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SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle. Midnight. FRANCISCO at his post. The clock strikes twelve. Enter to him BERNARDO.

Ber. Who's there?

Fran. Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.

Ber. Long live the king!

Fran. Bernardo?


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Fran. I think I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who is there?


Hor. Friends to this ground.4
And liegemen to the Dane.
Fran. Give you' good night.

Who hath reliev'd you?

Give you good night.

What, is Horatio there?

A piece of him.
Ber. Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good


Mar. What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?

Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. Horatio says 't is 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

4 Ground, i.e. country.

O, farewell, honest soldier:

Bernardo has my place. [Exit.

Holla! Bernardo!


5 Give you, i.e. God give you.

With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That, if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Hor. Hush, tush, 't will not appear.
Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we two nights have seen.

Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Ber. Last night of all,

When yond 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 harrows1 me with fear and wonder.

Ber. It would be spoke to.

Question it, Horatio.
Hor. 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!


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

1 Harrows, afflicts, tortures; or, perhaps, figuratively= tears, lacerates.

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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 romage3 in the land.

Ber. I think it be no other but e'en 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:

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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!

1 Unimproved, untutored.

2 Stomach, i.e. courage.

4 The moist star, i.e. the moon.

Re-enter GHOST.

I'll cross it, though it blast me.-Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me:



Romage, disturbance.

5 Happily, haply.

Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in

Speak of it stay, and speak! [Cock crows.]
Stop it, Marcellus.


Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan? Hor. Do, if it will not stand.


'T is here!


Mar. '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.]
Ber. It was about to speak when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard, 149
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 confíne: 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 dare stir 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 the time.

Hor. So have I heard, and do in part be-
lieve 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, 170
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 convenient.] [Exeunt.

• Extravagant, wandering.

'Tis here! [Exit Ghost.

7 Takes, bewitches.


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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 bands1 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 30
His further 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 further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles 2 allow.

1 Bands, bonds.

2 Diluted articles, articles set out at large.


Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.

Cor. Vol. In that and all things will we show our duty.


King. We doubt it nothing: heartily fare- ́ well. [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 wouldst 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 wouldst thou have, Laertes?]
Dread my lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France,
From whence though willingly I came to Den-


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And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.

Do not for ever with thy vailed3 lids


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