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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 To wear a heart fo white: I hear a knocking [Knock. At the fouth entry. Retire we to our chamber; A little water clears us of this deed.
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 myfelf.
Wake, Duncan, with this knocking: 'would, thou couldft!
Macbeth's guilty Confcience, and Fears of Banquo. Enter Macbeth to his Lady.
Lady. How now, my lord, why do you keep alone? Of forrieft fancies your companions making, Ufing thofe thoughts, which should indeed, have dy'd With them they think on? things without all remedy Should be without regard; what's done, is done.
Mac. We have fcotch'd (12) the snake, 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 scorch'd the fnake, we have indeed Hercules like, cut off one of its heads, and fcorch'd it, as it were, as he did, aflifted 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; whilft our poor malice
In restless ecftafy.-Duncan is in his grave;
O full of fcorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Lady. What's to be done?
Mach. Be innocent of the knowledge, deareft chuck, 'Till thou applaud the deed: come, † feeling night, Skarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,
And with thy bloody and invifible hand
*Shard-born, i. e. fays Warburton, the Beetle hatch'd in clefts of wood. Upton propofes fbarn-born, i. e. the beetle born from dung. See remarks on three plays of Ben Johnson, p. 109.
1 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.
[The ghost of Banquo rifes, and fits in Macbeth's place. Mach. Sweet remembrancer!
Now good digeftion wait on appetite,
And health on both!
Len. May't please your highness fit?
Macb. Here had we now our country's honour roof'd, Were the grac'd perfon of our Banquo prefent, (Whom may I rather challenge for unkindness, Than pity for mifchance!)
Roffe. His abfence, Sir,
Lays blame upon his promife.
Mach. The table's full.
Len. Here's a place referv'd, Sir.
Len. Here, my good lord,
What is't that moves your highness ?
Macb. Which of you have done this?
Please't your highness
Lords. What, my good lord?
Mach. Thou can'st not say, 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 seat,
The fit is momentary, on a thought
He will again be well. If much you note him,
Lady. O proper ftuff!
This is the very painting of your fear;
Mach. Pr'ythee, fee there!
Behold! look! lo! how fay you? [Pointing to the Ghoft.
[The ghost vanishes. Lady. What? quite unmann'd in folly ?Mach. If I ftand here, I faw him.
Lady. Fie, for fhame!
(13) Impoftors, &c.] Mr. Johnfon fays of this paffage, that as ftarts can neither with propriety nor fenfe be called Impoftors to true fear, fomething else was undoubtedly intended by the author, who perhaps wrote
Impoftures true to fear, &c.
Thefe fymptoms of terror and amazement might better become