Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)


Florish. Enter King and Queene, Rosencraus and
Guyldensterne.
King. Welcome deere Rosencraus, and Guyldensterne,
Moreouer, that we much did long to see you,
The need we haue to vse you did prouoke
Our hastie sending, something haue you heard
1025Of Hamlets transformation, so call it,
Sith nor th'exterior, nor the inward man
Resembles that it was, what it should be,
More then his fathers death, that thus hath put him
So much from th'vnderstanding of himselfe
1030I cannot dreame of: I entreate you both
That beeing of so young dayes brought vp with him,
And sith so nabored to his youth and hauior,
That you voutsafe your rest heere in our Court
Some little time, so by your companies
1035To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from occasion you may gleane,
1036.1Whether ought to vs vnknowne afflicts him thus,
That opend lyes within our remedie.
Quee. Good gentlemen, he hath much talkt of you,
And sure I am, two men there is not liuing
1040To whom he more adheres, if it will please you
To shew vs so much gentry and good will,
As to expend your time with vs a while,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receiue such thanks
1045As fits a Kings remembrance.
Ros. Both your Maiesties
Might by the soueraigne power you haue of vs,
Put your dread pleasures more into commaund
Then to entreatie.
1050Guyl. But we both obey.
And heere giue vp our selues in the full bent,
To lay our seruice freely at your feete
To be commaunded.
King. Thanks Rosencraus, and gentle Guyldensterne.
1055Quee. Thanks Guyldensterne, and gentle Rosencraus.
And I beseech you instantly to visite
My too much changed sonne, goe some of you
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
1060Guyl. Heauens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpfull to him.
Quee. I Amen.
Exeunt Ros. and Guyld.
Enter Polonius.
Pol. Th'embassadors from Norway my good Lord,
1065Are ioyfully re
turnd.
King. Thou still hast been the father of good newes.
Pol. Haue I my Lord? I assure my good Liege
I hold my dutie as I hold my soule,
Both to my God, and to my gracious King;
1070And I doe thinke, or els this braine of mine
Hunts not the trayle of policie so sure
As it hath vsd to doe, that I haue found
The very cause of Hamlets lunacie.
King. O speake of that, that doe I long to heare.
1075Pol. Giue first admittance to th'embassadors,
My newes shall be the fruite to that great feast.
King. Thy selfe doe grace to them, and bring them in.
He tells me my deere Gertrard he hath found
The head and source of all your sonnes distemper.
1080Quee. I doubt it is no other but the maine
His fathers death, and our hastie marriage.
Enter Embassadors.
King. Well, we shall sift him, welcome my good friends,
Say Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
1085Vol. Most faire returne of greetings and desires;
Vpon our first, he sent out to suppresse
His Nephews leuies, which to him appeard
To be a preparation gainst the Pollacke,
But better lookt into, he truly found
1090It was against your highnes, whereat greeu'd
That so his sicknes, age, and impotence
Was falsly borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortenbrasse, which he in breefe obeyes,
Receiues rebuke from Norway, and in fine,
1095Makes vow before his Vncle neuer more
To giue th'assay of Armes against your Maiestie:
Whereon old Norway ouercome with ioy,
Giues him threescore thousand crownes in anuall fee,
And his commission to imploy those souldiers
1100So leuied (as before) against the Pollacke,
With an entreatie heerein further shone,
That it might please you to giue quiet passe
Through your dominions for this enterprise
On such regards of safety and allowance
1105As therein are set downe.
King. It likes vs well,
And at our more considered time, wee'le read,
Answer, and thinke vpon this busines:
Meane time, we thanke you for your well tooke labour,
1110Goe to your rest, at night weele feast together,
Most welcome home.
Exeunt Embassadors.
Pol. This busines is well ended.
My Liege and Maddam, to expostulate
What maiestie should be, what dutie is,
1115Why day is day, night, night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to wast night, day, and time,
Therefore breuitie is the soule of wit,
And tediousnes the lymmes and outward florishes,
I will be briefe, your noble sonne is mad:
1120Mad call I it, for to define true madnes,
What ist but to be nothing els but mad,
But let that goe.
Quee. More matter with lesse art.
Pol. Maddam, I sweare I vse no art at all,
1125That hee's mad tis true, tis true, tis pitty,
And pitty tis tis true, a foolish figure,
But farewell it, for I will vse no art.
Mad let vs graunt him then, and now remaines
That we find out the cause of this effect,
1130Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defectiue comes by cause:
Thus it remaines, and the remainder thus
Perpend,
I haue a daughter, haue while she is mine,
Who in her dutie and obedience, marke,
1135Hath giuen me this, now gather and surmise,
To the Celestiall and my soules Idoll, the most beau-
tified Ophelia, that's an ill phrase, a vile phrase,
beautified is a vile phrase, but you shall heare: thus in
1140her excellent white bosome, these &c.
Quee. Came this from Hamlet to her?
Pol. Good Maddam stay awhile, I will be faithfull,
Doubt thou the starres are fire,
Letter.
1145Doubt that the Sunne doth moue,
Doubt truth to be a lyer,
But neuer doubt I loue.
O deere Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers, I haue not art to recken
my grones, but that I loue thee best, ô most best belieue it, adew.
Thine euermore most deere Lady, whilst this machine is to him.
Pol. This in obedience hath my daughter showne me,
And more about hath his solicitings
1155As they fell out by time, by meanes, and place,
All giuen to mine eare.
King. But how hath she receiu'd his loue?
Pol. What doe you thinke of me?
King. As of a man faithfull and honorable.
1160Pol. I would faine proue so, but what might you thinke
When I had seene this hote loue on the wing,
As I perceiu'd it (I must tell you that)
Before my daughter told me, what might you,
Or my deere Maiestie your Queene heere thinke,
1165If I had playd the Deske, or Table booke,
Or giuen my hart a working mute and dumbe,
Or lookt vppon this loue with idle sight,
What might you thinke? no, I went round to worke,
And my young Mistris thus I did bespeake,
1170Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of thy star,
This must not be: and then I prescripts gaue her
That she should locke her selfe from her resort,
Admit no messengers, receiue no tokens,
Which done, she tooke the fruites of my aduise:
1175And he repell'd, a short tale to make,
Fell into a sadnes, then into a fast,
Thence to a wath, thence into a weakenes,
Thence to lightnes, and by this declension,
Into the madnes wherein now he raues,
1180And all we mourne for.
King. Doe you thinke this?
Quee. It may be very like.
Pol. Hath there been such a time, I would faine know that,
That I haue positiuely said, tis so,
1185When it proou'd otherwise?
King. Not that I know.
Pol. Take this, from this, if this be otherwise;
If circumstances leade me, I will finde
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeede
1190Within the Center.
King. How may we try it further?
Pol. You know sometimes he walkes foure houres together
Heere in the Lobby.
1195Quee. So he dooes indeede.
Pol. At such a time, Ile loose my daughter to him,
Be you and I behind an Arras then,
Marke the encounter, if he loue her not,
And be not from his reason falne thereon
1200Let me be no assistant for a state
But keepe a farme and carters.
King. We will try it.
Enter Hamlet.
Quee. But looke where sadly the poore wretch comes reading.
Pol. Away, I doe beseech you both away,
Exit King and Queene.
Ile bord him presently, oh giue me leaue,
How dooes my good Lord Hamlet?
Ham. Well, God a mercy.
1210Pol. Doe you knowe me my Lord?
Ham. Excellent well, you are a Fishmonger.
Pol. Not I my Lord.
Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
Pol. Honest my Lord.
1215Ham. I sir to be honest as this world goes,
Is to be one man pickt out of tenne thousand.
Pol. That's very true my Lord.
Ham. For if the sunne breede maggots in a dead dogge, being a
good kissing carrion. Haue you a daughter?
Pol. I haue my Lord.
Ham. Let her not walke i'th Sunne, conception is a blessing,
But as your daughter may conceaue, friend looke to't.
1225Pol. How say you by that, still harping on my daughter, yet hee
knewe me not at first, a sayd I was a Fishmonger, a is farre gone,
and truly in my youth, I suffred much extremity for loue, very
neere this. Ile speake to him againe. What doe you reade my
Lord.
1230Ham. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter my Lord.
Ham. Betweene who.
Pol. I meane the matter that you reade my Lord.
Ham. Slaunders sir; for the satericall rogue sayes heere, that old
1235men haue gray beards, that their faces are wrinckled, their eyes
purging thick Amber, & plumtree gum, & that they haue a plen-
tifull lacke of wit, together with most weake hams, all which sir
though I most powerfully and potentlie belieue, yet I hold it not
1240honesty to haue it thus set downe, for your selfe sir shall growe old
as I am: if like a Crab you could goe backward.
Pol. Though this be madnesse, yet there is method in't, will you
walke out of the ayre my Lord?
Ham. Into my graue.
Pol. Indeede that's out of the ayre; how pregnant sometimes
his replies are, a happines that often madnesse hits on, which reason
and sanctity could not so prosperously be deliuered of. I will leaue
him and my daughter. My Lord, I will take my leaue of you.
