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No Fear Translations

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No Fear Audio

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter BARNARDO and FRANCISCO , two sentinels
BARNARDO and FRANCISCO , two watchmen, enter.

BARNARDO

Who’s there?

BARNARDO

Who’s there?

FRANCISCO

Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.

FRANCISCO

No, who are you? Stop and identify yourself.

BARNARDO

Long live the king!

BARNARDO

Long live the king!

FRANCISCO

Barnardo?

FRANCISCO

Is that Barnardo?

BARNARDO

He.

BARNARDO

Yes, it’s me.

FRANCISCO

You come most carefully upon your hour.

FRANCISCO

You’ve come right on time.

BARNARDO

'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.

BARNARDO

The clock’s just striking twelve. Go home to bed, Francisco.

FRANCISCO

For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.

FRANCISCO

Thanks for letting me go. It’s bitterly cold out, and I’m depressed.

BARNARDO

Have you had quiet guard?

BARNARDO

Has it been a quiet night?

FRANCISCO

Not a mouse stirring.

FRANCISCO

I haven’t even heard a mouse squeak.

BARNARDO

Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
10 The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

BARNARDO

Well, good night. If you happen to see Horatio and Marcellus, who are supposed to stand guard with me tonight, tell them to hurry.

FRANCISCO

I think I hear them.—Stand, ho! Who’s there?

FRANCISCO

I think I hear them. —Stop! Who’s there?
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
MARCELLUS and HORATIO enter.

HORATIO

Friends to this ground.

HORATIO

Friends of this country.

MARCELLUS

And liegemen to the Dane.

MARCELLUS

And servants of the Danish king.

FRANCISCO

Give you good night.

FRANCISCO

Good night to you both.

MARCELLUS

O, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?

MARCELLUS

Good-bye. Who’s taken over the watch for you?

FRANCISCO

Barnardo has my place. Give you good night.

FRANCISCO

Barnardo’s taken my place. Good night.
Exit FRANCISCO
FRANCISCO exits.

MARCELLUS

15 Holla, Barnardo.

MARCELLUS

Hello, Barnardo.

BARNARDO

Say what, is Horatio there?

BARNARDO

Hello. Is Horatio here too?

HORATIO

A piece of him.

HORATIO

More or less.

BARNARDO

Welcome, Horatio.—Welcome, good Marcellus.

BARNARDO

Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, Marcellus.

MARCELLUS

What, has this thing appeared again tonight?

MARCELLUS

So, tell us, did you see that thing again tonight?

BARNARDO

20 I have seen nothing.

BARNARDO

I haven’t seen anything.

MARCELLUS

Horatio says ’tis but our fantasy
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
Therefore I have entreated him along
25 With us to watch the minutes of this night,
That if again this apparition come
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.

MARCELLUS

Horatio says we’re imagining it, and won’t let himself believe anything about this horrible thing that we’ve seen twice now. That’s why I’ve begged him to come on our shift tonight, so that if the ghost appears he can see what we see and speak to it.

HORATIO

Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.

HORATIO

Oh, nonsense. It’s not going to appear.

BARNARDO

Sit down a while
And let us once again assail your ears,
30 That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.

BARNARDO

Sit down for a while, and we’ll tell you again the story you don’t want to believe, about what we’ve seen two nights now.

HORATIO

Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.

HORATIO

Well, let’s sit down and listen to Barnardo tell us.

BARNARDO

Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
35 Had made his course t' illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one—

BARNARDO

Last night, when that star to the west of the North Star had traveled across the night sky to that point where it’s shining now, at one o'clock, Marcellus and I—
Enter GHOST
The GHOST enters.

MARCELLUS

Peace, break thee off. Look where it comes again!

MARCELLUS

Quiet, shut up! It’s come again.

BARNARDO

In the same figure like the king that’s dead.

BARNARDO

Looking just like the dead king.

MARCELLUS

(to HORATIO) Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.

MARCELLUS

(to HORATIO) You’re well-educated, Horatio. Say something to it.

BARNARDO

Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio.

BARNARDO

Doesn’t he look like the king, Horatio?

HORATIO

Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.

HORATIO

Very much so. It’s terrifying.

BARNARDO

It would be spoke to.

BARNARDO

It wants us to speak to it.

MARCELLUS

Question it, Horatio.

MARCELLUS

Ask it something, Horatio.

HORATIO

What art thou that usurp’st this time of night
45 Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee, speak.

HORATIO

What are you, that you walk out so late at night, looking like the dead king of Denmark when he dressed for battle? By God, I order you to speak.

