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The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act III, Scene 2

The palace.


[Enter LADY MACBETH and a Servant]

  • Servant. Ay, madam, but returns again to-night.
  • Lady Macbeth. Say to the king, I would attend his leisure 1170
    For a few words.


  • Lady Macbeth. Nought's had, all's spent,
    Where our desire is got without content: 1175
    'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
    Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
    [Enter MACBETH]
    How now, my lord! why do you keep alone,
    Of sorriest fancies your companions making, 1180
    Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
    With them they think on? Things without all remedy
    Should be without regard: what's done is done.
  • Macbeth. We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it:
    She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice 1185
    Remains in danger of her former tooth.
    But let the frame of things disjoint, both the
    worlds suffer,
    Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep
    In the affliction of these terrible dreams 1190
    That shake us nightly: better be with the dead,
    Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
    Than on the torture of the mind to lie
    In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
    After life's fitful fever he sleeps well; 1195
    Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
    Can touch him further.
  • Lady Macbeth. Come on;
    Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks; 1200
    Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night.
  • Macbeth. So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you:
    Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;
    Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
    Unsafe the while, that we 1205
    Must lave our honours in these flattering streams,
    And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
    Disguising what they are.
  • Macbeth. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! 1210
    Thou know'st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.
  • Macbeth. There's comfort yet; they are assailable;
    Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
    His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons 1215
    The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
  • Macbeth. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, 1220
    Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
    Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
    And with thy bloody and invisible hand
    Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
    Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow 1225
    Makes wing to the rooky wood:
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
    While night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
    Thou marvell'st at my words: but hold thee still;
    Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. 1230
    So, prithee, go with me.