ACT 2, SCENE 4: Outside Macbeth's castle.

Enter ROSS and an Old Man.

Old Man: Threescore and ten I can remember well:
Within the volume of which time I have seen
Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night
Hath trifled former knowings.

ROSS:                           Ah, good father,
Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act,                        [5]
Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, 'tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp:
Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it?                                                          [10]

Old Man:                           'Tis unnatural,
Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last,
A falcon, towering in her pride of place,
Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd.

ROSS: And Duncan's horses--a thing most strange and certain--
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,                                 [15]
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make
War with mankind.

Old Man:                           'Tis said they eat each other.

ROSS: They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes
That look'd upon't. Here comes the good Macduff.                          [20]
Enter MACDUFF.
How goes the world, sir, now?

MACDUFF:                           Why, see you not?

ROSS: Is't known who did this more than bloody deed?

MACDUFF: Those that Macbeth hath slain.

ROSS:                           Alas, the day!
What good could they pretend?

MACDUFF:                           They were suborn'd:
Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's two sons,                                    [25]
Are stol'n away and fled; which puts upon them
Suspicion of the deed.

ROSS:                           'Gainst nature still!
Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up
Thine own life's means! Then 'tis most like
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.                                              [30]

MACDUFF: He is already named, and gone to Scone
To be invested.

ROSS:                           Where is Duncan's body?

MACDUFF: Carried to Colmekill,
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
And guardian of their bones.                                                                  [35]

ROSS:                           Will you to Scone?

MACDUFF: No, cousin, I'll to Fife.

ROSS:                           Well, I will thither.

MACDUFF: Well, may you see things well done there: adieu!
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!

ROSS: Farewell, father.

Old Man: God's benison go with you; and with those                                   [40]
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!

[Exeunt.]


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