William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Act IV, Scene II
Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Ross
He had none:
His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.
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.
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!
I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace and your discomfort:
I take my leave at once.
Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
My father is not dead, for all your saying.
Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them.
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.
Enter a 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.
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?
What are these faces?
Exit Lady Macduff, crying 'Murder!' Exeunt Murderers, following her