Posted by Barney on October 30, 2001
In Reply to: Origin of "Lead on McDuff" posted by David on October 30, 2001
: Does anyone know the origin of "Lead on McDuff". My wife and I were asking ourselves where it might have originated last night.
The correct quote, from Macbeth, is:
"Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"
They are Macbeth's last words, meaning "go for it, Macduff, let's fight to the death!", before Macduff kills him in combat. If you're asking why this is so misquoted, no-one seems to know - I certainly first heard of the phrase as 'lead on...'.