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As it doth well appear unto our state-
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, 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 romage in the land.

Ber. I think it be no other but e'en so:
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king 110
That was and is the question of these wars.

Hor. A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,

stood tenantless and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets :

As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates

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101. state, rulers.

ceeds to exemplify. [In Plutarch 103. compulsatory; scan.com- the comet and eclipse of the sun pulsat'ry.'

follow Cæsar's death; he does 106. head, occasion.

not mention an eclipse of the

moon. Cf. North in Shaksp. 107. romage, bustle.

Libr. p. 188. L.] 108-125. These two speeches

118. Disasters, ominous signs, are omitted in Ff.

probably an eclipse. 109. sort, agree (with that

120. almost to doomsday, i.e. explanation).

almost to the point of complete 117. The assumption that a darkness, alluding to the biblical line has dropped out, best ex- prophecy that at the second plains the evidently incoherent coming of Christ the moon grammar of this line. It must shall not give

her light' have referred in general terms (Matt. xxiv. 29). to the portents which v. 117 pro- 121. precurse, portent.


And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.
But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again !


Re-enter Ghost.
I'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion !
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me:
If 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,
O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it: stay, and speak! [The cock crows.]

Stop it, Marcellus.
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan ?
Hor. Do, if it will not stand.

'Tis here! Hor.

'Tis here! Mar. 'Tis gone!

[Exit Ghost.
Wc do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock

Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
123. omen,

the calamity the path of a spirit was to portended.

become subject to its malign 125. climatures, dwellers in influence. the same 'climate' or region. 134. happily, haply. 127. I'll cross it; to cross 140. partisan, halberd.

140 150


Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth 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,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine : and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long :
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Hor. So have I heard and do in part believe it
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill :
Break we our watch up; and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This 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 ?
Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning

know Where we shall find him most conveniently.



154. extravagant and erring, wandering beyond its set limits. 155.

confine, appointed domain.

162. strike, blast with malignant influence.

163. takes, strikes the limbs with fever or paralysis.

166. russet, gray.

SCENE II. A room of state in the castle.




and Attendants. King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's

death The memory


and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,—
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole, -
Taken to wife : nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting:
9. jointress, joint possessor. 10. defeated, marred, disfigured.

20 30


Thus much the business is : we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,-
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, -to suppress
His further gait herein ; in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject : and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.

Cor. In that and all things will we show our
Vol. S duty.
King. We doubt it nothing : heartily farewell.

[Exeunt Voltimand and Cornelius.
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is ’t, Laertes ?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And lose your voice : what wouldst thou beg,

That shall not be my offer, not thy asking ?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes ?

My dread lord, 50
Your leave and favour to return to France ;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France

38. dilated, set out at large. word. Others have connected Ff have 'delated,' an Eliza- it with the genuine though rare bethan spelling of the same delate,' convey.

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