Comments on this play
FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDOBERNARDO
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.BERNARDO
Long live the king!FRANCISCO
You come most carefully upon your hour.BERNARDO
'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.FRANCISCO
For this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,BERNARDO
And I am sick at heart.
Have you had quiet guard?FRANCISCO
Not a mouse stirring.BERNARDO
Well, good night.FRANCISCO
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
I think I hear them. Stand, ho! Who's there?HORATIO
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
Friends to this ground.MARCELLUS
And liegemen to the Dane.FRANCISCO
Give you good night.MARCELLUS
O, farewell, honest soldier:FRANCISCO
Who hath relieved you?
Bernardo has my place.MARCELLUS
Give you good night.
What, is Horatio there?
A piece of him.BERNARDO
Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.MARCELLUS
What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?BERNARDO
I have seen nothing.MARCELLUS
Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,HORATIO
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.BERNARDO
Sit down awhile;HORATIO
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story
What we have two nights seen.
Well, sit we down,BERNARDO
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Last night of all,MARCELLUS
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,--
Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!BERNARDO
In the same figure, like the king that's dead.MARCELLUS
Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.BERNARDO
Looks it not like the king? mark it, Horatio.HORATIO
Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.BERNARDO
It would be spoke to.MARCELLUS
Question it, Horatio.HORATIO
What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,MARCELLUS
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak!
It is offended.BERNARDO
See, it stalks away!HORATIO
Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!MARCELLUS
'Tis gone, and will not answer.BERNARDO
How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale:HORATIO
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on't?
Before my God, I might not this believeMARCELLUS
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the king?HORATIO
As thou art to thyself:MARCELLUS
Such was the very armour he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,HORATIO
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
In what particular thought to work I know not;MARCELLUS
But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,HORATIO
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week;
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day:
Who is't that can inform me?
That can I;BERNARDO
At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet--
For so this side of our known world esteem'd him--
Did slay this Fortinbras; who by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same covenant,
And carriage of the article design'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other--
As it doth well appear unto our state--
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
I think it be no other but e'en so:HORATIO
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
That was and is the question of these wars.
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.MARCELLUS
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets:
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse:
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.--
But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!
Re-enter GhostI'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me:
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me:
Cock crowsIf thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it: stay, and speak! Stop it, Marcellus.
Shall I strike at it with my partisan?HORATIO
Do, if it will not stand.BERNARDO
Exit GhostWe do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
It was about to speak, when the cock crew.HORATIO
And then it started like a guilty thingMARCELLUS
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.
It faded on the crowing of the cock.HORATIO
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
So have I heard and do in part believe it.MARCELLUS
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill:
Break we our watch up; and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and AttendantsKING CLAUDIUS
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's deathCORNELIUS VOLTIMAND
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,--
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,--
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting:
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,--
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,--to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject: and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these delated articles allow.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
In that and all things will we show our duty.KING CLAUDIUS
We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.LAERTES
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUSAnd now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And loose your voice: what wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
My dread lord,KING CLAUDIUS
Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?LORD POLONIUS
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leaveKING CLAUDIUS
By laboursome petition, and at last
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,HAMLET
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,--
[Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind.KING CLAUDIUS
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?HAMLET
Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,HAMLET
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Ay, madam, it is common.QUEEN GERTRUDE
If it be,HAMLET
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'KING CLAUDIUS
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,QUEEN GERTRUDE
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd: whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
'This must be so.' We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:HAMLET
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.KING CLAUDIUS
Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:HAMLET
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
And the king's rouse the heavens all bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Exeunt all but HAMLET
O, that this too too solid flesh would meltHORATIO
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she--
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
Enter HORATIO, MARCELLUS, and BERNARDO
Hail to your lordship!HAMLET
I am glad to see you well:HORATIO
Horatio,--or I do forget myself.
The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.HAMLET
Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you:MARCELLUS
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio? Marcellus?
My good lord--HAMLET
I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.HORATIO
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
A truant disposition, good my lord.HAMLET
I would not hear your enemy say so,HORATIO
Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.HAMLET
I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;HORATIO
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.HAMLET
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meatsHORATIO
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father!--methinks I see my father.
Where, my lord?HAMLET
In my mind's eye, Horatio.HORATIO
I saw him once; he was a goodly king.HAMLET
He was a man, take him for all in all,HORATIO
I shall not look upon his like again.
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.HAMLET
My lord, the king your father.HAMLET
The king my father!HORATIO
Season your admiration for awhileHAMLET
With an attent ear, till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
For God's love, let me hear.HORATIO
Two nights together had these gentlemen,HAMLET
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Armed at point exactly, cap-a-pe,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
And I with them the third night kept the watch;
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
But where was this?MARCELLUS
My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.HAMLET
Did you not speak to it?HORATIO
My lord, I did;HAMLET
But answer made it none: yet once methought
It lifted up its head and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crew loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanish'd from our sight.
'Tis very strange.HORATIO
As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;HAMLET
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.
Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Hold you the watch to-night?
We do, my lord.HAMLET
Arm'd, say you?MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Arm'd, my lord.HAMLET
From top to toe?MARCELLUS BERNARDO
My lord, from head to foot.HAMLET
Then saw you not his face?HORATIO
O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.HAMLET
What, look'd he frowningly?HORATIO
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.HAMLET
Pale or red?HORATIO
Nay, very pale.HAMLET
And fix'd his eyes upon you?HORATIO
I would I had been there.HORATIO
It would have much amazed you.HAMLET
Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?HORATIO
While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Not when I saw't.HAMLET
His beard was grizzled--no?HORATIO
It was, as I have seen it in his life,HAMLET
A sable silver'd.
I will watch to-night;HORATIO
Perchance 'twill walk again.
I warrant it will.HAMLET
If it assume my noble father's person,All
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
Our duty to your honour.HAMLET
Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.
Exeunt all but HAMLETMy father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!
Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
Enter LAERTES and OPHELIALAERTES
My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:OPHELIA
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.
Do you doubt that?LAERTES
For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour,OPHELIA
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.
No more but so?LAERTES
Think it no more;OPHELIA
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes:
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then; best safety lies in fear:
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,LAERTES
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
O, fear me not.LORD POLONIUS
I stay too long: but here my father comes.
Enter POLONIUSA double blessing is a double grace,
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!LAERTES
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
The time invites you; go; your servants tend.LAERTES
Farewell, Ophelia; and remember wellOPHELIA
What I have said to you.
'Tis in my memory lock'd,LAERTES
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
What is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?OPHELIA
So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.LORD POLONIUS
Marry, well bethought:OPHELIA
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
If it be so, as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behoves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? give me up the truth.
He hath, my lord, of late made many tendersLORD POLONIUS
Of his affection to me.
Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,OPHELIA
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
I do not know, my lord, what I should think.LORD POLONIUS
Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;OPHELIA
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
My lord, he hath importuned me with loveLORD POLONIUS
In honourable fashion.
Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.OPHELIA
And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,LORD POLONIUS
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,OPHELIA
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him, that he is young
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you: in few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.
I shall obey, my lord.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUSHAMLET
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.HAMLET
No, it is struck.HORATIO
Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the seasonHAMLET
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, withinWhat does this mean, my lord?
The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,HORATIO
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Is it a custom?HAMLET
Ay, marry, is't:HORATIO
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
Look, my lord, it comes!HAMLET
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!HORATIO
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Ghost beckons HAMLET
It beckons you to go away with it,MARCELLUS
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Look, with what courteous actionHORATIO
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
No, by no means.HAMLET
It will not speak; then I will follow it.HORATIO
Do not, my lord.HAMLET
Why, what should be the fear?HORATIO
I do not set my life in a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again: I'll follow it.
What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,HAMLET
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
It waves me still.MARCELLUS
Go on; I'll follow thee.
You shall not go, my lord.HAMLET
Hold off your hands.HORATIO
Be ruled; you shall not go.HAMLET
My fate cries out,HORATIO
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.
Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET
He waxes desperate with imagination.MARCELLUS
Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.HORATIO
Have after. To what issue will this come?MARCELLUS
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.HORATIO
Heaven will direct it.MARCELLUS
Nay, let's follow him.
Enter GHOST and HAMLETHAMLET
Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.Ghost
My hour is almost come,HAMLET
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!Ghost
Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearingHAMLET
To what I shall unfold.
