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[Inverness, 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 promised; yet do I fear thy nature.
It is too full o'th 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 crowned withal.
[Enter a Messenger]
What is your tidings?
The king comes here to-night.
Thou'rt mad to say it.
Is not thy master with him, who, were't so,
Would have informed 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.
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, you 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.'
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 to-night.
And when goes hence?
Tomorrow, as he purposes.
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 dispatch,
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 favour ever is to fear.
Leave all the rest to me.