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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Macbeth
 
Act III. Scene I.
 
Forres.  A Room in the Palace.
 
Enter BANQUO.
  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        5
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,        10
May they not be my oracles as well,
And set me up in hope? But, hush! no more.
 
Sennet sounded.  Enter MACBETH, as king; LADY MACBETH, as queen; LENNOX, ROSS, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants.
  Macb.  Here’s our chief guest.
  Lady M.        If he had been forgotten        15
It had been as a gap in our great feast,
And all-thing unbecoming.
  Macb.  To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir,
And I’ll request your presence.
  Ban.        Let your highness        20
Command upon me; to the which my duties
Are with a most indissoluble tie
For ever knit.
  Macb.  Ride you this afternoon?
  Ban.  Ay, my good lord.        25
  Macb.  We should have else desir’d your good advice—
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        30
’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.        35
  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        40
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 ’s.
  Macb.  I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;
And so I do commend you to their backs.        45
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!  [Exeunt all but MACBETH and an Attendant.        50
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 Attendant.]  To be thus is nothing;
But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo        55
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be fear’d: ’tis much he dares,
And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety. There is none but he        60
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, prophet-like,        65
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 ’t be so,        70
For Banquo’s issue have I fil’d 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,        75
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come fate into the list,
And champion me to the utterance! Who’s there?
 
Re-enter Attendant, with two Murderers.
Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.  [Exit Attendant.        80
Was it not yesterday we spoke together?
  First Mur.  It was, so please your highness.
  Macb.        Well then, now
Have you consider’d of my speeches? Know
That it was he in the times past which held you        85
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 with you,
How you were borne in hand, how cross’d, the instruments,
Who wrought with them, and all things else that might        90
To half a soul and to a notion craz’d
Say, ‘Thus did Banquo.’
  First 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        95
Your patience so predominant in your nature
That you can let this go? Are you so gospell’d
To pray for this good man and for his issue,
Whose heavy hand hath bow’d you to the grave
And beggar’d yours for ever?        100
  First Mur.        We are men, my liege.
  Macb.  Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are clept
All by the name of dogs: the valu’d file        105
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
According to the gift which bounteous nature
Hath in him clos’d; whereby he does receive
Particular addition, from the bill        110
That writes them all alike: and so of men.
Now, if you have a station in the file,
Not i’ the worst rank of manhood, say it;
And I will put that business in your bosoms,
Whose execution takes your enemy off,        115
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
Which in his death were perfect.
  Sec. Mur.        I am one, my liege,
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world        120
Have so incens’d that I am reckless what
I do to spite the world.
  First Mur.        And I another,
So weary with disasters, tugg’d with fortune,
That I would set my life on any chance,        125
To mend it or be rid on ’t.
  Macb.        Both of you
Know Banquo was your enemy.
  Sec. Mur.        True, my lord.
  Macb.  So is he mine; and in such bloody distance        130
That every minute of his being thrusts
Against my near’st of life: and though I could
With bare-fac’d powersweep him from my sight
And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
For certain friends that are both his and mine,        135
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.        140
  Sec. Mur.        We shall, my lord,
Perform what you command us.
  First Mur.        Though our lives—
  Macb.  Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at most
I will advise you where to plant yourselves,        145
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ the time,
The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done to-night,
And something from the palace; always thought
That I require a clearness: and with him—
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—        150
Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
Whose absence is no less material to me
Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart;
I’ll come to you anon.        155
  Sec. Mur.        We are resolv’d, my lord.
  Macb.  I’ll call upon you straight: abide within.  [Exeunt Murderers.
It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul’s flight,
If it find heaven, must find it out to-night.  [Exit.
 
 
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