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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Folio)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • 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
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Modern, Folio)

    Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.
    Barnardo
    Who's there?
    5Francisco
    Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
    Barnardo
    Long live the King!
    Francisco
    Barnardo?
    Barnardo
    He.
    10Francisco
    You come most carefully upon your hour.
    Barnardo
    'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco,
    Francisco
    For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
    And I am sick at heart.
    Barnardo
    Have you had quiet guard?
    15Francisco
    Not a mouse stirring.
    Barnardo
    Well, goodnight.
    If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
    The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    Francisco
    I think I hear them.--Stand! Who's there?
    20Horatio
    Friends to this ground.
    Marcellus
    And liegemen to the Dane.
    Francisco
    Give you good night.
    Marcellus
    Oh, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
    Francisco
    Barnardo has my place. Give you good night.
    25Exit Francisco.
    Marcellus
    Holla, Barnardo!
    Barnardo
    Say, what, is Horatio there?
    Horatio
    A piece of him.
    Barnardo
    Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, good Marcellus.
    30Marcellus
    What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
    Barnardo
    I have seen nothing.
    Marcellus
    Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
    And will not let belief take hold of him,
    Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
    35Therefore I have entreated him along
    With us, to watch the minutes of this night,
    That if again this apparition come
    He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
    Horatio
    Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
    40Barnardo
    Sit down awhile,
    And let us once again assail your ears,
    That are so fortified against our story,
    What we two nights have seen.
    Horatio
    Well, sit we down,
    45And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
    Barnardo
    Last night of all,
    When yond same star that's westward from the pole
    Had made his course t'illume that part of heaven
    Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
    50The bell then beating one--
    Enter the Ghost.
    Marcellus
    Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again!
    Barnardo
    In the same figure like the King that's dead.
    Marcellus
    Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
    55Barnardo
    Looks it not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
    Horatio
    Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
    Barnardo
    It would be spoke to.
    Marcellus
    Question it, Horatio.
    Horatio
    What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
    60Together with that fair and warlike form
    In which the majesty of buried Denmark
    Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee speak!
    Marcellus
    It is offended.
    Barnardo
    See, it stalks away.
    65Horatio
    Stay, speak, speak, I charge thee, speak!
    Exit the Ghost.
    Marcellus
    'Tis gone, and will not answer.
    Barnardo
    How now, Horatio? You tremble and look pale.
    Is not this something more than fantasy?
    70What think you on't?
    Horatio
    Before my God, I might not this believe
    Without the sensible and true avouch
    Of mine own eyes.
    Marcellus
    Is it not like the King?
    75Horatio
    As thou art to thyself.
    Such was the very armor he had on
    When [he] th'ambitious Norway combated.
    So frowned he once, when in an angry parle
    He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
    80'Tis strange.
    Marcellus
    Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour,
    With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
    Horatio
    In what particular thought to work I know not,
    But in the gross and scope of my opinion
    85This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
    Marcellus
    Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
    Why this same strict and most observant watch
    So nightly toils the subject of the land,
    And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
    90And foreign mart for implements of war;
    Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
    Does not divide the Sunday from the week.
    What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
    Doth make the night joint-laborer with the day?
    95Who is't that can inform me?
    Horatio
    That can I.
    At least the whisper goes so: our last King,
    Whose image even but now appeared to us,
    Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
    100Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
    Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
    (For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
    Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact
    Well ratified by law and heraldry
    105Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
    Which he stood seized on, to the conqueror;
    Against the which a moiety competent
    Was gagèd by our King, which had returned
    To the inheritance of Fortinbras
    110Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same cov'nant
    And carriage of the article design
    His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
    Of unimprovèd mettle, hot and full,
    Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
    115Sharked up a list of landless resolutes,
    For food and diet, to some enterprise
    That hath a stomach in't, which is no other
    (And it doth well appear unto our state)
    But to recover of us by strong hand
    120And terms compulsative those foresaid lands
    So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
    Is the main motive of our preparations,
    The source of this our watch, and the chief head
    Of this post-haste and rummage in the land.
    125Enter Ghost again.
    But soft, behold: lo, where it comes again!
    I'll cross it, though it blast me.--Stay, illusion!
    If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
    Speak to me!
    130If there be any good thing to be done
    That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
    Speak to me!
    If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
    Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
    Oh, speak!
    Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
    Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
    135For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
    Speak of it. Stay and speak!--Stop it, Marcellus!
    Marcellus
    Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
    Horatio
    Do, if it will not stand.
    Barnardo
    'Tis here.
    140Horatio
    'Tis here.
    Marcellus
    'Tis gone.
    Exit Ghost.
    We do it wrong, being so majestical,
    To offer it the show of violence,
    For it is as the air, invulnerable,
    145And our vain blows malicious mockery.
    Barnardo
    It was about to speak when the cock crew.
    Horatio
    And then it started, like a guilty thing
    Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
    The cock, that is the trumpet to the day,
    150Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
    Awake the god of day, and, at his warning,
    Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
    Th'extravagant and erring spirit hies
    To his confine. And of the truth herein
    155This present object made probation.
    Marcellus
    It faded on the crowing of the cock.
    Some says that ever 'gainst that season comes
    Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
    The bird of dawning singeth all night long,
    160And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad;
    The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
    No fairy talks, nor witch hath power to charm,
    So hallowed and so gracious is the time.
    Horatio
    So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
    165But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
    Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
    Break we our watch up, and by my advice
    Let us impart what we have seen tonight
    Unto young Hamlet. For, upon my life,
    170This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
    Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
    As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
    Marcellus
    Let['s] do't, I pray, and I this morning know
    Where we shall find him most conveniently.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, and his sister Ophelia, Lords attendant.
    Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
    180The memory be green, and that it us befitted
    To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
    To be contracted in one brow of woe,
    Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
    That we with wisest sorrow think on him
    185Together with remembrance of ourselves.
    Therefore our sometimes sister, now our queen,
    Th'imperial jointress of this warlike state,
    Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,
    With one auspicious and one dropping eye,
    190With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
    In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
    Taken to wife. Nor have we herein barred
    Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
    With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
    195Now follows, that you know young Fortinbras,
    Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
    Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
    Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
    Co-leaguèd with the dream of his advantage,
    200He hath not failed to pester us with message
    Importing the surrender of those lands
    Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
    To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
    Enter Voltemand and Cornelius.
    205Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting,
    Thus much the business is: we have here writ
    To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
    Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
    Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
    210His further gait herein, in that the levies,
    The lists, and full proportions are all made
    Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
    You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
    For bearing of this greeting to old Norway,
    215Giving to you no further personal power
    To business with the King more than the scope
    Of these dilated articles allow.
    Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
    Voltemand
    In that and all things will we show our duty.
    We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
    Exit Voltemand and Cornelius.
    And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
    You told us of some suit. What is't, Laertes?
    You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
    225And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
    That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
    The head is not more native to the heart,
    The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
    Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
    230What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
    Laertes
    Dread my lord,
    Your leave and favor to return to France,
    From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
    To show my duty in your coronation,
    235Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
    My thoughts and wishes bend again towards France
    And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
    Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
    240Polonius
    He hath, my lord.
    I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
    Claudius
    Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
    And thy best graces spend it at thy will.
    But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son--
    245Hamlet
    A little more than kin, and less than kind.
    How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
    Hamlet
    Not so, my lord, I am too much i'th' sun.
    Queen
    Good Hamlet, cast thy nightly color off
    And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
    250Do not forever with thy vailèd lids
    Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
    Thou know'st 'tis common: all that lives must die,
    Passing through nature to eternity.
    Hamlet
    Ay, madam, it is common.
    255Queen
    If it be,
    Why seems it so particular with thee?
    Hamlet
    "Seems," madam? Nay, it is. I know not "seems."
    'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
    Nor customary suits of solemn black,
    260Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
    No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
    Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
    Together with all forms, moods, shows of grief
    That can denote me truly. These indeed seem,
    265For they are actions that a man might play.
    But I have that within which passeth show;
    These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
    'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
    270To give these mourning duties to your father.
    But you must know, your father lost a father,
    That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
    In filial obligation for some term
    To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
    275In obstinate condolement is a course
    Of impious stubbornness. 'Tis unmanly grief.
    It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
    A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
    An understanding simple and unschooled;
    280For what we know must be and is as common
    As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
    Why should we in our peevish opposition
    Take it to heart? Fie, 'tis a fault to heaven,
    A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
    285To reason most absurd, whose common theme
    Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried
    From the first corse till he that died today
    "This must be so." We pray you throw to earth
    This unprevailing woe, and think of us
    290As of a father; for let the world take note,
    You are the most immediate to our throne,
    And with no less nobility of love
    Than that which dearest father bears his son
    Do I impart towards you. For your intent
    295In going back to school in Wittenberg,
    It is most retrograde to our desire,
    And we beseech you, bend you to remain
    Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
    Our chiefest courtier cousin, and our son.
    Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
    I prithee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
    Hamlet
    I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
    Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply.
    305Be as ourself in Denmark.--Madam, come.
    This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
    Sits smiling to my heart, in grace whereof
    No jocund health that Denmark drinks today
    But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
    310And the King's rouse the heavens shall bruit again,
    Respeaking earthly thunder. Come, away!
    Exeunt. Hamlet remains onstage.
    Hamlet
    Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
    Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
    315Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
    His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God, O God!
    How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
    Seems to me all the uses of this world!
    Fie on't! Oh, fie, fie, 'tis an unweeded garden
    320That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
    Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
    But two months dead--nay, not so much, not two.
    So excellent a king, that was to this
    Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
    325That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
    Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth,
    Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
    As if increase of appetite had grown
    By what it fed on; and yet within a month--
    330Let me not think on't. Frailty, thy name is woman!
    A little month, or ere those shoes were old
    With which she followed my poor father's body,
    Like Niobe, all tears, why, she, even she--
    Oh, heaven! a beast that wants discourse of reason
    335Would have mourned longer!--married with mine uncle,
    My father's brother, but no more like my father
    Than I to Hercules. Within a month!
    Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
    Had left the flushing of her gallèd eyes,
    340She married. Oh, most wicked speed, to post
    With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
    It is not, nor it cannot come to good,
    But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
    Enter Horatio, Barnard[o], and Marcellus.
    345Horatio
    Hail to your lordship!
    Hamlet
    I am glad to see you well.--
    Horatio, or I do forget myself!
    Horatio
    The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
    350Hamlet
    Sir, my good friend, I'll change that name with you.
    And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?--
    Marcellus.
    Marcellus
    My good lord.
    355Hamlet
    I am very glad to see you. [To Barnardo.] Good even, sir.
    [To Horatio]But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
    Horatio
    A truant disposition, good my lord.
    Hamlet
    I would not have your enemy say so,
    Nor shall you do mine ear that violence
    360To make it truster of your own report
    Against yourself. I know you are no truant.
    But what is your affair in Elsinore?
    We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
    Horatio
    My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
    365Hamlet
    I pray thee do not mock me, fellow student.
    I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
    Horatio
    Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
    Hamlet
    Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
    Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
    370Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
    Ere I had ever seen that day, Horatio!
    My father--methinks I see my father.
    Horatio
    Oh, where, my lord?
    Hamlet
    In my mind's eye, Horatio.
    375Horatio
    I saw him once. He was a goodly king.
    Hamlet
    He was a man, take him for all in all:
    I shall not look upon his like again.
    Horatio
    My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
    Hamlet
    Saw? Who?
    380Horatio
    My lord, the King your father.
    Hamlet
    The King my father?
    Horatio
    Season your admiration for a while
    With an attent ear, till I may deliver,
    Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
    385This marvel to you.
    Hamlet
    For heaven's love, let me hear!
    Horatio
    Two nights together had these gentlemen,
    Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch
    In the dead waste and middle of the night
    390Been thus encountered: a figure like your father
    Armed at all points exactly, cap-à-pie,
    Appears before them, and with solemn march
    Goes slow and stately. By them thrice he walked,
    By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd eyes,
    395Within his truncheon's length, whilst they, bestilled
    Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
    Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
    In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
    And I with them the third night kept the watch,
    400Where, as they had delivered, both in time,
    Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
    The apparition comes. I knew your father.
    These hands are not more like.
    Hamlet
    But where was this?
    405Marcellus
    My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
    Hamlet
    Did you not speak to it?
    Horatio
    My lord, I did,
    But answer made it none. Yet once methought
    It lifted up it head and did address
    410Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
    But even then the morning cock crew loud,
    And at the sound it shrunk in haste away
    And vanished from our sight.
    Hamlet
    'Tis very strange.
    415Horatio
    As I do live, my honored lord, 'tis true;
    And we did think it writ down in our duty
    To let you know of it.
    Hamlet
    Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
    Hold you the watch tonight?
    420Both
    We do, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Armed, say you?
    Armed, my lord.
    Hamlet
    From top to toe?
    My lord, from head to foot.
    425Hamlet
    Then saw you not his face?
    Horatio
    Oh, yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.
    Hamlet
    What, looked he frowningly?
    Horatio
    A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
    Hamlet
    Pale, or red?
    430Horatio
    Nay, very pale.
    Hamlet
    And fixed his eyes upon you?
    Horatio
    Most constantly.
    Hamlet
    I would I had been there.
    Horatio
    It would have much amazed you.
    435Hamlet
    Very like, very like. Stayed it long?
    Horatio
    While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
    Longer, longer.
    Horatio
    Not when I saw't.
    Hamlet
    His beard was grizzly? No?
    440Horatio
    It was, as I have seen it in his life,
    A sable silvered.
    Hamlet
    I'll watch tonight. Perchance 'twill wake again.
    Horatio
    I warrant you it will.
    Hamlet
    If it assume my noble father's person,
    445I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
    And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
    If you have hitherto concealed this sight,
    Let it be treble in your silence still.
    And whatsoever else shall hap tonight,
    450Give it an understanding but no tongue;
    I will requite your loves. So, fare ye well.
    Upon the platform 'twixt eleven and twelve
    I'll visit you.
    All
    Our duty to your honor.
    Exeunt [all but Hamlet].
    455Hamlet
    Your love, as mine to you. Farewell.
    My father's spirit in arms! All is not well.
    I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!
    Till then, sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise,
    Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
    Exit.
    Enter Laertes and Ophelia.
    Laertes
    My necessaries are imbarked. Farewell.
    And sister, as the winds give benefit
    And convoy is assistant, do not sleep
    465But let me hear from you.
    Ophelia
    Do you doubt that?
