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CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark..
Fontinbras, Prince of Norway,
Hamlet, Son to the former, and Nephew to the present, King.
Polonius, Lord Chamberlain,
Horatio, Friend to Hamlet.
Laertes, Son to Polonius.
Ofrick, a Fop.
Marcellus, an Officer..
Reynoldo, Servant to Polonius.
Ghost of Hamlet's Fatber.
Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Mother to Hamlet.
Ophelia, Daughter to Polonius, belov'd by Hamlet.
Ladies attending on the Queen.
Players, Grave-makers, Sailors, Messengers, and other
: This story is taken from the Danish History written by
Saxo Grammaticus, Theobald:
Fran. Nay, answer me : stand and unfold
Ber. Long live the King!
Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour.
Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve, get thee to bed, Francisco.
Fran. For this relief, much thanks : 'tis bitter cold, And I am fick at heart.
Ber. Have you had quiet guard?
Fran. Not a mouse stirring.
Ber. Well, good-night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals * of my watch, bid them make haste.
Enter (a) By rivals of my watch are meant those who were to watch upon the next adjoyning ground. Rivals in the original sense of the word were proprietors of neighbouring lands parted only by a brook belonging equally to borb.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus. Fran. I think I hear them. Stand, ho! who is there Hor. Friends to this ground. Mar. And liege-men to the Dane. Fran. Give you good-night. Mar. Oh farewel, honest soldier; who hath reliev'd you? Fran. Bernardo has my place: give you good-night.
Mar. Holla! Bernardo!
Ber. Say, what, is Horatio there?
Hor. A piece of him.
Ber. Welcome, Horatio ; welcome, good Marcellus.
Mar. What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?
Ber. I have seen nothing.
Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our phantasie,
And will not let belief take hold of him,
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us;
Therefore I have intreated him along
With us, to watch the minutes of this night,
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Hor. Tuih, tush, 'twill not appear,
Ber. Sit down a while,
And let us once again affail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story.
1 Mar.' What we have two nights feen.
Hor. Well, sic we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Ber. Last night of all,
When yon fame star, that's westward from the pole,
Had made his course cillume that part of heav'n
Where now it burns, Marcellus and my felf,
The bell then beating One-
Mar. Peace, break thee off ;
Enter the Ghost.
Look where it comes again.
Ber. 1 This line is given to Bor, in the old editions.
Ber. In the same figure, like the King that's dead.
Mar. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.
Ber. Looks it not like the King? mark it, Horatio.
Hor. Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.
Ber. It would be spoke to.
Mar. Speak to it, Horatio.
Hor. What art thou that usurp'rt this cime of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form,
In which the Majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometime march? by Heav'n I charge thee, speak.
Mar. It is offended.
Ber. See ! it ftalks away.
Hor. Stay; speak; I charge thee, speak. [Exit Ghoft.
Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than phantasie?
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 thy felf.
Such was the very armour he had on,
When he th' ambitious Norway combated :
So frown'd he once, when in an angry parle
He smote the fleaded Polack on the ice.
Mar. Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour, With marcial stalk, hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not: But in the gross and scope of my opinion, This bodes fome strange eruption to our state.
Mar. Good now fit down, and tell me, he chat knows, Why this same strict and most observant watch So nightly toils the subjects of the land ? And why such daily cast of brazen cannon, And foreign mart for implements of war? Why such impress of thipwrights, whose fore task VOL. VI. X
Does not divide the Sunday from the week ?
What might be toward, that this sweaty hafte
Doth make the night joint labourer with the day?
Who is't that can inform me?
Hor. That can I,
At least the whisper goes fo. Our last King,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
(Thereto prickt on by a most emulate pride)
Dar'd to the fight: in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him)
Did Nay this Fortinbras: who by seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law of heraldry,
Did forfeit (with his life) all those his lands,
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the Conqueror :
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our King; which had return
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher, as by that cov’nant
And carriage of the articles design’d,
His fell to Hamlet. Now 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 dyet, to some enterprize
That hath a stomach in't: which is no other,
As it doch well appear unto our state,
But to recover of us by strong hand
And terms compulfative, those foresaid lands
So by his father loft : and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this poste-haste and romage in the land.
Ber. I think it be no other, but even fo: Well may it sort that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch fo like the King That was, and is the question of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.