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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Quarto 1)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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, Quarto 1)

    [Scene 7]
    Enter King and Queen, Rossencraft and Gilderstone.
    Right noble friends, that our dear cousin Hamlet
    1021.1Hath lost the very heart of all his sense,
    It is most right, and we most sorry for him.
    1030Therefore we do desire, even as you tender
    1030.1Our care to him and our great love to you,
    1035That you will labor but to wring from him
    The cause and ground of his distemperancy.
    Do this, the King of Denmark shall be thankful.
    1044.1Rossencraft
    My lord, whatsoever lies within our power
    Your majesty may more command in words
    Than use persuasions to your liege men, bound
    1049.1By love, by duty, and obedience.
    Gilderstone
    What we may do for both your majesties
    1046.1To know the grief troubles the prince your son,
    We will endeavor all the best we may;
    1051.1So in all duty do we take our leave.
    Thanks, Gilderstone, and gentle Rossencraft.
    Thanks, Rossencraft, and gentle Gilderstone.
    Enter Corambis and Ofelia.
    Corambis
    My lord, the ambassadors are joyfully
    Returned from Norway.
    Thou still hast been the father of good news.
    Corambis
    Have I, my lord? I assure your grace,
    I hold my duty as I hold my life,
    Both to my God and to my sovereign King;
    1070And I believe, or else this brain of mine
    Hunts not the train of policy so well
    As it had wont to do, but I have found
    The very depth of Hamlet's lunacy.
    [To the King] God grant he hath!
    Enter the Ambassadors [Voltemar and Cornelia, with a diplomatic dispatch].
    Now, Voltemar, what from our brother Norway?
    1085Voltemar
    Most fair returns of greetings and desires.
    Upon our first he sent forth 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 Fortenbrasse, which he in brief obeys,
    Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
    1095Makes vow before his uncle never more
    To give the 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 would please you to give quiet pass
    Through your dominions for that enterprise
    On such regards of safety and allowances
    1105As therein are set down.
    [The King is handed a document.]
    It likes us well, and at fit time and leisure
    We'll read and answer these his articles.
    Meantime, we thank you for your well
    Took labor. Go to your rest. At night we'll feast together.
    Right welcome home.
    Exeunt Ambassadors.
    Corambis
    This business is very well dispatched.
    Now, my lord, touching the young Prince Hamlet,
    Certain it is that he is mad. Mad let us grant him, then.
    Now to know the cause of this effect,
    1130Or else to say the cause of this defect,
    For this effect defective comes by cause--
    Good my lord, be brief.
    Corambis
    Madam I will. My lord, I have a daughter,
    Have while she's mine; for that we think
    1133.1Is surest we often lose. Now to the prince.
    My lord, but note this letter,
    The which my daughter in obedience
    1135Delivered to my hands.
    Read it, my lord.
    Corambis
    Mark, my lord.
    [He reads the letter.]
    "Doubt that in earth is fire,
    1145Doubt that the stars do move,
    Doubt truth to be a liar,
    But do not doubt I love.
    To the beautiful Ofelia.
    Thine ever, the most unhappy Prince Hamlet."
    My lord, what do you think of me?
    1160Ay, or what might you think when I saw this?
    As of a true friend and a most loving subject.
    Corambis
    I would be glad to prove so.
    Now when I saw this letter, thus I bespake my maiden:
    1170"Lord Hamlet is a prince out of your star,
    1170.1And one that is unequal for your love."
    Therefore I did command her refuse his letters,
    Deny his tokens, and to absent herself.
    She as my child obediently obeyed me.
    1174.1Now, since which time, seeing his love thus crossed,
    Which I took to be idle and but sport,
    He straightway grew into a melancholy,
    From that unto a fast, then unto distraction,
    Then into a sadness, from that unto a madness,
    And so, by continuance and weakness of the brain,
    Into this frenzy which now possesseth him.
    And if this be not true, take this from this.
    [To the Queen] Think you 'tis so?
    Corambis
    How? So, my lord, I would very fain know
    That thing that I have said 'tis so, positively,
    1185And it hath fallen out otherwise.
    Nay, if circumstances lead me on,
    I'll find it out if it were hid
    1190As deep as the center of the earth.
    How should we try this same?
    Marry, my good lord, thus:
    The Prince's walk is here in the gallery;
    There let Ofelia walk until he comes.
    Yourself and I will stand close in the study.
    1197.1There shall you hear the effect of all his heart,
    And if it prove any otherwise than love,
    1198.1Then let my censure fail another time.
    See where he comes, poring upon a book.
    Enter Hamlet.
    Corambis
    Madam, will it please your grace
    To leave us here?
    With all my heart.
    Exit.