    Laertes
    For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favors,
    Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
    A violet in the youth of primy nature,
    470Froward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
    The suppliance of a minute? No more.
    Ophelia
    No more but so?
    Laertes
    Think it no more.
    For nature crescent does not grow alone
    475In thews and bulk, but as his temple waxes
    The inward service of the mind and soul
    Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
    And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
    The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
    480His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
    For he himself is subject to his birth.
    He may not, as unvalued persons do,
    Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
    The sanctity and health of the whole state,
    485And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
    Unto the voice and yielding of that body
    Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
    It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
    As he in his peculiar sect and force
    490May give his saying deed, which is no further
    Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
    Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain,
    If with too credent ear you list his songs,
    Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
    495To his unmastered importunity.
    Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
    And keep within the rear of your affection,
    Out of the shot and danger of desire.
    The chariest maid is prodigal enough
    500If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
    Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes.
    The canker galls the infants of the spring
    Too oft before the buttons be disclosed,
    And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
    505Contagious blastments are most imminent.
    Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
    Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
    Ophelia
    I shall th'effect of this good lesson keep
    As watchmen to my heart. But, good my brother,
    510Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
    Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
    Whilst, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
    Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
    And recks not his own rede.
    515Laertes
    Oh, fear me not.
    Enter Polonius.
    I stay too long. But here my father comes.
    A double blessing, is a double grace;
    Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
    520Polonius
    Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
    The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
    And you are stayed for there. My blessing with you,
    And these few precepts in thy memory
    See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
    525Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
    The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
    530Of each unhatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
    Bear't that th'opposèd may beware of thee.
    Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.
    Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
    535Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not expressed in fancy--rich, not gaudy,
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
    And they in France of the best rank and station
    Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
    540Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
    This above all; to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    545Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
    Laertes
    Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
    Polonius
    The time invites you, go. Your servants tend.
    Laertes
    Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
    550What I have said to you.
    Ophelia
    'Tis in my memory locked,
    And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
    Laertes
    Farewell.
    Exit Laertes.
    Polonius
    What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
    555Ophelia
    So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
    Polonius
    Marry, well bethought
    'Tis told me he hath very oft of late
    Given private time to you, and you yourself
    Have of your audience been most free and bounteous.
    560If it be so--as so 'tis put on me,
    And that in way of caution--I must tell you
    You do not understand yourself so clearly
    As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
    What is between you? Give me up the truth.
    565Ophelia
    He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
    Of his affection to me.
    Polonius
    Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl,
    Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
    Do you believe his "tenders," as you call them?
    570Ophelia
    I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
    Polonius
    Marry, I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby,
    That you have ta'en his tenders for true pay
    Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly,
    Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase
    575Roaming it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
    Ophelia
    My lord, he hath importuned me with love
    In honorable fashion.
    Polonius
    Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to.
    Ophelia
    And hath given countenance to his speech,
    580My lord, with all the vows of heaven.
    Polonius
    Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know
    When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
    Gives the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
    Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
    585Even in their promise as it is a-making,
    You must not take for fire. For this time, daughter,
    Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence.
    Set your entreatments at a higher rate
    Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
    590Believe so much in him that he is young,
    And with a larger tether may he walk
    Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
    Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers
    Not of the eye which their investments show,
    595But mere implorators of unholy suits
    Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds
    The better to beguile. This is for all:
    I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
    Have you so slander any moment leisure
    600As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
    Look to't, I charge you. Come your ways.
    Ophelia
    I shall obey, my lord.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus.
    Hamlet
    The air bites shrewdly; is it very cold?
    605Horatio
    It is a nipping and an eager air.
    Hamlet
    What hour now?
    Horatio
    I think it lacks of twelve.
    Marcellus
    No, it is struck.
    Horatio
    Indeed? I heard it not. Then it draws near the season
    610Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
    [A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces go off.]
    What does this mean, my lord?
    Hamlet
    The King doth wake tonight, and takes his rouse,
    Keeps wassails, and the swaggering upspring reels;
    And as he drains his drafts of Rhenish down
    615The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
    The triumph of his pledge.
    Horatio
    Is it a custom?
    Hamlet
    Ay, marry, is't,
    And to my mind, though I am native here
    620And to the manner born, it is a custom
    More honored in the breach than the observance.
    Enter Ghost.
    Horatio
    Look, my lord, it comes!
    Hamlet
    Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
    625Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
    Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
    Be thy events wicked or charitable,
    Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
    That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
    630King, father, royal Dane. Oh, oh, answer me!
    Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
    Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
    Have burst their cerements, why the sepulcher
    Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned
    635Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
    To cast thee up again? What may this mean,
    That thou, dead corse, again in compleat steel,
    Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
    Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
    640So horridly to shake our disposition
    With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
    Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?
    Ghost beckons Hamlet.
    Horatio
    It beckons you to go away with it,
    645As if it some impartment did desire
    To you alone.
    Marcellus
    Look with what courteous action
    It wafts you to a more removèd ground.
    But do not go with it.
    650Horatio
    No, by no means.
    Hamlet
    It will not speak. Then will I follow it.
    Horatio
    Do not, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Why, what should be the fear?
    I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
    655And for my soul, what can it do to that,
    Being a thing immortal as itself?
    It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.
    Horatio
    What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
    Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
    660That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
    And there assumes some other horrible form
    Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
    And draw you into madness? Think of it.
    Hamlet
    It wafts me still.--Go on, I'll follow thee.
    665Marcellus
    You shall not go, my lord.[They attempt to restrain him.]
    Hamlet
    Hold off your hand!
    Horatio
    Be ruled. You shall not go.
    Hamlet
    My fate cries out
    And makes each petty artery in this body
    670As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
    Still am I called? Unhand me, gentlemen!
    By heav'n, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
    I say, away!--Go on, I'll follow thee.
    Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet.
    675Horatio
    He waxes desperate with imagination.
    Marcellus
    Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
    Horatio
    Have after. To what issue will this come?
    Marcellus
    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
    Horatio
    Heaven will direct it.
    680Marcellus
    Nay, let's follow him.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
    Hamlet
    Where wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further.
    Ghost
    Mark me.
    Hamlet
    I will.
    685Ghost
    My hour is almost come
    When I to sulfurous and tormenting flames
    Must render up myself.
    Hamlet
    Alas, poor ghost!
    Ghost
    Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
    690To what I shall unfold.
    Hamlet
    Speak. I am bound to hear.
    Ghost
    So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
    Hamlet
    What?
    Ghost
    I am thy father's spirit,
    695Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
    And for the day confined to fast in fires,
    Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
    Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
    To tell the secrets of my prison house,
    700I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
    Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
    Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
    Thy knotty and combinèd locks to part,
    And each particular hair to stand on end
    705Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
    But this eternal blazon must not be
    To ears of flesh and blood. List, Hamlet, oh, list:
    If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
    Hamlet
    O heaven!
    710Ghost
    Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
    Hamlet
    Murder?
    Ghost
    Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
    But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
    Hamlet
    Haste, haste me to know it, 715that with wings as swift
    As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
    May sweep to my revenge.
    Ghost
    I find thee apt,
    And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
    720That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf
    Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
    It's given out that, sleeping in mine orchard,
    A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
    Is by a forgèd process of my death
    725Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
    The serpent that did sting thy father's life
    Now wears his crown.
    Hamlet
    Oh, my prophetic soul! Mine uncle?
    Ghost
    Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
    730With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts--
    Oh, wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
    So to seduce!--won to this shameful lust
    The will of my most seeming virtuous queen.
    Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
    735From me, whose love was of that dignity
    That it went hand in hand even with the vow
    I made to her in marriage, and to decline
    Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
    To those of mine. But virtue, as it never will be moved,
    740Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
    So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
    Will sate itself in a celestial bed
    And prey on garbage.
    But soft, methinks I scent the morning's air.
    Brief let me be. Sleeping within mine orchard,
    745My custom always in the afternoon,
    Upon my secure hour, thy uncle stole
    With juice of cursèd hebenon in a vial,
    And in the porches of mine ears did pour
    The leperous distillment, whose effect
    750Holds such an enmity with blood of man
    That swift as quicksilver it courses through
    The natural gates and alleys of the body,
    And with a sudden vigor it doth posset
    And curd like eager droppings into milk
    755The thin and wholesome blood; so did it mine,
    And a most instant tetter baked about
    Most lazarlike with vile and loathsome crust
    All my smooth body.
    Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
    760Of life, of crown, and queen at once dispatched,
    Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
    Unhousled, disappointed, unaneled,
    No reckoning made, but sent to my account
    With all my imperfections on my head.
    765Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!
    If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
    Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
    A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
    But howsoever thou pursuest this act,
    770Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
    Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven
    And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
    To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
    The glow-worm shows the matin to be near
    775And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
    Adieu, adieu, Hamlet! Remember me.
    Exit.
    Hamlet
    Oh, all you host of heaven! Oh, earth! What else?
    And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, my heart,
    And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
    780But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
    Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
    In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
    Yea, from the table of my memory
    I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
    785All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
    That youth and observation copied there,
    And thy commandment all alone shall live
    Within the book and volume of my brain,
    Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, yes, by heaven.
    790Oh, most pernicious woman!
    Oh, villain, villain, smiling damnèd villain!
    My tables, my tables--meet it is I set it down,
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
    At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark.
    795So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
    It is "Adieu, adieu, remember me."
    I have sworn't.
    Horatio and Marcellus within
    My lord, my lord!
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    Marcellus
    Lord Hamlet!
    800Horatio
    Heaven secure him!
    Marcellus
    So be it.
    Horatio
    Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
    Hamlet
    Hillo, ho, ho, boy, come, bird, come!
    1
    Marcellus
    How is't, my noble lord?
    805Horatio
    What news, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Oh, wonderful!
    Horatio
    Good my lord, tell it.
    Hamlet
    No, you'll reveal it.
    Horatio
    Not I, my lord, by heaven.
    810Marcellus
    Nor I, my lord.
    Hamlet
    How say you then, would heart of man once think it?
    But you'll be secret?
    Both
    Ay, by heaven, my lord.
    Hamlet
    There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark
    815But he's an arrant knave.
    Horatio
    There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave,
    To tell us this.
    Hamlet
    Why, right, you are i'th' right.
    And so, without more circumstance at all,
    820I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
    You as your business and desires shall point you
    (For every man has business and desire,
    Such as it is), and for mine own poor part,
    Look you, I'll go pray.
    825Horatio
    These are but wild and hurling words, my lord.
    Hamlet
    I'm sorry they offend you--heartily,
    Yes, faith, heartily.
    Horatio
    There's no offense, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, my lord,
    830And much offense too. Touching this vision here,
    It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
    For your desire to know what is between us,
    O'ermaster't as you may. And now, good friends,
    As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
    835Give me one poor request.
    Horatio
    What is't, my lord? We will.
    Hamlet
    Never make known what you have seen tonight.
    My lord, we will not.
    Hamlet
    Nay, but swear't.
    840Horatio
    In faith, my lord, not I.
    Marcellus
    Nor I, my lord, in faith.
    Hamlet
    Upon my sword.[He holds out his sword.]
    Marcellus
    We have sworn, my lord, already.
    Hamlet
    Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
    845Ghost cries under the stage.
    Ghost
    Swear.
    Hamlet
    Ah ha, boy, sayest thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?--
    Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
    Consent to swear.
    Horatio
    Propose the oath, my lord.
    850Hamlet
    Never to speak of this that you have seen.
    Swear by my sword.
    Swear.
    [They swear.]
    Hamlet
    Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift for ground.
    [He moves them to another spot.]
    Come hither, gentlemen,
    855And lay your hands again upon my sword,
    Never to speak of this that you have heard.
    Swear by my sword.
    Swear.
    [They swear.]
    Hamlet
    Well said, old mole. Canst work i'th' ground so fast?
    860A worthy pioneer!--Once more remove, good friends.
    [They move once more.]
    Horatio
    Oh, day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
    Hamlet
    And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in our philosophy. But come,
    865Here as before: never, so help you mercy,
    How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself
    (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
    To put an antic disposition on),
    That you at such time seeing me never shall,
    870With arms encumbered thus, or thus headshake,
    Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase
    As, "Well, we know," or "We could an if we would,"
    Or "If we list to speak," or "There be an if there might,"
    Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
    875That you know aught of me. This not to do,
    So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
    Swear.
    Swear.
    [They swear.]
    Hamlet
    Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit. So, gentlemen,
    880With all my love I do commend me to you,
    And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
    May do t'express his love and friending to you,
    God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
    And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
    885The time is out of joint. Oh, cursèd spite,
    That ever I was born to set it right!
    [They wait for him to leave first.]
    Nay, come, let's go together.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Polonius and Reynaldo.
    890Polonius
    Give him his money, and these notes, Reynaldo.[He gives money and papers.]
    Reynaldo
    I will, my lord.
    Polonius
    You shall do marvel's wisely, good Reynaldo,
    Before you visit him you make inquiry
    Of his behavior.
    895Reynaldo
    My lord, I did intend it.
    Polonius
    Marry, well said. very well said. Look you, sir,
    Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
    And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
    900What company, at what expense; and finding
    By this encompassment and drift of question
    That they do know my son, come you more nearer
    Than your particular demands will touch it;
    Take you as 'twere some distant knowledge of him,
    905And thus, "I know his father and his friends,
    And in part him." Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
    Reynaldo
    Ay, very well, my lord.
    Polonius
    "And in part him. But," you may say, "not well,
    But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
    910Addicted so and so," and there put on him
    What forgeries you please--marry, none so rank
    As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
    But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
    As are companions noted and most known
    915To youth and liberty.
    Reynaldo
    As gaming, my lord.
    Polonius
    Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
    Quarreling, drabbing--you may go so far.
    Reynaldo
    My lord, that would dishonor him.
    920Polonius
    Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
    You must not put another scandal on him
    That he is open to incontinency;
    That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
    That they may seem the taints of liberty,
    925The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
    A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
    Of general assault.
    Reynaldo
    But, my good lord--
    Polonius
    Wherefore should you do this?
    Reynaldo
    Ay, my lord, I would know that.
    930Polonius
    Marry sir, here's my drift,
    And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
    You laying these slight sullies on my son
    As 'twere a thing a little soiled i'th' working,
    Mark you, your party in converse, him you would sound,
    935Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
    The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
    He closes with you in this consequence:
    "Good sir," or so, or "friend," or "gentleman,"
    According to the phrase and the addition
    940Of man and country.
    Reynaldo
    Very good, my lord.
    Polonius
    And then, sir, does he this,
    He does--what was I about to say?
