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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    [Scene 4]
    Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
    The air bites shrewd; it is an eager and
    605A nipping wind. What hour is't?
    I think it lacks of twelve.
    Sound Trumpets.
    No, 'tis struck.
    Indeed, I heard it not. What doth this mean, my lord?
    Oh, the King doth wake tonight, and takes his rouse,
    Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels,
    And as he dreams, his draughts of Rhenish down,
    615The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
    The triumphs of his pledge.
    Is it a custom here?
    Ay, marry, is't, and, though I am
    Native here and to the manner borne,
    620It is a custom more honored in the breach
    Than in the observance.
    Enter the Ghost.
    Look, my lord, it comes!
    Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
    625Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
    Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
    Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
    Thou comest in such questionable shape
    That I will speak to thee.
    I'll call thee Hamlet, king, father, royal Dane.
    630Oh, answer me! Let me not burst in ignorance,
    But say why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
    Have burst their ceremonies, why thy sepulcher,
    In which we saw thee quietly interred,
    635Hath burst his ponderous and marble jaws
    To cast thee up again. What may this mean
    That thou, dead corse, again in compleat steel,
    Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
    Making night hideous, and we fools of nature,
    640So horridly to shake our disposition
    With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
    Say, speak, wherefore? What may this mean?
    It beckons you, as though it had something
    645To impart to you alone.
    Look with what courteous action
    It waves you to a more removèd ground.
    But do not go with it.
    No, by no means, my lord.
    It will not speak. Then will I follow it.
    What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
    660That beckles o'er his base into the sea,
    And there assume some other horrible shape
    Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
    And drive you into madness? Think of it.
    Still am I called.--Go on, I'll follow thee.
    My lord, you shall not go.
    Why, what should be the fear?
    I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
    655And, for my soul, what can it do to that,
    Being a thing immortal like itself?--
    Go on, I'll follow thee.
    My lord, be ruled, you shall not go.
    My fate cries out, and makes each petty artery
    670As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
    Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen!
    By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
    Away, I say!--Go on, I'll follow thee.
    [Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet.]
    He waxeth desperate with imagination.
    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
    Have after. To what issue will this sort?
    Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
    Exit [with Horatio].