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Navigate this workHamlet
Events before the start of Hamlet set the stage for tragedy. When the king of Denmark, Prince Hamlet’s father, suddenly dies, Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, marries his uncle Claudius, who becomes the new king.
A spirit who claims to be the ghost of Hamlet’s father describes his murder at the hands of Claudius and demands that Hamlet avenge the killing. When the councilor Polonius learns from his daughter, Ophelia, that Hamlet has visited her in an apparently distracted state, Polonius attributes the prince’s condition to lovesickness, and he sets a trap for Hamlet using Ophelia as bait.
To confirm Claudius’s guilt, Hamlet arranges for a play that mimics the murder; Claudius’s reaction is that of a guilty man. Hamlet, now free to act, mistakenly kills Polonius, thinking he is Claudius. Claudius sends Hamlet away as part of a deadly plot.
After Polonius’s death, Ophelia goes mad and later drowns. Hamlet, who has returned safely to confront the king, agrees to a fencing match with Ophelia’s brother, Laertes, who secretly poisons his own rapier. At the match, Claudius prepares poisoned wine for Hamlet, which Gertrude unknowingly drinks; as she dies, she accuses Claudius, whom Hamlet kills. Then first Laertes and then Hamlet die, both victims of Laertes’ rapier.
BARNARDO 0001 Who’s there?
0002 Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
BARNARDO 0003 Long live the King!
FRANCISCO 0004 Barnardo?
BARNARDO 0005 5He.
0006 You come most carefully upon your hour.
0007 ’Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.
0008 For this relief much thanks. ’Tis bitter cold,
0009 And I am sick at heart.
BARNARDO 0010 10Have you had quiet guard?
FRANCISCO 0011 Not a mouse stirring.
BARNARDO 0012 Well, good night.
0013 If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
0014 The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
0015 15 I think I hear them.—Stand ho! Who is there?
HORATIO 0016 Friends to this ground.
FRANCISCO 0018 Give you good night.
0019 O farewell, honest ⟨soldier.⟩ Who hath relieved
0020 20 you?
0021 Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.
MARCELLUS 0022 Holla, Barnardo.
BARNARDO 0023 Say, what, is Horatio there?
HORATIO 0024 A piece of him.
0025 25 Welcome, Horatio.—Welcome, good Marcellus.
0026 What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
BARNARDO 0027 I have seen nothing.
0028 Horatio says ’tis but our fantasy
0029 And will not let belief take hold of him
0030 30 Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
0031 Therefore I have entreated him along
0032 With us to watch the minutes of this night,
0033 That, if again this apparition come,
0034 He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
0035 35 Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.
BARNARDO 0036 Sit down awhile,
0037 And let us once again assail your ears,
0038 That are so fortified against our story,
0039 What we have two nights seen.
HORATIO 0040 40 Well, sit we down,
0041 And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
BARNARDO 0042 Last night of all,
0043 When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
0044 Had made his course t’ illume that part of heaven
0045 45 Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
0046 The bell then beating one—
0047 Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again.
0048 In the same figure like the King that’s dead.
MARCELLUS, ⌜to Horatio⌝
0049 Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
0050 50 Looks he not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
0051 Most like. It ⟨harrows⟩ me with fear and wonder.
0052 It would be spoke to.
MARCELLUS 0053 Speak to it, Horatio.
0054 What art thou that usurp’st this time of night,
0055 55 Together with that fair and warlike form
0056 In which the majesty of buried Denmark
0057 Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee,
0059 It is offended.
BARNARDO 0060 60 See, it stalks away.
0061 Stay! speak! speak! I charge thee, speak!
MARCELLUS 0062 ’Tis gone and will not answer.
0063 How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
0064 Is not this something more than fantasy?
0065 65 What think you on ’t?
0066 Before my God, I might not this believe
0067 Without the sensible and true avouch
0068 Of mine own eyes.
HORATIO 0070 70As thou art to thyself.
0071 Such was the very armor he had on
0072 When he the ambitious Norway combated.
0073 So frowned he once when, in an angry parle,
0074 He smote the sledded ⌜Polacks⌝ on the ice.
0075 75 ’Tis strange.
0076 Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
0077 With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
0078 In what particular thought to work I know not,
0079 But in the gross and scope of mine opinion
0080 80 This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
0081 Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
0082 Why this same strict and most observant watch
0083 So nightly toils the subject of the land,
0084 And ⟨why⟩ such daily ⟨cast⟩ of brazen cannon
0085 85 And foreign mart for implements of war,
0086 Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
0087 Does not divide the Sunday from the week.
0088 What might be toward that this sweaty haste
0089 Doth make the night joint laborer with the day?
0090 90 Who is ’t that can inform me?
HORATIO 0091 That can I.
0092 At least the whisper goes so: our last king,
0093 Whose image even but now appeared to us,
0094 Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
0095 95 Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
0096 Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
0097 (For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
0098 Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact,
0099 Well ratified by law and heraldry,
0100 100 Did forfeit, with his life, all ⟨those⟩ his lands
0101 Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror.
0103 Was gagèd by our king, which had ⟨returned⟩
0104 To the inheritance of Fortinbras
0105 105 Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same comart
0106 And carriage of the article ⌜designed,⌝
0107 His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
0108 Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
0109 Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
0110 110 Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes
0111 For food and diet to some enterprise
0112 That hath a stomach in ’t; which is no other
0113 (As it doth well appear unto our state)
0114 But to recover of us, by strong hand
0115 115 And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
0116 So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
0117 Is the main motive of our preparations,
0118 The source of this our watch, and the chief head
0119 Of this posthaste and rummage in the land.
0120 120 I think it be no other but e’en so.
0121 Well may it sort that this portentous figure
0122 Comes armèd through our watch so like the king
0123 That was and is the question of these wars.
0124 A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
0125 125 In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
0126 A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
0127 The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
0128 Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
0129 As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
0130 130 Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,
0131 Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands,
0132 Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
0133 And even the like precurse of ⌜feared⌝ events,
0134 As harbingers preceding still the fates
0135 135 And prologue to the omen coming on,
0137 Unto our climatures and countrymen.]
0138 But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again!
0139 I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
It spreads his arms.
0140 140 If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
0141 Speak to me.
0142 If there be any good thing to be done
0143 That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
0144 Speak to me.
0145 145 If thou art privy to thy country’s fate,
0146 Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
0147 O, speak!
0148 Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
0149 Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
0150 150 For which, they say, ⟨you⟩ spirits oft walk in death,
0151 Speak of it.The cock crows.
0152 Stay and speak!—Stop it, Marcellus.
0153 Shall I strike it with my partisan?
HORATIO 0154 Do, if it will not stand.
BARNARDO 0155 155’Tis here.
HORATIO 0156 ’Tis here.
MARCELLUS 0157 ’Tis gone.
0158 We do it wrong, being so majestical,
0159 To offer it the show of violence,
0160 160 For it is as the air, invulnerable,
0161 And our vain blows malicious mockery.
0162 It was about to speak when the cock crew.
0163 And then it started like a guilty thing
0164 Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
0166 Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
0167 Awake the god of day, and at his warning,
0168 Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
0169 Th’ extravagant and erring spirit hies
0170 170 To his confine, and of the truth herein
0171 This present object made probation.
0172 It faded on the crowing of the cock.
0173 Some say that ever ’gainst that season comes
0174 Wherein our Savior’s birth is celebrated,
0175 175 This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
0176 And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
0177 The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
0178 No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
0179 So hallowed and so gracious is that time.
0180 180 So have I heard and do in part believe it.
0181 But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
0182 Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
0183 Break we our watch up, and by my advice
0184 Let us impart what we have seen tonight
0185 185 Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
0186 This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
0187 Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it
0188 As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
0189 Let’s do ’t, I pray, and I this morning know
0190 190 Where we shall find him most convenient.
Queen, ⌜the⌝ Council, as Polonius, and his son Laertes,
Hamlet, with others, ⌜among them Voltemand and
0191 Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
0192 The memory be green, and that it us befitted
0193 To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
0194 To be contracted in one brow of woe,
0195 5 Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
0196 That we with wisest sorrow think on him
0197 Together with remembrance of ourselves.
0198 Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
0199 Th’ imperial jointress to this warlike state,
0200 10 Have we (as ’twere with a defeated joy,
0201 With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
0202 With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
0203 In equal scale weighing delight and dole)
0204 Taken to wife. Nor have we herein barred
0205 15 Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
0206 With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
0207 Now follows that you know. Young Fortinbras,
0208 Holding a weak supposal of our worth
0209 Or thinking by our late dear brother’s death
0210 20 Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
0211 Colleaguèd with this dream of his advantage,
0212 He hath not failed to pester us with message
0213 Importing the surrender of those lands
0214 Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
0215 25 To our most valiant brother—so much for him.
0216 Now for ourself and for this time of meeting.
0217 Thus much the business is: we have here writ
0218 To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
0219 Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears
0221 His further gait herein, in that the levies,
0222 The lists, and full proportions are all made
0223 Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
0224 You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
0225 35 For bearers of this greeting to old Norway,
0226 Giving to you no further personal power
0227 To business with the King more than the scope
0228 Of these dilated articles allow.
⌜Giving them a paper.⌝
0229 Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
0230 40 In that and all things will we show our duty.
0231 We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
⟨Voltemand and Cornelius exit.⟩
0232 And now, Laertes, what’s the news with you?
0233 You told us of some suit. What is ’t, Laertes?
0234 You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
0235 45 And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg,
0237 That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
0238 The head is not more native to the heart,
0239 The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
0240 50 Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
0241 What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
LAERTES 0242 My dread lord,
0243 Your leave and favor to return to France,
0244 From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
0245 55 To show my duty in your coronation,
0246 Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
0247 My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
0248 And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
0249 Have you your father’s leave? What says Polonius?
0250 60 Hath, my lord, [wrung from me my slow leave
0251 By laborsome petition, and at last
0252 Upon his will I sealed my hard consent.]
0253 I do beseech you give him leave to go.
0254 Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
0255 65 And thy best graces spend it at thy will.—
0256 But now, my cousin Hamlet and my son—
0257 A little more than kin and less than kind.
0258 How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
0259 Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.
0260 70 Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
0261 And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
0262 Do not forever with thy vailèd lids
0263 Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
0264 Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,
0265 75 Passing through nature to eternity.
0266 Ay, madam, it is common.
QUEEN 0267 If it be,
0268 Why seems it so particular with thee?
0269 “Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”
0270 80 ’Tis not alone my inky cloak, ⟨good⟩ mother,
0271 Nor customary suits of solemn black,
0272 Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
0273 No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
0274 Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
0275 85 Together with all forms, moods, ⌜shapes⌝ of grief,
0276 That can ⟨denote⟩ me truly. These indeed “seem,”
0277 For they are actions that a man might play;
0279 These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
0280 90 ’Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,
0282 To give these mourning duties to your father.
0283 But you must know your father lost a father,
0284 That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
0285 95 In filial obligation for some term
0286 To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
0287 In obstinate condolement is a course
0288 Of impious stubbornness. ’Tis unmanly grief.
0289 It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
0290 100 A heart unfortified, ⟨a⟩ mind impatient,
0291 An understanding simple and unschooled.
0292 For what we know must be and is as common
0293 As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
0294 Why should we in our peevish opposition
0295 105 Take it to heart? Fie, ’tis a fault to heaven,
0296 A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
0297 To reason most absurd, whose common theme
0298 Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
0299 From the first corse till he that died today,
0300 110 “This must be so.” We pray you, throw to earth
0301 This unprevailing woe and think of us
0302 As of a father; for let the world take note,
0303 You are the most immediate to our throne,
0304 And with no less nobility of love
0305 115 Than that which dearest father bears his son
0306 Do I impart toward you. For your intent
0307 In going back to school in Wittenberg,
0308 It is most retrograde to our desire,
0309 And we beseech you, bend you to remain
0310 120 Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
0311 Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
0312 Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
0313 I pray thee, stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg.
0314 I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
0315 125 Why, ’tis a loving and a fair reply.
0316 Be as ourself in Denmark.—Madam, come.
0317 This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
0318 Sits smiling to my heart, in grace whereof
0319 No jocund health that Denmark drinks today
0320 130 But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
0321 And the King’s rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
0322 Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Flourish. All but Hamlet exit.
0323 O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,
0324 Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
0325 135 Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
0326 His canon ’gainst ⟨self-slaughter!⟩ O God, God,
0327 How ⟨weary,⟩ stale, flat, and unprofitable
0328 Seem to me all the uses of this world!
0329 Fie on ’t, ah fie! ’Tis an unweeded garden
0330 140 That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
0331 Possess it merely. That it should come ⟨to this:⟩
0332 But two months dead—nay, not so much, not two.
0333 So excellent a king, that was to this
0334 Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
0335 145 That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
0336 Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and Earth,
0337 Must I remember? Why, she ⟨would⟩ hang on him
0338 As if increase of appetite had grown
0339 By what it fed on. And yet, within a month
0340 150 (Let me not think on ’t; frailty, thy name is woman!),
0341 A little month, or ere those shoes were old
0342 With which she followed my poor father’s body,
0344 (O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
0345 155 Would have mourned longer!), married with my
0347 My father’s brother, but no more like my father
0348 Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
0349 Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
0350 160 Had left the flushing in her gallèd eyes,
0351 She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
0352 With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
0353 It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
0354 But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.
HORATIO 0355 165Hail to your Lordship.
HAMLET 0356 I am glad to see you well.
0357 Horatio—or I do forget myself!
0358 The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
0359 Sir, my good friend. I’ll change that name with you.
0360 170 And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?—
MARCELLUS 0362 My good lord.
0363 I am very glad to see you. ⌜To Barnardo.⌝ Good
0364 even, sir.—
0365 175 But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
0366 A truant disposition, good my lord.
0367 I would not hear your enemy say so,
0368 Nor shall you do my ear that violence
0369 To make it truster of your own report
0370 180 Against yourself. I know you are no truant.
0371 But what is your affair in Elsinore?
0372 We’ll teach you to drink ⟨deep⟩ ere you depart.
0373 My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.
0374 I prithee, do not mock me, fellow student.
0375 185 I think it was to ⟨see⟩ my mother’s wedding.
0376 Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
0377 Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
0378 Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
0379 Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
0380 190 Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
0381 My father—methinks I see my father.
0382 Where, my lord?
HAMLET 0383 In my mind’s eye, Horatio.
0384 I saw him once. He was a goodly king.
0385 195 He was a man. Take him for all in all,
0386 I shall not look upon his like again.
0387 My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
HAMLET 0388 Saw who?
0389 My lord, the King your father.
HAMLET 0390 200 The King my father?
0391 Season your admiration for a while
0392 With an attent ear, till I may deliver
0393 Upon the witness of these gentlemen
0394 This marvel to you.
HAMLET 0395 205 For God’s love, let me hear!
0396 Two nights together had these gentlemen,
0397 Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch,
0399 Been thus encountered: a figure like your father,
0400 210 Armed at point exactly, cap-à-pie,
0401 Appears before them and with solemn march
0402 Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked
0403 By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd eyes
0404 Within his truncheon’s length, whilst they, distilled
0405 215 Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
0406 Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
0407 In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
0408 And I with them the third night kept the watch,
0409 ⌜Where, as⌝ they had delivered, both in time,
0410 220 Form of the thing (each word made true and good),
0411 The apparition comes. I knew your father;
0412 These hands are not more like.
HAMLET 0413 But where was this?