    I was about to say something. Where did I leave?
    945Reynaldo
    At "closes in the consequence,"
    At "friend," or so, and "gentleman."
    Polonius
    At "closes in the consequence." Ay, marry,
    He closes with you thus: "I know the gentleman,
    I saw him yesterday"--or t'other day,
    950Or then, or then--"with such and such, and as you say,
    There was he gaming, there o'ertook in's rouse,
    There falling out at tennis," or perchance
    "I saw him enter such a house of sale,"
    Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now,
    955Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,
    And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
    With windlasses and with assays of bias,
    By indirections find directions out;
    So by my former lecture and advice
    960Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
    Reynaldo
    My lord, I have.
    Polonius
    God buy you; fare you well.
    Reynaldo
    Good my lord.
    Polonius
    Observe his inclination in yourself.
    965Reynaldo
    I shall, my lord.
    Polonius
    And let him ply his music.
    Reynaldo
    Well, my lord.
    Exit.
    Enter Ophelia.
    Polonius
    Farewell.-- 970How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?
    Ophelia
    Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
    Polonius
    With what, in the name of heaven?
    Ophelia
    My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
    Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
    975No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
    Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
    Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
    And with a look so piteous in purport
    As if he had been loosèd out of hell
    980To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
    Polonius
    Mad for thy love?
    Ophelia
    My lord, I do not know, but truly I do fear it.
    Polonius
    What said he?
    Ophelia
    He took me by the wrist, and held me hard.
    985Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
    And with his other hand thus o'er his brow
    He falls to such perusal of my face
    As he would draw it. Long stayed he so.
    At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
    990And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
    He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
    That it did seem to shatter all his bulk
    And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
    And with his head over his shoulders turned
    995He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
    For out o' doors he went without their help,
    And to the last bended their light on me.
    Polonius
    Go with me. I will go seek the King.
    This is the very ecstasy of love,
    1000Whose violent property fordoes itself
    And leads the will to desperate undertakings
    As oft as any passion under heaven
    That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
    What, have you given him any hard words of late?
    1005Ophelia
    No, my good lord, but as you did command
    I did repel his letters, and denied
    His access to me.
    Polonius
    That hath made him mad.
    I am sorry that with better speed and judgment
    1010I had not quoted him. I fear he did but trifle
    And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
    It seems it is as proper to our age
    To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
    As it is common for the younger sort
    1015To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
    This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
    More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
    Exeunt.
    Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, and1020Guildenstern cum aliis
    Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Moreover that we much did long to see you,
    The need we have to use you did provoke
    Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
    1025Of Hamlet's transformation--so I call it,
    Since not th'exterior nor the inward man
    Resembles that it was. What it should be,
    More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
    So much from th'understanding of himself,
    1030I cannot deem of. I entreat you both
    That, being of so young days brought up with him,
    And since so neighbored to his youth and humor,
    That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
    Some little time, so by your companies
    1035To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
    So much as from occasions you may glean
    That, opened, lies within our remedy.
    Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you,
    And sure I am two men there are not living
    1040To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
    To show us so much gentry and good will
    As to expend your time with us awhile
    For the supply and profit of our hope,
    Your visitation shall receive such thanks
    1045As fits a king's remembrance.
    Rosencrantz
    Both your majesties
    Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
    Put your dread pleasures more into command
    Than to entreaty.
    1050Guildenstern
    We both obey,
    And here give up ourselves in the full bent
    To lay our services freely at your feet
    To be commanded.
    Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guildenstern.
    Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz.
    And I beseech you instantly to visit
    My too-much-changèd son.--Go, some of ye,
    And bring the gentlemen where Hamlet is.
    1060Guildenstern
    Heavens make our presence and our practices
    Pleasant and helpful to him!
    Exit [Guildenstern with Rosencrantz and other Courtiers].
    Amen.
    Enter Polonius.
    Polonius
    Th'ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
    1065Are joyfully returned.
    Thou still hast been the father of good news.
    Polonius
    Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
    I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
    Both to my God, one to my gracious king;
    1070And I do think, or else this brain of mine
    Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
    As I have used to do, that I have found
    The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
    Oh, speak of that! That I do long to hear.
    1075Polonius
    Give first admittance to th'ambassadors.
    My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
    Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.--
    [Polonius goes to bring in the ambassadors.]
    He tells me, my sweet Queen, that he hath found
    The head and source of all your son's distemper.
    I doubt it is no other but the main:
    His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
    Enter Polonius, Voltemand, and Cornelius.
    Well, we shall sift him.--Welcome, good friends.
    Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
    1085Voltemand
    Most fair return of greetings and desires.
    Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
    His nephew's levies, which to him appeared
    To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack,
    But, better looked into, he truly found
    1090It was against your highness; whereat grieved
    That so his sickness, age, and impotence
    Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
    On Fortinbras, which he (in brief) obeys,
    Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
    1095Makes vow before his uncle never more
    To give th'assay of arms against your majesty.
    Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
    Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee
    And his commission to employ those soldiers
    1100So levied, as before, against the Polack,
    With an entreaty herein further shown
    That it might please you to give quiet pass
    Through your dominions for his enterprise
    On such regards of safety and allowance
    1105As therein are set down.
    King
    It likes us well,
    And at our more considered time we'll read,
    Answer, and think upon this business.
    Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labor.
    1110Go to your rest. At night we'll feast together.
    Most welcome home!
    Exit Ambassadors.
    Polonius
    This business is very well ended.
    My liege and madam, to expostulate
    What majesty should be, what duty is,
    1115Why day is day, night, night, and time is time,
    Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
    Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
    And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes.
    I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
    1120Mad call I it, for to define true madness,
    What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
    But let that go.
    Queen
    More matter, with less art.
    Polonius
    Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
    1125That he is mad, 'tis true, 'Tis true 'tis pity,
    And pity it is true--a foolish figure,
    But farewell it, for I will use no art.
    Mad let us grant him, then. And now remains
    That we find out the cause of this effect,
    1130Or rather say the cause of this defect,
    For this effect defective comes by cause.
    Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
    Perpend.
    I have a daughter--have whilst she is mine--
    Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
    1135Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
    [He reads from] the letter.
    "To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia." That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; "beautified" is a vile in 1140phrase. But you shall hear: "These in her excellent white bosom, these."
    Came this from Hamlet to her?
    Polonius
    Good madam, stay awhile, I will be faithful.
    [He reads.]
    "Doubt thou the stars are fire,
    1145Doubt that the sun doth move,
    Doubt truth to be a liar,
    But never doubt I love."
    "Oh, dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art to reckon my groans. But that I love thee best, oh, most best, 1150believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him. Hamlet."
    This in obedience hath my daughter showed me,
    And, more above, hath his soliciting,
    1155As they fell out, by time, by means, and place,
    All given to mine ear.
    But how hath she received his love?
    Polonius
    What do you think of me?
    As of a man faithful and honorable.
    1160Polonius
    I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
    When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
    As I perceived it (I must tell you that)
    Before my daughter told me--what might you,
    Or my dear majesty your queen here, think
    1165If I had played the desk or table-book,
    Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
    Or looked upon this love with idle sight,
    What might you think? No, I went round to work,
    And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
    1170"Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.
    This must not be." And then I precepts gave her
    That she should lock herself from his resort,
    Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
    Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,
    1175And he, repulsèd, a short tale to make,
    Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
    Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
    Thence to a lightness, and by this declension
    Into the madness whereon now he raves,
    1180And all we wail for.
    King"/[To Queen]
    Do you think 'tis this?
    It may be, very likely.
    Polonius
    Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--
    That I have positively said 'tis so
    1185When it proved otherwise?
    King
    Not that I know.
    Polonius
    Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
    If circumstances lead me, I will find
    Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
    1190Within the center.
    King
    How may we try it further?
    Polonius
    You know sometimeshe walks four hours together here
    In the lobby.
    1195Queen
    So he has indeed.
    Polonius
    At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him.
    Be you and I behind an arras then;
    Mark the encounter. If he love her not,
    And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
    1200Let me be no assistant for a state
    And keep a farm and carters.
    King
    We will try it.
    Enter Hamlet reading on a book.
    But look where sadly the poor wretch 1205comes reading.
    Polonius
    Away, I do beseech you, both away.
    I'll board him presently.
    Exit King and Queen.
    Oh, give me leave.--How does my good Lord Hamlet?
    Well, God-a-mercy.
    1210Polonius
    Do you know me, my lord?
    Excellent, excellent well. Y'are a fishmonger.
    Polonius
    Not I, my lord.
    Then I would you were so honest a man.
    Polonius
    Honest, my lord?
    Ay, sir, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of two thousand.
    Polonius
    That's very true, my lord.
    For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion-- 1220Have you a daughter?
    Polonius
    I have, my lord.
    Let her not walk i'th' sun. Conception is a blessing, but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't.
    1225Polonius
    [Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. He said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone. And truly, in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near this. I'll speak to him again.--What do you read, my lord?
    Words, words, words.
    Polonius
    What is the matter, my lord?
    Between who?
    Polonius
    I mean the matter you mean, my lord.
    Slanders sir; for the satirical slave says here 1235that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber or plumtree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with weak hams--all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it 1240not honesty to have it thus set down; for you yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
    Polonius
    [Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in't,--Will you walk 1245out of the air, my lord?
    Into my grave?
    Polonius
    [Aside] Indeed, that is out o'th'air. How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness 1250that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting 1255between him and my daughter.-- My honorable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
    You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal--except my life, my 1260life.
    Polonius
    Fare you well, my lord.
    These tedious old fools!
    Polonius
    [To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as they enter] You go to seek my Lord Hamlet? There he is.
    1265Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Rosencrantz[To Polonius]
    God save you, sir.
    [Exit Polonius.]
    Guildenstern
    [To Hamlet] Mine honored lord!
    Rosencrantz
    My most dear lord!
    My excellent good friends! How dost thou, 1270Guildenstern? Oh, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
    Rosencrantz
    As the indifferent children of the earth.
    Guildenstern
    Happy in that we are not over-happy. On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
    Nor the soles of her shoe?
    Rosencrantz
    Neither, my lord.
    Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favor?
    Guildenstern
    Faith, her privates we.
    In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true, she is a strumpet. What's the news?
    Rosencrantz
    None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
    Then is doomsday near. But your news is 1385 not true. Let me question more in particular. What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?
    Guildenstern
    Prison, my lord?
    Denmark's a prison.
    1290Rosencrantz
    Then is the world one.
    A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o'th' worst.
    Rosencrantz
    We think not so, my lord.
    Why, then 'tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
    Rosencrantz
    Why, then your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your mind.
    Oh, God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
    Guildenstern
    Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow 1305of a dream.
    A dream itself is but a shadow.
    Rosencrantz
    Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
    Then are our beggars bodies, and our 1310monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th'court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.
    We'll wait upon you.
    No such matter. I will not sort you with the 1315rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
    Rosencrantz
    To visit you my lord, no other occasion.
    Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, 1320but I thank you; and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, deal justly with me. Come, come, nay, speak.
    Guildenstern
    What should we say, my lord?
    Why, anything. But to the purpose: you were sent for, and there is a kind [of] confession in your looks, which your modesties have craft enough to color. I know the good King and Queen have sent for you.
    Rosencrantz
    To what end, my lord?
    That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me whether you 1335were sent for or no.
    Rosencrantz
    [Aside to Guildenstern] What say you?
    [Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If you love me, hold not off.
    Guildenstern
    My lord, we were sent for.
    I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen molt no feather. I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise; and indeed it goes so heavily with my 1345disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of 1350vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals. And yet to me what is 1355this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
    Rosencrantz
    My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
    Why did you laugh, when I said man delights not me?
    Rosencrantz
    To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted them on the way, and hither are 1365they coming to offer you service.
    He that plays the King shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me. The Adventurous Knight shall use his foil and target, the Lover shall not sigh gratis, the Humorous Man shall end his part in 1370peace, the Clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled o'th'sear, and the Lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't. What players are they?
    Rosencrantz
    Even those you were wont to take delight in, 1375the tragedians of the city.
    How chances it they travel? Their residence both in reputation and profit was better both ways.
    Rosencrantz
    I think their inhibition comes by the means 1380of the late innovation.
    Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed?
    Rosencrantz
    No, indeed, they are not.
    How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
    Rosencrantz
    Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted pace. But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for't. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages--so they 1390call them--that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.
    What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards, 1395if they should grow themselves to common players--as it is most like if their means are not better--their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession?
    Rosencrantz
    Faith, there has been much to-do on both sides, 1400and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy. There was for a while no money bid for argument unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.
    Is't possible?
    1405Guildenstern
    Oh, there has been much throwing about of brains.
    Do the boys carry it away?
    Rosencrantz
    Ay, that they do, my lord, Hercules and his load too.
    It is not strange, for mine uncle is King of 1410Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while my father lived give twenty, forty, an hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little. There is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
    1415Flourish for the players.
    Guildenstern
    There are the players.
    Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come. The appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in the garb, 1420lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
    Guildenstern
    In what, my dear lord?
    I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
    Enter Polonius.
    Polonius
    Well be with you, gentlemen.
    Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too, at each 1430ear a hearer: that great baby you see there is not yet out of his swathing clouts.
    Rosencrantz
    Happily he's the second time come to them, for they say an old man is twice a child.
    I will prophesy: he comes to tell me of the 1435players. Mark it.--You say right, sir, for o'Monday morning, 'twas so indeed.
    Polonius
    My lord, I have news to tell you.
    My lord, I have news to tell you.When Roscius, an actor in Rome--
    1440Polonius
    The actors are come hither, my lord.
    Buzz, buzz.
    Polonius
    Upon mine honor.
    Then can each actor on his ass--
    Polonius
    The best actors in the world, either for 1445tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical-historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light for the law of writ and the liberty. These are 1450the only men.
    O Jephthah, Judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou?
    Polonius
    What a treasure had he, my lord?
    Why,
    One fair daughter and no more,
    1455The which he lovèd passing well
    Polonius
    [Aside] Still on my daughter.
    Am I not i'th' right, old Jephthah?
    Polonius
    If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well.
    Nay, that follows not.
    Polonius
    What follows then, my lord?
    Why,
    As by lot,
    God wot,
    and then you know,
    It came to pass,
    As most like it was.
    The first row of the pious chanson will show you more, for look where my 1465abridgments come.
    Enter four or five Players.
