Another part of the platform.
Enter GHOST and HAMLET
Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!
Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Speak; I am bound to hear.
So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
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 knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
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--
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst 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 abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
O my prophetic soul! My uncle!
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 moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigour doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom 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 uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?
And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table 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,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,--meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark:
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is 'Adieu, adieu! remember me.'
I have sworn 't.
[Within] My lord, my lord,--
[Within] Lord Hamlet,--
[Within] Heaven secure him!
So be it!
[Within] Hillo, ho, ho, my lord!
Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
How is't, my noble lord?
What news, my lord?
Good my lord, tell it.
No; you'll reveal it.
Not I, my lord, by heaven.
Nor I, my lord.
How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?
Ay, by heaven, my lord.
There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
Why, right; you are i' 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 has business and desire,
Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, 'faith heartily.
There's no offence, my lord.
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.
What is't, my lord? we will.
Never make known what you have seen to-night.
My lord, we will not.
Nay, but swear't.
My lord, not I.
Nor I, my lord, in faith.
Upon my sword.
We have sworn, my lord, already.
Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there,
Come on--you hear this fellow in the cellarage--
Consent to swear.
Propose the oath, my lord.
Never to speak of this that you have seen,
Swear by my sword.
Hic et ubique? then we'll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword:
Never to speak of this that you have heard,
Swear by my sword.
Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come;
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if we would,'
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
With all my love I do commend me to you:
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.
As Marcellus and Horatio were carefully making their way across the ramparts, draped with a salty mist so dense even the wind couldn't disperse it, Hamlet was confronting the ghost.
"Where are you leading me? Answer- or I will go no further."
"Listen," the ghost said in a deep unnatural voice that seemed to come from the depths of the earth.
"Dawn is approaching, soon I must return to the cleansing flames of Purgatory."
"Alas, poor ghost."
"Don't give me your pity, only your unwavering attention to what I am about to tell you."
"Speak, I'm duty bound to listen."
"You will be bound to avenge what I am about to reveal."
"I am the ghost of your father. For a penance of limited time I must walk at night, by day I am confined to fast in the fires which will burn away the misdemeanours I committed in life. If I was not forbidden to tell you the secrets of my fiery prison, I could tell you a tale whose lightest word would terrify your soul, freeze your young blood, make your eyes fly from their sockets like shooting stars, your curly hair to turn lank, and every hair stand on end like the quills of an angry porcupine. But revelations about the mysteries of the afterlife are not for the ears of those still flesh and blood. Listen, if you ever loved your father. Listen! "
"Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder."
"Murder most foul, as the best. This one more foul, strange, and unnatural than most."
"Tell me at once, so I can exact revenge the moment the method occurs to me."
"What you have said pleases me. You would be as droopy as the reeds which hog the banks of the river of forgetfulness if this didn't arouse you. Now, Hamlet, listen. They say that while I was sleeping in the garden I was bitten by a snake. The whole of Denmark has heard a forged account of my death. Know, noble youth, that the snake that fatally stung your father now wears his crown."
"My prophetic soul! My uncle!"
"Yes, that incestuous and adulterous beast! The witchcraft of smooth talk and traitorous inclinations are what he used to seduce my seemingly-virtuous Queen. Oh, Hamlet what a change for the worse. To lose me, whose love followed the vows of marriage to the very letter, and find a wretch whose natural gifts are scant. Virtue, though, will never be seduced by lewdness. So lust disguises itself as a radiant angel and preys on the garbage to be found in a holy bed. I think I can smell the morning air. Let me be brief. Sleeping in my garden, which as you know was my custom, your uncle crept in when I was vulnerable and poured a vial of poisonous essence into my ear. This substance is so alien to a man that it glides rapidly through the veins and arteries thickening the blood. Instantly my body was covered in crust-like leper sores. As I slept, my brother's hand deprived me of my life, my crown and my wife. My life was finished when I was still in sin, without any opportunity to confess. Horrible! Horrible! If you love me, don't permit this. Stop the royal bed of Denmark being a couch of lechery and incest. How you decide to pursue your revenge must not allow your mind to taint your affection for your mother. Leave her to be judged by Heaven and allow her conscience to be stung by the thorns she has sown. I must go. The fading glow-worm shows me that dawn is about to break. Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me."
The ghost vanished and Hamlet was left to tussle with his suspicions and plans for exacting revenge.
