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CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark.
Hamlet, Sontotbe former; and Nephew to the present, King.
Mancellus, an Officer. k-J. i.71
Reynoldo, Servant to Polonius.
Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Mother to Hamlet.
m 0 '.I t a. ■ - * * -" • a...'
Players, Grave-makers, Sailors, Messengers, and other Attendants.
This Story is taken from the Danish History written by Saxo Grammaticus. Theobald.
A c T i. s c E N E I.
A Platform before the Palace.
Fran. Nay, answer me: stand and unsold
Ber. He. ■ .i*
Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve, get thee to bed, Franciscol Fran. For this relief, much thanks: *tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart. Ber. Have you had quiet guard? Fran. Not a mouse stirring. * Ber. Well, good-night. If you do meet Horatio and Marcellust The rivals ■ of my watch, bid them make haste;
(a) By rivals of my watch are meant those mho were to watch upon the next adjoyning ground. Rivals in the original sense os the ixiori •were proprietors of neighbouring lands parted only by a brook belonging equally to both.
Enter Horatio and Marcdlus.
Fran. I think I hear them. Stand, ho! who i9 there
Mar. Oh farewel, honest soldier; who hathreliev'dyou?
Mar. Holla! Bernardo!
Ber. Say, what, is Horatio there?
Hor. A piece of him.
Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus.
Mar. What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?
Ber. I have seen nothing.
Mar. Horatio says, *tis but our phantasie,
Hor. Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
Ber. Sit down a while,
* 'Mar> What we have two nights seen——
Hor. Well, sit we down,
Ber. Last night of all,
Mar. Peace, break thee off;
Enter the Ghost. Look where it comes again.
i TIus Ike is given to Bir. in the old editions.
Ber. In the same figure, like the King that's dead.
Mar. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.
Ber. Looks it not like the King? mark it, Horatio.
Hor. Most like: it harrows me with star and wonder.
Ber. It would be spoke to.
Mtr. Speak to it, Horatio.
Hor. What art thou that usurp'st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form, In which the Majesty of buried Denmark Did sometime march? by Heav'n I charge thee, speak.'
Mar. It is offended.
Ber. See! it stalks away.
Hor. Stay; speak; I charge thee, speak. lExit Ghost.
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe,
Mar. Is it not like the King?
'Tis strange- —
Mar. Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour, With martial stalk, hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not: But in the gross and scope of my opinion, This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
Mar. Good now fit down, and tell me, he that knows, Why this fame strict and most observant watch So nightly toils the subjects of the land? And why such daily cast of brazen cannon, And foreign mart for implements of war? Whv 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 labourer with the day? Who is't that can inform me?
Hor. That can I, At least the whisper goes so. Our last King, Whose image even but now appear'd to us, Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, (Thereto prickt on by a most emulate pride) Dar'd to the fight: in which our valiant Hamlet (For so this side of our known world esteem'd him) Did stay this Fortinbras: who by seal'd compact, Well ratified by law of heraldry, Did forseit (with his lise) all those his lands, Which he stood seiz'd of, to the Conqueror: Against the which, a moiety competent Was gaged by our King; which had return To the inheritance of Fortinbras, Had he been vanquisher, as by that cov'nant And carriage of the articles defign'd, His sell to Hamlet. Now young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and sull, Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes, For food and dyet, to some enterprize That hath a stomach in't: which is no other, As it doch well appear unto our state, But to recover of us by strong hand And 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 poste-haste and romage in the land.
Ber. I think it be no other, but even so: Well may it sort that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch so like the King That was, and is the question of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.