    1695Corambis
    And here Ofelia, read you on this book,
    And walk aloof; the King shall be unseen.
    [The King and Corambis conceal themselves.]
    To be, or not to be, ay, there's the point,
    To die, to sleep, is that all? Ay, all.
    No, to sleep, to dream, ay, marry, there it goes,
    1720For in that dream of death, when we awake,
    And borne before an everlasting judge,
    From whence no passenger ever returned,
    The undiscovered country, at whose sight
    1733.1The happy smile, and the accursèd damned.
    But for this, the joyful hope of this,
    Who'd bear the scorns and flattery of the world,
    1725Scorned by the right rich, the rich cursed of the poor,
    1725.1The widow being oppressed, the orphan wronged,
    The taste of hunger, or a tyrant's reign,
    And thousand more calamities besides,
    To grunt and sweat under this weary life,
    When that he may his full quietus make
    1730With a bare bodkin? Who would this endure,
    But for a hope of something after death?
    Which puzzles the brain, and doth confound the sense,
    1735Which makes us rather bear those evils we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    Ay, that. Oh, this conscience makes cowards of us all.--
    Lady, in thy orisons be all my sins remembered.
    My lord, I have sought opportunity, which now I have, to redeliver to your worthy hands a small remembrance, such tokens which I have received of you.
    Are you fair?
    My lord?
    Are you honest?
    What means my lord?
    That if you be fair and honest, your beauty should admit no discourse to your honesty.
    My lord, can beauty have better privilege than 1765with honesty?
    Yea, marry, may it; for beauty may [sooner] transform
    Honesty from what she was into a bawd
    Than honesty can transform beauty.
    This was sometimes a paradox,
    But now the time gives it scope.
    I never gave you nothing.
    My lord, you know right will you did,
    And with them such earnest vows of love
    As would have moved the stoniest breast alive.
    1754.1But now too true I find:
    Rich gifts wax poor when givers grow unkind.
    I never loved you.
    You made me believe you did.
    Oh, thou shouldst not ha' believed me!
    Go to a nunnery, go. Why shouldst thou
    Be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest,
    But I could accuse myself of such crimes
    s It had been better my mother had ne'er borne me.
    Oh, I am very proud, ambitious, disdainful,
    1780With more sins at my beck than I have thoughts
    To put them in. What should such fellows as I
    Do, crawling between heaven and earth?
    To a nunnery, go. We are arrant knaves all.
    Believe none of us. To a nunnery, go.
    Oh, heavens secure him!
    Where's thy father?
    At home, my lord.
    For God's sake, let the doors be shut on him,
    He may play the fool nowhere but in his
    Own house. To a nunnery, go.
    Ofelia
    Help him, good God!
    If thou dost marry, I'll give thee
    This plague to thy dowry:
    Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow,
    Thou shalt not scape calumny. To a nunnery, go.
    Alas, what change is this?
    But if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool,
    For wise men know well enough
    What monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go.
    Pray God restore him!
    Nay, I have heard of your paintings, too.
    God hath given you one face
    And you make yourselves another.
    1800You fig, and you amble, and you nickname God's creatures,
    Making your wantonness your ignorance.
    A pox, 'tis scurvy. I'll no more of it.
    It hath made me mad. I'll no more marriages.
    All that are married, but one, shall live;
    The rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
    1805To a nunnery, go!
    Exit.
    Great God of heaven, what a quick change is this?
    The courtier, scholar, soldier, all in him,
    All dashed and splintered thence. Oh, woe is me,
    To ha' seen what I have seen, see what I see!
    Exit.
    Enter King and Corambis [coming forward from concealment].
    Love? No, no, that's not the cause.
    1820Some deeper thing it is that troubles him.
    Well, something it is. My lord, content you awhile.
    I will myself go feel him. Let me work.
    I'll try him every way. See where he comes.
    1204.1Send you those gentlemen. Let me alone
    To find the depth of this. Away, be gone!
    Exit King.
    Enter Hamlet.
    Now, my good lord, do you know me?
    Yea, very well, y'are a fishmonger.
    Corambis
    Not I, my lord.
    Then, sir, I would you were so honest a man.
    1215For to be honest, as this age goes,
    is one man to be picked out of ten thousand.
    Corambis
    What do you read, my lord?
    Words, words.
    Corambis
    What's the matter, my lord?
    Between who?
    Corambis
    I mean the matter you read, my lord.
    Marry, most vile heresy:
    For here the satirical satyr writes
    1235That old men have hollow eyes, weak backs,
    Grey beards, pitiful weak hams, gouty legs,
    All which, sir, I most potently believe not.
    1240For, sir, yourself shall be old as I am,
    If, like a crab, you could go backward.
