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Home > Macbeth > ACT IV - SCENE III. England. Before the King's palace.

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ACT IV - SCENE III. England. Before the King's palace.
Enter MALCOLM and MACDUFF

MALCOLM
1    Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
2    Weep our sad bosoms empty.
MACDUFF
3    Let us rather
4    Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
5    Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom: each new morn
6    New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
7    Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
8    As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out
9    Like syllable of dolour.
MALCOLM
10   What I believe I'll wail,
11   What know believe, and what I can redress,
12   As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
13   What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.
14   This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
15   Was once thought honest: you have loved him well.
16   He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young;
17   but something
18   You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
19   To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb
20   To appease an angry god.
MACDUFF
21   I am not treacherous.
MALCOLM
22   But Macbeth is.
23   A good and virtuous nature may recoil
24   In an imperial charge. But I shall crave
25   your pardon;
26   That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose:
27   Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
28   Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
29   Yet grace must still look so.
MACDUFF
30   I have lost my hopes.
MALCOLM
31   Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
32   Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
33   Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,
34   Without leave-taking? I pray you,
35   Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
36   But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,
37   Whatever I shall think.
MACDUFF
38   Bleed, bleed, poor country!
39   Great tyranny! lay thou thy basis sure,
40   For goodness dare not cheque thee: wear thou
41   thy wrongs;
42   The title is affeer'd! Fare thee well, lord:
43   I would not be the villain that thou think'st
44   For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp,
45   And the rich East to boot.
MALCOLM
46   Be not offended:
47   I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
48   I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
49   It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash
50   Is added to her wounds: I think withal
51   There would be hands uplifted in my right;
52   And here from gracious England have I offer
53   Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
54   When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head,
55   Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
56   Shall have more vices than it had before,
57   More suffer and more sundry ways than ever,
58   By him that shall succeed.
MACDUFF
59   What should he be?
MALCOLM
60   It is myself I mean: in whom I know
61   All the particulars of vice so grafted
62   That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
63   Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
64   Esteem him as a lamb, being compared
65   With my confineless harms.
MACDUFF
66   Not in the legions
67   Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd
68   In evils to top Macbeth.
MALCOLM
69   I grant him bloody,
70   Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
71   Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
72   That has a name: but there's no bottom, none,
73   In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
74   Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up
75   The cistern of my lust, and my desire
76   All continent impediments would o'erbear
77   That did oppose my will: better Macbeth
78   Than such an one to reign.
MACDUFF
79   Boundless intemperance
80   In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
81   The untimely emptying of the happy throne
82   And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
83   To take upon you what is yours: you may
84   Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
85   And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
86   We have willing dames enough: there cannot be
87   That vulture in you, to devour so many
88   As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
89   Finding it so inclined.
MALCOLM
90   With this there grows
91   In my most ill-composed affection such
92   A stanchless avarice that, were I king,
93   I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
94   Desire his jewels and this other's house:
95   And my more-having would be as a sauce
96   To make me hunger more; that I should forge
97   Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
98   Destroying them for wealth.
MACDUFF
99   This avarice
100  Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
101  Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been
102  The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
103  Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will.
104  Of your mere own: all these are portable,
105  With other graces weigh'd.
MALCOLM
106  But I have none: the king-becoming graces,
107  As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
108  Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
109  Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
110  I have no relish of them, but abound
111  In the division of each several crime,
112  Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
113  Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
114  Uproar the universal peace, confound
115  All unity on earth.
MACDUFF
116  O Scotland, Scotland!
MALCOLM
117  If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
118  I am as I have spoken.
MACDUFF
119  Fit to govern!
120  No, not to live. O nation miserable,
121  With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
122  When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
123  Since that the truest issue of thy throne
124  By his own interdiction stands accursed,
125  And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
126  Was a most sainted king: the queen that bore thee,
127  Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
128  Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
129  These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
130  Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast,
131  Thy hope ends here!
MALCOLM
132  Macduff, this noble passion,
133  Child of integrity, hath from my soul
134  Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts
135  To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
136  By many of these trains hath sought to win me
137  Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
138  From over-credulous haste: but God above
139  Deal between thee and me! for even now
140  I put myself to thy direction, and
141  Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure
142  The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
143  For strangers to my nature. I am yet
144  Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
145  Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
146  At no time broke my faith, would not betray
147  The devil to his fellow and delight
148  No less in truth than life: my first false speaking
149  Was this upon myself: what I am truly,
150  Is thine and my poor country's to command:
151  Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,
152  Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
153  Already at a point, was setting forth.
154  Now we'll together; and the chance of goodness
155  Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
MACDUFF
156  Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
157  'Tis hard to reconcile.
Enter a Doctor

