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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act I. Scene IV.


Forres.A Room in the Palace.

Flourish.Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants.

Dun.Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not

Those in commission yet return’d?

Mal.My liege,

They are not yet come back; but I have spoke

With one that saw him die; who did report

That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,

Implor’d your highness’ pardon and set forth

A deep repentance. Nothing in his life

Became him like the leaving it; he died

As one that had been studied in his death

To throw away the dearest thing he ow’d,

As ’twere a careless trifle.

Dun.There’s no art

To find the mind’s construction in the face:

He was a gentleman on whom I built

An absolute trust.


O worthiest cousin!

The sin of my ingratitude even now

Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before

That swiftest wing of recompense is slow

To overtake thee; would thou hadst less deserv’d,

That the proportion both of thanks and payment

Might have been mine! only I have left to say,

More is thy due than more than all can pay.

Macb.The service and the loyalty I owe,

In doing it, pays itself. Your highness’ part

Is to receive our duties: and our duties

Are to your throne and state, children and servants;

Which do but what they should, by doing everything

Safe toward your love and honour.

Dun.Welcome hither:

I have begun to plant thee, and will labour

To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,

That hast no less deserv’d, nor must be known

No less to have done so, let me infold thee

And hold thee to my heart.

Ban.There if I grow,

The harvest is your own.

Dun.My plenteous joys

Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves

In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,

And you whose places are the nearest, know

We will establish our estate upon

Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter

The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must

Not unaccompanied invest him only,

But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine

On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,

And bind us further to you.

Macb.The rest is labour, which is not us’d for you:

I’ll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful

The hearing of my wife with your approach;

So, humbly take my leave.

Dun.My worthy Cawdor!

Macb.[Aside.]The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step

On which I must fall down, or else o’er-leap,

For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires!

Let not light see my black and deep desires;

The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.[Exit.

Dun.True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,

And in his commendations I am fed;

It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him,

Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:

It is a peerless kinsman.[Flourish.Exeunt.