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CHAP. XXIII.

HAMLET AND GHOST.

Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us !
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from Heav'n, or blasts from Hell,
Be thy intent wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape,
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, Father, Royal Dane! oh! answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance ; but tell,
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in earth,
Have burst their cerements! why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly ipurn'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 steel,
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and us fools of nature
So horribly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this ? wherefore? what should we do?

Ghost. Mark me.
Ham, I will.

Ghost. My hour is almost come,
When I lo sulph'rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.

Ham. Alas! poor ghost !

Ghost. "Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall untold.
Ham. 'Speak, I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear!
Ham. What?

Ghost. I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certam term to walk the vight,
And for the day coufind to fast i fire,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away. Bet that I am forbid,
To tell the secrets of my prisonhouse,

I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine :
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood; list, list, oh list!
If thou did'st ever thy dear father love

Ham. O Heav'n!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnat'ral murder!
Ham. Murder?.

Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.

Ham. Haste me to know it, that I, with wings as swif:
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
May fly to my revenge !

Ghost. I find thee apt ;
And duller should'st thou be, than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe's wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear ;
'Tis given out, that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.

Ham. O my prophetic soul! my uncle ?

Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adult'rate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitrous gifts,
(0 wicked wit and gifts, that have the pow'r
So to seduce !) won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen.
Oh Hamlet, what a falling off was there !
But soft! methinks I scent the morning air-
Brief let me be: Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always in the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
With juice of cursed hebony in a phial,
And in the porches of mine car did pour
The "leperous distilinent.---

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Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once bereft ;
Cut off ev'n in the blossoins of

my

sin: No reck’ning made ! but sent to my account With all my imperfections on my head !

Ham. Oh horrible! vh horrible! most horrible !

Ghost. If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
But howsoever thou pursu'st this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to Heav'n,
And to those thorns that in her hosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once !
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his ineffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, adieu ! remember me.

Ham. O all you host of Heav'n! O earth! what else
And shall I couple Hell? oh fie! hold heart!
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while mem'ry holds a seat
In this distracted globe! remember thee !
Yea, from the tablet of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
UMAX d with baser matter.

SHAKSPEARE.

CHAP. XXIV.

HAMLETS SOLILOQUY ON DEATH.

To be, or not to be that is the question.-
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The stings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them ?-To dieto sleep-
No more ; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ach, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to ;--Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. - To die-to sleep
To sleep! perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life:
For who would hear the whips and scorns o'th' time,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To groan and sweat under a weary life;
But that the tread of something after death
(That undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns) puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all :
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thouglit ;
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

SHAKSPEARE.

CHAP. XXV.

SOLILOQUY OF THE KING IN HAMLET.

Oh! my offence is rank, it smells to Heav'n,
It hath the primal, eldest curse pon't ;
A brother's murder -Pray I cannot:
Though inclination be as sharp as 'twill,
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,

And both neglect. What is this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood ;
Is there not rain enough in the sweet Heav'ns,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence ?
And what's in prayer, but this twofold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? ---Then I'll look up;
My fault is past.But oh, what form of pray'r
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder !
That cannot be, since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence ?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by Justice ;
And oft ’tis seen, the wicked prize itscif
Buys out the laws. But 'tis not so above.
There is no shuffling ; there the action lies
In it's true nature, and we ourselves compell’d,
Ev'n to the tecth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests !
Try what repentance can: what can it not ?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
Oh wretched state! oh bosom black as death!
Oh limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels! make essay !
Bow, stubborn knees; and heart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!
All may be well.

SHAKSPEARE

CHAP. XXVI.

ODE ON ST. CECILIA'S DAY.

Descend, ye Nine! descend and sing:
The breathing instruments inspire ;
Wake into voice each sile:t string,
Aud sweep the sounding lyre!

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