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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 [Lady Macbeth] and a Servant.
    Lady Macbeth
    Is Banquo gone from court?
    Servant
    Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.
    Lady Macbeth
    Say to the King I would attend his leisure
    1155For a few words.
    Servant
    Madam, I will.
    Exit.
    Lady Macbeth
    Nought's had, all's spent,
    Where our desire is got without content.
    'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
    1160Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
    Enter Macbeth.
    How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,
    Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
    Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
    1165With them they think on? Things without all remedy
    Should be without regard: what's done is done.
    Macbeth
    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.
    1170But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
    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,
    1175Whom 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.
    1180Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
    Can touch him further.
    Lady Macbeth
    Come on, gentle my lord,
    Sleek o'er your rugged looks, 1185be bright and jovial
    Among your guests tonight.
    Macbeth
    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 1190our honors in these flattering streams
    And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
    Disguising what they are.
    Lady Macbeth
    You must leave this.
    Macbeth
    Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife.
    1195Thou knowst that Banquo and his Fleance lives.
    Lady Macbeth
    But in them nature's copy's not eterne.
    Macbeth
    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
    1200The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
    Lady Macbeth
    What's to be done?
    Macbeth
    Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
    1205Till 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,
    1210And 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 rouse.
    Thou marvel'st at my words, but hold thee still;
    Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
    1215So prithee go with me.
    Exeunt.