~ Hamlet ~
And so all go to their beds,
to exchange public tongues for private ones.
Though the chance that more truth will be found
in such transformation, seems slim at best.
I should forswear bed entirely,
and prowl these halls day and night
for eternity, like a Greek philosopher
searching, lamp aloft, in constant frustration
for the miraculous sight of an honest man.
Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
his canon against self-slaughter! Oh God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
seem to me all the uses of this world!
Such an unweeded garden
that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
possess it merely.
But who comes now?
Surely Horatio, in the company of a man-at-arms;
in greatcoats with faces flushed from cold.
Not a sight I would have expected.
What, abandoned the eternal search
for wisdom, good Horatio?
Gone for soldiering, where men at least
carve and hack with blades, not guile?
“Hail to your lordship!” he calls,
though such formal word is hardly needed between us.
“I am very glad to see you.” is my reply.
“But what, in faith, brings you here and now,
with Marcellus, if my eyes tell true?”
“A truant disposition, good my lord.” says he.
Truant, he says? Well, that would be a marvel.
“I would not hear your enemy say so,” I smile.
“Nor shall you do my ear that violence,
to make it trust your own report
against yourself: I know you are no truant.
Though Elsinore may teach you
to drink deep before you depart.
I myself am just now promised
to return not to Wittenberg;
though you and I came from there, I thought
to stand witness to my father’s funeral,
my mother’s wedding followed hard upon.
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats
did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father! I think I see my father.”
“Where, my lord?”
“In my mind's eye, Horatio.”
“My lord,” says he, “I think I have seen him this night.”
And so he and Marcellus launched into tale
of a watch in the dead vast and middle of the night;
how a figure like my father
appeared before them, and with solemn march
went slow and stately by their oppressed
and fear-surprised eyes.
Armored and silent, with a countenance
more in sorrow than in anger; very pale,
with eyes fixed most constantly.
I could not believe this account
to be anything but most astonishing true,
coming as it did from my fellow student,
to whom I would trust life and soul.
They bid me join them on the walls,
feeling sure that this apparition must return.
My father's spirit in arms!
All is not well; I must go.
Sit still, my soul! Foul deeds will rise,
though all the earth overwhelm them, to men's eyes.