The Tragedy of Macbeth/Act II
ACT II. 
SCENE I. Inverness. Court within the castle. 
[Enter Banquo, preceded by Fleance with a torch.]
- How goes the night, boy?
- The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.
- And she goes down at twelve.
- I take't, 'tis later, sir.
- Hold, take my sword.—There's husbandry in heaven;
- 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.
- Who's there?
[Enter Macbeth, and a Servant with a torch.]
- A friend.
- What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's a-bed:
- He hath been in unusual pleasure and
- Sent forth great largess to your officers:
- This diamond he greets your wife withal,
- By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up
- In measureless content.
- Being unprepar'd,
- Our will became the servant to defect;
- Which else should free have wrought.
- All's well.
- I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
- To you they have show'd some truth.
- I think not of them:
- Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
- We would spend it in some words upon that business,
- If you would grant the time.
- At your kind'st leisure.
- If you shall cleave to my consent,—when 'tis,
- It shall make honor for you.
- So I lose none
- In seeking to augment it, but still keep
- My bosom franchis'd, and allegiance clear,
- I shall be counsell'd.
- Good repose the while!
- Thanks, sir: the like to you!
[Exeunt Banquo and Fleance.]
- Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
- She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
- Is this a dagger which I see before me,
- The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:—
- 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 marshall'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 gouts of blood,
- Which was not so before.—There's no such thing:
- 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 curtain'd sleep; now witchcraft celebrates
- Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd murder,
- Alarum'd 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 whereabout,
- 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.
SCENE II. The same. 
[Enter Lady Macbeth.]
- That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold:
- What hath quench'd them hath given me fire.—Hark!—
- It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
- Which gives the stern'st good night. He is about it:
- The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
- Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd their possets
- That death and nature do contend about them,
- Whether they live or die.
- [Within.] Who's there?—what, ho!
- Alack! I am afraid they have awak'd,
- And 'tis not done: the attempt, and not the deed,
- Confounds us.—Hark!—I laid their daggers ready;
- He could not miss 'em.—Had he not resembled
- My father as he slept, I had done't.—My husband!
- I have done the deed.—Didst thou not hear a noise?
- I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
- Did not you speak?
- As I descended?
- Who lies i' the second chamber?
- This is a sorry sight.
[Looking on his hands.]
- A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
- There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried, "Murder!"
- That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them:
- But they did say their prayers, and address'd them
- Again to sleep.
- There are two lodg'd together.
- One cried, "God bless us!" and, "Amen," the other;
- As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
- Listening their fear, I could not say "Amen,"
- When they did say, "God bless us."
- Consider it not so deeply.
- But wherefore could not I pronounce "Amen"?
- I had most need of blessing, and "Amen"
- Stuck in my throat.
- These deeds must not be thought
- After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
- Methought I heard a voice cry, "Sleep no more!
- Macbeth does murder sleep,"—the innocent sleep;
- Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
- The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
- Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
- Chief nourisher in life's feast.
- What do you mean?
- Still it cried, "Sleep no more!" to all the house:
- "Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor
- Shall sleep no more,—Macbeth shall sleep no more!"
- 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.
- 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,
- I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
- For it must seem their guilt.
[Exit. Knocking within.]
- Whence is that knocking?
- How is't with me, when every noise appals me?
- What hands are here? Ha, they pluck out mine eyes!
- Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
- Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
- The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
- Making the green one red.
[Re-enter Lady Macbeth.]
- My hands are of your colour, but I shame
- To wear a heart so white. [Knocking within.] I hear knocking
- At the south entry:—retire we to our chamber.
- A little water clears us of this deed:
- How easy is it then! Your constancy
- Hath left you unattended.—[Knocking within.] Hark, more
- Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us
- And show us to be watchers:—be not lost
- So poorly in your thoughts.
- To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself. [Knocking within.]
- Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!
SCENE III. The same. 
[Enter a Porter. Knocking within.]
- Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he
- should have old turning the key. [Knocking.] Knock, knock, knock.
- Who's there, i' the name of Belzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged
- himself on the expectation of plenty: come in time; have napkins
- enow about you; here you'll sweat for't.—[Knocking.] Knock,
- knock! Who's there, in the other devil's name? Faith, here's an
- equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either
- scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not
- equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator. [Knocking.] Knock,
- knock, knock! Who's there? Faith, here's an English tailor come
- hither, for stealing out of a French hose: come in, tailor; here
- you may roast your goose.— [Knocking.] Knock, knock: never at
- quiet! What are you?—But this place is too cold for hell.
- I'll devil-porter it no further: I had thought to have let in
- some of all professions, that go the primrose way to the
- everlasting bonfire. [Knocking.] Anon, anon! I pray you, remember
- the porter.
[Opens the gate.]
[Enter Macduff and Lennox.]
- Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
- That you do lie so late?
- Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock: and
- drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.
- What three things does drink especially provoke?
- Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir,
- it provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it
- takes away the performance: therefore much drink may be said to
- be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it
- sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and
- disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to: in
- conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and giving him the lie,
- leaves him.
- I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.
- That it did, sir, i' the very throat o' me; but I requited
- him for his lie; and, I think, being too strong for him,
- though he took up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast
- Is thy master stirring?—
- Our knocking has awak'd him; here he comes.
- Good morrow, noble sir!
- Good morrow, both!
- Is the king stirring, worthy thane?
- Not yet.
- He did command me to call timely on him:
- I have almost slipp'd the hour.
