Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • 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
    Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

    HAMLET, Prince of Denmarke.
    1Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.
    Enter Barnardo and Francisco two Centinels.
    WHo's there?
    5Fran. Nay answer me: Stand & vnfold
    your selfe.
    Bar. Long liue the King.
    Fran. Barnardo?
    Bar. He.
    10Fran. You come most carefully vpon your houre.
    Bar. 'Tis now strook twelue, get thee to bed Francisco.
    Fran. For this releefe much thankes: 'Tis bitter cold,
    And I am sicke at heart.
    Barn. Haue you had quiet Guard?
    15Fran. Not a Mouse stirring.
    Barn. Well, goodnight. If you do meet Horatio and
    Marcellus, the Riuals of my Watch, bid them make hast.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    Fran. I thinke I heare them. Stand: who's there?
    20Hor. Friends to this ground.
    Mar. And Leige-men to the Dane.
    Fran. Giue you good night.
    Mar. O farwel honest Soldier, who hath relieu'd you?
    Fra. Barnardo ha's my place: giue you goodnight.
    25Exit Fran.
    Mar. Holla Barnardo.
    Bar. Say, what is Horatio there?
    Hor. A peece of him.
    Bar. Welcome Horatio, welcome good Marcellus.
    30Mar. What, ha's this thing appear'd againe to night.
    Bar. I haue seene nothing.
    Mar. Horatio saies, 'tis but our Fantasie,
    And will not let beleefe take hold of him
    Touching this dreaded sight, twice seene of vs,
    35Therefore I haue intreated him along
    With vs, to watch the minutes of this Night,
    That if againe this Apparition come,
    He may approue our eyes, and speake to it.
    Hor. Tush, tush, 'twill not appeare.
    40Bar. Sit downe a-while,
    And let vs once againe assaile your eares,
    That are so fortified against our Story,
    What we two Nights haue seene.
    Hor. Well, sit we downe,
    45And let vs heare Barnardo speake of this.
    Barn. Last night of all,
    When yond same Starre that's Westward from the Pole
    Had made his course t'illume that part of Heauen
    Where now it burnes, Marcellus and my selfe,
    50The Bell then beating one.
    Mar. Peace, breake thee of: Enter the Ghost.
    Looke where it comes againe.
    Barn. In the same figure, like the King that's dead.
    Mar. Thou art a Scholler; speake to it Horatio.
    55Barn. Lookes it not like the King? Marke it Horatio.
    Hora. Most like: It harrowes me with fear & wonder
    Barn. It would be spoke too.
    Mar. Question it Horatio.
    Hor. What art thou that vsurp'st this time of night,
    60Together with that Faire and Warlike forme
    In which the Maiesty of buried Denmarke
    Did sometimes march: By Heauen I charge thee speake.
    Mar. It is offended.
    Barn. See, it stalkes away.
    65Hor. Stay: speake; speake: I Charge thee, speake.
    Exit the Ghost.
    Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
    Barn. How now Horatio? You tremble & look pale:
    Is not this something more then Fantasie?
    70What thinke you on't?
    Hor. Before my God, I might not this beleeue
    Without the sensible and true auouch
    Of mine owne eyes.
    Mar. Is it not like the King?
    75Hor. As thou art to thy selfe,
    Such was the very Armour he had on,
    When th'Ambitious Norwey combatted:
    So frown'd he once, when in an angry parle
    He smot the sledded Pollax on the Ice.
    80'Tis strange.
    Mar. Thus twice before, and iust at this dead houre,
    With Martiall stalke, hath he gone by our Watch.
    Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not:
    But in the grosse and scope of my Opinion,
    85This boades some strange erruption to our State.
    Mar. Good now sit downe, & tell me he that knowes
    Why this same strict and most obseruant Watch,
    So nightly toyles the subiect of the Land,
    And why such dayly Cast of Brazon Cannon
    90And Forraigne Mart for Implements of warre:
    Why such impresse of Ship-wrights, whose sore Taske
    Do's not diuide the Sunday from the weeke,
    What might be toward, that this sweaty hast
    Doth make the Night ioynt-Labourer with the day:
    95Who is't that can informe me?
