Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 2
Enter MACDUFF'S WIFE, her SON, and ROSS.
1What had he done, to make him fly the land?
2You must have patience, madam.
He had none;
3His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
4Our fears do make us traitors.
You know not
5Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
6Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
7His mansion and his titles in a place
8From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
9He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
10The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
11Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
12All is the fear and nothing is the love;
13As little is the wisdom, where the flight
14So runs against all reason.
My dearest coz,
15I pray you, school yourself. But for your husband,
16He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
17The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much further;
18But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
19And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour
20From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
21But float upon a wild and violent sea
22Each way and none. I take my leave of you;
23'Shall not be long but I'll be here again.
24Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
25To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
26Blessing upon you!
27Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
28I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
29It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.
30I take my leave at once.
Sirrah, your father's dead;
31And what will you do now? How will you live?
32As birds do, mother.
What, with worms and flies?
33With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
34Poor bird! thou'ldst never fear the net nor lime,
35The pitfall nor the gin.
36Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
37My father is not dead, for all your saying.
38Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?
39Nay, how will you do for a husband?
40Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
41Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
42Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and yet, i' faith,
43With wit enough for thee.
44Was my father a traitor, mother?
45Ay, that he was.
46What is a traitor?
47Why, one that swears and lies.
48And be all traitors that do so?
49Every one that does so is a traitor, and
50must be hanged.
51And must they all be hanged that swear
54Who must hang them?
55Why, the honest men.
56Then the liars and swearers are fools, for
57there are liars and swearers enow to beat
58the honest men and hang up them.
59Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But
60how wilt thou do for a father?
61If he were dead, you'ld weep for him: if you
62would not, it were a good sign that I should
63quickly have a new father.
64Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!
Enter a MESSENGER.
65Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
66Though in your state of honour I am perfect.
67I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:
68If you will take a homely man's advice,
69Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
70To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
71To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
72Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
73I dare abide no longer.
Whither should I fly?
74I have done no harm. But I remember now
75I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
76Is often laudable, to do good sometime
77Accounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas,
78Do I put up that womanly defence,
79To say I have done no harm?
What are these faces?
80Where is your husband?
81I hope, in no place so unsanctified
82Where such as thou mayst find him.
He's a traitor.
83Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain!
What, you egg!
84Young fry of treachery!
He has kill'd me, mother:
85Run away, I pray you!
Exit [Lady Macduff] crying "Murder!"
[and pursued by the Murderers].