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That grows to feed; things rank, and grofs in na


Poffefs it merely. That it fhould come to this!
But two months dead!-nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was to this,
Hyperion to a fatyr: fo loving to my mother,
That he might not let e'en the winds of heaven
Vifit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Muft I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown

By what it fed on: And yet, within a month,-
Let me not think on't:Frailty, thy name is

A little month; or ere thofe fhoes were old,
With which the follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears: why the, even she,-
O heaven! a beast, that wants difcourfe of reafon
Would have mourn'd longer,-marry'd with my



Hor. I faw him once, he was a goodly king. Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all, 15 fhall not look upon bis like again.

Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw! who?

Hor. My lord, the king your father.

Ham. The king my father!

Hor. Seafon your admiration for a while
With an attent ear; 'till I may deliver,
10 Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.

Ham. For heaven's love, let me hear.

Her. Two nights together had thefe gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,

15 In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Arm'd at all points, exactly cap-à-pé,
Appears before them, and, with folemn march,
Goes flow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd

My father's brother; but no more like my father, 20 By their oppreft and fear-furprized eyes,

Than I to Hercules: Within a month;

Ere yet the falt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her gauled eyes,

She marry'd. O most wicked speed, to poft
With fuch dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good:

But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue!
Enter Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus.

Hor. Hail to your lordship!

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Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, diftill'd
Almoft to jelly, with the act of fear,

Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful fecrefy impart they did;

25 And I with them, the third night, kept the watch:
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
Thefe hands are not more like.


And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?-35

Mar. My good lord,—


Ham. I am very glad to fee you; good even,
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
Hor. A truant difpofition, good my lord.
Ham. I would not hear your enemy say fo;

Nor fhall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elfinour?
We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart.
Hor. My lord, I came to fee your father's

Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-
I think it was to fee my mother's wedding.

Her. Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak'd
meats 3

Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
'Would I had met my dearest 4 foe in heaven,
Or ever I had feen that day, Horatio !————-

My father, Methinks, I see my father.
Hor. O where, my lord?

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.



Ham. But where was this?
Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we
Ham. Did you not speak to it?
Hor. My lord, I did;

But anfwer made it none: yet once, methought,
It lifted up its head, and did address
Itfelf to motion, like as it would speak:
But, even then, the morning cock crew loud;
And at the found it fhrunk in hafte away,
And vanish'd from our fight.

Ham. 'Tis very strange.

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By the Satyr is meant Pan, as by Hyperion, Apollo. it to the contention between those gods for the preference in mufic. you fhall be my friend.


3 It was anciently the general cuftom to give a cold entertainment to mourners at a funeral. In distant counties this practice is continued among the yeomanry, is moft immediate, confequential, important. 5 Eye is certainly more worthy of Shakspeare. is, temper it.

6 That


Ham. I would I had been there.

Hor. It would have much amaz'd you. Ham. Very like,

Very like: Stay'd it long?

Hor. While one with moderate hafte

Might tell a hundred.

Both. Longer, longer.

Hor. Not when I faw it.

Ham. His beard was grizzl'd? no?

Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,

A fable filver'd.

Ham. I will watch to-night; Perchance, 'twill walk again. Hor. I warrant, it will.

Ham. If it affume my noble father's perfon, I'll fpeak to it, though hell itself should gape, And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all, If you have hitherto conceal'd this fight, Let it be tenable in your filence still; And whatsoever elfe thall hap to-night, Give it an understanding, but no tongue; I will requite your loves: So, fare you well: Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve, I'll vifit you.

All. Our duty to your honour.

Ham. Your loves, as mine to you: Farewel.


My father's fpirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt fome foul play: 'would, the night were

'Till then fit ftill, my foul: Foul deeds will rife
(Though all the earth o'erwhelm them) to men's

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Laer. My neceffaries are embark'd; farewel:
And, fifter, as the winds give benefit,
And convoy is affiftant, do not sleep,

But let me hear from you.

Oph. Do you doubt that?

Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lafting,
The perfume and suppliance' of a minute;
No more.

Opb. No more but fo?

Laer. Think it no more :

For nature, crefcent, does not grow alone

In thews 2, and bulk; but, as this temple waxes,
The inward fervice of the mind and foul

Grows wide withal. Perhaps, he loves you now;
And now no foil, nor cautel 3, doth befmirch
The virtue of his will: but, you must fear,


¡His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own; For he himself is fubject to his birth:

He may not, as unvalued perfons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The fafety and the health of the whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumfcrib'd
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head: Then if he says, he
loves you,

roit fits your wifdom so far to believe it,
As he in his particular act and place

May give his faying deed; which is no further, Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal. Then weigh what lofs your honour may sustain, 15 If with too credent ear you lift his fongs;

Or lose your heart; or your chafte treasure open To his unmafter'd 5 importunity. Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear fifter; And keep you in the rear of your affection, 20 Out of the fhot and danger of defire. The charieft maid is prodigal enough, If the unmask her beauty to the moon: Virtue itself fcapes not calumnious strokes : The canker galls the infants of the spring, Too oft before their buttons be difclos'd; And in the morn and liquid dew of youth Contagious blastments are most imminent. Be wary then: best safety lies in fear; Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.



Opb. I fhall the effect of this good leffon keep, As watchman to my heart: But, good my brother, Do not, as fome ungracious pastors do, Shew me the steep and thorny way to heaven; Whilft, like a puft and reckless libertine,

35 Himfelf the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own read 7.

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The wind fits in the fhoulder of your fail,

45 And you are ftaid for: There,-my blessings with you; [Laying bis band on Laertes' bead. And thefe few precepts in thy memory Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.

50 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou haft, and their adoption try'd,
Grapple them to thy foul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd unfledg'd comrade. Beware
55 Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,

Bear it that the oppofer may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:

4 Virtue

1i. e. what is supplied to us for a minute. The idea feems to be taken from the short duration of vegetable perfumes. 2 i. e. in finews, muscular strength. 3 i. e. no fraud, deceit. feems here to comprise both excellence and power, and may be explained the pure effect. 5 i. e. licentious. Chary is cautious. 7 That is, heeds not his own leffons. The literal fenfe is, Do not make thy palm callous by shaking every man by the hand. The figurative meaning may be, Do not by promifcuous converfation make thy mind infenfible to the difference of characters.


Take each man's cenfure, but referve thy judg


Coftly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not exprefs'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;

And they in France, of the best rank and station,
Are most select, and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be:
For loan oft lofes both itself and friend;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,-To thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be falfe to any man.
Farewel; my bleffing season 3 this in thee!
Laer. Moft humbly do I take my leave, my 15
[tend 4.
Pol. The time invites you; go, your fervants
Laer. Farewel, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.

Opb. 'Tis in my memory lock'd,

And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
Laer. Farewel.

[Exit Laertes. Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you Opb. So please you, fomething touching the lord Hamlet.

Pol. Marry, well bethought:

"Tis told me, he hath very oft of late

Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of youraudience beenmoft free and bounteous:
If it be fo, (as fo 'tis put on me,



Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to. Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,

With almost all the holy vows of heaven.

Pol. Ay, fpringes to catch woodcocks 9. I do


When the blood burns, how prodigal the foul
Lends the tongue vows: These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat,—extinct in both,
10 Even in their promise, as it is a making,—
You must not take for fire. From this time,
Be fomewhat fcanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments 10 at a higher rate,
Than a command to parley. For lord Hamlet,
Believe fo much in him, That he is young;
And with a larger tether 11 may he walk,
Than may be given you: In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows: for they are brokers;
Not of that dye which their investments shew,
20 But meer implorators of unholy suits,

Breathing like fanctified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile ". This is for all,→→→
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you fo flander any moment's leisure,

25 As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you; come your ways.
Opb. I fhall obey, my lord.


And that in way of caution) I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly,
As it behoves my daughter, and your honour:
What is between you? give me up the truth.
Opb. He hath, my lord, of late made many 35
Of his affection to me.

