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That follow'd me so near, (0, our lives sweetness !
Baft. This speech of yours hath mov'd me,
Alb. If there be more, more woful, hold it in,
Edg. -(26) This would have seem'd a period,
Το (26) This, &c.] The baslard, whose savage nature is well display'd by it, desires to hear more : the gentle Albany, couch'd at the sad tale, begs him no more to melt his heart; upon which, Edgar observes, fenfibly affected by Edmum?s inhumanity, One fhould have imagined, this would have seem'd a period, a suffi. cient end of woe, to such as love not forrow, who are not pleased to hear of the distreffes of others: butanother (a person of another and more, cruel temper] to amplify too much, [to augment and aggravate that which is already too grệat} would fill make much more (would fill increase it] and top extremity itfelf; that is, seven go beyond that which is already at the utmost limit." No. thing can be plainer than this, which Mr.Warburton condemning as miserable, nonfenfe, reads thus, and admits into his text!
To amplify too much, would make much more,
This wou'd have seem'd a period ; but such
Too much, wou'd make much more and top extremity! 'Tis remarkable, this fine speech, (and indeed many others) are omitted in the Oxford edition.
("WHAT are there,
Witches defcribido (1) 7HAT are these,
So wither'd, and so wild in their attire, That look not like th' inhabitants o'th' earth, And yet are on't ? Live you, o
You should be women ;
you are so
(1) Wbat, &c.] Shakespear's excellence in these Actitious charadters hath been before observed : See Vol. 1. p. 77. n. 5.
In fueh circles, indeed, none could move like him; gbots, witches, and fairies seem to acknowledge him their fovereign. We must observe, that the reality of witches was firmly believed in our author's time, not only establish'd by law, but by fashion also, and that it was not only unpolite but criminal, to doubt it: and as hath been remarked, upon this general infatuation; Sbakespear might be easily allowed to found a play, especially fince he has followed with great exactness fuch histories as were then thought true: por can it be doubted, that the scenes of enchantment, however they inay now be ridiculed, were both by himself and his audience thought awful ard affecting." See Miscellareous observations on Macbeth, by Mr. S. Johnson, (note the firft) printed for Ed. Cave, 1745. Otway's celebrated description of the witcb in his Orphan, is to universally known, I omit quoting it here.
SCENE VII. Macbeth's Temper.
Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o'th' milk of huinan kindness, To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition; but without The illness should attend it. What thou would highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldft not play false, And yet wouldft wrongly win.
Lady Macbeth, on the News of Duncản’s approacha
(2) The raven himself is hoarse, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, all you fpirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me, from the crown to th'
'toe, top-full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up th' access and passage to remorse: That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, (3) nor keep peace between
(2) The Raven, &c.] It is said in the speech which preceder this, that the messenger, who brought the news
Almost dead for breath had scarcely more, Than would make up his message. Him the queen most beautifully calls the Raven. With this clue the reader will easily enter into the fenfe of the passage, and see the absurdity of any alteration.-By mortal thoughts is meant deftructa ive, deadly, &c.----In which fense inortal is frequently used.
(3) Nor keep, &c.] Mr. Yohnson is of opinion, thať no sense at all is expreft by the present reading, and therefore he proposes keep pace between the passage seems clear to me, and the sense as fols lows : "
grant that no womanish tenderness, no compunctious visitings of nature, no stings of conscience, may shake my fell purpose, may defeat my design, and keep peace between it and the effect, that is, keep my purpose from being executed,” which is most aptly expreft by a peace between them, which the remorse of her mind, the itings of her conscience were to be the occasion of her keeping.
Th'effect and it. Come to my woman's breasts,
my keen knife see not the wound it makes ; Nor heav'n peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry, hold, hold !
SCENE IX. Macbeth's Irresolution. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly: if th' assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With its surcease success; that but this blow Might be the be-all, and the end all Here, But here upon this bank and (4) shoal of time, We'd jump the life to come. But, in thefe cases, We still have judgment here, that we but teach Bloody instructions ; which, being taught, return To plague th' inventor. Even-handed justice Returns th' ingredients of our poifon'd chatice To our own lips. He's here in double truft: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed: (5) ihen, as his hoft, Who should against his murd'rer shut the door, Not bear thé knife my self. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
(4) Sboal.] Others read she've.
(5) Tben a, &c.] This is quite classical: hospitality was held: so facred amongst the ancients, that the Chief of their gods was dignified with the title of hospitable. Zeus Ženios, Jupiter Hof pitalis. The writings of the ancients abound with this noble princ ciple, and hospitality is mentioned with honour in them all: this amongst a thoufand other proofs, shews Sbakespear to have been no stranger to the works of antiquity.