Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)

Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.
Barnardo Who's there?
5Francisco Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
Barnardo Long live the King!
Francisco Barnardo?
Barnardo He.
10Francisco You come most carefully upon your hour.
Barnardo 'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.
Francisco For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
Barnardo Have you had quiet guard?
15Francisco Not a mouse stirring.
Barnardo Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
Francisco I think I hear them.--Stand, ho! Who is there?
20Horatio Friends to this ground.
Marcellus And liegemen to the Dane.
Francisco Give you good night.
Marcellus Oh, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
Francisco Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.
Exit Francisco.
Marcellus Holla, Barnardo!
Barnardo Say, what, is Horatio there?
Horatio A piece of him.
Barnardo Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, good Marcellus.
30Horatio What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
Barnardo I have seen nothing.
Marcellus Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of him,
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
35Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night,
That if again this apparition come
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
Sit down awhile,
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we two nights have seen.
Well, sit we down,
45And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
Barnardo Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course t'illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
50The bell then beating one--
Enter the Ghost.
Marcellus Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again!
Barnardo In the same figure like the King that's dead.
Marcellus Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
55Barnardo Looks it not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
Horatio Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
It would be spoke to.
Question it, Horatio.
Horatio What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
60Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee speak!
It is offended.
See, it stalks away.
Horatio Stay, speak, speak, I charge thee speak!
Exit the Ghost.
Marcellus 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Barnardo How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
70What think you on't?
Horatio Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the King?
75Horatio As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armor he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated.
So frowned he once, when in an angry parle
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
80'Tis strange.
Marcellus Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
Horatio In what particular thought to work I know not,
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion
85This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
Marcellus Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
90And foreign mart for implements of war,
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week:
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-laborer with the day?
95Who is't that can inform me?
That can I.
At least the whisper goes so: our last King,
Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was as you know by Fortinbras of Norway,
100Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet--
For so this side of our known world esteemed him--
Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact
Well ratified by law and heraldry
105Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror;
Against the which a moiety competent
Was gagèd by our King, which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras
110Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same cov'nant
And carriage of the article design[ed]
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
115Sharked up a list of landless resolutes
For food and diet to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't, which is no other,
As it doth well appear unto our state,
But to recover of us by strong hand
120And terms compulsative those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this post-haste and rummage in the land.
124.1Barnardo I think it be no other but e'en so.
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armèd through our watch so like the King
That was and is the question of these wars.
124.5Horatio A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets,
124.10As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of feared events,
124.15As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.
Enter Ghost again.
But soft, behold, lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it though it blast me.--Stay, illusion!
It spreads his arms.
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me!
If there be any good thing to be done
130That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
130Speak to me!
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
Oh, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
135For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it. Stay and speak!
The cock crows.
Stop it, Marcellus!
Marcellus Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
Horatio Do, if it will not stand.
Barnardo 'Tis here.
140Horatio 'Tis here.
Exit Ghost.
Marcellus 'Tis gone.
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence,
For it is as the air, invulnerable,
145And our vain blows malicious mockery.
Barnardo It was about to speak when the cock crew.
Horatio And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
150Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day, and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
Th'extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine; and of the truth herein
155This present object made probation.
Marcellus It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long,
160And then they say no spirit can walk abroad;
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that time.
Horatio So have I heard and do in part believe it.
165But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
Break we our watch up, and by my advice
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet, for, upon my life,
170This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
Marcellus Let's do 't, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.
Flourish. Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, and his sister Ophelia, Lords attendant [including Voltemand and Cornelius].
King Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
180The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him
185Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
Th'imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we as 'twere with a defeated joy,
With one auspicious and one dropping eye,
190With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife. Nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
195Now follows that you know: young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Co-leaguèd with this dream of his advantage,
200He hath not failed to pester us with message
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
205Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting,
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
210His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions are all made
Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway,
215Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the King more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
CorneliusandVoltemand In that and all things will we show our duty.
220King We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
Exeunt Voltemand and Cornelius.
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit. What is't, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
225And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
230What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
Dread my lord,
Your leave and favor to return to France,
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
To show my duty in your coronation,
235Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
King Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
240Polonius H'ath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
240.1By laborsome petition, and at last
Upon his will I sealed my hard consent.
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
King Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will.
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son--
245Hamlet A little more than kin, and less than kind.
King How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Hamlet Not so, my lord, I am too much i'th' sun.
Queen Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
250Do not forever with thy vailèd lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know'st 'tis common: all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Ay, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Hamlet "Seems," madam? Nay, it is, I know not "seems."
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
260Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief
That can denote me truly. These indeed seem,
265For they are actions that a man might play.
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
270To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow; but to persever
275In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness. 'Tis unmanly grief.
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschooled;
280For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie, 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
285To reason most absurd, whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried
From the first corpse till he that died today
"This must be so." We pray you throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
290As of a father; for let the world take note
You are the most immediate to our throne,
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
295In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire,
And we beseech you bend you to remain
Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
300Queen Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Hamlet I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply.
305Be as ourself in Denmark.--Madam, come.
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart, in grace whereof
No jocund health that Denmark drinks today
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
310And the King's rouse the heavens shall bruit again,
Respeaking earthly thunder. Come, away!
Flourish. Exeunt all but Hamlet.
Hamlet Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
315Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! Oh, God, God,
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't, ah, fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden
320That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead--nay, not so much, not two!
So excellent a king, that was to this
Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother
325That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth,
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on. And yet within a month--
330Let me not think on't; frailty, thy name is woman!
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears, why, she, even she--
Oh, God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
335Would have mourned longer!--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing of her gallèd eyes,
340She married. Oh, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good,
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.
Hail to your lordship!
I am glad to see you well.--
Horatio, or I do forget myself!
Horatio The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
350Hamlet Sir, my good friend, I'll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?--
Marcellus My good lord.
355Hamlet I am very glad to see you. [To Barnardo.] Good even, sir.
[To Horatio] But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
Horatio A truant disposition, good my lord.
Hamlet I would not have your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do my ear that violence
360To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself. I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
Horatio My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
365Hamlet I prithee do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Horatio Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Hamlet Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
370Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Ere I had ever seen that day, Horatio!
My father--methinks I see my father.
Oh, where, my lord?
In my mind's eye, Horatio.
375Horatio I saw him once. 'A was a goodly king.