Pol. Affection? puh! you speak like a green

Unfifted in fuch perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Opb. I do not know, my lord, what I fhould


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Ham. The air bites fhrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.
Ham. What hour now?

Hor. I think, it lacks of twelve.
Mar. No, it is ftruck.

Hor. Indeed? I heard it not: it then draws
near the season,

40 Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

[Noife of music within.

What does this mean, my lord?
Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes
his roufe 13,

Pol. Marry, I'll teach you think yourself a That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more 45 Keeps wassel 14, and the swaggering up-spring 15


Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase)
Wronging it thus 7, you'll tender me a fool.
Opb. My lord, he hath importun'd me with love,
In honourable fashion.


And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum, and trumpet, thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

Hor. Is it a custom?
Ham. Ay, marry, is't:

■ Cenfure is opinion. 2 Chief is an adjective used adverbially, a practice common to our author. Chiefly generous. 3 That is, infix it in such a manner as that it never may wear out. 4 i. e. your fervants are waiting for you. 5 The meaning is, that your counfels are as fure of remaining locked up in my memory, as if you yourself carried the key of it. 6 Unfifted, for untried. Untried signifies either not tempted, or not refined; unfifted, fignifies the latter only, though the fenfe requires the former. 7 That is, if you continue to go on thus wrong, 3 She uses fabion for manner, and he for a tranfient practice. 9 A proverbial saying. 10 Entreatments here means company, conversation, from the French entrétien. 11 Tether is that string by which an animal, set to graze in grounds uninclosed, is confined within the proper limits. 12 Do not believe (fays Polonius to his daughter) Hamlet's amorous vows made to you; which pretend religion in them (the better to beguile) like thofe fanctified and pious vows [or bonds] made to beaven. 13 A roufe is a large dofe of liquor, a debauch. 14 See Macbeth, Act I. 15 That is, the bluftering upstart, according to Dr. Johnson; but Mr. Steevens Lays, that up-fpring was a German dance; and that the spring was also anciently the name of a tune.


But, to my mind,--though I am native here,
And to the manner born,-it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach, than the obfervance.
This heavy-headed revel, east and weft,
Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us, drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and, indeed, it takes
Fromour atchievements, though perform'dat height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That, for fome vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot chuse his origin)
By the o'er-growth of fome complexion',
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by fome habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plaufive manners;-that these men,
Carrying, I fay, the stamp of one defect;
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,-
Their virtues elfe (be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo)
Shall in the general cenfure take corruption
From that particular fault: The dram of base
Doth all the noble substance of worth out 2,
To his own fcandal.

Enter Ghoft.

Hor. Look, my lord, it comes!

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And for my foul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?

It waves me forth again ;—I'll follow it.
Hor. What, if it tempt you toward the flood,
my lord?

Or to the dreadful fummit of the cliff,
That beetles o'er his base into the fea?
And there affume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reafon,
10 And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of defperation,
Without more motive, into every brain,
That looks fo many fathoms to the Tea,
And hears it roar beneath.

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Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a fpirit of health, or goblin damn'd, [hell,
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blafts from 30
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,

Thou com'ft in such a questionable shape 3,

That I will speak to thee; I'll call thee, Hamlet,

King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!

Let me not burst in ignorance! but tell,


Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cearments? why the fepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,

To caft thee up again? What may this mean, 40
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel 4,
Revifit'ft thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature 5
So horridly to shake our difpofition",
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our fouls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Her. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it fome impartment did defire

[Exeunt Gbeft, and Hamki.
Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination.
Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
Hor. Have after:To what iffue will this come?
Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Den-
Hor. Heaven will direct it.
Mar. Nay, let's follow him.


(mark. [Exeunt.


A more remote Part of the Platform.

Re-enter Ghoft, and Hamlet.

Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me? fpeak, I'll go no further,

Gboft. Mark me.

