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Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
Macd. He has no children.2-All my pretty ones?
% He has no children.] It has been observed by an anonymous critick, that this is not said of Macbeth, who had children, but of Malcolm, who, having none, supposes a father can be so easily comforted. Johnson.
The meaning of this may be, either that Macduff could not, by retaliation, revenge the murder of his children, because Macbeth had none himself; or that if he had any, a father's feelings for a father would have prevented him from the deed. I know not from what passage we are to infer that Macbeth had children alive. Holinshed's Chronicle does not, as I re. member, mention any. The same thought occurs again in King John:
- He talks to me that never had a son. Again, in King Henry VI, P. III:
“ You have no children: butchers, if you had,
Steevens. The passage, quoted from King John, seems in favour of the supposition that these words relate to Malcolm.
That Macbeth had children at some period, appears from what lady Macbeth says in the first Act: “ I have given suck,” &c.
I am still more strongly confirmed in thinking these words relate to Malcolm, and not to Macbeth, because Macbeth bad a son then alive, named Lulah, who after his father's death was proclaimed king by some of his friends, and slain at Strathbol. gie, about four months after the battle of Dunsinane. See For. dun. Scoti-Chron. L. V, c. viii.
Whether Shakspeare was apprised of this circumstance, cannot be now ascertained; but we cannot prove that he was unacquainted with it. Malone
My copy of the Scoti-Chronicon (Goodall's edit. Vol. p. 252,) affords me no reason for supposing that Lulah was a son of Macbeth. The words of Fordun are: -" Subito namque post mortem Machabedæ convenerunt quidam ex ejus parentela sceleris hujusmodi fautores, suum consobrinum, nomine Lulah, ignomine fatuum, ad Sconam ducentes, et impositum sede regali constituunt regem,” &c. Nor does Wyntown, in his Cronykil so much as hint that this mock-monarch was the imme. diate offspring of rig predecessor:
• “ftyre all this that ilke vhere,
Did you say, all ?--0, hell-kite!-All?
Mal. Dispute it like a man.
I shall do so;
grief Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes, And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heaven, Cut short all intermission ;6 front to front, Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself; Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape, . Heaven forgive him too !?
It still therefore remains to be proved that “ Macbeth had a son tben alive.” Besides, we have been already assured, by himself, on the authority of the Witches, p. 150, that his sceptre would pass away into another family, “ no son of his succeeding."
Steevens. 3 At one fell swoop!) Swoop is the descent of a bird of prey on his quarry. So, in The White Devil, 1612:
“ That she may take away all at one swoop.” Again, in The Beggar's Bush, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ no star prosperous !
" All at a swoop.” It is frequently, however, used by Drayton, in his Polyolbiop, to express the swift descent of rivers. Steevens.
4 Dispute it like a man.) i. e. contend with your present sor. row like a man. So, in Twelfth Night, Act IV, sc. iii:
" For though my soul disputes well with my sense,” &c. Again, in Romeo and Juliet :
" Let me dispute with thee of thy estate.” Steevens. 5 - Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! &c.] See the prophet Isaiah, c. liii, v.5. Harris.
6 Cut sbort all intermission ;] i. e. all pause, all intervenirg time. So, in King Lear:
“ Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission.” Steevens.
. This tune8 goes manly. Come, go we to the king; our power is ready; Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above Puton their instruments. Receive what cheer you may; The night is long, that never finds the day. (Exeunt,
ACT V..... SCENE I.
: * Dunsinanę. A Room in the Castle. Enter a Doctor of Physick, and a waiting Gentlewoman,
Doct. I have two nights watched with you, but can
7- - if be’scape,
Heaven forgive him too!! ] That is, if he escape my ven. geance, let hiin escape that of Heaven also.
An expression nearly similar occurs in The Chances, where Petruchio, speaking of the Duke, says:
“ He scap'd me yesternight; which if he dare
“ I shall, with all my heart.” M. Mason. The meaning, I believe, is,-If heaven be so unjust as to let him escape my vengeance, I am content that it should proceed still further in its injustice, and to impunity in this world add forgiveness hereafter. Malone.
8 This tune -] The folio reads—This time. Tune is Rowe's emendation. Steevens.
The emendation is supported by a former passage in this play, where the word is used in a similar manner:
66 Macb. Went it not so?
" Banq. To the self-same tune and words.” Malone. 9
Macbeth Is ripe for sbuking, &c.] See St. John's Revelation, c. xiv, v. 15. Hurris.
1 Put on their instruments. ) i. e. encourage, thrust forward us their instruments against the tyrant. So, in King Lear, Act 1, sc. iv :
is that you protect this course, and put it on
“ Bv your allowance.” Again, in Chapman's version of the eleventh Iliad:
“ For Jove makes Trojans instruments, and virtually then “ Wields arms himself.” Steevens.
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 slumbry 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. Doct. You may, to me: and 'tis most meet you
should. Gent. Neither to you, nor any one: having no witness to confirm my speech.
2 Since bis majesty went into the field,] This is one of Shak. speare's oversights. He forgot that he had shut up Macbeth in Dunsinane, and surrounded him with besiegers. That he could not go into the field, is observed by himself with splenctic impatience : “
our castle's strength “ Will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie « Till famine and the ague eat them up. “ Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours, “ We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
“ And beat them backward kome." It is clear also, from other passages, that Macbeth's motions had long been circumscribed by the walls of his fortress.
The truth may be, that Shakspeare thought the spirit of lady Macbeth could not be so effectually subdued, and her peace of mind so speedily unsettled by reflection on her guilt, as during the absence of her husband:
- deserto jacuit dum frigida lecto,
Dum queritur tardos ire relicta dies. For the present change in her disposition, therefore, our poet (though in the haste of finishing his play he forgot his plan) might mean to have provided, by allotting her such an interval of solitude as would subject her mind to perturbation, and dispose her thoughts to repentance.
It does not appear, from any circumstance within the com. pass of this drama, that she had once been separated from hör husband, after his return from the victory over Macdonwald, and the king of Norway. Steevens.
Enter. Lady Macbeth, with a Taper. Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close. - Doct. How came she by that light?
Gent. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her continually ; 'tis her command.
Doct. You see, her eyes are open.3
Doct. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
Gent. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands; I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.
Lady M. Yet here's a spot.5
Doct. Hark, she speaks: I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more
strongly. Lady M. Out, damned spot! out, I say !-One; Two;6 Why, then 'tis time to do it: Hell is mur
3 her eyes are open.] So, in The Tempest:
“ This is a strange repose, to be asleep
“ With eyes wide open,” &c. Steevens. * Ay, but their sense is shut.] The old copy hasare shut; and so the author certainly wrote, though it sounds very harshly to our ears. So again, in his 112th Sonnet:
“In so profound abysm I throw all care
“ To critick and to flatterer stopped are.” Malone. In the Sonnet our author was compelled to sacrifice grammar to the convenience of rhyme. In the passage before us, he was free from such constraint.
What, therefore, should forbid us to read, with the present text!-
Ay, but their 'sense is sbut. Steevens. 5 Yet bere's a spot.] A passage somewhat similar occurs in Webster's Vittoria Corombona, &c. 1612: "
Here 's a white hand! “Can blood so soon be wash'd out ?” Webster's play was published in 1612. Shakspeare's in 1623.
Steevens. 9 One ; Two;l Macbeth does not, previously to the murder, mention the hour at which lady Macbeth is to strike upon the bell, which was to be the signal for his going into Duncan's chamber to execute his wicked purpose; but it seems that lady Macbeth is now thinking of the moment when she rang