Macbeth: Act 3, Scene 1

            Enter 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: since for you, Macbeth, their predictions are brilliantly fulfilled.
  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: 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.

 11    Here's our chief guest.

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

14. solemn: ceremonious. Macbeth is going to celebrate his own ascension to the throne.
 14    Tonight we hold a solemn supper sir,
 15    And I'll request your presence.

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

 19    Ride you this afternoon?

                                                Ay, my good lord.

20. advice: counsel, opinions.
 20    We should have else desired your good advice,
21. still: always. grave and prosperous:  well-considered and profitable.
 21    Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,
 22    In this day's council; but we'll take tomorrow
 23    Is't far you ride?

 24    As 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,
 26    I must become a borrower of the night
 27    For a dark hour or twain.

                                            Fail not our feast.

 28    My lord, I will not.

29. our bloody cousins: i.e., Malcolm and Donalbain, sons of King Duncan. are bestow'd:  have taken up residence.
 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. 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.
 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?

36. Our time does call upon's: i.e., it's about time for us to leave.
 36    Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon's.

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

            Exit Banquo.

 40    Let 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.
 41    Till seven at night. To make society
 42    The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
43. while then: until then.
 43    Till 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?.
 44    Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men
 45    Our pleasure?

46. without: outside.
 46    They are, my lord, without the palace gate.

 47    Bring them before us.

            Exit Servant.

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,
 48    But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo
49. royalty of nature: natural kingliness.
 49    Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
50. would be: demands to be.
 50    Reigns that which would be fear'd. 'Tis much he dares;
51. to: in addition to.
 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
54-56. 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.>
 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. gripe: grip, grasp.
 61    And 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.
 62    Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
 63    No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so,
64. issue: descendants. filed: defiled.
 64    For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind;
65. gracious: kind, courteous.
 65    For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd;
66. rancours: grudges, hatreds; also, rancid odors.
 66    Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
67. mine eternal jewel: i.e., my immortal soul.
 67    Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
68. the common enemy of man: the enemy of all humankind, i.e., the devil.
 68    Given to the common enemy of man,
 69    To 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!
 70    Rather than so, come fate into the list,
 71    And 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

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

            Exit Servant.

 73    Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

 74    It was, so please your highness.

                                                            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. under fortune: out of favor with fortune.
 77    So under fortune, which you thought had been
 78    Our 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.
 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.

 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. gospell'd: full of the spirit of the Gospel [of forgiveness].
 87    That you can let this go? Are you so gospell'd
88. issue: offspring.
 88    To pray for this good man and for his issue,
 89    Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave
90. beggar'd yours for ever: made beggars of all of your offspring forever.
 90    And beggar'd yours for ever?

       First Murderer
                                                      We are men, my liege.

91. catalogue: general list [of creatures].
 91    Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
 92    As 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.
 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;
103-105. 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.
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,
106-107. 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.
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. blows and buffets: punches and beatings.
108    Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
109-110. I am reckless what / I do: I don't care what I do.
109    Have so incensed that I am reckless what
110    I do to spite the world.

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

                                               Both of you
114    Know 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.>
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: 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.
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. 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.
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
126. Though our lives—: What was First Murderer about to say before Macbeth cut him off?
                                                     Though our lives—

127    Your 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.
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. anon: very soon.
138    I'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.
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.