Page images
PDF
EPUB

But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile. This is for all,-
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment's leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you; come your ways.
Oph. I shall obey, my lord. [Exeunt.

SCENE IV. The Platform.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS.
Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.
Ham. What hour now?
Hor.

I think it lacks of twelve. Mar. No, it is struck. Hor. Indeed? I heard it not; it then draws

near the season, Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk. [A Flourish of Trumpets, and Ordnance shot

off, within. What does this mean, my lord?

Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes Keeps wassel, and the swaggering up-spring

reels; And, as he drains bis draughts of Rhenish down, The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out The triumph of his pledge. Hor.

Is it a custom? Ham. Ay, marry, is 't: But to my mind,-though I am native here, And to the manner born,-it is a custom More honour'd in the breach than the observance. This heavy-headed revel, east and west, Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations : They clepe us, drunkards, and, with swinish

phrase Soil our addition; and, indeed it takes From our achievements, though perform'd at

beight, 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,

bis rouse,

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, í say, the stamp of one defect;
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,-
Their 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 base
Doth all the noble substance often doubt
To his own scandal.

Enter Ghost. Hor.

Look, my lord, it comes ! Ham. Angels and ministers of grace, defend

us!Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd, Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from

hell,
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 : 0, answer me;
Let me not burst in ignorance! but tell,
Why thy canoniz'd bones, bearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements! why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly ip-urn’d,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again! What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature,
So horribly to shake our disposition,
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?

Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.

Mar. Look, with what courteous action
It waves yon to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
Hor.

No, by no means. Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it. Hor. Do not, my lord.

Ham. 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. Hor. 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 bears it roar beneath. Ham.

It waves me still.Go on, I'll follow thee.

Mar. You shall not go, my lord.
Ham.

Hold off your hands.
Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not go.
Ham.

My fate cries out, And makes each petty artery in this body As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.

(Ghost beckons. Still am I call’d;—unhand me, gentlemen ;

[Breaking from them. By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets

me :I say, away :-Go on, I'll follow thee.

(Erennt Ghost and HAMLET. Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. Hor. Have after :-To what issue will this

come? Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Den

mark. Hor. Heaven will direct it. Mar.

Nay, let's follow him.

(Eseunt.

scene V. A more remote Part of the Platform.

Re-enter Ghost and HAMLET. Ham. 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, confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would barrow 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 should'st thou be than the fat weed That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf, Would'st 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 abus’d: but know, thou noble youth, The serpent that did sting thy fatber's life, Now wears his crown.

Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle !. Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate

beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, (0 wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce !) won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen: O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there! From me, whose love was of that dignity, That it went hand in hand even with the vow I made to her in marriage; and to decline Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor To those of mine! But virtue, as it never will be mov'd, Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven; So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd, Will sate itself in a celestial bed, And prey on garbage. But soft! methinks, I scent the morning air; Brief let me be:-Sleeping within mine orchard, My custom always of the

afternoon, Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole, With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial, And in the porches of mine ears did pour The leperous distilment: whose effect Holds such an enmity with blood of man, That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through The natural gates and alleys of the body; And with a sudden vigour, it doth posset And curd, like eager droppings into milk, The thin and wholesome blood : so did it mine; And a most instant tetter bark'd about, Most lazar-like with vile and loathsome crust, All my smooth body. Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand, Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd;

« PreviousContinue »