Scene I. Elsinore. A platform before the Castle.
[Francisco at his post. Enter to him Bernardo.]
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.
Long live the king!
You come most carefully upon your hour.
$BC5(Bis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.
For this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
Have you had quiet guard?
Not a mouse stirring.
Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my
watch, bid them make haste.
I think I hear them.--Stand, ho! Who is there?
[Enter Horatio and Marcellus.]
Friends to this ground.
And liegemen to the Dane.
Give you good-night.
O, farewell, honest soldier;
Who hath reliev'd you?
Bernardo has my place.
Give you good-night.
What, is Horatio there?
A piece of him.
Welcome, Horatio:--Welcome, good Marcellus.
What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?
I have seen nothing.
Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That, if again this apparition
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 two nights have seen.
Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
bell then beating one,--
Peace, break thee off; look where it comes again!
[Enter Ghost, armed.]
In the same figure, like the king that's dead.
Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
Looks it not like the King? mark it, Horatio.
Most like:--it harrows me with fear and wonder.
It would be spoke to.
Question it, Horatio.
What art thou, that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By heaven I
charge thee, speak!
It is offended.
See, it stalks away!
Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee speak!
$BC5(Bis gone, and will not answer.
How now, Horatio! You tremble and look pale:
Is not this something more than
What think you on't?
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the King?
As thou art to thyself:
Such was the very armour he had on
When he the
ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd 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
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
Why this same strict and most
So nightly toils the subject of the land;
And why such daily cast of
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-labourer with the day:
Who is't that can
That can I;
At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even
but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by
a most emulate pride,
Dar'd to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet,--
For so this
side of our known world esteem'd him,--
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of
Had he been vanquisher; as by the same cov'nant,
And carriage of the article
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a list of lawless
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no
As it doth well appear unto our state,--
But to recover of us, by strong
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: and this, I
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
I think it be no other but e'en so:
Well may it sort, that this portentous
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
That was and is the question of
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the
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 fierce events,--
As harbingers preceding still the fates,
And prologue to
the omen coming on,--
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climature and
But, soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blast me.--Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use
Speak to me:
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease,
and, race to me,
Speak to me:
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
foreknowing may avoid,
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it:--stay, and speak!--Stop it, Marcellus!
Shall I strike at 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
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding
Awake the god of day; and at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth
This present object made probation.
It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm;
So hallow'd and so
gracious is the time.
So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn, in russet
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill:
Break we our watch up: and by
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him:
Do you consent we shall acquaint him
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