Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 6
Hoboys and torches: Hoboys are the ancestors of oboes, and they are probably used here to create an ominous atmosphere. <More about this.> The torches indicate that it is dark.
Hoboys and torches. Enter KING [DUNCAN],
MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, BANQUO, LENNOX,
MACDUFF, ROSS, ANGUS, and Attendants.
1. seat: site, location.
1This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
2Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
3Unto our gentle senses.
This guest of summer,
4. martlet: martin. <Image> approve: prove, show
4The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
5. mansionry: This is a poetic word for a collection of dwelling places. 6. jutty: any projection from a wall. frieze <Image> 7. coign of vantage: convenient corner [for building a nest].
5By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's breath
6Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
7Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
8. pendant bed and procreant cradle: suspended bed and breeding cradle.
8Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle:
9Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
10The air is delicate.
Enter LADY [MACBETH].
See, see, our honour'd hostess!
11-12. The love ... as love: i.e., Sometimes I am troubled by the trouble to which others go to do things for me out of love, but I still thank them for their love. 12-14. Herein I teach you ... your trouble: i.e., By saying what I have just said I show you how you should ask God to reward me for the pains you take on my behalf, and how you should thank me for your trouble. King Duncan is being humorously gracious.
11The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
12Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
13How you shall bid God 'ield us for your pains,
14And thank us for your trouble.
All our service
15In every point twice done and then done double
16-17. Were poor and single business to contend / Against: would be poor and negligible acts to weigh against. 18-20. for those of old ... your hermits: for those [honors] formerly given to us, and for the recent honors piled on top of them, we will forever be those who do nothing but gratefully pray for your well-being.
16Were poor and single business to contend
17Against those honours deep and broad wherewith
18Your majesty loads our house: for those of old,
19And the late dignities heap'd up to them,
20We rest your hermits.
Where's the Thane of Cawdor?
21-22. coursed him at the heels: followed him closely (trying to overtake him, as in a hunt). had a purpose / To be his purveyor: intended to be the one who prepared a welcome for him. King Duncan, still being very gracious, says that he meant to arrange everything for Macbeth's arrival, as though Macbeth were more important than himself. 23. holp: helped.
21We coursed him at the heels, and had a purpose
22To be his purveyor: but he rides well;
23And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him
24To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,
25We are your guest tonight.
25-28. Your servants ever / Have theirs, themselves and what is theirs, in compt, / To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, / Still to return your own: We, your servants, always have our servants, ourselves, and our possessions in trust, in order to make an accounting for everything whenever you please; [we are] always [ready to] return to you [what is really] your own.
Your servants ever
26Have theirs, themselves and what is theirs, in compt,
27To make their audit at your highness' pleasure,
28Still to return your own.
Give me your hand;
29Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,
30And shall continue our graces towards him.
31By your leave, hostess.