[It's another cold night and Hamlet has joined Horatio and Marcellus on the watch platform to see if the ghost will reappear]
The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
It is nipping and an eager air.
I think it lacks of twelve.
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?
The king does 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.
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.
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
Has 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.]
It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removèd ground.
It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
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.
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.
It wafts me still. Go on, I'll follow thee.
You shall not go, my lord.
[They attempt to restrain him.]
Be ruled. You shall not go.
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.]
He waxes desperate with imagination.
Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
Have after. To what issue will this come?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.