0414 My lord, upon the platform where we watch.
0415 225 Did you not speak to it?
HORATIO 0416 My lord, I did,
0417 But answer made it none. Yet once methought
0418 It lifted up its head and did address
0419 Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
0420 230 But even then the morning cock crew loud,
0421 And at the sound it shrunk in haste away
0422 And vanished from our sight.
HAMLET 0423 ’Tis very strange.
0424 As I do live, my honored lord, ’tis true.
0425 235 And we did think it writ down in our duty
0426 To let you know of it.
HAMLET 0427 Indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
0428 Hold you the watch tonight?
ALL 0429 We do, my lord.
0430 240 Armed, say you?
HAMLET 0432 From top to toe?
ALL 0433 My lord, from head to foot.
HAMLET 0434 Then saw you not his face?
0435 245 O, yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.
HAMLET 0436 What, looked he frowningly?
0437 A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
HAMLET 0438 Pale or red?
0439 Nay, very pale.
HAMLET 0440 250 And fixed his eyes upon you?
0441 Most constantly.
HAMLET 0442 I would I had been there.
HORATIO 0443 It would have much amazed you.
HAMLET 0444 Very like. Stayed it long?
0445 255 While one with moderate haste might tell a
BARNARDO/MARCELLUS 0447 Longer, longer.
0448 Not when I saw ’t.
HAMLET 0449 His beard was grizzled, no?
0450 260 It was as I have seen it in his life,
0451 A sable silvered.
HAMLET 0452 I will watch ⌜tonight.⌝
0453 Perchance ’twill walk again.
HORATIO 0454 I warrant it will.
0455 265 If it assume my noble father’s person,
0456 I’ll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
0457 And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
0458 If you have hitherto concealed this sight,
0460 270 And whatsomever else shall hap tonight,
0461 Give it an understanding but no tongue.
0462 I will requite your loves. So fare you well.
0463 Upon the platform, ’twixt eleven and twelve,
0464 I’ll visit you.
ALL 0465 275 Our duty to your Honor.
0466 Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell.
⌜All but Hamlet⌝ exit.
0467 My father’s spirit—in arms! All is not well.
0468 I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!
0469 Till then, sit still, my soul. ⟨Foul⟩ deeds will rise,
0470 280 Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s
0472 My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
0473 And, sister, as the winds give benefit
0474 And convey ⟨is⟩ assistant, do not sleep,
0475 But let me hear from you.
OPHELIA 0476 5 Do you doubt that?
0477 For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
0478 Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
0479 A violet in the youth of primy nature,
0480 Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
0481 10 The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
0482 No more.
OPHELIA 0483 No more but so?
LAERTES 0484 Think it no more.
0486 15 In thews and ⟨bulk,⟩ but, as this temple waxes,
0487 The inward service of the mind and soul
0488 Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
0489 And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
0490 The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
0491 20 His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
0492 ⟨For he himself is subject to his birth.⟩
0493 He may not, as unvalued persons do,
0494 Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
0495 The safety and ⌜the⌝ health of this whole state.
0496 25 And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
0497 Unto the voice and yielding of that body
0498 Whereof he is the head. Then, if he says he loves
0500 It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
0501 30 As he in his particular act and place
0502 May give his saying deed, which is no further
0503 Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
0504 Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain
0505 If with too credent ear you list his songs
0506 35 Or lose your heart or your chaste treasure open
0507 To his unmastered importunity.
0508 Fear it, Ophelia; fear it, my dear sister,
0509 And keep you in the rear of your affection,
0510 Out of the shot and danger of desire.
0511 40 The chariest maid is prodigal enough
0512 If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
0513 Virtue itself ’scapes not calumnious strokes.
0514 The canker galls the infants of the spring
0515 Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
0516 45 And, in the morn and liquid dew of youth,
0517 Contagious blastments are most imminent.
0518 Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
0519 Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
0520 I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
0522 Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
0523 Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
0524 Whiles, ⟨like⟩ a puffed and reckless libertine,
0525 Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
0526 55 And recks not his own rede.
LAERTES 0527 O, fear me not.
0528 I stay too long. But here my father comes.
0529 A double blessing is a double grace.
0530 Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
0531 60 Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
0532 The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
0533 And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with
0535 And these few precepts in thy memory
0536 65 Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
0537 Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
0538 Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
0539 Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
0540 Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
0541 70 But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
0542 Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage. Beware
0543 Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
0544 Bear ’t that th’ opposèd may beware of thee.
0545 Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
0546 75 Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
0547 Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
0548 But not expressed in fancy (rich, not gaudy),
0549 For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
0550 And they in France of the best rank and station
0551 80 ⟨Are⟩ of a most select and generous chief in that.
0552 Neither a borrower nor a lender ⟨be,⟩
0553 For ⟨loan⟩ oft loses both itself and friend,
0555 This above all: to thine own self be true,
0556 85 And it must follow, as the night the day,
0557 Thou canst not then be false to any man.
0558 Farewell. My blessing season this in thee.
0559 Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
0560 The time invests you. Go, your servants tend.
0561 90 Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
0562 What I have said to you.
OPHELIA 0563 ’Tis in my memory locked,
0564 And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTES 0565 Farewell.Laertes exits.
0566 95 What is ’t, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
0567 So please you, something touching the Lord
POLONIUS 0569 Marry, well bethought.
0570 ’Tis told me he hath very oft of late
0571 100 Given private time to you, and you yourself
0572 Have of your audience been most free and
0574 If it be so (as so ’tis put on me,
0575 And that in way of caution), I must tell you
0576 105 You do not understand yourself so clearly
0577 As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
0578 What is between you? Give me up the truth.
0579 He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
0580 Of his affection to me.
0581 110 Affection, puh! You speak like a green girl
0582 Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
0583 Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them?
0584 I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
0585 Marry, I will teach you. Think yourself a baby
0586 115 That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
0587 Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly,
0588 Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
0589 ⌜Running⌝ it thus) you’ll tender me a fool.
0590 My lord, he hath importuned me with love
0591 120 In honorable fashion—
0592 Ay, “fashion” you may call it. Go to, go to!
0593 And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
0594 With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
0595 Ay, ⟨springes⟩ to catch woodcocks. I do know,
0596 125 When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
0597 Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
0598 Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
0599 Even in their promise as it is a-making,
0600 You must not take for fire. From this time
0601 130 Be something scanter of your maiden presence.
0602 Set your entreatments at a higher rate
0603 Than a command to parle. For Lord Hamlet,
0604 Believe so much in him that he is young,
0605 And with a larger ⟨tether⟩ may he walk
0606 135 Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
0607 Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers,
0608 Not of that dye which their investments show,
0609 But mere ⟨implorators⟩ of unholy suits,
0610 Breathing like sanctified and pious ⌜bawds⌝
0611 140 The better to ⟨beguile.⟩ This is for all:
0612 I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
0613 Have you so slander any moment leisure
0615 Look to ’t, I charge you. Come your ways.
OPHELIA 0616 145I shall obey, my lord.
0617 The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
0618 It is ⟨a⟩ nipping and an eager air.
HAMLET 0619 What hour now?
HORATIO 0620 I think it lacks of twelve.
MARCELLUS 0621 5No, it is struck.
0622 Indeed, I heard it not. It then draws near the season
0623 Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets and two pieces goes off.
0624 What does this mean, my lord?
0625 The King doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
0626 10 Keeps wassail, and the swagg’ring upspring reels;
0627 And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
0628 The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
0629 The triumph of his pledge.
HORATIO 0630 Is it a custom?
HAMLET 0631 15Ay, marry, is ’t,
0632 But, to my mind, though I am native here
0633 And to the manner born, it is a custom
0634 More honored in the breach than the observance.
0635 [This heavy-headed ⌜revel⌝ east and west
0636 20 Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
0637 They clepe us drunkards and with swinish phrase
0638 Soil our addition. And, indeed, it takes
0641 25 The pith and marrow of our attribute.
0642 So oft it chances in particular men
0643 That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
0644 As in their birth (wherein they are not guilty,
0645 Since nature cannot choose his origin),
0646 30 By ⌜the⌝ o’ergrowth of some complexion
0647 (Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason),
0648 Or by some habit that too much o’erleavens
0649 The form of plausive manners—that these men,
0650 Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
0651 35 Being nature’s livery or fortune’s star,
0652 His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
0653 As infinite as man may undergo,
0654 Shall in the general censure take corruption
0655 From that particular fault. The dram of ⌜evil⌝
0656 40 Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
0657 To his own scandal.]
HORATIO 0658 Look, my lord, it comes.
0659 Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!
0660 Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
0661 45 Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from
0663 Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
0664 Thou com’st in such a questionable shape
0665 That I will speak to thee. I’ll call thee “Hamlet,”
0666 50 “King,” “Father,” “Royal Dane.” O, answer me!
0667 Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
0668 Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
0669 Have burst their cerements; why the sepulcher,
0670 Wherein we saw thee quietly interred,
0671 55 Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
0673 That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
0674 Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
0675 Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
0676 60 So horridly to shake our disposition
0677 With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
0678 Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?
0679 It beckons you to go away with it
0680 As if it some impartment did desire
0681 65 To you alone.
MARCELLUS 0682 Look with what courteous action
0683 It waves you to a more removèd ground.
0684 But do not go with it.
HORATIO 0685 No, by no means.
0686 70 It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
0687 Do not, my lord.
HAMLET 0688 Why, what should be the fear?
0689 I do not set my life at a pin’s fee.
0690 And for my soul, what can it do to that,
0691 75 Being a thing immortal as itself?
0692 It waves me forth again. I’ll follow it.
0693 What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord?
0694 Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
0695 That beetles o’er his base into the sea,
0696 80 And there assume some other horrible form
0697 Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
0698 And draw you into madness? Think of it.
0699 [The very place puts toys of desperation,
0700 Without more motive, into every brain
0701 85 That looks so many fathoms to the sea
0702 And hears it roar beneath.]
0703 It waves me still.—Go on, I’ll follow thee.
0704 You shall not go, my lord.⌜They hold back Hamlet.⌝
HAMLET 0705 Hold off your hands.
0706 90 Be ruled. You shall not go.
HAMLET 0707 My fate cries out
0708 And makes each petty arture in this body
0709 As hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve.
0710 Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen.
0711 95 By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me!
0712 I say, away!—Go on. I’ll follow thee.
Ghost and Hamlet exit.
0713 He waxes desperate with imagination.
0714 Let’s follow. ’Tis not fit thus to obey him.
0715 Have after. To what issue will this come?
0716 100 Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
0717 Heaven will direct it.
MARCELLUS 0718 Nay, let’s follow him.
0719 Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I’ll go no
0721 Mark me.
GHOST 0723 5 My hour is almost come
0724 When I to sulf’rous and tormenting flames
0725 Must render up myself.
HAMLET 0726 Alas, poor ghost!
0727 Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
0728 10 To what I shall unfold.
HAMLET 0729 Speak. I am bound to hear.
0730 So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
HAMLET 0731 What?
GHOST 0732 I am thy father’s spirit,
0733 15 Doomed for a certain term to walk the night
0734 And for the day confined to fast in fires
0735 Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
0736 Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
0737 To tell the secrets of my prison house,
0738 20 I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
0739 Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
0740 Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their
0742 Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
0743 25 And each particular hair to stand an end,
0744 Like quills upon the fearful porpentine.
0745 But this eternal blazon must not be
0746 To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O list!
0747 If thou didst ever thy dear father love—
HAMLET 0748 30O God!
0749 Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
HAMLET 0750 Murder?
0751 Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
0752 But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
0753 35 Haste me to know ’t, that I, with wings as swift
0755 May sweep to my revenge.
GHOST 0756 I find thee apt;
0757 And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
0758 40 That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
0759 Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear.
0760 ’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
0761 A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
0762 Is by a forgèd process of my death
0763 45 Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
0764 The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
0765 Now wears his crown.
HAMLET 0766 O, my prophetic soul! My uncle!
0767 Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
0768 50 With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts—
0769 O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
0770 So to seduce!—won to his shameful lust
0771 The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.
0772 O Hamlet, what ⟨a⟩ falling off was there!
0773 55 From me, whose love was of that dignity
0774 That it went hand in hand even with the vow
0775 I made to her in marriage, and to decline
0776 Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
0777 To those of mine.
0778 60 But virtue, as it never will be moved,
0779 Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
0780 So, ⟨lust,⟩ though to a radiant angel linked,
0781 Will ⟨sate⟩ itself in a celestial bed
0782 And prey on garbage.
0783 65 But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
0784 Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
0785 My custom always of the afternoon,
0786 Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
0787 With juice of cursèd hebona in a vial
0788 70 And in the porches of my ears did pour
0790 Holds such an enmity with blood of man
0791 That swift as quicksilver it courses through
0792 The natural gates and alleys of the body,
0793 75 And with a sudden vigor it doth ⟨posset⟩
0794 And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
0795 The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine,
0796 And a most instant tetter barked about,
0797 Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust
0798 80 All my smooth body.
0799 Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand
0800 Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
0801 Cut off, even in the blossoms of my sin,
0802 Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
0803 85 No reck’ning made, but sent to my account
0804 With all my imperfections on my head.
0805 O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!
0806 If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
0807 Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
0808 90 A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
0809 But, howsomever thou pursues this act,
0810 Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
0811 Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
0812 And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
0813 95 To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
0814 The glowworm shows the matin to be near
0815 And ’gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
0816 Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me.⟨He exits.⟩
0817 O all you host of heaven! O Earth! What else?
0818 100 And shall I couple hell? O fie! Hold, hold, my heart,
0819 And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
0820 But bear me ⟨stiffly⟩ up. Remember thee?
0821 Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
0822 In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
0823 105 Yea, from the table of my memory
0825 All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
0826 That youth and observation copied there,
0827 And thy commandment all alone shall live
0828 110 Within the book and volume of my brain,
0829 Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
0830 O most pernicious woman!
0831 O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
0832 My tables—meet it is I set it down
0833 115 That one may smile and smile and be a villain.
0834 At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
0835 So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
0836 It is “adieu, adieu, remember me.”
0837 I have sworn ’t.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
HORATIO 0838 120My lord, my lord!
MARCELLUS 0839 Lord Hamlet.
HORATIO 0840 Heavens secure him!
HAMLET 0841 So be it.
MARCELLUS 0842 Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
HAMLET 0843 125Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, ⟨bird,⟩ come!
0844 How is ’t, my noble lord?
HORATIO 0845 What news, my lord?
HAMLET 0846 O, wonderful!
0847 Good my lord, tell it.
HAMLET 0848 130 No, you will reveal it.
0849 Not I, my lord, by heaven.
MARCELLUS 0850 Nor I, my lord.
0851 How say you, then? Would heart of man once think
0853 135 But you’ll be secret?
0855 There’s never a villain dwelling in all Denmark
0856 But he’s an arrant knave.
0857 There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
0858 140 To tell us this.