MARCELLUS

It is offended.

MARCELLUS

It looks like you’ve offended it.

BARNARDO

See, it stalks away.

BARNARDO

Look, it’s going away.

HORATIO

Stay! Speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!

HORATIO

Stay! Speak! Speak! I order you, speak!
Exit GHOST
The GHOST exits.

MARCELLUS

50 'Tis gone and will not answer.

MARCELLUS

It’s gone. It won’t answer now.

BARNARDO

How now, Horatio? You tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on ’t?

BARNARDO

What’s going on, Horatio? You’re pale and trembling. You agree now that we’re not imagining this, don’t you? What do you think about it?

HORATIO

Before my God, I might not this believe
55 Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.

HORATIO

I swear to God, if I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes I’d never believe it.

MARCELLUS

Is it not like the king?

MARCELLUS

Doesn’t it look like the king?

HORATIO

As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armour he had on
60 When he the ambitious Norway combated.
So frowned he once when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
'Tis strange.

HORATIO

Yes, as much as you look like yourself. The king was wearing exactly this armor when he fought the king of Norway. And the ghost frowned just like the king did once when he attacked the Poles, traveling on the ice in sleds. It’s weird.

MARCELLUS

Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
65 With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

MARCELLUS

It’s happened like this twice before, always at this exact time. He stalks by us at our post like a warrior.

HORATIO

In what particular thought to work I know not,
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

HORATIO

I don’t know exactly how to explain this, but I have a general feeling this means bad news for our country.

MARCELLUS

Good now, sit down and tell me, he that knows,
70 Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
And foreign mart for implements of war,
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
75 Does not divide the Sunday from the week.
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint laborer with the day?
Who is ’t that can inform me?

MARCELLUS

All right, let’s sit down and discuss that question. Somebody tell me why this strict schedule of guards has been imposed, and why so many bronze cannons are being manufactured in Denmark, and so many weapons bought from abroad, and why the shipbuilders are so busy they don’t even rest on Sunday. Is something about to happen that warrants working this night and day? Who can explain this to me?

HORATIO

That can I.
At least, the whisper goes so: our last king,
80 Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
85 Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of to the conqueror,
Against the which a moiety competent
90 Was gagèd by our king, which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same covenant
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
95 Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in ’t, which is no other—
100 As it doth well appear unto our state—
But to recover of us, by strong hand

HORATIO

I can. Or at least I can describe the rumors. As you know, our late king, whom we just now saw as a ghost, was the great rival of Fortinbras, king of Norway. Fortinbras dared him to battle. In that fight, our courageous Hamlet (or at least that’s how we thought of him) killed old King Fortinbras, who—on the basis of a valid legal document—surrendered all his territories, along with his life, to his conqueror. If our king had lost, he would have had to do the same. But now old Fortinbras’s young son, also called Fortinbras—he is bold, but unproven—has gathered a bunch of thugs from the lawless outskirts of the country. For some food, they’re eager to take on the tough enterprise of securing the lands the elder Fortinbras lost.
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
105 The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this posthaste and rummage in the land.
As far as I understand, that’s why we’re posted here tonight and why there’s such a commotion in Denmark lately.

BARNARDO

I think it be no other but e'en so.
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armèd through our watch so like the king
110 That was and is the question of these wars.

BARNARDO

I think that’s exactly right—that explains why the ghost of the late king would haunt us now, since he caused these wars.

HORATIO

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
115 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.
120 And even the like precurse of feared events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.

HORATIO

The ghost is definitely something to worry about. In the high and mighty Roman Empire, just before the emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated, corpses rose out of their graves and ran through the streets of Rome speaking gibberish. There were shooting stars, and blood mixed in with the morning dew, and threatening signs on the face of the sun. The moon, which controls the tides of the sea, was so eclipsed it almost went completely out. And we’ve had similar omens of terrible things to come, as if heaven and earth have joined together to warn us what’s going to happen.
Enter GHOST
The GHOST enters.
125 But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again.
I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
Wait, look! It has come again. I’ll meet it if it’s the last thing I do. —Stay here, you hallucination!
GHOST spreads his arms
The GHOST spreads his arms.
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If you have a voice or can make sounds, speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done
130 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,
Oh, speak!
135 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,
Speak of it. Stay and speak!
If there’s any good deed I can do that will bring you peace and me honor, speak to me. If you have some secret knowledge of your country’s sad fate—which might be avoided if we knew about it—then, please, speak. Or if you’ve got some buried treasure somewhere, which they say often makes ghosts restless, then tell us about it. Stay and speak!
The cock crows
A rooster crows.
—Stop it, Marcellus.
Keep it from leaving, Marcellus.

