Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

This title, by which Macbeth is saluted, is, in Scotland, always pronounced as a monosyllable, with the open sound of the first vowel, as in alms. We find the word eight times, in the course of the play, possessing a station in the metre. In four of these instances it seems to be a monosyllable, as besides the line just quoted“ By Sinel's death, I know I'm Thane of

Glames.”

Treasons capital “ Have overthrown him.”

- Glames ! and Thane of Cawdor !" “ And yet wou'd'st wrongly win; thou’dst have,

great Glames.” The other four lines, indeed, appear to exhibit the word as a dissyllable: Glāmēs or Glāmīs, a mistake somewhat similar to that by which, in Ireland, James and Charles are so extendedJāmēs, Chārlēs; and, possibly, Shakspeare would so have delivered it : but I cannot consider the poet's accidental ignorance of the sound or quantity of a foreign proper name, a sufficient reason for perpetuating an error so easily corrected ; as thus, after the Lady has read the letter :“ Glām's thou art (now,) and Cawdor, and

shalt be What thou art promised,” &c. “ To cry–Hold, hold, great Glām's! (my) wor

thy Cawdor.” “ Still it cried-Sleep no more, to all the house ! (For) Glāms hath murder'd sleep, and there

fore Cawdor “ Shall sleep no more,” &c.

“Thou hast it now; King Glāms and Cawdor ;

all." 41. That he seems rapt withal.

The meaning may be, which he seems rapt with ; but I rather think it is, insomuch that he seems rapt with what you have told him.This ellipsis occurs in other places ; as, again, in this play, Act 2: There's one did laugh in h's sleep, and one

cried murder, “That they did wake each other.”

And in K. Lear, Act 4: “ But I am bound upon a wheel of fire, “ That my own tears do scald like molten lead.” And we also meet with it in Milton :

--- The fields revive, “ The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds “ Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.”

Paradise Lost. 43. His wonders and his praises do contend,

Which should be thine, or his.In his mind there is a contest between praise and admiration; each is abundantly extended, and with such emulous equality, that judgment pauses, unable to pronounce where lies the advantage ; with you, on the score of applause, or with him in the sense of your merits. 45. In which addition, hail.

Addition is title, style of address, appropriate distinction; as in many other instances :-thus in Hamlet" Soil our addition," i. e. stain our cha

VOL. I.

racter or national distinction, Dane: it is probas bly, as a learned friend suggests, one of our poet's many law terms; the addition being a part of the name itself in indictments.

46. The greatest is behind.

This is equivocal: the succession of Macbeth to the crown was the last prediction of the weird women, and Macbeth would indulge the hope that it is to be fulfilled, as the others have been. I would point it thus :

- Glamis ! and Thane of Cawdor!" “The greatest-is--behind.” Do you not hope your children shall be

kings ?This is introduced with consumate art and an intimate knowledge of the human mind : the predictions, now verified in two instances, have taken entire possession of Macbeth's thoughts ; and his ambition is at once elevated and depressed, by the jarring ideas of the fruitless crownthe barren sceptre, that awaits him :-he would communicate with Banquo, but he perceives that Banquo, in this case, is not fit to be trusted; yet he cannot forego some attempt to sound, as at a distance, his rival's disposition : if he durst speak out, he would argue in this manner :-" Is it not probable, that they who so truly foretold my succession to the dignities of Glamis and Cawdor, will also fulfil the remainder of their promise, and place me on the throne ?” But, just at this moment, he is startled at the consequence; the elevation of Banquo's posterity, and his question begins where his meditation ended : the caution, too, with which he speaks at last is admirable: he forbears to touch on " the imperial theme,” as relating to himself, and only asks— “Do you not hope—your children-shall be

kings, “When those that gave—the Thane of Cawdőr

to me, “Promis'd no less to them ?”

Thus are we, with exquisite delicacy, by one sentence in the opening of the play, possessed of the perfect spirit of Macbeth's character.

That, trusted home.That prediction, obtaining full credence, believed to the utmost extent of it. 48.“— Why do I yield to that suggestion?

Suggestion, here, does not mean temptation, as Mr. Steevens would have it, but merely the mental image of the murder; for the crown is the temptation, and the idea or image of that was far from being horrid. 49. “ Present fears

Are less than horrible imaginings.Dangers distinctly and immediately before us, are less alarming than those remote, which present themselves through the mist of a terrified imagination:-fears for dangers, or cause of fears. A similar reflection is uttered by Satan, in Paradise Regained:

The expectation more Of fear torments me, than the feeling can.” “ — My single state of man.This may only imply my mere manhood, or

the frail, unsupported condition of human na.
ture; but I rather think it signifies, my “ entire
frame,” or constitution, my whole corporeal and
mental establishment; as in Ķ. John :
“ This kingdom, this confine of flesh and blood.”
And in Julius Cæsar :

"__ The state of man,
“ Like to a little kingdom, suffers, then,

“ The nature of an insurrection.' Milton says, in the eleventh book of Paradise Lost

“ Compassion quelld

“ His best of man.”51. Time and the hour runs thro' the roughest

day.

timnterpretar agree

The word “hour," as I apprehend, is not introduced to express a new or different idea from that which belongs to “ time,” but is rather an amplification or enlargement of the previous sense, and might be so associated by the particle " or," as well as “ and;" the verb, therefore, “ runs” is properly singular; and I fully agree with Mrs. Montague in the interpretation « Time and occasion;" i. e. time, and the fit time. It is not strictly pleonasm, as Mr. Steevens calls it, no more than is, in my opinion, the instance produced by him, for similar censure, from Othello :

“ The head and front of my offending”Which I take to mean—the capital accusation and full exhibition of the charge against me, or the substance and full display of my offence :

strictive

« PoprzedniaDalej »