Enter ROSS and 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.
Ah, good father,
Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act,
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?
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.
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 the 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 suborn'd:
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 wilt ravin up
Thine own life's means! Then 'tis most like
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.
He is already named, and gone to Scone
To be invested.
Where is Duncan's body?
Carried to Colmekill,
The sacred storehouse 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!
Some time later an old man, one of the estate workers, and Lord Ross were outside Macbeth's castle.
“In all my seventy years,” said the old man, “I can remember most of what I've seen, some of it dreadful and some of it strange, but this sore night is like nothing before.”
“Ah, good father, the heavens are troubled by man's behaviour,” said Ross. “By the clock it is day but the night has strangled the sun. Is the earth entombed because darkness has won the battle with light?”
“It's unnatural, like the recent bloody business. Only last Tuesday a falcon high in the sky was swooped on and killed by a mouse-hunting owl!”
“Well,” said Ross, “here's another thing strange but true. King Duncan's horses, beautiful and swift, of the finest pedigree, broke their stalls and went wild.”
“I heard they ate each other.”
“They did! I saw it with my own eyes. Ah, here comes Macduff. How goes the world, sir?”
“Look at those dark clouds! Can't you see?”
“Do we know any more about that bloody deed?” asked Ross.
“The men Macbeth killed...” Macduff said, only half believing it.
“Alas, a bad day. What good would they hope to get out of it?” Ross asked.
“They were put up to it.” said Macduff. “Malcolm and Donalbain, the King's sons, have fled the country. That puts suspicion solely on them.”
“Well, that’s something else that goes against nature. Lavish ambition destroys itself so easily! It is most likely the sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth,” said Lord Ross.
“He has already been named successor and has gone to Scone for the investiture.”
“Where is Duncan's body?”
“It has been taken to Iona, to join the other Scottish kings in the sacred tombs.”
“Are you going to Scone?” Ross asked Macduff.
“No, cousin, it's time for me to go home to Fife.”
“Well, I'll go to Scone.”
“May you see things done well there. Farewell. Our new robes are not quite as comfortable as our old ones.”
Macduff left and Ross turned to the old man to say goodbye. The old man smiled and said: “God's blessings go with you and with those like you who try to make good out of bad and friends out of foes.”