The Tragedy of Macbeth/Act IV
SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
[Thunder. Enter the three Witches.]
- Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
- Thrice; and once the hedge-pig whin'd.
- Harpier cries:—'tis time, 'tis time.
- Round about the caldron go;
- In the poison'd entrails throw.—
- Toad, that under cold stone,
- Days and nights has thirty-one
- Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
- Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
- Double, double, toil and trouble;
- Fire, burn; and caldron, bubble.
- Fillet of a fenny snake,
- In the caldron boil and bake;
- Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
- Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
- Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
- Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,—
- For a charm of powerful trouble,
- Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
- Double, double, toil and trouble;
- Fire, burn; and caldron, bubble.
- Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
- Witch's mummy, maw and gulf
- Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
- Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
- Liver of blaspheming Jew,
- Gall of goat, and slips of yew
- Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse,
- Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips,
- Finger of birth-strangl'd babe
- Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,—
- Make the gruel thick and slab:
- Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
- For the ingredients of our caldron.
- Double, double, toil and trouble;
- Fire, burn; and caldron, bubble.
- Cool it with a baboon's blood,
- Then the charm is firm and good.
- O, well done! I commend your pains;
- And everyone shall share i' the gains.
- And now about the cauldron sing,
- Like elves and fairies in a ring,
- Enchanting all that you put in.
- Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray;
- Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.)
- By the pricking of my thumbs,
- Something wicked this way comes:—
- Open, locks, whoever knocks!
- How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
- What is't you do?
- A deed without a name.
- I conjure you, by that which you profess,—
- Howe'er you come to know it,—answer me:
- Though you untie the winds, and let them fight
- Against the churches; though the yesty waves
- Confound and swallow navigation up;
- Though bladed corn be lodg'd, and trees blown down;
- Though castles topple on their warders' heads;
- Though palaces and pyramids do slope
- Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
- Of nature's germins tumble all together,
- Even till destruction sicken,—answer me
- To what I ask you.
- We'll answer.
- Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
- Or from our masters?
- Call 'em, let me see 'em.
- Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten
- Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
- From the murderer's gibbet throw
- Into the flame.
- Come, high or low;
- Thyself and office deftly show!
[Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises.]
- Tell me, thou unknown power,—
- He knows thy thought:
- Hear his speech, but say thou naught.
- Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff;
- Beware the Thane of Fife.—Dismiss me:—enough.
- Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
- Thou hast harp'd my fear aright:—but one word more,—
- He will not be commanded: here's another,
- More potent than the first.
[Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises.]
- Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
- Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.
- Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
- The power of man, for none of woman born
- Shall harm Macbeth.
- Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
- But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
- And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
- That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
- And sleep in spite of thunder.—What is this,
[Thunder. An Apparition of a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand, rises.]
- That rises like the issue of a king,
- And wears upon his baby brow the round
- And top of sovereignty?
- Listen, but speak not to't.
- Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
- Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
- Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until
- Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
- Shall come against him.
- That will never be:
- Who can impress the forest; bid the tree
- Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements, good!
- Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood
- Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
- Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
- To time and mortal custom.—Yet my heart
- Throbs to know one thing: tell me,—if your art
- Can tell so much,—shall Banquo's issue ever
- Reign in this kingdom?
- Seek to know no more.
- I will be satisfied: deny me this,
- And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know:—
- Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?
- Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
- Come like shadows, so depart!
[Eight kings appear, and pass over in order, the last with a glass in his hand; Banquo following.]
- Thou are too like the spirit of Banquo; down!
- Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs:—and thy hair,
- Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first;—
- A third is like the former.—Filthy hags!
- Why do you show me this?—A fourth!—Start, eyes!
- What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
- Another yet!—A seventh!—I'll see no more:—
- And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
- Which shows me many more; and some I see
- That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry:
- Horrible sight!—Now I see 'tis true;
- For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
- And points at them for his.—What! is this so?
- Ay, sir, all this is so:—but why
- Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?—
- Come,sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
- And show the best of our delights;
- I'll charm the air to give a sound,
- While you perform your antic round;
- That this great king may kindly say,
- Our duties did his welcome pay.
[Music. The Witches dance, and then vanish.]
- Where are they? Gone?—Let this pernicious hour
- Stand aye accursed in the calendar!—
- Come in, without there!
- What's your grace's will?
- Saw you the weird sisters?
- No, my lord.
- Came they not by you?
- No indeed, my lord.
- Infected be the air whereon they ride;
- And damn'd all those that trust them!—I did hear
- The galloping of horse: who was't came by?
- 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
- Macduff is fled to England.
- Fled to England!
- Ay, my good lord.
- Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits:
- The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
- Unless the deed go with it: from this moment
- The very firstlings of my heart shall be
- The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
- To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
- The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
- Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
- His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
- That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
- This deed I'll do before this purpose cool:
- But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?
- Come, bring me where they are.
SCENE II. Fife. Macduff's castle.
[Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Ross.]
- What had he done, to make him fly the land?
- You must have patience, madam.
- He had none:
- His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
- Our fears do make us traitors.
- You know not
- Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
- Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
- His mansion, and his titles, in a place
- From whence himself does fly? He loves us not:
- He wants the natural touch; for the poor wren,
- The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
- Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
- All is the fear, and nothing is the love;
- As little is the wisdom, where the flight
- So runs against all reason.
- My dearest coz,
- I pray you, school yourself: but, for your husband,
- He is noble, wise, Judicious, and best knows
- The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much further:
- But cruel are the times, when we are traitors,
- And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour
- From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
- But float upon a wild and violent sea
- Each way and move.—I take my leave of you:
- Shall not be long but I'll be here again:
- Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
- To what they were before.—My pretty cousin,
- Blessing upon you!
- Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
- I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
- It would be my disgrace and your discomfort:
- I take my leave at once.
- Sirrah, your father's dead;
- And what will you do now? How will you live?
- As birds do, mother.
- What, with worms and flies?
- With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
- Poor bird! thou'dst never fear the net nor lime,
- The pit-fall nor the gin.
- Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
- My father is not dead, for all your saying.
- Yes, he is dead: how wilt thou do for father?
- Nay, how will you do for a husband?
- Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
- Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
- Thou speak'st with all thy wit; and yet, i' faith,
- With wit enough for thee.
- Was my father a traitor, mother?
- Ay, that he was.
- What is a traitor?
- Why, one that swears and lies.
- And be all traitors that do so?
- Everyone that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.
- And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
- Every one.
- Who must hang them?
- Why, the honest men.
- Then the liars and swearers are fools: for there are liars
- and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them.
- Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt
- thou do for a father?
- If he were dead, you'ld weep for him: if you would not, it
- were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
- Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!
[Enter a Messenger.]
- Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
- Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
- I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:
- If you will take a homely man's advice,
- Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
- To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
- To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
- Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
- I dare abide no longer.
- Whither should I fly?
- I have done no harm. But I remember now
- I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
- Is often laudable; to do good sometime
- Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas,
- Do I put up that womanly defence,
- To say I have done no harm?—What are these faces?
- Where is your husband?
- I hope, in no place so unsanctified
- Where such as thou mayst find him.
- He's a traitor.
- Thou liest, thou shag-haar'd villain!
- What, you egg!
- Young fry of treachery!
- He has kill'd me, mother:
- Run away, I pray you!
[Dies. Exit Lady Macduff, crying 'Murder!' Exeunt Murderers, following her.]
SCENE III. England. Before the King's palace.
[Enter Malcolm and Macduff.]
- Let us seek out some desolate shade and there
- Weep our sad bosoms empty.
- Let us rather
- Hold fast the mortal sword, and, like good men,
- Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom: each new morn
- New widows howl; new orphans cry; new sorrows
- Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
- As if it felt with Scotland, and yell'd out
- Like syllable of dolour.
- What I believe, I'll wail;
- What know, believe; and what I can redress,
- As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
- What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.
- This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
- Was once thought honest: you have loved him well;
- He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young; but something
- You may deserve of him through me; and wisdom
- To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb
- To appease an angry god.
- I am not treacherous.
- But Macbeth is.
- A good and virtuous nature may recoil
- In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon;
- That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose;
- Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell:
- Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
- Yet grace must still look so.
- I have lost my hopes.
- Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
- Why in that rawness left you wife and child,—
- Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,—
- Without leave-taking?—I pray you,
- Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
- But mine own safeties:—you may be rightly just,
- Whatever I shall think.
- Bleed, bleed, poor country!
- Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
- For goodness dare not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs,
- The title is affeer'd.—Fare thee well, lord:
- I would not be the villain that thou think'st
- For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp
- And the rich East to boot.
- Be not offended:
- I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
- I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
- It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash
- Is added to her wounds. I think, withal,
- There would be hands uplifted in my right;
- And here, from gracious England, have I offer
- Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
- When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head,
- Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
- Shall have more vices than it had before;
- More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,
- By him that shall succeed.
- What should he be?
- It is myself I mean: in whom I know
- All the particulars of vice so grafted
- That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
- Will seem as pure as snow; and the poor state
- Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
- With my confineless harms.
- Not in the legions
- Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd
- In evils to top Macbeth.
- I grant him bloody,
- Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
- Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
- That has a name: but there's no bottom, none,
- In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
- Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up
- The cistern of my lust; and my desire
- All continent impediments would o'erbear,
- That did oppose my will: better Macbeth
- Than such an one to reign.
- Boundless intemperance
- In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
- The untimely emptying of the happy throne,
- And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
- To take upon you what is yours: you may
- Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
- And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
- We have willing dames enough; there cannot be
- That vulture in you, to devour so many
- As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
- Finding it so inclin'd.