MARCELLUS

Shall I strike at it with my partisan?

MARCELLUS

Should I strike it with my spear?

HORATIO

140 Do, if it will not stand.

HORATIO

Yes, if it doesn’t stand still.

BARNARDO

'Tis here.

BARNARDO

It’s over here.

HORATIO

'Tis here.

HORATIO

There it is.
Exit GHOST
The GHOST exits.

MARCELLUS

'Tis gone.
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence,
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
145 And our vain blows malicious mockery.

MARCELLUS

It’s gone. We were wrong to threaten it with violence, since it looks so much like a king. Besides, we can’t hurt it anymore than we can hurt the air. Our attack was stupid, futile, and wicked.

BARNARDO

It was about to speak when the cock crew.

BARNARDO

It was about to say something when the rooster crowed.

HORATIO

And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
150 Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day, and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine, and of the truth herein
155 This present object made probation.

HORATIO

And then it acted startled, like a guilty person caught by the law. I’ve heard that the rooster awakens the god of day with its trumpetlike crowing, and makes all wandering ghosts, wherever they are, hurry back to their hiding places. We’ve just seen proof of that.

MARCELLUS

It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long.
160 And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad.
The nights are wholesome. Then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that time.

MARCELLUS

Yes, it faded away when the rooster crowed. Some people say that just before Christmas the rooster crows all night long, so that no ghost dares go wandering, and the night is safe. The planets have no sway over us, fairies' spells don’t work, and witches can’t bewitch us. That’s how holy that night is.

HORATIO

So have I heard and do in part believe it.
165 But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
Break we our watch up, and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet, for, upon my life,
170 This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

HORATIO

Yes, I’ve heard the same thing and sort of believe it. But look, morning is breaking beyond that hill in the east, turning the sky red. Let’s interrupt our watch and go tell young Hamlet what we’ve seen tonight. I’m sure this ghost that’s so silent with us will speak to him. Don’t you agree that we owe it to him to tell him about this, out of duty and love?

MARCELLUS

Let’s do ’t, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.

MARCELLUS

Let’s do it. I know where we’ll find him this morning.
Exeunt
They exit.

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter BARNARDO and FRANCISCO , two sentinels
BARNARDO and FRANCISCO , two watchmen, enter.

BARNARDO

Who’s there?

BARNARDO

Who’s there?

FRANCISCO

Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.

FRANCISCO

No, who are you? Stop and identify yourself.

BARNARDO

Long live the king!

BARNARDO

Long live the king!

FRANCISCO

Barnardo?

FRANCISCO

Is that Barnardo?

BARNARDO

He.

BARNARDO

Yes, it’s me.

FRANCISCO

You come most carefully upon your hour.

FRANCISCO

You’ve come right on time.

BARNARDO

'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.

BARNARDO

The clock’s just striking twelve. Go home to bed, Francisco.

FRANCISCO

For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.

FRANCISCO

Thanks for letting me go. It’s bitterly cold out, and I’m depressed.

BARNARDO

Have you had quiet guard?

BARNARDO

Has it been a quiet night?

FRANCISCO

Not a mouse stirring.

FRANCISCO

I haven’t even heard a mouse squeak.

BARNARDO

Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
10 The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

BARNARDO

Well, good night. If you happen to see Horatio and Marcellus, who are supposed to stand guard with me tonight, tell them to hurry.

FRANCISCO

I think I hear them.—Stand, ho! Who’s there?

FRANCISCO

I think I hear them. —Stop! Who’s there?
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
MARCELLUS and HORATIO enter.

HORATIO

Friends to this ground.

HORATIO

Friends of this country.

MARCELLUS

And liegemen to the Dane.

MARCELLUS

And servants of the Danish king.

FRANCISCO

Give you good night.

FRANCISCO

Good night to you both.

MARCELLUS

O, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?

MARCELLUS

Good-bye. Who’s taken over the watch for you?

FRANCISCO

Barnardo has my place. Give you good night.

FRANCISCO

Barnardo’s taken my place. Good night.
Exit FRANCISCO
FRANCISCO exits.

MARCELLUS

15 Holla, Barnardo.

MARCELLUS

Hello, Barnardo.

BARNARDO

Say what, is Horatio there?

BARNARDO

Hello. Is Horatio here too?

HORATIO

A piece of him.

HORATIO

More or less.

