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- L. Macd. Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
Rosse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer.
L. Macd. Sirrah, your father's dead;
Son. As birds do, mother.
L. Macd. What, with worms and flies?
Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
L. Macd. Poor bird! thou'dst never fear the net, nor lime, The pit-fall, nor the gin.
Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for. My father is not dead, for all your saying.
L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?
Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband?
L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
L.Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit; and yet i'faith, With wit enough for thee.
Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?
L. Macd. Ay, that he was.
Son. What is a traitor?
L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies.
■Son. And be all traitors, that do so?
L. Macd. Every one that does so, is a traitor, and must be hanged.
Son. And must they all be hanged, that swear and lie?
L. Macd. Every one.
Son. Who must hang them?
L. Macd. Why, the honest men.
Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools: for
VOL. IV. F P
there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men, and hang up them.
L.Macd. Now God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father?
Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him: if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
L. Macd. Poor prattler! how thou talk'st.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you
known, Though in your state of honour I am perfect.9 I doubt, some danger does approach you nearly: If you will take a homely man's advice, Be not found here; hence, with your little ones. To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage; To do worse to you, were fell cruelty, Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve
you! I dare abide no longer. [Exit Messenger.
L.Macd. "Whither should I fly? I have done no harm. But I remember now I am in this earthly world; where, to do harm, Is often laudable: to do good, sometime, Accounted dangerous folly: Why then, alas! Do I put up that womanly defence, To say, I have done no harm? What are these
Mur. Where is your husband?
*—;—in your state of honour lam perfect.] i. e. I am perfectly acquainted with your rank of honour.
Mur. He's a traitor.
Son. Thou ly'st, thou shag-ear'd villain.
Young fry of treachery?
Son. He has killed me, mother:
Run away, I pray you. [Dies.
[Exit Lady Macduff, crying murder, and pur sued by the Murderers.
Enter Malcolm and Macduff.
Mai. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and
there Weep our sad bosoms empty.
Macd. Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword; and, like good men,
Mai. What I believe, I'll wail;
What know, believe; and, Avhat I can redress,
1 Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom:] The allusion is to a man from whom something valuable is about to be taken by violence, and who, that he may defend it without incumbrance, lays it on the ground, and stands over It with his weapon in his hand. Our birthdom, or birthright, says he, lies on the ground; let us, like men who are to fight for what is dearest to them, not abandon it, but stand over it and defend it. This is a strong picture of obstinate resolution.
a—-to friend,] i. e. to befriend.
What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance.
Macd. I am not treacherous.
Mai. But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil,
Macd. I have lost my hopes.
Mai. Perchance, even there, where I did find my doubts. Why in that rawness6 left you wife, and child, (Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,) Without leave-taking ?—I pray you, Let not myjealousiesbeyour dishonours, But mine own safeties:—You may be rightly just, Whatever I shall think.
Macd. Bleed, bleed, poor country! Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
* and wisdom—] That is, and 'tis wisdom. 4 A good and virtuous nature may recoil,
In an imperial charge.] A good mind may recede from goodness in the execution of a royal commission. Jon N Son .
6 Though all things foul, &c] This is not very clear. The meaning, perhaps, is this :—My suspicions cannot injure you, if you be virtuous, by supposing that a traitor may put on your virtuous appearance. I do not say that your virtuous appearance proves you a traitor; for virtue must wear its proper form, though that form be counterfeited by villainy. Johnson.
* Why in that rawness—] Without previous provision, without due preparation, without maturity of counsel.
For goodness dares not check thee! wear thou thy
Mai. Be not offended:
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
Macd. What should he be?
Mai. It is myself I mean: in whom I know 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 compar'd With my confineless harms.
Macd. Not in the legions
Of horrid hell, can come a devil more damn'd
Mai. I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
7 Thy title is affeer'd!] Affeer'd, a law term for confirm'd.