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.
    With turbulent and dangerous Lunacy.
    Rosin. He does confesse he feeles himselfe distracted,
    But from what cause he will by no meanes speake.
    Guil. Nor do we finde him forward to be sounded,
    1655But with a crafty Madnesse keepes aloofe:
    When we would bring him on to some Confession
    Of his true state.
    Qu. Did he receiue you well?
    Rosin. Most like a Gentleman.
    1660Guild. But with much forcing of his disposition.
    Rosin. Niggard of question, but of our demands
    Most free in his reply.
    Qu. Did you assay him to any pastime?
    Rosin. Madam, it so fell out, that certaine Players
    1665We ore-wrought on the way: of these we told him,
    And there did seeme in him a kinde of ioy
    To heare of it: They are about the Court,
    And (as I thinke) they haue already order
    This night to play before him.
    1670Pol. 'Tis most true:
    And he beseech'd me to intreate your Maiesties
    To heare, and see the matter.
    King. With all my heart, and it doth much content me
    To heare him so inclin'd. Good Gentlemen,
    1675Giue him a further edge, and driue his purpose on
    To these delights.
    Rosin. We shall my Lord.
    King. Sweet Gertrude leaue vs too,
    For we haue closely sent for Hamlet hither,
    1680That he, as 'twere by accident, may there
    Affront Ophelia. Her Father, and my selfe (lawful espials)
    Will so bestow our selues, that seeing vnseene
    We may of their encounter frankely iudge,
    And gather by him, as he is behaued,
    1685If't be th'affliction of his loue, or no.
    That thus he suffers for.
    Qu. I shall obey you,
    And for your part Ophelia, I do wish
    That your good Beauties be the happy cause
    1690Of Hamlets wildenesse: so shall I hope your Vertues
    Will bring him to his wonted way againe,
    To both your Honors.
    Ophe. Madam, I wish it may.
    Pol. Ophelia, walke you heere. Gracious so please ye
    1695We will bestow our selues: Reade on this booke,
    That shew of such an exercise may colour
    Your lonelinesse. We are oft too blame in this,
    'Tis too much prou'd, that with Deuotions visage,
    And pious Action, we do surge o're
    1700The diuell himselfe.
    King. Oh 'tis true:
    How smart a lash that speech doth giue my Conscience?
    The Harlots Cheeke beautied with plaist'ring Art
    Is not more vgly to the thing that helpes it,
    1705Then is my deede, to my most painted word.
    Oh heauie burthen!
    Pol. I heare him comming, let's withdraw my Lord.
    Enter Hamlet.
    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 dye, to sleepe
    1715No more; and by a sleepe, to say we end
    The Heart-ake, and the thousand Naturall shockes
    That Flesh is heyre too? 'Tis a consummation
    Deuoutly to be wish'd. To dye 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 shufflel'd off this mortall coile,
    Must giue vs pawse. There's the respect
    That makes Calamity of so long life:
    For who would beare the Whips and Scornes of time,
    1725The Oppressors wrong, the poore mans Contumely,
    The pangs of dispriz'd Loue, the Lawes delay,
    The insolence of Office, and the Spurnes
    That patient merit of the vnworthy takes,
    When he himselfe might his Quietus make
    1730With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardles beare
    To grunt and sweat vnder a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The vndiscouered Countrey, from whose Borne
    No Traueller returnes, Puzels the will,
    1735And makes vs rather beare those illes we haue,
    Then flye to others that we know not of.
    Thus Conscience does make Cowards of vs all,
    And thus the Natiue hew of Resolution
    Is sicklied o're, with the pale cast of Thought,
    1740And enterprizes of great pith and moment,
    With this regard their Currants turne away,
    And loose the name of Action. Soft you now,
    The faire Ophelia? Nimph, in thy Orizons
    Be all my sinnes remembred.
    1745Ophe. Good my Lord,
    How does your Honor for this many a day?
    Ham. I humbly thanke you: well, well, well.
    Ophe. My Lord, I haue Remembrances of yours,
    That I haue longed long to re-deliuer.
    1750I pray you now, receiue them.
    Ham. No, no, I neuer gaue you ought.
    Ophe. My honor'd Lord, I know right well you did,
    And with them words of so sweet breath compos'd,
    As made the things more rich, then perfume left:
    1755Take these againe, for to the Noble minde
    Rich gifts wax poore, when giuers proue vnkinde.
    There my Lord.
    Ham. Ha, ha: Are you honest?
    Ophe. My Lord.
    1760Ham. Are you faire?
    Ophe. What meanes your Lordship?
    Ham. That if you be honest and faire, your Honesty
    should admit no discourse to your Beautie.
    Ophe. Could Beautie my Lord, haue better Comerce
    1765then your Honestie?
    Ham. I trulie: for the power of Beautie, will sooner
    transforme Honestie from what it is, to a Bawd, then the
    force of Honestie can translate Beautie into his likenesse.
    This was sometime a Paradox, but now the time giues it
    1770proofe. I did loue you once.
    Ophe. Indeed my Lord, you made me beleeue so.
    Ham. You should not haue beleeued me. For vertue
    cannot so innocculate our old stocke, but we shall rellish
    of it. I loued you not.
    1775Ophe. I was the more deceiued.
    Ham. Get thee to a Nunnerie. Why would'st thou
    be a breeder of Sinners? I am my selfe indifferent honest,
    but yet I could accuse me of such things, that it were bet-
    ter my Mother had not borne me. I am very prowd, re-
    1780uengefull, Ambitious, with more offences at my becke,
    then I haue thoughts to put them in imagination, to giue
    them shape, or time to acte them in. What should such