Macbeth's encounter with the witches (from the History of Scotland)

Holinshed 1577, Vol. I: The Historie of Scotland, 243-4

...Shortly after happened a straunge and vncouth wonder, which afterwarde was the cause of muche trouble in the realme of Scotlande as ye shall after heare. It fortuned as Makbeth & Banquho iourneyed towarde Fores, where the king as then lay, they went sporting by the way togither without other companie, saue only the(m)selues, passing through the woodes and fieldes, when sodenly in the middes of a lau(n)de, 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 first of them spake & sayde: All hayle Makbeth Thane of Glammis (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 sayde: All hayle Makbeth that hereafter shall be king of Scotland. The prophesie of three wome(n) supposing to be the weird sisters or feiries. [Woodcut of Macbeth and the witches at this point]

Then Banquho, what maner of women (saith he) are you, that seeme so litle fauorable vnto me, whereas 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 in [sic] deede, but with an vnluckie ende: neyther shall he leaue any issue behinde him to succeede in his place, where contrarily thou in deede shalt not reygne at all, but of thee those shall be borne which shall gouerne the Scottishe kingdome by long order of continuall discent. Herewith the forsayde women vanished immediatly out of theyr sight. This was reputed at the first but some vayne fantasticall illusion 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, that is (as ye would say ye Goddesses of destinie, or els some Nimphes or Feiries, endewed with knowledge of prophesie by their Nicromanticall science, bicause every thing came to passe as they had spoken. [no closing bracket]

The Thane of Cawder condemned of treason. Makbeth made by [sic] Thane of Cawder.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, Makbeth thou hast obtayned those things which the twoo former sisters prophesied, there remayneth onely for thee to purchase that which the third sayd should come to passe.

Makbeth deuiseth how he might attaine the kingdom.Whereupon Makbeth reuoluing the thing in his minde, began euen then to deuise howe he mighte attayne to the kingdome: but yet hee thought with himselfe that he must tary a time, whiche shoulde aduaunce him thereto (by the diuine prouidence) as it had come to passe in his former preferment.

The daughter of Syward erle of Northumberland, wife to king Duncane.But shortely after it chaunced that king Duncane hauing two sonnes by his wife which was the daughter of Sywarde Earle of Northumberland, he made the elder of them cleped Malcolme prince of Cumberlande, as it were thereby to appoint him his successor in the kingdome, immediatly 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 next of bloud vnto him, should be admitted) Makbeth studieth whiche way he may take the kingdome by force. he beganne to take counsill 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 unto the crowneProphesies move men to vnlawfull attemptes..

The wordes of the three weird sisters also, (of whome before ye haue heard) greatly encouraged him hereunto, but specially his wife lay sore vpon him to attemptWomen desirous of high estate. the thing, as she that was very ambitious brenning in vnquenchable desire to beare the name of a Queene.

At length therefore communicating his purposed intent with his trustie frendes, amongst whom Banquho was the chiefest, upon confidence of theyr promised ayde,Makbeth sleeth king Duncane. he slewe the king at Envernes, (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, Makbeth vsurpeth the crowne.where by common consent, he receyued the inuesture of the kingdome according to the accustomed maner.

Duncanes buriall.The bodie of Duncane was firste conueyed vnto Elgyne, and there buried in kingly wise, but afterwardes it was remoued and conueyed vnto Colmekill, and there layd in a sepulture amongst his 1046. H.B.predecessours in the yeare after the birth of our Sauiour .1040. [sic]

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Holinshed 1587, Vol. II: The historie of Scotland, 170-1

... A peace was also concluded at the same time betwixt the Danes and Scotishmen, ratified (as some haue written) in this wise: A peace concluded betwixt Scots and Danes. That from thenceforth the Danes should neuer come into Scotland to make anie warres against the Scots by anie maner of meanes. And these were the warres that Duncane had with foren enimies, in the seuenth yeere of his reigne. Shortlie after happened a strange and vncouth woonder, which afterward was the cause of much trouble in the realme of Scotland, as ye shall after heare. It fortuned as Makbeth and Banquho iournied towards Fores, where the king then laie, they went sporting by the waie togither without other companie, saue onelie themselues, passing through the woods and fields, when suddenlie in the middest of a laund, there met them three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world, whome when they atteniuilie beheld, woondering much at the sight, the first of them spake and said: The prophesie of three women supposing to be the weird sisters or feiries. All haile Makbeth, thane of Glammis (for he had latelie entered into that dignitie and office by the death of his father Sinell.) The second of them said: "Haile Mabeth thane of Cawder. But the third said; All haile Makbeth that heereafter "shalt be king of Scotland."

