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And play the humble host.


Our hostess keeps her state; but, in best time,
We will require her welcome.

Lady M. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends;

For my heart speaks, they are welcome.

Enter first Murderer, to the door.

Macb. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks:

Both sides are even: Here I'll sit i'the midst:
Be large in mirth; anon, we'll drink a measure
The table round.-There's blood upon thy face.
Mur. 'Tis Banquo's then.

Macb. 'Tis better thee without, than he within. Is he despatch'd?

Mur. My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for


Macb. Thou art the best o'the cut-throats: Yet. he's good,

That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,

Thou art the nonpareil.


Fleance is 'scap'd.

Most royal sir,

Macb. Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect;

Whole as the marble, founded as the rock;

As broad, and general, as the casing air:

But now, I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confind'd, bound


To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo's safe? Mur. Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,

1 Our hostess keeps her state; &c.] i. e. continues in her chair of state at the head of the table.

With twenty trenched gashes2 on his head;
The least a death to nature.


Thanks for that:

There the grown serpent lies; the worm, that's fled, Hath nature that in time will venom breed,

No teeth for the present.-Get thee gone; to


We'll hear, ourselves again.


[Exit Murderer. Lady M. My royal lord, You do not give the cheer: the feast is sold,3 That is not often vouch'd, while 'tis a making, 'Tis given with welcome: To feed, were best at


From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony,
Meeting were bare without it.


Sweet remembrancer!

Now, good digestion wait on appetite,

And health on both!


May it please your highness sit? [The Ghost of BANQUO rises, and sits in MACBETH's place.

Macb. Here had we now our country's honour


Were the grac'd person of our Banquo present;
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness,

Than pity for mischance!


Lays blame

His absence, sir,

upon his promise. Please it your high


To grace us with your royal company?



Macb. The table's full.

Len. Here's a place reserv'd, sir.
Macb. Where?

trenched gashes] Trencher, to cut. Fr.

the feast is sold, &c.] The meaning is,-That which is not given cheerfully, cannot be called a gift, it is something that must be paid for.


Here, my lord. What is't that

moves your highness?

Macb. Which of you have done this?


What, my good lord? Macb. Thou cans't not say, I did it: never shake Thy gory locks at me.

Rosse. Gentlemen, rise; his highness is not well. Lady M. Sit, worthy friends:-my lord is often thus,

And hath been from his youth: 'pray you, keep


The fit is momentary; upon a thought*

He will again be well; If much you note him,
You shall offend him, and extend his passion;
Feed, and regard him not.-Are you a man?
Macb. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appal the devil.

Lady M.
O proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear:

This is the air-drawn dagger, which, you said,
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws, and starts,
(Impostors to true fear) would well become
A woman's story, at a winter's fire,

Authoriz'd by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool.

Macb. Pr'ythee, see there! behold! look! lo! how say you?

Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
If charnel-houses, and our graves, must send




upon a thought-] i. e. as speedily as thought can be

O, these flaws, and starts,

(Impostors to true fear,) would well become, &c.] Flaws are sudden gusts. Impostors to truc fear, mean impostors when compared with true fear. Such is the force of the preposition to in this place.

Those that we bury, back, our monuments

Shall be the maws of kites.

Lady M.

[Ghost disappears.

What! quite unmann'd in folly?

Macb. If I stand here, I saw him.

Lady M.

Fye, for shame!

Mach. Blood hath been shed ere now, i'the olden


Ere human statute purg'd the gentle weal;"

Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd
Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,

That, when the brains were out, the man would


And there an end: but now, they rise again,

With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools: This is more strange
Than such a murder is.

Lady M.

My worthy lord,

Your noble friends do lack you.

I do forget:

Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends;
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
To those that know me. Come, love and health to


Then I'll sit down:Give me some wine, fill


I drink to the general joy of the whole table,

Ghost rises.

And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss ; Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst,7

6 Ere human statute purg'd the gentle weal;] The gentle weal, is, the peaceable community, the state made quiet and safe by human statutes; or rather that state of innocence which did not rebuire the aid of human laws to render it quiet and secure.

7 to all, and him, we thirst,] We thirst, perhaps, means we desire to drink.

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Our duties, and the pledge.

Macb. Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the
earth hide thee!

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!

Lady M.

Think of this, good peers,

But as a thing of custom: 'tis no other;
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

Macb. What man dare, I dare:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger,
Take any shape but that, and my

firm nerves
Shall never tremble: Or, be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;

If trembling I inhibit thee, protest me

The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!

[Ghost disappears. Unreal mockery, hence!-Why, so;-being gone, I am a man again.-Pray you, sit still.

Lady M. You have displac'd the mirth, broke the good meeting,

With most admir'd disorder.


Can such things be,

And overcome us like a summer's cloud,

Without our special wonder? You make me strange Even to the disposition that I owe,2

8 And all to all.] i. e. all good wishes to all; such as he had named above, love, health, and joy.

9 If trembling I inhibit] i. e. forbid.

1 Čan such things be,

And overcome us like a summer's cloud,

Without our special wonder?] The meaning is, can such wonders as these pass over us without wonder, as a casual summer cloud passes over us?


You make me strange

Even to the disposition that I owe,] Mr. Steevens explains

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