Imagens das páginas

his wife lay sore upon him to attempt the thing, as she that was very ambitious, burning in unquenchable desire to bear the name of a queen. At length, therefore, communicating his proposed intent with his trusty friends, amongst whom Banquo was the chiefest, upon confidence of their promised aid, he slew the king at Enverns, or (as some say), at Botgosvane, in the sixth year of his reign. Then having a company about him of such as he had made privy to his enterprise, he caused himself to be proclaimed king, and forth with wenú unto Scone, where (by common consent) he received the investiture of the kingdom according to the accustomed manner.

Act III, SCENES I., II., III.—Macbeth governed the realm for the space of ten years in equal justice. But this was a counterfeit zeal of equity showed by him, partly against his natural inclination, to purchase thereby the favour of the people. Shortly after, he began to show what he wasinstead of equity practising cruelty, for the prick of conscience (as it chanceth ever in tyrants, and such as attain to any estate by unrighteous means) caused him ever to fear lest he should be served of the same cup as he had ministered to his predecessor. The words also of the three weird sisters would not out of his mind, which, as they promised him the kingdom, so likewise did they promise it at the same time to the posterity of Banquo. He willed, therefore, the same Banquo, with his son, named Fleance, to come to a supper that he had prepared for them, which was indeed, as he had devised, present death at the hands of certain murderers whom he hired to execute that deed, appointing them to meet with the same Banquo and his son without the palace, as they returned to their lodgings, and there to slay them, so that he would not have his house slandered, but that in time to come he might clear himself if anything were laid to his charge upon any suspicion that might arise.

It chanced yet, by the benefit of the dark night that,


though the father were slain, the son yet, by the help of Almighty God, reserving him to better fortune, escaped that danger.

ACT IV. SCENE I.-Neither could he afterwards abide to look upon the same Macduff, either for that he thought his puissance over great; either else for that he had learned of certain wizards, in whose words he put great confidence, how that he ought to take heed of Macduff, who in time to come should seek to destroy him.

And surely hereupon had he put Macduff to death, but that a certain witch, whom he had in great trust, had told him that he never should be slain with man born of any woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castle of Dunsinane. By this prophecy, Macbeth put all fear out of his heart, supposing he might do what he would without any fear to be punished for the same; for by the one prophecy he believed it was impossible for any man to vanquish him, and by the other impossible to slay him. This vain hope caused hiin to do many outrageous things, to the grievous oppression of his subjects.

At length Macduff, to avoid peril of life, purposed with himself to pass into England, to procure Malcolm Canmore to claim the crown of Scotland. But this was not so secretly devised by Macduff but that Macbeth had knowledge given him thereof; for Macbeth had in every nobleman's house one sly fellow or other in fee with him, to reveal all that was said or done within the same, by which slight he oppressed the most part of the nobles of his realm.

Act IV. SCENE II.--Immediately then, being advertised whereabout Macduff went, he came hastily with a great power into Fife, and forth with besieged the castle where Macduff dwelt, trusting to have found him therein. They that kept the house without any resistance opened the gates and suffered him to enter, mistrusting none evil. But, nevertheless,


Macbeth most cruelly caused the wife and children of Macduff, with all others whom he found in that castle, to be slain.

Act IV. SCENE III.-Also he confiscated the goods of Macduff, proclaimed him traitor, and confined him out of all the parts of his realm; but Macduff was already escaped out of danger, and gotten into England unto Malcolm Canmore, to try what purchase he might make by means of his support to revenge the slaughter so cruelly executed on his wife, his children, and other friends.

Though Malcolm was very sorrowful for the oppression of his countrymen the Scots, in manner as Macduff had declared, yet, doubting whether he were as one that came unfeignedly as he spake, or else as sent from Macbeth to betray him, he thought to have some further trial; and thereupon, dissembling his mind at the first, he answered as followeth :

“I am truly very sorry for the misery chanced to my country of Scotland, but though I have never so great affect on to relieve the same, yet by reason of certain incurable vices which reign in me, I am nothing meet thereto. First, such immoderate lust and voluptuous sensuality (the abominable fountain of all vices) followeth me, that, if I were made King of Scots, I should seek to destroy your maids and matrons in such wise that mine intemperancy should be more importable unto you than the bloody tyranny of Macbeth now is."

