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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Banquo, and Fleance with a torch 570before him.
    How goes the night, boy?
    The moon is down, I have not heard the clock.
    And she goes down at twelve.
    I take't 'tis later, sir.
    Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven:
    Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
    A heavy summons lies like lead upon me
    580And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers,
    Restrain in me the cursèd thoughts that nature
    Gives way to in repose.
    Enter Macbeth and a servant with a torch.
    Give me my sword.
    Who's there?
    A friend.
    What, sir, not yet at rest? The King's abed.
    He hath been in unusual pleasure,
    And sent forth great largesse to your offices.
    This diamond he greets your wife withal,
    590By the name of most kind hostess, and shut up
    In measureless content.
    Being unprepared,
    Our will became the servant to defect,
    Which else should free have wrought.
    All's well.
    I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters.
    To you they have showed some truth.
    I think not of them.
    Yet when we can entreat an hour to serve,
    600We would spend it in some words upon that business,
    If you would grant the time.
    At your kind'st leisure.
    If you shall cleave to my consent when 'tis,
    It shall make honor for you.
    So I lose none
    In seeking to augment it, but still keep
    My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
    I shall be counseled.
    Good repose the while.
    Thanks, sir, the like to you.
    Ex[eunt] Banquo[, Fleance, and torch].
    Macbeth[To servant] Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
    She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
    Exit [servant].
    Is this a dagger which I see before me,
    The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
    615I have thee not and yet I see thee still.
    Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
    To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
    A dagger of the mind, a false creation
    Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?
    620I see thee yet, in form as palpable
    As this which now I draw.
    Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going,
    And such an instrument I was to use.
    Mine eyes are made the fools o'th' other senses
    625Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,
    And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
    Which was not so before. There's no such thing!
    It is the bloody business which informs
    Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one half-world
    630Nature seems dead and wicked dreams abuse
    The curtained sleep; witchcraft celebrates
    Pale Hecate's off'rings; and withered murder,
    Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,
    Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
    635With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
    Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
    Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
    Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
    And take the present horror from the time,
    640Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives;
    Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
    A bell rings.
    I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.
    Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
    645That summons thee to heaven or to hell.