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Enter a Doctor of Physic, and a waiting Gentlewoman.
Doct. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your
report. When was it she last walked ? GENT. Since his majesty went into the fielda, I have seen her rise from her bed,
throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon 't, 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 slumbery 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 't is most meet you should.
a Steevens says, “ This is one of Shakspeare's oversights: he forgot that he had shut up Macbeth in Dunsinane, and surrounded him with besiegers.” We may reply, this is one of Steevens's bold assertions. In the next scene the Scotchmen say “ the English power is near.” When an enemy is advancing from another country, is it not likely that the commander about to be attacked would first go “into the field” before he finally resolved to trust to his “castle's strength ?”
GENT. Neither to you, nor any one; having no witness to confirm my speech.
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; 't is her command.
DocT. You see, her eyes are open.
GENT. Ay, but their sense is shut.
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.
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: Why, then 't is time to do 't:-Hell is murky!-Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him! DocT. Do you mark that?
LADY M. The thane of Fife had a wife; Where is she now?-What, will these hands ne'er be clean ?-No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with this starting.
DOCT. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.
GENT. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that: Heaven knows what she has known.
LADY M. Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!
DOCT. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
GENT. I would not have such a heart in my bosom, for the dignity of the whole body.
DocT. Well, well, well,
GENT. 'Pray God it be, sir.
DOCT. This disease is beyond my practice: Yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds. LADY M. Wash your hands, put on your night-gown; look not so pale:-I tell you yet again, Banquo 's buried; he cannot come out on 's DocT. Even so?
Come, come, come,
LADY M. To bed, to bed; there 's knocking at the gate.
come, give me your hand.
What's done cannot be undone; To bed, to bed,
DOCT. Will she go now to bed?
[Exit LADY MACBETH.
DOCT. Foul whisperings are abroad: Unnatural deeds
Good night, good doctor.
SCENE II.-The Country near Dunsinane.
Enter, with drum and colours, MENTETH, CATHNESS, ANGUS, LENOX, and
MENT. The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff.
Revenges burn in them: for their dear causes
Would, to the bleeding and the grim alarm,
Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming. CATH. Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?
LEN. For certain, sir, he is not: I have a file
Of all the gentry: there is Siward's son,
What does the tyrant?
CATH. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies :
Some say he 's mad; others, that lesser hate him,
Now does he feel
Mortified man. We think, with Warburton, that the poet here means a hermit or religious ascetic,-one indifferent to the concerns of the world, but who would be excited to fight by such 'causes" of revenge as Macduff comes with.
MACB. Bring me no more reports; let them fly all;
I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm?
Fear not, Macbeth; no man that 's born of woman
Shall e'er have power upon thee." Then fly, false thanes,
The mind I sway by, and the heart I bear,
Shall never sagga with doubt, nor shake with fear.
Enter a Servant.
The devil damn thee black, thou cream-fac'd loon;
SERV. There is ten thousand
MACB. Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch?
SERV. The English force, so please you.
MACB. Take thy face hence.-Seyton!-I am sick at heart
Will cheer me ever, or dis-seat me now.
What news more?
SEY. What's your gracious pleasure?
SEY. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported.
Send out more horses, skire the country round;
Hang those that talk of fear.-Give me mine armour :-
a Dr. Johnson proposed to read “May of life." If the poet intended to represent Macbeth as a young man,-one in the
"May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood,"—
who had by his crimes and their consequent anxieties
"Fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf,”—
the emendation would be just and beautiful. But we doubt if the poet had any such intention. The expression way of life" appears to us equivalent with "time of year" in the seventy-third
"That time of year thou mayst in me behold
Gifford says, "way of life is neither more nor less than a simple periphrasis for life."
Modern editions read but; contrary to the original.