Page images

Against the undivulged pretence' I fight
Of treasonous malice.

And so do I.

So all.
Macb. Let's briefly put on manly readiness,
And meet i’ the hall together.

Well contented.

[Exeunt all but Mal. and Don. Mal. What will you do? Let's not consort with

them. To show an unselt sorrow, is an office Which the false man does


I'll to England. Don. To Ireland, I; our separated fortune Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,

, There's daggers in men's smiles: the near in blood, The nearer bloody. Mal.

This murderous shaft that's shot, Hath not yet lighted ;; and our safest way Is, to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse ; And let us not be dainty of leave-taking, But shift away. There's warrant in that theft Which steals itself, when there's no mercy left.


SCENE IV. Without the Castle.

Enter Rosse and an Old Man.

Old M. Threescore and ten I can remember well; Within the volume of which time, I have seen

1 Pretence is here put for design or intention. Banquo's meaning is“ in our present state of doubt and uncertainty about this murder, I have nothing to do but to put myself under the direction of God; and relying on his support, I here declare myself an eternal enemy to this treasori, and to all its further designs that have not yet come to light."

the near in blood,

The nearer bloody.” Meaning that he suspects Macbeth to be the murderer ; for he was the nearest in blood to the two princes, being the cousin-german of Duncan.

3 Malcolm means to say, “The shaft has not yet done all its intended mischief."



Hours dreadful, and things strange; but this sore night
Hath trifled former knowings.

Ah, good father,
Thou see'st, the heavens, as troubled with man's act,
Threaten his bloody stage. By the clock, 'tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp.
Is it night's predominance, or the day's shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it?
Old M.

'Tis unnatural, Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last, A faleon, tow'ring in her pride of place,” Was by a mousing owl hawked at, and killed. Rosse. And Duncan's horses, (a thing most strange

and certain,)
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,

Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make
War with mankind.
Old M.

'Tis said, they ate each other. Rosse. They did so; to the amazement of mine

eyes, That looked upon't. Here comes the good Mac


Enter MacDUFF. How goes the world, sir, now? Macd.

Why, see you not? Rosse. Is't known who did this more than bloody


1 “ After the murder of king Duffe,” says Holinshed, “ for the space of six months togither there appeared no sunne by daye, nor moon by night in anie part of the realme; but still the sky was covered with continual clouds; and sometimes such outrageous winds arose, with lightenings and tempests, that the people were in great fear of present destruction.”—It is evident that Shakspeare had this passage in his thoughts. Most of the portents here mentioned are related by Holinshed, as accompanying king Duffe's death : “ there was a sparhawk strangled by an owl,” and “horses of singular beauty and swiftness did eat their own flesh.”

2 " A falcon tow'ring in her pride of place,” a technical phrase in falconry for soaring to the highest pitch. Faulcon haultain, was the French term for a towering or high-flying hawk.

VOL. III. 27

Macd. Those that Macbeth hath slain.

Alas, the day!
What good could they pretend ?1

They were suborned.
Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's two sons,
Are stoln away and fled; which puts upon them
Suspicion of the deed.

'Gainst nature still.
Thristless ambition, that will ravin up
Thine own life's means !—Then 'tis most like,
The sovereignty will fall


Macd. He is already named; and gone to Scone,
To be invested.

Where is Duncan's body?
Macd. Carried to Colme-kill ;3
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
And guardian of their bones.

Will you to Scone?
Macd. No, cousin, I'll to Fife.

Well, I will thither. Macd. Well, may you see things well done there ;

adieu ! Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!

Rosse. Father, farewell.

Old M. God's benison go with you; and with those That would make good of bad, and friends of foes !



1 Pretend, in the sense of the Latin prætendo, to design, or “lay for a thing before it come," as the old dictionaries explain it.

2 Macbeth, by his birth, stood next in succession to the crown, after the sons of Duncan. King Malcolm, Duncan's predecessor, had two daughters, the eldest of whom was the mother of Duncan, the younger the mother of Macbeth.Holinshed.

3 Colme-kill is the famous Iona, one of the Western Isles, mentioned by Holinshed as the burial-place of many ancient kings of Scotland. Colmekill means the cell or chapel of St. Columbo.


SCENE I. Fores.

Fores. A Room in the Palace.

Enter BANQUO. Ban. Thou hast it now-King, Cawdor, Glamis, all As the weird women promised ; and, I fear, Thou play’dst most foully for’t; yet it was said, It should not stand in thy posterity; But that myself should be the root and father Of many kings. If there come truth from them, (As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine,) Why, 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.

Lady M.


Senet sounded. Enter Macbeth, as king; LADY

MACBETH, as queen; LENOX, Rosse, Lords,
Ladies, and Attendants.
Macb. Here's our chief


If he had been forgotten,
It had been as a gap in our great feast,
And all things unbecoming.

Macb. To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir,
And I'll request your presence.

Let your highness
Command upon me; to the which, my duties
Are with a most indissoluble tie
Forever knit.
Macb. Ride you this afternoon?

? Ban.

Ay, my good lord. Macb. We should have else desired your good

(Which still hath been both

and prosperous)

, 1 “A solemn supper.” This was the phrase of Shakspeare's time for a feast or banquet given on a particular occasion, to solemnize any event, as a birth, marriage, coronation.

In this day's council; but we'll take to-morrow.
Is't far


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 night, For a dark hour, or twain. Macb.

Fail not our feast. Ban. My lord, I will not.

Macb. We hear, our bloody cousins are bestowed In England, and in Ireland ; not confessing Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers With strange invention; but of that to-morrow; When, therewithal, we shall have cause of state, Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse; adien, Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you ?

Ban. Ay, my good lord ; our time does call upon


Macb. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;

. And so I do commend you to their backs. Farewell.

[Exit Banduo. Let every man be master of his time Till seven at night; to make society The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself Till supper-time alone : while then, God be with you.

[Exeunt Lady Macbeth, Lords, Ladies, &c. 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 Atten.]

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 feared. 'Tis much he

dares; And, to that dauntless temper of his mind, He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor To act in safety. There is none but he Whose being I do fear; and, under him, My genius is rebuked; as, it is said, Mark Antony's was by Cæsar. He chid the sisters,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »