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Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
Th’ 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 is that time.
So have I heard, and do in part believe it. But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, Walks o'er the dew of yond 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.
The Same. A Room of State.
Enter the King, Queen, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES,
VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants. King. 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,
Th’ imperial jointress of this warlike State,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy, -
With one auspicious, and one drooping 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 subject : and we here dispatch
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. allows.
Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Cornelius. | In that, and all things, will we shew
King. 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 lose your voice : what would'st 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 would'st thou have, Laertes ?
Dread my lord, Your leave and favour to return to France ; From whence though willingly I came to Denmark, To shew 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 ? Polonius. He hath, my lord, [wrung from me my
slow leave, By laboursome petition; and, at last, Upon his will I seald 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, Hamlet. [Aside.] A little more than kin, and
less than kind.
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on
Ham. Not so, my lord; I am too much i' th' sun.
Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nightly 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.
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not
'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, modes, shews 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 shew;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,
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 shews 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,
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. Let not thy mother lose her prayers,
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply: Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come; This gentle and unforc'd 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 heaven shall bruit again, Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away. [Flourish. Exeunt King, Queen, Lords, f-c.,
POLONIUS, and LAERTES.