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Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other— 100
As it doth well appear unto our state-
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid
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
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 110
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 115
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 120
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,
125 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,
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
140 Speak of it; stay, and speak! [Cock crows.]
Stop it, Marcellus.
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
Hor. Do, if it will not stand.
'Tis here! Mar. 'Tis gone!
[Exit Ghost. We do it wrong, being so majestical, 145 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, 150
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,
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 Saviour's birth is celebrated, 160
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir
The nights are wholesome; then no planets
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time. 165
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 eastward hill.
Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night 170
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? 175 Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning
know Where we shall find him most conveniently.
A room of state in the castle. Enter the King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes,
Voltimand, Cornelius, Lords, and Attendants. King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole
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
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,-
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,--
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone 15
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, 20
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 bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for 25
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 80
His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway; 35
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the
scope Of these delated articles allow.
[Giving a paper. Farewell, and let your haste commend your