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My dearest love,
And when goes hence?
O, never Shall sun that morrow see! Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men May read strange matters;? – To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent
This night's great business into my despatch;
Macb. We will speak further.
Only look up clear;
with her own purposes, than to testify her joy at his 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, amidst the horrors of his guilt, still retains a character 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. STEEVENS. 2 Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men
May read, &c.] That is, thy looks are such as will awaken men's curiosity, excite their attention, and make room for suspicion.
s To alter favour crer is to fear:) Farour is-look, countenance.
The same. Before the Castle.
Enter Duncan, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, BANQUO,
Lenox, Macduff, Rosse, Angus, and Attendants.
Dun. This castle hath a pleasant seat;* the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses. Ban.
This guest of summer, The temple-haunting martlet, does approve, By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's breath, Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze, buttress, Nor coigne of vantage, but this bird hath
* 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 turns upon the beauty of its 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. It seems as if Shakspeare asked himself, What is a prince likely to say to his at. tendants 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 practice 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. Sur J. REYNOLDS. s c oigne of vantage,] Convenient corner.
His pendent bed, and procreant cradle: Where
they Most breed and haunt, I have observ’d, the air Is delicate.
Enter Lady Macbeth. Dun.
See, see! our honour'd hostess ! The love that follows us, sometime is our trouble, Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you, How you shall bid God yield us for your pains, And thank us for your trouble. Lady M.
All our service In every point twice done, and then done double, Were poor and single business, to contend Against those honours deep and broad, wherewith Your majesty loads our house: For those of old, And the late dignities heap'd up to them, We rest your hermits.? Dun.
Where's the thane of Cawdor? We cours'd him at the heels, and had a purpose
6 The love that follows us, sometime is our trouble, Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you, How you shall bid God yield us for your pains,
And thank us for your trouble.] This passage is undoubtedly obscure, and the following is the best explication of it I am able to offer:
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 or thanks can be deserved for kindnesses that fatigue, and honours that oppress. You are, in short, to make your acknowledgments for intended respect and love, however irksonie our present mode of expressing them may have proced.—To bid is here used in the Saxon sense to pray. STEEvens.
? We rest your hermits.] Hermits, for beadsmen.
To be his purveyor: but he rides well;
Your servants evers Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in
Give me your hand:
Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over the
stage, a Sewer,' and divers Servants with dishes and service. Then enter MACBETH. Macb. If it were done, when 'tis done, then
'twere well It were done quickly: If the assassination?
& Your servants ever, &c.] The sense 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.
9 Enter a Sewer,] A sewer was an officer so called from his placing the dishes upon the table. Asseour, French; from asseoir, to place.
i- If the assassination, &c.] Of this soliloquy the meaning is not very clear; I have never found the readers of Shakspeare agreeing about it. I understand it thus:
“ If that which I am about to do, when it is once done and executed, were done and ended without any following effects, it
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
would then be best to do it quickly: if the murder could terminate in itself, and restrain the regular course of consequences, if its success would secure its surcease, if, being once done successfully, without detection, it could fix a period to all vengeance and enquiry, so that this blow might be all that I have to do, and this anxiety all that I have to suffer; if this could be my condition, even here in this world, in this contracted period of temporal existence, on this narrow bank in the ocean of eternity, I would jump the life to come, I would venture upon the deed without care of any future state. But this is one of those cases in which judgment is pronounced and vengeance inflicted upon us here in our present life. We teach others to do as we have done, and arc punished by our own example. Johnson.
• Hath borne his faculties so meek,] Faculties, for office, exercise of power, &c.