Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5
Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers,
with Drum and Colours.
1Hang out our banners on the outward walls.
2The cry is still "They come!" Our castle's strength
3Will laugh a siege to scorn; here let them lie
4. the ague: a disease that causes chills and fever.
4Till famine and the ague eat them up:
5. forced: reinforced. those that should be ours: i.e., troops who had revolted against Macbeth. 6. dareful: boldly, confidently.
5Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
6We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
7And beat them backward home.
A cry within of women.
What is that noise?
8It is the cry of women, my good lord.
9I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
10. cool'd: chilled [with terror].
10The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
11. my fell of hair: i.e., all my hair.
11To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
12. at a dismal treatise: in response to a horror story.
12Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
13. As life were in't: as if it [i.e., Macbeth's "fell of hair"] had a life of its own.
13As life were in't. I have supp'd full with horrors;
14Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
15. Cannot once start me: cannot ever startle me.
15Cannot once start me.
Wherefore was that cry?
16The queen, my lord, is dead.
17. She should have died hereafter: she would certainly have died some day[?]; she should have waited to die later[?] 18. such a word: such news.
17She should have died hereafter;
18There would have been a time for such a word.
19Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
20Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
21To the last syllable of recorded time,
22And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
23The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
24Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
25That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
26And then is heard no more: it is a tale
27Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Enter a Messenger.
Thou comest to use thy tongue;
29Thy story quickly.
Gracious my lord,
30I should report that which I say I saw,
31But know not how to do't.
Image Source: CHOISARTE
Well, say, sir.
32As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
33I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
34The wood began to move.
Liar and slave!
35Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so:
36Within this three mile may you see it coming;
37I say, a moving grove.
If thou speak'st false,
38Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
39. cling: shrivel. sooth true.
39Till famine cling thee; if thy speech be sooth,
40I care not if thou dost for me as much.
41. I pull in resolution: i.e., I am losing my resolution to defy the enemy. 42. doubt: be suspicious of.
41I pull in resolution, and begin
42To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
43That lies like truth. "Fear not, till Birnam wood
44Do come to Dunsinane," and now a wood
45. Arm, arm, and out!: This looks like a call to Macbeth's followers to arm themselves and go out to meet the enemy, but there are no followers, and, as he says in the next lines, if the wood is moving it's not safe to go out or stay in. 48. gin: begin. 49. estate o' the world: established order of the world. <More.> 50. wrack: ruin.
45Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
46If this which he avouches does appear,
47There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
48I gin to be aweary of the sun,
49And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
50Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
51. harness: armor.
51At least we'll die with harness on our back.