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tionally, in the present and in the immediate future, but one life between him and the golden circlet; now there are two and possibly three, for what was done in the case of Malcolm, may yet be done in the case of Donalbain, and so Macbeth who is all resolute when his mind is made up for action, has already decided that the overleaping of the barrier must be done this very night. When the murder is accomplished, Macbeth is spared the further exercise of his grief, for Malcolm and Donalbain, who suspect him as the author, run away to seek shelter out of Scotland, and he has only to blacken their characters by pointing to their flight as an evidence of their guilt, and he at once steps into his place as King of Scotland.
There is one other light upon the character of Macbeth which Mr. George Fletcher has pointed out—the view taken of the usurper by the weird sisters and their mistress. In the fifth scene of the Third Act Hecate takes the witches to task for their presumption in their dealing with Macbeth:—
“How did you dare
And, which is worse, all you have done
Here we have it on high authority, for it is a supernatural being who speaks, that Macbeth is “spiteful and wrathful,” and also “a wayward son.” To what paternity he is attributed it is not set forth, but in Wintown's Legendary “Cronykel” it is laid down that the actual father of Macbeth was none other than the devil himself, who had, in the shape of a “fayr man,” made love to his mother. We must of course take things only for what they are worth, but they most certainly must be considered, for Shakespeare had them within his observation, and throughout the play there are distinct evidences of his study of the Chronicles. For instance, the whole episode of the murder is taken from an earlier passage of Holinshed's actual words, “so faire a day,” coming from the same source, with the manifest opposition of foul and fair united in a breath; and, in fact, Shakespeare everywhere, after his usual manner in dramatizing a story, has availed himself of every word and every suggestion which can add local color, vraisemblance, and living interest to his work. In one point I wish no one to mistake me— that is, as to Macbeth's bravery. Of this there can be no doubt, either historically or in Shakespeare's play. Indeed, Shakespeare insists throughout on this great manly quality, and at the very outset of the tragedy twice puts into the mouths of other characters speeches couching their declarations in poetic form. Thus the bleeding sergeant says, “Brave Macbeth (well he deserves the name).” The next witness to the valor of the Thane is given by Rosse, who designates him by the majestic figure, “that Bellona's bridegroom.” It is to his moral qualities which I refer when I dub him villain. He bears witness himself at the close of the Third Act when he announces his fixed intention on a general career of selfish crime, and this to the wife whose hands have touched the crown, and whose heart has by now felt the vanity of the empty circlet:
“For mine own good,
How any student, whether he be of the stage or not, can take the above passages and, reading them in any light or form, can torture out a meaning of Macbeth's native nobility or honor, I am truly at a loss to conceive. Grapes do not grow on thorns or figs on thistles, and how any one can believe that a wish for and an intent to murder—and for mere gain, though that gain be to hasten a crown— can find lodgment in a noble breast, I know not. Let it be sufficient that Macbeth—hypocrite, murderer, traitor, regicide—threw over his many crimes the glamour of his own self-torturing thought. He was a Celt in every phase of his life; his Celtic fervor was manifest. It is not needed that we who are students in our various ways of an author's meaning, should make so little of him as to lose his main purpose in the misty beauty of his poetic words.
We are sometimes told that Shakespeare did not intend to make Macbeth a psychological study; he did make him so, and it is sufficient that we find his intent in the result, for Shakespeare was not only the greatest dramatist and the great poet of all time, but he was also a psychologist of every phase of human character and human thought, and the accomplished and perfect master of every trick and turn of human thought from the loftiest to the basest.
Lavater says that a man can only be a perfect physiognomist who has all the good qualities, for even the best of men has in him enough of the old Adam to enable him to think evil, whereas the evil man cannot think the highest good. The wide range of Shakespeare's intellectual sympathies fixes his high place even by this rule of judgment. The poetic mind on which the presages and suggestions of supernatural things could work; a nature sensitive, intellectual emotion, so that one can imagine him even in his contemplation of coming crimes weeping for the pain of the destined victim; self-torturing, self-examination, playing with conscience, so that action and reaction of poetic thought might send emotional waves through the brain while the resolution was as grimly fixed as steel and the heart as cold as ice; a poet supreme in the power of words, with vivid imagination and glowing sympathy of intellect; a villain, cold-blooded, selfish, remorseless, with the true villain's nerve and callousness when pressed to evil work, and the physical heroism of those who are born to kill; a moral nature with only sufficient weakness to quail (?) momentarily before superstitious terrors; a man of sentiment and not of feeling—such was the mighty dramatic character which Shakespeare gave to the world in Macbeth.
LANDING AT NEW YORK
[Address by Washington Irving, author, historian (born in New York, April 3, 1783; died at “Sunnyside,” near Tarrytown, N. Y., November 28, 1859), delivered at a reception given him in New York, May 30, 1832, by his early friends and townsmen on his return from Europe, after an absence of seventeen years. The festival took place at the city hall. Chancellor Kent, the eminent jurist, presided, and proposed the toast which evoked this address: “Our Illustrious Guest, thrice welcome to his native land!” It was among the very few addresses, if not the only extended address that Mr. Irving ever delivered.]
I find myself, after a long absence of seventeen years, surrounded by the friends of my youth—by those whom in my early days I was accustomed to look up to with veneration, by others, who, though personally new to me, I recognize as the sons of the patriarchs of my native city. The manner in which I have been received by them has rendered this the proudest, the happiest moment of my life. And what has rendered it more poignant is, that I have been led, at times, to doubt my standing in the affections of my countrymen. Rumors and suggestions had reached me that absence had impaired their kind feelings—that they considered me alienated in heart from my country. Gentlemen, I was too proud to vindicate myself from such a charge; nor should I have alluded to it at this time, if the warm and affectionate reception I have met with on all sides since my landing, and the overpowering testimonials of regard here offered me, had not proved that my misgivings were groundless. [Cheers.]
Never certainly did a mão, return to his native place
after so long an absence under happier auspices. On my side I see changes, it is true, but they are the changes of rapid improvement and growing prosperity; even the countenances of my old associates and townsmen have appeared to me but slightly affected by the lapse of years, though perhaps it was the glow of ancient friendship and heartfelt welcome beaming from them, that prevented me from seeing the ravages of time. As to my native city, from the time I approached the coast, I had indications of its growing greatness. We had scarce descried the land, when a thousand sails of all descriptions gleaming along the horizon, and all standing to or from one point, showed that we were in the neighborhood of a vast commercial emporium. As I sailed up our beautiful bay, with a heart swelling with old recollections and delightful associations, I was astonished to see its once wild features brightening with populous villages and noble piles, and a seeming city extending itself over heights I had left covered with green forests. [Brooklyn and Gowanus.] But how shall I describe my emotions when our city rose to sight, seated in the midst of its watery domain, stretching away to a vast extent, where I behold a glorious sunshine lighting up the skies and domes, some familiar to memory, others new and unknown, and beaming upon a forest of masts of every nation, extending as far as the eye could reach. I have gazed with admiration upon many a fair city and stately harbor, but my admiration was cold and ineffectual, for I was a stranger, and had no property in the soil. Here, however, my heart throbbed with pride and joy as I admired—I had a birthright in the brilliant scene before me: This was “my own, my native land.” [Applause.] It has been asked, Can I be content to live in this country? Whoever asks that question must have but an inadequate idea of its blessings and delights. What sacrifice of enjoyments have I to reconcile myself to? I come from gloomier climes to one of sunshine and inspiring purity. I come from countries lowering with doubt and danger, where the rich man trembles and the poor man frowns—where all repine at the present and dread the future, I come from these to a country where all is