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  • Title: Hamlet (Quarto 1, 1603)
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Quarto 1, 1603)

    Enter King and Queene, Rossencraft, and Gilderstone.
    King Right noble friends, that our deere cosin Hamlet
    1021.1Hath lost the very heart of all his sence,
    It is most right, and we most sory for him:
    1030Therefore we doe desire, euen as you tender
    1030.1Our care to him, and our great loue to you,
    1035That you will labour but to wring from him
    The cause and ground of his distemperancie.
    Doe this, the king of Denmarke shal be thankefull.
    1044.1Ros. My Lord, whatsoeuer lies within our power
    Your maiestie may more commaund in wordes
    Then vse perswasions to your liege men, bound
    1049.1By loue, by duetie, and obedience.
    Guil. What we may doe for both your Maiesties
    1046.1To know the griefe troubles the Prince your sonne,
    We will indeuour all the best we may,
    1051.1So in all duetie doe we take our leaue.
    King Thankes Guilderstone, and gentle Rossencraft.
    1055Que. Thankes Rossencraft, and gentle Gilderstone.
    Enter Corambis and Ofelia.
    Cor. My Lord, the Ambassadors are ioyfully
    Return'd from Norway.
    King Thou still hast beene the father of good news.
    Cor. Haue I my Lord? I assure your grace,
    I holde my duetie as I holde my life,
    Both to my God, and to my soueraigne King:
    1070And I beleeue, or else this braine of mine
    Hunts not the traine of policie so well
    As it had wont to doe, but I haue found
    The very depth of Hamlets lunacie.
    1073.1Queene God graunt he hath.
    Enter the Ambassadors.
    King Now Voltemar, what from our brother Norway?
    1085Volt. Most faire returnes of greetings and desires,
    Vpon our first he sent forth to suppresse
    His nephews leuies, which to him appear'd
    To be a preparation gainst the Polacke:
    But better look't into, he truely found
    1090It was against your Highnesse, whereat grieued,
    That so his sickenesse, age, and impotence,
    Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
    On Fortenbrasse, which he in briefe obays,
    Receiues rebuke from Norway: and in fine,
    1095Makes vow before his vncle, neuer more
    To giue the assay of Armes against your Maiestie,
    Whereon olde Norway ouercome with ioy,
    Giues him three thousand crownes in annuall fee,
    And his Commission to employ those souldiers,
    1100So leuied as before, against the Polacke,
    With an intreaty heerein further shewne,
    That it would please you to giue quiet passe
    Through your dominions, for that enterprise
    On such regardes of safety and allowances
    1105As therein are set downe.
    King It likes vs well, and at fit time and leasure
    Weele reade and answere these his Articles,
    Meane time we thanke you for your well
    Tooke labour: go to your rest, at night weele feast togither:
    Right welcome home.
    exeunt Ambassadors.
    Cor. This busines is very well dispatched.
    555Now my Lord, touching the yong Prince Hamlet,
    Certaine it is that hee is madde: mad let vs grant him then:
    Now to know the cause of this effect,
    1130Or else to say the cause of this defect,
    For this effect defectiue comes by cause.
    Queene Good my Lord be briefe.
    Cor. Madam I will: my Lord, I haue a daughter,
    Haue while shee's mine: for that we thinke
    1133.1Is surest, we often loose: now to the Prince.
    My Lord, but note this letter,
    The which my daughter in obedience
    1135Deliuer'd to my handes.
    1135.1King Reade it my Lord.
    1135Cor. Marke my Lord.
    Doubt that in earth is fire,
    1145Doubt that the starres doe moue,
    Doubt trueth to be a liar,
    But doe not doubt I loue.
    To the beautifull Ofelia:
    Thine euer the most vnhappy Prince Hamlet.
    My Lord, what doe you thinke of me?
    1160I, or what might you thinke when I sawe this?
    King As of a true friend and a most louing subiect.
    1160Cor. I would be glad to prooue so.
    Now when I saw this letter, thus I bespake my maiden:
    1170Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of your starre,
    1170.1And one that is vnequall for your loue:
    Therefore I did commaund her refuse his letters,
    Deny his tokens, and to absent her selfe.
