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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

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Even to the disposition that I owe
When now I think you can behold such sights
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks
When mine is blanch'd with fear.
ROSS. What sights, my lord?
LADY MACBETH. I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;
Question enrages him. At once, good night.
Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.
LENNOX. Good night, and better health
Attend his Majesty!
LADY MACBETH. A kind good night to all!
Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
MACBETH. will have blood; they say blood will have blood.
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
Augures and understood relations have
By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?
LADY MACBETH. Almost at odds with morning, which is which.
MACBETH. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person
At our great bidding?
LADY MACBETH. Did you send to him, sir?
MACBETH. I hear it by the way, but I will send.
There's not a one of them but in his house
I keep a servant feed. I will tomorrow,
And betimes I will, to the weird sisters.
More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good
All causes shall give way. I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
Strange things I have in head that will to hand,
Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd.
LADY MACBETH. You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
MACBETH. Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
We are yet but young in deed. Exeunt.

A heath. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecate.

FIRST WITCH. Why, how now, Hecate? You look angerly.
HECATE. Have I not reason, beldams as you are,
Saucy and overbold? How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death,
And I, the mistress of your charms,
The close contriver of all harms,
Was never call'd to bear my part,
Or show the glory of our art?
And, which is worse, all you have done
Hath been but for a wayward son,
Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
Loves for his own ends, not for you.
But make amends now. Get you gone,
And at the pit of Acheron
Meet me i' the morning. Thither he
Will come to know his destiny.
Your vessels and your spells provide,
Your charms and everything beside.
I am for the air; this night I'll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end.
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I'll catch it ere it come to ground.
And that distill'd by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion.
He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear.
And you all know security
Is mortals' chiefest enemy.
Music and a song within,
"Come away, come away."
Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me. Exit.
FIRST WITCH. Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.

Forres. The palace.

Enter Lennox and another Lord.

LENNOX. My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
Which can interpret farther; only I say
Thing's have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan
Was pitied of Macbeth; marry, he was dead.
And the right valiant Banquo walk'd too late,
Whom, you may say, if't please you, Fleance kill'd,
For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late.
Who cannot want the thought, how monstrous
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
To kill their gracious father? Damned fact!
How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight,
In pious rage, the two delinquents tear
That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too,
For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive
To hear the men deny't. So that, I say,
He has borne all things well; and I do think
That, had he Duncan's sons under his key-
As, an't please heaven, he shall not -they should find
What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.
But, peace! For from broad words, and 'cause he fail'd
His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear,
Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell
Where he bestows himself?
LORD. The son of Duncan,
From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth,
Lives in the English court and is received
Of the most pious Edward with such grace
That the malevolence of fortune nothing
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff
Is gone to pray the holy King, upon his aid
To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward;
That by the help of these, with Him above
To ratify the work, we may again
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
Do faithful homage, and receive free honors-
All which we pine for now. And this report
Hath so exasperate the King that he
Prepares for some attempt of war.
LENNOX. Sent he to Macduff?
LORD. He did, and with an absolute "Sir, not I,"
The cloudy messenger turns me his back,
And hums, as who should say, "You'll rue the time
That clogs me with this answer."
LENNOX. And that well might
Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel
Fly to the court of England and unfold
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
May soon return to this our suffering country
Under a hand accursed!
LORD. I'll send my prayers with him.


A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches.
FIRST WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
SECOND WITCH. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
THIRD WITCH. Harpier cries, "'Tis time, 'tis time."
FIRST WITCH. Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
SECOND WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
THIRD WITCH. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witch's mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat and slips of yew
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab.
Add thereto a tiger's chawdron,
For the ingredients of our cawdron.
ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
SECOND WITCH. Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter Hecate to the other three Witches.

HECATE. O, well done! I commend your pains,
And everyone shall share i' the gains.
And now about the cauldron sing,
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.
Music and a song, "Black spirits."
Hecate retires.
SECOND WITCH. By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter Macbeth.

MACBETH. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?
What is't you do?
ALL. A deed without a name.
MACBETH. I conjure you, by that which you profess
(Howeer you come to know it) answer me:
Though you untie the winds and let them fight
Against the churches, though the yesty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up,
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,
Though castles topple on their warders' heads,
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure
Of nature's germaines tumble all together
Even till destruction sicken, answer me
To what I ask you.
THIRD WITCH. We'll answer.
FIRST WITCH. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters'?
MACBETH. Call 'em, let me see 'em.
FIRST WITCH. Pour in sow's blood that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
From the murtherer's gibbet throw
Into the flame.
ALL. Come, high or low;
Thyself and office deftly show!

Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head.

MACBETH. Tell me, thou unknown power-
FIRST WITCH. He knows thy thought:
Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
FIRST APPARITION. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff,
Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.
MACBETH. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright. But one word more-
FIRST WITCH. He will not be commanded. Here's another,
More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition: a bloody Child.

SECOND APPARITION. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
MACBETH. Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.
SECOND APPARITION. Be bloody, bold, and resolute: laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth. Descends.
MACBETH. Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live,
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.

Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned,
with a tree in his hand.

