Country near Birnam wood.
Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, 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 Birnam.
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.
In the country near Birnam Wood, the Scottish lords met with the forces led by Malcolm and Siward. Malcolm greeted them from his horse.
“Kinsmen, I hope the days are near at hand when our guest rooms will be safe!”
“We don't doubt it,” said Menteith.
“What is the name of this forest?” asked Siward.
“Birnam Wood,” said Menteith.
“Tell every soldier to hew down a bough for himself and carry it in front of him. That will disguise our numbers and make the spies bungle their reports,” said Malcolm.
“It shall be done,” said the soldier.
“We've learned nothing to contradict the idea that the tyrant will stay in Dunsinane. He wants us to lay siege”, said Siward.
“It's his only hope!” Malcolm said. “Those who have had the chance to desert have done so. Only mercenaries serve him. And their hearts aren't in it.”
“Let's curtail our opinions and concentrate on the battle,” said Macduff.
Siward agreed: “Soon we will know if we have what we say we will have. Speculation gets us nowhere. To war!”