Hamlet - Act 4, scene 5
Last updated: Tue, Jun 02, 2020
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Act 4, scene 5
Reports reach Gertrude that Ophelia is mad. Ophelia enters singing about death and betrayal. After Ophelia has gone, Claudius agonizes over her madness and over the stir created by the return of an angry Laertes. When Laertes breaks in on Claudius and Gertrude, Claudius asserts his innocence with regard to Polonius’s death. The reappearance of the mad Ophelia is devastating to Laertes.Enter Horatio, ⟨Queen,⟩ and a Gentleman.
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.