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Sirrah, a word with you: attend those men

Our pleasure?

Atten. They are, my lord, without the palace-gate.

Macb. Bring them before us.

[Exit Attendant.

To be thus is nothing,

But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo

Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature

Reigns that which would be fear'd: 'tis much he dares;

And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,

He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety. There is none but he
Whose being I do fear; and, under him,

He chid the Sisters,

My Genius is rebuked, as, it is said,
Mark Antony's was by Cæsar's.10
When first they put the name of king upon me,
And bade them speak to him; then, prophet-like,
They hail'd him father to a line of kings:
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If't be so,
For Banquo's issue have I filed 11 my mind;

here aptly illustrates the process of the contraction. While here means until; a sense in which it was often used. See vol. x. page 151, note 13.

6 That is," nothing, without being safely thus," or, "unless we be safely thus." The exceptive but, from be out, is used repeatedly so by the Poet. See vol. xiv. page 165, note 3.

7 In for on account of. See vol. xiv. page 44, note 41.

Would, again, for should. See page 36, note 9.-"Royalty of nature is royal or noble nature. The Poet has many like forms of expression. 9 To, again, for in addition to. See page 33, note 9.

10 Octavius Cæsar is the person referred to. In Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 3. genius is explained by the words demon, angel, and "thy spirit which keeps thee." See, also, vol. xiv. page 38, note 16.

11 File for defile. So in Wilkins's Inforced Marriage: "Oaths pass out of a man's mouth like smoke through a chimney, that files all the way it goes." Foul and filth are from the same original,

For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd;
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal 12 jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,

To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come, fate, into the list,

And champion me to th' utterance ! 13

Who's there?

Re-enter Attendant, with two Murderers.

Now go to th' door, and stay there till we call.

Was it not yesterday we spoke together?
I Mur. It was, so please your Highness.

[Exit Attendant.

Well then, now

Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know
That it was he, in the times past, which held you
So under fortune; which you thought had been
Our innocent self: this I made good to you
In our last conference, pass'd in probation 14
With you, how you were borne in hand; 15 how cross'd;
The instruments; who wrought with them;

And all things else that might to half a soul

12" Eternal jewel" is immortal soul. So in Othello, iii. 3: "Or, by the worth of man's eternal soul."

13 Champion me is be my antagonist, or fight it out with me in single combat; the only instance I have met with of champion so used. To th' utterance is to the uttermost, or to the last extremity. So in Cotgrave: "Combatre a oultrance: To fight at sharp, to fight it out, or to the uttermost." So that the sense of the passage is, "Let Fate, that has decreed the throne to Banquo's issue, enter the lists in support of its own decrees, I will fight against it to the last extremity, whatever be the consequence."

14 Probation here means proof, or rather the act of proving.

15 To bear in hand is to encourage or lead on by false assurances and expectations. So used several times by the Poet. In what follows, cross'd is thwarted or baffled; instruments is agents; and the general idea is, that Banquo has managed to hold up their hopes, while secretly preventing fruition; thus using them as tools, and cheating them out of their pay.

And to a notion 16 crazed say Thus did Banquo.
1 Mur. You made it known to us.

Macb. I did so; and went further, which is now
Our point of second meeting. Do you find
Your patience so predominant in your nature,
That you can let this go? Are you so gospell'd,
To pray 17 for this good man and for his issue,
Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave,
And beggar'd yours for ever?

1 Mur.

We are men, my liege.
Mach. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men ;

As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are clept 18
All by the name of dogs: the valued file 19
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
According to the gift which bounteous Nature
Hath in him closed; whereby he does receive
Particular addition, from the bill

That writes them all alike: and so of men.
Now, if you have a station in the file,

And not i' the worser rank of manhood, say't;
And I will put that business in your bosoms,
Whose execution takes your enemy off;
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
Which in his death were perfect.

2 Mur.

I am one, my liege,

16 Notion for understanding or judgment. See vol. xv. page 40, note 26. 17 Alluding to the Gospel precept," Pray for them which despitefully use you." "So gospell'd as to pray," of course.

18 Shoughs are shaggy dogs; now called shocks.

for called. Shakespeare has it repeatedly so.


- Clept is an old word

19"The valued file" is the list or schedule wherein their value and peculiar qualities are discriminated and set down.

Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incensed, that I am reckless what
I do to spite the world.

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So wearied with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
That I would set my life on any chance,

To mend it, or be rid on't.


Both of you

True, my lord.

Know Banquo was your enemy.

Both Mur.

Macb. So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,20

That every minute of his being thrusts

Against my near'st of life: and though I could
With barefaced power sweep him from my sight,
And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
For 21 certain friends that are both his and mine,
Whose loves I may not drop; but wail his fall 22
Who I myself struck down and thence it is,
That I to your assistance do make love;
Masking the business from the common eye
For sundry weighty reasons.

2 Mur.

We shall, my lord,

Perform what you command us.

I Mur.

Though our lives —

Mach. Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour

at most,

I will advise you where to plant yourselves;

20 Distance here carries the sense of degree. It is a term of fencing for the space between the two antagonists. When men are in a hot mortal encounter with swords, they stand at just the right distance apart for the bloodiest strokes or thrusts. Hence the word came to be used for enmity in general.

21 For is here because of, or on account of. Repeatedly so.

22 The language elliptical; the sense being "but I must wail."

Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time,23
The moment on't; for't must be done to-night,
And something from the palace; always thought
That I require a clearness : 24 and with him
To leave no rubs 25 nor botches in the work-
Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
Whose absence is no less material to me

Than is his father's, must embrace the fate
Of that dark hour.

Resolve yourselves apart :

I'll come to you anon.

Both Mur.

Mach. I'll call upon you straight: abide within. —

We are resolved, my lord.

[Exeunt Murderers.

If it find Heaven, must find it out to-night.


It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul's flight,

SCENE II. The Same. Another Room in the Palace.

Enter Lady MACBETH and a Servant.

Lady M. Is Banquo gone from Court?

Serv. Ay, madam, but returns again to-night.

Lady M. Say to the King, I would attend his leisure 1

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23 Will furnish you with an exact and sure note or signal of the time when to strike; which is probably done by or through the third murderer, who joins them just before the murder is done. The success of the undertaking depends on the assault being rightly timed. So that "the perfect spy of the time" is the sure means of spying or knowing the time.

24 That is, "it being always borne in mind that I must stand clear of blame or suspicion."

25 Rubs is hindrances or impediments. See vol. x. page 63, note 12.

1 "Attend his leisure" is wait for him to be at leisure.

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