"Oh, angels! Oh, earth! Oh, hell, too! No, don't break my heart! Stiffen my sinews, don't grow old suddenly, but bear my weight today! Remember you! Yes, poor ghost, as if the memory could never be erased. I will delete trivial memories from my youth and in my head I will retain your command, untainted by frivolity. Yes, by heaven! Oh, that most pernicious woman! Oh, that villain! That damned smiling villain! I must remember that a man can smile and still be a villain. So, uncle, there we have it. Now to my motto, Adieu, adieu, remember me. I have sworn I will."
Distressed, Hamlet did not hear the anxious calls of Horatio and Marcellus.
"My lord, my lord!" Horatio yelled.
"Lord Hamlet!" Marcellus shouted too.
"Heaven protect him!" Horatio said.
"So be it," Hamlet muttered to himself.
"Hello, ho, ho, my lord!" Marcellus yelled.
"Hello, ho, ho, boy!" Hamlet called back.
Horatio and Marcellus ran in the Prince's direction, oblivious to their own safety.
"Is everything fine, my noble lord?" asked Marcellus.
"What news, my lord?" asked Horatio.
"My good lord, tell us," pleaded Horatio.
"No, you will reveal it."
"Not I, my lord. I swear it," said Horatio.
"Nor will I, my lord," Marcellus said.
"What do you say then, would the heart of man give credence to... But you will keep it a secret?"
"Yes, by heaven," Horatio and Marcellus said eagerly.
Hamlet gestured to them to come closer. He intended to whisper.
"There is not a villain living in Denmark who isn't a rogue to the core."
"We don't need a ghost to come from the grave, my lord, to tell us this," said Horatio.
"True, absolutely true. So without any more delay we must shake hands and depart. You go in the direction your business and desires take you - since every man has business and or desire, such as it is - and for my own poor part I will pray."
"These are wild, whirling words, my lord," said Horatio.
"I am sorry if they offend you, I really am."
"There's no offence, my lord."
"Yes, by Saint Patrick, there is, Horatio. And plenty of it! The vision here was a true ghost, I can tell you that. As for your desire to hear what it said to me, please try to curtail it. Now good friends, as you are friends, scholars and soldiers, grant me one small request."
"We will. What is it, my lord?" asked Horatio.
"Never speak about what you've seen tonight."
"My lord, we won't," said Horatio and Marcellus.
"No, but swear it."
"In faith, my lord, I will not speak of it," said Horatio.
"Nor I, my lord, in faith," added Marcellus.
"Upon my sword."
"We have sworn already, my lord," said Marcellus.
"True, but swear upon my sword."
Although the ghost had disappeared it was listening from the fires of Purgatory.
"Swear!" the voice of the late King boomed.
"Aha, ghost. Do you agree? Are you there my trusted ghost? Come on, you heard this voice. Consent to the oath."
"Propose the oath, my lord," said Horatio.
"Never speak about what you have seen. Swear by my sword."
Horatio and Marcellus laid their hands on Hamlet’s sword.
"Swear," the ghost said again.
Horatio and Marcellus repeated Hamlet's oath.
"Here and everywhere? Then we will shift our ground. Come here, gentlemen, and lay your hands on my sword again. Swear by my sword never to speak about what you have seen and heard."
"Swear by his sword," King Hamlet's ghost bellowed again.
Horatio and Marcellus vowed for the second time.
"Well said, old mole! Can you mine into the earth so fast? Let's move again, good friends."
"Oh, day and night, this is bizarre and strange," said Horatio.
Hamlet nodded in agreement: "And therefore as it is a stranger, be hospitable. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than your philosophy tutors know. But come, once again, swear that you will never, so help you, regardless of how strange or odd I may seem, maybe playing the clown, you will never reveal you know what happened here tonight. I may behave strangely or talk cryptically but you must stay mute about tonight's happenings. Swear upon this, to your dying breath!"
"Swear!" the ghost ordered.
Again they placed their hands on Hamlet's sword as the ghost commanded.
"Rest, rest, vexed spirit!" Hamlet said to his father.
He turned to Horatio and Marcellus: "So, gentlemen, I hold you in the highest esteem. Whatever a man as poor as Hamlet can do to express his friendship to you I will do. Let us go in together. Keep your lips sealed, I beg. The order of things has been lost. Curse it that I was born to right these wrongs. No, come let's go together."