    Y'are welcome, masters, welcome all.--I am glad to see thee well. Welcome, good friends.--Oh, my old friend! Thy face is valiant since I saw thee last. Com'st thou to 1470beard me in Denmark?--What, my young lady and mistress! By'r Lady, your ladyship is nearer heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring.--Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en 1475to't, like French falconers: fly at anything we see. We'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.
    First Player
    What speech, my lord?
    I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was 1480never acted, or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million, 'twas caviary to the general. But it was, as I received it, and others whose judgment in such matters cried in the top of mine, an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down 1485with as much modesty as cunning. I remember one said there was no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation, but called it an honest method. One chief speech in it I chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' tale 1490to Dido, and thereabout of it especially where he speaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line--let me see, let me see--
    The rugged Pyrrhus, like th'Hyrcanian beast--
    It is not so, it begins with Pyrrhus.
    The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
    1495Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
    When he lay couchèd in the ominous horse,
    Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
    With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
    Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
    1500With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
    Baked and empasted with the parching streets
    That lend a tyrannous and damnèd light
    To their vile murders. Roasted in wrath and fire,
    And thus o'ersizèd with coagulate gore,
    1505With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
    Old grandsire Priam seeks.
    Polonius
    'Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.
    First Player
    Anon he finds him,
    1510Striking too short at Greeks. His anticke sword,
    Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
    Repugnant to command. Unequal match!
    Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,
    But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
    1515Th'unnervèd father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
    Seeming to feel his blow, with flaming top
    Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
    Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear; for lo! his sword,
    Which was declining on the milky head
    1520Of reverend Priam, seemed i'th' air to stick.
    So as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood,
    And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
    Did nothing.
    But as we often see against some storm
    A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
    1525The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
    As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
    Doth rend the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
    A rousèd vengeance sets him new a-work,
    And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
    1530On Mars his armor, forged for proof eterne,
    With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
    Now falls on Priam.
    Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods
    In general synod take away her power,
    1535Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
    And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven
    As low as to the fiends!
    Polonius
    This is too long.
    It shall to th' barber's with your beard.-- 1540Prithee, say on. He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on. Come to Hecuba..
    First Player
    But who, oh, who, had seen the inobled queen--
    "The inobled queen!"
    Polonius
    That's good. "Inobled queen" is good.
    1545First Player
    Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flame
    With bisson rheum, a clout about that head
    Where late the diadem stood, and, for a robe,
    About her lank and all o'er-teemèd loins
    1550A blanket in th'alarum of fear caught up--
    Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped
    'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounced!
    But if the gods themselves did see her then,
    When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
    1555In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
    The instant burst of clamor that she made
    (Unless things mortal move them not at all)
    Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
    And passion in the gods.
    1560Polonius
    Look where he has not turned his color, and has tears in's eyes.--Pray you, no more.
    'Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest soon. [To Polonius] Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do ye hear, let them be well used, for they are 1565the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you lived.
    Polonius
    My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
    God's bodykins, man, better. Use every man after his desert and who should scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.
    1575Polonius
    Come, sirs.
    Exit Polonius.
    Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play tomorrow. [Aside to the First Player] Dost thou hear me, old friend, can you play The Murder of Gonzago?
    [First] Player
    Ay, my lord.
    We'll ha't tomorrow night. You could for a need study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in't, could ye not?
    [First] Player
    Ay, my lord.
    Very well. Follow that lord, and look you 1585mock him not.--My good friends, I'll leave you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.
    Rosencrantz
    Good my lord.
    Exeunt. Manet Hamlet.
    Ay, so, God buy ye.--Now I am alone.
    1590Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
    Is it not monstrous that this player here,
    But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
    Could force his soul so to his whole conceit
    That from her working all his visage warmed,
    1595Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
    A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
    With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing?
    For Hecuba?
    What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
    1600That he should weep for her? What would he do
    Had he the motive and the cue for passion
    That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
    And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
    Make mad the guilty, and appal the free,
    1605Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
    The very faculty of eyes and ears. Yet I,
    A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
    Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
    And can say nothing; no, not for a king
    1610Upon whose property and most dear life
    A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
    Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across?
    Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
    Tweaks me by th' nose? Gives me the lie i'th' throat
    1615As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
    Ha? Why, I should take it; for it cannot be
    But I am pigeon-livered, and lack gall
    To make oppression bitter, or ere this
    I should have fatted all the region kites
    1620With this slave's offal, bloody, a bawdy villain,
    Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
    Oh, vengeance!
    Who? What an ass am I! Ay, sure, this is most brave,
    That I, the son of the dear murderèd,
    1625Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
    Must like a whore unpack my heart with words,
    And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
    A scullion? Fie upon't, foh! About, my brain!
    I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
    1630Have by the very cunning of the scene
    Been struck so to the soul that presently
    They have proclaimed their malefactions;
    For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
    With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
    1635Play something like the murder of my father
    Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks;
    I'll tent him to the quick. If he but blench
    I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
    May be the devil, and the devil hath power
    1640T'assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
    Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such spirits,
    Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
    More relative than this. The play's the thing
    1645Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
    Exit.
    Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia,Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.
    And can you by no drift of circumstance
    Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
    1650Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
    With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
    Rosencrantz
    He does confess he feels himself distracted,
    But from what cause he will by no means speak.
    Guildenstern
    Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
    1655But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
    When we would bring him on to some confession
    Of his true state.
    Did he receive you well?
    Rosencrantz
    Most like a gentleman.
    1660Guildenstern
    But with much forcing of his disposition.
    Rosencrantz
    Niggard of question, but of our demands
    Most free in his reply.
    Did you assay him to any pastime?
    Rosencrantz
    Madam, it so fell out that certain players
    1665We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
    And there did seem in him a kind of joy
    To hear of it. They are about the court,
    And, as I think, they have already order
    This night to play before him.
    1670Polonius
    'Tis most true,
    And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties
    To hear and see the matter.
    With all my heart, and it doth much content me
    To hear him so inclined. Good gentlemen,
    1675Give him a further edge, and drive his purpose on
    To these delights.
    Rosencrantz
    We shall, my lord.
    Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Lords].
    King
    Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,
    For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
    1680That he, as 'twere by accident, may there
    Affront Ophelia. Her father and myself, lawful espials,
    Will so bestow our selves that, seeing unseen,
    We may of their encounter frankly judge,
    And gather by him, as he is behaved,
    1685If't be th'affliction of his love or no
    That thus he suffers for.
    Queen
    I shall obey you.
    And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
    That your good beauties be the happy cause
    1690Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
    Will bring him to his wonted way again,
    To both your honors.
    Ophelia
    Madam, I wish it may.
    [Exit Queen.]
    Polonius
    Ophelia, walk you here.--Gracious, so please ye,
    1695We will bestow ourselves. [To Ophelia] Read on this book,
    That show of such an exercise may color
    Your loneliness. We are oft too blame in this,
    'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage
    And pious action we do sugar o'er
    1700The devil himself.
    King
    [Aside] Oh, 'tis true!
    How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
    The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
    Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
    1705Than is my deed to my most painted word.
    Oh, heavy burden!
    Polonius
    I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
    Exeunt [the King and Polonius, as they conceal themselves].
    Enter Hamlet.
    1710Hamlet
    To be, or not to be, that is the question,
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
    1715No more--and by a sleep to say we end
    The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
    1720For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
    Must give us pause. There's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life.
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    1725The oppressor's wrong, the poor man's contumely,
    The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office, and the spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    1730With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered country from whose bourn
    No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
    1735And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    1740And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard their currents turn away
    And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
    The fair Ophelia!--Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins remembered.
    1745Ophelia
    Good my lord,
    How does your honor for this many a day?
    Hamlet
    I humbly thank you, well, well, well.
    Ophelia
    My lord, I have remembrances of yours
    That I have longèd long to redeliver.
    1750I pray you now receive them.
    Hamlet
    No, no, I never gave you aught.
    Ophelia
    My honored lord, I know right well you did,
    And with them words of so sweet breath composed
    As made the things more rich. Then, perfume left,
    1755Take these again, for to the noble mind
    Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind,
    There, my lord. "[She offers Hamlet the remembrances.]
    Ha, ha! Are you honest?
    Ophelia
    My lord?
    Are you fair?
    Ophelia
    What means your lordship?
    Hamlet
    That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.
    Ophelia
    Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce 1765than your honesty?
    Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it 1770proof. I did love you once.
    Ophelia
    Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
    You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
    1775Ophelia
    I was the more deceived.
    Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, 1780revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us. Go thy 1785ways to a nunnery. Where's your father?
    Ophelia
    At home, my lord.
    Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool no way but in's own house. Farewell.
    Ophelia
    Oh, help him, you sweet heavens!
    If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste 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. Farewell.
    Ophelia
    O heavenly powers, restore him!
    I have heard of your pratlings too well enough. God has given you one pace, and you make yourself 1800another. You jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad. I say we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep 1805as they are. To a nunnery, go.
    Exit Hamlet.
    Ophelia
    Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
    Th'expectancy and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mold of form,
    1810Th'observed of all observers, quite, quite down.
    And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
    That sucked the honey of his music vows,
    Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
    Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune, and harsh,
    1815That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
    Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me
    T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
    Enter King and Polonius [stepping forward from concealment].
    Love? His affections do not that way tend,
    1820Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
    Was not like madness. There's something in his soul
    O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
    And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
    Will be some danger; which to prevent,
    1825I have in quick determination
    Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
    For the demand of our neglected tribute.
    Haply the seas, and countries different,
    With variable objects, shall expel
    1830This something-settled matter in his heart,
    Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
    From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
    Polonius
    It shall do well. But yet do I believe
    The origin and commencement of this grief
    1835Sprung from neglected love.--How now, Ophelia?
    You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said,
    We heard it all.--My lord, do as you please,
    But if you hold it fit, after the play
    Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
    1840To show his griefs. Let her be round with him,
    And I'll be placed so, please you, in the ear
    Of all their conference. If she find him not,
    To England send him, or confine him where
    Your wisdom best shall think.
    1845King It shall be so.
    Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Hamlet, and two or three of the Players.
    Hamlet
    Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced 1850it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much-- your hand thus--but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of 1855passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to see a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who, for the most part, are capable of 1860nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. I could have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.
    Player
    I warrant your honor.
    Hamlet
    Be not too tame, neither, but let your own 1865discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance: that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold as 'twere 1870the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the 1875censure of the which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theater of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, 1880or Norman, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abhominably.
    Player
    I hope we have reformed that indifferently with 1885us, sir.
    Hamlet
    Oh, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh 1890too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That's villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go make you ready.
    Exeunt Players.
    Enter Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
    1895[To Polonius]How now, my lord,
    will the King hear this piece of work?
    Polonius
    And the Queen too, and that presently.
    Hamlet
    Bid the players make haste.
    Exit Polonius.
    Will you two help to hasten them?
    1900Both
    We will, my lord.
    Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    Enter Horatio.
    Hamlet
    What ho, Horatio!
    Horatio
    Here, sweet lord, at your service.
    Hamlet
    Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
    1905As e'er my conversation coped withal.
    Horatio
    Oh, my dear lord--
    Hamlet
    Nay, do not think I flatter,
    For what advancement may I hope from thee
    That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
    1910To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
    No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp
    And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
    Where thrift may follow feigning. Dost thou hear?
    Since my dear soul was mistress of my choice
    1915And could of men distinguish, her election
    Hath sealed thee for herself. For thou hast been
    As one in suffering all that suffers nothing,
    A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
    Hath ta'en with equal thanks. And blest are those
    1920Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
    That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
    To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
    That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
    In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
    1925As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
    There is a play tonight before the King.
    One scene of it comes near the circumstance
    Which I have told thee, of my father's death.
    I prithee, when thou see'st that act afoot,
    1930Even with the very comment of my soul
    Observe mine uncle. If his occulted guilt
    Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
    It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,
    And my imaginations are as foul
    1935As Vulcan's stithy. Give him needful note,
    For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
    And after we will both our judgments join
    To censure of his seeming.
    Horatio
    Well, my lord,
    1940If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing
    And scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
    Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and other Lords attendant, with his Guard carrying torches. Danish 1945march. Sound a flourish.
    Hamlet
    They are coming to the play. I must be idle. Get you a place.
    How fares our cousin Hamlet?
    Hamlet
    Excellent, i'faith, of the chameleon's dish; I eat 1950the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.
    I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not mine.
    Hamlet
    No, nor mine. [To Polonius] Now, my lord, you played once i'th' university, you say?
    1955Polonius
    That I did, my lord, and was accounted a good actor
    Hamlet
    And what did you enact?
    Polonius
    I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i'th' Capitol. Brutus killed me.
    1960Hamlet
    It was a brute part of him to kill so capital acalf there.--Be the players ready?
    Rosencrantz
    Ay, my lord, they stay upon your patience.
    Come hither, my good Hamlet, sit by me.
    Hamlet
    No, good mother, here's mettle more attractive.
    1965Polonius[To the King]
    Oho, do you mark that?
    Hamlet[To Ophelia, as he lies at her feet]Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
    Ophelia
    No, my lord.
    Hamlet
    I mean, my head upon your lap.
    Ophelia
    Ay, my lord.
    1970Hamlet
    Do you think I meant country matters?
    Ophelia
    I think nothing, my lord.
    Hamlet
    That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
    Ophelia
    What is, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Nothing.
    1975Ophelia
    You are merry, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Who, I?
    Ophelia
    Ay, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Oh, God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do but be merry? For look you how 1980cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within's two hours.
    Ophelia
    Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
    Hamlet
    So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have suit of sables. Oh, heavens! Die two 1985months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by'r Lady, he must build churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is, "For oh, for oh, the hobby-horse is forgot."
    1990Hautboys play. The dumb-show enters. Enter [Players as] a King and Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him. She kneels and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck. Lays him down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him 1995asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King's ears, and exits. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. 2000The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love.
    Exeunt [Players].
    Ophelia
    What means this, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Marry, this is miching mallico. That means 2005mischief.
    Ophelia
    Belike this show imports the argument of the play?
    Hamlet
    We shall know by these fellows. The players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
    2010Ophelia
    Will they tell us what this show meant?
    Hamlet
    Ay, or any show that you'll show him. Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
    Ophelia
    You are naught, you are naught. I'll mark the 2015play.
    Enter Prologue.
    [Prologue]
    For us and for our tragedy,
    Here stooping to your clemency,
    We beg your hearing patiently.
