Act 1, Scene 5

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[Enter Ghost and Hamlet.]

Hamlet 

Where wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further. 

Ghost

Mark me.

Hamlet

                 I will.

Ghost

                           My hour is almost come
When I to sulfurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself. 

Hamlet

                                          Alas, poor ghost! 

Ghost 

Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing    
To what I shall unfold.

Hamlet

                                       Speak. I am bound to hear.

Ghost

So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear. 

Hamlet

What?

Ghost   

I am thy father's spirit,  
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, 
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid  
To tell the secrets of my prison house, 
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine. 
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, Hamlet, oh, list. 
If thou didst ever thy dear father love ...

Hamlet

Oh heaven!

Ghost

Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Hamlet   

Murder?

Ghost

Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.

Hamlet

Haste, haste me to know it, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge. 

Ghost

                                              I find thee apt, 
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed 
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear.
It's given out that, sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is, by a forgèd process of my death,
Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.     

Hamlet

                                      Oh, my prophetic soul! 
Mine uncle?

Ghost 

Ay, that incestuous, that adulterous beast,
With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts —
Oh, wicked wit and gifts that have the power
So to seduce — won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen. 
Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!     
From me, whose love was of that dignity 
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine! 
But Virtue as it never will be moved     
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So Lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
Brief let me be. Sleeping within mine orchard,    
My custom always in the afternoon 
Upon my secure hour, thy uncle stole
With juice of cursèd hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distillment, whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigor it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine, 
And a most instant tetter barked about —
Most lazar-like with vile and loathsome crust —
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand 
Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched, 
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousled, disappointed, unaneled,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible! 
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not. 
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
But howsoever thou pursuest this act,     
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge 
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, Hamlet! Remember me.      
[Exit.]

Hamlet 

Oh, all you host of heaven! Oh, earth! What else, 
And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, my heart, 
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old, 
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat 
In this distracted globe. Remember thee? 
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven.
Oh, most pernicious woman!
Oh, villain, villain, smiling damnèd villain!
My tables, my tables — meet it is I set it down,
 [Hamlet writes.]
“That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
It is "Adieu, adieu, remember me."
I have sworn't.
[Enter Horatio and Marcellus.]

Horatio

My lord, my lord! 

Marcellus

Lord Hamlet!

Horatio

Heaven secure him!

Hamlet

So be it.

Horatio

Hillo, ho, ho, my lord!

Hamlet

Hillo, ho, ho, boy, come, bird come! 

Marcellus

How is't, my noble lord?

Horatio

What news, my lord?

Hamlet

Oh, wonderful!

Horatio

Good my lord, tell it.

Hamlet

No, you'll reveal it.

Horatio

Not I, my lord, by heaven.

Marcellus

                                           Nor I, my lord.

Hamlet

How say you then, would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?

Both

                                   Ay, by heaven, my lord. 

Hamlet

There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark    
But he's an arrant knave.

Horatio

There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave,
To tell us this.

Hamlet

                         Why, right. You are i'th' right.
And so, without more circumstance at all, 
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part.
You as your business and desires shall point you —
For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is — and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.

Horatio

These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.

Hamlet

I'm sorry they offend you — heartily,
Yes, faith, heartily.

Horatio

                                There's no offense, my lord.

Hamlet

Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio, 
And much offense too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,    
Give me one poor request.

Horatio

                                             What is't, my lord? 
We will.

Hamlet 

Never make known what you have seen tonight.

Both

My lord, we will not.

Hamlet

Nay, but swear't.

Horatio

In faith, my lord, not I.

Marcellus

Nor I, my lord, in faith.

Hamlet

Upon my sword.     
[Hamlet holds out his sword.]

Marcellus

We have sworn, my lord, already.

Hamlet

Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
[Ghost cries out from under the stage.]

Ghost

Swear!      

Hamlet 

Ha ha, boy, sayest thou so? Art thou there, truepenny? —
Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage?
Consent to swear.

Horatio

                               Propose the oath, my lord.

Hamlet

Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Swear by my sword.

Ghost

Swear!
[They swear.]

Hamlet 

Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
[Hamlet moves to another spot.]
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword,
Never to speak of this that you have heard.
Swear by my sword.

Ghost

Swear!
[They swear]

Hamlet

Well said, old mole. Canst work i'th' earth so fast? 
A worthy pioneer! — Once more remove, good friends. 
[They move once more.]

Horatio

Oh, day and night, but this is wondrous strange.

Hamlet 

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. 
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in our philosophy. But come, 
Here as before. Never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself —
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on —
That you at such time seeing me never shall,    
With arms encumbered thus, or thus head shaked,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase
As, "Well, we know," or "We could an if we would,"
Or "If we list to speak," or "There be an if they might,"
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me. This not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Swear.

Ghost

Swear.
[They swear.]

Hamlet 

Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit. So, gentlemen, 
With all my love I do commend me to you.
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t'express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. Oh, cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
[They wait for Hamlet to leave.]
Nay come, let's go together. 
[Exit.]