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the present reading, and therefore it cannot be doubted that Shakspere wrote differently, perhaps thus: That no compuwäious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep pace between The effect and it. To keep pace &ctween, may signify to pass between, to intervene. Pace is on many occasions a favourite of Shakspere's. This phrase is indeed not usual in this sense; but was it not its novelty that gave occasion to the present corruption ? Johnso N. Dr. Johnson's emendation, to say the least, is plausible. She requires that all access and passage be stopped against remorse, lest the visitings of nature, by their frequent recurrence, should induce her to relent, and relinquish her purpose. Keep pace is an expression of Shakspere in the Merry Wives of Windsor.—“His words and actions no more
Her purpose was to be effected by action. To keep peace between the offect and purpose, therefore means, to delay the execution of her purpose. For as long as there should be a peace between the effect and purpose, or, in other words, till hostilities were conmenced, till some action should be performed, her purpose could not be carried into execution. There is no need of alteration.
A similar expression is found in a book which our author
author is known to have read, The Tragicall Historie of Romeus and 7uliet, 1562 : “In absence of her knight, the lady no way could “Keep truce between her griefs and her, tho' ne'er so fayne she would.” The old reading (peace), I have since observed, is confirmed by the following passage in King 7ohn, in which a corresponding imagery may be traced: “Nay, in the body of this fleshly land, “This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath, “Hostility and civil tumult reigns “Between my conscience and my cousin's death.” Sir W. D'Avenant's strange alteration of this play sometimes affords a reasonably good comment on it. Thus, in the present instance: ge —Make thick “My blood, and stop all passage to remorse, “That no relapses into mercy may “Shake my design, nor make it fall before “'Tis ripen'd to effoot.” MA Lo N e. 369. Take my milk for gall, J Take away my milk, and put gall into the place. Johnson. 371. You wait on nature's mischief!] Nature's mischief is mischief done to nature, violation of nature's order committed by wickedness. Jo HN so N. 371. —Come, thick night, &c.] A similar invocation is found in A Warning for faire Women, 1599, a tragedy which was certainly prior to Macbeth : “Oh sable night, sit on the eye of heaven, “That it discern not this black deed of darkness!
“My guilty soul, burnt with lust's hateful fire,
A pall is a robe of state. So, in the ancient black letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date: “The knyghtes were clothed in pall.” Again, in Milton's Penseroso : “Sometime let gorgeous tragedy “In scepter'd pall come sweeping by.” Dr. Warburton seems to mean the covering which is thrown over the dead. STE Even s. 373. That my keen knife | The word knife, which at present has a familiar-meaning, was anciently used to express a sword or dagger. So, in the old black letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date : . - “Through Goddes myght, and his Āmyse, “There the gyaunte lost his lyfe.” STE Evens. 374. the blanket of the dark, Drayton, in the 26th song of his Polyolbion, has an expression resembling this: “Thick vapours that, like ruggs, still hang the troubled air.” STE Ev ENs. 375. To cry, Hold, hold ! | On this passage there is a long criticism in the Rambler. Johnso N. In this criticism the epithet dun is objećted to as a mean one. Milton, however, appears to have been of a different opinion, and has represented Satan as flying,
in the dun air sublime.” STE Eve Ns. To cry, Hold, hold! —] The thought is taken from the old military laws which inflicted capital punisment upon “whosoever shall strike stroke at his adversary, either in the heat or otherwise, if a third do cry hold, to the intent to part them ; except that they did fight a combat in a place inclosed : and then no man shall be so hardy as to bid hold, but the general.” P. 264. of Mr. Bellay’s Instruttions for the Wars, translated in 1589. To Llet. Mr. Tollet's note will likewise illustrate the last line
in Macbeth's concluding speech: “And damn'd be him who first cries, Hold, enough 1” STE Ev ENs. 375. Great Glamis I worthy Cawdor /) Shakspere has supported the character of lady Macbeth by repeated efforts, and never omits any oppertunity of adding a trait of ferocity, or a mark of the want of human feelings, to this monster of his own creation. The softer passions are more obliterated in her than in her husband, in proportion as her ambition is greater. She meets him here on his arrival from an expedition of danger, with such a salutation as would have become one of his friends or vassals; a salutation apparently fitted rather to raise his thoughts to a level with her own purposes, than to testify her joy at his - return, return, or manifest an attachment to his person: nor does any sentiment expressive of love or softness fall from her throughout the play. While Macbeth himself, in the midst of the horrors of his guilt, still retains a chara&ter less fiend-like than that of his queen, talks to her with a degree of tenderness, and pours his complaints and fears into her bosom, accompanied with terms of endearment. STE Ev ENs. 378. This ignorant present time, | Ignorant has here the signification of unknowing ; that is, I feel by anticipation those future hours, of which, according to the process of nature, the present time would be ignorant. Joh N son. So, in Cymbeline:
his shipping “Poor ignorant baubles,” &c. Steev ENs. 378. —present time, j The word time is wanting in the old copy. It was supplied by Mr. Pope, and perhaps without necessity, as our author omits it in the first scene of The Tempest: “If you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more.” The sense does not require the word time, and it is too much for the measure. Again, in Coriolanus: “And that you not delay the present; but,” &c. Again, in 1 Corinthians, ch. xv. v. 6: “ —of whom the greater part remain unto this present.” Ste E v ENs. 386. Tour face, my thane, is as a book, where men May read, &c.]