The Tragedy of Macbeth

Edited by E.K. Chambers,
Boston, U.S.A., D. C. Heath & Co., Publishers, 1905


Shakespeare's Historical Authority for Macbeth

The historical incidents of Macbeth are derived by Shakespeare from Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicle of Scotland. This was part of a great folio collection of Chronicles and Descriptions of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which Holinshed, with the assistance of William Harrison and Richard Stanihurst, gave to the world in 1587. A second edition, apparently the one used by Shakespeare, was published in 1587.

It has been thought worth while to reprint here the chief passages which served Shakespeare as material for his play. Besides those taken from Holinshed’s account of Duncan and Macbeth, there are some belonging to the earlier reign of King Duff and to other parts of the Chronicles. They are arranged, for the convenience of the student, under the scenes which they illustrate.

Act i, Scene 2From the Chronicle of King Duncan

“After Malcolme succeeded his Nephew Duncan, the sonne of his doughter Beatrice: for Malcolme had two daughters, ye one which was this Beatrice, being giuen in marriage vnto one Abbanath Crinen, a man of great nobilitie, and Thane of the Isles and west partes of Scotlande, bare of that marriage the foresayd Duncan: The other called Doada, was married vnto Synell the Thane of Glammis, by whom she had issue one Makbeth a valiant gentleman, and one that if he had not bene somewhat cruell of nature, might haue bene thought most worthie the gouernment of a realme. On the other parte, Duncan was so softs and gentle of nature (i 7. 16) that the people wished the inclinations & maners of these two cousines to haue bene so tempered and enterchaunge-ably bestowed betwixt them, that where the one had to much of clemende, and the other of crueltie, the meane vertue betwixt these twoo extremities, might haue reygned by indifferent particion in them bothe, so shoulde Duucan haue proued a worthy king, and Makbeth an excellent captaine. The beginning of Duncanes reigne was very quiet & peaceable, without any notable trouble, but after it was perceyued how negligent he was in punishing offenders, many misruled persons tooke occasion thereof to trouble the peace and quiet state of the common wealth, by seditious commotions whiche firste had theyr beginnings in this wise. Banquho the Thane of Lochquhaber, of whom the house of the Stewardes is de scended (iv. 1. Ill), the whiche by order of lynage hath nowe for a long time eqjoyed the crowne of Scotlande, euen till these our dayes, as he gathered the finaunces due to the king, and further punished somewhat sharpely suche as were notorious offenders, be ing assayled by a number of rebelles inhabiting in that countrey, and spoyled of the money and all other things, had muche ado to get away with life after he had receyued sundry grieuous woundes amongst them. Yet escaping theyr handes after he was somewhat recouered of his hurtes and was able to ride, he repayred to the courte, where making his complaint to the king in most earnest wise, he purchased at length that the offenders were sente for by a Sergeant at armes (i. 2. 3), to appeare to make aunswere vnto suche mater as shoulde be layde to theyr charge, but they augmenting theyr mischeeuous acte with a more wicked deede, after they had misused the messenger with sundry kindes of reproches, they finally slew him also. Then doubting not but for suche contemptu ous demeanour agaynst the kings regall authorise, they shoulde be inuaded with all the power the king coulde make, Makdowalde one of great estimation amongst them making first a confederacie with his nearest frendes and kinsmen, tooke vpon him to be chiefe captayne of all suche rebelles, as woulde stande against the king. . . . He vsed also suche subtile perswasions and forged allurements, that in a small time he had got togither a mightie power of men: for out of the westerns Isles (i. 2. 12), there came vnto him a great multitude of people, offering themselues to assist him in that rebellious quarell, and out of Ireland in hope of the spoyle came no small number of Kernes $ Oalloglasses (i. 2, 12) offering gladly to serue vnder him, whither it shoulde please him to lead them. Makdowald thus hauing a mightie puyssance about him, encountred with suche of the kings people as were sent against him into Lochquhabir, and discomfiting them, by fine force tooke theyr captaine Malcolme, and after the end of the batayle smoote of his head. This ouerthrow beyng notified to the king, did put him in wonderfull feare, by reason of his small skill in war-lyke affayres. Calling therfore his nobles to a counsell, willed them of their best aduise for the subduing of Makdowald and other the rebelles. Here in sundry heades (as it euer happeneth) being sundry opinions, whiche they vttered according to euery man his skill, at length Makbeth speaking muche against the kings soft-nesse, & ouer muche slacknesse in punishing offenders, whereby they had such time to assemble togither, he promised notwithstanding, if the charge were committed vnto him and to Banquho, so to order the mater, that the rebelles should be shortly vanquished and quite put downe, and that not so much as one of them shoulde be founde to make resistance within the countrey. And euen so came it to passe: for being sente foorth with a newe power, at his entering into Lochquhaber, the fame of his coming put ye enimies in suche feare, that a great number of them stale secretely away from theyr captaine Makdowald, who neuerthelesse enforsed thereto, gaue batayle vnto Makbeth, with the residue whiche remained with him but being ouercome and fleing for refuge into a castell (within the whiche hys wyfe and chyldren were enclosed,) at length when he saw he coulde neyther defend the hold any longer against his enimies, nor yet vpon surrender be suffered to depart with lyfe saued, he first slew his wife & children, and lastly himselfe, least if he had yeelded simply, he shoulde haue bene executed in most cruell wise for an example to other (i. 4, 3). . . . Thus was iustice and lawe restored againe to the old accustomed course by the diligent meanes of Makbeth. Imme-diatly wherevpon worde came that Sueno king of Norway was arriued in Fyfe with a puysant army to subdue the whole realme of Scotland.”

