By William Shakespeare
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 ACT I          

SCENE I. An open 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.


ALL. 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 Captain.

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.

SOLDIER. 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 Valour's minion, carv'd out his passage, Till he fac'd the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chops, And fix'd his head upon our battlements.

DUNCAN. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!

SOLDIER. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwracking 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?

SOLDIER. Yes; 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.

DUNCAN. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds: They smack of honour both.—Go, get him surgeons.

[_Exit Captain, attended._]

Enter Ross and Angus.

Who comes here?

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 cam'st 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.


SCENE III. A heath.

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 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' th' _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. Th'art 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 sev'n-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.

SECOND WITCH. Show me, show me.

FIRST WITCH. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrack'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' th' 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 choppy 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! that shalt be king hereafter!

BANQUO. Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair?—I' th' 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. 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 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' th' selfsame day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale Came post with post; and everyone 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 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 wrack, I know not; But treasons capital, confess'd and prov'd, 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 Promis'd 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 honours 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 chanc'd; 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.


SCENE IV. Forres. A Room in 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, 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.

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 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.

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 everything 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 deserv'd, nor must be known No less to have done so, let me infold 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 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.

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.


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. A Room in 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 perfect'st 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 might'st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promis'd 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 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 tonight.

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 th' access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th' effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall, your murd'ring 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 tonight.

LADY MACBETH. And when goes hence?

MACBETH. Tomorrow, 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.


SCENE VI. The same. Before the Castle.

Hautboys. Servants of Macbeth attending.

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 pendant bed and procreant cradle. Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd 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 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.

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.


SCENE VII. The same. A Lobby in the Castle.

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

MACBETH. If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly. If th' 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 th' inventor. This even-handed justice Commends th' ingredience 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 th' 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' th' adage?

MACBETH. Pr'ythee, 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 Th' 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 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 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.


 Notes of the Chapter