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    Act 3. Scene IV

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    Chapter 15
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    SCENE IV. The same. Hall in the palace.

    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.

    MACBETH
    Where?

    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.

    Exeunt
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    Chapter 15
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