~ Hamlet ~
It’s now the very witching time of night,
when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
and do such bitter business as the day
would quake to look on. Soft! Now to my mother.
Oh heart, lose not your nature; let not ever
the soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
my tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
how in my words she may be reproved,
to give them seals never, my soul, consent!
But now, who is this?
Lurking in the chapel to distract my ear,
when I would be off to my mother’s bedroom?
Ah, uncle! My fair uncle!
And I do believe, can it be true?
He prays, or something very like!
Now, what does he say to his God?
“Oh, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
it has the primal eldest curse upon it.
A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
though inclination be as sharp as will:
my stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
and, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
and both neglect. What if this cursed hand
were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
to wash it white as snow? How serves mercy
but to confront the face of offence?
And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,
to be forestalled before we come to fall,
or pardoned being down? Then I'll look up;
my fault is past. But, oh, what form of prayer
can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possessed
of those effects for which I did the murder,
my crown, my own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
and often it’s seen the wicked prize itself
buys out the law: but it is not so above;
there is no shuffling, there the action lies
in his true nature; and we ourselves compelled,
even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
to give in evidence. What then? What rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
Oh wretched state! Oh bosom black as death!
Oh limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
are more entangled! Help, angels!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.”
So, there he kneels.
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
and now I'll do it. And so he goes to heaven;
and so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
a villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
Oh, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
with all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
and how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
it is heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
to take him in the purging of his soul,
when he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
Up, sword; until you find a more horrid opportunity:
when he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
at gaming, swearing, or about some act
that has no relish of salvation in it;
then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
and that his soul may be as damned and black
as hell, where it shall soon enough go.
My mother is waiting for me.