Fiction > Harvard Classics > William Shakespeare > Macbeth
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act I
Scene IV
[Forres. The palace]
Flourish. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants

  Dun.  Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
Those in commission 1 yet return’d?
  Mal.        My liege,
They are not yet come back. But I have spoke        4
With one that saw him die; who did report
That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,
Implor’d your Highness’ pardon, and set forth
A deep repentance. Nothing in his life        8
Became him like the leaving it. He died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he ow’d,
As ’twere a careless trifle.        12
  Dun.        There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face.
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.        16

        O worthiest cousin!
The sin of my ingratitude even now
Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow        20
To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserv’d,
That the proportion both of thanks and payment
Might have been mine! Only I have left to say,
More is thy due than more than all can pay.        24
  Macb.  The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself. Your Highness’ part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants,        28
Which do but what they should, by doing everything
Safe toward 2 your love and honour.
  Dun.        Welcome hither!
I have begun to plant thee, and will labour        32
To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
That hast no less deserv’d, nor must be known
No less to have done so, let me infold thee
And hold thee to my heart.        36
  Ban.        There if I grow,
The harvest is your own.
  Dun.        My plenteous joys,
Wanton 3 in fulness, seek to hide themselves        40
In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
And you whose places are the nearest, know
We will establish our estate upon
Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter        44
The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
Not unaccompanied invest him only,
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,        48
And bind us further to you.
  Macb.  The rest is labour, which is not us’d for you.
I’ll be myself the harbinger 4 and make joyful
The hearing of my wife with your approach;        52
So humbly take my leave.
  Dun.        My worthy Cawdor!
  Macb.  [Aside.]  The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,        56
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires;
The eye wink 5 at the hand; yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.  Exit.        60
  Dun.  True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
And in his commendations I am fed;
It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him,
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome.        64
It is a peerless kinsman.  Flourish. Exeunt.
Note 1. Commissioned to carry it out. [back]
Note 2. So as to preserve. [back]
Note 3. Unrestrained. [back]
Note 4. Forerunner. [back]
Note 5. Refuse to see. [back]


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