Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Quarto 1)

Enter Hamlet and the Players.
Hamlet Pronounce me this speech trippingly o'the tongue as I taught thee. 1850Marry, an you mouth it, as a many of your players do, I'd rather hear a town bull bellow than such a fellow speak my lines. Nor do not saw the air thus with your hands, but give everything his action with temperance. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig fellow to tear a passion in totters, into very rags, to split the ears of the ignorant, who for the most part are capable of nothing but dumb shows and noises. 1860I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod.
Players My lord, we have indifferently reformed that 1885among us.
Hamlet The better, the better. Mend it altogether. There be fellows that I have seen play, and heard others commend them, and that highly too, that, having neither the gate of Christian, pagan, 1880nor Turk, have so strutted and bellowed that you would ha' thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abhominable. Take heed, avoid it.
Players I warrant you, my lord.
Hamlet And do you hear? Let not your Clown speak more than is set down. There be of them, I can tell you, that will laugh themselves, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh with them, 1890albeit there is some necessary point in the play then to be observed. Oh, 'tis vile, and shows a pitiful ambition in the fool that useth it. 1892.1And then you have some again that keeps one suit of jests, as a man is known by one suit of apparel, and gentlemen quotes his jests down in their tables before they come to the play, as thus: .5"Cannot you stay till I eat my porridge?" and "You owe me a quarter's wages," and "My coat wants a cullison," and "Your beer is sour," and blabbering with his lips and thus keeping in his cinquepace of jests when, God knows, the warm Clown cannot make a jest .10unless by chance, as the blind man catcheth a hare. Masters, tell him of it.
1900Players We will, my lord.
Hamlet Well, go make you ready. Exeunt Players.
Horatio Here, my lord.
Hamlet Horatio, thou art even as just a man
1905As e'er my conversation coped withal.
Horatio Oh, my lord!
Hamlet Nay, why should I flatter thee?
1910Why should the poor be flattered?
What gain should I receive by flattering thee,
That nothing hath but thy good mind?
Let flattery sit on those time-pleasing tongues
To gloze with them that loves to hear their praise,
1912.1And not with such as thou, Horatio.
There is a play tonight, wherein one scene they have
Comes very near the murder of my father.
When thou shalt see that act afoot,
Mark thou the King; do but observe his looks,
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face.
And if he doe not bleach and change at that,
It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen.
Horatio, have a care; observe him well.
Horatio My lord, mine eyes shall still be on his face,
1940And not the smallest alteration
That shall appear in him but I shall note it.
Hamlet Hark, they come.
Enter King, Queen, Corambis, [Ophelia,] and other Lords [Rossencraft and Gilderstone].
King How now, son Hamlet, how fare you? Shall we have a play?
Hamlet I'faith, the chameleon's dish, not capon-crammed-- 1950feed o'the air. Ay, father! [To Corambis] My lord, you played in the university.
1955Corambis That I did, my lord, and I was counted a good actor.
Hamlet What did you enact there?
Corambis My lord, I did act Julius Caesar. I was killed in the Capitol. Brutus killed me.
1960Hamlet It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf. Come, be these players ready?
Queen Hamlet, come sit down by me.
Hamlet No, by my faith, mother, here's a metal more attractive. [To Ophelia.] Lady, will you give me leave, and so forth, to lay my head in your lap?
Ophelia No, my lord.
Hamlet Upon your lap. What, do you think I meant contrary matters?
1990 Enter, in a dumb-show, the King and the Queen. He sits down in an arbor. She leaves him. Then enters Lucianus with poison in a vial, and pours it in his ears, and goes away. Then the Queen cometh and finds him dead, and goes away with the other. [Exeunt.]
Ophelia What means this, my lord? Enter the Prologue.
Hamlet This is miching Mallico. That means mischief.
Ophelia What doth this mean, my lord?
Hamlet You shall hear anon. This fellow will tell you all.
2010Ophelia Will he tell us what this show means?
Hamlet Ay, or any show you'll show him, Be not afeard to show, he'll not be afeard to tell. Oh, these players cannot keep counsel. They'll tell all.
Prologue For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
2020Hamlet Is't a prologue, or a poesie for a ring?
Ophelia 'Tis short, my lord.
Hamlet As women's love.
Enter the Duke and Duchess.
Duke Full forty years are past--their date is gone--
Since happy time joined both our hearts as one.
2028.1And now the blood that filled my youthful veins
Runs weakly in their pipes, and all the strains
Of music, which whilom pleased mine ear,
Is now a burden that age cannot bear.
.5And therefore sweet Nature must pay his due.
2040To heaven must I, and leave the earth with you.
2040.1Duchess Oh, say not so, lest that you kill my heart!
When death takes you, let life from me depart!
Duke Content thyself. When ended is my date,
Thon mayst perchance have a more noble mate,
2043.1More wise, more youthful, and one--
2045Duchess Oh, speak no more, for then I am accurst!
None weds the second but she kills the first.
A second time I kill my lord that's dead
When second husband kisses me in bed.
Hamlet Oh, wormwood, wormwood!
