Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Macbeth: Modern (Modern)
  • Editor: Anthony Dawson
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Research assistant: Katie Davion
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-528-5

    Copyright Anthony Dawson. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Anthony Dawson
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Modern (Modern)

    Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
    1 Witch
    Where hast thou been, sister?
    2 Witch
    Killing swine.
    1003 Witch
    Sister, where thou?
    1 Witch
    A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
    And munched, and munched, and munched. "Give me," quoth I.
    "Aroint thee, witch," the rump-fed runnion cries.
    105Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'th' Tiger,
    But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
    And like a rat without a tail
    I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.
    2 Witch
    I'll give thee a wind.
    1101 Witch
    Thou'rt kind.
    3 Witch
    And I another.
    1 Witch
    I myself have all the other,
    And the very ports they blow,
    All the quarters that they know,
    115I'th' shipman's card.
    I'll drain him dry as hay:
    Sleep shall neither night nor day
    Hang upon his penthouse lid;
    He shall live a man forbid;
    120Weary sennights, nine times nine,
    Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine.
    Though his bark cannot be lost,
    Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.
    Look what I have.
    1252 Witch
    Show me, show me.
    1 Witch
    Here I have a pilot's thumb,
    Wrecked as homeward he did come.
    Drum within.
    3 Witch
    A drum, a drum--
    Macbeth doth come.
    [They join hands and dance in a circle.]
    The weird sisters, hand in hand,
    Posters of the sea and land,
    Thus do go about, about,
    Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
    And thrice again, to make up nine.
    135Peace, the charm's wound up.
    Enter Macbeth and Banquo.
    So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
    How far is't called to Forres? --What are these,
    So withered and so wild in their attire,
    140That look not like th'inhabitants o'th' earth,
    And yet are on't? --Live you, or are you aught
    That man may question? You seem to understand me,
    By each at once her choppy finger laying
    Upon her skinny lips. You should be women,
    145And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
    That you are so.
    Speak if you can--what are you?
    1 Witch
    All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis.
    2 Witch
    All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor.
    1503 Witch
    All hail Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter.
    Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear
    Things that do sound so fair? I'th' name of truth
    Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
    Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
    155You greet with present grace and great prediction
    Of noble having and of royal hope,
    That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.
    If you can look into the seeds of time
    And say which grain will grow and which will not,
    160Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
    Your favors nor your hate.
    1 Witch
    2 Witch
    3 Witch
    1651 Witch
    Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
    2 Witch
    Not so happy, yet much happier.
    3 Witch
    Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.
    So all hail Macbeth and Banquo.
    1 Witch
    Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
    Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.
    By Finel's death, I know I am Thane of Glamis,
    But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives
    A prosperous gentleman. And to be king,
    Stands not within the prospect of belief,
    175No more then to be Cawdor. Say from whence
    You owe this strange intelligence, or why
    Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
    With such prophetic greeting?
    Speak, I charge you.
    Witches vanish.
    The earth hath bubbles as the water has,
    And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?
    Into the air, and what seemed corporal
    Melted, as breath into the wind. Would they had stayed.
    Were such things here as we do speak about?
    Or have we eaten on the insane root
    That takes the reason prisoner?
    Your children shall be kings.
    You shall be king.
    And Thane of Cawdor too, went it not so?
    To th'selfsame tune and words--who's here?
    Enter Ross and Angus.
    The King hath happily received, Macbeth,
    The news of thy success, and when he reads
    195Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,
    His wonders and his praises do contend
    Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that,
    In viewing o'er the rest o'th' selfsame day,
    He finds thee in the stout Norwegian ranks
    200Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
    Strange images of death. As thick as tale
    Came post with post, and every one did bear
    Thy praises in his kingdom's great defense
    And poured them down before him.
    We are sent
    To give thee from our royal master thanks,
    Only to herald thee into his sight,
    Not pay thee.
    And for an earnest of a greater honor
    210He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor,
    In which addition, hail most worthy thane,
    For it is thine.
    Banquo [Aside]
    What, can the devil speak true?
    The Thane of Cawdor lives, 215Why do you dress me
    In borrowed robes?
    Who was the thane lives yet,
    But under heavy judgment bears that life
    Which he deserves to lose.
    Whether he was combined with those of Norway,
    220Or did line the rebel with hidden help
    And vantage, or that with both he labored
    In his country's wrack, I know not.
    But treasons capital, confessed, and proved,
    Have overthrown him.
    Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor:
    The greatest is behind. --Thanks for your pains.
    [To Banquo] Do you not hope your children shall be kings
    When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me
    Promised no less to them.
    That trusted home
    Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
    Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange,
    And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
    The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
    235Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
    In deepest consequence.
    [To Ross and Angus] Cousins, a word, I pray you.
    [Aside] Two truths are told
    As happy prologues to the swelling act
    240Of the imperial theme. --I thank you, gentlemen--
    This supernatural soliciting
    Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,
    Why hath it given me earnest of success
    Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.
    245If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
    Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
    And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
    Against the use of nature? Present fears
    Are less than horrible imaginings.
    250My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
    Shakes so my single state of man that function
    Is smothered in surmise, and nothing is
    But what is not.
    Look how our partner's rapt.
    If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me
    Without my stir.
    New honors come upon him
    Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold
    260But with the aid of use.
    Come what come may,
    Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
    Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
    Give me your favor. My dull brain was wrought
    With things forgotten.
    Kind gentlemen, your pains are registered
    Where every day I turn the leaf to read them.
    270Let us toward the King.
    [To Banquo] Think upon what hath chanced and at more time,
    The interim having weighed it, let us speak
    Our free hearts each to other.
    Very gladly.
    Till then, enough. Come, friends.