To plague the inventor: this a even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To 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 Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongu'd, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin, hors'd
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind.—I have no spur
To prick the sides of my Intent, but only
Vaulting Ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
And falls on the other.—b


How now! what news ?
LADY M. He has almost supp'd. Why have you left the chamber?
MacB. Hath he ask'd for me?

Know you not he has ?
MACB. We will proceed no further in this business :
He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since ?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time,
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour,
As thou art in desire ? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,

1- this even-handed justice-] Mason suggested that we might more advantageously round, -" Thus even-handed justice.”

- I have no spur
To prick the sides of my Intent, but only
Vaulting Ambition, which o'erleaps itself,

And falls on the other.--] Malone's exposition of this troublesome passage is as follows,-"I apprehend that there is not here one long-drawn metaphor, but two distinct ones; I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent: I have nothing to stimulate me to the execution of my purpose but ambition, which is apt to overreach itself; this he expresses by the second image, of a person meaning to vault into his saddle, who, by taking too great a leap, will fall on the other side." This does not assist us much ; still less does the fanciful suggestion to read for “itselfits sell, i.e. its saddle. The only resolution of the enigma which presents itself to our mind is to suppose Intent and Ambition are represented in Macbeth's disordered imagination by two steeds, the one lacking all incentive to motion, the other so impulsive that it overreaches itself and falls on its companion.


And live a coward in thine own esteem;
Letting I dare not wait upon I would,
Like the poor cat i' the adage.a

Prythee, peace:
I dare do all that may become a mån;
Who dares do* more, is none.

What beastb 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 would
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender 't is to love the babe that milks me;
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn
As you have done to this.

If we should fail ?

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 journey
Soundly invite him) his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince, a
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipte of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded Duncan ? what not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?

Bring forth men-children only!
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be receiv'd,


(*) Old text, no. * Like the poor cat i' the adage. Catus amat pisces, sed non vult tingere plantas; or, as it is rendered in Heywood's Proverbs, 1566,-“The cat would eate fishe, and vould not wet her feete.*,b What beast was 't then, &c.] As Mr. Collier, in deference to critical opinion, has rejected from his latest edition of the poet the preposterous substitution boast for “beast” in this line, we are spared the necessity of citing a host of passages collected for the purpose of substantiating the original reading. cthe sticking place,-) The abiding place,

“ Which flower out of my hand shall never passe,
But in my heart shall have a sticking place.

The Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions. The metaphor may have been taken from the screwing up the chords of a musical instrument, d – so convince,-) So subdue or overpower.

receipt of reason-] Receptacle of reason,

When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber, and us'd their very daggers,
That they have done 't?

Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
Upon his death?

MACB. I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know


SCENE I.-Inverness. Court of Macbeth's Castle.

Enter BANQUO and FLEANCE, with a torch.
Ban. How goes the night, boy?
FLE. The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.
Ban. And she goes down at twelve.

I take ’t, 't is later, sir.
Ban. Hold, take my sword :—there's husbandry in heaven,
Their candles are all out.- Take thee that too.
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not sleep :-Merciful powers,
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
Gives way to in repose !–Give me my sword, - .!
Who's there?

Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch.
MACB. A friend.

Ban. What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's a-bed :
He hath been in unusual pleasure,
And sent forth great largess to your officers : *
This diamond he greets your wife withal,
By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up
In measureless content.a .

Being unprepard,
Our will became the servant to defect;
Which else should free have wrought.

All's well.-
I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters :
To you they have show'd some truth.

(*) Old text, offices

and shut us

In measureless content.) Shut up, meant finished, concluded.



I think not of them ;
Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
We would spend it in some words upon that business,
If you would grant the time.

At your kind'st leisure.
MACB. If you shall cleave to my consent,—when 't is,
It shall make honour for you.

So I lose none,
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchis'd, and allegiance clear,
I shall be counsell’d.

Good repose, the while!
Ban. Thanks, sir; the like to you! [Exeunt BANQUO and FLEANCE.
MACB. Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.-

[Exit Servant. Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand ? Come, let me clutch thee:I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a 'false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going; And such an instrument I was to use. Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, Or else worth all the rest :- I see thee still ; And on thy blade and dudgeon' gouts of blood, Which was not so before.—There's no such thing; It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes.—Now o'er the one-half world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep;c Witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd Murder, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides,d towards his design

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If you shall cleave to my consent,—when 't is,

It shall make honour for you.] This passage, we apprehend, has suffered some mutilation or corruption since it left the poet's hands. It seems impracticable to obtain a consistent meaning from the lines as they now stand.

b - dudgeon-] The wooden haft or handle of a dagger.

c The curtain'd sleep; Witchcraft celebrates, &c.] To perfect the measure, D'Avenant reads, “ --now witchcraft celebrates," &c.; but Steevens' emendation, “The curtain'd sleeper ;" &c. is more generally adopted.

d With Tarquin's ravishing strides,-) It is painful to reflect, that, with the exception of " Pericles," and “All's Well that Ends Well,” this sublime drama is more carelessly printed in the only old edition of it we possess, than any other in the collection; there are probably not thirty consecutive lines throughout which have come down to us as the poet wrote them.' In the line above, the folio reads sides, and this, which was corrected by Pope, it may be suspected is not the only error. “Tarquin's ravishing strides," reads very like a transposition of " Ravishing Tarquin's strides."

Moves like a ghost. Thou sure * and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they t walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my where-about,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives : 60.
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives. [A bell is struck.
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan ; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell!

Enter LADY MACBETT sene 1 aed
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 grooms do 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. [Within.) Who's there?-what, ho!

LADY M. Alack! I am afraid they have awak'd,
And 't is not done :—the attempt, and not the deed,
Confounds us.—Hark!-I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss 'em.-Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done 't-My husband !

Re-enter MACBETH.
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?


As I descended ?

MACB. Hark!-
Who lies i’ the second chamber?

Donalbain. 20
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 them again 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.


(*) Old text, sowre.

(+) Old text, which they may."

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