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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.
    Fellowes as I do, crawling betweene Heauen and Earth.
    We are arrant Knaues all, beleeue none of vs. Goe thy
    1785wayes to a Nunnery. Where's your Father?
    Ophe. At home, my Lord.
    Ham. Let the doores be shut vpon him, that he may
    play the Foole no way, but in's owne house. Farewell.
    Ophe. O helpe him, you sweet Heauens.
    1790 Ham. If thou doe st Marry, Ile giue thee this Plague
    for thy Dowrie. Be thou as cha st as Ice, as pure as Snow,
    thou shalt not escape Calumny. Get thee to a Nunnery.
    Go, Farewell. Or if thou wilt needs Marry, marry a fool:
    for Wise men know well enough, what mon sters you
    1795make of them. To a Nunnery go, and quickly too. Far-
    Ophe. O heauenly Powers, re store him.
    Ham. I haue heard of your pratlings too wel enough.
    God has giuen you one pace, and you make your selfe an-
    1800other: you gidge, you amble, and you lispe, and nickname
    Gods creatures, and make your Wantonne s s e, your Ig-
    norance. Go too, Ile no more on't, it hath made me mad.
    I say, we will haue no more Marriages. Those that are
    married already, all but one shall liue, the re st shall keep
    1805as they are. To a Nunnery, go. Exit Hamlet.
    Ophe. O what a Noble minde is heere o're-throwne?
    The Courtiers, Soldiers, Schollers: Eye, tongue, sword,
    Th'expectan sie and Rose of the faire State,
    The gla s s e of Fa shion, and the mould of Forme,
    1810Th'obseru'd of all Obseruers, quite, quite downe.
    Haue I of Ladies mo st deiect and wretched,
    That suck'd the Honie of his Mu sicke Vowes:
    Now see that Noble, and mo st Soueraigne Reason,
    Like sweet Bels iangled out of tune, and har sh,
    1815That vnmatch'd Forme and Feature of blowne youth,
    Bla sted with exta sie. Oh woe is me,
    T'haue seene what I haue seene: see what I see.

    Enter King, and Polonius.
    King. Loue? His affections do not that way tend,
    1820Nor what he spake, though it lack'd Forme a little,
    Was not like Madne s s e. There's something in his soule?
    O're which his Melancholly sits on brood,
    And I do doubt the hatch, and the disclose
    Will be some danger, which to preuent
    1825I haue in quicke determination
    Thus set it downe. He shall with speed to England
    For the demand of our neglected Tribute:
    Haply the Seas and Countries different
    With variable Obiects, shall expell
    1830This something setled matter in his heart:
    Whereon his Braines still beating, puts him thus
    From fa shion of himselfe. What thinke you on't?
    Pol. It shall do well. But yet do I beleeue
    The Origin and Commencement of this greefe
    1835Sprung from neglected loue. How now Ophelia?
    You neede not tell vs, what Lord Hamlet saide,
    We heard it all. My Lord, do as you please,
    But if you hold it fit after the Play,
    Let his Queene Mother all alone intreat him
    1840To shew his Greefes: let her be round with him,
    And Ile be plac'd so, please you in the eare
    Of all their Conference. If she finde him not,
    To England send him: Or confine him where
    Your wisedome be st shall thinke.
    1845 King. It shall be so:
    Madne s s e in great Ones, mu st not vnwatch'd go.

    Enter Hamlet, and two or three of the Players.

    Ham. Speake the Speech I pray you, as I pronounc'd
    1850it to you trippingly on the Tongue: But if you mouth it,
    as many of your Players do, I had as liue the Town-Cryer
    had spoke my Lines: Nor do not saw the Ayre too much
    your hand thus, but vse all gently; for in the verie Tor-
    rent, Tempe st, and (as I may say) the Whirle-winde of
    1855Pa s sion, you mu st acquire and beget a Temperance that
    may giue it Smoothne s s e. O it offends mee to the Soule,
    to see a robu stious Pery-wig-pated Fellow, teare a Pa s si -
    on to tatters, to verie ragges, to split the eares of the
    Groundlings: who (for the mo st part) are capeable of
    1860nothing, but inexplicable dumbe shewes, & noise: I could
    haue such a Fellow whipt for o're-doing Termagant: it
    out- Herod's Herod. Pray you auoid it.
    Player. I warrant your Honor.
    Ham. Be not too tame neyther: but let your owne
    1865Discretion be your Tutor. Sute the Action to the Word,
    the Word to the Action, with this speciall obseruance:
    That you ore- stop not the mode stie of Nature; for any
    thing so ouer-done, is frõ the purpose of Playing, whose
    end both at the fir st and now, was and is, to hold as 'twer
    1870the Mirrour vp to Nature; to shew Vertue her owne
    Feature, Scorne her owne Image, and the verie Age and
    Bodie of the Time, his forme and pre s s ure. Now, this
    ouer-done, or come tardie off, though it make the vnskil-
    full laugh, cannot but make the Iudicious greeue; The
    1875censure of the which One, mu st in your allowance o're-
    way a whole Theater of Others. Oh, there bee Players
    that I haue seene Play, and heard others praise, and that
    highly (not to speake it prophanely) that neyther hauing
    the accent of Chri stians, nor the gate of Chri stian, Pagan,
    1880or Norman, haue so strutted and bellowed, that I haue
    thought some of Natures Iouerney-men had made men,
    and not made them well, they imitated Humanity so ab-
    Play. I hope we haue reform'd that indifferently with
    1885vs, Sir.
    Ham. O reforme it altogether. And let those that
    play your Clownes, speake no more then is set downe for
    them. For there be of them, that will themselues laugh,
    to set on some quantitie of barren Spectators to laugh
    1890too, though in the meane time, some nece s s ary Que stion
    of the Play be then to be con sidered: that's Villanous, &
    shewes a mo st pittifull Ambition in the Foole that vses
    it. Go make you readie. Exit Players.

    Enter Polonius, Ro sincrance, and Guilden sterne.

    1895How now my Lord,
    Will the King heare this peece of Worke?
    Pol. And the Queene too, and that presently.
    Ham. Bid the Players make ha st. Exit Polonius.
    Will you two helpe to ha sten them?
    1900 Both. We will my Lord. Exeunt.
    Enter Horatio.
    Ham. What hoa, Horatio?
    Hora. Heere sweet Lord, at your Seruice.
    Ham. Horatio, thou art eene as iu st a man
    1905As ere my Conuersation coap'd withall.
    Hora. O my deere Lord.
    Ham. Nay, do not thinke I flatter:
    For what aduancement may I hope from thee,
    That no Reuennew ha st, but thy good spirits