Act 1, scene 1

Act 1, scene i

Who’s there?

Nay,  answer me.

Stand and unfold yourself.

Long Live the King



You come most carefully upon your hour.

Tis now struck twelve.

Get thee to bed, Francisco.

For this relief, much thanks.

Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart.

Have you had quiet guard?

Not a mouse stirring.

Well, good night.

If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

I think I hear them.

Stand Ho!

Who is there?

Friends to this ground.

And Liegemen to the Dane.

Give you good night.

O, farewell honest soldier.

Who hath relieved you?

Barnardo hath my place.

Give you good night.

Holla Barnardo!

Say – what, is Horatio there?

A piece of him.

Welcome Horatio. Welcome good Marcellus.

What, has thing appeared again tonight?

I have seen nothing.

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.

Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.

Sit down awhile, And let us once again assail your ears, That are so fortified against our story, What we have two nights seen.

Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.

Last night of all,
When yond same star
That’s westward from the pole
Had made his course t’illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one –

Peace, break thee off.

Look where it comes again.

In the same figure like the King that’s dead.

Thou art a scholar.

Speak to it, Horatio.

Looks ‘a not like the king?

Mark it, Horatio.

Most like.

It harrows me with fear and wonder.

It would be spoke to.

Speak to it, Horatio.

What art thou that usurpest 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.

It is offended.

See, it stalks away.


Speak, speak.

I charge thee speak.

‘Tis gone and will not answer.

How now, Horatio?

You tremble and look pale.

Is not this something more than fantasy?

What think you on’t?

Before God, I might not this believe
without the sensible and true avouch
of mine own eyes.

Is it not like the king?

As thou art to thyself.

Such was the very armor he had on when he the ambitious Norway combated.

So frowned he once when, in an angry parle, he smote the sledded poleaxe on the ice.

Tis strange.

Thus twice before and jump at this dead hour, With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

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.

Good now, sit down, and tell me he that knows
why this same strict and most observant watch
so nightly toils the subject of the land
and why such daily cast of brazen cannon and foreign mart for implements of war, why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task does not divide the Sunday from the week.

What might be toward that this sweaty haste doth make the night joint laborer with the day?

Who is’t that can inform me?

That can I.

At least the whisper goes so.

Our last king,
Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet –
For so this side of our know world esteemed him –
Did slay this Fortibras; who, by a sealed compact
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all these lands
Which he stood seised of, to the conqueror;
Against the which a moiety competent
Was gagéd by our King, which had returned
 The inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same covenant
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet.
Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes
For food an diet to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in’t; which is no other,
As it doth well appear unto our state,
But to recover of us by strong hand
And terms compulsatory those foresaid lands
So by his father lost.
And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this posthaste and romage in the land.

I think it be no other but e’en so.

Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes arméd through our watch so like the King
That was and is the question of these wars.

A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.

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 –
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands
Was sick almost to Doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of feared events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.
But soft, behold, lo where it comes again!
I’ll cross it, though it blast me.
Stay illusion.
If thou has 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!
Stay and speak.
Stop it, Marcellus!

Shall I strike it with my partisan?
Do, if it will not stand.
‘Tis here.
‘Tis here.
‘Tis gone.
We do it wrong, being so majestical
To offer it a show of violence,
For it is as the air invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
It was about to speak when the cock crew.
And it started, like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons.
I have heard
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn
Doth with his lofty and shrill sounding throat
Awake the god of day, and at his warning
Whether in sea or fires in earth or air
Th’extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine.
And of the truth herein this present
Object made probation.
It faded upon the crowing of the cock
Some say that ever ‘gainst that season come
Wherein our saviour’s birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long.
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm
So hallowed and so gracious is that time.
So have I heard and do in part believe it.
But look, the moon in russet mantle clad
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
Break we our watch up.
And by my advice
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet, for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint
Him with it, as needful of our loves,
Fitting our duty?
Let’s do’t, I pray.
And I this morning know where we shall find
Him most conveniently.

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