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uses the singular verb with two nominatives. Compare The Merchant of Venice, ii. 9. 83:

'Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.'

83. badged, marked as with a badge. Compare 2 Henry VI. iii. 2. 200: 'Murder's crimson badge.'

92. expedition, haste. See Richard III. iv. 3. 54:

Then fiery expedition be my wing!'

93. outrun. Johnson altered this to outran.' Both forms of the preterite were, and are, in use.

94. laced. Compare Cymbeline, ii. 2. 22:

'White and azure laced

With blue of heaven's own tinct,'

and Romeo and Juliet, iii. 5. 8: 'What envious streaks

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east!'

98. Unmannerly breech'd. The insincerity of Macbeth's lamentations is marked by the affectation of his language. Several editors and commentators, offended by the homeliness of the image, have suggested emendations, as 'Unmanly reech'd,' 'Unmanly drench'd,' 'Unmannerly hatch'd,' &c. Johnson seems to take breech'd with gore' as meaning the handle stained with gore,' but surely the blade would be more stained still, and this, we doubt not, is really meant. Compare Twelfth Night, iii. 4. 274: Strip your sword stark naked.'


100. The abbreviation ''s,' for his,' is very common even in passages which are not colloquial or familiar.

101-107. Malone says: 'Mr. Whately... justly observes that, "on Lady Macbeth's seeming to faint, while Banquo and Macduff are solicitous about her, Macbeth, by his unconcern, betrays a consciousness that the fainting is feigned." I may add, that a bold and hardened villain would, from a refined policy, have assumed the appearance of being alarmed about her, lest this very imputation should arise against him: the irresolute Macbeth is not sufficiently at ease to act such a part.' (The Mr. Whately here mentioned was an uncle of the late Archbishop of Dublin, who re-edited his Remarks on some of the Characters of Shakespeare.) Miss Helen Faucit believes that Lady Macbeth really fainted here, her overtaxed energies giving way, as they do after the banquet-scene. On the stage she is carried out by her women, who appear in dishabille as having been hastily summoned from their beds. 102. argument, subject, theme of discourse. Compare Timon of Athens, iii. 3. 20:

'So it may prove an argument of laughter.'

And Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 24:

"The height of this great argument.'

103, 104. our fate, Hid in an auger-hole. The place is so full of murderous treachery that, observe we never so carefully, we may overlook the minute hole in which it lurks. Compare, for auger-hole,' Coriolanus, iv. 6. 87: "Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined

Into an auger's bore.'

106. our tears are not yet brew'd. Compare Titus Andronicus, iii. 2. 38: She says she drinks no other drink but tears,

Brew'd with her sorrow, mesh'd upon her cheeks.'


107. Sorrow in its first strength is motionless, and cannot express itself in 'words or tears. Compare iv. 3. 209, and 3 Henry VI. iii. 3. 22:

'And give my tongue-tied sorrows leave to speak.’

108, 109. And when

exposure. Steevens paraphrases Shakespeare's poetry thus in prose: 'When we have clothed our half drest bodies, which may take cold from being exposed to the air.' All the characters appeared on the scene in night-gowns, with bare throats and legs.

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113. pretence, purpose, design. Compare Coriolanus, i. 2. 20: 'Nor did you think it folly

To keep your great pretences veil'd till when

They needs must show themselves.'

See also, for the verb 'pretend' in the sense of 'intend, design,' the present play, ii. 4. 24:

'What good could they pretend?'

115. manly readiness. Here the phrase means first complete armour,' in contrast to the 'naked frailties' just mentioned, and involves also the corresponding habit of mind. Compare the stage direction in I Henry VI. ii. 1. 38, The French leap over the walls in their shirts. Enter, several ways, the Bastard of Orleans, Alençon, and Reignier, half ready and half unready.' 119. easy, easily. So Measure for Measure, ii. 4. 126:

Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves;

Which are as easy broke as they make forms.'

So also King John, iv. 3. 142:

How easy dost thou take all England up!'

And similarly, in the next scene, line 29, 'like' is used for 'likely.'

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122. There's daggers. There is' may frequently be found in older writers with a plural noun, like il y a in French. Compare Othello, i. 1. 172: " Is there not charms?' Donalbain suspects all, but most his father's cousin, Macbeth. See i. 2. 24.

