Enter Macbeth’s Wife, alone, with a letter.
, reading the letter
They met me in the
day of success, and I have learned by the perfect’st
report they have more in them than mortal knowledge.
When I burned in desire to question them further, they
made themselves air, into which they vanished.
Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives
from the King, who all-hailed me “Thane of Cawdor,”
by which title, before, these Weïrd Sisters saluted me
and referred me to the coming on of time with “Hail,
king that shalt be.” This have I thought good to deliver
thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou
might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant
of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy
heart, and farewell.
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false
And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou ’dst have, great
That which cries “Thus thou must do,” if thou have
And that which rather thou dost fear to do,
Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear
And chastise with the valor of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crowned withal.
What is your tidings?
The King comes here tonight.
Thou ’rt mad to say it.
Is not thy master with him, who, were ’t so,
Would have informed for preparation?
So please you, it is true. Our thane is coming.
One of my fellows had the speed of him,
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
Than would make up his message.
Give him tending.
He brings great news.Messenger exits.
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor,
Greater than both by the all-hail hereafter!
Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.
My dearest love,
Duncan comes here tonight.
And when goes hence?
Tomorrow, as he purposes.
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent
But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming
Must be provided for; and you shall put
This night’s great business into my dispatch,
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
We will speak further.
Only look up clear.
To alter favor ever is to fear.
Leave all the rest to me.
Enter Lady Macbeth.
See, see our honored hostess!—
The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
How you shall bid God ’ild us for your pains
And thank us for your trouble.
All our service,
In every point twice done and then done double,
Were poor and single business to contend
Against those honors deep and broad wherewith
Your Majesty loads our house. For those of old,
And the late dignities heaped up to them,
We rest your hermits.
Where’s the Thane of Cawdor?
We coursed him at the heels and had a purpose
To be his purveyor; but he rides well,
And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath helped
To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,
We are your guest tonight.
Your servants ever
Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs in compt
To make their audit at your Highness’ pleasure,
Still to return your own.
Give me your hand.
Taking her hand.
Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly
And shall continue our graces towards him.
By your leave, hostess.
Enter Lady Macbeth.
How now, what news?
He has almost supped. Why have you left the
Hath he asked for me?
Know you not he has?
We will proceed no further in this business.
He hath honored me of late, and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”
Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?
I dare do all that may become a man.
Who dares do more is none.
What beast was ’t,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both.
They have made themselves, and that their fitness
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
If we should fail—
But screw your courage to the sticking place
And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep
(Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey
Soundly invite him), his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only. When in swinish sleep
Their drenchèd natures lies as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
Th’ unguarded Duncan? What not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?
Bring forth men-children only,
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
When we have marked with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
That they have done ’t?
Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar
Upon his death?
I am settled and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show.
False face must hide what the false heart doth
Enter Lady Macbeth.
That which hath made them drunk hath made me
What hath quenched them hath given me fire.
It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it.
The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged
That death and nature do contend about them
Whether they live or die.
Who’s there? what, ho!
Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,
And ’tis not done. Th’ attempt and not the deed
Confounds us. Hark!—I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss ’em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done ’t.
Enter Macbeth with bloody daggers.
I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
Did not you speak?
As I descended?
Hark!—Who lies i’ th’ second chamber?
This is a sorry sight.
A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
There’s one did laugh in ’s sleep, and one cried
That they did wake each other. I stood and heard
But they did say their prayers and addressed them
Again to sleep.
There are two lodged together.
One cried “God bless us” and “Amen” the other,
As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands,
List’ning their fear. I could not say “Amen”
When they did say “God bless us.”
Consider it not so deeply.
But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”?
I had most need of blessing, and “Amen”
Stuck in my throat.
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
What do you mean?
Still it cried “Sleep no more!” to all the house.
“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore
Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.—
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there. Go, carry them and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
I’ll go no more.
I am afraid to think what I have done.
Look on ’t again I dare not.
Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures. ’Tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
For it must seem their guilt.
She exits with the daggers. Knock within.
Enter Lady Macbeth.
My hands are of your color, but I shame
To wear a heart so white.Knock.
I hear a knocking
At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.
A little water clears us of this deed.
How easy is it, then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended.Knock.
