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 combined 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!
– William Shakespeare
Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5. The Ghost speaking to Hamlet, claiming to be his recently dead father. He says he is destined to walk around the land of the living by night, and spend daylight hours in the holy fire of Purgatory for his unspecified "foul crimes." If he was not forbidden to do so, he would tell Hamlet what it is like in Purgatory, a tale that would make his hair stand on end.