Ham. You cannot take from mee any thing that I will not more
willingly part withall: except my life, except my life, except my
1260life.
Enter Guyldersterne, and Rosencraus.
Pol. Fare you well my Lord.
Ham. These tedious old fooles.
Pol. You goe to seeke the Lord Hamlet, there he is.
Ros. God saue you sir.
Guyl. My honor'd Lord.
Ros. My most deere Lord.
Ham. My extent good friends, how doost thou Guyldersterne?
1270A Rosencraus, good lads how doe you both?
Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guyl. Happy, in that we are not euer happy on Fortunes lap,
We are not the very button.
1275Ham. Nor the soles of her shooe.
Ros. Neither my Lord.
Ham. Then you liue about her wast, or in the middle of her fa-
Guyl. Faith her priuates we.
1280Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune, oh most true, she is a strumpet,
What newes?
Ros. None my Lord, but the worlds growne honest.
Ham. Then is Doomes day neere, but your newes is not true;
But in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsonoure?
Ros. To visit you my Lord, no other occasion.
Ham. Begger that I am, I am euer poore in thankes, but I thanke
1320you, and sure deare friends, my thankes are too deare a halfpeny:
were you not sent for? is it your owne inclining? is it a free visitati-
on? come, come, deale iustly with me, come, come, nay speake.
Guy. What should we say my Lord?
1325Ham. Any thing but to'th purpose: you were sent for, and there is
a kind of confession in your lookes, which your modesties haue not
craft enough to cullour, I know the good King and Queene haue
sent for you.
Ros. To what end my Lord?
1330Ham. That you must teach me: but let me coniure you, by the
rights of our fellowship, by the consonancie of our youth, by the
obligation of our euer preserued loue; and by what more deare a
better proposer can charge you withall, bee euen and direct with
me whether you were sent for or no.
Ros. What say you.
Ham. Nay then I haue an eye of you? if you loue me hold not of.
Guyl. My Lord we were sent for.
1340Ham. I will tell you why, so shall my anticipation preuent your
discouery, and your secrecie to the King & Queene moult no fea-
ther, I haue of late, but wherefore I knowe not, lost all my mirth,
forgon all custome of exercises: and indeede it goes so heauily with
my disposition, that this goodly frame the earth, seemes to mee a
1345sterill promontorie, this most excellent Canopie the ayre, looke
you, this braue orehanging firmament, this maiesticall roofe fret-
ted with golden fire, why it appeareth nothing to me but a foule
and pestilent congregation of vapoures. What peece of worke is a
1350man, how noble in reason, how infinit in faculties, in forme and
moouing, how expresse and admirable in action, how like an An-
gell in apprehension, how like a God: the beautie of the world; the
paragon of Annimales; and yet to me, what is this Quintessence of
1355dust: man delights not me, nor women neither, though by your
smilling, you seeme to say so.
Ros. My Lord, there was no such stuffe in my thoughts.
1360Ham. Why did yee laugh then, when I sayd man delights not me.
Ros. To thinke my Lord if you delight not in man, what Lenton
entertainment the players shall receaue from you, we coted them
on the way, and hether are they comming to offer you seruice.
Ham. He that playes the King shal be welcome, his Maiestie shal
haue tribute on me, the aduenterous Knight shall vse his foyle and
target, the Louer shall not sigh gratis, the humorus Man shall end
his part in peace, and the Lady shall say her minde freely: or the
black verse shall hault for't. What players are they?
Ros. Euen those you were wont to take such delight in, the Trage-
1375dians of the Citty.
Ham. How chances it they trauaile? their residence both in repu-
tation, and profit was better both wayes.
Ros. I thinke their inhibition, comes by the meanes of the late
1380innouasion.
Ham. Doe they hold the same estimation they did when I was in
the Citty; are they so followed.
Ros. No indeede are they not.
Ham. It is not very strange, for my Vncle is King of Denmarke, and
1410
those that would make mouths at him while my father liued, giue
twenty, fortie, fifty, a hundred duckets a peece, for his Picture
in little, s'bloud there is somthing in this more then naturall, if
Philosophie could find it out.
A Florish.
Guyl. There are the players.
Ham. Gentlemen you are welcome to Elsonoure, your hands come
then, th'appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremonie; let
mee comply with you in this garb: let me extent to the players,
1420which I tell you must showe fairely outwards, should more ap-
peare like entertainment then yours? you are welcome: but my
Vncle-father, and Aunt-mother, are deceaued.
Guyl. In what my deare Lord.
1425Ham. I am but mad North North west; when the wind is Sou-
therly, I knowe a Hauke, from a hand saw.
