The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act V, Scene 5

Dunsinane. Within the castle.

       
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[Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and colours]

  • Macbeth. 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 2355
    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.
    [A cry of women within] 2360
    What is that noise?
  • Seyton. It is the cry of women, my good lord.

[Exit]

  • Macbeth. I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
    The time has been, my senses would have cool'd 2365
    To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
    Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
    As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors;
    Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
    Cannot once start me. 2370
    [Re-enter SEYTON]
    Wherefore was that cry?
  • Seyton. The queen, my lord, is dead.
  • Macbeth. She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word. 2375
    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! 2380
    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,
    Signifying nothing. 2385
    [Enter a Messenger]
    Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
  • Messenger. Gracious my lord,
    I should report that which I say I saw,
    But know not how to do it. 2390
  • Messenger. As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
    I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
    The wood began to move.
  • Messenger. Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so:
    Within this three mile may you see it coming;
    I say, a moving grove.
  • Macbeth. If thou speak'st false,
    Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive, 2400
    Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
    I care not if thou dost for me as much.
    I pull in resolution, and begin
    To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
    That lies like truth: 'Fear not, till Birnam wood 2405
    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 aweary of the sun, 2410
    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]

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