~ Hamlet ~
As I kneel there upon the stones
of the platform wall, I hear voices.
Not those of lost souls, but of my friends.
Horatio and Marcellus call for me.
My mind reels and I am giddy
to hear the sounds of life.
“Hillo, ho, ho, boy!” I call. “Come, bird, come.”
And then they are there beside me;
I feel Horatio’s caring arm
about my shoulder.
God, would that friendship alone
could balance the scales
of monstrous deceit in the world.
They are glad to see me whole,
not knowing I shall never be whole again.
Their words tumble all over one another,
asking what the specter said.
I wave them away,
saying they could never keep secret
that which must remain unsaid
until acts may be contrived
to shout the truth to heaven.
But they assure, they implore:
they will not speak.
And truth, it would ease my mind to speak it.
“There's never a villain dwelling in all Denmark,”
say I, “but he's an arrant knave. That would be Claudius.”
Horatio, good Horatio, gives me answer.
“There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
to tell us this.”
Why, right; he is in the right.
“And so,” I say, “without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
you, as your business and desire shall point you;
for every man has business and desire,
such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
look you, I'll go pray.”
Horatio grips my shoulder the stronger.
“These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.”
My dear friend, I must speak to him,
help him to understand.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come;
here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
No matter how strange
or seeming unbalanced I bear myself,
as I perchance hereafter shall think meet
to put an antic disposition on,
that you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
with arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
do not believe my mind is wrecked.
That you know aught of me: this do not do,
so grace and mercy at your most need help you, swear.”
What can he do but earnestly swear?
He does not know what I am speaking of.
But that he will be true always, I can never doubt.
“So,” say I, “with all my love I do commend me to you:
and what so poor a man as Hamlet is
may do, to express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
and still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
Life and time are twisted: oh cursed spite,
that ever I was born to set it right!”