Country near Birnam wood.
(Malcolm; Siward; Macduff; Siward’s Son; Menteth; Cathness; Angus; Lennox; Rosse; Soldiers)
Arriving at Birnam forest, Malcolm orders that his soldiers cut down the trees and carry the branches in front of them to disguise their number and movements. (27 lines)
Drum and Colors. Enter Malcolm, Siward, Macduff, Siward’s Son, Menteth, Cathness, Angus, Lennox, Rosse, and Soldiers, marching.
Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
That chambers will be safe.
We doubt it nothing.
What wood is this before us?
The wood of Birnan.
Let every soldier hew him down a bough,
And bear’t before him, thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host, and make discovery
Err in report of us.
It shall be done.
We learn no other but the confident tyrant
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
Our setting down before’t.
’Tis his main hope;
For where there is advantage to be given,
Both more and less have given him the revolt,
And none serve with him but constrained things,
Whose hearts are absent too.
Let our just censures
Attend the true event, and put we on
The time approaches
That will with due decision make us know
What we shall say we have, and what we owe.
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate,
Towards which advance the war.