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.
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: 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.
[Re-enter GHOST OF BANQUO]
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.