What is this,
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby brow the round
And top of sovereignty?
ALL. Listen, but speak not to't.
THIRD APPARITION. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill
Shall come against him. Descends.
MACBETH. That will never be.
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements, good!
Rebellion's head, rise never till the Wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
Can tell so much, shall Banquo's issue ever
Reign in this kingdom?
ALL. Seek to know no more.
MACBETH. I will be satisfied! Deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
Why sinks that cauldron, and what noise is this?
ALL. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
Come like shadows, so depart!

A show of eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand;
Banquo's Ghost following.

MACBETH. Thou are too like the spirit of Banquo Down!
Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more!
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
Which shows me many more; and some I see
That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry.
Horrible sight! Now I see 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his. What, is this so?
FIRST WITCH. Ay, sir, all this is so. But why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come,sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights.
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round,
That this great King may kindly say
Our duties did his welcome pay.
Music. The Witches dance and
then vanish with Hecate.
MACBETH. are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
Stand ay accursed in the calendar!
Come in, without there!

Enter Lennox.

LENNOX. What's your Grace's will?
MACBETH. Saw you the weird sisters?
LENNOX. No, my lord.
MACBETH. Came they not by you?
LENNOX. No indeed, my lord.
MACBETH. Infected be the 'air whereon they ride,
And damn'd all those that trust them! I did hear
The galloping of horse. Who wast came by?
LENNOX. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
Macduff is fled to England.
MACBETH. Fled to England?
LENNOX. Ay, my good lord.
MACBETH. [Aside.] Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits.
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
Unless the deed go with it. From this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
The castle of Macduff I will surprise,
Seize upon Fife, give to the edge o' the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
But no more sights! -Where are these gentlemen?
Come, bring me where they are. Exeunt.

Fife. Macduff's castle.

Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Ross.

LADY MACDUFF. What had he done, to make him fly the land?
ROSS. You must have patience, madam.
LADY MACDUFF. He had none;
His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.
ROSS. You know not
Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
LADY MACDUFF. Wisdom? To leave his wife, to leave his babes,
His mansion, and his titles, in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch; for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.
ROSS. My dearest coz,
I pray you, school yourself. But for your husband,
He is noble, wise, Judicious, and best knows
The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much further;
But cruel are the times when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumor
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way and move. I take my leave of you;
Shall not be long but I'll be here again.
Things at the worst will cease or else climb upward
To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!
LADY MACDUFF. Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
ROSS. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.
I take my leave at once. Exit.
LADY MACDUFF. Sirrah, your father's dead.
And what will you do now? How will you live?
SON. As birds do, Mother.
LADY MACDUFF. What, with worms and flies?
SON. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
LADY MACDUFF. Poor bird! Thou'ldst never fear the net nor lime,
The pitfall nor the gin.
SON. Why should I, Mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
My father is not dead, for all your saying.
LADY MACDUFF. Yes, he is dead. How wilt thou do for father?
SON. Nay, how will you do for a husband?
LADY MACDUFF. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
SON. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
LADY MACDUFF. Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and yet, i' faith,
With wit enough for thee.
SON. Was my father a traitor, Mother?
LADY MACDUFF. Ay, that he was.
SON. What is a traitor?
LADY MACDUFF. Why one that swears and lies.
SON. And be all traitors that do so?
LADY MACDUFF. Everyone that does so is a traitor and must be
SON. And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
SON. Who must hang them?
LADY MACDUFF. Why, the honest men.
SON. Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars and
swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them.
LADY MACDUFF. Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do
for a father?
SON. If he were dead, you'ld weep for him; if you would not, it
were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
LADY MACDUFF. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honor I am perfect.
I doubt some danger does approach you nearly.
If you will take a homely man's advice,
Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
To fright you thus, methinks I am too savage;
To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
I dare abide no longer. Exit.
LADY MACDUFF. Whither should I fly?
I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this earthly world, where to do harm
Is often laudable, to do good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas,
Do I put up that womanly defense,
To say I have done no harm -What are these faces?

Enter Murtherers.

FIRST MURTHERER. Where is your husband?
LADY MACDUFF. I hope, in no place so unsanctified
Where such as thou mayst find him.
FIRST MURTHERER. He's a traitor.
SON. Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain!
FIRST MURTHERER. What, you egg!
Stabs him.
Young fry of treachery!
SON. He has kill'd me, Mother.
Run away, I pray you! Dies.
Exit Lady Macduff, crying "Murther!"
Exeunt Murtherers, following her.

England. Before the King's palace.

Enter Malcolm and Macduff.