Ham. I will.

Ghost. My hour is almost come,

When I to fulphurous and tormenting flames 45 Muft render up myself.

Ham. Alas, poor ghost!

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

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But do not go with it.

Ghost. I am thy father's fpirit;

Her. No, by no means.

Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.

Ham. Why, what should be the fear?
I do not fet my life at a pin's fee7;

Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night;

And, for the day, confin'd to fast in fires,
55Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the fecrets of my prifon-house,

1i.e. humour; as fanguine, melancholy, phlegmatic, &c. 2 The dram of base means the leaft alloy of bafeness or vice. To do a thing out, is to extinguish it, or to efface or obliterate any thing painted a written. 3 i.e. in a fhape or form capable of being converfed with. To queftion, certainly, in our author's time fignified to converje. 4 It was the custom of the Danish kings to be buried in that manner. 51 he expreffion is fine, as intimating we were only kept (as formerly, fools in a great family) to make sport for nature, who lay hid only to mock and laugh at us, for our vain searches into her mysteries. Difpofition, for frame. 7 i, e. the value of a pin. i. e. take away. 9 Tys

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That, fwift as quick-filver, it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And, with a fudden vigour, it doth poffet
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
5 The thin and wholesome blood: fo did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,

Moft lazar-like, with vile and loathsome cruft,
All my smooth body.

Thus was I, fleeping, by a brother's hand,
10 Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd41
Cut off even in the bloffoms of my fin,
Unhousell'd 5, disappointed 6, unaneal'd 7;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O horrible! O horrible! most horrible!
If thou haft nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howfoever thou purfu'ft this act,


20 Taint not thy mind, nor let thy foul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,
And to thofe thorns that in her bofom lodge,
To prick and fting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm fhews the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire 9:
Adieu, adieu, adieu! remember me.
Ham. O all you hoft of heaven! O earth! What

A ferpent ftung me; fo the whole ear of Den-25
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The ferpent, that did fting thy father's life,
Now wears his 'crown.

Ham. O, my prophetick foul! my uncle?
Gheft. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traiterous gifts,
(O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power
So to feduce!) won to his fhameful luft
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
From me, whofe 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 thofe of mine!

But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a fhape of heaven;
So luft, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will fate itself in a celeftial bed,
And prey on garbage.

But, foft! methinks, I fcent the morning air-
Brief let me be:-Sleeping within mine orchard 2,
My cuftom always of the afternoon,
Upon my fecure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of curfed hebenon 3 in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous diftilment; whofe effe&t
Holds fuch an enmity with blood of man,


And fhall I couple hell?-O fie!-Hold, hold, my
30 And you, my finews, grow not inftant old,
But bear me ftiffly up!-Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a feat
In this distracted globe 10. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory

35 I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All faws of books, all forms, all preffures paft,
That youth and obfervation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
40 Unmix'd with bafer matter: yes, by heaven.
O moft pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,-meet it is, I fet it down,
That one may fmile, and fmile, and be a villain:
45 At least, I am fure, it may be fo in Denmark:


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This fimilitude is extremely beautiful. The word meditation is confecrated, by the myftics, to fignify that stretch and flight of mind which aspires to the enjoyment of the fupreme good. So that Hamlet, confidering with what to compare the fwiftnefs of his revenge, chooses two of the most rapid things in nature, the ardency of divine and human paffion, in an enthusiast and a lover. 2 Orchard for garden. 3 That is, benbane. 4 Dispatch'd for bereft. 5. e. without the facrament taken; from the old Saxon word for the facrament, bousel. 6 Difat pointed is the fame as unappointed, and may be properly explained unprepared. 7 i. e. unanointed, not having the extreme unction. Lewdness. 9 i. e. fire that is no longer feen when the light of morning approaches. this head confufed with thought.

8 i. e. for 10 i. e. in

1 Hamlet alludes to the watch-word given every day in the mili

tary fervice, which at this time he fays is, Adicu, adieu, remember me. '


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