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William Shakespeare - Hamlet (0)

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Hamlet
Shakespeare , William
Published: 1599
Categorie(s):  Fiction , Drama
Source: Feedbooks
1
About Shakespeare:
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – died 23 April
1616) was an  English   poet  and playwright, widely regarded as
the  greatest   writer  in the English language and the world's
pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called  England 's national
poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviv-
ing  works  consist of 38  plays , 154 sonnets, two long narrative
poems , and  several   other  poems. His plays have been trans-
lated into every  major   living  language, and are performed
more often  than  those of any other playwright. Shakespeare
was born and raised in Stratford- upon -Avon. At the age of 18
he  married  Anne  Hathaway , who  bore  him three  children :
Susanna , and twins Hamnet and  JudithBetween  1585 and
1592  he began a successful  career  in London as an  actor ,
writer, and  part   owner  of the  playing  company the  Lord
Chamberlain's Men,  later   known  as the  King 's Men. He ap-
pears  to have retired to Stratford  around   1613 , where he died
three  years  later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life
survive , and  there  has been  considerable  speculation about
such   matters  as his sexuality,  religious   beliefs , and whether the
works attributed to him were written by  others . Shakespeare
produced most of his known  work  between 1590 and 1613. His
early  plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he
raised to the  peak  of sophistication and artistry by the end of
the sixteenth  century . Next he wrote mainly tragedies  until
about  1608including  Hamlet, King  Lear , and  Macbeth , con-
sidered some of the  finest   examples  in the English language. In
his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as ro-
mances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his
plays were published in editions of varying  quality  and accur-
acy  during  his  lifetime , and in 1623 two of his  former  theatrical
colleagues published the  First  Folio, a collected edition of his
dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now re-
cognised as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare was a respected poet
and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not  rise
to its  present  heights until the nineteenth century. The Ro-
mantics, in  particular , acclaimed Shakespeare's  genius , and
the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence
that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth
century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by
2
new movements in scholarship and  performance . His plays re-
main  highly  popular  today  and are consistently performed and
reinterpreted in diverse  cultural  and  political  contexts
throughout the world. Source: Wikipedia
Also available on Feedbooks for Shakespeare:
•  Romeo and Juliet (1597)
• Macbeth (1606)
• A Midsummer Night 's Dream  (1596)
•  Julius Caesar  (1599)
•  Othello  ( 1603 )
• The Merchant of Venice ( 1598 )
• Much Ado About Nothing  (1600)
• King Lear (1606)
• The Taming of the Shrew (1594)
• The Comedy of Errors (1594)
NoteThis book is brought to you by Feedbooks
http://www.feedbooks.co m
Strictly for personal use, do not use this file for commercial
purposes .
3
Act I
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle .
FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO
BERNARDO
Who's there?
FRANCISCO
Nay, answer me: stand , and unfold yourself.
BERNARDO
Long live the king!
FRANCISCO
Bernardo?
BERNARDO
He.
FRANCISCO
You come most carefully upon your hour .
BERNARDO
'Tis now struck twelve ; get thee to bed, Francisco.
FRANCISCO
For this relief much thanks : 'tis bitter cold ,
And I am sick at heart .
BERNARDO
4
Have you had quiet guard?
FRANCISCO
Not a mouse stirring.
BERNARDO
Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus ,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
FRANCISCO
I think I hear them. Stand, ho! Who's there?
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
HORATIO
Friends to this ground .
MARCELLUS
And liegemen to the Dane .
FRANCISCO
Give you good night.
MARCELLUS
O, farewell , honest soldier:
Who hath relieved you?
FRANCISCO
Bernardo has my place .
Give you good night.
Exit
MARCELLUS
5
Holla! Bernardo!
BERNARDO
Say,
What, is Horatio there?
HORATIO
A piece of him.
BERNARDO
Welcome , Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.
MARCELLUS
What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?
BERNARDO
I have seen nothing.
MARCELLUS
Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy ,
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight , twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
HORATIO
Tush , tush, 'twill not appear.
