Holinshed's Chronicles, Volume V: Scotland, page 275
make by means of his support, to reuenge the slaughter so cruellie executed on his wife, his children, and other friends. At his comming vnto Malcolme, he declared into what great miserie the estate of Scotland was brought, by the detestable cruelties exercised by the tyrant Makbeth, hauing committed manie horrible slaughters and murders, both as well of the nobles as commons, for the which he was hated right mortallie of all his liege people, desiring nothing more than to be deliuered of that intollerable and most heauie yoke of thraldome, which they susteined at such a caitifes hands.
Malcolme hearing Makduffes woords, which he vuttered in verie lamentable sort, for méere compassion and verie ruth that pearsed his sorowfull hart, bewailing the miserable state of his countrie, he fetched a deepe sigh; which Makduffe perceiuing, began to fall most earnestlie in hand with him, to enterprise the deliuering of the Scotish people out of the hands of so cruell and bloudie a tyrant, as Makbeth by too manie plaine experiments did shew himselfe to be: which was an easie matter for him to bring to passe, considering not onelie the good title he had,* but also the earnest desire of the people to haue some occasion ministred, whereby they might be reuenged of those notable iniuries, which they dailie susteined by the outragious crueltie of Macbeths misgouernance. Though Malcolme was verie sorowfull for the oppression of his countriemen the Scots, in maner as Makduffe had declared; yet doubting whether he were come as one that ment vnfeinedlie* as he spake, or else as sent from Makbeth to betraie him, he thought to haue some further triall, and therevpon dissembling his mind at the first, he answered as followeth.
"I am trulie verie sorie for the miserie chanced to my countrie of Scotland, but though I haue neuer so great affection to reliue the same, yet by reason of certeine incurable vices, which reigne in me, I am nothing méet thereto. First, such immoderate lust and voluptuous sensualitie (the abhominable founteine of all vices) followeth me, that if I were made king of Scots, I should séeke to defloure maids and matrones, in such wise that mine intemperancie should be more importable* vnto you, than the bloudie tyrannie of Makbeth now is." Héerevnto Makduffe answered: "This suerlie is a verie euill fault, for manie noble princes and kings haue lost both liues and kingdomes for the same; neuerthelesse there are women enow in Scotland, and therefore follow my counsell. Make thy selfe king, and I shall conueie the matter so wiselie, that thou shalt be so satisfied at thy pleasure in such secret wise, that no man shall be aware thereof."
Then said Malcolme, "I am also the most auaritious creature on the earth, so that if I were king, I should séeke so manie waies to get lands and goods, that I would slea the most part of all the nobles of Scotland by surmized accusations, to the end I might inioy their lands, goods, and possessions; and therefore to shew you what mischiefe may insue on you through mine vnsatiable couetousnes, I will rehearse vnto you a fable. There was a fox hauing a sore place on him ouerset with a swarme of flies, that continuallie sucked out hir bloud: and when one that came by and saw this manner, demanded whether she would haue the flies driuen beside hir, she answered no: for if these flies that are alreadie full, and by reason thereof sucke not verie egerlie, should be chased awaie, other that are emptie and fellie an hungred,* should light in their places, and sucke out the residue of my bloud farre more to my greeuance than these, which now being satisfied doo not much annoie me. Therefore saith Malcolme, suffer me to remaine where I am, least if I atteine to the regiment of your realme, mine vnquenchable auarice may prooue such; that ye would thinke the displeasures which now grieue you, should séeme easie in respect of the vnmeasurable outrage, which might insue through my comming amongst you."
Makduffe to this made answer, "how it was a far woorse fault than the other: for auarice is the root of all mischiefe, and for that crime the most part of our kings haue béene slaine and brought to their finall end. Yet notwithstanding follow my counsell, and take vpon thée the crowne. There is gold and riches inough in Scotland to satisfie they gréedie desire." Then Malcolme againe, "I am furthermore inclined to dissimulation, telling of leasings,* and all other kinds of deceit, so that I naturallie reioise in nothing so much, as to be-