Page images


No mind, that's honest, But in it shares some woe; though the main part Pertains to you alone. Macd.

If it be mine, Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it. Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for

ever, Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound, That ever yet they heard. Maco.

Humph! I guess at it.
Rosse. Your castle is surpriz'd; your wife, and

Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
To add the death of you.

Merciful heaven!What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows";

It must, I think, be allowed that, in both the foregoing instances, the Attorney has been guilty of a flat trespass on the Poet.

STEEVENS. 4 Were, on the QUARRY of these murder'd deer,] Quarry is a term used both in hunting and falconry. In both sports it means the game after it is killed. So, in Massinger's Guardian :

he strikes
“ The trembling bird, who even in death appears

“ Proud to be made his quarry.Again, in an ancient MS. entitled The Boke of Huntyng that is cleped Mayster of Game : While that the huntyng lesteth, should cartes go fro place to place to bringe the deer to the querre," &c. “ to kepe the querre, and to make ley it on a rowe, al the hedes o way, and every deeres feet to other's bak, and the hertes should be leyde on a rowe, and the rascaile by hemselfe in the same wise. And thei shuld kepe that no man come in the querre til the king come, saif the maister of the game.” pears, in short, that the game was arranged in a hollow square, within which none but privileged persons, such as had claims to the particular animals they had killed, were permitted to enter. Hence, perhaps, the origin of the term quarry. Steevens.

ne’er pull your hat upon your brows ;] The same thought occurs in the ancient ballad of Northumberland betrayed by Douglas :

It ap

[ocr errors]

Give sorrow words: the grief, that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.

Macd. My children too?

Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.

And I must be from thence ! My wife kill'd too? Rosse.

I have said. Mal.

Be comforted : Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge, To cure this deadly grief. Macd. He has no children?:-All my pretty

ones ?


He pulled his hatt down over his browe,

“ And in his heart he was full woe,” &c. i Again :

Jamey his hatt pullid over his brow," &c. Steevens.

the grief, that does not speak,] So, in Vittoria Corombona, 1612:

“ Those are the killing griefs, which dare not speak.

Curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent. Again, in Greene's old bl. I. novel entitled The Tragical? History of Faire Bellora :

“ Light sorrowes often speake,

“ When great the heart in silence breake." STEEVENS. In Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1595, we have the like sentiment :

Striving to tell his woes words would not come : “ For light cares speak, when mighty griefs are dombe."

Reed. So, in Venus and Adonis :

the heart hath treble wrong, “ When it is barr'd the aidance of the tongue.” MALONE. 7 He has no children.] It has been observed by an anonymous critick, that this is not said of Macbeth, who had children, but of Malcolm, who, having none, supposes a father can be so easily comforted. Johnson.

The meaning of this may be, either that Macduff could not, by retaliation, revenge the murder of his children, because Macbeth had none himself; or that if he had any, a father's feelings for a father would have prevented him from the deed. I know not froin what passage we are to infer that Macbeth had children aliye,

Did you say, all ?-0, hell-kite !--All ?
What; all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
At one fell swoop $ ?
Holinshed's Chronicle does not, as I remember, mention any.
The same thought occurs again in King John :

“ He talks to me that never had a son." Again, in King Henry VI. Part III. :

“ You have no children: butchers, if you had,
The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse."

Steevens. Surely the latter of the two interpretations offered by Mr. Steevens is the true one, supposing these words to relate to Macbeth.

The passage, however, quoted from King John, seems in favour of the supposition that these words relate to Malcolm.

That Macbeth had children at some period, appears from what Lady Macbeth says in the first Act: “ I have given suck,” &c.

l'am still more strongly confirmed in thinking these words relate to Malcolm, and not to Macbeth, because Macbeth had a son then alive, named Lulah, who after his father's death was proclaimed king by some of his friends, and slain at Strathbolgie, about four months after the battle of Dunsinane. See Fordun. Scoti-Chron. 1. v. c. viii.

Whether Shakspeare was apprized of this circumstance, cannot be now ascertained; but we cannot prove that he was unacquainted with it. Malone.

