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Your majesty loads our house. For those of old,
Where's the thane of Cawdor ?
Your servants ever
Give me your hand;
The Same. A Room in the Castle.
Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over the stage, a Sewers,
and divers Servants with dishes and service. Then, enter MACBETH.
Macb. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well
5 Enter-a SEWER,] A" sewer (says Steevens) was an officer, so called from his placing the dishes upon the table : asseour, French ; from asseoir, to place.
and catch With his SURCEASE success ;] To “surcease" is to finish or conclude, and the meaning, of course, is, “and catch success with its conclusion."
7 — and shoal of time,] The old reading is schoole, which Theobald altered to “shoal ;” and perhaps no better suggestion, to cure an obvious error, could be made. “We'd JUMP the life to come” is, We would take the chance of, or risk, the life to come. See “Coriolanus,” A. iii. sc. 1, Vol. iv. p. 658.
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
Enter Lady MACBETH.
How now! what news ? Lady M. He has almost supp'd. Why have you left the
Know you not, he has ?
Was the hope drunk,
Thus, even-handed justice] “ Thus" of the corr. fo. 1632 seems so much preferable to “ this even-handed justice" of the old copies, that we adopt it. Macbeth is referring back to the earlier portion of the same sentence, where he has said that “ bloody instructions " " return to plague the inventor.”
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
What beast was't, then”,
If we should fail, – Laily N.
9 Like the poor cat i' the adage ?] The adage is,
• The cat loves fish, but dares not wet her feet." It is found in the following form in “ Adagia Scotica,” &c. collected by R. B., 12mo, 1668, “ Ye breed of the cat : ye would fain bave fish, but ye have na will to wet your feet.” See “ Bridgewater Catalogue,” 1837, p. 2.
| Who dares do more is none.] The old tolios, instead of “do more," read no more.” The correction was made by Southern, in his folio, 1685. It had previously been introduced by the old corrector into his copy of the folio, 1632, by converting n into d with a pen, thus altering no to “do."
2 What beast wast, then,] The corr. fo. 1632 has “ What boast was't, then," as if Lady Macbeth were referring to the vaunt of the hero, when he opened his design to her. This word boast has been doubted, and the opposition of “min," in the next line but one, bas, with some apparent justice, been pointed out as against the change of " beast," the word in the old copies, to boast. It is evident, however, that the misprint was easy, and Mr. Singer notices boast as having been “ suggested ;” but he refrains, as in many former instances, from stating where, though it never was hinted at until our discovery of the corr. fo. 1632.
3 We fail?) This is the punctuation of the folios, 1623, 1632, 1664, and 1685, and in this case, perhaps, we may take it as some evidence of the ancient mode of delivering the two words, " We fail ?" interrogatively. Malone substituted a mark of admiration, “ We fail!” and Steevens pursued the same course. The Rev. Mr. Dyce, who is generally hyper-emphatic upon punctuation, (the importance of which nobody disputes,) strangely informs us here that “there is in reality no difference" between a note of interrogation and a mark of admiration. He
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
Bring forth men-children only!
Who dares receive it other,
I am settled; and bend up
makes a difference between them in works he has himself edited – and rightly : at the end of his own notes he often places a mark of admiration, and at the end of the notes of rival critics a note of interrogation. See particularly the first play in his Beaumont and Fletcher, Vol. i. pp. 58. 93, &c. What can he mean, too, by not putting a note of admiration afrer“ Oh God” in “ The Scornful Lady (iii. 106), and by putting one after “ Lazarillo, thou art happy,” in “ The Woman Hater (i. 36)? Every editor, however careful, and Nr. Dyce is one of the most so, is liable to such mistakes. In the instance before us, we purposely place a note of interrogation after “ We fail,” following the precedent of old copies, and thinking it right to adhere to the practice.
4 Will I with wine and wassel so convince,] i. e. So overcome. The word is again used in the same sense, A. iv. sc. 3; and we have already had it so applied in “ Love's Labour's Lost," A. v. sc. 2, Vol. ji. p. 174.
5 Of our great quell?) To “quell ” and to kill are in fact the same word in their origin, from the Saxon cuellan. Here “quell " is used substantively, which was at least uncommon.
ACT II. SCENE I.
The Same. Court within the Castle.
Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE, with a torch before him.
I take't, 'tis later, sir.
Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch.
Macb. A friend.
Ban. What, sir ? not yet at rest! The king's a-bed :
6 Enter Banquo, and Fleance, with a torch before him.] This is the old stagedirection, which says nothing about a servant, as in the modern editions. Fleance carried the torch before his father.
? There's HUSBANDRY in heaven ;] i. e. Thrift, or frugality in heaven.
8 Sent forth great largess to your offices.] It is not only needless, but im. proper, with Malone, to change “ offices " of the old copies into officers. There were various “offices” in the residences of the nobility, and servants belonging to each: to send largess to the “offices" in Macbeth's castle, was to give money to the persons employed in them.