Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Macbeth: Modern (Modern)
  • Editor: Anthony Dawson
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Research assistant: Katie Davion
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-528-5

    Copyright Anthony Dawson. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Anthony Dawson
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Modern (Modern)

    Enter Lennox and another Lord.
    My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
    Which can interpret farther. Only I say
    1475Things have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan
    Was pitied of Macbeth--marry, he was dead.
    And the right valiant Banquo walked too late
    Whom you may say, if't please you, Fleance killed,
    For Fleance fled: men must not walk too late.
    1480Who cannot want the thought how monstrous
    It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
    To kill their gracious father? Damnèd fact,
    How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight,
    In pious rage, the two delinquents tear,
    1485That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
    Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too,
    For 'twould have angered any heart alive
    To hear the men deny't. So that I say,
    He has borne all things well, and I do think
    1490That, had he Duncan's sons under his key,
    As, and'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 failed
    His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear
    1495Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell
    Where he bestows himself?
    The son of Duncan,
    From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth,
    Lives in the English court, and is received
    1500Of 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,
    1505That 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 honors,
    1510All which we pine for now. And this report
    Hath so exasperate their king that he
    Prepares for some attempt of war.
    Sent he to Macduff?
    He did; and with an absolute, "Sir, not I",
    1515The cloudy messenger turns me his back
    And hums--as who should say, "You'll rue the time
    That clogs me with this answer."
    And that well might
    Advise him to a caution, t'hold what distance
    1520His 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.
    I'll send my prayers with him.