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A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she followed my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears;-why she, even she,-

O Heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,1
Would have mourned longer,-married with my 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
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!


Hor. Hail to your lordship!


I am glad to see you well; Horatio, or I do forget myself.

Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever. Ham. Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you.

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And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?— Marcellus?

Mar. My good lord,

Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even, sir. 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,

1 "Discourse of reason" was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time; and, indeed, the Poet again uses the same language in Troilus and Cressida, Act ii. Sc. 2:

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In the language of the schools, "Discourse is that rational act of the mind by which we deduce or infer one thing from another." Discourse of reason, therefore, may mean ratiocination. Brutes have not this reasoning faculty, though they have what has been called instinct and memory. The first quarto reads, "a beast devoid of reason."

2 i. e. what do you?



To make it truster of your own report

Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?

We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral. Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student; I think it was to see my mother's wedding.

Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked


Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
'Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven,
Or1 ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father, methinks I see my father.


My lord?

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.

Oh where,

Hor. I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all,

I shall not look upon his like again.

Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw! who?

Hor. My lord, the king, your father.


The king, my father? Hor. Season your admiration for a while With an attent ear; till I may deliver, Upon the witness of these gentlemen, This marvel to you.


For God'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 encountered: A figure like your father,
Armed at all points, exactly, cap-à-pé,

Appears before them, and, with solemn march,

1 This is the reading of the quarto of 1604. The first quarto and the

folio read, "Ere I had ever."

2 The first quarto, 1603, has :

"In the dead vast and middle of the night."

We have "that vast of night" in The Tempest, Act i. Sc. 2.

Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked,
By their oppressed and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distilled1
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,

Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did;

And I, with them, the third night kept the watch;
Where, as they had delivered, 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.

But where was this?

Hor. My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
Ham. Did you not speak to it?

My lord, I did.
But answer made it none; yet once, methought,
It lifted up its 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 vanished from our sight.


'Tis very strange.

Hor. As I do live, my honored lord, 'tis true; And we did think it writ down in our duty,

To let you know of it.

Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me. Hold you the watch to-night?


We do, my lord.

Ham. Armed, say you?


Armed, my lord.

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Hor. O yes, my lord; he wore his beaver2 up.

Ham. What, looked he frowningly?


In sorrow than in anger.

1 The folio reads bestilled.

A countenance more

2 That part of the helmet which may be lifted up.


Hor. Nay, very pale.

Hor. Most constantly.

Pale, or red?

And fixed his eyes upon you?

I would I had been there.

Hor. It would have much amazed you.

Very like. Staid it long?

Very like,

Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a


Mar. Ber. Longer, longer.

Hor. Not when I saw it.


His beard was grizzled? no?

Hor. It was as I have seen it in his life,

A sable silvered.


I will watch to-night;

Perchance 'twill walk again.

Hor. I warrant you 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,


you have hitherto concealed 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


Our duty to your honor.

Ham. Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell. [Exeunt HORATIO, MARCELLUS, and


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.


1 The quarto of 1603 reads tenible; the other quartos, tenable; the folio of 1623, treble.

SCENE III. A Room in Polonius's House.


Laer. My necessaries are embarked; farewell. And, sister, as the winds give benefit,

And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,

But let me hear from you.

Do you

doubt that?

Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold 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;
No more.


No more but so?

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 cautel3 doth besmirch
The virtue of his will; but, you must fear,
His greatness weighed, 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
The safety and health of the whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed


1 This is the reading of the quarto copy. The folio has :

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"The suppliance of a minute" should seem to mean, supplying or enduring only that short space of time; as transitory and evanescent.

2 i. e. sinews and muscular strength.

3 Cautel is cautious circumspection, subtlety, or deceit. Minsheu explains it, "A crafty way to deceive."

4 "The safety and health of the whole state." Thus the quarto of 1604. In the folio, it is altered to "The sanctity," &c., supposing the metre defective. But safety is used as a trisyllable by Spenser and


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