Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Macbeth: Modern (Modern)
  • Editor: Anthony Dawson
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Research assistant: Katie Davion
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-528-5

    Copyright Anthony Dawson. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Anthony Dawson
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Modern (Modern)

    15Alarum within. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with attendants, meeting a bleeding [Sergeant].
    What bloody man is that? He can report,
    As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
    20The newest state.
    This is the sergeant
    Who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought
    'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
    Say to the King the knowledge of the broil
    25As thou didst leave it.
    Doubtful it stood,
    As two spent swimmers that do cling together
    And choke their art. The merciless Macdonald--
    Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
    30The multiplying villanies of nature
    Do swarm upon him--from the Western Isles
    Of kerns and galloglasses is supplied,
    And Fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling,
    Showed like a rebel's whore; but all's too weak,
    35For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name--
    Disdaining Fortune with his brandished steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution,
    Like valor's minion carved out his passage
    Till he faced the slave,
    40Which ne'er shook hands nor bade farewell to him,
    Till he unseamed him from the nave to th'chops,
    And fixed his head upon our battlements.
    Oh, valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.
    As whence the sun 'gins his reflection,
    45Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
    So from that spring whence comfort seemed to come,
    Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark,
    No sooner Justice had, with valor armed,
    Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
    50But the Norwegian lord, surveying vantage,
    With furbished arms and new supplies of men,
    Began a fresh assault.
    Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
    Yes, as sparrows, eagles, or the hare, the lion.
    If I say sooth, I must report they were
    As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
    So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
    60Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds
    Or memorize another Golgotha,
    I cannot tell--
    But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.
    So well thy words become thee as thy wounds:
    65They smack of honor both. Go, get him surgeons.
    [Exit Sergeant with attendants.]
    Enter Ross and Angus.
    Who comes here?
    The worthy Thane of Ross.
    What a haste looks through his eyes!
    70So should he look that seems to speak things strange.
    God save the King.
    Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?
    From Fife, great king, where the Norwegian banners
    Flout the sky 75and fan our people cold.
    Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
    Assisted by that most disloyal traitor,
    The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
    Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapped in proof,
    80Confronted him with self-comparisons,
    Point against point, rebellious arm 'gainst arm,
    Curbing his lavish spirit. And to conclude,
    The victory fell on us--
    Great happiness!--
    That now
    Sweno, the Norways' King, craves composition,
    Nor would we deign him burial of his men
    Till he disbursèd at Saint Colm's Inch
    Ten thousand dollars to our general use.
    No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
    Our bosom interest. Go, pronounce his present death
    And with his former title greet Macbeth.
    I'll see it done.
    What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.