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 III.


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 III.

Scene III.—A Heath.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches.

First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
Sec. Witch. Killing swine.
Third Witch. Sister, where thou?
First Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in
her lap,
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:
'Give me,' quoth I:
'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.
Sec. Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
First Witch. Thou'rfc kind.
Third Witch. And I another.
First Witch. I myself have all the other;
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I' the shipman's card.
I'll drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid.
Weary se'nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.
Look what I have.
Sec. Witch. Show me, show me.
First Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb,
Wrack'd as homeward he did come.
[Drum within.
Third Witch. A drum! a drum!
Macbeth doth come.
All. The weird sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about;
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! the charm's wound up.

Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
Ban. How far is't call'd to Forres? What
are these,
So wither'd and so wild In their attire,
That look not like th' inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't! Live you? or are you
That man may question? You seem to under-
stand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That yon are so.
Macb. Speak, if you can: what are you?
First Witch. All hall, Macbeth! hail to thee,
Thane of Glamis!
Sec. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hall to thee,
Thane of Cawdor!
Third Witch. All hail, Macbetb! that shalt be
king hereafter.
Ban. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to
Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of
Are ye fantastical, or that Indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
You greet with present grace and great pre-
Of noble having and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak
If you can look into the seeds offline,
And say which grain will grow and which will
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your bate.
First Witch. Hail!
Sec. Witch. Hail!
Third Witch. Hail!
First Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and
Sec. Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier.
Third Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though
thou be none:
So, all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
First Witch. Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me
By Sinel's death I know I am Thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the Thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
Stands not within the prospect of belief
No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence
You owe this strange Intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge
you. [Witches vanish.
Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water
And these are of them. Whither are they
Macb. Into the air, and what seem'd corporal
As breath Into the wind. Would they had stay'd!
Ban. Were such things here as we do speak
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?
Macb. Your children shall be kings.
Ban. You shall be king.
Macb. And Thane of Cawdor too; Bent It
not so?
Ban. To the self-same tune and words. Who's

Enter ROSS and ANGUS.
Ross. The king hath happily receiv'd, Macbeth,
The news of thy success; and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,
His wonders and his praises do contend
Which should be thine or his. Silenc'd with
In viewing o'er the rest o' the self-same day,
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
Strange images of death. As thick as hall
Came post with post, and every one did bear
Thy praises In his kingdom's great defence,
And pour'd them down before him.
Ang. We are sent
To give thee from our royal master thanks;
Only to herald thee into his sight,
Not pay thee.
Ross. And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of
In which addition, hall, most worthy thane!
For it is thine.
Ban. What! can the devil speak true?
Macb. The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do
you dress me
In borrow'd robes?
Ang. Who was the thane lives yet;.
But under heavy judgment bears that life
Which be deserves to lose. Whether he was
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
With hidden help or vantage, or that with both
He labour'd in his country's wrack, I know not;
But treasons capital, confeas'd and prov'd,
Have overthrown him.
Macb. [Aside.] Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor:
The greatest is behind. [To ROSS and ANGUS.]
Thanks for your pains.
[To BANQUO.] Do you not hope your children
shall be kings,
When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me
Promis'd no less to them?
Ban. That, trusted home,
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The Instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's
In deepest consequence.
Cousins, a word, I pray you.
Macb. [Aside.] Two truths are told,
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme. I thank you, gentlemen.
[Aside.] This supernatural soliciting
Cannot be ill, cannot be good; if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible Imaginings;
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man that function
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is
But what is not.
Ban. Look, how our partner's rapt
Macb. [Aside.] If chance will have me king, why,
chance may crown me,
Without my stir.
Ban. New honours come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their
But with the aid of use.
Macb. [Aside.] Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your
Macb. Give me your favour: my dull brain
was wrought
With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your
Are register'd where every day I turn
The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king.
Think upon what hath chanc'd; and, at more
The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak
Our free hearts each to other.
Ban. Very gladly.
Macb. Till then, enough. Come, Mends.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards