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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 130
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.

Now we'll together, and the chance of goodness
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you
silent?

Macduff. Such welcome and unwelcome things at

once

'Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor

Malcolm. Well, more anon. Comes the king forth,
I pray you?

Doctor. Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls

That stay his cure: their malady convinces

124. blames, accusations.

pared. 137. warranted, just. wait for.

140

125. For, as. 135. at a point, pre

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The great assay of art; but at his touch,
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
They presently amend.

Malcolm.

I thank you, doctor. [Exit Doctor.
Macduff. What's the disease he means?
Malcolm.

'Tis call'd the evil :

A most miraculous work in this good king;
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,
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.

150

Macduff.

Enter Ross

See, who comes here?

Malcolm. My countryman; but yet I know him not. 160 Macduff. My ever gentle cousin, welcome hither.

145. presently, straightway. 149. solicits, moves by petitions. 150. strangely-visited, strangely afflicted.

156. virtue, power. 159. speak, proclaim.

153. stamp, coin.

Malcolm. I know him now: good God, betimes re

move

The means that makes us strangers!
Ross.
Macduff. Stands Scotland where it did?
Ross.

Sir, amen.

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 ecstasy: the dead man's knell

Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's

lives

Expire before the flowers in their caps,

Dying or ere they sicken.

Macduff.

O, relation

What's the newest grief?

Too nice, and yet too true!

Malcolm.

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

Each minute teems a new one.

Macduff.

Ross. Why, well.

169. made, uttered.

170

How does my wife?

170. modern ecstasy, ordinary fit. 173. re

lation, report. 173. or ere, before. 174. nice, fancifully minute.

176. teems, brings forth.

Macduff.
Ross.

And all my children?

Well too.

Macduff. The tyrant has not batter'd at their

peace?

Ross. No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.

Macduff. Be not a niggard of your speech: how

goes't?

Ross. 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 the time of help; your eye in Scotland.
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
To doff their dire distresses.

Malcolm.

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

That Christendom gives out.

Ross.

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.

182. heavily, sadly. 183. out, up in arms.

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180

190

185. For that, be

188. doff, put away, get rid of. 195. latch, catch.

Macduff.

What concern they?

The general cause? or is it a fee-grief

Due to some single breast?

Ross.

No mind that's honest

But in it shares some woe, though the main part
Pertains to you alone.

Macduff.

If it be mine,

Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it. Ross. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever, Which shall possess them with the heaviest

sound

That ever yet they heard.

Macduff.

Hum! I guess at it.

Ross. Your castle is surprised; 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.

Malcolm.

Merciful heaven!

200

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./210 Macduff. My children too?

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