Speak; I am bound to hear.Ghost
So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.HAMLET
I am thy father's spirit,HAMLET
Doom'd 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 on 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.HAMLET
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;HAMLET
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swiftGhost
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt;HAMLET
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
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
Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
O my prophetic soul! My uncle!Ghost
Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,HAMLET
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous 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 link'd,
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 hebenon 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 vigour doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd 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 dispatch'd:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning 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 damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursuest 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 glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?MARCELLUS HORATIO
And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,--meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark:
WritingSo, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is 'Adieu, adieu! remember me.'
I have sworn 't.
[Within] My lord, my lord,--MARCELLUS
[Within] Lord Hamlet,--HORATIO
[Within] Heaven secure him!HAMLET
So be it!HORATIO
[Within] Hillo, ho, ho, my lord!HAMLET
Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.MARCELLUS
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
How is't, my noble lord?HORATIO
What news, my lord?HAMLET
Good my lord, tell it.HAMLET
No; you'll reveal it.HORATIO
Not I, my lord, by heaven.MARCELLUS
Nor I, my lord.HAMLET
How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?HORATIO MARCELLUS
But you'll be secret?
Ay, by heaven, my lord.HAMLET
There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all DenmarkHORATIO
But he's an arrant knave.
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the graveHAMLET
To tell us this.
Why, right; you are i' the right;HORATIO
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You, as your business and desire shall point you;
For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.HAMLET
I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;HORATIO
Yes, 'faith heartily.
There's no offence, my lord.HAMLET
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,HORATIO
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.
What is't, my lord? we will.HAMLET
Never make known what you have seen to-night.HORATIO MARCELLUS
My lord, we will not.HAMLET
Nay, but swear't.HORATIO
My lord, not I.
Nor I, my lord, in faith.HAMLET
Upon my sword.MARCELLUS
We have sworn, my lord, already.HAMLET
Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.Ghost
Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there,HORATIO
Come on--you hear this fellow in the cellarage--
Consent to swear.
Propose the oath, my lord.HAMLET
Never to speak of this that you have seen,Ghost
Swear by my sword.
Hic et ubique? then we'll shift our ground.Ghost
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword:
Never to speak of this that you have heard,
Swear by my sword.
Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?HORATIO
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!HAMLET
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.Ghost
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 soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
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,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
They swearSo, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you:
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.
Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDOLORD POLONIUS
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.REYNALDO
I will, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,REYNALDO
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.
My lord, I did intend it.LORD POLONIUS
Marry, well said; very well said. Look you, sir,REYNALDO
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it:
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him;
As thus, 'I know his father and his friends,
And in part him: ' do you mark this, Reynaldo?
Ay, very well, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
'And in part him; but' you may say 'not well:REYNALDO
But, if't be he I mean, he's very wild;
Addicted so and so:' and there put on him
What forgeries you please; marry, none so rank
As may dishonour him; take heed of that;
But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.
As gaming, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,REYNALDO
Drabbing: you may go so far.
My lord, that would dishonour him.LORD POLONIUS
'Faith, no; as you may season it in the chargeREYNALDO
You must not put another scandal on him,
That he is open to incontinency;
That's not my meaning: but breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
Of general assault.
But, my good lord,--LORD POLONIUS
Wherefore should you do this?REYNALDO
Ay, my lord,LORD POLONIUS
I would know that.
Marry, sir, here's my drift;REYNALDO
And I believe, it is a fetch of wit:
You laying these slight sullies on my son,
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working, Mark you,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence;
'Good sir,' or so, or 'friend,' or 'gentleman,'
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country.
Very good, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
And then, sir, does he this--he does--what was IREYNALDO
about to say? By the mass, I was about to say
something: where did I leave?
At 'closes in the consequence,' at 'friend or so,'LORD POLONIUS
At 'closes in the consequence,' ay, marry;REYNALDO
He closes thus: 'I know the gentleman;
I saw him yesterday, or t' other day,
Or then, or then; with such, or such; and, as you say,
There was a' gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse;
There falling out at tennis:' or perchance,
'I saw him enter such a house of sale,'
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.
See you now;
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth:
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out:
So by my former lecture and advice,
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
My lord, I have.LORD POLONIUS
God be wi' you; fare you well.REYNALDO
Good my lord!LORD POLONIUS
Observe his inclination in yourself.REYNALDO
I shall, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
And let him ply his music.REYNALDO
Well, my lord.LORD POLONIUS
Enter OPHELIAHow now, Ophelia! what's the matter?
O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!LORD POLONIUS
With what, i' the name of God?OPHELIA
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,LORD POLONIUS
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.
Mad for thy love?OPHELIA
My lord, I do not know;LORD POLONIUS
But truly, I do fear it.
What said he?OPHELIA
He took me by the wrist and held me hard;LORD POLONIUS
Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being: that done, he lets me go:
And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their helps,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.
Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.OPHELIA
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?
No, my good lord, but, as you did command,LORD POLONIUS
I did repel his fetters and denied
His access to me.
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:
This must be known; which, being kept close, might
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and AttendantsKING CLAUDIUS
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!QUEEN GERTRUDE
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so call it,
Sith nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of: I entreat you both,
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighbour'd to his youth and havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time: so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you;ROSENCRANTZ
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.
Both your majestiesGUILDENSTERN
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
But we both obey,KING CLAUDIUS
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz:GUILDENSTERN
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
Heavens make our presence and our practisesQUEEN GERTRUDE
Pleasant and helpful to him!
Ay, amen!LORD POLONIUS
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,KING CLAUDIUS
Are joyfully return'd.
Thou still hast been the father of good news.LORD POLONIUS
Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege,KING CLAUDIUS
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king:
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.LORD POLONIUS
Give first admittance to the ambassadors;KING CLAUDIUS
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Exit POLONIUSHe tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
I doubt it is no other but the main;KING CLAUDIUS
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
Well, we shall sift him.VOLTIMAND
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUSWelcome, my good friends!
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Most fair return of greetings and desires.KING CLAUDIUS
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness: whereat grieved,
That so his sickness, age and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee,
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shown,
Giving a paperThat it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.
It likes us well;LORD POLONIUS
And at our more consider'd time well read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour:
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together:
Most welcome home!
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
This business is well ended.QUEEN GERTRUDE
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter, with less art.LORD POLONIUS
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.QUEEN GERTRUDE
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. Perpend.
I have a daughter--have while she is mine--
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.
Reads'To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; 'beautified' is
a vile phrase: but you shall hear. Thus:
Reads'In her excellent white bosom, these, & c.'
Came this from Hamlet to her?LORD POLONIUS
Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.KING CLAUDIUS
Reads'Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
'O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers;
I have not art to reckon my groans: but that
I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
'Thine evermore most dear lady, whilst
this machine is to him, HAMLET.'
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means and place,
All given to mine ear.
But how hath sheLORD POLONIUS
Received his love?
What do you think of me?KING CLAUDIUS
As of a man faithful and honourable.LORD POLONIUS
I would fain prove so. But what might you think,KING CLAUDIUS
When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me--what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star;
This must not be:' and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed--a short tale to make--
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.
Do you think 'tis this?QUEEN GERTRUDE
It may be, very likely.LORD POLONIUS
Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--KING CLAUDIUS
That I have positively said 'Tis so,'
When it proved otherwise?
Not that I know.LORD POLONIUS
[Pointing to his head and shoulder]KING CLAUDIUS
Take this from this, if this be otherwise:
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
How may we try it further?LORD POLONIUS
You know, sometimes he walks four hours togetherQUEEN GERTRUDE
Here in the lobby.
So he does indeed.LORD POLONIUS
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:KING CLAUDIUS
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
We will try it.QUEEN GERTRUDE
But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.LORD POLONIUS
Away, I do beseech you, both away:HAMLET
I'll board him presently.
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, and Attendants
Enter HAMLET, readingO, give me leave:
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Well, God-a-mercy.LORD POLONIUS
Do you know me, my lord?HAMLET
Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.LORD POLONIUS
Not I, my lord.HAMLET
Then I would you were so honest a man.LORD POLONIUS
Honest, my lord!HAMLET
Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to beLORD POLONIUS
one man picked out of ten thousand.
That's very true, my lord.HAMLET
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being aLORD POLONIUS
god kissing carrion,--Have you a daughter?
I have, my lord.HAMLET
Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is aLORD POLONIUS
blessing: but not as your daughter may conceive.
Friend, look to 't.
[Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on myHAMLET
daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I
was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and
truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for
love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord?
