Act 3, Scene 4

  1. A room in the Palace.

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

  3. MACBETH:

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

  4. LORDS:

    Thanks to you majesty.

  5. MACBETH:

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

  6. LADY MACBETH:

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

  7. Enter FIRST MURDERER at the door.

  8. MACBETH:

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

  9. Goes to the door.

  10. There's blood on thy face.

  11. FIRST MURDERER:

    'Tis Banquo's then.

  12. MACBETH:

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

  13. FIRST MURDERER:

    My lord, his throat is cut; [15]
    That I did for him.

  14. 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.

  15. FIRST MURDERER:

    Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scaped.

  16. MACBETH:

    Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect, [20]
    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?

  17. FIRST MURDERER:

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

  18. 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 [30]
    We'll hear ourselves again.

  19. Exit MURDERER.

  20. 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; [35]
    Meeting were bare without it.

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

  22. MACBETH:

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

  23. LENNOX:

    May't please your highness sit.

  24. MACBETH:

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

  25. ROSS:

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

  26. MACBETH:

    The table’s full.

  27. LENNOX:

    Here is a place reserved, sir. [45]

  28. MACBETH:

    Where?

  29. LENNOX:

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

  30. MACBETH:

    Which of you have done this?

  31. LORDS:

    What, my good Lord?

  32. MACBETH:

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

  33. ROSS:

    Gentlemen, rise; his Highness is not well.

  34. 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, [55]
    You shall offend him and extend his passion.
    Feed, and regard him not. — Are you a man?

  35. MACBETH:

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

  36. LADY MACBETH:

    O proper stuff!
    This is the very painting of your fear: [60]
    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,
    Authorised by her grandam. Shame itself! [65]
    Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
    You look but on a stool.

  37. 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 [70]
    Those that we bury back, our monuments
    Shall be the maws of kites.

  38. Exit GHOST.

  39. LADY MACBETH:

    What! Quite unmann’d in folly?

  40. MACBETH:

    If I stand here, I saw him.

  41. LADY MACBETH:

    Fie, for shame!

  42. MACBETH:

    Blood hath been shed ere now, i' th' olden time,
    Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal; [75]
    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, [80]
    And push us from our stools: this is more strange
    Than such a murder is.

  43. LADY MACBETH:

    My worthy Lord,
    Your noble friends do lack you.

  44. MACBETH:

    I do forget.
    Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends,
    I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing [85]
    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, [90]
    And all to all.

  45. LORDS:

    Our duties, and the pledge.

  46. Enter GHOST.

  47. 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!

  48. LADY MACBETH:

    Think of this, good peers, [95]
    But as a thing of custom: 'tis no other;
    Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

  49. MACBETH:

    What man dare, I dare.
    Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
    The arm'd rhinoceros, or th' Hyrcan tiger; [100]
    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! [105]
    Unreal mockery, hence!

  50. Exit Ghost.

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

  52. LADY MACBETH:

    You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
    With most admired disorder.

  53. MACBETH:

    Can such things be,
    And overcome us like a summer's cloud,
    [110]
    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.

  54. ROSS:

    What sights, my lord? [115]

  55. 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.

  56. LENNOX:

    Good night; and better health
    Attend his Majesty!

  57. LADY MACBETH:

    A kind good night to all! [120]

  58. Exeunt LORDS.

  59. 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 maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
    The secret'st man of blood. What is the night? [125]

  60. LADY MACBETH:

    Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

  61. MACBETH:

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

  62. LADY MACBETH:

    Did you send to him?

  63. MACBETH:

    I hear it by the way; but I will send.
    There's not a one of them but in his house [130]
    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 [135]
    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.

  64. LADY MACBETH:

    You lack the season of all natures, sleep. [140]

  65. 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.

  66. Exeunt.