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but a very ufeful art, as it beft affifts the poet to expose the anguish of remorfe, to repeat every whisper of the internal monitor, confcience, and, upon occafion, to lend her a voice to amaze the guilty and appal the free. As a man is averfe to expose his crimes, and difcover the turpitude of his actions even to the faithful friend, and trufty confident, it is more natural for him to breathe in foliloquy the dark and heavy fecrets of the foul, than to utter them to the most intimate affociate. The conflicts in the bofom of Macbeth, before he commits the murder, could not, by any other means, have been fo well expofed. He entertains the prophecy of his future greatnefs with complacency, but the very idea of the means by which he is to attain it shocks him to the highest degree.
This fupernatural foliciting
Cannot be ill; cannot be good. If ill,
There is an obfcurity and stiffness in part of these foliloquies, which I wish could be charged entirely to the confufion of Macbeth's mind from the horror he feels at the thought of the murder; but our author is too much addicted to the obfcure bombaft, much affected by all forts of writers in that age. The abhorrence Macbeth feels at the fuggeftion of affaffinating his king, brings him back to this determination,
If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,
After a pause, in which we may fuppofe the ambitious defire of a crown to return, so far as to make him undetermined what he shall do, and leave the decifion to future time and unborn events, he concludes,
Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs thro' the roughest day.
By which, I confefs, I do not with his two laft commentators imagine is meant either the tautology of time and the hour, or an allufion to time painted with an hour-glass, or an exhortation to time to haften forward, but I rather apprehend the meaning to be, tempus & bora, time and occafion, will carry the thing through, and bring it to fome determined point and end, let its nature be what it will. In the next foliloquy, he agitates this great question concerning the proposed murder. One argument against it, is, that fuch deeds must be supported by others of like nature.
But, in these cafes,
We ftill have judgment here; that we but teach
He proceeds next to confider the peculiar relations, in which he stands to Duncan.
He's here in double trust :
Strong both against the deed; then, as his hoft,
Who fhould, against his murd'rer shut the door;
Then follow his arguments against the deed, from the admirable qualities of the king.
Befides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties fo meekly, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead, like angels, trumpet-tongu'd against
So, fays he, with many reafons to diffuade, I have none to urge me to this act, but a vaulting ambition; which, by a daring leap, often procures itself a fall. And thus having determined, he tells Lady Macbeth;
We will proceed no further in this business.
Macbeth, in debating with himself, chiefly dwells upon the guilt, yet touches fomething on the danger of affaffinating the king. When he argues with Lady Macbeth, knowing her too wicked to be affected by the one, and too daring to be deterred by the other, he urges with great propriety what he thinks may have more weight with one of her difpofition; the favour he is in with the king, and the esteem he has lately acquired of the people. In answer to her charge of cowardice, he finely diftinguishes between manly courage and brutal ferocity.
Mach. I dare do all that may become a man ;
At length, overcome, rather than persuaded, he desermines on the bloody deed.
I am fettled, and bend up
How terrible to him, how repugnant to his nature, we
Macb. There's one did laugh in fleep, and one cry'd, Murder!
But they did fay their prayers, and address them
Lady. There are two lodg'd together.
Mach. One cry'd, God bless us! and, Amen! the other;
Lady. Confider it not fo deeply.
Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce, Amen?
Macb. Methought, I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more
Then he replies, when his lady bids him carry back the daggers;
Mach. I'll go no more.
I am afraid to think what I have done l
How natural is the exclamation of a perfon, who, from the fearless state of unfufpecting innocence, is fallen into the fufpicious condition of guilt, when upon hearing a knocking at the gate he cries out;
Mach. How is it with me, when every noise appals me?
The poet has contrived to throw a tincture of remorfe even into Macbeth's refolution to murder Banque.-He does not proceed in it like a man, who, impenitent in crimes, and wanton in fuccefs, gaily goes forward in his violent career; but feems impelled onward, and ftimulated to this additional villany, by an apprehenfion, that, if Banquo's pofterity fhould inherit the crown, he has facrificed his virtue, and defiled his own foul in vain.
Macb. If 'tis fo,
For Banquo's iffue have I fill'd my mind;
3 Put fancours in the veffel of my peace
To make them kings, the feed of Banque kings.
His defire to keep Lady Macbeth innocent of this intended murder, and yet from the fulness of a throbbing heart, uttering what may render fufpected the very thing he wishes to conceal, fhews how deeply the author enters into human nature in general, and in every cir cumftance preferves the confiftency of the character he exhibits.
How ftrongly is expreffed the great truth, that to a man of courage, the most terrible object is the perfon he has injured, in the following addrefs to Banquo's ghoft.
Mach. What man dare, I dare.
It is impoffible not to fympathize with the terrors Macbeth expreffes in his difordered speech.
Mach. It will have blood.-They fay, blood will have blood.
By magpies, and by choughs, and rooks, brought forth
The perturbation, with which Macbeth again reforts to the Witches, and the tone of refentment and abhor rence with which he addreffes them, rather expreffes his fenfe of the crimes, to which their promifes excited him, than any fatisfaction in the regal condition, those crimes had procured.
Mach. How now, you fecret, black, and midnight hags!
The unhappy and difconfolate state of the most triumphant villany, from a confciousness of mens internal deteftation of that flagitious greatness, to which they