William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Act III, Scene VI
Enter Lennox and another Lord
My former speeches have but hit your thoughts, Which can interpret further: only, I say, Things have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan Was pitied of Macbeth: marry, he was dead: And the right-valiant Banquo walk'd too late; Whom, you may say, if't please you, Fleance kill'd, For Fleance fled: men must not walk too late. Who cannot want the thought how monstrous It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain To kill their gracious father? damned fact! How it did grieve Macbeth! did he not straight In pious rage the two delinquents tear, That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep? Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too; For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive To hear the men deny't. So that, I say, He has borne all things well: and I do think That had he Duncan's sons under his key— As, an't please heaven, he shall not—they should find What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance. But, peace! for from broad words and 'cause he fail'd His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear Macduff lives in disgrace: sir, can you tell Where he bestows himself?
From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth
Lives in the English court, and is received
Of the most pious Edward with such grace
That the malevolence of fortune nothing
Takes from his high respect: thither Macduff
Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid
To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward:
That, by the help of these—with Him above
To ratify the work—we may again
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
Do faithful homage and receive free honours:
All which we pine for now: and this report
Hath so exasperate the king that he
Prepares for some attempt of war.
The cloudy messenger turns me his back,
And hums, as who should say 'You'll rue the time
That clogs me with this answer.'
Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel
Fly to the court of England and unfold
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
May soon return to this our suffering country
Under a hand accursed!