Act I, Scene V

Inverness. A Room in Macbeth's Castle.

[Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter.]


"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 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 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 promis'd; yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o' the milk of human kindness

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'dst have, great Glamis,

That which cries, "Thus thou must do, if thou have it:

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,

Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem

To have thee crown'd withal.

[Enter an Attendant.]

What is your tidings?


The king comes here tonight.


Thou'rt mad to say it:

Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,

Would have inform'd for preparation.


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

Than would make up his message.


Give him tending;

He brings great news.

[Exit Attendant.]

The raven himself is hoarse

That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

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,

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, your murdering ministers,

Wherever in your sightless substances

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!"

[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.


My dearest love,

Duncan comes here tonight.


And when goes hence?


To-morrow,--as he purposes.


O, never

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,

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 despatch;

Which shall to all our nights and days to come

Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.


We will speak further.


Only look up clear;

To alter favor ever is to fear:

Leave all the rest to me.