A camp near Forres.
(King Duncan; Malcolm; Donalbain; Lennox; Attendants; Sergeant; Rosse; Angus)
An injured captain tells Duncan, King of Scots, of how the thane of Glamis, Macbeth, defeated the rebel Macdonwald and killed him; the captain faints as he explains that at that moment, the King of Norway began a second attack. Ross arrives to inform the King that Macbeth proceeded to beat Norway, along with the traitor Thane of Cawdor who was helping him. The defeat is complete; in recognition of Macbeth’s valor, Duncan gives him Cawdor’s title as he sentences the traitor to death. (76 lines)
Alarum within. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant.
What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.
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.
Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald
(Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villainies 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 name),
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish’d steel,
Which smok’d with bloody execution,
(Like Valor’s minion) carv’d out his passage
Till he fac’d the slave;
Which nev’r shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam’d him from the nave to th’ chops,
And fix’d his head upon our battlements.
O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!
As whence the sun gins his reflection
Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark!
No sooner justice had, with valor arm’d,
Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh assault.
Dismay’d not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
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.
So well thy words become thee as thy wounds,
They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons.
Exit Sergeant, attended.
Enter Rosse and Angus.
Who comes here?
The worthy Thane of Rosse.
What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
That seems to speak things strange.
God save the King!
Whence cam’st thou, worthy thane?
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.
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.
No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.
I’ll see it done.
What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.