Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

The Tragedie of Hamlet.
Ham. You cannot Sir take from me any thing, that I
will more willingly part withall, except my life, my
Polon. Fare you well my Lord.
Ham. These tedious old fooles.
Polon. You goe to seeke my Lord Hamlet; there
hee is.

Enter Rosincran and Guildensterne.
Rosin. God saue you Sir.
Guild. Mine honour'd Lord?
Rosin. My most deare Lord?
Ham. My excellent good friends? How do'st thou
1270Guildensterne? Oh, Rosincrane; good Lads: How doe ye
Rosin. As the indifferent Children of the earth.
Guild. Happy, in that we are not ouer-happy: on For-
tunes Cap, we are not the very Button.
1275Ham. Nor the Soales of her Shoo?
Rosin. Neither my Lord.
Ham. Then you liue about her waste, or in the mid-
dle of her fauour?
Guil. Faith, her priuates, we.
1280Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true:
she is a Strumpet. What's the newes?
Rosin. None my Lord; but that the World's growne
Ham. Then is Doomesday neere: But your newes is
1285not true. Let me question more in particular: what haue
you my good friends, deserued at the hands of Fortune,
that she sends you to Prison hither?
Guil. Prison, my Lord?
Ham. Denmark's a Prison.
1290Rosin. Then is the World one.
Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many Con-
fines, Wards, and Dungeons; Denmarke being one o'th'
Rosin. We thinke not so my Lord.
1295Ham. Why then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is
a prison.
Rosin. Why then your Ambition makes it one: 'tis
too narrow for your minde.
1300Ham. O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and
count my selfe a King of infinite space; were it not that
I haue bad dreames.
Guil. Which dreames indeed are Ambition: for the
very substance of the Ambitious, is meerely the shadow
1305of a Dreame.
Ham. A dreame it selfe is but a shadow.
Rosin. Truely, and I hold Ambition of so ayry and
light a quality, that it is but a shadowes shadow.
Ham. Then are our Beggers bodies; and our Mo-
1310narchs and out-stretcht Heroes the Beggers Shadowes:
shall wee to th' Court: for, by my fey I cannot rea-
Both. Wee'l wait vpon you.
Ham. No such matter. I will not sort you with the
1315rest of my seruants: for to speake to you like an honest
man: I am most dreadfully attended; but in the beaten
way of friendship, What make you at Elsonower?
Rosin. To visit you my Lord, no other occasion.
Ham. Begger that I am, I am euen poore in thankes;
1320but I thanke you: and sure deare friends my thanks
are too deare a halfepeny; were you not sent for? Is it
your owne inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come,
deale iustly with me: come, come; nay speake.
Guil. What should we say my Lord?
1325Ham. Why any thing. But to the purpose; you were
sent for; and there is a kinde confession in your lookes;
which your modesties haue not craft enough to co-
lor, I know the good King & Queene haue sent for you.
Rosin. To what end my Lord?
1330Ham. That you must teach me: but let mee coniure
you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of
our youth, by the Obligation of our euer-preserued loue,
and by what more deare, a better proposer could charge
you withall; be euen and direct with me, whether you
1335were sent for or no.
Rosin. What say you?
Ham. Nay then I haue an eye of you: if you loue me
hold not off.
Guil. My Lord, we were sent for.
1340Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
preuent your discouery of your secricie to the King and
Queene: moult no feather, I haue of late, but wherefore
I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custome of ex-
ercise; and indeed, it goes so heauenly with my dispositi-
1345on; that this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to me a ster-
rill Promontory; this most excellent Canopy the Ayre,
look you, this braue ore-hanging, this Maiesticall Roofe,
fretted with golden fire: why, it appeares no other thing
to mee, then a foule and pestilent congregation of va-
1350pours. What a piece of worke is a man! how Noble in
Reason? how infinite in faculty? in forme and mouing
how expresse and admirable? in Action, how like an An-
gel? in apprehension, how like a God? the beauty of the
world, the Parragon of Animals; and yet to me, what is
1355this Quintessence of Dust? Man delights not me; no,
nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seeme
to say so.
Rosin. My Lord, there was no such stuffe in my
1360Ham. Why did you laugh, when I said, Man delights
not me?
Rosin. To thinke, my Lord, if you delight not in Man,
what Lenton entertainment the Players shall receiue
from you: wee coated them on the way, and hither are
1365they comming to offer you Seruice.
Ham. He that playes the King shall be welcome; his
Maiesty shall haue Tribute of mee: the aduenturous
Knight shal vse his Foyle and Target: the Louer shall
not sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his part in
1370peace: the Clowne shall make those laugh whose lungs
are tickled a'th' sere: and the Lady shall say her minde
freely; or the blanke Verse shall halt for't: what Players
are they?
Rosin. Euen those you were wont to take delight in
1375the Tragedians of the City.
Ham. How chances it they trauaile? their resi-
dence both in reputation and profit was better both
Rosin. I thinke their Inhibition comes by the meanes
1380of the late Innouation?
Ham. Doe they hold the same estimation they did
when I was in the City? Are they so follow'd?
Rosin. No indeed, they are not.
Ham. How comes it? doe they grow rusty?
1385Rosin. Nay, their indeauour keepes in the wonted
pace; But there is Sir an ayrie of Children, little
Yases, that crye out on the top of question; and
are most tyrannically clap't for't: these are now the