Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 5
Enter GHOST and HAMLET.
1Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.
2. My hour is almost come: As in the first scene of the play, the "hour" when the Ghost must cease to "walk the night" is at cock crow, the first light of dawn. (See 1.1.138.)
2My hour is almost come,
3When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
4Must render up myself.
4Alas, poor Ghost!
5Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
6To what I shall unfold.
6Speak; I am bound to hear.
7So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
9I am thy father's spirit,
10Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
11. fast: do penance.
11And for the day confined to fast in fires,
12. crimes: sins. days of nature: i.e., life on earth. 13. But that: were it not that.
12Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
13Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
14To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
15I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
16. harrow up: shred, torment.
16Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
17. Make . . . spheres: i.e., make your eyes pop out of their sockets. ...more 18. knotted and combined locks: i.e., hair neatly arranged. part: separate. 20. fretful porpentine: fearful porcupine. ...more
17Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
18Thy knotted and combined locks to part
19And each particular hair to stand on end,
20Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
21. eternal blazon: revelation of eternal things.
21But this eternal blazon must not be
22. List: listen.
22To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
23If thou didst ever thy dear father love
25Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
27-28. Murder most foul, as in the best it is; / But this most foul, strange and unnatural: All murder is "foul" (dirty, criminal), but the murder of King Hamlet by his brother is "most foul" because it was done in a sneaky, cowardly way; Claudius killed his brother by pouring poison in King Hamlet's ear when he was taking a nap in his garden. And the murder is "unnatural" because by nature, Claudius should love his brother, not kill him.
27Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
28But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
29Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
30As meditation or the thoughts of love,
31May sweep to my revenge.
31I find thee apt;
32And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
33. Lethe: river of Hades, the water of which made the drinker forget the past. wharf: bank. 34. stir in this: take action on this cause. 35. orchard: garden.
33That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
34Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
35'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
36A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
37. forged process: false account.
37Is by a forged process of my death
38. abus'd: deceived.
38Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
39The serpent that did sting thy father's life
40Now wears his crown.
40O my prophetic soul!
42. adulterate: adulterous.
42Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
43With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts
44O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
45So to seduce!won to his shameful lust
46The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
47O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
48From me, whose love was of that dignity
49. went hand in hand even: went exactly hand in hand.
49That it went hand in hand even with the vow
50I made to her in marriage, and to decline
51Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
52To those of mine!
53But virtue, as it never will be moved,
54. shape of heaven: heavenly form.
54Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
55So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
56. sate: satiate.
56Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
57And prey on garbage.
58But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
59Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
60My custom always of the afternoon,
61. secure: without suspicion.
61Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
62. hebenon: a deadly poison.
62With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
63And in the porches of my ears did pour
64. leperous distillment: a distilled (and therefore potent) liquid which produces the disfigurement of leprosy. 66. quicksilver: mercury.
64The leperous distillment; whose effect
65Holds such an enmity with blood of man
66That swift as quicksilver it courses through
67The natural gates and alleys of the body,
68-69. posset . . . curd: Both words mean "make into curd." eager droppings: i.e., drops of acid, such as vinegar.
68And with a sudden vigor doth posset
69And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
70The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
71. tetter: scabby eruption. bark'd: formed a rough covering, like bark on a tree. 72. lazar-like: leper-like.
71And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
72Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
73All my smooth body.
74Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
75. at once: all at the same time. dispatch'd: suddenly deprived.
75Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd:
76Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
77. Unhous'led: without having received the sacrament. disappointed: without (spiritual) preparation. unanel'd: unanointed, without extreme unction.
77Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd,
78No reckoning made, but sent to my account
79With all my imperfections on my head:
80O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
81. nature: natural feelings [of a son for his father].
81If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
82Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
83. luxury: lust.
83A couch for luxury and damned incest.
83. pursuest this act: i.e., plan and take a course of action leading to revenge for King Hamlet's murder.
84But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
85Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
86Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven
87And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
88To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
89. matin: morning.
90. And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire: and his cold fire begins to grow pale.
90. And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire: and his cold fire begins to grow pale.
89The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
90And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
91Adieu, adieu, adieu! Remember me.
92O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?
93. couple: add.
93And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
94And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
95But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
96Ay, thou poor Ghost, while memory holds a seat
97. globe: head.
97In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
98. table: writing tablet.
