AuthorName: William Shakespeare
Eras: 1601-1700, 1501-1600
Horatio has just seen King Hamlet's Ghost for the first time. In this monologue, he informs Marcellus that the King had killed Fortinbras, and therefore inherited his land. He goes on to tell Marcellus that it is young Fortinbras' plan to take back that which belonged to his father. Toward the end of the monologue, King Hamlet's ghost appears again and Horatio asks him to speak.
Age Range: 20s - Early, 20s - Late, 30s - Early
Dialects: Standard American, Standard English
Rating: Suitable for all ages
Copyright Status: Public domain
That can I. At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king, Whose image even but now...View Full Monologue Text
That can I.
At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride, Dar'd to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror;
Against the which a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same cov'nant
And carriage of the article design'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other,
As it doth well appear unto our state,
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost; and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
As stars with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climature and countrymen.
[Enter Ghost again.]
But soft! behold! Lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blast me.- Stay illusion!
[Spreads his arms.]
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease, and, grace to me,
Speak to me.
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth
(For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death),
[The cock crows.]
Speak of it! Stay, and speak!- Stop it, Marcellus!