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such demeanor ? No-to degrade and min to the King—for there is no allusion in it to imize the murderer.
the King's intention to visit their Castle. I Talboys. My dear sir, I cordially agree believe it to have been written about an hour with every word you utter. Go on-my
Go on-my or so after the prophecy of the Weirdsdear sir to instruct to illumine
either in some place of refreshment by the SEWARD. To bring out “sublime flashes road-side-or in such a Tent as this—kept of magnanimity, courage, tenderness,” in ready for the General in the King's Camp at Macbeth
Forres. He dispatched it by a Gilly-a fast BULLER. Of every exalted quality that one like your Cornwall Clipper-and then can dignify and adorn the human mind”- tumbled in. the mind of Macbeth in his struggle with BULLER. When did she receive it? the allurements of ambition !
North. Early next morning. North, Observe, how this reticence—on Buller. How could that be, since she is the part of Macbeth—contrasted with his reading it, as her husband, steps in, well on, wife's eagerness and exultation, makes her, for as I take it, in the afternoon ? the moment, seem the wickeder of the two- North. Buller, you are a blockhead. the fiercer and the more cruel. For the mo- There had she, for many hours, been sitting, ment only; for we soon ask ourselves what and walking about with it, now rumpled up means this unhusbandly reserve in him who in her fist-now crunkled up between her had sent her that letter and then a messen- breasts—now locked up in a safe—now ger to tell her the king was coming--and spread out like a sampler on that tasty little who had sworn to himself as savagely as she oak table—and sometimes she might have now does, not to let slip this opportunity of been heard by the servants—had they had cutting his king's throat. He is well-pleased the unusual curiosity to listen at the doorto see that his wife is as bloody-minded as murmuring like a stock-dove—anon hooting himself—that she will not only give all ne- like an owl-by-and-by barking like an eacessary assistance—as an associate-but con- gle--then bellowing liker a hart than a hind cert the when, and the where, and the how –almost howling like a wolf—and why not? --and if need be, with her own hand deal --now singing a snatch of an old Gaelic air, the blow.
with a clear, wild, sweet voice, like that of a SEWARD. She did not then know that “ human!" Macbeth had made up his mind to murder Duncan that very night. But we know it.
"Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be She has instantly made up hers—we know
What thou art promised.” how; but being as yet unassured of her hus
“ Hie thee hither, band, she welcomes him home with a Decla- That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, ration that must have more than answered And chastise with ihe valor of my tongue, his fondest hopes; and, therefore, he is All that impedes thee from the golden round, almost mute—the few words he does utter
Which Fate and metaphysical aid doth seem seem to indicate no settled purpose-Duncan
To have thee crown'd withal.” may fulfill his intention of going in the morning, or he may not; but we know that the BULLER. Grand indeed. silence of the murderer now is because the North. It is grand indeed. But, my dear murderess is manifestly all he could wish- Buller, was that all she had said to herself, and that, had she shown any reluctance, he think you? No-no-no. But it was all would have resumed his eloquence, and, to Shakspeare had time for on the Stage. Oh, convert her to his way of thinking, argued sirs ! The Time of the Stage is but a simuas powerfully as he did when converting lacrum of true Time. That must be done himself.
at one stroke, on the Stage, which in a Life Buller. You carry on at such a pace, sir, takes ten. The Stage persuades that in one there's no keeping up with you. Pull up, conversation, or soliloquy, which Life may that I may ask you a very simple question. do in twenty-you have not leisure or goodOn his arrival at his castle, Macbeth finds will for the ambages and iterations of the bis wife reading a letter from her amiable Real. spouse, about the Weird Sisters. Pray, Seward. See an artist with a pen in his when was that letter written ?
hand, challenged; and with a few lines he North. At what hour precisely? That I will exhibit a pathetic story. From how can't say. It must, however, have been many millions has he given you-One ? The written before Macbeth had been presented l units which he abstracts, represent suffi
ciently and satisfactorily the millions of lines North. He then goes on to descant to and surfaces which he neglects.
himself about the relation in which he stands NORTH. So in Poetry. You take little for to Duncan, and apparently discovers for the much. You need not wonder, then, that on first time, that “ he's here in double trust;”. an attendant entering and saying, “The and that as his host, his kinsman, and his King comes here to-night,” she cries, “Thou subject, he should“ against his murderer art mad to say it !" Had you happened to shut the door, not bear the knife myself.” tell her so half-an-hour ago, who knows but SEWARD. A man of genius. that she might have received it with a stately North. Besides, Duncan is not only a smile, that hardly moved a muscle on her King, but a good Kinghigh-featured front, and gave a merciful look to her green eyes even when she was com- “ So clear in his great office, that his virtues muning with Murder!
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against North. What þurry and haste had been
The deep damnation of his taking-off.” on all sides to get into the House of Murder !
