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So nightly toils the subject of the land?
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war?
Why such impress of ship-wrights, whose sore task
5 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 inform me ?
10At 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
15(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd compact,
Well ratify'd by law, and heraldry,
Hor. Most like: it harrows me with fear and
Ber. It would be spoke to.
Mar. Speak to it, Horatio.
Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of bury'd Denmark [speak.
Did sometime march? By heaven I charge thee,
Mur. It is offended.
Ber. Sec! it stalks away.
Hor. Stay; speak; I charge thee, speak.
Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio? you tremble, and
Is not this something more than phantasy?
What think you of it?
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe,
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Mar. Is it not like the king?
Hor. 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 Polack on the ice.
Mar. Thus, twice before, and just at this dead
With martial stalk he hath gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
Which he stood seis'd of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by that covenant,
And carriage of the articles design'd',
His fell to Hamlet: Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
30That 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 compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: And this, I take it,
351s the main motive of our preparations;
The source of this our watch; and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage 10 in the land.
Ber. I think, it be no other, but even so:
Well may it sort, that this portentous figure
40 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,
45 The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
Stars shone with trains of fire; dews of blood fell;
Disasters 12 veil'd the sun; and the moist star,
Why this same strict and most observant watch 155
i. e. add a new testimony to that of our eyes. 2 To harrow is to conquer, to subdue. The word is of Saxon origin. 3 He speaks of a prince in Poland whom he slew in battle. Polack was, in that age, the term for an inhabitant of Poland: Polaque, French. A sled, or sledge, is a carriage made use of in the cold countries. i. e. what particular train of thinking to follow. i. e. general thoughts, and tendency at large. Carriage is import: design'd, is formed, drawn up between them. Unimproved, for unrefined. To shark up may mean to pick up without distinction, as the sharkfish collects his prey. Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for constancy, resolution. "Palmy for victorious, flourishing. 12 Disasters is here finely used in
10 i.e. tumultuous hurry.
its original signification of evil conjunction of stars. jor fate.
15 Fierce, for conspicuous, glaring.
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 of voice,
Speak to me:
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, haply, foreknowing may avoid,
A Room of State.
Enter the King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes
Voltimand, Cornelius, Lords and Attendants.
King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's
The memory be green; and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole king-
10To be contracted in one brow of woe; [dom
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,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye;
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,-
20 Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair so long:-For all, our thanks.
Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
[Cock crows. 15
Speak of it-stay,and speak.--Stop it, Marcellus.
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partizan?
Hor. Do, if it will not stand.
Ber. 'Tis here!
Hor. 'Tis here!
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,
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 confine 3: 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,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares 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 believe 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,
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
Now follows, that you know, young Fortin-
Holding a weak supposal of our worth; [bras,-
25 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
30 Lost by his father, with all bands 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,-
35 Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,-to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject:-and we here dispatch
40 You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltímand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
l'o business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allows.
45 Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Vol. In that and all things will we shew our
King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell.
[Exeunt Voltimand, and Cornelius.
50 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 would'st thou beg,
Where we shall find him mostconvenient,[Exeunt.|55|That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
According to the pneumatology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits, who had dispositions different, according to their various places of abode. 2 i.e. got out of its bounds. Bourne of Newcastle, in his Antiquities of the Common People, informs us, "It is a received tradition among the vulgar, that at the time of cock-crowing the midnight spirits forsake these lower regions, and go to their proper places." 4 This is a very ancient superstition. 'No fairy strikes with lameness or diseases. The meaning is, He goes to war so indiscreetly, and unprepared, that he has no allies to support him but a dream, with which he is colleagued or confederated. Gate or gait is here used in the northern sense, for proceeding, passage. i, e. the articles when dilated,
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 would'st thou have, Laertes?
Your leave and favour to return to France: [mark,
From whence though willingly I came to Den-
To shew my duty in your coronation;
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
Mythoughts andwishes bend again toward France, 10
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
King. Have you your father's leave? What
Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my
By laboursome petition: and, at last,
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor
In filial obligation, for some term [bound,
To do obsequious sorrow but to perséver
5 In obstinate condolement ', is a course
Of impious stubbornness: 'tis unmanly grief:
It shews a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortify'd, or mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what, we know, must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
15 To reason most absurd, whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cry'd,
From the first corse, 'till he that died to-day,
This must be so. We pray you throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
20 As of a father: for, let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And, with no less nobility' of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart 10 toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And, we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the chear and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
And thy best graces spend it at thy will.—
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,-
Ham. A little more than kin,and less than kind 2.
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on
Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the
Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour
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 dust:
Thou know'st, 'tis common: all, that live, must
Passing through nature to eternity.
