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I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
Is often laudable; to do good, sometime
Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas !
Do I put up that womanly defence,
To say I have done no harm? What are these faces ?
MUR. Where is your husband ? -----80
L. MacD. I hope, in no place so unsanctified,
Where such as thou mayst find him.
He's a traitor.
Son. Thou liest, thou shag-hair'da villain!
What, you egg!
[Stabbing him. Young fry of treachery! Son.
He has kill'd me, mother: Run away, I pray you.
[Dies. [Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying Murder? and
pursued by the Murderers.
SCENE III.—England. Before the King's Palace.
Enter MALCOLM and MACDUFF.
MAL. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.
Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword; and, like good men,
Bestride our down-fall'n* birthdom. Each new morn,
New widows howl; new orphans cry; new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland, and yelld out
Like syllable of dolour.
What I believe, I'll wail ;
What know, believe; and what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
(*) Old text, downfall. ..- shag-hair'd-] The folio has, “ shagge-ear'd,” but eard is an obvious misprint of the old word heard=haird.
b As I shall find the time to friend, -] The expression to friend," meaning propilious, assistant, favourable, &c. occurs again in “Cymbeline,” Act I. Sc. 4,-" Had I admittance and opportunity to friend ;” and in “ Julius Cæsar," Act III. Sc. 1,—"I know that we shall have him well to friend." It is not uncommon in our old poets Thus, in Spenser, “ Faerie Queen," Book I. c. 1, Stanza xxvii.:
“So forward on his way (with God to frend)
He passed forth ;”
and also in Massinger's play of “The Roman Actor,” Act I. Sc. 1,-
"— with this assurance,
That the state, sick in him, the gods to friend,
Though at the worst will now begin to mend."
Was once thought honest: you have lov'd him well;
He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young, but something
You may deserve a of him through me; and wisdom b
To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb,
To appease an angry god.
MacD. I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon ;
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose :
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell :
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.
I have lost my hopes.
· Mal. Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
(Those precious motives, those strong knots of love)
Without leave-taking ?-I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
But mine own safeties :—you may be rightly just,
Whatever I shall think.
Bleed, bleed, poor country! 31
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dare not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs,
The title is affeer'd !C_Fare thee well, lord :
I would not be the villain that thou think'st
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp,
And the rich East to boot.
Be not offended.
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke ;
It weeps, it bleeds: and each new day a gash
Is added to her wounds: I think, withal,
There would be hands uplifted in my right;
And here, from gracious England, have I offer
Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head,
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
• You may deserve of him through me ;] Theobald's correction, the old text having,
“You may discerne,” &c. h - and wisdom-1 One more of the innumerable passages in this great play which have suffered by mutilation or corruption. We ought, perhaps, to read,
“ — and wisdom't is
To offer," &c. or,
- and wisdom bids
To offer,” &c. • The title is affeer'd !-] To affeor—a legal term-signifies to assess or confirm; and the meaning of the passage may, therefore, be,“ Great tyranny, be firmly seated now, since goodness dare not curb thee! Wear openly thy ill-got acquisitions, for the title to them is approved !"
Shall have more vices than it had before,
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,
By him that shall succeed.
What should he be ?
MAL. It is myself I mean: in whom I know
All the particulars of vice so grafted,
That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
Will seem as pure as snow; and the poor state
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
With my confineless harms.
Not in the legions
Of horrid hell, can come a devil more damn'd
In evils to top Macbeth! .
I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden,a malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name: but there's no bottom, none, 60
In my voluptuousness : your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust; and my desire
All continent impediments would o'erbear,
That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth,
Than such an one to reign.
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
The untimely emptying of the happy throne,
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
To take upon you what is yours: you may
Conveyb your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
We have willing dames enough; there cannot be
That vulture in you, to devour so many
As will to greatness dedicate themselves
Finding it so inclin'd.
With this, there grows,
In my most ill-compos'd affection, such
A stanchless avarice, that, were I king,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands;
Desire his jewels, and this other's house:
• Sudden,–] Impetuous, violent.
"- you may Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,-) For “convey,” signifying to manage any thing by stealth, an admirably appropriate word here, Mr. Collier substitutes the comparatively inexpressive one enjoy, and styles it an“ important change"! That Mr. Collier should be unacquainted with the following quotation, where " convey" occurs in precisely the same sense as Shakespeare uses it above, is pardonable,-“But verily, verily, though the adulterer do never 8e closely and cunningly convey his sin under a canopy, yet," &c.-The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven, 1599:-but how comes he to have forgotten that the word is found in the corresponding passage of “ The History of Makbeth,” which he himself edited ? Macduit there says, in reply to Malcolm's confession of immoderate sensuality, “Make thy selfe king, and I shall conveie the matter so wiselie, that thou shalt be so satisfied at thy pleasure in such secret wise, that no man shall be aware thereof.".
And my more-having would be as a sauce
To make me hunger more; that I should forge
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
Destroying them for wealth.
Sticks deeper; grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeminga lust; and it hath been
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will,
Of your mere own. All these are portable,
With other graces weigh’d.
MAL. But I have none: the king-becoming graces,
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
I have no relish of them ; but abound
In the division of each several crime,
Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
Pourb the sweet milk of concord into hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
0, Scotland! Scotland !
Mal. If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.
Fit to govern!
No, not to live.—0, nation miserable!
With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptred,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accurs’d,
And does blaspheme his breed ?—Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king: the queen that bore thee,
Oft'ner upon her knees than on her feet,-
Died every day she liv'd. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
Have banish'd me from Scotland.-0, my breast,
Thy hope ends here!
Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wip'd the black scruples, reconcil'd my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me
Into his power; and modest wisdom plucks me
From over-credulous haste: but God above 120
- summer-seeming lust ;] Warburton proposed to read, "summer-teeming;" Blackstone, -summer-seeding;” while Steevens conjectured that “summer-seeming” might be right, and signify lust that seems as hot as summer. As Malone has quoted from Donne's Poems “ winter-seeming," we are unwilling to disturb the old text, though we have a strong persuasion that the poet wrote, “summer-seaming lust," i.e. lust fattened by summer heat.
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,-) By “hell,” may be meant confusion, anarchy, disorder, and if so, we ought possibly to read, “ Sour the sweet milk," &c.
Deal between thee and me! for even now
I'put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction ; here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myselt,
For strangers to my nature. I am yet
Unknown to woman; never was forsworn;
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own;
At no time broke my faith: would not betray
The devil to his fellow; and delight
No less in truth than life: my first false speaking
Was this upon myself.—What I am truly,
Is thine, and my poor country's, to command:
Whither, indeed, before thy here-approach,
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
Already at a point, was setting forth;
Now we'll together : and the chance of goodness
Belike our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
MACD. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once, 'Tis hard to reconcile. (3)
Enter a Doctor.
MAL. Well; more anon.—Comes the king forth, I pray you ?
DOCT. Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure: their malady convinces b
The great assay of art; but, at his touch,
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
They presently amend.
I thank you, doctor.
Macd. What's the disease he means ?
'T is 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, -15-Y
The mere despair of surgery, he cures;
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers : and 't is 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. My countryman; but yet I know him not.
- and the chance of goodness
Belike our warranted quarrel ] This passage has been inexplicable heretofore from “ Belike" being always printed as two words, Be like. The meaning is,-And the fortune of goodness approve or favour\nour justifiable quarrel.
This e quarrelio convince, as my