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That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
Welcome hither :
[Embracing BANQUO. Ban.
There if I grow,
My plenteous joys,
Macb. The rest is labour, which is not us’d for you:
6 That swiftest wing of recompense] So the folio, 1623 ; but in the folio, 1632, “wing was misprinted wine, and amended by the old annotator, not to “wing," but to wind.
? Might have been MORE !] i. e. That there might have been more proportion between desert and payment: it is mine for “more" in the folio, 1623, and amended in the corr. fo. 1632. Mr. Singer admits that "it has been proposed to read, Might have been more :" but, perhaps, he did not recollect where he had seen the proposal, though his memory is generally remarkably accurate as to changes recommended by Rowe, Pope, Theobald, &c. He could only have seen it “ proposed " in our Vol. of “Notes and Emendations," p. 419.
My worthy Cawdor! Macb. The prince of Cumberland'! That is a step, [Aside. On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, For in my way it lies.—Stars, hide your fires ! Let not light see my black and deep desires ; The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
[Exit. Dun. True, worthy Banquo: he is full so valiant, And in his commendations I am fed ; It is a banquet to me. Let us after him, Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome : It is a peerless kinsman.
Inverness. A Room in Macbeth's Castle.
Enter Lady MACBETH, reading a letter. Lady M. “They met me in the day of success; and I have learned, by the perfectest report, they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them farther, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who all-hailed me, 'Thane of Cawdor;' by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time, with, ‘Hail, king that shalt be!' This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightest not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.” Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promis'd.—Yet do I fear thy nature: It is too full o' the milk of human kindness, To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition; but without
8 The prince of Cumberland!] The crown of Scotland (as Steevens remarks) was originally not hereditary. When the successor was declared in the lifetime of a king (as was often the case) the title of Prince of Cumberland was immediately bestowed on him, as a mark of his destination : Cumberland was at that time held by Scotland of the crown of England as a fief. The incident to which the text relates is from Holinshed.
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
Enter an Attendant.
What is your tidings ? Atten. The king comes here to-night.
Thou'rt mad to say it.
Atten. So please you, it is true: our thane is coming.
message. Lady M.
Give him tending:
th' access and passage to remorse,
The raven himself is hoarse,
Under my battlements.] These lines have produced a good deal of comment, but the meaning seems to be, that Lady Macbeth considers the fate of Duncan so certain, that the ominous raven is hoarse with proclaiming it. Warburton would read, “The raven himself's not hoarse,” which appears to be the direct opposite of what was intended by the poet. Drayton, in his “Barons' Wars," 1603, B. v. st. 42, has these lines :
“ The ominous raven with a dismal cheer,
Through his hoarse beak of following horror tells."
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark ’, To cry, “Hold, hold!” –
Great Glamis ! worthy Cawdor!
My dearest love,
And when goes hence ?
Macb. We will speak farther.
1 And Pall thee) i. e. Cover thyself as with a pall: from Lat. pallium, a cloak. We believe that Shakespeare alone uses “pall ” as a verb.
2 — the BLANKET of the dark,] This is on of the places where even judicious critics differ, whether the word should be “ blanket,” as it is printed in the old copies, or blankness as it is written in the margin of the corr. fo. 1632. Our verdict has already been given in favour of the latter ; but inasmuch as the removal of the former would disturb the prejudices of not a few of those who, from time to time, have been accustomed to hear and read “ blanket” as part of the text of Shake. speare, we allow it to remain, giving those who are of a contrary opinion the information that the old annotator on the folio, 1632, substituted blankness for “ blanket.” We are persuaded that “ blanket" was misheard for blankness, and that blankness was Shakespeare's word. The passage in “Cymbeline," A. iii. sc. · 1, which has been quoted to the contrary—“ If Cæsar can hide the sun from us with a blanket," - has no other relation to the line in “ Macbeth" than that • blanket occurs in both plays.
Only look up clear:
The Same. Before the Castle.
Hautboys and torches. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN,
, , BANQUO, LENOX, MACDUFF, RossE, ANGUS, and Attendants.
Dun. This castle hath a pleasant seat: the air
This guest of summer,
Enter Lady MACBETH.
See, see! our honour'd hostess.-
All our service,
3 Where they Much breed] The folios have “ Where they must breed," but it should appear from the corr. fo. 1632 that must was misheard, and therefore misprinted for “much.” Five lines above, “martlet” stands Barlet in all the folios -- another mishearing, probably. 4 How you shall bid God yield us for your pains,
And thank us for your trouble.] Malone had “no distinct conception " of what was meant by this passage, and Steevens was equally at fault. To us the whole speech seems sufficiently clear: Duncan says, that even love sometimes occasions trouble, but that he thanks it as love notwithstanding; and that thus he teaches Lady Macbeth, while she takes trouble on his account, to “bid God yield,” or reward, him for giving that trouble..