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. Sir, a whole History.
    2170Guild. The King, sir.
    Ham. I sir, what of him?
    Guild. Is in his retyrement, maruellous distemper'd.
    Ham. With drinke Sir?
    Guild. No my Lord, rather with choller.
    2175Ham. Your wisedome should shew it selfe more ri-
    cher, to signifie this to his Doctor: for for me to put him
    to his Purgation, would perhaps plundge him into farre
    more Choller.
    Guild. Good my Lord put your discourse into some
    2180frame, and start not so wildely from my affayre.
    Ham. I am tame Sir, pronounce.
    Guild. The Queene your Mother, in most great affli-
    ction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
    Ham. You are welcome.
    2185Guild. Nay, good my Lord, this courtesie is not of
    the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a whol-
    some answer, I will doe your Mothers command'ment:
    if not, your pardon, and my returne shall bee the end of
    my Businesse.
    2190Ham. Sir, I cannot.
    Guild. What, my Lord?
    Ham. Make you a wholsome answere: my wits dis-
    eas'd. But sir, such answers as I can make, you shal com-
    mand: or rather you say, my Mother: therfore no more
    2195but to the matter. My Mother you say.
    Rosin. Then thus she sayes: your behauior hath stroke
    her into amazement, and admiration.
    Ham. Oh wonderfull Sonne, that can so astonish a
    Mother. But is there no sequell at the heeles of this Mo-
    2200thers admiration?
    Rosin. She desires to speake with you in her Closset,
    ere you go to bed.
    Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our Mother.
    Haue you any further Trade with vs?
    2205Rosin. My Lord, you once did loue me.
    Ham. So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
    Rosin. Good my Lord, what is your cause of distem-
    per? You do freely barre the doore of your owne Liber-
    tie, if you deny your greefes to your Friend.
    2210Ham. Sir I lacke Aduancement.
    Rosin. How can that be, when you haue the voyce of
    the King himselfe, for your Succession in Denmarke?
    Ham. I, but while the grasse growes, the Prouerbe is
    something musty.
    Enter one with a Recorder.
    O the Recorder. Let me see, to withdraw with you, why
    do you go about to recouer the winde of mee, as if you
    would driue me into a toyle?
    Guild. O my Lord, if my Dutie be too bold, my loue
    2220is too vnmannerly.
    Ham. I do not well vnderstand that. Will you play
    vpon this Pipe?
    Guild. My Lord, I cannot.
    Ham. I pray you.
    2225Guild. Beleeue me, I cannot.
    Ham. I do beseech you.
    Guild. I know no touch of it, my Lord.
    Ham. 'Tis as easie as lying: gouerne these Ventiges
    with your finger and thumbe, giue it breath with your
    2230mouth, and it will discourse most excellent Musicke.
    Looke you, these are the stoppes.
    Guild. But these cannot I command to any vtterance
    of hermony, I haue not the skill.
    Ham. Why looke you now, how vnworthy a thing
    2235you make of me: you would play vpon mee; you would
    seeme to know my stops: you would pluck out the heart
    of my Mysterie; you would sound mee from my lowest
    Note, to the top of my Compasse: and there is much Mu-
    sicke, excellent Voice, in this little Organe, yet cannot
    2240you make it. Why do you thinke, that I am easier to bee
    plaid on, then a Pipe? Call me what Instrument you will,
    though you can fret me, you cannot play vpon me. God
    blesse you Sir.
    Enter Polonius.

    2245Polon. My Lord; the Queene would speak with you,
    and presently.
    Ham. Do you see that Clowd? that's almost in shape
    like a Camell.
    Polon. By'th'Misse, and it's like a Camell indeed.
    2250Ham. Me thinkes it is like a Weazell.
    Polon. It is back'd like a Weazell.
    Ham. Or like a Whale?
    Polon. Verie like a Whale.
    Ham. Then will I come to my Mother, by and by:
    2255They foole me to the top of my bent.
    I will come by and by.
    Polon. I will say so.
    Ham. By and by, is easily said. Leaue me Friends:
    'Tis now the verie witching time of night,
    2260When Churchyards yawne, and Hell it selfe breaths out
    Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
    And do such bitter businesse as the day
    Would quake to looke on. Soft now, to my Mother:
    Oh Heart, loose not thy Nature; let not euer
    2265The Soule of Nero, enter this firme bosome:
    Let me be cruell, not vnnaturall,
    I will speake Daggers to her, but vse none:
    My Tongue and Soule in this be Hypocrites.
    How in my words someuer she be shent,
    2270To giue them Seales, neuer my Soule consent.

    Enter King, Rosincrance, and Guildensterne.
    King. I like him not, nor stands it safe with vs,
    To let his madnesse range. Therefore prepare you,
    I your Commission will forthwith dispatch,
    2275And he to England shall along with you:
    The termes of our estate, may not endure
    Hazard so dangerous as doth hourely grow
    Out of his Lunacies.
    Guild. We will our selues prouide:
    2280Most holie and Religious feare it is
    To keepe those many many bodies safe
    That liue and feede vpon your Maiestie.
    Rosin. The single
    And peculiar life is bound
    2285With all the strength and Armour of the minde,
    To keepe it selfe from noyance: but much more,
    That Spirit, vpon whose spirit depends and rests
    The liues of many, the cease of Maiestie
    Dies not alone; but like a Gulfe doth draw
    2290What's neere it, with it. It is a massie wheele
    Fixt on the Somnet of the highest Mount,
    To whose huge Spoakes, ten thousand lesser things
    Are mortiz'd and adioyn'd: which when it falles,
    Each small annexment, pettie consequence
    2295Attends the boystrous Ruine. Neuer alone
    Did the King sighe, but with a generall grone.
    King. Arme you, I pray you to this speedie Voyage;
    For we will Fetters put vpon this feare,