« AnteriorContinuar »
Ν Ο Τ Ε ΧΧΙΙ. .
UP! Up! and see
As from your graves rise up.—The second line might have been so easily completed, that it cannot be supposed to have been left imperfect by the author, who probably wrote,
Malcolm ! Banquo ! rise ! As from your graves rise up. Many other emendations of the same kind might be made, without any greater deviation from the printed copies, than is found in each of them from the rest.
Ν Ο Τ Ε ΧΧΙΙΙ. .
Macbeth. Here lay Duncan,
Unmannerly breech'd with gore. An unmannerly dagger, and a dagger breech'd, or as in some editions breach'd with gore, are expressions not easily to be understood, nor 'can it be imagined that Shakespeare would reproach the murderer of his king only with want of manners. There are undoubtedly two faults in this passage, which I have endeavoured to take away by reading
I saw drench'd with the king's blood the fatal daggers, not only instruments of murder but evidences of cowardice.
Each of these words might easily be confounded with that which I have substituted for it by a hand not exact, a casual blot, or a negligent inspection.
Mr. Pope has endeavoured to improve one of these lines by substituting goary blood for golden blood, but it may easily be admitted, that he who could on such an occasion talk of lacing the silver skin would lace it with golden blood. No amendment can be made to this line, of which every word is equally faulty, but by a general blot.
It is not improbable, that Shakespeare put these forced and unnatural metaphors into the mouth of Macbeth, as a mark of artifice and dissimulation, to show the difference between the studied language of hypocrisy, and the natural outcries of sudden passion. This whole speech, considered in this light, is a remarkable instance of judgment, as it consists entirely of antitheses and metaphors.
Macbeth. OUR fears in Banquo Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature Reigns that which would be fear’d. "Tis much he dares, And to that dauntless temper of his mind, He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour To act in safety. There is none but he, Whose being I do fear: and under him, My genius is rebukd ; (1) as it is said, Anthony's was by Cæsar. He chid the sisters,
When first they put the name of king upon me,
(1)—As it is said,
Anthony's was by Cæsar. Though I would not often assume the critick’s privilege, of being confident where certainty cannot be obtained, nor indulge myself too far in departing from the established reading ; yet I cannot but propose the rejection of this passage, which I believe was an insertion of some player, that, having so much learning as to discover to what Shakespeare alluded, was not willing that his audience should be less knowing than himself, and has therefore weakened the author's sense by the intrusion of a remote and useless image into a speech bursting from a man wholly possessed with his own present condition, and therefore not at leisure to explain his own allusions to himself. If these words are taken away, by which not only the thought but the numbers are injured, the lines of Shakespeare close together without any traces of a breach.
My genius is rebuk’d. He chid the sisters.
(2) —The common enemy of man. It is always an entertainment to an inquisitive reader, to trace a sentiment to its original source, and therefore, though the term enemy of man applied to the devil is in itself natural and obvious, yet some may be pleased with being informed, that Shakespeare probably borrowed it from the first lines of the “Destruction of Troy,” a book which he is known to have read.
That this remark may not appear too trivial, I shall take occasion from it to point out a beautiful passage of Milton, evidently copied from a book of no greater authority: in describing the gates of hell, book ii. v. 879. he says,
On a sudden open fly, With impetuous recoil and jarring sound, Th’infernal doors, and on their hinges grate Harsh thunder. In the history of “ Don Bellianis,” when one of the knights approaches, as I remember, the castle of Brandezar, the gates are said to open grating harsh thunder upon their brazen hinges.
(3) Come fate into the list,
And champion me to th' utterance. This passage will be best explained by translating it into the language from whence the only word of difficulty in it is borrowed. Que la destinée se rende en lice, et qu'elle me donne un defi a l’outrance. A challenge or a combat a l'outrance, to extremity, was a fixed term in the law of arms, used when the combatants engaged with an odium internecinum, an intention to destroy each other, in opposition to
trials of skill at festivals, or on other occasions, where the contest was only for reputation or a prize. The sense therefore is, Let fate that has fore-doom'd the exaltation of the sons of Banquo, enter the lists against me, with the utmost animosity, in defence of its own decrees, which I will endeavour to invalidate, whatever be the danger.
Macbeth. Ay, in the catalogue, ye go for men,
Though this is not the most sparkling passage in the play, and though the name of a dog is of no great importance, yet it may not be improper to remark, that there is no such species of dogs as shoughs mentioned by Caius de Canibus Britannicis, or any other writer that has fallen into my hands, nor is the word to be found in any dictionary which I have examined. I therefore imagined that it is falsely printed for slouths, a kind of slow hound bred in the southern parts of England, but was informed by a lady, that it is more probably used, either by mistake, or according to the orthography of that time, for shocks.
Macbeth.---In this hour at most,