Ib. the near in blood, the nearer in blood. Compare Richard II. v. 1. 88: 'Better far off than near, be ne'er the near.'

So 'far' is used for the comparative farther,' Winter's Tale, iv. 4. 442: Far than Deucalion off." For other examples, see Sidney Walker's Critical Examination, vol. i. p. 189. Compare, for the sense, Webster, Appius and Virginia, v. 2:

'Great men's misfortunes thus have ever stood,

They touch none nearly, but their nearest blood.'

123. The shaft that has struck Duncan is aimed at us as well; it is still in the air, and will strike us if we do not fly to avoid it.

126. dainty of leave-taking, particular about leave-taking.

127. In the word 'shift' quiet or stealthy motion is implied, as in As You Like It, ii. 7. 157:

The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon.'

127, 128. Those thieves are justified who steal away themselves when it is their only hope of safety. Compare All's Well that Ends Well, ii. 1. 33: I'll steal away.

' Bertram.

First Lord. There's honour in the theft.'

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Scene IV.

3. sore, an emphatic word meaning both sad and dreadful, from AngloSaxon sár, grievous, painful; connected with the German schwer. Compare Genesis 1. 10, a sore lamentation'; Psalm 1xxi. 20, sore troubles.' As an adverb it is very common in our Bible.. The Scotch sair is still used in much the same sense as 'sore' once was in England.

4. trifled, not used elsewhere in the same sense. It is however used transitively, but with a different meaning, in The Merchant of Venice, iv. I. 298: 'We trifle time.' Here the meaning is: This grievous night has made all former experiences seem trifles.

Ib. knowings. This word is not used as a plural elsewhere by Shakespeare, nor apparently in the concrete sense, as here, ‘a piece of knowledge.' It means 'knowledge' or 'experience' in Cymbeline, ii. 3. 102 :

'One of your great knowing.'

6. his bloody stage. See note on i. 3. 128.

7. the travelling lamp. The first and second folios read 'travailing' It was corrected in the third folio (1664). Modern usage has assigned a separate spelling to each signification of the word, which in Shakespeare's time was written indifferently either way, and used with a combination of both meanings. Here in the writer's thoughts travailing' or 'travelling' meant 'painfully struggling on his way.' Of course the meanings were sometimes distinguished, as when the word was used of the pains of labour, or of a foreign tour. Compare All's Well that Ends Well, ii. 1. 167:


Ere twice in murk and occidental damp

Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp.'

The author no doubt derived a hint from what Holinshed says of the phenomena which appeared after the murder of King Duff. See the passage at length in the Preface.

8. Is night triumphant in the deed of darkness that has been done, or is day ashamed to look upon it? 'Predominance' is an astrological term. See Troilus and Cressida, ii. 3. 138:

And underwrite in an observing kind

His humorous predominance.'

And King Lear, i. 2. 134: Knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence.' Compare also Milton, Paradise Lost, viii. 160: Whether the sun, predominant in heaven,

Rise on the earth, or earth rise on the sun.'

12. place is a technical term in falconry for the pitch attained by a falcon before swooping down on its prey. So Massinger, The Guardian, i. I : Then, for an evening flight,

A tiercel gentle, which I call, my masters,
As he were sent a messenger to the moon,
In such a place flies, as he seems to say,
See me, or see me not! the partridge sprung,
He makes his stoop.'

For towering,' see King John, v. 2. 149.

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13. As the mousing owl' finds his ordinary prey on the ground, the marvel is the greater.

14. borses, pronounced as a monosyllable, as 'targes,' Cymbeline, v. 5. 5: 'Stepp'd before targes of proof.'

And Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 6. 40. Though it is printed 'horses' in the folio, it may be that Shakespeare wrote 'horse,' for there is frequent confusion in the plurals of nouns a sibilant. See, for instance, The Merchant of Venice, iv. 1. 255: 'Are there balance here to weigh

The flesh?'

And compare v. 1. 25 of this play. So we have 'horse' for the genitive 'horse's,' King John, ii. 1. 289:

Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er since

Sits on his horse back at mine hostess' door.'

15. minions of their race, of all the breed of horses man's special darlings. Theobald read the race,' interpreted by Steevens to mean the race-course. 16. Turn'd wild in nature, were changed in temper and disposition. It was not a passing fit of ill temper, which might be due to ordinary causes. 17. as, as if. See ii. 2. 27.

