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Macb. Ride you this afternoon?


Ay, my good lord. Macb. We should have else desir'd your good


(Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,) In this day's council; but we'll take to-morrow.

Is't far

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Ban. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 'Twixt this and supper: go not my horse the better, I must become a borrower of the night,

For a dark hour, or twain.


Ban. My lord, I will not.

Fail not our feast.

Macb. We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd
In England, and in Ireland; not confessing
Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers

With strange invention: But of that to-morrow;
When, therewithal, we shall have cause of state,
Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: Adieu,
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?
Ban. Ay, my good lord: our time does call upon


Macb. I wish your horses swift, and sure of


And so I do commend you to their backs.


Let every man be master of his time

Till seven at night; to make society


The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself

Till supper-time alone: while then, God be with you. [Exeunt Lady MACBETH, Lords, Ladies, &c. Sirrah, a word: Attend those men our pleasure? Atten. They are, my lord, without the palace


Macb. Bring them before us.-[Exit Atten.] To be thus, is nothing;

But to be safely thus:-Our fears in Banquo

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Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature

Reigns that, which would be fear'd: 'Tis much he


And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety. There is none, but he
Whose being I do fear; and, under him,
My genius is rebuk'd; as, it is said,

Mark Antony's was by Cæsar. He chid the sisters,
When first they put the name of King upon me,
And bade them speak to him; then, prophet-like,
They hail'd him father to a line of kings:
Upon my head they plac'd a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If it be so,
For Banquo's issue have I fil'd' my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd;
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,


To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come, fate, into the list,

And champion me to the utterance !9-Who's

5 royalty of nature-] Royalty, in the present instance, signifies nobleness, supreme excellence.

6 to-] i. e. in addition to.

7 For Banquo's issue have I fil'd—] i. e. defiled.


the common enemy of man,] It is always an entertainment to an inquisitive reader, to trace a sentiment to its original source; and therefore, though the term enemy of man, applied to the devil, is in itself natural and obvious, yet some may be pleased with being informed, that Shakspeare probably borrowed it from the first lines of The Destruction of Troy, a book which he is known to have read. This expression, however, he might have had in many other places. The word fiend signifies enemy.


come, fate, into the list,

And champion me to the utterance!] This passage will be best

Re enter Attendant, with two Murderers. Now to the door, and stay there till we call.

Exit Attendant.

Was it not yesterday we spoke together?
1 Mur. It was, so please your highness..

Well then, now
Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know,
That it was he, in the times past, which held you
So under fortune; which, you thought, had been,
Our innocent self: this I made good to you

In our last conference; pass'd in probation with you, How you were borne in hand; how cross'd; the instruments;

Who wrought with them; and all things else, that


To half a soul, and a notion craz'd,

Say, Thus did Banquo.

1 Mur.

You made it known to us.

Macb. I did so; and went further, which is now Our point of second meeting. Do you find Your patience so predominant in your nature,

explained by translating it into the language from whence the only word of difficulty in it is borrowed. Que la destinée se rende cn lice, et qu'elle me donne un defi à l'outrance. A challenge, or a combat à l'outrance, to extremity, was a fixed term in the law of arms, used when the combatants engaged with an odium internecinum, an intention to destroy each other, in opposition to trials of skill at festivals, or on other occasions, where the contest was only for reputation or a prize. The sense therefore is: Let fate, that has fore-doomed the exaltation of the sons of Banquo, enter the lists against me, with the utmost animosity, in defence of its own decrees, which I will endeavour to invalidate, whatever be the danger. JOHNSON.


pass'd in probation with you,

How you were borne in hand; &c.] Pass'd in probation is, perhaps, only a bulky phrase, employed to signify-proved.-To bear in hand is, to delude by encouraging hope and holding out fair prospects, without any intention of performance.

That you can let this go? Are you so gospell'd,"
To pray for this good man, and for his issue,
Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave,
And beggar'd yours for ever?

1 Mur.


We are men, my liege.
Macb. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are cleped
All by the name of dogs: the valued file*
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
The house-keeper, the hunter, every one
According to the gift which bounteous nature
Hath in him clos'd; whereby he does receive
Particular addition, from the bill

That writes them all alike: and so of men.
Now, if you have a station in the file,

And not in the worst rank of manhood, say it;
And I will put that business in your bosoms,
Whose execution takes your enemy off;
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
Which in his death were perfect.

2 Mur. I am one, my liege, Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world

2 Are you so gospell'd,] Are you of that degree of precise virtue? Gospeller was a name of contempt given by the Papists to the Lollards, the puritans of early times, and the precursors of protestantism. JOHNSON.

3 Shoughs,] Shoughs are probably what we now call shocks, demi-wolves, lycisca; dogs bred between wolves and dogs.


the valued file] In this speech the word file occurs twice. The valued file is the file or list where the value and peculiar qualities of every thing is set down, in contradistinction to what he immediately mentions, the bill that writes them all alike. File, in the second instance, is used in the same sense as in this, and with a reference to it: Now if you belong to any class that deserves a place in the valued file of man, and are not of the lowest rank, the common herd of mankind, that are not worth distinguishing from each other.

Have so incens'd, that I am reckless what

I do, to spite the world.

1 Mur.

And I another,

So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
That I would set my life on any chance,

To mend it, or be rid on't.


Both of you

True, my lord.

Know, Banquo was your enemy.

2 Mur.

Macb. So is he mine: and in such bloody dis


That every minute of his being thrusts
Against my near'st of life: And though I could
With bare-fac'd power sweep him from my sight,
And bid my will avouch it; yet I must not,
For certain friends that are both his and mine,
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
Whom I myself struck down: and thence it is,
That I to your assistance do make love;

Masking the business from the common eye,
For sundry weighty reasons.

2 Mur.

We shall, my lord,

Though our lives

Perform what you command us.

1 Mur.

Macb. Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour, at most,

I will advise you where to plant yourselves.
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o'the time,
The moment on't; for't must be done to-night,


in such bloody distance,] By bloody distance is here meant, such a distance as mortal enemies would stand at from each other, when their quarrel must be determined by the sword. This sense seems evident from the continuation of the metaphor, where every minute of his being is represented as thrusting at the nearest part where life resides.

6 For certain friends-] For, in the present instance, signifies because of.

7 Acquaint you with the perfect spy o'the time, The moment on't;] i. e. in ancient language,

❝ acquaint

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