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HAMLET, HORATIO, MARCELLUS, AND BERNARDO.
Horatio. Hail to your lordship.
Hamlet. I am glad to see you well : Horatio - or I do forget myself.
Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
Ham. Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio ?
Marcellus. My good lord
Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even, sir. (to Bernardo.) But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg ?
Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.
Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so : ;
Nor shall you do mine 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.
Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student; I think, it was to see my mother's wedding.
Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Ham. 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.
My lord ?
Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Hor. I saw him once, he was a goodly king.
Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw! who ?
Hor. My lord, the king your father.
Ham. The king my father!
Hor. Season your admiration for a while,
With an attent ear ; till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
Ham. For God's love, let me hear.
Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, in their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter’d. A figure like your father,
Armed at point, exactly, cap-a-pie,
Appears before them, and, with solemn march,
Goes slow and stately by them : thrice he walk’d,
By their oppress’d and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length ; while they, distilla
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me,
In dreadful secresy 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.
Ham. But where was this?
Hor. Upon the platform where we watch’d.
Ham. Did you not speak to it?
Hor. 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.
Ham. 'Tis very strange.
Hor. As I do live, my honor'd lord, 'tis true :
And we did think it writ down in our duty,
To let you know of it.
Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night ?
All. We do, my lord.
Ham. Arm’d, say you ?
All. Arm’d, my lord.
Ham. From top to toe?
All. My lord, from head to foot.
Ham. Then saw you not his face ?
Hor. O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
Ham. What, look'd he frowningly?
Hor. A countenance more
In sorrow than in anger.
Ham. Pale, or red ?
Hor. Nay, very pale,
Ham. And fix’d his eyes upon you ?
Hor. Most constantly.
Ham. I would, I had been there.
Hor. It would have much amazed you.
Ham. Very like,
Very like: Stayed it long?
Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
Mar. Ber. Longer, longer.
Hor. Not when I saw it.
Ham. His beard was grizzled ? No?
Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver’d.
Ham. I will watch to-night! Perchance 'twill walk again.
Hor. 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.
All. Our duty to your honor.
Ham. Your loves, as mine to you : Farewell.
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 eyes.
Hamlet. Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak; I'll go no further.
Ghost. Mark me.
Ham. I will.
Ghost. My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Ham. Alas, poor ghost !
Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Ham. Speak, I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Ham. What ?
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit :
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night;
And, for the day, confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood ;
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres ;
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine :
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood :- List, list, O list! -
If thou didst ever thy dear father love —
Ham. O heaven!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Ham. Murder ?
Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is ;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Ham. Haste me to know it; that I, with wings as swift
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
Ghost. I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear :
'Tis given out, that, sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is, by a forged process of my death,
Rankly abused : but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.
Ham. O, my prophetic soul! my uncle !
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts (O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce !) won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen : 0, Hamlet, what a falling off was there ! From me, whose love was of that dignity,