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Act 1, Scene 4


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Flourish. Enter KING DUNCAN, LENNOX, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, and attendants

Trumpets sound. KING DUNCAN, LENNOX, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, and their attendants enter.


DUNCAN
Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
Those in commission yet returned?

DUNCAN
Is the execution of the thane of Cawdor finished? Have those in charge of the execution returned?

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MALCOLM
My liege,
They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
With one that saw him die, who did report
That very frankly he confessed 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.

MALCOLM
My king, they haven't yet returned. But I spoke with someone who saw Cawdor die. He reported that Cawdor confessed his treasons, begged your highness's forgiveness, and displayed deep regret for his actions. Nothing he did in his entire life was as noble as the way he died. He died like a man completely prepared to throw away the most precious thing he owned as if it were a worthless trinket.




DUNCAN
There's no art
To find the mind's construction in the face.
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.

DUNCAN
It's impossible to tell what's in a man's mind by looking at his face. Cawdor was a man whom I trusted completely.

Enter MACBETH, BANQUO, ROSS, and ANGUS

MACBETH, BANQUO, ROSS, and ANGUS enter.

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(to MACBETH) 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.

(to MACBETH) My worthy kinsman! I've just been feeling guilty for not showing you enough gratitude. You've accomplished so much that no matter how fast I try to reward you I haven't been able to give you enough. If you deserved less, then perhaps the balance between what I can reward and what you deserve could be tipped in my favor. But all I have left to say is that I owe you more than I can ever repay.

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MACBETH
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 everything
Safe toward your love and honor.

MACBETH
The loyalty I feel to you and the chance to serve you is its own reward. Your highness's duty is to accept our loyalty and service, while our duty to your position and country is similar to that owed by children to their father or servants to their master: we're only doing what we should when we do all we can to protect you.

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DUNCAN
Welcome hither.
I have begun to plant thee, and will labor
To make thee full of growing. (to BANQUO) Noble Banquo,
That hast no less deserved, nor must be known
No less to have done so, let me infold thee
And hold thee to my heart.

DUNCAN
Be welcome here. The rewards I have given you are like the planting of seeds, and now I will work to help you grow into a great future. (to BANQUO) Noble Banquo, you are just as deserving as Macbeth, as everyone should and must know. Let me bring you close and hold you to my heart.


BANQUO
There, if I grow,
The harvest is your own.

BANQUO
Then, if I grow to greatness, it will be a benefit to you as well.

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DUNCAN
My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fullness, 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 honor must
Not unaccompanied invest him only,
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
On all deservers. (to MACBETH) From hence to Inverness,
And bind us further to you.

DUNCAN
I am so full of joy it brings tears to my eyes. My sons, relatives, thanes, and all those who are most close to me, I hereby proclaim that the heir to my throne is my eldest son, Malcolm, who will not have the title of prince of Cumberland. He will not be alone in gaining new titles—new titles of nobility, like stars, will shine on all who are deserving of them. (to MACBETH) From here, let's go to your castle at Inverness, where your hospitality will make me even more indebted to you.

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MACBETH
The rest is labor 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.

MACBETH
Any effort in your service does not feel like labor at all. I'll be the messenger and delight my wife with the news that you're coming. Now I will humbly be on my way.

DUNCAN
My worthy Cawdor!

DUNCAN
My worthy Cawdor!

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MACBETH
(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.

MACBETH
(to himself) Malcolm is the prince of Cumberland! Because he is between me and the throne, I'm either going to have to move above him or give up my hopes of kingship. Stars, hide your light so that my evil desires are hidden from the light. May my eye be blind to the actions of my hand. Yet if I do the thing that my eyes fear to see, I will be forced to see it once it's been done.

Exit

MACBETH exits.

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DUNCAN
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.

DUNCAN
(to BANQUO, as part of a conversation taking place as MACBETH was thinking) True, Banquo. Macbeth is incredibly heroic, and by praising him I myself benefit. Let's follow him, since he's gone ahead of us to prepare for our arrival. He is unequaled as a lord or kinsman.

Flourish. Exeunt

Trumpets sound. They exit.

 

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