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Your vessels, and your spells, provide,
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
Is mortal's chiefest enemy.
SONG. [Within.] Come away, come away, &c.
Hark, I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.
1st Witch. Come, let's make haste: she'll soon be back again.
Macbeth seeks the "weird sisters" or witches, at "the Pit of Acheron," and adjures them to declare his fate. The witches, by their incantations, raise up spirits who warn Macbeth, to "Beware Macduff." He is then assured that
-"none of woman born shall harm Macbeth,"
"Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
He is also shown a line of Eight Kings, who are the issue of Banquo.
Macbeth, acting upon the caution of the witches, surprises the Castle of Macduff, and puts to the sword Lady Macduff, and all her children; Macduff being absent in England on a visit to young Malcolm.
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,
As if it felt with Scotland, and yell'd out
What I believe, I'll wail;
What know, believe; and, what I can redress,
What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance.
To offer up a weak, poor innocent lamb,
To appease an angry god.
Macd. I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil,
In an imperial charge. But 'crave your pardon;
I have lost my hopes.
Mal. Perchance, even there, where I did find my doubts. Why in that rawness left you wife, and child,
(Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,) Without leave-taking ?—I pray you
Let not my jealousies be your dishonors.
But mine own safeties:-You may be rightly just,
Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dares not check thee ! wear thou thy wrongs, Thy title is affeer'd.*-Fare thee well, lord:
I would not be the villain that thou think'st
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp,
What should he be ?
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
With my confineless harms. Nay, had I power, I should Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
O Scotland! Scotland!
Mal. If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.
Fit to govern!
No, not to live.-O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant, bloody-scepter'd,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?
By his own interdiction stands accurs'd,
And does blaspheme his breed?—Thy royal father
Died every day she liv'd. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself,
Have banish'd me from Scotland.-O, my breast,
Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wip'd the black scruples, reconcil'd my thoughts
I put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
Now we'll together; And the chance, of goodness,
Macd. See, who comes here?
Mal. My countryman; but yet I know him not.
Mal. I know him now: Good Heaven, betimes remove The means that make us strangers!
Macd. Stands Scotland where it did?
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Alas, poor country;
Be call'd our mother, but our grave: where nothing,
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air,
Is there scarce ask'd, for who; and good men's lives
Too nice, and yet too true!
What is the newest grief?
Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker; Each minute teems a new one.
Rosse. Why, well.
How does my wife?
Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
Rosse. No; they were well at peace, when I did leave them. Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech; How goes it?
Rosse. When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumor
Of many worthy fellows that were out;
Be it their comfort,
That Christendom gives out.
This comfort with the like!
That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
'Would I could answer
But I have words,
What concern they?
No mind, that's honest,
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief,
But in it shares some woe; though the main part
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
That could be found.
Wife, children, servants, a
And I must be from thence!
My wife kill'd too?
I have said.
Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.
Macd. He has no children.-All my pretty ones? Did you say, all? All?
What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
At one fell swoop?
Mal. Dispute it like a man.
But I must feel it as a man:
I shall do so;
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.-Did heaven look on,
Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes,
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself;
This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;
The night is long, that never finds the day.
The action changes to Dunsinane, where the English powers, led on by Young Malcolm, Siward, and Macduff, are joined by the loyal Scotch. The united forces march towards Dunsinane Castle to attack Macbeth.