Holinshed goes on to relate the story of the Danish wars. In the course of these the Scots overcame an army by the following trick:

“The Scots herevpon tooke the iuyce of Mekilwort bevies (i. 3. 84) & mixed the same in theyr ale and bread, sending it thus spiced and confectioned in great abundance vnto their enimies. They reioysing that they had got meate and drinke sufficient to satisfie theyr bellies, fell to eating and drinking after such greedy wise, that it seemed they stroue who might deuoure & swallow vp most, till the operation of the beries spred in suche sorte through all the partes of their bodies, that they were in the ende brought into a fast dead sleepe, that in maner it was vnpossible to awake them. Then foorth with Duncane sent vnto Makbeth, commaunding him with all diligence to come and set vpon the enimies, being in easie pointe to be ouercome. Makbeth making no delay came with his people to the place, where his enimies were lodged, & first killing the watche, afterwards entred the campe, and made suche slaughter on all sides without any resistance, that it was a wonderfull mater to behold, for the Danes were so heauy of sleepe, that the most parte of them were slayne & neuer styrred: other that were awakened eyther by the noyse or otherwayes foorth, weve so amazed and dyzzie headed vpon their wakening, that they were not able to make any defence, so that of the whole numbers there escaped no moe but onely Sueno himselfe and tenne other persons, by whose help he got to his shippes lying at rode in the mouth of Tay.”

The close of the wars is described thus:

“To resist these enimies, whiche were already landed, and busie in spoiling the countrey, Makbeth and Banquho were sente with the kings authorise, who hauing with them a conuenient power, en-countred the enimies, slewe parte of them, and chased the other to their shippes. They that escaped and got once to theyr shippes, obtayned of Makbeth for a great summe of golds, that suche of theyr freendes as were slaine at this last bickering might be buried in Saint Colmes Inche (i 2. 60). In memorie whereof, many olde Sepultures are yet in the sayde Inche, there to be seene grauen with the armes of the Danes, as the maner of burying noble men still is» and heretofore has bene vsed.” . . .

Act 1, Scene 3—From the Chronicle of King Duff

This is part of Holinshed’s account of the mysterious sickness of that king:

“In the meane time the king fell into a languishing disease (i. 3. 93), not so greeuous as strange, for that none of his Phisitions coulde perceyue what to make of it. . . . But about that present time there was a murmuring amongst the people, how the king was vexed with no naturall sicknesse, but by sorcery and Magicall arte, practised by a sort of Witches dwelling in a towne of Murrayland, called Fores. Where vpon, albeit the Authour of this secrete talke was not knowen, yet being brought to the kings eare, it caused him to sende forthwith certaine wittie persons thither to enquyre of the truth. They that were thus sent, dissembling the cause of theyr ioumey, were receyued in the darke of the night into the castell of Fores by the lieutenant of the same, called Donwald, who continuing faithful to the king, had kepte that castell agaynst the rebells to the kings vse. . . . He sent foorth souldiers, about the midst of the night, who breaking into y* house, found one of the Witches rosting vpon a woodden broche an image of waze at the fire, resembling in ech feature the kings person, made & demised as is to be thought, by craft & arte of the Deuill: an other of

them sat reciting certain words of enchauntment, & still basted the image with a certaine licour very busily. The souldiers finding them occupied in this wise, tooke them togither with the image, & led them into the castell, where being streitly examined for what purpose they went about such maner of enchantment, they answered, to the end to make away ye king: for as ye image did wast afore the fire, so did the bodie of the king breake forth in sweate. And as for the wordes of enchauntment, they serued to keepe him still waking from sleepe, so that as the waxe euer melted, so did the kings flesh: by which meanes it should haue come to.passe, that when ye waxe were once cleane consumed, the death of the king should immediately follow. So were they taught by euill sprites, & hyred to worke the feat by the nobles of Murrayland. The standers by that herd such an abhominable tale told by these Witches, streight wayes brake the image, & caused ye Witches (according as they had well deserued) to bee burnt to death. It was sayd that the king, at the very same time that these things were a doyng within the castell of Fores, was deliuered of his languor, and slepte that night without any sweate breaking forth vpon him at all, and the next day being restored to his strength, was able to do any maner of thing that lay in man to do.” • . .

