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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    Not Peer Reviewed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, Ro s s encraft, and Gilder stone.
    King Right noble friends, that our deere co sin Hamlet
    1021.1 Hath lo st the very heart of all his sence,
    It is mo st right, and we mo st sory for him:
    1030 Therefore we doe de sire, euen as you tender
    1030.1 Our care to him, and our great loue to you,
    1035 That you will labour but to wring from him
    The cause and ground of his di stemperancie.
    Doe this, the king of Denmarke shal be thankefull.
    1044.1 Ros. My Lord, whatsoeuer lies within our power
    Your maie stie may more commaund in wordes
    Then vse perswa sions to your liege men, bound
    1049.1 By loue, by duetie, and obedience.
    Guil. What we may doe for both your Maie sties
    1046.1 To know the griefe troubles the Prince your sonne,
    We will indeuour all the be st we may,
    1051.1 So in all duetie doe we take our leaue.
    King Thankes Guilder stone, and gentle Ro s s encraft.
    1055 Que. Thankes Ro s s encraft, and gentle Gilder stone.
    Enter Corambis and Ofelia.
    Cor. My Lord, the Amba s s adors are ioyfully
    Return'd from Norway.
    King Thou still ha st beene the father of good news.
    Cor. Haue I my Lord? I a s s ure your grace,
    I holde my duetie as I holde my life,
    Both to my God, and to my soueraigne King:
    1070 And 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.
    1073.1 Queene God graunt he hath.
    Enter the Amba s s adors.
    King Now Voltemar, what from our brother Norway?
    1085 Volt. Mo st faire returnes of greetings and de sires,
    Vpon our fir st he sent forth to suppre s s e
    His nephews leuies, which to him appear'd
    To be a preparation gain st the Polacke:
    But better look't into, he truely found
    1090 It was again st your Highne s s e, whereat grieued,
    That so his sickene s s e, age, and impotence,
    Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arre sts
    On Fortenbra s s e, which he in briefe obays,
    Receiues rebuke from Norway: and in fine,
    1095 Makes vow before his vncle, neuer more
    To giue the a s s ay of Armes again st your Maie stie,
    Whereon olde Norway ouercome with ioy,
    Giues him three thousand crownes in annuall fee,
    And his Commi s sion to employ those souldiers,
    1100 So leuied as before, again st the Polacke,
    With an intreaty heerein further shewne,
    That it would please you to giue quiet pa s s e
    Through your dominions, for that enterprise
    On such regardes of safety and allowances
    1105 As 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 re st, at night weele fea st togither:
    Right welcome home. exeunt Amba s s adors.
    Cor. This bu sines is very well dispatched.
    555 Now 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,
    1130 Or 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
    1133.1 Is sure st, we often loose: now to the Prince.
    My Lord, but note this letter,
    The which my daughter in obedience
    1135 Deliuer'd to my handes.
    1135.1 King Reade it my Lord.
    1135 Cor. Marke my Lord.
    Doubt that in earth is fire,
    1145 Doubt that the starres doe moue,
    Doubt trueth to be a liar,
    But doe not doubt I loue.
    To the beautifull Ofelia:
    Thine euer the mo st vnhappy Prince Hamlet.
    My Lord, what doe you thinke of me?
    1160 I, or what might you thinke when I sawe this?
    King As of a true friend and a mo st louing subiect.
    1160 Cor. I would be glad to prooue so.
    Now when I saw this letter, thus I bespake my maiden:
    1170 Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of your starre,
    1170.1 And 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.
    1174.1 Now 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 fa st, then vnto di straction,
    Then into a sadne s s e, from that vnto a madne s s e,
    And so by continuance, and weakene s s e of the braine
    Into this fren sie, which now po s s e s s eth 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, po sitiuely,
    1185 And it hath fallen out otherwise.
    Nay, if circum stances leade me on,
    Ile finde it out, if it were hid
    1190 As deepe as the centre of the earth.
    King. how should wee trie this same?
    1191.1 Cor. 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,
    1197.1 There shall you heare the effect of all his hart,
    And if it proue any otherwise then loue,
    1198.1 Then 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. exit.
    1695 Cor. And here Ofelia, reade you on this booke,
    And walke aloofe, the King shal be vnseene.
    1710 Ham. 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,
    1720 For in that dreame of death, when wee awake,
    And borne before an euerla sting Iudge,
    From whence no pa s s enger euer retur'nd,
    The vndiscouered country, at whose sight
    1733.1 The 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,
    1725 Scorned by the right rich, the rich cur s s ed of the poore?
    1725.1 The widow being oppre s s ed, the orphan wrong'd,
    The ta ste of hunger, or a tirants raigne,
    And thousand more calamities be sides,
    To grunt and sweate vnder this weary life,
    When that he may his full Quietus make,
    1730 With a bare bodkin, who would this indure,
    But for a hope of something after death?
