Macbeth: Act 3, Scene 1
1Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
2As the weird women promised, and I fear
3Thou play'dst most foully for't; yet it was said
4It should not stand in thy posterity,
5But that myself should be the root and father
6Of many kings. If there come truth from them
7. As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine: since for you, Macbeth, their predictions are brilliantly fulfilled.
7As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine
8Why, by the verities on thee made good,
9May they not be my oracles as well,
10And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.
Sennet: trumpet call [announcing the arrival of the king]. as King: Macbeth is wearing the crown and robes of the King of Scotland; the last time we saw the royal regalia, King Duncan was wearing them.
Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as King,
LADY [MACBETH, as queen], LENNOX, ROSS,
Lords, and Attendants.
11Here's our chief guest.
If he had been forgotten,
12It had been as a gap in our great feast,
13. all-thing: entirely.
13And all-thing unbecoming.
14. solemn: ceremonious. Macbeth is going to celebrate his own ascension to the throne.
14Tonight we hold a solemn supper sir,
15And I'll request your presence.
Let your Highness
16Command upon me; to the which my duties
17Are with a most indissoluble tie
18For ever knit.
19Ride you this afternoon?
Ay, my good lord.
20. advice: counsel, opinions.
20We should have else desired your good advice,
21. still: always. grave and prosperous: well-considered and profitable.
21Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,
22In this day's council; but we'll take tomorrow
23Is't far you ride?
24As far, my lord, as will fill up the time
25. Go not my horse the better: If my horse doesn't go faster [than I expect].
25'Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,
26I must become a borrower of the night
27For a dark hour or twain.
Fail not our feast.
28My lord, I will not.
29. our bloody cousins: i.e., Malcolm and Donalbain, sons of King Duncan. are bestow'd: have taken up residence.
29We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd
30In England and in Ireland, not confessing
31Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
32. strange invention: fantastic lies. The main "invention" that Macbeth has in mind is probably the claim that he murdered King Duncan. of that tomorrow: we'll speak of that tomorrow. 33-34. therewithal ... jointly: in addition to that [the matter of Malcolm and Donalbain] we will have questions of state which will demand the attention of both of us.
32With strange invention: but of that tomorrow,
33When therewithal we shall have cause of state
34Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: adieu,
35Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?
36. Our time does call upon's: i.e., it's about time for us to leave.
36Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon's.
37I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;
38. commend: entrust.
38And so I do commend you to their backs.
40Let every man be master of his time
41-42. To make society / The sweeter welcome: to make the company of others [at supper] more welcome.
41Till seven at night. To make society
42The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
43. while then: until then.
43Till supper-time alone; while then, God be with you!
Exeunt Lords [and all but MACBETH and a servant].
44. Sirrah: This is a term of address for inferiors. 44-45. Attend those men / Our pleasure?: are those men waiting to know what I want of them?.
44Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men
46. without: outside.
46They are, my lord, without the palace gate.
47Bring them before us.
47-48. To be thus is nothing, / But to be safely thus: i.e., to be king is nothing unless I am safely king.To be thus is nothing,
48But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo
49. royalty of nature: natural kingliness.
49Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
50. would be: demands to be.
50Reigns that which would be fear'd. 'Tis much he dares;
51. to: in addition to.
51And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
52He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
53To act in safety. There is none but he
54-56. under him ... Caesar: under his influence, in his presence, my guardian spirit is daunted, as, it is said, Mark Antony's was by [Octavius] Caesar. <More.>
54Whose being I do fear: and, under him,
55My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said,
56Mark Antony's was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
57When first they put the name of king upon me,
58And bade them speak to him; then prophet-like
59They hail'd him father to a line of kings:
60Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
61. gripe: grip, grasp.
61And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
62. with: by. unlineal: belonging to someone who is no blood relation of mine. 63. succeeding: following me to the throne.
62Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
63No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so,
64. issue: descendants. filed: defiled.
64For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind;
65. gracious: kind, courteous.
65For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd;
66. rancours: grudges, hatreds; also, rancid odors.
66Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
67. mine eternal jewel: i.e., my immortal soul.
67Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
68. the common enemy of man: the enemy of all humankind, i.e., the devil.
68Given to the common enemy of man,
69To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
70-71. Rather ... utterance!: rather let that be so, [I challenge] fate to come into the arena and fight against me to the last extremity!
70Rather than so, come fate into the list,
71And champion me to the utterance! Who's there?
Enter SERVANT, and two MURDERERS.
|Orson Welles as Macbeth, with Brainerd Duffield and William Alland as two murderers.|
Image Source: The Holloway Pages
72Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.
73Was it not yesterday we spoke together?
74It was, so please your highness.
Well then, now
75Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know
76That it was he in the times past which held you
77. under fortune: out of favor with fortune.
