Macbeth

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 3

page Act 4 Scene 3 Page 9

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ROSS

     Would I could answer
195This comfort with the like. But I have words
That would be howled out in the desert air,
Where hearing should not latch them.

ROSS

I wish I could repay this happy news with good news of my own. But I have some news that should be howled in a barren desert where nobody can hear it.

MACDUFF

     What concern they?
The general cause, or is it a fee-grief
Due to some single breast?

MACDUFF

What is this news about? Does it affect all of us? Or just one of us?

ROSS

     No mind that’s honest
200But in it shares some woe, though the main part
Pertains to you alone.

ROSS

No decent man can keep from sharing in the sorrow, but my news affects you alone.

MACDUFF

If it be mine,
Keep it not from me. Quickly let me have it.

MACDUFF

If it’s for me, don’t keep it from me. Let me have it now.

ROSS

Let not your ears despise my tongue forever,
205Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.

ROSS

I hope you won’t hate me forever after I say these things, because I will soon fill your ears with the most dreadful news you have ever heard.

MACDUFF

     Hum! I guess at it.

MACDUFF

I think I can guess what you’re about to say.

ROSS

Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes
Savagely slaughtered. To relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murdered deer
210To add the death of you.

ROSS

Your castle was attacked. Your wife and children were savagely slaughtered. If I told you how they were killed, it would cause you so much pain that it would kill you too, and add your body to the pile of murdered corpses.

MALCOLM

     Merciful heaven!
What, man! Ne'er pull your hat upon your brows.
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break.

MALCOLM

Merciful heaven! (to MACDUFF) Come on, man, don’t keep your grief hidden. Put your sorrow into words. The grief you keep inside you will whisper in your heart until it breaks.

MACDUFF

My children too?

MACDUFF

They killed my children too?

ROSS

215Wife, children, servants, all that could be found.

ROSS

They killed your wife, your children, your servants, anyone they could find.