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For 'tis my limited service.
[Exit MACD. Len.
Goes the king
He does:-he did appoint it so.3
1 For’tis my limited service.] Limited, for appointed.
Warburton. So, in Timon:
for there is boundless theft, • In limited professions." i. e. professions to which people are regularly and legally ap. pointed. Steevens. 2 Goes the king
From bence to-day?] I have supplied the preposition from, for the sake of metre. So, in a former scene, Duncan says,
From hence to Inverness,” &c. Steevens. 3 He does :-be did appoint it so.] The words----be does—are omitted by Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton. But perhaps Shakspeare designcu iaubttn tu pieliei himoclf undos an immediate falsehood, till a sudden recollection of guilt restrained his confidence, and unguardedly disposed him to qualify his assertion; as he well knew the king's journey was ettectually prevented by his death. A similar trait had occurred in a former scene :
“ L. M. And when goes hence?
strange screams of death;
Was feverous, and lil shake.] These lines, I think, should be rather regulated thus :
prophesying with accents terrible,
'Twas a rough night Len. My young remembrance cannot parallel A fellow to it.
Re-enter MACDUIT. Macd. O horror! horror! horror Tongue, nor
heart, Cannot conceive, nor name thee!
A prophecy of an event new.hatch'd seems to be a prophecy of an event past. And a prophec, ne-w-butuh'd is a wry expression. The term new.hatch'd is properly applicable to a i ird, and that birds of ill omen should be new-ba'ch'd to the woeful time, that is, should appear in uncommon numbers, is very con. sistent with the rest of the prodigies here mentioned, and with the universal disorder into which nature is described as thrown by the perpetration of this horrid murder. Fohnson.
I think Dr. Johnson's regulation of these lines is improper, Prophesying is what is new-batch’d, and in the metaphor holds the place of the egg. The events are the fruit of such hatching.
Steevens. I think Steevens has justiy explained this passage, but should wish to read-prophecyings in the plural. M Mason.
Dr. Johnson observes, that “a prophecy of an event new. hatch'd seems to be a prophecy of an event past. And a prophecy new-batch'd is a wry expression.” The construction suggested by Mr. Steevens meets with the first objection. Yet the following passage in which the same imagery is found, inclines me to believe that our author meant, that new-hatch'd should be referred to events, though the events were yet to come. Allowing for his usual inaccuracy with respect to the active and passive participle, the events may be said to be “the batch and brood of time.” See King Henry IV, P. II:
“ The which observ'd, a man may prophesy,
“Such things become the batch and brood of time.” Here certainly it is the thing or event, and not the prophecy, which is the batch of time; but it must be acknowledged, the word “become" sufficiently marks the future time. If therefore the construction that I have suggested be the true one, batch'd must be here used for batching, or “ in the state of being hatch’d.”—To the woeful time, means to suit the woeful time.
Malone. some say, the earth Was feverous, and did shake.] So, in Coriolanus :
as if the world
What 's the matter?
What is 't you say? the life?
[Exeunt MacB. and LEN.
Tongue, nor heart,
- there is no harm
Steevens. The subsequent hemistich—“What's the business?"-which completes the metre of the ; receding line, without the words “Ring the bell,” affords, in my opinion, a strong presumptive proof that these words were only a marginal direction. It should be remembered that the stage directions were formerly often couched in imperative terms: “Draw a knife;" “ Play niusic;" “ king the bell;" &c. In the original copy we have here indeed also-Bell rings, as a marginal direction; but this was inserted, I imagine, fiom the players misconceiving what Shak. speare had in truih set down in his copy as a dramatic direction to the property-mani, (“. Ring the hell") for a part of Macduti's speech; and, to distinguish the direction which they inserted, from the supposed words of the speaker, they departed from the usual imperative form. Throughout the whole of the preceding scene we have constantly an imperative direction to the proinpter: Knock within."
I suppose, it was ir consequence of an imperfect recollection of this hemistich, that Mr. Pope, having, in his Preface,
Enter Lady MACBETH. Lady M.
What 's the business, That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley The sleepers of the house? speak, speak,7Macd.
O, gentle lady, 'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak : The repetition, in a woman's ear, Would murder as it fell.: 0 Banquo! Banquo!
Too cruel, any where.-
charged the editors of the first folio with introducing stagedirections into their author's text, in support of his assertion, quotes the following line:
“ My queen is murderd:-ring the little bell." a line that is not found in any edition of these plays that I have met with, nor, I believe, in any other book. Malone.
speak, speak, -] These words, which violate the metre, were probably added by the players, who were of opinion that-speak, in the following line, demanded such an introduction. Steevens. 8 The repetition, in a woman's car, Would murder as it fell.] So, in Hamlet:
He would drown the stage with tears, “ And cleave the general ear with horrid speech. Again, in The Puritan, 1607 : “ The punishments that shall follow you in this world, would with borrour kill the ear should hear them related.” Malone.
• What, in our house?] This is very fine. Had she been innocent, nothing but the murder itself, and not any of its aggravating circumstances, would naturally have affected her. As it was, her business was to appear highly disordered at the news. Therefore, like one who has her thoughts about her, she seeks for an aggravating circumstance, that might be supposed most to affect her personally; not considering, that by placing it there, she discovered rather a concern for herself than for the king. On the contrary, her husband, who had repented the act, and was now labouring under the horrors of a recent murder, in his exclamation, gives all the marks of sorrow for the fact itself. Warburton.
Re-enter MACBETH and LENOX.
Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAÍN.
You are, and do not know it:
Macd. Your royal father 's murder'd.
O, by whom?
Macb. O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
Wherefore did you
so? Macb. Who can be wise, amaz'd, temperate, and fu.
rious, Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man: The expedition of my violent love
1 Had I but died an hour before this chance,
badg'd with blood,] I once thought that our author wrote bath’d; but badgʻd is certainly right. So, in The Second Part of King Henry VÌ:
"With murder's crimson badge.” Malone. - their daggers, wbich, unwip'd, we found
Upon their pillows: ] This idea, perhaps, was taken from The Man of Lawes' Tale, by Chaucer, l. 5027, Mr. Tyrwhitt's odit:
?" And in the bed the blody knif he fond." See also the foregoing lines. Steevens.