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L. Macd. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his
My dearest coz',
natural toucb:] Natural sensibility. He is not touched with natural affection. Fohnson.
So, in an ancient MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
How she's beguil'd in him! “ There 's no such natural touch, search all his bosom."
Steevens. the poor wren, &c.] The same thought occurs in The Third Part of King Henry VI:
doves will peck, in safety of their brood. " Who hath not seen them (even with those wings “ Which sometimes they have us'd in fearful flight) “ Make war with him that climb'd unto their nest, “ Offering their own lives in their young's defence ?"
Steevens. $ The fits o' the season.] The fits of the season should appear to be, from the following passage in Coriolanus, the violent disorders of the season, its convulsions :
Steevens. Perhaps the maning is,—what it most fitting to be done in overy conjuncture. Anonymous.
when we are traitors, And do not know ourselves;] i. e. we think ourselves innocent, the government thinks us traitors; therefore we are ignopant of ourselves. This is the ironical argument. The Oxford editor alters it to
And do not know 't ourselves;
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear;
L. Macd. Father'd he is, and yet he 's fatherless.
Rosse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
[Erit Rosse. L. Macd.
Sirrah, your father's dead ;'
But sure they did know what they said, that the state esteemed them traitors. Warburton.
Rather, when we are considered by the state as traitors, while at the same time we are unconscious of guilt; when we appear to others so different from what we really are, that we seem not to know ourselves. Malone.
- when we hold rumour From what we fear,] To bold rumour signifies to be governed by the authority of rumour. Warburton.
I rather think to boli means, in this place, to believe, as we say, I hold such a thing to be true, i.e. I take it, I believe it to be Thus, in King Henry VIII:
Did you not of late days hear, &c. “ 1 Gen. Yes, but beld it not.” The sense of the whole passage will then be: The times are cruel when our fears induce us to believe, or take for granted, what we hear rumoured or reported abroad; and yet at the same tine, as we live under a t;rannical government where will is substituitd for law, we know not wbat we bare to fear, because we know not when we offend. Or: When we are led by our fears to believe every rumour of danger we bear, yet are not conscious to ourselves of any crime for which we should be disturbed wiib those fears. A passage like this occurs in King John:
“ Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams,
“ Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear." This is the best I can make of the passage. Steevens.
8 Each way, and move.-] Perhaps the poet wrote-Arid each way move. If they floated each way, it was needless to inform us that they moved The words may have been casual y transposed, and erroneously pointed. Steevens,
9 Sirrah, your father 's dead;] Şirrab, in our author's time, was not a term of reproach, but generally used by masters to servants, parents to children, &c. So before, in this play,
And what will you do now? How will you
live? Son. As birds do, mother. L. Macd.
What, with worms and Aies? Son. With what I get, I mean ; and so do they. L. Macd. Poor bird! thou 'dst never fear the net,
nor lime, The pit-fall, nor the gin. Son. Why should i, mother? Poor birds they are
not set for. My father is not dead, for all your saying. L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a
father? Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband? L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market. Son. Then you 'll buy 'em to sell again. L. Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit; and yet
i faith, With wit enough for thee.
Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?
L. Macd Every one that does so, is a traitor, and must be hanged.
Son. And must they all be hanged, that swear and lie?
Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools: for there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men, and hang up them.
L. Macd. Now God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father? | Son. If he were dead, you 'd weep for him : if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
L. Macd. Poor prattler! how thou talk'st!
Macleth says to his servant, “ Sirrab, a word with you: 'attend Hiose men our pleasure?" Malone.
Enter a Messenger. Me88. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known, Though in your state of honour I am perfect.' I doubt, some danger does approach you nearly: If you will take a homely man's advice, Be not found here; hence, with your
little ones. To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage; To do worse to you, were fell cruelty,? Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve
you! I dare abide no longer.
[Exit Mess. L. Macd.
Whither should I fly? I have done no harm. But I remember now I am in this earthly world; where, to do harm, Is often laudable; to do good, sometime, Accounted dangerous folly : Why then, alas! Do I put up that womanly defence, To say, I have done no harm? -What are these
Enter Murderers. Mur. Where is your husband?
L. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified, Where such as thou may'st find him.
1-in your state of bonour I am perfect.] i. e. I am perfectly acquainted with your rank of honour. So, in the old book ibat treateth of the Life of Virgil, &c. bl. 1. no date: “- - which when Virgil saw, he looked in his boke of negromancy, wherein he was perfit.” Again, in The Play of the four P's, 1569:
« Pot. Then tell me this: Are you perfit in drinking?
Stecvens. 2 To do worse to you, were fell cruelty,] To do worse is to let her and her children be destroyed without warning:
Fobnson. Mr. Edwards explains these words differently, “ To do worse to you (says he) signifies,-to fright you more, by relating all the circumstances of your danger; which would detain you so long that you could not avoid it.” The meaning, however, may be, To do worse to you, not to disclose to you the perilous situa. tion you are in, from a foolish apprehension of alarming you, would be fell cruelty. Or the messenger may only mean, to do more than alarm you by this disagreeable intelligence,--to da you any actual and bodily harm, were fell cruelty. Malonc.
He 's a traitor Son. Thou ly’st, thou shag-ear'd villian.3 Mur.
What, you egg? [Stabbing him, Young fry of treachery? Son,
He has killed me, mother: Run away,
pray you. [Dirs. Exit Lady Macd. crying murder, and pursued by the Murderers.
England. A Room in the King's Palace.
Enter MALCOLM and MACDUFF.4
Mal. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
shag-ear'd villian.) Perhaps we should read sbag. baird, for it is an abusive epithet very often used in our ancient plays, &c. So, in Decker's Horest Whore, P. II, 1630:
- a shag-haired cur.” Again, in our author's King Henry VI, P. II: “—
- like a shug-hairet crafty Kern." Again, in Sir Arthur Gorges' translation of Lucan, 1614:
“ That sbug-huire.l Caicos tam'd with forts." And Chapman, in his translation of the 7th book of Homer, 1598, applies the same epithet to the Greeks. Again, in the spurious play of King Lear, 1605:
“ There she had set a sbaghayråd murdering wretch.” Again, in Barnahy Googe's version of Palingenius, 1561:
“ But sore afraid was I to meete
“ The shagbeard horson's horne." It may be observed, that, in the seventh Iliad of Homer, the καρηκόμοωνες Αχαιοί are rendered by Arthur Hall, 1581, “ – peruke Greekes.” And by Chapman, 1611, “ - sbag-hair'd Greekes." Steevens.
This emendation appears to me extremely probable. In King Fobi, Act V, we find - unbear'd sauciness for unhair'd sauci. ness:" and we have had in this play hair instead of air. These two words, and the word ear, were all, I believe, in the time of our author, pronounced alike. See a note on Venus and Adonis, p. 456, n. 5, edit. 1780, octavo.
Hair was formerly written beare. Hence perhaps the mis. take. So, in Ives's Select Papers, chiefly relating to English Antiquities, No. 3, p. 133: “ and in her beare a circlet of gol.l richely garnished.” In Lodge's Incarnate Devils of the Age, 4to, 1596, we find in p. 37, “ shag-beard slave,” which still more strongly supports Mr. Steeyens's emendation. However,