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Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time, and mortal custom.-Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing: Tell me, (if your art
Can tell so much,) shall Banquo's issue ever
Reign in this kingdom?


Seek to know no more.

Macb. I will be satisfied. Deny me this, And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know:Why sinks that caldron ? and what noise is this? [Hautboys. 1 Witch. Show! 2 Witch. Show! 3 Witch. Show! All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; Come like shadows, so depart.

Eight Kings appear, and pass over the stage in order; the last with a glass in his hand; BANQUO following.

Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; down!

Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs;—and thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.-
A third is like the former.-Filthy hags!

Why do you show me this?-A fourth ?-Start, eyes!
What! will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
Another yet?-A seventh ?-I'll see no more.-
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass,
Which shows me many more; and some I see,
That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry;
Horrible sight!-Now, I see, 'tis true;

For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.-What, is this so?

1 "That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry." This was intended as a compliment to James the First: he first united the two islands and the three kingdoms under one head, whose house too was said to be descended from Banquo, who is therefore represented not only as innocent, but as a noble character; whereas, according to history, he was confederate with Macbeth in the murder of Duncan.

2 In Warwickshire, when a horse, sheep, or other animal, perspires much, and any of the hair or wool, in consequence of such perspiration, or any redundant humor, becomes matted into tufts with grime and sweat, he is

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1 Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so.-But why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?—
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprights,'
And show the best of our delights;
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antique 2 round;
That this great king may kindly say,

Our duties did his welcome


[Music. The Witches dance, and vanish.

Macb. Where are they?

nicious hour

Gone?-Let this per

Stand aye accursed in the calendar!

Come in, without there!

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No, indeed, my lord.

Macb. Infected be the air whereon they ride; And damned all those that trust them!-I did hear The galloping of horse. Who was❜t came by? Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you


Macduff is fled to England.


Len. Ay, my good lord.

Fled to England?

Macb. Time, thou anticipat'st' my dread exploits : The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,

Unless the deed go with it. From this moment

The very firstlings of my heart shall be

The firstlings of my hand. And even now,

said to be boltered; and whenever the blood issues out and coagulates, forming the locks into hard, clotted bunches, the beast is said to be bloodboltered.

1 i. e. spirits. It should seem that spirits was almost always pronounced sprights or sprites by Shakspeare's contemporaries.

2 Antique was the old spelling for antic.

3 i. e. preventest them, by taking away the opportunity.

To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done.
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;

Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls

That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool:
This deed I'll do, before this purpose cool.

But no more sights!-Where are these gentlemen? Come, bring me where they are.


SCENE II. Fife. A Room in Macduff's Castle.

Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Rosse.

L. Macd. What had he done, to make him fly the


Rosse. You must have patience, madam.

L. Macd.

He had none;

His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.


You know not,

Whether it was his wisdom, or his fear.

L. Macd. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his


His mansion, and his titles, in a place

From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch: 2-for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear, and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.

My dearest coz',

I pray you, school yourself: but, for your husband,
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows

The fits o' the season.3 I dare not speak much further:

1 i. e. follow, succeed in it.

2 Natural touch, natural affection. 3 Some commentators consider this expression as equivalent to the "violent disorders of the time;" others insist that it means "what is most fitting to be done in every conjuncture."

But cruel are the times, when we are traitors,
And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumor
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear;1
But float upon a wild and violent sea,

Each way, and move.-I take my leave of you:
Shall not be long but I'll be here again;

Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
To what they were before.-My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!

L. Macd. Fathered he is, and yet he's fatherless. Rosse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer, It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort. I take my leave at once.

L. Macd.

[Exit RosSE. Sirrah, your father's dead;


And what will you do now? How will you live?
Son. As birds do, mother.

L. Macd.

What, with worms and flies?

Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they. L. Macd. Poor bird! thou'dst never fear the net, nor lime,

The pit-fall, nor the gin.

Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.

My father is not dead, for all your saying.

L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?

Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband?

L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market. Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.

L. Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit; and yet i' faith,

With wit enough for thee.

Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?

L. Macd. Ay, that he was.

Son. What is a traitor?

1 "When we are led by our fears to believe every rumor of danger we hear, yet are not conscious to ourselves of any crime for which we should be disturbed with fears."

2 Sirrah was not, in our author's time, a term of reproach, but sometimes used by masters to servants, parents to children, &c.

L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies.
Son. And be all traitors, that do so?

L. Macd. Every one that does so, is a traitor, and must be hanged.

Son. And must they all be hanged, that swear and lie?

L. Macd. Every one.

Son. Who must hang them?

L. Macd. Why, the honest men.

Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men, and hang up them.

L. Macd. Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father?

Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him; if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.

L. Macd. Poor prattler! how thou talk'st!

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known, Though in your state of honor I am perfect


I doubt, some danger does approach you nearly: will take a homely man's advice,



Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
To do worse to you, were fell cruelty,

Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
I dare abide no longer.
[Exit Messenger.

L. Macd.

Whither should I fly?

I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this earthly world; where, to do harm,
Is often laudable; to do good, sometime,
Accounted dangerous folly. Why, then, alas!
Do I put up that womanly defence,
To say, I have done no harm?


-What are these

1 i. e. I am perfectly acquainted with your rank.

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