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.
    What does this meane my Lord?
    Ham. The King doth wake to night, and takes his (rouse,
    Keepes wa s s els and the swaggering vpspring reeles,
    And as he dreines his draughts of Reni sh downe,
    615The kettle Drum and Trumpet thus bray out
    The triumph of his Pledge.
    Horat. Is it a cu stome?
    Ham. I marry i st;
    And to my mind, though I am natiue heere,
    620And to the manner borne: It is a Cu stome
    More honour'd in the breach, then the obseruance.
    Enter Gho st .
    Hor. Looke my Lord, it comes.
    Ham. Angels and Mini sters of Grace defend vs:
    625Be thou a Spirit of health, or Goblin damn'd,
    Bring with thee ayres from Heauen, or bla sts from Hell,
    Be thy euents wicked or charitable,
    Thou com' st in such a que stionable shape
    That I will speake to thee. Ile call thee Hamlet,
    630King, Father, Royall Dane: Oh, oh, answer me,
    Let me not bur st in Ignorance; but tell
    Why thy Canoniz'd bones Hearsed in death,
    Haue bur st their cerments, why the Sepulcher
    Wherein we saw thee quietly enurn'd,
    635Hath op'd his ponderous and Marble iawes,
    To ca st thee vp againe? What may this meane?
    That thou dead Coarse againe in compleat steele,
    Reui sits thus the glimpses of the Moone,
    Making Night hidious? And we fooles of Nature,
    640So horridly to shake our dispo sition,
    With thoughts beyond thee; reaches of our Soules,
    Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we doe?
    Gho st beckens Hamlet.
    Hor. It beckons you to goe away with it,
    645As if it some impartment did de sire
    To you alone.
    Mar. Looke with what courteous action
    It wafts you to a more remoued ground:
    But doe not goe with it.
    650 Hor. No, by no meanes.
    Ham. It will not speake: then will I follow it.
    Hor. Doe not my Lord.
    Ham. Why, what should be the feare?
    I doe not set my life at a pins fee;
    655And for my Soule, what can it doe to that?
    Being a thing immortall as it selfe:
    It waues me forth againe; Ile follow it.
    Hor. What if it tempt you toward the Floud my Lord?
    Or to the dreadfull Sonnet of the Cliffe,
    660That beetles o're his base into the Sea,
    And there a s s umes some other horrible forme,
    Which might depriue your Soueraignty of Reason,
    And draw you into madne s s e thinke of it?
    Ham. It wafts me still: goe on, Ile follow thee.
    665 Mar. You shall not goe my Lord.
    Ham. Hold off your hand.
    Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not goe.
    Ham. My fate cries out,
    And makes each petty Artire in this body,
    670As hardy as the Nemian Lions nerue:
    Still am I cal'd? Vnhand me Gentlemen:
    By Heau'n, Ile make a Gho st of him that lets me:
    I say away, goe on, Ile follow thee.
    Exeunt Gho st & Hamlet.
    675 Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination.
    Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
    Hor. Haue after, to what i s s ue will this come?
    Mar. Something is rotten in the State of Denmarke.
    Hor. Heauen will direct it.
    680 Mar. Nay, let's follow him. Exeunt.
    Enter Gho st and Hamlet.
    Ham. Where wilt thou lead me? speak; Ile go no fur- (ther.
    Gho. Marke me.
    Ham. I will.
    685 Gho. My hower is almo st come,
    When I to sulphurous and tormenting Flames
    Mu st render vp my selfe.
    Ham. Alas poore Gho st.
    Gho. Pitty me not, but lend thy serious hearing
    690To what I shall vnfold.
    Ham. Speake, I am bound to heare.
    Gho. So art thou to reuenge, when thou shalt heare.
    Ham. What?
    Gho. I am thy Fathers Spirit,
    695Doom'd for a certaine terme to walke the night;
    And for the day confin'd to fa st in Fiers,
    Till the foule crimes done in my dayes of Nature
    Are burnt and purg'd away? But that I am forbid
    To tell the secrets of my Prison-House;
    700I could a Tale vnfold, whose lighte st word
    Would harrow vp thy soule, freeze thy young blood,
    Make thy two eyes like Starres, start from their Spheres,
    Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
    And each particular haire to stand an end,
    705Like Quilles vpon the fretfull Porpentine:
    But this eternall blason mu st not be
    To eares of fle sh and bloud; li st Hamlet, oh li st,
    If thou did st euer thy deare Father loue.
    Ham. Oh Heauen!
    710 Gho. Reuenge his foule and mo st vnnaturall Murther.
    Ham. Murther?
    Gho st . Murther mo st foule, as in the be st it is;
    But this mo st foule, strange, and vnnaturall.
    Ham. Ha st, ha st me to know it,
    715That with wings as swift
    As meditation, or the thoughts of Loue,
    May sweepe to my Reuenge.
    Gho st . I finde thee apt,
    And duller should' st thou be then the fat weede
    720That rots it selfe in ease, on Lethe Wharfe,
    Would' st thou not stirre in this. Now Hamlet heare:
    It's giuen out, that sleeping in mine Orchard,
    A Serpent stung me: so the whole eare of Denmarke,
    Is by a forged proce s s e of my death
    725Rankly abus'd: But know thou Noble youth,
    The Serpent that did sting thy Fathers life,
    Now weares his Crowne.
    Ham. O my Propheticke soule: mine Vncle?
    Gho st . I that ince stuous, that adulterate Bea st
    730With witchcraft of his wits, hath Traitorous guifts.
    Oh wicked Wit, and Gifts, that haue the power
    So to seduce? Won to to this shamefull Lu st
    The will of my mo st seeming vertuous Queene:
    Oh Hamlet, what a falling off was there,
    735From me, whose loue was of that dignity,
    That it went hand in hand, euen with the Vow
    I made to her in Marriage; and to decline
    Vpon a wretch, whose Naturall gifts were poore
    To those of mine. But Vertue, as it neuer wil be moued,
    740Though Lewdne s s e court it in a shape of Heauen:
    So Lu st, though to a radiant Angell link'd,
    Will sate it selfe in a Cele stiallbed, & prey on Garbage.