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strong opposition seems intended between the old and present times; and the former necessarily implying a condition of comparative purity, “ to purge” must have a signification different from the obvious one, and indicative of sophistication or political quackery; and so the sense will be Blood hath been shed ere now, ay, even in those early days, when legal institutions had not yet changed and perverted the simplicity of human society, and when, of course, a murder must have been more sinful and atrocious than 'at this period, when it is not the act itself that is at all strange or unusual, but these supernatural consequences of it.
“ Purg'd the gentle weal.” “ Gentle weal” I think wrong, and would read either“ general,” with Capell, or “ungentle.” “ Sylvestres homines sacer interpresque Deorum “ Cædibus & victu fædo deterruit Orpheus “ Dictus ob hoc lenire tigres.” C. LOFFT.
“ I'the olden time.” Perhaps " elden.” I believe there is no where to be found such a word as “ olden.” 187. “ Augurs, and understood relations.”
Sir William Davenant understood relations in the same sense that Dr. Warburton did; for his alteration is,
“ Augurs well read in languages of birds.”
I am not sure that we ought not to read, with the modern editors,
“ Augurs that understood.” &c. Sir William Daventon seems to have read so.
190. “ You lack the season of all natures, sleep.”
That, says Dr. Johnson, which gives the relish to all nature; but is it not rather, that which tempers, preserves, and nourishes nature? Mr. Malone's correspondent thinks the meaning is, “You stand in need of the time or season for sleep;” but the lady would hardly have advised her husband to go to bed while she was remarking that there was no time for doing so.
“My strange and self-abuse,” &c. “Strange,” here, does not imply extraordinary or wonderful, but only unpracticed, wanting habit or experience, as in Romeo and Juliet: "
Till strange love, grown bold, “ Thinks love, true acted, simple modesty." And in Cymbeline
“ I pray you, sir, desire my man's abode " Where I did leave' him ; he is strange and
198.“ Hath so exasperate the king, that he,” &c.
“Exasperate" has here a participial office hath made the king “exasperate," or exasperated.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
209. “I conjure you, by that which you profess.”
This accentuation of "conjure,” in the sense of solemn adjuration, as well as of the, practising magic, is, I think, invariable throughout these works; I find it also in Warner's Albion's England: “I pray thee, nay I conjure thee, to nourish as
thine owne.” But in A Mad World my Master's, by Middleton, the word occurs with the modern pronunciation:
“I do conjúre thee by that dreadful power.” And again : “Devil, I do conjúre thee once again.”
THE INCANTATIONS. It may be amusing to compare Shakspeare's charms with those of other authors, particularly with the witches of Ben Jonson and the Canidia of Horace: I think Shakspeare will lose nothing by the comparison. LORD CHEDWORTH. 212. “ Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.”
This is impatience at the three-fold utterance of his name: Macbeth ! Macbeth! Macbeth ! you need not repeat any thing to my eager attention, før had I a distinct organ of hearing for every word thou utterest, they should all be engaged in listening. 216. “ Thy hair,” “ Thou other gold-bound brow is like the
This, the old reading, is, I am persuaded, right; besides that “air” has much too modern an “ air” for Shakspeare, and was, I believe, never used, so early as his time, in that sense: it was the colour of the hair, rather than the gold-binding which Dr. Johnson supposes, that should naturally mark the visions, as the descendants, or stock of Banquo; thus, in Clarence's dream, the ghost of Prince Edward is described as “ The shadow of an angel with bright hair.” 218.“ Now I see 'tis true,
“For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles
upon me, “ And points at them for his.” But how came Banquo here in company with the Visions? He is no vision, but a real ghost; and I believe it was beyond the power of these wéírd women to disturb and conjure-up the noble Banquo at their pleasure; indeed, the producing him in this manner with the prospective figures of his progeny might almost justify the sarcasm, or mistake of Voltaire, in calling them all a legion of ghosts. It is the suggestion of my ingenious friend Mr. Strutt, that the ghost should by no means be exhibited with the visions as a part of the spectacle, but that he should appear much more forward upon the stage, and of his own motion, just as the last of the visions had gone by, confirming, by his looks and action, the verity of what had been shown.-This would abundantly heighten the dramatic effect in the representation, as well as render that justice to the poet's conception and genius, of which I am persuaded he has here been deprived, by the unskilfulness or inattention of Messrs. Heminge and Condell.
SCENE II. 099. " 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."
SCENE III. 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.