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Shoughs, 8 water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are cleped
All by the name of dogs: the valued file 9
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
The house-keeper, the hunter, every one
According to the gift which bounteous nature
Hath in him clos'd; whereby he does receive
Particular addition, from the bill
That writes them all alike: and so of men.
Now, if you have a station in the file,
And noti in the worst lank of manhood, say it;

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8 Shoughs,] Shoughs are probably what we now call shocks, demi-wolves, lyciscæ; dogs bred between wolves and dogs.

Fobnson. This species of dogs is mentioned in Nash's Lenten Stuffe, &c. 1599: - a trundle-tail, tike, or shough or two. Steevens.

- tbe valued file -] In this speech the word file occurg twice, and seems in both places to have a meaning different from its present use. The expression, valued file, evidently means, a list or catalogue of value. A station in the file, and not in the worst rank, may mean, a place in the list of manhood, and not in the lowest place. But file seems rather to mean, in this place, a post of honour; the first rank, in opposition to the last; a meaning which I have not observed in any other place. Johnson.

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 berd 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,” This expression occurs more than once in The Beggars' Bush of Beaumont and Fletcher:

all ways worthy, As else in any file of mankind.". Shakspeare 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.

Steevens, 1 And not -) And was supplied by Mr. Rowe for the sake of metre. Steedens.


And I will put that business in your bosoms,
Whose execution takes your enemy off;
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
Which in his death were perfect.
2 Mur.

I am one, my liegen
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incens'd, that I am reckless what
I do, to spite the world.
1 Mur.

And I another,
So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
That I would set my life on any chance,
To mend it, or be rid on 't.

Both of you
Know, Banquo was your enemy.
2 Mur.

True, my lord. Macb. So is he mine: and in such bloody distance,


% So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,] We see the speaker means to say, that he is weary with struggling with adverse fortune. But this reading expresses but half the idea ; viz. of a man tugged and haled by fortune without making resistance. To give the complete thought, we should read

So weary with disastrous tug's with fortune. This is well expressed, and gives the reason of his being weary, because fortune always hitherto got the better. And that Shakspeare knew how to express this thought, we have an instance in The Winter's Tale:

“Let myself and fortune

Tug for the time to come.” Besides, to be tugg’d with fortune, is scarce English.

Warburton. I have left the foregoing note as an evidence of Dr. Warburton's propensity to needless alterations.

Mr. Malone very justly observes that the old reading is confirmed by the following passage in an Epistle to lord Southampton, by S. Daniel, 1603.

“ He who hath never warr'd with misery,

“ Nor ever tugg’d with furtune and distress." Steevens. Tugged with fortune may be, rugged or worried by fortune.

Fobnson. in such bloody distance,] Distance, for enmity.

Warburton. By bloody distance is here meant, such a distance as mortal enemies would stand at from each other, when their quarrel


That every minute of his being thrusts
Against my near’st of life. And though I could
With bare-fac'd power sweep him from my sight,
And bid my will avouch it; yet I must not,
For certain friends that are both his and mine,
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
Whom I myself struck down: and thence it is,
That I to your assistance do make love;
Masking the business from the common eye,
For sundry weighty reasons.
2 Mur.

We shall, my lord,
Perform what you command us.
I Mur.

Though our lives Macb. Your spirits shine through you. Within this

hour, at most,"
I will advise you where to plant yourselves.
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o'the time,
The moment on't;6 for 't must be done to-night,



must be determined by the sword. This sense seems evident from the continuation of the metaphor, where every minute of bis being is represented as thrusting at the nearest part where life resides. Steevens.

4 For certain friends - ] For, in the present instance, signifies because of. So, in Coriolanus :

Speak, good Cominius,
“ Leave nothing out for length.” Steevens.

- at most,] These words have no other effect than to spoil the metre, and may therefore be excluded as an evident interpolation. Steevens. 6 Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’the time,

The moment on 't;] What is meant by the spy of the timne, 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

I will

Acquuint you with a perfect spy oʻtbe 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.

Fbnsor..! the perfect spy oʻthe time,] i. e. the critical juncture.



And something from the palace; always thought,


How the critical juncture is the spy oʻthe time, I know not, but I think my own conjecture right. Johnson. I rather believe we should read thus:

Acquaint you with the perfect spot, the time,

The moment on 't; - Tyrwhitt. I believe that the word with has here the force of by ; in which sense Shakspeare frequently uses it; and that the meaning of the passage is this: " I will let you know by the person best informed, of the exact moment in which the business is to be done.” And accordingly we find, in the next scene, that these two murderers are joined by a third, as Johnson has observed.-- In his letter to his wife, Macbeth says, I have heard by the perfectest report, that they have more than mortal knowledige."-And in this very scene, we find the word with used to express by, where the murderer says he is “tugg'd with for. tune.M. Mason.

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 iime in general most proper for lying in wait for him, but with the very moment when you may expect him. Malone. I explain the

passage thus, and think it needs no reformation, but that of a single point:

Within this bour at most, I will advise you where to plant yourselves. Here I place a full stop; as no further instructions could be given by Macbeth, the hour of Banquo's return being quite uncertain. Macbeth therefore adds, Acquaint you” &c. i. e. in ancient language, “ acquaint yourselves" with the exact time most favourable to your purposes; for such a moment must be spied out by you, be selected by your own attention and scrupulous observation.—You is ungrammatically employed, instead of yourselves; as him is for himself, in The Taming of the Shrew:

To see her noble lord restor’d to health,
“Who, for twice seven years, hath estcemed him

“No better than a poor and loathsome beggar." In this place it is evident that bim is used instead of bimself. Again, in Kirg Henr; IV, P.I:

“ Advaniage feeds him fat " i.e. bimself. Again, more appositely, in King Richard II, where York, ad. dressing himself to Boling broke, Northumberland, and others, says

enter in the castle “ And there repose you (i. e. yourselves] for this night.” Again, in Curiolanus :

* Breathe you, my friends ;-" Mac'e!, in the intervening tinie, might have learned, from spn.e oi Baaquo's attendants, which way he had ridden out, and

That I require a clearness:? And with him,
(To leave no rubs, nor botches, in the work,)
Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
Whose absence is no less material to me
Than is his father's, must embrace the fate
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart;'
I 'll come to you anon,
2 Mur,

We are resolv'd, my lord.
Macb. I 'll call upon you straight; abide within.
It is concluded:-Banquo, thy soul's flight,
If it find heaven, must find it out to-night. [Exeunt.


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Enter Lady MACBETH, and a Servant.
Lady M. Is Banquo gone from court ?
Serv. Ay, madam; but returns again to-night.

Lady M. Say to the king, I would attend his leisure
For a few words.
Madam, I will.

[Exit. Lady M.

Nought's had, all's spentyo Where our desire is got without content:


therefore could tell the murderers where to plant themselves go as to cut him off on his return; but who could ascertain the precise hour of his arrival, except the ruffians who watched for that purpose ? Steevens.

always thought, That I require a clearness:] i. e. you must manage matters so, that throughout the whole transaction. may stand clear of suspicion. So, Holinshed: “ - appointing them to meet Ban. quo and his sonne without the palace, as they returned to their lodgings, and there to slea them, so that he would not have his house slandered, but that in tinie to come he might cleare himself.” Steevens.

8 I'll come to you anon.] Perhaps the words--to you, which corrupt the metre, without enforcing the sense, are another playhouse interpolation. Sieevens.

9 Nought's had, all's spent,] Surely, the unnecessary words. Naught's had, are a tasteless interpolation; for they violate the measure without expansion of the sentiment.



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