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PRINCE OF DENMARK.
ACT I. SCENE I.
A PLATFORM BEFORE THE CASTLE.
Francisco on his post. Enter to him Bernardo.
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold
Ber. Who's there?
Fran. Yourself. Ber.
Long live the king! Fran.
He. . Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed,
Francisco. Fran. For this relief, much thanks: ’tis bitter
cold, And I am sick at heart. Ber. Have
you had quiet guard? Fran. Ber. Well
, good night.
Not a mouse stirring.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
Enter Horatio and Marcellus. Fran. I think, I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who is
there? Hor. Friends to this ground. Mar.
And liegemen to the Dane. Fran. Give you good night. Mar.
O, farewel, honest soldier: Who hath reliev'd you? Fran.
Bernardo hath my place. Give you good night.
[Exit Francisco. Mar.
A piece of him.
cellus. Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again to
Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy;
Hor. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.
Sit down a-while; And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
Well, sit we down, And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Ber. Last night of all, When yon same star, that's westward from the
pole, Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself, The bell then beating one, Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it
Ber. In the same figure, like the king that's
dead. Mar. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio. Ber. Looks it not like the king? mark it, Ho
ratio. Hor. Most like:-it harrows me with fear, and
wonder. Ber. It would be spoke to. Mar.
Speak to it, Horatio. Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st 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. Mar. It is offended. Ber.
See! it stalks away.
Hor. Stay; speak; speak I charge thee, speak.
[Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer. Ber. How now, Horatio? you tremble, and look
pale: Is not this something more than fantasy? What think you of it?
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes. Mar.
Is it not like the king? Hor. As thou art to thyself: Such was the very armour he had on, When he the ambitious Norway combated; So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle, IIe smote the sledded Polack on the ice. 'Tis strange. Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead
hour, With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know
not; But, in the
of mine opinion, This bodes some strange eruption to our state. Mar. 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
That can I;
Our last king, Whose image even but now appear'd to us, Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride, Dar'd to the combat; in which, our valiant Hamlet (For so this side of our known world esteem'd him,) Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd com
páct, Well ratified by law, and heraldry, Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands, Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror: Against the which, a moiety competent Was gaged by our king; which had return'd To the inheritance of Fortinbras, Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart, And carriage of the article design’d, His fell to Hamlet: Now, sir, young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes, For food and diet, to some enterprize 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