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Your vessels, and your spells, provide,
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
As, by the strength of their illusion,
Is mortal's chiefest enemy.
SONG. [Within.] Come away, come away, &c. Hark, I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.
1st Witch. Come, let's make haste: she'll soon be back again.
Macbeth seeks the "weird sisters" or witches, at "the Pit of Acheron," and adjures them to declare his fate. The witches, by their incantations, raise up spirits who warn Macbeth, to "Beware Macduff." He is then assured that
-"none of woman born shall harm Macbeth,"
"Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until
He is also shown a line of Eight Kings, who are the issue of Banquo.
Macbeth, acting upon the caution of the witches, surprises the Castle of Macduff, and puts to the sword Lady Macduff, and all her children; Macduff being absent in England on a visit to young Malcolm.
SCENE III.-England. A Room in the King's Palace.
Mal. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there Weep our sad bosoms empty.
Let us rather
What I believe, I'll wail;
What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance.
To appease an angry god.
Macd. I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil,
I have lost my hopes.
Bleed, bleed, poor country! Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure, For goodness dares not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs, Thy title is affeer'd.*-Fare thee well, lord:
I would not be the villain that thou think'st
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp,
Be not offended:
What should he be ?
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
With my confineless harms. Nay, had I power, I should
O Scotland! Scotland! Mal. If such a one be fit to govern, speak: I am as I have spoken.
Fit to govern!
And does blaspheme his breed?-Thy royal father
Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
Macd. See, who comes here?
Mal. My countryman; but yet I know him not.
Mal. I know him now: Good Heaven, betimes remove The means that make us strangers!
Alas, poor country;
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air,
Is there scarce ask'd, for who; and good men's lives
Too nice, and yet too true!
What is the newest grief? Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker; Each minute teems a new one.
How does my wife?
Rosse. Why, well.
And all my children ?
Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace? Rosse. No; they were well at peace, when I did leave them. Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech; How goes it? Rosse. When I came hither to transport the tidings, Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumor Of many worthy fellows that were out; Which was to my belief witness'd the rather, For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot : Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland Would create soldiers, make our women fight To doff their dire distresses.
Be it their comfort,
That Christendom gives out.
'Would I could answer
No mind, that's honest, But in it shares some woe; though the main part Pertains to you alone.
What concern they?
If it be mine,
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Humph! I guess at it.
Rosse. Your castle is surpris'd; your wife, and babes, Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
That could be found.
My wife kill'd too?
Wife, children, servants, all
And I must be from thence!
I have said.
Let's make us med'cines of our great revenge,
Macd. He has no children.-All my pretty ones?
What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
Mal. Dispute it like a man.
I shall do so;
But I must feel it as a man:
Mal. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes,
Put on their instruments. Receive. what cheer you may;
The action changes to Dunsinane, where the English powers, led on by Young Malcolm, Siward, and Macduff, are joined by the loyal Scotch. The united forces march towards Dunsinane Castle to attack Macbeth.