    Shee as my childe obediently obey'd me.
    1174.1Now since which time, seeing his loue thus cross'd,
    Which I tooke to be idle, and but sport,
    He straitway grew into a melancholy,
    From that vnto a fast, then vnto distraction,
    Then into a sadnesse, from that vnto a madnesse,
    And so by continuance, and weakenesse of the braine
    Into this frensie, which now possesseth him:
    And if this be not true, take this from this.
    King Thinke you t'is so?
    Cor. How? so my Lord, I would very faine know
    That thing that I haue saide t'is so, positiuely,
    1185And it hath fallen out otherwise.
    Nay, if circumstances leade me on,
    Ile finde it out, if it were hid
    1190As deepe as the centre of the earth.
    King. how should wee trie this same?
    1191.1Cor. Mary my good lord thus,
    The Princes walke is here in the galery,
    There let Ofelia, walke vntill hee comes:
    Your selfe and I will stand close in the study,
    1197.1There shall you heare the effect of all his hart,
    And if it proue any otherwise then loue,
    1198.1Then let my censure faile an other time.
    King. see where hee comes poring vppon a booke.
    Enter Hamlet.
    Cor. Madame, will it please your grace
    To leaue vs here?
    Que. With all my hart.
    1695Cor. And here Ofelia, reade you on this booke,
    And walke aloofe, the King shal be vnseene.
    1710Ham. To be, or not to be, I there's the point,
    To Die, to sleepe, is that all? I all:
    No, to sleepe, to dreame, I mary there it goes,
    1720For in that dreame of death, when wee awake,
    And borne before an euerlasting Iudge,
    From whence no passenger euer retur'nd,
    The vndiscouered country, at whose sight
    1733.1The happy smile, and the accursed damn'd.
    But for this, the ioyfull hope of this,
    Whol'd beare the scornes and flattery of the world,
    1725Scorned by the right rich, the rich curssed of the poore?
    1725.1The widow being oppressed, the orphan wrong'd,
    The taste of hunger, or a tirants raigne,
    And thousand more calamities besides,
    To grunt and sweate vnder this weary life,
    When that he may his full Quietus make,
    1730With a bare bodkin, who would this indure,
    But for a hope of something after death?
    Which pusles the braine, and doth confound the sence,
    1735Which makes vs rather beare those euilles we haue,
    Than flie to others that we know not of.
    I that, O this conscience makes cowardes of vs all,
    Lady in thy orizons, be all my sinnes remembred.
    1745Ofel. My Lord, I haue sought opportunitie, which now
    I haue, to redeliuer to your worthy handes, a small remem-
    brance, such tokens which I haue receiued of you.
    1760Ham. Are you faire?
    Ofel. My Lord.
    Ham. Are you honest?
    Ofel. What meanes my Lord?
    Ham. That if you be faire and honest,
    Your beauty should admit no discourse to your honesty.
    Ofel. My Lord, can beauty haue better priuiledge than
    1765with honesty?
    Ham. Yea mary may it; for Beauty may transforme
    Honesty, from what she was into a bawd:
    Then Honesty can transforme Beauty:
    This was sometimes a Paradox,
    But now the time giues it scope.
    I neuer gaue you nothing.
    Ofel. My Lord, you know right well you did,
    And with them such earnest vowes of loue,
    As would haue moou'd the stoniest breast aliue,
    1754.1But now too true I finde,
    Rich giftes waxe poore, when giuers grow vnkinde.
    Ham. I neuer loued you.
    Ofel. You made me beleeue you did.
    Ham. O thou shouldst not a beleeued me!
    Go to a Nunnery goe, why shouldst thou
    Be a breeder of sinners? I am my selfe indifferent honest,
    But I could accuse my selfe of such crimes
    It had beene better my mother had ne're borne me,
    O I am very prowde, ambitious, disdainefull,
    1780With more sinnes at my becke, then I haue thoughts
    To put them in, what should such fellowes as I
    Do, crawling between heauen and earth?
    To a Nunnery goe, we are arrant knaues all,
    Beleeue none of vs, to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel. O heauens secure him!
    1785Ham. Wher's thy father?
    Ofel. At home my lord.