HAMLET 0859 Why, right, you are in the right.
0860 And so, without more circumstance at all,
0861 I hold it fit that we shake hands and part,
0862 You, as your business and desire shall point you
0863 145 (For every man hath business and desire,
0864 Such as it is), and for my own poor part,
0865 I will go pray.
0866 These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
0867 I am sorry they offend you, heartily;
0868 150 Yes, faith, heartily.
HORATIO 0869 There’s no offense, my lord.
0870 Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
0871 And much offense, too. Touching this vision here,
0872 It is an honest ghost—that let me tell you.
0873 155 For your desire to know what is between us,
0874 O’ermaster ’t as you may. And now, good friends,
0875 As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
0876 Give me one poor request.
HORATIO 0877 What is ’t, my lord? We will.
0878 160 Never make known what you have seen tonight.
HORATIO/MARCELLUS 0879 My lord, we will not.
HAMLET 0880 Nay, but swear ’t.
HORATIO 0881 In faith, my lord, not I.
MARCELLUS 0882 Nor I, my lord, in faith.
0883 165 Upon my sword.
HAMLET 0885 Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
GHOST cries under the stage 0886 Swear.
0887 Ha, ha, boy, sayst thou so? Art thou there,
0888 170 truepenny?
0889 Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
0890 Consent to swear.
HORATIO 0891 Propose the oath, my lord.
0892 Never to speak of this that you have seen,
0893 175 Swear by my sword.
GHOST, ⌜beneath⌝ 0894 Swear.
0895 Hic et ubique? Then we’ll shift our ground.
0896 Come hither, gentlemen,
0897 And lay your hands again upon my sword.
0898 180 Swear by my sword
0899 Never to speak of this that you have heard.
GHOST, ⌜beneath⌝ 0900 Swear by his sword.
0901 Well said, old mole. Canst work i’ th’ earth so fast?—
0902 A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
0903 185 O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
0904 And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
0905 There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
0906 Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come.
0907 Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
0908 190 How strange or odd some’er I bear myself
0909 (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
0910 To put an antic disposition on)
0911 That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
0912 With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
0913 195 Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
0916 Or “If we list to speak,” or “There be an if they
0918 200 Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note
0919 That you know aught of me—this do swear,
0920 So grace and mercy at your most need help you.
GHOST, ⌜beneath⌝ 0921 Swear.
0922 Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit.—So, gentlemen,
0923 205 With all my love I do commend me to you,
0924 And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
0925 May do t’ express his love and friending to you,
0926 God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
0927 And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
0928 210 The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite
0929 That ever I was born to set it right!
0930 Nay, come, let’s go together.
0931 Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
REYNALDO 0932 I will, my lord.
0933 You shall do marvelous wisely, good Reynaldo,
0934 Before you visit him, to make inquire
0935 5 Of his behavior.
REYNALDO 0936 My lord, I did intend it.
0937 Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
0938 Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
0939 And how, and who, what means, and where they
0940 10 keep,
0941 What company, at what expense; and finding
0942 By this encompassment and drift of question
0943 That they do know my son, come you more nearer
0944 Than your particular demands will touch it.
0945 15 Take you, as ’twere, some distant knowledge of him,
0946 As thus: “I know his father and his friends
0947 And, in part, him.” Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
REYNALDO 0948 Ay, very well, my lord.
0949 “And, in part, him, but,” you may say, “not well.
0951 Addicted so and so.” And there put on him
0952 What forgeries you please—marry, none so rank
0953 As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
0954 But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
0955 25 As are companions noted and most known
0956 To youth and liberty.
REYNALDO 0957 As gaming, my lord.
POLONIUS 0958 Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
0959 Quarreling, drabbing—you may go so far.
REYNALDO 0960 30My lord, that would dishonor him.
0961 Faith, ⟨no,⟩ as you may season it in the charge.
0962 You must not put another scandal on him
0963 That he is open to incontinency;
0964 That’s not my meaning. But breathe his faults so
0965 35 quaintly
0966 That they may seem the taints of liberty,
0967 The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
0968 A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
0969 Of general assault.
REYNALDO 0970 40But, my good lord—
POLONIUS 0971 Wherefore should you do this?
REYNALDO 0972 Ay, my lord, I would know that.
POLONIUS 0973 Marry, sir, here’s my drift,
0974 And I believe it is a fetch of wit.
0975 45 You, laying these slight sullies on my son,
0976 As ’twere a thing a little soiled ⟨i’ th’⟩ working,
0977 Mark you, your party in converse, him you would
0979 Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
0980 50 The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
0981 He closes with you in this consequence:
0982 “Good sir,” or so, or “friend,” or “gentleman,”
0983 According to the phrase or the addition
0984 Of man and country—
POLONIUS 0986 And then, sir, does he this, he does—what
0987 was I about to say? By the Mass, I was about to say
0988 something. Where did I leave?
REYNALDO 0989 At “closes in the consequence,” ⟨at “friend,
0990 60 or so,” and “gentleman.”⟩
0991 At “closes in the consequence”—ay, marry—
0992 He closes thus: “I know the gentleman.
0993 I saw him yesterday,” or “th’ other day”
0994 (Or then, or then, with such or such), “and as you
0995 65 say,
0996 There was he gaming, there ⟨o’ertook⟩ in ’s rouse,
0997 There falling out at tennis”; or perchance
0998 “I saw him enter such a house of sale”—
0999 Videlicet, a brothel—or so forth. See you now
1000 70 Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth;
1001 And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
1002 With windlasses and with assays of bias,
1003 By indirections find directions out.
1004 So by my former lecture and advice
1005 75 Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
1006 My lord, I have.
POLONIUS 1007 God be wi’ you. Fare you well.
REYNALDO 1008 Good my lord.
1009 Observe his inclination in yourself.
REYNALDO 1010 80I shall, my lord.
POLONIUS 1011 And let him ply his music.
REYNALDO 1012 Well, my lord.
1013 Farewell.Reynaldo exits.
1014 How now, Ophelia, what’s the matter?
1015 85 O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
POLONIUS 1016 With what, i’ th’ name of God?
1017 My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
1018 Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
1019 No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
1020 90 Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
1021 Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
1022 And with a look so piteous in purport
1023 As if he had been loosèd out of hell
1024 To speak of horrors—he comes before me.
1025 95 Mad for thy love?
OPHELIA 1026 My lord, I do not know,
1027 But truly I do fear it.
POLONIUS 1028 What said he?
1029 He took me by the wrist and held me hard.
1030 100 Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
1031 And, with his other hand thus o’er his brow,
1032 He falls to such perusal of my face
1033 As he would draw it. Long stayed he so.
1034 At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
1035 105 And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
1036 He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
1037 As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
1038 And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
1039 And, with his head over his shoulder turned,
1040 110 He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
1041 For out o’ doors he went without their helps
1042 And to the last bended their light on me.
1043 Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
1044 This is the very ecstasy of love,
1045 115 Whose violent property fordoes itself
1047 As oft as any passions under heaven
1048 That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
1049 What, have you given him any hard words of late?
1050 120 No, my good lord, but as you did command
1051 I did repel his letters and denied
1052 His access to me.
POLONIUS 1053 That hath made him mad.
1054 I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
1055 125 I had not coted him. I feared he did but trifle
1056 And meant to wrack thee. But beshrew my jealousy!
1057 By heaven, it is as proper to our age
1058 To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
1059 As it is common for the younger sort
1060 130 To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
1061 This must be known, which, being kept close, might
1063 More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Guildenstern ⌜and Attendants.⌝
1065 Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
1066 Moreover that we much did long to see you,
1067 The need we have to use you did provoke
1068 Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
1069 5 Of Hamlet’s transformation, so call it,
1070 Sith nor th’ exterior nor the inward man
1071 Resembles that it was. What it should be,
1072 More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him
1074 10 I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
1075 That, being of so young days brought up with him
1076 And sith so neighbored to his youth and havior,
1077 That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
1078 Some little time, so by your companies
1079 15 To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
1080 So much as from occasion you may glean,
1081 [Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus]
1082 That, opened, lies within our remedy.
1083 Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you,
1084 20 And sure I am two men there is not living
1085 To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
1086 To show us so much gentry and goodwill
1087 As to expend your time with us awhile
1088 For the supply and profit of our hope,
1089 25 Your visitation shall receive such thanks
1090 As fits a king’s remembrance.
ROSENCRANTZ 1091 Both your Majesties
1092 Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
1093 Put your dread pleasures more into command
1094 30 Than to entreaty.
GUILDENSTERN 1095 But we both obey,
1096 And here give up ourselves in the full bent
1097 To lay our service freely at your feet,
1098 To be commanded.
1099 35 Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
1100 Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
1101 And I beseech you instantly to visit
1102 My too much changèd son.—Go, some of you,
1103 And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
1104 40 Heavens make our presence and our practices
1105 Pleasant and helpful to him!
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit
⌜with some Attendants.⌝
1107 Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
1108 Are joyfully returned.
1109 45 Thou still hast been the father of good news.
1110 Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege
1111 I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
1112 Both to my God and to my gracious king,
1113 And I do think, or else this brain of mine
1114 50 Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
1115 As it hath used to do, that I have found
1116 The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.
1117 O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
1118 Give first admittance to th’ ambassadors.
1119 55 My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
1120 Thyself do grace to them and bring them in.
1121 He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
1122 The head and source of all your son’s distemper.
1123 I doubt it is no other but the main—
1124 60 His father’s death and our ⟨o’erhasty⟩ marriage.
1125 Well, we shall sift him.
Enter Ambassadors ⟨Voltemand and Cornelius ⌜with⌝
1127 Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
1128 Most fair return of greetings and desires.
1129 65 Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
1130 His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared
1131 To be a preparation ’gainst the Polack,
1132 But, better looked into, he truly found
1133 It was against your Highness. Whereat, grieved
1134 70 That so his sickness, age, and impotence
1135 Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
1136 On Fortinbras, which he, in brief, obeys,
1137 Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
1138 Makes vow before his uncle never more
1139 75 To give th’ assay of arms against your Majesty.
1140 Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
1141 Gives him three-score thousand crowns in annual
1143 And his commission to employ those soldiers,
1144 80 So levied as before, against the Polack,
1145 With an entreaty, herein further shown,
⌜He gives a paper.⌝
1146 That it might please you to give quiet pass
1147 Through your dominions for this enterprise,
1148 On such regards of safety and allowance
1149 85 As therein are set down.
KING 1150 It likes us well,
1151 And, at our more considered time, we’ll read,
1152 Answer, and think upon this business.
1153 Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labor.
1154 90 Go to your rest. At night we’ll feast together.
1155 Most welcome home!
⌜Voltemand and Cornelius⌝ exit.
POLONIUS 1156 This business is well ended.
1157 My liege, and madam, to expostulate
1158 What majesty should be, what duty is,
1160 Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
1161 Therefore, ⟨since⟩ brevity is the soul of wit,
1162 And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
1163 I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
1164 100 “Mad” call I it, for, to define true madness,
1165 What is ’t but to be nothing else but mad?
1166 But let that go.
QUEEN 1167 More matter with less art.
1168 Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
1169 105 That he’s mad, ’tis true; ’tis true ’tis pity,
1170 And pity ’tis ’tis true—a foolish figure,
1171 But farewell it, for I will use no art.
1172 Mad let us grant him then, and now remains
1173 That we find out the cause of this effect,
1174 110 Or, rather say, the cause of this defect,
1175 For this effect defective comes by cause.
1176 Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
1178 I have a daughter (have while she is mine)
1179 115 Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
1180 Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
1181 ⌜He reads.⌝ To the celestial, and my soul’s idol, the
1182 most beautified Ophelia—
1183 That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase; “beautified” is a
1184 120 vile phrase. But you shall hear. Thus: ⌜He reads.⌝
1185 In her excellent white bosom, these, etc.—
QUEEN 1186 Came this from Hamlet to her?
1187 Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful.
⌜He reads the⌝ letter.
1188 Doubt thou the stars are fire,
1189 125 Doubt that the sun doth move,
1190 Doubt truth to be a liar,
1191 But never doubt I love.
1193 art to reckon my groans, but that I love thee best, O
1194 130 most best, believe it. Adieu.
1195 Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst
1196 this machine is to him, Hamlet.
1197 This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
1198 And more ⟨above,⟩ hath his solicitings,
1199 135 As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
1200 All given to mine ear.
KING 1201 But how hath she received his love?
POLONIUS 1202 What do you think of me?
1203 As of a man faithful and honorable.
1204 140 I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
1205 When I had seen this hot love on the wing
1206 (As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
1207 Before my daughter told me), what might you,
1208 Or my dear Majesty your queen here, think,
1209 145 If I had played the desk or table-book
1210 Or given my heart a ⟨winking,⟩ mute and dumb,
1211 Or looked upon this love with idle sight?
1212 What might you think? No, I went round to work,
1213 And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
1214 150 “Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star.
1215 This must not be.” And then I prescripts gave her,
1216 That she should lock herself from ⟨his⟩ resort,
1217 Admit no messengers, receive no tokens;
1218 Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,
1219 155 And he, repelled (a short tale to make),
1220 Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
1221 Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
1222 Thence to ⟨a⟩ lightness, and, by this declension,
1223 Into the madness wherein now he raves
1224 160 And all we mourn for.
KING, ⌜to Queen⌝ 1225 Do you think ⟨’tis⟩ this?
1227 Hath there been such a time (I would fain know
1229 165 That I have positively said “’Tis so,”
1230 When it proved otherwise?
KING 1231 Not that I know.
1232 Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
1233 If circumstances lead me, I will find
1234 170 Where truth is hid, though it were hid, indeed,
1235 Within the center.
KING 1236 How may we try it further?
1237 You know sometimes he walks four hours together
1238 Here in the lobby.
QUEEN 1239 175 So he does indeed.
1240 At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.
1241 ⌜To the King.⌝ Be you and I behind an arras then.
1242 Mark the encounter. If he love her not,
1243 And be not from his reason fall’n thereon,
1244 180 Let me be no assistant for a state,
1245 But keep a farm and carters.
KING 1246 We will try it.
Enter Hamlet ⟨reading on a book.⟩
1247 But look where sadly the poor wretch comes
1249 185 Away, I do beseech you both, away.
1250 I’ll board him presently. O, give me leave.
King and Queen exit ⌜with Attendants.⌝
1251 How does my good Lord Hamlet?
HAMLET 1252 Well, God-a-mercy.
HAMLET 1254 190Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.
POLONIUS 1255 Not I, my lord.
HAMLET 1256 Then I would you were so honest a man.
POLONIUS 1257 Honest, my lord?
HAMLET 1258 Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to
1259 195 be one man picked out of ten thousand.
POLONIUS 1260 That’s very true, my lord.
HAMLET 1261 For if the sun breed maggots in a dead
1262 dog, being a good kissing carrion—Have you a
POLONIUS 1264 200I have, my lord.
HAMLET 1265 Let her not walk i’ th’ sun. Conception is a
1266 blessing, but, as your daughter may conceive,
1267 friend, look to ’t.
POLONIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 1268 How say you by that? Still harping on
1269 205 my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first; he said I
1270 was a fishmonger. He is far gone. And truly, in my
1271 youth, I suffered much extremity for love, very near
1272 this. I’ll speak to him again.—What do you read, my
HAMLET 1274 210Words, words, words.
POLONIUS 1275 What is the matter, my lord?
HAMLET 1276 Between who?
POLONIUS 1277 I mean the matter that you read, my lord.
HAMLET 1278 Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here
1279 215 that old men have gray beards, that their faces are
1280 wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and
1281 plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of
1282 wit, together with most weak hams; all which, sir,
1283 though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I
1284 220 hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for
1285 yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if, like a crab,
1286 you could go backward.
POLONIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 1287 Though this be madness, yet there is
1288 method in ’t.—Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
POLONIUS 1290 Indeed, that’s out of the air. ⌜Aside.⌝ How
1291 pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness
1292 that often madness hits on, which reason and
1293 ⟨sanity⟩ could not so prosperously be delivered of. I
1294 230 will leave him ⟨and suddenly contrive the means of
1295 meeting between him⟩ and my daughter.—My lord,
1296 I will take my leave of you.
HAMLET 1297 You cannot, ⟨sir,⟩ take from me anything that I
1298 will more willingly part withal—except my life,
1299 235 except my life, except my life.
POLONIUS 1300 Fare you well, my lord.
HAMLET, ⌜aside⌝ 1301 These tedious old fools.
Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.
POLONIUS 1302 You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is.
ROSENCRANTZ, ⌜to Polonius⌝ 1303 God save you, sir.
GUILDENSTERN 1304 240My honored lord.
ROSENCRANTZ 1305 My most dear lord.
HAMLET 1306 My ⟨excellent⟩ good friends! How dost thou,
1307 Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do
1308 you both?
1309 245 As the indifferent children of the earth.
1310 Happy in that we are not ⟨overhappy.⟩
1311 On Fortune’s ⟨cap,⟩ we are not the very button.
HAMLET 1312 Nor the soles of her shoe?
ROSENCRANTZ 1313 Neither, my lord.
HAMLET 1314 250Then you live about her waist, or in the
1315 middle of her favors?
GUILDENSTERN 1316 Faith, her privates we.
HAMLET 1317 In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true!
1318 She is a strumpet. What news?
ROSENCRANTZ 1319 255None, my lord, but ⟨that⟩ the world’s
1320 grown honest.
1322 true. ⟨Let me question more in particular. What
1323 have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of
1324 260 Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?
GUILDENSTERN 1325 Prison, my lord?
HAMLET 1326 Denmark’s a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ 1327 Then is the world one.
HAMLET 1328 A goodly one, in which there are many confines,
1329 265 wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’
1330 th’ worst.
ROSENCRANTZ 1331 We think not so, my lord.
HAMLET 1332 Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is
1333 nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it
1334 270 so. To me, it is a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ 1335 Why, then, your ambition makes it one.
1336 ’Tis too narrow for your mind.
HAMLET 1337 O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and
1338 count myself a king of infinite space, were it not
1339 275 that I have bad dreams.
GUILDENSTERN 1340 Which dreams, indeed, are ambition,
1341 for the very substance of the ambitious is merely
1342 the shadow of a dream.
HAMLET 1343 A dream itself is but a shadow.
ROSENCRANTZ 1344 280Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy
1345 and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.
HAMLET 1346 Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs
1347 and outstretched heroes the beggars’ shadows.
1348 Shall we to th’ court? For, by my fay, I cannot
1349 285 reason.
ROSENCRANTZ/GUILDENSTERN 1350 We’ll wait upon you.
HAMLET 1351 No such matter. I will not sort you with the
1352 rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an
1353 honest man, I am most dreadfully attended.⟩ But,
1354 290 in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at
ROSENCRANTZ 1356 To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.
1358 but I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks
1359 295 are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for?
1360 Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation?
1361 Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come; nay,
GUILDENSTERN 1363 What should we say, my lord?
HAMLET 1364 300Anything but to th’ purpose. You were sent
1365 for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks
1366 which your modesties have not craft enough to
1367 color. I know the good king and queen have sent for
ROSENCRANTZ 1369 305To what end, my lord?
HAMLET 1370 That you must teach me. But let me conjure
1371 you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy
1372 of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved
1373 love, and by what more dear a better
1374 310 proposer can charge you withal: be even and direct
1375 with me whether you were sent for or no.
ROSENCRANTZ, ⌜to Guildenstern⌝ 1376 What say you?
HAMLET, ⌜aside⌝ 1377 Nay, then, I have an eye of you.—If
1378 you love me, hold not off.
GUILDENSTERN 1379 315My lord, we were sent for.
HAMLET 1380 I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
1381 prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the
1382 King and Queen molt no feather. I have of late, but
1383 wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all
1384 320 custom of exercises, and, indeed, it goes so heavily
1385 with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
1386 Earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most
1387 excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging
1388 firmament, this majestical roof, fretted
1389 325 with golden fire—why, it appeareth nothing to me
1390 but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
1391 What ⟨a⟩ piece of work is a man, how noble in
1392 reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving
1394 330 an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the
1395 beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and
1396 yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man
1397 delights not me, ⟨no,⟩ nor women neither, though by
1398 your smiling you seem to say so.
ROSENCRANTZ 1399 335My lord, there was no such stuff in my
HAMLET 1401 Why did you laugh, then, when I said “man
1402 delights not me”?
ROSENCRANTZ 1403 To think, my lord, if you delight not in
1404 340 man, what Lenten entertainment the players shall
1405 receive from you. We coted them on the way, and
1406 hither are they coming to offer you service.
HAMLET 1407 He that plays the king shall be welcome—his
1408 Majesty shall have tribute on me. The adventurous
1409 345 knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall
1410 not sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his
1411 part in peace, ⟨the clown shall make those laugh
1412 whose lungs are ⌜tickle⌝ o’ th’ sear,⟩ and the lady
1413 shall say her mind freely, or the ⟨blank⟩ verse shall
1414 350 halt for ’t. What players are they?
ROSENCRANTZ 1415 Even those you were wont to take such
1416 delight in, the tragedians of the city.
HAMLET 1417 How chances it they travel? Their residence,
1418 both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.
ROSENCRANTZ 1419 355I think their inhibition comes by the
1420 means of the late innovation.
HAMLET 1421 Do they hold the same estimation they did
1422 when I was in the city? Are they so followed?
ROSENCRANTZ 1423 No, indeed are they not.
⟨HAMLET 1424 360How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
ROSENCRANTZ 1425 Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted
1426 pace. But there is, sir, an aerie of children, little
1427 eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are
1428 most tyrannically clapped for ’t. These are now the
1430 they call them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid
1431 of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.
HAMLET 1432 What, are they children? Who maintains ’em?
1433 How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality
1434 370 no longer than they can sing? Will they not say
1435 afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common
1436 players (as it is ⌜most like,⌝ if their means are
1437 no better), their writers do them wrong to make
1438 them exclaim against their own succession?
ROSENCRANTZ 1439 375Faith, there has been much ⌜to-do⌝ on
1440 both sides, and the nation holds it no sin to tar
1441 them to controversy. There was for a while no
1442 money bid for argument unless the poet and the
1443 player went to cuffs in the question.
HAMLET 1444 380Is ’t possible?
GUILDENSTERN 1445 O, there has been much throwing
1446 about of brains.
HAMLET 1447 Do the boys carry it away?
ROSENCRANTZ 1448 Ay, that they do, my lord—Hercules
1449 385 and his load too.⟩
HAMLET 1450 It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of
1451 Denmark, and those that would make mouths at
1452 him while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty,
1453 a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little.
1454 390 ’Sblood, there is something in this more than natural,
1455 if philosophy could find it out.
A flourish ⟨for the Players.⟩
GUILDENSTERN 1456 There are the players.
HAMLET 1457 Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore.
1458 Your hands, come then. Th’ appurtenance of welcome
1459 395 is fashion and ceremony. Let me comply
1460 with you in this garb, ⟨lest my⟩ extent to the players,
1461 which, I tell you, must show fairly outwards, should
1462 more appear like entertainment than yours. You are
1463 welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are
1464 400 deceived.
HAMLET 1466 I am but mad north-north-west. When the
1467 wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
POLONIUS 1468 Well be with you, gentlemen.
HAMLET 1469 405Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too—at
1470 each ear a hearer! That great baby you see there is
1471 not yet out of his swaddling clouts.
ROSENCRANTZ 1472 Haply he is the second time come to
1473 them, for they say an old man is twice a child.
HAMLET 1474 410I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the
1475 players; mark it.—You say right, sir, a Monday
1476 morning, ’twas then indeed.
POLONIUS 1477 My lord, I have news to tell you.
HAMLET 1478 My lord, I have news to tell you: when Roscius
1479 415 was an actor in Rome—
POLONIUS 1480 The actors are come hither, my lord.
HAMLET 1481 Buzz, buzz.
POLONIUS 1482 Upon my honor—
HAMLET 1483 Then came each actor on his ass.
POLONIUS 1484 420The best actors in the world, either for
1485 tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
1486 historical-pastoral, ⟨tragical-historical,
1487 tragical-comical-historical-pastoral,⟩ scene individable, or
1488 poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor
1489 425 Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty,
1490 these are the only men.
HAMLET 1491 O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure
1492 hadst thou!
POLONIUS 1493 What a treasure had he, my lord?
HAMLET 1494 430Why,
1495 One fair daughter, and no more,
1496 The which he lovèd passing well.
POLONIUS, ⌜aside⌝ 1497 Still on my daughter.
HAMLET 1498 Am I not i’ th’ right, old Jephthah?
1500 daughter that I love passing well.
HAMLET 1501 Nay, that follows not.
POLONIUS 1502 What follows then, my lord?
HAMLET 1503 Why,
1504 440 As by lot, God wot
1505 and then, you know,
1506 It came to pass, as most like it was—
1507 the first row of the pious chanson will show you
1508 more, for look where my abridgment comes.
Enter the Players.
1509 445 You are welcome, masters; welcome all.—I am glad
1510 to see thee well.—Welcome, good friends.—O ⟨my⟩
1511 old friend! Why, thy face is valanced since I saw thee
1512 last. Com’st thou to beard me in Denmark?—What,
1513 my young lady and mistress! ⟨By ’r⟩ Lady, your Ladyship
1514 450 is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by
1515 the altitude of a chopine. Pray God your voice, like a
1516 piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the
1517 ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We’ll e’en to ’t
1518 like ⟨French⟩ falconers, fly at anything we see. We’ll
1519 455 have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your
1520 quality. Come, a passionate speech.
⟨FIRST⟩ PLAYER 1521 What speech, my good lord?
HAMLET 1522 I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it
1523 was never acted, or, if it was, not above once; for
1524 460 the play, I remember, pleased not the million:
1525 ’twas caviary to the general. But it was (as I
1526 received it, and others whose judgments in such
1527 matters cried in the top of mine) an excellent play,
1528 well digested in the scenes, set down with as much
1529 465 modesty as cunning. I remember one said there
1530 were no sallets in the lines to make the matter
1531 savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict
1532 the author of affection, but called it an honest
1534 470 more handsome than fine.] One speech in ’t I
1535 chiefly loved. ’Twas Aeneas’ ⟨tale⟩ to Dido, and
1536 thereabout of it especially when he speaks of
1537 Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at
1538 this line—let me see, let me see:
1539 475 The rugged Pyrrhus, like th’ Hyrcanian beast—
1540 ’tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus:
1541 The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
1542 Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
1543 When he lay couchèd in th’ ominous horse,
1544 480 Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
1545 With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot,
1546 Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
1547 With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
1548 Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
1549 485 That lend a tyrannous and a damnèd light
1550 To their lord’s murder. Roasted in wrath and fire,
1551 And thus o’ersizèd with coagulate gore,
1552 With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
1553 Old grandsire Priam seeks.
1554 490 So, proceed you.
POLONIUS 1555 ’Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good
1556 accent and good discretion.
⟨FIRST⟩ PLAYER 1557 Anon he finds him
1558 Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
1559 495 Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
1560 Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,
1561 Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide;
1562 But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
1563 Th’ unnervèd father falls. ⟨Then senseless Ilium,⟩
1564 500 Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
1565 Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
1566 Takes prisoner Pyrrhus’ ear. For lo, his sword,
1567 Which was declining on the milky head
1568 Of reverend Priam, seemed i’ th’ air to stick.
1570 ⟨And,⟩ like a neutral to his will and matter,
1571 Did nothing.
1572 But as we often see against some storm
1573 A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
1574 510 The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
1575 As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
1576 Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus’ pause,
1577 Arousèd vengeance sets him new a-work,
1578 And never did the Cyclops’ hammers fall
1579 515 On Mars’s armor, forged for proof eterne,
1580 With less remorse than Pyrrhus’ bleeding sword
1581 Now falls on Priam.
1582 Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods
1583 In general synod take away her power,
1584 520 Break all the spokes and ⌜fellies⌝ from her wheel,
1585 And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven
1586 As low as to the fiends!
POLONIUS 1587 This is too long.
HAMLET 1588 It shall to the barber’s with your beard.—
1589 525 Prithee say on. He’s for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or
1590 he sleeps. Say on; come to Hecuba.
1591 But who, ah woe, had seen the moblèd queen—
HAMLET 1592 “The moblèd queen”?
POLONIUS 1593 That’s good. ⟨“⌜Moblèd⌝ queen” is good.⟩
1594 530 Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning the flames
1595 With ⟨bisson rheum,⟩ a clout upon that head
1596 Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
1597 About her lank and all o’erteemèd loins
1598 A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up—
1599 535 Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped,
1600 ’Gainst Fortune’s state would treason have
1602 But if the gods themselves did see her then
1604 540 In mincing with his sword her ⟨husband’s⟩ limbs,
1605 The instant burst of clamor that she made
1606 (Unless things mortal move them not at all)
1607 Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
1608 And passion in the gods.
POLONIUS 1609 545Look whe’er he has not turned his color and
1610 has tears in ’s eyes. Prithee, no more.
HAMLET 1611 ’Tis well. I’ll have thee speak out the rest of
1612 this soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players
1613 well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used,
1614 550 for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
1615 time. After your death you were better have a bad
1616 epitaph than their ill report while you live.
POLONIUS 1617 My lord, I will use them according to their
HAMLET 1619 555God’s ⟨bodykins,⟩ man, much better! Use every
1620 man after his desert and who shall ’scape
1621 whipping? Use them after your own honor and
1622 dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in
1623 your bounty. Take them in.
POLONIUS 1624 560Come, sirs.
HAMLET 1625 Follow him, friends. We’ll hear a play
1626 tomorrow. ⌜As Polonius and Players exit, Hamlet speaks to
the First Player.⌝ 1627 Dost thou hear me, old friend? Can
1628 you play “The Murder of Gonzago”?
⌜FIRST⌝ PLAYER 1629 565Ay, my lord.
