Macbeth

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 2

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CAPTAIN

25As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seemed to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark:
No sooner justice had, with valor armed,
30Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
With furbished arms and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh assault.

CAPTAIN

But in the same way that violent storms always come just as spring appears, our success against Macdonwald created new problems for us. Listen to this, King: as soon as we sent those Irish soldiers running for cover, the Norwegian king saw his chance to attack us with fresh troops and shiny weapons.

DUNCAN

Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

DUNCAN

Didn’t this frighten our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

CAPTAIN

35Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
40Or memorize another Golgotha,
I cannot tell—
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.

CAPTAIN

The new challenge scared them about as much as sparrows frighten eagles, or rabbits frighten a lion. To tell you the truth, they fought the new enemy with twice as much force as before; they were like cannons loaded with double ammunition. Maybe they wanted to take a bath in their enemies' blood, or make that battlefield as infamous as Golgotha, where Christ was crucified, I don’t know. But I feel weak. My wounds must be tended to.

DUNCAN

So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons.

DUNCAN

Your words, like your wounds, bring you honor. Take him to the surgeons.
Exit CAPTAIN with attendants
The CAPTAIN exits, helped by attendants.
Enter ROSS and ANGUS
ROSS and ANGUS enter.
45Who comes here?
Who is this?

MALCOLM

     The worthy thane of Ross.

MALCOLM

LENNOX

What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
That seems to speak things strange.

LENNOX

His eyes seem frantic! He looks like someone with a strange tale to tell.