BARNARDO

Welcome, Horatio.—Welcome, good Marcellus.

BARNARDO

Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, Marcellus.

MARCELLUS

What, has this thing appeared again tonight?

MARCELLUS

So, tell us, did you see that thing again tonight?

BARNARDO

20 I have seen nothing.

BARNARDO

I haven’t seen anything.

MARCELLUS

Horatio says ’tis but our fantasy
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
Therefore I have entreated him along
25 With us to watch the minutes of this night,
That if again this apparition come
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.

MARCELLUS

Horatio says we’re imagining it, and won’t let himself believe anything about this horrible thing that we’ve seen twice now. That’s why I’ve begged him to come on our shift tonight, so that if the ghost appears he can see what we see and speak to it.

HORATIO

Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.

HORATIO

Oh, nonsense. It’s not going to appear.

BARNARDO

Sit down a while
And let us once again assail your ears,
30 That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.

BARNARDO

Sit down for a while, and we’ll tell you again the story you don’t want to believe, about what we’ve seen two nights now.

HORATIO

Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.

HORATIO

Well, let’s sit down and listen to Barnardo tell us.

BARNARDO

Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
35 Had made his course t' illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one—

BARNARDO

Last night, when that star to the west of the North Star had traveled across the night sky to that point where it’s shining now, at one o'clock, Marcellus and I—
Enter GHOST
The GHOST enters.

MARCELLUS

Peace, break thee off. Look where it comes again!

MARCELLUS

Quiet, shut up! It’s come again.

BARNARDO

In the same figure like the king that’s dead.

BARNARDO

Looking just like the dead king.

MARCELLUS

(to HORATIO) Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.

MARCELLUS

(to HORATIO) You’re well-educated, Horatio. Say something to it.

BARNARDO

Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio.

BARNARDO

Doesn’t he look like the king, Horatio?

HORATIO

Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.

HORATIO

Very much so. It’s terrifying.

BARNARDO

It would be spoke to.

BARNARDO

It wants us to speak to it.

MARCELLUS

Question it, Horatio.

MARCELLUS

Ask it something, Horatio.

HORATIO

What art thou that usurp’st this time of night
45 Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee, speak.

HORATIO

What are you, that you walk out so late at night, looking like the dead king of Denmark when he dressed for battle? By God, I order you to speak.

MARCELLUS

It is offended.

MARCELLUS

It looks like you’ve offended it.

BARNARDO

See, it stalks away.

BARNARDO

Look, it’s going away.

HORATIO

Stay! Speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!

HORATIO

Stay! Speak! Speak! I order you, speak!
Exit GHOST
The GHOST exits.

MARCELLUS

50 'Tis gone and will not answer.

MARCELLUS

It’s gone. It won’t answer now.

BARNARDO

How now, Horatio? You tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on ’t?

BARNARDO

What’s going on, Horatio? You’re pale and trembling. You agree now that we’re not imagining this, don’t you? What do you think about it?

HORATIO

Before my God, I might not this believe
55 Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.

HORATIO

I swear to God, if I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes I’d never believe it.

MARCELLUS

Is it not like the king?

MARCELLUS

Doesn’t it look like the king?

HORATIO

As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armour he had on
60 When he the ambitious Norway combated.
So frowned he once when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
'Tis strange.

HORATIO

Yes, as much as you look like yourself. The king was wearing exactly this armor when he fought the king of Norway. And the ghost frowned just like the king did once when he attacked the Poles, traveling on the ice in sleds. It’s weird.

MARCELLUS

Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
65 With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

MARCELLUS

It’s happened like this twice before, always at this exact time. He stalks by us at our post like a warrior.

HORATIO

In what particular thought to work I know not,
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

HORATIO

I don’t know exactly how to explain this, but I have a general feeling this means bad news for our country.

MARCELLUS

Good now, sit down and tell me, he that knows,
70 Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
And foreign mart for implements of war,
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
75 Does not divide the Sunday from the week.
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint laborer with the day?
Who is ’t that can inform me?

MARCELLUS

All right, let’s sit down and discuss that question. Somebody tell me why this strict schedule of guards has been imposed, and why so many bronze cannons are being manufactured in Denmark, and so many weapons bought from abroad, and why the shipbuilders are so busy they don’t even rest on Sunday. Is something about to happen that warrants working this night and day? Who can explain this to me?

