Paulina’s speech and analysis.
Let us seek out some desolate shade…
Arden 3 | Kenneth Muir, London: Methuen 1984
[England. A room in the King’s palace.]
Enter Malcolm and Macduff.
Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.
Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
Bestride our downfall birthdom. Each new morn,
New widows howl, new orphans cry; new sorrows 5
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland, and yell’d out
Like syllable of dolour.
What I believe, I’ll wail;
What know, believe; and what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will. 10
What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance.
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest: you have lov’d him well;
He hath not touch’d you yet. I am young; but something
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom 15
To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb,
T’appease an angry god.
I am not treacherous.
But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil,
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon: 20
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose:
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell:
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet Grace must still look so.
I have lost my hopes.
Perchance even there where I did find my doubts. 25
Why in that rawness left you wife and child
(Those precious motives, those strong knots of love),
Without leave-taking?—I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
But mine own safeties: you may be rightly just, 30
Whatever I shall think.
Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dare not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs;
The title is affeer’d!—Fare thee well, Lord:
I would not be the villain that thou think’st 35
For the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp,
And the rich East to boot.
Be not offended:
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash 40
Is added to her wounds: I think, withal,
There would be hands uplifted in my right;
And here, from gracious England, have I offer
Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head, 45
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
Shall have more vices than it had before,
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,
By him that shall succeed.
What should he be?
It is myself I mean; in whom I know 50
All the particulars of vice so grafted,
That, when they shall be open’d, black Macbeth
Will seem as pure as snow; and the poor State
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar’d
With my confineless harms.
Not in the legions 55
Of horrid Hell can come a devil more damn’d
In evils, to top Macbeth.
I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name; but there’s no bottom, none, 60
In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust; and my desire
All continent impediments would o’erbear,
That did oppose my will: better Macbeth, 65
Than such an one to reign.
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
Th’untimely emptying of the happy throne,
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
To take upon you what is yours: you may 70
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
And yet seem cold—the time you may so hoodwink:
We have willing dames enough; there cannot be
That vulture in you, to devour so many
As will to greatness dedicate themselves, 75
Finding it so inclin’d.
With this, there grows
In my most ill-compos’d affection such
A staunchless avarice, that, were I King,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands;
Desire his jewels, and this other’s house: 80
And my more-having would be as a sauce
To make me hunger more; that I should forge
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
Destroying them for wealth.
Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root 85
Than summer-seeming lust; and it hath been
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will,
Of your mere own. All these are portable,
With other graces weigh’d. 90
But I have none: the king-becoming graces,
As Justice, Verity, Temp’rance, Stableness,
Bounty, Perseverance, Mercy, Lowliness,
Devotion, Patience, Courage, Fortitude,
I have no relish of them; but abound 95
In the division of each several crime,
Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
Pour the sweet milk of concord into Hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
O Scotland! Scotland! 100
If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.
Fit to govern?
No, not to live.—O nation miserable!
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter’d,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again, 105
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accus’d,
And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
9Was a most sainted King: the Queen, that bore thee,
Oft’ner upon her knees than on her feet, 110
Died every day she liv’d. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself
Hath banish’d me from Scotland.—O my breast,
Thy hope ends here!
Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul 115
Wip’d the black scruples, reconcil’d my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
From over-credulous haste: but God above 120
Deal between thee and me! for even now
I put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature. I am yet 125
Unknown to woman; never was forsworn;
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own;
At no time broke my faith: would not betray
The Devil to his fellow; and delight
No less in truth, than life: my first false speaking 130
Was this upon myself. What I am truly,
Is thine, and my poor country’s, to command:
Whither, indeed, before thy here-approach,
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
Already at a point, was setting forth. 135
Now we’ll together, and the chance of goodness
Be like our warranted quarrel. Why are you silent?
Such welcome and unwelcome things at once,
‘Tis hard to reconcile.
Enter a Doctor.
Well, more anon.
Comes the King forth, I pray you?
Aye, Sir; there are a crew of wretched souls,
141That stay his cure: their malady convinces
143The great assay of art; but at his touch,
144Such sanctity hath Heaven given his hand,
145They presently amend.
145I thank you, Doctor.
146What’s the disease he means?
146’Tis call’d the Evil:
147A most miraculous work in this good King,
148Which often, since my here-remain in England,
149I have seen him do. How he solicits Heaven,
150Himself best knows; but strangely-visited people,
151All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
152The mere despair of surgery, he cures;
153Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
154Put on with holy prayers: and ’tis spoken,
155To the succeeding royalty he leaves
156The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
157He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy;
158And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
159That speak him full of grace.
159See, who comes here.
160My countryman; but yet I know him not.
161My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
162I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
163The means that makes us strangers!
164Stands Scotland where it did?
164Alas, poor country!
165Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
166Be call’d our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
167But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
168Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air
169Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
170A modern ecstasy: the dead man’s knell
171Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives
172Expire before the flowers in their caps,
173Dying or ere they sicken.
174Too nice, and yet too true!
174What’s the newest grief?
175That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker;
176Each minute teems a new one.
176How does my wife?
177And all my children?
178The tyrant has not batter’d at their peace?
179No; they were well at peace, when I did leave ’em.
180Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes’t?
181When I came hither to transport the tidings,
182Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
183Of many worthy fellows that were out;
184Which was to my belief witness’d the rather,
185For that I saw the tyrant’s power afoot.
186Now is the time of help. Your eye in Scotland
187Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
188To doff their dire distresses.
188Be’t their comfort,
189We are coming thither. Gracious England hath
190Lent us good Siward, and ten thousand men;
191An older, and a better soldier, none
192That Christendom gives out.
192Would I could answer
193This comfort with the like! But I have words,
194That would be howl’d out in the desert air,
195Where hearing should not latch them.
195What concern they?
196The general cause? or is it a fee-grief,
197Due to some single breast?
197No mind that’s honest
198But in it shares some woe, though the main part
199Pertains to you alone.
199If it be mine,
200Keep it not from me; quickly let me have it.
201Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
202Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound,
203That ever yet they heard.
203Humh! I guess at it.
204Your castle is surpris’d; your wife, and babes,
205Savagely slaughter’d: to relate the manner,
206Were, on the quarry of these murther’d deer,
207To add the death of you.
208What, man! ne’er pull your hat upon your brows:
209Give sorrow words; the grief, that does not speak,
210Whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
211My children too?
211Wife, children, servants, all
212That could be found.
212And I must be from thence!
213My wife kill’d too?
213I have said.
214Let’s make us med’cines of our great revenge,
215To cure this deadly grief.
216He has no children.—All my pretty ones?
217Did you say all?—O Hell-kite!—All?
218What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
219At one fell swoop?
220Dispute it like a man.
220I shall do so;
221But I must also feel it as a man:
222I cannot but remember such things were,
223That were most precious to me.—Did Heaven look on,
224And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff!
225They were all struck for thee. Naught that I am,
226Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
227Fell slaughter on their souls: Heaven rest them now!
228Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
229Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
230O! I could play the woman with mine eyes,
231And braggart with my tongue.—But, gentle Heavens,
232Cut short all intermission; front to front,
233Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself;
234Within my sword’s length set him; if he ‘scape,
235Heaven forgive him too!
235This tune goes manly.
236Come, go we to the King: our power is ready;
237Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth
238Is ripe for shaking, and the Powers above
239Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;
240The night is long that never finds the day.([Exeunt.)
RSC | 2009