This page contains the original text of Macbeth Act 1, Scene 4. Shakespeare’s complete original Macbeth text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one scene per page. All Acts and scenes are listed on the Macbeth text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 1, SCENE 4. Forres. The palace.
Flourish. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants
Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
Those in commission yet return’d?
They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
With one that saw him die: who did report
That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,
Implored your highness’ pardon and set forth
A deep repentance: nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As ’twere a careless trifle.
There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face:
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.
Enter MACBETH, BANQUO, ROSS, and ANGUS
O worthiest cousin!
The sin of my ingratitude even now
Was heavy on me: thou art so far before
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
That the proportion both of thanks and payment
Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
More is thy due than more than all can pay.
The service and the loyalty I owe,
In doing it, pays itself. Your highness’ part
Is to receive our duties; and our duties
Are to your throne and state children and servants,
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honour.
I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
That hast no less deserved, nor must be known
No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
And hold thee to my heart.
There if I grow,
The harvest is your own.
My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
And you whose places are the nearest, know
We will establish our estate upon
Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
Not unaccompanied invest him only,
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
And bind us further to you.
The rest is labour, which is not used for you:
I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
The hearing of my wife with your approach;
So humbly take my leave.
My worthy Cawdor!
[Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
And in his commendations I am fed;
It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him,
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
It is a peerless kinsman.
Read more scenes from Macbeth: