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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene VII

Act I

[Corridor in Macbeth’s castle]
Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers Servants with dishes and service, over the stage. Then enter MACBETH

Macb.If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere wellIt were done quickly. If the assassinationCould trammel up the consequence, and catchWith his surcease success; that but this blowMight be the be-all and the end-all here,But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,We’d jump the life to come. But in these casesWe still have judgement here, that we but teachBloody instructions, which, being taught, returnTo plague the inventor. This even-handed justiceCommends the ingredients of our poison’d chaliceTo our own lips. He’s here in double trust:First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,Who should against his murderer shut the door,Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this DuncanHath borne his faculties so meek, hath beenSo clear in his great office, that his virtuesWill plead like angels, trumpet-tongu’d, againstThe deep damnation of his taking-off;And pity, like a naked new-born babeStriding the blast, or heaven’s cherubin hors’dUpon the sightless couriers of the air,Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spurTo prick the sides of my intent, but onlyVaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itselfAnd falls on the other—

How now! what news?

Lady M.He has almost supp’d. Why have you left the chamber?Macb.Hath he ask’d for me?Lady M.Know you not he has?Macb.We will proceed no further in this business.He hath honour’d me of late; and I have boughtGolden opinions from all sorts of people,Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,Not cast aside so soon.Lady M.Was the hope drunkWherein you dress’d yourself? Hath it slept since?And wakes it now, to look so green and paleAt what it did so freely? From this timeSuch I account thy love. Art thou afeardTo be the same in thine own act and valourAs thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have thatWhich thou esteem’st the ornament of life,And live a coward in thine own esteem,Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”Like the poor cat i’ the adage?Macb.Prithee, peace!I dare do all that may become a man;Who dares do more is none.Lady M.What beast was’t, then,That made you break this enterprise to me?When you durst do it, then you were a man;And, to be more than what you were, you wouldBe so much more the man. Nor time nor placeDid then adhere, and yet you would make both.They have made themselves, and that their fitness nowDoes unmake you. I have given suck, and knowHow tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me;I would, while it was smiling in my face,Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gumsAnd dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as youHave done to this.Macb.If we should fail?Lady M.We fail!But screw your courage to the sticking-place,And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep—Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journeySoundly invite him—his two chamberlainsWill I with wine and wassail so convinceThat memory, the warder of the brain,Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reasonA limbeck only. When in swinish sleepTheir drenched natures lie as in a death,What cannot you and I perform uponThe unguarded Duncan? what not put uponHis spongy officers, who shall bear the guiltOf our great quell?Macb.Bring forth men-children only;For thy undaunted mettle should composeNothing but males. Will it not be receiv’d,When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy twoOf his own chamber, and us’d their very daggers,That they have done ’t?Lady M.Who dares receive it other,As we shall make our griefs and clamour roarUpon his death?Macb.I am settled, and bend upEach corporal agent to this terrible feat.Away, and mock the time with fairest show;False face must hide what the false heart doth know.Exeunt.