Fiction > Harvard Classics > William Shakespeare > Macbeth
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act V
 
Scene VIII
 
 
[The same]
Enter MACBETH

  Macb.  Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes
Do better upon them.
 
Enter MACDUFF

  Macd.        Turn, hell-hound, turn!
        4
  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.
  Macd.        I have no words,        8
My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain
Than terms 1 can give thee out!  They fight. Alarum.
  Macb.        Thou losest labour.
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant 2 air        12
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.        16
  Macd.        Despair thy charm;
And let the angel whom thou still hast serv’d
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
Untimely ripp’d.        20
  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 palter with us in a double sense,        24
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.        28
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole, 3 and underwrit,
“Here may you see the tyrant.”
  Macb.        I will not yield,        32
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,        36
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!”  Exeunt, fighting. Alarums.
 
Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colours, MALCOLM, old SIWARD, ROSS, the other Thanes, and Soldiers

  Mal.  I would the friends we miss were safe arriv’d.
        40
  Siw.  Some must go off; 4 and yet, by these I see,
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
  Mal.  Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
  Ross.  Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt.        44
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.        48
  Siw.        Then he is dead?
  Ross.  Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow
Must not be measur’d by his worth, for then
It hath no end.        52
  Siw.        Had he his hurts before?
  Ross.  Ay, on the front.
  Siw.        Why then, God’s soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,        56
I would not wish them to a fairer death.
And so, his knell is knoll’d.
  Mal.        He’s worth more sorrow,
And that I’ll spend for him.        60
  Siw.        He’s worth no more.
They say he parted well, and paid his score;
And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.
 
Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH’S head

  Macd.  Hail, king! for so thou art. Behold, where stands
        64
The usurper’s cursed head. The time is free.
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom’s pearl,
That speak my salutation in their minds;
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:        68
Hail, King of Scotland!
  All.        Hail, King of Scotland!  Flourish.
  Mal.  We shall not spend a large expense of time
Before we reckon with your several loves,        72
And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
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,        76
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,        80
Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands
Took off her life; this, and what needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,
We will perform in measure, time, and place.        84
So, thanks to all at once and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Scone.  Flourish. Exeunt.
 
Note 1. Words. [back]
Note 2. Not to be injured by cutting. [back]
Note 3. A cloth hanging from a pole. [back]
Note 4. Die. [back]
 

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