Scene II.Fife. MACDUFF'S Castle.
Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Ross.
L. Macd. What had he done to make him fly
Ross. You must have patience, madam.
L. Macd. He had none:
His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.
Ross. You know not
Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
L. Macd. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave
His mansion and his titles in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us
He wants the natural touch; for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight
Her young ones in her nestagainst the owl.
All is the fear and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.
Ross. My dearest coz,
I pray you, school yourself: but, for your hus-
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way and move. I take my leave of you:
Shall not be long but I'll be here again.
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb up-
To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
Blessing upon you!
L. Macd. Father'd he Is, and yet he's father-
Ross. I am so much a fool, should I stay
It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort:
I take my leave at once. [Exit.
L. Macd. Sirrah, your father's dead:
And what will yon do now? How will you live?
Son. As birds do, mother.
L. Macd. What I with worms and flies?
Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
L. Macd. Poor bird t 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 yon do for a husband?
L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any
Son. Then you'II 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
L. Macd. Every one.
Son. Who must hang them?
L. Macd. Why, the honest men.
Son. Then the liars and swearers are tools,
for there are liars and swearers enow 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
Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
I doubt some danger does approach yon 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 pre-
I dare abide no longer. [Exit.
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 faces
Mur. Where is your husband?
L. Macd. I hope in no place so unsanctified
Where such as thou mayst find him.
Mur. He's a traitor.
Son. Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain.
Mur. What! you egg.
Young fry of treachery! [Stabbing him.
Son. He has killed me, mother:
Bun away, I pray you! [Dies.
[Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying ' Murder,'
and pursued by the Murderers.