Macbeth - Act 4, scene 3
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 4, scene 3
Macduff finds Malcolm at the English court and urges him to attack Macbeth at once. Malcolm suspects that Macduff is Macbeth’s agent sent to lure Malcolm to his destruction in Scotland. After Malcolm tests Macduff and finds him sincere, Malcolm reveals that Edward, king of England, has provided a commander (Siward) and ten thousand troops for the invasion of Scotland. Ross then arrives with the news of the slaughter of Macduff’s entire household. At first grief-stricken, Macduff follows Malcolm’s advice and converts his grief into a desire to avenge himself on Macbeth.Enter Malcolm and Macduff.
1754 Let us seek out some desolate shade and there
1755 Weep our sad bosoms empty.
MACDUFF 1756 Let us rather
1757 Hold fast the mortal sword and, like good men,
1758 5 Bestride our ⌜downfall’n⌝ birthdom. Each new morn
1759 New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
1760 Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
1761 As if it felt with Scotland, and yelled out
1762 Like syllable of dolor.
MALCOLM 1763 10What I believe, I’ll wail;
1764 What know, believe; and what I can redress,
1765 As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
1766 What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance.
1767 This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
1768 15 Was once thought honest. You have loved him well.
1769 He hath not touched you yet. I am young, but
1772 To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb
1773 20 T’ appease an angry god.
1774 I am not treacherous.
MALCOLM 1775 But Macbeth is.
1776 A good and virtuous nature may recoil
1777 In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your
1778 25 pardon.
1779 That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose.
1780 Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.
1781 Though all things foul would wear the brows of
1783 30 Yet grace must still look so.
MACDUFF 1784 I have lost my hopes.
1785 Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
1786 Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
1787 Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,
1788 35 Without leave-taking? I pray you,
1789 Let not my jealousies be your dishonors,
1790 But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,
1791 Whatever I shall think.
MACDUFF 1792 Bleed, bleed, poor country!
1793 40 Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
1794 For goodness dare not check thee. Wear thou thy
1796 The title is affeered.—Fare thee well, lord.
1797 I would not be the villain that thou think’st
1798 45 For the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp,
1799 And the rich East to boot.
MALCOLM 1800 Be not offended.
1801 I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
1802 I think our country sinks beneath the yoke.
1803 50 It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash
1804 Is added to her wounds. I think withal
1806 And here from gracious England have I offer
1807 Of goodly thousands. But, for all this,
1808 55 When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head
1809 Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
1810 Shall have more vices than it had before,
1811 More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,
1812 By him that shall succeed.
MACDUFF 1813 60 What should he be?
1814 It is myself I mean, in whom I know
1815 All the particulars of vice so grafted
1816 That, when they shall be opened, black Macbeth
1817 Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
1818 65 Esteem him as a lamb, being compared
1819 With my confineless harms.
MACDUFF 1820 Not in the legions
1821 Of horrid hell can come a devil more damned
1822 In evils to top Macbeth.
MALCOLM 1823 70 I grant him bloody,
1824 Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
1825 Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
1826 That has a name. But there’s no bottom, none,
1827 In my voluptuousness. Your wives, your daughters,
1828 75 Your matrons, and your maids could not fill up
1829 The cistern of my lust, and my desire
1830 All continent impediments would o’erbear
1831 That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth
1832 Than such an one to reign.
MACDUFF 1833 80 Boundless intemperance
1834 In nature is a tyranny. It hath been
1835 Th’ untimely emptying of the happy throne
1836 And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
1837 To take upon you what is yours. You may
1838 85 Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty
1839 And yet seem cold—the time you may so hoodwink.
1841 That vulture in you to devour so many
1842 As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
1843 90 Finding it so inclined.
MALCOLM 1844 With this there grows
1845 In my most ill-composed affection such
1846 A stanchless avarice that, were I king,
1847 I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
1848 95 Desire his jewels, and this other’s house;
1849 And my more-having would be as a sauce
1850 To make me hunger more, that I should forge
1851 Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
1852 Destroying them for wealth.
MACDUFF 1853 100 This avarice
1854 Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
1855 Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been
1856 The sword of our slain kings. Yet do not fear.
1857 Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will
1858 105 Of your mere own. All these are portable,
1859 With other graces weighed.
1860 But I have none. The king-becoming graces,
1861 As justice, verity, temp’rance, stableness,
1862 Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
1863 110 Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
1864 I have no relish of them but abound
1865 In the division of each several crime,
1866 Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
1867 Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
1868 115 Uproar the universal peace, confound
1869 All unity on earth.
MACDUFF 1870 O Scotland, Scotland!
1871 If such a one be fit to govern, speak.
1872 I am as I have spoken.
MACDUFF 1873 120 Fit to govern?