Hark, more knocking.
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.
To know my deed ’twere best not know myself.
Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou
Enter Lady Macbeth.
What’s the business,
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!
O gentle lady,
’Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.
The repetition in a woman’s ear
Would murder as it fell.
O Banquo, Banquo,
Our royal master’s murdered.
What, in our house?
Too cruel anywhere.—
Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself
And say it is not so.
Enter Macbeth, Lennox, and Ross.
Had I but died an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessèd time; for from this instant
There’s nothing serious in mortality.
All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead.
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.
Enter Malcolm and Donalbain.
What is amiss?
You are, and do not know ’t.
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
Is stopped; the very source of it is stopped.
Your royal father’s murdered.
O, by whom?
Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ’t.
Their hands and faces were all badged with blood.
So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
Upon their pillows. They stared and were distracted.
No man’s life was to be trusted with them.
O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
That I did kill them.
Wherefore did you so?
Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious,
Loyal, and neutral, in a moment? No man.
Th’ expedition of my violent love
Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood,
And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature
For ruin’s wasteful entrance; there the murderers,
Steeped in the colors of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make ’s love known?
Help me hence, ho!
Look to the lady.
, aside to Donalbain
Why do we hold our
That most may claim this argument for ours?
, aside to Malcolm
What should be spoken here, where our fate,
Hid in an auger hole, may rush and seize us?
Let’s away. Our tears are not yet brewed.
, aside to Donalbain
Nor our strong sorrow upon the foot of motion.
Look to the lady.
Lady Macbeth is assisted to leave.
Sennet sounded. Enter Macbeth as King, Lady Macbeth, Lennox, Ross, Lords, and Attendants.
Here’s our chief guest.
If he had been forgotten,
It had been as a gap in our great feast
And all-thing unbecoming.
Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,
And I’ll request your presence.
Let your Highness
Command upon me, to the which my duties
Are with a most indissoluble tie
Ride you this afternoon?
Ay, my good lord.
We should have else desired your good advice
(Which still hath been both grave and prosperous)
In this day’s council, but we’ll take tomorrow.
Is ’t far you ride?
As far, my lord, as will fill up the time
’Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,
I must become a borrower of the night
For a dark hour or twain.
Fail not our feast.
My lord, I will not.
We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed
In England and in Ireland, not confessing
Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
With strange invention. But of that tomorrow,
When therewithal we shall have cause of state
Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse. Adieu,
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?
Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon ’s.
I wish your horses swift and sure of foot,
And so I do commend you to their backs.
Let every man be master of his time
Till seven at night. To make society
The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
Till suppertime alone. While then, God be with you.
Lords and all but Macbeth and a Servant exit.
Enter Macbeth’s Lady and a Servant.
Is Banquo gone from court?
Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.
Say to the King I would attend his leisure
For a few words.
Madam, I will.He exits.
Naught’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content.
’Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
With them they think on? Things without all remedy
Should be without regard. What’s done is done.
We have scorched the snake, not killed it.
She’ll close and be herself whilst our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave.
After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
Can touch him further.
Come on, gentle my lord,
Sleek o’er your rugged looks. Be bright and jovial
Among your guests tonight.
So shall I, love,
And so I pray be you. Let your remembrance
Apply to Banquo; present him eminence
Both with eye and tongue: unsafe the while that we
Must lave our honors in these flattering streams
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
Disguising what they are.
You must leave this.
O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.
But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.
There’s comfort yet; they are assailable.
Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown
His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
The shard-born beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.
What’s to be done?
Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed.—Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale. Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to th’ rooky wood.
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do
Thou marvel’st at my words, but hold thee still.
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
So prithee go with me.
Banquet prepared. Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox, Lords, and Attendants.
You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
And last, the hearty welcome.They sit.
Thanks to your Majesty.
Ourself will mingle with society
And play the humble host.
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
We will require her welcome.
Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
For my heart speaks they are welcome.
Enter First Murderer to the door.
See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks.
Both sides are even. Here I’ll sit i’ th’ midst.
Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll drink a measure
The table round. He approaches the Murderer.
blood upon thy face.
’Tis Banquo’s then.
’Tis better thee without than he within.
Is he dispatched?
My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.
Thou art the best o’ th’ cutthroats,
Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance.
