Though my friends would hold me back
I push them away
and give myself to the dark;
Be this visitation heaven-sent
or a demon as Horatio feared,
I will speak with it.
It walks on and on, armored back to me.
Hurry as I may, I can not close the space between us.
So I stop and stand, and cry out.
“Where will you lead me? Speak! I'll go no further.”
Then in faith it does stop, and turns,
while my heart pounds wildly within me.
“Mark me.” At last, it speaks.
“I will.” I assure.
“My hour is almost come,”
Its intonations are the very breath of sadness,
“when I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
must render up myself.”
“Alas, poor ghost!” say I, for its pain in this
declaration, is palpable.
The stern eyes of my father look down on me then.
“Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
to what I shall unfold.
I am your 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 word
would harrow up your soul, freeze your young blood,
make your two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres.
Listen, oh, listen!
If you did ever your dear father love,
revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.”
I cannot help but slip to my knees,
gazing up at those eyes, which see the living world
with the most horrible condemnation.
“Murder most foul, as in the best it is,” it says.
“But this most foul, strange and unnatural.”
“Haste me to know it,” my blood, though cold,
hammers in my temples,
“that I, with wings as swift
as meditation or the thoughts of love,
may sweep to my revenge.”
“I find thee apt,” is its pronouncement.
“Now, Hamlet, hear:
'tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
a serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
is by a forged process of my death
rankly abused: but know,
the serpent that did sting your father's life
now wears his crown.”
O my prophetic soul! My uncle!
“Aye,” it will not spare my ears this great,
this hideous crime,
“that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
with witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
oh wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
so to seduce, won to his shameful lust
the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
so lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
will satisfy itself in a celestial bed,
and prey on garbage.
But, soft! I think I scent the morning air;
brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
my custom always of the afternoon,
upon my secure hour your uncle stole,
with poison in a vial,
and in the porches of my ears did pour
the leperous distilment; whose effect
holds such an enmity with blood of man
that swift as quicksilver it courses through
the natural gates and alleys of the 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.
O, horrible! Oh, horrible! Most horrible!
If you have nature in you, bear it not.
But, howsoever you pursue this act,
Taint not your mind, nor let your soul contrive
against your mother: leave her to heaven
and to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
to prick and sting her. Fare you well at once!
The glow-worm shows the morning to be near,
and begins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.”
And so, dear God, it is gone.
Oh all you host of heaven! Oh earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
and you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
but bear me stiffly up. Remember you!
Aye, poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
in this distracted globe.
Oh villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
at least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark:
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is “Adieu, adieu! Remember me.”
I have sworn it.