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 V.


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 V.

Scene V.—Inverness. MACBETH'S Castle.

Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a letter.

They met me in the day of success; and I
have learned by the perfectest report, they
have more in them than mortal knowledge.
When I burned in desire to question them fur-
ther, they made themselves air, into which they
vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of
it, came missives from the king, who all-hailed
me, 'Thane of Cawdor;' by which title, before,
these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me
to the coming on of time, with, 'Hail, king that
shalt be!' This have I thought good to deliver
thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou
mightest not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being
ignorant of what greatness is promised thee,
Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promis'd. Yet do I fear thy
It Is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way; thou wouldst be
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it; what thou wouldst
That thou wouldst holily; wouldst not play
And yet wouldst wrongly win; thou'dst have,
great Glamis,
That which cries, 'Thus thou must do, if thou
have it;'
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee
That I may pour my spirits In thine ear,
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal

Enter a Messenger.
What is your tidings?
Mess. The king comes here to-night.
Lady M. Thou'rt mad to say It.
Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,
Would have inform'd for preparation.
Mess. So please you, it is true: our thane is
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
Than would make up his message.
Lady M. Give him tending;
He brings great news—[Exit Messenger.] The
raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top full
Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the
To cry 'Hold, hold!'

Great Glamis! worthy Cawdor!
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.
Macb. My dearest love,
Duncan comes here to-night.
Lady M. And when goes hence?
Macb. To-morrow, as he purposes.
Lady M. O! never
Shall sun that morrow see.
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent
But be the serpent under't. He that's coming
Must be provided for; and you shall put
This night's great business into my dispatch;
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
Macb. We will speak further.
Lady M. Only look up clear;
To alter favour ever is to fear.
Leave all the rest to me. [Exeunt.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards