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SC. I.]


Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,1
And carriage of the article designed,2
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,3

Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Sharked 4 up a list of landless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise

That hath a stomach 5 in't; which is no other,
(As it doth well appear unto our state,)
But to recover of us, by strong hand,
And terms compulsative, those 'foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations;

The source of this our watch; and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.




[Ber. I think it be no other, but even so.
Well may it sort,8 that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
That was, and is, the question of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.










As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,

1 Co-mart is the reading of the quarto of 1604; the folio reads covenant. Co-mart, it is presumed, means a joint bargain. No other instance of the word is known.

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2 i. e. "and import of that article marked out for that purpose."

3 The first quarto reads, "Of unapproved." Dr. Johnson explains it, "full of spirit, not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience," and has been hitherto uncontradicted.

8 i. e. suit, accord,

9 i. e. theme or subject.

10 A line or more is here supposed to be lost.




4 i. e. snapped up or taken up hastily. Scroccare is properly to do any thing at another man's cost, to shark or shift for any thing.

5 Stomach is used for determined purpose.

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6 Romage, now spelt rummage, and in common use as a verb, for making a thorough search, a busy and tumultuous movement.

7 All the lines within crotchets, in this play, are omitted in the folio of 1623. The title-pages of the quartos of 1604 and 1605 declare this play to be "enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect copie."


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Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,'
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of fierce events,-
As harbingers preceding still the fates,
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.-]


Hor. "Tis here!

Mar. 'Tis gone!

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Re-enter Ghost.

But, soft; behold! lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blast me.-Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me.

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If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease, and grace to me,
Speak to me.

If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing, may avoid,
O, speak!

Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
[Cock crows.
Speak of it;-stay, and speak!-Stop it, Marcellus.
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
Hor. Do, if it will not stand.


'Tis here!

We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;

For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.

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[ACT 1.

Ber. It was about to speak when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
I have heard,

Upon a fearful summons.

[Exit Ghost.

1 i. e. the moon.

2 Omen is here put, by a figure of speech, for predicted event.

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SC. II.]


The cock, that is the trumpet of the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring1 spirit hies
To his confine; and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.2
Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long.
And then they say no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes,3 nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time.


Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
But look, the morn,5 in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most convenient.


SCENE II. The same.


A Room of State in the


Enter the King, Queen, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES,
VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants.

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King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's

4 Gracious is sometimes used by Shakspeare for graced, favored.
5 First quarto, "sun."

1 "Extra-vagans, wandering about, going beyond bounds." Erring is erraticus, straying or roving up and down.

2 This is a very ancient superstition.

3 i. e. blasts or strikes.

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The memory be green; and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye;1
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,-
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along.-For all, our thanks.


Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,Holding a weak supposal of our worth; Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death, Our state to be disjoint and out of frame, Colleagued with this dream of his advantage, He hath not failed to pester us with message, Importing the surrender of those lands


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Lost by his father, with all bands of law,
To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is. We have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,--
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject :-and we here despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;


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I Thus the folio. The quarto reads:-

"With an auspicious and a dropping eye."

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2 i. e. grief.

3 i. e. united to this strange fancy of, &c.

4 The folio reads bonds; but bands and bonds signified the same thing

in the Poet's time.

5 Gait here signifies course, progress.

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SC. II.]


Giving to you no further personal power


To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these related articles allow.1
Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show our

King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell.
[Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORrnelius.
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes ?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,

And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.2
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?


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My dread lord, Your leave and favor to return to France; From whence though willingly I came to Denmark, To show my duty in your coronation ;

Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,

My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France,
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.

King. Have you your father's leave? What says

Pol. He hath, my lord, [wrung from me my slow

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By laborsome petition; and, at last,
Upon his will, I sealed my hard consent.]

I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,

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1 The folio reads, " More than the scope of these dilated articles allow." We have not scrupled to read related, upon the authority of the first quarto, as more intelligible. The first quarto reads:


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no further personal power To business with the king

Than those related articles do show."

2 The various parts of the body enumerated, are not more allied, more necessary to each other, than the throne of Denmark (i. e. the king) is bound to your father to do him service.

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