Spring 1985 • Vol. VII No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1985 |

The Horses of “Macbeth”

         Where's the Thane of Cawdor? We cours'd him at the heels, and had a purpose To be his purveyor: but he rides well; And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess, We are your guest tonight.                  (1, 6,20-25) This speech of Duncan's occurs some half-dozen lines before Macbeth's great "pity" soliloquy.1 It is of negligible interest except for the word spur which is conspicuously repeated thirty-three lines later by Macbeth ("I have no spur . . .," etc.). It is impossible to say whether Shakespeare wrote the speech before or after the soliloquy, but the proximity of the two spurs suggests that one owes something to the other. But what? The simplest explanation is that Shakespeare already had the soliloquy in mind, or at least the equestrian motif in it, and was anticipating the appearance of Macbeth's metaphysical horses by planting his real horse as a vaunt-

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Upstairs

By Samuel Pickering, Jr.

         Where's the Thane of Cawdor? We cours'd him at the heels, and had a purpose To be his purveyor: but he rides well; And his great love, sharp as his […]

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