Act 1, scene iWhat 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? Before God, I might not this believe without the sensible and true avouch of mine own eyes.
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.
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.