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SCENE I. Fores. A Room in the Palace.

Ban. Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promis'd; and, I fear,
Thou play’dst most foully for't; yet it was said,
It should not stand in thy posterity;
But that myself should be the root and father
Of many kings. If there come truth from them
(As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine),
Why, by the verities on thee made good,
May they not be my oracles as well,
And set me up in hope? But, hush; no more.
Senet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as King ; LADY
MACBETH, as Queen; LENOX, Rosse, Lords,

Ladies, and Attendants.
Macb. Here's our chief guest.
Lady M.

If he had been forgotten,
It had been as a gap in our great feast,
And all things unbecoming.

Macb. To-night we hold a solemn supperi, sir,
And I'll request your presence.

Let your highness'
Command upon me; to the which, my duties
Are with a most indissoluble tie
For ever knit.
Macb. Ride you this afternoon?

Ay, my good lord. Macb. We should have else desir'd your good


1 'A solemn supper. This was the phrase of Shakspeare's time for a feast or banquet given on a particular occasion, to any event, as a birth, marriage, coronation, &c. Howel, in a letter to Sir T. Hawke, 1636, says, 'I was invited yesternight to a solemne supper by B. J. (Ben Jonson), where you were deeply remembered.

(Which still hath been both grave and prosperous), In this day's council; but we'll take to-morrow. Is't far you ride?

Ban. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time "Twixt this and supper:go not my horse the better?, I must become a borrower of the night, For a dark hour, or twain. Macb.

Fail not our feast. Ban. My lord, I will not. Macb. We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd In England, and in Ireland; not confessing Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers With strange invention: But of that to-morrow: When, therewithal, we shall have cause of state, Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: Adieu, Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you? Ban. Ay, my good lord: our time does call

upon us. Macb. I wish your horses swift, and sure of foot; And so I do commend you to their backs. Farewell.-

[Exit BANQUO. Let every man be master of his time Till seven at night, to make society The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself ;; Till supper-time alone: while then, God be with you.

TExeunt LADY MACBETH, Lords, Ladies, &c. Sirrah, a word with you: attend those men Our pleasure ?

Atten. They are, my lord, without the palace gate. Macb. Bring them before us. — [Exit Atten.]

To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus:-Our fears in Banquo Stick deep; and in his royaltyd of nature Reigns that, which would be fear'd: "Tis much he


2 i, e. 'if my horse does not go well' Shakspeare often uses the comparative for the positive and superlative.

3 i e. commit. Sec note on p. 223. 4 Nobleness.

And, tos that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety. There is none, but he
Whose being I do fear: and, under him,
My genius is rebuk’d; as, it is said,
Mark Antony's was by Cæsar. He chid the sisters,
When first they put the name of King upon me,
And bade them speak to him; then, prophetlike,
They hail'd him father to a line of kings:
Upon my head they plac'd a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If it be so,
For Banquo's issue have I fil'do my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd;
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man?,
To make them kings; the seed of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come, fate, into the list,
And champion me to the utterance8 !--Who's



Re-enter Attendant, with two Murderers. Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.

[Exit Attendant. Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

1 Mur. It was, so please your highness.

Well then, now

3 "And to that.' i. e. in addition to. 6 For defiled.

7 The common enemy of man.' Shakspeare repeats the phrase in Twelfth Night, Act iii. Sc. 4:– Defy the devil: consider, he's an enemy to mankind. The phrase was common among his cotemporaries; the word fiend, Johnson remarks, signifies enemy.

8 "To the utterance. This phrase, which is found in writers who preceded Shakspeare, is borrowed froin the French; se battre à l'outrance, to fight desperately or to extremity, even to death. The sense therefore isizLet fate, that has foredoomed the exaltation of Banquo's sons, enter the lists against me in defence of its own decrees, I will fight against it to the extremity, whatever be the consequence.'

Have you considered of my speeches? Know,
That it was he, in the times past, which held you
So under fortune; which, you thought, had been
Our innocent self: this I made good to you
In our last conference, pass'd in probation 9 with you,
How you were borne in hand 10; how cross'd; the

instruments; Who wrought with them; and all things else, that

might, To half a soul and to a nation craz'd, Say, Thus did Banquo. 1 Mur.

You made it known to us. Macb. I did so; and went further, which is now Our point of second meeting. Do you find Your patience so predominant in your nature, That you can let this go? Are you so gospell’d11 To pray for that good man, and for his issue, Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave, And beggar'd yours for ever? 1 Mur.

We are men, my liege. Macb. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men; As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, Shoughs12, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are cleped 13 All by the name of dogs: the valued filelt Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle, The house-keeper, the hunter, every one According to the gift which bounteous nature Hath in him clos'd; whereby he does receive Particuliar addition 15, from the bill

9 i. e. 'passed in proving to you.'

10 To bear in hand is to delude by encouraging hope and holding out fair prospects, without any intention of performance.

11 i. e. are you so obedient to the precept of the gospel, which teaches 08 'to pray for those that despitetu

12 Shoughs are probably what we now call shocks. Nashe, in his Lenten Stuffe, mentions them a trundle-tail tike or shough or two.'

13 Cleped, called.

14 The valued file is the descriptive list wherein their valuc and pecaliar qualities are set down, such a list of dogs may be found in Junius's Nomenclator, by Fleming, and may have furnished Shakspeare with the idea.

15 Particular addition, title, description

That writes them all alike: and so of men.
Now, if you have a station in the file,
Not in the worst rank of manhood, say it;
And I will put that business in your bosoms,
Whose execution takes your enemy off;
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
Which in his death were perfect.
2 Mur.

I am one, my liege,
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incens'd, that I am reckless what
I do, to spite the world.
1 Mur.

And I another,
So weary with disasters, tugg’d with fortune,
That I would set my life on any chance,
To mend it, or be rid on't.

Both of you
· Know, Banquo was your enemy.
2 Mur.

True, my lord. Macb. So is he mine: and in such bloody dis

tance16, That every minute of his being thrusts Against my near'st of life: And though I could With bare-fac'd power sweep him from my sight, And bid my will avouch it; yet I must not, For certain friends that are both his and mine, Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall Whom I myself struck down: and thence it is, That I to your assistance do make love; Masking the business from the common eye, For sundry weighty reasons. 2 Mur.

We shall, my lord, Perform what you command us. 1 Mur.

Though our livesMacb. Your spirits shine through you. Within

this hour, at most, I will advise you where to plant yourselves:

16 Bloody distance is mortal enmity.

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