Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
I think I hear them.—Stand ho! Who is there?
Friends to this ground.
And liegemen to the Dane.
Give you good night.
O farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved
Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.
Say, what, is Horatio there?
A piece of him.
Welcome, Horatio.—Welcome, good Marcellus.
What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
I have seen nothing.
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.
Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.
Sit down awhile,
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.
Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
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—
Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again.
In the same figure like the King that’s dead.
, to Horatio
Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
Looks he not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
It would be spoke to.
Speak to it, 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,
It is offended.
See, it stalks away.
Stay! speak! speak! I charge thee, speak!
’Tis gone and will not answer.
How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on ’t?
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the King?
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.
Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
Shall I strike it with my partisan?
Do, if it will not stand.
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.
It was about to speak when the cock crew.
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.
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.
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?
Let’s do ’t, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most convenient.
Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.
Hail to your Lordship.
I am glad to see you well.
Horatio—or I do forget myself!
The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
Sir, my good friend. I’ll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?—
My good lord.
I am very glad to see you. To Barnardo.
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
A truant disposition, good my lord.
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.
My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.
I prithee, do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.
Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
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.
Where, my lord?
In my mind’s eye, Horatio.
I saw him once. He was a goodly king.
He was a man. Take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
My lord, the King your father.
The King my father?
Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear, till I may deliver
Upon the witness of these gentlemen
This marvel to you.
For God’s love, let me hear!
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.
But where was this?
My lord, upon the platform where we watch.
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.
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.
Indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch tonight?
We do, my lord.
Armed, say you?
Armed, my lord.
From top to toe?
My lord, from head to foot.
Then saw you not his face?
O, yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.
What, looked he frowningly?
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Pale or red?
Nay, very pale.
And fixed his eyes upon you?
I would I had been there.
It would have much amazed you.
Very like. Stayed it long?
While one with moderate haste might tell a
Not when I saw ’t.
His beard was grizzled, no?
It was as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silvered.
I will watch tonight.
Perchance ’twill walk again.
I warrant it will.
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.
Our duty to your Honor.
Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell.
All but Hamlet exit.
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
It is a nipping and an eager air.
What hour now?
I think it lacks of twelve.
No, it is struck.
Indeed, I heard it not. It then draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets and two pieces goes off.
What does this mean, my lord?
The King doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swagg’ring upspring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Is it a custom?
Ay, marry, is ’t,
But, to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
They clepe us drunkards and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition. And, indeed, it takes
From our achievements, though performed at
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 the o’ergrowth of some complexion
(Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason),
Or by some habit that too much o’erleavens
The form of plausive manners—that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature’s livery or fortune’s star,
His 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 evil
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
Look, my lord, it comes.
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
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, hearsèd in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulcher,
Wherein we saw thee quietly interred,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again. What may this mean
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
Revisits 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?
It beckons you to go away with it
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removèd ground.
But do not go with it.
No, by no means.
It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
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.
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,
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.
It waves me still.—Go on, I’ll follow thee.
You shall not go, my lord.They hold back Hamlet.
Hold off your hands.
Be ruled. You shall not go.
My fate cries out
And makes each petty arture in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve.
Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away!—Go on. I’ll follow thee.
Ghost and Hamlet exit.
He waxes desperate with imagination.
Let’s follow. ’Tis not fit thus to obey him.
Have after. To what issue will this come?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Heaven will direct it.
Nay, let’s follow him.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
My lord, my lord!
Heavens secure him!
So be it.
Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come!
How is ’t, my noble lord?
What news, my lord?
Good my lord, tell it.
No, you will reveal it.
Not I, my lord, by heaven.
Nor I, my lord.
How say you, then? Would heart of man once think
But you’ll be secret?
Ay, by heaven, my lord.
There’s never a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he’s an arrant knave.
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
Why, right, you are in the right.
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part,
You, as your business and desire shall point you
(For every man hath business and desire,
Such as it is), and for my own poor part,
I will go pray.
These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
I am sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, faith, heartily.
There’s no offense, my lord.
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offense, too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost—that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O’ermaster ’t as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.
What is ’t, my lord? We will.
Never make known what you have seen tonight.
My lord, we will not.
Nay, but swear ’t.
In faith, my lord, not I.
Nor I, my lord, in faith.
Upon my sword.
We have sworn, my lord, already.
Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
cries under the stage
Ha, ha, boy, sayst thou so? Art thou there,
Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
Consent to swear.
Propose the oath, my lord.
Never to speak of this that you have seen,
Swear by my sword.
Hic et ubique? Then we’ll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword.
Swear by my sword
Never to speak of this that you have heard.
Swear by his sword.
Well said, old mole. Canst work i’ th’ earth so fast?—
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come.
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd some’er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on)
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could an if we
Or “If we list to speak,” or “There be an if they
Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note
That you know aught of me—this do swear,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you.
Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit.—So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you,
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t’ express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let’s go together.