MALCOLM. Let us seek out some desolate shade and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.
MACDUFF. Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
Bestride our downfall'n birthdom. Each new morn
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out
Like syllable of dolor.
MALCOLM. What I believe, I'll wall;
What know, believe; and what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest. You have loved him well;
He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young, but something
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb
To appease an angry god.
MACDUFF. I am not treacherous.
MALCOLM. But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon;
That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose.
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.
MACDUFF. I have lost my hopes.
MALCOLM. Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,
Without leave-taking? I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonors,
But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,
Whatever I shall think.
MACDUFF. Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dare not check thee. Wear thou thy wrongs;
The title is affeer'd. Fare thee well, lord.
I would not be the villain that thou think'st
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp
And the rich East to boot.
MALCOLM. Be not offended;
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash
Is added to her wounds. I think withal
There would be hands uplifted in my right;
And here from gracious England have I offer
Of goodly thousands. But for all this,
When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head,
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
Shall have more vices than it had before,
More suffer and more sundry ways than ever,
By him that shall succeed.
MACDUFF. What should he be?
MALCOLM. It is myself I mean, in whom I know
All the particulars of vice so grafted
That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
Esteem him as a lamb, being compared
With my confineless harms.
MACDUFF. Not in the legions
Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd
In evils to top Macbeth.
MALCOLM. I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name. But there's no bottom, none,
In my voluptuousness. Your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons, and your maids could not fill up
The cestern of my lust, and my desire
All continent impediments would o'erbear
That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth
Than such an one to reign.
MACDUFF. Boundless intemperance
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
The untimely emptying of the happy throne,
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
To take upon you what is yours. You may
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
We have willing dames enough; there cannot be
That vulture in you to devour so many
As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
Finding it so inclined.
MALCOLM. With this there grows
In my most ill-composed affection such
A stanchless avarice that, were I King,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
Desire his jewels and this other's house,
And my more-having would be as a sauce
To make me hunger more, that I should forge
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
Destroying them for wealth.
MACDUFF. This avarice
Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been
The sword of our slain kings. Yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will
Of your mere own. All these are portable,
With other graces weigh'd.
MALCOLM. But I have none. The king-becoming graces,
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
I have no relish of them, but abound
In the division of each several crime,
Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
MACDUFF. O Scotland, Scotland!
MALCOLM. If such a one be fit to govern, speak.
I am as I have spoken.
MACDUFF. Fit to govern?
No, not to live. O nation miserable!
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accursed
And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king; the queen that bore thee,
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast,
Thy hope ends here!
MALCOLM. Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts
To thy good truth and honor. Devilish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
From over-credulous haste. But God above
Deal between thee and me! For even now
I put myself to thy direction and
Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature. I am yet
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
At no time broke my faith, would not betray
The devil to his fellow, and delight
No less in truth than life. My first false speaking
Was this upon myself. What I am truly
Is thine and my poor country's to command.
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men
Already at a point, was setting forth.
Now we'll together, and the chance of goodness
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
MACDUFF. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
'Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor.

MALCOLM. Well, more anon. Comes the King forth, I pray you?
DOCTOR. Ay, sir, there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure. Their malady convinces
The great assay of art, but at his touch,
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
They presently amend.
MALCOLM. I thank you, Doctor. Exit Doctor.
MACDUFF. What's the disease he means?
MALCOLM. 'Tis call'd the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good King,
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows; but strangely-visited people,
All swol'n and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks
Put on with holy prayers; and 'tis spoken,
To the succeeding royalty he leaves
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
And sundry blessings hang about his throne
That speak him full of grace.

Enter Ross.

MACDUFF. See, who comes here?
MALCOLM. My countryman, but yet I know him not.
MACDUFF. My ever gentle cousin, welcome hither.
MALCOLM. I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
The means that makes us strangers!
ROSS. Sir, amen.
MACDUFF. Stands Scotland where it did?
ROSS. Alas, poor country,
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be call'd our mother, but our grave. Where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air,
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy. The dead man's knell
Is there scarce ask'd for who, and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.
MACDUFF. O, relation
Too nice, and yet too true!
MALCOLM. What's the newest grief?
ROSS. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
Each minute teems a new one.
MACDUFF. How does my wife?
ROSS. Why, well.
MACDUFF. And all my children?
ROSS. Well too.
MACDUFF. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
ROSS. No, they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
MACDUFF. Be not a niggard of your speech. How goest?
ROSS. When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumor
Of many worthy fellows that were out,
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
For that I saw the tyrant's power afoot.
Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
To doff their dire distresses.
MALCOLM. Be't their comfort
We are coming thither. Gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
An older and a better soldier none
That Christendom gives out.
ROSS. Would I could answer
This comfort with the like! But I have words
That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
Where hearing should not latch them.
MACDUFF. What concern they?
The general cause? Or is it a fee-grief
Due to some single breast?
ROSS. No mind that's honest
But in it shares some woe, though the main part
Pertains to you alone.
MACDUFF. If it be mine,
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
ROSS. Let not your ears despise my tongue forever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.
MACDUFF. Humh! I guess at it.
ROSS. Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
Savagely slaughter'd. To relate the manner
Were, on the quarry of these murther'd deer,
To add the death of you.
MALCOLM. Merciful heaven!
What, man! Neer pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break.
MACDUFF. My children too?
ROSS. Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.
MACDUFF. And I must be from thence!
My wife kill'd too?
ROSS. I have said.
MALCOLM. Be comforted.
Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.
MACDUFF. He has no children. All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?
MALCOLM. Dispute it like a man.
MACDUFF. I shall do so,
But I must also feel it as a man.
I cannot but remember such things were
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! Naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!
MALCOLM. Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
MACDUFF. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,
Cut short all intermission; front to front
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
Heaven forgive him too!
MALCOLM. This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the King; our power is ready,
Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may,
The night is long that never finds the day. Exeunt.


Dunsinane. Anteroom in the castle.

Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman.

DOCTOR. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no
truth in your report. When was it she last walked?
GENTLEWOMAN. Since his Majesty went into the field, have seen her
rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her
closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon't, read it,
afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while
in a most fast sleep.
DOCTOR. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the
benefit of sleep and do the effects of watching! In this slumbery
agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances,
what, at any time, have you heard her say?
GENTLEWOMAN. That, sir, which I will not report after her.
DOCTOR. You may to me, and 'tis most meet you should.
GENTLEWOMAN. Neither to you nor anyone, having no witness to
confirm my speech.