Hamlet 'A was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
Horatio My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Hamlet Saw? Who?
380Horatio My lord, the King your father.
Hamlet The King my father?
Horatio Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
385This marvel to you.
For God's love, let me hear!
Horatio Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch
In the dead waste and middle of the night
390Been thus encountered: a figure like your father
Armed at all points, exactly, cap-à-pie,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked
By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd eyes
395 Within his truncheon's length, whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
And I with them the third night kept the watch,
400Where, as they had delivered, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes. I knew your father.
These hands are not more like.
But where was this?
405Marcellus My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
Did you not speak to it?
My lord, I did,
But answer made it none. Yet once methought
It lifted up it head and did address
410Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crew loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away
And vanished from our sight.
'Tis very strange.
415Horatio As I do live, my honored lord, 'tis true,
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.
Hamlet Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch tonight?
We do, my lord.
Hamlet Armed, say you?
All Armed, my lord.
Hamlet From top to toe?
All My lord, from head to foot.
425Hamlet Then saw you not his face?
Horatio Oh, yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.
Hamlet What looked he, frowningly?
Horatio A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Hamlet Pale, or red?
430Horatio Nay, very pale.
Hamlet And fixed his eyes upon you?
Horatio Most constantly.
Hamlet I would I had been there.
Horatio It would have much amazed you.
435Hamlet Very like, very like. Stayed it long?
Horatio While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
Both Longer, longer.
Horatio Not when I saw't.
Hamlet His beard was grizzled, no?
440Horatio It was as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silvered.
I will watch tonight.
Perchance 'twill walk again.
I warr'nt it will.
Hamlet If it assume my noble father's person,
445I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto concealed this sight
Let it be tenable in your silence still,
And whatsomever else shall hap tonight,
450Give it an understanding but no tongue;
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well.
Upon the platform 'twixt eleven and twelve
I'll visit you.
Our duty to your honor.
Exeunt [all but Hamlet].
455Hamlet Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell.
My father's spirit--in arms! All is not well.
I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!
Till then, sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
Enter Laertes, and Ophelia his sister.
Laertes My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
And sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep
465But let me hear from you.
Do you doubt that?
Laertes For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
470Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
No more.
No more but so?
Think it no more.
For nature crescent does not grow alone
475In thews and bulk, but as this temple waxes
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
480His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
For he himself is subject to his birth.
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
The safety and health of the whole state,
485And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
490May give his saying deed, which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
495To his unmastered importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep within the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough
500If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes.
The canker galls the infants of the spring
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
505Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
Ophelia I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
510Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven
Whilst, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
Enter Polonius
Oh, fear me not.
I stay too long. But here my father comes.
A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
520Polonius Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with thee,
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
525Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
530Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear't that th'opposèd may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
535Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy--rich, not gaudy,
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of all most select and generous, chief in that.
540Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulleth edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day
545Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
Laertes Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
Polonius The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.
Laertes Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
550What I have said to you.
Ophelia 'Tis in my memory locked,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
Laertes Farewell.
Exit Laertes.
Polonius What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
555Ophelia So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
Polonius Marry, well bethought.
'Tis told me he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you, and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and bounteous.
560If it be so--as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution--I must tell you
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.
565Ophelia He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
Polonius Affection? Pooh, you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his "tenders," as you call them?
570Ophelia I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
Polonius Marry, I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby
That you have ta'en his tenders for true pay
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly,
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase
575Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
Ophelia My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honorable fashion.
Polonius Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to.
Ophelia And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
580With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Polonius Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
585Even in their promise as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time, daughter,
Be something scanter of your maiden presence.
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
590Believe so much in him that he is young,
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers
Not of that dye which their investments show,
595But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
Have you so slander any moment leisure
600As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you. Come your ways.
Ophelia I shall obey, my lord.
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
Hamlet The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
605Horatio It is a nipping and an eager air.
Hamlet What hour now?
Horatio I think it lacks of twelve.
Marcellus No, it is struck.
Horatio Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
610Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces goes off.
What does this mean, my lord?
Hamlet The King doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swagg'ring upspring reels;
And as he drains his drafts of Rhenish down
615The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Horatio Is it a custom?
Hamlet Ay, marry, is't,
But to my mind, though I am native here
620And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
621.1This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition, and indeed it takes
621.5From our achievements, though performed at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth, wherein they are not guilty,
621.10Since nature cannot choose his origin,
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'erleavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
621.15Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being Nature's livery, or Fortune's star,
His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
621.20From that particular fault. The dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance often dout
To his own scandal.
Enter Ghost.
Look, my lord, it comes!
Hamlet Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
625Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
630King, father, royal Dane. Oh, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
Have burst their cerements? Why the sepulcher
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned
635Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again? What may this mean
That thou, dead corpse, again in complete steel
Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
640So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?
[The] Ghost beckons Hamlet.
Horatio It beckons you to go away with it,
645As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Look with what courteous action
It wafts you to a more removèd ground.
But do not go with it.
No, by no means.
Hamlet It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
Do not, my lord.
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
655And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
[The Ghost beckons Hamlet.]
It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.
Horatio What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
660That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? Think of it:
663.1The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
[The Ghost beckons Hamlet.]
Hamlet It wafts me still.--Go on, I'll follow thee.
You shall not go, my lord.
[They attempt to restrain him.]
Hold off your hands!
Be ruled. You shall not go.
My fate cries out
And makes each petty artery in this body
670As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
[The Ghost beckons Hamlet.]
Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen!
By heav'n, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
I say, away!--Go on, I'll follow thee.
Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet.
675Horatio He waxes desperate with imagination.
Marcellus Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
Horatio Have after. To what issue will this come?
Marcellus Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Heaven will direct it.
Nay, let's follow him.
Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
Hamlet Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further.
Mark me.
I will.
My hour is almost come
When I to sulf'rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
690To what I shall unfold.
Hamlet Speak. I am bound to hear.
Ghost So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Hamlet What?
Ghost I am thy father's spirit,
695Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
700I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
705Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, Hamlet, oh, list:
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
Hamlet O God!
710Ghost Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Hamlet Murder?
Ghost Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Hamlet Haste me to know't, 715that I with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt,
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
720That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forgèd process of my death
725Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
Hamlet Oh, my prophetic soul! My uncle?
Ghost Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
730With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts--
Oh, wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen.
Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
735From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine. But virtue, as it never will be moved,
740Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But soft, methinks I scent the morning's air.
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
745My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour, thy uncle stole
With juice of cursèd hebona in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distillment, whose effect
750Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigor it doth posset
And curd like eager droppings into milk
755The thin and wholesome blood; so did it mine,
And a most instant tetter barked about,
Most lazarlike with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I sleeping by a brother's hand
760Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousled, disappointed, unaneled,
No reck'ning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
765Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
But howsomever thou pursues this act,
770Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near
775And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, Hamlet! Remember me.
Hamlet O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, hold, my heart,
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
780But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
785All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, yes, by heaven.
790Oh, most pernicious woman!
Oh, villain, villain, smiling damnèd villain!
My tables, my tables--meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
795So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
It is "Adieu, adieu, remember me."
I have sworn't.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus [calling first from within].
Horatio My lord, my lord!
Marcellus Lord Hamlet!
800Horatio Heavens secure him!
Hamlet So be it.
Marcellus Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Hamlet Hillo, ho, ho, boy, come, bird, come!
Marcellus How is't, my noble lord?
805Horatio What news, my lord?
Hamlet Oh, wonderful!
Horatio Good my lord, tell it.
Hamlet No, you'll reveal it.
Horatio Not I, my lord, by heaven.
810Marcellus Nor I, my lord.
Hamlet How say you then, would heart of man once think it--
But you'll be secret?
Ay, by heaven, my lord.
Hamlet There's ne'er a villaindwelling in all Denmark
815But he's an arrant knave.
Horatio There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
Why, right, you are i'th' right.
And so, without more circumstance at all
820I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You as your business and desires shall point you
(For every man hath business and desire,
Such as it is), and for my own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
825Horatio These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
Hamlet I am sorry they offend you--heartily,
Yes, faith, heartily.
There's no offense, my lord.
Hamlet Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
830And much offense too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster it as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
835Give me one poor request.
Horatio What is't, my lord? We will.
Hamlet Never make known what you have seen tonight.
Both My lord, we will not.
Hamlet Nay, but swear't.
840Horatio In faith, my lord, not I.
Marcellus Nor I, my lord, in faith.
Hamlet Upon my sword.
[He holds out his sword.]
Marcellus We have sworn, my lord, already.
Hamlet Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ghost cries under the stage.
845Ghost Swear.
Hamlet Ha, ha, boy, say'st thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?--
Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
Consent to swear.
Propose the oath, my lord.
850Hamlet Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Swear by my sword.
Ghost Swear.
[They swear.]
Hamlet Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
[He moves them to another spot.]
Come hither, gentlemen,
855And lay your hands again upon my sword.
Never to speak of this that you have heard
Swear by my sword.
Ghost Swear by his sword.
[They swear.]
Hamlet Well said, old mole. Canst work i'th' earth so fast?
860A worthy pioneer!--Once more remove, good friends.
[They move once more.]
Horatio Oh, day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
Hamlet And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come,
865Here as before: never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd some'er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on),
That you at such times seeing me never shall,
870With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase
As, "Well, well, we know," or "We could an if we would,"
Or "If we list to speak," or "There be, an if they might,"
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
875That you know aught of me. This not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Ghost Swear.
[They swear.]
Hamlet Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit.--So, gentlemen,
880With all my love I do commend me to you,
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t'express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
885The time is out of joint. Oh, cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
[They wait for him to leave first.]
Nay, come, let's go together.
Enter old Polonius, with his man [Reynaldo] or two.
890Polonius Give him this money, and these notes, Reynaldo.
[He gives money and papers.]
Reynaldo I will, my lord.
Polonius You shall do marv'lous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.
My lord, I did intend it.
Polonius Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
900What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it;
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him,
905As thus: "I know his father, and his friends,
And in part him." Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
Reynaldo Ay, very well, my lord.
Polonius "And in part him. But," you may say, "not well,
But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
910Addicted so and so," and there put on him
What forgeries you please--marry, none so rank
As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
915To youth and liberty.
Reynaldo As gaming, my lord?
Polonius Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
Quarreling, drabbing--you may go so far.
Reynaldo My lord, that would dishonor him.
920Polonius Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
You must not put another scandal on him
That he is open to incontinency;
That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
925The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
Of general assault.
Reynaldo But, my good lord--
Polonius Wherefore should you do this?
Reynaldo Ay, my lord, I would know that.
930Polonius Marry sir, here's my drift,
And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
You laying these slight sullies on my son
As 'twere a thing a little soiled i'th' working,
Mark you, your party in converse, him you would sound,
935Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence:
"Good sir" (or so), or "friend," or "gentleman,"
According to the phrase and the addition
940Of man and country.
Very good, my lord.
Polonius And then, sir, does 'a this, 'a does--what was I about to say?
By the mass, I was about to say something.
Where did I leave?
945Reynaldo At "closes in the consequence."
At "friend," or so, and "gentleman."
Polonius At "closes in the consequence." Ay, marry,
He closes with you thus: "I know the gentleman,
I saw him yesterday"--or t'other day,
950Or then, or then--"with such and such, and as you say,
There was 'a gaming, there o'ertook in's rouse,
There falling out at tennis," or perchance
"I saw him enter such a house of sale,"
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now,
955Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out;
So by my former lecture and advice
960Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
My lord, I have.
God b'wi' ye, fare ye well.
Reynaldo Good my lord.
Polonius Observe his inclination in yourself.
965Reynaldo I shall, my lord.
Polonius And let him ply his music.
Reynaldo Well, my lord.
Exit Reynaldo.
Enter Ophelia.
Polonius Farewell.--How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?
Ophelia Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
Polonius With what, i'th' name of God?
Ophelia My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
975No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosèd out of hell
980To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
Mad for thy love?
My lord, I do not know,
But truly I do fear it.
What said he?
Ophelia He took me by the wrist, and held me hard.
985Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And with his other hand thus o'er his brow
He falls to such perusal of my face
As 'a would draw it. Long stayed he so.
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
990And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
That it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
And with his head over his shoulder turned
995He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
For out o' doors he went without their help,
And to the last bended their light on me.
Polonius Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
1000Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?
1005Ophelia No, my good lord, but as you did command
I did repel his letters, and denied
His access to me.
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
1010I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle
And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
1015To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Flourish. Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, and 1020Guildenstern [with others].
King Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
1025Of Hamlet's transformation--so I call it,
Since not th'exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from th'understanding of himself,
1030I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And since so neighbored to his youth and humor,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time, so by your companies
1035To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from occasions you may glean,
1036.1Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus
That, opened, lies within our remedy.
Queen Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you,
And sure I am two men there is not living
1040To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
1045As fits a king's remembrance.
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet
To be commanded.
King Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guildenstern.
1055Queen Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz.
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too-much-changèd son.--Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
1060Guildenstern Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!
Ay, amen.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [and other Courtiers].
Enter Polonius.
Polonius Th'ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
1065Are joyfully returned.
King Thou still hast been the father of good news.
Polonius Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king;
1070And I do think--or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do--that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
King Oh, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
1075Polonius Give first admittance to th'ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
King Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
[Polonius goes to bring in the ambassadors.]
He tells me, my sweet Queen, that he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
1080Queen I doubt it is no other but the main:
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
Enter Polonius, Voltemand, and Cornelius.
King Well, we shall sift him.--Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
1085Voltemand Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack,
But, better looked into, he truly found
1090It was against your highness; whereat grieved
That so his sickness, age, and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras, which he in brief obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
1095Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give th'assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee
And his commission to employ those soldiers
1100So levied (as before) against the Polack,
With an entreaty herein further shown
[Giving a letter to the King]
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for his enterprise
On such regards of safety and allowance
1105As therein are set down.
It likes us well,
And at our more considered time we'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labor.
1110Go to your rest. At night we'll feast together.
Most welcome home!
Exeunt Ambassadors.
This business is well ended.
My liege and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
1115Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
1120Mad call I it, for to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter with less art.
Polonius Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
1125That he is mad, 'tis true. 'Tis true 'tis pity,
And pity 'tis 'tis true--a foolish figure,
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then. And now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
1130Or rather say the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
I have a daughter--have whilst she is mine--
Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
1135Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
[He reads from] the letter.
"To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia." That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; "beautified" is a vile phrase. But you shall hear. "These in 1140her excellent white bosom, these," etc.
Queen Came this from Hamlet to her?
Polonius Good madam, stay awhile, I will be faithful.
[He reads the] letter.
"Doubt thou the stars are fire,
1145Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love."
"O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art to reckon my groans. But that I love thee best, oh, most best, believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him, Hamlet."
This in obedience hath my daughter shown me,
And, more above, hath his solicitings,
1155As they fell out, by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.
King But how hath she received his love?
Polonius What do you think of me?
King As of a man faithful and honorable.
1160Polonius I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
As I perceived it (I must tell you that)
Before my daughter told me--what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think 1137-1165If I had played the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or looked upon this love with idle sight,
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
1170"Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.
This must not be." And then I precepts gave her
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,
1175And he, repulsèd, a short tale to make,
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and by this declension
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
1180And all we mourn for.
King [To Queen] Do you think 'tis this?
Queen: It may be, very like.
Polonius Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--
That I have positively said "'Tis so"
1185When it proved otherwise?
Not that I know.
Polonius Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
1190 Within the center.
How may we try it further?
Polonius You know sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
So he does indeed.
Polonius At such a time, I'll loose my daughter to him.
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter. If he love her not,
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
1200Let me be no assistant for a state
But keep a farm and carters.
We will try it.
Enter Hamlet reading on a book.
Queen But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
Polonius Away, I do beseech you both, away.
I'll board him presently. Oh, give me leave.--
Exit King and Queen.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Hamlet Well, God-a-mercy.
1210Polonius Do you know me, my lord?
Hamlet Excellent, excellent well. You're a fishmonger.
Polonius Not I, my lord.
Hamlet Then I would you were so honest a man.
Polonius Honest, my lord?
1215Hamlet Ay, sir, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Polonius That's very true, my lord.
Hamlet For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion--Have you a daughter?
Polonius I have, my lord.
Hamlet Let her not walk i'th' sun. Conception is a blessing, but as your daughter may conceive, friend, look to't.
1225Polonius [Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. 'A said I was a fishmonger. 'A is far gone, far gone. And truly, in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near this. I'll speak to him again.--What do you read, my lord?
1230Hamlet Words, words, words.
Polonius What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet Between who?
Polonius I mean the matter that you read, my lord.
Hamlet Slanders sir; for the satirical rogue says here that old 1235men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plumtree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams--all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not 1240honesty to have it thus set down; for you yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
Polonius [Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.--Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
Hamlet Into my grave.
Polonius [Aside] Indeed, that's out of the air. How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting 1255between him and my daughter.--My honorable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Hamlet You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal--except my life, except my life, except my 1260life.
Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.
Polonius Fare you well, my lord.
Hamlet These tedious old fools!
Polonius [To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern] You go to seek the Lord Hamlet? There he is.
Rosencrantz [To Polonius] God save you, sir.
[Exit Polonius.]
Guildenstern My honored lord!
Rosencrantz My most dear lord!
Hamlet My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? 1270Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
Rosencrantz As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guildenstern Happy in that we are not over-happy. On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
1275Hamlet Nor the soles of her shoe?
Rosencrantz Neither, my lord.
Hamlet Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favors.
Guildenstern Faith, her privates we.
1280Hamlet In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true, she is a strumpet. What's the news?
Rosencrantz None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
Hamlet Then is doomsday near. But your news is 1285 not true. Let me question more in particular. What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?
Guildenstern Prison, my lord?
Hamlet Denmark's a prison.
1290Rosencrantz Then is the world one.
Hamlet A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o'th' worst.
Rosencrantz We think not so, my lord.
1295Hamlet Why, then 'tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
Rosencrantz Why, then your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your mind.
1300Hamlet Oh, God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
Guildenstern Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow 1305of a dream.
Hamlet A dream itself is but a shadow.
Rosencrantz Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
Hamlet Then are our beggars bodies, and our 1310monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th'court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.
Both We'll wait upon you.
Hamlet No such matter. I will not sort you with the 1315rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
Rosencrantz To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.
Hamlet Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, but I 1320thank you; and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come, nay, speak.
Guildenstern What should we say, my lord?
1325Hamlet Why, anything--but to th' purpose. You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color. I know the good King and Queen have sent for you.
Rosencrantz To what end, my lord?
1330Hamlet That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me whether you 1335were sent for or no.
