« PreviousContinue »
Ber. Last night of all, When yon 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, Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!
Enter Ghost. Ber. In the same figure, like the king that's
dead. Mar. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio. Ber. Looks it not like the king ? mark it,
Horatio. Hor. Most like :-it harrows me with fear,
and wonder. Ber. It would be spoke to. Mar.
Question it, Horatio. Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of
with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,
speak. Mar. It is offended. Ber.
See! it stalks away. Hor. Stay; speak : speak! I charge thee, speak!
[Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer. Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble, and
look pale : 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
Is it not like the king ?
dead hour, With martial stalk hath he passed through our
watch. Hor. 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. Mar. 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? Hor.
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, Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride, Dared 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
pact, Well ratified by law, and heraldry, Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands, Which he stood seized on, 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 co
venant 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 landless 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 even 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 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,
grace 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,
(Cock crows. Speak of it :-stay, and speak.–Stop it, Mar
cellus. Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partizan? Hor. Do, if it will not stand. Ber.
'Tis here! Hor.
'Tis here! Mar. '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.
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock
Hor. 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.
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 ; 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 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.