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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene VI


[Forres. The palace]
Enter LENNOX and another Lord

Len.My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,Which can interpret farther; only, I say,Things have been strangely borne. The gracious DuncanWas 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 monstrousIt was for Malcolm and for DonalbainTo kill their gracious father? Damned fact!How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straightIn pious rage the two delinquents tear,That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too;For ’twould have anger’d any heart aliveTo hear the men deny ’t. So that, I say,He has borne all things well; and I do thinkThat had he Duncan’s sons under his key—As, an ’t please Heaven, he shall not—they should findWhat ’twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.But, peace! for from broad words, and ’cause he fail’dHis presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hearMacduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tellWhere 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’dOf the most pious Edward with such graceThat the malevolence of Fortune nothingTakes from his high respect. Thither MacduffIs gone to pray the holy king, upon his aidTo wake Northumberland and warlike Siward;That, by the help of these—with Him aboveTo ratify the work—we may againGive 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 reportHath so exasperate their king that hePrepares for some attempt of war.Len.Sent he to Macduff?Lord.He did; and with an absolute “Sir, not I,”The cloudy messenger turns me his back,And hums, as who should say, “You’ll rue the timeThat clogs me with this answer.”Len.And that well mightAdvise him to a caution, to hold what distanceHis wisdom can provide. Some holy angelFly to the court of England and unfoldHis message ere he come, that a swift blessingMay soon return to this our suffering countryUnder a hand accurs’d!Lord.I’ll send my prayers with him.Exeunt.