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So brain-fickly of things ; go, get some water,
Macb. I'll go no more ;
Lady. Infirm of purpose !
[Exit: Knocks within. Macb. Whence is that knocking ? [Starting How is't with me, when every noise appals me? * What hånds are here? hah! they pluck out mine
eyes. Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
* What, &c.] Shakespear had this from his brother tragedians. So Hercules in Seneca,
Hercul. Fur, Ac. 5. 'Tis said of Oedipus, in Sophocles, that neither the waters of the Danube or P.bafis can wash him and his house clean.
Oιμαι γαρ οτανίλσρον οτε φασιν αν
Νιψαν καθαρμω τηνδε τηνΓεγο». In allufion to their expiatory walhings in the sea or rivers. Va. rious 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 with. out any regard to decency and religion. Henry IV. Act 3. Fals
. Rob me the Exchèquer the first thing thou doft, and do it wirb unwafoed bands toon UPTON,
Clean from my hand ? no, this my hand will rather
myself. Wake, Duncan, with this knocking: 'would, thou
ACT III. SCENE III. Macbeth's guilty Conscience, and Fears of Banquo.
Enter Macbeth to his Lady. Lady. How now, my lord, why do you keep alone ? Of sorriest fancies your companions making, Using those 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 scotch'd (12) the snake, not kill'd it
(12) Scotch'd.] This reading is Mr Theobald's, the old one is scorcb'd, which Mr. Upton, wou'd attempt to defend by telling us, " the allusion is to the story of the Hydra. We have scorch'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 scorch'd from sprouting again; but such a wound will close and cure ; our hydra-snake has other heads still, which to me are as dangerous as Duncan's, particularly that of Banquo and Fleance, &c. The allufion is learned and ele. gant. Crit. Observat. p. 154. But learned and elegant as it is, I am apt to imagine Mr. Theobald's the true word : the fentence seems to confirm that supposition ; however Mr. Upton's remark is worth observing. VOL. II.
She'll close and be herself ; whilst our poor malice
will eat our meal in fear, and sleep In the afliction of these terrible dreams, That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead, (Whom we, to gain our place, have sent to peace,) Than on the torture of the mind to lie In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his
O full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Lady. But in them, nature's copy's not eternal.
Macb. There's comfort yet, they are assailable ; Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown His cloyster'd flight, ere to black Hecat's fummons · The * shard-born beetle with his drowsy hums Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done A deed of dreadful note.
Lady. What's to be done ?
Macb. 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 invisible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond, Which keeps me pale ! light thickens, and the crow Makes wing to th' rooky wood :
* Sbard-born, i. e. says Warburton, the Beetle hatch'd in clefts of wood. Upton proposes sarn-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,
rowze. Scén £ V. Scene changes to a Room of State,
Banquet prepard. Macbeth, Lady, Rosse, Lenox. Lords and Attendants.
Lady. My royal lord, You do not give the cheer ; the feast is sold, That is not often vouched, while 'tis making, "Tis given, with welcome. To feed, were best at home; From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony ; Meeting were bare without it.
[The ghost of Banquo rises, and fits in Macbeth's place.
Macb. Sweet remembrancer ! Now good digcftion wait on appetite, And health on both !
Len. May't p!ease your highness fit?
Macb. Here had we now our country's honour roof'd, Were the grac'd person of our Banquo present, (Whom may I rather challenge for unkindness, Than pity for mischance !)
Roffe. His absence, Sir, Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your highness To grace us with your royal company? Macb. The table's full.
[Starting Len. Here's a place reserv'd, Sir. Macb. Where ?
Len. Here, my good lord,
Macb. Which of you have done this?
Macb. Thou can'st not say, I did it: never shake Thy goary locks at me.
Rofe. Gentlemen, rise ; his highness is not well.
Lady. Sit, worthy friends my lord is often thus, And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep feat,
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 faid, 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. Suthoriz'd by her grandam. Shame itself! Why do you make such faces ? when all's done, You look but on a stool.
Macb. Prythee, 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."