Rosencrantz [Aside to Guildenstern] What say you?
Hamlet [Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If you love me, hold not off.
Guildenstern My lord, we were sent for.
1340Hamlet I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen molt no feather. I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a 1345sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a 1350man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god; the beauty of the world; the paragon of animals. And yet to me what is this quintessence of 1355dust? Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
Rosencrantz My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
1360Hamlet Why did you laugh, then, when I said man delights not me?
Rosencrantz To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.
Hamlet He that plays the King shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me. The Adventurous Knight shall use his foil and target, the Lover shall not sigh gratis, the Humorous Man shall end his part in peace, the Clown shall make those laugh whose lungs 1370are tickled o'th' sear, and the Lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't. What players are they?
Rosencrantz Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the 1375tragedians of the city.
Hamlet How chances it they travel? Their residence both in reputation and profit was better both ways.
Rosencrantz I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late 1380innovation.
Hamlet Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed?
Rosencrantz No, indeed, they are not.
Hamlet How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
1385Rosencrantz Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted pace. But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for't. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages--so they 1390call them--that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.
Hamlet What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards, 1395if they should grow themselves to common players--as it is most like if their means are not better--their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession?
Rosencrantz Faith, there has been much to-do on both sides, 1400and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy. There was for a while no money bid for argument unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.
Hamlet Is't possible?
1405Guildenstern Oh, there has been much throwing about of brains.
Hamlet Do the boys carry it away?
Rosencrantz Ay, that they do, my lord, Hercules and his load too.
Hamlet It is not very strange, for my uncle is 1410King of Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
Flourish for the players.
Guildenstern There are the players.
Hamlet Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come.Th'appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players, 1420which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
Guildenstern In what, my dear lord?
1425Hamlet I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Enter Polonius.
Polonius Well be with you, gentlemen.
Hamlet Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too, at each ear a hearer: 1430that great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling clouts.
Rosencrantz Haply he is the second time come to them, for they say an old man is twice a child.
Hamlet I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the 1435players. Mark it.-- You say right, sir, o'Monday morning, 'twas then indeed.
Polonius My lord, I have news to tell you.
Hamlet My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor in Rome--
1440Polonius The actors are come hither, my lord.
Hamlet Buzz, buzz.
Polonius Upon my honor--
Hamlet Then came each actor on his ass.
Polonius The best actors in the world, either for 1445tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the 1450only men.
Hamlet O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou?
Polonius What a treasure had he, my lord?
Hamlet Why,
One fair daughter and no more,
The which he lovèd 1455passing well.
Polonius [Aside] Still on my daughter.
Hamlet Am I not i'th' right, old Jephthah?
Polonius If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well.
1460Hamlet Nay, that follows not.
Polonius What follows then, my lord?
Hamlet Why,
As by lot,
God wot,
and then you know,
It came to pass,
As most like it was.
The first row of the pious chanson will show you more, for look where my 1465abridgment comes.
Enter four or five Players.
Hamlet You are welcome, masters, welcome all.--I am glad to see thee well. Welcome, good friends.--Oh, my old friend! Thy face is valanced since I saw thee last. Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark?-- 1470What, my young lady and mistress! By'r Lady, your ladyship is nearer heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring.--Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en 1475to't, like French falconers: fly at anything we see. We'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.
First Player What speech, my good lord?
Hamlet I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted, 1480or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million, 'twas caviare to the general. But it was, as I received it, and others whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine, an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down 1485with as much modesty as cunning. I remember one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation, but called it an honest method, 1488.1as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in't I chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' tale 1490to Dido, and thereabout of it especially where he speaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line--let me see, let me see--
The rugged Pyrrhus, like th'Hyrcanian beast--
'Tis not so, it begins with Pyrrhus.
The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
1495Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couchèd in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
1500With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and empasted with the parching streets
That lend a tyrannous and damnèd light
To their vile murders. Roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'ersizèd with coagulate gore,
1505With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Phyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.
So proceed you.
Polonius 'Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.
First Player Anon he finds him,
1510Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
1515Th'unnervèd father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear; for lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
1520Of reverend Priam, seemed i'th' air to stick.
So as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood,
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But as we often see against some storm
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
1525The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
A rousèd vengeance sets him new a-work,
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
1530On Mars his armor forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods
In general synod take away her power,
1535Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven
As low as to the fiends!
This is too long.
Hamlet It shall to the barber's with your beard.--1540Prithee, say on. He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on. Come to Hecuba..
First Player But who, oh, who, had seen the moblèd queen--.
Hamlet The moblèd queen!
Polonius That's good. "Mobleèd queen" is good.
1545First Player Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames
With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and, for a robe,
About her lank and all-o'erteemèd loins
1550A blanket in th'alarm of fear caught up--
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounced;
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
1555In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamor that she made,
Unless things mortal move them not at all,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
And passion in the gods.
1560Polonius Look whe'er he has not turned his color, and has tears in's eyes.--Prithee, no more.
Hamlet 'Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon. [To Polonius] Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do ye hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstracts and brief 1565chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
Polonius My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
1570Hamlet God's bodykins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert and who should scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.
1575Polonius Come, sirs.
Exit Polonius.
Hamlet Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play tomorrow. [Aside to the First Player] Dost thou hear me, old friend, can you play "The Murder of Gonzago"?
[First] Player Ay, my lord.
1580Hamlet We'll ha't tomorrow night. You could for a need study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in't, could you not?
[First] Player Ay, my lord.
Hamlet Very well. Follow that lord, and look you mock him not.
Exeunt Players.
1585 My good friends, I'll leave you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.
Rosencrantz Good my lord.
Ay, so, God b'wi' you.
Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
Now I am alone.
1590Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his whole conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
1595Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all or nothing?
For Hecuba?
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
1600That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty, and appal the free,
1605Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king
1610Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by th' nose? Gives me the lie i'th' throat
1615As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this,
Ha? 'Swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered, and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should ha' fatted all the region kites
1620With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
Oh, vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
1625Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must like a whore unpack my heart with words,
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion. Fie upon't, foh! About, my brain!
Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
1630Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
1635Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick. If 'a but blench
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
1640T'assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this. The play's the thing
1645Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and 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 about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
'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.
We shall, my lord.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [and Lords].
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.
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.
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.
[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 these 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.
