as in this play :
“ Though in your state of honour I am perfect." though I am well acquainted with your quality and rank.
JOHNSON. the perfe& spy o'the time, i, e, the critical juncture.
How the critical junElure is the spy o'the time, I know not, but I think my own conjecture right. Johnson.
The perfect spy of the time seems to be, the exact time, which shall be spied and watched for the purpose.
STEEVENS. The meaning, I think, is, I will acquaint you with the time when you may look out for Banquo's coming with the most perfect assurance of not being disappointed; and not only with the time in general, but with the very moment when you may expect him.
MALONE. Macbeth appears to have sent a messenger after Banquo to watch his motions, and when he saw him take horse for his return, to out-ride him and bring home the information. This perfećt spy of the time was the third murderer, who, on the instant of his arrival, was sent to the other two, to apprize them of the moment they might look for Banquo. See the beginning of scene 3
HENLEY. 143. always thought,
That I require a clearness :] i. e. you must manage matters so, that throughout the whole transaction I may stand clear of suspicion. So, Holinslied: " --appointing them to meet Banquo and his sonne without the palace, as they returned to their Jorgings, and there to slea them, so that he would not have his house slandered, but that in time to come he might cleare himself.”
STEVENS. 169. --scotch'd---] Mr. Theobald.--Fol. scorch'd.
JOHNSON Scotch'd is the true reading. So, in Coriolanus, activ.
Scene 5 :
-he scotch'd him and notch'd him like a car. bonado.”
STEEVENS. 176. Whom we, to gain our place, have sent to peace.] The old
reads : Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace. This change, which appears to be necessary, was made in the second folio.
STEEVENS. The old reading I think should be preserved. The play on the word is like those already put into the mouth of Macbeth.
HENLEY. 178. In restless ecstasy -] Ecstasy, in its general sense, signifies any violent emotion of the mind. Here it means the emotions of pain, agony. So, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, p. 1.
“ Griping our bowels with retorqued thouglıts, “ And have no hope to end our extasies."
STEEVENS. -present him eminence, - -] 1. e. do him the highest honours.
WARBURTON. 196. -nature's copy's not eterne.] The copy, the lease, by which they hold their lives from nature, has its time of termination limited. JOHNSON.
Eterne for eternal is often used by Chaucer. So, in the Knight's Tale, late edit. v. 1305 :
O cruel goddes, that governe " This world with binding of your word eterne, " And written in the table of athamant " Your parlement and your eterne grant.”
STEEVENS. Dr. Johnson's interpretation is supported by a subsequent passage in this play,
and our high-plac'd Macbeth “ Shall live the lease of Nature, pay his breath “ To time and mortal custom."
The shard-borne beetle, -] i. e. the beetle hatched in clefts of wood. So, in Antony and Cleopatra : « They are his shards, and he their beetle."
WARBURTON. The shard-borne beetle is not only the ancient but the true reading : i. e, the beetle borne along the air by its shards or scaly wings. From a passage in Gower De Confessione Amantis, it appears that shards signified scales :
“She sigh, her thought, a dragon tho,
“ Whose scherdes shynen as the sonne.” And hence the upper or outward wings of the beetle were called shards, they being of a scaly substance. To have an outward pair of wings of a scaly hardness, serving as integuments, to a filmy pair beneath them, is the characteristick of the beetle kind. Ben Jonson, in his Sad Shepherd, says:
“ The scaly beetles with their habergeons,
“ That make a humming murmur as they fly." In Cymbeline, Sh.kspere applies this epithet again to the beetle :
“ The sharded beetle in a safer hold
“ Than is the full-wing'd eagle.” Here there is a manifest opposition intended between the wings and figlt of the insest and the bird. The bueile, whose sharded wings can but just raise him above