SCENE II. [Fife. Macduff’s castle]


L. MACD. What had he done, to make him fly the land?

ROSS. You must have patience, madam.

L. MACD. 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.

L. MACD. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,

His mansion and his titles,〖Possessions.〗 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〖Troubles.〗 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 rumour

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!

L. MACD. 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.

L. MACD. Sirrah, your father’s dead;

And what will you do now? How will you live?

SON. As birds do, mother.

L. MACD. What, with worms and flies?

SON. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.

L. MACD. Poor bird! thou ’dst 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.

L. MACD. Yes, he is dead. How wilt thou do for a father?

SON. Nay, how will you do for a husband?

L. MACD. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.

SON. Then you’ll buy ’em to sell again.

L. MACD. Thou speak’st with all thy wit; and yet, i’faith,

With wit enough for thee.

SON. Was my father a traitor, mother?

L. MACD. Ay, that he was.

SON. What is a traitor?

L. MACD. Why, one that swears and lies.

SON. And be all traitors that do so?

L. MACD. Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hang’d.

SON. And must they all be hang’d that swear and lie?

L. MACD. Every one.

SON. Who must hang them?

L. MACD. 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.

L. MACD. Now, God help thee, poor monkey!

But how wilt thou do for a father?

SON. If he were dead, you’d weep for him; if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.

L. MACD. Poor prattler, how thou talk’st!


MESS. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,

Though in your state of honour I am perfect.〖I am perfectly familiar with your rank.〗

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.

L. MACD. 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 defence,

To say I have done no harm?


What are these faces?

[1.] MUR. Where is your husband?

L. MACD. I hope, in no place so unsanctified

Where such as thou may’st find him.

[1.] MUR. He’s a traitor.

SON. Thou liest, thou shag-ear’d villain!

[1.] MUR. What, you egg!

[Stabbing him.]

Young fry of treachery!

SON. He has kill’d me, mother:

Run away, I pray you! [Dies.]

Exit [LADY MACDUFF] crying “Murder!”[Exeunt

Murderers, following her.]

SCENE III. [England. Before the King’s palace]


MAL. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there

Weep our sad bosoms empty.

MACD. Let us rather

Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men

Bestride our down-fallen birthdom.〖Native country.〗 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 dolour.

MAL. What I believe I’ll wail,

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 lov’d 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.

MACD. I am not treacherous.

MAL. But Macbeth is.

A good and virtuous nature may recoil

In an imperial charge.〖Under a king’s orders.〗 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.

MACD. I have lost my hopes.

MAL. Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.

Why in that rawness〖Without preparation.〗 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 dishonours,

But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,

Whatever I shall think.

MACD. 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!〖Sanctioned.〗 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.

MAL. 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.

MACD. What should he be?

MAL. 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 compar’d

With my confineless〖Boundless.〗 harms.

MACD. Not in the legions

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d

In evils to top Macbeth.

MAL. I grant him bloody,

Luxurious,〖Lustful.〗 avaricious, false, deceitful,

Sudden,〖Hasty.〗 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 cistern of my lust, and my desire

All continent〖Restraining.〗 impediments would o’erbear

That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth

Than such an one to reign.

MACD. 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〖Carry on.〗 your pleasures in a spacious plenty,

And yet seem cold; the time〖Society.〗 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 inclin’d.

MAL. With this there grows

In my most ill-compos’d affection〖Badly constituted disposition.〗 such

A stanchless〖Insatiable.〗 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.

MACD. This avarice

Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root

Than summer-seeming〖Belonging to the prime of life.〗 lust, and it hath been

The sword of our slain kings. Yet do not fear;

Scotland hath foisons〖Abundance.〗 to fill up your will,

Of your mere own. All these are portable,〖Tolerable.〗

With other graces weigh’d.〖Balanced.〗

MAL. 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〖Flavor.〗 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.

MACD. O Scotland, Scotland!