That is much better morality—keep there, “ Where's the Thane of Cawdor ?
Macbeth-or thereabouts—and Duncan's life We coursed him, at the heels, and had a purpose is tolerably safe—at least for one night. But To be his purveyor : but he rides well: And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp Shakspeare knew his man—and what manhim
ner of man he is we hear in the unbearable To his home before us–Fair and noble Hostess, context, that never yet has been quoted by We are your guest to-night."
any one who had ears to distinguish between
the true and the false. Ay, where is the Thane of Cawdor? I, for one, not knowing, can't say. The gracious “ And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Duncan desires much to see him as well as Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors’d his gracious Hostess.
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, “Give me your hand:
That tears shall drown the wind."
Cant and fustian. Shakspeare knew that By your leave, hostess.'
cant and fustian would come at that moment
from the mouth of Macbeth. Accordingly, Ay—where's the Thane of Cawdor? Why he offers but a poor resistance to the rhetoric did not Shakspeare show him to us, sitting at that comes rushing from his wife's heartsupper with the King ?
even that sentiment which is thought so Talboys. Did he sup with the King ? fine-and 'tis well enough in its way
BULLER. I believe he sat down—but got up again—and left the Chamber.
"I dare do all that may become a man ; Talboys. His wife seeks him out. “He Who dares do more is none"has almost supped. Why have you left the Chamber?” · Has he asked for me?” is set aside at once by“Know ye not he has ?” NORTH. On Macbeth's Soliloquy, which
“What beast was it, then, his wife's entrance here interrupts, how much
That made you break this enterprise to me ?'' inconsiderate comment have not moralists we hear no more of “Pity like a naked newmade! Here—they have said—is the strug-born babe”—but at her horrid scheme of the gle of a good man with temptation. Heark
murderen, say they—to the voice of Conscience ! What does the good man, in this hour of
"Bring forth men children only! trial, say to himself ? He says to himself- For thy undaunted metal should compose
I have made up my mind to assassinate my Nothing but males!" benefactor in my own house the only doubt I have, is about the consequences to myself Shakspeare does not paint here a grand and in the world to come. Well, then—“We'd desperate struggle between good and evil jump the world to come. But if I murder thoughts in Macbeth's mind—but a mock him—may not others murder me? Retribu- fight; had there been any deep sincerity in tion even in this world.” Call you that the the feeling expressed in the bombast—had voice of Conscience ?
there been any true feeling at all--it would SEWARD. Hardly.
have revived and deepened—not faded and
died almost-at the picture drawn by Lady more than his Lordship's. Against whom, Macbeth of their victim
then, do we conclude ? Her ? I think not
but the Poet. He is the badly-contriving • When Duncan is asleep,
assassin. He does not intend lowering your Whereto the rather shall this day's hard journey esteem for her Ladyship's talents. Am I, Soundly invite him”
sir, to think that William himself, after the
same game, would have hunted no better? the words that had just left his own lips-- I believe he would ; but he thinks that this
will carry the Plot through for the Stage “ His virtues
well enough. The House, seeing and hearWill plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against ing, will not stay to criticise. The Horror The deep damnation of his taking-off,"
persuades Belief. He knew the whole myswould have re-rung in his ears; and a strange tery of murder. medley-words and music—would they have
North. My dear Buller, wheel nearer me. made-with his wife's
I would not lose a word you say.
BULLER. Did Macbeth commit an error in " When in swinish sleep
killing the two Grooms ? And does his Lady Their drenched natures lie, as in a death,
think so ? What cannot you and I perform upon
Talboys. A gross error, and his Lady The unguarded Duncan ?”
BULLER. Why was it a gross error—and That is my idea of the Soliloquy. Think why did his lady think so ?
TALBOYS. Because—why-I really can't Talboys. The best critics tell us that tell. Shakspeare's Lady Macbeth has a command- BULLER. Nor I. The question leads to ing Intellect. Certes she has a commanding formidable difficulties -- either way. But Will. I do not see what a commanding In- answer me this. Is her swooning at the tellect has to do in a Tragedy of this kind-close of her husband's most graphic picture or what opportunity she has of showing it. of the position of the corpses-real or preDo you, sir?
tended ? North. I do not.
SEWARD. Real. Talboys. Her Intellect seems pretty much Talboys. Pretended. on a par with Macbeth's in the planning of BULLER. Sir ? the murder.
