The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1600-1)


Act I, Scene 5

Elsinore. The Castle. Another part of the fortifications.

Enter Ghost and Hamlet.

732

Hamlet Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak! I'll go no further.

733

Hamlet I will.

735

Father's Ghost My hour is almost come,
When I to sulph'rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.

736

Hamlet Alas, poor ghost!

739

Father's Ghost Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.

740

Hamlet Speak. I am bound to hear.

742

Father's Ghost So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

743

Father's Ghost I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love-

745

Hamlet O God!

760

Father's Ghost Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther.

761

Hamlet Murther?

762

Father's Ghost Murther most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.

763

Hamlet Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.

765

Father's Ghost I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear.
'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.

768

Hamlet O my prophetic soul!
My uncle?

778

Father's Ghost Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts-
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!- won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.
O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there,
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But soft! methinks I scent the morning air.
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebona in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigour it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd;
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhous'led, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.

780

Hamlet O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!

818

Father's Ghost If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
The glowworm shows the matin to be near
And gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, adieu! Remember me. Exit.

819

Hamlet O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? Hold, hold, my heart!
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables! Meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark. [Writes.]
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word:
It is 'Adieu, adieu! Remember me.'
I have sworn't.

830

Horatio [within] My lord, my lord!

851

Enter Horatio and Marcellus.

852

Marcellus Lord Hamlet!

853

Horatio Heaven secure him!

854

Hamlet So be it!

855

Marcellus Illo, ho, ho, my lord!

856

Hamlet Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come.

857

Marcellus How is't, my noble lord?

858

Horatio What news, my lord?

859

Marcellus O, wonderful!

860

Horatio Good my lord, tell it.

861

Hamlet No, you will reveal it.

862

Horatio Not I, my lord, by heaven!

863

Marcellus Nor I, my lord.

864

Hamlet How say you then? Would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?

865

Marcellus [with Horatio] Ay, by heaven, my lord.

867

Hamlet There's neer a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.

868

Horatio There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.

870

Hamlet Why, right! You are in the right!
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part;
You, as your business and desires shall point you,
For every man hath business and desire,
Such as it is; and for my own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.

872

Horatio These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.

879

Hamlet I am sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, faith, heartily.

880

Horatio There's no offence, my lord.

882

Hamlet Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.

883

Horatio What is't, my lord? We will.

890

Hamlet Never make known what you have seen to-night.

891

Marcellus [with Horatio] My lord, we will not.

892

Hamlet Nay, but swear't.

893

Horatio In faith,
My lord, not I.

894

Marcellus Nor I, my lord- in faith.

896

Hamlet Upon my sword.

897

Marcellus We have sworn, my lord, already.

898

Hamlet Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.

899

Ghost cries under the stage.

900

Hamlet Aha boy, say'st thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?
Come on! You hear this fellow in the cellarage.
Consent to swear.

902

Horatio Propose the oath, my lord.

905

Hamlet Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Swear by my sword.

906

Father's Ghost [beneath] Swear.

908

Hamlet Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword.
Never to speak of this that you have heard:
Swear by my sword.

909

Father's Ghost [beneath] Swear by his sword.

914

Hamlet Well said, old mole! Canst work i' th' earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends."

915

Horatio O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

917

Hamlet And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
But come!
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on),
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumb'red thus, or this head-shake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if we would,'
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me- this is not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Swear.

918

Father's Ghost [beneath] Swear.

935

[They swear.]

936

Hamlet Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you;
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t' express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. O cursed spite
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.

937

Exeunt.

946
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