Act 1, Scene 4

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[Enter Hamlet, Horatio,  Marcellus.]

Hamlet 

The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.

Horatio

It is nipping and an eager air.

Hamlet

What hour now?

Horatio

                               I think it lacks of twelve.

Marcellus

No, it is struck.

Horatio

                             Indeed? I heard it not. 
Then it draws near the season 
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
[A flourish of trumpets, and two cannons go off.]
What does this mean, my lord?

Hamlet 

The king doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassails and the swaggering upspring reels,
And as he drains his drafts of Rhenish down
The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

Horatio

                                               Is it a custom?

Hamlet

Ay, marry is't,
And to my mind, though I am native here 
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
[Enter Ghost.]

Horatio

Look, my lord, it comes.

Hamlet 

Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy events wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane. Oh, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell 
Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
Have burst their cerements, why the sepulcher
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again? What may this mean
That thou, dead corpse again in complete steel
Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous and we fools of nature 
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?
[Ghost beckons Hamlet.]

Horatio 

It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.

Marcellus

                         Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removèd ground.
But do not go with it. 

Horatio

                                       No, by no means.

Hamlet

It will not speak. Then I will follow it.

Horatio

Do not, my lord.

Hamlet

                              Why, what should be the fear? 
I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It wafts me forth again. I'll follow it.

Horatio

What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff 
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? Think of it.

Hamlet

It wafts me still. Go on, I'll follow thee.

Marcellus

You shall not go, my lord.     
[They attempt to restrain him.]

Hamlet

                                              Hold off your hand!

Horatio

Be ruled. You shall not go.

Hamlet

                                                My fate cries out
And makes each petty artery in this body    
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve. 
Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen!
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
I say, away! [To Ghost] Go on, I'll follow thee.
[Exit Ghost and Hamlet.]

Horatio

He waxes desperate with imagination.

Marcellus

Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.

Horatio

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Marcellus

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Horatio 

Heaven will direct it. 

Marcellus

                                       Nay, let's follow him.
[Exit.]