Enter Lady Macbeth with a taper.

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise, and, upon my
life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
DOCTOR. How came she by that light?
GENTLEWOMAN. Why, it stood by her. She has light by her
continually; 'tis her command.
DOCTOR. You see, her eyes are open.
GENTLEWOMAN. Ay, but their sense is shut.
DOCTOR. What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.
GENTLEWOMAN. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of
an hour.
LADY MACBETH. Yet here's a spot.
DOCTOR. Hark, she speaks! I will set down what comes from her, to
satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
LADY MACBETH. Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One- two -why then 'tis
time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and
afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our
power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have
had so much blood in him?
DOCTOR. Do you mark that?
LADY MACBETH. The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What,
will these hands neer be clean? No more o' that, my lord, no more
o' that. You mar all with this starting.
DOCTOR. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.
GENTLEWOMAN. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that.
Heaven knows what she has known.
LADY MACBETH. Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes
of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!
DOCTOR. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
GENTLEWOMAN. I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
dignity of the whole body.
DOCTOR. Well, well, well-
GENTLEWOMAN. Pray God it be, sir.
DOCTOR. This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have known those
which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their
LADY MACBETH. Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so
pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he cannot come out
on's grave.
DOCTOR. Even so?
LADY MACBETH. To bed, to bed; there's knocking at the gate. Come,
come, come, come, give me your hand.What's done cannot be undone.
To bed, to bed, to bed.
DOCTOR. Will she go now to bed?
DOCTOR. Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God, forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So good night.
My mind she has mated and amazed my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.
GENTLEWOMAN. Good night, good doctor.

The country near Dunsinane. Drum and colors.

Enter Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox, and Soldiers.

MENTEITH. The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff.
Revenges burn in them, for their dear causes
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm
Excite the mortified man.
ANGUS. Near Birnam Wood
Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.
CAITHNESS. Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?
LENNOX. For certain, sir, he is not; I have a file
Of all the gentry. There is Seward's son
And many unrough youths that even now
Protest their first of manhood.
MENTEITH. What does the tyrant?
CAITHNESS. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies.
Some say he's mad; others, that lesser hate him,
Do call it valiant fury; but, for certain,
He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause
Within the belt of rule.
ANGUS. Now does he feel
His secret murthers sticking on his hands,
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
MENTEITH. Who then shall blame
His pester'd senses to recoil and start,
When all that is within him does condemn
Itself for being there?
CAITHNESS. Well, march we on
To give obedience where 'tis truly owed.
Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal,
And with him pour we, in our country's purge,
Each drop of us.
LENNOX. Or so much as it needs
To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.
Make we our march towards Birnam. Exeunt marching.

Dunsinane. A room in the castle.

Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants.

MACBETH. Bring me no more reports; let them fly all!
Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane
I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm?
Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:
"Fear not, Macbeth; no man that's born of woman
Shall e'er have power upon thee." Then fly, false Thanes,
And mingle with the English epicures!
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.

Enter a Servant.

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where got'st thou that goose look?
SERVANT. There is ten thousand-
MACBETH. Geese, villain?
SERVANT. Soldiers, sir.
MACBETH. Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch?
Death of thy soul! Those linen cheeks of thine
Are counselors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
SERVANT. The English force, so please you.
MACBETH. Take thy face hence. Exit Servant.
Seyton-I am sick at heart,
When I behold- Seyton, I say!- This push
Will cheer me ever or disseat me now.
I have lived long enough. My way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.

Enter Seyton.

SEYTON. What's your gracious pleasure?
MACBETH. What news more?
SEYTON. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported.
MACBETH. I'll fight, 'til from my bones my flesh be hack'd.
Give me my armor.
SEYTON. 'Tis not needed yet.
MACBETH. I'll put it on.
Send out more horses, skirr the country round,
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armor.
How does your patient, doctor?
DOCTOR. Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest.
MACBETH. Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
DOCTOR. Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
MACBETH. Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none of it.
Come, put mine armor on; give me my staff.
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the Thanes fly from me.
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again. Pull't off, I say.
What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug
Would scour these English hence? Hearst thou of them?
DOCTOR. Ay, my good lord, your royal preparation
Makes us hear something.
MACBETH. Bring it after me.
I will not be afraid of death and bane
Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.
DOCTOR. [Aside.] Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,
Profit again should hardly draw me here. Exeunt.

Country near Birnam Wood. Drum and colors.

Enter Malcolm, old Seward and his Son, Macduff, Menteith, Caithness,
Angus, Lennox, Ross, and Soldiers, marching.

MALCOLM. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
That chambers will be safe.
MENTEITH. We doubt it nothing.
SIWARD. What wood is this before us?
MENTEITH. The Wood of Birnam.
MALCOLM. Let every soldier hew him down a bough,
And bear't before him; thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host, and make discovery
Err in report of us.
SOLDIERS. It shall be done.
SIWARD. We learn no other but the confident tyrant
Keeps still in Dunsinane and will endure
Our setting down before't.
MALCOLM. 'Tis his main hope;
For where there is advantage to be given,
Both more and less have given him the revolt,
And none serve with him but constrained things
Whose hearts are absent too.
MACDUFF. Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
Industrious soldiership.
SIWARD. The time approaches
That will with due decision make us know
What we shall say we have and what we owe.
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate.
Towards which advance the war.
Exeunt Marching.

