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Macbeth: Act 3, Scene 4


            Banquet prepar'd. Enter MACBETH, LADY [MACBETH],
            ROSS, LENNOX, LORDS, and ATTENDANTS.

       MACBETH
  1    You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
  2    And last the hearty welcome.

       Lords
                                                Thanks to your majesty.

       MACBETH
  3    Ourself will mingle with society,
  4    And play the humble host.
  5    Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
  6    We will require her welcome.

       LADY MACBETH
  7    Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends;
  8    For my heart speaks they are welcome.

            Enter FIRST MURDERER [at the door].

       MACBETH
  9    See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.
 10    Both sides are even: here I'll sit i' the midst:
 11    Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink a measure
 12    The table round—

            [Goes to the door.]

 13    There's blood on thy face.

       First Murderer
                                                'Tis Banquo's then.

       MACBETH
 14    'Tis better thee without than he within.
 15    Is he dispatch'd?

       First Murderer
                                  My lord, his throat is cut;
 16    That I did for him.

       MACBETH
                                     Thou art the best o' the cut-throats,
 17    Yet he's good that did the like for Fleance.
 18    If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.

       First Murderer
 19    Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scaped.

       MACBETH
 20    Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect,
 21    Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
 22    As broad and general as the casing air:
 23    But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in
 24    To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo's safe?

       First Murderer
 25    Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,
 26    With twenty trenched gashes on his head;
 27    The least a death to nature.

       MACBETH
                                                    Thanks for that:
 28    There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled
 29    Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
 30    No teeth for the present. Get thee gone; to-morrow
 31    We'll hear, ourselves, again.

            Exit Murderer.

       LADY MACBETH
                                                          My royal lord,
 32    You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
 33    That is not often vouch'd, while 'tis a-making,
 34    'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
 35    From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
 36    Meeting were bare without it.

            Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO and sits
            in Macbeth's place.

       MACBETH
                                                        Sweet remembrancer!
 37    Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
 38    And health on both!

       LENNOX
                                    May't please your highness sit.

       MACBETH
 39    Here had we now our country's honour roof'd,
 40    Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
 41    Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
 42    Than pity for mischance!

       ROSS
                                                His absence, sir,
 43    Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your highness
 44    To grace us with your royal company?

       MACBETH
 45    The table's full.

       LENNOX
                                    Here is a place reserved, sir.

       MACBETH
 46    Where?

       LENNOX
 47    Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your Highness?

       MACBETH
 48    Which of you have done this?

       Lords
                                                  What, my good lord?

       MACBETH
 49    Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
 50    Thy gory locks at me.

       ROSS
 51    Gentlemen, rise; his highness is not well.

       LADY MACBETH
 52    Sit, worthy friends; my lord is often thus,
 53    And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
 54    The fit is momentary; upon a thought
 55    He will again be well. If much you note him,
 56    You shall offend him and extend his passion.
 57    Feed, and regard him not. — Are you a man?

       MACBETH
 58    Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
 59    Which might appall the devil.

       LADY MACBETH
                                                      O proper stuff!
 60    This is the very painting of your fear:
 61    This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,
 62    Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
 63    (Impostors to true fear) would well become
 64    A woman's story at a winter's fire,
 65    Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
 66    Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
 67    You look but on a stool.

       MACBETH
                                          Prithee, see there!
 68    Behold! look! lo! how say you?
 69    Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
 70    If charnel-houses and our graves must send
 71    Those that we bury back, our monuments
 72    Shall be the maws of kites.

            [Exit GHOST.]

       LADY MACBETH
                                                What, quite unmann'd in folly?

       MACBETH
 73    If I stand here, I saw him.

       LADY MACBETH
                                              Fie, for shame!

       MACBETH
 74    Blood hath been shed ere now, i' th' olden time,
 75    Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
 76    Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd
 77    Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,
 78    That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
 79    And there an end, but now they rise again,
 80    With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
 81    And push us from our stools: this is more strange
 82    Than such a murder is.

       LADY MACBETH
                                          My worthy lord,
 83    Your noble friends do lack you.

       MACBETH
                                          I do forget.
 84    Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends,
 85    I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
 86    To those that know me. Come, love and health to all;
 87    Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine; fill full.
 88    I drink to the general joy o' the whole table,
 89    And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;
 90    Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst,
 91    And all to all.

       Lords
                              Our duties, and the pledge.

            Enter GHOST.

       MACBETH
 92    Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee!
 93    Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
 94    Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
 95    Which thou dost glare with!

       LADY MACBETH
                                                  Think of this, good peers,
 96    But as a thing of custom: 'tis no other;
 97    Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

       MACBETH
 98    What man dare, I dare.
 99    Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
100    The arm'd rhinoceros, or th' Hyrcan tiger;
101    Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
102    Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,
103    And dare me to the desert with thy sword;
104    If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
105    The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
106    Unreal mockery, hence!

            [Exit Ghost.]

                                       Why, so: being gone,
107   I am a man again. Pray you, sit still.

       LADY MACBETH
108    You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
109    With most admired disorder.

       MACBETH
                                                    Can such things be,
110    And overcome us like a summer's cloud,
111    Without our special wonder? You make me strange
112    Even to the disposition that I owe,
113    When now I think you can behold such sights,
114    And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,
115    When mine is blanched with fear.

       ROSS
                                                            What sights, my lord?

       LADY MACBETH
116    I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;
117    Question enrages him. At once, good night:
118    Stand not upon the order of your going,
119    But go at once.

       LENNOX
                            Good night; and better health
130    Attend his majesty!

       LADY MACBETH
                                      A kind good night to all!

            Exeunt Lords [and all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth].

       MACBETH
121    It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood.
122    Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
123    Augurs and understood relations have
124    By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
125    The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?

       LADY MACBETH
126    Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

       MACBETH
127    How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person
128    At our great bidding?

       LADY MACBETH
                                        Did you send to him, sir?

       MACBETH
129    I hear it by the way; but I will send.
130    There's not a one of them but in his house
131    I keep a servant fee'd. I will to-morrow,
132    And betimes I will, to the weird sisters:
133    More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
134    By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
135    All causes shall give way: I am in blood
136    Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
137    Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
138    Strange things I have in head, that will to hand;
139    Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd.

       LADY MACBETH
140    You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

       MACBETH
141    Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
142    Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:
143    We are yet but young in deed.

            Exeunt.