The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act I, Scene 5

Inverness. Macbeth’s castle.

       
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[Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a letter]

  • Lady Macbeth. 'They met me in the day of success: and I have 345
    learned by the perfectest report, they have more in
    them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire
    to question them further, they made themselves air,
    into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in
    the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who 350
    all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor;' by which title,
    before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred
    me to the coming on of time, with 'Hail, king that
    shalt be!' This have I thought good to deliver
    thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou 355
    mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being
    ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it
    to thy heart, and farewell.'
    Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
    What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; 360
    It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
    To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
    Art not without ambition, but without
    The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
    That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, 365
    And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou'ldst have, great Glamis,
    That which cries 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
    And that which rather thou dost fear to do
    Than wishest should be undone.' Hie thee hither,
    That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; 370
    And chastise with the valour of my tongue
    All that impedes thee from the golden round,
    Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
    To have thee crown'd withal.
    [Enter a Messenger] 375
    What is your tidings?
  • Lady Macbeth. Thou'rt mad to say it:
    Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,
    Would have inform'd for preparation. 380
  • Messenger. So please you, it is true: our thane is coming:
    One of my fellows had the speed of him,
    Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
    Than would make up his message.
  • Lady Macbeth. Give him tending; 385
    He brings great news.
    [Exit Messenger]
    The raven himself is hoarse
    That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
    Under my battlements. Come, you spirits 390
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
    Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
    That no compunctious visitings of nature 395
    Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
    The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
    Wherever in your sightless substances
    You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night, 400
    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
    Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
    To cry 'Hold, hold!'
    [Enter MACBETH] 405
    Great Glamis! worthy Cawdor!
    Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
    Thy letters have transported me beyond
    This ignorant present, and I feel now
    The future in the instant. 410
  • Macbeth. My dearest love,
    Duncan comes here to-night.
  • Macbeth. To-morrow, as he purposes.
  • Lady Macbeth. O, never 415
    Shall sun that morrow see!
    Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
    May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
    Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
    Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, 420
    But be the serpent under't. He that's coming
    Must be provided for: and you shall put
    This night's great business into my dispatch;
    Which shall to all our nights and days to come
    Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. 425
  • Lady Macbeth. Only look up clear;
    To alter favour ever is to fear:
    Leave all the rest to me.

[Exeunt]

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