    [Exit.]
    2020Hamlet
    Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
    Ophelia
    'Tis brief, my lord.
    Hamlet
    As woman's love.
    Enter [two Players as] King and his Queen [Baptista].
    Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
    2025Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbèd ground,
    And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
    About the world have times twelve thirties been
    Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
    Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
    2030Baptista
    So many journeys may the sun and moon
    Make us again count o'er, ere love be done!
    But woe is me, you are so sick of late,
    So far from cheer and from your former state,
    That I distrust you. Yet though I distrust,
    2035Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.
    For women's fear and love hold quantity;
    In neither aught, or in extremity.
    Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
    And as my love is sized, my fear is so.
    Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
    My operant powers my functions leave to do.
    And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
    Honored, beloved; and haply one as kind
    For husband shalt thou--
    2045Baptista
    Oh, confound the rest!
    Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
    In second husband let me be accurst!
    None wed the second but who killed the first.
    Wormwood, wormwood.
    2050Baptista
    The instances that second marriage move
    Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
    A second time I kill my husband dead
    When second husband kisses me in bed.
    I do believe you think what now you speak,
    2055But what we do determine, oft we break.
    Purpose is but the slave to memory,
    Of violent birth, but poor validity,
    Which now like fruit unripe sticks on the tree,
    But fall unshaken when they mellow be.
    2060Most necessary 'tis that we forget
    To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
    What to ourselves in passion we propose,
    The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
    The violence of either grief or joy
    2065Their own enactors with themselves destroy.
    Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
    Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
    This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
    That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
    2070For 'tis a question left us yet to prove
    Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
    The great man down, you mark his favorites flies;
    The poor advanced makes friends of enemies;
    And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,
    2075For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
    And who in want a hollow friend doth try
    Directly seasons him his enemy.
    But orderly to end where I begun,
    Our wills and fates do so contrary run
    2080That our devices still are overthrown;
    Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
    So, think thou wilt no second husband wed,
    But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
    Baptista
    Nor earth to give me food, nor heaven light,
    2085Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
    Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
    Meet what I would have well, and it destroy!
    Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
    If once a widow, ever I be wife!
    If she should break it now!
    'Tis deeply sworn.Sweet, leave me here awhile.
    My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
    The tedious day with sleep.
    2095Baptista
    Sleep rock thy brain,
    [King] sleeps.
    And never come mischance between us twain!
    Exit [Player Queen].
    Madam, how like you this play?
    The lady protests too much, methinks.
    Oh, but she'll keep her word.
    Have you heard the argument? Is there no offense in't?
    No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest, no offense i'th' world.
    What do you call the play?
    The Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the Duke's name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what o' that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches 2110us not. Let the galled jade winch; our withers are unwrung.
    Enter Lucianus.
    This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King.
    Ophelia
    You are a good chorus, my lord.
    I could interpret between you and your love, 2115if I could see the puppets dallying.
    Ophelia
    You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
    It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
    Ophelia
    Still better and worse.
    So you mistake husbands.-- Begin, murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces and begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.
    Lucianus
    Thoughts black, hands apt, 2125drugs fit, and time agreeing,
    Confederate season, else no creature seeing,
    Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
    With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
    Thy natural magic and dire property
    2130On wholesome life usurp immediately.
    Pours the poison in his ears. [Exit.]
    Hamlet
    He poisons him i'th' garden for's estate. His name's Gonzago. The story is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the 2135love of Gonzago's wife.
    Ophelia
    The King rises.
    What, frighted with false fire?
    How fares my lord?
    Polonius
    Give o'er the play.
    Give me some light. Away!
    Lights, lights, lights!
    Exeunt. Hamlet and Horatio remain on stage.
    "Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
    The heart ungallèd play,
    2145For some must watch while some must sleep;
    So runs the world away."
    Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers--if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry 2150of players, sir?
    Horatio
    Half a share.
    A whole one, I.
    For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
    This realm dismantled was of Jove himself,
    2155And now reigns here
    A very, very pajock.
    Horatio
    You might have rhymed.
    O good Horatio, I'll take the Ghost's word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?
    2160Horatio
    Very well, my lord.
    Upon the talk of the poisoning?
    Horatio
    I did very well note him.
    Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Oh, ha! Come, some music! Come, the recorders.
    2165For if the King like not the comedy,
    Why, then belike he likes it not, perdie.
    Come, some music.
    Guildenstern
    Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
    Sir a whole history.
    2170Guildenstern
    The King, sir--
    Ay, sir, what of him?
    Guildenstern
    Is in his retirement, marvelous distempered.
    With drink, sir?
    Guildenstern
    No, my lord, rather with choler.
    Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to his doctor, for, for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.
    Guildenstern
    Good my lord, put your discourse into some 2180frame, and start not so wildly from my affair.
    I am tame sir. Pronounce.
    Guildenstern
    The Queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
    You are welcome.
    2185Guildenstern
    Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment. If not, your pardon and my return shall be the end of my business.
    Sir, I cannot.
    Guildenstern
    What, my lord?
    Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased. But, sir, such answers as I can make, you shall command, or rather, you say, my mother. Therefore no more 2195but to the matter. My mother, you say.
    Rosencrantz
    Then thus she says: your behavior hath struck her into amazement and admiration.
    Oh, wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's admiration?
    Rosencrantz
    She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.
    We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?
    2205Rosencrantz
    My lord, you once did love me.
    So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
    Rosencrantz
    Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do freely bar the door of your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.
    Sir, I lack advancement.
    Rosencrantz
    How can that be, when you have the voice of the King himself for your succession in Denmark?
    Ay, but "while the grass grows"-- the proverb is something musty.
    2215Enter one with a recorder.
    Oh, the recorder. Let me see. [He takes the recorder.] To withdraw with you, why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?
    Guildenstern
    Oh, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love 2220is too unmannerly.
    I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?
    Guildenstern
    My lord, I cannot.
    I pray you.
    2225Guildenstern
    Believe me, I cannot.
    I do beseech you.
    Guildenstern
    I know no touch of it, my lord.
    'Tis as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your finger and thumb, give it breath with your 2230mouth, and it will discourse most excellent music. Look you, these are the stops.
    Guildenstern
    But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony. I have not the skill.
    Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing 2235you make of me! You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass, and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot 2240you make it. Why, do you think that I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. [To Polonius, as he enters]God bless you, sir.
    Enter Polonius.
    2245Polonius
    My lord, the Queen would speak with you, and presently.
    Do you see that cloud? That's almost in shape like a camel.
    Polonius
    By th' mass, and it's like a camel indeed.
    Methinks it is like a weasel.
    Polonius
    It is backed like a weasel.
    Or like a whale?
    Polonius
    Very like a whale.
    Then will I come to my mother by and by. 2255[Aside] They fool me to the top of my bent.
    [Aloud] I will come by and by.
    Polonius
    I will say so.
    Exit.
    "By and by" is easily said.--Leave me, friends.
    [Exeunt all but Hamlet.]
    'Tis now the very witching time of night,
    2260When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
    Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
    And do such bitter business as the day
    Would quake to look on. Soft now, to my mother.
    O heart, loose not thy nature! Let not ever
    2265The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
    Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
    I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
    My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
    How in my words somever she be shent,
    2270To give them seals, never my soul consent!
    [Exit.]
    Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
    I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
    To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
    I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
    2275And he to England shall along with you.
    The terms of our estate may not endure
    Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
    Out of his lunacies.
    Guildenstern
    We will ourselves provide.
    2280Most holy and religious fear it is
    To keep those many many bodies safe
    That live and feed upon your majesty.
    Rosencrantz
    The single and peculiar life is bound
    2285With all the strength and armor of the mind
    To keep itself from noyance, but much more
    That spirit upon whose spirit depends and rests
    The lives of many. The cease of majesty
    Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
    2290What's near it with it. It is a massy wheel
    Fixed on the summit of the highest mount,
    To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
    Are mortised and adjoined, which, when it falls,
    Each small annexment, petty consequence,
    2295Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
    Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
    Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage,
    For we will fetters put upon this fear,
    Which now goes too free-footed.
    2300Both
    We will haste us.
    Exeunt gentlemen [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    Enter Polonius.
    Polonius
    My lord, he's going to his mother's closet.
    Behind the arras I'll convey myself
    To hear the process. I'll warrant she'll tax him home,
    2305And, as you said--and wisely was it said--
    'Tis meet that some more audience then a mother,
    Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
    The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
    I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
    2310And tell you what I know.
    King
    Thanks, dear my lord.
    [Exit Polonius.]
    Oh, my offense is rank! It smells to heaven.
    It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
    A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
    2315Though inclination be as sharp as will;
    My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
    And like a man to double business bound
    I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
    And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
    2320Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
    Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
    To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
    But to confront the visage of offense?
    And what's in prayer but this twofold force,
    2325To be forestallèd ere we come to fall,
    Or pardoned being down? Then I'll look up;
    My fault is past. But, oh, what form of prayer
    Can serve my turn? "Forgive me my foul murder"?
    That cannot be, since I am still possessed
    2330Of those effects for which I did the murder:
    My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
    May one be pardoned and retain th'offense?
    In the corrupted currents of this world,
    Offense's gilded hand may shove by justice,
    2335And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
    Buys out the law. But 'tis not so above:
    There is no shuffling, there the action lies
    In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
    Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
    2340To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
    Try what repentance can. What can it not?
    Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
    O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
    O limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
    2345Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay.
    Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel,
    Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
    All may be well.
    [He kneels.]
    Enter Hamlet.
    2350Hamlet
    Now might I do it pat, now he is praying,
    And now I'll do't. [He draws his sword.] And so he goes to heaven,
    And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
    A villain kills my father, and for that,
    I, his foul son, do this same villain send
    2355To heaven.
    Oh, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
    He took my father grossly, full of bread,
    With all his crimes broad blown, as fresh as May,
    And how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven?
    But in our circumstance and course of thought
    2360'Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged,
    To take him in the purging of his soul,
    When he is fit and seasoned for his passage? No.
    [He sheathes his sword.]
    Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent
    When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
    2365Or in th'incestuous pleasure of his bed,
    At gaming, swearing, or about some act
    That has no relish of salvation in't,
    Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
    And that his soul may be as damned and black
    2370As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays.
    This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
    Exit.
    My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
    Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
    Exit.
    Enter Queen and Polonius.
    2375Polonius
    He will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
    Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
    And that your grace hath screened and stood between
    Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
    2380Pray you, be round with him.
    Hamletwithin Mother, mother, mother!
    Queen
    I'll warrant you, fear me not.
    Withdraw; I hear him coming.
    [Polonius conceals himself behind the arras.]
    Enter Hamlet.
    2385Hamlet
    Now mother, what's the matter?
    Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
    Hamlet
    Mother, you have my father much offended.
    Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
    Hamlet
    Go, go, you question with an idle tongue.
    Why, how now, Hamlet?
    Hamlet
    What's the matter now?
    Have you forgot me?
    Hamlet
    No, by the rood, not so.
    You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife,
    2395But--would you were not so!--you are my mother.
    Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
    Hamlet
    Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.
    You go not till I set you up a glass
    2400Where you may see the inmost part of you.
    What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
    Help, help, ho!
    Polonius[Behind the arras]
    What ho! Help, help, help!
    Hamlet
    How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!
    [He stabs through the arras with his rapier.]
    2405Polonius
    [Behind the arras] Oh, I am slain!
    [Hamlet] kills Polonius.
    Queen
    Oh, me, what hast thou done?
    Hamlet
    Nay I know not. Is it the King?
    Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
    Hamlet
    A bloody deed--almost as bad, good mother,
    2410As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
    As kill a king?
    Hamlet
    Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
    [He parts the arras and discovers the dead Polonius.]
    Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
    I took thee for thy betters. Take thy fortune.
    2415Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
    [To the Queen]Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down,
    And let me wring your heart, for so I shall
    If it be made of penetrable stuff,
    If damnèd custom have not brazed it so
    2420That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
    What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
    In noise so rude against me?
    Hamlet
    Such an act
    That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
    2425Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
    From the fair forehead of an innocent love
    And makes a blister there, makes marriage vows
    As false as dicers' oaths--oh, such a deed
    As from the body of contraction plucks
    2430The very soul, and sweet religion makes
    A rhapsody of words. Heaven's face doth glow,
    Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
    With tristful visage as against the doom,
    Is thought-sick at the act.
    2435Queen
    Ay me, what act,
    That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
    Hamlet[Showing her two likenesses]:
    Look here upon this picture, and on this,
    The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
    See what a grace was seated on his brow:
    2440Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,
    An eye like Mars to threaten or command,
    A station like the herald Mercury
    New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill,
    A combination and a form indeed
    2445Where every god did seem to set his seal
    To give the world assurance of a man.
    This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
    Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear,
    Blasting his wholesome breath. Have you eyes?
    2450Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
    And batten on this moor? Ha? Have you eyes?
    You cannot call it love, for at your age
    The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
    And waits upon the judgment, and what judgment
    2455Would step from this to this? What devil was't
    That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
    O shame, where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
    If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
    To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
    2460And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
    When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
    Since frost itself as actively doth burn
    As reason panders will.
    Oh, Hamlet speak no more!
    2465Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
    And there I see such black and grainèd spots
    As will not leave their tinct.
    Hamlet
    Nay, but to live
    In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed,
    2470Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
    Over the nasty sty!
    Oh, speak to me no more!
    These words like daggers enter in mine ears.
    No more, sweet Hamlet.
    2475Hamlet
    A murderer and a villain,
    A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
    Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
    A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
    That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
    2480And put it in his pocket--
    No more!
    Enter Ghost.
    Hamlet
    A king of shreds and patches--
    [Seeing the Ghost]Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
    2485You heavenly guards! What would you, gracious figure?
    Alas, he's mad!
    Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
    That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
    Th'important acting of your dread command?
    Oh, say!
    2490Ghost
    Do not forget. This visitation
    Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
    But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
    Oh, step between her and her fighting soul!
    Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
    2495Speak to her, Hamlet.
    Hamlet
    How is it with you, lady?
    Alas, how is't with you,
    That you bend your eye on vacancy,
    And with th'incorporal air do hold discourse?
    2500Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
    And, as the sleeping soldiers in th'alarm,
    Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
    Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
    Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
    2505Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
    On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!
    His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
    Would make them capable. [To the Ghost] Do not look upon me,
    Lest with this piteous action you convert
    2510My stern effects. Then what I have to do
    Will want true color, tears perchance for blood.
