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SCENE VII. The same. Another Part of the Plain.
Macb. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, But, bearlike, I must fight the course.'-What's he, That was not born of woman? Such a one Am I to fear, or none.
Enter Young SIWARD.
Yo. Siw. What is thy name?
Than any is in hell.
Thou❜lt be afraid to hear it. Yo. Siw. No; though thou call'st thyself a hotter
My name's Macbeth.
Yo. Siw. The devil himself could not pronounce a title
More hateful to mine ear.
Yo. Siw. Thou liest,
I'll prove the lie thou speak'st.
[They fight, and Young Siward is slain. Macb. Thou wast born of woman. But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, Brandished by man that's of a woman born.
No, nor more fearful. abhorred tyrant; with my
Alarums. Enter MACDUff.
Macd. That way the noise is.-Tyrant, show thy face:
If thou be'st slain, and with no stroke of mine,
1 "But, bearlike, I must fight the course." This was a phrase at bearbaiting. "Also you shall see two ten dog courses at the great bear.". Antipodes, by Brome.
I cannot strike at wretched kernes, whose arms
Enter MALCOLM and Old SIWARD.
Siw. This way, my lord.-The castle's gently rendered:
The tyrant's people on both sides do fight;
That strike beside us.
We have met with foes
Enter, sir, the castle.
Macb. Why should I play the Roman fool, and die On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes Do better upon them.
Turn, hell-hound, turn. Macb. Of all men else I have avoided thee; But get thee back; my soul is too much charged With blood of thine already.
[They fight Macb. Thou losest labor: As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air 2
1 Bruited is reported, noised abroad; from bruit (Fr.).
With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed.
Despair thy charm;
Macb. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time.
Macb. I'll 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 damned be him that first cries, Hold, enough. [Exeunt, fighting.
Retreat. Flourish. Re-enter, with drum and colors, MALCOLM, Old SIWARD, ROSSE, LENOX, Angus, CATHNESS, MENTETH, and Soldiers.
Mal. I would the friends we miss were safe arrived. Siw. Some must go off; and yet, by these I see, So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
Mal. Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
1 "That palter with us in a double sense," that shuffle with ambiguous expressions.
Rosse. 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 confirmed In the unshrinking station where he fought, But like a man he died.
Then he is dead?
Rosse. 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?
Why, then, God's soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
And so his knell is knolled.
He's worth more sorrow,
And that I'll spend for him.
Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH's head on a pole.2 Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art. Behold, where stands
The usurper's cursed head: the time is free:
I see thee compassed with thy kingdom's pearl,3
1 "When Siward, the martial earl of Northumberland, understood that his son, whom he had sent against the Scotchmen, was slain, he demanded whether his wounds were in the fore part or hinder part of his body. When it was answered, in the fore part,' he replied, 'I am right glad ; neither wish I any other death to me or mine." Camden's Remaines.
2 These words, " on a pole," Mr. Steevens added to the stage direction from the Chronicle. The stage directions of the players are often incorrect, and sometimes ludicrous.
3 "Thy kingdom's pearl," thy kingdom's wealth or ornament. Rowe altered this to peers, without authority.
Hail, king of Scotland!
Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of time, Before we reckon with your several loves,
And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
Of this dead butcher, and his fiendlike queen;
1 "Malcolm, immediately after his coronation, called a parliament at Forfair; in the which he rewarded them with lands and livings that had assisted him against Macbeth. Manie of them that were before thanes were at this time made earles; as Fife, Menteith, Atholl, Levenox, Murrey, Caithness, Rosse, and Angus."—Holinshed's History of Scotland, P. 176.
THIS play is deservedly celebrated for the propriety of its fictions, and solemnity, grandeur, and variety of its action; but it has no nice discriminations of character: the events are too great to admit the influence of particular dispositions, and the course of the action necessarily determines the conduct of the agents.
The danger of ambition is well described; and I know not whether it may not be said, in defence of some parts which now seem improbable, that in Shakspeare's time it was necessary to warn credulity against vain and illusive predictions.
The passions are directed to their true end. Lady Macbeth is merely detested; and though the courage of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader rejoices at his fall.