Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 126. Thursday, 4 March 1993.
Date: Thursday, 04 Mar 93 09:26:52 EST
Subject: [Q: "naked new-born babe"
I'm teaching Macbeth (for the first time in years) and stumbling a bit
on some of the language. For example:
Macbeth is in soliloqy, describing Duncan's meekness and other virtues,
which will "plead against his taking off...."
Then the lines:
And pity, like a naked new-born babe
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye
That tears shall drown the wind.
I can find no gloss and can make little sense of the simile.
Can someone interpret (or direct me)?
[I cannot resist this one: start with Cleanth Brooks's "The Naked Babe and
the Cloak of Manliness," the second chapter in *The Well Wrought Urn*. --hmc]