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Por. Two nights together had these gentlemen, Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch, In the dead waste and middle of the night, Been thus encountered: A figure like your father, Armed at all points, exactly cap-à-pié, Appears before them, and with solemn march Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked, By their oppressed 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 delivered, 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. Aam.
But where was this ?
Hor. My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
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 vanished from our sight.
'Tis very strange.
Hor. As I do live, my honored 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.
Ham. I will watch to-night;
Perchance 'twill walk again.
I warrant you 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 concealed 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.
Opon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
AV. Our duty to your honor.
Han. 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 FROM HAMLET (continued).
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 this 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,
Reeps wassail, and the swaggering upspring 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 ?
Ham. Ay, marry, is't.
But to my mind, though I am native bers And to the manner born,-it is a custom More honored in the breach, than the observance.
Look, my lord, it comes !
Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us !
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
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 canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements! why the sepulcher,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned,
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 regions of our souls ?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Mar. Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground !
But do not go with it.
No; by no means.
Ham. 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 ? Ard 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.
Ghost. Mark me!
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting iames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost !
Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Ham. Speak; I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear.
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night;
And, for the day, confined to fast in fires,
l'ill the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burned and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood;
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres ;
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
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 Heaven!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Ham. Murder ?
Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is ;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Ham. Haste me to know it; that I with wings as swift
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe's wharf,
Wouldst 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 abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.
Ham. O, my prophetic soul! my uncle !
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
(0 wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce !) won to his shameful love
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 !