HAMLET 1630 We’ll ha ’t tomorrow night. You could, for ⟨a⟩
1631 need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen
1632 lines, which I would set down and insert in ’t,
1633 could you not?
⌜FIRST⌝ PLAYER 1634 570Ay, my lord.
HAMLET 1635 Very well. Follow that lord—and look you
1636 mock him not. ⌜First Player exits.⌝ My good friends,
1637 I’ll leave you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.
ROSENCRANTZ 1638 Good my lord.
1639 575 Ay, so, good-bye to you.
⌜Rosencrantz and Guildenstern⌝ exit.
1640 Now I am alone.
1641 O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
1642 Is it not monstrous that this player here,
1643 But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
1644 580 Could force his soul so to his own conceit
1645 That from her working all ⟨his⟩ visage wanned,
1646 Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
1647 A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
1648 With forms to his conceit—and all for nothing!
1649 585 For Hecuba!
1650 What’s Hecuba to him, or he to ⟨Hecuba,⟩
1651 That he should weep for her? What would he do
1652 Had he the motive and ⟨the cue⟩ for passion
1653 That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
1654 590 And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
1655 Make mad the guilty and appall the free,
1656 Confound the ignorant and amaze indeed
1657 The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
1658 A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
1659 595 Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
1660 And can say nothing—no, not for a king
1661 Upon whose property and most dear life
1662 A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
1663 Who calls me “villain”? breaks my pate across?
1664 600 Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
1665 Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i’ th’ throat
1666 As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
1667 Ha! ’Swounds, I should take it! For it cannot be
1668 But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
1669 605 To make oppression bitter, or ere this
1670 I should ⟨have⟩ fatted all the region kites
1671 With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
1672 Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless
1675 Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
1676 That I, the son of a dear ⌜father⌝ murdered,
1677 Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
1678 Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words
1679 615 And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
1680 A stallion! Fie upon ’t! Foh!
1681 About, my brains!—Hum, I have heard
1682 That guilty creatures sitting at a play
1683 Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
1684 620 Been struck so to the soul that presently
1685 They have proclaimed their malefactions;
1686 For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
1687 With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players
1688 Play something like the murder of my father
1689 625 Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks;
1690 I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench,
1691 I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
1692 May be a ⟨devil,⟩ and the ⟨devil⟩ hath power
1693 T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
1694 630 Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
1695 As he is very potent with such spirits,
1696 Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds
1697 More relative than this. The play’s the thing
1698 Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.
Guildenstern, ⟨and⟩ Lords.
1699 And can you by no drift of conference
1700 Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
1701 Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
1702 With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
1703 5 He does confess he feels himself distracted,
1704 But from what cause he will by no means speak.
1705 Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
1706 But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
1707 When we would bring him on to some confession
1708 10 Of his true state.
QUEEN 1709 Did he receive you well?
ROSENCRANTZ 1710 Most like a gentleman.
1711 But with much forcing of his disposition.
1712 Niggard of question, but of our demands
1713 15 Most free in his reply.
QUEEN 1714 Did you assay him to any pastime?
1715 Madam, it so fell out that certain players
1717 And there did seem in him a kind of joy
1718 20 To hear of it. They are here about the court,
1719 And, as I think, they have already order
1720 This night to play before him.
POLONIUS 1721 ’Tis most true,
1722 And he beseeched me to entreat your Majesties
1723 25 To hear and see the matter.
1724 With all my heart, and it doth much content me
1725 To hear him so inclined.
1726 Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
1727 And drive his purpose into these delights.
1728 30 We shall, my lord.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
⌜and Lords⌝ exit.
KING 1729 Sweet Gertrude, leave us ⟨too,⟩
1730 For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
1731 That he, as ’twere by accident, may here
1732 Affront Ophelia.
1733 35 Her father and myself, ⟨lawful espials,⟩
1734 ⟨Will⟩ so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
1735 We may of their encounter frankly judge
1736 And gather by him, as he is behaved,
1737 If ’t be th’ affliction of his love or no
1738 40 That thus he suffers for.
QUEEN 1739 I shall obey you.
1740 And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
1741 That your good beauties be the happy cause
1742 Of Hamlet’s wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
1743 45 Will bring him to his wonted way again,
1744 To both your honors.
OPHELIA 1745 Madam, I wish it may.
1746 Ophelia, walk you here.—Gracious, so please you,
1748 50 book,
1749 That show of such an exercise may color
1750 Your ⟨loneliness.⟩—We are oft to blame in this
1751 (’Tis too much proved), that with devotion’s visage
1752 And pious action we do sugar o’er
1753 55 The devil himself.
KING, ⌜aside⌝ 1754 O, ’tis too true!
1755 How smart a lash that speech doth give my
1757 The harlot’s cheek beautied with plast’ring art
1758 60 Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
1759 Than is my deed to my most painted word.
1760 O heavy burden!
1761 I hear him coming. ⟨Let’s⟩ withdraw, my lord.
1762 To be or not to be—that is the question:
1763 65 Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
1764 The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
1765 Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
1766 And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep—
1767 No more—and by a sleep to say we end
1768 70 The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
1769 That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
1770 Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep—
1771 To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
1772 For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
1773 75 When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
1774 Must give us pause. There’s the respect
1775 That makes calamity of so long life.
1776 For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
1777 Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
1779 The insolence of office, and the spurns
1780 That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
1781 When he himself might his quietus make
1782 With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
1783 85 To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
1784 But that the dread of something after death,
1785 The undiscovered country from whose bourn
1786 No traveler returns, puzzles the will
1787 And makes us rather bear those ills we have
1788 90 Than fly to others that we know not of?
1789 Thus conscience does make cowards ⟨of us all,⟩
1790 And thus the native hue of resolution
1791 Is ⟨sicklied⟩ o’er with the pale cast of thought,
1792 And enterprises of great pitch and moment
1793 95 With this regard their currents turn awry
1794 And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,
1795 The fair Ophelia.—Nymph, in thy orisons
1796 Be all my sins remembered.
OPHELIA 1797 Good my lord,
1798 100 How does your Honor for this many a day?
HAMLET 1799 I humbly thank you, well.
1800 My lord, I have remembrances of yours
1801 That I have longèd long to redeliver.
1802 I pray you now receive them.
1803 105 No, not I. I never gave you aught.
1804 My honored lord, you know right well you did,
1805 And with them words of so sweet breath composed
1806 As made ⟨the⟩ things more rich. Their perfume
1808 110 Take these again, for to the noble mind
1809 Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
1810 There, my lord.
OPHELIA 1812 My lord?
HAMLET 1813 115Are you fair?
OPHELIA 1814 What means your Lordship?
HAMLET 1815 That if you be honest and fair, ⟨your honesty⟩
1816 should admit no discourse to your beauty.
OPHELIA 1817 Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce
1818 120 than with honesty?
HAMLET 1819 Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner
1820 transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than
1821 the force of honesty can translate beauty into his
1822 likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now
1823 125 the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
OPHELIA 1824 Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
HAMLET 1825 You should not have believed me, for virtue
1826 cannot so ⟨inoculate⟩ our old stock but we shall
1827 relish of it. I loved you not.
OPHELIA 1828 130I was the more deceived.
HAMLET 1829 Get thee ⟨to⟩ a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be
1830 a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest,
1831 but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
1832 were better my mother had not borne me: I am
1833 135 very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses
1834 at my beck than I have thoughts to put them
1835 in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act
1836 them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
1837 between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves
1838 140 ⟨all;⟩ believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
1839 Where’s your father?
OPHELIA 1840 At home, my lord.
HAMLET 1841 Let the doors be shut upon him that he may
1842 play the fool nowhere but in ’s own house. Farewell.
OPHELIA 1843 145O, help him, you sweet heavens!
HAMLET 1844 If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague
1845 for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
1846 snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
1848 150 marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what
1849 monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and
1850 quickly too. Farewell.
OPHELIA 1851 Heavenly powers, restore him!
HAMLET 1852 I have heard of your paintings ⟨too,⟩ well
1853 155 enough. God hath given you one face, and you
1854 make yourselves another. You jig and amble, and
1855 you ⟨lisp;⟩ you nickname God’s creatures and make
1856 your wantonness ⟨your⟩ ignorance. Go to, I’ll no
1857 more on ’t. It hath made me mad. I say we will have
1858 160 no more marriage. Those that are married already,
1859 all but one, shall live. The rest shall keep as they are.
1860 To a nunnery, go.He exits.
1861 O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
1862 The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue,
1863 165 sword,
1864 ⟨Th’ expectancy⟩ and rose of the fair state,
1865 The glass of fashion and the mold of form,
1866 Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
1867 And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
1868 170 That sucked the honey of his musicked vows,
1869 Now see ⟨that⟩ noble and most sovereign reason,
1870 Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh;
1871 That unmatched form and stature of blown youth
1872 Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
1873 175 T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
KING, ⌜advancing with⌝ Polonius
1874 Love? His affections do not that way tend;
1875 Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
1876 Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul
1877 O’er which his melancholy sits on brood,
1878 180 And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
1879 Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
1880 I have in quick determination
1882 For the demand of our neglected tribute.
1883 185 Haply the seas, and countries different,
1884 With variable objects, shall expel
1885 This something-settled matter in his heart,
1886 Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
1887 From fashion of himself. What think you on ’t?
1888 190 It shall do well. But yet do I believe
1889 The origin and commencement of his grief
1890 Sprung from neglected love.—How now, Ophelia?
1891 You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said;
1892 We heard it all.—My lord, do as you please,
1893 195 But, if you hold it fit, after the play
1894 Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
1895 To show his grief. Let her be round with him;
1896 And I’ll be placed, so please you, in the ear
1897 Of all their conference. If she find him not,
1898 200 To England send him, or confine him where
1899 Your wisdom best shall think.
KING 1900 It shall be so.
1901 Madness in great ones must not ⟨unwatched⟩ go.
HAMLET 1902 Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced
1903 it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth
1904 it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the
1905 town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
1906 5 too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
1907 for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
1908 whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and
1909 beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. O,
1911 10 periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very
1912 rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the
1913 most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable
1914 dumb shows and noise. I would have such a fellow
1915 whipped for o’erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods
1916 15 Herod. Pray you, avoid it.
PLAYER 1917 I warrant your Honor.
HAMLET 1918 Be not too tame neither, but let your own
1919 discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the
1920 word, the word to the action, with this special
1921 20 observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of
1922 nature. For anything so o’erdone is from the purpose
1923 of playing, whose end, both at the first and
1924 now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to
1925 nature, to show virtue her ⟨own⟩ feature, scorn her
1926 25 own image, and the very age and body of the time
1927 his form and pressure. Now this overdone or come
1928 tardy off, though it makes the unskillful laugh,
1929 cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure
1930 of ⟨the⟩ which one must in your allowance o’erweigh
1931 30 a whole theater of others. O, there be players that I
1932 have seen play and heard others ⟨praise⟩ (and that
1933 highly), not to speak it profanely, that, neither
1934 having th’ accent of Christians nor the gait of
1935 Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and
1936 35 bellowed that I have thought some of nature’s
1937 journeymen had made men, and not made them
1938 well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
PLAYER 1939 I hope we have reformed that indifferently
1940 with us, ⟨sir.⟩
HAMLET 1941 40O, reform it altogether. And let those that play
1942 your clowns speak no more than is set down for
1943 them, for there be of them that will themselves
1944 laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators
1945 to laugh too, though in the meantime some necessary
1947 That’s villainous and shows a most pitiful ambition
1948 in the fool that uses it. Go make you ready.
Enter Polonius, Guildenstern, and Rosencrantz.
1949 How now, my lord, will the King hear this piece of
POLONIUS 1951 50And the Queen too, and that presently.
HAMLET 1952 Bid the players make haste.⟨Polonius exits.⟩
1953 Will you two help to hasten them?
ROSENCRANTZ 1954 Ay, my lord.They exit.
HAMLET 1955 What ho, Horatio!
HORATIO 1956 55Here, sweet lord, at your service.
1957 Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man
1958 As e’er my conversation coped withal.
1959 O, my dear lord—
⟨HAMLET⟩ 1960 Nay, do not think I flatter,
1961 60 For what advancement may I hope from thee
1962 That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
1963 To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be
1965 No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp
1966 65 And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
1967 Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
1968 Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
1969 And could of men distinguish, her election
1970 Hath sealed thee for herself. For thou hast been
1971 70 As one in suffering all that suffers nothing,
1972 A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards
1973 Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and blessed are those
1974 Whose blood and judgment are so well
1977 To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
1978 That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
1979 In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,
1980 As I do thee.—Something too much of this.—
1981 80 There is a play tonight before the King.
1982 One scene of it comes near the circumstance
1983 Which I have told thee of my father’s death.
1984 I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
1985 Even with the very comment of thy soul
1986 85 Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt
1987 Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
1988 It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,
1989 And my imaginations are as foul
1990 As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note,
1991 90 For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
1992 And, after, we will both our judgments join
1993 In censure of his seeming.
HORATIO 1994 Well, my lord.
1995 If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing
1996 95 And ’scape ⟨detecting⟩, I will pay the theft.
⟨Sound a flourish.⟩
HAMLET 1997 They are coming to the play. I must be idle.
1998 Get you a place.
Enter Trumpets and Kettle Drums. ⟨Enter⟩ King, Queen,
Polonius, Ophelia, ⟨Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and other
Lords attendant with ⌜the King’s⌝ guard carrying
KING 1999 How fares our cousin Hamlet?
HAMLET 2000 Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I
2001 100 eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed
2002 capons so.
KING 2003 I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These
2004 words are not mine.
HAMLET 2005 No, nor mine now. ⌜To Polonius.⌝ My lord, you
2006 105 played once i’ th’ university, you say?
2008 good actor.
HAMLET 2009 What did you enact?
POLONIUS 2010 I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i’ th’
2011 110 Capitol. Brutus killed me.
HAMLET 2012 It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a
2013 calf there.—Be the players ready?
ROSENCRANTZ 2014 Ay, my lord. They stay upon your
QUEEN 2016 115Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
HAMLET 2017 No, good mother. Here’s metal more
2018 attractive.⌜Hamlet takes a place near Ophelia.⌝
POLONIUS, ⌜to the King⌝ 2019 Oh, ho! Do you mark that?
HAMLET 2020 Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
OPHELIA 2021 120No, my lord.
⟨HAMLET 2022 I mean, my head upon your lap?
OPHELIA 2023 Ay, my lord.⟩
HAMLET 2024 Do you think I meant country matters?
OPHELIA 2025 I think nothing, my lord.
HAMLET 2026 125That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’
OPHELIA 2028 What is, my lord?
HAMLET 2029 Nothing.
OPHELIA 2030 You are merry, my lord.
HAMLET 2031 130Who, I?
OPHELIA 2032 Ay, my lord.
HAMLET 2033 O God, your only jig-maker. What should a
2034 man do but be merry? For look you how cheerfully
2035 my mother looks, and my father died within ’s two
2036 135 hours.
OPHELIA 2037 Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.
