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)

    Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Ro-
    sincrance, Guildenstern, and Lords.
    King. And can you by no drift of circumstance
    Get from him why he puts on this Confusion:
    1650Grating so harshly all his dayes of quiet
    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
    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.
    1790Ham. If thou doest Marry, Ile giue thee this Plague
    for thy Dowrie. Be thou as chast 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 monsters you
    1795make of them. To a Nunnery go, and quickly too. Far-
    Ophe. O heauenly Powers, restore 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 Wantonnesse, 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 rest 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'expectansie and Rose of the faire State,
    The glasse of Fashion, and the mould of Forme,
    1810Th'obseru'd of all Obseruers, quite, quite downe.
    Haue I of Ladies most deiect and wretched,
    That suck'd the Honie of his Musicke Vowes:
    Now see that Noble, and most Soueraigne Reason,
    Like sweet Bels iangled out of tune, and harsh,
    1815That vnmatch'd Forme and Feature of blowne youth,
    Blasted with extasie. 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 Madnesse. 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 fashion 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 best shall thinke.
    1845King. It shall be so:
    Madnesse in great Ones, must not vnwatch'd go.