Words, words, words.LORD POLONIUS
What is the matter, my lord?HAMLET
Between who?LORD POLONIUS
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.HAMLET
Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says hereLORD POLONIUS
that old men have grey beards, that their faces are
wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and
plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of
wit, together with most weak hams: all which, sir,
though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet
I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down, for
yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.
[Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is methodHAMLET
in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
Into my grave.LORD POLONIUS
Indeed, that is out o' the air.HAMLET
AsideHow pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness
that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity
could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will
leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of
meeting between him and my daughter.--My honourable
lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I willLORD POLONIUS
more willingly part withal: except my life, except
my life, except my life.
Fare you well, my lord.HAMLET
These tedious old fools!LORD POLONIUS
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is.ROSENCRANTZ
[To POLONIUS] God save you, sir!GUILDENSTERN
My honoured lord!ROSENCRANTZ
My most dear lord!HAMLET
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,ROSENCRANTZ
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
As the indifferent children of the earth.GUILDENSTERN
Happy, in that we are not over-happy;HAMLET
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Nor the soles of her shoe?ROSENCRANTZ
Neither, my lord.HAMLET
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle ofGUILDENSTERN
'Faith, her privates we.HAMLET
In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; sheROSENCRANTZ
is a strumpet. What's the news?
None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.HAMLET
Then is doomsday near: but your news is not true.GUILDENSTERN
Let me question more in particular: what have you,
my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune,
that she sends you to prison hither?
Prison, my lord!HAMLET
Denmark's a prison.ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.HAMLET
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,ROSENCRANTZ
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.
We think not so, my lord.HAMLET
Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothingROSENCRANTZ
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me
it is a prison.
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis tooHAMLET
narrow for your mind.
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and countGUILDENSTERN
myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.
Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the veryHAMLET
substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
A dream itself is but a shadow.ROSENCRANTZ
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light aHAMLET
quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs andROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we
to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.
We'll wait upon you.HAMLET
No such matter: I will not sort you with the restROSENCRANTZ
of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest
man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the
beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.HAMLET
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but IGUILDENSTERN
thank you: and sure, dear friends, my thanks are
too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it
your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come,
deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.
What should we say, my lord?HAMLET
Why, any thing, but to the purpose. You were sentROSENCRANTZ
for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks
which your modesties have not craft enough to colour:
I know the good king and queen have sent for you.
To what end, my lord?HAMLET
That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, byROSENCRANTZ
the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of
our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved
love, and by what more dear a better proposer could
charge you withal, be even and direct with me,
whether you were sent for, or no?
[Aside to GUILDENSTERN] What say you?HAMLET
[Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If youGUILDENSTERN
love me, hold not off.
My lord, we were sent for.HAMLET
I will tell you why; so shall my anticipationROSENCRANTZ
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king
and queen moult no feather. I have of late--but
wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.HAMLET
Why did you laugh then, when I said 'man delights not me'?ROSENCRANTZ
To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, whatHAMLET
lenten entertainment the players shall receive from
you: we coted them on the way; and hither are they
coming, to offer you service.
He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majestyROSENCRANTZ
shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight
shall use his foil and target; the lover shall not
sigh gratis; the humourous man shall end his part
in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
lungs are tickled o' the sere; and the lady shall
say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt
for't. What players are they?
Even those you were wont to take delight in, theHAMLET
tragedians of the city.
How chances it they travel? their residence, bothROSENCRANTZ
in reputation and profit, was better both ways.
I think their inhibition comes by the means of theHAMLET
Do they hold the same estimation they did when I wasROSENCRANTZ
in the city? are they so followed?
No, indeed, are they not.HAMLET
How comes it? do they grow rusty?ROSENCRANTZ
Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: butHAMLET
there is, sir, an aery of children, little eyases,
that cry out on the top of question, and are most
tyrannically clapped for't: these are now the
fashion, and so berattle the common stages--so they
call them--that many wearing rapiers are afraid of
goose-quills and dare scarce come thither.
What, are they children? who maintains 'em? how areROSENCRANTZ
they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no
longer than they can sing? will they not say
afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common
players--as it is most like, if their means are no
better--their writers do them wrong, to make them
exclaim against their own succession?
'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; andHAMLET
the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to
controversy: there was, for a while, no money bid
for argument, unless the poet and the player went to
cuffs in the question.
O, there has been much throwing about of brains.HAMLET
Do the boys carry it away?ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his load too.HAMLET
It is not very strange; for mine uncle is king ofGUILDENSTERN
Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while
my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an
hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little.
'Sblood, there is something in this more than
natural, if philosophy could find it out.
Flourish of trumpets within
There are the players.HAMLET
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands,GUILDENSTERN
come then: the appurtenance of welcome is fashion
and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb,
lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you,
must show fairly outward, should more appear like
entertainment than yours. You are welcome: but my
uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
In what, my dear lord?HAMLET
I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind isLORD POLONIUS
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Well be with you, gentlemen!HAMLET
Hark you, Guildenstern; and you too: at each ear aROSENCRANTZ
hearer: that great baby you see there is not yet
out of his swaddling-clouts.
Happily he's the second time come to them; for theyHAMLET
say an old man is twice a child.
I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players;LORD POLONIUS
mark it. You say right, sir: o' Monday morning;
'twas so indeed.
My lord, I have news to tell you.HAMLET
My lord, I have news to tell you.LORD POLONIUS
When Roscius was an actor in Rome,--
The actors are come hither, my lord.HAMLET
Buz, buz!LORD POLONIUS
Upon mine honour,--HAMLET
Then came each actor on his ass,--LORD POLONIUS
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy,HAMLET
comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-
comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or
poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor
Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the
liberty, these are the only men.
O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!LORD POLONIUS
What a treasure had he, my lord?HAMLET
'One fair daughter and no more,
The which he loved passing well.'
[Aside] Still on my daughter.HAMLET
Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah?LORD POLONIUS
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughterHAMLET
that I love passing well.
Nay, that follows not.LORD POLONIUS
What follows, then, my lord?HAMLET
'As by lot, God wot,'
and then, you know,
'It came to pass, as most like it was,'--
the first row of the pious chanson will show you
more; for look, where my abridgement comes.
Enter four or five PlayersYou are welcome, masters; welcome, all. I am glad
to see thee well. Welcome, good friends. O, my old
friend! thy face is valenced since I saw thee last:
comest thou to beard me in Denmark? What, my young
lady and mistress! By'r lady, your ladyship is
nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the
altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like
apiece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the
ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en
to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see:
we'll have a speech straight: come, give us a taste
of your quality; come, a passionate speech.
What speech, my lord?HAMLET
I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it wasLORD POLONIUS
never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the
play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas
caviare to the general: but it was--as I received
it, and others, whose judgments in such matters
cried in the top of mine--an excellent play, well
digested in the scenes, set down with as much
modesty as cunning. I remember, one said there
were no sallets in the lines to make the matter
savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might
indict the author of affectation; but called it an
honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very
much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I
chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' tale to Dido; and
thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of
Priam's slaughter: if it live in your memory, begin
at this line: let me see, let me see--
'The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,'--
it is not so:--it begins with Pyrrhus:--
'The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their lord's murder: roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.'
So, proceed you.
'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent andFirst Player
'Anon he finds himLORD POLONIUS
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command: unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick:
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
And like a neutral to his will and matter,
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod 'take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!'
This is too long.HAMLET
It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Prithee,First Player
say on: he's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he
sleeps: say on: come to Hecuba.
'But who, O, who had seen the mobled queen--'HAMLET
'The mobled queen?'LORD POLONIUS
That's good; 'mobled queen' is good.First Player
'Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flamesLORD POLONIUS
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have
But if the gods themselves did see her then
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made,
Unless things mortal move them not at all,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.'
Look, whether he has not turned his colour and hasHAMLET
tears in's eyes. Pray you, no more.
'Tis well: I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.LORD POLONIUS
Good my lord, will you see the players well
bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for
they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
time: after your death you were better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.
My lord, I will use them according to their desert.HAMLET
God's bodykins, man, much better: use every manLORD POLONIUS
after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?
Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less
they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.
Take them in.
Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.First Player
Exit POLONIUS with all the Players but the FirstDost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the
Murder of Gonzago?
Ay, my lord.HAMLET
We'll ha't to-morrow night. You could, for a need,First Player
study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which
I would set down and insert in't, could you not?