- I'll bring you to him.
- I know this is a joyful trouble to you;
- But yet 'tis one.
- The labour we delight in physics pain.
- This is the door.
- I'll make so bold to call.
- For 'tis my limited service.
- Goes the king hence to-day?
- He does: he did appoint so.
- The night has been unruly: where we lay,
- Our chimneys were blown down: and, as they say,
- Lamentings heard i' the air, strange screams of death;
- And prophesying, with accents terrible,
- Of dire combustion and confus'd events,
- New hatch'd to the woeful time: the obscure bird
- Clamour'd the live-long night; some say the earth
- Was feverous, and did shake.
- 'Twas a rough night.
- My young remembrance cannot parallel
- A fellow to it.
- O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
- Cannot conceive nor name thee!
- What's the matter?
- Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
- Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
- The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence
- The life o' the building.
- What is't you say? the life?
- Mean you his majesty?
- Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
- With a new Gorgon:—do not bid me speak;
- See, and then speak yourselves.
[Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox.]
- Ring the alarum bell:—murder and treason!
- Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake!
- Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
- And look on death itself! up, up, and see
- The great doom's image! Malcolm! Banquo!
- As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites
- To countenance this horror!
[Re-enter Lady Macbeth.]
- What's the business,
- That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
- The sleepers of the house? speak, speak!
- O gentle lady,
- 'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
- The repetition, in a woman's ear,
- Would murder as it fell.
O Banquo, Banquo!
- Our royal master's murder'd!
- Woe, alas!
- What, in our house?
- Too cruel any where.—
- Dear Duff, I pr'ythee, contradict thyself,
- And say it is not so.
[Re-enter Macbeth and Lennox, with Ross.]
- Had I but died an hour before this chance,
- I had liv'd a blessed time; for, from this instant
- There's nothing serious in mortality:
- All is but toys: renown and grace is dead;
- The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
- Is left this vault to brag of.
[Enter Malcolm and Donalbain.]
- What is amiss?
- You are, and do not know't:
- The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
- Is stopp'd; the very source of it is stopp'd.
- Your royal father's murder'd.
- O, by whom?
- Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done't:
- Their hands and faces were all badg'd with blood;
- So were their daggers, which, unwip'd, we found
- Upon their pillows:
- They star'd, and were distracted; no man's life
- Was to be trusted with them.
- O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
- That I did kill them.
- Wherefore did you so?
- Who can be wise, amaz'd, temperate, and furious,
- Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:
- The expedition of my violent love
- Outrun the pauser reason. Here lay Duncan,
- His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood;
- And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature
- For ruin's wasteful entrance: there, the murderers,
- Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers
- Unmannerly breech'd with gore: who could refrain,
- That had a heart to love, and in that heart
- Courage to make's love known?
- Help me hence, ho!
- Look to the lady.
- Why do we hold our tongues,
- That most may claim this argument for ours?
- What should be spoken here, where our fate,
- Hid in an auger hole, may rush, and seize us?
- Let's away;
- Our tears are not yet brew'd.
- Nor our strong sorrow
- Upon the foot of motion.
- Look to the lady:—
[Lady Macbeth is carried out.]
And when we have our naked frailties hid,
- That suffer in exposure, let us meet,
- And question this most bloody piece of work
- To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us:
- In the great hand of God I stand; and thence,
- Against the undivulg'd pretense I fight
- Of treasonous malice.
- And so do I.
- So all.
- Let's briefly put on manly readiness,
- And meet i' the hall together.
- Well contented.
[Exeunt all but Malcolm and Donalbain.]
- What will you do? Let's not consort with them:
- To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
- Which the false man does easy. I'll to England.
- To Ireland, I; our separated fortune
- Shall keep us both the safer: where we are,
- There's daggers in men's smiles: the near in blood,
- The nearer bloody.
- This murderous shaft that's shot
- Hath not yet lighted; and our safest way
- Is to avoid the aim. Therefore to horse;
- And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
- But shift away: there's warrant in that theft
- Which steals itself, when there's no mercy left.
SCENE IV. Outside Macbeth's castle. 
[Enter Ross and an old Man.]
- Threescore and ten I can remember well:
- Within the volume of which time I have seen
- Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night
- Hath trifled former knowings.
- Ah, good father,
- Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act,
- Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock 'tis day,
- And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp;
- Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame,
- That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
- When living light should kiss it?
- 'Tis unnatural,
- Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last,
- A falcon, towering in her pride of place,
- Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd.
- And Duncan's horses,—a thing most strange and certain,—
- Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
- Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
- Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make
- War with mankind.
- 'Tis said they eat each other.
- They did so; to the amazement of mine eyes,
- That look'd upon't.
- Here comes the good Macduff.
- How goes the world, sir, now?
- Why, see you not?
- Is't known who did this more than bloody deed?
- Those that Macbeth hath slain.
- Alas, the day!
- What good could they pretend?
- They were suborn'd:
- Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's two sons,
- Are stol'n away and fled; which puts upon them
- Suspicion of the deed.
- 'Gainst nature still:
- Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up
- Thine own life's means!—Then 'tis most like,
- The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.
- He is already nam'd; and gone to Scone
- To be invested.
- Where is Duncan's body?
- Carried to Colme-kill,
- The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
- And guardian of their bones.
- Will you to Scone?
- No, cousin, I'll to Fife.
- Well, I will thither.
- Well, may you see things well done there,—adieu!—
- Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!
- Farewell, father.
- God's benison go with you; and with those
- That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!