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More relative than this."

PREFACE TO HAMLET. When so great a writer as Johnson declares bim- convey an idea of what might have occasioned the self unable to perceive any satisfactory cause for alteration in his behaviour. Hamlet's counterfeiting madness, I fear I shall be Hamlet is nevertheless induced, by more mature accused of presumption, if I attempt to offer any reflection, to doubt the propriety of proceeding to solution of the problem; yet I really think that the extremities, till he has further proof of the king's difficulty is not as great as he supposes it to be. guilt. He says that Hamlet does nothing in the character

“ The spirit that I have seen of a lunatic, which he might not have done in his

May be a devil ;

I'll have grounds proper senses; but in this observation he appears to have overlooked what Hamlet intended to do, wbicii ought to have been taken into consideration as well

He therefore has recourse to the play. The as what he actually did.

stratagem succeeds; and, being now convinced of The state of the question I take to be as fol- the truth of what was said by the Ghost, he deterlows:

mines to kill the king. Hamlet being informed by the Ghost of the

“ Now could I drink hot blood." &c. murder of his father, and being at the same time required to revenge it, forins the resolution of killing

This resolution he would immediately afterwarris bis uncle; but, being sensible that he has no proof have carried into effect, if a very extraordinary eirof the murder, except what was said by the Ghost cumstance (the finding the king engaged in prayer) to himself alone, which could have no weight with had not induced him to postpone it. I am happy any other person, he feels conscious that his killing that it is by no means necessary for me to say any the king would be considered as the act of a traitor thing respecting his horrid reflections on that oeand an assassin : he therefore determines to assume casion; they do not affect the course of argument the appearance of madness, in order that the in which I am pursuing, and in this, as in other intended blow might be ascribed to distraction rather stances, I attempt nothing more than to point out than to treason. Having formed this resolution, he the motives of Hamlet's conduct, without entering requires the most solemn oaths from Horatio and into the propriety or impropriety of those motives, Marcellus, that they will not, if he

or of the actions to which they gave birth.

Hamlet now goes to his mother, and while he ** Perchance hereafter shall think meet, To put an antick disposition on,"

is with her, he does (as he supposes) what ine bad

before resolved to do. He thinks he is killing the allow

any expression to escape them, which would king, when he kills Polonius. That he supposed

the person behind the arras to be the king, is evi- | being considered as a traitor and a murderer. Ho dent from his words to his mother : “ Is it the thought he was killing him when he killed Polonius, king?" and to the dead Polonius, “ I took thee for and if the person behind the arras had been the thy better.” After this, he entreats the queen by king, Hamlet would have excused his death, as he no means to disclose the secret of his madness being excused the death of Polonius, by saying, counterfeit, and not real distraction.

" What I have done, Here, then, with all due submission to Dr. John

I here proclaim was madness." son, is an act done by Hamlet while supposed to I shall add one word in answer to a question be mad, which would have been thought an un- which I have heard frequently asked: Why did pardonable murder if he had been in his proper Hamlet act the madman in a manner so distressing senses; and this is the use which Hamlet afterwards to the amiable Ophelia ? The reason I take to be makes of his counterfeit madness. He excuses him- this : Ophelia was known to be the object of his self to Laertes on this very ground:

affection. The queen boped " This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,

“ She would have been her Hamlet's wife." How I am punish'd with a sore distraction, What I have done,

Jf, then, it appeared that he acted as a madman That might your nature, honour, and exception, in the presence of the object of his tenderest reRoughly awake, I here proclaim was madness," &c.

gard, he considered it as a certain consequence, It appears, then, that Hamlet resolved to coun- that no doubt could be entertained of the reality of terfeit madness, that he might kill the king without his distraction,


SCENE 1.- Elsinore. A Platform before the Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy,

And will not let belief take hold of him, FRANCISCO on his Post. Enter to him BERNARDO. Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us; Ber. Who's there?

Therefore I have entreated him, along
Fran. Nay, answer me : stand, and unfold With us to watch the minutes of this night;

That, if again this apparition come,
Ber. Long live the king !

He may approve our eyes, and speak to it. Fran.


