« PreviousContinue »
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 inurn'd,
Hath ope'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Ghost beckons HAMLET.
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit ;
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night, 10
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Look, with what courteous action 60 Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young It waves you to a more removed ground: But do not go with it.
No, by no means.
Ilam. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again; I'll follow it. Hor. What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it;
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
Ham. It waves me still: go on, I'll follow thee.
Mar. You shall not go, my lord.
Hold off your hands! 80
Hor. Be rul'd; you shall not go.
My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean 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
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine;
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love-
Ham, O God!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Ham. Haste me to know 't, that I, with wings
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet,
'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.
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
Brief let me be. Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always in the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebona 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 dispatch'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:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursu'st this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire;
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.
Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? O fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up! Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain !
My tables,-meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark :
Writing. So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word; 110
Ham. Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
Hor. O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
Ham. And therefore as a stranger give it
There are more things in heaven and earth,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antick disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this head-shake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Ghost. Beneath. Swear.
Ham. Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
With all my love I do commend me to you:
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come; let's go together.
Marry, sir, here's my drift;
And, I believe, it is a fetch of warrant :
You laying these slight sullies on my son,
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assur'd
He closes with you in this consequence;
Exeunt. Good sir,' or so; or 'friend,' or 'gentleman,'
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country.
SCENE I.-A Room in POLONIUS'S House.
Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDO.
Pol. Give him this money and these notes,
Very good, my lord. Pol. And then, sir, does he this, he doesWhat was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say something: where did I leave! 51 Rey. At closes in the consequence,' at friend or so,' and 'gentleman.'
Pol. At closes in the consequence,' ay, marry;
Pol. You shall do marvellous wisely, good He closes with you thus: 'I know the gentleReynaldo,
I saw him yesterday, or t' other day,
Or then, or then; with such, or such; and, as
There was a' gaming; there o'ertook in 's rouse ;
There falling out at tennis'; or perchance,
I saw him enter such a house of sale,'
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.
See you now;
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth;
Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my closet, Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac'd; No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd, Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle; Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
Pol. Mad for thy love? Oph. But truly I do fear it. Pol. Oph. He took me by the wrist and held me hard,
What said he ?
Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He rais'd a sigh so piteous and profound
That it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their help,
And to the last bended their light on me.
Pol. Come, go with me; I will go seek the
This must be known; which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
My lord, I do not know; Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus, That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.
Both your majesties Might, by the sovereign power you have of us, Put your dread pleasures more into command Than to entreaty.
We both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent 30
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
King. Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Ro
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
Guil. Heavens make our presence and our
Pleasant and helpful to him!
Ay, amen! Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants.
Pol. The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
King. Thou still hast been the father of good
Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king;
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath us'd to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause;
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
I have a daughter; have, while she is mine;
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
King. O! speak of that; that do I long to Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.
It was against your highness: whereat griev'd,
That so his sickness, age, and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee,
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack;
With an entreaty, herein further shown,
Giving a paper.
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.
It likes us well; And at our more consider'd time we'll read, Answer, and think upon this business : Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour.
Go to your rest; at night we 'll feast together: Most welcome home!
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. Pol. This business is well ended. My liege, and madam, to expostulate What majesty should be, what duty is, Why day is day, night night, and time is time, Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad: Mad call I it; for, to define true madness, What is 't but to be nothing else but mad? But let that go.
More matter, with less art. Pol. Madam, I swear I use no art at all. That he is mad, 'tis true; 'tis true 'tis pity; And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure; But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then; and now remains That we find out the cause of this effect,
What do you think of me!
King. As of a man faithful and honourable.
Pol. would fain prove so. But what might
When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me, what might you,
Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think,
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;
What might you think? No, I went round to
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak;
Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star;
This must not be': and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed, a short tale to make,
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness; and by this declension
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we wail for.
Do you think 'tis this? Queen. It may be, very likely.
Pol. Hath there been such a time, I'd fain