Page images

Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What would'st thou have, Laertes ?

My dread lord,
Your leave and favor 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. Have you your father's leave! What

says Polonius? Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow

leave, By laborsome petition; and, at last, Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent: I do beseech you, give him leave to go. 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 pot


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.

[Exeunt. SCENE II.-The same. A Room of State. Enter the King, QUEEN, HAMLET, POLONIUS,

King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's

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,
Th’imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one auspicious, and one 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 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 farther gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subjects: and we here despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no farther 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

our duty. King. We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.

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,

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,

'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, moods, 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

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 persevere
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 rather bears his son,


Do I impart toward you. For your intent

Nor shall you do mine ear that violence, In going back to school in Wittenberg,

To make it truster of your own report It is most retrograde to our desire :

Against yourself: I know, you are no truant. And, we beseech you, bend you to remain

But what is your affair in Elsinore? Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,

We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart. Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral. Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellowHamlet:

student; I

pray thee stay with us; go not to Wittenberg. I think, it was to see my mother's wedding. Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply; Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral bak'd
Be as ourself in Denmark.- Madam, come;
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet

Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof, 'Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day, Ere ever I had seen that day, Horatio -
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell, My father,-methinks, I see my father.
And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again, Hor. 0! where, my lord ?
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio. (Flourish. Exeunt all but Hamlet. Hor. I saw him once: he was a goodly king. Ham. O! that this too, too solid flesh would Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all, melt,

I shall not look upon his like again. Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew;

Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight, Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd

Ham. Saw! who?
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God! O God! Hor. My lord, the king your father.
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable


The king my father! Seem to me all the uses of this world!

Hor. Season your admiration for a while Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,

With an attent ear, till I may deliver, That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in Upon the witness of these gentlemen, nature,

This marvel to you. Possess it merely. That it should come to this! Ham.

For God's love, let me hear. But two months dead!—nay, not so much, not two: Hor. Two nights together, had these gentlemen, So excellent a king; that was, to this,

Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch, Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother, In the dead waste and middle of the night, That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Been thus encounter'd. A figure, like your father, Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth! Arm’d at all points, exactly, cap-à-pié, Must I remember? why, she would hang on him, Appears before them, and with solemn march As if increase of appetite had grown

Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd, By what it fed on; and yet, within a month, - By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes, Let me not think on't.- Frailty, thy name is Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distillid woman!

Almost to jelly with the act of fear, A little month; or ere those shoes were old, Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me With which she follow'd my poor father's body, In dreadful secrecy impart they did, Like Niobe, all tears ;-why she, even she,

And I with them the third night kept the watch; (O God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason, Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time, Would have mourn'd longer)—married with my Form of the thing, each word made true and good, uncle,

The apparition comes. I knew your father; My father's brother, but no more like my father, These hands are not more like. Than I to Hercules: within a month;


But where was this? Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears

Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,

watch'd. She married.-0, most wicked speed, to post Ham. Did you not speak to it? With such dexterity to incestuous sheets !


My lord, I did, It is not, nor it cannot come to, good;

But answer made it none; yet once, methought, But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue ! It listed up its head, and did address

Itself to motion, like as it would speak: Enter Horatio, BERNARDO, and MARCELLUS.

But, even then, the morning cock crew loud, Hor. Hail to your lordship!

And at the sound it shrunk in haste away, Ham.

I am glad to see you well : And vanish'd from our sight. Horatio, ,-or I do forget myself.


'Tis very strange. Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant Hor. As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true ;

And we did think it writ down in our duty, Ham. Sir, my good friend ; I'll change that To let you know of it. name with you.

Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me. And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio ? Hold you the watch to-night? Marcellus?


We do, my lord. Mar. My good lord,

Ham. Arm'd, say you ? Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even,


Arm'd, my lord. sir.


From top to toe ? But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg ? All. My lord, from head to foot. Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.

Ham. Then, saw you not his face? Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so;

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. 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 it.

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:
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


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 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 th' 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,
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.

Enter POLONIUS. A double blessing is a double grace; Occasion smiles upon a second leave. Pol. 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

you; (Laying his hand on LAERTES' head. And these few precepts in thy memory Look thou character. 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 hoops 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't, that th' opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine 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!
Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
Pol. The time invites you: go; your servants

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. Laer. Farewell.

[Erit LAERTES. Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?


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. Oph.

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,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
No more.

Oph. No more but so ?

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 sanctity and health of this 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,

Oph. So please you, something touching the

lord Hamlet. Pol. Marry, well bethought: 'Tis told me, he hath very oft of lato Given private time to you; and you yourself Have of your audience been most free and boun


my lord,

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

tenders Of his affection to me. 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

think. 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, Wronging it thus, you'll tender me a fool.

Oph. My lord, he hath importun'd me with love, In honourable fashion.

Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.

Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, 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 slander any moment's 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.

[E.creunt. SCENE IV.-The Platform. 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? Hor.

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

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 ? Ham. 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 swivish phrase Soil our addition; and, indeed, it takes Fromourachievements, though perform’dat 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 their o'ergrowth of some complexion, Ost 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.

Enter Ghost. 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, Hainlet, King, Father, Royal Dane: 0! 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 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?

[The Ghost beckons HAMLET. 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, will I 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.

[ocr errors]

Hor. What, if it tempt you towards 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.
Hor. Be rul'd: you shall not go.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »