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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Banquet prepared. Enter Macbeth, Lady [Macbeth], Ross, Lennox, 1255Lords, and attendants. [Lady Macbeth sits.]
    Macbeth
    You know your own degrees, sit down; at first
    And last, the hearty welcome.
    Lords
    Thanks to your majesty.
    Macbeth
    Ourself will mingle with society
    1260And play the humble host. Our hostess keeps her state,
    But in best time we will require her welcome.
    Lady Macbeth
    Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
    For my heart speaks they are welcome.
    1265Enter 1 Murderer[, at the door].
    Macbeth
    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. [To 1 Murderer] There's blood upon thy face.
    12701 Murderer
    'Tis Banquo's, then.
    Macbeth
    'Tis better thee without than he within.
    Is he dispatched?
    1 Murderer
    My lord, his throat is cut--that I did for him.
    Macbeth
    Thou art the best o'th' cutthroats.
    1275Yet he's good that did the like for Fleance;
    If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.
    1 Murderer
    Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scaped.
    Macbeth
    Then comes my fit again; 1280I 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?
    12851 Murderer
    Ay, my good lord; safe in a ditch he bides
    With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,
    The least a death to nature.
    Macbeth
    Thanks for that.
    There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled
    1290Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
    No teeth for th'present. Get thee gone; tomorrow
    We'll hear ourselves again.
    Exit [1] Murderer.
    Lady Macbeth
    My royal lord,
    You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
    1295That 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.
    1300Macbeth
    Sweet remembrancer!
    Now good digestion wait on appetite
    And health on both.
    Lennox
    May't please your highness, sit.
    Macbeth
    Here had we now our country's honor roofed,
    1305Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
    Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
    Than pity for mischance.
    Ross
    His absence, sir,
    Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your highness
    1310To grace us with your royal company?
    Macbeth
    The table's full.
    Lennox
    Here is a place reserved, sir.
    Macbeth
    Where?
    Lennox
    Here, my good lord. 1315What is't that moves your highness?
    Macbeth
    Which of you have done this?
    Lords
    What, my good lord?
    Macbeth
    [To Banquo's Ghost] Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake
    Thy gory locks at me.
    [Rising] Gentlemen, rise--his highness is not well.
    Lady Macbeth
    [Rising] 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
    1325You shall offend him and extend his passion.
    Feed, and regard him not. [Aside to Macbeth] Are you a man?
    Macbeth
    Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
    Which might appall the devil.
    Lady Macbeth
    Oh, proper stuff!
    1330This is the very painting of your fear,
    This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
    Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts,
    Impostors to true fear, would well become
    A woman's story at a winter's fire
    1335Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
    Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
    You look but on a stool.
    Macbeth
    Prithee, see there! Behold, look, lo, how say you?
    1340[To Banquo's Ghost] 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.
    [Exit Ghost.]
    Lady Macbeth
    What? Quite unmanned in folly.
    1345Macbeth
    If I stand here, I saw him.
    Lady Macbeth
    Fie, for shame.
    Macbeth
    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
    1350Too terrible for the ear. The times 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
    1355Than such a murder is.
    Lady Macbeth
    My worthy lord,
    Your noble friends do lack you.
    Macbeth
    I do forget.
    Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends:
    1360I have a strange infirmity which is nothing
    To those that know me. Come, love and health to all.
    Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine, fill full.
    Enter Ghost.
    I drink to th'general joy o'th' whole table
    1365And to our dear friend, Banquo, whom we miss.
    Would he were here! To all, and him we thirst,
    And all to all.
    Lords
    Our duties and the pledge.
    Macbeth
    Avant and quit my sight, let the earth hide thee!
    1370Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold,
    Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
    Which thou dost glare with.
    Lady Macbeth
    Think of this, good peers,
    But as a thing of custom; 'tis no other,
    1375Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.
    Macbeth
    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
    1380Shall 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!
    [Exit Ghost.]
    Why so, being gone,
    1385I am a man again. Pray you sit still.
    Lady Macbeth
    You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting
    With most admired disorder.
    Macbeth
    Can such things be
    And overcome us like a summer's cloud
    1390Without 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.
    1395Ross
    What sights, my lord?
    Lady Macbeth
    I pray you speak not: he grows worse and worse.
    Question enrages him. At once, goodnight.
    Stand not upon the order of your going,
    But go at once.
    1400Lennox
    Goodnight, and better health
    Attend his majesty.
    Lady Macbeth
    A kind goodnight to all.
    [Exeunt] Lords [and attendants].
    Macbeth
    It will have blood, they say--blood will have blood.
    1405Stones have been known to move and trees to speak,
    Augurs and understood relations have
    By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
    The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?
    Lady Macbeth
    Almost at odds with morning which is which.
    1410Macbeth
    How say'st thou that Macduff denies his person
    At our great bidding?
    Lady Macbeth
    Did you send to him, sir?
    Macbeth
    I hear it by the way, but I will send.
    There's not a one of them but in his house
    1415I keep a servant fee'd. I will tomorrow,
    And betimes I will, to the weird 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
    1420Stepped 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.
    Lady Macbeth
    You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
    1425Macbeth
    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.
    Exeunt.