Obrazy na stronie

dency, with certain direction ; and if so, it ought to be marked as a compound—“safe-toward,” 57. "

Noble Banquo,. Thou hast no less deserv'd, nor must be

known No less to have done so.The position here being affirmative, the negative conjunction is wrong; it ought to be “ and must,” &c. On all deservers.-From hence to Inverness.

The preposition here, alike impertinent to gram, mar, and burthensome to the metre, was properly omitted by Pope.


61. The illness should attend it.

“ Illness,” for criminal disposition.
" --Thou’dst have, great Glamis,
66 That which cries, Thus thou must do, if

thou have it ;
And that which rather thou dost fear to
I do,

Than wishest should be undone.The obscurity of this passage arises from the accumulative conjunction, which leads us to expect new matter; whereas what follows is only amplification : “ And that which rather thou dost fear to do,”

&c. Mr. Malone, I think, is mistaken, in supposing this to be a continuance of what was uttered by the object of ambition :-" Thou would'st have (says the Lady) the crown; which cries, thou must kill Duncan, if thou have it." This is an act which thou must do, if thou have the crown. “ And (adds she) what thou art not disinclinedto, but art rather fearful to perform, than unwilling to have executed.” Lady Macbeth avoids to name the murder in express terms; and most artfully tries to blend and confound the repulsive means with the alluring object, "

The golden round, Which fate and metaphisical aid doth seem " To have thee crown'd withal.

The poet's meaning is, I believe, what Mr. Malone has stated—(little differing, indeed, from what Doctor Warburton had before suggested)

" Which fate and supernatural agency seem to intend to have thee crowned with. But it is impossible for this sense to be supported by any construction of the words before us. Something has been omitted ; and, to make the passage intelligible, something must certainly be supplied. Doctor Johnson's expedient seems easy and satisfactory: 66

Doth seek
" To have thee crown'd withal."

Give him tending,
" He bring's great news. The raven him-

self is hoarse, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my buttlements.Doctor Johnson and Mr. Fuseli appear to have been refining this passage into perplexity. That the messenger was out of breath, was surely from no other cause than the speed he had made; and the words “ give him tending, he brings great news,” mean simply, let him be waited on; the business he has come upon is important. The messenger withdrawn, the lady reflects on his message, and on the circumstance of his hoarseness while he uttered it, , and deeming this prophetic of what she had been ruminating on, she poetically makes this messenger the fatal raven.

The raven himself is hoarse." The present reading is right; but it is observable that Sir William Davenant appears to have supposed that the true reading was that which was proposed by Warburton, for his alteration of the passage stands thus: “ There would be music in the raven's voice " Which would but croak the entrance of the

king “ Under my battlements.”

LORD CHEDWORTH. 65. That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan.'

Entrance is here a trisyllable and should be so set down, agreeably to the ancient orthography, éntérance.

69. This ignorant present.

The word “time” which was inserted by Mr. Pope after “ present," Mr. Steevens says is not required for the sense, and is too much for the metre; the sense, indeed, is not dependant on it, as“ present” might stand for “ present time,” but it is indispensible to the metre, unless we load the latter syllable of the noun “present," contrary to all usage, with the weight of the accent. “ This ignorant présent, and I feel now," Whereas “ignorant,” as it stands in the line, may be uttered in the time of a dissyllable, by means of the vowels o and a, which sufficiently coalesce, notwithstanding the intervention of a consonant. “ This ignorant present time, and I feel now.”

Vide Introduction, page 16, Note 5. 71. “To alter favour ever is to fear.

To change countenance is always a dangerous indication of what is passing in the mind; to fear for, to give cause for fear.

To alter favour,” &c.

I take the meaning to be “change of countenance is an indication of fear, always well understood; if you change your countenance thus, your fears will not fail to be known; since all men understand this symptom by which fear betrays itself."



73. “ Does approve."

Proves, gives evidence. 74. The love that follows us, sometime is our

trouble, Which still we thank as love. Herein I

teach you How ye shall bid God yield us for your

pains, " And thank us for your trouble.The first part of this sentence is indeed, as Mr.

Malone has remarked, clear enough, though I suspect that gentleman's endeavour to explain what follows will not be found satisfactory. With as little success, I think, has Mr. Henley tried to paraphrase the passage. Perhaps the failure of both those critics as well as of their predecessors and corrivals has been owing to their mistaking the application of the words "god yield us,” which I am persuaded do not refer to the king, but to the hostess, whom Duncan addresses to this effect. The expressions of affection and loyalty that attend a king are sometimes troublesome, yet in regard to the motive, we overlook the trouble, and acknowledge the love; and let this argument teach you to implore the heavenly grace; saying, in your orisons, “ God yield us for your pains,” (i. e. the pains you take) and to thank us (the king) for having given you so profitable an occasion for the exercise of your devotion. Mr. Henley conceives, I think erroneously, that “ the love which follows us, sometimes is our trouble,” implies the king's love, (not that of the hostess,) and the trouble of the hostess, (not that of the king.)


77. If it were done,&c.

This speech has often been censured for perplexity of thought and expression; the seeming embarrassment in the language I believe was carefully studied, and will be found admirably suited to the character of the speaker, and the nature of his reflections. Macbeth is distinguished by an active and ardent imagination, operating on the most exquisite sensibility; and,

« PoprzedniaDalej »