    Ham. For Gods sake let the doores be shut on him,
    He may play the foole no where but in his
    Owne house: to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel. Help him good God.
    1790Ham. If thou dost marry, Ile giue thee
    1790This plague to thy dowry:
    Be thou as chaste as yce, as pure as snowe,
    Thou shalt not scape calumny, to a Nunnery goe.
    1792.1Ofel. Alas, what change is this?
    Ham. But if thou wilt needes marry, marry a foole,
    For wisemen know well enough,
    What monsters you make of them, to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel. Pray God restore him.
    Ham. Nay, I haue heard of your paintings too,
    God hath giuen you one face,
    And you make your selues another,
    1800You fig, and you amble, and you nickname Gods creatures,
    Making your wantonnesse, your ignorance,
    A pox, t'is scuruy, Ile no more of it,
    It hath made me madde: Ile no more marriages,
    All that are married but one, shall liue,
    The rest shall keepe as they are, to a Nunnery goe,
    1805To a Nunnery goe.
    1805.1Ofe. Great God of heauen, what a quicke change is this?
    The Courtier, Scholler, Souldier, all in him,
    All dasht and splinterd thence, O woe is me,
    To a seene what I haue seene, see what I see.
    King Loue? No, no, that's not the cause,
    Enter King and
    1818.1Some deeper thing it is that troubles him.
    Cor. Wel, something it is: my Lord, content you a while,
    I will my selfe goe feele him: let me worke,
    Ile try him euery way: see where he comes,
    1204.1Send you those Gentlemen, let me alone
    To finde the depth of this, away, be gone.
    exit King.
    Now my good Lord, do you know me?
    Enter Hamlet.
    Ham. Yea very well, y'are a fishmonger.
    Cor. Not I my Lord.
    Ham. Then sir, I would you were so honest a man,
    1215For to be honest, as this age goes,
    1215Is one man to be pickt out of tenne thousand.
    Cor. What doe you reade my Lord?
    1230Ham. Wordes, wordes.
    Cor. What's the matter my Lord?
    Ham. Betweene who?
    Cor. I meane the matter you reade my Lord.
    1233.1Ham. Mary most vile heresie:
    For here the Satyricall Satyre writes,
    1235That olde men haue hollow eyes, weake backes,
    1235Grey beardes, pittifull weake hammes, gowty legges,
    All which sir, I most potently beleeue not:
    1240For sir, your selfe shalbe olde as I am,
    If like a Crabbe, you could goe backeward.
    Cor. How pregnant his replies are, and full of wit:
    Yet at first he tooke me for a fishmonger:
    1226.1All this comes by loue, the vemencie of loue,
    And when I was yong, I was very idle,
    And suffered much extasie in loue, very neere this:
    Will you walke out of the aire my Lord?
    Ham. Into my graue.
    Cor. By the masse that's out of the aire indeed,
    Very shrewd answers,
    My lord I will take my leaue of you.
    Enter Gilderstone, and Rossencraft.
    Ham. You can take nothing from me sir,
    I will more willingly part with all,
    Olde doating foole.
    Cor, You seeke Prince Hamlet, see, there he is.
    1263.1Gil. Health to your Lordship.
    1270Ham. What, Gilderstone, and Rossencraft,
    Welcome kinde Schoole-fellowes to Elsanoure.
    1417.1Gil. We thanke your Grace, and would be very glad
    You were as when we were at Wittenberg.
    1320Ham. I thanke you, but is this visitation free of
    Your selues, or were you not sent for?
    Tell me true, come, I know the good King and Queene
    Sent for you, there is a kinde of confession in your eye:
    Come, I know you were sent for.
    Gil. What say you?
    Ham. Nay then I see how the winde sits,
    Come, you were sent for.
    Ross. My lord, we were, and willingly if we might,
    Know the cause and ground of your discontent.
    2210Ham. Why I want preferment.
    Ross. I thinke not so my lord.
    1345Ham. Yes faith, this great world you see contents me not,
    No nor the spangled heauens, nor earth, nor sea,
    1355No nor Man that is so glorious a creature,
    1355Contents not me, no nor woman too, though you laugh.
    Gil. My lord, we laugh not at that.
