Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 8

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HORATIO

My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.

HORATIO

Sir, I think I saw him last night.

HAMLET

Saw who?

HAMLET

Saw who?

HORATIO

190My lord, the king your father.

HORATIO

Your father, sir. The dead king.

HAMLET

The king my father?!

HAMLET

The king my father?!

HORATIO

Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear, till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
195This marvel to you.

HORATIO

Don’t get too excited yet, sir. Just listen carefully while I tell you the amazing thing I saw, with these gentlemen as witnesses.

HAMLET

  For God’s love, let me hear.

HAMLET

For God’s sake, let me hear it.

HORATIO

Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encountered: a figure like your father,
200Armed at point exactly, cap-à-pie,
Appears before them and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked
By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd eyes
Within his truncheon’s length, whilst they, distilled
205Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
And I with them the third night kept the watch,
Where—as they had delivered, both in time,
210Form of the thing, each word made true and good—
The apparition comes. I knew your father.
These hands are not more like.

HORATIO

After midnight, for two nights running, these two guards, Marcellus and Barnardo, saw a figure that looked very much like your father, in full armor from head to toe. It just appeared before them and marched past them with slow dignity three times, a staff’s distance from their amazed eyes, while they turned, quaking with fear and too shocked to speak. They told me all about this, so on the third night I agreed to come stand guard with them, to see for myself. It happened again, just as they had described. I knew your father. This ghost looked as much like him as my two hands are like each other.

HAMLET

      But where was this?

HAMLET

But where did this happen?