Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)


Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Lords.
King And can you by no drift of circumstance
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
1650Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
Rosencrantz He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause, 'a will by no means speak.
Guildenstern Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
1655But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
Queen Did he receive you well?
Rosencrantz Most like a gentleman.
1660Guildenstern But with much forcing of his disposition.
Rosencrantz Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.
Queen Did you assay him to any pastime?
Rosencrantz Madam, it so fell out that certain players
1665We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are here about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
1670Polonius
'Tis most true,
And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties
To hear and see the matter.
King With all my heart,and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclined. Good gentlemen,
1675Give him a further edge, and drive his purpose on
To these delights.
Rosencrantz We shall, my lord.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [and Lords].
King Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
1680That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
1685If't be th'affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
Queen
I shall obey you.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
1690Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honors.
Ophelia
Madam, I wish it may.
[Exit Queen.]
Polonius Ophelia, walk you here.--Gracious, so please you,
1695We will bestow ourselves. [To Ophelia, as he gives her a book] Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may color
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,
'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
1700The devil himself.
King
[Aside] Oh, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
1705Than is my deed to my most painted word.
Oh, heavy burden!
Enter Hamlet.
Polonius I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
[The King and Polonius conceal themselves.]
1710Hamlet To be, or not to be, that is the question,
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
1715No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
1720For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
1725Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th'unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
1730With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
1735And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
1740And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia!--Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.
1745Ophelia
Good my lord,
How does your honor for this many a day?
Hamlet I humbly thank you, well, well, well.
Ophelia My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longèd long to redeliver.
1750I pray you now receive them.
Hamlet No, not I. I never gave you aught.
Ophelia My honored lord, you know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath composed
As made these things more rich. Their perfume lost,
1755Take these again, for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind,
There, my lord.
[She offers Hamlet the remembrances.]
Hamlet Ha, ha! Are you honest?
Ophelia My lord?
1760Hamlet Are you fair?
Ophelia What means your lordship?
Hamlet That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.
Ophelia Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce 1765than with honesty?
Hamlet Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
Ophelia Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
Hamlet You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
Ophelia I was the more deceived.
Hamlet Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us.Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father?
Ophelia At home, my lord.
Hamlet Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in's own house. Farewell.
Ophelia Oh, help him, you sweet heavens!
1790Hamlet If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery. Go, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you 1795make of them. To a nunnery go, and quickly too. Farewell.
Ophelia Oh, heavenly powers restore him!
Hamlet I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another. You jig, 1800you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad. I say we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
Exit.
Ophelia Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
Th'expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mold of form,
1810Th'observed of all observers, quite, quite down,
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh,
1815That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me
T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Enter King and Polonius [stepping forward from concealment].
King Love? His affections do not that way tend,
1820Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
1825I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
For the demand of our neglected tribute.
Haply the seas, and countries different,
With variable objects, shall expel
1830This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
Polonius It shall do well.But yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
1835Sprung from neglected love.--How now, Ophelia?
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said,
We heard it all.--My lord, do as you please,
But if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
1840To show his grief. Let her be round with him,
And I'll be placed (so please you) in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.
1845King
It shall be so;
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
Exeunt.