Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James Mardock
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, based on the First Folio)

Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
3500Hamlet So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other.
You do remember all the circumstance?
Horatio Remember it, my lord?
Hamlet Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
3505Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly--
And praised be rashness for it!--let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well
When our dear plots do fall, and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
3510Rough-hew them how we will.
Horatio That is most certain.
Hamlet Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark,
Groped I to find out them; had my desire,
3515Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again, making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio--
Oh, royal knavery!-- an exact command,
3520Larded with many several sorts of reason,
Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
That on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the ax,
3525My head should be struck off.
Horatio Is't possible?
Hamlet [Showing a document] Here's the commission. Read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
Horatio I beseech you.
3530Hamlet Being thus benetted round with villains,
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play. I sat me down,
Devised a new commission, wrote it fair.
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
3535A baseness to write fair, and labored much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
Th'effects of what I wrote?
Horatio Ay, good my lord.
3540Hamlet An earnest conjuration from the King,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them as the palm should flourish,
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
3545And many suchlike "as"es of great charge,
That on the view and know of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving time allowed.
3550Horatio How was this sealed?
Hamlet Why, even in that was heaven ordinate,.
I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal;
Folded the writ up in the form of the other,
3555Subscribed it, gave't th'impression, placed it safely,
The changeling never known. Now the next day
Was our sea fight, and what to this was sement
Thou knowest already.
Horatio So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
Hamlet Why, man, they did make love to this employment.
They are not near my conscience. Their debate
Doth by their own insinuation grow.
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensèd points
3565Of mighty opposites.
Horatio Why, what a King is this!
Hamlet Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon?
He that hath killed my King and whored my mother,
Popped in between th'election and my hopes,
3570Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience
To quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damned
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?
3575Horatio It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business here.
Hamlet It will be short.
The interim's mine, and a man's life's no more
Than to say one. But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself,
3580For by the image of my cause I see
The portraiture of his. I'll count his favors.
But sure the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.
3575Peace, who comes here?
Enter a Courtier [Osric].
Osric Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
Hamlet I humbly thank you, sir. [Aside to Horatio] Dost know this water-fly?
Horatio[Aside to Hamlet] No, my good lord.
3590Hamlet [Aside to Horatio] Thy state is the more gracious, for 'tis a vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile. Let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the King's mess. 'Tis a chough, but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
3595Osric Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
Hamlet I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use. 'Tis for the head.
Osric I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.
3600Hamlet No, believe me, 'tis very cold. The wind is northerly.
Osric It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
Hamlet Methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
3605Osric Exceedingly, my lord, it is very sultry, as 'twere--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter--
Hamlet [Reminding Osric once more about his hat] I beseech you, remember.
3610Osric Nay, in good faith, for mine ease, in good faith. Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at he his weapon.
Hamlet What's his weapon?
Osric Rapier and dagger.
3615Hamlet That's two of his weapons--but well.
Osric The King, sir, hath waged with him six Barbary horses, against the which he imponed, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very 3620dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
Hamlet What call you the carriages?
Osric The carriage, sir, are the hangers.
Hamlet The phrase would be more germane to the 3625matter if we could carry cannon by our sides; I would it might be "hangers" till then. But on. Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages: that's the French bet against the Danish. Why is this "imponed," as you call it?
3630Osric The King, sir, hath laid that in a dozen passes between you and him, he shall not exceed you three hits. He hath laid on twelve for nine, and that would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
3635Hamlet How if I answer no?
Osric I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
Hamlet Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me. Let 3640the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the King hold his purpose, I will win for him if I can; if not, I'll gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
Osric Shall I redeliver you e'en so?
Hamlet To this effect, sir, after what flourish your 3645nature will.
Osric I commend my duty to your lordship.
Hamlet Yours, yours.
[Exit Osric.]
He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's tongue.
Horatio This lapwing runs away with the shell on his 3650head.
Hamlet He did comply with his dug before he sucked it. Thus has he, and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes on, only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter, a kind of 3655yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most profane and winnowed opinions; and do but blowthem to their trials, the bubbles are out.
Horatio You will lose this wager, my lord.
Hamlet I do not think so. Since he went into France, 3660I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldest not think how all here about my heart, but it is no matter.
Horatio Nay, good my lord--
Hamlet It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of 3665gaingiving as would perhaps trouble a woman.
Horatio If your mind dislike anything, obey it. I will fforestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.
Hamlet Not a whit, we defy augury. There's special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not 3670to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all, since no man has aught of what he leaves knows. What is't to leave betimes?
Enter King, Queen, and Lords, with other 3675Attendants, with foils and gauntlets, a table, and flagons of wine on it.
King Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
[The King puts Laertes's hand into Hamlet's.]
Hamlet [To Laertes] Give me your pardon, sir. I've done you wrong,
But pardon't as you are a gentleman.
3680This presence knows,
And you must needs have heard, how I am punished
With a sore distraction. What I have done
That might your nature, honor, and exception
Roughly awake, I hear proclaim was madness.
3685Was't Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet.
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not; Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness? If't be so,
3690Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
3695That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house
And hurt my mother.
Laertes I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive in this case should stir me most
To my revenge. But in my terms of honor
3700I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement,
Till by some elder masters of known honor
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungorged. But all that time
I do receive your offered love like love,
3705And will not wrong it.
Hamlet I embrace it freely,
And will this brother's wager frankly play.--
Give us the foils.--Come on.
Laertes Come, one for me.
3710Hamlet I'll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
Your skill shall like a star i'th' darkest night
Stick fiery off indeed.
Laertes You mock me, sir.
Hamlet No, by this hand.