    Which pu sles the braine, and doth confound the sence,
    1735 Which 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.
    1745 Ofel. 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.
    1760 Ham. Are you faire?
    Ofel. My Lord.
    Ham. Are you hone st?
    Ofel. What meanes my Lord?
    Ham. That if you be faire and hone st,
    Your beauty should admit no discourse to your hone sty.
    Ofel. My Lord, can beauty haue better priuiledge than
    1765 with hone sty?
    Ham. Yea mary may it; for Beauty may transforme
    Hone sty, from what she was into a bawd:
    Then Hone sty 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 earne st vowes of loue,
    As would haue moou'd the stonie st brea st aliue,
    1754.1 But 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 should st not a beleeued me!
    Go to a Nunnery goe, why should st thou
    Be a breeder of sinners? I am my selfe indifferent hone st,
    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,
    1780 With 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!
    1785 Ham. 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.
    1790 Ham. If thou do st marry, Ile giue thee
    1790 This plague to thy dowry:
    Be thou as cha ste as yce, as pure as snowe,
    Thou shalt not scape calumny, to a Nunnery goe.
    1792.1 Ofel. Alas, what change is this?
    Ham. But if thou wilt needes marry, marry a foole,
    For wisemen know well enough,
    What mon sters you make of them, to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel. Pray God re store him.
    Ham. Nay, I haue heard of your paintings too,
    God hath giuen you one face,
    And you make your selues another,
    1800 You fig, and you amble, and you nickname Gods creatures,
    Making your wantonne s s e, 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 re st shall keepe as they are, to a Nunnery goe,
    1805 To a Nunnery goe. exit.
    1805.1 Ofe. Great God of heauen, what a quicke change is this?
    The Courtier, Scholler, Souldier, all in him,
    All da sht and splinterd thence, O woe is me,
    To a seene what I haue seene, see what I see. exit.
    King Loue? No, no, that's not the cause, Enter King and Corambis.
    1818.1 Some 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,
    1204.1 Send 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 fi shmonger.
    Cor. Not I my Lord.
    Ham. Then sir, I would you were so hone st a man,
    1215 For to be hone st, as this age goes,
    1215 Is one man to be pickt out of tenne thousand.
    Cor. What doe you reade my Lord?
    1230 Ham. Wordes, wordes.
    Cor. What's the matter my Lord?
    Ham. Betweene who?
    Cor. I meane the matter you reade my Lord.
    1233.1 Ham. Mary mo st vile here sie:
    For here the Satyricall Satyre writes,
    1235 That olde men haue hollow eyes, weake backes,
    1235 Grey beardes, pittifull weake hammes, gowty legges,
    All which sir, I mo st potently beleeue not:
    1240 For 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 fir st he tooke me for a fi shmonger:
    1226.1 All this comes by loue, the vemencie of loue,
    And when I was yong, I was very idle,
    And suffered much exta sie in loue, very neere this:
    Will you walke out of the aire my Lord?
    Ham. Into my graue.
    Cor. By the ma s s e that's out of the aire indeed,
    Very shrewd answers,
    My lord I will take my leaue of you.
    1265 Enter Gilder stone, and Ro s s encraft.
    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. exit.
    1263.1 Gil. Health to your Lord ship.
    1270 Ham. What, Gilder stone, and Ro s s encraft,
    Welcome kinde Schoole-fellowes to Elsanoure.
    1417.1 Gil. We thanke your Grace, and would be very glad
    You were as when we were at Wittenberg.
    1320 Ham. I thanke you, but is this vi sitation 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 confe s sion 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.
    2210 Ham. Why I want preferment.
    Ross. I thinke not so my lord.
    1345 Ham. Yes faith, this great world you see contents me not,
    No nor the spangled heauens, nor earth, nor sea,
    1355 No nor Man that is so glorious a creature,
    1355 Contents not me, no nor woman too, though you laugh.
    Gil. My lord, we laugh not at that.
    1360 Ham. Why did you laugh then,
    1360 When 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?
    1375 Ross. 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- ( stie?
    1385 Gil. No my Lord, their reputation holds as it was wont.
    1385.1 Ham. 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,
    1410 For those that would make mops and moes
    1410 At 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,
    1370 The clowne shall make them laugh
    1370 That are tickled in the lungs, or the blanke verse shall halt (for't,
    And the Lady shall haue leaue to speake her minde freely.
    1415 The Trumpets sound, Enter Corambis.
    1430 Do you see yonder great baby?
    1430 He 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 (Players,
    1435 You say true, a monday la st, t'was so indeede.
    Cor. My lord, I haue news to tell you.
