A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. Thunder. The three WITCHES enter.

FIRST WITCH

Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.

FIRST WITCH

The striped cat has meowed three times.

SECOND WITCH

Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined.

SECOND WITCH

Three times. And the hedgehog has whined once.

THIRD WITCH

Harpier cries, “‘Tis time, ’tis time.”

THIRD WITCH

My familiar spirit Harpier cries out: “It’s time, it’s time!”

FIRST WITCH

Round about the cauldron go, In the poisoned entrails throw. Toad, that under cold stone Days and nights has thirty-one Sweltered venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i’ th’ charmèd pot.

FIRST WITCH

Dance around the cauldron, and throw in the poisoned entrails. This toad—which has slept under a cold rock, sweating venom for thirty-one days—will be the first to boil in this magic cauldron.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

SECOND WITCH

Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake. Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

SECOND WITCH

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ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

ALL

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THIRD WITCH

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf Of the ravined salt-sea shark, Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark, Liver of blaspheming Jew, Gall of goat and slips of yew Slivered in the moon’s eclipse, Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips, Finger of birth-strangled babe Ditch-delivered by a drab, Make the gruel thick and slab. Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron, For the ingredients of our cauldron.

THIRD WITCH

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ALL

Double, double toil and trouble,Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

ALL

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SECOND WITCH

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,Then the charm is firm and good.

SECOND WITCH

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HECATE enters with three other WITCHES.

HECATE

Oh well done! I commend your pains, And every one shall share i’ th’ gains . And now about the cauldron sing, Like elves and fairies in a ring, Enchanting all that you put in.

HECATE

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Music plays. The six WITCHES sing a song called “Black Spirits.” HECATE exits.

SECOND WITCH

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, Whoever knocks.

SECOND WITCH

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MACBETH enters.

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?What is ’t you do?

MACBETH

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ALL

A deed without a name.

ALL

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MACBETH

I conjure you by that which you profess— Howe’er you come to know it—answer me. Though you untie the winds and let them fight Against the churches, though the yeasty waves Confound and swallow navigation up, Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down, Though castles topple on their warders’ heads, Though palaces and pyramids do slope Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure Of nature’s germens tumble all together, Even till destruction sicken, answer me To what I ask you.

MACBETH

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FIRST WITCH

Speak.

FIRST WITCH

Lorem

SECOND WITCH

Demand.

SECOND WITCH

Lorem i

THIRD WITCH

We’ll answer.

THIRD WITCH

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FIRST WITCH

Say, if th’ hadst rather hear it from our mouths,Or from our masters’.

FIRST WITCH

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MACBETH

Call ‘em. Let me see ‘em.

MACBETH

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FIRST WITCH

Pour in sow’s blood, that hath eaten Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten From the murderer’s gibbet throw Into the flame.

FIRST WITCH

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ALL

Come, high or low; Thyself and office deftly show!

ALL

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Thunder. The FIRST APPARITION appears, in the form of a head wearing a helmet.

MACBETH

Tell me, thou unknown power—

MACBETH

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FIRST WITCH

He knows thy thought.Hear his speech but say thou nought.

FIRST WITCH

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FIRST APPARITION

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff.Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

FIRST APPARITION

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The FIRST APPARITION descends.

MACBETH

Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word more—

MACBETH

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FIRST WITCH

He will not be commanded. Here’s anotherMore potent than the first.

FIRST WITCH

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Thunder. The SECOND APPARITION appears, in the form of a bloody child.

SECOND APPARITION

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—

SECOND APPARITION

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MACBETH

Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.

MACBETH

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SECOND APPARITION

Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn The power of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth.

SECOND APPARITION

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The SECOND APPARITION descends.

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee? But yet I’ll make assurance double sure, And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live, That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, And sleep in spite of thunder.

MACBETH

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Thunder. The THIRD APPARITION appears, in the form of a child wearing a crown and holding a tree in his hand.

MACBETH

What is this That rises like the issue of a king, And wears upon his baby-brow the round And top of sovereignty?

MACBETH

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ALL

Listen but speak not to ’t.

ALL

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THIRD APPARITION

Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him.

THIRD APPARITION

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The THIRD APPARITION descends.

MACBETH

That will never be. Who can impress the forest, bid the tree Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements! Good! Rebellious dead, rise never till the wood Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart Throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if your art Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever Reign in this kingdom?

MACBETH

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ALL

Seek to know no more.

ALL

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MACBETH

I will be satisfied. Deny me this, And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?

MACBETH

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Oboes play music for a ceremonial procession.

FIRST WITCH

Show.

FIRST WITCH

Lorem

SECOND WITCH

Show.

SECOND WITCH

Lorem

THIRD WITCH

Show.

THIRD WITCH

Lorem

ALL

Show his eyes and grieve his heart.Come like shadows; so depart!

ALL

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Eight kings parade across the stage, the last one holds a mirror in his hand, followed by BANQUO.

MACBETH

Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down! Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair, Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first. A third is like the former. —Filthy hags! Why do you show me this? A fourth? Start, eyes! What, will the line stretch out to th’ crack of doom? Another yet? A seventh? I’ll see no more. And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass Which shows me many more, and some I see That twofold balls and treble scepters carry. Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true; For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me And points at them for his.

MACBETH

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The spirits of the kings and BANQUO vanish.

MACBETH

What, is this so?

MACBETH

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FIRST WITCH

Ay, sir, all this is so. But why Stands Macbeth thus amazedly? Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites, And show the best of our delights. I’ll charm th’ air to give a sound, While you perform your antic round. That this great king may kindly say, Our duties did his welcome pay.

FIRST WITCH

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Music plays. The WITCHES dance and then vanish.

MACBETH

Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour Stand aye accursèd in the calendar! Come in, without there.

MACBETH

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LENNOX enters.

LENNOX

What’s your grace’s will?

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Saw you the weird sisters?

MACBETH

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LENNOX

No, my lord.

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Came they not by you?

MACBETH

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LENNOX

No, indeed, my lord.

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Infected be the air whereon they ride,And damned all those that trust them! I did hear The galloping of horse. Who was ’t came by?

MACBETH

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LENNOX

‘Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you wordMacduff is fled to England.

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Fled to England?

MACBETH

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LENNOX

Ay, my good lord.

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits. The flighty purpose never is o’ertook Unless the deed go with it. From this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. And even now, To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done: The castle of Macduff I will surprise, Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool. This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool. But no more sights! —Where are these gentlemen? Come, bring me where they are.

MACBETH

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They 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.