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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene I


[Forres. The palace]

Ban.Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,As the weird women promis’d, and, I fear,Thou play’dst most foully for ’t: yet it was saidIt should not stand in thy posterity,But that myself should be the root and fatherOf many kings. If there come truth from them—As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shineWhy, by the verities on thee made good,May they not be my oracles as well,And set me up in hope? But hush! no more.
Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as King, LADY [MACBETH, as Queen], LENNOX, Ross, Lords, [Ladies,] and Servants

Macb.Here’s our chief guest.Lady M.If he had been forgotten,It had been as a gap in our great feast,And all-thing unbecoming.Macb.To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir,And I’ll request your presence.Ban.Let your HighnessCommand upon me; to the which my dutiesAre with a most indissoluble tieFor ever knit.Macb.Ride you this afternoon?Ban.Ay, my good lord.Macb.We should have else desir’d your good advice,Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,In this day’s council; but we’ll take to-morrow.Is’t far you ride?Ban.As far, my lord, as will fill up the time’Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,I must become a borrower of the nightFor a dark hour or twain.Macb.Fail not our feast.Ban.My lord, I will not.Macb.We hear our bloody cousins are bestow’dIn England and in Ireland, not confessingTheir cruel parricide, filling their hearersWith strange invention. But of that to-morrow,When therewithal we shall have cause of stateCraving us jointly. Hie you to horse; adieu,Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?Ban.Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon’s.Macb.I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;And so I do commend you to their backs.Farewell.Exit BANQUO.Let every man be master of his timeTill seven at night. To make societyThe sweeter welcome, we will keep ourselfTill supper-time alone; while then, God be with you!Exeunt [all but MACBETH, and a Servant].Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those menOur pleasure?Serv.They are, my lord, without the palace gate.Macb.Bring them before us.(Exit Servant.)To be thus is nothing;But to be safely thus. Our fears in BanquoStick deep; and in his royalty of natureReigns 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 valourTo act in safety. There is none but heWhose being I do fear; and, under him,My Genius is rebuk’d, as, it is said,Mark Antony’s was by CÆsar. He chid the sistersWhen first they put the name of king upon me,And bade them speak to him; then prophet-likeThey hail’d him father to a line of kings.Upon my head they plac’d 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 fil’d my mind;For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;Put rancours in the vessel of my peaceOnly for them; and mine eternal jewelGiven 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 the utterance! Who’s there?
Re-enter Servant, with two Murderers

Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.Exit Servant.Was it not yesterday we spoke together?[1.] Mur.It was, so please your Highness.Macb.Well then, nowHave you consider’d of my speeches? KnowThat it was he in the times past which held youSo under fortune, which you thought had beenOur innocent self. This I made good to youIn our last conference, pass’d in probation with you,How you were borne in hand, how cross’d, the instruments,Who wrought with them, and all things else that mightTo half a soul and to a notion craz’dSay, “Thus did Banquo.”1. Mur.You made it known to us.Macb.I did so, and went further, which is nowOur point of second meeting. Do you findYour patience so predominant in your natureThat you can let this go? Are you so gospell’dTo pray for this good man and for his issue,Whose heavy hand hath bow’d you to the graveAnd beggar’d yours for ever?1. Mur.We are men, my liege.Macb.Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are cleptAll by the name of dogs; the valued fileDistinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,The housekeeper, the hunter, every oneAccording to the gift which bounteous natureHath in him clos’d; whereby he does receiveParticular addition, from the billThat writes them all alike; and so of men.Now, if you have a station in the file,Not i’ the worst 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,Whom the vile blows and buffets of the worldHath so incens’d that I am reckless whatI do to spite the world.1. Mur.And I anotherSo weary with disasters, tugg’d with fortune,That I would set my life on any chance,To mend it, or be rid on ’t.Macb.Both of youKnow Banquo was your enemy.[Both] Mur.True, my lord.Macb.So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,That every minute of his being thrustsAgainst my near’st of life, and though I couldWith barefac’d power sweep him from my sightAnd bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,For certain friends that are both his and mine,Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fallWho I myself struck down; and thence it is,That I to your assistance do make love,Masking the business from the common eyeFor sundry weighty reasons.2. Mur.We shall, my lord,Perform what you command us.1. Mur.Though our lives—Macb.Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at mostI will advise you where to plant yourselves;Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ the time,The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done to-night,And something from the palace; always thoughtThat I require a clearness: and with him—To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—Fleance his son, that keeps him company,Whose absence is no less material to meThan is his father’s, must embrace the fateOf that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart;I’ll come to you anon.[Both] Mur.We are resolv’d, my lord.Macb.I’ll call upon you straight; abide within.[Exeunt Murderers.]It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight,If it find heaven, must find it out to-night.Exit.