    To who do you speak this?
    Do you see nothing there?
    Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.
    Nor did you nothing hear?
    No, nothing but ourselves.
    Why, look you there, look how it steals away!
    My father in his habit as he lived.
    Look where he goes, even now out at the portal!
    Exit [Ghost].
    This is the very coinage of your brain.
    This bodiless creation ecstasy is very cunning in.
    Ecstasy?
    My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time,
    And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
    2525That I have uttered. Bring me to the test
    And I the matter will reword, which madness
    Would gambol from, Mother, for love of grace,
    Lay not a flattering unction to your soul
    That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
    2530It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
    Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
    Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
    Repent what's past, avoid what is to come,
    And do not spread the compost o'er the weeds
    2535To make them rank. Forgive me this my virtue,
    For in the fatness of this pursy times
    Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
    Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
    Oh, Hamlet, 2540thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
    Oh, throw away the worser part of it,
    And live the purer with the other half.
    Good night. But go not to mine uncle's bed;
    Assume a virtue if you have it not. Refrain tonight,
    2545And that shall lend a kind of easiness
    To the next abstinence. Once more good night,
    And when you are desirous to be blest,
    I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
    I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so
    2550To punish me with this, and this with me,
    That I must be their scourge and minister.
    I will bestow him and will answer well
    The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
    I must be cruel only to be kind.
    2555Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
    What shall I do?
    Not this by no means that I bid you do:
    Let the blunt King tempt you again to bed,
    Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
    2560And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
    Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
    Make you to ravel all this matter out
    That I essentially am not in madness,
    But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know,
    2565For who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
    Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
    Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
    No, in dispite of sense and secrecy,
    Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
    2570Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
    To try conclusions, in the basket creep
    And break your own neck down.
    Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
    And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
    2575What thou hast said to me.
    I must to England. You know that?
    Alack, I had forgot. 'Tis so concluded on.
    This man shall set me packing.
    I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room.
    2580Mother, good night. Indeed, this counselor
    Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
    Who was in life a foolish prating knave.--
    Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.--
    Good night, mother.
    2585Exit Hamlet, tugging in Polonius.
    Enter King.
    There's matters in these sighs. These profound heaves
    You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.
    2590Where is your son?
    Queen
    Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!
    What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
    Queen
    Mad as the seas and wind, when both contend
    Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
    2595Behind the arras hearing something stir,
    He whips his rapier out, and cries, "A rat, a rat!"
    And in his brainish apprehension kills
    The unseen good old man.
    King
    Oh, heavy deed!
    2600It had been so with us had we been there.
    His liberty is full of threats to all,
    To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
    Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
    It will be laid to us, whose providence
    2605Should have kept short, restrained, and out of haunt
    This mad young man. But so much was our love,
    We would not understand what was most fit,
    But like the owner of a foul disease,
    To keep it from divulging, lets it feed
    2610Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
    To draw apart the body he hath killed,
    O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
    Among a mineral of metals base,
    Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done.
    Oh, Gertrude, come away!
    The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
    But we will ship him hence, and this vile deed
    We must with all our majesty and skill
    Both countenance and excuse.
    Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Ho, Guildenstern!
    Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
    Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
    And from his mother's closet hath he dragged him.
    Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
    2625Into the chapel. I pray you haste in this.
    Exit Gentlemen [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends
    To let them know both what we mean to do
    And what's untimely done. Oh, come away!
    My soul is full of discord and dismay.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Hamlet.
    Hamlet
    Safely stowed.
    GentlemenWithin
    Hamlet, Lord Hamlet!
    Hamlet
    What noise? Who calls on Hamlet?Oh, here they come.
    Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    2635Rosencrantz
    What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
    Hamlet
    Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.
    Rosencrantz
    Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
    and bear it to the chapel.
    Hamlet
    Do not believe it.
    2640Rosencrantz
    Believe what?
    Hamlet
    That I can keep your counsel and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son of a king?
    Rosencrantz
    Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
    2645Hamlet
    Ay, sir, that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in the end: he keeps them like an ape in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but 2650squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
    Rosencrantz
    I understand you not, my lord.
    Hamlet
    I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
    Rosencrantz
    My lord, you must tell us where the body is, 2655and go with us to the King.
    Hamlet
    The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body. The King is a thing--
    Guildenstern
    A thing, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all 2660after!
    Exeunt.
    Enter King.
    I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
    How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
    Yet must not we put the strong law on him;
    2665He's loved of the distracted multitude,
    Who like not in their judgment but their eyes,
    And where 'tis so, th'offender's scourge is weighed,
    But ne'er the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
    This sudden sending him away must seem
    2670Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
    By desperate appliance are relieved,
    Or not at all.
    Enter Rosencrantz.
    King
    How now? What hath befall'n?
    Rosencrantz
    Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
    2675We cannot get from him.
    King
    But where is he?
    Rosencrantz
    Without, my lord, guarded, to know your pleasure.
    Bring him before us.
    2680Rosencrantz[Calling]:
    Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.
    Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern [and Guards].
    Now Hamlet, where's Polonius?
    Hamlet
    At supper.
    At supper? Where?
    2685Hamlet
    Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourself for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service to dishes, 2690but to one table that's the end.
    What dost thou mean by this?
    Hamlet
    Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.
    Where is Polonius?
    2695Hamlet
    In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i'th' other place yourself. But indeed if you find him not this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
    King[To some attendants]
    Go seek him there.
    2700Hamlet
    He will stay till ye come.
    [Exeunt attendants.]
    Hamlet, this deed of thine, for thine especial safety--
    Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
    For that which thou hast done--must send thee hence
    With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
    2705The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
    Th'associates tend, and everything at bent
    For England.
    Hamlet
    For England?
    Ay, Hamlet.
    2710Hamlet
    Good.
    So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.
    Hamlet
    I see a cherub that sees him. But come, for England! Farewell, dear mother.
    Thy loving father, Hamlet.
    2715Hamlet
    My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother. Come, for England!
    Exit.
    Follow him at foot. Tempt him with speed aboard.
    2720Delay it not. I'll have him hence tonight.
    Away! For everything is sealed and done
    That else leans on th'affair. Pray you, make haste.
    [Exeunt all but the King.]
    And England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,
    As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
    2725Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
    After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
    Pays homage to us, thou mayst not coldly set
    Our sovereign process, which imports at full
    By letters conjuring to that effect
    2730The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
    For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
    And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
    Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.
    Exit.
    Enter Fortinbras [and a Captain] with an army.
    2735Fortinbras
    Go, captain, from me greet the Danish King.
    Tell him that by his license Fortinbras
    Claims the conveyance of a promised march
    Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
    If that his majesty would aught with us,
    2740We shall express our duty in his eye;
    And let him know so.
    Captain
    I will do't, my lord.
    Fortinbras[To his soldiers]
    Go safely on.
    Exit [with all the rest].
    Enter Queen and Horatio.
    2745Queen
    I will not speak with her.
    Horatio
    She is importunate, indeed, distract.
    Her mood will needs be pitied.
    Queen
    What would she have?
    Horatio
    She speaks much of her father, says she hears
    2750There's tricks i'th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,
    Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
    That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
    Yet the unshapèd use of it doth move
    The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
    2755And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,
    Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
    Indeed would make one think there would be thought,
    Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
    Queen
    'Twere good she were spoken with,
    2760For she may strew dangerous conjectures
    In ill-breeding minds. Let her come in.
    [Exit Gentleman.]
    [Aside] To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
    Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
    So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
    2765It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
    Enter Ophelia, distracted.
    Ophelia
    Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?
    How now, Ophelia?
    Ophelia[She sings.]
    How should I your true love know
    from another one?
    2770By his cockle hat and staff,
    And his sandal shoon.
    Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
    Ophelia
    Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
    [She sings.]
    He is dead and gone, lady,
    He is dead and gone.
    At his head a grass-green turf,
    At his heels a stone.
    2775Enter King.
    Nay, but Ophelia--
    Ophelia
    Pray you, mark. [She sings.]
    White his shroud as the mountain snow--
    Alas, look here, my lord.
    2780Ophelia[She sings.]
    Larded with sweet flowers,
    Which bewept to the grave did not go
    With true-love showers.
    How do ye, pretty lady?
    Ophelia
    Well God dild you. They say the owl was 2785a baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table!
    Conceit upon her father.
    Ophelia
    Pray you, let's have no words of this. But when they ask you what it means, say you this:
    2790 [She sings.]
    Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's day,
    All in the morning betime,
    And I a maid at your window
    To be your Valentine.
    Then up he rose, and donned his clothes,
    And dupped the chamber door,
    Let in the maid, that out a maid
    Never departed more
    .
    Pretty Ophelia--
    2795Ophelia
    Indeed, la? Without an oath I'll make an end on't.
    [She sings.]
    By Gis and by Saint Charity,
    Alack, and fie for shame!
    Young men will do't if they come to't;
    By Cock, they are too blame.
    2800Quoth she, "Before you tumbled me,
    you promised me to wed."
    "So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
    An thou hadst not come to my bed."
    How long hath she been this?
    2805Ophelia
    I hope all will be well. We must be patient. But I cannot choose but weep to think they should lay him i'th' cold ground. My brother shall know of it. And so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies. 2810Good night, good night.
    Exit.
    King[To Horatio.]
    Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you.
    [Exit Horatio.]
    Oh, this is the poison of deep grief! It springs
    All from her father's death. Oh, Gertrude, Gertrude,
    2815When sorrows comes, they come not single spies
    But in battalias. First, her father slain;
    Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
    Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
    Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
    2820For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly
    In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
    Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
    Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
    Last, and as much containing as all these,
    2825Her brother is in secret come from France,
    Keeps on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
    And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
    With pestilent speeches of his father's death,
    Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
    2830Will nothing stick our persons to arraign
    In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
    Like to a murdering piece, in many places
    Gives me superfluous death.
    A noise within.
    Enter a Messenger.
    Alack, what noise is this?
    King
    Where are my Switzers?
    Let them guard the door. What is the matter?
    Messenger
    Save yourself, my lord!
    The ocean, overpeering of his list,
    2840Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste
    Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
    O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord,
    And, as the world were now but to begin,
    Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
    2845The ratifiers and props of every word,
    They cry, "Choose we! Laertes shall be king!"
    Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds:
    "Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!"
    How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
    2850Oh, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
    Noise within.
    Enter Laertes.
    The doors are broke.
    [1]
    Laertes
    Where is the king, sirs?--Stand you all without.
    [2][3]
    All[Offstage]
    No, let's come in.
    2855Laertes
    I pray you, give me leave.
    All[Offstage]
    We will, we will.
    Laertes
    I thank you. Keep the door.--
    [Laertes's followers remain outside the door.]
    O thou vile king, give me my father!
    Calmly, good Laertes.
    2860Laertes
    That drop of blood that calms proclaims me bastard,
    Cries "Cuckold!" to my father, brands the harlot
    Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow
    Of my true mother.
    2865King
    What is the cause, Laertes,
    That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?--
    Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
    There's such divinity doth hedge a king
    That treason can but peep to what it would,
    2870Acts little of his will.--Tell me, Laertes,
    Why thou art thus incensed?--Let him go, Gertrude.--
    Speak, man.
    Laertes
    Where's my father?
    King
    Dead.
    But not by him.
    King
    Let him demand his fill.
    Laertes
    How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with.
    To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
    Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
    2880I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
    That both the worlds I give to negligence,
    Let come what comes, only I'll be revenged
    Most throughly for my father.
    Who shall stay you?
    2885Laertes
    My will, not all the world.
    And for my means, I'll husband them so well
    They shall go far with little.
    King
    Good Laertes,
    If you desire to know the certainty
    2890Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge
    That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
    Winner and loser?
    Laertes
    None but his enemies.
    Will you know them, then?
    2895Laertes
    To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms,
    And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
    Repast them with my blood.
    King
    Why, now you speak
    Like a good child and a true gentleman.
    2900That I am guiltless of your father's death,
    And am most sensible in grief for it,
    It shall as level to your judgment pierce
    As day does to your eye.
    A noise within.
    [Voices within]
    Let her come in.
    2905Enter Ophelia
    Laertes
    How now, what noise is that?
    O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt
    Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
    By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight
    2910Till our scale turns the beam. O rose of May,
    Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
    O heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits
    Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
    Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine
    2915It sends some precious instance of itself
    After the thing it loves.
    Ophelia
    [She sings.]
    They bore him bare-faced on the bier,
    Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny,
    And on his grave rains many a tear.
    2920Fare you well, my dove.
    Laertes
    Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
    It could not move thus.
    Ophelia
    You must sing "down, a-down," an you call him "a-down-a." Oh, how the wheel becomes it! It is 2925the false steward that stole his master's daughter.
    Laertes
    This nothing's more than matter.
    Ophelia
    There's rosemary; that's for remembrance. Pray, love, remember. And there is pansies; that's for thoughts.
    2930Laertes
    A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
    Ophelia
    There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you, and here's some for me. We may call it herb-grace o'Sundays. Oh, you must wear your rue 2935with a difference. There's a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say he made a good end.
    [She sings.]For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
    Laertes
    Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself
    2940She turns to favor and to prettiness.
    Ophelia[She sings.]
    And will he not come again?
    And will he not come again?
    No, no, he is dead,
    Go to thy deathbed,
    He never will come again.
    2945His beard as white as snow,
    All flaxen was his poll.
    He is gone, he is gone,
    And we cast away moan.
    Gramercy on his soul!
    And of all Christian souls, I pray God.
    2950God buy ye!
    Exeunt Ophelia [and the Queen, following her].
    Laertes
    Do you see this, you gods?
    Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
    Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
    Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
    2955And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
    If by direct or by collateral hand
    They find us touched, we will our kingdom give,
    Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours
    To you in satisfaction; but if not,
    2960Be you content to lend your patience to us,
    And we shall jointly labor with your soul
    To give it due content.
    Laertes
    Let this be so.
    His means of death, his obscure burial--
    2965No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
    No noble rite, nor formal ostentation--
    Cry to be heard as 'twere from heaven to earth,
    That I must call in question.
    King
    So you shall,
    2970And where th'offense is, let the great ax fall.
    I pray you go with me.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Horatio, with an Attendant [i.e., Servingman].
    Horatio
    What are they that would speak with me?
    Servingman
    Sailors, sir. They say they have letters for you.
    2975Horatio
    Let them come in.
    [Exit Servingman.]
    I do not know from what part of the world I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.
    Enter Sailor [with one or more companions].
