« PreviousContinue »
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Sey. What is your gracious pleasure?
What news more?
Sey. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported. Macb. I'll fight, till from my bones my flesh be hack'd. Give me my armour.
Macb. I'll put it on.
'Tis not needed yet.
Send out more horses, skirr the country round;
Hang those that talk of fear.7-Give me mine ar
How does your patient, doctor?
Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest.
And Milton has-"Ivy never sear."
Shakspeare has the same thought in his 73d Sonnet: "That time of year thou may'st in me behold,
"When yellow leaves," &c.
Again, in our author's Lover's Complaint, where the epithet is so used, as clearly to ascertain the meaning of " the sear, the yellow leaf," in the passage before us:
spite of heaven's fell rage,
"Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age."
skirr the country round,] To skirr, I believe, signifies to scour, to ride hastily. The word is used by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Martial Maid:
"Whilst I, with this and this, well mounted, skirr'd
Again, in King Henry V:
"And make them skirr away, as swift as stones
Again in Beaumont and Fletcher's Bonduca:
"That, in a thought, scur o'er the fields of corn,
7 talk of fear.] The second folio reads stand in fear.
8 That keep her -] The latter word, which was inadvertently omitted in the old copy, was added by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
Cure her of that:
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd;
• And with some sweet oblivious antidote,] Perhaps, as Dr. Farmer has observed, our poet here remembered Spenser's de scription of Nepenthe:
Nepenthe is a drinck of sovereign grace,
"Harts grief, and bitter gall away to chace,-
Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. iii, st. 34. Malone.
“Securos latices, et longa oblivia potant.”
Thus translated by Phaer, 1558:
"These liquors quenching cares, and long forgetful draughts thei drink
"That of their liues, and former labours past, they neuer thinck."
Thus also Statius, Theb. I, 341:
"Grata laboratæ referens oblivia vitæ." Steevens.
1 Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff,] Stuff'd is the reading of the old copy; but, for the sake of the ear, which must be shocked by the recurrence of so harsh a word, I am willing to read-foul, as there is authority for the change from Shakspeare himself, in As you Like it, Act II, sc. vi:
"Cleanse the foul body of the infected world."
We properly speak of cleansing what is foul, but not what is stuffed. Steevens.
The recurrence of the word stuff, in this passage, is very unpleasing to the ear, but there is no ground, I think, to suspect the text to be corrupt; for our author was extremely fond of such repetitions. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra:
"Now for the love of love —"
with what good speed
All's Well that Ends Well
"Our means will make us means.' Ibid.
King Henry VIII.
"Upon his brow shame is asham'd to sit
Romeo and Juliet «
Which weighs upon the heart?
Must minister to himself.
Therein the patient
Macb. Throw physick to the dogs, I'll none of it.— Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff:Seyton, send out.-Doctor, the thanes fly from me:Come, sir, despatch:-If thou could'st, doctor, cast The water of my land,2 find her disease, And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
"For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie
"Thy now unsur'd assurance to the crown." King John.
The words stuff and stuff'd, however mean they may sound at present, have, like many other terms, been debased by time, and appear to have been formerly considered as words proper to be used in passages of the greatest dignity. As such Shakspeare has employed them in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter's Tale, Julius Cæsar, &c. Again, in The Tempest, in a passage where the author certainly aimed at dignity:
"And, like this unsubstantial pageant, faded,
"Leave not a rack behind.-We are such stuff
In a note on a passage in Othello, Dr. Johnson observes, that "stuff, in the Teutonick language, is a word of great force. The elements (he adds) are called in Dutch boefd stoffen, or bead-stuffs." Malone.
The present question is not concerning the dignity of the word-stuffed, but its nauseous iteration, of which no example has been produced by Mr. Malone; for that our author has indulged himself in the repetition of harmonious words, is no proof that he would have repeated harsh ones.
I may venture also (in support of my opinion) to subjoin, that the same gentleman, in a very judicious comment on King Henry IV, P. II, has observed, "that when a word is repeated without propriety, in the same, or two succeeding lines, there is great reason to suspect some corruption." Steevens.
The water of my land,] To cast the water was the phrase in use for finding out disorders by the inspection of urine. So, in Eliosto Libidinoso, a novel, by John Hinde, 1606: "Lucilla perceiving, without casting her water, where she was pained," &c. Again, in The wise Woman of Hogsdon, 1938: "Mother Nottingham, for her time, was pretty well skilled in casting waters. Steevens.
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again.-Pull 't off, I say.-
Would scour these English hence?-Hearest thou of them?
Doct. Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation Makes us hear something.
Bring it after me.
I will not be afraid of death and bane,
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.
Doct. Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here.
Country near Dunsinane:
A Wood in view.
Enter, with Drum and Colours, MALCOLM, old SIWARD and his Son, MACDUFF, MENTETH, CATHNEss, An. GUS, LENOX, Rosse, and Soldiers, marching.
Mal. Cousins, I hope, the days are near at hand That chambers will be safe.
We doubt it nothing.
The wood of Birnam,
Siw. What wood is this before us?
Mal. Let every soldier hew him down a bough,
It shall be done.
Siw. We learn no other, but the confident tyrant Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
Our setting down before 't.
'Tis his main hope:
For where there is advantage to be given,
senna,] The old copy reads-cyme. Steevens.
Corrected by Mr. Rowe.
but the confident tyrant-] We must surely read: the confin'd tyrant. Warburton.
He was confident of success; so confident that he would not fly, but endure their setting down before his castle. Johnson.
And none serve with him but constrained things,
Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
5 For where there is advantage to be given,
Both more and less have given him the revolt;] The impro priety of the expression advantage to be given, instead of advantage given, and the disagreeable repetition of the word given, in the next line, incline me to read:
where there is a 'vantage to be
Both more and less have given him the revolt.
Advantage or 'vantage, in the time of Shakspeare, signified opportunity. He shut up himself and his soldiers (says Malcolm) in the castle, because when there is an opportunity to be gone, they
all desert him.
More and less is the same with greater and less. So, in the interpolated Mandeville, a book of that age, there is a chapter of India the More and the Less. Johnson.
I would read, if any alteration were necessary:
For where there is advantage to be got.
But the words, as they stand in the text, will bear Dr. Johnson's explanation, which is most certainly right.—“For wher. ever an opportunity of flight is given them," &c.
More and less, for greater and less, is likewise found in Chau
"From Boloigne is the erle of Pavie come,
"Of which the fame yspronge to most and leste.” Again, in Drayton's Polyolbion, Song the 12th:
"Of Britain's forests all from th' less unto the more."
Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. V, c. viii:
all other weapons lesse or more,
"Which warlike uses had devis'd of yore." Steevens. Where there is advantage to be given, I believe, means, where advantageous offers are made to allure the adherents of Macbeth to forsake him. Henley.
I suspect that given was caught by the printer's eye glancing on the subsequent line, and strongly incline to Dr. Johnson's emendation-gone. Malone.
Why is the repetition of the word-given, less venial than the recurrence of the word stuff'd, in a preceding page? See Mr. Malone's objections to my remark on " Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff." p. 223. Steevens.
6 Let our just censures
Attend the true event,] The arbitrary change made in the second folio, (which some criticks have represented as an im• proved edition) is here worthy of notice:
Let our best censures
Before the true event, and put we on, &c. Malone.