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I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
Are hired to bear their staves : either thou, Macbeth,
Or else my sword with an unbatter'd edge
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be ; 20
By this great clatter, one of greatest note
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune!
And more I beg not.

[Exit. Alarums. (Enter Malcolm and old SIWARD.) Siw.: This way, my lord; the castle's gently render'd: The tyrant's people on both sides do fight;

The noble thanes do bravely in the war;
The day almost itself professes yours,
And little is to do.

We have met with foes
That strike beside us.
Enter, sir, the castle.

[Exeunt. Alarums.

SCENE VIII.-Another part of the field.

(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! Macb.: Of all men else I have avoided thee: But get thee back; my soul is too much charged With blood of thine already.


17. kerns, light-armed Irish soldiers. See I. ii. 13. Here used contemptuously by Macduff for common soldiers.

18. hired. They fight only because they are paid to fight.

18-20. either thou, etc. Either thou (Macbeth) must be my opponent, or I will sheathe my sword without a stroke. Either has here one syllable.

22. bruited, noised,announced.

24. gently, without opposition, without the necessity for breaking in.

27, 28. almost itself, etc.

Victory is practically assured
for our side, and there is little
left for us to do.
29. beside us, on our side.

1. Roman fool. An allusion
to the suicides of Cato and

2. whiles, the genitive form of whilst.

2. lives, living people.

4. Of all men else, above all men.

5. charged, burdened. Cf. V. i. 45.

Macd. :

I have no words: My voice is in my sword : thou bloodier villain Than terms can give thee out!

[T'hey fight. Macb.:

Thou losest labour:
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed :

Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
I bear a charméd 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

15 Untimely ripp'd.

Macb. : Accurséd 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 ;

20 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:
We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,

25 Painted upon a pole, and underwrit, “ Here may you see the tyrant.' Macb.:

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,

8. terms, words, description.

9. intrenchant, invulnerable to wounds, as an intrenched soldier is safe.

10. impress, cut a mark upon.

11. vulnerable crests, heads which can feel thy wounds.

13. Despair, despair of, do not trust to.

14. angel, attendant or familiar spirit. Cf. III. i. 55; and see Introduction “ Witchcraft."

14. still, always.

16. Untimely, too soon, before the proper time.

18. better part of man, my manly courage.

20. palter, trifle, equivocate.

21, 22. keep our hope. They keep it literally, but not in the sense in which they led us to hope.

24. the show and gaze, shown to be gazed at (like the monsters at the penny shows).

29. baited with, harassed by. Cf. note to V. vii. 2.

31. thou opposed, though thou art opposed to me.

32. try the last, fight to the

very end.

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 sase arrived. 35

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. Ross : Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt: He only lived but till he was a man ;

40 The which no sooner had his prowess confirm’d In the unshrinking station where he fought, But like a man he died. Siw. :

Then he is dead ? Ross: Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow Must not be measured by his worth, for then

45 It hath no end.

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,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so, his knell is knoll'd.
He's worth more sorrow,

20 And that I'll spend for him. Siw. :

He's worth no more : They say he parted well, and paid his score:

35. we miss, who are not with well bears out these words: us, who are missing.

“Lift me up, that I may die 36. must go off, must die.

standing like a soldier, and not grovelling like a cow.

Put on my 41. The which. For the

coat of mail, cover my head with "the" see Introduction-"Lan- my helmet, put my buckler on my

left arm, and my gilded axe in my guage."

right hand, that I may expire in 41. prowess, one syllable.

42. unshrinking station, in 50. knell is knoll'd, the la. the spot where he fought un- mentations over his death are flinchingly. An example of Hypallage.

52. parted, departed. 44, 45, cause of sorrow, etc.

52. paid his score, paid what You must not make your sorrow he owed. Young Siward has equal to the worth of him who

done everything that could be causes it.

expected of him. An allusion 46. It hath, it (your sorrow) to the departure from an inn would have.

of a guest who pays on leav46. before, in front (as a sol- ing the bill scored up against dier should).

him. Accounts were formerly 49. I would not wish them, kept by making cuts or scores on etc. Old Siward's last speech pieces of wood.



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