Hereunto Macduff answered, “ This surely is a very evil fault, for many noble princes and kings have lost both lives and kingdoms for the same; nevertheless, there are women enough in Scotland, and therefore follow my counsel: make thyself king, and I shall con the matter so wisely, that thou shalt be so satisfied at thy pleasure in such secret wise that no man shall be aware thereof."

Then said Malcolin, “ I am also the most avaricious creature on the earth, so that if I were king I should seek so many ways to get lands and goods, that I would slay the most part of all the nobles of Scotland by surmised accusations, to the end I might enjoy their lands, goods, and possessions There. fore suffer me to remain where I am, lest, if I attain to the regiment of your realm, mine unquenchable avarice may prove such that ye would think the displeasures which now grieve you should seem easy in respect of the unmeasurable outrage which might ensue through my coming amongst you."

Macduff to this made answer how it was a far worse fault than the other; for avarice is the root of all mischief, and for that crime the most part of our kings have been slain and brought to their final end. “Yet, notwithstanding, follow my counsel, and take upon thee the crown. There is gold enough and riches in Scotland to satisfy thy greedy desire.”

Then,” said Malcolm again, “I am furthermore inclined to dissimulation, telling of leasings, and all other kinds of deceit, so that I naturally rejoice in nothing so much as to betray and deceive such as put any trust and confidence in my words. Then, since there is nothing that more becometh a prince than constancy, verity, truth, and justice, with the other laudable fellowship of those fair and noble virtues which are comprehended only in soothfastness, you see how unable I am to govern any province or region; and, therefore, since you have remedies to cloak and hide all the rest of my other vices, I pray you find shift to cloak this vice among the residue."

Then said Macduff, “ This yet is the worst of all, and there I leave thee; and therefore say, 0 ye unhappy and miserable Scottishmen, which are thus scourged with so many and sundry calamities, each one above another. Ye have one cursed and wicked tyrant that now reigneth over you without any right or title, oppressing you with the most bloody cruelty. T other that hath the right to the crown is so replete with the inconstant behaviour and manifest vices of Englishmen, that he is nothing worthy to enjoy it: for, by his own confession, he is not only avaricious and given to insatiable lust, but so false a traitor withal, that no trust is to be had into any word he speaketh. Adieu, Scotland ! for now I count myself a banished man for ever, without comfort or consolation.” And with these words the brackish tears trickled down his cheeks very abundantly.

At the last, when he was ready to depart, Malcolm took him by the sleeve and said, “Be of good comfort, Macduff, for I have none of these vices before remembered, but have jested with thee in this manner only to prove thy mind, for divers times heretofore has Macbeth sought by this manner of means to bring me into his hands; but the more slow I have showed myself to condescend to thy motion and request, the more diligence shall I use in accomplishing the same.” Incontinently hereupon they embraced each other, and, promising to be faithful the one to the other, they fell in consultation how they might best provide for all their business, to bring the same to good effect.

Act V. SCENES II., III., IV.-Malcolm, following hastily after Macbeth, came the night before the battle unto Bernane wood, and, when his army had rested awhile there to refresh them, he commanded every man to get a bough of some tree or other of that wood in his hand, as big as he might bear, and to march forth therewith in such case that on the next morrow they might come closely and without sight in this manner within view of his enemies.

Act V. SCENE V.-On the morrow, when Macbeth beheld them coming in this sort, he first wondered what the matter meant, but in the end remembered himself that the prophecy which he had heard long before that time, that the coming of Bernane wood to Dunsinane Castle was likely to be now fulfilled. Nevertheless, he brought his men in order of battle, and exhorted them to do valiantly.

Act V. SCENES VI. AND VII.—Howbeit his enemies had scarcely cast from them their boughs when Macbeth, perceiving

« AnteriorContinuar »