Macbeth - Act 4, scene 1
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 4, scene 1
Macbeth approaches the witches to learn how to make his kingship secure. In response they summon for him three apparitions: an armed head, a bloody child, and finally a child crowned, with a tree in his hand. These apparitions instruct Macbeth to beware Macduff but reassure him that no man born of woman can harm him and that he will not be overthrown until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane. Macbeth is greatly reassured, but his confidence in the future is shaken when the witches show him a line of kings all in the image of Banquo. After the witches disappear, Macbeth discovers that Macduff has fled to England and decides to kill Macduff’s family immediately.Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
1479 Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.
1480 Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined.
1481 Harpier cries “’Tis time, ’tis time!”
1482 Round about the cauldron go;
1483 5 In the poisoned entrails throw.
1484 Toad, that under cold stone
1485 Days and nights has thirty-one
1486 Sweltered venom sleeping got,
1487 Boil thou first i’ th’ charmèd pot.
⌜The Witches circle the cauldron.⌝
1488 10 Double, double toil and trouble;
1489 Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
1490 Fillet of a fenny snake
1491 In the cauldron boil and bake.
1492 Eye of newt and toe of frog,
1493 15 Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
1494 Adder’s fork and blindworm’s sting,
1496 For a charm of powerful trouble,
1497 Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
1498 20 Double, double toil and trouble;
1499 Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
1500 Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
1501 Witch’s mummy, maw and gulf
1502 Of the ravined salt-sea shark,
1503 25 Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,
1504 Liver of blaspheming Jew,
1505 Gall of goat and slips of yew
1506 Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,
1507 Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
1508 30 Finger of birth-strangled babe
1509 Ditch-delivered by a drab,
1510 Make the gruel thick and slab.
1511 Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron
1512 For th’ ingredience of our cauldron.
1513 35 Double, double toil and trouble;
1514 Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
1515 Cool it with a baboon’s blood.
1516 Then the charm is firm and good.
Enter Hecate ⌜to⌝ the other three Witches.
1517 O, well done! I commend your pains,
1518 40 And everyone shall share i’ th’ gains.
1519 And now about the cauldron sing
1520 Like elves and fairies in a ring,
1521 Enchanting all that you put in.
Music and a song: “Black Spirits,” etc. ⌜Hecate exits.⌝
1522 By the pricking of my thumbs,
1523 45 Something wicked this way comes.
1524 Open, locks,
1525 Whoever knocks.
1526 How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?
1527 What is ’t you do?
ALL 1528 50 A deed without a name.
1529 I conjure you by that which you profess
1530 (Howe’er you come to know it), answer me.
1531 Though you untie the winds and let them fight
1532 Against the churches, though the yeasty waves
1533 55 Confound and swallow navigation up,
1534 Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown
1536 Though castles topple on their warders’ heads,
1537 Though palaces and pyramids do slope
1538 60 Their heads to their foundations, though the
1540 Of nature’s ⌜germens⌝ tumble ⌜all together⌝
1541 Even till destruction sicken, answer me
1542 To what I ask you.
FIRST WITCH 1543 65 Speak.
SECOND WITCH 1544 Demand.
THIRD WITCH 1545 We’ll answer.
1546 Say if th’ hadst rather hear it from our mouths
1547 Or from our masters’.
MACBETH 1548 70 Call ’em. Let me see ’em.
1549 Pour in sow’s blood that hath eaten
1550 Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten
1552 Into the flame.
ALL 1553 75 Come high or low;
1554 Thyself and office deftly show.
Thunder. First Apparition, an Armed Head.
1555 Tell me, thou unknown power—
FIRST WITCH 1556 He knows thy
1558 80 Hear his speech but say thou naught.
1559 Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff!
1560 Beware the Thane of Fife! Dismiss me. Enough.
1561 Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.
1562 Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word
1563 85 more—
1564 He will not be commanded. Here’s another
1565 More potent than the first.
Thunder. Second Apparition, a Bloody Child.
SECOND APPARITION 1566 Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—
MACBETH 1567 Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.
1568 90 Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn
1569 The power of man, for none of woman born
1570 Shall harm Macbeth.⌜He⌝ descends.
1571 Then live, Macduff; what need I fear of thee?
1572 But yet I’ll make assurance double sure
1573 95 And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live,
1574 That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
1575 And sleep in spite of thunder.
in his hand.
1576 What is this
1577 That rises like the issue of a king
1578 100 And wears upon his baby brow the round
1579 And top of sovereignty?
ALL 1580 Listen but speak not to ’t.
1581 Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
1582 Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.
1583 105 Macbeth shall never vanquished be until
1584 Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill
1585 Shall come against him.⌜He⌝ descends.
MACBETH 1586 That will never be.
1587 Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
1588 110 Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements, good!
1589 Rebellious dead, rise never till the Wood
1590 Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
1591 Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
1592 To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
1593 115 Throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if your art
1594 Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever
1595 Reign in this kingdom?
ALL 1596 Seek to know no more.
1597 I will be satisfied. Deny me this,
1598 120 And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know!
⌜Cauldron sinks.⌝ Hautboys.
1599 Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?
FIRST WITCH 1600 Show.
SECOND WITCH 1601 Show.
THIRD WITCH 1602 Show.
1603 125 Show his eyes and grieve his heart.
1604 Come like shadows; so depart.
his hand, and Banquo last.
1605 Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down!
1606 Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,
1607 Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
1608 130 A third is like the former.—Filthy hags,
1609 Why do you show me this?—A fourth? Start, eyes!
1610 What, will the line stretch out to th’ crack of doom?
1611 Another yet? A seventh? I’ll see no more.
1612 And yet the eighth appears who bears a glass
1613 135 Which shows me many more, and some I see
1614 That twofold balls and treble scepters carry.
1615 Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true,
1616 For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me
1617 And points at them for his.
⌜The Apparitions disappear.⌝
1618 140 What, is this so?
1619 Ay, sir, all this is so. But why
1620 Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
1621 Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites
1622 And show the best of our delights.
1623 145 I’ll charm the air to give a sound
1624 While you perform your antic round,
1625 That this great king may kindly say
1626 Our duties did his welcome pay.
Music. The Witches dance and vanish.
1627 Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
1628 150 Stand aye accursèd in the calendar!—
1629 Come in, without there.
LENNOX 1630 What’s your Grace’s will?
1631 Saw you the Weïrd Sisters?
LENNOX 1632 No, my lord.
1633 155 Came they not by you?
LENNOX 1634 No, indeed, my lord.
1635 Infected be the air whereon they ride,
1636 And damned all those that trust them! I did hear
1637 The galloping of horse. Who was ’t came by?
1638 160 ’Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
1639 Macduff is fled to England.
MACBETH 1640 Fled to England?
LENNOX 1641 Ay, my good lord.
1642 Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.
1643 165 The flighty purpose never is o’ertook
1644 Unless the deed go with it. From this moment
1645 The very firstlings of my heart shall be
1646 The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
1647 To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and
1648 170 done:
1649 The castle of Macduff I will surprise,
1650 Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword
1651 His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
1652 That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
1653 175 This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.
1654 But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?
1655 Come bring me where they are.