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    Act 4. Scene II

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    Chapter 19
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    SCENE II. Fife. Macduff's castle.

    Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and ROSS
    LADY MACDUFF
    What had he done, to make him fly the land?

    ROSS
    You must have patience, madam.

    LADY MACDUFF
    He had none:
    His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
    Our fears do make us traitors.

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

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

    ROSS
    My dearest coz,
    I pray you, school yourself: but for your husband,
    He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
    The fits o' the season. I dare not speak
    much further;
    But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
    And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
    From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
    But float upon a wild and violent sea
    Each way and move. I take my leave of you:
    Shall not be long but I'll be here again:
    Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
    To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
    Blessing upon you!

    LADY MACDUFF
    Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.

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

    Exit

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

    Son
    As birds do, mother.

    LADY MACDUFF
    What, with worms and flies?

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

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

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

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

    Son
    Nay, how will you do for a husband?

    LADY MACDUFF
    Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.

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

    LADY MACDUFF
    Thou speak'st with all thy wit: and yet, i' faith,
    With wit enough for thee.

    Son
    Was my father a traitor, mother?

    LADY MACDUFF
    Ay, that he was.

    Son
    What is a traitor?

    LADY MACDUFF
    Why, one that swears and lies.

    Son
    And be all traitors that do so?

    LADY MACDUFF
    Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.

    Son
    And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

    LADY MACDUFF
    Every one.

    Son
    Who must hang them?

    LADY MACDUFF
    Why, the honest men.

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

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

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

    LADY MACDUFF
    Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!

    Enter a Messenger

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

    Exit

    LADY MACDUFF
    Whither should I fly?
    I have done no harm. But I remember now
    I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
    Is often laudable, to do good sometime
    Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas,
    Do I put up that womanly defence,
    To say I have done no harm?

    Enter Murderers

    What are these faces?

    First Murderer
    Where is your husband?

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

    First Murderer
    He's a traitor.

    Son
    Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain!

    First Murderer
    What, you egg!

    Stabbing him

    Young fry of treachery!

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

    Dies

    Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying 'Murder!' Exeunt Murderers, following her
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    Chapter 19
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