Macbeth NavigatorNotesPrevious SceneNext Scene

Macbeth: Act 3, Scene 1


            Enter BANQUO.

       BANQUO
  1    Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
  2    As the weird women promised, and I fear
  3    Thou play'dst most foully for't; yet it was said
  4    It should not stand in thy posterity,
  5    But that myself should be the root and father
  6    Of many kings. If there come truth from them—
  7    As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—
  8    Why, by the verities on thee made good,
  9    May they not be my oracles as well,
 10    And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.

 **         Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as King,
            LADY [MACBETH, as queen], LENNOX, ROSS,
            Lords, and Attendants.

       MACBETH
 11    Here's our chief guest.

       LADY MACBETH
                                            If he had been forgotten,
 12    It had been as a gap in our great feast,
 13    And all-thing unbecoming.

       MACBETH
 14    tonight we hold a solemn supper sir,
 15    And I'll request your presence.

       BANQUO
                                                      Let your Highness
 16    Command upon me; to the which my duties
 17    Are with a most indissoluble tie
 18    For ever knit.

       MACBETH
 19    Ride you this afternoon?

       BANQUO
                                                Ay, my good lord.

       MACBETH
 20    We should have else desired your good advice,
 21    Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,
 22    In this day's council; but we'll take to-morrow.
 23    Is't far you ride?

       BANQUO
 24    As far, my lord, as will fill up the time
 25    'Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,
 26    I must become a borrower of the night
 27    For a dark hour or twain.

       MACBETH
                                            Fail not our feast.

       BANQUO
 28    My lord, I will not.

       MACBETH
 29    We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd
 30    In England and in Ireland, not confessing
 31    Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
 32    With strange invention: but of that tomorrow,
 33    When therewithal we shall have cause of state
 34    Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: adieu,
 35    Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?

       BANQUO
 36    Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon's.

       MACBETH
 37    I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;
 38    And so I do commend you to their backs.
 39    Farewell.

            Exit Banquo.

 40    Let every man be master of his time
 41    Till seven at night. To make society
 42    The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
 43    Till supper-time alone; while then, God be with you!

            Exeunt Lords [and all but MACBETH and a servant].

 44    Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men
 45    Our pleasure?

       Servant
 46    They are, my lord, without the palace gate.

       MACBETH
 47    Bring them before us.

            Exit Servant.

                                            To be thus is nothing,
 48    But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo
 49    Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
 50    Reigns that which would be fear'd. 'Tis much he dares;
 51    And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
 52    He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
 53    To act in safety. There is none but he
 54    Whose being I do fear: and, under him,
 55    My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said,
 56    Mark Antony's was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
 57    When first they put the name of king upon me,
 58    And bade them speak to him; then prophet-like
 59    They hail'd him father to a line of kings:
 60    Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
 61    And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
 62    Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
 63    No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so,
 64    For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind;
 65    For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd;
 66    Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
 67    Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
 68    Given to the common enemy of man,
 69    To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
 70    Rather than so, come fate into the list,
 71    And champion me to the utterance! Who's there?

            Enter SERVANT, and two MURDERERS.

 72    Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.

            Exit Servant.

 73    Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

       Murderers
 74    It was, so please your highness.

       MACBETH
                                                            Well then, now
 75    Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know
 76    That it was he in the times past which held you
 77    So under fortune, which you thought had been
 78    Our innocent self: this I made good to you
 79    In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you,
 80    How you were borne in hand, how cross'd, the instruments,   
 81    Who wrought with them, and all things else that might
 82    To half a soul and to a notion crazed
 83    Say "Thus did Banquo."

       First Murderer
                                            You made it known to us.

       MACBETH
 84    I did so, and went further, which is now
 85    Our point of second meeting. Do you find
 86    Your patience so predominant in your nature
 87    That you can let this go? Are you so gospell'd
 88    To pray for this good man and for his issue,
 89    Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave
 90    And beggar'd yours for ever?

       First Murderer
                                                      We are men, my liege.

       MACBETH
 91    Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
 92    As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
 93    Shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves, are clept
 94    All by the name of dogs: the valued file
 95    Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
 96    The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
 97    According to the gift which bounteous nature
 98    Hath in him closed; whereby he does receive
 99    Particular addition, from the bill
100    That writes them all alike: and so of men.
101    Now, if you have a station in the file,
102    Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say 't;
103    And I will put that business in your bosoms,
104    Whose execution takes your enemy off,
105    Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
106    Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
107    Which in his death were perfect.

       Second Murderer
                                                         I am one, my liege,
108    Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
109    Have so incensed that I am reckless what
110    I do to spite the world.

       First Murderer
                                         And I another
111    So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
112    That I would set my life on any chance,
113    To mend it, or be rid on't.

       MACBETH
                                               Both of you
114    Know Banquo was your enemy.

       Murderers
                                                   True, my lord.

       MACBETH
115    So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,
116    That every minute of his being thrusts
117    Against my near'st of life; and though I could
118    With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
119    And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
120    For certain friends that are both his and mine,
121    Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
122    Who I myself struck down; and thence it is,
123    That I to your assistance do make love,
124    Masking the business from the common eye
125    For sundry weighty reasons.

       Second Murderer
                                                 We shall, my lord,
126    Perform what you command us.

       First Murderer
                                                     Though our lives—

       MACBETH
127    Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at most
128    I will advise you where to plant yourselves;
129    Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' th' time,
130    The moment on't; for't must be done tonight,
131    And something from the palace; always thought
132    That I require a clearness: and with him—
133    To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—
134    Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
135    Whose absence is no less material to me
136    Than is his father's, must embrace the fate
137    Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart,
138    I'll come to you anon.

       Murderers
                                         We are resolved, my lord.

       MACBETH
139    I'll call upon you straight; abide within.

            [Exeunt Murderers.]

140    It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight,
141    If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.

            Exit.