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Your vessels, and your spells, provide,
Your charms, and every thing bes:de:
I am for the air ; this night I'll spend
Unto a dismal-fatal end.
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I'll catch it ere it come to ground:
And that, distillid by magic slights,
Shall raise such artificial sprights,
As, by the strength of their illusion,
Shall draw him on to his confusion;
He shall spurn faith, scorn death, and bear
His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear:
And you all know, security
Is mortal's chiefest enemy.
Song. [Within.] Come away, come away,
Hark, I am call’d; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.
[Exit. 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," and that
“Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him."
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,
Bestride our down-fall’n birthdom: Each new morn,
New widows howl; new orphans cry; new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland, and yell’d out
Like syllable of dolor.
What I believe, I'll wail ;
What know, believe; and, what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest; you have lov'd him well ;
He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young, but something
You may deserve of him through me; and wisdom
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;
That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose:
Angels are bright still
, though the brightest fell :
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.
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
But mine own safeties :-You may be rightly just,
Whatever I shall think.
Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dares not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs,
Thy title is affeerd.*_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,
And the rich East to boot.
Be not offended :
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
I think, our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds : and each new day a gash
Is added to her wounds: I think, withal,
There would be hands uplifted in my right;
And here, from gracious England, have I offer
Of goodly thousands : But, for all this,
When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head,
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
Shall have more vices than it had before;
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,
By him that shall succeed.
What should he be ?
Mal. It is myself I mean: in whom I know
All the particulars of vice so grafted,
That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
Will seem as pure as snow; and the poor state
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
With my confineless harms. Nay, had I power, I should
Uproar ihe 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.-0 nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant, bloody-scepter'd,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accurs’d,
And does blaspheme his breed ?—Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king: the queen that bore thee,
Oft'ner upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she liv'd. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself,
Have banish'd me from Scotland.-0, my breast,
Thy hope ends here !
Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wip'd the black scruples, reconcil'd my thoughts
To thy good truth and honor. Heaven above
Deal between thee and me! for even now
I put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature : What I am truly,
Is thine, and my poor country's, to command:
Whither, indeed, before thy here-approach,
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
All ready at a point, was setting forth :
Now we'll together; And the chance, of goodness,
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent ?
Macd. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once, 'Tis hard to reconcile.
Macd. See, who comes here?
Mal. My countryman; but yet I know him not.
Macd. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
Mal. I know him now : Good Heaven, betimes remove
The means that make us strangers !
Macd. Stands Scotland where it did ?
Alas, poor country;
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be call'd our mother, but our grave : where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile ;
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air,
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
Is there scarce ask'd, for who; and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying, or ere they sicken.
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.
How does my wife?
Rosse. Why, well.
And all my children ?
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;
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot :
Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
Would create soldiers, make our women fight
To doff their dire distresses.
Be it their comfort,
We are coming thither: gracious England hath
Lent us good Šiward, and ten thousand men:
An older, and a better soldier, none
That Christendom gives out.
'Would I could answer
This comfort with the like! But I have words,
That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
Where hearing should not latch them.
What concern they?
The general cause ? or is it a fee-grief,
Due to some single breast ?
No mind, that's honest,
But in it shares some woe; though the main part
Pertains to you alone.
If it be mine,
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound,
That ever yet they heard.
Humph! I guess at it.
Rosse. Your castle is surpris’d; your wife, and babes,
Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
To add the death of you.
Merciful heaven ! -
What, man! ne'er pull your hat
Give sorrow words : the grief, that does not speak,
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
Macd. My children too?
Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.
And I must be from thence !
My wife kill'd too?
I have said.
Be comforted :
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.
I shall do so;
But I must feel it as a man :
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.- .–Did heaven look on,
And would not take their part ? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls : Heaven rest them now!
Mal. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes,
And braggart with my tongue !—But gentle heaven,
Cut short all intermission; front to front,
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself ;
Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
Heaven forgive him too!
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.