Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the Ghost and Hamlet


Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further.


Mark me.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


                         I will.


                                                         My hour is almost come,

When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames

Must render up myself.
render up (v.) give up, surrender, yield


                         Alas, poor ghost!


Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing

To what I shall unfold.
bound (adj.) 4 ready, prepared


                         Speak. I am bound to hear.


So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.




I am thy father's spirit,

Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,

And for the day confined to fast in fires,
fast (v.) 2 do penance

Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
nature (n.) 4 mortal life, natural life

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,
harrow up (v.) disturb, distress, vex

Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
sphere (n.) 5 (plural) orbits [of the eye], sockets
sphere (n.) 1 celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit See Topics: Cosmos

Thy knotted and combined locks to part,

And each particular hair to stand an end

Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
fretful (adj.) 1 angry, irritated, ill-tempered
porpentine (n.) porcupine

But this eternal blazon must not be
blazon (n.) 3 revelation, divulging, publication

To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
list (v.) 2 listen

If thou didst ever thy dear father love –


O God!


Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.




Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
best, in the even at best

But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
strange (adj.) 1 remarkable, startling, abnormal, unnatural


Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift

As meditation or the thoughts of love,
meditation (n.) 1 thought, thinking

May sweep to my revenge.
apt (adj.) 1 fit, ready, prepared


                         I find thee apt,

And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
dull (adj.) 1 dead, lifeless, sluggish, inactive

That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
ease, in with ease, easily; or: in sloth
wharf (n.) river bank

Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear.

'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,

A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark

Is by a forged process of my death
forged (adj.) 2 fabricated, invented, falsified
process (n.) 3 account, report, story

Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
abuse (v.) 1 deceive, mislead, fool, cheat
rankly (adv.) grossly, very much, completely

The serpent that did sting thy father's life

Now wears his crown.


                         O my prophetic soul!

My uncle?


Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
adulterate (adj.) adulterous

With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts –
wit (n.) 5 mind, brain, thoughts

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.
seeming (adv.) 2 apparently, ostensibly, to outward appearance

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
decline (v.) 3 sink, fall to a low level

Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor

To those of mine!
to (prep.) 4 compared to

But virtue as it never will be moved,

Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
lewdness (n.) 2 obscenity, carnality, lascivious behaviour

So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,

Will sate itself in a celestial bed
sate (v.) satiate, glut, satisfy

And prey on garbage.
garbage (n.) offal, entrails

But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,

My custom always of the afternoon,

Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
secure (adj.) 1 carefree, free from anxiety, unguarded

With juice of cursed hebona in a vial,
hebona (n.) poisonous plant [identity not known, perhaps henbane] See Topics: Plants
vial (n.) phial, small bottle, flask

And in the porches of my ears did pour

The leperous distilment; whose effect
distilment (n.) distillation, extract
leperous, leprous (adj.) infected, poisoned, leprosy-like

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 vigour it doth posset
posset (v.) curdle, clot, coagulate
sudden (adj.) 1 swift, rapid, prompt
vigour (n.) power, efficacy, effect

And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
curd (v.) congeal, coagulate, curdle
eager (adj.) 3 sour, bitter, acid

The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine.
wholesome (adj.) 3 sound, firm, in good condition

And a most instant tetter barked about,
bark about (v.) encrust, form a crust [cover as with tree-bark]
tetter (n.) scaly eruption of the skin, scurf

Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust
lazar-like (adj.) like leprosy, leprous

All my smooth body.

Thus was I sleeping by a brother's hand

Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
dispatch, despatch (v.) 2 deprive, dispossess

Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
blossoms (n.) prime, peak, full flowering [as of a plant]

Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
disappointed (adj.) unprepared, unequipped
unaneled (adj.) unanointed by a priest, without extreme unction
unhouseled (adj.) without the Eucharist, without communion

No reckoning made, but sent to my account
account, accompt (n.) 1 reckoning, judgement [especially by God]
reckoning (n.) 4 [of personal qualities] rendering of account, settlement of debts

With all my imperfections on my head.

O, horrible! O, horrible! Most horrible!

If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
nature (n.) 1 natural feelings, natural affection

Let not the royal bed of Denmark be

A couch for luxury and damned incest.
luxury (n.) lust, lechery, lasciviousness

But howsomever thou pursues this act,
howsomever, howsome'er, how ... some'er (adv.) however, howsoever, in whatever way [+ subordinate clause] See Topics: how and how

Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
taint (v.) 1 sully, infect, stain

Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count

And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge

To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.

The glow-worm shows the matin to be near
matin (n.) morning

And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
pale (v.) 2 dim, make pale
uneffectual (adj.) ineffectual, ineffective, useless

Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me.



O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?

And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart.

