A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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The sound of thunder. The three WITCHES enter.

FIRST WITCH

Where hast thou been, sister?

FIRST WITCH

Where have you been, sister?

SECOND WITCH

Killing swine.

SECOND WITCH

Killing pigs.

THIRD WITCH

Sister, where thou?

THIRD WITCH

Where were you, sister?

FIRST WITCH

A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap, And munched, and munched, and munched. “Give me,” quoth I. “Aroint thee, witch!” the rump-fed runnion cries. Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ th’ Tiger; But in a sieve I’ll thither sail, And like a rat without a tail, I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.

FIRST WITCH

A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap and munched, and munched, and munched them. “Give me one,” I said. “Get out of here, witch!” the fat-bottomed, scabby woman cried. Her husband has gone to Aleppo as captain of a sailing ship called The Tiger. I’m going to sail there in a strainer, and them—like a rat without a tail—I’ll do this to him, and this, and that.

SECOND WITCH

I’ll give thee a wind.

SECOND WITCH

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FIRST WITCH

Thou ‘rt kind.

FIRST WITCH

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THIRD WITCH

And I another.

THIRD WITCH

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FIRST WITCH

I myself have all the other, And the very ports they blow, All the quarters that they know I’ th’ shipman’s card. I’ll drain him dry as hay. Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid. He shall live a man forbid. Weary sev’nnights nine times nine Shall he dwindle, peak and pine. Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tossed. Look what I have.

FIRST WITCH

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SECOND WITCH

Show me, show me.

SECOND WITCH

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FIRST WITCH

Here I have a pilot’s thumb,Wrecked as homeward he did come.

FIRST WITCH

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A drum sounds offstage.

THIRD WITCH

A drum, a drum!Macbeth doth come.

THIRD WITCH

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ALL

[dancing together in a circle] The weird sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go about, about, Thrice to thine and thrice to mine And thrice again, to make up nine. Peace! The charm’s wound up.

ALL

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MACBETH and BANQUO enter.

MACBETH

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

How far is ’t called to Forres? —What are these So withered and so wild in their attire, That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ Earth, And yet are on ’t? —Live you? Or are you aught That man may question? You seem to understand me, By each at once her choppy finger laying Upon her skinny lips. You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so.

BANQUO

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MACBETH

Speak, if you can: what are you?

MACBETH

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FIRST WITCH

All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

FIRST WITCH

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SECOND WITCH

All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

SECOND WITCH

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THIRD WITCH

All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!

THIRD WITCH

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BANQUO

Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair [to the WITCHES] I’ th’ name of truth, are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? ? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great predictionOf noble having and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of timeAnd say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favors nor your hate.

BANQUO

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FIRST WITCH

Hail!

FIRST WITCH

Lorem

SECOND WITCH

Hail!

SECOND WITCH

Lorem

THIRD WITCH

Hail!

THIRD WITCH

Lorem

FIRST WITCH

Lesser than Macbeth and greater.

FIRST WITCH

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SECOND WITCH

Not so happy, yet much happier.

SECOND WITCH

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THIRD WITCH

Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

THIRD WITCH

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FIRST WITCH

Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

FIRST WITCH

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MACBETH

Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis. But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman, and to be king Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence, or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting. Speak, I charge you.

MACBETH

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The WITCHES vanish.

BANQUO

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?

BANQUO

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MACBETH

Into the air, and what seemed corporalMelted, as breath into the wind. Would they had stayed.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

Were such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane rootThat takes the reason prisoner?

BANQUO

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MACBETH

Your children shall be kings.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

You shall be king.

BANQUO

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MACBETH

And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?

MACBETH

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BANQUO

To the selfsame tune and words. Who’s here?

BANQUO

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ROSS and ANGUS enter.

ROSS

The king hath happily received, Macbeth, The news of thy success, and when he reads Thy personal venture in the rebels’ fight, His wonders and his praises do contend Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that, In viewing o’er the rest o’ the selfsame day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale Can post with post, and every one did bear Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defense, And poured them down before him.

ROSS

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ANGUS

We are sentTo give thee from our royal master thanks,Only to herald thee into his sight,Not pay thee.

ANGUS

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ROSS

And, for an earnest of a greater honor, He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor: In which addition, hail, most worthy thane, For it is thine.

ROSS

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BANQUO

What, can the devil speak true?

BANQUO

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MACBETH

The thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me In borrowed robes?

MACBETH

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ANGUS

Who was the thane lives yet, But under heavy judgment bears that life Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined With those of Norway, or did line the rebel With hidden help and vantage, or that with both He labored in his country’s wrack, I know not; But treasons capital, confessed and proved, Have overthrown him.

ANGUS

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MACBETH

[aside] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind. [to ROSS and ANGUS] Thanks for your pains. [aside to BANQUO] Do you not hope your children shall be kings, When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me Promised no less to them?

MACBETH

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BANQUO

That, trusted home, Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, Besides the thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange. And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s In deepest consequence. [to ROSS and ANGUS] Cousins, a word, I pray you.

BANQUO

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ROSS, ANGUS, and BANQUO move off to one side.

MACBETH

[aside] Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme. [to ROSS and ANGUS] I thank you,gentlemen. [aside] This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings. My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smothered in surmise, And nothing is but what is not.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

Look how our partner’s rapt.

BANQUO

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MACBETH

[aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown meWithout my stir.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

New honors come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their moldBut with the aid of use.

BANQUO

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MACBETH

[aside] Come what come may,Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.

BANQUO

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MACBETH

Give me your favor. My dull brain was wrought With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains Are registered where every day I turn The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. [aside to BANQUO] Think upon what hath chanced, and, atmore time, The interim having weighed it, let us speak Our free hearts each to other.

MACBETH

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BANQUO

Very gladly.

BANQUO

Lorem i

MACBETH

Till then, enough. [to ROSS and ANGUS] Come, friends.

MACBETH

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They all exit.

Macbeth
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.