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To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:

The castle of Macduff I will surprise;

Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o'the sword.
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I'll do, before this purpose cool.—
Where are these gentlemen?



The Country,—in England.

Enter Malcolm and Macduff.

Mai. 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-fall'n birthdom: 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 syllables of dolour.

Mal. What you have spoke, it may be so, per


This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, Was once thought honest: you have loved him well; He hath not touch'd you yet.

Macd. I am not treacherous.

Mal. But Macbeth is.

A good and virtuous nature may recoil,

In an imperial charge.

Macd. I have lost my hopes.

Mal. Perchance, even there, where I did find my 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 dares not check thee !—
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.

Mai. Be not offended:

I speak not as in absolute fear of

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?

Mai. 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 harms.

Macd. Not in the legions

Of horrid hell, can come a devil more damn'd
In evils, to top Macbeth.

Mai. I grant him bloody,

Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful;
But there's no bottom, none,

In my voluptuousness.

Nay, had I power, I should

Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.

Macd. Oh Scotland! Scotland!

Mai. If such a one be fit to govern, speak.
Macd. Fit to govern!

No, not to live.—O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
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 his breed?—Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king; the queen, that bore thee,
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,

Dy'd every day she lived. Fare thee well!
These evils, thou repeat'st upon thyself,

Have 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, hath sought to win me
Into his power; and modest wisdom plucks me
From over credulous haste: But Heaven 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.

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,

All ready at a point, 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


'Tis hard to reconcile.—See, who comes here? Mal. My countryman; but yet I know him not.

Enter Rosse.

Macd. My ever gentle cousin, welcome hither.
Mal. I know him now: Good Heaven, betimes re-


The means that make us strangers!

Rosse. Sir, Amen.

Macd. Stands Scotland where it did?
Rosse. 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 ecstacy: the dead man's knell

Is there scarce ask'd, for whom; and good men's lives

Expire before the flowers in their caps,

Dying, or ere they sicken.

Macd. O, relation,

Too nice, and yet too true!

Mal. What is the newest grief?

Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;

Each minute teems a new one.

Macd. How does my wife?

Rosse. Why, well.

Macd. And all my children?"

Rosse. Well too.

Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace? Rosse. No; they were all at peace, when I did leave them.

Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech; how goes it? Basse. When I came hither to transport the tidings Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour Of many worthy fellows that were out; Which was to my belief witness'd the rather, For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot: Now is your time of help; your eye in Scotland Would create soldiers, make our women fight, To doff their dire distresses.

Mai. Be it their comfort,

We are coming thither: gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward, and ten thousand men;
An older, and a better soldier, none

That Christendom gives out.

Rosse. '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 them.
Macd. What concern they?

The general cause? or is it a fee-grief,
Due to some single breast?

Rosse. 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.

Rosse. 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.

Rosse. Your castle is surpris'd; your wife, and babes, Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner, Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer, To add the death of you.

Mai. Merciful Heaven!

What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows; Give sorrow words: the grief, that does not speak, Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break.

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