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Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing To what I shall unfold.
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 certain term to walk the night;
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood:-List, list, O list!If thou didst ever thy dear father love,—
Ham. O heaven!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural 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 swift
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge,
I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
& And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,] Shakspeare, apparently through ignorance, makes Roman Catholicks of these Pagan Danes; and here gives a description of purgatory; but yet mixes it with the Pagan fable of Lethe's wharf.
Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear: 'Tis given out, that sleeping in mine orchard,'
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle!
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, (O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce!) won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen: O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there! From me, whose love was of that dignity, That it went hand in hand even with the vow I made to her in marriage; and to decline Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven;
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks, I scent the morning air;
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
mine orchard,] Orchard for garden.
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,] The word here used was more probably designed by a metathesis, either of the poet or transcriber, for henebon, that is, henbane; of which the most common kind (hyoscyamus niger) is certainly narcotick, and perhaps, if taken in a considerable quantity, might prove poisonous.
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd:2
No reckoning inade, but sent to my account
Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
at once despatch'd:] Despatch'd, for bereft.
3 Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;] Unhousel'd is without having received the sacrament. Disappointed, as Dr. Johnson observes, "is the same as unappointed, and may be properly explained unprepared. A man well furnished with things necessary for an enterprise, was said to be well appointed." Unanel'd is
without extreme unction.
4 pale his uneffectual fire:] Fire that is no longer seen when the light of morning approaches.
And shall I couple hell?-O fye!-Hold, hold, my
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
I have sworn't.
Hor. [Within.] My lord, my lord,—————
Heaven secure him!
So be it!
Mar. [Within.] Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
5 this distracted globe.] i, e. in this head confused with thought.
6 My tables,-] Table-books in the time of our author appear to have been used by all ranks of people. In the church they were filled with short notes of the sermon, and at the theatre with the sparkling sentences of the play.
7 Now to my word;] Hamlet alludes to the watch-word given every day in military service, which at this time he says is, Adieu, adieu! remember me.
come, bird, come.] This is the call which falconers use to
Nor I, my lord.
You will reveal it.
Hor. Not I, my lord, by heaven.
Ham. How say you then; would heart of man
once think it?
But you'll be secret,
Ay, by heaven, my lord. Ham. There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all Den
But he's an arrant knave.
Hor. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from
To tell us this.
Why, right; you are in the right; And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit, that we shake hands, and part:
You, as your business, and desire, shall point you;— For every man hath business, and desire,
Such as it is, and, for my own poor part,
Look you, I will go pray.
Hor. These are but wild and whirling words, my
Ham. I am sorry they offend you, heartily; yes, 'Faith, heartily.
There's no offence, my lord. Ham. Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio, And much offence too. Touching this vision here,—
their hawk in the air, when they would have him come down to them.