Ay, my lord.HAMLET
Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock himROSENCRANTZ
Exit First PlayerMy good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are
welcome to Elsinore.
Good my lord!HAMLET
Ay, so, God be wi' ye;
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERNNow I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat,
As deep as to the lungs? who does me this?
'Swounds, I should take it: for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-liver'd and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,
Fie upon't! foh! About, my brain! I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick: if he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me: I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play 's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERNKING CLAUDIUS
And can you, by no drift of circumstance,ROSENCRANTZ
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
He does confess he feels himself distracted;GUILDENSTERN
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,QUEEN GERTRUDE
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
Did he receive you well?ROSENCRANTZ
Most like a gentleman.GUILDENSTERN
But with much forcing of his disposition.ROSENCRANTZ
Niggard of question; but, of our demands,QUEEN GERTRUDE
Most free in his reply.
Did you assay him?ROSENCRANTZ
To any pastime?
Madam, it so fell out, that certain playersLORD POLONIUS
We o'er-raught on the way: of these we told him;
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it: they are about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
'Tis most true:KING CLAUDIUS
And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties
To hear and see the matter.
With all my heart; and it doth much content meROSENCRANTZ
To hear him so inclined.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
And drive his purpose on to these delights.
We shall, my lord.KING CLAUDIUS
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;QUEEN GERTRUDE
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If 't be the affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
I shall obey you.OPHELIA
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness: so shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.
Madam, I wish it may.LORD POLONIUS
Exit QUEEN GERTRUDE
Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you,KING CLAUDIUS
We will bestow ourselves.
To OPHELIARead on this book;
That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,--
'Tis too much proved--that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.
[Aside] O, 'tis too true!LORD POLONIUS
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burthen!
I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord.HAMLET
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS
To be, or not to be: that is the question:OPHELIA
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
Good my lord,HAMLET
How does your honour for this many a day?
I humbly thank you; well, well, well.OPHELIA
My lord, I have remembrances of yours,HAMLET
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them.
No, not I;OPHELIA
I never gave you aught.
My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;HAMLET
And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.
Ha, ha! are you honest?OPHELIA
Are you fair?OPHELIA
What means your lordship?HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty shouldOPHELIA
admit no discourse to your beauty.
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce thanHAMLET
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will soonerOPHELIA
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.HAMLET
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannotOPHELIA
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.
I was the more deceived.HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be aOPHELIA
breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest;
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at
my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where's your father?
At home, my lord.HAMLET
Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play theOPHELIA
fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.
O, help him, you sweet heavens!HAMLET
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague forOPHELIA
thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
nunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough
what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,
and quickly too. Farewell.
O heavenly powers, restore him!HAMLET
I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; GodOPHELIA
has given you one face, and you make yourselves
another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath
made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:
those that are married already, all but one, shall
live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!KING CLAUDIUS
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Re-enter KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS
Love! his affections do not that way tend;LORD POLONIUS
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger: which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England,
For the demand of our neglected tribute
Haply the seas and countries different
With variable objects shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
It shall do well: but yet do I believeKING CLAUDIUS
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love. How now, Ophelia!
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all. My lord, do as you please;
But, if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief: let her be round with him;
And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.
It shall be so:
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
Enter HAMLET and PlayersHAMLET
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it toFirst Player
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.
I warrant your honour.HAMLET
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretionFirst Player
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone,
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,
that, neither having the accent of Christians nor
the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us,HAMLET
O, reform it altogether. And let those that playLORD POLONIUS
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERNHow now, my lord! I will the king hear this piece of work?
And the queen too, and that presently.HAMLET
Bid the players make haste.ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
Exit POLONIUSWill you two help to hasten them?
We will, my lord.HAMLET
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
What ho! Horatio!HORATIO
Here, sweet lord, at your service.HAMLET
Horatio, thou art e'en as just a manHORATIO
As e'er my conversation coped withal.
O, my dear lord,--HAMLET
Nay, do not think I flatter;HORATIO
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for herself; for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing,
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
There is a play to-night before the king;
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father's death:
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note;
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.
Well, my lord:HAMLET
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,
And 'scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
They are coming to the play; I must be idle:KING CLAUDIUS
Get you a place.
Danish march. A flourish. Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others
How fares our cousin Hamlet?HAMLET
Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish: I eatKING CLAUDIUS
the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so.
I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these wordsHAMLET
are not mine.
No, nor mine now.LORD POLONIUS
To POLONIUSMy lord, you played once i' the university, you say?
That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.HAMLET
What did you enact?LORD POLONIUS
I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed i' theHAMLET
Capitol; Brutus killed me.
It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calfROSENCRANTZ
there. Be the players ready?
Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.HAMLET
No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.LORD POLONIUS
[To KING CLAUDIUS] O, ho! do you mark that?HAMLET
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?OPHELIA
Lying down at OPHELIA's feet
No, my lord.HAMLET
I mean, my head upon your lap?OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.HAMLET
Do you think I meant country matters?OPHELIA
I think nothing, my lord.HAMLET
That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.OPHELIA
What is, my lord?HAMLET
You are merry, my lord.HAMLET
Ay, my lord.HAMLET
O God, your only jig-maker. What should a man doOPHELIA
but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my
mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.HAMLET
So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, forOPHELIA
I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens! die two
months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's
hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half
a year: but, by'r lady, he must build churches,
then; or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with
the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is 'For, O, for, O,
the hobby-horse is forgot.'
Hautboys play. The dumb-show enters
Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him, and he her. She kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck: lays him down upon a bank of flowers: she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King's ears, and exit. The Queen returns; finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner wooes the Queen with gifts: she seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love
What means this, my lord?HAMLET
Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief.OPHELIA
Belike this show imports the argument of the play.HAMLET
We shall know by this fellow: the players cannotOPHELIA
keep counsel; they'll tell all.
Will he tell us what this show meant?HAMLET
Ay, or any show that you'll show him: be not youOPHELIA
ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
You are naught, you are naught: I'll mark the play.Prologue
For us, and for our tragedy,HAMLET
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?OPHELIA
'Tis brief, my lord.HAMLET
As woman's love.Player King
Enter two Players, King and Queen
Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone roundPlayer Queen
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
And thirty dozen moons with borrow'd sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
So many journeys may the sun and moonPlayer King
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women's fear and love holds quantity;
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is sized, my fear is so:
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;Player Queen
My operant powers their functions leave to do:
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou--
O, confound the rest!HAMLET
Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who kill'd the first.
[Aside] Wormwood, wormwood.Player Queen
The instances that second marriage movePlayer King
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love:
A second time I kill my husband dead,
When second husband kisses me in bed.
I do believe you think what now you speak;Player Queen
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity;
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree;
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy:
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies;
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light!HAMLET
Sport and repose lock from me day and night!
To desperation turn my trust and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope!
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well and it destroy!
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
If she should break it now!Player King
'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile;Player Queen
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.
Sleep rock thy brain,HAMLET
And never come mischance between us twain!
Madam, how like you this play?QUEEN GERTRUDE
The lady protests too much, methinks.HAMLET
O, but she'll keep her word.KING CLAUDIUS
Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in 't?HAMLET
No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offenceKING CLAUDIUS
i' the world.
What do you call the play?HAMLET
The Mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This playOPHELIA
is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is
the duke's name; his wife, Baptista: you shall see
anon; 'tis a knavish piece of work: but what o'
that? your majesty and we that have free souls, it
touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our
withers are unwrung.
Enter LUCIANUSThis is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.
You are as good as a chorus, my lord.HAMLET
I could interpret between you and your love, if IOPHELIA
could see the puppets dallying.
You are keen, my lord, you are keen.HAMLET
It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.OPHELIA
Still better, and worse.HAMLET
So you must take your husbands. Begin, murderer;LUCIANUS
pox, leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come:
'the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.'
Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;HAMLET
Confederate season, else no creature seeing;
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.
Pours the poison into the sleeper's ears
He poisons him i' the garden for's estate. HisOPHELIA
name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and writ in
choice Italian: you shall see anon how the murderer
gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
The king rises.HAMLET
What, frighted with false fire!QUEEN GERTRUDE
How fares my lord?LORD POLONIUS
Give o'er the play.KING CLAUDIUS
Give me some light: away!All
Lights, lights, lights!HAMLET
Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO
Why, let the stricken deer go weep,HORATIO
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch, while some must sleep:
So runs the world away.
