Macbeth By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 5

SCENE V.
Dunsinane. Within the castle.

[Enter with drum and colours, Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers.]

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
Till famine and the ague eat them up:
Were they not forc'd 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.]

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
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 slaught'rous thoughts,
Cannot once start me.

[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. —
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,
Signifying nothing.

[Enter a Messenger.]

Thou com'st 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.

MACBETH.
Well, say, sir.

MESSENGER.
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.

MACBETH.
Liar, and slave!

[Strikimg him.]

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,
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
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.]

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