HAMLET 2038 So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black,
2039 for I’ll have a suit of sables. O heavens, die two
2040 months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there’s
2041 140 hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half
2042 a year. But, by ’r Lady, he must build churches, then,
2044 hobby-horse, whose epitaph is “For oh, for oh, the
2045 hobby-horse is forgot.”
The trumpets sounds. Dumb show follows.
2046 145Enter a King and a Queen, ⟨very lovingly,⟩ the Queen
2047 embracing him and he her. ⟨She kneels and makes show of
2048 protestation unto him.⟩ He takes her up and declines his
2049 head upon her neck. He lies him down upon a bank of
2050 flowers. She, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon
2051 150⟨comes⟩ in another man, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours
2052 poison in the sleeper’s ears, and leaves him. The Queen
2053 returns, finds the King dead, makes passionate action. The
2054 poisoner with some three or four come in again, seem to
2055 condole with her. The dead body is carried away. The
2056 155poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems harsh
2057 awhile but in the end accepts ⟨his⟩ love.
OPHELIA 2058 What means this, my lord?
HAMLET 2059 Marry, this ⟨is miching⟩ mallecho. It means
OPHELIA 2061 160Belike this show imports the argument of the
HAMLET 2063 We shall know by this fellow. The players
2064 cannot keep ⟨counsel;⟩ they’ll tell all.
OPHELIA 2065 Will he tell us what this show meant?
HAMLET 2066 165Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be
2067 not you ashamed to show, he’ll not shame to tell you
2068 what it means.
OPHELIA 2069 You are naught, you are naught. I’ll mark the
2071 170 For us and for our tragedy,
2072 Here stooping to your clemency,
2073 We beg your hearing patiently.⌜He exits.⌝
OPHELIA 2075 ’Tis brief, my lord.
HAMLET 2076 175As woman’s love.
Enter ⌜the Player⌝ King and Queen.
2077 Full thirty times hath Phoebus’ cart gone round
2078 Neptune’s salt wash and Tellus’ ⟨orbèd⟩ ground,
2079 And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
2080 About the world have times twelve thirties been
2081 180 Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
2082 Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
2083 So many journeys may the sun and moon
2084 Make us again count o’er ere love be done!
2085 But woe is me! You are so sick of late,
2086 185 So far from cheer and from ⟨your⟩ former state,
2087 That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
2088 Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.
2089 [For women fear too much, even as they love,]
2090 And women’s fear and love hold quantity,
2091 190 In neither aught, or in extremity.
2092 Now what my ⟨love⟩ is, proof hath made you know,
2093 And, as my love is sized, my fear is so:
2094 [Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
2095 Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.]
2096 195 Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too.
2097 My operant powers their functions leave to do.
2098 And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
2099 Honored, beloved; and haply one as kind
2100 For husband shalt thou—
PLAYER QUEEN 2101 200 O, confound the rest!
2102 Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
2103 In second husband let me be accurst.
2104 None wed the second but who killed the first.
2106 205 The instances that second marriage move
2107 Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
2108 A second time I kill my husband dead
2109 When second husband kisses me in bed.
2110 I do believe you think what now you speak,
2111 210 But what we do determine oft we break.
2112 Purpose is but the slave to memory,
2113 Of violent birth, but poor validity,
2114 Which now, the fruit unripe, sticks on the tree
2115 But fall unshaken when they mellow be.
2116 215 Most necessary ’tis that we forget
2117 To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
2118 What to ourselves in passion we propose,
2119 The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
2120 The violence of either grief or joy
2121 220 Their own enactures with themselves destroy.
2122 Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
2123 Grief ⟨joys,⟩ joy grieves, on slender accident.
2124 This world is not for aye, nor ’tis not strange
2125 That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
2126 225 For ’tis a question left us yet to prove
2127 Whether love lead fortune or else fortune love.
2128 The great man down, you mark his favorite flies;
2129 The poor, advanced, makes friends of enemies.
2130 And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,
2131 230 For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
2132 And who in want a hollow friend doth try
2133 Directly seasons him his enemy.
2134 But, orderly to end where I begun:
2135 Our wills and fates do so contrary run
2136 235 That our devices still are overthrown;
2137 Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
2138 So think thou wilt no second husband wed,
2139 But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
2140 Nor Earth to me give food, nor heaven light,
2141 240 Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
2142 [To desperation turn my trust and hope,
2143 ⌜An⌝ anchor’s cheer in prison be my scope.]
2144 Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
2145 Meet what I would have well and it destroy.
2146 245 Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
2147 If, once a widow, ever I be wife.
HAMLET 2148 If she should break it now!
2149 ’Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
2150 My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
2151 250 The tedious day with sleep.⟨Sleeps.⟩
PLAYER QUEEN 2152 Sleep rock thy brain,
2153 And never come mischance between us twain.
⌜Player Queen exits.⌝
HAMLET 2154 Madam, how like you this play?
QUEEN 2155 The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
HAMLET 2156 255O, but she’ll keep her word.
KING 2157 Have you heard the argument? Is there no
2158 offense in ’t?
HAMLET 2159 No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No
2160 offense i’ th’ world.
KING 2161 260What do you call the play?
HAMLET 2162 “The Mousetrap.” Marry, how? Tropically.
2163 This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna.
2164 Gonzago is the duke’s name, his wife Baptista. You
2165 shall see anon. ’Tis a knavish piece of work, but
2166 265 what of that? Your Majesty and we that have free
2167 souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade wince;
2168 our withers are unwrung.
2169 This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.
OPHELIA 2170 You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
2172 if I could see the puppets dallying.
OPHELIA 2173 You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
HAMLET 2174 It would cost you a groaning to take off mine
OPHELIA 2176 275Still better and worse.
HAMLET 2177 So you mis-take your husbands.—Begin,
2178 murderer. ⟨Pox,⟩ leave thy damnable faces and
2179 begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for
2181 280 Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time
2183 ⟨Confederate⟩ season, else no creature seeing,
2184 Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
2185 With Hecate’s ban thrice blasted, thrice ⟨infected,⟩
2186 285 Thy natural magic and dire property
2187 On wholesome life ⟨usurp⟩ immediately.
⟨Pours the poison in his ears.⟩
HAMLET 2188 He poisons him i’ th’ garden for his estate. His
2189 name’s Gonzago. The story is extant and written in
2190 very choice Italian. You shall see anon how the
2191 290 murderer gets the love of Gonzago’s wife.
OPHELIA 2192 The King rises.
⟨HAMLET 2193 What, frighted with false fire?⟩
QUEEN 2194 How fares my lord?
POLONIUS 2195 Give o’er the play.
KING 2196 295Give me some light. Away!
POLONIUS 2197 Lights, lights, lights!
All but Hamlet and Horatio exit.
2198 Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
2199 The hart ungallèd play.
2200 For some must watch, while some must sleep:
2201 300 Thus runs the world away.
2203 rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me) with ⟨two⟩
2204 Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a
2205 fellowship in a cry of players?
HORATIO 2206 305Half a share.
HAMLET 2207 A whole one, I.
2208 For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
2209 This realm dismantled was
2210 Of Jove himself, and now reigns here
2211 310 A very very—pajock.
HORATIO 2212 You might have rhymed.
HAMLET 2213 O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s word for
2214 a thousand pound. Didst perceive?
HORATIO 2215 Very well, my lord.
HAMLET 2216 315Upon the talk of the poisoning?
HORATIO 2217 I did very well note him.
HAMLET 2218 Ah ha! Come, some music! Come, the
2220 For if the King like not the comedy,
2221 320 Why, then, belike he likes it not, perdy.
2222 Come, some music!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
GUILDENSTERN 2223 Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word
2224 with you.
HAMLET 2225 Sir, a whole history.
GUILDENSTERN 2226 325The King, sir—
HAMLET 2227 Ay, sir, what of him?
GUILDENSTERN 2228 Is in his retirement marvelous
HAMLET 2230 With drink, sir?
GUILDENSTERN 2231 330No, my lord, with choler.
HAMLET 2232 Your wisdom should show itself more richer
2233 to signify this to the doctor, for for me to put him to
2234 his purgation would perhaps plunge him into more
2237 some frame and ⟨start⟩ not so wildly from my
HAMLET 2239 I am tame, sir. Pronounce.
GUILDENSTERN 2240 The Queen your mother, in most great
2241 340 affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
HAMLET 2242 You are welcome.
GUILDENSTERN 2243 Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not
2244 of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me
2245 a wholesome answer, I will do your mother’s
2246 345 commandment. If not, your pardon and my return
2247 shall be the end of ⟨my⟩ business.
HAMLET 2248 Sir, I cannot.
ROSENCRANTZ 2249 What, my lord?
HAMLET 2250 Make you a wholesome answer. My wit’s
2251 350 diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you
2252 shall command—or, rather, as you say, my mother.
2253 Therefore no more but to the matter. My mother,
2254 you say—
ROSENCRANTZ 2255 Then thus she says: your behavior hath
2256 355 struck her into amazement and admiration.
HAMLET 2257 O wonderful son that can so ’stonish a mother!
2258 But is there no sequel at the heels of this
2259 mother’s admiration? Impart.
ROSENCRANTZ 2260 She desires to speak with you in her
2261 360 closet ere you go to bed.
HAMLET 2262 We shall obey, were she ten times our mother.
2263 Have you any further trade with us?
ROSENCRANTZ 2264 My lord, you once did love me.
HAMLET 2265 And do still, by these pickers and stealers.
ROSENCRANTZ 2266 365Good my lord, what is your cause of
2267 distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your
2268 own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.
HAMLET 2269 Sir, I lack advancement.
ROSENCRANTZ 2270 How can that be, when you have the
2271 370 voice of the King himself for your succession in
2274 proverb is something musty.
Enter the Players with recorders.
2275 O, the recorders! Let me see one. ⌜He takes a
recorder and turns to Guildenstern.⌝ 2276 375To withdraw
2277 with you: why do you go about to recover the wind
2278 of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?
GUILDENSTERN 2279 O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my
2280 love is too unmannerly.
HAMLET 2281 380I do not well understand that. Will you play
2282 upon this pipe?
GUILDENSTERN 2283 My lord, I cannot.
HAMLET 2284 I pray you.
GUILDENSTERN 2285 Believe me, I cannot.
HAMLET 2286 385I do beseech you.
GUILDENSTERN 2287 I know no touch of it, my lord.
HAMLET 2288 It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages
2289 with your fingers and ⟨thumb,⟩ give it breath with
2290 your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent
2291 390 music. Look you, these are the stops.
GUILDENSTERN 2292 But these cannot I command to any
2293 utt’rance of harmony. I have not the skill.
HAMLET 2294 Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing
2295 you make of me! You would play upon me, you
2296 395 would seem to know my stops, you would pluck
2297 out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me
2298 from my lowest note to ⟨the top of⟩ my compass;
2299 and there is much music, excellent voice, in this
2300 little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. ’Sblood,
2301 400 do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?
2302 Call me what instrument you will, though you ⟨can⟩
2303 fret me, you cannot play upon me.
2304 God bless you, sir.
2306 405 and presently.
HAMLET 2307 Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in
2308 shape of a camel?
POLONIUS 2309 By th’ Mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.
HAMLET 2310 Methinks it is like a weasel.
POLONIUS 2311 410It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET 2312 Or like a whale.
POLONIUS 2313 Very like a whale.
⟨HAMLET⟩ 2314 Then I will come to my mother by and by.
2315 ⌜Aside.⌝ They fool me to the top of my bent.—I will
2316 415 come by and by.
⟨POLONIUS⟩ 2317 I will say so.
⟨HAMLET⟩ 2318 “By and by” is easily said. Leave me,
⌜All but Hamlet exit.⌝
2320 ’Tis now the very witching time of night,
2321 420 When churchyards yawn and hell itself ⟨breathes⟩
2323 Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot
2325 And do such ⟨bitter⟩ business as the day
2326 425 Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.
2327 O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
2328 The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
2329 Let me be cruel, not unnatural.
2330 I will speak ⟨daggers⟩ to her, but use none.
2331 430 My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
2332 How in my words somever she be shent,
2333 To give them seals never, my soul, consent.
2334 I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
2335 To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
2336 I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
2337 And he to England shall along with you.
2338 5 The terms of our estate may not endure
2339 Hazard so near ’s as doth hourly grow
2340 Out of his brows.
GUILDENSTERN 2341 We will ourselves provide.
2342 Most holy and religious fear it is
2343 10 To keep those many many bodies safe
2344 That live and feed upon your Majesty.
2345 The single and peculiar life is bound
2346 With all the strength and armor of the mind
2347 To keep itself from noyance, but much more
2348 15 That spirit upon whose weal depends and rests
2349 The lives of many. The cess of majesty
2350 Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
2351 What’s near it with it; or it is a massy wheel
2352 Fixed on the summit of the highest mount,
2353 20 To whose ⟨huge⟩ spokes ten thousand lesser things
2354 Are mortised and adjoined, which, when it falls,
2355 Each small annexment, petty consequence,
2356 Attends the boist’rous ⟨ruin.⟩ Never alone
2357 Did the king sigh, but ⟨with⟩ a general groan.
2358 25 Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage,
2359 For we will fetters put about this fear,
2360 Which now goes too free-footed.
ROSENCRANTZ 2361 We will haste us.
⌜Rosencrantz and Guildenstern⌝ exit.
2362 My lord, he’s going to his mother’s closet.
2363 30 Behind the arras I’ll convey myself
2364 To hear the process. I’ll warrant she’ll tax him
2366 And, as you said (and wisely was it said),
2367 ’Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
2368 35 Since nature makes them partial, should o’erhear
2369 The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
2370 I’ll call upon you ere you go to bed
2371 And tell you what I know.
KING 2372 Thanks, dear my lord.
2373 40 O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;
2374 It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t,
2375 A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
2376 Though inclination be as sharp as will.
2377 My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
2378 45 And, like a man to double business bound,
2379 I stand in pause where I shall first begin
2380 And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
2381 Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood?
2382 Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
2383 50 To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
2384 But to confront the visage of offense?
2385 And what’s in prayer but this twofold force,
2386 To be forestallèd ere we come to fall,
2387 Or ⟨pardoned⟩ being down? Then I’ll look up.
2388 55 My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
2389 Can serve my turn? “Forgive me my foul murder”?
2390 That cannot be, since I am still possessed
2391 Of those effects for which I did the murder:
2392 My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
2393 60 May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense?
2394 In the corrupted currents of this world,
2395 Offense’s gilded hand may ⟨shove⟩ by justice,
2397 Buys out the law. But ’tis not so above:
2398 65 There is no shuffling; there the action lies
2399 In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
2400 Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
2401 To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
2402 Try what repentance can. What can it not?
2403 70 Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
2404 O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
2405 O limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
2406 Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay.
2407 Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel
2408 75 Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe.
