Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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ACT One.

Scene One.—ELSINORE. A Platform before the Castle. Night.

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Francisco on his post. Enter to him Bernardo, L.H.

Ber. Who’s there?

Fran. (R.) Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.

Ber. Long live the king!



Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour.

Ber. ‘Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.

Fran. For this relief much thanks: [Crosses to L.] ‘tis bitter cold,

And I am sick at heart.

Ber. Have you had quiet guard?

Fran. Not a mouse stirring.

Ber. Well, good night.

If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,

The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

Fran. I think I hear them.—Stand, ho! Who’s there?

Hor. Friends to this ground.

Mar.And liegemen to the Dane.

Enter Horatio and Marcellus L.H.

Fran. Give you good night.


O, farewell, honest soldier:

Who hath reliev’d you?

Fran. Bernardo hath my place.

Give you good night.

[Exit Francisco, L.H.]


Holloa! Bernardo!



What, is Horatio there?

Hor. (Crosses to C.) A piece of him.

Ber. (R.) Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.

Hor. What, has this thing appear’d again to-night?

Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. (L.) Horatio says, ‘tis but our fantasy,

And will not let belief take hold of him,

Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:

Therefore I have entreated him, along

With us, to watch the minutes of this night;

That, if again this apparition come,

He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.

Hor. Tush! tush! ‘twill not appear.

Ber. Come, let us once again assail your ears,

That are so fortified against our story,

What we two nights have seen.

Hor. Well, let us hear Bernardo speak of this.

Ber. Last night of all,

When yon same star that’s westward from the pole

Had made his course to illume that part of heaven

Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself,

The bell then beating one—

Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!

Enter Ghost L.H.

Ber. In the same figure, like the king that’s dead.

Hor. Most like:—it harrows me with fear and wonder.

Ber. It would be spoke to.

Mar. Speak to it, Horatio.

Hor. What art thou, that usurp’st this time of night,

Together with that fair and warlike form

In which the majesty of buried Denmark

Did sometimes march? By heaven I charge thee, speak!

Mar. It is offended.

[Ghost crosses to R.]


See! it stalks away!

Hor. Stay!—speak!—speak, I charge thee, speak!

[Exit Ghost, R.H.]

Mar. ‘Tis gone, and will not answer.

Ber. How now, Horatio! You tremble, and look pale:

Is not this something more than fantasy?

What think you of it?

Hor. Before heaven, I might not this believe,

Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes.

Mar.Is it not like the king?

Hor. As thou art to thyself:

Such was the very armour he had on,

When he the ambitious Norway combated.

Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour,

With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not;

But in the gross and scope of mine opinion,

This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

In the most high and palmy state of Rome,

A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,

The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead

Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

Re-enter Ghost R.H.

But, (L.C.) soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!

I’ll cross it, though it blast me.

[Horatio crosses in front of the Ghost to R. Ghost crosses to L.]

Stay, illusion!

If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,

Speak to me:

If there be any good thing to be done,

That may to thee do ease, and grace to me,

Speak to me:

If thou art privy to thy country’s fate,

Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid,

O, speak!

O, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life

Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,

For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,

Speak of it:—stay, and speak!

[Exit Ghost, L.H.]

Mar. ‘Tis gone!

We do it wrong, being so majestical,

To offer it the show of violence.

Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew.

Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing

Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,

The cock, that is the trumpet of the morn,

Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat

Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,

Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,

The extravagant and erring spirit hies

To his confine.

But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,

Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill:

Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,

Let us impart what we have seen to-night

Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,

This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.

[Exeunt, L.H.]