by William Shakespeare

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ACT II - Scene III

The same.

Enter a Porter. Knocking within.

Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of Hell
Gate, he should have old turning the key. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of Belzebub? Here's
a farmer that hanged himself on th' expectation of plenty. Come
in time! Have napkins enow about you; here you'll sweat for't.
[Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Who's there, in th' other
devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator that could 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.] Knock, 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. [Knocking within.] Knock, 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 some of
all professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting
bonfire. [Knocking within.] Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the

Opens the gate.

Enter Macduff and Lennox.

Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
That you do lie so late?

Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock; and
drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

What three things does drink especially provoke?

Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir,
it provokes and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes
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 not stand to; in conclusion,
equivocates him in a sleep, and giving him the lie, leaves him.

I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.

That it did, sir, i' the very throat on me; but requited
him for his lie, and, I think, being too strong for him, though
he took up my legs sometime, yet I made shift to cast him.

Is thy master stirring?

Enter Macbeth.

Our knocking has awaked him; here he comes.

Good morrow, noble sir.

Good morrow, both.

Is the King stirring, worthy Thane?

Not yet.

He did command me to call timely on him;
I have almost slipp'd the hour.

I'll bring you to him.

I know this is a joyful trouble to you,
But yet 'tis one.

The labor we delight in physics pain.
This is the door.

I'll make so bold to call,
For 'tis my limited service.


Goes the King hence today?

He does; he did appoint so.

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,
And prophesying with accents terrible
Of dire combustion and confused events
New hatch'd to the woeful time. The obscure bird
Clamor'd the livelong night. Some say the earth
Was feverous and did shake.

'Twas a rough night.

My young remembrance cannot parallel
A fellow to it.

Re-enter Macduff.

O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee.

What's the matter?

Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.
Most sacrilegious murther hath broke ope
The Lord's anointed temple and stole thence
The life o' the building.

What is't you say? the life?

Mean you his Majesty?

Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak;
See, and then speak yourselves.

Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox.

Awake, awake!
Ring the alarum bell. Murther and treason!
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm, awake!
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.

Bell rings.

Enter Lady Macbeth.

What's the business,
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!

O gentle lady,
'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
The repetition in a woman's ear
Would murther as it fell.

Enter Banquo.

O Banquo, Banquo!
Our royal master's murther'd.

Woe, alas!
What, in our house?

Too cruel anywhere.
Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
And say it is not so.

Re-enter Macbeth and Lennox, with Ross.

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

Enter Malcolm and Donalbain.

What is amiss?

You are, and do not know't.
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
Is stopped, the very source of it is stopp'd.

Your royal father's murther'd.

O, by whom?

Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done't.
Their hands and faces were all badged with blood;
So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
Upon their pillows.
They stared, and were distracted; no man's life
Was to be trusted with them.

O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
That I did kill them.

Wherefore did you so?

Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.
The expedition of my violent love
Outrun the pauser reason. Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood,
And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature
For ruin's wasteful entrance; there, the murtherers,
Steep'd in the colors of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breech'd with gore. Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make 's love known?

Help me hence, ho!

Look to the lady.

[Aside to Donalbain.] Why do we hold our tongues,
That most may claim this argument for ours?

[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.

[Aside to Donalbain.] Nor our strong sorrow
Upon the foot of motion.

Look to the lady.

Lady Macbeth is carried out.

And when we have our naked frailties hid,
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 pretense I fight
Of treasonous malice.

And so do I.

So all.

Let's briefly put on manly readiness
And meet i' the hall together.

Well contented.

Exeunt all but Malcolm and Donalbain.

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.

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.

This murtherous shaft that's shot
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.


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