From the Chronicle of King Duncan

“Shortly after happened a straunge and vncouth wonder, whiche afterwarde was the cause of muche trouble in the realme of Scot-lande as ye shall after heare. It fortuned as Makbeth & Banquho ioumeyed towarde Fores, where the king as then lay, they went sporting by the way togither without other companie, saue only themselues, passing through the woodes and fieldes, when sodenly in the middes of a launde, there met them .iij. women in straunge & ferly apparell, resembling creatures of an elder worlde, whom : when they attentiuely behelde, wondering much at the sight, The i first of them spake and sayde: All hayle Makbeth Thane of Glam-mis (for he had lately entred into that dignitie and office by the * death of his father Synel.) The .ij. of them said: Hayle Makbeth Thane of Cawder: but the third said: All Hayle Makbeth that hereafter shall be king of Scotland. Then Banquho, what maner of women (saith he) are you, that seeme so litle fauourable vnto me, where as to my fellow here, besides highe offices, yee assigne also the kingdome, appointyng foorth nothing for me at all? Yes sayth the firste of them, wee promise greater benefites vnto thee, than

vnto him, for he shall reygne in deede, but with an vnluckie ende: neyther shall he leaue any issue behinde him to succeede in his place, where contrarily thou in deede shall not reygne at all, but of thee those shall be borne whiche shall gouerae the Scottishe king-dome by long order of continuall discent. Herewith the foresayde women vanished immediately out of theyr sight. This was reputed at the first but some vayne fantasticatt illusion (i. 3.52) by Makbeth and Banquho, in so muche that Banquho woulde call Makbeth in ieste kyng of Scotland, and Makbeth againe would call him in sporte likewise, the father of many kings. But afterwards the common opinion was, that these women were eyther the weird sisters (i. 3. 32, etc.), that is (as ye would say) ye Goddesses of destinie, or els some Nimphes or Feines, endewed with knowledge of prophesie by their Nicromanticall science, bicause euery thing came to passe as they had spoken. For shortly after, the Thane of Cawder being condemned at Fores of treason against the king committed, his landes, liuings and offices were giuen of the kings liberalitie vnto Makbeth. The same night after, at supper Banquho iested with him and sayde, now Makbeth thou haste obtayned those things which the twoo former sisters prophesied (ii. 1. 21), there remayneth onely for the? to purchase that which the third sayd should come to passe. Wherevpon Makbeth reuoluing the thing in his minde, began euen then to deuise howe he might attayne to the kingdome: but yet hee thought with himselfe that he must tary a time, whiche shoulde aduaunce him thereto {by the divine prouidenee (i. 3. 143)) as it had come to passe in his former preferment.”

Act i, Scene 4 From the Chronicle of King Duncan

“But shortely after it chaunced that king Duncane hauing two sonnes by his wife which was the daughter of Sywarde Earle of Northumberland (v. 9. 2), he made the elder of them cleped Malcolme prince of Cumberlande, as it were thereby to appoint him his successor in the kingdome, immediately after his deceasse. Makbeth sore troubled herewith, for that he sawe by this meanes his hope sore hindered, (where by the olde lawes of the realme, the ordinance was, that if he that shoulde succeede were not of able age to take the charge vpon himselfe, he that was nexte of bloud vnto him, shoulde be admitted) he begänne to take counsell howe he might vsurpe the kingdome by force, hauing a iuste quarell so to do (as he tooke the mater,) for that Duncane did what in him lay to defraude him of all maner of title and clayme, whiche hee mighte in tyme to come, pretende vnto the crowne.*

Act i, Scene 3, to Act I, Scene 4—From the Chronicle of King Duncan

“The woordes of the three weird sisters also greatly encouraged him herevnto, but specially his wife lay sore vpon him to attempt the thing, as she that was very ambitious brenning in vnquench-able desire to beare the name of a Queene.

“At length therefore communicating his purposed intent with his trustie frendes, amongst whom Banquho was the cMefest, vpon confidence of theyr promised ayde (ii. 1. 25), he slewe the king at Enuemes, (or as some say at Botgosuane,) in the .vj. yeare of his reygne. Then hauing a companie about him of such as he had made priuie to his enterpryce, he caused himselfe to be proclaymed king, and foorthwith went vnto Scone, where by common consent, he receyued the inuesture of the kingdome according to the accustomed maner. The bodie of Duncane was firste conueyed vnto Elgyne, and there buried in kingly wise, but afterwardes it was re-moued and conueyed vnto Colmekill, and there layd in a sepulture amongst his predecessours in the yeare after the birth of our Sauiour .1040. Malcolme Cammore and Donald Bane the sonnes of king Duncane, for féare of theyr liues (whiche they might well know y* Makbeth would seeke to bring to end for his more sure confirmación in the estate) fled into Cumberland, where Malcolme remained til time that S. Edward y* sonne of tog Etheldred re-couered the dominion of England from the Danish power, the whiche Edward receuyed Malcolme by way of moste freendly enter-taynement, but Donald passed ouer into Ireland, where he was tenderly cherished by the king of that lande. ”