2409 All may be well.⌜He kneels.⌝
2410 Now might I do it ⟨pat,⟩ now he is a-praying,
2411 And now I’ll do ’t.⌜He draws his sword.⌝
2412 And so he goes to heaven,
2413 80 And so am I ⟨revenged.⟩ That would be scanned:
2414 A villain kills my father, and for that,
2415 I, his sole son, do this same villain send
2416 To heaven.
2417 Why, this is ⟨hire⟩ and ⟨salary,⟩ not revenge.
2418 85 He took my father grossly, full of bread,
2419 With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
2420 And how his audit stands who knows save heaven.
2421 But in our circumstance and course of thought
2422 ’Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged
2423 90 To take him in the purging of his soul,
2424 When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
2426 Up sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
⌜He sheathes his sword.⌝
2427 When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
2429 At game, a-swearing, or about some act
2430 That has no relish of salvation in ’t—
2431 Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
2432 And that his soul may be as damned and black
2433 100 As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays.
2434 This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
2435 My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
2436 Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
2437 He will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
2438 Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear
2440 And that your Grace hath screened and stood
2441 5 between
2442 Much heat and him. I’ll silence me even here.
2443 Pray you, be round ⟨with him.
HAMLET, within 2444 Mother, mother, mother!⟩
QUEEN 2445 I’ll ⟨warrant⟩ you. Fear me not. Withdraw,
2446 10 I hear him coming.
⌜Polonius hides behind the arras.⌝
HAMLET 2447 Now, mother, what’s the matter?
2448 Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
2449 Mother, you have my father much offended.
2450 Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
2451 15 Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
2452 Why, how now, Hamlet?
HAMLET 2453 What’s the matter now?
2454 Have you forgot me?
HAMLET 2455 No, by the rood, not so.
2456 20 You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
2457 And (would it were not so) you are my mother.
2458 Nay, then I’ll set those to you that can speak.
2459 Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge.
2460 You go not till I set you up a glass
2461 25 Where you may see the ⟨inmost⟩ part of you.
2462 What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
2463 Help, ho!
POLONIUS, ⌜behind the arras⌝ 2464 What ho! Help!
2465 How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead.
⌜He ⟨kills Polonius⟩ by thrusting a rapier
through the arras.⌝
POLONIUS, ⌜behind the arras⌝
2466 30 O, I am slain!
QUEEN 2467 O me, what hast thou done?
HAMLET 2468 Nay, I know not. Is it the King?
2469 O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
2470 A bloody deed—almost as bad, good mother,
2471 35 As kill a king and marry with his brother.
2472 As kill a king?
⌜He pulls Polonius’ body from behind the arras.⌝
2474 Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell.
2475 I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune.
2476 40 Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
2477 ⌜To Queen.⌝ Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit
2478 you down,
2479 And let me wring your heart; for so I shall
2480 If it be made of penetrable stuff,
2481 45 If damnèd custom have not brazed it so
2482 That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
2483 What have I done, that thou dar’st wag thy tongue
2484 In noise so rude against me?
HAMLET 2485 Such an act
2486 50 That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
2487 Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
2488 From the fair forehead of an innocent love
2489 And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
2490 As false as dicers’ oaths—O, such a deed
2491 55 As from the body of contraction plucks
2492 The very soul, and sweet religion makes
2493 A rhapsody of words! Heaven’s face does glow
2494 O’er this solidity and compound mass
2495 With heated visage, as against the doom,
2496 60 Is thought-sick at the act.
QUEEN 2497 Ay me, what act
2498 That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
2499 Look here upon this picture and on this,
2500 The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
2501 65 See what a grace was seated on this brow,
2502 Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
2503 An eye like Mars’ to threaten and command,
2504 A station like the herald Mercury
2505 New-lighted on a ⟨heaven⟩-kissing hill,
2507 Where every god did seem to set his seal
2508 To give the world assurance of a man.
2509 This was your husband. Look you now what follows.
2510 Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear
2511 75 Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
2512 Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
2513 And batten on this moor? Ha! Have you eyes?
2514 You cannot call it love, for at your age
2515 The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
2516 80 And waits upon the judgment; and what judgment
2517 Would step from this to this? [Sense sure you have,
2518 Else could you not have motion; but sure that sense
2519 Is apoplexed; for madness would not err,
2520 Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled,
2521 85 But it reserved some quantity of choice
2522 To serve in such a difference.] What devil was ’t
2523 That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
2524 [Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
2525 Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
2526 90 Or but a sickly part of one true sense
2527 Could not so mope.] O shame, where is thy blush?
2528 Rebellious hell,
2529 If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
2530 To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
2531 95 And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
2532 When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
2533 Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
2534 And reason ⟨panders⟩ will.
QUEEN 2535 O Hamlet, speak no more!
2536 100 Thou turn’st my eyes into my ⟨very⟩ soul,
2537 And there I see such black and ⟨grainèd⟩ spots
2538 As will ⟨not⟩ leave their tinct.
HAMLET 2539 Nay, but to live
2540 In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed,
2541 105 Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
2542 Over the nasty sty!
2544 These words like daggers enter in my ears.
2545 No more, sweet Hamlet!
HAMLET 2546 110 A murderer and a villain,
2547 A slave that is not twentieth part the ⟨tithe⟩
2548 Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings,
2549 A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
2550 That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
2551 115 And put it in his pocket—
QUEEN 2552 No more!
HAMLET 2553 A king of shreds and patches—
2554 Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,
2555 You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious
2556 120 figure?
QUEEN 2557 Alas, he’s mad.
2558 Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
2559 That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
2560 Th’ important acting of your dread command?
2561 125 O, say!
GHOST 2562 Do not forget. This visitation
2563 Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
2564 But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
2565 O, step between her and her fighting soul.
2566 130 Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
2567 Speak to her, Hamlet.
HAMLET 2568 How is it with you, lady?
QUEEN 2569 Alas, how is ’t with you,
2570 That you do bend your eye on vacancy
2571 135 And with th’ incorporal air do hold discourse?
2572 Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
2573 And, as the sleeping soldiers in th’ alarm,
2574 Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
2575 Start up and stand an end. O gentle son,
2577 Sprinkle cool patience! Whereon do you look?
2578 On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares.
2579 His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
2580 Would make them capable. ⌜To the Ghost.⌝ Do not
2581 145 look upon me,
2582 Lest with this piteous action you convert
2583 My stern effects. Then what I have to do
2584 Will want true color—tears perchance for blood.
QUEEN 2585 To whom do you speak this?
HAMLET 2586 150Do you see nothing there?
2587 Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.
HAMLET 2588 Nor did you nothing hear?
QUEEN 2589 No, nothing but ourselves.
2590 Why, look you there, look how it steals away!
2591 155 My father, in his habit as he lived!
2592 Look where he goes even now out at the portal!
2593 This is the very coinage of your brain.
2594 This bodiless creation ecstasy
2595 Is very cunning in.
HAMLET 2596 160 ⟨Ecstasy?⟩
2597 My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time
2598 And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
2599 That I have uttered. Bring me to the test,
2600 And ⟨I⟩ the matter will reword, which madness
2601 165 Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
2602 Lay not that flattering unction to your soul
2603 That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
2604 It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
2605 Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
2606 170 Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
2608 And do not spread the compost on the weeds
2609 To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,
2610 For, in the fatness of these pursy times,
2611 175 Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
2612 Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
2613 O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain!
2614 O, throw away the worser part of it,
2615 And ⟨live⟩ the purer with the other half!
2616 180 Good night. But go not to my uncle’s bed.
2617 Assume a virtue if you have it not.
2618 [That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
2619 Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
2620 That to the use of actions fair and good
2621 185 He likewise gives a frock or livery
2622 That aptly is put on.] Refrain ⟨tonight,⟩
2623 And that shall lend a kind of easiness
2624 To the next abstinence, [the next more easy;
2625 For use almost can change the stamp of nature
2626 190 And either ⌜…⌝ the devil or throw him out
2627 With wondrous potency.] Once more, good night,
2628 And, when you are desirous to be blest,
2629 I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord
⌜Pointing to Polonius.⌝
2630 I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so
2631 195 To punish me with this and this with me,
2632 That I must be their scourge and minister.
2633 I will bestow him and will answer well
2634 The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
2635 I must be cruel only to be kind.
2636 200 This bad begins, and worse remains behind.
2637 [One word more, good lady.]
QUEEN 2638 What shall I do?
2639 Not this by no means that I bid you do:
2640 Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed,
2641 205 Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
2642 And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses
2643 Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
2644 Make you to ravel all this matter out
2645 That I essentially am not in madness,
2646 210 But mad in craft. ’Twere good you let him know,
2647 For who that’s but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
2648 Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
2649 Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
2650 No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
2651 215 Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
2652 Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
2653 To try conclusions, in the basket creep
2654 And break your own neck down.
2655 Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
2656 220 And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
2657 What thou hast said to me.
2658 I must to England, you know that.
QUEEN 2659 Alack,
2660 I had forgot! ’Tis so concluded on.
2661 225 [There’s letters sealed; and my two schoolfellows,
2662 Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged,
2663 They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
2664 And marshal me to knavery. Let it work,
2665 For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
2666 230 Hoist with his own petard; and ’t shall go hard
2667 But I will delve one yard below their mines
2668 And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
2669 When in one line two crafts directly meet.]
2670 This man shall set me packing.
2672 Mother, good night indeed. This counselor
2673 Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
2674 Who was in life a foolish prating knave.—
2675 Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.—
2676 240 Good night, mother.
⌜They⌝ exit, ⟨Hamlet tugging in Polonius.⟩
2677 There’s matter in these sighs; these profound heaves
2678 You must translate; ’tis fit we understand them.
2679 Where is your son?
2680 [Bestow this place on us a little while.]
⌜Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.⌝
2681 5 Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen tonight!
KING 2682 What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
2683 Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
2684 Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
2685 Behind the arras hearing something stir,
2686 10 Whips out his rapier, cries “A rat, a rat,”
2687 And in this brainish apprehension kills
2688 The unseen good old man.
KING 2689 O heavy deed!
2690 It had been so with us, had we been there.
2691 15 His liberty is full of threats to all—
2692 To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
2693 Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
2694 It will be laid to us, whose providence
2696 20 This mad young man. But so much was our love,
2697 We would not understand what was most fit,
2698 But, like the owner of a foul disease,
2699 To keep it from divulging, let it feed
2700 Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
2701 25 To draw apart the body he hath killed,
2702 O’er whom his very madness, like some ore
2703 Among a mineral of metals base,
2704 Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done.
KING 2705 O Gertrude, come away!
2706 30 The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
2707 But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
2708 We must with all our majesty and skill
2709 Both countenance and excuse.—Ho, Guildenstern!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
2710 Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
2711 35 Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
2712 And from his mother’s closet hath he ⟨dragged⟩ him.
2713 Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
2714 Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
⟨Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.⟩
2715 Come, Gertrude, we’ll call up our wisest friends
2716 40 And let them know both what we mean to do
2717 And what’s untimely done. ⌜…⌝
2718 [Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter,
2719 As level as the cannon to his blank
2720 Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
2721 45 And hit the woundless air.] O, come away!
2722 My soul is full of discord and dismay.
HAMLET 2723 Safely stowed.
⟨GENTLEMEN, within 2724 Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!⟩
HAMLET 2725 But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet?
2726 O, here they come.
Enter Rosencrantz, ⟨Guildenstern,⟩ and others.
2727 5 What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
2728 ⟨Compounded⟩ it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.
2729 Tell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence
2730 And bear it to the chapel.
HAMLET 2731 Do not believe it.
ROSENCRANTZ 2732 10Believe what?
HAMLET 2733 That I can keep your counsel and not mine
2734 own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, what
2735 replication should be made by the son of a king?
ROSENCRANTZ 2736 Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
HAMLET 2737 15Ay, sir, that soaks up the King’s countenance,
2738 his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
2739 King best service in the end. He keeps them like ⟨an
2740 ape⟩ an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed,
2741 to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have
2742 20 gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
2743 shall be dry again.
ROSENCRANTZ 2744 I understand you not, my lord.
HAMLET 2745 I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a
2746 foolish ear.
ROSENCRANTZ 2747 25My lord, you must tell us where the
2748 body is and go with us to the King.
HAMLET 2749 The body is with the King, but the King is not
2750 with the body. The King is a thing—
HAMLET 2752 30Of nothing. Bring me to him. ⟨Hide fox, and
2753 all after!⟩
2754 I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
2755 How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
2756 Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
2757 He’s loved of the distracted multitude,
2758 5 Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
2759 And, where ’tis so, th’ offender’s scourge is weighed,
2760 But never the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
2761 This sudden sending him away must seem
2762 Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
2763 10 By desperate appliance are relieved
2764 Or not at all.
2765 How now, what hath befallen?
2766 Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
2767 We cannot get from him.
KING 2768 15 But where is he?
2769 Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.
2770 Bring him before us.
ROSENCRANTZ 2771 Ho! Bring in the lord.
They enter ⌜with Hamlet.⌝
KING 2772 Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?
HAMLET 2773 20At supper.
HAMLET 2775 Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A
2776 certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at
2777 him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We
2778 25 fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves
2779 for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is
2780 but variable service—two dishes but to one table.
2781 That’s the end.
[KING 2782 Alas, alas!
HAMLET 2783 30A man may fish with the worm that hath eat
2784 of a king and eat of the fish that hath fed of that
KING 2786 What dost thou mean by this?
HAMLET 2787 Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
2788 35 progress through the guts of a beggar.
KING 2789 Where is Polonius?
HAMLET 2790 In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger
2791 find him not there, seek him i’ th’ other
2792 place yourself. But if, indeed, you find him not
2793 40 within this month, you shall nose him as you go up
2794 the stairs into the lobby.
KING, ⌜to Attendants.⌝ 2795 Go, seek him there.
HAMLET 2796 He will stay till you come.⌜Attendants exit.⌝
2797 Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety
2798 45 (Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
2799 For that which thou hast done) must send thee
2801 ⟨With fiery quickness.⟩ Therefore prepare thyself.
2802 The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
2803 50 Th’ associates tend, and everything is bent
2804 For England.
HAMLET 2805 For England?
KING 2806 Ay, Hamlet.
HAMLET 2807 Good.
2808 55 So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.
2809 I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for
2811 Farewell, dear mother.
KING 2812 Thy loving father, Hamlet.
2813 60 My mother. Father and mother is man and wife,
2814 Man and wife is one flesh, ⟨and⟩ so, my mother.—
2815 Come, for England.He exits.
2816 Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard.
2817 Delay it not. I’ll have him hence tonight.
2818 65 Away, for everything is sealed and done
2819 That else leans on th’ affair. Pray you, make haste.
⌜All but the King exit.⌝
2820 And England, if my love thou hold’st at aught
2821 (As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
2822 Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
2823 70 After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
2824 Pays homage to us), thou mayst not coldly set
2825 Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
2826 By letters congruing to that effect,
2827 The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
2828 75 For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
2829 And thou must cure me. Till I know ’tis done,
2830 Howe’er my haps, my joys will ne’er begin.
2831 Go, Captain, from me greet the Danish king.
2832 Tell him that by his license Fortinbras
2833 Craves the conveyance of a promised march
2834 Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
2836 We shall express our duty in his eye;
2837 And let him know so.
CAPTAIN 2838 I will do ’t, my lord.
