Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)


[5.1]
Enter two Clowns [with spades and mattocks].
3190Clown Is she to be buried in Christian burial, when she willfully seeks her own salvation?
Other I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight. The crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.
3195Clown How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her owndefense?
Other Why, 'tis found so.
Clown It must be se offendendo, it cannot be else, for here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act, and an act hath 3200three branches: it is to act, to do, and to perform. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
Other Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver.
Clown Give me leave. Here lies the water; good. Here stands the 3205man; good. If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes. Mark you that. But if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.
3210Other But is this law?
Clown Ay, marry, is't, crowner's quest law.
Other Will you ha the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o'Christian burial.
3215Clown Why there thou say'st, and the more pity that great folk should have count'nance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even-Christen. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and gravemakers. They hold up Adam's profession.
Other Was he a gentleman?
Clown 'A was the first that ever bore arms.
Other Why, he had none.
Clown What, art a heathen? How dost thou 3225understand the Scripture? The Scripture says Adam digged. Could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself--
Other Go to.
3230Clown What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
Other The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.
Clown I like thy wit well, in good faith, the gallows does well.3235But how does it well? It does well to those that do ill. Now, thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church. Argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.
Other "Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a 3240carpenter?"
Clown Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Other Marry, now I can tell.
Clown To't.
Other Mass, I cannot tell.
3245
Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.
Clown Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating; and when you are asked this question next, say "a grave-maker." The houses he makes lasts till doomsday. Go get thee in, and fetch me a stoup of liquor.
[Exit Second Clown.]
[The First Clown digs.]
Song.
In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet
To contract--oh--the time for--my behove,
3255Oh, methought there--a--was nothing--a--meet.
Hamlet Has this fellow no feeling of his business, 'a sings in grave-making?
Horatio Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
3260Hamlet 'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.
Clown
Song.
But age with his stealing steps
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
3265And hath shipped me into the land,
As if I had never been such.
[The Clown throws up a skull.]
Hamlet That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, that did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now 3270o'erreaches, one that would circumvent God, might it not?
Horatio It might, my lord.
Hamlet Or of a courtier, which could say, "Good morrow, sweet lord, how dost thou, sweet lord?" This might be my Lord Such-a-one, that 3275praised my Lord Such-a-one's horse when 'a meant to beg it, might it not?
Horatio Ay, my lord.
Hamlet Why, e'en so. And now my Lady Worm's, chapless, and knocked about the mazard with a sexton's spade. Here's fine revolution, an 3280we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggets with them? Mine ache to think on't.
Clown
Song.
A pickax and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet;
Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
[He throws up another skull.]
Hamlet There's another. Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? 3290Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this mad knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? H'm! This fellow might be in's time a great buyer of 3295land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? Will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length 3300and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will scarcely lie in this box, and must th'inheritor himself have no more, ha?
Horatio Not a jot more, my lord.
3305Hamlet Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
Horatio Ay, my lord, and of calves' skins too.
Hamlet They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow.--Whose grave's this, sirrah?
3310Clown Mine, sir.
[Sings.]
Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
Hamlet I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
Clown You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not yours. For my part, I 3315do not lie in't, yet it is mine.
Hamlet Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine. 'Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
Clown 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again from me to you.
Hamlet What man dost thou dig it for?
Clown For no man, sir.
Hamlet What woman, then?
Clown For none, neither.
3325Hamlet Who is to be buried in't?
Clown One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she's dead.
Hamlet [To Horatio] How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, this three years I 3330have took note of it, the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe.--How long hast thou been grave-maker?
Clown Of all the days i'th'year, I came to't that day that our last King 3335Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
Hamlet How long is that since?
Clown Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was that very day that young Hamlet was born--he that is mad and sent into England.
3340Hamlet Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
Clown Why, because 'a was mad. 'A shall recover his wits there, or if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter there.
Hamlet Why?
Clown 'Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.
Hamlet How came he mad?
Clown Very strangely, they say.
Hamlet How strangely?
Clown Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
3350Hamlet Upon what ground?
Clown Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.
Hamlet How long will a man lie i'th'earth ere he rot?
Clown Faith, if 'a be not rotten before 'a die--as we have many 3355pocky corses nowadays that will scarce hold the laying in--'a will last you some eight year, or nine year. A tanner will last you nine year.
Hamlet Why he more than another?
Clown Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade that 'a will keep 3360out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. [He picks up a skull.] Here's a skull now: this skull hath lyen you i'th'earth three-and-twenty years.
Hamlet Whose was it?
Clown A whoreson mad fellow's it was. Whose do you think it was?
Hamlet Nay, I know not.
Clown A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'A poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester.
3370Hamlet This?
Clown E'en that.
Hamlet Let me see. [taking the skull] Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge 3375rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.--Where be your jibes now? Your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chopfall'n? Now get you 3380to my lady's chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
Horatio What's that, my lord?
3385Hamlet Dost thou think Alexander looked o'this fashion i'th'earth?
Horatio E'en so.
Hamlet And smelt so? Pah!
[He throws the skull down.]
Horatio E'en so, my lord.
3390Hamlet To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till 'a find it stopping a bunghole?
Horatio 'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.
Hamlet No, faith, not a jot. But to follow him thither with modesty 3395enough, and likelihood to lead it, as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam, and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
3400Imperial Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
Oh, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t'expel the winter's flaw!
Enter King, Queen, Laertes, and the corse [of Ophelia, in funeral procession, with the "Doctor" or Priest, and others].
But soft, but soft awhile! Here comes the King,
The Queen, the courtiers. Who is that they follow?
And with such maimèd rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desp'rate hand
3410Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile and mark.
[Hamlet and Horatio conceal themselves. Ophelia's body is taken to the grave.]
Laertes What ceremony else?
Hamlet [Aside to Horatio] That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
Laertes What ceremony else?
3415Priest Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified been lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
3420Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her;
Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
Laertes
Must there no more be done?
3425Priest
No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
Laertes
Lay her i'th'earth,
3430And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A minist'ring angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.
Hamlet
[To Horatio] What, the fair Ophelia!
3435Queen [Scattering flowers] Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not t'have strewed thy grave.
Laertes
Oh, treble woe
3440Fall ten times treble on that cursèd head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of!--Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
[He] leaps in the grave.
3445Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made
To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
Hamlet
[Coming forward] What is he whose grief
3450Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
Laertes [Grappling with Hamlet] The devil take thy soul!
3455Hamlet Thou pray'st not well. I prithee take thy fingers from my throat,
For, though I am not splenative and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!
3460King Pluck them asunder.
Queen Hamlet, Hamlet!
3461.1All Gentlemen!
Horatio Good my lord, be quiet.
[Hamlet and Laertes are parted.]
Hamlet Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
3465Queen Oh, my son, what theme?
Hamlet I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum.--What wilt thou do for her?
King Oh, he is mad, Laertes.
3470Queen For love of God, forbear him.
Hamlet 'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do.
Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't fast? Woo't tear thyself?
Woo't drink up eisil? Eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost come here to whine?
3475To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
3480Make Ossa like a wart. Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.
Queen
This is mere madness,
And thus awhile the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove
3485When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
His silence will sit drooping.
Hamlet
[To Laertes] Hear you, sir,
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever. But it is no matter.
3490Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.
Exit Hamlet.
King I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
And Horatio [exits too].
[Aside to Laertes] Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
We'll put the matter to the present push.--
3495Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.--
This grave shall have a living monument.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.
Exeunt.