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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Macbeth
 
Act III. Scene VI.
 
Forres.  A Room in the Palace.
 
Enter LENNOX and another Lord.
  Len.  My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
Which can interpret further: only, I say,
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan        5
Was pitied of Macbeth: marry, he was dead:
And the right-valiant Banquo walk’d too late;
Whom, you may say, if ’t please you, Fleance kill’d,
For Fleance fled: men must not walk too late.
Who cannot want the thought how monstrous        10
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
To kill their gracious father? damned fact!
How it did grieve Macbeth! did he not straight
In pious rage the two delinquents tear,
That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?        15
Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too;
For ’twould have anger’d any heart alive
To hear the men deny ’t. So that, I say,
He has borne all things well; and I do think
That, had he Duncan’s sons under his key,—        20
As, an ’t please heaven, he shall not,—they should find
What ’twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.
But, peace! for from broad words, and ’cause he fail’d
His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear,
Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell        25
Where he bestows himself?
  Lord.        The son of Duncan,
From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth,
Lives in the English court, and is receiv’d
Of the most pious Edward with such grace        30
That the malevolence of fortune nothing
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff
Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid
To wake Northumberland and war-like Siward:
That, by the help of these—with him above        35
To ratify the work—we may again
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
Do faithful homage and receive free honours;
All which we pine for now. And this report        40
Hath so exasperate the king that he
Prepares for some attempt at war.
  Len.        Sent he to Macduff?
  Lord.  He did: and with an absolute, ‘Sir, not I,’
The cloudy messenger turns me his back,        45
And hums, as who should say, ‘You’ll rue the time
That clogs me with this answer.’
  Len.        And that well might
Advise him to a caution to hold what distance
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel        50
Fly to the court of England and unfold
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
May soon return to this our suffering country
Under a hand accurs’d!
  Lord.        I’ll send my prayers with him!  [Exeunt.        55
 
 
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