Forres. The palace.
(Lady Macbeth; Waiting Gentlewoman; Macbeth)
Lady Macbeth is concerned about her husband, who is dark-minded and cheerless. He tells her that she does not know what he is thinking, and refuses to let her in on it. Both of them have been suffering from bad dreams night after night. She realizes that he has planned something for Banquo and Fleance, but he does not tell her what. (61 lines)
Enter Macbeth’s Lady and her Waiting Gentlewoman.
Is Banquo gone from court?
Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.
Say to the King, I would attend his leisure
For a few words.
Madam, I will.
Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content;
’Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
With them they think on? Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done, is done.
We have scorch’d the snake, not kill’d it;
She’ll close and be herself, whilest our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further.
Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks,
Be bright and jovial among your guests tonight.
So shall I, love, and so, I pray, be you.
Let your remembrance apply to Banquo,
Present him eminence both with eye and tongue:
Unsafe the while, that we
Must lave our honors in these flattering streams,
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
Disguising what they are.
You must leave this.
O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.
But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.
There’s comfort yet, they are assailable.
Then be thou jocund; ere the bat hath flown
His cloister’d flight, ere to black Hecat’s summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.
What’s to be done?
Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to th’ rooky wood;
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.
Thou marvel’st at my words, but hold thee still:
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
So prithee go with me.