1875 With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered,
1876 When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
1877 Since that the truest issue of thy throne
1878 125 By his own interdiction stands ⌜accursed⌝
1879 And does blaspheme his breed?—Thy royal father
1880 Was a most sainted king. The queen that bore thee,
1881 Oft’ner upon her knees than on her feet,
1882 Died every day she lived. Fare thee well.
1883 130 These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself
1884 Hath banished me from Scotland.—O my breast,
1885 Thy hope ends here!
MALCOLM 1886 Macduff, this noble passion,
1887 Child of integrity, hath from my soul
1888 135 Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts
1889 To thy good truth and honor. Devilish Macbeth
1890 By many of these trains hath sought to win me
1891 Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
1892 From overcredulous haste. But God above
1893 140 Deal between thee and me, for even now
1894 I put myself to thy direction and
1895 Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure
1896 The taints and blames I laid upon myself
1897 For strangers to my nature. I am yet
1898 145 Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
1899 Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
1900 At no time broke my faith, would not betray
1901 The devil to his fellow, and delight
1902 No less in truth than life. My first false speaking
1903 150 Was this upon myself. What I am truly
1904 Is thine and my poor country’s to command—
1905 Whither indeed, before ⌜thy here-approach,⌝
1906 Old Siward with ten thousand warlike men,
1907 Already at a point, was setting forth.
1908 155 Now we’ll together, and the chance of goodness
1909 Be like our warranted quarrel. Why are you silent?
1910 Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
1911 ’Tis hard to reconcile.
Enter a Doctor.
MALCOLM 1912 Well, more anon.—
1913 160 Comes the King forth, I pray you?
1914 Ay, sir. There are a crew of wretched souls
1915 That stay his cure. Their malady convinces
1916 The great assay of art, but at his touch
1917 (Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand)
1918 165 They presently amend.
MALCOLM 1919 I thank you, doctor.
1920 What’s the disease he means?
MALCOLM 1921 ’Tis called the evil:
1922 A most miraculous work in this good king,
1923 170 Which often since my here-remain in England
1924 I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven
1925 Himself best knows, but strangely visited people
1926 All swoll’n and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
1927 The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
1928 175 Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
1929 Put on with holy prayers; and, ’tis spoken,
1930 To the succeeding royalty he leaves
1931 The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
1932 He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
1933 180 And sundry blessings hang about his throne
1934 That speak him full of grace.
MACDUFF 1935 See who comes here.
1936 My countryman, but yet I know him ⌜not.⌝
1937 My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
1938 185 I know him now.—Good God betimes remove
1939 The means that makes us strangers!
ROSS 1940 Sir, amen.
1941 Stands Scotland where it did?
ROSS 1942 Alas, poor country,
1943 190 Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
1944 Be called our mother, but our grave, where nothing
1945 But who knows nothing is once seen to smile;
1946 Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent the air
1947 Are made, not marked; where violent sorrow seems
1948 195 A modern ecstasy. The dead man’s knell
1949 Is there scarce asked for who, and good men’s lives
1950 Expire before the flowers in their caps,
1951 Dying or ere they sicken.
1952 O relation too nice and yet too true!
MALCOLM 1953 200What’s the newest grief?
1954 That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker.
1955 Each minute teems a new one.
MACDUFF 1956 How does my wife?
ROSS 1957 Why, well.
MACDUFF 1958 205And all my children?
ROSS 1959 Well too.
1960 The tyrant has not battered at their peace?
1961 No, they were well at peace when I did leave ’em.
1962 Be not a niggard of your speech. How goes ’t?
1963 210 When I came hither to transport the tidings
1965 Of many worthy fellows that were out;
1966 Which was to my belief witnessed the rather
1967 For that I saw the tyrant’s power afoot.
1968 215 Now is the time of help. Your eye in Scotland
1969 Would create soldiers, make our women fight
1970 To doff their dire distresses.
MALCOLM 1971 Be ’t their comfort
1972 We are coming thither. Gracious England hath
1973 220 Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
1974 An older and a better soldier none
1975 That Christendom gives out.
ROSS 1976 Would I could answer
1977 This comfort with the like. But I have words
1978 225 That would be howled out in the desert air,
1979 Where hearing should not latch them.
MACDUFF 1980 What concern
1982 The general cause, or is it a fee-grief
1983 230 Due to some single breast?
ROSS 1984 No mind that’s honest
1985 But in it shares some woe, though the main part
1986 Pertains to you alone.
MACDUFF 1987 If it be mine,
1988 235 Keep it not from me. Quickly let me have it.
1989 Let not your ears despise my tongue forever,
1990 Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
1991 That ever yet they heard.
MACDUFF 1992 Hum! I guess at it.
1993 240 Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes
1994 Savagely slaughtered. To relate the manner
1995 Were on the quarry of these murdered deer
1996 To add the death of you.
MALCOLM 1997 Merciful heaven!—
1999 Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
2000 Whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.
MACDUFF 2001 My children too?
2002 Wife, children, servants, all that could be found.
2003 250 And I must be from thence? My wife killed too?
ROSS 2004 I have said.
MALCOLM 2005 Be comforted.
2006 Let’s make us med’cines of our great revenge
2007 To cure this deadly grief.
2008 255 He has no children. All my pretty ones?
2009 Did you say “all”? O hell-kite! All?
2010 What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
2011 At one fell swoop?
MALCOLM 2012 Dispute it like a man.
MACDUFF 2013 260I shall do so,
2014 But I must also feel it as a man.
2015 I cannot but remember such things were
2016 That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on
2017 And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
2018 265 They were all struck for thee! Naught that I am,
2019 Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
2020 Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now.
2021 Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief
2022 Convert to anger. Blunt not the heart; enrage it.
2023 270 O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
2024 And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,
2025 Cut short all intermission! Front to front
2026 Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself.
2027 Within my sword’s length set him. If he ’scape,
2028 275 Heaven forgive him too.
2030 Come, go we to the King. Our power is ready;
2031 Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth
2032 Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
2033 280 Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you
2035 The night is long that never finds the day.