Enter Polonius.
Pol. Well be with you Gentlemen.
Ham. Harke you Guyldensterne, and you to, at each eare a hearer,
1430that great baby you see there is not yet out of his swadling clouts.
Ros. Happily he is the second time come to them, for they say an
old man is twice a child.
Ham. I will prophecy, he comes to tell me of the players, mark it,
1435You say right sir, a Monday morning, t'was then indeede.
Pol. My Lord I haue newes to tell you.
Ham. My Lord I haue newes to tel you: when Rossius was an Actor
in Rome.
1440Pol. The Actors are come hether my Lord.
Ham. Buz, buz.
Pol. Vppon my honor.
Ham. Then came each Actor on his Asse.
Pol. The best actors in the world, either for Tragedie, Comedy,
1445History, Pastorall, Pastorall Comicall, Historicall Pastorall, scene
indeuidible, or Poem vnlimited. Sceneca cannot be too heauy, nor
Plautus too light for the lawe of writ, and the liberty: these are the
1450only men.
Ham. O Ieptha Iudge of Israell, what a treasure had'st thou?
Pol. What a treasure had he my Lord?
Ham. Why one faire daughter and no more, the which he loued
1455passing well.
Pol. Still on my daughter.
Ham. Am I not i'th right old Ieptha?
Pol. If you call me Ieptha my Lord, I haue a daughter that I loue
Ham. Nay that followes not.
Pol. What followes then my Lord?
Ham. Why as by lot God wot, and then you knowe it came to
passe, as most like it was; the first rowe of the pious chanson will
showe you more, for looke where my abridgment comes.
Enter thePlayers.
Ham. You are welcome maisters, welcome all, I am glad to see thee
well, welcome good friends, oh old friend, why thy face is va-
lanct since I saw thee last, com'st thou to beard me in Denmark?
1470what my young Lady and mistris, by lady your Ladishippe is
nerer to heauen, then when I saw you last by the altitude of a
chopine, pray God your voyce like a peece of vncurrant gold,
bee not crackt within the ring: maisters you are all welcome,
weele ento't like friendly Fankners, fly at any thing we see,
1475weele haue a speech straite, come giue vs a tast of your quality,
come a passionate speech.
Player. What speech my good Lord?
Ham. I heard thee speake me a speech once, but it was neuer acted,
1480
or if it was, not aboue once, for the play I remember pleasd not
the million, t'was cauiary to the generall, but it was as I receaued
it & others, whose iudgements in such matters cried in the top
of mine, an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set downe
1485with as much modestie as cunning. I remember one sayd there
were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter sauory, nor no
matter in the phrase that might indite the author of affection,
but cald it an honest method, as wholesome as sweete, & by very
much, more handsome then fine: one speech in't I chiefely loued,
t'was Aeneas talke to Dido, & there about of it especially when he
1490speakes of Priams slaughter, if it liue in your memory begin at
this line, let me see, let me see, the rugged Pirbus like Th'ircanian
beast, tis not so, it beginnes with Pirrhus, the rugged Pirrhus, he whose
sable Armes,
1495Black as his purpose did the night resemble,
When he lay couched in th'omynous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complection smeard,
With heraldy more dismall head to foote,
Now is he totall Gules horridly trickt
1500With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sonnes,
Bak'd and empasted with the parching streetes
That lend a tirranus and a damned light
To their Lords murther, rosted in wrath and fire,
And thus ore-cised with coagulate gore,
1505With eyes like Carbunkles, the hellish Phirrhus
Old grandsire Priam seekes; so proceede you.
Pol. Foregod my Lord well spoken, with good accent and good
Play. Anon he finds him,
1510Striking too short at Greekes, his anticke sword
Rebellious to his arme, lies where it fals,
Repugnant to commaund; vnequall matcht,
Pirrhus at Priam driues, in rage strikes wide,
But with the whiffe and winde of his fell sword,
1515Th'vnnerued father fals:
Seeming to feele this blowe, with flaming top
Stoopes to his base; and with a hiddious crash
Takes prisoner Pirrhus eare, for loe his sword
Which was declining on the milkie head
1520Of reuerent Priam, seem'd i'th ayre to stick,
So as a painted tirant Pirrhus stood
Like a newtrall to his will and matter,
Did nothing:
But as we often see against some storme,
A silence in the heauens, the racke stand still,
1525The bold winds speechlesse, and the orbe belowe
As hush as death, anon the dreadfull thunder
Doth rend the region, so after Pirrhus pause,
A rowsed vengeance sets him new a worke,
And neuer did the Cyclops hammers fall,
1530On Marses Armor forg'd for proofe eterne,
With lesse remorse then Pirrhus bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune, all you gods,
In generall sinod take away her power,
1535Breake all the spokes, and follies from her wheele,
And boule the round naue downe the hill of heauen
As lowe as to the fiends.
