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Inverness. A room in Macbeth's castle.

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter.

Lady M. 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 mightest 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' the milk of human kindness,

To catch the nearest way: Thou would'st be great; Art not without ambition; but without

The illness should attend it. What thou would'st highly,

That would'st thou holily; would'st not play false, And yet would'st wrongly win: thou'd'st have great


That which cries, Thus thou must do, if thou have


And that which rather thou dost fear to do,

* The best intelligence.

+ Messengers.

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 metaphysicalt aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.-What is your tidings?

Enter an Attendant.

Attend. The king comes here to-night.
Lady M.

Thou'rt mad to say it:

Is not thy master with him? who, wer't so,

Would have inform'd for preparation.

Attend. 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 M.
Give him tending,
He brings great news. The raven himself is hoarse,
[Erit Attendant.

That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, 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 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;

* Diadem.

+ Murderous.

+ Supernatural.

§ Pity.

Wrap as in a mantle.

Knife anciently meant a sword or dagger.

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry, Hold, Hold!-Great Glamis! worthy Caw. dor!

Enter Macbeth.

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.


Duncan comes here to-night.

Lady M.

My dearest love,

And when goes hence?

Macb. To-morrow,-as he purposes.

Lady M.

Shall sun that morrow see!

O, never

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

But be the serpent under it. 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.
Macb. We will speak further.
Lady M.

To alter favourt ever is to fear:
Leave all the rest to me.

Only look up clear;


i. e. Beyond the present time, which is, accord

ing to the process of nature, ignorant of the future.

+ Look, countenance.


The same. Before the castle.

Hautboys. Servants of Macbeth attending.

Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lenox, Macduff, Rosse, Angus, and attendants.

Dun. This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Ninibly 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 pendent 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 yield t us for your pains, And thank us for your trouble.

Lady M.

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,

* Convenient corner.

+ Reward.

And the late dignities heap'd up to them,
We rest your bermits*.


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 to-night.

Lady M.

Your servants ever

Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in


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.


The same. A room in the castle.

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

Macb. 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

i. e. We as hermits shall ever pray for you. + Subject to accoinpt.

An officer so called from his placing the dishes on the table.

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