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers-- if
the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a
fellowship in a cry of players, sir?
Half a share.HAMLET
A whole one, I.HORATIO
For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
A very, very--pajock.
You might have rhymed.HAMLET
O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for aHORATIO
thousand pound. Didst perceive?
Very well, my lord.HAMLET
Upon the talk of the poisoning?HORATIO
I did very well note him.HAMLET
Ah, ha! Come, some music! come, the recorders!GUILDENSTERN
For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.HAMLET
Sir, a whole history.GUILDENSTERN
The king, sir,--HAMLET
Ay, sir, what of him?GUILDENSTERN
Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.HAMLET
With drink, sir?GUILDENSTERN
No, my lord, rather with choler.HAMLET
Your wisdom should show itself more richer toGUILDENSTERN
signify this to his doctor; for, for me to put him
to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far
Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame andHAMLET
start not so wildly from my affair.
I am tame, sir: pronounce.GUILDENSTERN
The queen, your mother, in most great affliction ofHAMLET
spirit, hath sent me to you.
You are welcome.GUILDENSTERN
Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the rightHAMLET
breed. If it shall please you to make me a
wholesome answer, I will do your mother's
commandment: if not, your pardon and my return
shall be the end of my business.
Sir, I cannot.GUILDENSTERN
What, my lord?HAMLET
Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased: but,ROSENCRANTZ
sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command;
or, rather, as you say, my mother: therefore no
more, but to the matter: my mother, you say,--
Then thus she says; your behavior hath struck herHAMLET
into amazement and admiration.
O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! ButROSENCRANTZ
is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's
She desires to speak with you in her closet, ere youHAMLET
go to bed.
We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. HaveROSENCRANTZ
you any further trade with us?
My lord, you once did love me.HAMLET
So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.ROSENCRANTZ
Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? youHAMLET
do, surely, bar the door upon your own liberty, if
you deny your griefs to your friend.
Sir, I lack advancement.ROSENCRANTZ
How can that be, when you have the voice of the kingHAMLET
himself for your succession in Denmark?
Ay, but sir, 'While the grass grows,'--the proverbGUILDENSTERN
is something musty.
Re-enter Players with recordersO, the recorders! let me see one. To withdraw with
you:--why do you go about to recover the wind of me,
as if you would drive me into a toil?
O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is tooHAMLET
I do not well understand that. Will you play uponGUILDENSTERN
My lord, I cannot.HAMLET
I pray you.GUILDENSTERN
Believe me, I cannot.HAMLET
I do beseech you.GUILDENSTERN
I know no touch of it, my lord.HAMLET
'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages withGUILDENSTERN
your lingers and thumb, give it breath with your
mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
Look you, these are the stops.
But these cannot I command to any utterance ofHAMLET
harmony; I have not the skill.
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make ofLORD POLONIUS
me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know
my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my
mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to
the top of my compass: and there is much music,
excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot
you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what
instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you
cannot play upon me.
Enter POLONIUSGod bless you, sir!
My lord, the queen would speak with you, andHAMLET
Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?LORD POLONIUS
By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.HAMLET
Methinks it is like a weasel.LORD POLONIUS
It is backed like a weasel.HAMLET
Or like a whale?LORD POLONIUS
Very like a whale.HAMLET
Then I will come to my mother by and by. They foolLORD POLONIUS
me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.
I will say so.HAMLET
By and by is easily said.
Exit POLONIUSLeave me, friends.
Exeunt all but HAMLETTis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
How in my words soever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERNKING CLAUDIUS
I like him not, nor stands it safe with usGUILDENSTERN
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.
We will ourselves provide:ROSENCRANTZ
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your majesty.
The single and peculiar life is bound,KING CLAUDIUS
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from noyance; but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depend and rest
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortised and adjoin'd; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
We will haste us.LORD POLONIUS
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:KING CLAUDIUS
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,
To hear the process; and warrant she'll tax him home:
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege:
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
Thanks, dear my lord.HAMLET
Exit POLONIUSO, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: but 'tis not so above;
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.
Retires and kneels
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;KING CLAUDIUS
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
[Rising] My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE and POLONIUSLORD POLONIUS
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him:HAMLET
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.
Pray you, be round with him.
[Within] Mother, mother, mother!QUEEN GERTRUDE
I'll warrant you,HAMLET
Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.
POLONIUS hides behind the arras
Now, mother, what's the matter?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.HAMLET
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Why, how now, Hamlet!HAMLET
What's the matter now?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Have you forgot me?HAMLET
No, by the rood, not so:QUEEN GERTRUDE
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.HAMLET
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;QUEEN GERTRUDE
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?LORD POLONIUS
Help, help, ho!
[Behind] What, ho! help, help, help!HAMLET
[Drawing] How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!LORD POLONIUS
Makes a pass through the arras
[Behind] O, I am slain!QUEEN GERTRUDE
Falls and dies
O me, what hast thou done?HAMLET
Nay, I know not:QUEEN GERTRUDE
Is it the king?
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!HAMLET
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,QUEEN GERTRUDE
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
As kill a king!HAMLET
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Lifts up the array and discovers POLONIUSThou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune;
Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
Leave wringing of your hands: peace! sit you down,
And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damned custom have not brass'd it so
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongueHAMLET
In noise so rude against me?
Such an actQUEEN GERTRUDE
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage-vows
As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words: heaven's face doth glow:
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
Ay me, what act,HAMLET
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
Look here, upon this picture, and on this,QUEEN GERTRUDE
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man:
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserved some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
And reason panders will.
O Hamlet, speak no more:HAMLET
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.
Nay, but to liveQUEEN GERTRUDE
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty,--
O, speak to me no more;HAMLET
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!
A murderer and a villain;QUEEN GERTRUDE
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings;
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!
A king of shreds and patches,--QUEEN GERTRUDE
Enter GhostSave me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?
Alas, he's mad!HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,Ghost
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command? O, say!
Do not forget: this visitationHAMLET
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul:
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works:
Speak to her, Hamlet.
How is it with you, lady?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alas, how is't with you,HAMLET
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!QUEEN GERTRUDE
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.
To whom do you speak this?HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?QUEEN GERTRUDE
No, nothing but ourselves.HAMLET
Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!QUEEN GERTRUDE
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!
This the very coinage of your brain:HAMLET
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music: it is not madness
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that mattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue;
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.HAMLET
O, throw away the worser part of it,QUEEN GERTRUDE
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to mine uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [ ] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
Pointing to POLONIUSI do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so,
To punish me with this and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.
What shall I do?HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:QUEEN GERTRUDE
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know;
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top.
Let the birds fly, and, like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep,
And break your own neck down.
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath,HAMLET
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
I must to England; you know that?QUEEN GERTRUDE
I had forgot: 'tis so concluded on.
There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way,
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing:
I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room.
Mother, good night. Indeed this counsellor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night, mother.
Exeunt severally; HAMLET dragging in POLONIUS
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERNKING CLAUDIUS
There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:QUEEN GERTRUDE
You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
Bestow this place on us a little while.KING CLAUDIUS
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERNAh, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Mad as the sea and wind, when both contendKING CLAUDIUS
Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, 'A rat, a rat!'
And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
The unseen good old man.
O heavy deed!QUEEN GERTRUDE
It had been so with us, had we been there:
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd and out of haunt,
This mad young man: but so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of Life. Where is he gone?
To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:KING CLAUDIUS
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done.
O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERNFriends both, go join you with some further aid:
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERNCome, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Safely stowed.ROSENCRANTZ: GUILDENSTERN:
[Within] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!HAMLET
What noise? who calls on Hamlet?ROSENCRANTZ
O, here they come.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?HAMLET
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.ROSENCRANTZ
Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thenceHAMLET
And bear it to the chapel.
Do not believe it.ROSENCRANTZ
That I can keep your counsel and not mine own.ROSENCRANTZ
Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! what
replication should be made by the son of a king?
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?HAMLET
Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, hisROSENCRANTZ
rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
king best service in the end: he keeps them, like
an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to
be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
shall be dry again.
I understand you not, my lord.HAMLET
I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in aROSENCRANTZ
My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and goHAMLET
with us to the king.
