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Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou oppos'd, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last: Before my body

I throw my warlike shield: lay on, Macduff;
And damn'd be him that first cries, "Hold, enough."

[Exeunt, fighting.

Flourish. Re-enter, with Drum and Colours, MALCOLM, old SIWARD,

Mal. I would the friends we miss were safe arriv'd.
Siw. Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,

So great a day as this is cheaply bought.

Mal. Macduff is missing, and your noble son.

Rosse. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:

He only liv'd but till he was a man ;

The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd

In the unshrinking station where he fought,

But like a man he dy'd.

Siw. Then he is dead?

Rosse. Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow

Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then

It hath no end.

Siw. Had he his hurts before?

Rosse. Ay, on the front.

Siw. Why then, God's soldier be he!

Had I as many sons as I have hairs,

I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so his knell is knoll'd.

1. 2337. And damn'd be him that first cries, "HOLD, ENOUGH."] The thought is taken from the old military laws which inflicted capital punishment upon "whosoever shall strike stroke at his adversary, either in the heat or otherwise, if a third do cry hold, to the intent to part them; except that they did fight a combat in a place enclosed; and then no man shall be so hardy as to bid hold, but the general."-p. 264


of Mr. Bellay's "Instructions for the Wars." Tollet.

The characterization of Macbeth is thus finely finished in his dismissal. No sooner is he compelled to relinquish his doubtful and enervating dependance on the treacherous prophecies of witchcraft, and to rely on the unaided resources of his own strength, than the natural physical boldness of his disposition again breaks forth in the very face of despair.



Mal. He's worth more sorrow,
And that I'll spend for him.

Siw. He's worth no more;

They say, he parted well, and paid his score ;

And so, God be with him!-Here comes newer comfort.

Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH'S Head on a Pole.

Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art:

Behold where stands

Th' usurper's cursed head: the time is free;

I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl,

That speak my salutation in their minds;





Whose voices I desire aloud with mine,-
Hail, King of Scotland!

All. Hail, King of Scotland!

Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of time,
Before we reckon with your several loves,

And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
In such an honour nam'd. What's more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,-
As calling home our exil'd friends abroad;
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny!
Producing forth the cruel ministers

Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen;
Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands
Took off her life;-This, and what needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,
We will perform in measure, time, and place:
So thanks to all at once, and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.


[Flourish. Exeunt.

7. 2365. I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's PEARL,] So, in Sir Philip Sydney's "Ourania," by W. Breton, 1606:


an earl,

And worthily then termed Albion's pearle."


By Mr. Collier's publication of certain manuscript alterations discovered in a copy of the folio of 1632, the public are made his debtors for some very sure and admirable corrections of former misprints in the works of Shakespeare. It must, nevertheless, be admitted that his zeal in the cause of his author has, in many instances, thrust aside his more sober judgment, and induced him to give the sanction of his countenance to indisputably erroneous innovations on Thus, in the following sentence (7. 381):

the ancient text.

"Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry, Hold, Hold!'”

the MS. annotator substitutes blankness for blanket. But what general impediment would blankness interpose to the broader operations of sight, to countenance the intimation of contracted and partial vision denoted in the qualifying phrase "peep through?”

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Mr. Collier's manuscript puts bleaded for bladed; and it is indeed well known that what is commonly called bladed corn is not liable to be lodged or destroyed by storms. But it is possible that Shakespeare may have used this phrase to denote that condition of the corn when the ear, not having burst forth, lies yet enfolded in the blade; and if otherwise, still even so the inconsistency with ordinary fact would not warrant a conjectural interference with the text, since it may have been the author's intention to indicate a supernatural destructiveness and violence of tempest, by specifying under its effects, "corn that is blasted before it is grown up." That is, annihilated in its earliest promise. The annotator appears to have been unaware of the scope of this speech; for further on he changes slope into stoop, in the annexed passage (l. 1496):

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But Macbeth is imagining the utmost exaggeration of havoc that a hurricane can effect; and the term slope is employed with premeditation by the poet, as it is intended to express, imperatively, a downfall of the objects designated, entire and at once,-overturned from their foundations. Whereas the phrase, "stoop their heads," might signify a fall of the top only, or a more gradual overthrow.

An equally injurious alteration is made in the subsequent passage (7. 1610):

"No boasting like a fool;

This deed I'll do before this purpose cool:

But no more sights!'

At this point in the tragedy, Macbeth has been seeking to extinguish his ever-torturing apprehensions by inquiries into the future, through the medium of forbidden and supernatural agencies; and, wildly distracted by the painful nature of the excitement to which he has been subjected, he has cursed alike his act and his instruments:

"Let this pernicious hour,

Stand aye accursed in the calendar!"

"Infected be the air whereon they ride;

And damn'd all those that trust them!"

These fierce denunciations sufficiently proclaim how greatly the visions he has seen of futurity are oppressing him. Whilst in this phrensied condition, he is informed that Macduff, the person against whom his fears have been mostly directed, is fled from his reach; and he decrees, in the ravings of his wrath, to

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He has already looked so far into the events of time, as to see, in the entire extermination of his hard-earned greatness, how vain are these harrowing strifes from which he cannot now recede; and, in this exclamation of a moment, his hideously predominant sense of the fruitlessness of the sufferings into which he has been betrayed, by the unholy promptings of witchcraft, is fully disclosed, in one concentrated phrase, to the comprehension of the hearer. Being henceforth excluded from hope in the future, he determines to revenge his disappointment by the headlong gratification of every sudden desire that arises in his maddened appetite for relief; but he cannot endure to contemplate the futility of their ultimate results, or to raise farther the veil which hides from him the dreaded hostility of time to come. From this he peremptorily recoils.

This fearfully significant ejaculation, the manuscript annotator has altered into "But no more flights!" But the only flights, from which Macbeth had anything to dread, had already been successfully accomplished. None remained to fly, but helpless victims for his vengeance, at once so obviously incapable of flight, and immaterial to his graver projects, that the only chance of their escape he conceives it necessary to guard against, is the extinction of his own determination to destroy them, before he shall appoint the time for its execution :

"This deed I'll do before this purpose cool."

The resolution to act, with difficulty holds its ground before the recent revelation of eventual

loss; and far from the idea of stopping flights, having undisturbed possession of his thoughts, he unwillingly recognizes it as staggering, whilst he speaks, before the tyrannous influence of the more dominant impression to which he by compulsion reverts :-" But no more sights!"

The word but, which commences the phrase, should alone have preserved it from the proposed mutilation; since it indicates a return to some previous subject of the speaker's apprehension, instead of a deduction or consequence of the threat that more immediately precedes it. Another erroneous substitution is made in the following metaphor (l. 2079):

"He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause

Within the belt of rule."

That is, as a distempered body, swollen by disease, cannot be limited to its natural operations, or restricted to the dimensions prescribed as proper to health; so Macbeth's cause being evil, he is incapable of restraining its disordered influences within such appointed bounds, as may confine them within the compass of command. The metaphor is taken from the use of a diet-belt as a rule of regimen. The annotator writes course, instead of cause. Now the elements of a cause

are defined and limited, constituting a present and completed idea. But what sense or propriety can be found in a figure which refers to buckling a man's course, which is future, indefinite, necessarily forward, within a belt? This may be coerced or impeded, but cannot be belted.

Exceptions have been taken to the repetition of the same sound, in the subsequent passage (7. 2149):

"Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart."

The duplication shows the idea more definitely oppressive; denoting the contemplation of the speaker to be chained to the one changeless sensation of his guilt, which enforces and holds his



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