Open Source Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act V, Scene 4

Country near Birnam wood.


[Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG] [p]SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, [p]LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching]

  • Malcolm. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
    That chambers will be safe. 2325
  • Menteith. We doubt it nothing.
  • Siward. What wood is this before us?
  • Menteith. The wood of Birnam.
  • Malcolm. Let every soldier hew him down a bough
    And bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow 2330
    The numbers of our host and make discovery
    Err in report of us.
  • Soldiers. It shall be done.
  • Siward. We learn no other but the confident tyrant
    Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure 2335
    Our setting down before 't.
  • Malcolm. 'Tis his main hope:
    For where there is advantage to be given,
    Both more and less have given him the revolt,
    And none serve with him but constrained things 2340
    Whose hearts are absent too.
  • Macduff. Let our just censures
    Attend the true event, and put we on
    Industrious soldiership.
  • Siward. The time approaches 2345
    That will with due decision make us know
    What we shall say we have and what we owe.
    Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
    But certain issue strokes must arbitrate:
    Towards which advance the war. 2350

[Exeunt, marching]