« PreviousContinue »
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror;
Against the which, a moiety competent
The bell then beating one,
Mar. Peace! break thee off; look, where it Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same
And carriage of the article design'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in 't; which is no other,
As it doth well appear unto our state,
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsative, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
Ber. I think it be no other but e'en so;
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch, so like the king
That was and is the question of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mighty Julius fell,
The graves stood tenant less and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse; 120
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.
But, soft! behold! lo! where it comes again.
Ber. In the same figure, like the king that's
Mar. Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
Ber. Looks it not like the king? mark it,
Hor. Most like; it harrows me with fear and
Ber. It would be spoke to.
Question it, Horatio.
Hor. What art thou that usurp'st this time
Together with that fair and war-like form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,
Mar. It is offended.
See! it stalks away. 50
Hor. Stay! speak: speak, I charge thee, speak!
Mar. "Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio! you tremble and
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on 't?
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the king?
Hor. As thou art to thyself:
Such was the very armour he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
Mar. Thus twice before, and jump at this
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work I
and scope of my opinion,
But in the gross
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me,
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land;
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose soretask
Does not divide the Sunday from the week;
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day;
Who is 't that can inform me?
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit with his life all those his lands
That can I;
Our last king, 80
At least the whisper goes so.
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dar'd to the combat; in which our valiant
For so this side of our known world esteem'd him,
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd com-
I'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me :
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me:
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
O! speak ;
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it stay, and speak! Stop it, Marcellus.
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan? 140
Hor. Do, if it will not stand.
Mar. 'Tis gone!
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
Ber. It was about to speak when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Upon a fearful summons.
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,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long; 160
And then, they say, no spirit can walk 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? Mar. Let's do 't, I pray; and I this morning know Where we shall find him most conveniently.
SCENE II-A Room of State in the Castle. Enter the KING, QUEEN, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants.
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 war-like state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,
With one auspicious and one dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in
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 the 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 bonds 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 dispatch
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 delated 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 lose your voice; what would'st thou beg,
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 give these mourning duties to your father: But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow; but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! '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: 121
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 heavens shall bruit
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Flourish. Exeunt KING, QUEEN, Lords, etc. POLONIUS, and LAERTES. Ham. O! that this too too solid flesh would melt,
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 140 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 woman!
A little month; or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears; why she, even she-
O God! 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, MARCELLUS, and BERNARDO.
Hor. Hail to your lordship!
I am glad to see you well: 160
Horatio, or I do forget myself.
Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor ser
Ham. Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio? Marcellus?
Ham. I am very glad to see you. To BER-
NARDO. 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, 170
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
Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellowstudent;
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
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.
Hor. O! where, my lord?
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. llam. Saw who?
Hor. My lord, the king your father. Ham. The king my father! Hor. Season your admiration for a while With an attent ear, till I may deliver, Upon the witness of these gentlemen, This marvel to you. Ham. For God's love, let me hear. Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd: a figure like your father,
Armed at point exactly, cap-a-pe,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they,
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
But where was this?
Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we
Ham. Did you not speak to it?
My lord, I did;
But answer made it none; yet once methought
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.
"Tis very strange. 220 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.
SCENE III.A Room in POLONIUS'S 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.
Do you doubt that!
Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
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 cantel doth besmirch
We do, my lord. 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;
Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me. Hold you the watch to-night? Mar., Ber.
Ham. Arm'd, say you? Mar., Ber.
Arm'd, my lord.
From top to toe? He may not, as unvalu'd persons do,
Mar., Ber. My lord, from head to foot.
Ham. Then saw you not his face?
Hor. O, yes! my lord; he wore his beaver up.
Ham. What! look'd he frowningly?
Hor. A countenance more in sorrow than in
Ham. Pale or red?
Hor. Nay, very pale. Ham.
And fix'd his eyes upon you?
Hor. Most constantly. Ham.
I would I had been there. Hor. It would have much amaz'd you.
Ham. Very like, very like. Stay'd it long? Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
Mar., Ber. Longer, longer.
Hor. Not when I saw 't.
His beard was grizzled? 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;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue :
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well. 250
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
My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt some foul play: would the night were
Till then sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's Exit.
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends 9 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,
If fits your wisdom so far to believe it As he in his particular act and place 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. Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister, 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. Oph. I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, »
And recks not his own rede.
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 own self 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.
Oph. "Tis in my memory lock'd, And you yourself shall keep the key of it. Luer. Farewell.
Exit. Pol. What is 't, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
Pol. Marry, well bethought:
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late Given private time to you; and you yourself Have of your audience been most free and bounteous.
If it be so, as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behoves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? give me up the truth.
Oph. He hath, my lord, of late made many
Pol. Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Oph. I do not know, my lord, what I should
Pol. Marry, I'll teach you think yourself a baby,
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or, not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Running it thus, you 'll tender me a fool.
Oph. My lord, he hath importun'd me with love
In honourable fashion.
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 dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to 't, I charge you; come your ways.
Oph. I 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 the season
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
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
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,
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to. Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,