From the Chronicle of King Duff

“Donewald . . . conceyued suche an inwarde malice towardes the king, (though he shewed it not outwardly at the firste) that the same continued still boy ling in his stomake, and ceased not, till through setting on of his wife and in reuenge of suche vnthanke-fiilnesse, he founde meanes to murder the king within the foresayd Castell of Fores where he vsed to soiourne, for the king beyng in that countrey, was accustomed to lie most commonly within the same castel, hauing a special trust in Donewald, as a man whom he neuer suspected (i. 5. 58): but Donwald not forgetting the reproche whiche his linage had susteyned by the execution of those his kinsmen, whome the king for a spectacle to the people had caused to be hanged, could not but shew manifest tokens of great griefe at home amongst his familie: which his wife perceyuing, ceassed not to trauayle with him, till she vnderstood what the cause was of his displeasure. WMche at length when she had learned by his owne relation, she as one that bare no lesse malice in hyr harte towardes the king, for the like cause on hyr behalfe than hir husband did for his freendes, counselled him (sith the king oftentimes vsed to lodge in his house without any garde aboute him, other than the garyson of the castell, whiche was wholy at his commaundement) to make him away, and shewed him the meanes whereby he might soonest accomplishe it. Donwalde thus being the more kindled in wrath by the woordes of his wife, determined to follow hyr aduise in the execution of so haynous an acte. Wherevpon deuising with him-selfe for a while, whiche way he might best accomplishe his cursed intention, at length he gate oportunitie and sped his purpose as followeth. It chaunced, that the king vpon the day before he purposed to departe forth of the Castell, was long in his oratorie at his prayers, and there continued till it was late in the night, at the last comming foorth he called suche afore him, as had faithfully serued him in pursute and apprehention of the rebelles, and giuing them hartie thankes, he bestowed sundry honorable gifts* amongst them (it 1. 14), of the which number Donwald was one, as he that had bene euer accompted a moste faithfull seruaunt to the king. At length hauing talked with them a long time, he got him into his pryuie chamber, only with two of his chamberlaynes, who hauing brought him to bedde came foorth againe, and then fell to banqueting with Donewald and his wife, who had prepared diuers delicate dishes, and sundry sorts of drinke for theyr arere supper or collation, whereat they sat vp so long, till they had charged theyr stomakes with suche full gorges, that theyr heades were no sooner got to the pyllow, but a sleepe they were so fast, that a man might haue remoued the chamber ouer them, rather than to haue awaked them out of theyr drunken sleepe. Then Donewalde though he abhorred the act greatly in his harte, yet through instigation of his wife, he called foure of his seruants vnto him (whom he had made priuie to his wicked intent before, and framed to his purpose with large giftes) and now declaring vnto them, after what sorte they should worke the feate, they gladly obeyed his instructions, and speedely going about the murder, they enter the chamber (in which the king lay) a litle before cockes crow (3. ii. 26), where they secretely cut his throte as he lay sleeping, without any buskling at all: and immediately by a posteme gate they caried foorth the dead body Into the fteldes. . . . Donewald aboute the time that the murder was a doing, got him amongst them that kepte the watch, and) so continewed in companie with them al the residue of the night But in the morning when the noyse was reysed in the kings chamber how the king was siaine, his body conueyed away, and the bed all berayed with bloud, he with the watche ran thither as though he had knowen nothing of the mater, and breaking into the chamber, and finding^cakes of bloud in the bed & on the floore about the sides of it, he foorthmth slews the chcmberlaynes (ii. 3. 89), as giltie of that haynous murder, and then like a madde man running to and fro, hee ransacked euery comer within the castell, as though it had bene to haue seene if he might haue founde either the body or any of y® inurtherers hid in any pryuie place: but at length comming to the posteme gate, & finding it open, he burdened the chamberlaines whom he had siaine with al the fault, they hauing the keyes of the gates committed to their keeping al the night, and therefore it could not be otherwise (sayde he) but that they were of counsel in the committing of that moste detestable murder. Finally suche was his ouer earnest diligence in the inquisition and triall of the offendours herein, that some of the Lordes began to mislike the mater, and to smeU foorth shrewed tokens, that he shotdde not be altogether cleare himself e (iii. 6. 11): but for so much as they were in that countrey, where hee had the whole rule, what by reason of his frendes and authoritie togither, they doubted to vtter what they thought till time and place shoulde better serue therevnto, and herevpon got them away euery man to his home. For the space of .vj. moneths togither after this haynous murder thus committed, there appeared no mnne by day, nor Moons by night in any parte of the realme% bat stil was the side couered with continual clowdes (ii. 4. 7), and sometimes suche outragious windes (ii. 3. 35) arose with lightnings and tempestes, that the people were in great feare of present destruction. . . . Monstrous sightes also that were seene within the Scottishe kingdome that yeare were these, horses in Lothian being of singuler beautie and swiftnesse, did eate their owne flesh (ii 4. 14). In Angus there was a gentlewoman brought forth a childe without eyes, nose, hande, or foote. There was a Sparhauke also strangled by an Owle (ii 4. 13).”

