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.
    And leads the will to desperate Vndertakings,
    As oft as any pa s sion vnder Heauen,
    That does afflict our Natures. I am sorrie,
    What haue you giuen him any hard words of late?
    1005 Ophe. No my good Lord: but as you did command,
    I did repell his Letters, and deny'de
    His acce s s e to me.
    Pol. That hath made him mad.
    I am sorrie that with better speed and iudgement
    1010I had not quoted him. I feare he did but trifle,
    And meant to wracke thee: but be shrew my iealou sie:
    It seemes it is as proper to our Age,
    To ca st beyond our selues in our Opinions,
    As it is common for the yonger sort
    1015To lacke discretion. Come, go we to the King,
    This mu st be knowne, wc being kept close might moue
    More greefe to hide, then hate to vtter loue. Exeunt.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter King, Queene, Ro sincrane, and Guilden-
    1020 sterne Cumaliys
    King. Welcome deere Ro sincrance and Guilden sterne.
    Moreouer, that we much did long to see you,
    The neede we haue to vse you, did prouoke
    Our ha stie sending. Something haue you heard
    1025Of Hamlets transformation: so I call it,
    Since not th'exterior, nor the inward man
    Resembles that it was. What it should bee
    More then his Fathers death, that thus hath put him
    So much from th'vnder standing of himselfe,
    1030I cannot deeme of. I intreat you both,
    That being of so young dayes brought vp with him:
    And since so Neighbour'd to his youth, and humour,
    That you vouchsafe your re st heere in our Court
    Some little time: so by your Companies
    1035To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
    So much as from Occa sions you may gleane,
    That open'd lies within our remedie.
    Qu. Good Gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you,
    And sure I am, two men there are not liuing,
    1040To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
    To shew vs so much Gentrie, and good will,
    As to expend your time with vs a-while,
    For the supply and profit of our Hope,
    Your Vi sitation shall receiue such thankes
    1045As fits a Kings remembrance.
    Ro sin. Both your Maie sties
    Might by the Soueraigne power you haue of vs,
    Put your dread pleasures, more into Command
    Then to Entreatie.
    1050 Guil. We both obey,
    And here giue vp our selues, in the full bent,
    To lay our Seruices freely at your feete,
    To be commanded.
    King. Thankes Ro sincrance, and gentle Guilden sterne.
    1055 Qu. Thankes Guilden sterne and gentle Ro sincrance.
    And I beseech you in stantly to vi sit
    My too much changed Sonne.
    Go some of ye,
    And bring the Gentlemen where Hamlet is.
    1060 Guil. Heauens make our presence and our practises
    Pleasant and helpfull to him. Exit.
    Queene. Amen.
    Enter Polonius.
    Pol. Th'Amba s s adors from Norwey, my good Lord,
    1065Are ioyfully return'd.
    King. Thou still ha st bin the Father of good Newes.
    Pol. Haue I, my Lord? A s s ure you, my good Liege,
    I hold my dutie, as I hold my Soule,
    Both to my God, one to my gracious King:
    1070And I do thinke, or else this braine of mine
    Hunts not the traile of Policie, so sure
    As I haue vs'd to do: that I haue found
    The very cause of Hamlets Lunacie.
    King. Oh speake of that, that I do long to heare.
    1075 Pol. Giue fir st admittance to th'Amba s s adors,
    My Newes shall be the Newes to that great Fea st.
    King. Thy selfe do grace to them, and bring them in.
    He tels me my sweet Queene, that he hath found
    The head and sourse of all your Sonnes di stemper.
    1080 Qu. I doubt it is no other, but the maine,
    His Fathers death, and our o're-ha sty Marriage.
    Enter Polonius, Voltumand, and Cornelius.
    King. Well, we shall sift him. Welcome good Frends:
    Say Voltumand, what from our Brother Norwey?
    1085 Volt. Mo st faire returne of Greetings, and De sires.
    Vpon our fir st, he sent out to suppre s s e
    His Nephewes Leuies, which to him appear'd
    To be a preparation 'gain st the Poleak:
    But better look'd into, he truly found
    1090It was again st your Highne s s e, whereat greeued,
    That so his Sickne s s e, Age, and Impotence
    Was falsely borne in hand, sends out Arre sts
    On Fortinbras, which he (in breefe) obeyes,
    Receiues rebuke from Norwey: and in fine,
    1095Makes Vow before his Vnkle, neuer more
    To giue th'a s s ay of Armes again st your Maie stie.
    Whereon old Norwey, ouercome with ioy,
    Giues him three thousand Crownes in Annuall Fee,
    And his Commi s sion to imploy those Soldiers
    1100So leuied as before, again st the Poleak:
    With an intreaty heerein further shewne,
    That it might please you to giue quiet pa s s e
    Through your Dominions, for his Enterprize,
    On such regards of safety and allowance,
    1105As therein are set downe.
    King. It likes vs well:
    And at our more con sider'd time wee'l read,
    Answer, and thinke vpon this Bu sine s s e.
    Meane time we thanke you, for your well-tooke Labour.
    1110Go to your re st, at night wee'l Fea st together.
    Mo st welcome home. Exit Ambass.
    Pol. This bu sine s s e is very well ended.
    My Liege, and Madam, to expo stulate
    What Maie stie should be, what Dutie is,
    1115Why day is day; night, night; and time is time,
    Were nothing but to wa ste Night, Day, and Time.
    Therefore, since Breuitie is the Soule of Wit,
    And tediousne s s e, the limbes and outward flouri shes,
    I will be breefe. Your Noble Sonne is mad:
    1120Mad call I it; for to define true Madne s s e,
    What is't, but to be nothing else but mad.
    But let that go.
    Qu. More matter, with le s s e Art.
    Pol. Madam, I sweare I vse no Art at all:
    1125That he is mad, 'tis true: 'Tis true 'tis pittie,
    And pittie it is true: A fooli sh figure,
    But farewell it: for I will vse no Art.