Macbeth By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 3

MACDUFF.
Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
'Tis hard to reconcile.

[Enter a Doctor.]

MALCOLM.
Well; more anon. — Comes the king forth, I pray you?

DOCTOR.
Ay, sir: there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure: their malady convinces
The great assay of art; but, at his touch,
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
They presently amend.

MALCOLM.
I thank you, doctor.

[Exit Doctor.]

MACDUFF.
What's the disease he means?

MALCOLM.
'Tis call'd the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good king;
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures;
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers: and 'tis spoken,
To the succeeding royalty he leaves
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy;
And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
That speak him full of grace.

MACDUFF.
See, who comes here?

MALCOLM.
My countryman; but yet I know him not.

[Enter Ross.]

MACDUFF.
My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.

MALCOLM.
I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
The means that makes us strangers!

ROSS.
Sir, amen.

MACDUFF.
Stands Scotland where it did?

ROSS.
Alas, poor country, —
Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
Be call'd our mother, but our grave: where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks, that rent the air,
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.

MACDUFF.
O, relation
Too nice, and yet too true!

MALCOLM.
What's the newest grief?

ROSS.
That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
Each minute teems a new one.

MACDUFF.
How does my wife?

ROSS.
Why, well.

MACDUFF.
And all my children?

ROSS.
Well too.

MACDUFF.
The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?

ROSS.
No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.

Continued on next page...

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