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Hamlet - Act 1, scene 5
Last updated: Tue, Jun 02, 2020
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Navigate this workHamlet - Act 1, scene 5
Act 1, scene 5
The Ghost tells Hamlet a tale of horror. Saying that he is the spirit of Hamlet’s father, he demands that Hamlet avenge King Hamlet’s murder at the hands of Claudius. Hamlet, horrified, vows to “remember” and swears his friends to secrecy about what they have seen.Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
0719 Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I’ll go no
0721 Mark me.
p. 57HAMLET 0722 I will.
GHOST 0723 5 My hour is almost come
0724 When I to sulf’rous and tormenting flames
0725 Must render up myself.
HAMLET 0726 Alas, poor ghost!
0727 Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
0728 10 To what I shall unfold.
HAMLET 0729 Speak. I am bound to hear.
0730 So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
HAMLET 0731 What?
GHOST 0732 I am thy father’s spirit,
0733 15 Doomed for a certain term to walk the night
0734 And for the day confined to fast in fires
0735 Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
0736 Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
0737 To tell the secrets of my prison house,
0738 20 I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
0739 Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
0740 Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their
0742 Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
0743 25 And each particular hair to stand an end,
0744 Like quills upon the fearful porpentine.
0745 But this eternal blazon must not be
0746 To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O list!
0747 If thou didst ever thy dear father love—
HAMLET 0748 30O God!
0749 Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
HAMLET 0750 Murder?
0751 Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
0752 But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
0753 35 Haste me to know ’t, that I, with wings as swift
p. 590754 As meditation or the thoughts of love,
0755 May sweep to my revenge.
GHOST 0756 I find thee apt;
0757 And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
0758 40 That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
0759 Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear.
0760 ’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
0761 A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
0762 Is by a forgèd process of my death
0763 45 Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
0764 The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
0765 Now wears his crown.
HAMLET 0766 O, my prophetic soul! My uncle!
0767 Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
0768 50 With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts—
0769 O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
0770 So to seduce!—won to his shameful lust
0771 The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.
0772 O Hamlet, what ⟨a⟩ falling off was there!
0773 55 From me, whose love was of that dignity
0774 That it went hand in hand even with the vow
0775 I made to her in marriage, and to decline
0776 Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
0777 To those of mine.
0778 60 But virtue, as it never will be moved,
0779 Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
0780 So, ⟨lust,⟩ though to a radiant angel linked,
0781 Will ⟨sate⟩ itself in a celestial bed
0782 And prey on garbage.
0783 65 But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
0784 Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
0785 My custom always of the afternoon,
0786 Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
0787 With juice of cursèd hebona in a vial
0788 70 And in the porches of my ears did pour
p. 610789 The leprous distilment, whose effect
0790 Holds such an enmity with blood of man
0791 That swift as quicksilver it courses through
0792 The natural gates and alleys of the body,
0793 75 And with a sudden vigor it doth ⟨posset⟩
0794 And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
0795 The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine,
0796 And a most instant tetter barked about,
0797 Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust
0798 80 All my smooth body.
0799 Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand
0800 Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
0801 Cut off, even in the blossoms of my sin,
0802 Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
0803 85 No reck’ning made, but sent to my account
0804 With all my imperfections on my head.
0805 O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!
0806 If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
0807 Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
0808 90 A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
0809 But, howsomever thou pursues this act,
0810 Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
0811 Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
0812 And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
0813 95 To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
0814 The glowworm shows the matin to be near
0815 And ’gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
0816 Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me.⟨He exits.⟩
0817 O all you host of heaven! O Earth! What else?
0818 100 And shall I couple hell? O fie! Hold, hold, my heart,
0819 And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
0820 But bear me ⟨stiffly⟩ up. Remember thee?
0821 Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
0822 In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
0823 105 Yea, from the table of my memory
p. 630824 I’ll wipe away all trivial, fond records,
0825 All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
0826 That youth and observation copied there,
0827 And thy commandment all alone shall live
0828 110 Within the book and volume of my brain,
0829 Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
0830 O most pernicious woman!
0831 O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
0832 My tables—meet it is I set it down
0833 115 That one may smile and smile and be a villain.
