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Our royal master's murder'd!
Too cruel, any where.-Dear Duff, I pr’ythee, contradict thyself, · And say, it is not so.
Re-enter MACBETH and Lenox. ano Rilie, Macb. Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had liv'd a blessed time; for, from this instant, There's nothing serious in mortality: All is but toys: renown, and grace, is dead; The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of.
Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAIN.
You are, and do not know it:
O, by whom?
Macb. O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
Wherefore did you so? Macb. Who can be wise, amaz’d, temperate, and
Ilis silver skin lac'd with his golden blood 12;
Help me hence, ho!
Why do we hold our tongues, That most may claim this argument for ours?
Don. What should be spoken,
Nor our strong sorrow
Look to the lady:
[LADY MACBETH is carried out. And when we have our naked frailties hid 14, That suffer in exposure, let us meet, And question this most bloody piece of work, To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us: In the great hand of God I stand; and, thence,
12 "His ailver skin lac'd with his golden blood.' To gild with blood is a very common phrase in old playe. See also King John, Actii. Se. 2.-Johnson says, 'it is not improbable that Shakspeare put these forced and unnatural metaphors into the mouth of Macbeth, as a mark of artifice and dissimulation, to show the difference between the studied language of hypocrisy and the natural outcries of sudden passion. This whole speech, 80 considered, is a remarkable instance of judgment, as it consists of antithesis only."
13 ·Breech'd with gore,' covered with blood to their hilts.
14 i. e. when we have clothed our half drest bodies, which may take cold from being exposed to the air. It is possible, as Steevens remarks, that, in such a cloud of words, the meaning might escape the reader. The Porter had already said that this place is too cold for hell,' meaning the court-yard of the castle in which Banquo and the rest now are. So in limon of Athens :
--Call the creatures
Against the undivulg’d pretence15 I fight
And so do I.
[Exeunt all but MAL. and Don. Mal. What will you do? Let's not consort with
them: To show an unfelt sorrow, is an office Which the false man does easy: I'll to England.
Don. To Ireland, I; our separated fortune Shall keep us both the safer: where we are, There's daggers in men's smiles: the near in blood, The nearer bloody 16. Mal.
This murderous shaft that's shot, Hath not yet lighted 17; and our safest way Is, to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse; And let us not be dainty of leave-taking, But shift away: There's warrant in that theft Which steals itself, when there's no mercy left.
15 Pretence is here put for design or intention. It is so used again in The Winter's Tale :- The pretence whereof being by circumstance partly laid open.' Thus again in this tragedy:
"What good could they pretend ;' i. e. intend to themselves. Banquo's meaning is-'in our present state of doubt and uncertainty about this murder, I have nothing to do but to put myself under the direction of God; and, relying on his support, I here declare myself an eternal enemy to this treason, and to all its further designs that have not yet come to light.
---the near in blood,
The nearer bloody.' Meaning that he suspects Macbeth to be the murderer ; for he was the nearest in blood to the two princes, being the cousin german of Duncan.
17 The allusion of the unlighted shaft appears to be the death of the king only could neither insure the crown to Macbeth, nor accomplish any other purpose, while his song were yet living, who had therefore just reason to apprehend that they should be removed by the same means. Malcolm therefore means to say, "The shaft has not yet done all its intended mischief; I and my brother are yet to be destroyed before it will light on the ground and do no more harm.'
SCENE IV. Without the Castle.
Enter Rosse and an Old Man. Old M. Threescore and ten I can remember well: Within the volume of which time, I have seen Hours dreadful, and things strange; but this sore
night Hath trified former knowings. Rosse.
Ah, good father, Thou see'st, the heavens, as troubled with man's act, Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, 'tis day, And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp: Is it night's predominance, or the day's shame, That darkness does the face of earth entomb, When living light should kiss it 1 ? Old M.
"Tis unnatural, Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last, A falcon, tow'ring in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at, and kill'd. Rosse. And Duncan's horses (a thing most strange
and certain), Beauteous and swift, the niinions of their race, Turn’d wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make War with mankind. Old M.
"Tis said, they ate each other. Rosse. They did so; to the amazement of mine eyes, That look'd upon't. Here comes the good Mac
Winds a certed with continanie partner inpeared heisshed, 'for the
1 'After the murder of King Duffe,' says Holinshed, 'for the space of six months togither there appeared no sunne by daye, nor moone by night, in anie part of the realme; but still the sky was covered with continual clouds; and sometiines such outrageous winds arose, with lightenings and teinpests, that the people were in great fear of present destruction. It is evident that Shakspeare had this passage in his thoughts. Most of the portente here mentioned are related by Holinshed, as accompanying King Duffe's death : 'there was a sparhawk strangled by an owl,' and horses of singular beauty and swiftness did eat their own flesh.'
2 A falcon tow'ring in her pride of place,' a technical phrase in falconry for soaring to the highest pitch. Faulcon haultain was the French term for a towering or high flying hawk.
Enter MACDUFF. How goes the world, sir, now? Macd.
Why, see you not? Rosse. Is't known who did this more than bloody
deed? Macd. Those that Macbeth hath slain. Rosse.
Alas, the day! What good could they pretend 3 ? Macd.
They were suborn’d: Malcolm, and Donalbain, the king's two sons, Are stol'n away and fled; which puts upon them Suspicion of the deed. Rosse.
'Gainst nature still:
Where is Duncan's body?
Will you to Scone?
Well, I will thither. Macd. Well, may you see things well done
there;-adieu !-Lest our old robes, sit easier than our new! Rosse. Father, farewell. Old M. God's benison go with you: and with those That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!
3 Pretend, in the sense of the Latin praetendo, to design, or 'lay for a thing before it come,' as the old dictionaries explain it.
4 Macbeth, by his birth, stood next in succession to the crown after the song of Duncan. King Malcolm, Duncan's predecessor, had two daughters, the eldest of whom was the mother of Duncan, the younger the mother of Macbeth -Holinshed.
Ś Colme-kili is the famous Iona, one of the western isles men. tioned by Holinshed as the burialplace of many ancient kings of Scotland. Colme-kill means the cell or chapel of St. Columbo. See note 19, p. 201.