Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Folio)

Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
Hamlet Where wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further.
Ghost Mark me.
Hamlet I will.
685Ghost My hour is almost come
When I to sulfurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Hamlet Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
690To what I shall unfold.
Hamlet Speak. I am bound to hear.
Ghost So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Hamlet What?
Ghost I am thy father's spirit,
695Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
700I 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 combinèd locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end
705Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, oh, list:
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
Hamlet O heaen!
710Ghost Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Hamlet Murder?
Ghost Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Hamlet Haste, haste me to know't, 715that with wings as swift
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
Ghost I find thee apt,
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
720That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out that, sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forgèd process of my death
725Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
Hamlet Oh, my prophetic soul! Mine uncle?
Ghost Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
730With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts--
Oh, wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen.
Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
735From 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 moved,
740Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
Brief let me be. Sleeping within mine orchard,
745My custom always in the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour, thy uncle stole
With juice of cursèd hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment, whose effect
750Holds 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 vigor it doth posset
And curd like eager droppings into milk
755The thin and wholesome blood; so did it mine,
And a most instant tetter baked about
Most lazarlike with vile and loathsome crust
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
760Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousled, disappointed, unaneled,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
765Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
But howsoever thou pursuest this act,
770Taint 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
775And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire,.
Adieu, adieu, Hamlet! Remember me.
Hamlet Oh, all you host of heaven 1 Oh, earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, my heart,
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
780But bear me swiftly 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,
785All 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,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven.
790Oh, most pernicious woman!
Oh, villain, villain, smiling damnèd villain!
My tables, 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.
795So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
It is "Adieu, adieu, remember me."
I have sworn't.
Horatio and Marclellus within My lord, my lord!
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
Marcellus Lord Hamlet!
800Horatio Heaven secure him!
Marcellus So be it.
Horatio Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Hamlet Hillo, ho, ho, boy, come, and come! 1
Marcellus How is't, my noble lord?
805Horatio What news, my lord?
Hamlet Oh, wonderful!
Horatio Good my lord, tell it.
Hamlet No, you'll reveal it.
Horatio Not I, my lord, by heaven.
810Marcellus Nor I, my lord.
Hamlet How say you then, would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?
Both Ay, by heaven, my lord.
Hamlet There's ne'er a villain Dwelling in all Denmark
815But he's an arrant knave.
Horatio There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave,
To tell us this.
Hamlet Why, right, you are i'th' right.
And so, without more circumstance at all,
820I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You as your business and desire shall point you
(For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is), and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
825Horatio These are but wild and hurling words, my lord.
Hamlet I'm sorry they offend you--heartily,
Yes, faith, heartily.
Horatio There's no offense, my lord.
Hamlet Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, my lord,
830And much offense too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
835Give me one poor request.
Horatio What is't, my lord? We will.
Hamlet Never make known what you have seen tonight.
Both My lord, we will not.
Hamlet Nay, but swear't.
840Horatio In faith, my lord, not I.
Marcellus Nor I, my lord, in faith.
Hamlet Upon my sword.
[He holds out his sword.]
Marcellus We have sworn, my lord, already.
Hamlet Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ghost cries under the stage.
845Ghost Swear.
Hamlet Aha, boy, sayest thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?--
Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage?
Consent to swear.
Horatio Propose the oath, my lord.
850Hamlet Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Swear by my sword.
Ghost Swear.
[They swear.]
Hamlet Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
[He moves them to another spot.]
Come hither, gentlemen,
855And lay your hands again upon my sword.
Never to speak of this that you have heard.
Swear by my sword.
Ghost Swear by his sword.
Hamlet Well said, old mole. Canst work i'th' ground so fast?
860A worthy pioneer!--Once more remove, good friends.
[They move once more.]
Horatio Oh, day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
Hamlet And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in our philosophy. But come,
865Here as before: never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on),
That you at such time seeing me never shall,
870With arms encumbered thus, or thus headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase
As, "Well, we know," or "We could an if we would,"
Or "If we list to speak," or "There be an if they might,"
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
875That you know aught of me. This not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
Ghost Swear.
[They swear.]
Hamlet Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit. So, gentlemen,
880With all my love I do commend me to you,
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t'express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
885The time is out of joint. Oh, cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
[They wait for him to leave first.] Nay come, let's go together.