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Home > Hamlet > ACT I - SCENE IV. The platform.

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ACT I - SCENE IV. The platform.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS

HAMLET
1    The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
HORATIO
2    It is a nipping and an eager air.
HAMLET
3    What hour now?
HORATIO
4    I think it lacks of twelve.
HAMLET
5    No, it is struck.
HORATIO
6    Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the season
7    Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within
8    What does this mean, my lord?
HAMLET
9    The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
10   Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
11   And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
12   The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
13   The triumph of his pledge.
HORATIO
14   Is it a custom?
HAMLET
15   Ay, marry, is't:
16   But to my mind, though I am native here
17   And to the manner born, it is a custom
18   More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
19   This heavy-headed revel east and west
20   Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations:
21   They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
22   Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
23   From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
24   The pith and marrow of our attribute.
25   So, oft it chances in particular men,
26   That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
27   As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
28   Since nature cannot choose his origin--
29   By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
30   Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
31   Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
32   The form of plausive manners, that these men,
33   Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
34   Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
35   Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
36   As infinite as man may undergo--
37   Shall in the general censure take corruption
38   From that particular fault: the dram of eale
39   Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
40   To his own scandal.
HORATIO
41   Look, my lord, it comes!
Enter Ghost

HAMLET
42   Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
43   Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
44   Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
45   Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
46   Thou comest in such a questionable shape
47   That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
48   King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
49   Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
50   Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
51   Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
52   Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
53   Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
54   To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
55   That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
56   Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
57   Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
58   So horridly to shake our disposition
59   With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
60   Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Ghost beckons HAMLET

HORATIO
61   It beckons you to go away with it,
62   As if it some impartment did desire
63   To you alone.
MARCELLUS
64   Look, with what courteous action
65   It waves you to a more removed ground:
66   But do not go with it.
HORATIO
67   No, by no means.
HAMLET
68   It will not speak; then I will follow it.
HORATIO
69   Do not, my lord.
HAMLET
70   Why, what should be the fear?
71   I do not set my life in a pin's fee;
72   And for my soul, what can it do to that,
73   Being a thing immortal as itself?
74   It waves me forth again: I'll follow it.
HORATIO
75   What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
76   Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
77   That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
78   And there assume some other horrible form,
79   Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
80   And draw you into madness? think of it:
81   The very place puts toys of desperation,
82   Without more motive, into every brain
83   That looks so many fathoms to the sea
84   And hears it roar beneath.
HAMLET
85   It waves me still.
86   Go on; I'll follow thee.
MARCELLUS
87   You shall not go, my lord.
HAMLET
88   Hold off your hands.
HORATIO
89   Be ruled; you shall not go.
HAMLET
90   My fate cries out,
91   And makes each petty artery in this body
92   As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
93   Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
94   By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
95   I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.
Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET

HORATIO
96   He waxes desperate with imagination.
MARCELLUS
97   Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
HORATIO
98   Have after. To what issue will this come?
MARCELLUS
99   Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
HORATIO
100  Heaven will direct it.
MARCELLUS
101  Nay, let's follow him.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IIIACT I, SCENE V (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II

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