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, 1780ambitious, 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 heaven and earth? 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 O heavenly powers, restore him!
Hamlet I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hathgiven you one face, and you make yourselves 1800another. You jig, you 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.
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 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.
It shall be so;
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
Enter Hamlet, and two or three of the Players.
Hamlet Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced 1850it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your 1855passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellowtear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of 1860nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.
Player I warrant your honor.
Hamlet Be not too tame, neither, but let your own 1865discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so o'erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold as 'twere 1870the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the 1875censure of the which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theater of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having th'accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor 1880no man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
Player I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.
Hamlet Oh, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh 1890too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That's villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go make you ready.
Exeunt Players.
Enter Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
[To Polonius] How 1895now, my lord, will the King hear this piece of work?
Polonius And the Queen too, and that presently.
Bid the players make haste.
Exit Polonius.
Will you two help to hasten them?
1900Rosencrantz and Guildenstern We will, my lord.
Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
What ho, Horatio!
Enter Horatio.
Here, sweet lord, at your service.
Hamlet Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
1905As e'er my conversation coped withal.
Oh, my dear lord--
Nay, do not think I flatter,
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
1910To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
1915And could of men distinguish her election,
Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
1920Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
1925As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
There is a play tonight before the King.
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father's death.
I prithee, when thou see'st that act afoot,
1930Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
1935As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note,
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.
Well, my lord,
1940If 'a steal aught the whilst this play is playing
And scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and other lord attendant with his Guard carrying torches. Danish 1945march. Sound a flourish
Hamlet They are coming to the play. I must be idle. Get you a place.
King How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Hamlet Excellent, i'faith, of the chameleon's dish; I eat the air, 1950promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.
King I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not mine.
Hamlet No, nor mine now. [To Polonius] My lord, you played once i'th' university, you say?
1955Polonius That I did, my lord, and was accounted a good actor.
Hamlet And what did you enact?
Polonius I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i'th' Capitol. Brutus killed me.
1960Hamlet It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.--Be the players ready?
Rosencrantz Ay, my lord, they stay upon your patience.
Queen Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
Hamlet No, good mother, here's mettle more attractive.
1965Polonius [To the King] Oho, do you mark that?
Hamlet [To Ophelia, as he lies at her feet] Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia No, my lord.
Hamlet I mean, my head upon your lap.
Ophelia Ay, my lord.
1970Hamlet Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia I think nothing, my lord.
Hamlet That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
Ophelia What is, my lord?
Hamlet Nothing.
1975Ophelia You are merry, my lord.
Hamlet Who, I?
Ophelia Ay, my lord.
Hamlet Oh, God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do but be merry? For look you how cheerfully my mother looks, and my 1980father died within's two hours.
Ophelia Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
Hamlet So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables. Oh, heavens! Die two 1985months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by'r Lady, 'a must build churches then, or else shall 'a suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is, "For oh, for oh, the hobby-horse is forgot."
Hautboys play. The dumb-show enters.
Enter [Players as] a King and Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him. She kneels and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck. Lays him down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him 1995asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King's ears, and exits. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. 2000The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love. Exeunt [Players].
Ophelia What means this, my lord?
Hamlet Marry, this is miching mallico. It means mischief.
Ophelia Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
Enter [a Player as] Prologue.
Hamlet We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
2010Ophelia Will 'a tell us what this show meant?
Hamlet Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
Ophelia You are naught, you are naught. I'll mark the 2015play.
Prologue For us and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
2020Hamlet Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Ophelia 'Tis brief, my lord.
Hamlet As woman's love.
Enter [two Players as] King and his Queen.
King Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
2025Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbèd ground,
And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
2030Queen So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
But woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet though I distrust,
2035Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.
2035.1For women fear too much, even as they love,
And women's fear and love holds quantity:
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
And as my love is sized, my fear is so.
2039.1Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
2040King Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
My operant powers their functions leave to do.
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honored, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou--
Oh, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who killed the first.
Hamlet Wormwood, wormwood.
2050[Queen] The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
A second time I kill my husband dead
When second husband kisses me in bed.
King I do believe you think what now you speak,
2055But what we do determine, oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity,
Which now like fruit unripe sticks on the tree,
But fall unshaken when they mellow be.
2060Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
2065Their own enactures with themselves destroy.
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
2070For 'tis a question left us yet to prove
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favorites flies;
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies;
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,
2075For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
2080That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
So, think thou wilt no second husband wed,
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
Queen Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light,
2085Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
2085.1To desperation turn my trust and hope,
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope!
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well, and it destroy!
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If once a widow, ever I be wife!
2090Hamlet If she should break it now!
King 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!
[The Player King] sleeps.Exit [Player Queen].
Hamlet Madam, how like you this play?
Queen The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Hamlet Oh, but she'll keep her word.
2100King Have you heard the argument? Is there no offense in't?
Hamlet No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No offense i'th' world.
King What do you call the play?
2105HamletThe Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the Duke's name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what of that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches 2110us not. Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.
Enter Lucianus.
This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King.
Ophelia You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
Hamlet I could interpret between you and your love 2115if I could see the puppets dallying.
Ophelia You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
Hamlet It would cost you a groaning to take off mine edge.
Ophelia Still better and worse.
2120Hamlet So you mis-take your husbands.--Begin, murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces and begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.
Lucianus Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,
Confederate season, else no creature seeing,
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property
2130On wholesome life usurp immediately.
Pours the poison in his ears. Exit.
Hamlet 'A poisons him i'th' garden for his estate. His name's Gonzago. The story is extant, and written in very choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
Ophelia The King rises.
Hamlet What, frighted with false fire?
Queen How fares my lord?
Polonius Give o'er the play.
2140King Give me some light. Away!
The Courtiers Lights, lights, lights!
Exeunt all but Hamlet and Horatio.
Hamlet "Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
The heart ungallèd play,
2145For some must watch while some must sleep;
Thus runs the world away."
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers--if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a 2150cry of players, sir?
Horatio Half a share.
Hamlet A whole one, I.
For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself, and now reigns here
A very, very pajock.
Horatio You might have rhymed.
Hamlet O good Horatio, I'll take the Ghost's word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?
2160Horatio Very well, my lord.
Hamlet Upon the talk of the poisoning?
Horatio I did very well note him.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Hamlet Aha, come, some music! Come, the recorders.
