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I take't, 'tis later, sir. Ban. Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in

Their candles are all out.—Take thee that too.
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers !
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts, that nature
Gives way to in repose.' --Give me my sword ;-

Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch. Who's there?

Macb. A friend.

Ban. What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's abed.
He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
Sent forth great largess to your officers : 2
This diamond he greets your wife withal,
By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up 3
In measureless content.

Being unprepared,
Our will became the servant to defect;
Which else should free have wrought.4

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,

1 It is apparent from what Banquo says afterwards, that he had been solicited in a dream to attempt something in consequence of the prophecy of the witches, that his waking senses were shocked at; and Shakspeare has here most exquisitely contrasted his character with that of Macbeth. Banquo is praying against being tempted to encourage thoughts of guilt even in his sleep; while Macbeth is hurrying into temptation, and revolving in his mind every scheme, however flagitious, that may assist him to complete his purpose. The one is unwilling to sleep, lest the same phantoms should assail his resolution again, while the other is depriving himself of rest through impatience to commit the murder.

2 The old copy reads offices. Officers of a household was the common term for servants.

3 Steevens has explained " to shut up,” by “to conclude," and the examples he has adduced are satisfactory

A Being unprepared, our desire to entertain the king honorably was constrained by defective means, otherwise our zeal should have been manifest by more liberal entertainments.


Would spend it in some words upon that business,
If you would grant the time.

At your kind'st leisure.
Macb. If you shall cleave to my consent,'—when

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 counselled.

Good repose, the while !
Ban. Thanks, sir; the like to you! [Exit Ban.
Macb. Go, bid thy mistress, when my drink is

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

I 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-oppressed brain?
I 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'the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still ;
And on thy blade, and dudgeon, gouts3 of blood,
Which was not so before.— There's no such thing:

1 Consent is accord, agreement, a combination for a particular purpose. By “if you shall cleave to my consent,” Macbeth means, “if you shall adhere to me (i. e. agree or accord with my views), when 'tis (i. e. when events shall fall out as they are predicted), it shall make honor for you." Macbeth mentally refers to the crown which he expected to obtain in consequence of the murder that he was about to commit. We comprehend all that passes in his mind; but Banquo is still in ignorance of it.

2 Dudgeon, for handle ; a dudgeon dagger is a dagger whose handle is made of the root of box."

3 Gouts, drops; from the French gouttes.

It is the bloody business, which informs
Thus to mine eyes.—Now o'er the one half world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtained sleep;1 now witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings; and withered murder,
Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With 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 where-about,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which 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
That summons thee to heaven, or to hell. [Exit.

SCENE II. The same.

Enter LADY MACBETH. Lady M. That which hath made them drunk, hath

made me bold; What hath quenched them, hath given me fire.

Hark !-peace ! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman, Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it : The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms

1 Steevens proposed to substitute the word “sleeper" for "sleep," and to erase the word “now,” in order to render the measure harmonious.

2 The old copy reads sides : Pope made the alteration. Johnson objects to the epithet ravishing strides. But a stride was not always an action of violence, impetuosity, or tumult. Thus in The Faerie Queene, b. iv. c. viii.,

“ With easy steps so soft as foot could stride." 3 Macbeth would have nothing break through the universal silence that added such horror to the night, as well suited with the bloody deed he was about to perform.




Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged

their possets, That death and nature do contend about them, Whether they live or die.

Macb. [Within.) Who's there ? - what, ho!

Lady M. Alack! I am afraid, they have awaked, And 'tis not done ;-the attempt, and not the deed, Confounds us.—Hark !-I laid their daggers ready; He could not miss them.-Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done't.—My husband ?

Enter MACBETH. Macb. I have done the deed.—Didst thou not hear

a noise ? Lady M. I heard the owl scream, and the crickets

cry. Did not you speak ? Macb.

Lady M.


As I descended ? Lady M. Ay.

Macb. Hark !-
Who lies i’ the second chamber?
Lady M.

Macb. This is a sorry sight.

[Looking on his hands. Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. Macb. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one

cried, murder! That they did wake each other; I stood and heard

But they did say their prayers, and addressed them
Again to sleep.

Lady M. There are two lodged together.
Macb. One cried, God bless us! and, amen, the

other; As? they had seen me, with these hangman's hands.

1 As for as if.

Listening their fear," I could not say, amen,
When they did say, God bless us.
Lady M.

Consider it not so deeply.
Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce, amen ?
I had most need of blessing, and amen
Stuck in my throat.

Lady M. These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
Macb. Methought, I heard a voice cry, Sleep no

Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep;
Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleaveof care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast ;-
Lady M.

What do you mean? Macb. Still it cried, Sleep no more! to all the house. Glamis hath murdered sleep; and therefore Cawdor Shall sleep no more-Macbeth shall sleep no more! Lady M. Who was it that thus cried ? Why,

worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things.—Go, get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.-
Why did you bring these daggers from the place ?
They must lie there. Go, carry them; and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.

I'll go no more.
I am afraid to think what I have done ;
Look on't again, I dare not.
Lady M.

Infirm of purpose !
Give me the daggers. The sleeping, and the dead,
Are but as pictures : 'tis the eye of childhood,
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,

1 i. e. listening to their fear; the particle omitted.

2 Sleave is unwrought silk, sometimes, also, called floss silk. It appears to be the coarse, ravelled part separated by passing through the slaie (reed comb) of the weaver's loom; and hence called sleaved or sleided silk. Sleeveless, which has puzzled the etymologists, may be that which cannot be sleaved, sleided, or unravelled; and therefore useless: thus a sleeveless errand would be a fruitless one.

VOL. III. 26

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