A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 3, Scene 4

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A banquet. MACBETH enters with LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, LORDS, and their attendants.

MACBETH

You know your own degrees; sit down. At firstAnd last, the hearty welcome.

MACBETH

You know your own ranks, so you know where to sit according to your order of importance. To both the highest and lowest of you, I bid you a hearty welcome.

The LORDS sit.

LORDS

Thanks to your majesty.

LORDS

Thank you, your Majesty.

MACBETH

Ourself will mingle with society And play the humble host. Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time We will require her welcome.

MACBETH

I will mingle with all of you, playing the humble host. My wife, the hostess, will stay on her royal throne, but in good time I will ask her to welcome you all.

LADY MACBETH

Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,For my heart speaks they are welcome.

LADY MACBETH

Sir, deliver my welcome to all of our friends for me, since they are all welcome in my heart.

The lords cheer. The FIRST MURDERER appears and catches Macbeth’s attention.

MACBETH

See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks. Both sides are even. Here I’ll sit i’ th’ midst. Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll drink a measure The table round. [aside to FIRST MURDERER] There’s blood upon thy face.

MACBETH

See, they respond to you with their hearts as well. The table is full on both sides. I’ll sit here in the middle. Be happy. Soon we’ll have a toast to the full table.

[To the FIRST MURDERER so that only he can hear] There’s blood on your face.

FIRST MURDERER

‘Tis Banquo’s then.

FIRST MURDERER

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MACBETH

‘Tis better thee without than he within.Is he dispatched?

MACBETH

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FIRST MURDERER

My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.

FIRST MURDERER

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MACBETH

Thou art the best o’ th’ cutthroats:Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.

MACBETH

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FIRST MURDERER

Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.

FIRST MURDERER

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MACBETH

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 cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?

MACBETH

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FIRST MURDERER

Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,The least a death to nature.

FIRST MURDERER

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MACBETH

Thanks for that. There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled Hath nature that in time will venom breed; No teeth for th’ present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow We’ll hear ourselves again.

MACBETH

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The FIRST MURDERER exits.

LADY MACBETH

My royal lord, You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold That is not often vouched, while ’tis a-making, ‘Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home; From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony; Meeting were bare without it.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Sweet remembrancer!Now, good digestion wait on appetite, And health on both!

MACBETH

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LENNOX

May ’t please your highness sit.

LENNOX

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The GHOST OF BANQUO enters and sits in MACBETH’s place.

MACBETH

Here had we now our country’s honor roofed, Were the graced person of our Banquo present, Who may I rather challenge for unkindness Than pity for mischance.

MACBETH

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ROSS

His absence, sir,Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your highnessTo grace us with your royal company?

ROSS

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MACBETH

The table’s full.

MACBETH

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LENNOX

Here is a place reserved, sir.

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Where?

MACBETH

Lorem

LENNOX

Here, my good lord. What is ’t that moves your highness?

LENNOX

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MACBETH

Which of you have done this?

MACBETH

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LORDS

What, my good lord?

LORDS

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MACBETH

[to GHOST] Thou canst not say I did it. Never shakeThy gory locks at me.

MACBETH

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ROSS

Gentlemen, rise. His highness is not well.

ROSS

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LADY MACBETH

Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat. 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. [aside to MACBETH] Are you a man?

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on thatWhich might appall the devil.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear. This is the air-drawn dagger which you said Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts, Impostors to true fear, would well become A woman’s story at a winter’s fire, Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself! Why do you make such faces? When all’s done, You look but on a stool.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Prithee, 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 Those that we bury back, our monuments Shall be the maws of kites.

MACBETH

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The GHOST vanishes.

LADY MACBETH

What, quite unmanned in folly?

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

If I stand here, I saw him.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Fie, for shame!

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ th’ olden time, Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal; Ay, and since too, murders have been performed Too terrible for the ear. The time has been That, when the brains were out, the man would die, 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.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

My worthy lord,Your noble friends do lack you.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

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 all. Then I’ll sit down. Give me some wine. Fill full.

MACBETH

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The GHOST OF BANQUO enters.

MACBETH

I drink to the general joy o’ th’ whole table, And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss; Would he were here! To all and him we thirst, And all to all.

MACBETH

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LORDS

Our duties, and the pledge.

LORDS

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They drink.

MACBETH

[seeing the GHOST] 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!

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Think of this, good peers,But as a thing of custom. ‘Tis no other;Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

What man dare, I dare. Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, The armed rhinoceros, or th’ 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 inhabit then, protest me The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!

MACBETH

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The GHOST vanishes.

MACBETH

Why so, being gone,I am a man again. Pray you sit still.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,With most admired disorder.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

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, When now I think you can behold such sights, And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, When mine is blanched with fear.

MACBETH

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ROSS

What sights, my lord?

ROSS

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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.

LADY MACBETH

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LENNOX

Good night, and better healthAttend his majesty!

LENNOX

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LADY MACBETH

A kind good night to all!

LADY MACBETH

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Everyone leaves except MACBETH and LADY MACBETH.

MACBETH

It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood. Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak. Augurs and understood relations have By magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth The secret’st man of blood. —What is the night?

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person At our great bidding?

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Did you send to him, sir?

LADY MACBETH

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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 fee’d. 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 Stepped 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 scanned.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuseIs the initiate fear that wants hard use. We are yet but young in deed.

MACBETH

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They exit.

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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.