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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.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes ?


Dread my lord,
Your leave and favour 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 Polonius! Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave By laboursome petition; and, at last,

Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:

I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will!

But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,

Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind. [Aside. King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Ham. Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun. Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not for ever with thy vailèd lids

Seek for thy noble father in the dust:

Thou know'st 'tis common,-all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

If it be,

Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.

'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,

Nor customary suits of solemn black,

Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,

Together with all forms, modes,(7) shows of grief,

That can denote me truly: these, indeed, seem,

For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound,
In filial obligation, for some term

To do obsequious sorrow: but to perséver
In obstinate condolement, is a course

Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what we know must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
"This must be so." We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love

Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:

Be as ourself in Denmark.-Madam, come;

Upon the witness of these gentlemen,

This marvel to you.


For God's love, let me hear.

Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen, Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,

In the dead vast 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 oppress'd and fear-surprisèd eyes,

Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distill'd (9)
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,

Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me

In dreadful secrecy 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.


But where was this?

Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
Ham. Did you not speak to it?


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.


'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 me.

Hold you the watch to-night?

Mar. Ber.

We do, my lord.

Ham. Arm'd, say you?
Mar. Ber. Arm'd, my lord.

Ham. From top to toe?

Mar. Ber.

My lord, from head to foot.

Ham. Then saw you not his face?

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.


Hor. Most constantly.


And fix'd his eyes upon you?

I would I had been there.

Hor. It would have much amaz'd you.

Ham. Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?

Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a hun


Mar. Ber. Longer, longer.

Hor. Not when I saw 't.


His beard was grizzled,-no?

Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,

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I warrant it will.

Perchance 'twill walk again.

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 (10) 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 ye well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.


Our duty to your honour.

Ham. Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.

[Exeunt Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo.

My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;

I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!

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Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,

Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes. [Exit.

SCENE III. A room in POLONIUS' house.


Laer. My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:

And, sister, as the winds give benefit,

And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,

But let me hear from you.


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 pérfume and suppliance of a minute;

No more.

Oph. No more but so?

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 unvalu'd persons do,

Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and the health of the whole state; (11)
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 you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it,

As he in his particular act and place (12)

May give his saying deed; which is no further

Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.

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