The Tragedy of Macbeth/Act I
SCENE I. An open place.
[An open place. Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches.]
- When shall we three meet again
- In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
- When the hurlyburly's done,
- When the battle's lost and won.
- That will be ere the set of sun.
- Where the place?
- Upon the heath.
- There to meet with Macbeth.
- I come, Graymalkin!
- Paddock calls.
- Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
- Hover through the fog and filthy air.
SCENE II. A camp near Forres.
[Alarum within. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Soldier.]
- What bloody man is that? He can report,
- As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
- The newest state.
- 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.
- 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 villainies 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 smok'd with bloody execution,
- Like valor's minion,
- Carv'd out his passage, till he fac'd the slave;
- And 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.
- O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
- 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 valor 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.
- Dismay'd not this
- Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
- As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
- If I say sooth, I must report they were
- As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks;
- So they
- Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
- Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
- Or memorize another Golgotha,
- I cannot tell:—
- But I am faint; my gashes cry for help.
- So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
- They smack of honor both.—Go, get him surgeons.
[Exit Soldier, attended.]
- Who comes here?
- The worthy Thane of Ross.
- What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
- That seems to speak things strange.
- God save the King!
- Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?
- 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.
- Great happiness!
- 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.
- No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
- Our bosom interest:—go pronounce his present death,
- And with his former title greet Macbeth.
- I'll see it done.
- What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
SCENE III. A heath near Forres.
[Thunder. Enter the three Witches.]
- Where hast thou been, sister?
- Killing swine.
- Sister, where thou?
- A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
- And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'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.
- I'll give thee a wind.
- Thou art kind.
- And I another.
- 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 seven-nights 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.
- Show me, show me.
- Here I have a pilot's thumb,
- Wreck'd as homeward he did come.
- A drum, a drum!
- Macbeth doth come.
- 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.]
- So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
- 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.
- Speak, if you can;—what are you?
- All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!
- All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
- All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter!
- 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 favors nor your hate.
- Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
- Not so happy, yet much happier.
- Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
- So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
- Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
- 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.
- The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
- And these are of them:—whither are they vanish'd?
- Into the air; and what seem'd corporeal melted
- As breath into the wind.—Would they had stay'd!
- Were such things here as we do speak about?
- Or have we eaten on the insane root
- That takes the reason prisoner?
- Your children shall be kings.
- You shall be king.
- And Thane of Cawdor too; went it not so?
- To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?
[Enter Ross and Angus.]
- The king hath happily receiv'd, 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: silenc'd with that,
- In viewing o'er the rest o' the self-same 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 defense,
- And pour'd them down before him.
- We are sent
- To give thee, from our royal master, thanks;
- Only to herald thee into his sight,
- Not pay thee.
- And, for an earnest of a greater honor,
- He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor:
- In which addition, hail, most worthy thane,
- For it is thine.
- What, can the devil speak true?
- The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me
- In borrow'd robes?
- Who was the Thane lives yet;
- But under heavy judgement bears that life
- Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combin'd
- 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.
- [Aside.] Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor:
- The greatest is behind.—Thanks for your pains.—
- Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
- When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me
- Promis'd no less to them?
- 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.
- [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.
- Look, how our partner's rapt.
- [Aside.] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me
- Without my stir.
- New honors come upon him,
- Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
- But with the aid of use.
- [Aside.] Come what come may,
- Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
- Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
- Give me your favor:—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 chanc'd; and, at more time,
- The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak
- Our free hearts each to other.
- Very gladly.
- Till then, enough.—Come, friends.
SCENE IV. Forres. The palace.
[Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, and Attendants.]
- Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
- Those in commission yet return'd?
- 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;
- Implor'd 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 ow'd
- As 'twere a careless trifle.
- 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 deserv'd;
- 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.
- 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 everything
- Safe toward your love and honor.
- Welcome hither:
- I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
- To make thee full of growing.—Noble Banquo,
- That hast no less deserv'd, nor must be known
- No less to have done so,let me infold thee
- And hold thee to my heart.
- There if I grow,
- The harvest is your own.
- 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 honor 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.
- The rest is labour, which is not us'd for you:
- I'll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful
- The hearing of my wife with your approach;
- So, humbly take my leave.
- My worthy Cawdor!
- [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.
- True, worthy Banquo!—he is full so valiant;
- And in his commendations I am fed,—
- It is a banquet to me. Let us after him,
- Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
- It is a peerless kinsman.
SCENE V. Inverness. Macbeth's castle.
[Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter.]
- "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 promis'd; yet do I fear thy nature;
- It is too full o' th' 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'dst 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 valor 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 an Attendant.]
- What is your tidings?
- The king comes here tonight.
- Thou'rt mad to say it:
- Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,
- Would have inform'd for preparation.
- 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.
- Give him tending;
- He brings great news.
- 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, your 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!"
- 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.
- My dearest love,
- Duncan comes here tonight.
- And when goes hence?
- To-morrow,—as he purposes.
- 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 despatch;
- Which shall to all our nights and days to come
- Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
- We will speak further.
- Only look up clear;
- To alter favor ever is to fear:
- Leave all the rest to me.
SCENE VI. The same. Before the castle.
[Hautboys. Servants of Macbeth attending.]
[Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross,
- Angus, and Attendants.]
- This castle hath a pleasant seat: the air
- Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
- Unto our gentle senses.
- This guest of summer,
- The temple-haunting martlet, does approve
- By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's breath
- Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze, buttress,
- Nor coigne of vantage, but this bird hath made
- His pendant bed and procreant cradle:
- Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd
- The air is delicate.
[Enter Lady Macbeth.]
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Give me your hand;
- Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,
- And shall continue our graces towards him.
- By your leave, hostess.
SCENE VII. Macbeth's castle.
[Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over, a Sewer and divers Servants with dishes and service. Then enter 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'd jump the life to come. But in these cases
- We still have judgement 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 cherubin, hors'd
- 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?
- He has almost supp'd: why have you left the chamber?
- Hath he ask'd for me?
- Know you not he has?
- 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.
- 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 valor
- 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?
- Pr'ythee, peace!
- I dare do all that may become a man;
- Who dares do more is none.
- 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.
- If we should fail?
- 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 limbec 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?
- Bring forth men-children only;
- For thy undaunted mettle should compose
- Nothing but males. Will it not be receiv'd,
- When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two
- Of his own chamber, and us'd their very daggers,
- That they have don't?
- Who dares receive it other,
- As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar
- Upon his death?
- 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.