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Alarums. Enter MACDUFF.
Macd. That way the noise is :-Tyrant, show thy
If thou be'st slain, and with no stroke of mine,
My wife and children's ghost will haunt me still.
I cannot strike at wretched kernes, whose arms
Are hir'd to bear their staves ; either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword, with an unbatter'd edge,
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou should'st be;
By this great clatter, one of greatest note
Seems bruited:3 Let me find him, fortune!
And more I beg not.
Enter MALCOLM and old SIWARD.
Siw. This way, my lord ;--the castle's gently ren
The tyrant's people on both sides do fight;
The noble thanes do bravely in the war;
The day almost itself professes yours,
And little is to do.
We have met with foes
That strike beside us.
Enter, sir, the castle.
Macb. Why should I play the Roman fool, and die On mine own sword? whiles I see lives, the gashes Do better upon them.
Turn, hell-hound, turn.
Macb, Of all men else I have avoided thee :
But get thee back, my soul is too much charg'd
With blood of thine already.
I have no words,
My voice is in my sword; thou bloodier villain
Than terms can give thee out!
[They fight. Macb.
Thou losest labour:
easy may’st thou the intrenchant air 4
With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed:
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests ;
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield
To one of woman born.
Despair thy charm;
And let the angel, whom thou still hast serv’d,
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
Macb. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd,
That palters with us in a double sense;
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.—I'll not fight with thee.
Macd. Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o'the time.
We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole; and underwrit,
Here may you see the tyrant.
4 The air which cannot be cut.
I'll not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou oppos'd, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last: Before my body
I throw my warlike shield : lay on, Macduff;
And damn'd be him that first cries, Hold, enough.
Retreat. Flourish. Re-enter, with Drum and Colours,
MALCOLM, old SIWARD, Rosse, Lenox, An.
GUS, CATHNESS, Menteth, and Soldiers.
Mal. I would, the friends we miss were safe arriv'd.
Siw. Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
Mal. Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
Rosse. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:
He only liv'd but till he was a man;
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.
Then he is dead?
Rosse. Ay, and brought off the field : your cause
Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then
It hath no end.
Had he his hurts before ?
Rosse. Ay, on the front.
Why then, God's soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so his knell is knollid.
He's worth more sorrow,
And that I'll spend for him.
He's worth no more; They say, he parted well, and paid his score: So, God be with him !-Here comes newer comfort.
Re-enter MACDUFF, with Macbeth's Head on a
Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art: Behold, where
The usurper's cursed head : the time is free:
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom's pearl,6
That speak my salutation in their minds;
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine,
Hail, king of Scotland!
King of Scotland, hail !
Mal. We shall not spend a large expence of time,
Before we reckon with your several loves,
And make us even with you. My thanes and kins-
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
In such an honour nam’d. What's more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,
As calling home our exil'd friends abroad,
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny ;
Producing forth the cruel ministers
Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen;
Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands
Took off her life;—This, and what needful else
Thy kingdom's wealth or ornament.
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,
We will perform in measure, time, and place :
So thanks to all at once, and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.
This play is deservedly celebrated for the propriety of its fictions, and solemnity, grandeur, and variety of its action; but it has no nice discriminations of character; the events are too great to admit the influence of particular dispositions, and the course of the action necessarily determines the conduct of the agents.
The danger of ambition is well described ; and I know not whether it may not be said, in defence of some parts which now seem improbable, that in Shakspeare's time, it was necessary to warn credulity against vain and illusive predictions.
The passions are directed to their true end. Lady Macbeth is merely detested ; and though the courage of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader rejoices at his fall.