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Too nice, and yet too true! sont dead levant
What is the newest grief?
Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
Each minute teems a new one.


Rosse. Why, well.

How does my wife?

Macd.gate And all my children? T Rosse. d Well too21. Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace? Rosse. No; they were well at peace, when I did leave them.

Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech; Hów goes it?

Rosse. When I came hither to transport the tidings, Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour Of many worthy fellows that were out;

Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot:
Now is the time of help! your eye in Scotland
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
To doff22 their dire distresses, their comf
Be it their comfort,
We are coming thither: gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward, and ten thousand men; //
An older, and a better soldier, none
That Christendom gives out.


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'Would, I could answer This comfort with the like! But I have words, That would be howl'd out in the desert air, Where hearing should not latch23 them.

21 Thus in Antony and Cleopatra :


We use

To say, the dead are well.

22 To doff is to do off, to put off.

23 To latch (in the North) signifies the same as to catch. Thus also Golding, in his translation of the first book of Ovid's Metamorphoses:

"As though he would, at everie stride, betweene his teeth hir


Again in the eighth book:

But that a bough of chesnut-tree, thick leaved, by the way Did latch it,' &c.


What concern they?

The general cause? or is it a fee-grief2+,
Due to some single breast?


No mind, that's honest,

But in it shares some woe; though the main part Pertains to you alone.


If it be mine,

Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it. Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for


Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound That ever yet they heard.


Humph! I guess at it. Rosse. Your castle is surpris'd; your wife, and


Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner, Were, on the quarry25 of these murder'd deer, To add the death of you.

Mal. Merciful heaven!What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows, Give sorrow words: the grief, that does not speak; Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break 26. Macd. My children too?


That could be found.

Wife, children, servants, all

24 Or is it a fee-grief, a peculiar sorrow, a grief that hath but a single owner. So in a Lover's Complaint:

'My woeful self that did in freedom stand,
And was my own fee-simple.'

In these singular passages Steevens remarks that 'the attorney has been guilty of a flat trespass on the poet.'

25 Quarry, the game after it is killed: it is a term used both in hunting and falconry. The old English term querre is used for the square spot wherein the dead game was deposited. Quarry is also used for the game pursued.


'Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.
"Those are killing griefs which dare not speak.'
Vittoria Corombona.

'Light sorrows often speake,

When great, the heart in silence breake.

Greene's Tragical History of Faire Bellora.
Striving to tell his woes, words would not come,
For light cares speak, when mighty griefs are dombe.

Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond.

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Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.

Macd. He has no children.-All my pretty ones? Did you say, all?-O, hell-kite!-All?

What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
At one fell swoop27?

Mal. Dispute it like a man28,


I shall do so; But I must also feel it as a man:

I cannot but remember such things were,

That were most precious to me.-Did heaven look on,
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls; Heaven rest them now!
Mal. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let

Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes,
And braggart with my tongue!--But, gentle hea-


Cut short all intermission29: front to front, Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself; Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape, Heaven forgive him too!

Mal. This tune30 goes manly. Come, go we to the king: our power is ready;


27 At one fell swoop.' Swoop, from the verb to swoop sweep, is the descent of a bird of prey on his quarry. So in the White Devil, 1612 :

"That she may take away all at one swoop.'

23 i. e. contend with your present sorrow like a man. Thus in Twelfth Night, Act iv. Sc. 3:

For though my soul disputes well with my sense.'

29 All intermission, all pause, all intervening time.
30 The old copy reads time. The emendation is Rowe's.

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Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments31.

you may;

Receive what cheer

The night is long that never finds the day. [Exeunt.


SCENE 1. Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle.
Enter a Doctor of Physic, and a waiting


Doct. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?

Gent. Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

Doct. A great perturbation in nature! to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching.—In this slumbry agitation, besides her walking, and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?

Gent. That, sir, which I will not report after her. Doct. You may, to me; and 'tis most meet you should.

Gent. Neither to you, nor any one; having no witness to confirm my speech.

Enter LADY MACBETH, with a Taper.

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; and upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

31 i. e. encourage, thrust us their instruments forward against the tyrant.

Doct. How came she by that light?

Gent. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her continually; 'tis her command.

Doct. You see her eyes are open.

Gent. Ay, but their sense is shut1.

Doct. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

Gent. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands; I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour..

Lady M. Yet here's a spot. Ba

Doct. Hark, she speaks: I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy remembrance the more strongly.

Lady M. Out, damned spot! out, I say!-One: Two: Why, then 'tis time to do't:--Hell is murky2!-Fye, my lord, fye! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?--Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

Doct. Do you mark that?

Lady M. The thane of Fife had a wife: Where is she now? -What, will these hands ne'er be clean? No more o'that, my lord, no more o'that: you mar all with this starting3.


'Ay, but their sense is shut. The old copy reads 'Ay, but their sense are shut.' Malone has quoted other instances of the same inaccurate grammar, according to modern notions, from Julius Caesar :

The posture of his blows are yet unknown."

And from the hundred and twelfth Sonnet of Shakspeare:-
In so profound abysm I throw all care

Of others' voices, that my adder's sense
To critic and to flatterer stopped are."

Vide note on Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 1.

Lady Macbeth, in her dream, imagines herself talking to her husband, who (she supposes) had just said Hell is murky (i. e. hell is a dismal place to go to in consequence of such a deed), and repeats his words in contempt of his cowardice. 'Hell is murky!-Fye, my lord, fye! a soldier, and afeard? This explanation is by Steevens, and appears to me very judicious.

3 'You mar all with this starting.' She is here again alluding to the terrors of Macbeth when the Ghost broke in on the festivity of the banquet.

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