Dunsinane. Within the castle.

Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, with drum and colors.

MACBETH. Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
The cry is still, "They come!" Our castle's strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up.
Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.
A cry of women within.
What is that noise?
SEYTON. It is the cry of women, my good lord. Exit.
MACBETH. I have almost forgot the taste of fears:
The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in't. I have supp'd full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
Cannot once start me.

Re-enter Seyton.
Wherefore was that cry?
SEYTON. The Queen, my lord, is dead.
MACBETH. She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Enter a Messenger.

Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
MESSENGER. Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it.
MACBETH. Well, say, sir.
MESSENGER. As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The Wood began to move.
MACBETH. Liar and slave!
MESSENGER. Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so.
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.
MACBETH. If thou speak'st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee; if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth. "Fear not, till Birnam Wood
Do come to Dunsinane," and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I 'gin to be aweary of the sun
And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum bell! Blow, wind! Come, wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back. Exeunt.

Dunsinane. Before the castle.

Enter Malcolm, old Siward, Macduff, and their Army, with boughs.
Drum and colors.

MALCOLM. Now near enough; your leavy screens throw down,
And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle,
Shall with my cousin, your right noble son,
Lead our first battle. Worthy Macduff and we
Shall take upon 's what else remains to do,
According to our order.
SIWARD. Fare you well.
Do we but find the tyrant's power tonight,
Let us be beaten if we cannot fight.
MACDUFF. Make all our trumpets speak, give them all breath,
Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

Dunsinane. Before the castle. Alarums.

Enter Macbeth.

MACBETH. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But bear-like I must fight the course. What's he
That was not born of woman? Such a one
Am I to fear, or none.

Enter young Siward.

YOUNG SIWARD. What is thy name?
MACBETH. Thou'lt be afraid to hear it.
YOUNG SIWARD. No, though thou call'st thyself a hotter name
Than any is in hell.
MACBETH. My name's Macbeth.
YOUNG SIWARD. The devil himself could not pronounce a title
More hateful to mine ear.
MACBETH. No, nor more fearful.
YOUNG SIWARD O Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
I'll prove the lie thou speak'st.
They fight, and young Seward is slain.
MACBETH. Thou wast born of woman.
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
Brandish'd by man that's of a woman born. Exit.

Alarums. Enter Macduff.

MACDUFF. That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
If thou best slain and with no stroke of mine,
My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still.
I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
Are hired to bear their staves. Either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword, with an unbatter'd edge,
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;
By this great clatter, one of greatest note
Seems bruited. Let me find him, Fortune!
And more I beg not. Exit. Alarums.

Enter Malcolm and old Siward.

SIWARD. This way, my lord; the castle's gently render'd.
The tyrant's people on both sides do fight,
The noble Thanes do bravely in the war,
The day almost itself professes yours,
And little is to do.
MALCOLM. We have met with foes
That strike beside us.
SIWARD. Enter, sir, the castle.
Exeunt. Alarum.

Another part of the field.

Enter Macbeth.

MACBETH. Why should I play the Roman fool and die
On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes
Do better upon them.

Enter Macduff.

MACDUFF. Turn, hell hound, turn!
MACBETH. Of all men else I have avoided thee.
But get thee back, my soul is too much charged
With blood of thine already.
MACDUFF. I have no words.
My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain
Than terms can give thee out! They fight.
MACBETH. Thou losest labor.
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed.
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield
To one of woman born.
MACDUFF. Despair thy charm,
And let the angel whom thou still hast served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
Untimely ripp'd.
MACBETH. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
And be these juggling fiends no more believed
That patter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear
And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee.
MACDUFF. Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time.
We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,
"Here may you see the tyrant."
MACBETH. I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield! Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, "Hold, enough!"
Exeunt fighting. Alarums.


Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colors, Malcolm, old Siward, Ross,
the other Thanes, and Soldiers.

MALCOLM. I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.
SIWARD. Some must go off, and yet, by these I see,
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
MALCOLM. Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
ROSS. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt.
He only lived but till he was a man,
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.
SIWARD. Then he is dead?
ROSS. Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow
Must not be measured by his worth, for then
It hath no end.
SIWARD. Had he his hurts before?
ROSS. Ay, on the front.
SIWARD. Why then, God's soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death.
And so his knell is knoll'd.
MALCOLM. He's worth more sorrow,
And that I'll spend for him.
SIWARD. He's worth no more:
They say he parted well and paid his score,
And so God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.

Re-enter Macduff, with Macbeth's head.

