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Sey. What is your gracious pleasure?
Macb. What news more?
Sey. All is confirmed, my lord, which was reported.
Macb. Ml fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked. Give me my armor.
Sey. 'Tis not needed yet.
Macb. I'll put it on. Send out more horses, skirr1 the country round; Hang those that talk of fear.—Give me mine armor. How does your patient, doctor?
Doct. Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,
Macb. Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;
Doct. Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Macb. Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.— Come, put mine armor on; give me my staff;— Seyton, send out.—Doctor, the thanes fly from me; Come, sir, despatch.—If thou couldst, doctor, cast The water of my land, find her disease, And purge it to a sound and pristine health, I would applaud thee to the very echo, That should applaud again.—Pull't off, I say.— What rhubarb, senna,2 or what purgative drug, Would scour these English hence ?—Hearest thou of them?
1 i. e. scour the country round.
2 « What rhubarb, senna." The old copy reads cyme. The emendation is Rowe's.
Doct. Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation Makes us hear something.
Much. Bring it after me.——
I will not be afraid of death and bane,
Doct. Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here. [Exeunt.
SCENE IV. Country near Dunsinane; a Wood in
Enter, with drum and colors, Malcolm, Old Siward and his Son, Macduff, Menteth, Cathness, AnGus, Lenox, Rosse, and Soldiers, marching.
Mai. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand That chambers will be safe.
Ment. We doubt it nothing.
Siw. What wood is this before us?
Ment. The wood of Birnam.
Mai. Let every soldier hew him down a bough,1 And bear't before him; thereby shall we shadow The numbers of our host, and make discovery Err in report of us.
Sold. It shall be done.
Siw. We learn no other, but the confident tyrant Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure Our setting down before't.
Mai. 'Tis his main hope;
For where there is advantage to be given,9
1 A similar incident is recorded by Olaus Magnus, in his Northern History, lib. vii. cap. xx. De Strategemate Hachonis per Frondes.
2 "For where there is advantage to be given." Dr. Johnson thought that we should read:—
"where there is a vantage to be gone"
i. e. where there is an opportunity to be gone, all ranks desert him. We might perhaps read:—
"where there is advantage to be gained;"
and the sense would be nearly similar, with less violence to the text of the old copy.
Both more and less have given him the revolt;
Macd. Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
Siw. The time approaches,
That will with due decision make us know
SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the Castle. Enter, with drums and colors, Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers.
Macb. Hang out our banners on the outward walls; The cry is still, They come. Our castle's strength Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie, Till famine, and the ague, eat them up. Were they not forced with those that should be ours, We might have met them dareful, beard to beard, And beat them backward home. What is that noise?
[A cry within, of women.
Sey. It is the cry of women, my good lord.
Macb. I have almost forgot the taste of fears. The time has been, my senses would have cooled To hear a night-shriek; and my fellx of hair Would at a dismal treatise rouse, and stir As life were in't. I have supped full with horrors; Direness, familiar to my slaught'rous thoughts, Cannot once start me.—Wherefore was that cry?
Sey. The queen, my lord, is dead.
Macb. She should have died hereafter;
1 "—my fell of hair," my hairy part, my capilititium. Fffi is skin, properly a sheep's skin with the wool on it
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;*
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Enter a Messenger.
Thou com'st to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
Mess. Gracious my lord, 1 shall report that which I say I saw, But know not how to do it.
Macb. Well, say, sir.
Mess. As I did stand my watch upon the hill, I looked toward Birnam, and anon, methought, The wood began to move.
Macb. Liar and slave!2
Mess. Let me endure your wrath, if ?t be not so. Within this three mile may you see it coming; I say, a moving grove.
Macb. If thou speak'st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
1 "The last syllable of recorded time" seems to signify the utmost period fixed in the decrees of Heaven for the period of life. The record offuturity is indeed no accurate expression; but as we only know transactions past or present, the language of men affords no term for the volumes of prescience in which future events may be supposed to be written.
2 [" Striking him,"] says the stage direction in the margin of all the modern editions; but this stage direction is not in the old copies: it was first interpolated by Rowe, and is now omitted on the suggestion of the late Mr. Kemble. See his Essay on Macbeth and King Richard III. Lond. 1817. p. 111.
3 To cling, in the northern counties, signifies to shrivel, wither, or dry up. Clung-wood is wood of which the sap is entirely dried or spent. The same idea is well expressed by Pope in his version of the nineteenth Iliad, 166:—
"Clung with dry famine, and with toils declined."
1 care not if thou dost for me as much.—
I pall in resolution; and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend,
That lies like truth: Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane;—and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane.—Arm, arm, and out!—
If this, which he avouches, does appear,
There is nor flying hence, nor tarrying here.
I 'gin to be a-weary of the sun,
And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.— Ring the alarum-bell. Blow, wind! come, wrack!At least we'll die with harness * on our back. [Exeunt,
SCENE VI. The same. A Plain before the Castle.
Enter, with drums and colors, Malcolm, Old Siward, Macduff, frc. and their Army, with
Mai. Now near enough; your leavy screens throw down, And show like those you are.—You, worthy uncle, Shall, with my cousin, your right noble son, Lead our first battle; worthy Macduff, and we, Shall take upon us 2 what else remains to do, According to our order.
Siw. Fare you well.—
Do we but find the tyrant's power to-night,
Macd. Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath, Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.
\Exeunt. Alarums continued.
1 Harness, armor. 2 The first folio reads upon's.
Vol. in. 33