Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2
*Flourish. Enter CLAUDIUS, KING OF
*DENMARK, GERTRUDE THE QUEEN,
HAMLET, Councilors, POLONIUS and
his son LAERTES, cum aliis [including
VOLTEMAND and CORNELIUS]. Full Summary
1 Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
2 The memory be green, and that it us befitted
3 To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
4 To be contracted in one brow of woe,
5 Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
6 That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
7 Together with remembrance of ourselves.
8 Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
9 The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
10 Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,
11 With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
12 With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
13 In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
14 Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
15 Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
16 With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
17 Now follows that you know young Fortinbras,
18 Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
19 Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
20 Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
21 Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
22 He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
23 Importing the surrender of those lands
24 Lost by his father, with all bands of law,
25 To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
26 Now for ourself and for this time of meeting:
27 Thus much the business is: we have here writ
28 To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras
29 Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
30 Of this his nephew's purposeto suppress
31 His further gait herein; in that the levies,
32 The lists and full proportions, are all made
33 Out of his subject: and we here dispatch
34 You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
35 For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
36 Giving to you no further personal power
37 To business with the king, more than the scope
38 Of these delated articles allow.
39 Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
40 In that and all things will we show our duty.
41 We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.
42 And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
43 You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes?
44 You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
45 And lose your voice: what wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
46 That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
47 The head is not more native to the heart,
48 The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
49 Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
50 What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
50 My dread lord,
51 Your leave and favor to return to France;
52 From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
53 To show my duty in your coronation,
54 Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
55 My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
56 And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
57 Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
65 A little more than kin, and less than kind.
66 How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
67 Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.
68 Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
69 And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
70 Do not for ever with thy vailèd lids
71 Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
72 Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
73 Passing through nature to eternity.
74 Ay, madam, it is common.
76 Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not "seems."
77 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
78 Nor customary suits of solemn black,
79 Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
80 No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
81 Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
82 Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
83 That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
84 For they are actions that a man might play:
85 But I have that within which passeth show;
86 These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
87 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
88 To give these mourning duties to your father:
89 But, you must know, your father lost a father;
90 That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
91 In filial obligation for some term
92 To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
93 In obstinate condolement is a course
94 Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
95 It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
96 A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
97 An understanding simple and unschool'd:
98 For what we know must be and is as common
99 As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
100 Why should we in our peevish opposition
101 Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
102 A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
103 To reason most absurd: whose common theme
104 Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
105 From the first corse till he that died to-day,
106 "This must be so." We pray you, throw to earth
107 This unprevailing woe, and think of us
108 As of a father: for let the world take note,
109 You are the most immediate to our throne;
110 And with no less nobility of love
111 Than that which dearest father bears his son,
112 Do I impart toward you. For your intent
113 In going back to school in Wittenberg,
114 It is most retrograde to our desire:
115 And we beseech you, bend you to remain
116 Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
117 Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
120 I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
121 Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:
122 Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
123 This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
124 Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
125 No jocund health that Denmark drinks today,
126 But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
127 And the king's rouse the heavens shall bruit again,
128 Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.
129 O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
130 Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
131 Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
132 His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
133 How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
134 Seem to me all the uses of this world!
135 Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
136 That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
137 Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
138 But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
139 So excellent a king; that was, to this,
140 Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
141 That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
142 Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
143 Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
144 As if increase of appetite had grown
145 By what it fed on: and yet, within a month
146 Let me not think on'tFrailty, thy name is woman!
147 A little month, or ere those shoes were old
148 With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
149 Like Niobe, all tears:why she, even she
150 O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
151 Would have mourn'd longermarried with my uncle,
152 My father's brother, but no more like my father
153 Than I to Hercules: within a month:
154 Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
155 Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
156 She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
157 With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
158 It is not nor it cannot come to good:
159 But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
160 Hail to your lordship!
162 The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
166 My good lord.
167 I am very glad to see you. [To Barnardo] Good even, sir.
168 But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
169 A truant disposition, good my lord.
170 I would not hear your enemy say so,
171 Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
172 To make it truster of your own report
173 Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
174 But what is your affair in Elsinore?
175 We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
176 My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
179 Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
180 Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
181 Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
182 Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
183 Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
184 My father!methinks I see my father.
185 Where, my lord?
185 In my mind's eye, Horatio.
186 I saw him once. 'A was a goodly king.
189 My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
190 Saw? who?
191 My lord, the king your father.
191 The king my father!
195 For God's love, let me hear.
196 Two nights together had these gentlemen,
197 Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch,
198 In the dead waste and middle of the night,
199 Been thus encount'red: A figure like your father,
200 Armed at point exactly, cap-a-pe,
201 Appears before them, and with solemn march
202 Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
203 By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes,
204 Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distilled
205 Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
206 Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
207 In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
208 And I with them the third night kept the watch;
209 Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
210 Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
211 The apparition comes: I knew your father;
212 These hands are not more like.
212 But where was this?
213 My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
214 Did you not speak to it?
214 My lord, I did;
215 But answer made it none: yet once methought
216 It lifted up it head and did address
217 Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
218 But even then the morning cock crew loud,
219 And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
220 And vanish'd from our sight.
220 'Tis very strange.
225 We do, my lord.
226 Arm'd, say you?
227 Arm'd, my lord.
228 From top to toe?
228 My lord, from head to foot.
229 Then saw you not his face?
230 O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
231 What, look'd he frowningly?
232 Pale or red?
233 Nay, very pale.
233 And fix'd his eyes upon you?
234 Most constantly.
234 I would I had been there.
235 It would have much amazed you.
236 Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?
237 While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
238 Longer, longer.
239 Not when I saw't.
239 His beard was grizzledno?
242 I warrant it will.
243 If it assume my noble father's person,
244 I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
245 And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
246 If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
247 Let it be tenable in your silence still;
248 And whatsoever else shall hap tonight,
249 Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
250 I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
251 Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
252 I'll visit you.
252 Our duty to your honor.
253 Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.
254 My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
255 I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!
256 Till then, sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise,
257 Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.