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Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed, The air is delicate."
Lady Doint thingle buse and For tho
Enter Lady MACBETH. Dun.
See, see! our honored hostess !
All our service,
Where's the thane of Cawdor ?
1 “This short dialogue,” says sir Joshua Reynolds, “has always appeared to me a striking instance of what in painting is termed repose. The conversation very naturally turns upon the beauty of the castle's situation, and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlets' 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.”
2 The explanation by Steevens of this obscure passage seems the best which has been offered :—“ Marks of respect importunately shown are sometimes troublesome, though we are still bound to be grateful for them as indications of sincere attachment. If you pray for us on account of the trouble we create in your house, and thank us for the molestations we bring with us, it must be on such a principle. Herein I teach you, that the inconvenience you suffer is the result of our affection; and that you are therefore to pray for us, or thank us only as far as prayers and thanks can be deserved for kindnesses that fatigue, and honors that oppress. You are, in short, to make your acknowledgments for intended respect and love, however irksome our present mode of expressing them may have proved.”— To bid is here used in the Saxon sense of to pray. God yield us, is God reward us.
3 i. e. we, as hermits, or beadsmen, shall ever pray for you.
Your servants ever
Give me your hand :
in the Castle.
The same. A Room
Enter, and pass over the stage, a Sewer,” and divers
Servants with dishes and service. Then enter
I In compt, subject to accompt.
2 A sewer, an officer so called from his placing the dishes on the table. Asseour (French), from asseoir, to place.
3 This passage has been variously explained. The following is probably its meaning :-'Twere well it were done quickly, if, when 'tis done, it were done (or at an end); and that no sinister consequences would ensue. If the assassination, at the same time that it puts an end to Duncan's life, could make success certain, and that I might enjoy the crown unmolested, we'd jump the life to come, i. e. hazard or run the risk of what may happen in a future state. To trammel up was to confine or tie up. Surcease is cessation. “To surcease or to cease from doing something; supersedeo (Lat.); cesser (Fr.)”—Baret.
4 To commend, 'was anciently used in the sense of the Latin commendo, to commit, to address, to direct, to recommend.
VOL. III. 25
To our own lips. He's here in double trust:
Enter LADY MACBETH.
left the chamber ?
Know you not, he has ? Macb. We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late ; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon. Lady M.
Was the hope drunk, Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since ? And wakes it now to look so green and pale At what it did so freely ? From this time, Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor, As thou art in desire ? Wouldst thou have that
1 “The sightless couriers of the air,” are what the Poet elsewhere calls the viewless winds.
2 Which o'erleaps itself. It has been proposed to read, which o'erleaps its selle,” i. e. saddle (Fr.).
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
What beast was't, then,
If we should fail, Lady M.
We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep, (Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey Soundly invite him,) his two chamberlains 4 Will I with wine and wassel" so convince, That memory, the warder of the brain,
1 The adage of the cat is among Heywood's Proverbs, 1566:44 The cat would eate fishe, and would not wet her feete.”
2 « Who dares do more is none." The old copy, instead of " do more,” reads “no more: " the emendation is Rowe's.
3 Adhere in the same sense as cohere.
4 The circumstance relative to Macbeth's slaughter of Duncan's chamberlains is copied from Holinshed's account of king Duffe's murder by Donwald.
5 Wassel is thus explained by Bullokar in his Expositor, 1616: “ Wassaile, a term usual heretofore for quaffing and carowsing; but more especially signifying a merry cup (ritually composed, deckt and fill'd with country liquor) passing about amongst neighbours, meeting and entertaining one another on the vigil or eve of the new year, and commonly called the wassail bol.”
6 To convince is to overcome.
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
Bring forth men children only!
Who dares receive it other, As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar Upon his death ? Macb.
I am settled, and bend up Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show; False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
SCENE I. The same. Court within the Castle.
Enter BANQUO and FLEANCE, and a Servant, with a
torch before them. Ban. How goes the night, boy? Fle. The moon is down; I have not heard the
clock. Ban. And she goes down at twelve.
1 A limbeck is a vessel through which distilled liquors pass into the recipient. So shall the receipt (i. e. receptacle) of reason be like this empty vessel.
· Quell is murder; from the Saxon quellan, to kill.