0834 At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
0835 So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
0836 It is “adieu, adieu, remember me.”
0837 I have sworn ’t.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
HORATIO 0838 120My lord, my lord!
MARCELLUS 0839 Lord Hamlet.
HORATIO 0840 Heavens secure him!
HAMLET 0841 So be it.
MARCELLUS 0842 Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
HAMLET 0843 125Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, ⟨bird,⟩ come!
0844 How is ’t, my noble lord?
HORATIO 0845 What news, my lord?
HAMLET 0846 O, wonderful!
0847 Good my lord, tell it.
HAMLET 0848 130 No, you will reveal it.
0849 Not I, my lord, by heaven.
MARCELLUS 0850 Nor I, my lord.
0851 How say you, then? Would heart of man once think
0853 135 But you’ll be secret?
p. 65HORATIO/MARCELLUS 0854 Ay, by heaven, ⟨my lord.⟩
0855 There’s never a villain dwelling in all Denmark
0856 But he’s an arrant knave.
0857 There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
0858 140 To tell us this.
HAMLET 0859 Why, right, you are in the right.
0860 And so, without more circumstance at all,
0861 I hold it fit that we shake hands and part,
0862 You, as your business and desire shall point you
0863 145 (For every man hath business and desire,
0864 Such as it is), and for my own poor part,
0865 I will go pray.
0866 These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
0867 I am sorry they offend you, heartily;
0868 150 Yes, faith, heartily.
HORATIO 0869 There’s no offense, my lord.
0870 Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
0871 And much offense, too. Touching this vision here,
0872 It is an honest ghost—that let me tell you.
0873 155 For your desire to know what is between us,
0874 O’ermaster ’t as you may. And now, good friends,
0875 As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
0876 Give me one poor request.
HORATIO 0877 What is ’t, my lord? We will.
0878 160 Never make known what you have seen tonight.
HORATIO/MARCELLUS 0879 My lord, we will not.
HAMLET 0880 Nay, but swear ’t.
HORATIO 0881 In faith, my lord, not I.
MARCELLUS 0882 Nor I, my lord, in faith.
0883 165 Upon my sword.
p. 67MARCELLUS 0884 We have sworn, my lord, already.
HAMLET 0885 Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
GHOST cries under the stage 0886 Swear.
0887 Ha, ha, boy, sayst thou so? Art thou there,
0888 170 truepenny?
0889 Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
0890 Consent to swear.
HORATIO 0891 Propose the oath, my lord.
0892 Never to speak of this that you have seen,
0893 175 Swear by my sword.
GHOST, ⌜beneath⌝ 0894 Swear.
0895 Hic et ubique? Then we’ll shift our ground.
0896 Come hither, gentlemen,
0897 And lay your hands again upon my sword.
0898 180 Swear by my sword
0899 Never to speak of this that you have heard.
GHOST, ⌜beneath⌝ 0900 Swear by his sword.
0901 Well said, old mole. Canst work i’ th’ earth so fast?—
0902 A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
0903 185 O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
0904 And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
0905 There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
0906 Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come.
0907 Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
0908 190 How strange or odd some’er I bear myself
0909 (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
0910 To put an antic disposition on)
0911 That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
0912 With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
0913 195 Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
p. 690914 As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could an if we
0916 Or “If we list to speak,” or “There be an if they
0918 200 Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note
0919 That you know aught of me—this do swear,
0920 So grace and mercy at your most need help you.
GHOST, ⌜beneath⌝ 0921 Swear.
0922 Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit.—So, gentlemen,
0923 205 With all my love I do commend me to you,
0924 And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
0925 May do t’ express his love and friending to you,
0926 God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
0927 And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
0928 210 The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite
0929 That ever I was born to set it right!
0930 Nay, come, let’s go together.