2165For if the King like not the comedy,
Why, then belike he likes it not, perdie.
Come, some music.
Guildenstern Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Hamlet Sir a whole history.
2170Guildenstern The King, sir--
Hamlet Ay, sir, what of him?
Guildenstern Is in his retirement marvelous distempered.
Hamlet With drink, sir?
Guildenstern No, my lord, rather with choler.
2175Hamlet Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to his doctor, for, for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.
Guildenstern Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame, 2180and start not so wildly from my affair.
Hamlet I am tame sir. Pronounce.
Guildenstern The Queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
Hamlet You are welcome.
2185Guildenstern Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment. If not, your pardon and my return shall be the end of my business.
2190Hamlet Sir, I cannot.
Guildenstern What, my lord?
Hamlet Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command, or rather, as you say, my mother. Therefore no more, but to the matter. My mother, you say.
Rosencrantz Then thus she says: your behavior hath struck her into amazement and admiration.
Hamlet Oh, wonderful son, that can so 'stonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this 2200mother's admiration? Impart.
Rosencrantz She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.
Hamlet We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?
2205Rosencrantz My lord, you once did love me.
Hamlet So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
Rosencrantz Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.
2210Hamlet Sir, I lack advancement.
Rosencrantz How can that be, when you have the voice of the King himself for your succession in Denmark?
Enter the Players, with recorders.
Hamlet Ay, sir, but "while the grass grows"--the proverb is something musty.--Oh, the recorders. Let me see one. [He takes a recorder.] To withdraw with you, why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?
Guildenstern Oh, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love 2220is too unmannerly.
Hamlet I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?
Guildenstern My lord, I cannot.
Hamlet I pray you.
2225Guildenstern Believe me, I cannot.
Hamlet I do beseech you.
Guildenstern I know no touch of it, my lord.
Hamlet It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse 2230most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.
Guildenstern But these cannot I command to any utt'rance of harmony. I have not the skill.
Hamlet Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing 2235you make of me! You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass, and there is much music, excellent voice in this little organ, yet cannot 2240you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
Enter Polonius.
[To Polonius, as he enters] God bless you, sir.
2245Polonius My lord, the Queen would speak with you, and presently.
Hamlet Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius By th' mass, and 'tis like a camel indeed.
2250Hamlet Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet Or like a whale.
Polonius Very like a whale.
Hamlet Then I will come to my mother by and by. 2255[Aside] They fool me to the top of my bent. [Aloud] I will come by and by.
Polonius I will say so.
Hamlet "By and by" is easily said.--Leave me, friends.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
'Tis now the very witching time of night,
2260When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature! Let not ever
2265The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
How in my words somever she be shent,
2270To give them seals never my soul consent!
Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
King I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
2275And he to England shall along with you.
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.
We will ourselves provide.
2280Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your majesty.
Rosencrantz The single and peculiar life is bound
2285With all the strength and armor of the mind
To keep itself from noyance, but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depends and rests
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
2290What's near it with it. It is a massy wheel
Fixed on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortised and adjoined, which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
2295Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
King Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage,
For we will fetters put upon this fear
Which now goes too free-footed.
2300Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
We will haste us.
Exeunt gentlemen [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
Enter Polonius.
Polonius My lord, he's going to his mother's closet.
Behind the arras I'll convey myself
To hear the process. I'll warrant she'll tax him home.
2305And, as you said--and wisely was it said--
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
2310And tell you what I know.
Thanks, dear my lord.
Exit [Polonius].
Oh, my offense is rank! It smells to heaven.
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
2315Though inclination be as sharp as will;
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
And like a man to double business bound
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
2320Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offense?
And what's in prayer but this twofold force,
2325To be forestallèd ere we come to fall,
Or pardoned being down? Then I'll look up.
My fault is past. But, oh, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? "Forgive me my foul murder"?
That cannot be, since I am still possessed
2330Of those effects for which I did the murder:
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain th'offense?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offense's gilded hand may shove by justice,
2335And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law. But 'tis not so above:
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
2340To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
Try what repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
O wretched state, O bosom black as death,
O limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
2345Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay.
Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.
[He kneels.]
Enter Hamlet.
2350Hamlet Now might I do it pat, now 'a is a-praying,
And now I'll do't.
And so 'a goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
2355To heaven.
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
'A took my father grossly, full of bread,
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May,
And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought
2360 'Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
[He sheathes his sword.]
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
2365Or in th'incestuous pleasure of his bed,
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't,
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damned and black
2370As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays.
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
King My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Enter Queen [Gertrude] and Polonius.
2375Polonius 'A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
2380Pray you, be round with him.
Hamlet Within. Mother, mother, mother!
Queen I'll warrant you. Fear me not.
Withdraw; I hear him coming.
[Polonius conceals himself behind the arras.]
Enter Hamlet.
2385Hamlet Now mother, what's the matter?
Queen Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Why, how now, Hamlet?
What's the matter now?
Have you forgot me?
No, by the rood, not so.
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife,
2395And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
Queen Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
Hamlet Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.
You go not till I set you up a glass
2400Where you may see the inmost part of you.
Queen What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
Help, help, ho!
Polonius [Behind the arras] What ho! Help, help, help!
Hamlet How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Hamlet thrusts through the arras with his sword.]
[Behind the arras] Oh, I am slain!
[Polonius falls onto the stage floor, dead].
Oh, me, what hast thou done?
Hamlet Nay I know not. Is it the King?
Queen Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
Hamlet A bloody deed--almost as bad, good mother,
2410As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
As kill a king?
Ay, lady, it was my word.
[He parts the arras and discovers the dead Polonius.]
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune.
2415Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
[To the Queen] Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down,
And let me wring your heart, for so I shall
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damnèd custom have not brazed it so
2420That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
Queen What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
2425Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers' oaths--oh, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
2430The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words. Heaven's face doth glow
O'er this solidity and compound mass
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
Ay me, what act,
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
Hamlet [Showing her two likenesses, of Hamlet senior and Claudius] Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See what a grace was seated on this brow:
2440Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,
A station like the herald Mercury
New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill,
A combination and a form indeed
2445Where every god did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
2450Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor? Ha, have you eyes?
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment, and what judgment
2455Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
2455.1Else could you not have motion, but sure that sense
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
2455.5To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
2456.1Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope. O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
2460And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.
Queen Oh, Hamlet speak no more!