MALCOLM
158  Well; more anon.--Comes the king forth, I pray you?
Doctor
159  Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
160  That stay his cure: their malady convinces
161  The great assay of art; but at his touch--
162  Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand--
163  They presently amend.
MALCOLM
164  I thank you, doctor.
Exit Doctor

MACDUFF
165  What's the disease he means?
MALCOLM
166  'Tis call'd the evil:
167  A most miraculous work in this good king;
168  Which often, since my here-remain in England,
169  I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
170  Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
171  All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
172  The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
173  Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
174  Put on with holy prayers: and 'tis spoken,
175  To the succeeding royalty he leaves
176  The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
177  He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
178  And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
179  That speak him full of grace.
Enter ROSS

MACDUFF
180  See, who comes here?
MALCOLM
181  My countryman; but yet I know him not.
MACDUFF
182  My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
MALCOLM
183  I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
184  The means that makes us strangers!
ROSS
185  Sir, amen.
MACDUFF
186  Stands Scotland where it did?
ROSS
187  Alas, poor country!
188  Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
189  Be call'd our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
190  But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
191  Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air
192  Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
193  A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
194  Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives
195  Expire before the flowers in their caps,
196  Dying or ere they sicken.
MACDUFF
197  O, relation
198  Too nice, and yet too true!
MALCOLM
199  What's the newest grief?
ROSS
200  That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker:
201  Each minute teems a new one.
MACDUFF
202  How does my wife?
ROSS
203  Why, well.
MACDUFF
204  And all my children?
ROSS
205  Well too.
MACDUFF
206  The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
ROSS
207  No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
MACDUFF
208  But not a niggard of your speech: how goes't?
ROSS
209  When I came hither to transport the tidings,
210  Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
211  Of many worthy fellows that were out;
212  Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
213  For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot:
214  Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
215  Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
216  To doff their dire distresses.
MALCOLM
217  Be't their comfort
218  We are coming thither: gracious England hath
219  Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
220  An older and a better soldier none
221  That Christendom gives out.
ROSS
222  Would I could answer
223  This comfort with the like! But I have words
224  That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
225  Where hearing should not latch them.
MACDUFF
226  What concern they?
227  The general cause? or is it a fee-grief
228  Due to some single breast?
ROSS
229  No mind that's honest
230  But in it shares some woe; though the main part
231  Pertains to you alone.
MACDUFF
232  If it be mine,
233  Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
ROSS
234  Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
235  Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
236  That ever yet they heard.
MACDUFF
237  Hum! I guess at it.
ROSS
238  Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
239  Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,
240  Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
241  To add the death of you.
MALCOLM
242  Merciful heaven!
243  What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows;
244  Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
245  Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.
MACDUFF
246  My children too?
ROSS
247  Wife, children, servants, all
248  That could be found.
MACDUFF
249  And I must be from thence!
250  My wife kill'd too?
ROSS
251  I have said.
MALCOLM
252  Be comforted:
253  Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
254  To cure this deadly grief.
MACDUFF
255  He has no children. All my pretty ones?
256  Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
257  What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
258  At one fell swoop?
MALCOLM
259  Dispute it like a man.
MACDUFF
260  I shall do so;
261  But I must also feel it as a man:
262  I cannot but remember such things were,
263  That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
264  And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
265  They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
266  Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
267  Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!
MALCOLM
268  Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
269  Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
MACDUFF
270  O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
271  And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,
272  Cut short all intermission; front to front
273  Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
274  Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
275  Heaven forgive him too!
MALCOLM
276  This tune goes manly.
277  Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
278  Our lack is nothing but our leave; Macbeth
279  Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
280  Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may:
281  The night is long that never finds the day.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT IV, SCENE IIACT V, SCENE I (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII
  • SCENE VIII

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