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The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act II, Scene 3

The same.


[Knocking within. Enter a Porter]

  • Porter. Here's a knocking indeed! If a
    man were porter of hell-gate, he should have
    old turning the key.
    [Knocking within] 750
    knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of
    Beelzebub? Here's a farmer, that hanged
    himself on the expectation of plenty: come in
    time; have napkins enow about you; here 755
    you'll sweat for't.
    [Knocking within]
    knock! Who's there, in the other devil's
    name? Faith, here's an equivocator, that could 760
    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 within] 765
    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. 770
    [Knocking within]
    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 775
    some of all professions that go the primrose
    way to the everlasting bonfire.
    [Knocking within]
    Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter.

[Opens the gate]


  • Macduff. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
    That you do lie so late?
  • Porter. 'Faith sir, we were carousing till the
    second cock: and drink, sir, is a great 785
    provoker of three things.
  • Macduff. What three things does drink especially provoke?
  • Porter. Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and
    urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes;
    it provokes the desire, but it takes 790
    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 795
    not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him
    in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.
  • Macduff. I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.
  • Porter. That it did, sir, i' the very throat on
    me: but I requited him for his lie; and, I 800
    think, being too strong for him, though he took
    up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast
  • Macduff. Is thy master stirring?
    [Enter MACBETH] 805
    Our knocking has awaked him; here he comes.
  • Lennox. Good morrow, noble sir.
  • Macduff. Is the king stirring, worthy thane?
  • Macduff. He did command me to call timely on him:
    I have almost slipp'd the hour.
  • Macduff. I know this is a joyful trouble to you;
    But yet 'tis one. 815
  • Macbeth. The labour we delight in physics pain.
    This is the door.
  • Macduff. I'll make so bold to call,
    For 'tis my limited service.


  • Lennox. Goes the king hence to-day?
  • Macbeth. He does: he did appoint so.
  • Lennox. 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, 825
    And prophesying with accents terrible
    Of dire combustion and confused events
    New hatch'd to the woeful time: the obscure bird
    Clamour'd the livelong night: some say, the earth
    Was feverous and did shake. 830
  • Lennox. My young remembrance cannot parallel
    A fellow to it.

[Re-enter MACDUFF]

  • Macduff. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart 835
    Cannot conceive nor name thee!
  • Macbeth. [with Lennox] What's the matter.
  • Macduff. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
    Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
    The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 840
    The life o' the building!
  • Macbeth. What is 't you say? the life?
  • Lennox. Mean you his majesty?
  • Macduff. Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
    With a new Gorgon: do not bid me speak; 845
    See, and then speak yourselves.
    [Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX]
    Awake, awake!
    Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason!
    Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake! 850
    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! Ring the bell. 855

[Bell rings]


  • Lady Macbeth. What's the business,
    That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
    The sleepers of the house? speak, speak! 860
  • Macduff. 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.
    [Enter BANQUO] 865
    O Banquo, Banquo,
    Our royal master 's murder'd!
  • Banquo. Too cruel any where. 870
    Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
    And say it is not so.

[Re-enter MACBETH and LENNOX, with ROSS]

  • Macbeth. Had I but died an hour before this chance,
    I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, 875
    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.


  • Macbeth. 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.
  • Macduff. Your royal father 's murder'd. 885
  • Lennox. Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done 't:
    Their hands and faces were an badged with blood;
    So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
    Upon their pillows: 890
    They stared, and were distracted; no man's life
    Was to be trusted with them.
  • Macbeth. O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
    That I did kill them.
  • Macbeth. Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
    Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:
    The expedition my violent love
    Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
    His silver skin laced with his golden blood; 900
    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 905
    Courage to make 's love known?
  • Malcolm. [Aside to DONALBAIN] Why do we hold our tongues,
    That most may claim this argument for ours? 910
  • Donalbain. [Aside to MALCOLM] 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. 915
  • Malcolm. [Aside to DONALBAIN] Nor our strong sorrow
    Upon the foot of motion.
  • Banquo. Look to the lady:
    [LADY MACBETH is carried out]
    And when we have our naked frailties hid, 920
    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 undivulged pretence I fight 925
    Of treasonous malice.
  • Macbeth. Let's briefly put on manly readiness,
    And meet i' the hall together. 930
  • All. Well contented.

[Exeunt all but Malcolm and Donalbain.]

  • Malcolm. 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. 935
  • Donalbain. 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.
  • Malcolm. This murderous shaft that's shot 940
    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. 945