Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

from William Shakespeare – Macbeth Act 1 Scene 3 on Rap Genius

Meaning

I suppose every reader is disgusted at the tautology in this passage, “Time and the hour,” and will therefore willingly believe that Shakespeare wrote it thus,

—-Come what come may,
Time! on!-the hour runs thro' the roughest day.

Macbeth is deliberating upon the events which are to befal him, but finding no satisfaction from his own thoughts, he grows impatient of reflection, and resolves to wait the close without harrassing himself with conjectures,

—-Come what come may.

But to shorten the pain of suspense, he calls upon time in the usual stile of ardent desire, to quicken his motion,

Time! on!—–

He then comforts himself with the reflection that all his perplexity must have an end,

—-The hour runs thro' the roughest day.

This conjecture is supported by the passage in the letter to his Lady in which he says, “They referr’d me to the coming on of time with Hail King that shall be.”

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