Act IV, Scene 2
Fife. Macduff’s castle.
- Enter Macduff’s Wife, her Son, and Rosse.
- What had he done, to make him fly the land?
- You must have patience, madam.
Lady Macduff3 - 5
- He had none;
- His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
- Our fears do make us traitors.
Rosse6 - 7
- You know not
- Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
Lady Macduff8 - 16
- Wisdom? To leave his wife, to leave his babes,
- His mansion and his titles, in a place
- From whence himself does fly? He loves us not,
- He wants the natural touch; for the poor wren,
- The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
- Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
- All is the fear, and nothing is the love;
- As little is the wisdom, where the flight
- So runs against all reason.
Rosse17 - 29
- My dearest coz,
- I pray you school yourself. But for your husband,
- He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
- The fits o’ th’ season. I dare not speak much further,
- But cruel are the times when we are traitors,
- And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumor
- 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 upward
- To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
- Blessing upon you!
- Father’d he is, and yet he’s fatherless.
Rosse31 - 33
- I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
- It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.
- I take my leave at once.
- Exit Rosse.
Lady Macduff34 - 35
- Sirrah, your father’s dead,
- And what will you do now? How will you live?
Son to Macduff36
- As birds do, mother.
- What, with worms and flies?
Son to Macduff38
- With what I get, I mean, and so do they.
Lady Macduff39 - 40
- Poor bird, thou’dst never fear the net nor lime,
- The pitfall nor the gin.
Son to Macduff41 - 42
- Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
- My father is not dead, for all your saying.
- Yes, he is dead. How wilt thou do for a father?
Son to Macduff44
- Nay, how will you do for a husband?
- Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
Son to Macduff46
- Then you’ll buy ’em to sell again.
Lady Macduff47 - 48
- Thou speak’st with all thy wit, and yet, i’ faith,
- With wit enough for thee.
Son to Macduff49
- Was my father a traitor, mother?
- Ay, that he was.
Son to Macduff51
- What is a traitor?
- Why, one that swears and lies.
Son to Macduff53
- And be all traitors that do so?
- Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hang’d.
Son to Macduff55
- And must they all be hang’d that swear and lie?
- Every one.
Son to Macduff57
- Who must hang them?
- Why, the honest men.
Son to Macduff59 - 60
- Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars
- and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them.
Lady Macduff61 - 62
- Now God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a
Son to Macduff63 - 64
- If he were dead, you’ld weep for him; if you would not, it
- were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
- Poor prattler, how thou talk’st!
- Enter a Messenger.
Messenger66 - 74
- Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
- Though in your state of honor I am perfect.
- 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.
Lady Macduff75 - 82
- 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 defense,
- To say I have done no harm?
- Enter Murderers.
- What are these faces?
- Where is your husband?
Lady Macduff84 - 85
- I hope, in no place so unsanctified
- Where such as thou mayst find him.
- He’s a traitor.
Son to Macduff87
- Thou li’st, thou shag-ear’d villain!
First Murderer88 - 89
- What, you egg!
- Stabbing him.
- Young fry of treachery!
Son to Macduff90 - 91
- He has kill’d me, mother:
- Run away, I pray you!
- Exit Lady Macduff crying “Murder!” and pursued by the