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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 4, Scene 1



A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. Thunder. Enter the three WITCHES.

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. Thunder. Enter the three WITCHES.

FIRST WITCH

Thrice the brindled cat hath mewed.

 

FIRST WITCH

Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.

 

SECOND WITCH

Thrice, and once the hedgehog whined.

 

SECOND WITCH

Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined.

 

THIRD WITCH

Harpier cries, “'Tis time, ’tis time.”

Harpier=a spirit friend of  the third witch

 

THIRD WITCH

Harpier cries, “'Tis time, ’tis time.”

 

FIRST WITCH

Round about the cauldron go,

In, the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Sweltered venom sleeping got,

sweltered=exuded venom while sleeping

Boil thou first i' th' charmèd pot.

 

FIRST WITCH

Round about the cauldron go,

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Sweltered venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' th' charmèd pot.

 

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

 

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

 

SECOND WITCH

Fillet of a fenny snake,

fen=swamp

In the cauldron boil and bake.

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

fork=forked tongue

blind-worm=a small lizard

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

 

SECOND WITCH

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake.

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

 

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

 

 

THIRD WITCH

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches' mummy, maw and gulf

maw=stomach

gulf=any voracious animal

Of the ravined salt-sea shark,

ravined=glutted with prey

Root of hemlock digged i' th' dark,

dark=best time for digging herbs

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat and slips of yew

slips=cuttings

Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-delivered by a drab,

ditch-delivered=born in a ditch of a harlot

Make the gruel thick and slab.

slab=slimy

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,

chaudron=entrails

For the ingredients of our cauldron.

 

THIRD WITCH

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches' mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravined salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digged i' th' dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat and slips of yew

Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-delivered by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab.

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,

For the ingredients of our cauldron.

 

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

 

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

 

SECOND WITCH

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

 

SECOND WITCH

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

 

Enter HECATE to the other three WITCHES

Enter HECATE to the other three WITCHES

HECATE (these lines are generally thought to be non-Shakespearean)

Oh well done! I commend your pains,

And every one shall share i' th' gains.

And now about the cauldron sing,

Like elves and fairies in a ring,

Enchanting all that you put in.

 

HECATE

Oh well done! I commend your pains,

And every one shall share i' th' gains.

And now about the cauldron sing,

Like elves and fairies in a ring,

Enchanting all that you put in.

 

Music and a song: “Black spirits,” &c. HECATE retires

Music and a song: “Black spirits,” &c. HECATE retires

SECOND WITCH

By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

(Macbeth is about to appear)

Open, locks,

Whoever knocks.

 

SECOND WITCH

By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

Open, locks,

Whoever knocks.

 

Enter MACBETH

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?

black=dealing in black magic

What is ’t you do?

 

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?

What is ’t you do?

 

ALL

     A deed without a name.

(there is no name for what they are doing)

 

ALL

     A deed without a name.

 

MACBETH

I conjure you by that which you profess—

that which you profess=demonic arts

Howe'er you come to know it—answer me.

Though you untie the winds and let them fight

Against the churches, though the yeasty waves

yeasty=frothy

Confound and swallow navigation up,

confound=destroy

navigation=shipping

Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,

bladed corn be lodged=ripe wheat be beaten down

Though castles topple on their warders' heads,

warders=watchmen

Though palaces and pyramids do slope

Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure

Of nature’s germens tumble all together,

germens=seeds, including those of animals

Even till destruction sicken, answer me

sicken=be satiated

To what I ask you.

 

MACBETH

I conjure you by that which you profess—

Howe'er you come to know it—answer me.

Though you untie the winds and let them fight

Against the churches, though the yeasty waves

Confound and swallow navigation up,

Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,

Though castles topple on their warders' heads,

Though palaces and pyramids do slope

Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure

Of nature’s germens tumble all together,

Even till destruction sicken, answer me

To what I ask you.

 

FIRST WITCH

Speak.

 

FIRST WITCH

Speak.

 

SECOND WITCH

     Demand.

 

SECOND WITCH

     Demand.