Hor. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.


Sit down awhile ;
Fran. You come most carefully upon your bour. And let us once again assail your ears,
Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, That are so fortified against our story,

What we two nights have seen. Fran. For this relief, much thanks ; 'tis bitter Hor.

Well, sit we down, cold,

And let us hear Bernardo speak of this. And I am sick at heart.

Ber. Last night of all, Ber. Have you had quiet guard ?

When yon same star, that's westward from the pole, Fran. Not a mouse stirring.

Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Ber. Well, good night.

Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself, If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,

The bell then beating one, The rivals ' of my watch, bid them make haste. Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes

again! Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS.

Enter Ghost. Fran. I think, I hear them. - Stand, ho! Who is there?

Ber. In the same figure, like the king that's dead. Hor. Friends to this ground.

Mar. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio. Mar.

And liegemen to the Dane. Ber. Looks it not like the king ? mark it, HoFran. Give you good night.

ratio. Mar.

O, farewell, honest soldier : Hor. Most like:- it harrows me with fear, and Who hath reliev'd you?

wonder. Fran.

Bernardo hath my place. Ber. It would be spoke to. Give you good night. (Exit Francisco. Mar.

Speak to it, Horatio. Mar. Holla! Bernardo !

Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of Say,

night, What, is Horatio there?

Together with that fair and warlike form
A piece of him.

In which the majesty of buried Denmark Ber. Welcome, Horatio ; welcome, good Mar- Did sometimes march ? By heaven I charge thee cellus.

speak. Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again to Mar. It is offended. night?


See ! it stalks away.
I Partners.

? Make good or establish.




Hor. Stay, speak: speak I charge thee, speak. Comes armed through our watch; so like the king

[Erit Ghost. That was, and is the question of these wars. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.

Hor. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's eye. Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble, and look in the most high and palmy - state of Rome, pale:

A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, Is not this something more than fantasy?

The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead What think you of it?

Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets. Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Stars shone with trains of fire ; dews of blood Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes.

Disasters veil'd the sun; and the moist star, Mar.

Is it not like the king ? Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands, Hor. As thou art to thyself :

Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse. Such was the very armour he had on,

And even the like precurse of fierce events, — When he the ambitious Norway combated ; As harbingers preceding still the fates, So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parles, And prologue to the omen 7 coming on, He smote the sledded 4 Polack 5 on the ice.

Have heaven and earth together démonstrated 'Tis strange.

Unto our climatures and countrymen. Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour,

Re-enter Ghost.
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. But, soft; behold! lo, where it comes again!
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know I'll cross it, though it blast me. — Stay, illusion!

If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion, Speak to me:
This bodes some strange eruption to our state. If there be any good thing to be done,
Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that That may to thee do ease, and grace to me,

Speak to me:
Why this same strict and most observant watch If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
So nightly toils the subject of the land;

Which, happily, foreknowing, may avoid,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,

O speak! And foreign mart for implements of war :

Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Extorted treasure in the womb of earth, Does not divide the Sunday from the week : For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death, What might be toward, that this sweaty haste

[Cock crous Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day; Speak of it :---stay, and speak.— Stop it, Marcellus, Who is't, that can inform me?

Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partizan ? 8 Hor.

That can I ;

Hor. Do, if it will not stand. At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,


'Tis here! Whose image even but now appear'd to us,


'Tis here! Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, Mar. 'Tis gone!

(Erit Ghost. Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride, We do it wrong, being so majestical, Dard to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet To offer it the show of violence; (For so this side of our known world esteem'd him,) For it is, as the air, invulnerable, Did slay this Fortinbras ; who, by a seal'd compact, And our vain blows malicious mockery. Well ratified by law and heraldry,

Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,

Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing Which he stood seis'd of, to the conqueror :

Upon a fearful summons. I have heard, Against the which, a moiety competent

The cock, that is the trumpet of the morn, Was gaged by our king; which had return'd Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat To the inheritance of Fortinbras,

Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same comart 7, Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
And carriage of the article design’d 8,

The extravagant and erring spirit hies
His fell to Hamlet : Now, sir, young Fortinbras, To his confine: and of the truth herein
Of unimproved mettle hot and full ?,