HORATIO

That can I.
At least, the whisper goes so: our last king,
80 Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
85 Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of to the conqueror,
Against the which a moiety competent
90 Was gagèd by our king, which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same covenant
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
95 Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in ’t, which is no other—
100 As it doth well appear unto our state—
But to recover of us, by strong hand

HORATIO

I can. Or at least I can describe the rumors. As you know, our late king, whom we just now saw as a ghost, was the great rival of Fortinbras, king of Norway. Fortinbras dared him to battle. In that fight, our courageous Hamlet (or at least that’s how we thought of him) killed old King Fortinbras, who—on the basis of a valid legal document—surrendered all his territories, along with his life, to his conqueror. If our king had lost, he would have had to do the same. But now old Fortinbras’s young son, also called Fortinbras—he is bold, but unproven—has gathered a bunch of thugs from the lawless outskirts of the country. For some food, they’re eager to take on the tough enterprise of securing the lands the elder Fortinbras lost.
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
105 The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this posthaste and rummage in the land.
As far as I understand, that’s why we’re posted here tonight and why there’s such a commotion in Denmark lately.

BARNARDO

I think it be no other but e'en so.
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armèd through our watch so like the king
110 That was and is the question of these wars.

BARNARDO

I think that’s exactly right—that explains why the ghost of the late king would haunt us now, since he caused these wars.

HORATIO

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
115 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.
120 And even the like precurse of feared events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.

HORATIO

The ghost is definitely something to worry about. In the high and mighty Roman Empire, just before the emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated, corpses rose out of their graves and ran through the streets of Rome speaking gibberish. There were shooting stars, and blood mixed in with the morning dew, and threatening signs on the face of the sun. The moon, which controls the tides of the sea, was so eclipsed it almost went completely out. And we’ve had similar omens of terrible things to come, as if heaven and earth have joined together to warn us what’s going to happen.
Enter GHOST
The GHOST enters.
125 But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again.
I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
Wait, look! It has come again. I’ll meet it if it’s the last thing I do. —Stay here, you hallucination!
GHOST spreads his arms
The GHOST spreads his arms.
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If you have a voice or can make sounds, speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done
130 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,
Oh, speak!
135 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,
Speak of it. Stay and speak!
If there’s any good deed I can do that will bring you peace and me honor, speak to me. If you have some secret knowledge of your country’s sad fate—which might be avoided if we knew about it—then, please, speak. Or if you’ve got some buried treasure somewhere, which they say often makes ghosts restless, then tell us about it. Stay and speak!
The cock crows
A rooster crows.
—Stop it, Marcellus.
Keep it from leaving, Marcellus.

MARCELLUS

Shall I strike at it with my partisan?

MARCELLUS

Should I strike it with my spear?

HORATIO

140 Do, if it will not stand.

HORATIO

Yes, if it doesn’t stand still.

BARNARDO

'Tis here.

BARNARDO

It’s over here.

HORATIO

'Tis here.

HORATIO

There it is.
Exit GHOST
The GHOST exits.

MARCELLUS

'Tis gone.
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence,
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
145 And our vain blows malicious mockery.

MARCELLUS

It’s gone. We were wrong to threaten it with violence, since it looks so much like a king. Besides, we can’t hurt it anymore than we can hurt the air. Our attack was stupid, futile, and wicked.

BARNARDO

It was about to speak when the cock crew.

BARNARDO

It was about to say something when the rooster crowed.

HORATIO

And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
150 Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day, and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine, and of the truth herein
155 This present object made probation.

HORATIO

And then it acted startled, like a guilty person caught by the law. I’ve heard that the rooster awakens the god of day with its trumpetlike crowing, and makes all wandering ghosts, wherever they are, hurry back to their hiding places. We’ve just seen proof of that.

MARCELLUS

It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long.
160 And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad.
The nights are wholesome. Then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that time.

MARCELLUS

Yes, it faded away when the rooster crowed. Some people say that just before Christmas the rooster crows all night long, so that no ghost dares go wandering, and the night is safe. The planets have no sway over us, fairies' spells don’t work, and witches can’t bewitch us. That’s how holy that night is.

HORATIO

So have I heard and do in part believe it.
165 But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
Break we our watch up, and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet, for, upon my life,
170 This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

HORATIO

Yes, I’ve heard the same thing and sort of believe it. But look, morning is breaking beyond that hill in the east, turning the sky red. Let’s interrupt our watch and go tell young Hamlet what we’ve seen tonight. I’m sure this ghost that’s so silent with us will speak to him. Don’t you agree that we owe it to him to tell him about this, out of duty and love?

MARCELLUS

Let’s do ’t, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.

MARCELLUS

Let’s do it. I know where we’ll find him this morning.
Exeunt
They exit.