 

THIRD WITCH

     We’ll answer.

 

THIRD WITCH

     We’ll answer.

 

FIRST WITCH

Say, if th' hadst rather hear it from our mouths

Or from our masters'.

masters=contacts giving occult knowledge

 

FIRST WITCH

Say, if th' hadst rather hear it from our mouths,

Or from our masters'.

 

MACBETH

     Call 'em. Let me see 'em.

 

MACBETH

     Call 'em. Let me see 'em.

 

FIRST WITCH

Pour in sow’s blood that hath eaten

Her nine farrow; grease, that’s sweaten

farrow=piglets

sweaten=sweated

From the murderer’s gibbet, throw

gibbet=structure for hanging people

Into the flame.

 

FIRST WITCH

Pour in sow’s blood, that hath eaten

Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten

From the murderer’s gibbet throw

Into the flame.

 

ALL

Come, high or low;

high or low=high or low spirits

Thyself and office deftly show!

office=what you do

 

ALL

Come, high or low;

Thyself and office deftly show!

 

Thunder. FIRST APPARITION : an armed head

Thunder. FIRST APPARITION : an armed head

MACBETH

Tell me, thou unknown power—

 

MACBETH

Tell me, thou unknown power—

 

FIRST WITCH

     He knows thy thought.

he=the apparition

Hear his speech but say thou nought.

nought=nothing

 

FIRST WITCH

     He knows thy thought.

Hear his speech but say thou nought.

 

FIRST APPARITION

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff.

Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

 

FIRST APPARITION

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff.

Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

 

Descends [from the stage]

Descends

MACBETH

Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.

Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word more—

harped=guessed

 

MACBETH

Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.

Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word more—

 

FIRST WITCH

He will not be commanded. Here’s another

More potent than the first.

 

FIRST WITCH

He will not be commanded. Here’s another

More potent than the first.

 

Thunder. SECOND APPARITION : a bloody child

Thunder. SECOND APPARITION : a bloody child

SECOND APPARITION

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—

 

SECOND APPARITION

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—

 

MACBETH

Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.

 

MACBETH

Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.

 

SECOND APPARITION

Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.

 

SECOND APPARITION

Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.

 

Descends

Descends

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?

But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,

And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live,

take a bond of fate=hold Fate to its contract by killing Macduff

That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies

And sleep in spite of thunder.

 

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?

But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,

And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live,

That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,

And sleep in spite of thunder.

 

Thunder. THIRD APPARITION : a child crowned, with a tree in his hand

Thunder. THIRD APPARITION : a child crowned, with a tree in his hand

What is this

That rises like the issue of a king

like=in the likeness of

issue=offspring

And wears upon his baby-brow the round

And top of sovereignty?

round and top of sovereignty=king’s crown

 

What is this

That rises like the issue of a king,

And wears upon his baby-brow the round

And top of sovereignty?

 

ALL

     Listen but speak not to ’t.

 

ALL

     Listen but speak not to ’t.

 

THIRD APPARITION

Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care

Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.

Macbeth shall never vanquished be until

Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill

Shall come against him.

 

THIRD APPARITION

Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care

Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.

Macbeth shall never vanquished be until

Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill

Shall come against him.

 

Descends

Descends

MACBETH

     That will never be.

Who can impress the forest, bid the tree

impress=force into service

Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements! Good!

bodements=prophecies

Rebellious dead, rise never till the wood

rebellious dead=Banquo (?)

Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth

Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath

To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart

Throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if your art

Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever

Reign in this kingdom?

 

MACBETH

     That will never be.

Who can impress the forest, bid the tree

Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements! Good!

Rebellious dead, rise never till the wood

Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth

Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath

To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart

Throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if your art

Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever

Reign in this kingdom?

 

ALL

Seek to know no more.

 

ALL

Seek to know no more.

 

MACBETH

I will be satisfied. Deny me this,

will=must

And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.

Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?

 

MACBETH

I will be satisfied. Deny me this,

And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.

Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?

 

Hautboys

Hautboys

THIRD WITCH

Show.

 

THIRD WITCH

Show.

