Ruins of McDuffs CastleShow/Hide_Details
SCENE III. England. Before the King's palace.
Enter MALCOLM and MACDUFF
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 (note 50)
Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom: each new morn (note 51)
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows (note 52)
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd 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. (note 53)
What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest: you have loved him well.
He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young;
but something (note 54)
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb
To appease an angry god.
I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil (note 55)
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave
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. (note 56)
I have lost my hopes.
Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
Why in that rawness left you wife and child, (note 57)
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.
Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny! lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dare not cheque thee: wear thou
The title is affeer'd! Fare thee well, lord: (note 58)
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?
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 compared
With my confineless harms. (note 59)
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 (note 60)
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
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 your pleasures in a spacious plenty, (note 61)
And yet seem cold, the time 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 inclined.
With this there grows
In my most ill-composed 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.
Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been (note 62)
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will. (note 63)
Of your mere own: all these are portable, (notes 64, 65)
With other graces weigh'd.
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 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.
O Scotland, Scotland!
If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.
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 accursed,
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,
Died every day she lived. Fare thee well! (note 66)
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast,
Thy hope ends here!
Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wiped the black scruples, reconciled 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 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, was setting forth. (note 67)
Now we'll together; and the chance of goodness (note 68)
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
'Tis hard to reconcile.
Enter a Doctor
Well; more anon.--Comes the king forth, I pray you?
Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure: their malady convinces (note 69)
The great assay of art; but at his touch--
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand--
They presently amend.
I thank you, doctor.
What's the disease he means?
'Tis call'd the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good king; (note 70)
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, (note 71)
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.
See, who comes here?
My countryman; but yet I know him not. (note 72)
My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
The means that makes us strangers! (note 73)
Stands Scotland where it did?
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 rent the air (note 74)
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell (notes 75, 76)
Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken. (note 77)
Too nice, and yet too true!
What's the newest grief?
That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker:
Each minute teems a new one.
How does my wife?
And all my children?
Well too. (note 78)
The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
But not a niggard of your speech: how goes't?
When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
Of many worthy fellows that were out; (note 79)
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. (note 80)
Be't their comfort
We are coming thither: gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
An older and a better soldier none (note 81)
That Christendom gives out.
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. (note 82)
What concern they?
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief (note 83)
Due to some single breast?
No mind that's honest
But in it shares some woe; though the main part
Pertains to you alone.
If it be mine,
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.
Hum! I guess at it.
Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer, (note 84)
To add the death of you.
What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows; (note 85)
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.
My children too?
Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.
And I must be from thence!
My wife kill'd too?
I have said.
Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.
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? (note 86)
Dispute it like a man. (note 87)
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 that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!
Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
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!
This tune goes manly. (note 88)
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave; Macbeth (note 89)
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may: (note 90)
The night is long that never finds the day.
(50) Mortal. Here used for 'deadly,' or 'death-dealing.'
(51) Bestride our downfall'n birthdom. The Folio prints 'down fall' for "down-fall'n;" which correction was suggested by Johnson.
(52) New sorrows strike heaven on the face, that it resounds, &c. It is worth while to observe how differently Shakespeare's sublimely familiar expressions affect different judgments and different natures. Mr. Steevens says, "This presents a ridiculous image."(!!!); while Professor Wilson exclaims rapturously, "That is true Shakespeare. No poet, before or since, has in few words presented such a picture. No poet, before or since, has used such words. He writes like a man inspired."
(53) To friend. Here used for 'befriend me,' 'be favourable or propitious to me.'
(54) Something you may discern of him through me. The Folio word 'discerne' was changed by Theobald to 'deserve;' and since his time the alteration has been adopted by every modern editor save ourselves. After banishing the original word from the passage, they complain that 'the construction is difficult, as there is no verb to which "wisdom" can refer,' and assert that 'something is omitted, either through the negligence of the printer or the inadvertence of the author,' since 'something is wanted to complete the sense.' Now, if the original word "discern" be retained, we have the sense of the passage unimpaired; thus: 'I am young, but something you may perceive of Macbeth in me [Malcolm has stated that Macbeth "was once thought honest," and afterwards "taxes himself with vices], and also you may perceive the wisdom of offering up,' &c., thus gaining the verb before "wisdom" that the commentators miss. Shakespeare occasionally makes one verb do double duty in a sentence. It may be advisable to mention that we made this restoration in the text when preparing our edition of Shakespeare for America in 1800.
(55) A good and virtuous nature may recoil in an imperial charge. 'Even a vlrtuous disposition may forsake its principles when urged by a royal command.'
(56) Yet grace must still look so. 'Yet grace must still look itself,' or 'like itself,' or 'as it does look.' For a similar use of the word "so," see Note 94, Act II., "All's Well."
(57) Why in that rawness left you wife and child. "Rawness" here includes the combined senses of 'rashness,' 'absence of mature consideration and due preparation,' as well as 'helplessness,' 'unprovidedness.'
(58) The title is affeer'd! Affeer'd is a legal term for 'confirmed,' 'assessed,' or 'reduced to certainty;' therefore the meaning of the entire passage seems to be, 'Great tyranny, be securely seated now, for goodness dare not oppose thee! wear thou thy wrongfully gained honours, since the title to them is confirmed!'
(59) Confineless harms. 'Unlimited evils.'
(60) Sudden. 'Rash,' 'hasty,' 'violent-tempered,' 'passionate;'
(61) Convey. Here used for 'conduct stealthily,' 'carry on clandestinely or furtively.'