    Corambis
    [Aside] How pregnant his replies are, and full of wit!
    Yet at first he took me for a fishmonger.
    1226.1All this comes by love, the vehemency of love;
    And when I was young, I was very idle,
    And suffered much ecstasy in love, very near this.--
    Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
    Into my grave.
    Corambis
    By the mass, that's out of the air, indeed,
    Very shrewd answers.--
    My lord, I will take my leave of you.
    1265Enter Gilderstone and Rossencraft.
    You can take nothing from me, sir,
    I will more willingly part withal.--
    Old doting fool!
    Corambis
    [To Gilderstone and Rossencraft] You seek Prince Hamlet. See, there he is.
    Exit.
    1263.1Gilderstone
    Health to your lordship!
    What, Gilderstone, and Rossencraft!
    Welcome, kind schoolfellows, to Elsinore.
    1417.1Gilderstone
    We thank your grace, and would be very glad
    You were as when we were at Wittenberg.
    I thank you, but is this vistitation free of
    Yourselves, or were you not sent for?
    Tell me true, come. I know the good King and Queen
    Sent for you. There is a kind of confession in your eye.
    Come, I know you were sent for.
    Gilderstone
    [Aside to Rossencraft.] What say you?
    [Aside] Nay, then, I see how the wind sits.
    [To them] Come, you were sent for.
    Rossencraft
    My lord, we were, and willingly, if we might,
    Know the cause and ground of your discontent.
    Why, I want preferment.
    Rossencraft
    I think not so, my lord.
    Yes, faith, this great world you see contents me not,
    No, nor the spangled heavens, nor earth, nor sea;
    1355No, nor man, that is so glorious a creature,
    Contents not me--no, nor woman too, though you laugh.
    Gilderstone
    My lord, we laugh not at that.
    Why did you laugh, then,
    When I said, man did not content me?
    Gilderstone
    My lord, we laughed, when you said man did not content you.
    What entertainment the players shall have?
    We boarded them o'the way. They are coming to you.
    Players? What players be they?
    1375Rossencraft
    My lord, the tragedians of the city,
    Those that you took delight to see so often.
    How comes it that they travel? Do they grow resty?
    1385Gilderstone
    No, my lord, their reputation holds as it was wont.
    How then?
    Gilderstone
    I'faith, my lord, novelty carries it away.
    For the principal public audience that
    Came to them are turned to private plays,
    And to the humor of children.
    I do not greatly wonder of it,
    1410For those that would make mops and mows
    At my uncle when my father lived
    Now give a hundred, two hundred pounds
    For his picture. But they shall be welcome.
    He that plays the King shall have tribute of me,
    The vent'rous Knight shall use his foil and target,
    The Lover shall sigh gratis,
    1370The Clown shall make them laugh
    That are tickled in the lungs, or the blank verse shall halt for't,
    And the Lady shall have leave to speak her mind freely.
    1415The Trumpets sound.
    Enter Corambis.
    1430Do you see yonder great baby?
    He is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.
    Gilderstone
    That may be, for they say an old man
    Is twice a child.
    I'll prophesy to you he comes to tell me o'the players.--
    1435You say true, o'Monday last, 'twas so indeed.
    Corambis
    My lord, I have news to tell you.
    My lord, I have news to tell you:
    When Roscius was an actor in Rome--
    1440Corambis
    The actors are come hither, my lord.
    Buzz, buzz.
    Corambis
    The best actors in Christendom,
    Either for comedy, tragedy, history, pastoral,
    1445Pastoral-historical, historical-comical,
    Comical-historical-pastoral, tragedy-historical:
    Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plato too light;
    For the law hath writ those are the only men.
    O Jephthah, judge of Israel! What a treasure hadst thou?
    Corambis
    Why, what a treasure had he, my lord?
    Why one fair daughter, and no more,
    1455The which he lovèd passing well.
    Corambis
    [Aside] Ah, still harping o'my daughter!'--Well, my lord,
    If you call me Iephthah, I have a daughter that
    I love passing well.
    Nay that follows not.
    Corambis
    What follows, then, my lord?
    Why, by lot, or God wot, or as it came to pass,
    And so it was, the first verse of the godly ballad
    Will tell you all. For look you where my abridgement comes.
    Enter Players.
    Welcome masters! Welcome all.--
    What, my old friend, thy face is valanced
    Since I saw thee last. Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark?--
    1470My young lady and mistress! By'r Lady, but your
    Ladyship is grown by the altitude of a chopine higher than you were.
    Pray God, sir, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent
    Gold, be not cracked in the ring.-- Come on, masters,
    We'll even to't, like French falconers,
    1475Fly at any thing we see. Come, a taste of your
    Quality, a speech, a passionate speech.
