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Enter Ghost.

Ber. In the same figure like the king that's dead.
Mar. Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.1
Ber. Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio.
Hor. Most like ;-it harrows me with fear and


Ber. It would be spoke to.


Hor. What art thou, that



Speak to it, Horatio.

usurp'st this time of

Together with that fair and warlike form

In which the majesty of buried Denmark

Did sometimes march? By Heaven, I charge thee,


Mar. It is offended.

Ber. See! it stalks away.

Hor. Stay; speak: speak, I charge thee speak.

Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.

[Exit Ghost.

Ber. How now, Horatio? you tremble, and look


Is not this something more than fantasy?

What think you of it?

Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Without the sensible and true avouch

Of mine own eyes.


Is it not like the king?

Hor. As thou art to thyself.

Such was the very armor he had on,

When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frowned he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polack 3 on the ice.

'Tis strange.

1 It was a vulgar notion, that a supernatural being could only be spoken to, with effect, by persons of learning; exorcisms being usually practised by the clergy in Latin.

2 The first quarto reads, "it horrors me."

3 i. e. the sledged Polander (Polaque, Fr.). The old copy reads Pollax.

Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump' at this dead


With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not; 2

But, in the gross and scope of mine opinion,

This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,

Why this same strict and most observant watch
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 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-laborer with the day;
Who is't that can inform me?


That can I;

Our last king,

At least, the whisper goes so.
Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a sealed compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,

Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror :
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,

1 Jump. So the quarto of 1603, and that of 1604. The folio reads just. Jump and just were synonymous. So in Chapman's May Day, 1611:

"Your appointment was jumpe at three with me."

2 That is, "what particular train of thought to follow," &c. The first quarto reads:

"In what particular to work I know not."

Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,1
And carriage of the article designed,2

His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,3

Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Sharked up a list of landless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach 5 in't; which is no other,
(As it doth well appear unto our state,)
But to recover of us, by strong hand,
And terms compulsative, those 'foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations ;

The source of this our watch; and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.



[Ber. I think it be no other, but even so.
Well may
it sort, that this portentous figure
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,

The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

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As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,

1 Co-mart is the reading of the quarto of 1604; the folio reads covenant. Co-mart, it is presumed, means a joint bargain. No other instance of the word is known.

2 i. e. "and import of that article marked out for that purpose."

3 The first quarto reads, "Of unapproved." Dr. Johnson explains it, "full of spirit, not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience," and has been hitherto uncontradicted.

4 i. e. snapped up or taken up hastily.

Scroccare is properly to do

any thing at another man's cost, to shark or shift for any thing.

Stomach is used for determined purpose.

6 Romage, now spelt rummage, and in common use as a verb, for making a thorough search, a busy and tumultuous movement.

7 All the lines within crotchets, in this play, are omitted in the folio of 1623. The title-pages of the quartos of 1604 and 1605 declare this play to be "enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect copie."

8 i. e. suit, accord.

9 i. e. theme or subject.

10 A line or more is here supposed to be lost.

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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 climatures and countrymen.-]


Re-enter Ghost.

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, happily, foreknowing, may avoid,
O, speak!

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. Speak of it;-stay, and speak!-Stop it, Marcellus. Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan?

Hor. Do, if it will not stand.


Hor. 'Tis here!

Mar. 'Tis gone!

'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.

[Exit Ghost.

Ber. It was about to speak when the cock crew. Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing

Upon a fearful summons.

1 i. e. the moon.

I have heard,

2 Omen is here put, by a figure of speech, for predicted event.

The cock, that is the trumpet of 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 erring1 spirit hies
To his confine; and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.2
Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Savior'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,3 nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time.


Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
But look, the morn,5 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 know Where we shall find him most convenient.

SCENE II. The same.


A Room of State in the


Enter the King, Queen, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants.

King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death

1 "Extra-vagans, wandering about, going beyond bounds." Erring is erraticus, straying or roving up and down.

2 This is a very ancient superstition.

3 i. e. blasts or strikes.

4 Gracious is sometimes used by Shakspeare for graced, favored. 5 First quarto, “sun."

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