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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)

    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-
    hominably.
    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
    1910To feed & cloath thee. Why shold the poor be flatter'd?
    No, let the Candied tongue, like absurd pompe,
    And crooke the pregnant Hindges of the knee,
    Where thrift may follow faining? Do st thou heare,
    Since my deere Soule was Mi stris of my choyse,
    1915And could of men di stingui sh, her election
    Hath seal'd thee for her selfe. For thou ha st bene
    As one in suffering all, that suffers nothing.
    A man that Fortunes buffets, and Rewards
    Hath 'tane with equall Thankes. And ble st are those,
    1920Whose Blood and Iudgement are so well co-mingled,
    That they are not a Pipe for Fortunes finger,
    To sound what stop she please. Giue me that man,
    That is not Pa s sions Slaue, and I will weare him
    In my hearts Core: I, in my Heart of heart,
    1925As I do thee. Something too much of this.
    There is a Play to night before the King,
    One Scoene of it comes neere the Circum stance
    Which I haue told thee, of my Fathers death.
    I prythee, when thou see' st that Acte a-foot,
    1930Euen with the verie Comment of my Soule
    Obserue mine Vnkle: If his occulted guilt,
    Do not it selfe vnkennell in one speech,
    It is a damned Gho st that we haue seene:
    And my Imaginations are as foule
    1935As Vulcans Stythe. Giue him needfull note,
    For I mine eyes will riuet to his Face:
    And after we will both our iudgements ioyne,
    To censure of his seeming.
    Hora. Well my Lord.
    1940If he steale ought the whil' st this Play is Playing,
    And scape detecting, I will pay the Theft.
    Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Ro sincrance,
    Guilden sterne, and other Lords attendant with
    his Guard carrying Torches. Dani sh
    1945 March. Sound a Flouri sh .
    Ham. They are comming to the Play: I mu st be idle.
    Get you a place.
    King. How fares our Co sin Hamlet?
    Ham. Excellent Ifaith, of the Camelions di sh: I eate
    1950the Ayre promise-cramm'd, you cannot feed Capons so.
    King. I haue nothing with this answer Hamlet, these
    words are not mine.
    Ham. No, nor mine. Now my Lord, you plaid once
    i'th'Vniuer sity, you say?
    1955 Polon. That I did my Lord, and was accounted a good
    Actor.
    Ham. And what did you enact?
    Pol. I did enact Iulius Cæ sar, I was kill'd i'th'Capitol:
    Brutus kill'd me.
    1960 Ham. It was a bruite part of him, to kill so Capitall a
    Calfe there. Be the Players ready?
    Ro sin. I my Lord, they stay vpon your patience.
    Qu. Come hither my good Hamlet, sit by me.
    Ha. No good Mother, here's Mettle more attractiue.
    1965 Pol. Oh ho, do you marke that?
    Ham. Ladie, shall I lye in your Lap?
    Ophe. No my Lord.
    Ham. I meane, my Head vpon your Lap?
    Ophe. I my Lord.
    1970 Ham. Do you thinke I meant Country matters?
    Ophe. I thinke nothing, my Lord.
    Ham. That's a faire thought to ly between Maids legs
    Ophe. What is my Lord?
    Ham. Nothing.
    1975 Ophe. You are merrie, my Lord?
    Ham. Who I?
    Ophe. I my Lord.
    Ham. Oh God, your onely Iigge-maker: what should
    a man do, but be merrie. For looke you how cheereful-
    1980ly my Mother lookes, and my Father dyed within's two
    Houres.
    Ophe. Nay, 'tis twice two moneths, my Lord.
    Ham. So long? Nay then let the Diuel weare blacke,
    for Ile haue a suite of Sables. Oh Heauens! dye two mo-
    1985neths ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a
    great mans Memorie, may out-liue his life halfe a yeare:
    But byrlady he mu st builde Churches then: or else shall
    he suffer not thinking on, with the Hoby-hor s s e, whose
    Epitaph is, For o, For o, the Hoby-horse is forgot.
    1990 Hoboyes play. The dumbe shew enters.
    Enter a King and Queene, very louingly; the Queene embra -
    cing him. She kneeles, and makes shew of Prote station vnto
    him. He takes her vp, and dcclines his head vpon her neck.
    Layes him downe vpon a Banke of Flowers. She seeing him
    1995 a- sleepe, leaues him. Anon comes in a Fellow, takes off his
    Crowne, ki s s es it, and powres poyson in the Kings eares, and
    Exits. The Queene returnes, findes the King dead, and
    makes pa s sionate Action. The Poysoner, with some two or
    three Mutes comes in againe, seeming to lament with her.
    2000 The dead body is carried away: The Poysoner Wooes the
    Queene with Gifts, she seemes loath and vnwilling awhile,
    but in the end, accepts his loue. Exeunt
    Ophe. What meanes this, my Lord?
    Ham. Marry this is Miching Malicho, that meanes
    2005Mischeefe.
    Ophe. Belike this shew imports the Argument of the
    Play?
    Ham. We shall know by these Fellowes: the Players
    cannot keepe counsell, they'l tell all.
    2010 Ophe. Will they tell vs what this shew meant?
    Ham. I, or any shew that you'l shew him. Bee not
    you a sham'd to shew, hee'l not shame to tell you what it
    meanes.
    Ophe. You are naught, you are naught, Ile marke the
    2015Play.
    Enter Prologue.
    For vs, and for our Tragedie,
    Heere stooping to your Clemencie:
    We begge your hearing Patientlie.
    2020 Ham. Is this a Prologue, or the Poe sie of a Ring?
    Ophe. 'Tis briefe my Lord.
    Ham. As Womans loue.
    Enter King and his Queene.
    King. Full thirtie times hath Phoebus Cart gon round,
    2025Neptunes salt Wa sh, and Tellus Orbed ground:
    And thirtie dozen Moones with borrowed sheene,
    About the World haue times twelue thirties beene,
    Since loue our hearts, and Hymen did our hands
    Vnite comutuall, in mo st sacred Bands.
    2030 Bap. So many iournies may the Sunne and Moone
    Make vs againe count o're, ere loue be done.
    But woe is me, you are so sicke of late,
    So farre from cheere, and from your forme state,
    That I di stru st you: yet though I di stru st,
    2035Discomfort you (my Lord) it nothing mu st:
    For womens Feare and Loue, holds quantitie,
    In neither ought, or in extremity:
    Now what my loue is, proofe hath made you know,
    And as my Loue is siz'd, my Feare is so.
    2040 King. Faith I mu st leaue thee Loue, and shortly too:
    My operant Powers my Functions leaue to do:
    And thou shalt liue in this faire world behinde,
    Honour'd, belou'd, and haply, one as kinde.
    For Husband shalt thou-----
    2045 Bap. Oh confound the re st:
    Such Loue, mu st needs be Treason in my bre st:
    In second Husband, let me be accur st,
    None wed the second, but who kill'd the fir st.
    Ham. Wormwood, Wormwood.
    2050 Bapt. The in stances that second Marriage moue,
    Are base respects of Thrift, but none of Loue.
    A second time, I kill my Husband dead,
    When second Husband ki s s es me in Bed.
    King. I do beleeue you. Think what now you speak:
    2055But what we do determine, oft we breake:
    Purpose is but the slaue to Memorie,
    Of violent Birth, but poore validitie:
    Which now like Fruite vnripe stickes on the Tree,
    But fall vn shaken, when they mellow bee.
    2060Mo st nece s s ary 'tis, that we forget
    To pay our selues, what to our selues is debt:
    What to our selues in pa s sion we propose,
    The pa s sion ending, doth the purpose lose.
    The violence of other Greefe or Ioy,
    2065Their owne ennactors with themselues de stroy:
    Where Ioy mo st Reuels, Greefe doth mo st lament;
    Greefe ioyes, Ioy greeues on slender accident.
    This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
    That euen our Loues should with our Fortunes change.
    2070For 'tis a que stion left vs yet to proue,
    Whether Loue lead Fortune, or else Fortune Loue.
    The great man downe, you marke his fauourites flies,
    The poore aduanc'd, makes Friends of Enemies:
    And hitherto doth Loue on Fortune tend,
    2075For who not needs, shall neuer lacke a Frend:
    And who in want a hollow Friend doth try,
    Directly seasons him his Enemie.
    But orderly to end, where I begun,
    Our Willes and Fates do so contrary run,
    2080That our Deuices still are ouerthrowne,
    Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our owne.
    So thinke thou wilt no second Husband wed.
    But die thy thoughts, when thy fir st Lord is dead.
    Bap. Nor Earth to giue me food, nor Heauen light,
    2085Sport and repose locke from me day and night:
    Each oppo site that blankes the face of ioy,
    Meet what I would haue well, and it de stroy:
    Both heere, and hence, pursue me la sting strife,
    If once a Widdow, euer I be Wife.
    2090 Ham. If she should breake it now.
    King. 'Tis deepely sworne:
    Sweet, leaue me heere a while,
    My spirits grow dull, and faine I would beguile
    The tedious day with sleepe.
    2095 Qu. Sleepe rocke thy Braine, Sleepes
    And neuer come mischance betweene vs twaine. Exit
    Ham. Madam, how like you this Play?
    Qu. The Lady prote sts to much me thinkes.
    Ham. Oh but shee'l keepe her word.
    2100 King. Haue you heard the Argument, is there no Of-
    fence in't?
    Ham. No, no, they do but ie st, poyson in ie st, no Of-
    fence i'th'world.
    King. What do you call the Play?
    2105 Ham. The Mouse-trap: Marry how? Tropically:
    This Play is the Image of a murder done in Vienna: Gon-
    zago is the Dukes name, his wife Bapti sta: you shall see
    anon: 'tis a knaui sh peece of worke: But what o'that?
    Your Maie stie, and wee that haue free soules, it touches
    2110vs not: let the gall'd iade winch: our withers are vnrung.
    Enter Lucianus.
    This is one Lucianus nephew to the King.
    Ophe. You are a good Chorus, my Lord.
