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Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,-
[Bell strikes one. Mar. Peace! break thee off: look, where it comes again !
Enter Ghost. 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.
Question it, Horatio.
Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march ? by heaven I charge thee, speak !
Mar. It is offended.
See! it stalks away.
Hor. Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!
[Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio ! you tremble, and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on't ?
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 armour he had on,
When he th' ambitious Norway combated:
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polack on the ice. 'Tis strange.
Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work I know not;
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-labourer with the day?
Who is ’t, that can inform me?
That can I ;
At 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
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd compact
Well ratified by law and 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'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,
And carriage of the article 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 lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That 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 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 e'en 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 :
As, stars with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun ;and the moist star,
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to dooms-day with eclipse :
2 Disasters in the sun ;] There is evidently some corruption here, which it is impossible now to set right : Malone imagined that a line had been omitted. No conjecture is worth notice.
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 climature and countrymen.-
But soft! behold! lo, where it comes again !
I'll cross it, though it blast me.--Stay, illusion !3
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,
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.
'Tis here! Hor.
'Tis here! Mar. 'Tis gone.
[Exit Ghost. We do it wrong, being so majestical, To offer it the show of violence ;
3 Stay, illusion !] At these words there is a stage-direction in the edition of 1604, copied into the later 4tos., “It spreads his arms."
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,
Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine ; 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,
The 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 yond' 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,
• No fairy TAKES ;] i. l., enchants, infects : we have already had the word "takes” used in this sense in The Merry Wives of Windsor, act iv, sc. 4, p. 83.