North. I reserve my opinion. North. I defy any human Intellect to de- Talboys. Not a faint-but a feint. She vise well an atrocious Murder. Pray, how cannot undo that which is done; nor hinder would
that which he will do next. She must mind Talboys. Ask me rather how I would her own business. Now distinctly her own this night-murder Christopher North. business-is to faint. A high-bred, sensi
North. No more of that—no dallying in tive, innocent Lady, startled from her sleep that direction. You make me shudder. to find her guest and King murdered, and Shakspeare knew that a circumspect murder the room full of aghast nobles, cannot possiis an impossibillity—that a murder of a King bly do anything else but faint. Lady Mac,
. in the murderer's own house, with expecta- beth, who “all particulars of duty knows,” tion of non-discovery, is the irrationality of faints accordingly.
. infatuation. The poor Idiot chuckles at the North. Seward, we are ready to hear poor Fury's device as at once original and you. plausible—and, next hour, what single soul SEWARD. She has been about a business in the Castle does not know who did the that must have somewhat shook her nervesdeed ?
granting them to be of iron. She would SEWARD. High Intellect indeed!
herself have murdered Duncan had he not Talboys. The original murder is bad to resembled her Father as he slept; and on the uttermost. I mean badly contrived. What sudden discernment of that dreadful resemcolor was there in coloring the two Grooms? blance, her soul must have shuddered, if No two men kill their master, and then go to her body served her to stagger away from bed again in his room with bloody faces and parricide. On the deed being done, she is poignards.
terrified after a different manner from the BULLER. If this was really a very bad plot doer of the deed; but her terror is as great ; altogether, it is her Ladyship’s as much-far and though she says
“ The sleeping and the dead
Pritchard with the Swoon—and that Macklin Are but as pictures— 'tis the eye of childhood thought Mrs. Porter alone could have been That fears a painted Devil"
endured by the audience. Therefore, by the
Great Manager, Lady Macbeth was not believe me that her face was like ashes, as allowed in the Scene to appear at all. His she returned to the chamber to gild the faces belief was, that with her Ladyship it was a of the grooms with the dead man's blood. feint--and that the Gods, aware of that, unThat knocking, too, alarmed the Lady-be- less restrained by profound respect for the lieve me as much as her husband ; and to actress, would have laughed—as at something keep cool and collected before him, so as to rather comic. If the Gods, in Shakspeare's be able to support him at that moment with days, were as the Gods in Garrick's, William, her advice, must have tried the utmost methinks, would not, on any account, have strength of her nature. Call her Fiend—she exposed the Lady to derision at such a time. was Womar. Down stairs she comes—and But I suspect the Gods of the Globe would stands
among them all, at first like one alarm- not have laughed, whatever they might have ed only—astounded by what she hears--and thought of her sincerity, and that she did striving to simulate the ignorance of the in- appear before them in a Scene from which nocent——“What, in our house ?” “ Too cruel nothing could account for her absence. She anywhere!” What she must have suffered was not, I verily believe, given to faintingthen, Shakspeare lets us conceive for our perhaps this was the first time she had ever selves; and what on her husband's elaborate fainted since she was a girl. Now I believe description of his inconsiderate additional she did. She would have stood by her husmurders. “ The whole is too much for her” band at all hazards, had she been able, both -she “is perplexed in the extreme”-and on his account and her own; she would not the sinner swoons.
have so deserted him at such a critical juncNorth. Seward suggests a
d, strong, ture; her character was of boldness rather deep, tragical turn of the scene--that she than duplicity ; her business now—her duty faints actually. Well--so be it. I shall say, —was to brazen it out; but she grew sickfirst, that I think it a weakness in my favor- qualms of conscience, however terrible, can ite; but I will go so far as to add that I can be borne by sinners standing upright at the let it pass for a not unpardonable weakness- mouth of hell—but the flesh of man is weak, the occasion given. But I must deal other- in its utmost strength, when moulded to wise with her biographer. Him I shall hold woman's form—other qualms assail suddenly to a strict rendering of account. I will know the earthly tenement—the breath is choked — of him what he is about, and what she is the “distracted globe” grows dizzy—they about. If she faints really, and against her that look out of the windows know not what will, having forcible reasons for holding her they see—the body reels, lapses, sinks, and will clear, she must be shown fighting to the at full length smites the floor. last effort of will, against the assault of wom
SEWARD. Well said Chairman of the anly nature, and drop, vanquished, as one Quarter-sessions. dead, without a sound. But the Thaness Buller. Nor, with all submission, my
dear calls out lustily--she remembers, “as we Sir, can I think you treat your favorite murshall make our griefs and clamors roar upon deress, on this trying occasion, with your his death.” She makes noise enough-takes usual fairness and candor.
All she says is, good care to attract everybody's attention to “Help me hence, ho!" Macduff
says, her performance--for which I commend her. "Look to the Lady”—and Banquo says,
“ Calculate as nicely as you will-she distracts “Look to the Lady”—and she is carried off. or diverts speculation, and makes an interest- Some critic or other— I think Malone-says ing and agreeable break in the conversation. -- that Macbeth avows he knows " 'tis a feint" I think that the obvious meaning is the by not going to her assistance. Perhaps he right meaning-and that she faints on pur- was mistaken--know it he could not. -
. And pose.
nothing more likely to make a woman faint NORTH. Decided in favor of Feint. than that reveling and wallowing of his in
Buller. You might have had the good that bloody description. manners to ask for my opinion.
