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So I lose none,
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
I shall be counsel'd.
Good repose, the while!
Ban. Thanks, sir; The like to you!
Macb. Go, bid thy mistress, when my drink is
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
Is this a dagger, which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going;
Mine eyes are made the fools o'the other senses,
Thus to mine eyes.-Now o'er the one half world
when I have determined of them, or when the time comes that I want your assistance. WARBURTON.
Mr. Malone thinks we should read content, and strengthens his opinion by various quotations.
2 And on thy blade, and dudgeon, gouts of blood,] Though dudgeon sometimes signifies a dagger, it more properly means the haft, or handle of a dagger, and is used for that particular sort of handle which has some ornament carved on the top of it.
The curtain'd sleep; now witchcraft celebrates
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
3 Now o'er the one half world
[A bell rings.
Nature seems dead,] That is, over our hemisphere all action and motion seem to have ceased. This image, which is, perhaps, the most striking that poetry can produce, has been adopted by Dryden, in his Conquest of Mexico:
"All things are hush'd as Nature's self lay dead,
"And sleeping flow'rs beneath the night-dews sweat.
These lines, though so well known, I have transcribed, that the contrast between them and this passage of Shakspeare may accurately observed.
Night is described by two great poets, but one describes a night of quiet, the other of perturbation. In the night of Dryden, all the disturbers of the world are laid asleep; in that of Shakspeare, nothing but sorcery, lust, and murder, is awake. He that reads Dryden, finds himself lulled with serenity, and disposed to solitude and contemplation. He that peruses Shakspeare, looks round alarmed, and starts to find himself alone. One is the night of a lover; the other, of a murderer. JOHNSON.
4 And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it.] i. e. lest the noise from the stones take away from this midnight season that present horror which suits so well with what is going to be acted in it. What was the horror he means? Silence, than which nothing can be more horrid to the perpetrator of an atrocious design. This shows a great knowledge of human nature. WARBURTON.
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.] Here is evi
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Enter Lady MACBETH.
Lady M. That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold:
What hath quench'd them, hath given me fire:-Hark! -Peace!
It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it: The doors are open: and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd their possets,
That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live, or die.
Macb. [within.] Who's there? what, ho?
Lady M. Alack! I am afraid they have awak'd, And 'tis not done: -the attempt, and not the deed, Confounds us :-Hark! I laid their daggers ready, He could not miss them.-Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done't.-My husband?
dently a false concord; but it must not be corrected, for it is necessary to the rhyme. Nor is this the only place in which Shakspeare has sacrificed grammar to rhyme.
My father as he slept, I had done't.] This is very artful. For, as the poet has drawn the lady and her husband, it would be thought the act should have been done by her. It is likewise highly just; for though ambition had subdued in her all the sentiments of nature towards present objects, yet the likeness of one past, which she had been accustomed to regard with reverence, made her unnatural passions, for a moment, give way to the sentiments of instinct and humanity. WARBURTON.
Macb. I have done the deed:-Didst thou not hear a noise ?
Lady M. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets
[Looking on his hands.
Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
Macb. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one
That they did wake each other; I stood and heard
But they did say their prayers, and address'd them
There are two lodg❜d together.
Macb. One cried, God bless us! and, Amen, the other; As they had seen me', with these hangman's hands.
Listening their fear, I could not say, amen,
When they did say, God bless us !
Consider it not so deeply.
Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce, amen?
I had most need of blessing, and amen
Stuck in my throat.
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
Macb. Methought, I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep;
7 As they had seen me,] i. e. as if.
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
What do you mean?
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
I'll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on't again, I dare not.
Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers: The sleeping, and the dead,
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
For it must seem their guilt. [Exit. Knocking within. Whence is that knocking?
the ravell'd sleave of care,] Sleave signifies the ravell'd knotty part of the silk, which gives great trouble and embarrassment to the knitter or weaver.
9 Glamis hath murder'd sleep; and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!] This triple menace, accommodated to the different titles of Macbeth, is too quaint to be received as the natural ebullition of a guilty mind. Introduce the adjuncts of a modern nobleman in the same manner, and the fault of the passage will become yet more conspicuous; as for instance
Norfolk hath murder'd sleep; and therefore Surrey
Shall sleep no more, Howard shall sleep no more!