1606 The Tragedy Of Macbeth
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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 swol'n 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.
MACDUFF. See, who comes here?
MALCOLM. My countryman, but yet I know him not.
MACDUFF. My ever gentle cousin, welcome hither.
MALCOLM. I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
The means that makes us strangers!
ROSS. Sir, amen.
MACDUFF. Stands Scotland where it did?
ROSS. 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
Too nice, and yet too true!
MALCOLM. What's the newest grief?
ROSS. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
Each minute teems a new one.
MACDUFF. How does my wife?
ROSS. Why, well.
MACDUFF. And all my children?
ROSS. 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 goest?
ROSS. When I came hither to transport the tidings,
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumor
Of many worthy fellows that were out,
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
For that I saw the tyrant's power afoot.
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.
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 forever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.
MACDUFF. Humh! 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 murther'd deer,
To add the death of you.
MALCOLM. Merciful heaven!
What, man! Neer pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break.
MACDUFF. My children too?
ROSS. Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.
MACDUFF. And I must be from thence!
My wife kill'd too?
ROSS. I have said.
MALCOLM. Be comforted.
Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.
MACDUFF. 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?
MALCOLM. Dispute it like a man.
MACDUFF. 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!
MALCOLM. Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
MACDUFF. 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!
MALCOLM. This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the King; our power is ready,
Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may,
The night is long that never finds the day. Exeunt.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Dunsinane. Anteroom in the castle.
Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman.
DOCTOR. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no
truth in your report. When was it she last walked?
GENTLEWOMAN. Since his Majesty went into the field, have seen her
rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her
closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon't, read it,
afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while
in a most fast sleep.
DOCTOR. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the
benefit of sleep and do the effects of watching! In this slumbery
agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances,
what, at any time, have you heard her say?
GENTLEWOMAN. That, sir, which I will not report after her.
DOCTOR. You may to me, and 'tis most meet you should.
GENTLEWOMAN. Neither to you nor anyone, having no witness to
confirm my speech.
Enter Lady Macbeth with a taper.
Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise, and, upon my
life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
DOCTOR. How came she by that light?
GENTLEWOMAN. Why, it stood by her. She has light by her
continually; 'tis her command.
DOCTOR. You see, her eyes are open.
GENTLEWOMAN. Ay, but their sense is shut.
DOCTOR. What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.
GENTLEWOMAN. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of
LADY MACBETH. Yet here's a spot.
DOCTOR. Hark, she speaks! I will set down what comes from her, to
satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
LADY MACBETH. Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One- two -why then 'tis
time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and
afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our
power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have
had so much blood in him?
DOCTOR. Do you mark that?
LADY MACBETH. The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What,
will these hands neer be clean? No more o' that, my lord, no more
o' that. You mar all with this starting.
DOCTOR. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.
GENTLEWOMAN. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that.
Heaven knows what she has known.
LADY MACBETH. Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes
of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!
DOCTOR. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
GENTLEWOMAN. I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
dignity of the whole body.
DOCTOR. Well, well, well-
GENTLEWOMAN. Pray God it be, sir.
DOCTOR. This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have known those
which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their
LADY MACBETH. Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so
pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he cannot come out
DOCTOR. Even so?
LADY MACBETH. To bed, to bed; there's knocking at the gate. Come,
come, come, come, give me your hand.What's done cannot be undone.
To bed, to bed, to bed.
DOCTOR. Will she go now to bed?
DOCTOR. Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God, forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,