Weekly Interlinear Poem




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Robert Jackson

This is the poem for the week of September 22.
A new interlinear poem is available each Monday.


Is this a dagger which I see before me

-Shakespeare's Macbeth


Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
fatal=prophetic of doom
sensible=accessible

To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
heat-oppressed=fevered
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
this which now I draw - Macbeth removes his dagger from its sheath
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going,
marchall'st me=guide me
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
other senses=imagination
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still
or else worth all the rest - or else only his eyes are worth anything
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
dudgeon=handle (probably)
gouts=blobs

Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
informs=creates a form/shape
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one halfworld
halfworld=nighttime world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
witchcraft celebrates=practitioners of witchcraft celebrate
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd Murder,
pale=pale as the Moon
Hecate=goddess known for ritual sacrifices
offerings=ritual sacrifices
wither'd=gaunt, specter-like

Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
alarum'd=roused to action
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
watch=sentinel's watchword
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Tarquin was a rapist in ancient Rome
design=the one he has designs on

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 whereabout
prate=talk
whereabout=what I'm about (intention)

And take the present horror from the time,
take the present horror=remove Macbeth's intention
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
suits with it=conforms with Macbeth's intention
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
words . . . - words draw the liveliness out of Macbeth's intention
gives=give





Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
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
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 marshall'st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the 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 halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards 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 whereabout
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.