2465Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grainèd spots
As will not leave their tinct.
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed
2470Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty!
Queen Oh, speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.
A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
2480And put it in his pocket--
Queen No more!
Enter Ghost [in his nightgown].
Hamlet A king of shreds and patches--
[Seeing the Ghost]Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
2485You heavenly guards! What would you, gracious figure?
Queen Alas, he's mad!
Hamlet Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th'important acting of your dread command?
Oh, say!
Do not forget. This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
Oh, step between her and her fighting soul!
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
2495Speak to her, Hamlet.
How is it with you, lady?
Queen Alas, how is't with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with th'incorporal air do hold discourse?
2500Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th'alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
2505Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
Hamlet On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. [To the Ghost] Do not look upon me,
Lest with this piteous action you convert
2510My stern effects. Then what I have to do
Will want true color, tears perchance for blood.
Queen To whom do you speak this?
Hamlet Do you see nothing there?
Queen Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.
2515Hamlet Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen No, nothing but ourselves.
Hamlet Why, look you there, look how it steals away!
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes, even now out at the portal!
Exit Ghost.
2520Queen This is the very coinage of your brain.
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
Hamlet Ecstasy?
My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
2525That I have uttered. Bring me to the test,
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul
That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
2530It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what's past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
2535To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
Queen Oh, Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
Hamlet Oh, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night. But go not to my uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
2544.1That monster custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
2544.5That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
2545And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence; the next more easy:
2546.1For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [in] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more good night,
And when you are desirous to be blest,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so
2550To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
I must be cruel only to be kind.
2555Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
2555.1One word more, good lady.
What shall I do?
Hamlet Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
2560And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know,
2565For who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in dispite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
2570Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep,
And break your own neck down.
Queen Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
2575What thou hast said to me.
Hamlet I must to England. You know that?
Queen Alack, I had forgot. 'Tis so concluded on.
2577.1Hamlet There's letters sealed, and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work,
2577.5For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoised with his own petard, and't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon. Oh 'tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing.
I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room.
2580Mother, good night indeed. This counselor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.--
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.--
Good night, mother.
Exit Hamlet, tugging in Polonius.
Enter King, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
King There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves.
You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.
2590Where is your son?
2590.1Queen [To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern] Bestow this place on us a little while.
[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!
King What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Queen Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
2595Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, "A rat, a rat!"
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.
Oh, heavy deed!
2600It had been so with us had we been there.
His liberty is full of threats to all--
To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
2605Should have kept short, restrained, and out of haunt
This mad young man. But so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit,
But like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
2610Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
Queen To draw apart the body he hath killed,
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure: 'a weeps for what is done.
2615King Oh, Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence, and this vile deed
We must with all our majesty and skill
Both countenance and excuse.--Ho, Guildenstern!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragged him.
Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
2625Into the chapel. I pray you haste in this.
Exit Gentlemen [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends
To let them know both what we mean to do
And what's untimely done. [So envious slander,]
2628.1Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,
Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
And hit the woundless air. Oh, come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Enter Hamlet.
Hamlet Safely stowed.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern within Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
Hamlet But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet? Oh, here they come.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Rosencrantz What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
Hamlet Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.
Rosencrantz Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.
Hamlet Do not believe it.
2640Rosencrantz Believe what?
Hamlet That I can keep your counsel and not mine own. Besides,to be demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son of a king?
Rosencrantz Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
2645Hamlet Ay, sir, that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in the end: he keeps them, like an ape an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but 2650squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
Rosencrantz I understand you not, my lord.
Hamlet I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
Rosencrantz My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us 2655to the King.
Hamlet The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body. The King is a thing--
Guildenstern A thing, my lord?
Hamlet Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after!
Enter King, and two or three.
King I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him;
2665He's loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment but their eyes,
And where 'tis so, th'offender's scourge is weighed,
But ne'er the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
2670Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.
Enter Rosencrantz.
How now, what hath befall'n?
Rosencrantz Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
2675We cannot get from him.
But where is he?
Rosencrantz Without, my lord, guarded, to know your pleasure.
King Bring him before us.
2680Rosencrantz [Calling] Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.
Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern [with Guards].
King Now Hamlet, where's Polonius?
Hamlet At supper.
King At supper? Where?
2685Hamlet Not where he eats, but where 'a is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service: two dishes 2690but to one table. That's the end.
2690.1King Alas, alas!
Hamlet A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
King What dost thou mean by this?
Hamlet Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.
King Where is Polonius?
2695Hamlet In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i'th' other place yourself. But if indeed you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
King [To some attendants] Go seek him there.
2700Hamlet 'A will stay till you come.
[Exeunt attendants.]
King Hamlet, this deed of thine, for thine especial safety--
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done--must send thee hence
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
2705The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
Th'associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.
Hamlet For England!
King Ay, Hamlet.
2710Hamlet Good.
King So is it if thou knew'st our purposes.
Hamlet I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for England! Farewell, dear mother.
King Thy loving father, Hamlet.
2715Hamlet My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother. Come, for England!
King Follow him at foot.Tempt him with speed aboard.
2720Delay it not. I'll have him hence tonight.
Away! For everything is sealed and done
That else leans on th'affair. Pray you, make haste.
Exeunt all but the King.
And England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
2725Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us, thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process, which imports at full
By letters congruing to that effect
2730The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.
Enter Fortinbras [and a Captain] with his army over the stage.
2735Fortinbras Go, captain, from me greet the Danish King.
Tell him that by his license Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promised march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
2740We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.
Captain I will do't, my lord.
Fortinbras [To his soldiers] Go softly on.
[Exeunt all but the Captain.]
Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, [Guildenstern,] etc.
Hamlet [To the Captain] Good sir, whose powers are these?
Captain They are of Norway, sir.
Hamlet How purposed, sir, I pray you?
2743.5Captain Against some part of Poland.
Hamlet Who commands them, sir?
Captain The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.
Hamlet Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
Or for some frontier?
2743.10Captain Truly to speak, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it,
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
2743.15A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
Hamlet Why then the Polack never will defend it.
Captain Yes, it is already garrisoned.
Hamlet Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw.
2743.20This is th'impostume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
God b'wi' you, sir.
Will't please you go, my lord?
2743.25Hamlet I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.
[Exeunt all but Hamlet.]
How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man
If his chief good and market of his time