William Shakespeare. Hamlet (in prose, read online)

Part 8. The Sacred Oath

Hamlet turned round slowly and walked to join his friends, who at that moment appeared on the platform. To all their questions he answered in an evasive manner, fearing to tell them the terrible truth which he had just learned. He understood that his evasive answers offended his friends, especially his honest fellow-student Horatio, whose advice he had always valued.

«There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,»1 he said. «But one thing is certain, and this I will tell you: there isn’t a villain in Denmark, who isn’t an arrant knave.»2

«No ghost is needed, my lord, to tell us this,» said Ho­ratio, offended.

«I am sorry, but 1 cannot tell you anything else now. As to this vision here, it is an honest ghost, that I can tell you. And now, good friends, I have one great request to all of you: never tell anybody what you have seen to-day.»

«We will not, my lord!» was the unanimous answer.

«Nay, swear upon my sword,» said Hamlet.

«Swear!» a voice came to their ears from under the ground.

«Ah, ha, boy! art thou there, true-penny?»3 said Hamlet, and again addressed his friends. «Come on, gentlemen, do you hear that fellow from under the ground? Consent to swear!»

«Propose the oath, my lord,» said Horatio.

«Never to speak of this that you have seen and heard. Swear by my sword.»

«Swear!» A voice from the underground was heard a second time.

«Hie et ubique?»4 Then we’ll change our ground,» said Hamlet. «Come hither, gentlemen, lay your hands upon my sword and swear!»

«Swear!» the voice from the underground sounded a third time.

«Rest thou, perturbed spirit! Canst thou work in the earth so fast? said Hamlet, changing the place again. There the three men laid their hands upon the sword and pronounced the sacred oath.

«I thank you, gentlemen,» said Hamlet to his friends. «And be assured that however poor prince Hamlet is, he will always owe you his love and friendliness. Now, let us part, everyone will go to his business. And I pray you again, keep fingers on your lips! And whenever you notice anything strange in my behaviour or my words, never exhibit it by any means to anybody.»

«The time is out of joint,»5 prince Hamlet said to himself, «oh, cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!»

Comments to Hamlet in prose in Russian:

  1. нет в Дании такого проходимца, который не был бы отпетым негодяем
  2. ты здесь уже, трудяга?
  3. Здесь и повсюду? (Существовало поверье, что души умерших постоянно находятся среди людей)
  4. Распалась связь времен.
  5. будь проклят мой удел, за то, что я спаять ее хотел!


Chapter Two to be released on 21.02.2016

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