My copy of the Scotichronicon (Goodall's edit. vol. i. p. 252,) affords me no reason for supposing that Lulach was a son of Macbeth. The words of Fordun are:-“Subito namque post mortem Machabedæ convenerunt quidam ex ejus parentela sceleris hujusmodi fautores, suum consobrinum, nomine Lulach, ignomine fatuum, ad Sconam ducentes, et impositum sede regali constituunt regem,” &c. Nor does Wyntown, in his Cronykil, so much as hint that this mock-monarch was the immediate offspring of his predecessor :

Eftyre all this, that ilke yhere,
" That this Makbeth was browcht on bere,
" Lulawch fule ras, and he
As kyng regnyd monethis thre.
“ This Malcolme gert sla hym syne

“ Wyth-in the land of Straybolgyne." B. vi. 47, &c. It still therefore remains to be proved that “ Macbeth had a son then alive.” Besides, we have been already assured, by himself, on the authority of the Witches, p. 142, that his scepter would pass away into another family, no son of his succeeding."


Mal. Dispute it like a mano

I shall do so;
But I must also feel it as a man :
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.-Did heaven look

on, And would not take their part ? Sinful Macduff, They were all struck for thee! naught that I am, Not for their own demerits, but for mine, Fell slaughter on their souls : Heaven rest them


Mal. Be this the whetstone of your sword : let


Upon comparing Mr. Steevens's quotation from Fordun, with the more correct edition by Hearne, I am satisfied that Mr. Malone was inaccurate in producing that historian as an authority for Lulah, Lulach, Luthlac, or Lugtag, (for by all these names is he mentioned,) being the son of Macbeth. By a slip of memory, or an incorrect memorandum, he was probably led to confound Fordun with Buchanan, whose words are these :- “ Hæc dum Forfaræ geruntur, qui supererant ex factione Macbethi, filium ejus Luthlacum (cui ex ingenio cognomen inditum erat Fatuo) Sconam ductum regem appellant.” Fordun does not express this, indeed, but he does not contradict it. Suum consobrinum may mean, their relation, i. e. of the same clan. Mr. Steevens's last argument might be turned the other way. That his son should not succeed him, would more afflict a man who had a son than one who was childless. Boswell.

8 At one fell swoop?] Swoop is the descent of a bird of prey on his quarry. So, in The White Devil, 1612 :

“ That she may take away all at one swoop." Again, in The Beggar's Bush, by Beaumont and Fletcher:

no star prosperous !

** All at a swoop.It is frequently, however, used by Drayton, in his Polyolbion, to express the swift descent of rivers.' Steevens.

9 Dispute it like a man.] i, e contend with your present sorrow like a man. So, in Twelfth Night, Act IV. Sc. III. :

“ For though my soul disputes well with my sense,” &c. Again, in Romeo and Juliet :

“Let me dispute with thee of thy estate." Steevens.

Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, en

rage it.

Macb. O, I could play the woman with mine

eyes, And braggart with my tongue !--But, gentle

Cut short all intermission'; front to front,
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself;
Within my sword's length set him ; if he 'scape,
Heaven forgive him too ? !

This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready ;
Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments 4. Receive what cheer

you may; The night is long, that never finds the day.



I Cut short all iNTERMISSION;] i. e. all pause, all intervening time. So, in King Lear:

** Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission.” Steevens. 1 — if he 'scape,

Heaven forgive him too!] That is, “if he escape my vengeance, let him escape that of Heaven also.'

An expression nearly similar occurs in The Chances, where Petruchio, speaking of the Duke, says:

He scap'd me yesternight; which if he dare Again adventure for, heaven pardon him!

“ I shall, with all my heart." M. Mason. The meaning, I believe, is, — If heaven be so unjust as to let him escape my vengeance, I am content that it should proceed still further in its injustice, and to impunity in this world add forgiveness hereafter.' Malone.

3 This tune –] The folio reads—This time. Tune is Rowe's emendation. Steevens.

The emendation is supported by a former passage in this play, where the word is used in a similar manner :

Macb. Went it not so ?

Banq. To the self-same tune and words.” Malone. 4 Put on their instruments.] i. e. encourage, thrust forward us

« PreviousContinue »