Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Quarto 1)


Enter the King.
King Oh, that this wet that falls upon my face
Would wash the crime clear from my conscience!
When I look up to heaven, I see my trespass;
2326.1The earth doth still cry out upon my fact.
Pay me the murder of a brother and a king,
2314.1And the adulterous fault I have committed:
Oh, these are sins that are unpardonable!
2329.1Why, say thy sins were blacker than is jet,
Yet may contrition make them as white as snow.
Ay, but still to persever in a sin,
It is an act 'gainst the universal power.
Most wretched man, stoop, bend thee to thy prayer,
2345Ask grace of heaven to keep thee from despair.
He kneels. Enters Hamlet.
2350Hamlet Ay so. Come forth and work thy last.
And thus he dies; and so am I revenged.
No, not so. He took my father sleeping, his sins brim full.
And how his soul stood to the state of heaven,
Who knows, save the immortal powers?
2360And shall I kill him now,
When he is purging of his soul,
2355Making his way for heaven? This is a benefit,
And not revenge. No, get thee up again. [He sheathes his sword.]
When he's at game, swearing, taking his carouse, drinking drunk,
2365Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed,
Or at some act that hath no relish
Of salvation in't, then trip him,
That his heels may kick at heaven
And fall as low as hell. My mother stays. This physic but prolongs thy weary days.
Exit Hamlet.
King My words fly up, my sins remain below. 2372.1No King on earth is safe, if God's his foe. Exit King.