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So brain fickly of things; go, get fome water,
Mach. I'll go no more;
I am afraid to think what I have done?
Look on't again, I dare not.
Lady. Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers; the ileeping and the dead
Macb. Whence is that knocking ? How is't with me, when every noise appals me? * What hands are here? hah! they pluck out mine
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
*What, &c.] Shakespear had this from his brother tragedians. So Hercules in Seneca,
Mæotis in me gelida transfundat mare
Hercul. Fur. Ac. 5.
'Tis faid of Oedipus, in Sophocles, that neither the waters of the Danube or Phafis can wash him and his house clean.
Οίμαι γαρ Στανίσρον ετε φασιν αν
In allufion to their expiatory wafhings in the fea or rivers. Various were the ceremonies of washing among the Jews as well as Gentiles; particularly that of the hands. Hence came the proverb of doing things with unwashed bands; i. e. impudently without any regard to decency and religion. Henry IV. A&t 3. Falf. Rob me the Exchequer the first thing thou doft, and do it with unwashed bands too. UPTON,
Clean from my hand? no, this my hand will rather
Lady. My hands are of your colour; but I fhame
How easy is it then? your conftancy
Hath left you unattended--hark, more knocking![Knock.
So poorly in your thoughts.
Mach. To know my deed, 'twere beft not know myself.
Wake, Duncan, with this knocking: 'would, thou couldft!
Lady. How now, my lord, why do you keep alone?
Mac. We have fcotch'd (12) the fnake, not kill'd it
(12) Scotch'd.] This reading is Mr Theobald's, the old one is fcorch'd, which Mr. Upton, wou'd attempt to defend by telling us, "the allufion is to the ftory of the Hydra. We have fcorch'd the snake, we have indeed Hercules like, cut off one of its heads, and Scorch'd it, as it were, as he did, affifted by Jolaus, hindering that one head, thus fcorch'd from fprouting again; but fuch a wound will clofe and cure; our hydra-fnake has other heads ftill, which to me are as dangerous as Duncan's, particularly that of Banquo and Fleance. &c. The allufion is learned and elegant. Crit. Obfervat. p. 154. But learned and elegant as it is, I am apt to imagine Mr. Theobald's the true word: the fentence feems to confirm that fuppofition; however Mr. Upton's remark is worth obferving.
She'll clofe and be herself; whilst our poor malice
In reftless ecftafy.. -Duncan is in his grave;
O full of fcorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Lady. What's to be done?
Macb. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, 'Till thou applaud the deed: come, † feeling night, Skarf up the tender eye of pitiful day, And with thy bloody and invifible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond, Which keeps me pale! light thickens, and the crow Makes wing to th' rooky woodz
*Shard-born, i. e. fays Warburton, the Beetle hatch'd in clefts of wood. Upton propofes fharn-born, i. e. the beetle born from dung. See remarks on three plays of Ben Johnson, p. 109.
Seeling, i. e. blinding, a term in falconry.
Good things of day begin to droop and drowze, Whiles night's black agents to their prey do rowze. SCENE V. Scene changes to a Room of State, Banquet prepar'd. Macbeth, Lady, Roffe, Lenox. Lords and Attendants.
Lady. My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer; the feaft is fold,
'Tis given, with welcome. To feed, were beft at home; From thence, the fauce to meat is ceremony; Meeting were bare without it.
Now good digeftion wait on appetite,
And health on both!
[The ghost of Banquo rifes, and fits in Macbeth's place. Mach. Sweet remembrancer!
Len. May't please your highness sit ?
Mach. Here had we now our country's honour roof'd, Were the grac'd person of our Banquo prefent,---(Whom may I rather challenge for unkindness, Than pity for mifchance!)
Roffe. His abfence, Sir,
Len. Here's a place referv'd, Sir.
Macb. Where ?
Len. Here, my good lord,
What is't that moves your highness?
Lords. What, my good lord?
Mach. Thou can'ft not fay, I did it: never shake Thy goary locks at me.
Roffe. Gentlemen, rife; his highness is not well. Lady. Sit, worthy friends my lord is often thus, And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep feat,
Please't your highness
The fit is momentary, on a thought
[To Macb aside Macb. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that, Which might appal the Devil.
Lady. O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear; [aside This is the air-drawn-dagger, which you said, Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts (12) Impostors to true fear,) would well become A woman's story at a winter's fire. Juthoriz'd by her grandam. Shame itself !. Why do you make such faces ? when all's done, You look but on a stool.
Macb. Pr'ythee, see there!
Lady. What ? quite unmann'd in folly ?-
as farts can neither with propriety nor sense be called Impoftors to true fear, something else was undoubtedly intended by the author, who perhaps wrote
There flaws and starts
Impostures true to fear, &c. These symptoms of terror and amazement might better become
impostures true only to fear, might become a coward at the recital of fuch faldhoods as no man could credit, whose understand. ing was not weaken'd by his terrors ; tales told by a woman over a fire on the authority of her grandam," Mr. Warburton explains the passages thus, “ These Aaws and starts, as they are indications of your needless fears, are the imitators or impostors only of those which arife from a fear well-grounded."