Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Macbeth > Act III, scene IV

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	[A banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH,
	ROSS, LENNOX, Lords, and Attendants]

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,
	And 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.

	[First Murderer appears at the door]

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

	[Approaching the door]

	There's blood on thy face.

First Murderer: 'Tis Banquo's then.

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

First Murderer: My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.

MACBETH: Thou art the best o' the cut-throats: yet he's good
	That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,
	Thou art the nonpareil.

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

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

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

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

	[Exit Murderer]

LADY MACBETH: My royal lord,
	You do not give the cheer: the feast is sold
	That is not often vouch'd, 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.

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

LENNOX: May't please your highness sit.

	[The GHOST OF BANQUO enters, and sits in
	MACBETH's place]

MACBETH: Here had we now our country's honour roof'd,
	Were 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
	To grace us with your royal company.

MACBETH: The table's full.

LENNOX:                   Here is a place reserved, sir.


LENNOX: Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your highness?

MACBETH: Which of you have done this?

Lords: What, my good lord?

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

ROSS: Gentlemen, rise: his highness is not well.

LADY MACBETH: 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,
	You shall offend him and extend his passion:
	Feed, and regard him not. Are you a man?

MACBETH: Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
	Which might appal the devil.

LADY MACBETH: O proper stuff!
	This is the very painting of your fear:
	This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,
	Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
	Impostors to true fear, would well become
	A woman's story at a winter's fire,
	Authorized 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?
	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.

	[GHOST OF BANQUO vanishes]

LADY MACBETH: What, quite unmann'd in folly?

MACBETH: If I stand here, I saw him.

LADY MACBETH: Fie, for shame!

MACBETH: Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time,
	Ere human statute purged the gentle weal;
	Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd
	Too terrible for the ear: the times have 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
	Than 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,
	I 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.
	I drink to the general joy o' the whole table,
	And 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: Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee!
	Thy 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;
	Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

MACBETH: What man dare, I dare:
	Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
	The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
	Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
	Shall 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 mockery, hence!

	[GHOST OF BANQUO vanishes]

		 Why, so: being gone,
	I 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,
	Without 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.

ROSS: What sights, my lord?

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

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

LADY MACBETH: A kind good night to all!

	[Exeunt all but MACBETH and LADY MACBETH]

MACBETH: It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood:
	Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
	Augurs and understood relations have
	By magot-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.

MACBETH: 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
	I keep a servant fee'd. I will to-morrow,
	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
	Stepp'd 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 scann'd.

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

MACBETH: 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.



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