North. By the Casting Vote of the PresiNorth. I beg a thousand pardons, Buller. dent-Feint.
Buller. A hundred will do, North. In TALBOYS. Let's to Lunch. Davies' Anecdotes of the Stage, I remember North. Go. You will find me sitting here reading that Garrick would not trust Mrs. I when you come back.
Scene II. SCENE—The Pavilion. TIME- | Nature—not artifice—and a nature deeply,
after Lunch. North-TALBOYS-BULLER terribly, tempestuously commoved by the -SEWARD.
near contact of a murder imminent-doing
done. It is more like a murder a-making NORTH. Claudius, the uncle-king in Ham-than a murderer made. let, is perhaps the most odious character in all SEWARD. See, sir, how precisely this charShakspeare. But he does no unnecessary acteristic is proposed. murders. He has killed the Father, and BULLER. By whom ? will the Son, all in regular order. But Mac- SEWARD. By Shakspeare in that first Solilbeth plunges himself, like a drunken man, oquy. The poetry coloring, throughout his into unnecessary and injurious cruelties. He discourse, is its natural efflorescence. throws like a reckless gamester.
If I am to
NORTH. Talboys, Seward, you have spoken own the truth, I don't know why he is so well. cruel. I don't think that he takes any BULLER. And I have spoken ill? pleasure in mere cruelty, like Nero,
North. I have not said so. BULLER. What do we know of Nero ? Buller. We have all Four of us spoken Was he mad ?
well—we have all Four of us spoken ill-and North. I don't think that he takes any we have all Four of us spoken but so-sopleasure in mere cruelty like Nero; but he now and heretofore—in this Tent-hang the seems to be under some infatuation that wind--there's no hearing twelve words in drags or drives him along. To kill is, in ten a body says. Honored sir, I beg perevery difficulty, the ready resource that oc- mission to say that I cannot admit the Canon curs to him—as if to go on murdering were, laid down by your Reverence, an hour or by some law of the Universe, the penalty two ago, or a minute or two ago, that Macwhich you must pay for having once mur- beth's extravagant language is designed by dered.
Shakspeare to designate hypocrisy. SEWARD. I think, Sir, that without con- NORTH. Why? tradicting anything we said before Lunch BULLER. You commended Talboys and about his Lordship, or his Kingship, we may Seward for noticing the imaginative-the conceive in the natural Macbeth considerable poetical character of Macbeth's mind. There force of Moral Intuition.
we find the reason of his extravagant lanNorth. We may.
guage. It may, as you said, be cant and SEWARD. Of Moral Intelligence ? fustian--or it may not-but-why attribute North. Yes.
to hypocrisy-as you did---what may have SEWARD Of Moral Obedience ?
flowed from his genius ? Poets may rant as NORTH. No.
loud as he, and yet be honest men.
“ In a SEWARD. Moral Intuition, and Moral In- fine frenzy rolling,” their eyes may fasten on telligence breaking out, from time to time, all fustian. through—we understand how there is engen- North. Good-go on.
Deduct. dered in bim strong self-dissatisfaction- Buller. Besides, sir, the Stage had such thence perpetual goadings on—and desper- a language of its own; and I cannot help ate attempts to loose conscience in more and thinking that Shakspeare oîten, and too more crime.
frankly, gave in to it. North. Ay–Seward—even so. He tells NORTH. He did. you that he stakes soul and body upon the BULLER. I would, however, much rather throw for a Crown. He has got the Crown believe that if Shakspeare meant anything --and paid for il. He must keep it—else by it in Macbeth's Oratory or Poetry, he inhe has bartered soul and body—for nothing ! tended thereby rather to impress on us that To make his first crime good—he strides last noticed constituent of his nature--a vegigantically along the road of which it opened hement seizure of imagination. I believe,
sir, that in the hortatory scene Lady Macbeth TALBOYS. An almost morbid impressibility reaily vanquishes-as the scene ostensibly of imagination is energetically stamped, and shows—his irresolution. And if Shakspeare universally recognized in the Thane, and I means irresolution, I do not know why the think, sir, that it warrants, to a certain ex- grounds thereof which Shakspeare assigns to tent, a sincerity of the mental movements. Macbeth should not be accepted as the true He really sees a fantastical dagger-he really grounds. The Dramatist would seem to dehears fantastical voices—perhaps he really mand too much of me, if, under the grounds sees a fantastical Ghost. All this in him is which he expresses, he requires me to dis