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but a very useful art, as it best affifts the poet to expose
This supernatural soliciting
If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,
Without my ftir. After a pause, in which we may suppose the ambitious defire of a crown to return, so far as to make him undetermined what he shall do, and leave the decision to future time and unborn events, he concludes,
Come what come may,
By which, I confess, I do not with his two last commentators imagine is meant either the tautology of time and the hour, or an allusion to time painted with an hour-glass, or an exhortation to time to hasten forward, but I rather apprehend the meaning to be, tempus & bora, time and occasion, will carry the thing through, and bring it to some determined point and end, let its nature be what it will. In the next soliloquy, he agitates this great question concerning the proposed murder. One argument against it, is, that such deeds must be supported by others of like nature.
But, in these cases,
To our own lips. He proceeds next to consider the peculiar relations, in which he stands to Duncan,
He's here in double truft:
Then follow his arguments against the deed, from the admirable qualities of the king.
Besides, this Duncan
The deep damnation of his taking off, So, says, he, with many reasons to dissuade, I have none to urge me to this act, but a vaulting ainbition; which, by a daring leap, often procures itself a fall. And shus having determined, he tells Lady Macbeth;
We will proceed no further in this business.
Macbeth, in debating with himself, chiefly dwells upon the guilt, yet touches fomething on the danger of affaflinating the king. When he argues with Lady 11acbeth, knowing her too wicked to be affected by the one, and too daring to be deterred by the other, he urges with great propriety what he thinks may have more weight with one of her disposition; the favour he is in with the king, and the eiteem he has lately acquired of the people. In answer to her charge of cowardice, he finely distinguishes between manly courage and brutal ferocity.
Macb, I dare do all that may become a man ;
Who dares do more is none.
At length, overcome, rather than persuaded, he desermines on the bloody deed.
I am fettled, and bend up Each corp'ral agent to this terrible feat. How terrible to him, how repugnant to his nature, we plainly perceive, when, even in the moment that he summons up the resolution needful to perform it, horrid phantasms present themselves : murder alarmed by his sentinel the wolf stealing towards his design; witchcraft celebrating pale Hecate's offerings; the midnight ravisher invading sleeping innocence, feem his affociates ; and bloody daggers lead him to the very chamber of the king. At his return thence, the sense of the crime he has committed appears suitable to his repugnance at undertaking it. He tells Lady Macbeth, that of the grooms who slept in Duncan's chamber, Macb. There's one did laugh in Neep, and one cry'd, Murder ! They wak'd each other; and I stood and heard them;
But they did say their prayers, and address them
Again to fleep.
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
When they did say, God bless us !
I had most need of blessing, and Amen
Stuck in my throat.
Macbeth doth murder Deep; the innocent Deep.
Macb. I'll go no more.
Look on't again I dare not.
Macb. How is it with me, when every noise appals me?
The poet has contrived to throw a tincture of remorse even into Macbeth's resolution to murder Banquo. He does not proceed in it like a man, who, impenitent in crimes, and wanton in success, gaily goes forward in his violent career ; but seems impelled onward, and stimulated to this additional villany, by an apprehenfion, that, if Banquo's posterity fhould inherit the crown, he has sacrificed his virtue, and defiled his own foul in vain.
Marb. If 'tis fo,
His defire to keep Lady Macbeth innocent of this intended murder, and yet from the fulness of a throbbing heart, uttering what may render suspected the very thing he wishes to conceal, shews how deeply the author enters into human nature in general, and in every circumstance preserves the consistency of the character he exhibits.
How strongly is expressed the great truth, that to a man of courage, the most terrible object is the perfon he has injured, in the following address to Banquo's ghoft,
Macb. What man dare, I dare.
Unreal mock'ry, hence!
Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak;
What is't you do? The unhappy and disconfolate state of the most triumphant villany, from a consciousness of mens internal detestation of that flagitious greatness, to which they