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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: David Bevington
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)

    Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
    3500Hamlet So much for this, sir. Now let me see, the other.
    You do remember all the circumstance?
    Horatio Remember it, my lord!
    Hamlet Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
    That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
    3505Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
    And praised be rashness for it: let us know,
    Our indiscretion sometime serves us well
    When our deep plots do pall, and that should learn us
    There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
    3510Rough-hew them how we will.
    That is most certain.
    Hamlet Up from my cabin,
    My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark
    Groped I to find out them, had my desire,
    3515Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
    To mine own room again, making so bold,
    My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
    Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio--
    Oh, royal knavery!--an exact command,
    3520Larded with many several sorts of reasons
    Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
    With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
    That on the supervise, no leisure bated,
    No, not to stay the grinding of the ax,
    3525My head should be struck off.
    Is't possible?
    Hamlet [Showing a document] Here's the commission. Read it at more leisure.
    But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
    Horatio I beseech you.
    3530Hamlet Being thus benetted round with villainies--
    Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
    They had begun the play--I sat me down,
    Devised a new commission, wrote it fair.
    I once did hold it, as our statists do,
    3535A baseness to write fair, and labored much
    How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
    It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
    Th'effect of what I wrote?
    Ay, good my lord.
    3540Hamlet An earnest conjuration from the King,
    As England was his faithful tributary,
    As love between them like the palm should flourish,
    As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
    And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
    3545And many suchlike "as"es of great charge,
    That on the view and knowing of these contents,
    Without debatement further more or less,
    He should the bearers put to sudden death,
    Not shriving time allowed.
    How was this sealed?
    Hamlet Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
    I had my father's signet in my purse,
    Which was the model of that Danish seal;
    Folded the writ up in the form of th'other,
    3555Subscribed it, gave't th'impression, placed it safely,
    The changeling never known. Now the next day
    Was our sea fight, and what to this was sequent
    Thou know'st already.
    Horatio So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
    3560Hamlet Why, man, they did make love to this employment.
    They are not near my conscience. Their defeat
    Does by their own insinuation grow.
    'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
    Between the pass and fell incensèd points
    3565Of mighty opposites.
    Why, what a King is this!
    Hamlet Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--
    He that hath killed my King and whored my mother,
    Popped in between th'election and my hopes,
    3570Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
    And with such coz'nage--is't not perfect conscience
    To quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damned
    To let this canker of our nature come
    In further evil?
    3575Horatio It must be shortly known to him from England
    What is the issue of the business there.
    Hamlet It will be short.
    The interim's mine, and a man's life's no more
    Than to say one. But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
    3580That to Laertes I forgot myself,
    For by the image of my cause I see
    The portraiture of his. I'll court his favors.
    But sure the bravery of his grief did put me
    Into a tow'ring passion.
    Peace, who comes here?
    Enter young Osric, a courtier.
    Osric Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
    Hamlet I humbly thank you, sir. [Aside to Horatio] Dost know this water-fly?
    Horatio [Aside to Hamlet] No, my good lord.
    3590Hamlet [Aside to Horatio] Thy state is the more gracious, for 'tis a vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile. Let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the King's mess. 'Tis a chuff, but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
    3595Osric Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
    Hamlet I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use. 'Tis for the head.
    Osric I thank your lordship, it is very hot.
    3600Hamlet No, believe me, 'tis very cold. The wind is northerly.
    Osric It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
    Hamlet But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
    3605Osric Exceedingly, my lord, it is very sultry, as 'twere--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that 'a has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter--
    Hamlet [Reminding Osric once more about his hat] I beseech you, remember.
    3610Osric Nay, good my lord, for my ease, in good faith. Sir, here is newly 3610.1come to court Laertes--believe me, an absolute gentlemen, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society and great showing. Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the continent of what part a 3610.5gentleman would see.
    Hamlet Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you, though I know to divide him inventorially would dazzle th'arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article, 3610.10and his infusion of such dearth and rareness as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror, and who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
    Osric Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
    Hamlet The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman in 3610.15our more rawer breath?
    Horatio [To Hamlet] Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really.
    Hamlet [To Osric] What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
    3610.20Osric Of Laertes?
    Horatio [To Hamlet] His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.
    Hamlet [To Osric] Of him, sir.
    Osric I know you are not ignorant--
    Hamlet I would you did, sir. Yet in faith if you did, it would not 3610.25much approve me. Well, sir?
    Osric Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is--
    3612.1Hamlet I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence. But to know a man well were to know himself.
    Osric I mean, sir, for his weapon. But in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon.
    Hamlet What's his weapon?
    Osric Rapier and dagger.
    3615Hamlet That's two of his weapons--but well.
    Osric The King, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses, against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, or so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very 3620dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
    Hamlet What call you the carriages?
