Obrázky stránek




[ocr errors]

22. For 'way,' Johnson conjectured · May,' which Steevens adopted in his edition of 1778, and so the passage is popularly quoted. Very probably Shakespeare wrote · May,' but we have not inserted it in the text, remembering with what careless profusion our poet heaps metaphor on metaphor. This mixture of metaphors, however, is not justified by quoting, as the commentators do, passages from Shakespeare and other authors, to prove tható way of life' is a mere periphrasis for life. The objection to it is, that it is immediately followed by another and different metaphor. If we were to read • May' we should have a sense exactly parallel to a passage in Richard II. iii. 4. 48, 49:

• He that hath suffer'd this disorder'd spring

Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf.' Sidney Walker, whose knowledge and taste were excellent guides, had no doubt that we ought to read • May.'

28. deny, refuse. See iii. 4. 128.

35. moe. So the first and second folios ; altered in the third to . more. Shakespeare used both forms. See Richard II. ii. 1. 239, and The Merchant of Venice, i. 1. 108.

Ib. skirr, scour. Rapid, hurried movement is implied. We have the same word used intransitively, Henry V. iv. 7.64:

• We will come to them, And make them skirt away.' In Beaumont and Fletcher, Bonduca, i. 1 :

• The light shadows That in a thought scur o'er the fields of corn,' we have the same word differently spelt.

39. Cure her. So the second folio. The first omits · her. Perhaps the author wrote · Make cure of that.' 42. We have the same figure in Hamlet, i. 5. 103:

• Within the book and volume of my brain.' 43. oblivious, causing forgetfulness, like obliviosus in Latin :

• Oblivioso levia Massico Ciboria exple.' (Horace, Odes, ii. 7. 21.) Among the meanings which Cotgrave gives to the French oblivieux, is * causing forgetfulnesse.'

44. stuff'd . . . stuff. This can hardly be right. One or other of these words must be due to a mistake of transcriber or printer. Pope read 'full' for stuff’d.' Others have conjectured • foul,' . clogg’d,'• fraught,' . press’d.' Others, retaining stuff’d,' would alter 'stuff' to 'grief,' or 'matter,' or • slough,' or 'freight.'

46. I'll none of it. The omission of the verb adds to the emphasis of the phrase. So Proverbs, i. 25: “But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof.'

48. staff, the general's baton.

50. Come, sir, dispatch. These words are addressed to the attendant who is buckling on the armour. The agitation of the speaker's mind is marked by his turning from one to the other. No sooner is the armour put on than he bids the man pull it off, line 54, and then line 58, orders it to be brought after him.






[ocr errors]


52. Compare üi. 4. 76.
55. senna. The first folio has • cyme'; the second and third ·

'caeny’; the fourth 'senna.' As Mr. Dyce says, the 'cyme' of the first folio was doubtless a misprint for cynne,' one of the many ways of spellingsenna. In Cotgrave it is spelt sene' and senne,' and defined to be a little purgative shrub or plant.' By.caeny,' the editor of the second folio meant the same thing. In Lyte’s New Herbal, 1595, p. 437, is a chapter headed • Of Sene.' In it he says the leaues of sena ... scoure away fleume and choler, especially blacke choler and melancholie.'

58. it, i.e. some part of the armour.

59. bane. Here used in the general sense of harm,' evil,' 'ruin.' More frequently found in the special sense of poison.'


Scene IV.



[ocr errors]

2. That, loosely used as a relative for ‘in which.'

Ib. chambers will be safe. As we say 'every man's house will be his castle. For • chambers' see King John, v. 2. 147 :

Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,

That in your chambers gave you chastisement,' i.e. which pursued you into your very houses and punished you there.

Ib. nothing. See i. 3. 96. 5. shadow, and so conceal.

