Act I - Scene V

Inverness. Macbeth's castle.

Enter Macbeth's wife alone, with a letter.

LADY MACBETH:
“They met me in the day of success, and I have
learned by the perfectest report, they have more in them
than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question
them further, they made themselves air, into which
they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came(5)
missives from the King, who all-hailed me ‘Thane of
Cawdor’; by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted
me, and referred me to the coming on of time with ‘Hail,
King that shalt be!’ This have I thought good to deliver thee,
my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose(10)
the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is
promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.”
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness(15)
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou'ldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries, “Thus thou must do, if thou have it;(20)
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.” Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,
And chastise with the valor of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,(25)
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.

Enter a Messenger.

What news do you have?
What is your tidings?
MESSENGER:
The King comes here tonight.
LADY MACBETH:
Thou'rt mad to say it!
Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,(30)
Would have inform'd for preparation.
MESSENGER:
So please you, it is true: our Thane is coming.
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more(35)
Than would make up his message.
LADY MACBETH:
Give him tending;
He brings great news.

Exit Messenger.

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan(40)
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,(45)
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances(50)
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry, “Hold, hold!”(55)

Enter Macbeth.

Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor!
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.(60)
MACBETH:
My dearest love,
Duncan comes here tonight.
LADY MACBETH:
And when goes hence?
MACBETH:
Tomorrow, as he purposes.
LADY MACBETH:
O, never(65)
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my Thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue; look like the innocent flower,(70)
But be the serpent under't. He that's coming
Must be provided for; and you shall put
This night's great business into my dispatch,
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.(75)
MACBETH:
We will speak further.
LADY MACBETH:
Only look up clear;
To alter favor ever is to fear:
Leave all the rest to me.

Exeunt.