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Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is not this 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 on the ice.
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-laborer 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 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,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
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 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.
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 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.—
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 case, 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,
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!
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 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 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 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, 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, 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 same.
Enter the King, Queen, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants.
King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death The memory be green; and that it us befitted To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom To be contracted in one brow of woe;
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,-
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along.-For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,—
Holding a weak supposal of our worth;
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 failed to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands.
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,-
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 despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these related articles allow.
Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Cor. Vol. In that, and all things will we show our duty.
King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell.
[Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS.
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 wouldst thou beg, Laertes?
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
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 wouldst thou have, Laertes?
My dread lord,
Your leave and favor to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation;
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France,
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
King. Have you your father's leave? What says Polo
Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave, By laborsome petition; and, at last, Upon his will, I sealed my hard consent. I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine, 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.
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i'the sun. Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not, forever, with thy veiled lids,
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Ham. Seems, madam? nay, it is; I know not seems. 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forced breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected havior of the visage, Together with the modes, forms, shows of grief, That can denote me truly. These, 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 nature, Hamlet, To give these mourning duties to your father, But you must know, your father lost a father; That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound