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Macd. Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o'the time.
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 oppos'd, 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. [Exeunt, fighting.
Retreat. Flourish. Re-enter with drum and colours, Malcolm, Old Siward, Rosse, Lenox, Angus, Cathness, Menteth, and Soldiers
Mal. I would, the friends we miss were safe arriv'd.
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. Rosse. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's
He only liv'd but till he was a man ;
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
Then he is dead?
Rosse. Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow
Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then
Had he his hurts before?
Siw. Rosse. 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:
He's worth more sorrow,
And that I'll spend for him.
Re-enter Macduff, with Macbeth's head on a pole.
Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art: Behold, where stands
The usurper's cursed head: the time is free:
King of Scotland, hail! [Flourish. Mal. We shall not spend a large expence of time, 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
Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen ;
This play is deservedly celebrated for the propriety of its fiction, 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.
Prince Henry, his son; afterwards King Henry III.
Arthur, duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey, late duke of Bretagne, the elder brother of King John. William Mareshall, Earl of Pembroke.
Geffrey Fitz-Peter, Earl of Essex, chief Justiciary of England. William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury.
Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk.
Hubert de Burgh, Chamberlain to the King.
Robert Faulconbridge, son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge :
Philip Faulconbridge, his half-brother, bastard son to King
Richard the First.
James Gurney, servant to Lady Faulconbridge.
Peter of Pomfret, a prophet.
Philip, King of France.
Cardinal Pandulph, the pope's legate.
Chatillon, ambassador from France to King John.
Elinor, the widow of King Henry II. and mother of King John. Constance, mother to Arthur.
Blanch, daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and niece to
Lady Faulconbridge, mother to the bastard and Robert Faulconbridge.
Lords, ladies, citizens of Angiers, sheriff, heralds, officers, soldiers, messengers, and other attendants.
Scene, sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.