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So, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609: - r “Her face the book of praises, where is read “Nothing but curious pleasures.” STEE v ENs. 387. —to beguile the time, Look like the time ; j The same expression occurs in the 8th book of Daniel’s Civil Wars: “He draws a traverse 'twixt his grievances: “Looks like the time: his eye made not report “Of what he felt within ; nor was he less “Than usually he was in every part ; “Wore a clear face upon a cloudy heart.” It is almost needless to observe, that the Poem of Daniel was published many years before Macbeth could have been written. - Sir E E v EN s. The expression is also found in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Beaumont and Fletcher: & 4 Let's go off, “And bear us like the time.” The 7th and 8th books of Daniel's Civil Wars were not published till the year 1609 [see the Epistle Dedicatorie to that edition], so that, if either poet copied the other, Daniel must have been indebted to Shakspere; for there can be little doubt that Ma, oth had appeared before that year. MA LONE. 999. This castle hath a pleasant seat..] This short dialogue between Duncan and Banquo, whilst they are approaching the gates of Macbeth's castle, has always appeared to me a striking instance of what in painting is termed repose. Their conversation very naturally
naturally turns upon the beauty of its situation, and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlet's nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks, that where those birds most breed and haunt, the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so necessary to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shakspere asked himself, What is a prince likely to say to his attendants on such an occasion Whereas the modern writers seem, on the contrary, to be always searching for new thoughts, such as would never occur to men in the situation which is represented.—This also is frequently the pračtice of Homer, who, from the midst of battles and horrors, relieves and refreshes the mind of the reader, by introducing some quiet rural image, or picture of familiar domestick life. - Sir J. REYNoLDs. 401. Unto our gentle senses.] Senses are nothing more than each man's sense. Gentle sense is very elegant, as it means placid, calin, composed, and intimates the
peaceable delight of a fine day, Joh N son. 493. martlet–J This bird is in the old edition called barlet. . . Joh N so N.
The correction is supported by the following passage in the Merchant of Venice: 4 & like the martlet “Builds in the weather on the outward wall.” STE Eve N s.
| Convenient corner.
most breed,——] The folio—must breed.
411. The love that follows, sometime is our trouble,
How you shall bid God yield us for your pains, And thank us for your trouble.] The attention that is paid us (says Duncan, on seeing Lady Macbeth come to meet him) sometimes gives us pain, when we reflećt that we give trouble to others; yet still we cannot but be pleased with such attentions, because they are a proof of affection. So far is clear. Of the following words I confess I have no very distinčt conception. Perhaps the meaning is—By being the .occasion of so much trouble, 1 furnish you with a motive to pray to heaven to reward me for the pain I give you [inasmuch as the having such an opportunity of shewing your loyalty and attachment, may hereafter prove beneficial to you;] and herein also I afford you a motive to thank me for the trouble 1 give you [because, by shewing me so much attention (however painful it may be to me to be the cause of it), you have an opportunity of displaying an amiable character; and of ingratiating yourself with your sovereign; which finally may bring you both honour and profit]. MA LoN E. I believe the meaning is—Though my design by this visit was to testify my regard, yet it may be the occasion to you of some inconvenience; but this, however, you will overlook
406. —coigne of vantage,
overlook for the sake of the motive, and, notwithstanding the trouble, acknowledge the love. In this resped I will give you reason to pray that God would reward me for your pains on my account, and also to thank me for the trouble I occasion you, by the abundant recompence you shall Aereafter receive.—This interpretation is not only confirmed by Lady Macbeth's reply, but further by the king's addition : “—Give me your hand : “Conduct me to mine host; we love him highly, “And shall continue our graces towards him.” Bid is here used in the Saxon sense, to pray. The authorities cited by Mr. Steevens will support the explanation of God yield us. HEN LEY. 4 13. How you should bid God-yeld us J To bid any one God-yeld him, i. e. God-yield him, was the same as God reward him. WAR BURTo N. I believe yield, or, as it is in the folio of 1623, eyld, is a corrupted contraction of shield. The wish implores not reward, but protection. Jo HNs on. I rather believe it to be a corruption of God-yield, i.e. reward. In Antony and Cleopatra we meet with it at length : “And the gods yield you for't.” Again, in the interlude of Jacob and Esau, 1568: “God yelde you, Esau, with all my stomach Again, in the old metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warkwick, black letter, no date: “Syr, qouth Guy, God yield it you, “Of this great gift you give me now.” E i j God
God shield, means God forbid, and could never be used as a form of returning thanks. So, in Chaucer's Milleres Tale: “God shilde that he died sodenly.” v. 3427; late edition. STE Eve Ns. 421. We rest your hermits.] Hermits, for beadsmen. WAR BUR To N. 425. his great love, sharp as his spur, J So, in Twelfth Night, act iii. sc. 3. & & my desire, “More sharp than filed steel, did spur me forth.” STE Ev ENs. 428. 1%ur servants ever, &c.] The metaphor of this speech is taken from the Steward's comptinghouse or audit-room. In compt, means subjećt to account. The sense of the whole is—We, and all who belong to us, look upon our lives and fortunes not as our own properties, but as things we have received merely for your use, and for which we must be accountable whenever you please to call us to our audit; when, like faithful stewards, we shall be ready to answer your summons, by returning you what is your own. ST E E v ENS. 436. Enter a sewer J I have restored this stage direction from the old copy. The office of a sewer was to place the dishes in order at a feast. His chief mark of distinčtion was a towel round his arm. So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman; “–clap me a clean towel about you, like a sewer.” Again: “See, Sir Amorous has his towel on already. [He enters like a sewer.”] STEE v ENS.