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These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
Macduff, this noble passion,
I am yet
Macd. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once, 'Tis hard to reconcile.
Enter a Doctor.
Mal. Well; more anon.-Comes the king forth, I pray
Doct. Ay, sir : there are a crew of wretched souls
I thank you, doctor. [Exit Doctor. Macd. What's the disease he means ?
3 - their malady convinces] i.e. Overcomes : see Vol. ii. p. 174. To "convince"js sometimes to convict : see Vol. iv. p. 514.
'Tis call'd the evil: A most miraculous work in this good king, Which often, since my here remain in England, I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven, Himself best knows; but strangely-visited people, All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye, The mere despair of surgery, he cures ; Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, Put on with holy prayers : and 'tis spoken, To the succeeding royalty he leaves The healing benediction. With this strange virtue, He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy, And sundry blessings hang about his throne, That speak him full of grace.
See, who comes here?
Mal. I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
Alas, poor country!
Oh, relation !
What is the newest grief?
4 'Tis call’d the evil:] It is said that Edward the Confessor was the first who touched for the cure of the king's evil, and the power was supposed to descend with the crown. It is certain that Elizabeth and James exercised it, especially the latter; in compliment to whom Shakespeare seems to have inserted this part of the scene, not in any way necessary to the action of the tragedy. It is struck out with a pen in the corr. fo. 1632, and was probably not then acted.
Each minute teems a new one.
How does my wife?
And all my children ?
Rosse. When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Be it their comfort,
Would I could answer
What concern they ?
No mind that's honest But in it shares some woe, though the main part Pertains to you
If it be mine,
Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Humph! I guess at it.
should not latch them.] To “ latch," (in the north country dialect) Steevens informs us, signifies the same as to catch. It has the same meaning in Norfolk, as we find from Holloway's "General Provincial Dictionary.” 1838.
fee-grief,] A grief that bas a single owner, who holds it in fee.
Savagely slaughter'd : to relate the manner,
Macd. My children too?
Wife, children, servants, all
And I must be from thence !
I have said.
Be comforted :
Macd. He has no children.—All my pretty ones?
Mal. Dispute it like a man.
I shall do so;
Mal. Be this the whetstone of your sword : let grief
Macd. Oh! I could play the woman with mine eyes,
7 Were, on the QUARRY of these murder'd deer,] A "quarry” was strictly a square heap of dead game. See Vol. iv. p. 607.
8 Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.] The following is from Montaigne's Essays, by Florio, b. i. ch. 2, a work of which it is known Shakespeare had a copy, and of which he certainly elsewhere made use :—"All passions that may be tasted and digested are but mean and slight.
“ Curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.
Great cares heart rather breake,"
Within my sword's length set him; if he ’scape,
This tune goes manly'.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle.
Enter a Doctor of Physic, and a waiting Gentlewoman'. Doct. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked ?
Gent. Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.
Doct. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching. In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what at any time have you heard her say ?
Gent. That, sir, which I will not report after her.
should. Gent. Neither to you, nor any one, having no witness to confirm my speech.
9 This tune goes manly.] The folios read, time, which Rowe fitly altered to “tune.” Time could here scarcely be right, even were we to take for granted (which we are far from doing) Gifford's statement, that time and tune were, of old, used indifferently (Massinger, ii. 261). It would seem as if the Rev. Mr. Dyce does not acknowledge the distinction, for in Beaumont and Fletcher's “ False Oue,” Vol. vi. p. 234, he makes Apollodorus talk of “setting” his lines “to a solemn time,” instead of "a solemn tune." No misprint could be more easy or more frequently committed, and hence the confusion by modern editors.
| Enter a Doctor of Physic, and a waiting Gentlewoman.] This is the old stage-direction, but the English " Doctor," introduced in the last scene with Malcolm and Macduff, must also have been a Doctor of Physic, though not so described in the old editions.