- With this there grows,
- In my most ill-compos'd affection, such
- A stanchless avarice, that, were I king,
- I should cut off the nobles for their lands;
- Desire his jewels, and this other's house:
- And my more-having would be as a sauce
- To make me hunger more; that I should forge
- Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
- Destroying them for wealth.
- This avarice
- Sticks deeper; grows with more pernicious root
- Than summer-seeming lust; and it hath been
- The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
- Scotland hath foysons to fill up your will,
- Of your mere own: all these are portable,
- With other graces weigh'd.
- But I have none: the king-becoming graces,
- As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
- Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
- Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
- I have no relish of them; but abound
- In the division of each several crime,
- Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
- Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
- Uproar the universal peace, confound
- All unity on earth.
- O Scotland, Scotland!
- If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
- I am as I have spoken.
- Fit to govern!
- No, not to live!—O nation miserable,
- With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
- When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
- Since that the truest issue of thy throne
- By his own interdiction stands accurs'd
- And does blaspheme his breed?—Thy royal father
- Was a most sainted king; the queen that bore thee,
- Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
- Died every day she lived. Fare-thee-well!
- These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
- Have banish'd me from Scotland.—O my breast,
- Thy hope ends here!
- Macduff, this noble passion,
- Child of integrity, hath from my soul
- Wiped the black scruples, reconcil'd my thoughts
- To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
- By many of these trains hath sought to win me
- Into his power; and modest wisdom plucks me
- From over-credulous haste: but God above
- Deal between thee and me! for even now
- I put myself to thy direction, and
- Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
- The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
- For strangers to my nature. I am yet
- Unknown to woman; never was forsworn;
- Scarcely have coveted what was mine own;
- At no time broke my faith; would not betray
- The devil to his fellow; and delight
- No less in truth than life: my first false speaking
- Was this upon myself:—what I am truly,
- Is thine and my poor country's to command:
- Whither, indeed, before thy here-approach,
- Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men
- Already at a point, was setting forth:
- Now we'll together; and the chance of goodness
- Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
- Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
- 'Tis hard to reconcile.
[Enter a Doctor.]
- Well; more anon.—Comes the king forth, I pray you?
- Ay, sir: there are a crew of wretched souls
- That stay his cure: their malady convinces
- The great assay of art; but, at his touch,
- Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
- They presently amend.
- I thank you, doctor.
- What's the disease he means?
- 'Tis call'd the evil:
- A most miraculous work in this good king;
- Which often, since my here-remain in England,
- I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
- Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
- All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
- The mere despair of surgery, he cures;
- Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
- Put on with holy prayers: and 'tis spoken,
- To the succeeding royalty he leaves
- The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
- He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy;
- And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
- That speak him full of grace.
- See, who comes here?
- My countryman; but yet I know him not.
- My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
- I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
- The means that makes us strangers!
- Sir, amen.
- Stands Scotland where it did?
- Alas, poor country,—
- Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
- Be call'd our mother, but our grave: where nothing,
- But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
- Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks, that rent the air,
- Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
- A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
- Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives
- Expire before the flowers in their caps,
- Dying or ere they sicken.
- O, relation
- Too nice, and yet too true!
- What's the newest grief?
- That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
- Each minute teems a new one.
- How does my wife?
- Why, well.
- And all my children?
- Well too.
- The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
- No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
- Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes't?
- When I came hither to transport the tidings,
- Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
- Of many worthy fellows that were out;
- Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
- For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot:
- Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
- Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
- To doff their dire distresses.
- Be't their comfort
- We are coming thither: gracious England hath
- Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
- An older and a better soldier none
- That Christendom gives out.
- Would I could answer
- This comfort with the like! But I have words
- That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
- Where hearing should not latch them.
- What concern they?
- The general cause? or is it a fee-grief
- Due to some single breast?
- No mind that's honest
- But in it shares some woe; though the main part
- Pertains to you alone.
- If it be mine,
- Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
- Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
- Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
- That ever yet they heard.
- Humh! I guess at it.
- Your castle is surpris'd; your wife and babes
- Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner
- Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
- To add the death of you.
- Merciful heaven!—
- What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows;
- Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
- Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
- My children too?
- Wife, children, servants, all
- That could be found.
- And I must be from thence!
- My wife kill'd too?
- I have said.
- Be comforted:
- Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
- To cure this deadly grief.
- He has no children.—All my pretty ones?
- Did you say all?—O hell-kite!—All?
- What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
- At one fell swoop?
- Dispute it like a man.
- I shall do so;
- But I must also feel it as a man:
- I cannot but remember such things were,
- That were most precious to me.—Did heaven look on,
- And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
- They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
- Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
- Fell slaughter on their souls: heaven rest them now!
- Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief
- Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
- O, I could play the woman with mine eye,
- And braggart with my tongue!—But, gentle heavens,
- Cut short all intermission; front to front
- Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
- Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
- Heaven forgive him too!
- This tune goes manly.
- Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
- Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth
- Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
- Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;
- The night is long that never finds the day.