The body is with the king, but the king is not withGUILDENSTERN
the body. The king is a thing--
A thing, my lord!HAMLET
Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, attendedKING CLAUDIUS
I have sent to seek him, and to find the body.ROSENCRANTZ
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
He's loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And where tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause: diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.
Enter ROSENCRANTZHow now! what hath befall'n?
Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,KING CLAUDIUS
We cannot get from him.
But where is he?ROSENCRANTZ
Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.KING CLAUDIUS
Bring him before us.ROSENCRANTZ
Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.KING CLAUDIUS
Enter HAMLET and GUILDENSTERN
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?HAMLET
At supper.KING CLAUDIUS
At supper! where?HAMLET
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certainKING CLAUDIUS
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all
creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for
maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but
variable service, two dishes, but to one table:
that's the end.
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of aKING CLAUDIUS
king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
What dost you mean by this?HAMLET
Nothing but to show you how a king may go aKING CLAUDIUS
progress through the guts of a beggar.
Where is Polonius?HAMLET
In heaven; send hither to see: if your messengerKING CLAUDIUS
find him not there, seek him i' the other place
yourself. But indeed, if you find him not within
this month, you shall nose him as you go up the
stairs into the lobby.
Go seek him there.HAMLET
To some Attendants
He will stay till ye come.KING CLAUDIUS
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,--HAMLET
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done,--must send thee hence
With fiery quickness: therefore prepare thyself;
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
The associates tend, and every thing is bent
For England!KING CLAUDIUS
So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.HAMLET
I see a cherub that sees them. But, come; forKING CLAUDIUS
England! Farewell, dear mother.
Thy loving father, Hamlet.HAMLET
My mother: father and mother is man and wife; manKING CLAUDIUS
and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England!
Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard;
Delay it not; I'll have him hence to-night:
Away! for every thing is seal'd and done
That else leans on the affair: pray you, make haste.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERNAnd, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught--
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us--thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process; which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me: till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.
Enter FORTINBRAS, a Captain, and Soldiers, marchingPRINCE FORTINBRAS
Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;Captain
Tell him that, by his licence, Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promised march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.
I will do't, my lord.PRINCE FORTINBRAS
Go softly on.HAMLET
Exeunt FORTINBRAS and Soldiers
Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others
Good sir, whose powers are these?Captain
They are of Norway, sir.HAMLET
How purposed, sir, I pray you?Captain
Against some part of Poland.HAMLET
Who commands them, sir?Captain
The nephews to old Norway, Fortinbras.HAMLET
Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,Captain
Or for some frontier?
Truly to speak, and with no addition,HAMLET
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
Why, then the Polack never will defend it.Captain
Yes, it is already garrison'd.HAMLET
Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducatsCaptain
Will not debate the question of this straw:
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
God be wi' you, sir.ROSENCRANTZ
Wilt please you go, my lord?HAMLET
I'll be with you straight go a little before.
Exeunt all except HAMLETHow all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward, I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE, HORATIO, and a GentlemanQUEEN GERTRUDE
I will not speak with her.Gentleman
She is importunate, indeed distract:QUEEN GERTRUDE
Her mood will needs be pitied.
What would she have?Gentleman
She speaks much of her father; says she hearsHORATIO
There's tricks i' the world; and hems, and beats her heart;
Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt,
That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strewQUEEN GERTRUDE
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
Let her come in.OPHELIA
Exit HORATIOTo my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss:
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Re-enter HORATIO, with OPHELIA
Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?QUEEN GERTRUDE
How now, Ophelia!OPHELIA
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.
Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?OPHELIA
Say you? nay, pray you, mark.QUEEN GERTRUDE
SingsHe is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
Nay, but, Ophelia,--OPHELIA
Pray you, mark.QUEEN GERTRUDE
SingsWhite his shroud as the mountain snow,--
Enter KING CLAUDIUS
Alas, look here, my lord.OPHELIA
Larded with sweet flowers
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.
How do you, pretty lady?OPHELIA
Well, God 'ild you! They say the owl was a baker'sKING CLAUDIUS
daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not
what we may be. God be at your table!
Conceit upon her father.OPHELIA
Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when theyKING CLAUDIUS
ask you what it means, say you this:
SingsTo-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:KING CLAUDIUS
SingsBy Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.
How long hath she been thus?OPHELIA
I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but IKING CLAUDIUS
cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him
i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it:
and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my
coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;
good night, good night.
Follow her close; give her good watch,QUEEN GERTRUDE
I pray you.
Exit HORATIOO, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions. First, her father slain:
Next, your son gone; and he most violent author
Of his own just remove: the people muddied,
Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers,
For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly,
In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts:
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering-piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
A noise within
Alack, what noise is this?KING CLAUDIUS
Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.Gentleman
Enter another GentlemanWhat is the matter?
Save yourself, my lord:QUEEN GERTRUDE
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry 'Choose we: Laertes shall be king:'
Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds:
'Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!'
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!KING CLAUDIUS
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
The doors are broke.LAERTES
Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following
Where is this king? Sirs, stand you all without.Danes
No, let's come in.LAERTES
I pray you, give me leave.Danes
We will, we will.LAERTES
They retire without the door
I thank you: keep the door. O thou vile king,QUEEN GERTRUDE
Give me my father!
Calmly, good Laertes.LAERTES
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,KING CLAUDIUS
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.
What is the cause, Laertes,LAERTES
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Where is my father?KING CLAUDIUS
But not by him.KING CLAUDIUS
Let him demand his fill.LAERTES
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:KING CLAUDIUS
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
Who shall stay you?LAERTES
My will, not all the world:KING CLAUDIUS
And for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge,
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?
None but his enemies.KING CLAUDIUS
Will you know them then?LAERTES
To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;KING CLAUDIUS
And like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
Why, now you speakDanes
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensible in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
[Within] Let her come in.LAERTES
How now! what noise is that?OPHELIA
Re-enter OPHELIAO heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as moral as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.
They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
Fare you well, my dove!
Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,OPHELIA
It could not move thus.
You must sing a-down a-down,
An you call him a-down-a.
O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
steward, that stole his master's daughter.
This nothing's more than matter.OPHELIA
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,LAERTES
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.OPHELIA
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rueLAERTES
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--
SingsFor bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,OPHELIA
She turns to favour and to prettiness.
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy death-bed:
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
God ha' mercy on his soul!
And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.
Do you see this, O God?KING CLAUDIUS
Laertes, I must commune with your grief,LAERTES
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will.
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me:
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we can ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.
Let this be so;KING CLAUDIUS
His means of death, his obscure funeral--
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation--
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.
So you shall;
And where the offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you, go with me.
Enter HORATIO and a ServantHORATIO
What are they that would speak with me?Servant
Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.HORATIO
Let them come in.First Sailor
Exit ServantI do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.
God bless you, sir.HORATIO
Let him bless thee too.First Sailor
He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter forHORATIO
you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was
bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am
let to know it is.
[Reads] 'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked
this, give these fellows some means to the king:
they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old
at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us
chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on
a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded
them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so
I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with
me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they
did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king
have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me
with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death. I
have words to speak in thine ear will make thee
dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of
the matter. These good fellows will bring thee
where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their
course for England: of them I have much to tell
'He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.'
Come, I will make you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS and LAERTESKING CLAUDIUS
Now must your conscience my acquaintance seal,LAERTES
And you must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
It well appears: but tell meKING CLAUDIUS
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.
O, for two special reasons;LAERTES
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which--
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.
And so have I a noble father lost;KING CLAUDIUS
A sister driven into desperate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections: but my revenge will come.
Break not your sleeps for that: you must not thinkMessenger
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I loved your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine--
Enter a MessengerHow now! what news?
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:KING CLAUDIUS
This to your majesty; this to the queen.
From Hamlet! who brought them?Messenger
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:KING CLAUDIUS
They were given me by Claudio; he received them
Of him that brought them.
Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us.LAERTES
Reads'High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on
your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see
your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your
pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden
and more strange return. 'HAMLET.'
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Know you the hand?KING CLAUDIUS
'Tis Hamlets character. 'Naked!LAERTES
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?
I'm lost in it, my lord. But let him come;KING CLAUDIUS
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'
If it be so, Laertes--LAERTES
As how should it be so? how otherwise?--
Will you be ruled by me?
Ay, my lord;KING CLAUDIUS
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
To thine own peace. If he be now return'd,LAERTES
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
But even his mother shall uncharge the practise
And call it accident.
My lord, I will be ruled;KING CLAUDIUS
The rather, if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.