From the Chronicle of King Kenneth

Kenneth had slain his nephew and heir. “Thus might he seeme happie to all men, but yet to himselfe he seemed most vnhappie as he that could not but still live in continuall feare, least his wicked practise concerning the death of Malcom Duffe should come to light and knowledge of the world. For so commeth it to passe, that such as are pricked in conscience for anie secret offence committed haue euer an vnquiet mind. And» (as the fame goeth) it chanced that a vbice was heard as he was in bed in the night time to take his rest (ii. 2. 35), vttejring vnto him these or the like woordes in effect: 'Thinke not Kenneth that the wicked slaughter of Mai-come Duffe by thee contriued/is kept secret from the knowledge of the etemall God,' etc. . . . The king with this voice being striken into great dread and terror, passed that night without anie sleepe comming in his eies.”

Act III, Scenes 1-3 — From the Chronicle of King Macbeth

“Makbeth after the departure thus of Duncanes sonnes vsed great liberalitie towardes the nobles of the realme, thereby to winne their fauour, & when he saw that no man went about to trouble him, he set his whole intention to maintayne iustice, and to punishe all enormities and abuses, whiche had chaunced through the feeble and slouthfull administration of Duncane. . . . He caused to be slaine sundrie thanes, as of Cathnes, Sutherland, Stranaueme, and Bos, because through them and their soditious attempts, much trouble dailie rose in the realme. . . . These and the like commendable lawes, Makbeth caused to be put as then in vse, gouerning the realme for the space of tenne yeares in equall iustice. But this was but a counterfayte zeale of equitie shewed by him, partely against his naturall inclination to purchase thereby the fauour of the people. “Shortly after, he begänne to shewe what he was, in steede of equitie practising crueltie. For the pricke of conscience (as it chaunceth euer in tyrantes, and suche as attayne to any astate by vnrightuous meanes) caused him euer to feare, least he should be serued of the same cuppe, as he had min-istred to his predecessour. The woordes also of the three weird sisters, wold not out of his mind, which as they promised him the kingdome, so lykewise did they promise it at the same time, vnto the posteritie of Banquho (iii. 1. 58). He willed therefore the same Banquho with his sonne named Fleaunce, to come to a supper that he had prepared for them, which was in deede, as he had deuised, present death at the handes of certaine murtherers, whome he hyred to execute that deede, appoynting them to meete with the same Banquho and his sonne without the palayce as they returned to theyr lodgings, and there to slea them, so that he woulde not haue his house slaundered, but that in time to come he might cleare

himselfe, If any thing \tere layde to his oharge vpon any suspition that might arise. It chaunced yet, by the benefite of the darke night, that though the father were slaine, the son yet by the helpe of almightie God resenting him to better fortune, escaped that daunger, & afterwardes hauing some inckling by the admonition of some frendes which he had in the courte, howe his life was sought no lesse then his fathers, who was slayne not by chaunce medley (as by the handling of the mater Makbeth would haue had it to appeare,) but euen vpon a prepensed deuise, where vpon to auoyde further perill he fledde into Wales.”

Holinshed goes on to trace the descent of the royal family of Scotland from Banquo.

Act iv—From the Chronicle of King Macbeth

“But to returne vnto Makbeth, in continuying the history, and to beginne where I left, ye shal vnderstand, that after the con-triued slaughter of Banquho, nothing prospered with the foresayde Makbeth: for in maner euery man began to doubt Ms otone life, and durst vnneth appeare in the kings presence (iii 6. 39), & euen as there were many that stoode in feare of him, so likewise stoode he in feare of many, in such sorte that he began to make those away by one surmised cauillation or other, whom he thought most able to worke him any displeasure. At length he found suche sweete-nesse by putting his nobles thus to death, that his earnest thyrst after bloud in this behalfe, might in nowise be satisfied: for ye. must consider he wanne double profite (as he thought) hereby: for firste they were ridde out of the way whome he feared, and then agayne his coffers were enriched by their goodes, whiche were forfeyted to his vse, whereby he might the better, mainteyne a garde of armed men about him to defend his person from iniurie of them whom he had in any suspition. Further to the ende he might the more sickerly oppresse his subiects with all tyranlike wrongs, hee buylded a strong Castell on the top of an high hill cleped Dunsinnane situate in Gowry, ten myles from Perth, on such a proude height, that standing there aloft, a man might behold welneare all the countreys of Angus, Fife, Stermond, Emedale, as it were lying vndemeth him. This castell then being founded on the top of that high hill, put the realme to great charges before it was fynished, for al the stuffe necessarie to the building, could not be brought vp without much toyle and businesse. But Makbeth being once determined to haue the worke go forwarde, caused the Thanes of eche shire within the