MACDUFF. Hail, King, for so thou art. Behold where stands
The usurper's cursed head. The time is free.
I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl
That speak my salutation in their minds,
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine-
Hail, King of Scotland!
ALL. Hail, King of Scotland! Flourish.
MALCOLM. We shall not spend a large expense of time
Before we reckon with your several loves
And make us even with you. My Thanes and kinsmen,
Henceforth be Earls, the first that ever Scotland
In such an honor named. What's more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,
As calling home our exiled friends abroad
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny,
Producing forth the cruel ministers
Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen,
Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands
Took off her life; this, and what needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace
We will perform in measure, time, and place.
So thanks to all at once and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.
Flourish. Exeunt.




by William Shakespeare


ANGELO, the Deputy
ESCALUS, an ancient Lord
CLAUDIO, a young gentleman
LUCIO, a fantastic
Two other like Gentlemen
VARRIUS, a gentleman, servant to the Duke
THOMAS, friar
PETER, friar
ELBOW, a simple constable
FROTH, a foolish gentleman
POMPEY, a clown and servant to Mistress Overdone
ABHORSON, an executioner
BARNARDINE, a dissolute prisoner

ISABELLA, sister to Claudio
MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo
JULIET, beloved of Claudio

Lords, Officers, Citizens, Boy, and Attendants



The DUKE'S palace


DUKE. Escalus!
ESCALUS. My lord.
DUKE. Of government the properties to unfold
Would seem in me t' affect speech and discourse,
Since I am put to know that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you; then no more remains
But that to your sufficiency- as your worth is able-
And let them work. The nature of our people,
Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, y'are as pregnant in
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
I say, bid come before us, Angelo. Exit an ATTENDANT
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love,
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power. What think you of it?
ESCALUS. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.


DUKE. Look where he comes.
ANGELO. Always obedient to your Grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.
DUKE. Angelo,
There is a kind of character in thy life
That to th' observer doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd
But to fine issues; nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise.
Hold, therefore, Angelo-
In our remove be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart. Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy commission.
ANGELO. Now, good my lord,
Let there be some more test made of my metal,
Before so noble and so great a figure
Be stamp'd upon it.
DUKE. No more evasion!
We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes with us, and do look to know
What doth befall you here. So, fare you well.
To th' hopeful execution do I leave you
Of your commissions.
ANGELO. Yet give leave, my lord,
That we may bring you something on the way.
DUKE. My haste may not admit it;
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple: your scope is as mine own,
So to enforce or qualify the laws
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;
I'll privily away. I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes;
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause and Aves vehement;
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
ANGELO. The heavens give safety to your purposes!
ESCALUS. Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!
DUKE. I thank you. Fare you well. Exit
ESCALUS. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
To have free speech with you; and it concerns me
To look into the bottom of my place:
A pow'r I have, but of what strength and nature
I am not yet instructed.
ANGELO. 'Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
And we may soon our satisfaction have
Touching that point.
ESCALUS. I'll wait upon your honour. Exeunt

A street

Enter Lucio and two other GENTLEMEN

LUCIO. If the Duke, with the other dukes, come not to composition
with the King of Hungary, why then all the dukes fall upon the
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of
LUCIO. Thou conclud'st like the sanctimonious pirate that went to
sea with the Ten Commandments, but scrap'd one out of the table.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. 'Thou shalt not steal'?
LUCIO. Ay, that he raz'd.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain
and all the rest from their functions: they put forth to steal.
There's not a soldier of us all that, in the thanksgiving before
meat, do relish the petition well that prays for peace.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. I never heard any soldier dislike it.
LUCIO. I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where grace was
SECOND GENTLEMAN. No? A dozen times at least.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. What, in metre?
LUCIO. In any proportion or in any language.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I think, or in any religion.
LUCIO. Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy; as,
for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.
LUCIO. I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet.
Thou art the list.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. And thou the velvet; thou art good velvet; thou'rt
a three-pil'd piece, I warrant thee. I had as lief be a list of
an English kersey as be pil'd, as thou art pil'd, for a French
velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?
LUCIO. I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of
thy speech. I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin
thy health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or


LUCIO. Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes! I have
purchas'd as many diseases under her roof as come to-
SECOND GENTLEMAN. To what, I pray?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. To three thousand dolours a year.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Ay, and more.
LUCIO. A French crown more.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Thou art always figuring diseases in me, but thou
art full of error; I am sound.
LUCIO. Nay, not, as one would say, healthy; but so sound as things
that are hollow: thy bones are hollow; impiety has made a feast
of thee.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. How now! which of your hips has the most profound
MRS. OVERDONE. Well, well! there's one yonder arrested and carried
to prison was worth five thousand of you all.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Who's that, I pray thee?
MRS. OVERDONE. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Claudio to prison? 'Tis not so.
MRS. OVERDONE. Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him
carried away; and, which is more, within these three days his
head to be chopp'd off.
LUCIO. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art
thou sure of this?
MRS. OVERDONE. I am too sure of it; and it is for getting Madam
Julietta with child.
LUCIO. Believe me, this may be; he promis'd to meet me two hours
since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Besides, you know, it draws something near to the
speech we had to such a purpose.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. But most of all agreeing with the proclamation.
LUCIO. Away; let's go learn the truth of it.
Exeunt Lucio and GENTLEMEN
MRS. OVERDONE. Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what
with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.


