Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • 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
    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.

    1265 Enter Ro sincran and Guilden sterne.
    Ro sin. God saue you Sir.
    Guild. Mine honour'd Lord?
    Ro sin. My mo st deare Lord?
    Ham. My excellent good friends? How do' st thou
    1270 Guilden sterne? Oh, Ro sincrane; good Lads: How doe ye
    Ro sin. 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.
    1275 Ham. Nor the Soales of her Shoo?
    Ro sin. Neither my Lord.
    Ham. Then you liue about her wa ste, or in the mid-
    dle of her fauour?
    Guil. Faith, her priuates, we.
    1280 Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, mo st true:
    she is a Strumpet. What's the newes?
    Ro sin. None my Lord; but that the World's growne
    hone st.
    Ham. Then is Doomesday neere: But your newes is
    1285not true. Let me que stion 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.
    1290 Ro sin. Then is the World one.
    Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many Con-
    fines, Wards, and Dungeons; Denmarke being one o'th'
    wor st.
    Ro sin. We thinke not so my Lord.
    1295 Ham. 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.
    Ro sin. Why then your Ambition makes it one: 'tis
    too narrow for your minde.
    1300 Ham. O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell, 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 sub stance of the Ambitious, is meerely the shadow
    1305of a Dreame.
    Ham. A dreame it selfe is but a shadow.
    Ro sin. 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
    1315re st of my seruants: for to speake to you like an hone st
    man: I am mo st dreadfully attended; but in the beaten
    way of friend ship, What make you at Elsonower?
    Ro sin. To vi sit you my Lord, no other occa sion.
    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 vi sitation? Come,
    deale iu stly with me: come, come; nay speake.
    Guil. What should we say my Lord?
    1325 Ham. Why any thing. But to the purpose; you were
    sent for; and there is a kinde confe s sion in your lookes;
    which your mode sties haue not craft enough to co-
    lor, I know the good King & Queene haue sent for you.
    Ro sin. To what end my Lord?
    1330 Ham. That you mu st teach me: but let mee coniure
    you by the rights of our fellow ship, 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.
    Ro sin. 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.
    1340 Ham. 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, lo st all my mirth, forgone all cu stome of ex-
    ercise; and indeed, it goes so heauenly with my dispo siti-
    1345on; that this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to me a ster-
    rill Promontory; this mo st excellent Canopy the Ayre,
    look you, this braue ore-hanging, this Maie sticall Roofe,
    fretted with golden fire: why, it appeares no other thing
    to mee, then a foule and pe stilent 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 expre s s e and admirable? in Action, how like an An-
    gel? in apprehen sion, how like a God? the beauty of the
    world, the Parragon of Animals; and yet to me, what is
    1355this Quinte s s ence of Du st? Man delights not me; no,
    nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seeme
    to say so.
    Ro sin. My Lord, there was no such stuffe in my
    1360 Ham. Why did you laugh, when I said, Man delights
    not me?
    Ro sin. 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
    Maie sty 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?
    Ro sin. Euen those you were wont to take delight in
    1375the Tragedians of the City.
    Ham. How chances it they trauaile? their re si -
    dence both in reputation and profit was better both
    Ro sin. I thinke their Inhibition comes by the meanes
    1380of the late Innouation?
    Ham. Doe they hold the same e stimation they did
    when I was in the City? Are they so follow'd?
    Ro sin. No indeed, they are not.
    Ham. How comes it? doe they grow ru sty?
    1385 Ro sin. 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 que stion; and
    are mo st tyrannically clap't for't: these are now the
    fa shi-