Pol. This is too long.
Ham. It shall to the barbers with your beard; prethee say on, he's
1540for a Iigge, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleepes, say on, come to Hecuba.
Play. But who, a woe, had seene the mobled Queene,
Ham. The mobled Queene.
Pol. That's good.
1545Play Runne barefoote vp and downe, threatning the flames
With Bison rehume, a clout vppon that head
Where late the Diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lanck and all ore-teamed loynes,
1550A blancket in the alarme of feare caught vp,
Who this had seene, with tongue in venom steept,
Gainst fortunes state would treason haue pronounst;
But
if the gods themselues did see her then,
When she saw Pirrhus make malicious sport
1555In mincing with his sword her husband limmes,
The instant burst of clamor that she made,
Vnlesse things mortall mooue them not at all,
Would haue made milch the burning eyes of heauen
And passion in the gods.
1560Pol. Looke where he has not turnd his cullour, and has teares in's
eyes, prethee no more.
Ham. Tis well, Ile haue thee speake out the rest of this soone,
Good my Lord will you see the players well bestowed; doe you
heare, let them be well vsed, for they are the abstract and breefe
1565Chronicles of the time; after your death you were better haue a
bad Epitaph then their ill report while you liue.
Pol. My Lord, I will vse them according to their desert.
1570Ham. Gods bodkin man, much better, vse euery man after his de-
sert, & who shall scape whipping, vse them after your owne honor
and dignity, the lesse they deserue the more merrit is in your boun-
ty. Take them in.
1575Pol. Come sirs.
Ham. Follow him friends, weele heare a play to morrowe; dost thou
heare me old friend, can you play the murther of Gonzago?
Play. I my Lord.
1580Ham. Weele hate to morrowe night, you could for neede study
a speech of some dosen lines, or sixteene lines, which I would set
downe and insert in't, could you not?
Play. I my Lord.
Ham. Very well, followe that Lord, & looke you mock him not.
1585My good friends, Ile leaue you tell night, you are welcome to Elson-
oure.
Exeunt Pol. and Players.
Ros. Good my Lord.
Exeunt.
Ham. I so God buy to you, now I am alone,
1590O what a rogue and pesant slaue am I.
Is it not monstrous that this player heere
But in a fixion, in a dreame of passion
Could force his soule so to his owne conceit
That from her working all the visage wand,
1595Teares in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voyce, an his whole function suting
With formes to his conceit; and all for nothing,
For Hecuba.
What's Hecuba to him, or he to her,
1600That he should weepe for her? what would he doe
Had he the motiue, and that for passion
That I haue? he would drowne the stage with teares,
And cleaue the generall eare with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty, and appale the free,
1605Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeede
The very faculties of eyes and eares; yet I,
A dull and muddy metteld raskall peake,
Like Iohn-a-dreames, vnpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no not for a King,
1610Vpon whose property and most deare life,
A damn'd defeate was made: am I a coward,
Who cals me villaine, breakes my pate a crosse,
Pluckes off my beard, and blowes it in my face,
Twekes me by the nose, giues me the lie i'th thraote
1615As deepe as to the lunges, who does me this,
Hah, s'wounds I should take it: for it cannot be
But I am pidgion liuerd, and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should a fatted all the region kytes
1620With this slaues offall, bloody, baudy villaine,
Remorslesse, trecherous, lecherous, kindlesse villaine.
Why what an Asse am I, this is most braue,
That I the sonne of a deere murthered,
1625Prompted to my reuenge by heauen and hell,
Must like a whore vnpacke my hart with words,
And fall a cursing like a very drabbe; a stallyon, fie vppont, foh.
About my braines; hum, I haue heard,
That guilty creatures sitting at a play,
1630Haue by the very cunning of the scene,
Beene strooke so to the soule, that presently
They haue proclaim'd their malefactions:
For murther, though it haue no tongue will speake
With most miraculous organ: Ile haue these Players
1635Play something like the murther of my father
Before mine Vncle, Ile obserue his lookes,
Ile tent him to the quicke, if a doe blench
I know my course. The spirit that I haue seene
May be a deale, and the deale hath power
1640T'assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps,
Out of my weakenes, and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damne me; Ile haue grounds
More relatiue then this, the play's the thing
1645Wherein Ile catch the conscience of the King.
Exit.