A monologue from the
play by William
MORE MONOLOGUES BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
- GHOST: I am thy father's spirit,
- Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
- And for the day confined to fast in fires,
- Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
- Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
- To tell the secrets of my prison house,
- I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
- Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
- Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
- Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
- And each particular hair to stand an end
- Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
- But this eternal blazon must not be
- To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
- If thou didst ever thy dear father love,
- Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
- 'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
- A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
- Is by a forgèd process of my death
- Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
- The serpent that did sting thy father's life
- Now wears his crown. Thy uncle,
- Ay, that incestuous, that adulterous beast,
- With witchcraft of his wit, with traiterous gifts--
- O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
- So to seduce! -- won to his shameful lust
- The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.
- O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there,
- From me, whose love was of that dignity
- That it went hand in hand even with the vow
- I made to her in marriage, and to decline
- Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
- To those of mine!
- But virtue, as it never will be moved,
- Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
- So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
- Will sate itself in a celestial bed
- And prey on garbage.
- But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
- Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
- My custom always of the afternoon,
- Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
- With juice of cursed hebona in a vial,
- And in the porches of my ears did pour
- The leperous distilment, whose effect
- Holds such an enmity with blood of man
- That swift as quicksilver it courses through
- The natural gates and alleys of the body,
- And with a sudden vigor it doth posset
- And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
- The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine,
- And a most instant tetter barked about
- Most lazar-like with vile and loathsome crust
- All my smooth body.
- Thus was I sleeping by a brother's hand
- Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
- Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
- Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
- No reck'ning made, but sent to my account
- With all my imperfections on my head.
- O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
- If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
- Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
- A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
- But howsomever thou pursues this act,
- Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
- Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
- And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
- To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
- The glowworm shows the matin to be near
- And gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
- Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me.