Realme, to come and helpe towardes that building, eche man hys course about At the last when the turne fell vnto Makduffe Thane of Fife to buylde his part, he sent workmen with all needull prouision, and commaunded them to shew suche diligence in euery behalfe, that no occasion might bee giuen for the king to finde fault with him, in that he came not himselfe as other had done, which he refused to do (iii 5. 40) for doubt least the iking bearing him (as he partly ynderstoode) no great good will, woulde lay violent handes vpon him, as he had done vppon dyuerse other. Shortly after, Makbeth comming to behold howe the worke went forwarde, and bycause hee found not Makduffe there, he was sore offended, and sayde, I perceyue this man will neuer obey my commaunde-ments, till he be rydden with a snaffle, but I shall prouide well ynough for him. Neither could he afterwards abide to looke vpon the sayde Makduffe, eyther for that he thought his puissance ouer great, either els for that he had learned of certain wysardes, in whose wordes he put great confidence, (for that the prophede had happened so right, whiche the three Fayries or weird sisters had declared vnto him) how that he ought to take heede of Makduffe (iv. 1. 72), who in tymes to come should seeke to destroy Him. And surely herevpon had he put Makduffe to death, but that a certaine witch whom he had in great trust, had told that he should neuer be slain with man borne of any woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bemane, came to the Castell of Dunsinnane. By this prophede Makbeth put all feare out of his heart, supposing hee might doe what hee would, without any feare to be punished for the same, for by the one prophesie he beleeued it was impossible for any man to vanquish him, and by the other vnpossible to slea him. This vaine hope caused him to doe manye outragious things, to the grieuous oppression of his subiects. At length Makduffe to auoyde perill of lyfe, purposed with himselfe to passe into Eng-lande, to procure Malcolme Cammore to clayme the crowne of Scotlande. But this was not so secretly deuised by Makduffe, but that Makbeth had knowledge giuen him thereof, for kings (as is sayde,) haue sharpe sight like vnto Linx, and long eares like vnto Midas. For Makbeth had in euery noble mans house, one slie fellow or other in fee with him (iii 4. 131), to reueale all that was sayd or done within the same, by which slight he oppressed the moste parte of the Nobles of hys Realme. Immediately then, being aduertised whereabout Makduffe went, he came hastily wyth a great power into Fife, and forthwith besieged the Castell where Makduffe dwelled, trusting to haue found him therin. They that kept the house, without any resistance opened the gates, aid suffred him to enter, mistrusting none euill. But neuerthelesse Makbeth most cruelly caused the wife and childen of Makduffe, with all other whom he found in that castell, to be slaine. Also he confiscate the goodes of Makduffe, proclaymed him traytor, and confined him out of al the partes of his realme, but Makduffe was alreadie escaped out of daunger and gotten into England vnto Malcolme Canmore, to trie what purchas he might make by meanes of his support to reuenge the slaughter so cruelly executed on his wife, his children, and other friends. At his comming vnto Malcolme, he declared into what great miserie the estate of Scot-lande was brought, by the detestable cruelties exercysed by the tyranne Makbeth, hauing committed many horrible slaughters and murthers, both as well of the nobles as commons, for the which he was hated right mortally of all his liege people, desiring nothing more than to be deliuered of that intolerable and moste heauie yoke of thraldome, whiche they susteyned at suche a caytifes handes. Malcolme hearing Makduffes words which he vttred in right lamentable sort, for pure compassion and very ruth that pearced his sorowfull hart, bewayling the miserable state of his country, he fetched a deepe sigh, which Makduffe perceyuing, began to fall most earnestly in hande wyth him, to enterprise the deliuering of the Scottishe people out of the hands of so cruell and bloudie a tyrant, as Makbeth by too many plaine experiments did shew himselfe to be, which was an easie matter for him to bring to passe, considering not only the good tytle he had, but also the earnest desire of the people to haue some occasion ministred, whereby they might be reuenged of those notable iniuries, which they dayly susteyned by the outragious crueltie of Makbeths mis-gouemance. Though Malcolme was right sorowfull for the oppression of his Countreymen the Scottes, in maner as Makduffe had declared, yet doubting whether he were come as one that ment vnfaynedly as hee spake, or else as sent from Makbeth to betray him, he thought to haue some further triall, and therevpon dissembling his minde at the first, he answered as followeth. 1 am truly right sorie for the miserie chaunced to my Countrey of Scot-lande, but though I haue neuer so great affection to relieue ye same, yet by reason of certaine incurable vyces, which raigne in me, 1 am nothing meete thereto: First suche immoderate lust and voluptuous sensualitie (the abhominable fountains of all vyces) (iv. 3. 63) foloweth me, that if I were made king of Scots, I shoulde seeke to deflower your Maydes and matrons in such wise, that, mine intern-perancie shoulde bee more importable (hr. 3. 89) vnto yon, than the bloudie tyrannie of Makbeth now is. Hereunto Makduffe answered : this surely is a very euill fault, for many noble Princes and Kings haue lost both lyues and Kingdomes for the same, neuerthelesse there are women ynowe in Scotlande, and therefore follow my counsell, make thy selfe king, and 1 shall conuey the matter so wisely, that thou shalt be so satisfied at thy pleasure in suche secrete wise, that no man shall be aware therof. Then saide Malcolme, 1 am also the moste auaritious creature on the earth, so that if 1 were king, 1 should seeke so many wayes to get lands and goodes, that I woulde slea the most part of all the nobles of Scotland by surmised accusations, to the end 1 might eqjoy their lands, goods, and possessions, & therfore to shew you what mischief may ensue on you through mine vnsatiable couetise, I will rehearse vnto you a fable. There was a Foxe hauing a sore place on him ouerset with a swarme of flies that continually sucked out hir bloud, and when one that came by and saw this maner demaunded whether she woulde haue the flies dryuen besyde hir, she answered no: For if these flies that are alreadie full, and by reason thereof sucke not very egerly, should be chased away, other that are emptie and felly an hungred, shoulde light in theyr places, and suck out the residue of my bloud farre more to my grieuance than these, which now being] satisfied doe not much annoy me. Therefore sayth Malcolme, suffer me to remaine where I am, least if I attaine to the regiment of your realme, mine inquenchable auarice may proue such, that ye would thinke the displeasures which now grieue you, should seeme easie in respect of the vnmeasurable outrage, whiche might ensue through my comming amongst you. Makduffe to this made answere, how it was a farre worse fault than the other, for auarice is the roots (iv. 3. 85) of all mischiefe, and for that crime the most part of our kings haue bene slaine & brought to their finall ende. Yet notwithstanding follow my counsel, and take vpon thee the crowne, there is golde and riches inough in Scotlande to satisfie thy greedie desire. Then sayde Malcolme againe, I am furthermore inclined to dissimulation, telling of leasings and all other kinds of deceyt, so that I naturally reioyce in nothing so muche as to betray and deceyue suche, as put any trust or confidence in my wordes. Then sith there is nothing that more becommeth a prinpe than constancie, veritie, truth, and iustice, with the other laudable felowship of those faire and noble vertues which are comprehended onely in sOothfastnesse, & that lying vtterly ouerthroweth y« same, you see how vnable I am to

