The Death of Lady Macbeth
Enter Lady Macbeth with knife.
Location: Macbeth’s castle, the kitchen.
L. Macb. This chamber that reeks of unadorned death
Will never reek of mine. Here the fond goose
Feels the distance tween beak and tail lengthened
Across the bloody block, ere its quick life
Be shorten, e’en to a stop. My crime
Will be safe here; a companion to crimes
Upon a thousand dumb beasts and for which
No soul stands forfeit. None shall distinguish
My blood from other blood. I would not leave
Half digested memories as did those
Insatiable dogs that preceded me.
I would take God’s judgment straight on to Hell
Where three hags dwell. Curse midnight’s oracles,
Hell’s own stales, had they bespoken me and
Not Macbeth, I’d have ta’en a needle
Made them cackle like chickens though it burned
Their blackened maws to speak thus. Yet will I
Meet them and make them answer unto me
For felonies that they have incited;
Aye, and that I have incited,
And for that most foul felony which now
I commit. And in committing I would
Laughingly leap into the boiling kettle,
The cook, with black and obscene corruption,
So to amaze, that long would he puzzle
The bones of my soup. O’ That my fancy didst command my limbs. Macbeth, that didst ever
Lack the courage that so becomes the man,
Now walks unafraid though all England rise
Against him. And I, of my charms, have born
Objects of dreams that touch and hell shivers
Give unto me. By confusion’s vild reign,
Semblance carries this day no honesty
And every whorish thought attends me now,
Mocks me in idle fashion, then “noyance”
Cries. My lonely murther was but a thought,
And all thoughts hence have, in their sisters blood,
Been steeped. I couldst not kill the pale image
My mother. This is a laughing matter
Most marvell’s. But laughter illumines life,
And I have been to long i the darkness;
Light hath become corruption to me now.
Shadows are they that recruit this hand to
Execute midnight’s judgment. This carnal
Hand that threatens my tetchy heart makes bond
Of a ditch born bastards most cursed act;
For is not this heart the wretched mother
To this, hell’s crimson talon? O, to be
Done with it, to pass beyond the terror.
This is my villainy, that I do fright
Myself with specters of my dying when
By a movement of this, my hand, I could
Command the darkness down. Macbeth! I call
To thee. Come thou, king and night’s own harlot
Both. Like the well skilled stale, let my darkling
Thought be your deed. Murtherer, murther me!
O, my damnble puppet, why, thou doth
Not answer when I pull upon thy strings.
Courage! Courage! Courage! Idle servants
Of this sepulcher harmonize their chant
To the hard flung echoes formed of the squawks
And squeals of the blameless. Medea,
Who butchered all her pretty babes, knew no
Such slaughter. These stones and bloody pavers
Are witness to more foul murthers than my
Poisonous dreams. O dreams, o dreams, o foul,
Foul remembrances! In each nights repose
To walk with figures so black as to blot
Out all light, and anon I wake to long
For sleep’s recompense. O most cursed Dreams,
I do embrace you now and with this hand
Eclipse the sun. All my red ambition
Doth mingle with the drained out lives of fowls
And swine, Come night, thou cruel sister mine,
And swallow up the day.
Enter two servants singing, with bottles
Back and side go bare, go bare,
Both foot and hand go cold;
But, belly, God send thee good ale enough,
Whether it be new or old
I cannot eat but little meat,
My stomach is not good;
But sure I think that I can drink
With him that wears a hood.
Though I go bare, take ye no care,
I am nothing a-cold;
I stuff my skin so full within
Of jolly good ale and old.
Back and side go bare, go bare, etc.
1. Serv. Whence came you upon this goodly wine?
2. Serv. Twas given me for safe keeping by Duncan’s serving men whom our noble king hath slain. They had it of the Lady of this very castle.
1. Serv. No! ‘Tis a tastier wine for the knowing. ‘Tis a tastier mystery as well
2. I say ‘tis best to know little and let fancy supply the rest. Nature is a drab. Ugly and mean is she. ‘Tis betwixt the head piece and the cod piece lies the source of all pleasure.
1. Serv. ‘Tis true and for my part the latter would do. Though methinks that peace of all sorts is t this castle as a beeve unto the tumbling billows.
2. Serv. Didst thou note Meggan and her beeves this day upon noon?
1. Serv. Though this wine weighs down my eye stops and blows a fog o’er my faculties, I would that I know no beeve named Meggan.
2. Serv. I prithee hear me. No beeve say I, but Meggan, our present embassy of Ardennes. She did bring two cows to slaughter upon command of our lord the king. But she would not enter the yard. Shrike, she did, “There is evil in this castle!” and ran she from here as if from demons. “Blood, blood!” she didst yowl as she didst run whilst her beasts stamped oafishly about at the gate that they might discover their end.
1. Serv. These villainous wenches are full to running over with strange thoughts. They believe much and know little.
2. Serv. Me thinks they know more than their animals
1. Serv. ‘Tis true. But the contest were enough to discourage a betting man.
2. Serv. What wench is it sleeps here, sprawled about like the vine upon which her blood did grow?
1. Serv. If I were not an honest man I might give her a touch to pleasure her dreams.
2. Serv. Me thinks she’d not mind the theft. She sleeps like a sepulchered wench.
1. Serv. Even so, I do fear my conscience. They say that to die in ones dream is never to wake.
2. Serv. Then let me die and at that instant cross eternities preserving border. For her sake, me thinks it is too late.
1. Serv. How so?
2. Serv. By the blood that trickles twixt the stones, me thinks the wench is dead beforehand.
1. Serv. Then ‘t would be too cold for comfort.
2. Serv. ‘T were better we were not found i this place. Illicit wine and murther make poor companions.
1. Serv. Let’s off to chambers and presently, for sleep would steal up and slay me where I would stand.
2. Serv. Thou art a fool. Here lies our accuser. Though we be innocent of her end, we will be suspect if she remain where our employment daily finds us.
1. Serv. Very well, though thou art mad. Where to?
2. Serv. To the garden
1. Serv. ‘Tis far. Me thinks the nearest shadowed closet would do.
2. Serv. ‘Tis the garden for her or the closet for us.
1. Serv. E’en as thou art a cur, so am I. I’ll aid thee with this bone.