Notes on Macbeth: Out, out, brief candle!
"There is a magic in the expression "brief candle" which I have never known any one to deny. What is the secret of it? A candle is a commonplace enough object; in itself it is not a poetical thing; it is something useful, something with regard to which the idea of use and ownership naturally arises; it stands low down, as an inanimate thing, on the scale of images which culminates in man. Yet, as Shakespeare has used it, it is a central image in a consummate bit of poetry. What has he done to give it such distinctive worth? He has personalised. Here lies the main secret of the worth of this expression." Arthur Fairchild. Read on...