BERNARDO
Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears ,
6
That are so fortified against our story
What we have two nights seen.
HORATIO
Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
BERNARDO
Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns , Marcellus and myself ,
The bell then beating one,—
Enter Ghost
MARCELLUS
Peace , break thee off; look , where it comes again!
BERNARDO
In the same figure , like the king that's dead.
MARCELLUS
Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
BERNARDO
Looks it not like the king? mark it, Horatio.
HORATIO
Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.
BERNARDO
It would be spoke to.
7
MARCELLUS
Question it, Horatio.
HORATIO
What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march ? by heaven I charge thee, speak!
MARCELLUS
It is offended.
BERNARDO
See, it stalks away !
HORATIO
Stay ! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!
Exit Ghost
MARCELLUS
'Tis gone , and will not answer.
BERNARDO
How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale :
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on't?
HORATIO
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
MARCELLUS
8
Is it not like the king?
HORATIO
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.
'Tis strange .
MARCELLUS
Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
HORATIO
In what particular thought to work I know not;
But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
MARCELLUS
Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
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 sore task
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?
HORATIO
That can I;
At least , the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
9
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat ; in which our valiant Hamlet—
For so this side of our known world esteem 'd him—
Did slay this Fortinbras; who by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return 'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same covenant,
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 compulsatory, 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.
BERNARDO
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 .
HORATIO
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets:
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood ,
10
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse :
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!
Re-enter Ghost
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:
Cock crows
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.
MARCELLUS
Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
HORATIO
Do, if it will not stand.
BERNARDO
'Tis here!
HORATIO
'Tis here!
MARCELLUS
11
'Tis gone!
Exit Ghost
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.
BERNARDO
It was about to speak, when the cock crew .
HORATIO
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.
MARCELLUS
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:
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.
HORATIO
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 eastward hill :
Break we our watch up; and by my advice ,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
12
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 ?
MARCELLUS
Let's do't, I pray ; and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.
Exeunt
13
SCENE II. A room of state in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS , QUEEN GERTRUDE , HAMLET,
POLONIUS , LAERTES , VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS ,
Lords , and Attendants

KING CLAUDIUS
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 to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,—
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in 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 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
14
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.
CORNELIUS VOLTIMAND
In that and all things will we show our duty.
KING CLAUDIUS
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 wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking ?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
LAERTES
My dread lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France ;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation ,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
KING CLAUDIUS
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
LORD POLONIUS
15
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laboursome petition, and at last
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
KING CLAUDIUS
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,—
HAMLET
[Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind.
KING CLAUDIUS
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
HAMLET
Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
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 lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
HAMLET
Ay, madam , it is common.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
16
HAMLET
Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother ,
Nor customary suits of solemn black ,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms , moods, shapes 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 CLAUDIUS
'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
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,
17
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 GERTRUDE
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
HAMLET
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
KING CLAUDIUS
Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply :
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced 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 all bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder . Come away.
Exeunt all but HAMLET
HAMLET
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! God!
How weary , stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden ,
That grows to seed ; things rank and gross in nature
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,
18
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 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 uncle,
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
HORATIO
Hail to your lordship!
HAMLET
I am glad to see you well:
Horatio,—or I do forget myself.
HORATIO
The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
HAMLET
Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you:
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?
Marcellus?
19
MARCELLUS
My good lord—
HAMLET
I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.
But what, in faith , make you from Wittenberg?
HORATIO
A truant disposition, good my lord.
HAMLET
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 .
HORATIO
My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
HAMLET
I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow- student ;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
HORATIO
Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
HAMLET
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
20
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father!—methinks I see my father.
HORATIO
Where, my lord?
HAMLET
In my mind's eye, Horatio.
HORATIO
I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
HAMLET
He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
HORATIO
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
HAMLET
Saw? who?
HORATIO
My lord, the king your father.
HAMLET
The king my father!
HORATIO
Season your admiration for awhile
With an attent ear, till I may deliver ,
21
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
HAMLET
For God's love, let me hear.