6. discovery, reconnoitering, the report of scouts. Compare King Lear, y. I. 53:

"Here is the guess of their true strength and forces

By diligent discovery.' 8. For other' followed by “but,' see Hamlet, ii. 2. 56:

I doubt it is no other but the main.' Ib. but, but that. So Coriolanus, i. 2. 18:

We never vet made doubt but Rome was ready

To answer us.' 9, 10. endure Our setting down, stand a regular siege from us. For set' where we should say . sit,' used intransitively, see Coriolanus, i. 2. 28 :

· Let us alone to guard Corioli :

If they set down before 's,' &c. 11, 12. This passage, as it stands, is not capable of any satisfactory explanation. Capell’s reading, which nearly coincides with Johnson's conjecture, is as follows:

“For where there is advantage to be gone

Both more and less,' &c. But we should have expected. was ’ rather than is,' unless indeed, ' where' be taken in the sense of wherever.' The meaning is, ' where they had a favourable opportunity for deserting.' Steevens conjectured:

• Where there is advantage to be got,' which Mr. Collier's MS. Corrector adopted, changing only 'got to gotten.' Lord Chedworth guessed “taken,' and Sidney Walker •ta'en,' for given.' But we rather incline to think that the word "given' would not have been used in the second line, if it had not been already used in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]



first, a play upon words very much in our au:hor's manner. Perhaps the first line should stand thus :

For where there is advantage giren to flee,'

* For where there is advantage to 'em given.' 12. more and less, great and small. See 2 Henry IV. i. 1. 209:

• And more and less do fock to follow him.' 14, 15. Let our just censures Atend tbe true event. The meaning of this obscurely worded sentence must be: In order that our opinions may be just, let them await the event which will test the truth. The editor of the second folio introduced bere a strange conjectural errendation which is more obscure than the original:

· Let our best censures Be ore the true eren:.' Rowe changed • let' to set’:

• Se: our best ceasures Before the true erent,' which gires indeed a sense, but scarcely that which is required.

13. ibe true ment, the actual reci, whose certainty is contrasted with the ragteness of the information received, inscricien, as Maciuif says, for forming a ius: iudgement.

15. 16. To put on so dership' is a metaphor suggested by the putting on of armour. Compare i. 3. 115.

18. osze is here used in the ordinary modern sease, opposed to have. Siward says that the issue oi a decisire tatile w enable them to balance their accounts, as it were.

19. réatz, gire utterance to tell.

20. arstrate e serbere in Stakespeare is fc lowed by an accusative indicasing not the issue' but the quarral, as Richard II. i. 1. 50, 200, and King Job, i. 1.38

Socze T. real, segheaed, renaced. la Tross a: Ceciiz. . 1. 64, ** Carded wh pace and maboe forced with the word is used, as *farced' eserbae, in a comary sease.

6. degil does not occur again in Shakespezre.

8. Ex: This was inserted br Droe Tbe fogo bas Do stage direction bere, 200 a: Ene 15, atce Drce, when we tare bowed, pat. Reenter Sertan.' Petas Sertca seca not leare dhe sige, tot an atadant should come and wiper be bews of the Cheec's dear to bem.

10. t. Veone zů Cesett.000,"3150 feede a word for the sense required; he me proposes .cd'le recried, she later .qcald.' Bat 'oa's secretze ioda a sexe cougar shaa ba: weich it bears i poder legvage, as K, 1. 40:

Les tea, 50 zezed brane cody break
O: sott persons and rese,

Cool and coegea. agan to wait was.' II. T: Bazéne. Despeses är be retes especiay to the poti of Dance's sude, ä 2.35:

*Hostw de wa ETET 2013 agoas se!

Scene VI.

1. leavy. So the folios. We have 'leavy' rhyming to 'heavy' in Much Ado about Nothing, ii. 3. 75. So Cotgrave, feuillu: leauie.'

2. show, appear. See i. 3. 54.

Ib. uncle. See note on iv. 3. 134.

Sometimes used of a

4. battle, division of an army in order of battle. whole army in order of battle, as in King John, iv. 2. 78: 'Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set,'

and 1 Henry IV. iv. 1. 129:

'What may the king's whole battle reach unto ?’

