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But be the serpent under it. He that's coming
MACB. We will speak further.
LADY M. Only look up clear; -
SCENE WI.—The same. Before the Castle.
Enter DUNCAN, MALcol M, DoNALBAIN, BANQUo, LENOx, MACDUFF, RossE, ANGUs, and Attendants.
DUN. This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
BAN. This guest of summer,
Enter LADY MACBETH.
DUN. See, see our honour'd hostess'
LADY M. All our service
* We have restored the old familiar expression God-eyld, as suiting better with the playfulness of Duncan's speech than the God yield us of the modern text. Malone and Steevens each give a very long paraphrase of the passage. There is great refinement in the sentiment, but the meaning is tolerably clear. The love which follows us is sometimes troublesome; so we give you trouble, but look you only at the love we bear to you, and so bless us and thank us.
TRAGEDIES.-WOL. I. N n
Your majesty loads our house: For those of old,
DUN. Where 's the thane of Cawdor?
LADY M. Your servants ever
DUN. Give me your hand:
SCENE VII.-The same. A Room in the Castle.
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 't is done, then 't were well
* Hermits—beadsmen—bound to pray for a benefactor. * Shoal—in the original, schoole. Theobald corrected the word to shoal, “by which," says Steevens, “our author means the shallow ford of life.” We shall not disturb the received reading, which is unquestionably the safest. * The entire passage, from the beginning of the speech to this point, is obscure. Without venturing to alter the common punctuation, we would recommend an attentive consideration of the reading of the first line, as given by Mr. Macready; and then carry on the soliloquy, as suggested by that alteration:— “If it were done when 't is done, then 't were well. It were done quickly, if the assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Enter LADY MACBETH.
How now, what news 2
With his surcease, success, that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all. Here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We'd jump the life to come, but in these cases We still have judgment here, that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague the inventor: This even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips.” The meaning of the entire passage we interpret thus: If all were concluded when this is done, then it were well. It would be done quickly if the assassination could shut up its consequences, and ensure success in Duncan's ceasing to exist, so that this blow only might be the beginning and the end of the deed. But here, standing here upon this shallow resting-place of time, we would hazard the consequences in the life to come, except that in these cases we still have here a judgment, a decree, a law, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor of them, so that this even-handed judgment commends the ingredients of the poisoned chalice to our own lips. * It has been proposed (by whom we do not recollect) to read, instead of itself, its sell, its saddle. However clever may be the notion, we can scarcely admit the necessity for the change of the original. A person (and vaulting ambition is personified) might be said to overleap himself, as well as overbalance himself, or overcharge himself, or overlabour himself, or overmeasure himself, or overreach himself. * After other Hanmer introduced side. It appears to us that the sentence is broken by the entrance of Lady Macbeth; that it is not complete in itself; and would not have been completed with side.
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
LADY M. - Was the hope drunk,
MACB. Prithee, peace:
LADY M. What beast was 't then,
* And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn,
As you have done to this.
MACB. If we should fail,—
LADY M. We fail".
* We find the adage in Heywood’s ‘Proverbs, 1566:—“The cat would eat fish and would not wet her feet.” * We fail. This is generally pointed We fail!—The quiet self-possession of the punctuation we have adopted appears preferable to the original “We fail?" * Convince—overpower. * Limbeck—alembic. Shakspere understood the construction of a still, in this happy comparison of the brain to that part of a vessel through which a distilled liquor passes.
Their drenched natures lie, as in a death,
MACB. Bring forth men-children only,
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
LADY M. Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
MACB. I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.