24. pretend, propose, intend. See note on ii. 3. 113. So prétendre is used still in French, without the implication of falsehood.

28. ravin up. We have 'ravin down' in Measure for Measure, i. 2. 133: Like rats that ravin down their proper bane.'

For ravin'd,' see iv. I. 24.

29. like, likely. See Julius Cæsar, i. 2. 175:

Under these hard conditions as this time

Is like to lay upon us.'

31. Scone, in the neighbourhood of Perth. The stone seat, on which the ancient Kings of Scotland sate at their investiture, originally, it is said, brought from Iona, was carried by Edward the First to England, and is inclosed in the coronation-chair in Westminster Abbey.

33. Colme-kill. According to Holinshed the body was carried first to Elgin, afterwards to Colmekill or Iona. The natives still call their island Icolmkill, the cell of St. Columba.' Macbeth himself was, according to tradition, buried there also. The site of the burying-place of the kings of Scotland—a list which closes with Macbeth-is still pointed out in the churchyard south-west of the church.

34. storehouse, here used for sepulchre.

36. thither, i. e. to Scone. The verb of motion is frequently omitted in similar phrases, as in Richard II. i. 2. 73 :

38. Lest.

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Desolate, desolate, will I hence and die.'

There is an ellipsis here, which is easily supplied by the sense of the preceding line,

May you see things well done there.'

For the metaphor, compare i. 3. 145.

40. benison, blessing. The word is benisson in French, contracted from ' benediction.' Compare King Lear, iv 6. 229:

The bounty and the benison of heaven.'

The opposite word is 'malison,' not however found in Shakespeare.


Scene I.

4. stand, stay, continue. See Midsummer Night's Dream, v. 1.417: And the blots of Nature's hand

Shall not in their issue stand.'

7. shine. Because they prophesied to Macbeth the lustre with which he is now invested.

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10. Sennet. Spelt in the folios 'senit." It is also found variously written cynet,''signet,''signate,' and 'senate' (Webster, p. 6, ed. 1857). It is a technical term for a particular set of notes played by trumpets or cornets, and different from a flourish.' 6 Trumpets sound a flourish and then a sennet' (Decker, Satiromastix); and 'The cornets sound a cynet' (Marston, Antonio's Revenge, ii. 1. init.). The word does not occur in the text of Shakespeare, and its derivation is doubtful.

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13. all-thing. So written in the first folio. The second has all-things'; the third and fourth all things.' 'All-thing' seems to be used as an adverb meaning in every way': compare something,' nothing.' In Robert of Gloucester, p. 69 (ed. Hearne), alle ping' appears to be used for altogether': 'As wommon dep hire child alle ping mest.' Again, in p. 48, where Hearne prints Ac po nolde not Cassibel, þat heo schulde allyng faile,' Lord Mostyn's MS. has alþynge,' meaning altogether.'



14. solemn, formal, official. See Titus Andronicus, ii. 1. 112:

'My lord, a solemn hunting is in hand.'

15. Let. Rowe altered this to 'Lay,' and Monck Mason proposed 'Set.' The phrase 'command upon me,' for lay your commands upon me,' does not seem unnatural, though we know of no other instance in which it is employed.

16. The antecedent to which' is the idea contained in the preceding clause. 'Which' is frequently used with the definite article.

21. still, always, constantly. See The Merchant of Venice, i. 1. 17; i. 1. 136; and The Tempest, i. 2. 229.

Ib. grave, well-weighed, weighty. So Pericles, v. I. 184:


Thou art a grave and noble counsellor,'

where grave' does not apply to the aspect or manner. Se Richard III. ii.

3. 20:

'With politic grave counsel.'

• Enrich'd

Ib. prosperous, followed by a prosperous issue.

22. we'll take to-morrow, we'll take to-morrow for our conversation; an ellipsis which we still use colloquially. Malone read 'talk' for 'take,' and Keightley 'take 't.'

25. go not my horse, if my horse go not. Compare Richard II. ii. 1. 300:

Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.'

Ib. the better, the better, considering the distance he has to go. Stowe, in his Survey of London (ed. 1618, p. 145, misquoted by Malone), says of tilting at the quintain, 'hee that hit it full, if he rid not the faster, had sound blow in his necke, with a bagge full of sand hanged on the other end ;' where the meaning is, if he rid not the faster because he had hit it full,' &c.

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