(62) Summer-seeming. "Seeming" in this compound word has been variously changed to 'teeming,' 'seeding,' 'seaming,' and 'sinning;' but we take it that the original "seeming" here means 'beseeming,' 'not unseemly in,' 'not unbecoming to,' 'belonging to,' 'pertaining to' the season of youth. This, in a man who is smoothing matters for a young king, would not be inappropriate. Shakespeare uses "seeming" for 'beseemingly,' 'befittingly,' 'becomingly,' in the passage explained in Note 34, Act V., "As You Like It."
(63) Foisons. 'Plenty,' 'abundance.'
(64) Of your mere own. ' Absolutely your own.'
(65) Portable. 'bearable,' 'endurable.'
(66) Died every day she liv'd. An expression derived from Scripture: "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily," 1 Cor. xv. 31.
(67) Already at a point. 'Already come to a decision,' 'already determined.' "At a point" is an idiomatic phrase, signifying 'arrived at the decisive point.'
(68) And the chance of goodness be like our warranted quarrel, And may the chance of our good success be equal to the goodness of our cause! 'In phrases like this Shakespeare sometimes allows the word 'may' to be elliptically understood. He occasionally employs "goodness" to express 'propitiousness,' 'favour' and here it gives the sense of 'favourable,' 'propitious,' or 'successful issue;' and as he also uses "goodness" in some cases for 'JustIce', the present passage, moreover, includes the meaning of 'and may our chance of justice be great as the justice of our cause!'
(69) Convinces. 'Overcomes,' 'conquers,' 'defeats,' 'baflles.' See Note 128, Act I.
(70) This good king. Edward the Confessor; of whom Holinshed records, "As hath been thought, he was inspired with the gift of prophecie, and also to have the gift of healing infirmities and diseases. He used to helpe those that were vexed with the disease commonlie called the king's evil, and left that virtue as it were a portion of inheritance unto his successors, the kings of this realme." The allusion to the custom of royal touching for the king's evil is a compliment to King James; for it continued to be practised until as late as the reign of Queen Anne, who touched Dr Johnson when a child for this disease.
(71) A golden stamp. The coin called an angel.
(72) My countryman; but I Iet I know him not. The Scottish tartan dress worn by Rosse shows Malcolm that it is one of his own countrymen who approaches; but until quite near, and addressed by Macduff as his kinsman, the prince does not recognise him individually. When he does perceive who it is, he adds an aspiration that the cause may speedily be removed which prevents him from being thoroughly acquainted with the persons of all his native nobles.
(73) The means that makes us strangers. This sentence has been variously altered; but Shakespeare elsewhere treats "means" as a substantive singular.
(74) Rent. An old form of 'rend.'
(75) A modern ecstasy. 'An ordinary emotion,' 'a usual disturbance of the mind.' See Note 41. Act III. of the present play.
(76) The deadman's knell is there scarce ask'd for who. 'There it is scarcely asked for whom the dead man's knell is tolling.' "Who" is here used for 'whom' by a grammatical licence.
(77) Dying or ere they sicken. 'Dying before they are attacked by disease;' 'dying a premature and unnatural death.' For an explanation of "or ere"
(78) Well too. One among several passages in Shakespeare which show that it was usual to say of the dead they were " well"
(79) Many worthy fellows that were out. "Out" is here used idiomatically, meaning 'out fighting against tyranny,' 'out in rebellion;' as it was a common phrase at a later period, "He .was out in the '45');" meaning he was engaged in the Scotch Rebellion of 1745.
(80) Doff. 'Throw off,' 'cast off;' 'do off' or 'put off.'
(81) An older and a better soldier. Here "older" is used in the sense of 'more experienced,' 'more practised,' 'more proficient.'
(82) Latch. Used in North country dialect for 'catch;' and here employed for 'catch the sound of.'
(83) A fee-grief. 'An individual grief,' 'a peculiar sorrow;' 'a grief belonging to one sole possessor:' It has reference to the legal term significative of special and perpetual possession.
(84) Quarry. The sporting technicality for a heap of slaughtered game. See Note 8, Act I.
(&5) Ne'er pull your hat upon your brows. By these few significant words, and by making Malcolm, and not Macduff, utter the exclamation of horror at Rosse's tidings, how expressively does Shakespeare depict the silent anguish that overwhelms the husband and father on their first shock!
(86) Swoop. The expression used for the sweeping flight with which a bird of prey descends upon the object of its pursuit.
(87) Dispute it like a man. 'Contend manfully with your sorrow,' 'wrestle with your grief like a man.' We should not have thought It needful to explain this, but that the word "dispute" has been suspected of error, and was changed by Pope to 'endure.'
(88) This tune goes manly. The Folio gives 'time' for "tune" here, and it is true that the one word was sometimes used for the other when Shakespeare wrote (See Note 24 Act V., "As You Like It") but we think it more probable that here 'time' was a misprint, and that the authors word was "tune," because of the idiomatic sense it bears in the present passage; a sense which he has given to it more than once elsewhere. See, for instance, the passage referred to in Note 22, Act V., "Twelfth Night;" and "King Lear," Act IV., sc. 3, where Kent says of the distressed king, "Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers," &c. Rowe made the correction.
(89) Our lack is nothing but our leave. 'Nothing is needed now but for us to take our leave of the king.'
(90) Put on. 'Urge,' 'incite,' 'press forward.' "The phrase means 'The powers above urge us, the instruments of their righteous vengeance, to fulfil their purpose.'
21st Jun 2005 by Administrator
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