 

ALL

Show his eyes and grieve his heart.

Come like shadows; so depart!

 

ALL

Show his eyes and grieve his heart.

Come like shadows; so depart!

 

A show of eight kings, the last with a glass [mirror] in his hand, followed by BANQUO

A show of eight kings, the last with a glass in his hand, followed by BANQUO

MACBETH

Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down!

Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,

Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.

other=second in the show of eight kings

A third is like the former.—Filthy hags!

Why do you show me this? A fourth? Start, eyes!

start=bulge

What, will the line stretch out to th' crack of doom?

crack of doom=signal announcing the Day of Judgment (end of the world)

Another yet? A seventh? I’ll see no more.

And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass

Which shows me many more, and some I see

That twofold balls and treble scepters carry.

(symbols used in the coronation of kings)

Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true;

For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me

blood-boltered=with tangled, bloody knots of hair

And points at them for his.

his=Banquo’s descendants

 

MACBETH

Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down!

Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,

Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.

A third is like the former.—Filthy hags!

Why do you show me this? A fourth? Start, eyes!

What, will the line stretch out to th' crack of doom?

Another yet? A seventh? I’ll see no more.

And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass

Which shows me many more, and some I see

That twofold balls and treble scepters carry.

Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true;

For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me

And points at them for his.

 

Apparitions vanish

Apparitions vanish

What, is this so?

What, is this so?

FIRST WITCH

Ay, sir, all this is so. But why

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites

sprites=spirits

And show the best of our delights.

I’ll charm th' air to give a sound,

While you perform your antic round,

antic=dance

That this great king may kindly say,

Our duties did his welcome pay.

(our attentions repaid the welcome he gave us)

 

FIRST WITCH

Ay, sir, all this is so. But why

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,

And show the best of our delights.

I’ll charm th' air to give a sound,

While you perform your antic round.

That this great king may kindly say,

Our duties did his welcome pay.

 

Music. The WITCHES dance and then vanish

Music. The WITCHES dance and then vanish

MACBETH

Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour

Stand aye accursèd in the calendar!

Come in, without there.

Enter LENNOX

MACBETH

Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour

Stand aye accursèd in the calendar!

Come in, without there.

Enter LENNOX

LENNOX

     What’s your grace’s will?

 

LENNOX

     What’s your grace’s will?

 

MACBETH

Saw you the weird sisters?

 

MACBETH

Saw you the weird sisters?

 

LENNOX

     No, my lord.

 

LENNOX

     No, my lord.

 

MACBETH

Came they not by you?

 

MACBETH

Came they not by you?

 

LENNOX

     No, indeed, my lord.

 

LENNOX

     No, indeed, my lord.

 

MACBETH

Infected be the air whereon they ride,

And damned all those that trust them! I did hear

The galloping of horse. Who was ’t came by?

 

MACBETH

Infected be the air whereon they ride,

And damned all those that trust them! I did hear

The galloping of horse. Who was ’t came by?

 

LENNOX

'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word

Macduff is fled to England.

 

LENNOX

'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word

Macduff is fled to England.

 

MACBETH

Fled to England?

 

MACBETH

Fled to England?

 

LENNOX

Ay, my good lord.

 

LENNOX

Ay, my good lord.

 

MACBETH

Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.

anticipat’st=thwarts

The flighty purpose never is o'ertook

Unless the deed go with it. From this moment

unless the deed go with it=unless the purpose is acted upon immediately

The very firstlings of my heart shall be

The firstlings of my hand. And even now,

To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:

The castle of Macduff I will surprise,

Seize upon Fife, give to th' edge o' th' sword

seize upon=land upon

His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls

That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool.

trace=follow

This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.

But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?

no more sights=no more witches

Come, bring me where they are.

 

MACBETH

Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.

The flighty purpose never is o'ertook

Unless the deed go with it. From this moment

The very firstlings of my heart shall be

The firstlings of my hand. And even now,

To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:

The castle of Macduff I will surprise,

Seize upon Fife, give to th' edge o' th' sword

His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls

That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool.

This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.

But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?

Come, bring me where they are.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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