goneme any prouince or region: and therfore sith yon haue remedies to cloke and hide al the rest of my other vices, I pray you find shift to cloke this vice amongst the residue. Then sayd Makduffe: this yet is the worst of all, and there I leaue thee, and therefore say, oh ye vnhappie & miserable Scottishmen, which are thus scourged with so many and sundrie calamities, eche one aboue other. Ye haue one cursed and wicked tyrant that nowe raignes ouer you, without any right or tytle, oppressing you with his most bloudie crueltie: This other that hath the right to the crowne, is so replete with the inconstant behauiour and manifest vices of English men, that he is nothing worthie to enioy it: for by his owne confession he is not onely auaritious, and giuen to vnsati-able lust, but so false a traytour withall, that no trust is to be had to any worde he speaketh. Adue Scotlande, for now 1 account my selfe a banished man for euer without comfort or consolation; and with those words the teares trickled down his cheekes right abundantly. At the last when hee was readie to depart, Malcolme tooke him by the sleeue, and sayde, Be of good comfort Makduffe, for I haue none of these vices before remembered, but haue iested with thee in this maner, only to proue thy mind: for diuerse tymes heretofore, hath Makbeth sought by this maner of meanes to bring me into his handes, but the more slow I haue shewed my self to condiscend to thy motion and request, the more diligence shall I vse in accomplishing the same. Incontinently hereupon they embraced eche other, and promising to bee faythfull the one to the other, they fell in consultation, howe they might best prouide for al their businesse, to bring the same to good effect Soone after Makduffe repayring to the borders of Scotlande, addressed his letters with secret dispatch vnto the nobles of the realme, declaring howe Malcolme was confederate wyth him, to come hastily into Scotlande to clayme the crowne, and therefore he requyred them, sith he was right inheritor thereto, to assist him with their powers to recouer the same out of the hands of the wrongfiill vsurper. In the jneane time, Malcolme purchased such fauour at king Edwards handes, that old Sywarde Earle of Northumberlande, was appoynted with ten thousande men to go with him into Scotland, to support him in this enterprise, for recouerie of his right”

From the Chronicle of King Edward the Confessor (Chronicles of England)

“As hath bin thought he was enspired with the gift of Prophecie, and also to haue hadde the gift of healing infirmities and diseases.

Namely* he vsed to help those that were vexed with the disease, commonly called the Kyng’s evill, and left that vertue as it were a portion of inheritance vnto his successors the Kyngs of this Realme.”

