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


Speak, I am bound to hear. Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

Ham. What?

Ghost. I am thy father's spirit;

Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night;
And, for the day, confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purg'd 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 combined locks to part,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:

But this eternal blazon must not be

To ears of flesh and blood:-List, list, O list!If thou didst ever thy dear father love,

Ham. O heaven!

Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Ham. Murder?

Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is; But this most foul, strange, and unnatural. Ham. Haste me to know it; that I, with wings as swift

As meditation, or the thoughts of love,

May sweep to my revenge,
I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,

8 And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed


That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf.] Shakspeare, apparently through ignorance, makes Roman Catholicks of these Pagan Danes; and here gives a description of purgatory; but yet mixeş it with the Pagan fable of Lethe's wharf.

Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear: "Tis given out, that sleeping in mine orchard,

A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death

Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.

Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle!

Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, (O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce!) won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen: O, 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 mov'd,

Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven;
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
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 of the afternoon,

Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,1
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect


mine orchard,] Orchard for garden.

With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,] The word here used was more probably designed by a metathesis, either of the poet or transcriber, for henebon, that is, henbane; of which the most common kind (hyoscyamus niger) is certainly narcotick, and perhaps, if taken in a considerable quantity, might prove poisonous.

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 vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd 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 despatch'd:*
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;3

No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, 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 damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursu'st 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, adieu! remember me.


Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?

at once despatch'd:] Despatch'd, for bereft.

3 Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;] Unhousel'd is without having received the sacrament. Disappointed, as Dr. Johnson observes, "is the same as unappointed, and may be properly explained unprepared. A man well furnished with things necessary for an enterprise, was said to be well appointed." Unanel'd is without extreme unction.

4 pale his uneffectual fire:] Fire that is no longer seen when the light of morning approaches.

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And shall I couple hell?-O fye!-Hold, hold, my


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,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven.
O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables," meet it is, I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least, I am sure, it may be so in Denmark:

[Writing. So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;? It is, Adieu, adieu! remember me.

I have sworn't.


Hor. [Within.] My lord, my lord,

Mar. Within.] Lord Hamlet,

Hor. Within.]


Heaven secure him!

So be it!

Mar. [Within.] Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come."

this distracted globe.] i. e, in this head confused with

thought. 6 My tables, Table-books in the time of our author appear to have been used by all ranks of people. In the church they were filled with short notes of the sermon, and at the theatre with the sparkling sentences of the play.


Now to my word;] Hamlet alludes to the watch-word given every day in military service, which at this time he says is, Adieu, adieu! remember me.


come, bird, come.] This is the call which falconers use to

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Ham. How say you then; would heart of man

once think it?

But you'll be secret,

Hor. Mar.

Ay, by heaven, my lord. Ham. There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all Den


But he's an arrant knave.

Hor. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from

the grave,

To tell us this.


Why, right; you are in the right; And so, without more circumstance at all,

I hold it fit, that we shake hands, and part:

You, as your business, and desire, shall point you;—
For every man hath business, and desire,

Such as it is, and, for my own poor part,

Look you, I will go pray.

Hor. These are but wild and whirling words, my


Ham. I am sorry they offend you, heartily; yes, 'Faith, heartily.


There's no offence, my lord.
Ham. Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,-

their hawk in the air, when they would have him come down to them.

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