And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
instant (adv.) immediately, instantly, at once
sinew (n.) 1 muscle

But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
stiffly (adv.) strongly, stoutly

Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat

In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
distracted (adj.) 1 perplexed, confused, agitated
globe (n.) head, brain

Yea, from the table of my memory
table (n.) 1 writing tablet, memo pad, notebook

I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
fond (adj.) 2 foolish, trifling, frivolous

All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
form (n.) 2 imprinted shape, impressed image
pressure (n.) impression, stamp, image
saw (n.) wise saying, platitude, maxim

That youth and observation copied there,

And thy commandment all alone shall live

Within the book and volume of my brain,

Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count

O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!

My tables – meet it is I set it down
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count
set down (v.) 2 log, make note, put on record
table (n.) 1 writing tablet, memo pad, notebook

That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.

He writes

So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word:

It is ‘ Adieu, adieu, remember me.’

I have sworn 't.

Enter Horatio and Marcellus
secure (v.) 1 keep safe, protect, guard


My lord, my lord!


                         Lord Hamlet!


                                                         Heavens secure him!


So be it!


Illo, ho, ho, my lord!


Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come.


How is't, my noble lord?


                         What news, my lord?


O, wonderful!


Good my lord, tell it.


                         No, you will reveal it.


Not I, my lord, by heaven.


                         Nor I, my lord.


How say you then? Would heart of man once think it?
once (adv.) 2 ever, at any time

But you'll be secret?


                         Ay, by heaven, my lord.


There's never a villain dwelling in all Denmark –

But he's an arrant knave.
arrant (adj.) downright, absolute, unmitigated See Topics: Frequency count
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count


There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave

To tell us this.


                         Why, right, you are in the right,

And so, without more circumstance at all,
circumstance (n.) 1 detail(s), particular(s), specifics

I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:

You, as your business and desire shall point you,
point (v.) 1 direct, suggest, indicate [to]

For every man hath business and desire,

Such as it is; and for my own poor part

I will go pray.


These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.


I'm sorry they offend you, heartily.

Yes, faith, heartily.


                         There's no offence, my lord.


Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,

And much offence too. Touching this vision here,

It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
honest (adj.) 3 genuine, real, true

For your desire to know what is between us,

O'ermaster't as you may. And now, good friends,
overmaster (v.) 1 overcome, control, master completely

As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,

Give me one poor request.
give (v.) 1 grant, allow, bestow


What is't, my lord? We will.


Never make known what you have seen tonight.


My lord, we will not.


                         Nay, but swear't.


                                                         In faith,

My lord, not I.


                         Nor I, my lord – in faith.


Upon my sword.


                         We have sworn, my lord, already.


Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.

The Ghost cries under the stage




Ha, ha, boy, sayst thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?
truepenny (n.) honest fellow, trusty chap

Come on. You hear this fellow in the cellarage.
cellarage (n.) cellars, basement

Consent to swear.


                         Propose the oath, my lord.


Never to speak of this that you have seen,

Swear by my sword.





Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
hic et... here and everywhere See Topics: Latin

Come hither, gentlemen,

And lay your hands again upon my sword.

Swear by my sword

Never to speak of this that you have heard.



Swear by his sword.


Well said, old mole! Canst work i'th' earth so fast?

A worthy pioneer! Once more remove, good friends.
pioneer, pioner (n.) 2 miner, digger, excavator


O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!


And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

But come.

Here as before, never, so help you mercy,

How strange or odd some'er I bear myself –
howsomever, howsome'er, how ... some'er (adv.) however, howsoever, in whatever way [+ subordinate clause] See Topics: how and how

As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
hereafter (adv.) 1 after this, in time to come
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count

To put an antic disposition on –
antic, antick(e), antique (adj.) 1 fantastic, bizarre, weird
disposition (n.) 4 affectation, show of temperament

That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,

With arms encumbered thus, or this head-shake,

Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,

As ‘ Well, well, we know,’ or ‘ We could, an if we would,’

Or ‘ If we list to speak,’ or ‘ There be, an if they might,’
list (v.) 1 wish, like, please

Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
giving out (n.) suggestion, intimation, utterance
note (v.) 3 show, indicate, intimate

That you know aught of me – this do swear,
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count

So grace and mercy at your most need help you.





Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! So, gentlemen,

With all my love I do commend me to you,
commend (v.) 1 convey greetings, present kind regards See Topics: Frequency count

And what so poor a man as Hamlet is

May do t' express his love and friending to you,
friending (n.) friendliness, friendship, affection

God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,

And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

The time is out of joint. O, cursed spite,
joint, out of disordered, disorganized, out of order
spite (n.) 2 malice, ill-will, hatred
time (n.) 2 times, present day, present state of affairs

That ever I was born to set it right!

Nay, come, let's go together.


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