Outside Macbeth’s castle.
(Rosse; Old Man; Macduff)
Ross and an old man discuss the terrible portents that have occurred, including the fact that Duncan’s horses have eaten one another, that the day is dark, and that a tiny owl killed a huge hunting hawk. Macduff greets Ross and tells him that Malcolm and Donalbain have fled and are therefore suspected of the murder. Ross realizes that Macbeth is the most likely heir, and decides to go to his coronation, though Macduff chooses to simply go home. (52 lines)
Enter Rosse with an 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.
Ha, good father,
Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with man’s act,
Threatens his bloody stage. By th’ 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?
Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last,
A falcon, tow’ring in her pride of place,
Was by a mousing owl hawk’d at, and kill’d.
And Duncan’s horses (a thing most strange and certain),
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
Turn’d wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
Contending ’gainst obedience, as they would make
War with mankind.
’Tis said, they eat each other.
They did so—to th’ amazement of mine eyes
That look’d upon’t.
Here comes the good Macduff.
How goes the world, sir, now?
Why, see you not?
Is’t known who did this more than bloody deed?
Those that Macbeth hath slain.
Alas the day,
What good could they pretend?
They were suborned.
Malcolm and Donalbain, the King’s two sons,
Are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them
Suspicion of the deed.
’Gainst nature still!
Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up
Thine own live’s means! Then ’tis most like
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.
He is already nam’d, and gone to Scone
To be invested.
Where is Duncan’s body?
Carried to Colmekill,
The sacred store-house of his predecessors
And guardian of their bones.
Will you to Scone?
No, cousin, I’ll to Fife.
Well, I will thither.
Well, may you see things well done there: adieu,
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!
God’s benison go with you, and with those
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!