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And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.
(Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH's head.) Macd. : Hail, king! for so thou art; behold, where stands The usurper's curséd head : the time is free:
55 I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl, That speak my salutation in their minds; Whose voices I desire aloud with mine: Hail, King of Scotland ! All:
Hail, King of Scotland ! [Flourish. Mal.: We shall not spend a large expense of time 60 Before we reckon with your several loves, And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland In such an honour named. What's more to do, Which would be planted newly with the time,
65 As calling home our exiled friends abroad That fled the snares of watchful tyranny; Producing forth the cruel ministers Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen, Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands Took off her life; this, and what needful else That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, We will perform in measure, time and place: So, thanks to all at once and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.
75 [Flourish. Exeunt.
55. the time is free, the nation is now free from the tyrant.
56. compass'd, encompassed. 56. pearl, the pearl or nobility of thy kingdom.
60-62. We shall not, etc. We shall not long delay before we repay you for the loving aid we have received from you.
61. several, separate, individual.
62. even, equal, “ quits."
65. Which would be planted newly, the new measures which the new times demand.
66. exiled friends abroad, friends exiled abroad.
68. Producing forth, finding out and securing.
70. self and violent, etc. By violent suicide.
72. grace of Grace, by the grace of God's most gracious majesty.
63. earls. Earls were first made in Scotland by Malcolm, no doubt as a result of his stay
73. in measure, in proper
Selections from Holinshed.
Act I. SCENE III.-It fortuned, as Macbeth and Banquo journeyed towards Forres, where the king then lay, they went sporting by the way together, without other company save only themselves, passing through the woods and fields, when suddenly in the midst of a laund, there met them three women in strange and wild apparel, resembling creatures of elder world, whom, when they attentively beheld, wondering much at the sight, the first of them spake and said, “ All hail, Macbeth, thane of Glamis !” (for he had lately entered into that dignity and office by the death of his father, Sinel). The second of them said, “Hail, Macbeth, thane of Cawdor.” But the third said, “ All hail, Macbeth, that hereafter shalt be king of Scotland.”
Then Banquo: “ What manner of women " (saith he) you, that seem so little favourable unto me, whereas to my fellow here, beside high offices, ye assign also the kingdom, appointing forth nothing to me at all ? ” “Yes” (saith the first of them) “we promise greater benefits unto thee than unto him, for he shall reign indeed, but with an unlucky end; neither shall he leave any issue behind him to succeed in his place, where, contrarily indeed, thou shalt not reign at all; but of thee shall be born which shall govern the Scottish kingdom by long order of continuous descent.” Herewith the foresaid women vanished immediately out of their sight.
This was reputed at the first but some vain, fantastical illusion by Macbeth and Banquo, insomuch that Banquo would call Macbeth in jest King of Scotland, and Macbeth again would call him in sport likewise the father of many kings. But afterwards the common opinion was, that these women were either the weird sisters, that is (as ye would say), the goddesses of destiny, or else some nymphs or fairies, endued with knowledge of prophecy by their necromantical science, because everything came to pass as they had spoken. For, shortly after, the thane of Cawdor being condemned at Forres of treason against the king coinmitted, his lands, livings, and offices were given of the king's liberality to Macbeth.
Whereupon Macbeth, revolving the thing in his mind, began even then to devise how he might attain to the kingdom; but yet he thought within himself that he must tarry a time, which should advance him thereto (by the Divine Providence), as it had come to pass in his former preferment.
Act I. SCENES IV. AND V.—But shortly after it chanced that King Duncan, having two sons by his wife, which was the daughter of Siward, Earl of Northumberland, he made the elder of them, called Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland, as it were thereby to appoint him his successor in the kingdom immediately after his decease. Macbeth was sore troubled herewith, for that he saw by this means his hopes sore hindered (where, by the old law of the realm, the ordinance was, that if he that should succeed were not of able age to take the charge unto himself, he that was next of blood to him should be admitted), he began to take counsel how he might usurp the kingdom by force, having a just quarrel so to do (as he took the matter), for that Duncan did what in him lay to defraud him of all manner of title and claim which he might in time to come pretend unto the crown.
Act II. SCENES I. AND II.-The words of the three weird sisters also greatly encouraged him hereunto, but specially