3715King Give them the foils, young Osric.
[Foils are handed to Hamlet and Laertes.]
. Cousin Hamlet, you know the wager.
Hamlet Very well. my lord.
Your grace has laid the odds o'th' weaker side.
King I do not fear it;
3720I have seen you both.
But since he is bettered, we have therefore odds.
Laertes This is too heavy.
Let me see another.
[He exchanges his foil for another.]
Hamlet This likes me well.
These foils have all a length?
Prepare to play.
Osric Ay, my good lord.
King Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
3730Let all the battlements their ordnance fire.
The King shall drink to Hamlet's better breath,
And in the cup an union shall he throw
Richer then that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn.
3735Give me the cups,
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
"Now the King drinks to Hamlet." Come, begin.
3740And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
Hamlet Come on, sir.
Laertes Come on, sir.
They play. [Hamlet scores a hit.]
Hamlet One.
Laertes No.
3745Hamlet Judgment.
Osric A hit, a very palpable hit.
Laertes Well, again.
King Stay. Give me drink.
Hamlet this pearl is thine.
[He drinks, and throws a pearl in Hamlet's cup.]
3750Here's to thy health. Give him the cup.
Trumpets sound, and shot goes off.
Hamlet I'll play this bout first. Set it by awhile.
[They fence.]
Another hit. What say you?
Laertes A touch, a touch, I do confess.
3755King [To the Queen] Our son shall win.
Queen He's fat and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.
The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Hamlet Good madam.
3760King Gertrude, do not drink.
Queen I will, my lord,
I pray you pardon me.
[She drinks.]
King [Aside] It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.
Hamlet I dare not drink yet, madam;
3765By and by.
Queen Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laertes [Aside to the King] My lord, I'll hit him now.
King [Aside to Laertes] I do not think't.
Laertes [Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
3770Hamlet Come, for the third.
Laertes. You do but dally.
I pray you, pass with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
Laertes Say you so? Come on.
[They] play.
3775Osric Nothing neither way.
Laertes Have at you now!
[Laertes wounds Hamlet with his unbated rapier. They scuffle. Hamlet forces an exchange of rapiers with Laertes, and wounds him.]
King Part them! They are incensed.
Hamlet Nay, come again.
[The Queen falls.]
3780Osric Look to the Queen there, ho!
Horatio They bleed on both sides. [To Hamlet] How is't, my lord?
Osric How is't, Laertes?
Laertes Why, as a woodcock
To mine springe, Osric;
3785I am justly killed with mine own treachery.
Hamlet How does the Queen?
King She swoons to see them bleed.
Queen No, no, the drink, the drink.
O my dear Hamlet, the drink, the drink!
3790I am poisoned.
[She dies.]
Hamlet Oh, villainy! Ho, let the door be locked.
Treachery! Seek it out.
[Exit Osric. Laertes falls.]
Laertes It is here, Hamlet.
Hamlet, thou art slain.
3795No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour of life.
The treacherous instrument is in my hand,
Unbated and envenomed. The foul practice
Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie
3800Never to rise again. Thy mother's poisoned.
I can no more. The King, the King's to blame.
Hamlet The point envenomed too?
Then, venom, to thy work.
Hurts the King.
3805All Treason, treason!
King Oh, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Hamlet [Forcing the King to drink] Here, thou incestuous, murderous,
Damnèd Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is the union here?
3810Follow my mother.
King dies.
Laertes He is justly served.
It is a poison tempered by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
3815Nor thine on me!
Hamlet Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I am dead, Horatio. Wretched Queen, adieu.
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
3820Had I but time, as this fell sergeant Death
Is strict in his arrest, oh, I could tell you--
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead,
Thou livest. Report me and my causes right
To the unsatisfied.
3825Horatio Never believe it.
I am more an antique Romaine than a Dane.
Here's yet some liquor left.
[He attempts to drink from the poisoned cup, but is prevented by Hamlet.]
Hamlet As th'art a man, give me the cup!
Let go! By heaven I'll have't.
3830O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
3835To tell my story.
March afar off, and shout within.
What warlike noise is this?
Enter Osric.
Osric Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
3840To th'ambassadors of England gives this warlike volley.
Hamlet Oh, I die, Horatio.
The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England,
But I do prophesy th'election lights
3845On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with the occurrents more and less
Which have solicited. The rest is silence. Oh, oh, oh, oh!
Horatio Now cracks a noble heart!
Good night, sweet prince,
3850And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
[March within.]
Why does the drum come hither?
Enter Fortinbras and English] Ambassador, with Drum, Colors, and Attendants].
Fortinbras Where is this sight?
3855Horatio What is it ye would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
Fortinbras His quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shoot
3860So bloodily hast struck?
Ambassador The sight is dismal,
And our affairs from England come too late.
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
To tell him his commandment is fulfilled,
3865That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead,
Where should we have our thanks?
Horatio Not from his mouth,
Had it th'ability of life to thank you;
He never gave commandment for their death.
3870But since so jump upon this bloody question
You from the Polack wars and you from England
Are here arrived, give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placèd to the view,
And let me speak to th' yet unknowing world
3875How these things came about. So shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning, and forced cause,
And in this upshot, purposes mistook
3880Fall'n on the inventors' heads. All this can I
Truly deliver.
Fortinbras Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.
3885I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth
Invite me.
Horatio Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth
3890Whose voice will draw on more.
But let this same be presently performed,
Even whiles men's minds are wild,
Lest more mischance
On plots and errors happen.
3895Fortinbras Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royally;
And for his passage,
3900The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the body. Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
Exeunt marching, after the which, a peal of ordnance are shot off.