77So under fortune, which you thought had been
78Our innocent self: this I made good to you
79. pass'd in probation with you: went over with you, giving proof. 80. borne in hand: led on with false promises. cross'd: deceived, thwarted. instruments: agents [who carried out Banquo's evil plans]. 81. Who wrought with them: who plotted with them and motivated them. 82. To half a soul and to a notion crazed: even to a half-wit and a cracked mind.
79In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you,
80How you were borne in hand, how cross'd,
81Who wrought with them, and all things else that might
82To half a soul and to a notion crazed
83Say "Thus did Banquo."
You made it known to us.
84I did so, and went further, which is now
85Our point of second meeting. Do you find
86Your patience so predominant in your nature
87. gospell'd: full of the spirit of the Gospel [of forgiveness].
87That you can let this go? Are you so gospell'd
88. issue: offspring.
88To pray for this good man and for his issue,
89Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave
90. beggar'd yours for ever: made beggars of all of your offspring forever.
90And beggar'd yours for ever?
We are men, my liege.
91. catalogue: general list [of creatures].
91Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
92As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
93. Shoughs: fluffy lap-dogs. water-rugs: fierce water-dogs. demi-wolves: dog-wolf hybrids clept: called. 94. valued file: list which designates the value of each one. 95. Distinguishes: makes clear the important differences among. subtle: skillful, clever. 96. housekeeper: watchdog. 98-100. Hath in him ... of men : by which he is given a particular name [or title] which separates him from the list which lumps them all together, and the same thing is true of men. 101-102. Now ... say't: now, if you have a position in the list of [of men] that is not the lowest [like a cur] say so.
93Shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves, are clept
94All by the name of dogs: the valued file
95Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
96The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
97According to the gift which bounteous nature
98Hath in him closed; whereby he does receive
99Particular addition, from the bill
100That writes them all alike: and so of men.
101Now, if you have a station in the file,
102Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say 't;
103-105. I will put ... love of us: I will put a enterprise in your hearts whose successful completion eliminates your enemy [i.e., Banquo], [and which] ties you firmly to my love.
103And I will put that business in your bosoms,
104Whose execution takes your enemy off,
105Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
106-107. Who wear ... perfect: who has only a sick kind of health while he [Banquo] lives, [and who] by his [Banquo's] death would be made perfectly healthy.
106Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
107Which in his death were perfect.
I am one, my liege,
108. blows and buffets: punches and beatings.
108Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
109-110. I am reckless what / I do: I don't care what I do.
109Have so incensed that I am reckless what
110I do to spite the world.
And I another
111. tugg'd with fortune: pulled about by chance.
111So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
112-113.. I would set my life on any chance, / To mend it, or be rid on't: I would risk my life for anything which would make my life better or make it end.
112That I would set my life on any chance,
113To mend it, or be rid on't.
Both of you
114Know Banquo was your enemy.
True, my lord.
115-117. and in such bloody distance ... my near'st of life: i.e., every minute that he lives threatens my life. <More.>
115So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,
116That every minute of his being thrusts
117Against my near'st of life; and though I could
118With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
119. And bid my will avouch it: i.e., and would gladly justify it, and take credit for it. 120-122. For certain friends ... drop: for the sake of certain mutual friends whose support I cannot discard.
119And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
120For certain friends that are both his and mine,
121Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
122Who I myself struck down; and thence it is,
123. I to your assistance do make love: I am wooing you to help me. 124-125. Masking the business from the common eye / For sundry weighty reasons: masking the murder from common knowledge for various important reasons.
123That I to your assistance do make love,
124Masking the business from the common eye
125For sundry weighty reasons.
We shall, my lord,
126Perform what you command us.
126. Though our lives: What was First Murderer about to say before Macbeth cut him off?
Though our lives
127Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at most
128. I will advise you where to plant yourselves: I will tell you where to position yourselves. 129-130. Acquaint ... on't: make you thoroughly familiar with the best intelligence about the time, the exact moment [the murder must be done]. 131. something from the palace: some distance away from the palace. 131-132.always thought / That I require a clearness: [it must] always be borne in mind that I have to have freedom from any suspicion [that I am behind these murders]. 133. rubs: rough spots.
128I will advise you where to plant yourselves;
129Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' th' time,
130The moment on't; for't must be done tonight,
131And something from the palace; always thought
132That I require a clearness: and with him
133To leave no rubs nor botches in the work
134Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
135Whose absence is no less material to me
136Than is his father's, must embrace the fate
137Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart,
138. anon: very soon.
138I'll come to you anon.
We are resolved, my lord.
139. straight: right away. abide within: i.e., wait for me in the other room.
139I'll call upon you straight; abide within.
140It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight,
141If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.