Macbeth - Act 2, scene 4
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 2, scene 4
An old man and Ross exchange accounts of recent unnatural happenings. Macduff joins them to report that Malcolm and Donalbain are now accused of having bribed the servants who supposedly killed Duncan. Macduff also announces that Macbeth has been chosen king. Ross leaves for Scone and Macbeth’s coronation, but Macduff resolves to stay at his own castle at Fife.Enter Ross with an Old Man.
0897 Threescore and ten I can remember well,
0898 Within the volume of which time I have seen
0899 Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore
0901 5 Hath trifled former knowings.
ROSS 0902 Ha, good father,
0903 Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with man’s act,
0904 Threatens his bloody stage. By th’ clock ’tis day,
0905 And yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp.
0906 10 Is ’t night’s predominance or the day’s shame
0907 That darkness does the face of earth entomb
0908 When living light should kiss it?
OLD MAN 0909 ’Tis unnatural,
0910 Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last
0911 15 A falcon, tow’ring in her pride of place,
0912 Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed.
0913 And Duncan’s horses (a thing most strange and
0916 20 Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
0917 Contending ’gainst obedience, as they would
0918 Make war with mankind.
OLD MAN 0919 ’Tis said they eat each
0921 25 They did so, to th’ amazement of mine eyes
0922 That looked upon ’t.
0923 Here comes the good
0925 How goes the world, sir, now?
MACDUFF 0926 30 Why, see you not?
0927 Is ’t known who did this more than bloody deed?
0928 Those that Macbeth hath slain.
ROSS 0929 Alas the day,
0930 What good could they pretend?
MACDUFF 0931 35 They were suborned.
0932 Malcolm and Donalbain, the King’s two sons,
0933 Are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them
0934 Suspicion of the deed.
ROSS 0935 ’Gainst nature still!
0936 40 Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up
0937 Thine own lives’ means. Then ’tis most like
0938 The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.
0939 He is already named and gone to Scone
0940 To be invested.
ROSS 0941 45 Where is Duncan’s body?
MACDUFF 0942 Carried to Colmekill,
0943 The sacred storehouse of his predecessors
0944 And guardian of their bones.
0946 50 No, cousin, I’ll to Fife.
ROSS 0947 Well, I will thither.
0948 Well, may you see things well done there. Adieu,
0949 Lest our old robes sit easier than our new.
ROSS 0950 Farewell, father.
0951 55 God’s benison go with you and with those
0952 That would make good of bad and friends of foes.