Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Scenes from the Tragedies
Macbeth’s Despair
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
From ‘Macbeth

In Dunsinane Castle.

[Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants.]

MACBETH—                    Seyton!—I am sick at heart,
When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push
Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now.
I have lived long enough: my way of life
Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf,        5
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.        10
[Enter Seyton.]
  Seyton—What’s your gracious pleasure?
  Macbeth—                            What news more?
  Seyton—All is confirm’d, my lord, which was reported.
  Macbeth—I’ll fight, till from my bones my flesh be hack’d.
Give me my armor.
  Seyton—                ’Tis not needed yet.
  Macbeth—I’ll put it on.
Send out moe horses, skirr the country round;
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armor.
How does your patient, doctor?
  Doctor—                        Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,        20
That keep her from her rest.
  Macbeth—                        Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote        25
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
  Doctor—                            Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
  Macbeth—Throw physic to the dogs, I’ll none of it.
Come, put mine armor on; give me my staff.        30
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me.
Come, sir, dispatch. If them couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
I would applaud thee to the very echo,        35
That should applaud again. Pull’t off, I say.
What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug,
Would scour these English hence? Hear’st thou of them?
  Doctor—Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation
Makes us hear something.
  Macbeth—                        Bring it after me.
I will not be afraid of death and bane
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.
  Doctor  [aside]—Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,
Profit again should hardly draw me here.  [Exit Doctor.]
[Enter Seyton, and Soldiers, with drum and colors.]
  Macbeth—Hang out our banners on the outward walls;        45
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:
Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,        50
And beat them backward home.
[A cry of women within.]
                        What is that noise?
  Seyton—It is the cry of women, my good lord.  [Exit.]
  Macbeth—I have almost forgot the taste of fears:
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair        55
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in ’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
Cannot once start me.
[Re-enter Seyton.]
                        Wherefore was that cry?
  Seyton—The queen, my lord, is dead.        60
  Macbeth—She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;        65
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’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        70
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

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