If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.
Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.
Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air.
But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?
Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,
The least a death to nature.
Thanks for that.
There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled
Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
No teeth for th’ present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
We’ll hear ourselves again.Murderer exits.
My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
That is not often vouched, while ’tis a-making,
’Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.
Enter the Ghost of Banquo, and sits in Macbeth’s place.
, to Lady Macbeth
Now, good digestion wait on appetite
And health on both!
May ’t please your Highness sit.
Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,
Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
Than pity for mischance.
His absence, sir,
Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your
To grace us with your royal company?
The table’s full.
Here is a place reserved, sir.
Here, my good lord. What is ’t that moves your
Which of you have done this?
What, my good lord?
, to the Ghost
Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake
Thy gory locks at me.
Gentlemen, rise. His Highness is not well.
Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus
And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
The fit is momentary; upon a thought
He will again be well. If much you note him
You shall offend him and extend his passion.
Feed and regard him not.Drawing Macbeth aside.
Are you a man?
Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appall the devil.
O, proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear.
This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,
You look but on a stool.
Prithee, see there. Behold, look! To the Ghost.
how say you?
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.—
If charnel houses and our graves must send
Those that we bury back, our monuments
Shall be the maws of kites.Ghost exits.
What, quite unmanned in folly?
If I stand here, I saw him.
Fie, for shame!
Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ th’ olden time,
Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
Ay, and since too, murders have been performed
Too terrible for the ear. The time has been
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end. But now they rise again
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns
And push us from our stools. This is more strange
Than such a murder is.
My worthy lord,
Your noble friends do lack you.
I do forget.—
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends.
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
To those that know me. Come, love and health to
Then I’ll sit down.—Give me some wine. Fill full.
I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.
Would he were here! To all, and him we thirst,
And all to all.
Our duties, and the pledge.
They raise their drinking cups.
, to the Ghost
Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.
Thy bones are marrowless; thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with.
Think of this, good
But as a thing of custom. ’Tis no other;
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.
, to the Ghost
What man dare, I dare.
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The armed rhinoceros, or th’ Hyrcan tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble. Or be alive again
And dare me to the desert with thy sword.
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mock’ry, hence!Ghost exits.
Why so, being gone,
I am a man again.—Pray you sit still.
You have displaced the mirth, broke the good
With most admired disorder.
Can such things be
And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,
Without our special wonder? You make me strange
Even to the disposition that I owe
When now I think you can behold such sights
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks
When mine is blanched with fear.
What sights, my
I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse.
Question enrages him. At once, good night.
Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.
Good night, and better health
Attend his Majesty.
A kind good night to all.
Lords and all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exit.
It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.
Stones have been known to move, and trees to
Augurs and understood relations have
By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought
The secret’st man of blood.—What is the night?
Almost at odds with morning, which is which.
How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person
At our great bidding?
Did you send to him, sir?
I hear it by the way; but I will send.
There’s not a one of them but in his house
I keep a servant fee’d. I will tomorrow
(And betimes I will) to the Weïrd Sisters.
More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know
By the worst means the worst. For mine own good,
All causes shall give way. I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
Strange things I have in head that will to hand,
Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.
You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
We are yet but young in deed.
Enter Lady Macbeth with a taper.
Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise and,
upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
How came she by that light?
Why, it stood by her. She has light by
her continually. ’Tis her command.
You see her eyes are open.
Ay, but their sense are shut.
What is it she does now? Look how she rubs
It is an accustomed action with her to
seem thus washing her hands. I have known her
continue in this a quarter of an hour.
Yet here’s a spot.
Hark, she speaks. I will set down what comes
from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more
Out, damned spot, out, I say! One. Two.
Why then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my
lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear
who knows it, when none can call our power to
account? Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him?
Do you mark that?
The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is
she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No
more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all
with this starting.
Go to, go to. You have known what you should
She has spoke what she should not,
I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All
the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. O, O, O!
What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely
I would not have such a heart in my
bosom for the dignity of the whole body.
Well, well, well.
Pray God it be, sir.
This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have
known those which have walked in their sleep,
who have died holily in their beds.
Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown.
Look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s
buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.
To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the
gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your
hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to
bed, to bed.Lady Macbeth exits.