"Then Banquho: What manner of women (saith he) are you, that seeme so little "favourable vnto me, whereas to my fellow heere, besides high offices, ye assigne also "the kingdome, appointing foorth nothing for me at all: Yes (saith the first of them) we "promise greater benefits vnto thee than vnto him, for he shal reigne in deed, but with an "vnluckie end: neither shall he leaue anie issue behind him to succeed in his place, where "contrarilie thou in deed shalt not reigne at all, but of thee those shall be borne which "shall gouerne the Scottish kingdome by long order of continual descent. Herewith the foresaid women vanished immediatlie out of their sight. A thing to wonder at. This was reputed at the first but some vaine fantasticall illusion by Mackbeth and Banquho, insomuch that Banquho would call Mackbeth in iest, king of Scotland; and Mackbeth againe would call him in sport likewise, the father of manie kings. But afterwards the common opinion was, Banquho the father of manie kings. that these women were either the weird sisters, that is (as ye would say) the goddesses of destinie, or else some nymphs or feiries, indued with knowledge of prophesie by their necromanticall science, bicause euerie thing came to passe as they had spoken. The thane of Cawder condemned of treason. Mackbeth made thane of Cawder. For shortlie after, the thane of Cawder being condemned at Fores of treason against the king committed; his lands, liuings and offices were giuen of the kings liberalitie to Mackbeth.

The same night after, at supper, Banquho iested with him and said; Now Mackbeth thou hast obteined those things which the two former sisters prophesied, there remaineth onelie for thee to purchase that which the third said should come to passe. Whereupon Mackbeth Mackbeth deuiseth how he might atteine the kingdome. reuoluing the thing in his mind, began euen then to deuise how he might atteine to the kingdome: but yet he thought with himselfe that he must tarie a time, which should aduance him thereto (by the diuine prouidence) as it had come to passe in his former preferment. The daughter of Siward earle of Northumberland, wife to king Duncane.But shortlie after it chanced that king Duncane, hauing two sonnes by his wife which was the daughter of Siwarde earle of Northumberland, he made the elder of them called Malcolme prince of Cumberland, as it were thereby to appoint him his successor in the kingdome, immediatlie after his deceasse. Mackbeth sore troubled herewith, for that he saw by this means his hope sore hindered (where, by the old lawes of the realme, the ordinance was, that if he that should succeed were not of able age to take the charge vpon himselfe, he that was next Mackbeth studieth which way he may take the kingdome by forceof bloud vnto him should be admitted) he began to take counsell how he might vsurpe the kingdome by force, hauing a iust quarell so to doo (as he tooke the matter) for that Duncane did what in him lay to defraud him of all maner of title and claime, which he might in time to come, pretend unto the crowne.Prophesies mooue men to unlawfull attempts.

The words of the three weird sisters also (of whom before ye haue heard) greatlie incouraged him hereunto, but speciallie his wife lay sore upon him to attempt the thing, Women desirous of high estate.as she that was verie ambitious, burning in an vnquenchable desire to beare the name of a queene. At length therefore, communicating his purposed intent with his trustie friends, amongst whome Banquho was the chiefest, Mackbeth sleaeth king Duncane.upon confidence of their promised aid, he slue the king at Enverns, or (as some say) at Botgosuane, in the sixt yeare of his reigne. Then hauing a companie about him of such as he had made priuie to his enterprise, Mackbeth vsurpeth the crowne.he caused himselfe to be proclamed king, and foorthwith went vnto Scone, where (by common consent) he received the inuesture of the kingdome according to the accustomed maner. The bodie of Duncane was first conueied vnto Elgine,Duncanes buriall. 1046. H.B. & there buried in kinglie wise; but afterwards it was remoued and conueied vnto Colmekill, and there laid in a sepulture amongst his predecessors, in the yeare after the birth of our Sauiour, 1046.

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