    1360Ham. Why did you laugh then,
    1360When I said, Man did not content mee?
    Gil. My Lord, we laughed, when you said, Man did not
    content you.
    What entertainement the Players shall haue,
    We boorded them a the way: they are comming to you.
    Ham. Players, what Players be they?
    1375Ross. My Lord, the Tragedians of the Citty,
    Those that you tooke delight to see so often.
    Ham. How comes it that they trauell? Do they grow re-
    1385Gil. No my Lord, their reputation holds as it was wont.
    1385.1Ham. How then?
    Gil. Yfaith my Lord, noueltie carries it away,
    For the principall publike audience that
    Came to them, are turned to priuate playes,
    And to the humour of children.
    Ham. I doe not greatly wonder of it,
    1410For those that would make mops and moes
    1410At my vncle, when my father liued,
    Now giue a hundred, two hundred pounds
    For his picture: but they shall be welcome,
    He that playes the King shall haue tribute of me,
    The ventrous Knight shall vse his foyle and target,
    The louer shall sigh gratis,
    1370The clowne shall make them laugh
    1370That are tickled in the lungs, or the blanke verse shall halt
    And the Lady shall haue leaue to speake her minde freely.
    The Trumpets sound, Enter Corambis.
    1430Do you see yonder great baby?
    1430He is not yet out of his swadling clowts.
    Gil. That may be, for they say an olde man
    Is twice a childe.
    Ham. Ile prophecie to you, hee comes to tell mee a the
    1435You say true, a monday last, t'was so indeede.
    Cor. My lord, I haue news to tell you.
    Ham. My Lord, I haue newes to tell you:
    When Rossios was an Actor in Rome.
    1440Cor. The Actors are come hither, my lord.
    Ham. Buz, buz.
    Cor. The best Actors in Christendome,
    Either for Comedy, Tragedy, Historie, Pastorall,
    1445Pastorall, Historicall, Historicall, Comicall,
    Comicall historicall, Pastorall, Tragedy historicall:
    Seneca cannot be too heauy, nor Plato too light:
    For the law hath writ those are the onely men.
    Ha. O Iepha Iudge of Israel! what a treasure hadst thou?
    Cor. Why what a treasure had he my lord?
    Ham. Why one faire daughter, and no more,
    1455The which he loued passing well.
    Cor. A, stil harping a my daughter! well my Lord,
    If you call me Iepha, I hane a daughter that
    I loue passing well.
    1460Ham. Nay that followes not.
    Cor. What followes then my Lord?
    Ham. Why by lot, or God wot, or as it came to passe,
    And so it was, the first verse of the godly Ballet
    Wil tel you all: for look you where my abridgement comes:
    Welcome maisters, welcome all,
    Enter players.
    What my olde friend, thy face is vallanced
    Since I saw thee last, com'st thou to beard me in Denmarke?
    1470My yong lady and mistris, burlady but your
    Ladiship is growne by the altitude of a chopine higher than
    Pray God sir your voyce, like a peece of vncurrant
    Golde, be not crack't in the ring: come on maisters,
    Weele euen too't, like French Falconers,
    1475Flie at any thing we see, come, a taste of your
    Quallitie, a speech, a passionate speech.
    Players What speech my good lord?
    Ham. I heard thee speake a speech once,
    But it was neuer acted: or if it were,
    1480Neuer aboue twice, for as I remember,
    It pleased not the vulgar, it was cauiary
    To the million: but to me
    And others, that receiued it in the like kinde,
    Cried in the toppe of their iudgements, an excellent play,
    Set downe with as great modestie as cunning:
    1485One said there was no sallets in the lines to make thē sauory,
    But called it an honest methode, as wholesome as sweete.
    Come, a speech in it I chiefly remember
    Was Æneas tale to Dido,
    1490And then especially where he talkes of Princes slaughter,
    If it liue in thy memory beginne at this line,
    Let me see.
    The rugged Pyrrus, like th'arganian beast:
    No t'is not so, it begins with Pirrus:
    1493.1O I haue it.
