Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Dunsinane Castle
Dunsinane
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
(From Macbeth)

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,        5
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.—What is that noise?
 
A cry within, of women.
  SEYTON.  It is the cry of women, my good lord.
  MACB.  I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
The time has been, my senses would have quail’d        10
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.—Wherefore was that cry?        15
  SEY.  The Queen, my lord, is dead.
  MACB.  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,        20
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,        25
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.
  MESS.  Gracious my lord, I should report that which        30
I saw, but know not how to do it.
  MACB.                        Well, say, sir.
  MESS.  As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.        35
  MACB.                Liar and slave!
  MESS.  Let me endure your wrath, if ’t be not so;
Within this three mile may you see it coming.
I say, a moving grove.
  MACB.              If thou speak’st false,        40
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,        45
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.        50
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.
 
 
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