This present object made probation.'
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Shark'd' up a list of landless resolutes,

Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
For food and diet, to some enterprize

Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, That hath a stomach 2 in't: which is no other This bird of dawning singeth all night long : (As it doth well appear unto our state,)

And then they say no spirit dares stir abroad; But to recover of us, by strong hand,

The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike. And terms compulsatory, those 'foresaid lands No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So by his father lost : And this, I take it,

So hallow'd and so gracious is the time. Is the main motive of our preparations;

Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it. The source of this our watch; and the chief head But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, of this post-haste and romage 3 in the land. Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill:

Ber. I think, it be no other, but even so : Break we our watch up; and, by my advice, Well may it sort “, that this portentous figure Let us impart what we have seen to-night 3 Dispute.

4 Sledged. Unto young Hamlet : for, upon my life, 5 Polander, an inhabitant of Poland. 7 Joint bargain.

* The covenant to confirm that bargain. This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him: 9 Full of spirit without experience.

5 Victorious. 2 Resolution.

* A sort of pike. 9 Wandering

6 The moon.

1 Pick'd.
4 Suit.

+ Event
I Proof

3 Search,

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Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it, My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France, As needful in our loves, fitting our duty ?

And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know king. Have you your father's leave? What says Where we shall find him most convenient.


[Exeunt. Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow SCENE II. — A Room of State in the same.


By laboursome petition ; and, at last,
Enter the King, QUEEN, HAMLET, POLONIUS, Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:

Laertes, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine, King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's And thy best graces : spend it at thy will. death

But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son, The memory be green; and that it us befitted Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind. To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom

(Aside. To be contracted in one brow of woe;

King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,

Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the sun. That we with wisest sorrow think on him,

Qucen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, Together with remembrance of ourselves.

And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen, Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids 5 The imperial jointress of this warlike state,

Seek for thy noble father in the dust : Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy, –

Thou know'st 'tis common; all, that live, must die, With one auspicious, and one dropping eye; Passing through nature to eternity. With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage, Ham. Ay, madam, it is common. In equal scale weighing delight and dole ?,


If it be, Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd

Why seems it so particular with thee? Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not With this affair along : For all, our thanks.

Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras, 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Holding a weak supposal of our worth;

Nor customary suits of solemn black, Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death, Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath, Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,

No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Colleagued with this dream of his advantage, Nor the dejected haviour of the visage, He hath not fail'd to pester us with message, Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief, Importing the surrender of those lands

That can denote me truly: These, indeed, seem, Lost by his father, with all bandss of law,

For they are actions that a man might play: To our most valiant brother, - So much for him. But I have that within, which passeth show; Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting. These, but the trappings and the suits of woe. Thus much the business is: We have here writ King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your naTo Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,

ture, Hamlet, Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears

To give these mourning duties to your father : Of this his nephew's purpose, – to suppress But, you must know, your father lost a father ; His further gait 4 herein; in that the levies, That father lost his; and the survivor bound The lists, and full proportions, are all made In filial obligation, for some term Out of his subject:- and we here despatch To do obsequious sorrow: But to perséver You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,

In obstinate condolement, is a course For bearers of this greeting to old Norway ; Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief : Giving to you no further personal power

It shows a will most incorrect to heaven, To business with the king, more than the scope A heart unfortified, or mind impatient; Of these dilated articles allow.

An understanding simple and unschool'd: Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty. For what, we know, must be, and is as common Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show our As any the most vulgar thing to sense, duty.

Why should we, in our peevish opposition, King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell. Take it to heart? Fye! 'tis a fault to heaven,

[Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, And now, Laertes, what's the news with you ? To reason most absurd; whose common theme You told us of some suit: What is't, Laertes ? Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried, You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,

From the first corse, till he that died to-day, And lose your voice : What wouldst thou beg, This must be so. We pray you, throw to earth Laertes,

This unprevailing woe; and think of us That shall not be my offer, not thy asking ? As of a father : for let the world take note, The head is not more native to the heart,

You are the most immediate to our throne;
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,

And, with no less nobility of love,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father. Than that which dearest father bears his son,
What wouldst thou have, Laertes ?