    The rugged Pirrus, he whose sable armes,
    1495Blacke as his purpose did the night resemble,
    When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
    Hath now his blacke and grimme complexion smeered
    With Heraldry more dismall, head to foote,
    Now is he totall guise, horridely tricked
    1500With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sonnes,
    Back't and imparched in calagulate gore,
    Rifted in earth and fire, olde grandsire Pryam seekes:
    1503.1So goe on.
    Cor. Afore God, my Lord, well spoke, and with good
    Play. Anone he finds him striking too short at Greeks,
    1510His antike sword rebellious to his Arme,
    Lies where it falles, vnable to resist.
    Pyrrus at Pryam driues, but all in rage,
    Strikes wide, but with the whiffe and winde
    Of his fell sword, th'unnerued father falles.
    Cor. Enough my friend, t'is too long.
    Ham. It shall to the Barbers with your beard:
    1540A pox, hee's for a Iigge, or a tale of bawdry,
    1540Or else he sleepes, come on to Hecuba, come.
    Play. But who, O who had seene the mobled Queene?
    Cor. Mobled Queene is good, faith very good.
    1550Play. All in the alarum and feare of death rose vp,
    And o're her weake and all ore-teeming loynes, a blancket
    And a kercher on that head, where late the diademe stoode,
    Who this had seene with tongue inuenom'd speech,
    Would treason haue pronounced,
    For if the gods themselues had seene her then,
    When she saw Pirrus with malitious strokes,
    1555Mincing her husbandes limbs,
    It would haue made milch the burning eyes of heauen,
    And passion in the gods.
    1560Cor Looke my lord if he hath not changde his colour,
    1560And hath teares in his eyes: no more good heart, no more.
    Ham. T'is well, t'is very well, I pray my lord,
    Will you see the Players well bestowed,
    I tell you they are the Chronicles
    1565And briefe abstracts of the time,
    1565After your death I can tell you,
    You were better haue a bad Epiteeth,
    Then their ill report while you liue.
    Cor. My lord, I will vse them according to their deserts.
    1570Ham. O farre better man, vse euery man after his deserts,
    Then who should scape whipping?
    Vse them after your owne honor and dignitie,
    The lesse they deserue, the greater credit's yours.
    1575Cor. Welcome my good fellowes.
    Ham. Come hither maisters, can you not play the mur-
    der of Gonsago?
    players Yes my Lord.
    1580Ham. And could'st not thou for a neede study me
    Some dozen or sixteene lines,
    Which I would set downe and insert?
    players Yes very easily my good Lord.
    Ham. T'is well, I thanke you: follow that lord:
    And doe you heare sirs? take heede you mocke him not.
    1584.1Gentlemen, for your kindnes I thanke you,
    1585And for a time I would desire you leaue me.
    1585.1Gil. Our loue and duetie is at your commaund.
    Exeunt all but Hamlet.
    1590Ham. Why what a dunghill idiote slaue am I?
    Why these Players here draw water from eyes:
    For Hecuba, why what is Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?
    1600What would he do and if he had my losse?
    1600.1His father murdred, and a Crowne bereft him,
    He would turne all his teares to droppes of blood,
    Amaze the standers by with his laments,
    1603.1Strike more then wonder in the iudiciall eares,
    1605Confound the ignorant, and make mute the wise,
    1605.1Indeede his passion would be generall.
    Yet I like to an asse and Iohn a Dreames,
    Hauing my father murdred by a villaine,
    Stand still, and let it passe, why sure I am a coward:
    Who pluckes me by the beard, or twites my nose,
    Giue's me the lie i'th throate downe to the lungs,
    Sure I should take it, or else I haue no gall,
    Or by this I should a fatted all the region kites
    1620With this slaues offell, this damned villaine,
    1620Treacherous, bawdy, murderous villaine:
    Why this is braue, that I the sonne of my deare father,
    Should like a scalion, like a very drabbe
    Thus raile in wordes. About my braine,
    I haue heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play,
    1630Hath, by the very cunning of the scene, confest a murder
    1630.1Committed long before.
    This spirit that I haue seene may be the Diuell,
    And out of my weakenesse and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such men,
    Doth seeke to damne me, I will haue sounder proofes,
    The play's the thing,
    1645Wherein I'le catch the conscience of the King.