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.
    fashion, and so be-ratled the common Stages (so they
    1390call them) that many wearing Rapiers, are affraide of
    Goose-quils, and dare scarse come thither.
    Ham. What are they Children? Who maintains 'em?
    How are they escoted? Will they pursue the Quality no
    longer then they can sing? Will they not say afterwards
    1395if they should grow themselues to common Players (as
    it is like most if their meanes are not better) their Wri-
    ters do them wrong, to make them exclaim against their
    owne Succession.
    Rosin. Faith there ha's bene much to do on both sides:
    1400and the Nation holds it no sinne, to tarre them to Con-
    trouersie. There was for a while, no mony bid for argu-
    ment, vnlesse the Poet and the Player went to Cuffes in
    the Question.
    Ham. Is't possible?
    1405Guild. Oh there ha's beene much throwing about of
    Ham. Do the Boyes carry it away?
    Rosin. I that they do my Lord. Hercules & his load too.
    Ham. It is not strange: for mine Vnckle is King of
    1410Denmarke, and those that would make mowes at him
    while my Father liued; giue twenty, forty, an hundred
    Ducates a peece, for his picture in Little. There is some-
    thing in this more then Naturall, if Philosophie could
    finde it out.
    Flourish for the Players.
    Guil. There are the Players.
    Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcom to Elsonower: your
    hands, come: The appurtenance of Welcome, is Fashion
    and Ceremony. Let me comply with you in the Garbe,
    1420lest my extent to the Players (which I tell you must shew
    fairely outward) should more appeare like entertainment
    then yours. You are welcome: but my Vnckle Father,
    and Aunt Mother are deceiu'd.
    Guil. In what my deere Lord?
    1425Ham. I am but mad North, North-West: when the
    Winde is Southerly, I know a Hawke from a Handsaw.
    Enter Polonius.
    Pol. Well be with you Gentlemen.
    Ham. Hearke you Guildensterne, and you too: at each
    1430eare a hearer: that great Baby you see there, is not yet
    out of his swathing clouts.
    Rosin. Happily he's the second time come to them: for
    they say, an old man is twice a childe.
    Ham. I will Prophesie. Hee comes to tell me of the
    1435Players. Mark it, you say right Sir: for a Monday mor-
    ning 'twas so indeed.
    Pol. My Lord, I haue Newes to tell you.
    Ham. My Lord, I haue Newes to tell you.
    When Rossius an Actor in Rome---
    1440Pol. The Actors are come hither my Lord.
    Ham. Buzze, buzze.
    Pol. Vpon mine Honor.
    Ham. Then can each Actor on his Asse---
    Polon. The best Actors in the world, either for Trage-
    1445die, Comedie, Historie, Pastorall: Pastoricall-Comicall-
    Historicall-Pastorall: Tragicall-Historicall: Tragicall-
    Comicall-Historicall-Pastorall: Scene indiuidible: or Po-
    em vnlimited. Seneca cannot be too heauy, nor Plautus
    too light, for the law of Writ, and the Liberty. These are
    1450the onely men.
    Ham. O Iephta Iudge of Israel, what a Treasure had'st
    Pol. What a Treasure had he, my Lord?
    Ham. Why one faire Daughter, and no more,
    1455The which he loued passing well.
    Pol. Still on my Daughter.
    Ham. Am I not i'th'right old Iephta?
    Polon. If you call me Iephta my Lord, I haue a daugh-
    ter that I loue passing well.
    1460Ham. Nay that followes not.
    Polon. What followes then, my Lord?
    Ha. Why, As by lot, God wot: and then you know, It
    came to passe, as most like it was: The first rowe of the
    Pons Chanson will shew you more. For looke where my
    1465Abridgements come.
    Enter foure or fiue Players.
    Y'are welcome Masters, welcome all. I am glad to see
    thee well: Welcome good Friends. O my olde Friend?
    Thy face is valiant since I saw thee last: Com'st thou to
    1470beard me in Denmarke? What, my yong Lady and Mi-
    stris? Byrlady your Ladiship is neerer Heauen then when
    I saw you last, by the altitude of a Choppine. Pray God
    your voice like a peece of vncurrant Gold be not crack'd
    within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome: wee'l e'ne
    1475to't like French Faulconers, flie at any thing we see: wee'l
    haue a Speech straight. Come giue vs a tast of your qua-
    lity: come, a passionate speech.
    1. Play. What speech, my Lord?
    Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was
    1480neuer Acted: or if it was, not aboue once, for the Play I
    remember pleas'd not the Million, 'twas Cauiarie to the
    Generall: but it was (as I receiu'd it, and others, whose
    iudgement in such matters, cried in the top of mine) an
    excellent Play; well digested in the Scoenes, set downe
    1485with as much modestie, as cunning. I remember one said,
    there was no Sallets in the lines, to make the matter sa-
    uouty; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the
    Author of affectation, but cal'd it an honest method. One
    cheefe Speech in it, I cheefely lou'd, 'twas Aeneas Tale
    1490to Dido, and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks
    of Priams slaughter. If it liue in your memory, begin at
    this Line, let me see, let me see: The rugged Pyrrhus like
    th' Hyrcanian Beast. It is not so: it begins with Pyrrhus
    The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose Sable Armes
    1495Blacke as his purpose, did the night resemble
    When he lay couched in the Ominous Horse,
    Hath now this dread and blacke Complexion smear'd
    With Heraldry more dismall: Head to foote
    Now is he to take Geulles, horridly Trick'd
    1500With blood of Fathers, Mothers, Daughters, Sonnes,
    Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
    That lend a tyrannous, and damned light
    To their vilde Murthers, roasted in wrath and fire,
    And thus o're-sized with coagulate gore,
    1505VVith eyes like Carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
    Olde Grandsire Priam seekes.
    Pol. Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good ac-
    cent, and good discretion.
    1. Player. Anon he findes him,
    1510Striking too short at Greekes. His anticke Sword,
    Rebellious to his Arme, lyes where it falles
    Repugnant to command: vnequall match,
    Pyrrhus at Priam driues, in Rage strikes wide:
    But with the whiffe and winde of his fell Sword,
    1515Th'vnnerued Father fals. Then senselesse Illium,
    Seeming to feele his blow, with flaming top
    Stoopes to his Bace, and with a hideous crash
    Takes Prisoner Pyrrhus eare. For loe, his Sword
    Which was declining on the Milkie head
    1520Of Reuerend Priam, seem'd i'th' Ayre to sticke: