Excerpt from Out of Joint With the Moral Order
While the seriousness Of the present situation is recog nized, there is no occasion for pessimism. Even when the Pruss1an threat was most aggressive, there was about it a good deal Of camouﬂage, Of that art Of deception which was practiced when the good king Duncan of Scotland was murdered by Macbeth, who henceforth was conscience stricken, but who endeavored to reassure himself by what the witches told him, that he should not be robbed Of the fruits of his crime, till the wood Of Birnam should be moved out Of its fixed place. Who can unﬂx the forest, and move it from its earth-bound roots? Nevertheless, he was startled one day, when a servant with great agitation informed him that the forest was advancing in their direction. The fact was that Malcolm, the son and heir, who had been traitorously deprived Of his throne, and a loyal thane, on drawing near with troops to dethrone the usurper, directed their followers to cut each a branch from the trees in their line Of march, and to carry these aloft, and thus the wood Of Birnam in a sense did leave the Spot, where it always had been anchored, thereby contributing to the defeat Of the murderer whose morale was undermined by the subterfuge. The Prussians, steadily proclaiming how unshakable and multitudinous were their forces, imagined we would see whole forests approach ing for our destruction, but we saw through their camouﬂage, and, unlike the guilty Macbeth, we were unafraid.
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