Act v, Scenes 2-8From the Chronicle of King Macbeth

“After these newes were spred abrode in Scotland, the nobles drew into two seuerall factions, the one taking part with Makbeth, and the other with Malcolme. Hereupon ensued oftentymes sun-drie bickerings, and diuerse light skirmishes, for those that were of Malcolmes side, woulde not ieoparde to ioyne with theyr enimies in a pight field, tyll his comming out of England to their support But after that Makbeth perceiued his enimies power to encrease, by suche ayde as came to them forth of England with his aduer-sarie Malcolme, he reculed backe into Fife, there purposing to abide in campe fortified, at the Castell of Dunsinane, and to fight with his enimies, if they ment to pursue him, howbeit some of his friends aduysed him, that it should be best for him, eyther to make some agreement with Malcolme, or else to flee with all speed into the lies, and to take his treasure with him, to the ende he might wage sundrie great Princes of the realme to take his part, and retayne straungers, in whom he might better trust than in his owne subiectes, which stale dayly from him: but he had suche confidence in his prophecies, that he beleeued he shoulde neuer be vanquished, till Bymane wood were brought to Dunsinnane, nor yet to be slaine with anye man, that should be or was borne of any woman. Malcolme folowing hastily after Makbeth, came the night before the battaile vnto Byrnan wood, and when his armie had rested a while there to refreshe them, hee commaunded euerye man to get a bough of some tree or other of that wood in his hand, as bigge as he might beare, and to march forth therwith in such wise, that on the next morow they might come closely and without sight in thys manner within viewe of hys enimies. On the morow when Makbeth beheld them comming in this sort, hee first marueyled what the matter ment, but in the end remembred him-selfe, that the prophecie which he had hearde long before that time, of the comming of Bymane wood to Dunsinnane Castell, was likely to bee now fulfilled. Neuerthelesse, he brought his men in order of battell, and exhorted them to doe valiantly, howbeit his enimies had scarcely cast from them their boughes, when Makbeth perceiuing their numbers betook him streight to flight, whom Mak-duffe pursued with great hatred euen till he came vnto Lunfannain, where Makbeth perceiuing that Makduffe was hard at his back, leapt beside his horse, saying, thou traytor, what meaneth it that thou shouldest thus in vaine follow me that am not appoynted to be slain by any creature that is borne of a woman, come on therefore, and receyue thy rewarde which thou hast deserued for thy paynes, and therewithall he lyfted vp his sworde thinking to haue slaine him. But Makduffe quickly auoyding from his horse, ere he came at him, answered (with his naked sworde in his hande) saying: it is true Makbeth, and now shall thine insatiable crueltie haue an ende, for I am euen he that thy wysards haue tolde the of, who was neuer borne of my mother, but ripped out of hir wombe: therewithall he stept vnto him, & slue him in the place. Then cutting his heade from the shoulders, hee set it vpon a poll, and brought it vnto Malcolme. This was the end of Makbeth, after he had raigned .xvij. yeares ouer the Scottishmen. In the beginning of his raigne he accomplished many worthie actes, right profitable to the common wealth, (as ye haue heard) but afterwarde by illusion of the diueU (v. 8. 19), he defamed the same with most terrible crueltie. He was slaine in the yeare of the incarnation. 1057. and in the .xvj. yeare of king Edwardes raigne ouer the English men. Malcolme Cammore thus recouering the realme (as ye haue hearde) by support of king Edward, in the .xvj. yeare of the same Edwards raign, he was crowned at Scone the .xxv. day of April, in the yeare of our Lorde .1057. Immediately after his coronation, he called a Parliament at Forfair, in the which he rewarded them with landes and liuings that had assisted him agaynst Makbeth, aduancing them to fees and offices as he saw cause, and commaunded that specially those that bare the surname of any office or landes, shoulde haue and enioye the same. He created many Earles, Lordes, Barons, and Knightes. Many of them that before were Thanes, were at this time made Earles, as Fife, Menteth, Atholl, Leuenox, Murray, Cathnes, Rosse, and Angus. These were the first Earles that haue beene heard of amongest the Scottish» men (v. 8. 62) (as theyr hystories make mention).”

From the Chronicle of King Edward the Confessor

“About the thirtenth yeare of King Edwardes raigne (as some write,) or rather about the nineteenth or twentith yere as should appeare by the Scottishe Writers, Siward the noble Earle of Northumberland« with a great power of Horsemenne went into Scotland, and in battell put to flight Mackbeth that had vsurped the Crowne of Scotland, and that done, placed Malcolme surnamed Camoyr, the son of Duncane, sometime King of Scotlande, in the gouemement of that Realme, who afterward slew the sayd Macbeth, and then raigned in quiet. Some of our Englishe writers say, that this Malcolme was K. of Cumberlande, but other reporte him to be sonne to the K. of Cumberland. But heere is to be noted, that if Mackbethjraigned till the yere. 1061. and was then slayne by Malcolme, Earle Siwarde was not at that battaile, for as our writers do testifie, he died in the yere .1055. whiche was in the yeare next after (as the same writers affirme) that hee vanquished Mackbeth in fight, & slew many thousands of Scottes, & all those Normans which as ye haue heard, were withdrawen into Scotlande, when they were driuen out of England. It is recorded also, that in the foresaid battayle, in which Earle Siwarde vanquished the Scottes, one of Siwards sonnes chaunced to be slayne, whereof, though the father had good cause to be sorowfull, yet when he heard that he dyed of a wound which hee had receyued infighting stoutely in the forepart of his body, and that with hi* face towarde the emmie, hee greatly reioyced thereat, to heare that he died so manfully (v. 8. 46). But here is to be noted, y* not now, but a little before, (as Henry Hunt, saith,) y* Earle Siward, wente into Scotlande himselfe in person, hee sent his sonne with an army to conquere y* land, whose hap was ther to be siaine: and when his father heard y* newes, he demaunded whether he receiued the wound whereof he died, in ye fore parte of the body, or in the hinder part: and when it was tolde him y* he receyued it in the foreparte, I reioyce (saith he) euen with all my harte, for I woulde not wishe eyther to my amne nor to my selfe9 any other kind of death.” (v. 8. 48.)