    What speech, my good lord?
    I heard thee speak a speech once,
    but it was never acted, or, if it were,
    1480Never above twice, for, as I remember,
    It pleased not the vulgar; it was caviary
    To the million. But to me
    And others that received it in the like kind,
    Cried in the top of their judgments, an excellent play,
    Set down with as great modesty as cunning.
    1485One said there was no sallets in the lines to make them savory,
    But called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet.
    Come, a speech in it I chiefly remember
    was Aeneas' tale to Dido,
    1490And then especially where he talks of princes' slaughter.
    If it live in thy memory, begin at this line--
    Let me see'--
    The rugged Pyrrhus, like th'Hycarnian beast'--
    No, 'tis not so. It begins with Pyrrhus:
    1493.1Oh, I have it.
    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 his black and grim complexion smeared
    With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
    Now is he total guise, horridly tricked
    1500With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons.
    Baked and imparchèd in calagulate gore,
    Rifted in earth and fire, old grandsire Pram seeks.
    1503.1So, go on.
    Corambis
    Afore God, my lord, well spoke, and with good accent.
    Anon he finds him striking too short at Greeks.
    1510His antic sword, rebellious to his arm,
    Lies where it falls, unable to resist.
    Pyrrus at Priam drives, but, all in rage,
    Strikes wide; but with the whiff and wind
    Of his fell sword, th'unnervèd father falls.
    Corambis
    Enough, my friend. 'tis too long.
    It shall to the barber's with your beard.
    1540 [To the First Player] A pox! He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry,
    Or else he sleeps. Come on to Hecuba, come.
    But who, oh, who had seen the moblèd queen--
    Corambis
    Moblèd queen is good, 'faith, very good.
    All in the alarum and fear of death rose up,
    And o'er her weak and all o'er-teeming loins a blanket
    And a kercher on that head where late the diadem stood,
    Who this had seen, with tongue-envenomed speech
    Would treason have pronounced,
    For if the gods themselves had seen her then,
    When she saw Pyrrhus with malicious strokes
    1555Mincing her husband's limbs,
    It would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
    And passion in the gods.
    1560Corambis
    Look, my Lord, if he hath not changed his color,
    and hath tears in his eyes.--No more, good heart, no more!
    'Tis well, 'tis very well. [To Corambis] I pray, my lord,
    Will you see the players well bestowed?
    I tell you, they are the chronicles
    1565And brief abstracts of the time.
    After your death, I can tell you,
    You were better have a bad epitaph
    Than their ill report while you live.
    Corambis
    My lord, I will use them according to their deserts.
    Oh, far better, man. Use every man after his deserts,
    Then who should scape whipping?
    Use them after your own honor and dignity.
    The less they deserve, the greater credit's yours.
    1575Corambis
    [To the Players] Welcome, my good fellows.
    Exit.
    [As the Players are about to follow Corambis] Come hither, masters. Can you not play "The Murder of Gonzago"?
    Yes, my lord.
    And couldst not thou for a need study me
    Some dozen or sixteen lines,
    Which I would set down and insert?
    Yes, very easily, my good lord.
    'Tis well. I thank you. Follow that lord.
    And, do you hear, sirs? Take heed you mock him not.
    1584.1[To Gilderstone and Rossencraft] Gentlemen, for your kindness I thank you,
    1585And for a time I would desire you leave me.
    1585.1Gilderstone
    Our love and duty is at your command.
    Exeunt all but Hamlet.
    Why, what a dunghill idiot slave 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 an if he had my loss?
    1600.1His father murdered, and a crown bereft him?
    He would turn all his tears to drops of blood,
    Amaze the standers-by with his laments,
    1603.1Strike more than wonder in the judicial ears,
    1605Confound the ignorant, and make mute the wise.
    1605.1Indeed, his passion would be general.
    Yet I, like to an ass and John-a-Dreams,
    Having my father murdered by a villain,
    Stand still, and let it pass. Why, sure I am a coward.
    Who plucks me by the beard, or twits my nose,
    Gives me the lie i'th' throat down to the lungs?
    Sure I should take it, or else I have no gall,
    Or by this I should ha' fatted all the region kites
    1620With this slave's offal, this damned villain,
    Treacherous, bawdy, murderous villain!
    Why, this is brave, that I, the son of my dear father,
    Should like a scallion, like a very drab,
    Thus rail in words. About, my brain!
    I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
    1630Hath, by the very cunning of the scene, confessed a murder
    1630.1Committed long before.
    This spirit that I have seen may be the devil,
    And out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such men,
    Doth seek to damn me. I will have sounder proofs.
    The play's the thing
    1645Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
    Exit.