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His flight was madness : when our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.
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, 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.
My dear'st coz,
I pray you, school yourself: but for your husband,
He's 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 ;(90) 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.
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 limė, 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 hanged.
Son. And must they all be hanged 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
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 !
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
Though in your state of honour 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. L. Macd.
Whither(91) should I fly?
I've done no harm. But I remember now
I'm 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,
I've done no harm ?
What are these faces ?
First Mur. Where is your husband ?
L. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified
Where such as thou mayst find him.
He's a traitor.
Son. Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain !(92)
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 !” and
pursued by the Murderers.
SCENE III. England. Before the King's palace.
Enter Malcolm and MacDUFF.
Mal. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.
Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword; and, like good men,
Bestride our down-fall’n birthdom :(93) 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 yelld out
Like syllable of dolour.
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'm young; but something You may
deserve of him through me; and wisdom
To offer up(94) a weak, poor, innocent lamb
T appease an angry god.
Macd. I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon ;(95)
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.
I've lost my hopes. Mal. Perchance even there where I did find
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 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(96) not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs,
Thy title is affeer'd !(97)—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.
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.
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
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
With my confineless harms.
Not in the legions
Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd
In evils to top Macbeth.
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 cistern 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.
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
Th' 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've 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.
With this, there grows,
In my most ill-compos'd 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.