Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 2

          Enter MACDUFF'S WIFE, her SON, and ROSS.

  1    What had he done, to make him fly the land?

  2    You must have patience, madam.

                                                        He had none;
  3    His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
  4    Our fears do make us traitors.

                                                   You know not
  5    Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.

  6    Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
  7    His mansion and his titles in a place
  8    From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
  9    He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
 10    The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
 11    Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
 12    All is the fear and nothing is the love;
 13    As little is the wisdom, where the flight
 14    So runs against all reason.

                                                 My dearest coz,
 15    I pray you, school yourself. But for your husband,
 16    He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
 17    The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much further;
 18    But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
 19    And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour
 20    From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
 21    But float upon a wild and violent sea
 22    Each way and none. I take my leave of you;
 23    'Shall not be long but I'll be here again.
 24    Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
 25    To what they were before. —My pretty cousin,
 26    Blessing upon you!

 27    Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.

 28    I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
 29    It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.
 30    I take my leave at once.          

          Exit Ross.

                                           Sirrah, your father's dead;
 31    And what will you do now? How will you live?

 32    As birds do, mother.

                                       What, with worms and flies?

 33    With what I get, I mean; and so do they.

 34    Poor bird! thou'ldst never fear the net nor lime,
 35    The pitfall nor the gin.

 36    Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
 37    My father is not dead, for all your saying.

 38    Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?

 39    Nay, how will you do for a husband?

 40    Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.

 41    Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.

 42    Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and yet, i' faith,
 43    With wit enough for thee.

 44    Was my father a traitor, mother?

 45    Ay, that he was.

 46    What is a traitor?

 47    Why, one that swears and lies.

 48    And be all traitors that do so?

 49    Every one that does so is a traitor, and
 50    must be hanged.

 51    And must they all be hanged that swear
 52    and lie?

 53    Every one.

 54    Who must hang them?

 55    Why, the honest men.

 56    Then the liars and swearers are fools, for
 57    there are liars and swearers enow to beat
 58    the honest men and hang up them.

 59    Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But
 60    how wilt thou do for a father?

 61    If he were dead, you'ld weep for him: if you
 62    would not, it were a good sign that I should
 63    quickly have a new father.

 64    Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!

          Enter a MESSENGER.

 65    Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
 66    Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
 67    I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:
 68    If you will take a homely man's advice,
 69    Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
 70    To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
 71    To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
 72    Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
 73    I dare abide no longer.          

          Exit Messenger.

                                          Whither should I fly?
 74    I have done no harm. But I remember now
 75    I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
 76    Is often laudable, to do good sometime
 77    Accounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas,
 78    Do I put up that womanly defence,
 79    To say I have done no harm?          

          Enter MURDERERS.

                                               What are these faces?

       First Murderer
 80    Where is your husband?

 81    I hope, in no place so unsanctified
 82    Where such as thou mayst find him.

       First Murderer
                                                           He's a traitor.

 83    Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain!

       First Murderer
                                                         What, you egg!

          [Stabbing him.]

 84    Young fry of treachery!

                                             He has kill'd me, mother:
 85    Run away, I pray you!


          Exit [Lady Macduff] crying "Murder!"
          [and pursued by the Murderers].