• Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS

    HAMLET

    The air bites shrewdly. It is very cold.

    HORATIO

    It is a nipping and an eager air.

    HAMLET

    What hour now?

    HORATIO

    I think it lacks of twelve.

    MARCELLUS

    5No, it is struck.

    HORATIO

    Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
    Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
    A flourish of trumpets and two pieces of ordnance goes off
    What does this mean, my lord?

    HAMLET

    The king doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
    10Keeps wassail and the swaggering upspring reels,
    And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
    The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
    The triumph of his pledge.

    HORATIO

    Is it a custom?

    HAMLET

    15Ay, marry, is ’t.
    But to my mind, though I am native here
    And to the manner born, it is a custom
    More honored in the breach than the observance.
    This heavy-headed revel east and west
    20Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
  • HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS enter.

    HAMLET

    The air is biting cold.

    HORATIO

    Yes, it’s definitely nippy.

    HAMLET

    What time is it?

    HORATIO

    A little before twelve, I think.

    MARCELLUS

    No, it’s just after twelve; I heard the clock strike.

    HORATIO

    Really? I didn’t hear it. So it’s nearly the time when the ghost likes to appear.
    Trumpets play offstage and two cannons are fired.
    What does that mean, sir?

    HAMLET

    The king is staying up all night drinking and dancing. As he guzzles down his German wine, the musicians make a ruckus to celebrate his draining another cup.

    HORATIO

    Is that a tradition?

    HAMLET

    Yes, it is. But though I was born here and should consider that tradition part of my own heritage, I think it would be better to ignore it than practice it. Other countries criticize us for our loud partying.