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
Queen. If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly: Thèse, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within, which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your
Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers,
I pray thee, stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madain.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply;
Be as ourself in Denmark.-Madam, come;
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell ;
40 And the king's rouze the heaven shall bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come, away.
Ham.O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
45 Thaw, and resolve" itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 12 9
'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
To give those mourning duties to your father: 50 Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
1 The sense is, The head is not formed to be more useful to the heart, the hand is not more at the service of the mouth, than my power is at your father's service. 2 Hanmer observes, It is not unreasonable to suppose that this was a proverbial expression, known in former times for a relation so confused and blended, that it was hard to define it.-Dr. Johnson asserts kind to be the Teutonick word for child: Hamlet therefore, he adds, answers with propriety, to the titles of cousin, and son, which the king had given him, that he was somewhat more than cousin, and less than son.--Mr. Steevens says that a jingle of the same sort is found in another old play, and seems to have been proverbial, as he has met with it more than once. 3 Mr. Farmer questions whether a quibble between sun and son be not here intended. 4 With lowering eyes, cast-down eyes. That is, Your father lost a father, i. e. your grandfather, which lost grandfather also lost his father. Obsequious is here from obsequies or funeral ceremonies. 'Condolement, for sorrow. means generosity. 10 i. e. communicate whatever I can bestow. dissolve. 12i. e. that he had not restrained suicide by his express law and peremptory prohibition.
* Incorrect, for untutor❜d. 'Nobility here "Resolve means the same as
That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in na
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead!-Nay, not so much, not
So excellent a king; that was to this,
Hyperion' to a satyr': so loving to my mother,
That he might not let e'en the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: And yet, within a month,-
Let me not think on 't:-Frailty, thy name
Hor. I saw him once, he was a goodly king.
Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all,
"shall not look upon his like again.
Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw! who?
Her. My lord, the king your father.
Ham. The king my father!
Hor. Season' your admiration for a while
With an attent car; 'till I may deliver,
10Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she follow'd my poor father's body, 15
Like Niobé, all tears:-why she, even she,-
O heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourn'd longer,-narry'd with my
My father's brother; but no more like my father, 20
Than I to Hercules: Within a month;
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She marry'd.-O most wicked speed, to post
With such 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, Bernardo, and Marcellus.
Hor. Hail to your lordship!
Ham. I am glad to see you well:
Horatio, or do I forget myself?
Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant Ham. Sir, my good friend: I'll change that name with you.
Ham. For heaven's love, let me hear.
Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Arm'd at all points, exactly cap-à-pé,
Appears before them, and, with solemn march,
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their opprest and fear-surprized eyes, [till'd
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, dis-
Almost to jelly, with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secresy impart they did:
25 And Iwith 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,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?-35
Mar. My good lord,-
Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even,
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 repcrt
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinour?
We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart.
Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's
Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Hor. Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral
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.
Hor. O where, my lord?
Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles
45 Hold you the watch to-night?
All. We do, my lord.
Ham. Arm'd, say you?
All. Arm'd, my lord.
By the Satyr is meant Pan; as by Hyperion, Apollo.-Pan and Apollo were brothers; and the allusion is to the contention between those gods for the preference in music. servant, you shall be my friend.
It was anciently the general custom to give a cold entertainment to mourners at a funeral. In distant counties, this practice is continued among the yeomanry. * Dearest is most immediate, consequential, important. Eye is certainly more worthy of Shak
Ham. I would I had been there.
Hor. It would have much amaz'd you. Ham. Very like,
Very like: Stay'd it long?
Hor. While one with moderate haste
Might tell a hundred.
Both. Longer, longer.
Hor. Not when I saw it.
Ham. His beard was grizzl'd? 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 honour.
Ham. Your loves, as mine to you: Farewell. [Exeunt.
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. [Exit.
An Apartment in Polonius' House.
Enter Laertes and Ophelia.
Laer. My necessaries are embark'd; farewell: And, sister, as the winds give benefit, And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.
Oph. Do you doubt that?
Luer, For Hamlet, and the trifling of his faHold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance' of a minute;
Oph. No more but so?
Laer. Think it no more:
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews, and bulk: but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps, he loves you now;
And now no soil, nor cautel', doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but, you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own; For he himself is subject to his birth: He may not, as unvalued persons do, Carve for himself; for on his choice depends 5 The safety and the health of the whole state; And therefore must his choice be circumscrib'd Unto the voice and yielding of that body, Whereof he is the head: Then if he says, he loves you,
10It fits your wisdom so far to believe it, As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further, Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal. Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain, 15 If with too credent ear you list his songs;
Or lose your heart; or your chaste treasure open To his unmaster'd' importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister; And keep you in the rear of your affection, 20 Out of the shot and danger of desire. The chariest maid is prodigal enough, If she unmask her beauty to the moon: Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes : The canker galls the infants of the spring 25 Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd; And in the morn and liquid dew of youth Contagious blastments are most imminent. Be wary then: best safety lies in fear; Youth to itself rebels, though none else near. 30 Oph. I shall the effect of this good lesson keep, As watchman to my heart: but, good my brother, Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, Shew me the steep and thorny way to heaven; Whilst, like a puft and reckless libertine, 35 Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own read'.
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
45 And you are staid for: There,-my blessings with
you; [Laying his hand on Laertes' head.
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thythoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
50 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption try'd,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd unfledg'd comrade. Be-
55 Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, [ware
Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
1i. e. what is supplied to us for a minute. The idea seems to be taken from the short duration of vegetable perfumes. 2 i. e. in sinews, muscular strength. i. e. no fraud, deceit. seems here to comprise both excellence and power, and may be explained the pure effect. Chary is cautious. "That is, heeds not his own lessons. Do not make thy palm callous by shaking every man by the hand. The figurative meaning may be, Do not by promiscuous conversation make thy mind insensible to the difference of characters. Take