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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Macbeth's wife alone, with a letter.
    Lady Macbeth
    They met me in the day of success, and I have 350learned by the perfectest report they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burnt 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 355before these weird 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 mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay 360it 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,
    365Art not without ambition, but without
    The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,
    That wouldst thou holily, wouldst not play false,
    And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou'dst have, great Glamis,
    That which cries, 370"Thus thou must do" if thou have it,
    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
    375All that impedes thee from the golden round,
    Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
    To have thee crowned withal.
    Enter [Attendant].
    What is your tidings?
    The King comes here tonight.
    380Lady Macbeth
    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,
    385Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
    Than would make up his message.
    Lady Macbeth
    Give him tending,
    He brings great news.
    Exit [Attendant].
    The raven himself is hoarse
    390That 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,
    395Stop 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,
    400Wherever 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
    405To cry, "Hold, hold."
    Enter Macbeth.
    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
    410The future in the instant.
    My dearest love,
    Duncan comes here tonight.
    Lady Macbeth
    And when goes hence?
    Tomorrow, as he purposes.
    415Lady Macbeth
    Oh, never
    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,
    420Your hand, your tongue. Look like th'innocent flower
    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
    425Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
    We will speak further.
    Lady Macbeth
    Only look up clear,
    To alter favor ever is to fear.
    Leave all the rest to me.