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Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.
Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long :
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it. But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill: Break we our watch up; and, by my advice, Let us impart what we have seen to-night Unto young Hamlet: for, upon my life, This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him: Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it, As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green; and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye;
With mirth and funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale, weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along : For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,-
Holding a weak supposal of our worth;
Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death,
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bands of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is: We have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject: and we here despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.
Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show
King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell. [Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. And now, Laertes, what's the news with you? You told us of some suit? What is't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And loose your voice: What would'st thou beg, Laertes,
King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine, And thy best graces: spend it at thy will. But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son, Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind. [Aside. King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i'the sun. Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st, 'tis common; all, that live, must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly: These, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play :
But I have that within, which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your
To do obsequious sorrow: But to perséver In obstinate condolement, is a course
To give these mourning duties to your father: But, you must know, your father lost a father; That father lost, lost his; and the surviyor bound In filial obligation, for some term
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortified, or mind impatient :
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what, we know, must be, and is as common
As any of the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fye! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day,
This must be so. We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And, with no less nobility of love,
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And, we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers,
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply ;
Be as ourself in Denmark.. Madam, come;
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell;
And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder.
[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, Lords, &c. POLONIUS,
Ham. O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fye on't! O fye! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead!-nay, not so much, not two;
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: And yet, within a month,
Let me not think on't;- Frailty, thy name is
A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niebe, all tears; why she, even she,
O heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer, married with my
My father's brother; but no more like my father,
Than I to Hercules: Within a month;
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married: - O most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to, good;
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue!
Enter HORATIO, BERNARDO, and MARCELLUS.
Hor. Hail to your lordship!
I am glad to see you well: Horatio, - or I do forget myself. Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever. Ham. Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?Marcellus?
Mar. My good lord,
Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even, sir,— But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg? Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord. Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so; Nor shall you do mine ear that violence, To make it truster of your own report Against yourself: I know, you are no truant. But what is your affair in Elsinore? We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart.
Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think, it was to see my mother's wedding.
Hor. Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral bak'd
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
'Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio! -
My father, Methinks, I see my father.
Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.`
Hor. I saw him once, he was a goodly king. Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.
Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight. Ham. Saw who?
Ham. Did you not speak to it? Hor.
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Armed at point, exactly, cap-à-pé,
Appears before them, and, with solemn march,
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd,
By their oppress'd and fear-surprized eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distill'd
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb, and speak not to him.
In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
And I with them, the third night kept the watch:
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
This to me
But where was this. Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
My lord, I did But answer made it none: yet once, methought, S M 2
It lifted up its head, and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak :
But, even then, the morning cock crew loud;
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanish'd from our sight.
Ham. Arm'd say you-?
'Tis very strange.
Hor. As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty,
To let you know of it.
Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
We do, my lord.
All. My lord, from head to foot.
Think it no more:
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews, and bulk; but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps, he loves you now;
And now no soil, nor cautel, doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but, you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
From top to toe? Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and the health of the whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscrib'd
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head: Then if he says, he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,
As he in his particular act and place
Mar. Ber. Longer, longer.
Hor. Not when I saw it.
Hor. O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
Ham. What, look'd he frowningly?
A countenance more
In sorrow than in anger.
Pale, or red?
Hor. Nay, very pale.
And fix'd his eyes upon you?
Hor. Most constantly.
I would, I had been there.
Hor. It would have much amaz'd you.
Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a
Stay'd it long?
His beard was grizzl'd? no?
Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.
I will watch to-night;
Perchance, 'twill walk again.
I warrant, it will.
Ham. If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape,"
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still; fre
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,'
Give it an understanding, but no tongue;
I requite your loves: So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
Our duty to your honour.
Ham. Your loves, as mine to you: Farewell.
[Exeunt HORATIO, MARCELLUS, and BERNARDO.
My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt some foul play: 'would, the night were come!
Till then sit still, my soul: Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
SCENE III. A Room in Polonius' House.
Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA.
Laer. My necessaries are embark'd; farewell:
And, sister, as the winds give benefit,
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
No more but so?
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister;
Very like, And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes :
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd;
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then: best safety lies in fear;
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
Do you doubt that?
Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
May give his saying deed; which is no further,
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs;
Or lose your heart; or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
Oph. I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchmen to my heart: But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own read.
O fear me not.
I stay too long; -But here my father comes.
A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
Pol. Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are staid for: There, my blessing with you!
[Laying his hand on LAERTES' head.
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou charácter. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel: but, being in,
Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy: rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France, of the best rank and station,
Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,- To thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!
Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
Pol. The time invites you; go, your servants tend.
Laer. Farewell, Ophelia and remember well
What I have said to you.
'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
[Exit LAERTES. Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So please you, something touching the lord Hamlet.
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to. Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know, When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter, Giving more light than heat, extinct in both, Even in their promise, as it is a making, You must not take for fire. From this time, Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence; Set your entreatments at a higher rate, Than a command to parley. For lord Hamlet, Believe so much in him, That he is young; And with a larger tether may he walk, Than may be given you: In few, Ophelia, Do not believe his vows: for they are brokers Not of that die which their investments show, But mere implorators of unholy suits, Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds, The better to beguile. This is for all,
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, Have you so alander any moment's leisure,
As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you; come your ways.
Oph. 1 shall obey, my lord.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS.
Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.
Ham. What hour now?
I think, it lacks of twelve.
Mar. No, it is struck.
Hor. Indeed? I heard it not; it then draws near
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
[A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within. What does this mean, my lord?
Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassel, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Is it a custom?
Hum. Ay, marry, is't: But to my mind, though I am native here, And to the manner born,—it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach, than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel, east and west,
Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us, drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and, indeed, it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty
Since nature cannot choose his origin,)
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners; - that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect;
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
Their virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,)
Shall in the general censure, take corruption From that particular fault: The dram of base Doth all the noble substance often dout, ( To his own scandal.
Hor. Look, my lord, it comes! Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!— Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd, Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell, Be thy intents wicked, or charitable, Thou com'st in such a questionable shape, That I will speak to thee; I'll call thee, Hamlet, King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me : Let me not burst in ignorance! but tell, Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death, Have burst their cerements! why the sepulchre, Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd, Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws, To cast thee up again! What may this mean, That thou, dead corse, again, in cómplete steel, Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon, Making night hideous; and we fools of nature, 3 M 3
Go on, I'll follow thee.
Hold off your hands.
Mar. You shall not go, my lord. Ham. Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not go. Ham. My fate cries out, And makes each petty artery in this body As hardy as the Némean lion's nerve.
[Ghost beckons. Still am I call'd;- unhand me, gentlemen; [Breaking from them. By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me :I say, away: Go on, I'll follow thee.
[Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET. Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. Hor. Have after:- To what issue will this come? Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Hor. Heaven will direct it.
Nay, let's follow him. [Exeunt. SCENE V.-A more remote Part of the Platform. Re-enter Ghost and HAMLET. Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me? speak, I'll go no further.
Ghost. Mark me.
Ghost. My hour is almost come, When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing To what I shall unfold.
Speak, I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit;
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night;
And, for the day, confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out, that sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.
Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle! Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, (O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce!) won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen: O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there! . From me, whose love was of that dignity, That it went hand in hand even with the vow I made to her in marriage; and to decline Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven;
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks, I scent the morning air;
Brief let me be : Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And, with a sudden vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head: