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wounded soldier was brought into his presence. Learning that he was one of Macbeth's men, the king eagerly besought him to tell of the battle.
Gladly the loyal soldier told of his brave master's victory. Sold.
- Doubtfully it stood ;
And fix'd his head upon our battlements.” "O, valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!” cried Duncan. Go, my noble Rosse, my noble Angus, meet this brave kinsman. And say to him,
• The king hath lappily received Macbeth,
The news of thy success : and when he reads
Which should be thine, or his :
66 We are sent
Now, it happened that, while Macbeth and the brave Banquo were crossing the ghostly Scottish heaths, they had been met by three witches. Tall, gaunt, angular creatures, with withered skins and bearded chins,they were indeed an uncanny sight.
"Speak," said Macbeth ; " speak, if you can, and tell me what you are ! ”
Then, in a hollow, sepulchral voice—a voice belonging to no creature of earth — they spoke.
"All Hail, Macbeth ! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis,” cried the first witch.
Macbeth started. How did these creatures know that he was Macbeth, Thane of Glamis.
" All hail, Macbeth ? hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!" hoarsely cried the second witch.
" The thane of Cawdor!” thought Macbeth. “ I cannot be thane of Cawdor. The thane of Cawdor still lives. His title could not come to me while he lives."
"All hail, Macbeth ! Macbeth, that shall be king nereafter !”
Macbeth stood aghast.
"Good sir,” said Banquo, " why do you start and seem to fear words that do sound so fair?” Then turning to the witches, he said sternly, "In the name of truth, what are you ! ”
“My noble partner
e Hail! Hail ! Hail !” cried the witches. You shall be lesser than Macbeth and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier. Though thou shalt not be king, yet thy children shall be kings.”
e Hail ! Hail ! Hail !”
So saying, the witches vanished into thin air, and Macbeth and Banquo stood alone upon the great cold heath, perplexed and amazed enough.
The earth has bubbles as the water has,” laughed Banquo; "these must be some of them."
But Macbeth was touched by what he had heard, and paid little attention to Banquo's words. The witches had stirred in Macbeth's heart all the latent ambition, all the deep-lying willingness to gain his end, whatever the cost. They had not created in Macbeth a wicked heart; they had only drawn out the sorry ambitions and wicked ability already smouldering there.
Banquo, on the other hand, - good, generous, honest Banquo heard the witches' words with calmness, listened in simple wonder, hoping, no doubt, as did Macbeth, that their words might come true. But there were no seeds of sin in his heart to spring up at their words, no longings for wealth and position at whatever cost, and so no harm was done to Banquo by the words of the evil witches.
Macbeth already was lost in a trance of guilty thought ; Banquo stood calm and thoughtful, simply wondering.
Just then the messengers from the king arrived. And when the king's kind words were repeated, Banquo exclaims, " What, can these evil witches have, told the truth !”
" I, thane of Cawdor?” cried Macbeth. The thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you call me by that thane's title?”