William Shakespeare's Macbeth, his famous "Scottish play" is the story of a good man turned evil by a dark ambition he cannot control.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > Macbeth > Act I. Scene II.


Study Guides
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

Act I. Scene II.

Scene II.—A Camp near Forres.

Alarum within. Enter KING DUNCAN, MAL-
Attendants, meeting a Weeding Sergeant.

Dun. What bloody man is that? He can
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.
Mal. 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.
Serg. Doubtful it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdon-
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the western isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Show'd like a rebel's whore: but all's too weak;
For brave Macbeth,—well he deserves that
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smok'd with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion carv'd out his passage
Till he fac'd the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements.
Dun. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
Serg. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to
Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland,
No sooner justice had with valour arm'd
Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their
But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage,
With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men
Began a fresh assault.
Dun. Dismay'd not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
Serg. Yes;
As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharg'd 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.
Dun. So well thy words become thee as thy
They smack of honour both. Go, get him
surgeons. [Exit Sergeant, attended.

Enter Ross.
Who comes here?
Mal. The worthy Thane of Ross.
Len. What a haste looks through his eyes!
So should he look
That seems to speak things strange.
Ross. God save the king!
Dun. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?
Ross. From Fife, great king;
Where the Norweyan 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, lapp'd 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.—
Dun. Great happiness!
Ross. That now go
Sweno, the Norways' 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.
Dun. No more that Thane of Cawdor shall
Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present
And with his former title greet Macbeth.
Ross. I'll see it done.
Dun. What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath
won. [Exeunt.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards