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SCENE VIII. Another part of the field.
Why should I play the Roman fool, and die (note 43)
On mine own sword? whiles I see lives, the gashes (note 44)
Do better upon them.

Turn, hell-hound, turn!

Of all men else I have avoided thee:
But get thee back; my soul is too much charged
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
Thou losest labour:
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air (note 45)
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 served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
Untimely ripp'd.

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 believed,
That palter 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.

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 on a pole, and underwrit,
'Here may you see the tyrant.'

I will 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 opposed, 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!' (notes 46, 47)

Exeunt, fighting. Alarums
Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colours, MALCOLM, SIWARD, ROSS, the
other Thanes, and Soldiers
I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.

Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.

Macduff is missing, and your noble son.

Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:
He only lived 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?

Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow
Must not be measured by his worth, for then
It hath no end.

Had he his hurts before?

Ay, on the front.

Why then, God's soldier be he! (note 48)
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so, his knell is knoll'd.

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:
And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.

Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH's head
Hail, king! for so thou art: behold, where stands (note 49)
The usurper's cursed head: the time is free:
I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl, (note 50)
That speak my salutation in their minds;
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:
Hail, King of Scotland!

Hail, King of Scotland!

We shall not spend a large expense of time (note 51)
Before we reckon with your several loves,
And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland (note 52)
In such an honour named. What's more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,
As calling home our exiled 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
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, (note 53)
Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.

Flourish. Exeunt

(43) Why should I play the Roman fool, and die on mine own sword? In allusion to the antique Roman idea of the dignity of self-destruction.
(44) Lives. Here poetically used for 'living men.'
(45) Intrenchant. Here used to express 'incapable of being cut.' See Note 61, Act III.
(46) Be him that first cries. "Him" is used here instead of 'he,' by a grammatical licence permitted in Shakespeare's time.
(47) "Hold, enough! " See Note 91, Act I.
(48) Why then, God's soldier be he! Siward's speech and conduct upon the occasion of his son's death have historical authority.
(49) Behold, where stands the usurper's cursed head. This expression is explained by the record in the chronicle:- "Then cutting his head from his shoulders, he set it upon a pole, and brought it unto Malcolm."
(50) Thy kingdom's pearl. 'Thy kingdom's chief ornament,' the nobles of Scotland.'
(51) We shall not spend a large expense of time. It has been suggested that 'extent,' or 'expanse' may have been the word intended by Shakespeare, instead of the Folio word "expense" here. Locke has used ' expanse,' and Charles Cotton has used 'extent,' both in the sense of 'space;' and although we leave in the text the word given in the Folio, we think it by no means improbable that it was a misprint for either of the suggested words.
(52) Earls, - the first that ever Scotland in such an honour nam'd. This circumstance is recorded by Holinshed in his history of Scotland. 'Thane' was the title previously in use there.
(53) All at once. An idiomatic phrase, signifying 'all inclusively' 'all collectively.'

21st Jun 2005


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