It falls right.LAERTES
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one, and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.
What part is that, my lord?KING CLAUDIUS
A very riband in the cap of youth,LAERTES
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy:--
I've seen myself, and served against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorpsed and demi-natured
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.
A Norman was't?KING CLAUDIUS
Upon my life, Lamond.KING CLAUDIUS
The very same.LAERTES
I know him well: he is the brooch indeedKING CLAUDIUS
And gem of all the nation.
He made confession of you,LAERTES
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation,
He swore, had had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you opposed them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with him.
Now, out of this,--
What out of this, my lord?KING CLAUDIUS
Laertes, was your father dear to you?LAERTES
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?
Why ask you this?KING CLAUDIUS
Not that I think you did not love your father;LAERTES
But that I know love is begun by time;
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o' the ulcer:--
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake,
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
To cut his throat i' the church.KING CLAUDIUS
No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;LAERTES
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you, bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that, with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and in a pass of practise
Requite him for your father.
I will do't:KING CLAUDIUS
And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
Let's further think of this;QUEEN GERTRUDE
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance,
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft! let me see:
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings: I ha't.
When in your motion you are hot and dry--
As make your bouts more violent to that end--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.
Enter QUEEN GERTRUDEHow now, sweet queen!
One woe doth tread upon another's heel,LAERTES
So fast they follow; your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
Drown'd! O, where?QUEEN GERTRUDE
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,LAERTES
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Alas, then, she is drown'd?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,KING CLAUDIUS
And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will: when these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.
Let's follow, Gertrude:
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.
Enter two Clowns, with spades, & cFirst Clown
Is she to be buried in Christian burial thatSecond Clown
wilfully seeks her own salvation?
I tell thee she is: and therefore make her graveFirst Clown
straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in herSecond Clown
Why, 'tis found so.First Clown
It must be 'se offendendo;' it cannot be else. ForSecond Clown
here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly,
it argues an act: and an act hath three branches: it
is, to act, to do, to perform: argal, she drowned
Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,--First Clown
Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: hereSecond Clown
stands the man; good; if the man go to this water,
and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he
goes,--mark you that; but if the water come to him
and drown him, he drowns not himself: argal, he
that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.
But is this law?First Clown
Ay, marry, is't; crowner's quest law.Second Clown
Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not beenFirst Clown
a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o'
Why, there thou say'st: and the more pity thatSecond Clown
great folk should have countenance in this world to
drown or hang themselves, more than their even
Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient
gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers:
they hold up Adam's profession.
Was he a gentleman?First Clown
He was the first that ever bore arms.Second Clown
Why, he had none.First Clown
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand theSecond Clown
Scripture? The Scripture says 'Adam digged:'
could he dig without arms? I'll put another
question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the
purpose, confess thyself--
Go to.First Clown
What is he that builds stronger than either theSecond Clown
mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives aFirst Clown
I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallowsSecond Clown
does well; but how does it well? it does well to
those that do in: now thou dost ill to say the
gallows is built stronger than the church: argal,
the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.
'Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, orFirst Clown
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.Second Clown
Marry, now I can tell.First Clown
Mass, I cannot tell.First Clown
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dullHAMLET
ass will not mend his pace with beating; and, when
you are asked this question next, say 'a
grave-maker: 'the houses that he makes last till
doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan: fetch me a
stoup of liquor.
Exit Second Clown
He digs and singsIn youth, when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet,
To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove,
O, methought, there was nothing meet.
Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that heHORATIO
sings at grave-making?
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.HAMLET
'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hathFirst Clown
the daintier sense.
But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.
Throws up a skull
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once:HORATIO
how the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were
Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It
might be the pate of a politician, which this ass
now o'er-reaches; one that would circumvent God,
might it not?
It might, my lord.HAMLET
Or of a courtier; which could say 'Good morrow,HORATIO
sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord?' This might
be my lord such-a-one, that praised my lord
such-a-one's horse, when he meant to beg it; might it not?
Ay, my lord.HAMLET
Why, e'en so: and now my Lady Worm's; chapless, andFirst Clown
knocked about the mazzard with a sexton's spade:
here's fine revolution, an we had the trick to
see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding,
but to play at loggats with 'em? mine ache to think on't.
A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet:
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
Throws up another skull
There's another: why may not that be the skull of aHORATIO
lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets,
his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he
suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the
sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of
his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be
in's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes,
his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers,
his recoveries: is this the fine of his fines, and
the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine
pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him
no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than
the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The
very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in
this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more, ha?
Not a jot more, my lord.HAMLET
Is not parchment made of sheepskins?HORATIO
Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.HAMLET
They are sheep and calves which seek out assuranceFirst Clown
in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose
grave's this, sirrah?
SingsO, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.First Clown
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is notHAMLET
yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, and yet it is mine.
'Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine:First Clown
'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away gain, from me toHAMLET
What man dost thou dig it for?First Clown
For no man, sir.HAMLET
What woman, then?First Clown
For none, neither.HAMLET
Who is to be buried in't?First Clown
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.HAMLET
How absolute the knave is! we must speak by theFirst Clown
card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord,
Horatio, these three years I have taken a note of
it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the
peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he
gaffs his kibe. How long hast thou been a
Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that dayHAMLET
that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
How long is that since?First Clown
Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: itHAMLET
was the very day that young Hamlet was born; he that
is mad, and sent into England.
Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?First Clown
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his witsHAMLET
there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
'Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the menHAMLET
are as mad as he.
How came he mad?First Clown
Very strangely, they say.HAMLET
How strangely?First Clown
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.HAMLET
Upon what ground?First Clown
Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, manHAMLET
and boy, thirty years.
How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?First Clown
I' faith, if he be not rotten before he die--as weHAMLET
have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce
hold the laying in--he will last you some eight year
or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.
Why he more than another?First Clown
Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, thatHAMLET
he will keep out water a great while; and your water
is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.
Here's a skull now; this skull has lain in the earth
three and twenty years.
Whose was it?First Clown
A whoreson mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?HAMLET
Nay, I know not.First Clown
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! a' poured aHAMLET
flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull,
sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.
Let me see.HORATIO
Takes the skullAlas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
me one thing.
What's that, my lord?HAMLET
Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i'HORATIO
And smelt so? pah!HORATIO
Puts down the skull
E'en so, my lord.HAMLET
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why mayHORATIO
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?
'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.HAMLET
No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither withLAERTES
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.
Enter Priest, & c. in procession; the Corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, their trains, & cThe queen, the courtiers: who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo its own life: 'twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile, and mark.
Retiring with HORATIO
What ceremony else?HAMLET
That is Laertes,LAERTES
A very noble youth: mark.
What ceremony else?First Priest
Her obsequies have been as far enlargedLAERTES
As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
Till the last trumpet: for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her;
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
Must there no more be done?First Priest
No more be done:LAERTES
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
Lay her i' the earth:HAMLET
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be,
When thou liest howling.
What, the fair Ophelia!QUEEN GERTRUDE
Sweets to the sweet: farewell!LAERTES
Scattering flowersI hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.
O, treble woeHAMLET
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head,
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms:
Leaps into the graveNow pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
[Advancing] What is he whose griefLAERTES
Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
Leaps into the grave
The devil take thy soul!HAMLET
Grappling with him
Thou pray'st not well.KING CLAUDIUS
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear: hold off thy hand.
Pluck them asunder.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Good my lord, be quiet.HAMLET
The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave
Why I will fight with him upon this themeQUEEN GERTRUDE
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
O my son, what theme?HAMLET
I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothersKING CLAUDIUS
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
O, he is mad, Laertes.QUEEN GERTRUDE
For love of God, forbear him.HAMLET
'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:QUEEN GERTRUDE
Woo't weep? woo't fight? woo't fast? woo't tear thyself?
Woo't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.
This is mere madness:HAMLET
And thus awhile the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
His silence will sit drooping.
Hear you, sir;KING CLAUDIUS
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.
To LAERTESStrengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
We'll put the matter to the present push.
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.
Enter HAMLET and HORATIOHAMLET
So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;HORATIO
You do remember all the circumstance?
Remember it, my lord?HAMLET
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,HORATIO
That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
And praised be rashness for it, let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will,--
That is most certain.HAMLET
Up from my cabin,HORATIO
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Groped I to find out them; had my desire.
Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again; making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio,--
O royal knavery!--an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reasons
Importing Denmark's health and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.
Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.HORATIO
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
I beseech you.HAMLET
Being thus be-netted round with villanies,--HORATIO
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play--I sat me down,
Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
The effect of what I wrote?
Ay, good my lord.HAMLET
An earnest conjuration from the king,HORATIO
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm might flourish,
As peace should stiff her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
And many such-like 'As'es of great charge,
That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving-time allow'd.
How was this seal'd?HAMLET
Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.HORATIO
I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal;
Folded the writ up in form of the other,
Subscribed it, gave't the impression, placed it safely,
The changeling never known. Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
Thou know'st already.
So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.HAMLET
Why, man, they did make love to this employment;HORATIO
They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow:
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.
Why, what a king is this!HAMLET
Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--HORATIO
He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience,
To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd,
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?
It must be shortly known to him from EnglandHAMLET
What is the issue of the business there.
It will be short: the interim is mine;HORATIO
And a man's life's no more than to say 'One.'
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself;
For, by the image of my cause, I see
The portraiture of his: I'll court his favours.
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.
Peace! who comes here?OSRIC
Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.HAMLET
I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?HORATIO
No, my good lord.HAMLET
Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice toOSRIC
know him. He hath much land, and fertile: let a
beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at
the king's mess: 'tis a chough; but, as I say,
spacious in the possession of dirt.
Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, IHAMLET
should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
I will receive it, sir, with all diligence ofOSRIC
spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
I thank your lordship, it is very hot.HAMLET
No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind isOSRIC
It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.HAMLET
But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for myOSRIC
Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--asHAMLET
'twere,--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his
majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a
great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter,--
I beseech you, remember--OSRIC
HAMLET moves him to put on his hat
Nay, good my lord; for mine ease, in good faith.HAMLET
Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes; believe
me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent
differences, of very soft society and great showing:
indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or
calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the
continent of what part a gentleman would see.
Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;OSRIC
though, I know, to divide him inventorially would
dizzy the arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw
neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the
verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of
great article; and his infusion of such dearth and
rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his
semblable is his mirror; and who else would trace
him, his umbrage, nothing more.
Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.HAMLET
The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentlemanOSRIC
in our more rawer breath?
Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?HAMLET
You will do't, sir, really.
What imports the nomination of this gentleman?OSRIC
His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.HAMLET
Of him, sir.OSRIC
I know you are not ignorant--HAMLET
I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did,OSRIC
it would not much approve me. Well, sir?
You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is--HAMLET
I dare not confess that, lest I should compare withOSRIC
him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to
I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputationHAMLET
laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
What's his weapon?OSRIC
Rapier and dagger.HAMLET
That's two of his weapons: but, well.OSRIC
The king, sir, hath wagered with him six BarbaryHAMLET
horses: against the which he has imponed, as I take
it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their
assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: three of the
carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very
responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages,
and of very liberal conceit.
What call you the carriages?HORATIO
I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.OSRIC
The carriages, sir, are the hangers.HAMLET
The phrase would be more german to the matter, if weOSRIC
could carry cannon by our sides: I would it might
be hangers till then. But, on: six Barbary horses
against six French swords, their assigns, and three
liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bet
against the Danish. Why is this 'imponed,' as you call it?
The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passesHAMLET
between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you
three hits: he hath laid on twelve for nine; and it
would come to immediate trial, if your lordship
would vouchsafe the answer.
How if I answer 'no'?OSRIC
I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.HAMLET
Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please hisOSRIC
majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let
the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the
king hold his purpose, I will win for him an I can;
if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?HAMLET
To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.OSRIC
I commend my duty to your lordship.HAMLET
Exit OSRICHe does well to commend it himself; there are no
tongues else for's turn.
This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.HAMLET
He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.Lord
Thus has he--and many more of the same bevy that I
know the dressy age dotes on--only got the tune of
the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of
yesty collection, which carries them through and
through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do
but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
Enter a Lord
My lord, his majesty commended him to you by youngHAMLET
Osric, who brings back to him that you attend him in
the hall: he sends to know if your pleasure hold to
play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time.
I am constant to my purpose; they follow the king'sLord
pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now
or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.
The king and queen and all are coming down.HAMLET
In happy time.Lord
The queen desires you to use some gentleHAMLET
entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.
She well instructs me.HORATIO
You will lose this wager, my lord.HAMLET
I do not think so: since he went into France, IHORATIO
have been in continual practise: I shall win at the
odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here
about my heart: but it is no matter.
Nay, good my lord,--HAMLET
It is but foolery; but it is such a kind ofHORATIO
gain-giving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.
If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I willHAMLET
forestall their repair hither, and say you are not
Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a specialKING CLAUDIUS
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, & c
Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.HAMLET
KING CLAUDIUS puts LAERTES' hand into HAMLET's
Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;LAERTES
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows,
And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done,
That might your nature, honour and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.
I am satisfied in nature,HAMLET
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,
Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
I have a voice and precedent of peace,
To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.
I embrace it freely;LAERTES
And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Give us the foils. Come on.
Come, one for me.HAMLET
I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignoranceLAERTES
Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
You mock me, sir.HAMLET
No, by this hand.KING CLAUDIUS
Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,HAMLET
You know the wager?
Very well, my lordKING CLAUDIUS
Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.
I do not fear it; I have seen you both:LAERTES
But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.
This is too heavy, let me see another.HAMLET
This likes me well. These foils have all a length?OSRIC
They prepare to play
Ay, my good lord.KING CLAUDIUS
Set me the stoops of wine upon that table.HAMLET
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire:
The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
'Now the king dunks to Hamlet.' Come, begin:
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
Come on, sir.LAERTES
Come, my lord.HAMLET
A hit, a very palpable hit.LAERTES
Well; again.KING CLAUDIUS
Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;HAMLET
Here's to thy health.
Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off withinGive him the cup.
I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.LAERTES
They playAnother hit; what say you?
A touch, a touch, I do confess.KING CLAUDIUS
Our son shall win.QUEEN GERTRUDE
He's fat, and scant of breath.HAMLET
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Good madam!KING CLAUDIUS
Gertrude, do not drink.QUEEN GERTRUDE
I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.KING CLAUDIUS
[Aside] It is the poison'd cup: it is too late.HAMLET
I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come, let me wipe thy face.LAERTES
My lord, I'll hit him now.KING CLAUDIUS
I do not think't.LAERTES
[Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.HAMLET
Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;LAERTES
I pray you, pass with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
Say you so? come on.OSRIC
Nothing, neither way.LAERTES
Have at you now!KING CLAUDIUS
LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then in scuffling, they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES
Part them; they are incensed.HAMLET
Nay, come, again.OSRIC
QUEEN GERTRUDE falls
Look to the queen there, ho!HORATIO
They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?OSRIC
How is't, Laertes?LAERTES
Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;HAMLET
I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
How does the queen?KING CLAUDIUS
She swounds to see them bleed.QUEEN GERTRUDE
No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,--HAMLET
The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.
O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd:LAERTES
Treachery! Seek it out.
It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;HAMLET
No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour of life;
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practise
Hath turn'd itself on me lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.
The point!--envenom'd too!All
Then, venom, to thy work.
Stabs KING CLAUDIUS
Treason! treason!KING CLAUDIUS
O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.HAMLET
Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,LAERTES
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.
KING CLAUDIUS dies
He is justly served;HAMLET
It is a poison temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.
Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.HORATIO
I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time--as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest--O, I could tell you--
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
Never believe it:HAMLET
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
Here's yet some liquor left.
As thou'rt a man,OSRIC
Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't.
O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.
March afar off, and shot withinWhat warlike noise is this?
Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,HAMLET
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
O, I die, Horatio;HORATIO
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:PRINCE FORTINBRAS
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Why does the drum come hither?
Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others
Where is this sight?HORATIO
What is it ye would see?PRINCE FORTINBRAS
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,First Ambassador
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?
The sight is dismal;HORATIO
And our affairs from England come too late:
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?
Not from his mouth,PRINCE FORTINBRAS
Had it the ability of life to thank you:
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
Are here arrived give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view;
And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
How these things came about: so shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on the inventors' reads: all this can I
Let us haste to hear it,HORATIO
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.
Of that I shall have also cause to speak,PRINCE FORTINBRAS
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more;
But let this same be presently perform'd,
Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
On plots and errors, happen.
Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royally: and, for his passage,
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off