    Ham. My Lord, I haue newes to tell you:
    When Ro s sios was an Actor in Rome.
    1440 Cor. The Actors are come hither, my lord.
    Ham. Buz, buz.
    Cor. The be st Actors in Chri stendome,
    Either for Comedy, Tragedy, Hi storie, Pa storall,
    1445 Pa storall, Hi storicall, Hi storicall, Comicall,
    Comicall hi storicall, Pa storall, Tragedy hi storicall:
    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 had st thou?
    Cor. Why what a treasure had he my lord?
    Ham. Why one faire daughter, and no more,
    1455 The which he loued pa s sing well.
    Cor. A, stil harping a my daughter! well my Lord,
    If you call me Iepha, I hane a daughter that
    I loue pa s sing well.
    1460 Ham. Nay that followes not.
    Cor. What followes then my Lord?
    Ham. Why by lot, or God wot, or as it came to pa s s e,
    And so it was, the fir st verse of the godly Ballet
    Wil tel you all: for look you where my abridgement comes:
    Welcome mai sters, welcome all, Enter players.
    What my olde friend, thy face is vallanced
    Since I saw thee la st, com' st thou to beard me in Denmarke?
    1470 My yong lady and mi stris, burlady but your
    Ladi ship is growne by the altitude of a chopine higher than (you were:
    Pray God sir your voyce, like a peece of vncurrant
    Golde, be not crack't in the ring: come on mai sters,
    Weele euen too't, like French Falconers,
    1475 Flie at any thing we see, come, a ta ste of your
    Quallitie, a speech, a pa s sionate speech.
    Players What speech my good lord?
    Ham. I heard thee speake a speech once,
    But it was neuer acted: or if it were,
    1480 Neuer 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 mode stie as cunning:
    1485 One said there was no sallets in the lines to make thē sauory,
    But called it an hone st methode, as wholesome as sweete.
    Come, a speech in it I chiefly remember
    Was Æneas tale to Dido,
    1490 And 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 bea st:
    No t'is not so, it begins with Pirrus:
    1493.1 O I haue it.
    The rugged Pirrus, he whose sable armes,
    1495 Blacke 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
    1500 With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sonnes,
    Back't and imparched in calagulate gore,
    Rifted in earth and fire, olde grand sire Pryam seekes:
    1503.1 So goe on.
    Cor. Afore God, my Lord, well spoke, and with good (accent.
    Play. Anone he finds him striking too short at Greeks,
    1510 His antike sword rebellious to his Arme,
    Lies where it falles, vnable to re si st.
    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:
    1540 A pox, hee's for a Iigge, or a tale of bawdry,
    1540 Or 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.
    1550 Play. 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,
    1555 Mincing her husbandes limbs,
    It would haue made milch the burning eyes of heauen,
    And pa s sion in the gods.
    1560 Cor Looke my lord if he hath not changde his colour,
    1560 And 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 be stowed,
    I tell you they are the Chronicles
    1565 And briefe ab stracts of the time,
    1565 After 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.
    1570 Ham. O farre better man, vse euery man after his deserts,
    Then who should scape whipping?
    Vse them after your owne honor and dignitie,
    The le s s e they deserue, the greater credit's yours.
    1575 Cor. Welcome my good fellowes. exit.
    Ham. Come hither mai sters, can you not play the mur-
    der of Gonsago?
    players Yes my Lord.
    1580 Ham. 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 ea sily my good Lord.
    Ham. T'is well, I thanke you: follow that lord:
    And doe you heare sirs? take heede you mocke him not.
    1584.1 Gentlemen, for your kindnes I thanke you,
    1585 And for a time I would de sire you leaue me.
    1585.1 Gil. Our loue and duetie is at your commaund.
    Exeunt all but Hamlet.
    1590 Ham. 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?
    1600 What would he do and if he had my lo s s e?
    1600.1 His father murdred, and a Crowne bereft him,
    He would turne all his teares to droppes of blood,
    Amaze the standers by with his laments,
    1603.1 Strike more then wonder in the iudiciall eares,
    1605 Confound the ignorant, and make mute the wise,
    1605.1 Indeede his pa s sion would be generall.
    Yet I like to an a s s e and Iohn a Dreames,
    Hauing my father murdred by a villaine,
    Stand still, and let it pa s s e, 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
    1620 With this slaues offell, this damned villaine,
    1620 Treacherous, 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,
    1630 Hath, by the very cunning of the scene, confe st a murder
    1630.1 Committed long before.
    This spirit that I haue seene may be the Diuell,
    And out of my weakene s s e 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,
    1645 Wherein I'le catch the conscience of the King. exit.