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Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust; and my desire
All continent impediments would o'er-bear,
That did oppose my will: Better Macbeth,
Than such a one to reign.

Macd. Boundless intemperance

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 hood-wink.
We have willing dames enough; there cannot be
That vulture in you, to devour so many
As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
Finding it so inclin'd.

Mai. 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.

Macd. This avarice

Sticks deeper; grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeding lust;8 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.

* grotcs with more pernicious root

Than summer-seeding lust;] The allusion is to plants; and the sense is,—" Avarice is a perennial weed; it has a deeper and more pernicious root than lust, which is a mere annual, and lasts but for a summer, when it sheds its seed and decays." Blackstone.

9 All these are portable,] Portable, i. e. bearable.

Mai. 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 it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, Uproar the universal peace, confound All unity on earth.

Macd. O Scotland! Scotland!

Mai. If such a one be fit to govern, speak: I am as I have spoken.

Macd. Fit to govern!

No, not to live.—O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
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,
Oftner upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
These evils, thou repeat'st upon thyself,
Have banisb'd me from Scotland.—O, my breast,
Thy hope ends here!

Mai. 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:1 But God above
Deal between thee and me! for even now

1 From over-credulous haste:'] From over-hasty credulity.


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
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
'Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor.

Mai. 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 convinces2 The great assay of art; but, at his touch, Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand, They presently amend.

Mai. I thank you, doctor.

[Exit Doctor.

Macd. What's the disease he means?

Mai. '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,

*' convinces—] i. e. overpowers, subdues.

Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,

All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,

The mere despair of surgery, he cures;5

Hanging a golden stamp4 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.

Enter Rosse.

Macd. See, who comes here?

Mai. My countryman; but yet I know him not.5

Macd. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.

Mai. I know him now: Good God, betimes remove The means that make us strangers!

Rosse. Sir, Amen.

Macd. Stands Scotland where it did?

Rosse. Alas, poor country;

Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be call'd our mother, but our grave: where nothing,

3 The mere despair of surgery, he cures;] Dr. Percy, in his notes on The Northumberland Houshold Book, says, " that our ancient kings even in those dark times of superstition, do not seem to have affected the cure of the king's evil.—This miraculous gift was left to be claimed by the Stuarts: our ancient Plantagenets were humbly content to cure the cramp." In this assertion, however, the learned editor of the above curious volume has been betrayed into a mistake, by relying too implicitly on the authority of Mr. Anstis. The power of curing the king's evil was claimed by many of the Plantagenets.

4 — a golden stamp, &c] This was the coin called an angel, of the value of ten shillings.

* My countryman; but yet I know him not.~] Malcolm discovers Rosse to be his countryman, while he is yet at some distance from him, by his dress. This circumstance loses its propriety on our stage, as all the characters are uniformly represented in English habits. Steevens.

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 ecstacy; 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.

Macd. O, relation,

Too nice, and yet too true!

Mai. What is the newest grief?

Rosse. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker; Each minute teems a new one.

Macd. How does my wife?

Rosse. Why, well.

Macd. And all my children?

Rosse. Well too.

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.

Mai. Be it 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.

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