HORATIO
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, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
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.
HAMLET
But where was this?
MARCELLUS
My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
HAMLET
Did you not speak to it?
HORATIO
22
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.
HAMLET
'Tis very strange.
HORATIO
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.
HAMLET
Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
We do, my lord.
HAMLET
Arm'd, say you?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Arm'd, my lord.
HAMLET
From top to toe?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
23
My lord, from head to foot .
HAMLET
Then saw you not his face?
HORATIO
O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
HAMLET
What, look'd he frowningly?
HORATIO
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger .
HAMLET
Pale or red?
HORATIO
Nay, very pale.
HAMLET
And fix'd his eyes upon you?
HORATIO
Most constantly.
HAMLET
I would I had been there.
HORATIO
It would have much amazed you.
24
HAMLET
Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?
HORATIO
While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred .
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Longer, longer.
HORATIO
Not when I saw't.
HAMLET
His beard was grizzled—no?
HORATIO
It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver 'd.
HAMLET
I will watch to-night;
Perchance 'twill walk again.
HORATIO
I warrant it will.
HAMLET
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;
25
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
All
Our duty to your honour.
HAMLET
Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.
Exeunt all but HAMLET
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.
Exit
26
SCENE III. A room in Polonius' house.
Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA
LAERTES
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.
OPHELIA
Do you doubt that?
LAERTES
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,
Forward , not permanent , sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute ; No more.
OPHELIA
No more but so?
LAERTES
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,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state;
27
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
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
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 disclosed,
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 .
OPHELIA
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.
LAERTES
O, fear me not.
I stay too long: but here my father comes.
Enter POLONIUS
A double blessing is a double grace,
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
28
LORD POLONIUS
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail ,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character . Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel ;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new- hatch 'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
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 of a 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!
LAERTES
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
The time invites you; go; your servants tend .
LAERTES
29
Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.
OPHELIA
'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTES
Farewell.
Exit
LORD POLONIUS
What is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?
OPHELIA
So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
LORD POLONIUS
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.
OPHELIA
He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
LORD POLONIUS
30
Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
OPHELIA
I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
LORD POLONIUS
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 .
OPHELIA
My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honourable fashion.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.
OPHELIA
And hath given countenance to his speech , my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
LORD POLONIUS
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,
31
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 .
OPHELIA
I shall obey, my lord.
Exeunt
32
SCENE IV. The platform.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS
HAMLET
The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
HORATIO
It is a nipping and an eager air.
HAMLET
What hour now?
HORATIO
I think it lacks of twelve.
HAMLET
No, it is struck.
HORATIO
Indeed? I heard it not: then it 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?
HAMLET
The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, 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 .
HORATIO
33
Is it a custom ?
HAMLET
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 traduced 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 eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
HORATIO
Look, my lord, it comes!
Enter Ghost
HAMLET
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,
34
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest 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 canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath oped 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
HORATIO
It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
MARCELLUS
Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
HORATIO
No, by no means.
HAMLET
It will not speak; then I will follow it.
HORATIO
Do not, my lord.
35
HAMLET
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life in 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.
HORATIO
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.
HAMLET
It waves me still.
Go on; I'll follow thee.
MARCELLUS
You shall not go, my lord.
HAMLET
Hold off your hands.
HORATIO
Be ruled; you shall not go.
HAMLET
36
My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion 's nerve .
Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
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
HORATIO
He waxes desperate with imagination.
MARCELLUS
Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
HORATIO
Have after. To what issue will this come?
MARCELLUS
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
HORATIO
Heaven will direct it.
MARCELLUS
Nay, let's follow him.
Exeunt
37
SCENE V. Another part of the platform.
Enter GHOST and HAMLET
HAMLET
Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.
Ghost
Mark me.
HAMLET
I will.
Ghost
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
HAMLET
Alas , poor ghost!
Ghost
Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
HAMLET
Speak; I am bound to hear.
Ghost
So art thou to revenge , when thou shalt hear.
HAMLET
38
What?
Ghost
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