Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)


Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencraus, Guyl-
densterne, Lords.
King. An can you by no drift of conference
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
1650Grating so harshly all his dayes of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacie?
Ros. He dooes confesse he feeles himselfe distracted,
But from what cause, a will by no meanes speake.
Guyl. Nor doe we find him forward to be sounded,
1655But with a craftie madnes keepes aloofe
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
Quee. Did he receiue you well?
Ros. Most like a gentleman.
1660Guyl. But with much forcing of his disposition.
Ros. Niggard of question, but of our demaunds
Most free in his reply.
Quee. Did you assay him to any pastime?
Ros. Maddam, it so fell out that certaine Players
1665We ore-raught on the way, of these we told him,
And there did seeme in him a kind of ioy
To heare of it: they are heere about the Court,
And as I thinke, they haue already order
This night to play before him.
1670Pol. Tis most true,
And he beseecht me to intreat your Maiesties
To heare and see the matter.
King. With all my hart,
And it doth much content me
To heare him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen giue him a further edge,
1675And driue his purpose into these delights.
Ros. We shall my Lord.
Exeunt. Ros. & Guyl.
King. Sweet Gertrard, leaue vs two,
For we haue closely sent for Hamlet hether,
1680That he as t'were by accedent, may heere
Affront Ophelia; her father and my selfe,
Wee'le so bestow our selues, that seeing vnseene,
We may of their encounter franckly iudge,
And gather by him as he is behau'd,
1685Ift be th'affliction of his loue or no
That thus he suffers for.
Quee. I shall obey you.
And for your part Ophelia, I doe wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
1690Of Hamlets wildnes, so shall I hope your vertues,
Will bring him to his wonted way againe,
To both your honours.
Oph. Maddam, I wish it may.
Pol. Ophelia walke you heere, gracious so please you,
1695We will bestow our selues; reade on this booke,
That show of such an exercise may cullour
Your lowlines; we are oft too blame in this,
Tis too much proou'd, that with deuotions visage
And pious action, we doe sugar ore
1700The deuill himselfe.
King. O tis too true,
How smart a lash that speech doth giue my conscience.
The harlots cheeke beautied with plastring art,
Is not more ougly to the thing that helps it,
1705Then is my deede to my most painted word:
O heauy burthen.
Enter Hamlet.
Pol. I heare him comming, with-draw my Lord.
1710Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question,
Whether tis nobler in the minde to suffer
The slings and arrowes of outragious fortune,
Or to take Armes against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them, to die to sleepe
1715No more, and by a sleepe, to say we end
The hart-ake, and the thousand naturall shocks
That flesh is heire to; tis a consumation
Deuoutly to be wisht to die to sleepe,
To sleepe, perchance to dreame, I there's the rub,
1720For in that sleepe of death what dreames may come
When we haue shuffled off this mortall coyle
Must giue vs pause, there's the respect
That makes calamitie of so long life:
For who would beare the whips and scornes of time,
1725Th'oppressors wrong, the proude mans contumely,
The pangs of despiz'd loue, the lawes delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurnes
That patient merrit of th'vnworthy takes,
When he himselfe might his quietas make
1730With a bare bodkin; who would fardels beare,
To grunt and sweat vnder a wearie life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The vndiscouer'd country, from whose borne
No trauiler returnes, puzzels the will,
1735And makes vs rather beare those ills we haue,
Then flie to others that we know not of.
Thus conscience dooes make cowards,
And thus the natiue hiew of resolution
Is sickled ore with the pale cast of thought,
1740And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard theyr currents turne awry,
And loose the name of action. Soft you now,
The faire Ophelia, Nimph in thy orizons
Be all my sinnes remembred.
1745Oph. Good my Lord,
How dooes your honour for this many a day?
Ham. I humbly thanke you well.
Oph. My Lord, I haue remembrances of yours
That I haue longed long to redeliuer,
1750I pray you now receiue them.
Ham. No, not I, I neuer gaue you ought.
