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)

    Enter Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus.
    Ham. The Ayre bites shrewdly: is it very cold?
    605Hor. It is a nipping and an eager ayre.
    Ham. What hower now?
    Hor. I thinke it lacks of twelue.
    Mar. No, it is strooke.
    Hor. Indeed I heard it not: then it drawes neere the (season,
    610Wherein the Spirit held his wont to walke.
    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 257
    What does this meane my Lord?
    Ham. The King doth wake to night, and takes his (rouse,
    Keepes wassels and the swaggering vpspring reeles,
    And as he dreines his draughts of Renish downe,
    615The kettle Drum and Trumpet thus bray out
    The triumph of his Pledge.
    Horat. Is it a custome?
    Ham. I marry ist;
    And to my mind, though I am natiue heere,
    620And to the manner borne: It is a Custome
    More honour'd in the breach, then the obseruance.
    Enter Ghost.
    Hor. Looke my Lord, it comes.
    Ham. Angels and Ministers of Grace defend vs:
    625Be thou a Spirit of health, or Goblin damn'd,
    Bring with thee ayres from Heauen, or blasts from Hell,
    Be thy euents wicked or charitable,
    Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
    That I will speake to thee. Ile call thee Hamlet,
    630King, Father, Royall Dane: Oh, oh, answer me,
    Let me not burst in Ignorance; but tell
    Why thy Canoniz'd bones Hearsed in death,
    Haue burst their cerments, why the Sepulcher
    Wherein we saw thee quietly enurn'd,
    635Hath op'd his ponderous and Marble iawes,
    To cast thee vp againe? What may this meane?
    That thou dead Coarse againe in compleat steele,
    Reuisits thus the glimpses of the Moone,
    Making Night hidious? And we fooles of Nature,
    640So horridly to shake our disposition,
    With thoughts beyond thee; reaches of our Soules,
    Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we doe?
    Ghost beckens Hamlet.
    Hor. It beckons you to goe away with it,
    645As if it some impartment did desire
    To you alone.
    Mar. Looke with what courteous action
    It wafts you to a more remoued ground:
    But doe not goe with it.
    650Hor. No, by no meanes.
    Ham. It will not speake: then will I follow it.
    Hor. Doe not my Lord.
    Ham. Why, what should be the feare?
    I doe not set my life at a pins fee;
    655And for my Soule, what can it doe to that?
    Being a thing immortall as it selfe:
    It waues me forth againe; Ile follow it.
    Hor. What if it tempt you toward the Floud my Lord?
    Or to the dreadfull Sonnet of the Cliffe,
    660That beetles o're his base into the Sea,
    And there assumes some other horrible forme,
    Which might depriue your Soueraignty of Reason,
    And draw you into madnesse thinke of it?
    Ham. It wafts me still: goe on, Ile follow thee.
    665Mar. You shall not goe my Lord.
    Ham. Hold off your hand.
    Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not goe.
    Ham. My fate cries out,
    And makes each petty Artire in this body,
    670As hardy as the Nemian Lions nerue:
    Still am I cal'd? Vnhand me Gentlemen:
    By Heau'n, Ile make a Ghost of him that lets me:
    I say away, goe on, Ile follow thee.
    Exeunt Ghost & Hamlet.
    675Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination.
    Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
    Hor. Haue after, to what issue will this come?
    Mar. Something is rotten in the State of Denmarke.
    Hor. Heauen will direct it.
    680Mar. Nay, let's follow him. Exeunt.