    Hor. That can I,
    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 153
    At least the whisper goes so: Our last King,
    Whose Image euen but now appear'd to vs,
    Was (as you know) by Fortinbras of Norway,
    100(Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate Pride)
    Dar'd to the Combate. In which, our Valiant Hamlet,
    (For so this side of our knowne world esteem'd him)
    Did slay this Fortinbras: who by a Seal'd Compact,
    Well ratified by Law, and Heraldrie,
    105Did forfeite (with his life) all those his Lands
    Which he stood seiz'd on, to the Conqueror:
    Against the which, a Moity competent
    Was gaged by our King: which had return'd
    To the Inheritance of Fortinbras,
    110Had he bin Vanquisher, as by the same Cou'nant
    And carriage of the Article designe,
    His fell to Hamlet. Now sir, young Fortinbras,
    Of vnimproued Mettle, hot and full,
    Hath in the skirts of Norway, heere and there,
    115Shark'd vp a List of Landlesse Resolutes,
    For Foode and Diet, to some Enterprize
    That hath a stomacke in't: which is no other
    (And it doth well appeare vnto our State)
    But to recouer of vs by strong hand
    120And termes Compulsatiue, those foresaid Lands
    So by his Father lost: and this (I take it)
    Is the maine Motiue of our Preparations,
    The Sourse of this our Watch, and the cheefe head
    Of this post-hast, and Romage in the Land.
    125 Enter Ghost againe.
    But soft, behold: Loe, where it comes againe:
    Ile crosse it, though it blast me. Stay Illusion:
    If thou hast any sound, or vse of Voyce,
    Speake to me. If there be any good thing to be done,
    130That may to thee do ease, and grace to me; speak to me.
    If thou art priuy to thy Countries Fate
    (Which happily foreknowing may auoyd) Oh speake.
    Or, if thou hast vp-hoorded in thy life
    Extorted Treasure in the wombe of Earth,
    135(For which, they say, you Spirits oft walke in death)
    Speake of it. Stay, and speake. Stop it Marcellus.
    Mar. Shall I strike at it with my Partizan?
    Hor. Do, if it will not stand.
    Barn. 'Tis heere.
    140Hor. 'Tis heere.
    Mar. 'Tis gone. Exit Ghost.
    We do it wrong, being so Maiesticall
    To offer it the shew of Violence,
    For it is as the Ayre, invulnerable,
    145And our vaine blowes, malicious Mockery.
    Barn. It was about to speake, when the Cocke crew.
    Hor. And then it started, like a guilty thing
    Vpon a fearfull Summons. I haue heard,
    The Cocke that is the Trumpet to the day,
    150Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding Throate
    Awake the God of Day: and at his warning,
    Whether in Sea, or Fire, in Earth, or Ayre,
    Th'extrauagant, and erring Spirit, hyes
    To his Confine. And of the truth heerein,
    155This present Obiect made probation.
    Mar. It faded on the crowing of the Cocke.
    Some sayes, that euer 'gainst that Season comes
    Wherein our Sauiours Birth is celebrated,
    The Bird of Dawning singeth all night long:
    160And then (they say) no Spirit can walke abroad,
    The nights are wholsome, then no Planets strike,
    No Faiery talkes, nor Witch hath power to Charme:
    So hallow'd, and so gracious is the time.
    Hor. So haue I heard, and do in part beleeue it.
    165But looke, the Morne in Russet mantle clad,
    Walkes o're the dew of yon high Easterne Hill,
    Breake we our Watch vp, and by my aduice
    Let vs impart what we haue seene to night
    Vnto yong Hamlet. For vpon my life,
    170This Spirit dumbe to vs, will speake to him:
    Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
    As needfull in our Loues, fitting our Duty?
    Mar. Let do't I pray, and I this morning know
    Where we shall finde him most conueniently. Exeunt