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The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act I, Scene 4

Forres. The palace.


[Flourish. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants]

  • Duncan. Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
    Those in commission yet return'd?
  • Malcolm. My liege,
    They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
    With one that saw him die: who did report 280
    That very frankly he confess'd his treasons,
    Implored your highness' pardon and set forth
    A deep repentance: nothing in his life
    Became him like the leaving it; he died
    As one that had been studied in his death 285
    To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
    As 'twere a careless trifle.
  • Duncan. There's no art
    To find the mind's construction in the face:
    He was a gentleman on whom I built 290
    An absolute trust.
    O worthiest cousin!
    The sin of my ingratitude even now
    Was heavy on me: thou art so far before 295
    That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
    To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
    That the proportion both of thanks and payment
    Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
    More is thy due than more than all can pay. 300
  • Macbeth. The service and the loyalty I owe,
    In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part
    Is to receive our duties; and our duties
    Are to your throne and state children and servants,
    Which do but what they should, by doing every thing 305
    Safe toward your love and honour.
  • Duncan. Welcome hither:
    I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
    To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
    That hast no less deserved, nor must be known 310
    No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
    And hold thee to my heart.
  • Banquo. There if I grow,
    The harvest is your own.
  • Duncan. My plenteous joys, 315
    Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
    In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
    And you whose places are the nearest, know
    We will establish our estate upon
    Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter 320
    The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
    Not unaccompanied invest him only,
    But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
    On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
    And bind us further to you. 325
  • Macbeth. The rest is labour, which is not used for you:
    I'll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
    The hearing of my wife with your approach;
    So humbly take my leave.
  • Macbeth. [Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
    On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
    For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
    Let not light see my black and deep desires:
    The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, 335
    Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.


  • Duncan. True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
    And in his commendations I am fed;
    It is a banquet to me. Let's after him, 340
    Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
    It is a peerless kinsman.

[Flourish. Exeunt]