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For it is, as the air, invulnerable,

And our vain blows malicious mockery.


Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew. Hor. And then it started, like a guilty thing Upon a fearful summons. I have heard, The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn, Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat Awake the god of day; and, at his warning, Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air, The extravagant and erring spirit hies To his confine; and of the truth herein This present object made probation.


Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock. Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, The bird of dawning singeth all night long: And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad; The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it. But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill, Break we our watch up; and, by my advice, Let us impart what we have seen to-night Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life, This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.


Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

Mar. Let's do 't, I pray; and I this morning


Where we shall find him most convenient.



SCENE II.-The Same. A Room of State.
Lords, and Attendants.

King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death


memory be green, and that it us befitted

To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;

Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore, our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 't were with a defeated joy,-
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,—
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barred


Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along: for all, our thanks.
Now follows that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,

Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death,
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father with all bands of law,


To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is. We have here


To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,-
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,-to suppress
His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject and we here despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power

To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.


Farewell; and let your haste commend your


Cor., Vol. In that, and all things, will we show

our duty.


King. We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.

And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is 't, Laertes ?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane

And lose your voice: what wouldst thou beg,

That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes ?


Dread my lord,

Your leave and favour to return to France;


From whence though willingly I came to Denmark To show my duty in your coronation,

Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,

My thoughts and wishes bend again toward


And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. King. Have you your father's leave!

says Polonius?


Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow


By laboursome petition; an 1, at last,

Upon his will I sealed my hard consent:

I do beseech you, give him leave to go.


King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be

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But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,

Ham. [Aside.] A little more than kin, and less

than kind.

King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

Ham. Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the


Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not for ever with thy vailéd lids

Seek for thy noble father in the dust:


Thou know'st, 't is common; all that lives must


Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

If it be,

Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not


"T is not alone my inky cloak, good mother,

Nor customary suits of solemn black,

Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,

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