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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Folio)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: David Bevington
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Modern, Folio)

    Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.
    Barnardo Who's there?
    5Francisco Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
    Barnardo Long live the King!
    Francisco Barnardo?
    Barnardo He.
    10Francisco You come most carefully upon your hour.
    Barnardo 'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco,
    Francisco For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
    And I am sick at heart.
    Barnardo Have you had quiet guard?
    15Francisco Not a mouse stirring.
    Barnardo Well, goodnight.
    If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
    The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    Francisco I think I hear them.--Stand! Who's there?
    20Horatio Friends to this ground.
    Marcellus And liegemen to the Dane.
    Francisco Give you good night.
    Marcellus Oh, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
    Francisco Barnardo has my place. Give you good night.
    Exit Francisco.
    Marcellus Holla, Barnardo!
    Barnardo Say, what, is Horatio there?
    Horatio A piece of him.
    Barnardo Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, good Marcellus.
    30Marcellus What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
    Barnardo I have seen nothing.
    Marcellus Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
    And will not let belief take hold of him,
    Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
    35Therefore I have entreated him along
    With us, to watch the minutes of this night,
    That if again this apparition come
    He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
    Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
    Sit down awhile,
    And let us once again assail your ears,
    That are so fortified against our story,
    What we two nights have seen.
    Well, sit we down,
    45And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
    Barnardo Last night of all,
    When yond same star that's westward from the pole
    Had made his course t'illume that part of heaven
    Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
    50The bell then beating one--
    Enter the Ghost.
    Marcellus Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again!
    Barnardo In the same figure like the King that's dead.
    Marcellus Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
    55Barnardo Looks it not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
    Horatio Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
    It would be spoke to.
    Question it, Horatio.
    Horatio What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
    60Together with that fair and warlike form
    In which the majesty of buried Denmark
    Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee speak!
    It is offended.
    See, it stalks away.
    65Horatio Stay, speak, speak, I charge thee, speak!
    Exit the Ghost.
    Marcellus 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
    Barnardo How now, Horatio? You tremble and look pale.
    Is not this something more than fantasy?
    70What think you on't?
    Horatio Before my God, I might not this believe
    Without the sensible and true avouch
    Of mine own eyes.
    Is it not like the King?
    75Horatio As thou art to thyself.
    Such was the very armor he had on
    When [he] th'ambitious Norway combated.
    So frowned he once, when in an angry parle
    He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
    80'Tis strange.
    Marcellus Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour,
    With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
    Horatio In what particular thought to work I know not,
    But in the gross and scope of my opinion
    85This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
    Marcellus 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
    90And 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?
    95Who 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,
    100Thereto 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
    105Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
    Which he stood seized on, to the conqueror;
    Against the which a moiety competent
    Was gagèd by our King, which had returned
    To the inheritance of Fortinbras
    110Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same cov'nant
    And carriage of the article design
    His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
    Of unimprovèd mettle, hot and full,
    Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
    115Sharked up a list of landless resolutes,
    For food and diet, to some enterprise
    That hath a stomach in't, which is no other
    (And it doth well appear unto our state)
    But to recover of us by strong hand
    120And 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 rummage in the land.
    Enter Ghost again.
    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!
    130If there be any good thing to be done
    130That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
    130Speak to me!
    If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
    Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
    Oh, speak!
    Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
    Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
    135For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
    Speak of it. Stay and speak!--Stop it, Marcellus!
    Marcellus Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
    Horatio Do, if it will not stand.
    Barnardo 'Tis here.
    140Horatio 'Tis here.
    Marcellus 'Tis gone.
    Exit Ghost.
    We do it wrong, being so majestical,
    To offer it the show of violence,
    For it is as the air, invulnerable,
    145And our vain blows malicious mockery.
    Barnardo It was about to speak when the cock crew.
    Horatio And then it started, like a guilty thing
    Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
    The cock, that is the trumpet to the day,
    150Doth 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
    155This present object made probation.
    Marcellus It faded on the crowing of the cock.
    Some says that ever 'gainst that season comes
    Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
    The bird of dawning singeth all night long,
    160And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad;
    The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
    No fairy talks, nor witch hath power to charm,
    So hallowed and so gracious is the time.
    Horatio So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
    165But 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 tonight
    Unto young Hamlet. For, upon my life,
    170This 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?
    Marcellus Let['s] do't, I pray, and I this morning know
    Where we shall find him most conveniently.