How now! what's the news with you?
POMPEY. Yonder man is carried to prison.
MRS. OVERDONE. Well, what has he done?
POMPEY. A woman.
MRS. OVERDONE. But what's his offence?
POMPEY. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
MRS. OVERDONE. What! is there a maid with child by him?
POMPEY. No; but there's a woman with maid by him. You have not
heard of the proclamation, have you?
MRS. OVERDONE. What proclamation, man?
POMPEY. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be pluck'd down.
MRS. OVERDONE. And what shall become of those in the city?
POMPEY. They shall stand for seed; they had gone down too, but that
a wise burgher put in for them.
MRS. OVERDONE. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be
pull'd down?
POMPEY. To the ground, mistress.
MRS. OVERDONE. Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth!
What shall become of me?
POMPEY. Come, fear not you: good counsellors lack no clients.
Though you change your place you need not change your trade; I'll
be your tapster still. Courage, there will be pity taken on you;
you that have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you will
be considered.
MRS. OVERDONE. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let's withdraw.
POMPEY. Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison;
and there's Madam Juliet. Exeunt

LUCIO following

CLAUDIO. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to th' world?
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
PROVOST. I do it not in evil disposition,
But from Lord Angelo by special charge.
CLAUDIO. Thus can the demigod Authority
Make us pay down for our offence by weight
The words of heaven: on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.
LUCIO. Why, how now, Claudio, whence comes this restraint?
CLAUDIO. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty;
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.
LUCIO. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for
certain of my creditors; and yet, to say the truth, I had as lief
have the foppery of freedom as the morality of imprisonment.
What's thy offence, Claudio?
CLAUDIO. What but to speak of would offend again.
LUCIO. What, is't murder?
LUCIO. Lechery?
CLAUDIO. Call it so.
PROVOST. Away, sir; you must go.
CLAUDIO. One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.
LUCIO. A hundred, if they'll do you any good. Is lechery so look'd
CLAUDIO. Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract
I got possession of Julietta's bed.
You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order; this we came not to,
Only for propagation of a dow'r
Remaining in the coffer of her friends.
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
Till time had made them for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment,
With character too gross, is writ on Juliet.
LUCIO. With child, perhaps?
CLAUDIO. Unhappily, even so.
And the new deputy now for the Duke-
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;
Whether the tyranny be in his place,
Or in his eminence that fills it up,
I stagger in. But this new governor
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by th' wall
So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
Freshly on me. 'Tis surely for a name.
LUCIO. I warrant it is; and thy head stands so tickle on thy
shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love, may sigh it off.
Send after the Duke, and appeal to him.
CLAUDIO. I have done so, but he's not to be found.
I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
This day my sister should the cloister enter,
And there receive her approbation;
Acquaint her with the danger of my state;
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him.
I have great hope in that; for in her youth
There is a prone and speechless dialect
Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.
LUCIO. I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the like,
which else would stand under grievous imposition, as for the
enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus
foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.
CLAUDIO. I thank you, good friend Lucio.
LUCIO. Within two hours.
CLAUDIO. Come, officer, away. Exeunt

A monastery


DUKE. No, holy father; throw away that thought;
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
To give me secret harbour hath a purpose
More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
Of burning youth.
FRIAR. May your Grace speak of it?
DUKE. My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever lov'd the life removed,
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
Where youth, and cost, a witless bravery keeps.
I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,
A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
And so it is received. Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me why I do this.
FRIAR. Gladly, my lord.
DUKE. We have strict statutes and most biting laws,
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,
Which for this fourteen years we have let slip;
Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
FRIAR. It rested in your Grace
To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleas'd;
And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd
Than in Lord Angelo.
DUKE. I do fear, too dreadful.
Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
For what I bid them do; for we bid this be done,
When evil deeds have their permissive pass
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my father,
I have on Angelo impos'd the office;
Who may, in th' ambush of my name, strike home,
And yet my nature never in the fight
To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Visit both prince and people. Therefore, I prithee,
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear me
Like a true friar. Moe reasons for this action
At our more leisure shall I render you.
Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone. Hence shall we see,
If power change purpose, what our seemers be. Exeunt

A nunnery


ISABELLA. And have you nuns no farther privileges?
FRANCISCA. Are not these large enough?
ISABELLA. Yes, truly; I speak not as desiring more,
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
LUCIO. [ Within] Ho! Peace be in this place!
ISABELLA. Who's that which calls?
FRANCISCA. It is a man's voice. Gentle Isabella,
Turn you the key, and know his business of him:
You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn;
When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men
But in the presence of the prioress;
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face,
Or, if you show your face, you must not speak.
He calls again; I pray you answer him. Exit FRANCISCA
ISABELLA. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls?


LUCIO. Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
Proclaim you are no less. Can you so stead me
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A novice of this place, and the fair sister
To her unhappy brother Claudio?
ISABELLA. Why her 'unhappy brother'? Let me ask
The rather, for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his sister.
LUCIO. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you.
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
ISABELLA. Woe me! For what?
LUCIO. For that which, if myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks:
He hath got his friend with child.
ISABELLA. Sir, make me not your story.
LUCIO. It is true.
I would not- though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from heart- play with all virgins so:
I hold you as a thing enskied and sainted,
By your renouncement an immortal spirit,
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a saint.
ISABELLA. You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.
LUCIO. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus:
Your brother and his lover have embrac'd.
As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
ISABELLA. Some one with child by him? My cousin Juliet?
LUCIO. Is she your cousin?
ISABELLA. Adoptedly, as school-maids change their names
By vain though apt affection.
LUCIO. She it is.
ISABELLA. O, let him marry her!
LUCIO. This is the point.
The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action; but we do learn,
By those that know the very nerves of state,
His givings-out were of an infinite distance
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
And with full line of his authority,
Governs Lord Angelo, a man whose blood
Is very snow-broth, one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense,
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He- to give fear to use and liberty,
Which have for long run by the hideous law,
As mice by lions- hath pick'd out an act
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit; he arrests him on it,
And follows close the rigour of the statute
To make him an example. All hope is gone,
Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo. And that's my pith of business
'Twixt you and your poor brother.
ISABELLA. Doth he so seek his life?
LUCIO. Has censur'd him
Already, and, as I hear, the Provost hath
A warrant for his execution.
ISABELLA. Alas! what poor ability's in me
To do him good?
LUCIO. Assay the pow'r you have.
ISABELLA. My power, alas, I doubt!
LUCIO. Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo,
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe them.
ISABELLA. I'll see what I can do.
LUCIO. But speedily.
ISABELLA. I will about it straight;
No longer staying but to give the Mother
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you.
Commend me to my brother; soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.
LUCIO. I take my leave of you.
ISABELLA. Good sir, adieu. Exeunt