    3622.1Horatio [To Hamlet] I knew you must be edified by the margin ere you had done.
    Osric The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
    Hamlet The phrase would be more germane to the matter if we 3625could carry cannon by our sides; I would it might be "hangers" till then. But on. Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages: that's the French bet against the Danish. Why is this "impawned," as you call it?
    3630Osric The King, sir, hath laid, sir, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits. He hath laid on't twelve for nine, and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
    3635Hamlet How if I answer no?
    Osric I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
    Hamlet Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me. Let the foils be brought, the 3640gentleman willing, and the King hold his purpose, I will win for him an I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
    Osric Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?
    Hamlet To this effect, sir, after what flourish your nature will.
    Osric I commend my duty to your lordship.
    Hamlet Yours, yours.
    [Exit Osric.]
    'A does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
    Horatio This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
    Hamlet 'A did comply with his dug before 'a sucked it. Thus has he, and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes on, only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter, a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
    Enter a Lord.
    Lord My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings back to him that you attend him in the hall. He sends to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that 3657.5you will take longer time?
    Hamlet I am constant to my purposes; they follow the King's pleasure. If his fitness speaks, mine is ready: now or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.
    Lord The King and Queen and all are coming down.
    3657.10Hamlet In happy time.
    Lord The Queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.
    Hamlet She well instructs me.
    [Exit Lord.]
    Horatio You will lose this wager, my lord.
    Hamlet I do not think so. Since he went into France, I have been 3660in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heart, but it is no matter.
    Horatio Nay, good my lord--
    Hamlet It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of gaingiving as 3665would perhaps trouble a woman.
    Horatio If your mind dislike anything, obey it. I will forestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.
    Hamlet Not a whit, we defy augury. There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, 3670it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes? 3673.1Let be.
    Trumpets, drums, and officers with cushions. Enter King, Queen, and Lords [including Laertes and Osric, and all the state], with other 3675Attendants with foils and gauntlets, a table, and flagons of wine on it.
    King Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
    [The King puts Laertes's hand into Hamlet's.]
    Hamlet [To Laertes] Give me your pardon, sir. I've done you wrong,
    But pardon't as you are a gentleman. 3680This presence knows,
    And you must needs have heard, how I am punished
    With a sore distraction. What I have done
    That might your nature, honor, and exception
    Roughly awake, I hear proclaim was madness.
    3685Was't Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet.
    If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
    And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
    Then Hamlet does it not; Hamlet denies it.
    Who does it, then? His madness. If't be so,
    3690Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged;
    His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
    Sir, in this audience
    Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
    Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
    3695That I have shot my arrow o'er the house
    And hurt my brother.
    I am satisfied in nature,
    Whose motive in this case should stir me most
    To my revenge. But in my terms of honor
    3700I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement,
    Till by some elder masters of known honor
    I have a voice and precedent of peace
    To keep my name ungored. But till that time
    I do receive your offered love like love,
    3705And will not wrong it.
    I do embrace it freely,
    And will this brother's wager frankly play.--
    Give us the foils. Come on.
    Come, one for me.
    3710Hamlet I'll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
    Your skill shall like a star i'th' darkest night
    Stick fiery off indeed.
    Laertes You mock me, sir.
    Hamlet No, by this hand.
    Give them the foils, young Osric.
    [Foils are handed to Hamlet and Laertes.]
    Cousin Hamlet,
    You know the wager.
    Very well, my lord.
    Your grace has laid the odds o'th'weaker side.
    King I do not fear it; 3720I have seen you both.
    But since he is bettered, we have therefore odds.
    Laertes This is too heavy. Let me see another.
    [He exchanges his foil for another.]
    Hamlet This likes me well. 3725These foils have all a length?
    Osric Ay, my good lord.
    [They] prepare to play.
    King Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
    If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
    Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
    3730Let all the battlements their ordnance fire.
    The King shall drink to Hamlet's better breath,
    And in the cup an union shall he throw
    Richer then that which four successive kings
    In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups,
    And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
    The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
    The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
    "Now the King drinks to Hamlet." Come, begin.
    Trumpets the while.
    3740And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
    Hamlet Come on, sir.
    Laertes Come, my lord.
    They play. [Hamlet scores a hit.]
    Hamlet One.
    Laertes No.
    3745Hamlet [To Osric] Judgment.
    Osric A hit, a very palpable hit.
    Laertes Well, again.
    King Stay. Give me drink. Hamlet this pearl is thine.
    [He drinks, and throws a pearl in Hamlet's cup.]
    3750Here's to thy health.--Give him the cup.
    Trumpets sound, and shot goes off.
    Hamlet I'll play this bout first. Set it by awhile.
    Come. [They fence.] Another hit. What say you?
    Laertes A touch, a touch, I do confess.
    [To the Queen] Our son shall win.
    He's fat and scant of breath.--
    Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.
