Act I, Scene 4 The platform.

Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS

 

HAMLET The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
HORATIO It is a nipping and an eager air.
HAMLET What hour now?
HORATIO I think it lacks of twelve.
HAMLET No, it is struck.
HORATIO Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
  [A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within]
  What does this mean, my lord?
HAMLET The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
HORATIO Is it a custom?
HAMLET Ay, marry, is't:
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 observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
HORATIO Look, my lord, it comes!
  [Enter Ghost]
HAMLET Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
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 canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
  [Ghost beckons HAMLET]
HORATIO It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
MARCELLUS Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
HORATIO No, by no means.
HAMLET It will not speak; then I will follow it.
HORATIO Do not, my lord.
HAMLET Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life in a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again: I'll follow it.
HORATIO What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
HAMLET It waves me still.
Go on; I'll follow thee.
MARCELLUS You shall not go, my lord.
HAMLET Hold off your hands.
HORATIO Be ruled; you shall not go.
HAMLET My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.
  [Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET]
HORATIO He waxes desperate with imagination.
MARCELLUS Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
HORATIO Have after. To what issue will this come?
MARCELLUS Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
HORATIO Heaven will direct it.
MARCELLUS Nay, let's follow him.
  [Exeunt]

 

To view other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 2 A hall in the castle.
Act I, Scene 1 Elsinore. A platform before the castle. Act III, Scene 3 A room in the castle.
Act I, Scene 2 A room of state in the castle Act III, Scene 4 The Queen's closet.
Act I, Scene 3 A room in Polonius' house. Act IV, Scene 1 A room in the castle.
Act I, Scene 4 The platform. Act IV, Scene 2 Another room of the castle./Act IV, Scene 3 Another room of the castle.
Act I, Scene 5 Another part of the platform. Act IV, Scene 4 A plain of Denmark/Act IV, Scene 5 Elsinore. A room in the castle.
Act II, Scene 1 A room in Polonius' house. Act IV, Scene 6 Another room of the castle./Act IV, Scene 7 Another room of the castle.
Act II, Scene 2 A room in the castle. Act V, Scene 1 A churchyard.
Act III, Scene 1 A room in the castle. Act V, Scene 2 A hall in the castle.

 

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