Duke I do believe you, sweet, what now you speak,
2055But what we do determine oft we break,
2080For our demises still are overthrown;
Our thought are ours, their end's none of our own.
So think you will no second husband wed,
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
Duchess Both here and there pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
2090Hamlet If she should break now!
Duke 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious time with sleep.
2095Duchess Sleep rock thy brain, And never come mischance between us twain! Exit Lady
Hamlet Madam, how do you like this play?
Queen The lady protests too much.
Hamlet Oh, but she'll keep her word.
2100King Have you heard the argument? Is there no offense in it?
Hamlet No offense in the world. Poison in jest, poison in jest.
King What do you call the name of the play?
2105Hamlet Mousetrap. Marry, how? Trapically. This play is the image of a murder done in Guiana. Albertus was the duke's name, his wife Baptista. Father, it is a knavish piece o'work, but what o'that? It toucheth not us, you and I that have free 2110souls. Let the galled jade wince. [Enter Lucianus.]This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King.
Ophelia Y'are as good as a chorus, my lord.
Hamlet I could interpret the love you bear, if I saw the 2115poopies dallying.
1975Ophelia Y'are very pleasant, my lord.
Hamlet Who, I? Your only jig-maker. Why, what should a man do but be merry? For look how cheerfully my 1980mother looks; my father died within these two hours.
Ophelia Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
Hamlet Two months? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables. Jesus, two months dead, 1985and not forgotten yet? Nay, then, there's some likelihood a gentleman's death may outlive memory. But, by my faith, he must build churches, then, or else he must follow the old epitithe: "With ho, with ho, the hobbyhorse is forgot."
Ophelia Your jests are keen, my lord.
Hamlet It would cost you a groaning to take them off.
Ophelia Still better and worse.
2120Hamlet So you must take your husband, begin. Murdered! Begin. A pox, leave thy damnable faces and begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.
Murderer 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 bane thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property 2130One wholesome life usurps immediately.
[He pours the poison in the sleeper's ears.] Exit.
Hamlet He poisons him for his estate.
2140King Lights! I will to bed.
Corambis The King rises. Lights, ho!
Exeunt King and Lords.
Hamlet What, frighted with false fires?
Then let the stricken deer go weep,
The heart ungallèd play,
2145For some must laugh, while some must weep;
Thus runs the world away.
2146.1Horatio The King is moved, my lord.
Horatio Ay, Horatio, I'll take the Ghost's word for more then all the coin in Denmark.
Enter Rossencraft and Gilderstone.
Rossencraft Now, my lord, how is't with you?
2165Hamlet And if the King like not the tragedy,
Why, then, belike he likes it not, perdy.
2166.1Rossencraft We are very glad to see your grace so pleasant. My good lord, let us again entreat To know of you the ground and cause of your distemperature.
Gilderstone My lord, your mother craves to speak with you.
Hamlet We shall obey, were she ten times our mother.
2203.1Rossencraft But, my good lord, shall I entreat thus much?
Hamlet [Offering Rossencraft a recorder] I pray, will you play upon this pipe?
Rossencraft Alas, my lord, I cannot.
Hamlet [To Gilderstone] Pray, will you?
2225Gilderstone I have no skill, my lord.
Hamlet Why look, it is a thing of nothing. 'Tis but stopping of these holes, and with a little breath from your lips 2230it will give most delicate music.
Gilderstone But this cannot we do, my lord.
Hamlet Pray now, pray, heartily, I beseech you.
Rossencraft My lord, we cannot.
Hamlet Why, how unworthy a thing would you make of me! 2235You would seem to know my stops, you would play upon me, You would search the very inward part of my heart and dive into the secret of my soul. 2240Zounds, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me. Besides, to be demanded by a sponge--
Rossencraft How, a sponge, my lord?
2645Hamlet Ay, sir, a sponge, that soaks up the King's countenance, favors, and rewards, that makes his liberality your storehouse. But such as you, do the King, in the end, best service; for he doth keep you as an ape doth nuts, in the corner of his jaw: first mouths you, then swallows you. So, when he hath need of you, 'tis but squeezing of you, 2650and, sponge, you shall be dry again, you shall.
2650.1Rossencraft Well, my lord, we'll take our leave.
Hamlet Farewell, farewell. God bless you.
Exit Rossencraft and Gilderstone.
Enter Corambis
2245Corambis My lord, the Queen would speak with you.
Hamlet Do you see yonder cloud in the shape of a camel?
Corambis 'Tis like a camel, indeed.
2250Hamlet Now me thinks it's like a weasel.
Corambis 'Tis backed like a weasel.
Hamlet Or like a whale.
Corambis Very like a whale.
Hamlet Why then, tell my mother I'll come by and by. Exit Corambis.
2254.1Good night, Horatio.
Horatio Good night unto your lordship. Exit Horatio.
Hamlet My mother! She hath sent to speak with me.
O God, let ne'er the heart of Nero enter
2265This soft bosom.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural.
I will speak daggers. Those sharp words being spent, 2270To do her wrong my soul shall ne'er consent.