    Sailor
    God bless you, sir.
    2980Horatio
    Let him bless thee too.
    Sailor
    He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you, sir. It comes from th'ambassadors that was bound for England, if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
    [He gives a letter.]
    [Horatio]
    Reads the letter.
    Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the King; they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too 2990slow of sail, we put on a compelled valor. In the grapple, I boarded them. On the instant they got clear of our ship, so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves of mercy, but they knew what they did. I am to do a good turn for them. Let the King have the letters I have 2995sent, and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou wouldest fly death. I have words to speak in your ear will make thee dumb, yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England. Of them 3000I have much to tell thee. Farewell. He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.
    Come, I will give you way for these your letters,
    /And do't the speedier that you may direct me
    /3005To him from whom you brought them.
    Exit [with the sailors].
    Enter King and Laertes.
    Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
    And you must put me in your heart for friend,
    Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
    3010That he which hath your noble father slain
    Pursued my life.
    Laertes
    It well appears. But tell me
    Why you proceeded not against these feats
    So crimeful and so capital in nature,
    3015As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
    You mainly were stirred up.
    Oh, for two special reasons,
    Which may to you perhaps seem much unsinewed,
    And yet to me they are strong. The Queen his mother
    3020Lives almost by his looks, and for myself--
    My virtue or my plague, be it either which--
    She's so conjunctive to my life and soul
    That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
    I could not but by her. The other motive
    3025Why to a public count I might not go
    Is the great love the general gender bear him,
    Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
    Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
    Convert his gyves to graces, so that my arrows,
    3030Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind,
    Would have reverted to my bow again,
    And not where I had armed them.
    Laertes
    And so have I a noble father lost,
    A sister driven into desperate terms,
    3035Who has, if praises may go back again,
    Stood challenger on mount of all the age
    For her perfections. But my revenge will come.
    Break not your sleeps for that. You must not think
    3040That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
    That we can let our beard be shook with danger
    And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.
    I loved your father, and we love ourself,
    And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine--
    3045Enter a Messenger [with letters].
    How now? What news?
    Messenger
    Letters, my lord, from Hamlet.
    This to your majesty, this to the Queen.
    [He gives letters.]
    From Hamlet? Who brought them?
    3050Messenger
    Sailors, my lord, they say. I saw them not.
    They were given me by Claudio. He received them.
    Laertes, you shall hear them. [To the Messenger]Leave us.
    Exit Messenger.
    [He reads.]High and mighty, you shall know I am set naked on your 3055kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes, when I shall (first asking your pardon thereunto) recount th'occasions of my sudden and more strange return. Hamlet.
    [King]
    What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
    3060Or is it some abuse? Or no such thing?
    Laertes
    Know you the hand?
    King
    'Tis Hamlet's character. "Naked!"
    And in a postscript here he says "alone."
    Can you advise me?
    I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come.
    3065It warms the very sickness in my heart
    That I shall live and tell him to his teeth
    "Thus diddest thou."
    If it be so, Laertes--
    As how should it be so, how otherwise?--
    Will you be ruled by me?
    3070Laertes Ay, my lord,
    If so you'll not o'errule me to a peace.
    To thine own peace. If he be now returned
    As checking at his voyage, and that he means
    No more to undertake it, I will work him
    To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
    3075Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
    And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
    But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
    And call it accident. Some two months hence
    Here was a gentleman of Normandy.
    3080I have seen myself, and served against, the French,
    And they ran well on horseback, but this gallant
    Had witchcraft in't; he grew into his seat,
    And to such wondrous doing brought his horse
    As had he been incorpsed and demi-natured
    3085With the brave beast. So far he passed my thought
    That I in forgery of shapes and tricks
    Come short of what he did.
    Laertes
    A Norman was't?
    A Norman.
    Upon my life, Lamound.
    The very same.
    I know him well. He is the brooch indeed
    And gem of all our nation.
    He made confession of you,
    3095And gave you such a masterly report
    For art and exercise in your defense,
    And for your rapier most especially,
    That he cried out 'twould be a sight indeed
    If one could match you, sir. This report of his
    3100Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
    That he could nothing do but wish and beg
    Your sudden coming o'er to play with him.
    Now, out of this--
    Laertes
    Why out of this, my lord?
    Laertes, was your father dear to you?
    Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
    A face without a heart?
    Laertes
    Why ask you this?
    Not that I think you did not love your father,
    3110But that I know love is begun by time,
    And that I see, in passages of proof,
    Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
    Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake
    To show yourself your father's son indeed,
    3115More than in words?
    Laertes
    To cut his throat i'th'church.
    No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize.
    Revenge should have no bounds. But good Laertes,
    Will you do this: keep close within your chamber.
    3120Hamlet returned shall know you are come home.
    We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
    And set a double varnish on the fame
    The Frenchman gave you, bring you in fine together,
    And wager on your heads. He being remiss,
    3125Most generous, and free from all contriving,
    Will not peruse the foils, so that with ease,
    Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
    A sword unbated, and in a pass of practice
    Requite him for your father.
    3130Laertes
    I will do't,
    And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
    I bought an unction of a mountebank
    So mortal I but dipped a knife in it,
    Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
    3135Collected from all simples that have virtue
    Under the moon, can save the thing from death
    That is but scratched withal. I'll touch my point
    With this contagion, that if I gall him slightly,
    It may be death.
    3140King
    Lets further think of this,
    Weigh what convenience both of time and means
    May fit us to our shape. If this should fail,
    And that our drift look through our bad performance,
    'Twere better not assayed. Therefore this project
    3145Should have a back or second, that might hold
    If this should blast in proof. Soft, let me see.
    We'll make a solemn wager on your comings--
    I ha't! When in your motion you are hot and dry--
    As make your bouts more violent to the end--
    3150And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
    A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
    If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,
    Our purpose may hold there.--How, sweet Queen?
    Enter Queen.
    One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
    So fast they'll follow. Your sister's drowned, Laertes.
    Laertes
    Drowned! Oh, where?
    There is a willow grows aslant a brook
    That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
    3160There with fantastic garlands did she come,
    Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
    That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
    But our cold maids do "dead men's fingers" call them.
    There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
    3165Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
    When down the weedy trophies and herself
    Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
    And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up,
    Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
    3170As one incapable of her own distress,
    Or like a creature native and endued
    Unto that element. But long it could not be
    Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
    Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
    3175To muddy death.
    Laertes
    Alas, then, is she drowned?
    Drowned, drowned.
    Laertes
    Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
    And therefore I forbid my tears. But yet
    3180It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
    Let shame say what it will. [He weeps].When these are gone,
    The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord.
    I have a speech of fire that fain would blaze,
    But that this folly douts it.
    Exit.
    3185King
    Let's follow, Gertrude.
    How much I had to do to calm his rage!
    Now fear I this will give it start again;
    Therefore let's follow.
    Exeunt.
    Enter two Clowns [with spades and mattocks].
    3190Clown
    Is she to be buried in Christian burial, that willfully seeks her own salvation?
    Other
    I tell thee she is, and therefore make her grave straight. The crowner hath sat on her, and finds it 3195Christian burial.
    Clown
    How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defense?
    Other
    Why, 'tis found so.
    Clown
    It must be se offendendo , it cannot be else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it 3200argues an act, and an act hath three branches: it is an act to do and to perform. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
    Other
    Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.
    Clown
    Give me leave. Here lies the water; good. 3205Here stands the man; good. If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes; mark you that? But if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.
    3210Other
    But is this law?
    Clown
    Ay, marry, is't, crowner's quest law.
    Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of Christian burial.
    Why, there thou say'st, and the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even-Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and gravemakers. They hold up 3220Adam's profession.
    Was he a gentleman?
    He was the first that ever bore arms.
    Why, he had none.
    Why, art a heathen? How dost thou 3225understand the Scripture? The Scripture says Adam digged. Could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself--
    Go to.
    What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
    The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.
    I like thy wit well, in good faith, the gallows 3235does well. But how does it well? It does well to those that do ill. Now, thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church. Argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.
    "Who builds stronger than a mason, a 3240shipwright, or a carpenter?"
    Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
    Marry, now I can tell.
    To't.
    Mass, I cannot tell.
    3245Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.
    Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating; and when you are asked this question next, say "a grave-maker." The houses that he makes lasts till doomsday. Go, get thee 3250to Youghan, fetch me a stoup of liquor.
    [Exit Second Clown.] [The First Clown digs.]
    Sings.
    In youth when I did love, did love,
    Methought it was very sweet
    To contract--oh--the time for--a--my behove,
    3255Oh, methought there was nothing meet.
    Hamlet
    Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at grave-making?
    Horatio
    Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
    3260Hamlet
    'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.
    Clown sings.
    But age with his stealing steps
    Hath caught me in his clutch,
    3265And hath shipped me intil the land,
    As if I had never been such.
    [The Clown throws up a skull.]
    Hamlet
    That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to th' ground, as if it were Cain's jawbone, that did the first murder! It 3270might be the pate of a politician, which this ass o'er-offices, one that could circumvent God, might it not?
    Horatio
    It might, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Or of a courtier, which could say, "Good morrow, sweet lord, how dost thou, good lord?" This 3275might be my Lord Such-a-one, that praised my Lord Such-a-one's horse when he meant to beg it, might it not?
    Horatio
    Ay, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Why, e'en so. And now my Lady Worm's, chapless, and knocked about the mazard with a sexton's 3280spade. Here's fine revolution, if we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggets with 'em? Mine ache to think on't.
    Clown sings.
    Song.
    A pickax and a spade, a spade,
    For and a shrouding sheet;
    Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
    For such a guest is meet.
    [He throws up another skull.]
    Hamlet
    There's another. Why might not that be the 3290skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits now? His quillets? His cases? His tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in's 3295time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? Will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and 3300double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box, and must the inheritor himself have no more? Ha?
    Horatio
    Not a jot more, my lord.
    3305Hamlet
    Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
    Horatio
    Ay, my lord, and of calves' skins too.
    Hamlet
    They are sheep and calves that seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow.--Whose grave's this, sir?
    Mine, sir.
    Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
    For such a guest is meet/
    Hamlet
    I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
    You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours. 3315For my part, I do not lie in't, and yet it is mine.
    Hamlet
    Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say 'tis thine. 'Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
    'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again from me 3320to you.
    Hamlet
    What man dost thou dig it for?
    For no man, sir.
    Hamlet
    What woman, then?
    For none, neither.
    3325Hamlet
    Who is to be buried in't?
    One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she's dead.
    Hamlet[To Horatio]
    How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the 3330Lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heels of our courtier he galls his kibe.--How long hast thou been grave-maker?
    Of all the days i'th'year, I came to't that day 3335that our last King Hamlet o'ercame Fortinbras.
    Hamlet
    How long is that since?
    Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was the very day that young Hamlet was born--he that was mad and sent into England.
    3340Hamlet
    Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
    Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits there; or if he do not, it's no great matter there.
    Hamlet
    Why?
    'Twill not be seen in him. There the men are as mad as he.
    Hamlet
    How came he mad?
    Very strangely, they say.
    Hamlet
    How strangely?
    Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
    3350Hamlet
    Upon what ground?
    Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.
    Hamlet
    How long will a man lie i'th'earth ere he rot?
    I'faith, if he be not rotten before he die--as we have 3355many pocky corses nowadays that will scarce hold the laying in--he will last you some eight year, or nine year. A tanner will last you nine year.
    Hamlet
    Why he more than another?
    Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade that 3360he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. [He picks up a skull.]Here's a skull now: this skull has lain in the earth three-and-twenty years.
    Hamlet
    Whose was it?
    A whoreson mad fellow's it was. 3365Whose do you think it was?
    Hamlet
    Nay, I know not.
    A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'A poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, this same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the King's jester.
    3370Hamlet
    This?
    E'en that.
    Hamlet
    Let me see. [He takes the skull.]Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and how 3375abhorred my imagination is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.-- Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? No one now to mock your own 3380jeering? Quite chopfall'n? Now get you to my lady's chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
    Horatio
    What's that, my lord?
    3385Hamlet
    Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i'th'earth?
    Horatio
    E'en so.
    Hamlet
    And smelt so? Puh!
    Horatio
    E'en so, my lord.
    3390Hamlet
    To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?
    Horatio
    'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.
    Hamlet
    No, faith, not a jot. But to follow him thither 3395with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it, as thus: Alexander died; Alexander was buried; Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam, and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
    3400Imperial Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
    Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
    Oh, that that earth which kept the world in awe
    Should patch a wall t'expel the winter's flaw!
    But soft, but soft, aside! Here comes the King,
    3405Enter King, Queen, Laertes, and a coffin [of Ophelia, in funeral procession, with a Priest], with Lords attendant.
    The Queen, the courtiers. Who is that they follow,
    And with such maimèd rites? This doth betoken,
    The corse they follow did with desperate hand
    3410Fordo it own life. 'Twas some estate.
    Couch we awhile and mark.
    [Hamlet and Horatio conceal themselves. Ophelia's body is taken to the grave.]
    Laertes
    What ceremony else?
    Hamlet[To Horatio]
    That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
    Laertes
    What ceremony else?
    Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
    As we have warrantise. Her death was doubtful,
    And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
    She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
    Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayer,
    3420Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her;
    Yet here she is allowed her virgin rites,
    Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
    Of bell and burial.
    Laertes
    Must there no more be done?
    3425Priest
    No more be done.
    We should profane the service of the dead
    To sing sage requiem and such rest to her
    As to peace-parted souls.
    Laertes
    Lay her i'th'earth,
    3430And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
    May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
    A minist'ring angel shall my sister be
    When thou liest howling.
    Hamlet[To Horatio]
    What, the fair Ophelia?
    3435Queen[Scattering flowers]
    Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
    I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
    I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
    And not t'have strewed thy grave.
    Laertes
    Oh, terrible woe
    3440Fall ten times treble on that cursèd head
    Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
    Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,
    Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
    Leaps in the grave.
    3445Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
    Till of this flat a mountain you have made
    To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
    Of blue Olympus.
    Hamlet[Coming forward]
    What is he whose griefs
    3450Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
    Conjure[s] the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand
    Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
    Hamlet the Dane.
    Laertes[Grappling with Hamlet]The devil take thy soul!
    Thou pray'st not well.
    I prithee take thy fingers from my throat.
    Sir, though I am not splenative and rash,
    Yet have I something in me dangerous,
    Which let thy wiseness fear. Away thy hand!
    Pluck them asunder.
