Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Macbeth > Act I, scene VII

Jump to: the first appearance of if_it_were_done_when_'tis_done,_then_'twere_well

	[Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers
	Servants with dishes and service, and pass over the
	stage. Then enter MACBETH]

MACBETH: If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
	It were done quickly: if the assassination
	Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
	With his surcease success; that but this blow
	Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
	But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
	We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
	We still have judgment here; that we but teach
	Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
	To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
	Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
	To our own lips. He's here in double trust;
	First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
	Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
	Who should against his murderer shut the door,
	Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
	Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
	So clear in his great office, that his virtues
	Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
	The deep damnation of his taking-off;
	And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
	Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed
	Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
	Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
	That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
	To prick the sides of my intent, but only
	Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
	And falls on the other.


		  How now! what news?

LADY MACBETH: He has almost supp'd: why have you left the chamber?

MACBETH: Hath he ask'd for me?

LADY MACBETH: Know you not he has?

MACBETH: We will proceed no further in this business:
	He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought
	Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
	Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
	Not cast aside so soon.

LADY MACBETH: Was the hope drunk
	Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
	And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
	At what it did so freely? From this time
	Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
	To be the same in thine own act and valour
	As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
	Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
	And live a coward in thine own esteem,
	Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
	Like the poor cat i' the adage?

MACBETH: Prithee, peace:
	I dare do all that may become a man;
	Who dares do more is none.
LADY MACBETH: What beast was't, then,
	That made you break this enterprise to me?
	When you durst do it, then you were a man;
	And, to be more than what you were, you would
	Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
	Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
	They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
	Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
	How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
	I would, while it was smiling in my face,
	Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
	And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
	Have done to this.

MACBETH:                   If we should fail?

	But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
	And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep--
	Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey
	Soundly invite him--his two chamberlains
	Will I with wine and wassail so convince
	That memory, the warder of the brain,
	Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
	A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
	Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
	What cannot you and I perform upon
	The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
	His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
	Of our great quell?

MACBETH: Bring forth men-children only;
	For thy undaunted mettle should compose
	Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
	When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two
	Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
	That they have done't?

LADY MACBETH: Who dares receive it other,
	As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
	Upon his death?

MACBETH:                   I am settled, and bend up
	Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
	Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
	False face must hide what the false heart doth know.



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