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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman.
    2095Doctor
    I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?
    Gentlewoman
    Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown up2100on her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon't, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed, yet all this while in a most fast sleep.
    Doctor
    A great perturbation in nature to receive at once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of watching. 2105In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what at any time have you heard her say?
    Gentlewoman
    That, sir, which I will not report after her.
    Doctor
    You may to me, and 'tis most meet you should.
    2110Gentlewoman
    Neither to you nor anyone, having no witness to confirm my speech.
    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.
    Doctor
    How came she by that light?
    2115Gentlewoman
    Why, it stood by her--she has light by her continually, 'tis her command.
    Doctor
    You see her eyes are open.
    Gentlewoman
    Ay, but their sense are shut.
    Doctor
    What is it she does now? 2120Look how she rubs her hands.
    Gentlewoman
    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.
    Lady Macbeth
    Yet here's a spot.
    2125Doctor
    Hark, she speaks: I will set down what comes from her to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
    Lady Macbeth
    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 2130it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
    Doctor
    Do you mark that?
    Lady Macbeth
    The Thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now? 2135What, will these hands ne'er be clean? No more o'that, my lord, no more o'that. You mar all with this starting.
    Doctor
    Go to, go to. You have known what you should not.
    2140Gentlewoman
    She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has known.
    Lady Macbeth
    Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh.
    2145Doctor
    What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
    Gentlewoman
    I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.
    Doctor
    Well, well, well.
    Gentlewoman
    Pray God it be, sir.
    2150Doctor
    This disease is beyond my practice, yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.
    Lady Macbeth
    Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried, 2155he cannot come out on's grave.
    Doctor
    Even so?
    Lady Macbeth
    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.
    Doctor
    Will she go now to bed?
    Gentlewoman
    Directly.
    Doctor
    Foul whisp'rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
    Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
    2165To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
    More needs she the divine than the physician.
    God, God forgive us all. Look after her;
    Remove from her the means of all annoyance
    And still keep eyes upon her. So, goodnight,
    2170My mind she has mated and amazed my sight.
    I think, but dare not speak.
    Gentlewoman
    Good night, good doctor.
    Exeunt.