98Yea, from the table of my memory
99. fond: foolish.
99I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
100. saws: wise sayings. forms: shapes, images. pressures: impressions.
100All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
101That youth and observation copied there;
102And thy commandment all alone shall live
103Within the book and volume of my brain,
104Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
105O most pernicious woman!
106O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
107. tables: i.e., notebook.
107My tablesmeet it is I set it down,
108That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
109At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark:
110. So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word: It appears to me that Hamlet is writing in a notebook. After he is finished writing that "one may smile, and smile, and be a villain," he says, "So, uncle, there you are," meaning "So much for you"; he then writes down a reminder of his "word," his promise to remember the Ghost.
110So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
111It is 'Adieu, adieu! remember me.'
112I have sworn't.
113My lord, my lord
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS.
113Heavens secure him!
114. So be it!: I think that Hamlet has finished writing in his notebook, and is once again promising to remember the Ghost.
114So be it!
115Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
116. Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come: Hamlet answers Marcellus' halloo with a falconer's cry.
116Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.
117How is't, my noble lord?
117What news, my lord?
118Good my lord, tell it.
119No; you'll reveal it.
120Not I, my lord, by heaven.
120Nor I, my lord.
121How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?
122But you'll be secret?
HORATIO and MARCELLUS
122Ay, by heaven, my lord.
123There's never a villain dwelling in all Denmark
124. arrant: complete.
124But he's an arrant knave.
125There needs no Ghost, my lord, come from the grave
126To tell us this.
126Why, right; you are i' the right;
127. circumstance: ceremony.
127And so, without more circumstance at all,
128I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
129You, as your business and desire shall point you;
130For every man has business and desire,
131Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
132Look you, I'll go pray.
133These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
134I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;
135Yes, 'faith heartily.
135There's no offence, my lord.
136. Saint Patrick: The keeper of Purgatory (where the Ghost abides during the day), St. Patrick was also the patron saint of blunders and confusion. 138. honest: genuine; truth-telling.
136Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
137And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
138It is an honest Ghost, that let me tell you:
139For your desire to know what is between us,
140O'ermaster 't as you may. And now, good friends,
141As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
142Give me one poor request.
143What is't, my lord? we will.
144Never make known what you have seen tonight.
HORATIO and MARCELLUS
145My lord, we will not.
145Nay, but swear't.
146My lord, not I.
146Nor I, my lord, in faith.
147Upon my sword.
147We have sworn, my lord, already.
148Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ghost cries under the stage.
150. truepenny: trusty fellow.
150Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there, truepenny?
151Come onyou hear this fellow in the cellarage
152Consent to swear.
152Propose the oath, my lord.
153Never to speak of this that you have seen,
154Swear by my sword.
156. Hic et ubique: here and everywhere. (Latin.)
156Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
157Come hither, gentlemen,
158And lay your hands again upon my sword:
159Swear by my sword
160Never to speak of this that you have heard,
161Swear by his sword.
162Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?
163. pioner: digger, miner.
163A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
164O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
165. as a stranger give it welcome: give it the welcome due in courtesy to strangers.
165And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
166There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
167. your philosophy: the natural philosophy [i.e., science] that everyone talks about.
167Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
169Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
170How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
171As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
172. antic disposition: weird mannerisms. ...more
172To put an antic disposition on,
173That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
174. With arms encumber'd thus: folded, crossed, this way. ...more 175. doubtful: i.e., supposedly ambiguous, but actually transparent. 176. We could, an if we would: i.e., we could explain, if we chose to. 177. list to: cared to, were inclined to. There . . . might: i.e., there are those who could explain. ...more 178. such ambiguous giving out: to note: to give a sign 179. know aught of me: i.e., know anything about my state of mind.
174With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
175Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
176As "Well, well, we know," or "We could, an if we would,"
177Or "If we list to speak," or "There be, an if they might,"
178Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
179That you know aught of methis not to do,
180So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
182Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! So, gentlemen,
183With all my love I do commend me to you:
184And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
185May do, to express his love and friending to you,
186God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
187. still: always.
187And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
188The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
189That ever I was born to set it right!
190. Nay, come, let's go together: It appears to me that Marcellus and Horatio are so confounded by Hamlet's "wild and whirling words" that they can't move until Hamlet invites them to go with him.
190Nay, come, let's go together.