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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act V. Scene IV.


Country near Birnam Wood.

Enter, with drum and colours, MALCOLM, Old SIWARD and his Son, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers marching.

Mal.Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand

That chambers will be safe.

Men.We doubt it nothing.

Siw.What wood is this before us?

Men.The wood of Birnam.

Mal.Let every soldier hew him down a bough

And bear ’t before him: thereby shall we shadow

The numbers of our host, and make discovery

Err in report of us.

Sold.It shall be done.

Siw.We learn no other but the confident tyrant

Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure

Our setting down before ’t.

Mal.’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

Whose hearts are absent too.

Macd.Let our just censures

Attend the true event, and put we on

Industrious soldiership.

Siw.The time approaches

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.[Exeunt, marching.