    Hamlet, Hamlet!
    Gentleman
    Good my lord, be quiet.
    [Hamlet and Laertes are parted.]
    Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
    Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
    Oh, my son, what theme?
    I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
    Could not, with all their quantity of love,
    Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
    Oh, he is mad, Laertes.
    For love of God, forbear him.
    Come, show me what thou'lt do.
    Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't tear thyself?
    Woo't drink up eisil? Eat a crocodile?
    I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
    3475To outface me with leaping in her grave?
    Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
    And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
    Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
    Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
    3480Make Ossa like a wart. Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
    I'll rant as well as thou.
    King
    This is mere madness,
    And thus awhile the fit will work on him;
    Anon, as patient as the female dove
    3485When that her golden couplet are disclosed,
    His silence will sit drooping.
    Hamlet[To Laertes]Hear you, sir:
    What is the reason that you use me thus?
    I loved you ever. But it is no matter.
    3490Let Hercules himself do what he may,
    The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.
    Exit.
    I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.
    [Exit Horatio.]
    [Aside to Laertes] Strengthen then you[r] patience in our last night's speech;
    We'll put the matter to the present push.--
    3495Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.--
    This grave shall have a living monument.
    An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
    Till then, in patience our proceeding be.
    Exeunt.
    Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
    3500Hamlet
    So much for this, sir. Now let me see, the other.
    You do remember all the circumstance?
    Horatio+
    Remember it, my lord!
    Hamlet
    Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
    That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
    3505Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly--
    And praise be rashness for it!--let us know,
    Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well
    When our dear plots do pall, and that should teach us
    There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
    3510Rough-hew them how we will.
    Horatio
    That is most certain.
    Hamlet
    Up from my cabin,
    My sea-gown scarfed about me in the dark,
    Groped I to find out them; had my desire,
    3515Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
    To mine own room again, making so bold,
    My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
    Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio--
    Oh, royal knavery!-- an exact command,
    3520Larded with many several sorts of reason,
    Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
    With, hoo! such bugs and goblins in my life,
    That on the supervise, no leisure bated,
    No, not to stay the grinding of the ax,
    3525My head should be struck off.
    Horatio
    Is't possible?
    Hamlet[Showing a document]
    Here's the commission. Read it at more leisure.
    But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
    Horatio
    I beseech you.
    3530Hamlet
    Being thus benetted round with villains,
    Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
    They had begun the play. I sat me down,
    Devised a new commission, wrote it fair.
    I once did hold it, as our statists do,
    3535A baseness to write fair, and labored much
    How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
    It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
    The effects of what I wrote?
    Horatio
    Ay, good my lord.
    3540Hamlet
    An earnest conjuration from the King,
    As England was his faithful tributary,
    As love between them as the palm should flourish,
    As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
    And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
    3545And many suchlike "as"es of great charge,
    That on the view and know of these contents,
    Without debatement further, more or less,
    He should the bearers put to sudden death,
    Not shriving time allowed.
    3550Horatio
    How was this sealed?
    Hamlet
    Why, even in that was heaven ordinate.
    I had my father's signet in my purse,
    Which was the model of that Danish seal;
    Folded the writ up in form of the other,
    3555Subscribed it, gave't th'impression, placed it safely,
    The changeling never known. Now the next day
    Was our sea fight, and what to this was sequent
    Thou know'st already.
    Horatio
    So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
    Hamlet
    Why, man, they did make love to this employment.
    They are not near my conscience. Their debate
    Doth by their own insinuation grow.
    'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
    Between the pass and fell incensèd points
    3565Of mighty opposites.
    Horatio
    Why, what a King is this!
    Hamlet
    Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--
    He that hath killed my King and whored my mother,
    Popped in between th'election and my hopes,
    3570Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
    And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience
    To quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damned
    To let this canker of our nature come
    In further evil?
    3575Horatio
    It must be shortly known to him from England
    What is the issue of the business there.
    Hamlet
    It will be short.
    The interim's mine, and a man's life's no more
    Than to say one. But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
    3580That to Laertes I forgot myself,
    For by the image of my cause I see
    The portraiture of his. I'll count his favors.
    But sure the bravery of his grief did put me
    Into a tow'ring passion.
    3585Horatio
    Peace, who comes here?
    Enter young Osric.
    Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
    Hamlet
    I humbly thank you, sir. [Aside to Horatio] Dost know this water-fly?
    Horatio
    [Aside to Hamlet] No, my good lord.
    3590Hamlet
    [Aside to Horatio] Thy state is the more gracious, for 'tis a vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile. Let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the King's mess. 'Tis a chough, but, as I saw, spacious in the possession of dirt.
    Sweet lord, if your friendship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
    Hamlet
    I will receive it with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use. 'Tis for the head.
    I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.
    3600Hamlet
    No, believe me, 'tis very cold. The wind is northerly.
    It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
    Hamlet
    Methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
    Exceedingly, my lord, it is very sultry, as 'twere--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter--
    Hamlet[Reminding Osric once more about his hat] I beseech you, remember.
    Nay, in good faith, for mine ease, in good faith. Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon.
    Hamlet
    What's his weapon?
    Rapier and dagger.
    3615Hamlet
    That's two of his weapons--but well.
    The King, sir, has waged with him six Barbary horses, against the which he imponed, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, or so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very 3620dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
    Hamlet
    What call you the carriages?
    The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
    The phrase would be more germane to the 3625matter if we could carry cannon by our sides; I would it might be "hangers" till then. But on. Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages: that's the French bet against the Danish. Why is this "imponed," as you call it?
    The King, sir, hath laid that in a dozen passes between you and him, he shall not exceed you three hits. He hath one twelve for nine, and that would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
    How if I answer no?
    I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
    Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me. Let 3640the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the King hold his purpose, I will win for him if I can; if not, I'll gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
    Shall I redeliver you e'en so?
    To this effect, sir, after what flourish your 3645nature will.
    I commend my duty to your lordship.
    Yours, yours.
    [Exit Osric.]
    He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
    Horatio
    This lapwing runs away with the shell on his 3650head.
    He did comply with his dug before he sucked it. Thus had he, and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes on, only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter, a kind of 3655yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions; and do but blowthem to their trials, the bubbles are out.
    Horatio
    You will lose this wager, my lord.
    I do not think so. Since he went into France, 3660I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldest not think how all here about my heart, but it is no matter.
    Horatio
    Nay, good my lord--
    It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of 3665gaingiving as would perhaps trouble a woman.
    Horatio
    If your mind dislike anything, obey. I will forestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.
    Not a whit, we defy augury. There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not 3670to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all, since no man has aught of what he leaves. What is't to leave betimes?
    Enter King, Queen, and Lords, with other 3675Attendants, with foils and gauntlets, a table, and flagons of wine on it.
    Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.[The King puts Laertes's hand into Hamlet's.]
    Hamlet[To Laertes]
    Give me your pardon, sir. I've done you wrong,
    But pardon't as you are a gentleman.
    3680This presence knows,
    And you must needs have heard, how I am punished
    With sore distraction. What I have done
    That might your nature, honor, and exception
    Roughly awake, I hear proclaim was madness.
    3685Was't Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet.
    If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
    And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
    Then Hamlet does it not; Hamlet denies it.
    Who does it, then? His madness? If't be so,
    3690Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged;
    His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
    Sir, in this audience,
    Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
    Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
    3695That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house
    And hurt my mother.
    Laertes
    I am satisfied in nature,
    Whose motive in this case should stir me most
    To my revenge. But in my terms of honor
    3700I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement,
    Till by some elder masters of known honor
    I have a voice and precedent of peace
    To keep my name ungorged. But till that time
    I do receive your offered love like love,
    3705And will not wrong it.
    Hamlet
    I do embrace it freely,
    And will this brother's wager frankly play.--
    Give us the foils.--Come on.
    Laertes
    Come, one for me.
    I'll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
    Your skill shall like a star i'th'darkest night
    Stick fiery off indeed.
    Laertes
    You mock me, sir.
    No, by this hand.
    Give them the foils, young Osric.
    [Foils are handed to Hamlet and Laertes.]
    Cousin Hamlet, you know the wager.
    Very well, my lord.
    Your grace hath laid the odds o'th'weaker side.
    I do not fear it; 3720I have seen you both.
    But since he is bettered, we have therefore odds.
    Laertes
    This is too heavy. Let me see another.
    [He exchanges his foil for another.]
    This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
    Prepare to play.
    Ay, my good lord.
    Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
    If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
    Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
    3730Let all the battlements their ordnance fire.
    The King shall drink to Hamlet's better breath,
    And in the cup an union shall he throw
    Richer then that which four successive kings
    In Denmark's crown have worn. 3735Give me the cups,
    And let the kettle to the trumpets speak,
    The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
    The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
    "Now the King drinks to Hamlet." Come, begin.
    [Trumpets the while.]
    3740And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
    Come on, sir.
    They play. [Hamlet scores a hit.]
    One.
    Laertes
    No.
    Judgment.
    A hit, a very palpable hit.
    Laertes
    Well, again.
    Stay. Give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine.
    [He drinks, and throws a pearl in Hamlet's cup.]
    3750Here's to thy health.--Give him the cup.
    Trumpets sound, and shot goes off.
    I'll play this bout first. Set [it] by awhile.
    Come.[They fence.]Another hit. What say you?
    Laertes
    A touch, a touch, I do confess.
    3755King[To the Queen] Our son shall win.
    Queen
    He's fat and scant of breath.
    [To Hamlet]Here's a napkin, rub thy brows.
    [The Queen takes a cup of wine to offer a toast to Hamlet.]
    The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
    Good madam.
    Gertrude, do not drink.
    I will, my lord, I pray you pardon me.[She drinks.]
    [Aside] It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.
    I dare not drink yet, madam; 3765by and by.
    Come, let me wipe thy face.
    Laertes
    [Aside to the King] My lord, I'll hit him now.
    King
    [Aside to Laertes] I do not think't.
    Laertes[Aside]
    And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
    Come, for the third. Laertes, you but dally.
    I pray you, pass with your best violence;
    I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
    Laertes
    Say you so? Come on.
    [They] play.
    Nothing neither way.
    Laertes
    Have at you now!
    [Laertes wounds Hamlet with his unbated rapier.] In scuffling they change rapiers. [Hamlet and wounds Laertes.]
    King
    Part them! They are incensed.
    Nay, come, again.[The Queen falls.]
    3780Osric
    Look to the Queen there, ho!
    Horatio
    They bleed on both sides. [To Hamlet]How is't, my lord?
    How is't, Laertes?
    Laertes
    Why, as a woodcock To mine springe, Osric;
    3785I am justly killed with mine own treachery.
    How does the Queen?
    King
    She swoons to see them bleed.
    No, no, the drink, the drink.
    O my dear Hamlet, the drink, the drink!
    3790I am poisoned.
    [She dies.]
    Oh, villainy! Ho! Let the door be locked.
    Treachery! Seek it out.
    [Exit Osric. Laertes falls.]
    Laertes
    It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain.
    3795No medicine in the world can do thee good;
    In thee there is not half an hour of life.
    The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
    Unbated and envenomed. The foul practice
    Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
    3800Never to rise again. Thy mother's poisoned.
    I can no more. The King, the King's to blame.
    The point envenomed too? Then, venom, to thy work.
    Hurts the King.
    Treason, treason!
    Oh, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
    Hamlet[Forcing the King to drink]Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damnèd Dane,
    Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
    3810Follow my mother.
    King dies.
    Laertes
    He is justly served.
    It is a poison tempered by himself.
    Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
    Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
    3815Nor thine on me!
    Dies.
    Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
    I am dead, Horatio. Wretched Queen, adieu.
    You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
    That are but mutes or audience to this act,
    3820Had I but time, as this fell sergeant Death
    Is strict in his arrest, oh, I could tell you--
    But let it be. Horatio, I am dead,
    Thou liv'st. Report me and my causes right
    To the unsatisfied.
    3825Horatio
    Never believe it.
    I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.
    Here's yet some liquor left.
    [He attempts to drink from the poisoned cup, but is prevented by Hamlet.]
    Hamlet
    As th'art a man,
    Give me the cup! Let go! By heaven, I'll have't.
    3830O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
    Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
    If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
    Absent thee from felicity awhile,
    And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
    3835To tell my story.
    March afar off, and shout within.
    What warlike noise is this?
    Enter Osric.
    Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
    3840To th'ambassadors of England gives this warlike volley.
    Oh, I die, Horatio.
    The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.
    I cannot live to hear the news from England,
    But I do prophesy th'election lights
    3845On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
    So tell him, with the occurrents more and less
    Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
    Oh, oh, oh, oh!
    Dies.
    Horatio
    Now crack a noble heart! Good night, sweet prince,
    3850And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
    [March within.]
    Why does the drum come hither?
    Enter Fortinbras and English Ambassador, with Drum, Colors, and Attendants.
    Fortinbras
    Where is this sight?
    3855Horatio
    What is it ye would see?
    If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
    Fortinbras
    His quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
    That thou so many princes at a shoot
    3860So bloodily hast struck?
    Ambassador
    The sight is dismal,
    And our affairs from England come too late.
    The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
    To tell him his commandment is fulfilled,
    3865That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
    Where should we have our thanks?
    Horatio
    Not from his mouth,
    Had it th'ability of life to thank you;
    He never gave commandment for their death.
    3870But since so jump upon this bloody question
    You from the Polack wars and you from England
    Are here arrived, give order that these bodies
    High on a stage be placèd to the view,
    And let me speak to th'yet unknowing world
    3875How these things came about. So shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
    Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
    Of deaths put on by cunning, and forced cause,
    And in this upshot, purpose mistook
    3880Fall'n on the inventors' heads. All this can I
    Truly deliver.
    Fortinbras
    Let us haste to hear it,
    And call the noblest to the audience.
    For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.
    3885I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
    Which are to claim; my vantage doth invite me.
    Horatio
    Of that I shall have always cause to speak,
    And from his mouth 3890Whose voice will draw on more.
    But let this same be presently performed,
    Even whiles men's minds are wild, Lest more mischance
    On plots and errors happen.
    3895Fortinbras
    Let four captains
    Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
    For he was likely, had he been put on,
    To have proved most royally; And for his passage,
    3900The soldiers' music and the rites of war
    Speak loudly for him.
    Take up the body. Such a sight as this
    Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
    Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
    3905Exeunt marching, after the which, a peal of ordnance are shot off.