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That strike beside us.
Enter, sir, the castle.
[Exeunt. Alarum. Re-enter MACBETH. Macb. Why should I play the Roman fool, and die On mine own sword ?9 whiles I see lives, the gashes Do better upon them.
Turn, hell-hound, turn.
I have no words,
[They fight. Macb.
Thou losest labour: As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed:
9 Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
On mine own sword?] Alluding, perhaps, to the suicide of Cato Uticensis, which our author must have read of in the old translation of Plutarch, as the same circumstance is mention. ed again in Julius Cæsar:
- I did blame Cato for the death “ Which he did give himself.” Steevens. 1 I have no words, My voice is in my sword;] Thus Casca, in Julius Cæsar :
« Speak bands for me. Steevens. 2 As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed:] That is, air which cannot be cut. Fobnson.
Mr. M. Mason wishes to interpret the word intrenchant differently, and says that it may signify surrounding ; but of a participle with such a meaning, I believe there is no example.Shakspeare's indiscriminate use of active and passive partici. ples has been frequently noticed. In Timon he has trenchant in an active sense, and in the line before us intrenchant is employed as passive.
Milton, in his Paradise Lost, B. VI, seems to have imitated this passage:
“Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
“ Receive no more than can the fluid air.” Steevens. So, in Hamlet:
“ For it is as the air invulnerable." Malonc.
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
Despair thy charm;
· Macb. Accursed be that tongue that tells me song
Macd. Then yield thee, coward,
3 I hear a chormed life,] In the days of chivalry, the champions' arms being ceremoniously blessed, each took an oath that he used no charmed weapons. Macbeth, according to the law of arms, or perhaps only in allusion to this custom, tells Macduff of the secarity he had in the prediction of the spirit. To this likewise Posthumus alludes in Cymbeline, Act V:
1, in my own woe charm'd,
“ Here you shall swear by hope, by heaven, by Jove,
“ Or other black infernal vantages,” &c. Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I, c. iv:
- be bears a charmed shield,
Steedens. palter with us in a double sense;] That shuffle with ambiguous expressions. Johnson. So, in Marius and Sylla, 1594:
“Now fortune, frown and palter, if thou please." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
Romans, that have spoke the word, “ And will not palter.” Steevens. 5 We'll bave thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole ;] That is, on cloth suspended on a pole. Malone
Here may you see the tyrant.
I'll not yield,
[Exeunt, fighting Retreat. Flourish. Re-enter, with Drum and Colours,
MALCOLM, old SIWARD, Rosse, LENOX, ANGUS,
Siw. Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,
Mal. Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
Rosse. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:
Then he is dead?
Had he his hurts before?
Hold, enough.) See Mr. Tollet's note on the words--“To cry, kold, bolū.!” p. 57, n. 9. Again, in Stowe's Chronicle, one of the combatants was an esquire, and knighted after the battle, which the king terminated by crying Hoo, i. e. hold. Thus also, in the ancient MS. Romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 33:
“ His bare guttis men myght see,
“ And here I become thy man.” Steedens. "To cry bold, is the word of yielding,” says Carew's Survey of Cornwall, p. 74, i. e. when one of the combatants cries so.
Why then, God's soldier be he! Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death : And so his knell is knoll’d.? Mal.
He's worth more sorrow, And that I'll spend for him. Siw.
He's worth no more ; They say, he parted well, and paid his score: So, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort. Re-enter MacDUFF with Macbeth's Head on a Pole.' Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art: Behold where
stands The usurper's cursed head: the time is free: I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl,
9 Had I as many sons as I have bairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so bis knell is knolld.) This incident is thus related from Henry of Huntingdon, by Camden, in his Remains, from which our author probably copied it.
When Siward, the martial earl of Northumberland, under. stood that his son, whom he had sent in service against the Scotchmen, was slain, he demanded whether his wounds were in the fore part or hinder part of his body. When it was an. swered, in the fore part, he replied. “I am right glad; neither wish I any other death to me or mine.” Fobnson.
Our author might have found the same incident recorded by Holinshed, in his Chronicle, Vol. I, p. 192. Malone.
8 So, God &c.] The old copy redundantly reads-And so, God &c. Steevens.
- on a Pole.] These words I have added to the stage. direction, from the Chronicle : “ Then cutting his head from his shoulders, he set it upon a pole, and brought it unto Malcolm." This explains the word stands in Macduff's speech.
Many of the stage-directions appear to have been inserted by the players; and they are often very injudicious. In this scene, (as Mr. Steevens bas observed) according to their direction, Macbeth is slain on the stage, and Macduff immediately after. wards enters with Macbeth's head. Malone.
Our ancient players were not even skilful enough to prevent absurdity in those circumstances which fell immediately under their own management. No bad specimen of their want of common sense, on such occasions, may be found in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611: “ Enter Sybilla laying in childbet, with her child laying by her,” &c. Steevens.
tby king lom's pearl, 1 This metaphorical expression was excluded by Mr Rowe, after whom our modern editors yere content to read-peers.
That speak my salutation in their minds;
King of Scotland, hail !2
(Flourish. Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of time, Before we reckon with your several loves, And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland In such an honour nam'd.4 What 's more to do,
The following passage from Ben Jonson's Entertainment of the Queen and Prince at Althorpe, may, however, countenance the old reading, which I have inserted in the text:
Queen, prince, duke, and earls,
“ Countesses, ye courtly pearls,” &c. Again, in Shirley's Gentlemen of Venice:
he is the very pearl “Of courtesy -." Steevens. Thy kingdom's pearl means
thy kingdom's wealth, or rather or. nament. So, J. Sylvester, England's Parnassus, 1600:
“ Honour of cities, pearle of kingdoms all.” Again, in Sir Philip Sydney's Ourania, by N. Breton, 1606:
an earl, “ And worthily then termed Albion's pearl.” John Florio, in a Sonnet prefixed to his Italian Dictionary, 1598, calls lord Southampton—"bright pearle of peers.” Malone.
2 King of Scotland, hail!] Old copy—“ Hail, king of Scotland ?” For the sake of metre, and in conformity to a practice of our author, I have transplanted the word bail, from the beginning to the end of this hemistich. Thus, in the third scene of the play, p. 35:
So, all bail, Macbeth, and Banquo!
Banquo, and Macbeth, all bail?” Steevens. 3 We shall not spend a large expense of time,] To spend an expense, is a phrase with which no reader will be satisfied. We certainly owe it to the mistake of a transcriber, or the negligence of a printer. Perhaps extent was the poet's word. Be it recollected, however, that at the end of the first scene of the third Act of The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus of Ephesus says—" This jest shall cost me some expense. Steevens.
the first that ever Scotland In such an honour nam’d.] “Malcolm immediately after his coronation called a parlement at Forfair, in the which he rewarded them with lands and livings that had assisted him against Macbeth.-Manie of them that were before thanes, were at this time made earles, as Fife, Menteth, Atholl, Levenos,