« AnteriorContinuar »
you have spoke, it may be so, perchance. This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, Was once thought honest; you have lov'd him well; He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young, but something You
may deserve of him through me; and wisdom
To offer up a weak, poor innocent lamb,
To appease an angry god.
Macd. I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil,
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon ;
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.
I have lost my hopes.
Mal. Perchance, even there, where I did find my doubts.
Why in that rawness' left you wife and child,
(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 dares not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs,
The title is affeer'd.-Fare thee well, lord :
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 uplisted 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 be be ?
Mal. It is myself I mean: in whom I know
(1) In that rawness, i. e. precipitately, without maturity of counsel.
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. I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name : But there's no bottom, none,
In my voluptuousness: and my desire
All continent impediments would o'erbear,
That did oppose my will : Better Macbeth,
Than such a 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,
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
Mál. With this there grows,
In my most ill-compos'd 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
The sword of our slain kings : Yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foysons to fill up your will,
Of your mere own: All these are portable,
With other graces weigh’d.
Mal. 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 in many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
(1) Summer-seeming. Which has only a short duration, like summer. Some editions read summer-seeding, and others summer-teeming.
(2) Portable, for bearable, endurable.
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
O Scotland! Scotland !
Mal. If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.
Fit to govern!
No, not to live.-0 nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptred,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accurs’d,
And does blaspheme his breed ?—Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king: the queen, that bore thee,
Oft'ner upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
Have banish'd me from Scotland.—0, my breast,
Thy hope ends here !
Macduff, this noble passion, Child of integrity, hath from my soul Wip'd the black scruples, reconcil'd 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 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, All ready at a point, was setting forth : Now we'll together And the chance, of goodness, Be like our warranted quarrel!? Why are you silent?
Macd. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once, 'Tis hard to reconcile.
(1) Our warranted quarrel, i. e. our quarre our just cause of quarrel.
Enter a Doctor. Mal. Well; more anon.- -Comes the king forth, I pray you ? Doct. Ay, sir: there are a crew of wretched souls That stay his cure: their malady convinces 1 The great assay of art; but, at his touch, Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand, They presently amend. Mal.
I thank you, doctor. [Exit Doctor. Macd. What's the disease he means? Mal.
'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.
See, who comes here?
Mal. My countryman ; but yet I know him not.
Macd. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
Mal. I know him now: Good God, betimes remove
The means that make us strangers !
Macd. Stands Scotland where it did ?
Alas, poor country;
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be callid 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,
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
(1) The malady convinces, &c.,—their sickness overcomes the greatest attempts of our art.
(2) The healing benediction. Allusion is here made to the touching for the cure of the king's evil, which was commenced by Edward the Confessor, and practised by our sovereigns till the reign of Queen Anne, who was the last who exercised it. The famous Dr. Johnson is said to have been one of the last touched by her. The French kings also claimed this power.
Is there scarce ask'd, for who; and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying, or ere they sicken.
Too nice, and yet too true!
Mal. What's the newest grief?
Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
Each minute teems a new one.
How does my wife?
Rosse. Why, well.
And all my children?
Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
Rosse. No; they were well at peace, when I did leave them.
Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech: How goes it?
Rosse. 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.
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.
'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.
What concern they?
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief,
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.
Rosse. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound,
That ever yet they heard.
Humph! I guess at it.
Rosse. Your castle is surpris'd: your wife, and babes,
(1) A fee-grief,-a peculiar and private sorrow,