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Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up
Macd. Boundless intemperance
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
Mai. With this, there grows,
In my most ill-compos'd affection, such
Macd. This avarice
Sticks deeper; grows with more pernicious root
* 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,
Mai. Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
1 From over-credulous haste:'] From over-hasty credulity.
I put myself to thy direction, and
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.
Macd. What's the disease he means?
Mai. 'Tis call'd the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good king:
*' 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.
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
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