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SCENE II. 222. “ When our actions do not,
“Our fears do make us traitors.” I believe the treachery alluded to by the lady is Macduff's desertion of his family. 224. “ Shall not be long but I'll be here again.”
This is not legitimate idiom, “ the time,” or “it,” is indispensible before “shall.”
“ Things at the worst will cease, or else
climb upward “ To what they were before.” This thought is introduced in K. Lear, with enlargment:
-To be worst, “ The lowest and most abject thing of fortune, “ Stands still in esperance; lives not in fear; “ The lamentable change is from the best; " The worst returns to laughter."
238. “Uproar the universal peace, confound."
“ Upróar,” This seems to be the proper accentuation of the verb. Milton gives the same accent to the noun:
" — Hell scarce holds
“ The vast uproar.” 241. “ Thy here-approach."
A similar compound occurs a little further on my here-remain.
245. “ The dead man's knell
“ Is there scarce ask'd, for who.” “Who” should be whom ; but the construction is harsh and unwarrantable: the knell is heard without the question being asked for whom? 246. " There ran a rumour
“ Of many worthy fellows that were out.** ise Abroad, in the field, against the usurper.
LORD CHEDWORTH. 249.“ He has no children.”
It is hardly necessary to enquire here whether Macbeth really had children or not the words are the passionate ejaculation of a father, and imply no more than, “he who could do this deed cannot have a father's feelings. Queen Margaret, in a similar strain of reproach, exclaims, at the murderers of her son Edward,
“ Ye have no children, butchers ! 251. “Cut short all intermission.” Just so does Hotspur invoke
“O let the hours be short.” 252. “Our lack is nothing but our leave."
We want nothing but the king's leave or permission to go: or may it not mean, nothing now remains but the ceremony of taking leave.
ACT V. SCENE II. 260. “ Minutely revolts.”
Revolts that are breaking out every minute.
This push “Will cheer me ever, or disscat me now." It is probable that in Shakspeare's time chair was pronounced as at present it is, vulgarly, like “ cheer;" a quibble is plainly observable between “ chairing ” (seating), and “ cheering" (encouraging); a similar licence, for a similar purpose, is used with reasons, and raisins, in K. Henry IV. “ If reasons were as plenty as blackberries.” 273. “ Pull’t off, I say.”
This is said to the person helping to arm Macbeth, who is impatient at some obstacle,
274. “Where there is advantage to be given, “ Both more and less have given him the
revolt.” It appears to me, that the true sense of this passage has been overlooked by all the commentators. “Where there is advantage to be given," I believe, implies, where there is evident inferiority; the castle is the tyrant's “ main hope;" because (says the speaker) from an army already inferior to ours, desertions, both great and small, are continually weakening him. That this is the meaning, I think is clear, from a passage in King Henry V. where the Dauphin, speaking of the weak condition of the English army, asks “ Shall we go send them dinners and fresh suits, “ And give their fasting horses provender, “ And after fight them?”
“Where there is advantage to be given.” Perhaps we should read, “to be taken.”
287. “ Either thou, Macbeth,
n unheeded.” This is a broken sentence: if the speaker's im. petuosity had allowed him to be explicit, he would have said-Either thou, Macbeth, shalt receive in thy body my sword, or else I will return it unbattered into the scabbard. 290."- It hath cow'd my better part of
man !!" Milton says
- Compassion quell'd “ His best of man.” Parad. Lost, 292. “ Had I as many sons as I have hairs.”
In the Pilgrim, by Beaumont and Fletcher, we find a similar expression:
“ Thou hast as many sins as hairs." And Othello exclaims
Had all his hairs been lives, " My great revenge had stomach for them all.”
KING JOH N.
ACT I. SCENE I.
344. “ Thy nephew, and right royal sovereign.”
Sovereign is not always a trisyllable. " Might by the sověreign pow'r you have of us.”
Hamlet, Act 2, 155. 345.“ Be thou as lightning in the eyes of
France; " For ere thou canst report I will be there,
“The thunder of my cannon shall be heard." This passage appears censurable, though not where Dr. Johnson has lodged his objection: the allusion is clearly to the swiftness of lightning, and the suddenness with which the thunder follows it. Yet, had Shakspeare ascribed, as he does elsewhere, the devastation to the thunder, and not to the lightning, he would need no justification, the poetical as well as the popular notion having always been such :
“ His face
Paradise Lost. “
And the thunder “ Hath spent his shafts."
Ibid. " So much the stronger prov'd “ He with his thunder.”