Compare Julius Cæsar, v. 3. 108:

'Labeo and Flavius, set our battles on.'

5. upon 's, upon us. See i. 3. 125.

10. barbingers. See note on i. 4. 45.

Scene VII.


2. bear-like I must fight the course. Compare King Lear, iii. 7. 54: 'I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.' Steevens quotes from The Antipodes, by Brome, 1638: Also you shall see two ten-dog courses at the great bear.' Bear-baiting was a favourite amusement with our ancestors. The bear was tied to a stake and baited with dogs, a certain number at a time. Each of these attacks was technically termed a 'course.' There is a description of this sport in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, Bk. iii. ch. 6. 7. Than any is, i. e. than any which is. Compare The Merchant of Venice, i. I. 175:

I have a mind presages me such thrift;'

and Measure for Measure, v. 1. 67:

To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.'

See our notes on Richard II. ii. 1. 173; iv. 1. 334. Among modern poets, Browning is particularly fond of omitting the relative. Indeed it is still frequently omitted by all writers when a new nominative is introduced to govern the following verb.

17. kerns. See i. 2. 13. The word is here applied to the common soldiers of Macbeth's army.

18. staves, spear-shafts. See Richard III. v. 3. 341 :

'Amaze the welkin with your broken staves.'

Ib. either is to be pronounced here, as frequently, in the time of a monosyllable. Compare Richard III. i. 2. 64:

'Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead.'

So neither,' The Merchant of Venice, i. I. 178:

Neither have I money nor commodity.'

Ib. thou. This word is not in grammatical construction. We must supply some words like 'must be my antagonist.'

20. undeeded, not marked by any feat of arms. This word is not found elsewhere, at least not in Shakespeare.


Ib. There thou shouldst be. He infers from the noise he hears that Macbeth must be there. For should,' see i. 3. 45. There' must be pronounced with emphasis.

21. clatter. Not used elsewhere by Shakespeare. Macbeth' is particularly remarkable for the number of these ἅπαξ λεγόμενα.

22. bruited, announced, reported. Compare Hamlet, i. 2. 127;

'And the king's rouse the heavens shall bruit again,

Re-speaking earthly thunder.'

The word is derived from the French bruit, which was adopted both as noun and verb into English.

Ib. To complete the imperfect line, Steevens suggested bruited there,' or

• but find.'

24. gently, quietly, without a struggle.

27. itself professes, professes itself. There is a similar inversion, v. 8. 8, 9. 29. That strike beside us, i. e. deliberately miss us. Compare 3 Henry VI. ii. 1. 129 sqq.:

'Their weapons like to lightning came and went;

Our soldiers', like the night-owl's lazy flight,

Or like an idle thresher with a flail,

Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends.'

Scene VIII.

The scene is continued in the folios.

I. the Roman fool. Referring either to Cato or to Brutus, or to both. Compare Julius Cæsar, v. I. IOI:

'Brutus. Even by the rule of that philosophy

By which I did blame Cato for the death
Which he did give himself.'

2. whiles. See ii. 1. 60.

5. charged. See v. I. 53.

[ocr errors]

9. intrenchant, which cannot be cut. The active form is used with a passive sense. Intrenchant' does not occur again in Shakespeare, and trenchant' only in one passage, Timon of Athens, iv. 3. 115, and then in its natural active signification, trenchant sword.' For the sense compare Hamlet, iv. I. 44, the woundless air,' and I. I. 146, of the same play,

[ocr errors]

For it is, as the air, invulnerable.'

[ocr errors]

13. Despair thy charm. We find 'despair' used thus for despair of in the last line of Ben Jonson's commendatory verses prefixed to the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays:

'Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheere the drooping stage;

Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like night,

And despaires day, but for thy volumes light.'

14. angel, of course used here in a bad sense. Compare 2 Henry IV. i. 2. 186, where the Chief Justice calls Falstaff the Prince's ill angel,' or evil genius. Compare also Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 3. 21, where thy angel' or demon' is explained as thy spirit which keeps thee.'


« PředchozíPokračovat »