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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene IV

Act I

[The platform]

Ham.The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.Hor.It is a nipping and an eager air.Ham.What hour now?Hor.I think it lacks of twelve.Mar.No, it is struck.Hor.Indeed? I heard it not. Then it draws near the seasonWherein the spirit held his wont to walk.A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces go off [within].What does this mean, my lord?Ham.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 outThe triumph of his pledge.Hor.Is it a custom?Ham.Ay, marry, is ’t,But to my mind, though I am native hereAnd to the manner born, it is a customMore honour’d in the breach than the observance.[This heavy-headed revel east and westMakes us traduc’d and tax’d of other nations.They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phraseSoil our addition; and indeed it takesFrom 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 their o’ergrowth of some complexionOft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,Or by some habit that too much o’er-leavensThe form of plausive manners, that these men,Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,Being nature’s livery, or fortune’s star,His virtues else—be they as pure as grace,As infinite as man may undergo—Shall in the general censure take corruptionFrom that particular fault. The dram of ealeDoth all the noble substance often doutTo his own scandal.]
Enter Ghost

Hor.Look, my lord, it comes!Ham.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 com’st in such a questionable shapeThat I will speak to thee. I’ll call thee Hamlet,King, father; royal Dane, O, answer me!Let me not burst in ignorance, but tellWhy thy canoniz’d bones, hearsed in death,Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn’d,Hath op’d his ponderous and marble jaws,To cast thee up again. What may this mean,That thou, dead corse, again in complete steelRevisits thus the glimpses of the moon,Making night hideous, and we fools of natureSo horridly to shake our dispositionWith thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?Ghost beckons HAMLET.Hor.It beckons you to go away with it,As if it some impartment did desireTo you alone.Mar.Look, with what courteous actionIt wafts you to a more removed ground.But do not go with it.Hor.No, by no means.Ham.It will not speak; then will I follow it.Hor.Do not, my lord.Ham.Why, what should be the fear?I do not set my life at 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.Hor.What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,Or to the dreadful summit of the cliffThat beetles o’er his base into the sea,And there assume some other horrible form,Which might deprive your sovereignty of reasonAnd draw you into madness? Think of it.[The very place puts toys of desperation,Without more motive, into every brainThat looks so many fathoms to the seaAnd hears it roar beneath.]Ham.It wafts me still.Go on, I’ll follow thee.Mar.You shall not go, my lord.Ham.Hold off your hand.Hor.Be rul’d; you shall not go.Ham.My fate cries out,And makes each petty artery in this bodyAs hardly 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.Hor.He waxes desperate with imagination.Mar.Let’s follow. ’Tis not fit thus to obey him.Hor.Have after. To what issue will this come?Mar.Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.Hor.Heaven will direct it.Mar.Nay, let’s follow him.Exeunt.