Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

ACT I

Scene I. A desert place.

Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches

First Witch

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch

When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch

That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch

Where the place?

Second Witch

  Upon the heath.

Third Witch

There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch

I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch

Paddock calls.

Third Witch

Anon.

All

Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Exeunt

Scene II. A camp near Forres.

Alarum within. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant

Duncan

What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.

Malcolm

  This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
’Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.

Sergeant

Doubtful it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald —
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him — from the western isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Show’d like a rebel’s whore: but all’s too weak:
For brave Macbeth — well he deserves that name —
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour’s minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix’d his head upon our battlements.

Duncan

O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!

Sergeant

As whence the sun ’gins his reflection
Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
No sooner justice had with valour arm’d
Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage,
With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men
Began a fresh assault.

Duncan

Dismay’d not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

Sergeant

Yes;
As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorise another Golgotha,
I cannot tell.
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.

Duncan

So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons.

Exit Sergeant, attended

Who comes here?

Enter Ross

Malcolm

  The worthy thane of Ross.

Lennox

What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
That seems to speak things strange.

Ross

God save the king!

Duncan

Whence camest thou, worthy thane?

Ross

From Fife, great king;
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky
And fan our people cold. Norway himself,
With terrible numbers,
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict;
Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapp’d in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point rebellious, arm ’gainst arm.
Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude,
The victory fell on us.

Duncan

Great happiness!

Ross

That now
Sweno, the Norways’ king, craves composition:
Nor would we deign him burial of his men
Till he disbursed at Saint Colme’s inch
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

Duncan

No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.

Ross

I’ll see it done.

Duncan

What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won.

Exeunt

Scene III. A heath near Forres.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Where hast thou been, sister?

Second Witch

Killing swine.

Third Witch

Sister, where thou?

First Witch

A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch’d, and munch’d, and munch’d:—
‘Give me,’ quoth I:
‘Aroint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ the Tiger:
But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.

Second Witch

I’ll give thee a wind.

First Witch

Thou’rt kind.

Third Witch

And I another.

First Witch

I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I’ the shipman’s card.
I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid:
Weary se’nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.
Look what I have.

Second Witch

Show me, show me.

First Witch

Here I have a pilot’s thumb,
Wreck’d as homeward he did come.

Drum within

Third Witch

A drum, a drum!
Macbeth doth come.

All

The weird sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about:
Thrice to thine and thrice to mine
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! the charm’s wound up.

Enter Macbeth and Banquo

Macbeth

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

Banquo

How far is’t call’d to Forres? What are these
So wither’d and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth,
And yet are on’t? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her chappy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

Macbeth

  Speak, if you can: what are you?

First Witch

All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch

All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch

All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Banquo

Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair? I’ the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
You greet with present grace and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.

First Witch

Hail!

Second Witch

Hail!

Third Witch

Hail!

First Witch

Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

Second Witch

Not so happy, yet much happier.

Third Witch

Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

First Witch

Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

Macbeth

Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

Witches vanish

Banquo

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish’d?

Macbeth

Into the air; and what seem’d corporal melted
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay’d!

Banquo

Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

Macbeth

Your children shall be kings.

Banquo

You shall be king.

Macbeth

And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?

Banquo

To the selfsame tune and words. Who’s here?

Enter Ross and Angus

Ross

The king hath happily received, Macbeth,
The news of thy success; and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the rebels’ fight,
His wonders and his praises do contend
Which should be thine or his: silenced with that,
In viewing o’er the rest o’ the selfsame day,
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
Strange images of death. As thick as hail
Came post with post; and every one did bear
Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defence,
And pour’d them down before him.

Angus

We are sent
To give thee from our royal master thanks;
Only to herald thee into his sight,
Not pay thee.

Ross

And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor:
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane!
For it is thine.

Banquo

  What, can the devil speak true?

Macbeth

The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me
In borrow’d robes?

Angus

  Who was the thane lives yet;
But under heavy judgment bears that life
Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
With hidden help and vantage, or that with both
He labour’d in his country’s wreck, I know not;
But treasons capital, confess’d and proved,
Have overthrown him.

Macbeth

[Aside] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!
The greatest is behind.

To Ross and Angus

Thanks for your pains.

To Banquo

Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me
Promised no less to them?

Banquo

That trusted home
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.
Cousins, a word, I pray you.

Macbeth

[Aside] Two truths are told,
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme. — I thank you, gentlemen.

Aside

This supernatural soliciting
Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man that function
Is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is
But what is not.

Banquo

  Look, how our partner’s rapt.

