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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and soldiers, with 2320drum and colors.
    Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
    The cry is still, "They come." Our castle's strength
    Will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie
    Till famine and the ague eat them up.
    2325Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
    We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
    And beat them backward home.
    A cry within of women
    What is that noise?
    It is the cry of women, my good lord.
    I have almost forgot the taste of fears:
    The time has been my senses would have cooled
    To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
    Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
    As life were in't. I have supped full with horrors.
    2335Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
    Cannot once start me. Wherefore was that cry?
    The Queen, my lord, is dead.
    She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    2340Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle,
    2345Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing.
    Enter a Messenger.
    2350Thou com'st to use thy tongue--thy story quickly.
    Gracious my lord,
    I should report that which I say I saw
    But know not how to do't.
    Well, say, sir.
    As I did stand my watch upon the hill
    I looked toward Birnam and anon methought
    The wood began to move.
    Liar and slave!
    Let me endure your wrath if't be not so--
    2360Within this three mile may you see it coming.
    I say, a moving grove.
    If thou speak'st false,
    Upon the next tree shall thou hang alive
    Till famine cling thee; if thy speech be sooth,
    2365I care not if thou dost for me as much.
    I pull in resolution and begin
    To doubt th'equivocation of the fiend
    That lies like truth: "Fear not, till Birnam Wood
    Do come to Dunsinane," and now a wood
    2370Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
    If this which he avouches does appear,
    There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
    I 'gin to be aweary of the sun,
    And wish th'estate o'th' world were now undone.
    2375Ring the alarum bell! Blow wind, come wrack,
    At least we'll die with harness on our back.