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

Scene II

Act II


Lady M.That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;What hath quench’d them hath given me fire. Hark! Peace!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 groomsDo mock their charge with snores. I have drugg’d their possets,That death and nature do contend about them,Whether they live or die.

Macb.Who’s there? What, ho!Lady M.Alack, I am afraid they have awak’d,And ’tis not done. The attempt and not the deedConfounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;He could not miss ’em. Had he not resembledMy father as he slept, I had done ’t.—My husband!Macb.I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?Lady M.I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.Did not you speak?Macb.When?Lady M.Now.Macb.As I descended?Lady M.Ay.Macb.Hark!Who lies i’ the second chamber?Lady M.Donalbain.Macb.This is a sorry sight.[Looking on his hands.]Lady M.A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.Macb.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 themAgain to sleep.Lady M.There are two lodg’d together.Macb.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!”Lady M.Consider it not so deeply.Macb.But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”?I had most need of blessing, and “Amen”Stuck in my throat.Lady M.These deeds must not be thoughtAfter these ways; so, it will make us mad.Macb.Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbethdoes 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,—Lady M.What do you mean?Macb.Still it cried, “Sleep no more!” to all the house;“Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore CawdorShall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.”Lady M.Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,You do unbend your noble strength, to thinkSo 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 smearThe sleepy grooms with blood.Macb.I’ll go no more.I am afraid to think what I have done;Look on ’t again I dare not.Lady M.Infirm of purpose!Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the deadAre but as pictures; ’tis the eye of childhoodThat 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.Macb.Whence is that knocking?How is ’t with me, when every noise appalls me?What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes.Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this bloodClean from my hand? No, this my hand will ratherThe multitudinous seas incarnadine,Making the green one red.

Lady M.My hands are of your colour; but I shameTo wear a heart so white. (Knocking.) I hear a knockingAt the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.A little water clears us of this deed;How easy is it, then! Your constancyHath left you unattended. (Knocking.) Hark! more knocking.Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call usAnd show us to be watchers. Be not lostSo poorly in your thoughts.Macb.To know my deed, ’t were best not know myself.Knocking.Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!Exeunt.