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Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all; to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man!"
Good advice is very fine,
From those who think and make it;
Only one in ninety-nine
Will ever stop to take it!
Hamlet and his friends, Horatio and Marcellus, go to the passing place of the Ghost at midnight, and there, to the amazement of Hamlet, he sees the apparition of his father, and exclaims:
"Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned, 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 thy sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned
Hath opened his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,
Revisit 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?"
The Ghost passes across the stage and beckons Hamlet to follow, who frantically rushes after the apparition and says:
"Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak, I'll go no farther."
Ghost utters in sepulchral voice:
I am thy father's spirit;
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest words
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their
Thy knotted and confined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List! list, O list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love,-
'Tis given out that sleeping in my orchard
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Den-
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused; but know thou, noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown!"
"O my prophetic soul! My uncle!"
The Ghost then makes this remarkable speech:
‘Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce! won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen;
O, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage; and to decline
Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel linked
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches on my ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
That quick as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And with a sudden vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: So did it mine;
And a most instant tetter barked about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatched;
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhoused, disappointed, unaneled;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head;
O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever, thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And begins to pale his ineffectual fire!
Adieu! adieu! adieu! remember me!"
As the Ghost ceased and passed off the stage a peculiar shivering cheer passed over the great audience, and revealed for the first time in London dramatic art, a supernatural being seemingly clothed in the habiliments of flesh, blood and bones, resurrected from the tomb.
Do spirits revisit this world again
When they're released from this body of pain,
And do they inhabit a realm afar
Beyond the bright sun and sparkling star?
King Claudius, his queen and Polonius were anxious to get at the real cause of Hamlet's lunacy, and send him away from the castle to prevent future trouble. The guilty conscience of the king daily feared detection.
Hamlet brooded so intently upon the cruel murder of his father that he was constantly on the verge of insanity, devising plans to either slaughter himself or wreak a terrible vengeance upon his uncle and mother.
Treading the halls of his ancestral palace he uttered this transcendent soliloquy that has puzzled the ages:
"To be or not to be; that is the question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation