ACT 1
Scene 1
Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.

BARNARDO    Who’s there?
FRANCISCO    
Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
BARNARDO    Long live the King!
FRANCISCO    Barnardo.
BARNARDO    He.
FRANCISCO    
You come most carefully upon your hour.
BARNARDO    
’Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.
FRANCISCO    
For this relief much thanks. ’Tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
BARNARDO    Have you had quiet guard?
FRANCISCO    Not a mouse stirring.
BARNARDO    Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

Enter Horatio and Marcellus.

FRANCISCO    
I think I hear them.—Stand ho! Who is there?
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    
Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.
Francisco exits.
MARCELLUS    Holla, Barnardo.
BARNARDO    Say, what, is Horatio there?
HORATIO    A piece of him.
BARNARDO    
Welcome, Horatio.—Welcome, good Marcellus.
HORATIO    
What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
BARNARDO    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.
BARNARDO    Sit down awhile,
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.
HORATIO    Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
BARNARDO    Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
Had made his course t’ 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.
BARNARDO    
In the same figure like the King that’s dead.
MARCELLUS , to Horatio    
Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
BARNARDO    
Looks he not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
HORATIO    
Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
BARNARDO    
It would be spoke to.
MARCELLUS    Speak to 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.
BARNARDO    See, it stalks away.
HORATIO    
Stay! speak! speak! I charge thee, speak!
Ghost exits.
MARCELLUS    ’Tis gone and will not answer.
BARNARDO    
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    Is it not like the King?
HORATIO    As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armor he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated.
So frowned 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 mine 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 laborer 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 appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed 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 gagèd by our king, which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same comart
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked 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 posthaste and rummage in the land.
BARNARDO    
I think it be no other but e’en so.
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armèd 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,
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 feared 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.

Enter Ghost.

But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again!
I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
It spreads his arms.
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.
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.The cock crows.
Stay and speak!—Stop it, Marcellus.
MARCELLUS    
Shall I strike it with my partisan?
HORATIO    Do, if it will not stand.
BARNARDO    ’Tis here.
HORATIO    ’Tis here.
Ghost exits.
MARCELLUS    ’Tis gone.
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.
BARNARDO    
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,
Th’ 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 Savior’s birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that 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 tonight
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 convenient.
They exit.
Scene 2
Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.

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?
MARCELLUS    My good lord.
HAMLET    
I am very glad to see you. To Barnardo. 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 my 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 prithee, do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.
HORATIO    
Indeed, my lord, it followed 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
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 a while
With an attent ear, till I may deliver
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 Barnardo, on their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encountered: a figure like your father,
Armed at point exactly, cap-à-pie,
Appears before them and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked
By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd 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.
HAMLET    But where was this?
MARCELLUS    
My lord, upon the platform where we watch.
HAMLET    
Did you not speak to it?
HORATIO    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.
HAMLET    ’Tis very strange.
HORATIO    
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.
HAMLET    Indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch tonight?
ALL    We do, my lord.
HAMLET    
Armed, say you?
ALL    Armed, my lord.
HAMLET    From top to toe?
ALL    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, looked he frowningly?
HORATIO    
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
HAMLET    Pale or red?
HORATIO    
Nay, very pale.
HAMLET    And fixed his eyes upon you?
HORATIO    
Most constantly.
HAMLET    I would I had been there.
HORATIO    It would have much amazed you.
HAMLET    Very like. Stayed it long?
HORATIO    
While one with moderate haste might tell a
hundred.
BARNARDO/MARCELLUS    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 silvered.
HAMLET    I will watch tonight.
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 concealed this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsomever else shall hap tonight,
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 Honor.
HAMLET    
Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell.
All but Hamlet exit.