FORTINBRAS 2839 Go softly on.⌜All but the Captain exit.⌝
[Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, ⌜Guildenstern,⌝ and others.
HAMLET 2840 10Good sir, whose powers are these?
CAPTAIN 2841 They are of Norway, sir.
HAMLET 2842 How purposed, sir, I pray you?
CAPTAIN 2843 Against some part of Poland.
HAMLET 2844 Who commands them, sir?
2845 15 The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.
2846 Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
2847 Or for some frontier?
2848 Truly to speak, and with no addition,
2849 We go to gain a little patch of ground
2850 20 That hath in it no profit but the name.
2851 To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
2852 Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
2853 A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
2854 Why, then, the Polack never will defend it.
2855 25 Yes, it is already garrisoned.
2856 Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
2857 Will not debate the question of this straw.
2858 This is th’ impostume of much wealth and peace,
2859 That inward breaks and shows no cause without
2860 30 Why the man dies.—I humbly thank you, sir.
CAPTAIN 2861 God be wi’ you, sir.⌜He exits.⌝
ROSENCRANTZ 2862 Will ’t please you go, my lord?
2863 I’ll be with you straight. Go a little before.
⌜All but Hamlet exit.⌝
2864 How all occasions do inform against me
2865 35 And spur my dull revenge. What is a man
2866 If his chief good and market of his time
2867 Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
2868 Sure He that made us with such large discourse,
2869 Looking before and after, gave us not
2870 40 That capability and godlike reason
2871 To fust in us unused. Now whether it be
2872 Bestial oblivion or some craven scruple
2873 Of thinking too precisely on th’ event
2874 (A thought which, quartered, hath but one part
2875 45 wisdom
2876 And ever three parts coward), I do not know
2877 Why yet I live to say “This thing’s to do,”
2878 Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
2879 To do ’t. Examples gross as Earth exhort me:
2880 50 Witness this army of such mass and charge,
2881 Led by a delicate and tender prince,
2882 Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed
2883 Makes mouths at the invisible event,
2884 Exposing what is mortal and unsure
2885 55 To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
2886 Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
2887 Is not to stir without great argument,
2888 But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
2889 When honor’s at the stake. How stand I, then,
2890 60 That have a father killed, a mother stained,
2891 Excitements of my reason and my blood,
2892 And let all sleep, while to my shame I see
2893 The imminent death of twenty thousand men
2894 That for a fantasy and trick of fame
2895 65 Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
2896 Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
2898 To hide the slain? O, from this time forth
2899 My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!
QUEEN 2900 I will not speak with her.
GENTLEMAN 2901 She is importunate,
2902 Indeed distract; her mood will needs be pitied.
QUEEN 2903 What would she have?
2904 5 She speaks much of her father, says she hears
2905 There’s tricks i’ th’ world, and hems, and beats her
2907 Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
2908 That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
2909 10 Yet the unshapèd use of it doth move
2910 The hearers to collection. They ⟨aim⟩ at it
2911 And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
2912 Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield
2914 15 Indeed would make one think there might be
2916 Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
2917 ’Twere good she were spoken with, for she may
2919 20 Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
⌜QUEEN⌝ 2920 Let her come in.⌜Gentleman exits.⌝
2921 ⌜Aside.⌝ To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is),
2922 Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
2923 So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
2924 25 It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
2925 Where is the beauteous Majesty of Denmark?
QUEEN 2926 How now, Ophelia?
2927 How should I your true love know
2928 From another one?
2929 30 By his cockle hat and staff
2930 And his sandal shoon.
2931 Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
OPHELIA 2932 Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
⌜Sings.⌝ 2933 He is dead and gone, lady,
2934 35 He is dead and gone;
2935 At his head a grass-green turf,
2936 At his heels a stone.
2937 Oh, ho!
QUEEN 2938 Nay, but Ophelia—
OPHELIA 2939 40Pray you, mark.
⌜Sings.⌝ 2940 White his shroud as the mountain snow—
QUEEN 2941 Alas, look here, my lord.
2942 Larded all with sweet flowers;
2943 Which bewept to the ground did not go
2944 45 With true-love showers.
KING 2945 How do you, pretty lady?
OPHELIA 2946 Well, God dild you. They say the owl was a
2947 baker’s daughter. Lord, we know what we are but
2948 know not what we may be. God be at your table.
KING 2949 50Conceit upon her father.
OPHELIA 2950 Pray let’s have no words of this, but when
2951 they ask you what it means, say you this:
2953 All in the morning betime,
2954 55 And I a maid at your window,
2955 To be your Valentine.
2956 Then up he rose and donned his clothes
2957 And dupped the chamber door,
2958 Let in the maid, that out a maid
2959 60 Never departed more.
KING 2960 Pretty Ophelia—
2961 Indeed, without an oath, I’ll make an end on ’t:
⌜Sings.⌝ 2962 By Gis and by Saint Charity,
2963 Alack and fie for shame,
2964 65 Young men will do ’t, if they come to ’t;
2965 By Cock, they are to blame.
2966 Quoth she “Before you tumbled me,
2967 You promised me to wed.”
2968 He answers:
2969 70 “So would I ’a done, by yonder sun,
2970 An thou hadst not come to my bed.”
KING 2971 How long hath she been thus?
OPHELIA 2972 I hope all will be well. We must be patient,
2973 but I cannot choose but weep to think they would
2974 75 lay him i’ th’ cold ground. My brother shall know of
2975 it. And so I thank you for your good counsel. Come,
2976 my coach! Good night, ladies, good night, sweet
2977 ladies, good night, good night.⟨She exits.⟩
2978 Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
2979 80 O, this is the poison of deep grief. It springs
2980 All from her father’s death, and now behold!
2981 O Gertrude, Gertrude,
2982 When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
2983 But in battalions: first, her father slain;
2984 85 Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
2985 Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
2988 For good Polonius’ death, and we have done but
2989 90 greenly
2990 In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
2991 Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
2992 Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
2993 Last, and as much containing as all these,
2994 95 Her brother is in secret come from France,
2995 Feeds on ⟨his⟩ wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
2996 And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
2997 With pestilent speeches of his father’s death,
2998 Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
2999 100 Will nothing stick our person to arraign
3000 In ear and ear. O, my dear Gertrude, this,
3001 Like to a murd’ring piece, in many places
3002 Gives me superfluous death.
A noise within.
⟨QUEEN 3003 Alack, what noise is this?⟩
KING 3004 105Attend!
3005 Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
Enter a Messenger.
3006 What is the matter?
MESSENGER 3007 Save yourself, my lord.
3008 The ocean, overpeering of his list,
3009 110 Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste
3010 Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
3011 O’erbears your officers. The rabble call him “lord,”
3012 And, as the world were now but to begin,
3013 Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
3014 115 The ratifiers and props of every word,
3015 ⟨They⟩ cry “Choose we, Laertes shall be king!”
3016 Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds,
3017 “Laertes shall be king! Laertes king!”
A noise within.
3018 How cheerfully on the false trail they cry.
3019 120 O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
KING 3020 The doors are broke.
Enter Laertes with others.
3021 Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without.
ALL 3022 No, let’s come in!
LAERTES 3023 I pray you, give me leave.
ALL 3024 125We will, we will.
3025 I thank you. Keep the door. ⌜Followers exit.⌝ O, thou
3026 vile king,
3027 Give me my father!
QUEEN 3028 Calmly, good Laertes.
3029 130 That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me
3031 Cries “cuckold” to my father, brands the harlot
3032 Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow
3033 Of my true mother.
KING 3034 135 What is the cause, Laertes,
3035 That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?—
3036 Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
3037 There’s such divinity doth hedge a king
3038 That treason can but peep to what it would,
3039 140 Acts little of his will.—Tell me, Laertes,
3040 Why thou art thus incensed.—Let him go,
3042 Speak, man.
LAERTES 3043 Where is my father?
KING 3044 145Dead.
3045 But not by him.
KING 3046 Let him demand his fill.
3047 How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with.
3048 To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
3049 150 Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
3050 I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
3051 That both the worlds I give to negligence,
3052 Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged
3053 Most throughly for my father.
KING 3054 155Who shall stay you?
LAERTES 3055 My will, not all the ⟨world.⟩
3056 And for my means, I’ll husband them so well
3057 They shall go far with little.
KING 3058 Good Laertes,
3059 160 If you desire to know the certainty
3060 Of your dear father, is ’t writ in your revenge
3061 That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and
3063 Winner and loser?
LAERTES 3064 165None but his enemies.
KING 3065 Will you know them, then?
3066 To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms
3067 And, like the kind life-rend’ring pelican,
3068 Repast them with my blood.
KING 3069 170 Why, now you speak
3070 Like a good child and a true gentleman.
3071 That I am guiltless of your father’s death
3072 And am most sensibly in grief for it,
3073 It shall as level to your judgment ’pear
3074 175 As day does to your eye.
3075 A noise within: ⟨“Let her come in!”
LAERTES⟩ 3076 How now, what noise is that?
3077 O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt
3078 Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
3080 Till our scale turn the beam! O rose of May,
3081 Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
3082 O heavens, is ’t possible a young maid’s wits
3083 Should be as mortal as ⟨an old⟩ man’s life?
3084 185 ⟨Nature is fine in love, and, where ’tis fine,
3085 It sends some precious instance of itself
3086 After the thing it loves.⟩
3087 They bore him barefaced on the bier,
3088 ⟨Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny,⟩
3089 190 And in his grave rained many a tear.
3090 Fare you well, my dove.
3091 Hadst thou thy wits and didst persuade revenge,
3092 It could not move thus.
OPHELIA 3093 You must sing “A-down a-down”—and you
3094 195 “Call him a-down-a.”—O, how the wheel becomes
3095 it! It is the false steward that stole his master’s
LAERTES 3097 This nothing’s more than matter.
OPHELIA 3098 There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.
3099 200 Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies,
3100 that’s for thoughts.
LAERTES 3101 A document in madness: thoughts and remembrance
OPHELIA 3103 There’s fennel for you, and columbines.
3104 205 There’s rue for you, and here’s some for me; we
3105 may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays. You ⟨must⟩ wear
3106 your rue with a difference. There’s a daisy. I would
3107 give you some violets, but they withered all when
3108 my father died. They say he made a good end.
3109 210 ⌜Sings.⌝ For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
3110 Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself
3111 She turns to favor and to prettiness.
3112 And will he not come again?
3113 And will he not come again?
3114 215 No, no, he is dead.
3115 Go to thy deathbed.
3116 He never will come again.
3117 His beard was as white as snow,
3118 ⟨All⟩ flaxen was his poll.
3119 220 He is gone, he is gone,
3120 And we cast away moan.
3121 God ’a mercy on his soul.
3122 And of all Christians’ souls, ⟨I pray God.⟩ God be wi’
3123 you.⟨She exits.⟩
LAERTES 3124 225Do you ⟨see⟩ this, O God?
3125 Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
3126 Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
3127 Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
3128 And they shall hear and judge ’twixt you and me.
3129 230 If by direct or by collateral hand
3130 They find us touched, we will our kingdom give,
3131 Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
3132 To you in satisfaction; but if not,
3133 Be you content to lend your patience to us,
3134 235 And we shall jointly labor with your soul
3135 To give it due content.
LAERTES 3136 Let this be so.
3137 His means of death, his obscure funeral
3138 (No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o’er his bones,
3139 240 No noble rite nor formal ostentation)
3140 Cry to be heard, as ’twere from heaven to earth,
3141 That I must call ’t in question.
KING 3142 So you shall,
3143 And where th’ offense is, let the great ax fall.
3144 245 I pray you, go with me.
HORATIO 3145 What are they that would speak with me?
GENTLEMAN 3146 Seafaring men, sir. They say they have
3147 letters for you.
HORATIO 3148 Let them come in. ⌜Gentleman exits.⌝ I do not
3149 5 know from what part of the world I should be
3150 greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.
SAILOR 3151 God bless you, sir.
HORATIO 3152 Let Him bless thee too.
SAILOR 3153 He shall, sir, ⟨an ’t⟩ please Him. There’s a letter
3154 10 for you, sir. It came from th’ ambassador that was
3155 bound for England—if your name be Horatio, as I
3156 am let to know it is.⌜He hands Horatio a letter.⌝
HORATIO ⟨reads the letter⟩ 3157 Horatio, when thou shalt have
3158 overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the
3159 15 King. They have letters for him. Ere we were two days
3160 old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave
3161 us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on
3162 a compelled valor, and in the grapple I boarded them.
3163 On the instant, they got clear of our ship; so I alone
3164 20 became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like
3165 thieves of mercy, but they knew what they did: I am to
3166 do a ⟨good⟩ turn for them. Let the King have the letters
3167 I have sent, and repair thou to me with as much speed
3168 as thou wouldst fly death. I have words to speak in
3169 25 thine ear will make thee dumb; yet are they much too
3170 light for the ⟨bore⟩ of the matter. These good fellows
3171 will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
3172 hold their course for England; of them I have
3173 much to tell thee. Farewell.
3174 30 ⟨He⟩ that thou knowest thine,
3177 And do ’t the speedier that you may direct me
3178 To him from whom you brought them.
3179 Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
3180 And you must put me in your heart for friend,
3181 Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
3182 That he which hath your noble father slain
3183 5 Pursued my life.
LAERTES 3184 It well appears. But tell me
3185 Why you ⟨proceeded⟩ not against these feats,
3186 So criminal and so capital in nature,
3187 As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else,
3188 10 You mainly were stirred up.
KING 3189 O, for two special reasons,
3190 Which may to you perhaps seem much unsinewed,
3191 But yet to me they’re strong. The Queen his mother
3192 Lives almost by his looks, and for myself
3193 15 (My virtue or my plague, be it either which),
3194 She is so ⟨conjunctive⟩ to my life and soul
3195 That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
3196 I could not but by her. The other motive
3197 Why to a public count I might not go
3198 20 Is the great love the general gender bear him,
3199 Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
3200 Work like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
3201 Convert his gyves to graces, so that my arrows,
3202 Too slightly timbered for so ⟨loud a wind,⟩
3203 25 Would have reverted to my bow again,
3204 But not where I have aimed them.
3205 And so have I a noble father lost,
3207 Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
3208 30 Stood challenger on mount of all the age
3209 For her perfections. But my revenge will come.
3210 Break not your sleeps for that. You must not think
3211 That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
3212 That we can let our beard be shook with danger
3213 35 And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.
3214 I loved your father, and we love ourself,
3215 And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine—
Enter a Messenger with letters.
3216 ⟨How now? What news?
MESSENGER 3217 Letters, my lord, from
3218 40 Hamlet.⟩
3219 These to your Majesty, this to the Queen.
KING 3220 From Hamlet? Who brought them?
3221 Sailors, my lord, they say. I saw them not.
3222 They were given me by Claudio. He received them
3223 45 [Of him that brought them.]
KING 3224 Laertes, you shall hear
3226 Leave us.⟨Messenger exits.⟩
3227 ⌜Reads.⌝ High and mighty, you shall know I am set
3228 50 naked on your kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to
3229 see your kingly eyes, when I shall