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The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
w their possets,
Macb. [Within.) Who's there?- what, ho!
Lady M. Alack! I am afraid they have awak’d, " And 'tis not done :—the attempt, and not the deed, Confounds us:-Hark!-I laid their daggers ready, He could not miss them.7-Had he not resembled
4 — the surfeited grooms :
Do mock their charge with snores : ] i. e. By going to sleep, they trifle and make light of the trust reposed in them, that of watching by their king. So, in Orbello: “O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love." Malone.
5 — their possets, ] It appears from this passage, as well as from many others in our old dramatic performances, tbat it was the general custom to eat possets just before bed-time. So, in the first part of King Edward. IV, by Heywood: “ - thou shalt be welcome to beef and bacon, and perhaps a bag-pud, ding; and my daughter Nell shall pop a posset upon thee when thou goest to bed.” Macbeth has already said:
“ Go bid thy mistress when my drink is ready,
“ She strike upon the bell." Lady Macbeth has also just observed
s That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold and in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mrs. Quickly promises Jack Rugby a posset at night. This custom is also mentioned by Froissart. Steevens. 6_ death and nature do contend about them.
W berber they live, or die. Of this image our ancient writers were peculiarly fond. Thus again, in Twine's translation of the story of Prince Appollyn; " Death strived with life within her, and the conflict was daungerous and doubtfull who should preuaile.” Again, in sll's Well tbat Ends Well:
“ thy blood and virtue
" Contend for empire in thee." Steevens.' Again, ibid:
“ Nature and sickness
“ Debate it at their leisure.” Malone. 7 Harl! I laid their daggers ready, .
· He could not miss them.) Compare Euripides, -Omestele v. 1291-where Electra stands centinel at the door of the palace; whilst Orestes is within for the purpose of murdering Helen. The dread of a surprize, and eagerness for the business, make
My father as he slept, I had done at: _My husband
Enter MACBETH. Macb. I nave done the deed:--Didst thou not hear
L.. . As I descended
Donalbain. Macb. This is a sorry sight.o [Looking on his hand Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. Macb. There 's one did laugh in his sleep, and one
Electra conclude that the deed must be done ere time enough had elapsed for attempting it. She listens with anxious impa. tience; and hearing nothing, expresses strong fears lest the dag, gers should have failed. Read the whole passage. S. W. i H ad be not resembled
My father (18 be slept, I bad done 't ] This is very artful. For, as the poet has drawn the lady and her husband, it would be thought the act should have been done by her. It is likewise bighly just; for thougha ambition had subdued in her all the sentiments of nature towards present objects, yet the likeness, of one past, which she had been accustomed to regard with reve. rence, made her unnatural passions, for a moment, give way to the sentimients of instinct and humanity. Warburton.
The same circumstance, on a similar occasion, is introduced by Statius, in the fifth Booß of his Thebaid, v. 236: *.. “Ut vero Aleimeden etiamnum in murmure truncov
“ Ferre patris vultus, et egentem sanguinis ensem
“ Inferor.” Thoas was the father of Hypsipyle, the speaker. Steevenshu.
9 This is a sorry sight.] This expression might have been borer Towed from Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. V, c. i, st. 14:
* To whom as they approched, they espide
That they did wake each other; I stood and heard them?
Lady M. There are two lodg'd together.
Macb. One cried, God blessus! and, Amen, the other;
Consider it not so deeply.
Lady M. These deeds must not be thought
Macb. Methought, I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more:
* As they bad seen me,] i. e, as if. So, in Tbe Winter Tale:
“ As we are mock'd with art.” Steevens. 9 Listening their fear.] i.e. Listening to ibeir fear, the par, ticle omitted. This is common in our author. Thus, in Yulia Bresar, Act IV, sc. i:
"— and now, Octavius,
“ Listen great things." Contemporary writers took the same liberty. So, in The World toss'd at Tennis, by Middleton and Rowley, 1620:
“ Listen the plaints of thy poor votaries."
“ There, in rich seats, all wrought of ivory,
“ Of warbling birds.” Steevens.
I could not say, amen,
When they, God bless us. j.e. when they could say God bless us. Could say, in the second line, was left to be understood; as before
" and, Amen, the other:" i. e, the other crie: Amen. But the players, having no idea of the latter ellipsis, supplied the syllables that destroy the mea.. sure. Steevens.
4- the ravelld sleave of care,] Sleave signifies the ravel led knotty part of the silk, which gives great trouble and em..
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
barrassment to the knitter or weaver. Heath.
Drayton, a poet of Shakspeare's age, has likewise alluded to... elraved or ravelled silk, in his Quest of Cynthia:
“At length I on a fountain light,
“ With grass, like sltute, was iiatted." Langton,
" -thrumu'd with grass
“ As soft as sleave or sarcenet ever was." Again, ibid.
"That in the handling feelg'as soft.as any sleave.” Steeverim.
" Therefore as you unwind her love from him,
36. You must provide to bottom it on me.” M. Mason,
The birth of each day's life. The true characteristick of sleep, which repairs the decays of labour, and assists that returning vigour which supplies the next day's activity. IVarburton.
The death of each day's life, means the end of each day's labour, sbe conclusion of all that bustle and fatigue that each day's life bringe with it. Thus also Chapman, in his version of the nineteenth Iliad:
“ But none can live witbout the death of sleep.” Steevens. Sleep, tbat knits up the ravell’d şleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds,] Is it not probable that Shakspeare re. membered the following verses in Sir Philip Sydney's Astrcpbel and Stella, a poem, from which he has quoted a line in Tise Merry Wrøet of Windkor.?
· Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
What do you mean?
“ Come sleepe, O sleepe, the certain knot of peace,
“The indifferent judge between the high and low." So also, in Tbe famous Historie of George Lord Fauconbridge, &c. bl. 1. “ Yet sleep, the comforter of distressed minds, could not lock up ber eyes” Again, in Golding's translation of Ovid's -Metamorpboses, B. VIII, 1587 :
" At such a time as folkes are wont to find release « Of cares that all the day before were working in their
heds, “ By sleep,” &c. Again, ibid. B. XI: “O sleepe, quoth she, the rest of things, O gentlest of
the goddes, “ Sweete sleepe, the peace of mind, with whom crookt
care is aye at odds; “Which cherishest men's weary limbs appallid with
toyling sore, “ And makest them as fresh to worke, and lustie as
before." The late Mr. Gray had perhaps our author's “ death of each day's life” in his thoughts, when he wrote
“ The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.” Malone. He might as probably have thought on the following passage in the first scene of The Second Part of King Henry IV:
“ a sullen bell
“Remember'd knolling a departed friend." Steevens. 6 Chief nourisher in life's feast;] So, in Chaucer's Squiere's Tale, v. 10,661; Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition:
“ The norice of digestion, the sleepe.” Steevens. q Glamis batb murder'd sleep; and therefore Cawdor
Sball sleep no more, Macbeth sbull sleep no more.'] This triple menace, accommodated to the different titles of Macbeth, is too quaint to be received as the natural ebullition of a guilty mind. Introduce the adjuncts of a modern nobleman in the same manner, and the fault of the passage will becoine yet more conspicuous: as for instance
Norfolk bath murder'd sleep; and therefore Surrey