Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 4

           Flourish. Enter KING [DUNCAN],
           and Attendants.

  1   Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
2. Those in commission: i.e., those delegated to execute Cawdor.
  2   Those in commission yet return'd?

liege: sovereign.
                                                        My liege,
  3   They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
  4   With one that saw him die: who did report
  5   That very frankly he confess'd his treasons,
  6   Implored your highness' pardon and set forth
  7   A deep repentance. Nothing in his life
  8   Became him like the leaving it; he died
9. studied in: thoroughly prepared for.
  9   As one that had been studied in his death
10. owed: owned.
 10   To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
11. careless trifle: a trifle not worth thinking about.
 11   As 'twere a careless trifle.

                                                 There's no art
 12   To find the mind's construction in the face:
 13   He was a gentleman on whom I built
 14   An absolute trust.

            Enter MACBETH, BANQUO, ROSS, and ANGUS.

                                         O worthiest cousin!
 15   The sin of my ingratitude even now
16-18. thou ... thee: i.e., your deservings are so far ahead of ahead of my power to recompense you that it is hard to catch up.
 16   Was heavy on me: thou art so far before
 17   That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
 18   To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
19. proportion both of thanks and payment: balance of gratitude and reward. King Duncan says that he wishes that Macbeth had deserved less, so that his thanks and his rewards would at least equal what Macbeth deserves.
 19   That the proportion both of thanks and payment
 20   Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
 21   More is thy due than more than all can pay.

22. The service and the loyalty I owe, / In doing it, pays itself: doing my duty to you is its own reward.
 22   The service and the loyalty I owe,
 23   In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part
 24   Is to receive our duties; and our duties
 25   Are to your throne and state children and servants,
 26   Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
27. Safe toward: to safeguard.
 27   Safe toward your love and honour.

Nicholas Selby as Duncan and Jon Finch as Macbeth.
Image Source: The Real Macbeth/ JenH8
                                                             Welcome hither!
 28   I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
 29   To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
 30   That hast no less deserved, nor must be known
 31   No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
 32   And hold thee to my heart.

                                             There if I grow,
 33   The harvest is your own.

                                               My plenteous joys,
34. Wanton: unrestrained.
 34   Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves
35. drops of sorrow: i.e., tears. King Duncan is overcome with emotion.
 35   In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
 36   And you whose places are the nearest, know
37. establish our estate upon: settle the succession to the throne upon.
 37   We will establish our estate upon
 38   Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
39. The Prince of Cumberland: King Duncan intends this to be the title of the Scottish heir apparent, but there is no such title in Scottish history, so Shakespeare is apparently making things up to heighten the drama. 42. Inverness: The location of Macbeth's castle, Dunsinane. 43. bind us further to you: make me even more obliged to you (by receiving me at your home) .
 39   The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
 40   Not unaccompanied invest him only,
 41   But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
 42   On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
 43   And bind us further to you.

44. The rest is labour, which is not used for you: Any leisure not used for your service is wearisome. 45. harbinger: forerunner, one who announces a happy arrival.
 44   The rest is labour, which is not used for you:
 45   I'll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
 46   The hearing of my wife with your approach;
 47   So humbly take my leave.

                                               My worthy Cawdor!

       MACBETH  [Aside.]
48. The Prince of Cumberland!: This speech raises an interesting question.
 48   The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
 49   On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
 50   For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires,
51-52. Let . . . The eye wink at the hand: let the eye not see what the hand does.
 51   Let not light see my black and deep desires;
 52   The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be
53. yet let that be: yet let that (the murder of King Duncan) be accomplished.
 53   Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.


54. True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant: As Macbeth has been thinking hard about killing King Duncan, the king and Banquo have been talking about what a wonderful person Macbeth is. Banquo has just praised Macbeth as being very valiant, and we hear the conversation as King Duncan is agreeing with Banquo. 58. It: He (Macbeth).
 54   True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
 55   And in his commendations I am fed;
 56   It is a banquet to me. Let's after him,
 57   Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
 58   It is a peerless kinsman.

            Flourish. Exeunt.