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ITAL spark of heavenly flame,
Quit, oh! quit this mortal frame!
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,—
Oh the pain-the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life!

2. Hark! they whisper: angels say,
"Sister spirit, come away!"

What is this absorbs me quite,—
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?-
Tell me, my soul! can this be death?
3. The world recedes-it disappears;

Heaven opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:

Lend, lend your wings! I mount, I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?

O Death! where is thy sting?





I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but


ACBETH. Is this a dagger which I see befōre me,

Come, let me clutch thee.

Expression, in the delivery of this exquisite little poem, the reader must bear in mind, requires the continued production of the feeble and failing tone of the dying man, while conveying the perfect, enthusiastic

confidence of the hopeful Christian.

'Mac beth', afterward king of Scotland, prompted by ambition, and urged on by his wife, resolves to murder the king, then his guest, and seize the crown.

A dagger of the mind; a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.

Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.

Mine eyes are made the fool o' th' other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still;
And on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood,
Which was not so before.-There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business, which informs

Thus to mine eyes.

Now o'er the one half world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtained sleep: now witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hec'ate's offerings; and withered murder,
Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,

Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's' ravishing strides, toward his design
Moves like a ghost.—Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my where-about,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. While I threat he lives;
Words to the heat of deeds to cold breath gives. [A bell rings.
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me :

Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell


That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.
Enter Lady MACBETH.

Lady M. That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold:

What hath quenched them, hath given me fire.-Hark!-peace!
It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,

Which gives the sternest good-night. He is about it—
The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms

Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugged their possets,
That death and nature do contend about them,

Tar quin, two kings of Rome: L. Tarquinius Superbus, here alluded to, seventh in the line of kings, ob

tained the throne by the murder of Servius Tullius, whose daughter, Tullia, he had married.

Whether they live or die.

Macbeth [within.] Who's there?-what, ho!
Lady M. Alack! I am afraid they have awaked,
And 'tis not done. The attempt, and not the deed,
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss them.-Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had don't.-My husband!

Macb. I've done the deed!—didst thou not hear a noise?
Lady M. I heard the owl scream, and the cricket's cry.
Did not you speak?

Lady M.


Lady M. Aye.

Macb. Hark!



As I descended?

Who lies i' the second chamber?

Lady M.

Macb. This is a sorry sight.

[Looking on his hands. Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. Macb. There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried, MURDER! That they did wake each other; I stood and heard them ; But they did say their prayers, and addressed them Again to sleep.


Lady M. There are two lodged together.

Macb. One cried, God bless us! and Amen! the other;
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands
Listening their fear. I could not say, Amen,
When they did say, God bless us.

Lady M. Consider it not so deeply.

Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce, Amen?
I had most need of blessing, and amen
Stuck in my throat.

Lady M. These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.

Macb. Methought I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more!
MACBETH doth murder sleep-the innocent sleep
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,

Chief nourisher in life's feast:

Lady M.

What do you mean?

Macb. Still it cried, Sleep no more, to all the house;

GLAMIS hath murdered sleep; and therefore CAWDOR
Shall sleep no more-MACBETH shall sleep no more!

Lady M. Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brain-sickly of things. Go, get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.-
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie. Go, carry them, and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.


I'll go no more :

I am afraid to think what I have done :

Look on't again, I dare not.

Lady M.

Infirm of purpose!

Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
For it must seem their guilt.

[Exit. Knocking within. Whence is that knocking?

How is't with me, when every noise appalls me?

What hands are here?-Ha! they pluck out mine eyes!
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood

Clean from my hands? No: this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,'

Making the green-one red.

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Reënter Lady MACBETH.

Lady M. My hands are of your color; but I shame To wear a heart so white. [Knocking.] I hear a knocking At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber :

A little water clears us of this deed;

How easy is it, then? Your constancy'

Hath left you unattended. [Knocking.] Hark! more knocking: Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call us,

And show us to be watchers. Be not lost

So poorly in your thoughts.

Incarnadine, (în kår′ nã din), to

stain red, or of a flesh-color.

2 Con' stan cy, fixedness or firm. ness of mind; resolution.

Macb. To know my deed,-'twere best not know myself.


Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst.




ROM my boyish days I had always felt a great perplexity on one point in Macbeth'. It was this: the knocking at the gate, which succeeds to the murder of Duncan, produced to The my feelings an effect for which I never could account. effect was, that it reflected back upon the murder a peculiar awfulness and a depth of solemnity; yet, however obstinately I endeavored with my understanding to comprehend this, for many years I never could see why it should produce such an effect. Here I pause for one moment, to exhort the reader never to pay any attention to his understanding when it stands in opposition to any other faculty of his mind. The mere understanding, however useful and indispensable, is the meanèst faculty in the human mind, and the most to be distrusted; and yet the great majority of people trust to nothing else; which may do for ordinary life, but not for philosophical purposes.

2. My understanding could furnish no reason why the knocking at the gate in Macbeth should produce any effect, direct or reflected. In fact, my understanding said positively that it could not produce any effect. But I knew better: I felt that it did; and I waited and clung to the problem until further knowledge should enable me to solve it. At length I solved it to my own satisfaction, and my solution is this: Murder in ordinary cases, where the sympathy is wholly directed to the case of the murdered person, is an incident of coarse and vulgar horror; and for this reason, that it flings the interèst exclusively upon the natural but ignoble instinct by which we cleave to life; an instinct which, as being indispensable to the primal law of selfpreservation, is the same in kind (though different in degree) among all living creatures: this instinct, therefore, because it annihilates all distinctions, and degrades the greatest of men to the level of "the poor beetle that we tread on," exhibits human nature in its most ab'ject and humiliating attitude.

3. Such an attitude would little suit the purposes of the poët.

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