Macbeth

[Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,
Without my stir.

Banquo

  New horrors come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
But with the aid of use.

Macbeth

[Aside] Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

Banquo

Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.

Macbeth

Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought
With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains
Are register’d where every day I turn
The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king.
Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time,
The interim having weigh’d it, let us speak
Our free hearts each to other.

Banquo

Very gladly.

Macbeth

Till then, enough. Come, friends.

Exeunt

Scene IV. Forres. The palace.

Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, and Attendants

Duncan

Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
Those in commission yet return’d?

Malcolm

My liege,
They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
With one that saw him die: who did report
That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,
Implored your highness’ pardon and set forth
A deep repentance: nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As ’twere a careless trifle.

Duncan

There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face:
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.

Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus

O worthiest cousin!
The sin of my ingratitude even now
Was heavy on me: thou art so far before
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
That the proportion both of thanks and payment
Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
More is thy due than more than all can pay.

Macbeth

The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself. Your highness’ part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants,
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honour.

Duncan

Welcome hither:
I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
That hast no less deserved, nor must be known
No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
And hold thee to my heart.

Banquo

There if I grow,
The harvest is your own.

Duncan

My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
And you whose places are the nearest, know
We will establish our estate upon
Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
Not unaccompanied invest him only,
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
And bind us further to you.

Macbeth

The rest is labour, which is not used for you:
I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
The hearing of my wife with your approach;
So humbly take my leave.

Duncan

My worthy Cawdor!

Macbeth

[Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.

Exit

Duncan

True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
And in his commendations I am fed;
It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him,
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
It is a peerless kinsman.

Flourish. Exeunt

Scene V. Inverness. Macbeth’s castle.

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter

Lady Macbeth

‘They met me in the day of success: and I have learned by the perfectest report, they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who all-hailed me ‘Thane of Cawdor;’ by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time, with ‘Hail, king that shalt be!’ This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.’

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou’ldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries ‘Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.’ Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown’d withal.

Enter a Messenger

What is your tidings?

Messenger

The king comes here to-night.

Lady Macbeth

Thou’rt mad to say it:
Is not thy master with him? who, were’t so,
Would have inform’d for preparation.

Messenger

So please you, it is true: our thane is coming:
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
Than would make up his message.

Lady Macbeth

Give him tending;
He brings great news.

Exit Messenger

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

Enter Macbeth

Great Glamis! worthy Cawdor!
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.

Macbeth

My dearest love,
Duncan comes here to-night.

Lady Macbeth

And when goes hence?

Macbeth

To-morrow, as he purposes.

Lady Macbeth

O, never
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t. He that’s coming
Must be provided for: and you shall put
This night’s great business into my dispatch;
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

Macbeth

We will speak further.

Lady Macbeth

Only look up clear;
To alter favour ever is to fear:
Leave all the rest to me.

Exeunt

Scene VI. Before Macbeth’s castle.

Hautboys and torches. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and Attendants

Duncan

This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.

Banquo

This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven’s breath
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
The air is delicate.

Enter Lady Macbeth

Duncan

See, see, our honour’d hostess!
The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
How you shall bid God ’ild us for your pains,
And thank us for your trouble.

Lady Macbeth

All our service
In every point twice done and then done double
Were poor and single business to contend
Against those honours deep and broad wherewith
Your majesty loads our house: for those of old,
And the late dignities heap’d up to them,
We rest your hermits.

Duncan

Where’s the thane of Cawdor?
We coursed 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 to-night.

Lady Macbeth

Your servants ever
Have theirs, themselves and what is theirs, in compt,
To make their audit at your highness’ pleasure,
Still to return your own.

Duncan

Give me your hand;
Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,
And shall continue our graces towards him.
By your leave, hostess.

Exeunt

Scene VII. Macbeth’s castle.

Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers Servants with dishes and service, and pass over the stage. Then enter Macbeth

Macbeth

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust;
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on the other.

Enter Lady Macbeth

How now! what news?

Lady Macbeth

He has almost supp’d: why have you left the chamber?

Macbeth

Hath he ask’d for me?

Lady Macbeth

Know you not he has?

Macbeth

We will proceed no further in this business:
He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.

Lady Macbeth

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress’d yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?

Macbeth

Prithee, peace:
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.

Lady Macbeth

What beast was’t, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.

Macbeth

  If we should fail?

Lady Macbeth

We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep —
Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey
Soundly invite him — his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?

Macbeth

Bring forth men-children only;
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
That they have done’t?

Lady Macbeth

Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
Upon his death?

Macbeth

  I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Exeunt

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30