Do I impart toward you. For your intent

My dread lord, In going back to school in Wittenberg, Your leave and favour to return to France; It is most retrograde 6 to our desire: From whence though willingly I came to Denmark, And, we beseech you, bend you to remain To show my duty in your coronation;

Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Yet now I must confess, that duty done,

Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
3 Bonds.
4 Way, path.

Lowering eyes.

6 Contrary



3 Grief.


Come away.




Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, | But what is your affair in Elsinore ?

We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg. Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam. Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply;

student ; Be as ourself in Denmark. - Madain, come; I think, it was to see my mother's wedding. This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet

Hor. Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon. Sits smiling to my heart : in grace whereof, Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio ! the funeral bak'd No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day, But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell; Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. And the king's rouse 7 the heaven shall bruit 8 again, 'Would I had met my dearest + foe in heaven

7 Re-speaking earthly thunder.

Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio ! (Ereunt King, QUEEN, Lords, fc. Polonius, My father, — Methinks, I see my father. and LAERTES.


Where, Ham. O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, My lord ? Thaw, and resolve 9 itself into a dew!

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio. Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d

Hor. I saw him once, he was a goodly king. His canon ' 'gainst self-slaughter ! O God ! O God! Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all, How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable

I shall not look upon his like again. Seem to me all the uses of this world!

Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight. Fye on't! O fye! 'tis an unweeded garden,

Ham. Saw! who?
That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature, Hor. My lord, the king your father.
Possess it merely. That it should come to this ! Ham.

The king my father! But two months dead! nay, not so much, not Hor. Season your admiration for a while two:

With an attent 5 ear ; till I may deliver, So excellent a king; that was, to this,

Upon the witness of these gentlemen, Hyperion ? to a satyr: so loving to my mother,

This marvel to you. That he might not beteem 9 the winds of heaven


For Heaven's love, let me hear. Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth ! Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen, Must I remember? why, she would hang on him Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch, As if increase of appetite had grown

In the dead waist and middle of the night, By what it fed on: And yet, within a month, — Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father, Let me not think on't; - Frailty, thy name is Armed at point, exactly cap-à-pé, woman!

Appears before them, and, with solemn march, A little month; or ere those shoes were old, Goes slow and stately by them : thrice he walkid, With which she follow'd my poor father's body, By their oppress'd and fear-surprized eyes, Like Niobe, all tears ; - why she, even she, Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distilld O heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason, Almost to jelly with the act of fear, Would have mourn'd longer, — married with my Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me uncle,

In dreadful secrecy impart they did; My father's brother ; but no more like my father, And I with them, the third night kept the watch: Than I to Hercules: Within a month;

Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time, Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears

Form of the thing, each word made true and good, Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,

The apparition comes : I knew your father : She married : - O most wicked speed, to post

These hands are not inore like. With such dexterity to incestuous sheets !


But where was this? It is not, nor it cannot come to, good ;

Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we But break, my heart: for I must hold my tongue!


Ham. Did you not speak to it? Enter HORATIO, BERNARDO, and MARCELLUS.


My lord, I did; Hor. Hail to your lordship!

But answer made it none : yet once, methought, Ham.

I am glad to see you well : It lifted up its head, and did address Horatio, - or I do forget myself.

Itself to motion, like as it would speak : Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant But, even then, the morning cock crew loud;

And at the sound it shrunk in haste away, Ham. Sir, my good friend ; I'll change that name And vanish'd from our sight.


'Tis very strange. And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio ? Hor. As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true; Marcellus ?

And we did think it writ down in our duty, Mar. My good lord,

To let you know of it. Ham. I am very glad to see you ; good even, Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.

Hold you the watch to-night? But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg ? AN.

We do, my lord. Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.

Ham. Arm'd, say you ? Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so:


Arm'd, my lord. Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,


From top to toe? To make it truster of your own report

Al. My lord, from head to foot. Against yourself: I know, you are no truant. Ham.

Then saw you not | Draught 8 Report

His face?
9 Dissolve
3 Suffer.

5 Attentive.


with you.


4 Chiefest.


2 Apollo.

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