Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 4

          Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM,
          [LENNOX, ROSS,] and Soldiers, marching.

  1    Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
2. chambers: Malcolm is alluding to murder of his father, King Duncan, in the king's bedchamber.
  2    That chambers will be safe.

We doubt it nothing we don't doubt it at all; i.e., everyone is sure that after Macbeth is defeated bedchambers will be safe.
                                                We doubt it nothing.

  3    What wood is this before us?

                                                 The wood of Birnam.

  4    Let every soldier hew him down a bough
5. shadow: conceal.
  5    And bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow
6. make discovery / Err in report of us: make [Macbeth's] reconnaissance operation make mistakes in its report about us.
  6    The numbers of our host and make discovery
  7    Err in report of us.

                                        It shall be done.

  8    We learn no other but the confident tyrant
9-10. Keeps ... before't: continues to stay within Dunsinane castle, and will allow us come and besiege it. To Siward, the professional soldier, it may seem strange that Macbeth's forces don't try to drive the English away before they can trap Macbeth in Dunsinane.
  9    Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure
 10    Our setting down before't.

                                             'Tis his main hope;
11-12. For where ... revolt: at every opportunity, both the great [thanes, leaders] and the lesser ones [common soldiers] have deserted him. 13. none serve with him but constrained things: none serve in his army except for those who are forced to.
 11    For where there is advantage to be given,
 12    Both more and less have given him the revolt,
 13    And none serve with him but constrained things
 14    Whose hearts are absent too.

14-15. Let our just ... event: let our accurate judgment [of the situation] wait upon the actual outcome; i.e., let's just see how things turn out before we before we come to conclusions [about Macbeth's situation]. 15. put we on / Industrious soldiership: let's practice hard-working soldiership.
                                                 Let our just censures
 15    Attend the true event, and put we on
 16    Industrious soldiership.

16-18. The time ... we owe: i.e., the time is quickly coming in which we will know for certain what we can say we have accomplished and what we have yet to do.
                                            The time approaches
 17    That will with due decision make us know
 18    What we shall say we have and what we owe.
19-21. Thoughts ... the war: i.e., speculations express unsure hopes, but the certain outcome can be decided only by actual fighting, to which our army is marching.
 19    Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
 20    But certain issue strokes must arbitrate,
 21    Towards which advance the war.

          Exeunt marching.