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A C BÉ T
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
We shall, my lord,
Though our lives MacB. Your spirits shine through you. Within
this hour, at most, 4 I will advise you where to plant yourselves. Acquaint you with the perfect spy o'the time, The moment on't ;' for't mult be done to-night,
- at most, ] These words have no other effe & than to spoil the metre, and may therefore be excluded as an evident iöterpolarion. STEEVENS.
Acquaint you with the perfe& spy o'the time,
The moment on't;] What is meant by the Spy of the time, it will be found difficult to explain ; and therefore sense will be cheaply gained by a slight alteration. - Macbeth is assuring the affaflins that they shall not want dire&ions to find Banquo, and therefore says:
Acquaint you with a perfe& spy o'the time; Accordingly a third murderer joins them afterwards at the place of a&ion, Perfect is well inftruited, or well informed, as in this play:
“ Though in your state of honour I am perfe&t. though I am well acquainted with your quality and rank.
JOHNSON. the perfect spy oʻthe time, ) i. é. the critical jun&ure.
WARBURTON. How the critical jun&ture is the spy oʻthe time, I know not, but I think my own conjeđure right. JOHNSON. I rather believe we should read thus:
Acquaint you with the perfell spot, the time,
The moment on't; - TYRWHITT. I believe that the word with, has bere the force of by; in which sense Shakipeare frequenily uses it; and that the meaning of the passage is this: " I will let you know by the person best informed, of the cxa& moment in which the business is to be done." And
And something from the palace : always thought, That I require a clearness:* And with him,
accordingly we find in the next scene, that these two murderers are joined by a third, as Johnson has observed. In his letter to his wifę, Macbeth says, “I have heard by the perfecteft report, that they have more than mortal knowledge. -And in this very scene, we find the word with used to express by, where the murderer says he is " tugg‘d with fortune." M. MASON.
The meaning, I think is, I will acquaint you with the time when you may look out for Banquo's coming, with the most perfe&t assur. ance of not being disappoinied; and noi only with the time in general most proper for lying in wait for him, but with the very moment when you may expc& him. MALONE.
I explain the passage thus, and think it needs no reformation, but that of a fiugle point.,
Within this hour at most, I will advise you where to plant yourselves. Here I place a full stop ; as ao further inftru&ions could be given by Macbeth, the hour of Banquo's return being quite uncertain. Macbeth therefore adds - Acquaint you" &c. i. e. in ancient language, “ acquaint yourselves with the exa& time' moft favour. able to your purposes ; for such a moment must be Spied out by you, be sele&ed by your own attention and scrupulous observation. – You is ungram marically employed, instead of yourselves; as him is for himself, in The Taming of a Shrew :
" To see her noble lord reftor'd to health,
poor " In this place it is evident that him is used instead of himself. Again, in K. Henry IV. P. I:
" Advantage feeds him fat-” i. e. himself. Again, more appofitely, in K. Richard II. Where York address fing himself to Bolingbroke, Northumberland, and others says
enter in the castle " And there repose you [i. e. yourselves) for this night." Macbeth, in the intervening time, might have learned from some of Banquo's attendants, which way he had ridden out, and therefore could tell the murderers where to plant themselves so as to cut hina off on bis return; but who could ascertain the precise hour of his arrival, except the ruffians who watched for that purpose ?
STEEVENS. - always thought,
That I require a clearnefs:) i. e. you must manage matters so, that throughout the whole tranfa&ion I may stand clear of suspicion,
(To leave no rubs, nor botches, in the work.)
We are resolv'd, my lord.
LADY M. Is Banquo gone from court?
Nought's had, all's spent,'
So, Holin shed:
appointing them to meet Banquo and his lonne without the palace, as they returned to their lodgings, and there to flea them, so that he would not have his house flandered, but that in time to come he might cleare himself." STEEVENS.
6 I'll come to you anon.] Perhaps the words - to you, which corrupt the metre, without enforcing the sense, are another playhouse interpolation. STEEVENS.
? Nought's had, all's spent, ] Surely, the unnecessary words Nought's had -- are a tasteless interpolation; for they violate the measure without expanfion of the sentiment.
'Tis fafer to be that which we destroy,
How now, my lord ? why do you keep alone,
For a few words. Madam, I will, All's spent. is a complete veilt.
There'is sufficient reason to suppose the meire of Shakspeare was originally uniforın and regular. His frequení exactness in making one speaker complete the verse which another had left imperfect, is 100 evident to need exemp!ification. Sti 1 Hanmer was aware of this, and occasioually ftruggled with such metrical withculties a's occurred; though for want of fauviliarity with ancient language, he often failed in the choice of words to be rejeded or fup plied. STEEVENS, sorrieft fancies
- ] i, e. worthless, ignoble, vile. So, in Othello :
“ I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me." Sorry, however, might bgnify forrow;ul, mela; choly, dismal. So, in The Comedy ofErrors:
" The plice of death and sorry execution."
Things without remedy, \. The old copy-all remedy.
JOHNSON Vol. XI.
She'll close, and be herself; whilst our poor malice
LADY M. Come on;
Scotch'd is the true reading. So, in Coriolanus, Ad IV. sc. v: he scotch'd him and noich'd him like a carbonado."
STEEVENS. * But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer, ] The old copy reads thius, and I have followed it, rejeđing the modern contra&ion, which was:
But let both worlds disjoint, and all things suffer. The same idea occurs in Hamlet :
". That both the worlds I give to negligence." STEEVENS. Whom we, to gain our place, have fint to peace, ] The old copy reads:
Whom we, to gain our peace--, For the judicious corrc&ionplace, we are indebted to the second folio. STEEVENS.
3 In restless echacy. ] Ecstacy, for madness. WARBURTON.
Ecflacy, in its general sense, fignifies any violent emotion of the mind. Here it means the emotions of pain, agony. So, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, P. I:
Griping our bowels with retorqued thoughts,
“ And have no hope to end our extases." Again, Milton, in his ode on The Nativity: " In pensive trance, and anguilh, and ecstatic fit."