Act 1, Scene 2

Switch to Quick Study
[A military camp near Forres. Trumpets sound. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain,
Lennox and Attendants, meeting a bleeding soldier.]

Duncan

What bloody man is that? He can report –
As seemeth by his plight – of the revolt
The newest state.

Malcolm

                                 This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend.
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.

Sergeant

                                   Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonald –
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that,
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him – from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied.
And Fortune, on his damned quarry smiling,
Showed like a rebel's whore. But all's too weak.    
For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name,
Disdaining fortune with his brandished steel
Which smoked with bloody execution –
Like Valor's minion, carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chaps,
And fixed his head upon our battlements.

Duncan

O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.

Sergeant

As whence the sun 'gins his reflection,
Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring, whence comfort seemed to come,
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark.
No sooner justice had, with valor armed,
Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norwegian lord, surveying vantage,
With furbished arms and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh assault.

Duncan

Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

Sergeant

Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorize another Golgotha,
I cannot tell – but I am faint; 
My gashes cry for help.

Duncan

So well thy words become thee – as thy wounds.
They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons.
[Exit Sergeant, attended. Enter Ross]
Who comes here?

Malcolm

                              The worthy Thane of Ross.

Lennox

What a haste looks through his eyes. So should he look
that seems to speak things strange.

Ross

                                                         God save the king.

Duncan

Whence camest thou, worthy thane?

Ross

                                                           From Fife, great king;
Where the Norwegian banners flout the sky
And fan our people cold
Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor,
The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapped in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point, rebellious arm 'gainst arm,
Curbing his lavish spirit; and, to conclude,
The victory fell on us –

Duncan

Great happiness.

Ross

                             – that now Sweno,
the Norway's' king, craves composition.
Nor would we deign him burial of his men
Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

Duncan

No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title, greet Macbeth.

Ross

I'll see it done.

Duncan

What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
[Exit]