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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Quarto 1)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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, Quarto 1)

    The Tragical History of HAMLET Prince of Denmark.
    [Scene 1]
    Enter two Sentinels [First Sentinel and Barnardo].
    First Sentinel Stand! Who is that?
    Barnardo 'Tis I.
    10First Sentinel Oh, you come most carefully upon your watch.
    Barnardo An if you meet Marcellus and Horatio,
    The partners of my watch, bid them make haste.
    First Sentinel I will. See who goes there.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    20Horatio Friends to this ground.
    Marcellus And liegemen to the Dane.
    [To the First Sentinel] Oh, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
    First Sentinel Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.
    Marcellus Holla, Barnardo!
    Barnardo Say, is Horatio there?
    Horatio A piece of him.
    Barnardo Welcome, Horatio, welcome, good Marcellus.
    30Marcellus What, hath 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 by 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.
    Horatio Tut, 'twill not appear.
    40Barnardo Sit down, I pray, and let us once again
    Assail your ears, that are so fortified,
    What we have two nights seen.
    Horatio Well, sit we down, and let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
    Barnardo Last night of all, when yonder star that's westward from the pole had made his course to
    Illumine that part of heaven where now it burns,
    50The bell then tolling one--
    Enter Ghost.
    Marcellus Break off your talk. See 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?
    Horatio Most like. It horrors me with fear and wonder.
    It would be spoke to.
    Question it, Horatio.
    Horatio What art thou that thus usurps the state in
    Which the majesty of buried Denmark did sometimes
    Walk? By heaven, I charge thee speak.
    It is offended.
    Exit Ghost.
    See, it stalks away.
    65Horatio Stay, speak, speak! By heaven, I charge thee 65speak!
    Marcellus 'Tis gone and makes no answer.
    Barnardo How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
    Is not this something more than fantasy?
    70What think you on't?
    Horatio Afore my God, I might not this believe without the sensible and true avouch of my own eyes.
    Marcellus Is it not like the King?
    75Horatio 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 Polacks on the ice.
    80'Tis strange.
    Marcellus Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
    With martial stalk he passèd through our watch.
    Horatio In what particular to work, I know not,
    But in the thought and scope of my opinion
    85This bodes some strange eruption to the 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 cost 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 march
    Doth make the night joint laborer with the day?
    95Who is't that can inform me?
    Horatio Marry, that can I, at least the whisper goes so:
    Our late King, who as you know was by
    Fortenbrasse of Norway,
    100Thereto pricked on by a most emulous cause, dared to
    The combat, in which our valiant Hamlet,
    For so this side of our known world esteemed him,
    Did slay this Fortenbrasse,
    Who by a seale[d] compact, well ratified by law
    And heraldry, did forfeit with his life all those
    105His lands which he stood seized of by the conqueror,
    Against the which a moiety competent
    Was gagèd by our King.
    Now, sir, young Fortenbrasse,
    Of inapprovèd mettle hot and full,
    Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
    115Sharked up a sight of lawless resolutes
    For food and diet to some enterprise,
    That hath a stomach in't. And this (I take it) is the
    Chief head and ground of this our watch.
    Enter the Ghost.
    But lo, behold, see where it comes again!
    I'll cross it, though it blast me.--Stay, illusion!
    If there be any good thing to be done,
    130That may do ease to thee and grace to me,
    130Speak to me!
    If thou are privy to thy country's fate,
    Which happ'ly foreknowing may prevent, oh, speak to me!
    Or if thou hast extorted in thy life,
    Or hoarded treasure in the womb of earth,
    135For which they say you spirits oft walk in death,
    Speak to me! Stay and speak, speak!--Stop it, Marcellus.
    Barnardo 'Tis here.
    Exit Ghost.
    140Horatio 'Tis here.
    Marcellus 'Tis gone. Oh, 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 faded like a guilty thing
    Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
    The cock, that is the trumpet to the morning,
    150Doth with his early and shrill-crowing throat
    Awake the god of day, and at his sound,
    Whether in earth or air, in sea or fire,
    The stravagant and erring spirit hies
    To his confines; and of the truth hereof
    155This present object made probation.
    Marcellus It faded on the crowing of the cock.
    Some say, 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 dare walk abroad,
    The nights are wholesome, then no planet strikes,
    No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
    So gracious and so hallowed is that time.
    Horatio So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
    165But see, the sun, in russet mantle clad,
    Walks o'er the dew of yon high mountain top.
    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 love, fitting our duty?
    Marcellus Let's do't, I pray, and I this morning know
    Where we shall find him most conveniently.