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That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin)
By their o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners; — that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star, –
Their virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of ill
Doth all the noble substance often dout,
To his own scandal. |
Look, my lord ! it comes.
Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn’d,..
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Thou com’st in such a questionable shape,
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee, Hamlet,
King, Father, Royal Dane : 0! answer me:
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell,
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements? why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly interr’d,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again? What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature,
So horridly to shake our disposition,
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls ?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
[The Ghost beckons HAMLET.
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone. .
Mar. Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
No, by no means.
Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee;
And, for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again: – I'll follow it.
Hor. What, if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,
And draw you into madness? think of it: 44 The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea,
And hears it roar beneath.
It waves me still : — Go on, I'll
Mar. You shall not go, my lord.
Hold off your hands.
Hor. Be rul’d: you shall not go.
My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
[Ghost beckons. Still am I call’d. -- Unhand me, gentlemen, —
[Breaking from them.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me: ---
I say, away! — Go on, I'll follow thee.
[Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET.
Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination.
Mar. Let's follow; 't is not fit thus to obey him.
Hor. Have after. -- To what issue will this come?
Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Hor. Heaven will direct it.
Nay, let 's follow him.
A more remote Part of the Platform. .
Enter Ghost and HAMLET.
Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me ? speak, I'll go no farther. .
Ghost. Mark me.
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost. Pity me not; but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Ham. Speak, I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
· Ham. What?
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit;
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purg'd away. | But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an-end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. — List, list, O list! –
If thou didst ever thy dear father love, -
Ham. O God!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural. |
Ham. Haste me to know 't, that I, with wings as swift 47 As meditation, or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge. Ghost.
I find thee apt; And duller should’st thou be, than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this: now, Hamlet, hear.
'T is given out, that sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me: so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd; but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
Ham. O, my prophetic soul! my uncle!
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, • With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, (0 wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce!) won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen. 48 0, Hamlet, what a falling -off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity,
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage; and to decline
Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd ,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks, I scent the morning air: 49 Brief let me be. | Sleeping within my orchard ,
My custom always in the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a phial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And with a sudden vigour it doth posset,
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood : so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust
All my smooth body. |
50 Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch’d:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
Ham. O, horrible! 0, horrible! most horrible!
Ghost. If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
The glow - worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu, adieu, remember me.
Ham. 0, all you host of heaven! 0 earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? - 0 fie! — Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up! - Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain, .
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven.
0, most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain! ||
My tables, - meet it is, I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least, I am sure, it may be so in Denmark: [Writing.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is, “Adieu, adieu! remember me."
I have sworn 't.
Hor. [Within.] My lord! my lord!
Mar. [Within.] Lord Hamlet!
Hor. Within. ]
Heaven secure him!
Mar. į Within.] So be it!
Hor. [Within.] Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.