Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Folio)

Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.
Who's there?
Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
Long live the King!
You come most carefully upon your hour.
'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco,
For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
Have you had quiet guard?
Not a mouse stirring.
Well, goodnight.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
I think I hear them.--Stand! Who's there?
Friends to this ground.
And liegemen to the Dane.
Give you good night.
Oh, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
Barnardo has my place. Give you good night.
25Exit Francisco.
Holla, Barnardo!
Say, what, is Horatio there?
A piece of him.
Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, good Marcellus.
What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
I have seen nothing.
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.
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.
Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again!
In the same figure like the King that's dead.
Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
Looks it not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
It would be spoke to.
Question it, 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.
Stay, speak, speak, I charge thee, speak!
Exit the Ghost.
'Tis gone, and will not answer.
How now, Horatio? You tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
70What think you on't?
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the King?
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.
Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
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.
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.
125Enter 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
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak 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!
Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
Do, if it will not stand.
'Tis here.
'Tis here.
'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.
It was about to speak when the cock crew.
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.
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.
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?
Let['s] do't, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.