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Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Macbeth: Modern (Modern)
  • Editor: Anthony Dawson
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Research assistant: Katie Davion
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-528-5

    Copyright Anthony Dawson. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Anthony Dawson
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Modern (Modern)

    Enter a Porter. Knocking within.
    Porter
    Here's a knocking indeed. If a man were 745porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key. (Knock.) Knock, knock, knock. Who's there, i'th' name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged himself on th'expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enow about you--here you'll sweat for't. (Knock.) 750Knock, knock. Who's there, in th'other devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O come in, equivocator. (Knock.) Knock, 755knock, knock. Who's there? Faith, here's an English tailor come hither for stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor, here you may roast your goose. (Knock.) Knock, knock. Never at quiet. What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. I'll devil-porter it no further. 760I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to th'everlasting bonfire. (Knock.) Anon, anon. I pray you remember the porter.
    Enter Macduff and Lennox.
    Macduff
    Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed 765that you do lie so late?
    Porter
    Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock. And drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.
    Macduff
    What three things does drink especially provoke?
    770Porter
    Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him and it mars him, it sets him on 775and it takes him off, it persuades him and disheartens him, makes him stand to and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep and, giving him the lie, leaves him.
    Macduff
    I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.
    780Porter
    That it did, sir, i'the very throat on me. But I requited him for his lie and, I think, being too strong for him, though he took up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast him.
    785Macduff
    Is thy master stirring?
    Enter Macbeth.
    Our knocking has awaked him: here he comes.
    [Exit Porter.]
    Lennox
    Good morrow, noble sir.
    Macbeth
    Good morrow, both.
    Macduff
    Is the King stirring, worthy thane?
    790Macbeth
    Not yet.
    Macduff
    He did command me to call timely on him;
    I have almost slipped the hour.
    Macbeth
    I'll bring you to him.
    Macduff
    I know this is a joyful trouble to you, 795but yet 'tis one.
    Macbeth
    The labor we delight in physics pain. This is the door.
    Macduff
    I'll make so bold to call, for 'tis my limited service.
    Exit.
    800Lennox
    Goes the King hence today?
    Macbeth
    He does; he did appoint so.
    Lennox
    The night has been unruly: where we lay,
    Our chimneys were blown down, and, as they say,
    Lamentings heard i'th' air, 805strange screams of death,
    And prophesying with accents terrible
    Of dire combustion and confused events,
    New hatched to th'woeful time. The obscure bird
    Clamored the livelong night. 810Some say the earth
    Was feverous and did shake.
    Macbeth
    'Twas a rough night.
    Lennox
    My young remembrance cannot parallel
    A fellow to it.
    815Enter Macduff.
    Macduff
    O horror, horror, horror,
    Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee.
    Macbeth, Lennox
    What's the matter?
    Macduff
    Confusion now hath made his masterpiece:
    820Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
    The Lord's anointed temple and stole thence
    The life o'th' building.
    Macbeth
    What is't you say, the life?
    Lennox
    Mean you his majesty?
    825Macduff
    Approach the chamber and destroy your sight
    With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak--
    See, and then speak yourselves.
    Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox.
    Awake, awake!
    Ring the alarum bell! Murder and treason!
    830Banquo and Donalbain, Malcolm, awake,
    Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
    And look on death itself. Up, up, and see
    The great doom's image! Malcolm, Banquo,
    As from your graves rise up and walk like sprites
    835To countenance this horror.
    Bell rings. Enter Lady [Macbeth and attendants].
    Lady Macbeth
    What's the business
    That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
    The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak.
    840Macduff
    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.
    Enter Banquo.
    845O Banquo, Banquo,
    Our royal master's murdered.
    Lady Macbeth
    Woe, alas!
    What, in our house?
    Banquo
    Too cruel anywhere.
    Dear Duff, I prithee contradict thyself
    850And say it is not so.
    Enter Macbeth, Lennox.
    Macbeth
    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.
    855All 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.
    Donalbain
    What is amiss?
    860Macbeth
    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.
    Macduff
    Your royal father's murdered.
    Malcolm
    Oh, by whom?
    865Lennox
    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.
    870Macbeth
    Oh, yet I do repent me of my fury
    That I did kill them.
    Macduff
    Wherefore did you so?
    Macbeth
    Who can be wise, amazed, temp'rate and furious,
    Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.
    875Th'expedition of my violent love
    Outran 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,
    880Steeped 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?
    Lady Macbeth
    Help me hence, ho!
    885Macduff
    Look to the lady.
    [Attendants go to her.]
    Malcolm
    [Aside to Donalbain] Why do we hold our tongues
    That most may claim this argument for ours?
    Donalbain
    [Aside to Malcolm] What should be spoken here where our fate,
    Hid in an auger hole, 890 may rush and seize us?
    Let's away. Our tears are not yet brewed.
    Malcolm
    [Aside to Donalbain] Nor our strong sorrow upon the foot of motion.
    Banquo
    Look to the lady.
    [Lady Macbeth is helped off stage.]
    895And when we have our naked frailties hid
    That suffer in exposure, let us meet
    And question this most bloody piece of work
    To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us;
    In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
    900Against the undivulged pretense I fight
    Of treasonous malice.
    Macduff
    And so do I.
    All
    So all.
    Macbeth
    Let's briefly put on manly readiness
    905And meet i'th' hall together.
    All
    Well contented.
    Exeunt [all but Malcolm and Donalbain].
    Malcolm
    What will you do? Let's not consort with them.
    To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
    910Which the false man does easy. I'll to England.
    Donalbain
    To Ireland, I. Our separated fortune
    Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,
    There's daggers in men's smiles. 915The nea'er in blood,
    The nearer bloody.
    Malcolm
    This murderous shaft that's shot
    Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
    Is to avoid the aim. Therefore to horse,
    And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
    920But shift away. There's warrant in that theft
    Which steals itself when there's no mercy left.
    Exeunt.