MAL. If such an one be fit to govern, speak.

I am as I have spoken.

MACD. Fit to govern!

No, not to live. O nation miserable,

With an untitled〖Without just claim.〗 tyrant bloody-sceptred,

When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,

Since that the truest issue of thy throne

By his own interdiction stands accurs’d,

And does blaspheme〖Slander.〗 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 liv’d. Fare thee well!

These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself

Hath banish’d me from Scotland. O my breast,

Thy hope ends here!

MAL. Macduff, this noble passion,

Child of integrity, hath from my soul

Wip’d the black scruples, reconcil’d my thoughts

To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth

By many of these trains〖Plots.〗 hath sought to win me

Into his power, and modest〖Discreet.〗 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,〖Prepared.〗 was setting forth.

Now we’ll together; and the chance of goodness

Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?

MACD. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once

’Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a DOCTOR

MAL. Well; more anon.—Comes the King forth, I pray you?

DOCT. Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls

That stay his cure. Their malady convinces〖Baffles.〗

The great assay of art;〖Attempts of physicians.〗 but at his touch—

Such sanctity hath Heaven given his hand—

They presently〖Boundless.〗 amend.

MAL. I thank you, doctor. [Exit Doctor.

MACD. What’s the disease he means?

MAL. ’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〖Afflicted.〗 people,

All swollen 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

MACD. See, who comes here?

MAL. My countryman; but yet I know him not.

MACD. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.

MAL. I know him now. Good God, betimes〖Soon.〗 remove

The means that makes us strangers!

ROSS. Sir, amen.

MACD. 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.〖An every-day excitement.〗 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.

MACD. O, relation

Too nice,〖Story too fanciful.〗 and yet too true!

MAL. What’s the newest grief?

ROSS. That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker;〖I. e., as a bringer of stale news.〗

Each minute teems〖Produces.〗 a new one.

MACD. How does my wife?

ROSS. Why, well.

MACD. And all my children?

ROSS. Well too.

MACD. The tyrant has not batter’d at their peace?

ROSS. No; they were well at peace when I did leave ’em.

MACD. Be not a niggard of your speech; how goes ’t?

ROSS. When I came hither to transport the tidings,

Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour

Of many worthy fellows that were out;〖In revolt.〗

Which was to my belief witness’d the rather,

For that I saw the tyrant’s power a-foot.

Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland

Would create soldiers, make our women fight,

To doff their dire distresses.

MAL. Be ’t their comfort

We’re 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〖Catch.〗 them.

MACD. What concern they?

The general cause? Or is it a fee-grief〖Private property in 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.

MACD. If it be mine,

Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.

ROSS. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,

Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound

That ever yet they heard.

MACD. Hum! I guess at it.

ROSS. Your castle is surpris’d; your wife and babes

Savagely slaughter’d. To relate the manner,

Were, on the quarry〖Dead bodies.〗 of these murder’d deer,

To add the death of you.

MAL. Merciful heaven!

What, man! ne’er pull your hat upon your brows;

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak

Whispers the o’er-fraught〖Over-burdened.〗 heart and bids it break.

MACD. My children too?

ROSS. Wife, children, servants, all

That could be found.

MACD. And I must be from thence!

My wife kill’d too?

ROSS. I have said.

MAL. Be comforted.

Let’s make us medicines of our great revenge,

To cure this deadly grief.

MACD. 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?

MAL. Dispute〖Strive against.〗 it like a man.

MACD. 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〖Worthless.〗 that I am,

Not for their own demerits, but for mine,

Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!

MAL. Be this the whetstone of your sword; let grief

Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.

MACD. 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!

MAL. This tune goes manly.

Come, go we to the King; our power is ready;

Our lack is nothing but our leave.〖Leave-taking.〗 Macbeth

Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above

Put on〖Set to work.〗 their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;

The night is long that never finds the day. Exeunt.

All Directories