    Ham. I could interpret betweene you and your loue:
    2115if I could see the Puppets dallying.
    Ophe. You are keene my Lord, you are keene.
    Ham. It would co st you a groaning, to take off my
    edge.
    Ophe. Still better and worse.
    2120 Ham. So you mi stake Husbands.
    Begin Murderer. Pox, leaue thy damnable Faces, and
    begin. Come, the croaking Rauen doth bellow for Re-
    uenge.
    Lucian. Thoughts blacke, hands apt,
    2125Drugges fit, and Time agreeing:
    Confederate season, else, no Creature seeing:
    Thou mixture ranke, of Midnight Weeds collected,
    With Hecats Ban, thrice bla sted, thrice infected,
    Thy naturall Magicke, and dire propertie,
    2130On wholsome life, vsurpe immediately.
    Powres the poyson in his eares.
    Ham. He poysons him i'th'Garden for's e state: His
    name's Gonzago: the Story is extant and writ in choyce
    Italian. You shall see anon how the Murtherer gets the
    2135loue of Gonzago's wife.
    Ophe. The King rises.
    Ham. What, frighted with false fire.
    Qu. How fares my Lord?
    Pol. Giue o're the Play.
    2140 King. Giue me some Light. Away.
    All. Lights, Lights, Lights. Exeunt
    Manet Hamlet & Horatio.
    Ham. Why let the strucken Deere go weepe,
    The Hart vngalled play:
    2145For some mu st watch, while some mu st sleepe;
    So runnes the world away.
    Would not this Sir, and a Forre st of Feathers, if the re st of
    my Fortunes tutne Turke with me; with two Prouinciall
    Roses on my rac'd Shooes, get me a Fellow ship in a crie
    2150of Players sir.
    Hor. Halfe a share.
    Ham. A whole one I,
    For thou do st know: Oh Damon deere,
    This Realme dismantled was of Ioue himselfe,
    2155And now reignes heere.
    A verie verie Paiocke.
    Hora. You might haue Rim'd.
    Ham. Oh good Horatio, Ile take the Gho sts word for
    a thousand pound. Did' st perceiue?
    2160 Hora. Verie well my Lord.
    Ham. Vpon the talke of the poysoning?
    Hora. I did verie well note him.
    Enter Ro sincrance and Guilden sterne.
    Ham. Oh, ha? Come some Mu sick. Come ye Recorders:
    2165For if the King like not the Comedie,
    Why then belike he likes it not perdie.
    Come some Mu sicke.
    Guild. Good my Lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
    Ham. Sir, a whole Hi story.
    2170 Guild. The King, sir.
    Ham. I sir, what of him?
    Guild. Is in his retyrement, maruellous di stemper'd.
    Ham. With drinke Sir?
    Guild. No my Lord, rather with choller.
    2175 Ham. 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 mo st great affli-
    ction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
    Ham. You are welcome.
    2185 Guild. Nay, good my Lord, this courte sie 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 Bu sine s s e.
    2190 Ham. 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.
    Ro sin. Then thus she sayes: your behauior hath stroke
    her into amazement, and admiration.
    Ham. Oh wonderfull Sonne, that can so a stoni sh a
    Mother. But is there no sequell at the heeles of this Mo-
    2200thers admiration?
    Ro sin. She de sires to speake with you in her Clo s s et,
    ere you go to bed.
    Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our Mother.
    Haue you any further Trade with vs?
    2205 Ro sin. My Lord, you once did loue me.
    Ham. So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
    Ro sin. Good my Lord, what is your cause of di stem-
    per? You do freely barre the doore of your owne Liber-
    tie, if you deny your greefes to your Friend.
    2210 Ham. Sir I lacke Aduancement.
    Ro sin. How can that be, when you haue the voyce of
    the King himselfe, for your Succe s sion in Denmarke?
    Ham. I, but while the gra s s e growes, the Prouerbe is
    something mu sty.
    2215 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 vnder stand that. Will you play
    vpon this Pipe?
    Guild. My Lord, I cannot.
    Ham. I pray you.
    2225 Guild. Beleeue me, I cannot.
    Ham. I do beseech you.
    Guild. I know no touch of it, my Lord.
    Ham. 'Tis as ea sie as lying: gouerne these Ventiges
    with your finger and thumbe, giue it breath with your
    2230mouth, and it will discourse mo st excellent Mu sicke.
    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 My sterie; you would sound mee from my lowe st
    Note, to the top of my Compa s s e: and there is much Mu-
    sicke, excellent Voice, in this little Organe, yet cannot
    2240you make it. Why do you thinke, that I am ea sier to bee
    plaid on, then a Pipe? Call me what In strument you will,
    though you can fret me, you cannot play vpon me. God
    ble s s e you Sir.
    Enter Polonius.
    2245 Polon. My Lord; the Queene would speak with you,
    and presently.
    Ham. Do you see that Clowd? that's almo st in shape
    like a Camell.
    Polon. By'th'Mi s s e, and it's like a Camell indeed.
    2250 Ham. 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. Exit.
    Ham. By and by, is ea sily 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 bu sine s s e 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.