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ACT II. SCENE 1.4

The fame. Court within the Castle.

Enter BANQUO and FLEANCE, and a Servant, with a torch before them.

BAN. How goes the night, boy?

FLE. The moon is down; I have not heard the

clock.

BAN. And the goes down at twelve.

FLE.

I take't, 'tis later, fir.

BAN. Hold, take my fword:-There's husbandry in heaven,5

Their candles are all out."-Take thee that too.
A heavy fummons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not fleep: Merciful powers!

* Scene I.] The place is not marked in the old edition, nor is it easy to say where this encounter can be. It is not in the hall, as the editors have all fuppofed it, for Banquo fees the fky; it is not far from the bedchamber, as the converfation fhows: it must be in the inner court of the caftle, which Banquo might properly cross in his way to bed. JOHNSON.

5 There's husbandry in heaven,] Husbandry here means thrift, frugality. So, in Hamlet:

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”

MALONE.

• Their candles are all out.] The fame expreffion occurs in Romeo and Juliet:

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Night's candles are burnt out."

Again, in our author's 21ft Sonnet :

"As thofe gold candles fix'd in heaven's air."
MALONE.

See Vol. VII. p. 386, n. 5.

Restrain in me the curfed thoughts, that nature Gives way to in repose ! 7-Give me my sword ;

Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch.

Who's there?

MACB. A friend.

BAN. What, fir, not yet at reft? The king's
a-bed :

He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
Sent forth great largefs to your offices:

7 Merciful powers!

Reftrain in me the curfed thoughts, that nature

Gives way to in repofe!] It is apparent from what Banquo fays afterwards, that he had been folicited in a dream to attempt fomething in confequence of the prophecy of the Witches, that his waking fenfes were fhocked at; and Shakspeare has here moft exquifitely contrafted his character with that of Macbeth. Banquo is praying against being tempted to encourage thoughts of guilt even in his fleep; while Macbeth is hurrying into temptation, and revolving in his mind every scheme, however flagitious, that may affift him to complete his purpose. The one is unwilling to fleep, left the fame phantoms fhould affail his refolution again, while the other is depriving himself of reft through impatience to commit the murder.

The fame kind of invocation occurs in Cymbeline

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"From fairies, and the tempters of the night,

"Guard me!"

STEEVENS.

Sent forth great largess to your offices:] Thus the old copy, and rightly. Offices are the rooms appropriated to fervants and culinary purposes. Thus, in Timon:

"When all our offices have been oppress'd

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By riotous feeders."

Again, in King Richard II:

Unpeopled offices, untrodden ftones."

Duncan was pleased with his entertainment, and dispensed his bounty to those who had prepared it. All the modern editors have transferred this largess to the officers of Macbeth, who would more properly have been rewarded in the field, or at their return to court. STEEVENS.

This diamond he greets your wife withal,

By the name of moft kind hoftefs; and fhut up? In measureless content.

MACB.

Being unprepar'd,

Our will became the fervant to defect;
Which elfe fhould free have wrought.

I

BAN. All's well.2 I dreamt last night of the three weird fifters: To you they have fhow'd fome truth.

MACB.

I think not of them:

Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve, Would spend it in fome words upon that business, If you would grant the time.

9 - Shut up -] To Shut up, is to conclude. So, in The Spanish Tragedy:

"And heavens have shut up day to pleafure us.' Again, in Spenfer's Fairy Queen, B. IV. c. ix:

"And for to Shut up all in friendly love."

Again, in Reynolds's God's Revenge against Murder, 1621, fourth edit. p. 137: "though the parents have already shut up the contract." Again, in Stowe's Account of the Earl of Effex's Speech on the scaffold: "he hut up all with the Lord's prayer." STEEVENS.

Again, in Stowe's Annals, p. 833: " the kings majestic [K. James] hut up all with a pithy exhortation on both fides."

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Our will became the fervant to defect;

MALONE.

Which elfe fhould free have wrought.] This is obfcurely expreffed. The meaning feems to be :-Being unprepared, our entertainment was neceffarily defective, and we only had it in our power to show the King our willingness to ferve him. Had we received fufficient notice of his coming, our zeal should have been more clearly manifested by our acts.

Which refers, not to the laft antecedent, defect, but to will. MALONE.

2 All's well.] I fuppofe the poet originally. wrote (that the preceding verfe might be completed,)- Sir, all is well."

STEEVENS.

BAN.

At your kind'ft leifure.

MACB. If you fhall cleave to my confent,-when

'tis,3

3 If you shall cleave to my confent,-when 'tis,] Confent for will. So that the fenfe of the line is, If you fhall go into my measures when I have determined of them, or when the time comes that I want your affiftance. WARBURTON.

Macbeth expreffes his thought with affected obfcurity; he does not mention the royalty, though he apparently had it in his mind. If you fhall cleave to my confent, if you fhall concur with me when I determine to accept the crown, when 'tis, when that happens which the prediction promifes, it shall make honour for you. JOHNSON.

Such another expreffion occurs in Lord Surrey's tranflation of the second Book of Virgil's Æneid:

"And if thy will stick unto mine, I fhall

"In wedlocke fure knit, and make her his own." Confent has fometimes the power of the Latin concentus. Both the verb and fubftantive, decidedly bearing this fignification, occur in other plays of our author. Thus, in K. Henry VI. P. I. fc. i : fcourge the bad revolting stars

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"That have confented to king Henry's death ;.” i.e. acted in concert fo as to occafion it. Again, in King Henry IV. P. II. A& V. fc. i: -they (Juftice Shallow's fervants) flock together in confent, (i. e. in a party,) like fo many wild geefe." In both thefe inftances the words are spelt erroneoufly, and fhould be written concent and concented. See Spenfer, &c. as quoted in a note on the paffage already adduced from King Henry VI.

The meaning of Macbeth is then as follows:-If you shall cleave to my confent-i. e. if you shall stick, or adhere, to my party when'tis, i. e. at the time when such a party is formed, your conduct fhall produce honour for you.

That confent means participation, may be proved from a pasfage in the 50th Pfalm. I cite the tranflation 1568: "When thou fawedft a thiefe, thou dydft confent unto hym, and haft been partaker with the adulterers." In both instances the particeps criminis is spoken of.

Again, in our author's As you like it, the ufurping Duke fays, after the flight of Rofalind and Celia―

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fome villains of my court

"Are of confent and sufferance in this."

1

It fhall make honour for you.

BAN

Again, in King Henry V:

So I lofe none,

"We carry not a heart with us from hence,

"That grows not in a fair confent with ours.'

Macbeth mentally refers to the crown he expected to obtain in confequence of the murder he was about to commit. The commentator,, indeed, (who is acquainted with what precedes and follows,) comprehends all that paffes in the mind of the fpeaker; but Banquo is fill in ignorance of it. His reply is only that of a man who determines to combat every poffible temptation to do ill; and therefore expreffes a refolve that in fpite of future combinations of intereft, or ftruggles for power, he will attempt nothing that may obfcure his prefent honours, alarm his confcience, or corrupt his loyalty.

Macbeth could never mean, while yet the fuccefs of his attack on the life of Duncan was uncertain, to afford Banquo the most dark or diftant hint of his criminal defigns on the crown. Had he acted thus incautioufly, Banquo would naturally have become his accufer, as soon as the murder had been discovered.

STEEVENS.

That Banquo was apprehenfive of a defign upon the crown, is evident from his reply, which affords Macbeth fo little encouragement, that he drops the fubject. RITSON.

The word confent has always appeared to me unintelligible in the firft of thefe lines, and was, I am perfuaded, a mere error of the prefs. A paffage in The Tempeft leads me to think that our author wrote-content. Antonio is counselling Sebaftian to murder Gonzalo :

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that you bore

"The mind that I do; what, a fleep were there

"For your advancement! Do you understand me ?
"Seb. I think I do.

"Ant.

And how does your content

Thy thoughts I cleave to,"

"Tender your own good fortune?”

In the fame play we have

which differs but little from " I cleave to thy content.”

In The Comedy of Errors our author has again used this word in the fame fense:

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Sir, I commend you to your own content."

Again, in All's well that ends well:

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Madam, the care I have taken to even your content,

VOL. X.

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