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Macb. Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.
App. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
Macb. 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
That rises like the issue of a king ;
And wears upon his baby brow the round
And top of sovereignty ?1
Listen, but speak not to't.
App. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no caré
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!
Rebellious head, rise never, till the wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time, and mortal custom.— Yet my
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.
Macb. I will be satisfied : deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know:-
Why sinks that caldron? and what noise is this? [Hautboys.
1 Witch. Show! 2 W’itch. Show! 3 Witch. Show!
All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; Come like shadows, so depart. Eight Kings appear, and pass over the Stage in order; the last
with a Glass in his hand ; BANQUO followiny. Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; down! Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs :— And thy hair,
(1) The round and top of sorereignty. This is a periphrasis for a crown; the round is the part which encircles the head, the top the ornament which surmounts the crown.
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?1
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 two-fold 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?
1 Witch. 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 antique round :
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.
[Music. The Witches dance and vanish,
Macb. Where are they? Gone ?-Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar !-
Come in, without there!
What's your grace's will ?
Macb. Saw you the weird sisters ?
No, my lord.
Macb. Came they not by you?
No, indeed, my lord.
Macb. 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?
Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word,
Macduff is fled to England.
Fled to England ?
Len. Ay, my good lord.
Macb. T'ime, thou anticipat'st? my dread exploits :
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,
Unless the deed go with it: From this moment,
(1) To the crack of doom, i.e. till the end of the world.
(2) That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry. This is intended as a compliment to King James I., who, as we have observed before, was descended from Banquo. He first united the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland, and the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
(3) Anticipat'st, i. e. dost defeat, prevent.
(4) Never is o'ertook, i.e. is never brought to its full perfection and accomplishment. The meaning is, that purposes delayed are generally defeated.
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. A Room in Macduff's Castle.
Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Rosse.
Lady Macd. What had he done to make him fly the land ?
Rosse. 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.
L. Macd. 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 : 2 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
(1) That trace him in his line, i. e. who are descended from him.
(2) He wants the natural touch,-he is not affected by natural feelings.
(3) The fits o' the season,-what is most fitting at this time.
(4) When we are traitors, &c.,—when we are looked upon by the state as guilty of treachery of which we ourselves know nothing.
To what they were before.—My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!
L. Macd. Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
Rosse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort:
I take my leave at once.
[Exit Rosse. L. Macd. Sirrah, your father's dead; And what will you do now? How will you live?
Son. As birds do, mother.
L. Macd. What, with worms and flies?
Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
L. Macd. Poor bird! thou'dst never fear the net nor lime, The pit-fall, nor the gin.
Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for. My father is not dead, for all your saying.
L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?
Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband ?
L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
L. Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit; and yet, i' faith,
With wit enough for thee.
Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?
L. Macd. Ay, that he was.
Son. What is a traitor ?
L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies.
Son. And be all traitors that do so?
L. Macd. Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.
Son. And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
L. Macd. Every one.
Son. Who must hang them?
L. Macd. Why, the honest men.
Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools : for there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men, and hang
L. Macd. Now God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father?
Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him: if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father. L. Macd. Poor prattler! how thou talkest!
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
(1) Sirrah. This is not here used with harshness; we use it so now, but forerly it had not always that meaning.
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.
[Exit Messenger. L. Macd.
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 ?
Mur. Where is your husband ?
L. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified,
Where such as thou may'st find him.
He's a traitor.
Son. Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain.
What, you egg! [Stabbing him.
Young fry of treachery!
He has kill'd me, mother :
[Dies. [Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying “Murder," and
pursued by the Murderers. SCENE III.—England. A Room in the King's Palace.
Enter MALCOLM and MACDUFF.
Mal. 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 : 2 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;
Wbat know, believe; and, what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
(1) To do worse to you were fell cruelty. By doing worse he means letting her and her children be murdered without warning.
(2) Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom, i. e. let us stand over and obstinately defend our ruined birthright. (3) To friend, i. e. to befriend.