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    Act 1. Scene IV

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    SCENE IV. The platform.

    Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS
    HAMLET
    The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.

    HORATIO
    It is a nipping and an eager air.

    HAMLET
    What hour now?

    HORATIO
    I think it lacks of twelve.

    HAMLET
    No, it is struck.

    HORATIO
    Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the season
    Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

    A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within

    What does this mean, my lord?

    HAMLET
    The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
    Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
    And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
    The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
    The triumph of his pledge.

    HORATIO
    Is it a custom?

    HAMLET
    Ay, marry, is't:
    But to my mind, though I am native here
    And to the manner born, it is a custom
    More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
    This heavy-headed revel east and west
    Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations:
    They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
    Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
    From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
    The pith and marrow of our attribute.
    So, oft it chances in particular men,
    That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
    As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
    Since nature cannot choose his origin--
    By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
    Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
    Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
    The form of plausive manners, that these men,
    Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
    Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
    Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
    As infinite as man may undergo--
    Shall in the general censure take corruption
    From that particular fault: the dram of eale
    Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
    To his own scandal.

    HORATIO
    Look, my lord, it comes!

    Enter Ghost

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

    Ghost beckons HAMLET

    HORATIO
    It beckons you to go away with it,
    As if it some impartment did desire
    To you alone.

    MARCELLUS
    Look, with what courteous action
    It waves you to a more removed ground:
    But do not go with it.

    HORATIO
    No, by no means.

    HAMLET
    It will not speak; then I will follow it.

    HORATIO
    Do not, my lord.

    HAMLET
    Why, what should be the fear?
    I do not set my life in a pin's fee;
    And for my soul, what can it do to that,
    Being a thing immortal as itself?
    It waves me forth again: I'll follow it.

    HORATIO
    What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
    Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
    That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
    And there assume some other horrible form,
    Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
    And draw you into madness? think of it:
    The very place puts toys of desperation,
    Without more motive, into every brain
    That looks so many fathoms to the sea
    And hears it roar beneath.

    HAMLET
    It waves me still.
    Go on; I'll follow thee.

    MARCELLUS
    You shall not go, my lord.

    HAMLET
    Hold off your hands.

    HORATIO
    Be ruled; you shall not go.

    HAMLET
    My fate cries out,
    And makes each petty artery in this body
    As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
    Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
    By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
    I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.

    Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET

    HORATIO
    He waxes desperate with imagination.

    MARCELLUS
    Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.

    HORATIO
    Have after. To what issue will this come?

    MARCELLUS
    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    HORATIO
    Heaven will direct it.

    MARCELLUS
    Nay, let's follow him.

    Exeunt
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