• Enter ROSS with an OLD MAN

    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.

    ROSS

         Ha, good father,
    5Thou 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
    10When living light should kiss it?

    OLD MAN

         'Tis unnatural,
    Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last,
    A falcon, tow'ring in her pride of place,
    Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed.

    ROSS

    And Duncan’s horses—a thing most strange and certain—
    15Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
    Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
    Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would
    Make war with mankind.

    OLD MAN

         'Tis said they eat each other.

    ROSS

    They did so, to th' amazement of mine eyes
    20That looked upon ’t. Here comes the good Macduff.
    Enter MACDUFF
  • ROSS and an OLD MAN enter.

    OLD MAN

    I can remember the past seventy years pretty well, and in all that time I have seen dreadful hours and strange things. But last night’s horrors make everything that came before seem like a joke.

    ROSS

    Ah yes, old man. You can see the skies. They look like they’re upset about what mankind has been doing, and they’re threatening the Earth with storms. The clock says it’s daytime, but dark night is strangling the sun. Is it because night is so strong, or because day is so weak, that darkness covers the earth when it’s supposed to be light?

    OLD MAN

    It’s unnatural, just like the murder that has been committed. Last Tuesday a falcon was circling high in the sky, and it was caught and killed by an ordinary owl that usually goes after mice.

    ROSS

    And something else strange happened. Duncan’s horses, which are beautiful and swift and the best of their breed, suddenly turned wild and broke out of their stalls. Refusing to be obedient as usual, they acted like they were at war with mankind.

    OLD MAN

    They say the horses ate each other.

    ROSS

    I saw it with my own eyes. It was an amazing sight. Here comes the good Macduff.
    MACDUFF enters.