    [The Queen takes a cup of wine to offer a toast to Hamlet.]
    The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
    Hamlet Good madam.
    3760King Gertrude, do not drink.
    Queen I will, my lord, I pray you pardon me.
    [She drinks.]
    King [Aside] It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.
    Hamlet I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
    Queen Come, let me wipe thy face.
    [Aside to the King] My lord, I'll hit him now.
    [Aside to Laertes] I do not think't.
    Laertes [Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
    3770Hamlet Come for the third, Laertes, you do but dally.
    I pray you, pass with your best violence;
    I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
    Laertes Say you so? Come on.
    [They] play.
    3775Osric Nothing neither way.
    Have at you now!
    [Laertes wounds Hamlet with his unbated rapier.] In scuffling they change rapiers. [Hamlet wounds Laertes.]
    Part them! They are incensed.
    Nay, come again.
    [Laertes falls down. The Queen falls down.]
    Look to the Queen there, ho!
    Horatio They bleed on both sides. [To Hamlet] How is it, my lord?
    Osric How is't, Laertes?
    Laertes Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
    3785I am justly killed with mine own treachery.
    How does the Queen?
    She swoons to see them bleed.
    Queen No, no, the drink, the drink, O my dear Hamlet,
    The drink, the drink! I am poisoned.
    [She dies.]
    Hamlet Oh, villainy! Ho! Let the door be locked.
    Treachery! Seek it out.
    [Exit Osric.]
    Laertes It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain.
    3795No med'cine in the world can do thee good;
    In thee there is not half an hour of life.
    The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
    Unbated and envenomed. The foul practice
    Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie
    3800Never to rise again. Thy mother's poisoned.
    I can no more. The King, the King's to blame.
    Hamlet The point envenomed too? Then, venom, to thy work.
    [He] hurts the King.
    3805All Treason, treason!
    King Oh, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
    Hamlet [Forcing the King to drink] Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damnèd Dane,
    Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
    3810Follow my mother.
    The King dies.
    He is justly served.
    It is a poison tempered by himself.
    Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
    Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
    3815Nor thine on me!
    [He] dies.
    Hamlet Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
    I am dead, Horatio. Wretched Queen, adieu.
    You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
    That are but mutes or audience to this act,
    3820Had I but time, as this fell sergeant Death
    Is strict in his arrest, oh, I could tell you--
    But let it be. Horatio, I am dead,
    Thou liv'st. Report me and my cause aright
    To the unsatisfied.
    Never believe it.
    I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.
    Here's yet some liquor left.
    [He attempts to drink from the poisoned cup, but is prevented by Hamlet.]
    As thou'rt a man,
    Give me the cup! Let go! By heaven I'll ha't.
    3830Oh, God, Horatio, what a wounded name,
    Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
    If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
    Absent thee from felicity awhile,
    And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
    3835To tell my story.
    March afar off, and shout within.
    What warlike noise is this?
    Enter Osric.
    Osric Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
    3840To th'ambassadors of England gives this warlike volley.
    Hamlet Oh, I die, Horatio.
    The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.
    I cannot live to hear the news from England,
    But I do prophesy th'election lights
    3845On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
    So tell him, with th'occurrents more and less
    Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
    Oh, oh, oh, oh!
    [He] dies.
    Horatio Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
    3850And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
    [March within.]
    Why does the drum come hither?
    Enter Fortinbras and the English Ambassadors, with Drum, Colors, and Attendants.
    Where is this sight?
    What is it ye would see?
    If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
    Fortinbras This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
    That thou so many princes at a shot
    3860So bloodily hast struck?
    The sight is dismal,
    And our affairs from England come too late.
    The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
    To tell him his commandment is fulfilled,
    3865That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
    Where should we have our thanks?
    Not from his mouth,
    Had it th'ability of life to thank you;
    He never gave commandment for their death.
    3870But since so jump upon this bloody question
    You from the Polack wars and you from England
    Are here arrived, give order that these bodies
    High on a stage be placèd the view,
    And let me speak to th'yet unknowing world
    3875How these things came about. So shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
    Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
    Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
    And in this upshot, purposes mistook
    3880Fall'n on th'inventors' heads. All this can I
    Truly deliver.
    Let us haste to hear it,
    And call the noblest to the audience.
    For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.
    3885I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
    Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.
    Horatio Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
    And from his mouth 3890whose voice will draw on more.
    But let this same be presently performed,
    Even while men's minds are wild, lest more mischance
    On plots and errors happen.
    Let four captains
    Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
    For he was likely, had he been put on,
    To have proved most royal; and for his passage,
    3900The soldiers' music and the rites of war
    Speak loudly for him.
    Take up the body. Such a sight as this
    Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
    Go bid the soldiers shoot.
    3905Exeunt marching, after the which a peal of ordnance are shot off.