ACT II. Scene I.
A hall in ANGELO'S house


ANGELO. We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape till custom make it
Their perch, and not their terror.
ESCALUS. Ay, but yet
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little
Than fall and bruise to death. Alas! this gentleman,
Whom I would save, had a most noble father.
Let but your honour know,
Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of our blood
Could have attain'd th' effect of your own purpose
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Err'd in this point which now you censure him,
And pull'd the law upon you.
ANGELO. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try. What's open made to justice,
That justice seizes. What knows the laws
That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very pregnant,
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take't,
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
ESCALUS. Be it as your wisdom will.
ANGELO. Where is the Provost?
PROVOST. Here, if it like your honour.
ANGELO. See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning;
Bring him his confessor; let him be prepar'd;
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage. Exit PROVOST
ESCALUS. [Aside] Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall;
Some run from breaks of ice, and answer none,
And some condemned for a fault alone.


ELBOW. Come, bring them away; if these be good people in a
commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses,
I know no law; bring them away.
ANGELO. How now, sir! What's your name, and what's the matter?
ELBOW. If it please your honour, I am the poor Duke's constable,
and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring
in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
ANGELO. Benefactors! Well- what benefactors are they? Are they not
ELBOW. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are; but
precise villains they are, that I am sure of, and void of all
profanation in the world that good Christians ought to have.
ESCALUS. This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
ANGELO. Go to; what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why
dost thou not speak, Elbow?
POMPEY. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
ANGELO. What are you, sir?
ELBOW. He, sir? A tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad
woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the
suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a
very ill house too.
ESCALUS. How know you that?
ELBOW. My Wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour-
ESCALUS. How! thy wife!
ELBOW. Ay, sir; whom I thank heaven, is an honest woman-
ESCALUS. Dost thou detest her therefore?
ELBOW. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that
this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life,
for it is a naughty house.
ESCALUS. How dost thou know that, constable?
ELBOW. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman
cardinally given, might have been accus'd in fornication,
adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
ESCALUS. By the woman's means?
ELBOW. Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means; but as she spit in
his face, so she defied him.
POMPEY. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.
ELBOW. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man,
prove it.
ESCALUS. Do you hear how he misplaces?
POMPEY. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing, saving your
honour's reverence, for stew'd prunes. Sir, we had but two in the
house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a
fruit dish, a dish of some three pence; your honours have seen
such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
ESCALUS. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.
POMPEY. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the
right; but to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow, being, as
I say, with child, and being great-bellied, and longing, as I
said, for prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said,
Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I
said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly; for, as you
know, Master Froth, I could not give you three pence again-
FROTH. No, indeed.
POMPEY. Very well; you being then, if you be rememb'red, cracking
the stones of the foresaid prunes-
FROTH. Ay, so I did indeed.
POMPEY. Why, very well; I telling you then, if you be rememb'red,
that such a one and such a one were past cure of the thing you
wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you-
FROTH. All this is true.
POMPEY. Why, very well then-
ESCALUS. Come, you are a tedious fool. To the purpose: what was
done to Elbow's wife that he hath cause to complain of? Come me
to what was done to her.
POMPEY. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
ESCALUS. No, sir, nor I mean it not.
POMPEY. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave. And,
I beseech you, look into Master Froth here, sir, a man of
fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas- was't not
at Hallowmas, Master Froth?
FROTH. All-hallond eve.
POMPEY. Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, sir, sitting, as
I say, in a lower chair, sir; 'twas in the Bunch of Grapes,
where, indeed, you have a delight to sit, have you not?
FROTH. I have so; because it is an open room, and good for winter.
POMPEY. Why, very well then; I hope here be truths.
ANGELO. This will last out a night in Russia,
When nights are longest there; I'll take my leave,
And leave you to the hearing of the cause,
Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all.
ESCALUS. I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.
[Exit ANGELO] Now, sir, come on; what was done to Elbow's wife,
once more?
POMPEY. Once?- sir. There was nothing done to her once.
ELBOW. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
POMPEY. I beseech your honour, ask me.
ESCALUS. Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her?
POMPEY. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face. Good
Master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose. Doth
your honour mark his face?
ESCALUS. Ay, sir, very well.
POMPEY. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
ESCALUS. Well, I do so.
POMPEY. Doth your honour see any harm in his face?
ESCALUS. Why, no.
POMPEY. I'll be suppos'd upon a book his face is the worst thing
about him. Good then; if his face be the worst thing about him,

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