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His fell to Hamlet. Now, Sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in 't: which is no other
(As it doth 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 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
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, The graves 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 dooms-day with eclipse : And even the like precurse of fierce events, As harbingers preceding still the fates, 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,

[Cock crows. Speak of it: stay, and speak !-Stop it, Marcellus.

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

'Tis here! Hor.

'Tis here!

[Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone! We 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 crew.

Hor. And then it started, like a guilty thing
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,
Th' 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,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit can walk 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 eastern 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.

[Exeunt,

SCENE II.-A Room of State in the Castle. Enter the KING, Queen, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND,

CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants. King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death The memory be green; 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, Th' imperial jointress of this warlike state, Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,With one auspicious, and one 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 bands of law, To our most valiant brother. So much for him.Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting : 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 farther gait herein ; in that the levies, The lists, and full proportions, are all made Out of his subject :-and we here despatch You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand, For bearers of this greeting to old Norway; Giving to you no farther 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. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show our duty.
King. We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.

[Excunt 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, Laertes,
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 ?
Laer.

My dread lord,
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,
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.

Ring. Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius ?

Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave,
By laboursome petition; and, at last,
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent :
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes ; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will !
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,--

Ham. (Aside.] A little more than kin, and less than kind.
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Ham. Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.

Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust :
Thou know'st 'tis common,--all that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, Madam, it is common.
Queen.

If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, Madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,

a

Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly: these, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within, which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe.

King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father :
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound,
In filial obligation, for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to perséver
In obstinate condolement, is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschool'd :
For what we know must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
“ This must be so." We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And, with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire :
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Queen. Let not thy inother lose her prayers, Hamlet: I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.

Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, Madam.

King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply: Be as ourself in Denmark.–Madam, come ; This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,

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