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With an attent ear ; 'till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
390 Ham. For heaven's love, let me hear.
Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
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 solemn march,
Goes slow and stately by them : thrice he walk'd,
By their opprest and fear surprized eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distill'd
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secresy impart they did;
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 ;
These hands are not more like.
Ham. But where was this?
Mar. My lord, upon the platform where
410 Ham. Did you not speak to it?
Hor. My lord, I did;
But answer made it none: yet once, methought,
It lifted up its head, and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak:
But, even then, the morning cock crew loud ;
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanish'd from our sight.
Ham. 'Tis very strange.
Hor. As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty,
To let you know of it.
Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles mc. Hold you the watch to-night?
All. We do, my lord.
Ham. Arm’d, say you?
All. Arm’d, my lord.
Ham. From top to toe?
All. My lord, from head to foot.
Ham. Then saw you not his face.
430 Hor. O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up, Ham. What, look'd he frowningly?
Hor. A countenance more
In sorrow than in anger.
Ham. Pale, or red.
Hor. Nay, very pale.
Ham. And fix'd his eyes upon you ?
Hor. Most constantly.
Ham. I would, I had been there.
Hor. It would have much amaz'd you. 440
Ham. Very like,
Very like : Stay'd it long?
Hor. While one with moderate haste
Might tell a hundred.
Both. Longer, longer.
Hor. Not when I saw it.
Ham. His beard was grizzl’d? no?
Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd,
Ham. I will watch to night;
450 Perchance, 'twill walk again.
Hor.. I warrant, it will.
Ham. If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape,
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still ;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue;
I will requite your loves: So, fare
well : 460
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
All. Our duty to your honour.
Ham. Your loves, as mine to you: Farewel.
My father's spirit in arms ! all is not well ;
I doubt some foul play: 'would, the night were
come! 'Till then sit still, my soul : Foul deeds will rise, (Though all the earth o'erwhelm them) to men's eyes,
An Apartment in Polonius' House. Enter LAERTES,
Laer. My necessaries are embark'd; farewel : And, sister, as the winds give benefit,
470 And convoy is assistant, 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 lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute ; No more.
Oph. No more but so?
Laer. Think it no more :
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews, and bulk; but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps, he loves you now;
And now no soil, nor cautel, doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but, you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth :
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends.
The safety and the health of the whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscrib'd
Unto the voice and yielding of that body,
Whereof he is the head: Then if he says, he loves
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further,
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain, 500
If with too credent ear you list his songs ;
Or lose your heart; or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister;
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon :
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes :
The canker galls the infants of the spring, 512
Too oft before their buttons be disclos'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.
Oph. I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart : But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Shew me the steep and thorny way to heaven ;
Whilst, like a puft and reckless libertine, 520
Himself the primrose-path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own read.