by: William Shakespeare

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Modern Text

And when we have our naked frailties hid,
That suffer in exposure, let us meet
And question this most bloody piece of work,
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us.
110In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
Against the undivulged pretense I fight
Of treasonous malice.
When we’re properly dressed for the cold, let’s meet and discuss this bloody crime to see if we can figure anything out. Right now we’re shaken up by fears and doubts. I’m putting myself in God’s hands, and with his help I plan to fight against the secret plot that caused this treasonous murder.
And so do I.
So will I.
     So all.
So will we all.
Let’s briefly put on manly readiness,
115And meet i' th' hall together.
Let’s get dressed quickly and then meet in the hall.
     Well contented.
Exeunt all but MALCOLM and DONALBAIN
Everyone exits except MALCOLM and DONALBAIN.
What will you do? Let’s not consort with them.
To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
Which the false man does easy. I’ll to England.
What are you going to do? Let’s not stay here with them. It’s easy for a liar to pretend to feel sorrow when he actually feels none. I’m going to England.
To Ireland, I. Our separated fortune
120Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,
There’s daggers in men’s smiles. The near in blood,
The nearer bloody.
I’ll go to Ireland. We’ll both be safer if we go separate ways. Wherever we go, men will smile at us while hiding daggers. Our closest relatives are the ones most likely to murder us.
This murderous shaft that’s shot
Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
125Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse,
And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
But shift away. There’s warrant in that theft
Which steals itself when there’s no mercy left.
We haven’t yet encountered that danger, and the best thing to do is avoid it entirely. With that in mind, let’s get on our horses. We’d better not worry about saying polite good-byes; we should just get away quickly. There’s good reason to escape when there’s no mercy to be found anymore.
They exit.