A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 5, Scene 4

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MALCOLM, Old SIWARD, YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and SOLDIERS enter marching, with a drummer and flag.

MALCOLM

Cousins, I hope the days are near at handThat chambers will be safe.

MALCOLM

Kinsmen, I hope the time is near when people will be safe in their own bedrooms.

MENTEITH

We doubt it nothing.

MENTEITH

We don’t doubt it.

SIWARD

What wood is this before us?

SIWARD

What forest is this ahead of us?

MENTEITH

The wood of Birnam.

MENTEITH

Birnam Wood.

MALCOLM

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.

MALCOLM

Every soldier should hack off a branch and hold it in front of him. By doing so, we will make it difficult for Macbeth's spies to get an accurate count of the number of soldiers in our army to report back to him.

SOLDIERS

It shall be done.

SOLDIERS

It will be done.

SIWARD

We learn no other but the confident tyrantKeeps still in Dunsinane and will endure Our setting down before ’t.

SIWARD

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MALCOLM

‘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 constrainèd things Whose hearts are absent too.

MALCOLM

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MACDUFF

Let our just censures Attend the true event, and put we onIndustrious soldiership.

MACDUFF

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SIWARD

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.

SIWARD

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They exit, marching.

Macbeth
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.