Scene II. Elsinore. A room of state in the Castle.
[Enter the King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Voltimand, Cornelius, Lords, and
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that
it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in
one brow of woe;
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest
sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime
sister, now our queen,
Th' imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere
with a defeated joy,--
With an auspicious and one dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral,
and with dirge in marriage,
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:--or 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 this 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 bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him,--
ourself and for this time of meeting:
Thus much the business is:--we have here writ
Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,--
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
his nephew's purpose,--to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
lists, and full proportions are all made
Out of his subject:--and we here dispatch
good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
dilated articles allow.
Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Cor. and Volt.
In that and all things will we show our duty.
We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.
[Exeunt Voltimand and Cornelius.]
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is't,
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And lose your voice: what wouldst thou
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
Dread my lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though
willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation;
Yet now, I must
confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France,
And bow them
to your gracious leave and pardon.
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laboursome petition; and at
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son--
[Aside.] A little more than kin, and less than kind!
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.
Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a
friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the
Thou know'st 'tis common,--all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to
Ay, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not seems.
$BC5(Bis not alone my inky cloak, good
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the
Together with all forms, moods, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly: these,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
$BC5(Bis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning
duties to your father;
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost,
lost his; and the survivor bound,
In filial obligation, for some term
To do obsequious
sorrow: but to persevere
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness;
'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortified, a
An understanding simple and unschool'd;
For what we know must be, and is
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a
fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who
still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
$BC5(Bhis must be so.' We
pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father: for let
the world take note
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility
Than that which dearest father bears his son
Do I impart toward you. For your
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
we beseech you bend you to remain
Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
courtier, cousin, and our son.
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee stay with us; go
not to Wittenberg.
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:
Be as ourself in Denmark.--Madam,
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day
But the great cannon to the clouds
And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
thunder. Come away.
[Exeunt all but Hamlet.]
O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this
Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and
gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months
dead!--nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a
satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month,--
Let me not
think on't,--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
A little month; or ere those shoes were
With which she followed my poor father's body
Like Niobe, all tears;--why she, even
O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer,
--married with mine uncle,
My father's brother; but no more like my father
Than I to
Hercules: within a month;
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the
flushing in her galled eyes,
She married:-- O, most wicked speed, to post
dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good;
But break my
heart,--for I must hold my tongue!
[Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo.]
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
My good lord,--
I am very glad to see you.--Good even, sir.--
But what, in faith, make you
A truant disposition, good my lord.
I would not hear your enemy say so;
Nor shall you do my ear that violence,
make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
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
Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak'd meats
Did coldly furnish forth the
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day,
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
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
My lord, the king your father.
The King my father!
Season your admiration for awhile
With an attent ear, till I may
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 Bernardo, on their
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like
Armed at point exactly, cap-a-pe,
Appears before them and with solemn
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their oppress'd and
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distill'd
jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me
secrecy impart they did;
And I with them the third night kept the watch:
Where, as they
had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
But where was this?
My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
Did you not speak to it?
My lord, I did;
But answer made it none: yet once methought
It lifted up it
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 vanish'd from our
$BC5(Bis very strange.
As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in
To let you know of it.
Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
Mar. and Ber.
We do, my lord.
Arm'd, say you?
Arm'd, 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, look'd he frowningly?
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Pale or red?
Nay, very pale.
And fix'd his eyes upon you?
I would I had been there.
It would have much amaz'd you.
Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?
While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
Mar. and Ber.
Not when I saw't.
His beard was grizzled,--no?
It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.
I will watch to-night;
Perchance 'twill walk again.
I warr'nt it will.
If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your loves. So, fare
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
Our duty to your honour.
Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.
[Exeunt Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo.]
My father's spirit in arms! All is not well;
I doubt some foul play: would the night
Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth
o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.