Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Anthony Dawson
Not Peer Reviewed

Macbeth (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Quinta.
Enter Macbeths Wife alone with a Letter.
Lady. They met me in the day of successe: and I haue
350learn'd by the perfect'st report, they haue more in them, then
mortall knowledge. When I burnt in desire to question them
further, they made themselues Ayre, into which they vanish'd.
Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came Missiues from
the King, who all-hail'd me Thane of Cawdor, by which Title
355before, these weyward Sisters saluted me, and referr'd me to
the comming on of time, with haile King that shalt be. This
haue I thought good to deliuer thee (my dearest Partner of
Greatnesse) that thou might'st not loose the dues of reioycing
by being ignorant of what Greatnesse is promis'd thee. Lay
360it to thy heart and farewell.
Glamys thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promis'd: yet doe I feare thy Nature,
It is too full o'th' Milke of humane kindnesse,
To catch the neerest way. Thou would'st be great,
365Art not without Ambition, but without
The illnesse should attend it. What thou would'st highly,
That would'st thou holily: would'st not play false,
And yet would'st wrongly winne.
Thould'st haue, great Glamys, that which cryes,
370Thus thou must doe, if thou haue it;
And that which rather thou do'st feare to doe,
Then wishest should be vndone. High thee hither,
That I may powre my Spirits in thine Eare,
And chastise with the valour of my Tongue
375All that impeides thee from the Golden Round,
Which Fate and Metaphysicall ayde doth seeme
To haue thee crown'd withall.
Enter Messenger.
What is your tidings?
Mess. The King comes here to Night.
380Lady. Thou'rt mad to say it.
Is not thy Master with him? who, wer't so,
Would haue inform'd for preparation.
Mess. So please you, it is true: our Thane is comming:
One of my fellowes had the speed of him;
385Who almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
Then would make vp his Message.
Lady. Giue him tending,
He brings great newes.
Exit Messenger.
The Rauen himselfe is hoarse,
390That croakes the fatall entrance of Duncan
Vnder my Battlements. Come you Spirits,
That tend on mortall thoughts, vnsex me here,
And fill me from the Crowne to the Toe, top-full
Of direst Crueltie: make thick my blood,
395Stop vp th' accesse, and passage to Remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of Nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keepe peace betweene
Th' effect, and hit. Come to my Womans Brests,
And take my Milke for Gall, you murth'ring Ministers,
400Where-euer, in your sightlesse substances,
You wait on Natures Mischiefe. Come thick Night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoake of Hell,
That my keene Knife see not the Wound it makes,
Nor Heauen peepe through the Blanket of the darke,
405To cry, hold, hold.
Enter Macbeth.
Great Glamys, worthy Cawdor,
Greater then both, by the all-haile hereafter,
Thy Letters haue transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feele now
410The future in the instant.
Macb. My dearest Loue,
Duncan comes here to Night.
Lady. And when goes hence?
Macb. To morrow, as he purposes.
415Lady. O neuer,
Shall Sunne that Morrow see.
Your Face, my Thane, is as a Booke, where men
May reade strange matters, to beguile the time.
Looke like the time, beare welcome in your Eye,
420Your Hand, your Tongue: looke like th' innocent flower,
But be the Serpent vnder't. He that's comming,
Must be prouided for: and you shall put
This Nights great Businesse into my dispatch,
Which shall to all our Nights, and Dayes to come,
425Giue solely soueraigne sway, and Masterdome.
Macb. We will speake further.
Lady. Onely looke vp cleare:
To alter fauor, euer is to feare:
Leaue all the rest to me.
Exeunt.