Oph. My honor'd Lord, you know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath composd
As made these things more rich, their perfume lost,
1755Take these againe, for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poore when giuers prooue vnkind,
There my Lord.
Ham. Ha, ha, are you honest.
Oph. My Lord.
1760Ham. Are you faire?
Oph. What meanes your Lordship?
Ham. That if you be honest & faire, you should admit
no discourse to your beautie.
Oph. Could beauty my Lord haue better comerse
1765Then with honestie?
Ham. I truly, for the power of beautie will sooner transforme ho-
nestie from what it is to a bawde, then the force of honestie can trans-
late beautie into his likenes, this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time giues it proofe, I did loue you once.
Oph. Indeed my Lord you made me belieue so.
Ham. You should not haue beleeu'd me, for vertue cannot so
euocutat our old stock, but we shall relish of it, I loued you not.
Oph. I was the more deceiued.
Ham. Get thee a Nunry, why would'st thou be a breeder of sin-
ners, I am my selfe indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse mee of
such things, that it were better my Mother had not borne mee: I am
very proude, reuengefull, ambitious, with more offences at my beck,
then I haue thoughts to put them in, imagination to giue them shape,
or time to act them in: what should such fellowes as I do crauling be-
tweene earth and heauen, wee are arrant knaues, beleeue none of vs,
goe thy waies to a Nunry. Where's your father?
Oph. At home my Lord.
Ham. Let the doores be shut vpon him,
That he may play the foole no where but in's owne house,
Farewell.
Oph. O helpe him you sweet heauens.
1790Ham. If thou doost marry, Ile giue thee this plague for thy dow-
rie, be thou as chast as yce, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape ca-
lumny; get thee to a Nunry, farewell. Or if thou wilt needes marry,
marry a foole, for wise men knowe well enough what monsters you
1795make of them: to a Nunry goe, and quickly to, farewell.
Oph. Heauenly powers restore him.
Ham. I haue heard of your paintings well enough, God hath gi-
uen you one face, and you make your selfes another, you gig & am-
1800ble, and you list you nickname Gods creatures, and make your wan-
tonnes ignorance; goe to, Ile no more on't, it hath made me madde,
I say we will haue no mo marriage, those that are married alreadie, all
but one shall liue, the rest shall keep as they are: to a Nunry go.
Exit.
Oph. O what a noble mind is heere orethrowne!
The Courtiers, souldiers, schollers, eye, tongue, sword,
Th'expectation, and Rose of the faire state,
The glasse of fashion, and the mould of forme,
1810Th'obseru'd of all obseruers, quite quite downe,
And I of Ladies most deiect and wretched,
That suckt the honny of his musickt vowes;
Now see what noble and most soueraigne reason
Like sweet bells iangled out of time, and harsh,
1815That vnmatcht forme, and stature of blowne youth
Blasted with extacie, ô woe is mee
T'haue seene what I haue seene, see what I see.
Exit.
Enter King and Polonius.
King. Loue, his affections doe not that way tend,
1820Nor what he spake, though it lackt forme a little,
Was not like madnes, there's something in his soule
Ore which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I doe doubt, the hatch and the disclose
VVill be some danger; which for to preuent,
1825I haue in quick determination
Thus set it downe: he shall with speede to England,
For the demaund of our neglected tribute,
Haply the seas, and countries different,
With variable obiects, shall expell
1830This something setled matter in his hart,
Whereon his braines still beating
Puts him thus from fashion of himselfe.
What thinke you on't?
Pol. It shall doe well.
But yet doe I belieue the origin and comencement of his greefe,
1835Sprung from neglected loue: How now Ophelia?
You neede not tell vs what Lord Hamlet said,
We heard it all: my Lord, doe as you please,
But if you hold it fit, after the play,
Let his Queene-mother all alone intreate him
1840To show his griefe, let her be round with him,
And Ile be plac'd (so please you) in the eare
Of all their conference, if she find him not,
To England send him: or confine him where
Your wisedome best shall thinke.
1845King. It shall be so,
Madnes in great ones must not vnmatcht goe.
Exeunt.