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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    King
    Right noble friends, that our dear cousin Hamlet
    1021.1 Hath lost the very heart of all his sense,
    It is most right, and we most sorry for him.
    1030 Therefore we do desire, even as you tender
    1030.1 Our care to him and our great love to you,
    1035 That you will labor but to wring from him
    The cause and ground of his distemperancy.
    Do this, the King of Denmark shall be thankful.
    1044.1 Rossencraft
    My lord, whatsoever lies within our power
    Your majesty may more command in words
    Than use persuasions to your liege men, bound
    1049.1 By love, by duty, and obedience.
    Gilderstone
    What we may do for both your majesties
    1046.1 To know the grief troubles the prince your son,
    We will endeavor all the best we may;
    1051.1 So in all duty do we take our leave.
    King
    Thanks, Gilderstone, and gentle Rossencraft.
    1055 Queen
    Thanks, Rossencraft, and gentle Gilderstone.
    Enter Corambis and Ofelia.
    Corambis
    My lord, the ambassadors are joyfully
    Returned from Norway.
    King
    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;
    1070 And 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.
    1073.1 Queen
    [To the King] God grant he hath!
    Enter the Ambassadors [Voltemar and Cornelia, with a diplomatic dispatch].
    King
    Now, Voltemar, what from our brother Norway?
    1085 Voltemar
    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
    1090 It 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,
    1095 Makes 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,
    1100 So 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
    1105 As therein are set down.
    [The King is handed a document.]
    King
    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.
    555 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,
    1130 Or else to say the cause of this defect,
    For this effect defective comes by cause--
    Queen
    Good my lord, be brief.
    Corambis
    Madam I will. My lord, I have a daughter,
    Have while she's mine; for that we think
    1133.1 Is surest we often lose. Now to the prince.
    My lord, but note this letter,
    The which my daughter in obedience
    1135 Delivered to my hands.
    1135.1 King
    Read it, my lord.
    1135 Corambis
    Mark, my lord.
    [He reads the letter.]
    "Doubt that in earth is fire,
    1145 Doubt 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?
    1160 Ay, or what might you think when I saw this?
    King
    As of a true friend and a most loving subject.
    1160 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,
    1170.1 And 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.
    1174.1 Now, 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.
    King
    [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,
    1185 And it hath fallen out otherwise.
    Nay, if circumstances lead me on,
    I'll find it out if it were hid
    1190 As deep as the center of the earth.
    King
    How should we try this same?
    1191.1 Corambis
    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.
    1197.1 There shall you hear the effect of all his heart,
    And if it prove any otherwise than love,
    1198.1 Then let my censure fail another time.
    King
    See where he comes, poring upon a book.
    Enter Hamlet.
    Corambis
    Madam, will it please your grace
    To leave us here?
    Queen
    With all my heart.
    Exit.
    1695 Corambis
    And here Ofelia, read you on this book,
    And walk aloof; the King shall be unseen.
    [The King and Corambis conceal themselves.]
    1710 Hamlet
    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,
    1720 For 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
    1733.1 The happy smile, and the accursèd damned.
    But for this, the joyful hope of this,
    Who'd bear the scorns and flattery of the world,
    1725 Scorned by the right rich, the rich cursed of the poor,
    1725.1 The 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
    1730 With a bare bodkin? Who would this endure,
    But for a hope of something after death?
    Which puzzles the brain, and doth confound the sense,
    1735 Which 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.
    1745 Ofelia
    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.
    1760 Hamlet
    Are you fair?
    Ofelia
    My lord?
    Hamlet
    Are you honest?
    Ofelia
    What means my lord?
    Hamlet
    That if you be fair and honest, your beauty should admit no discourse to your honesty.
    Ofelia
    My lord, can beauty have better privilege than 1765 with honesty?
    Hamlet
    Yea, marry, may it; for beauty may [sooner] transform
    Honesty from what she was into a bawd
    Than honesty can transform beauty.
    TLN n="1769"/>This was sometimes a paradox,
    But now the time gives it scope.
    I never gave you nothing.
    Ofelia
    My lord, you know right will you did,
    And with them such earnest vows of love
    As would have moved the stoniest breast alive.
    1754.1 But now too true I find:
    Rich gifts wax poor when givers grow unkind.
    Hamlet
    I never loved you.
    Ofelia
    You made me believe you did.
    Hamlet
    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,
    1780 With 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.
    Ofelia
    Oh, heavens secure him!
    1785 Hamlet
    Where's thy father?
    Ofelia
    At home, my lord.
    Hamlet
    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!
    1790 Hamlet
    If thou dost marry, I'll give thee
    1790 This plague to thy dowry:
    Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow,
    Thou shalt not scape calumny. To a nunnery, go.
    1792.1 Ofelia
    Alas, what change is this?
    Hamlet
    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.
    Ofelia
    Pray God restore him!
    Hamlet
    Nay, I have heard of your paintings, too.
    God hath given you one face
    And you make yourselves another.
    1800 You 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.
    1805 To a nunnery, go!
    Exit.
    1805.1 Ofelia
    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].
    King
    Love? No, no, that's not the cause.
    1820 Some deeper thing it is that troubles him.
    Corambis
    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.
    1204.1 Send 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?
    Hamlet
    Yea, very well, y'are a fishmonger.
    Corambis
    Not I, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Then, sir, I would you were so honest a man.
    1215 For to be honest, as this age goes,
    1215 is one man to be picked out of ten thousand.
    Corambis
    What do you read, my lord?
    1230 Hamlet
    Words, words.
    Corambis
    What's the matter, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Between who?
    Corambis
    I mean the matter you read, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Marry, most vile heresy:
    For here the satirical satyr writes
    1235 That old men have hollow eyes, weak backs,
    1235 Grey beards, pitiful weak hams, gouty legs,
    All which, sir, I most potently believe not.
    1240 For, 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.
    1226.1 All 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?
    Hamlet
    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.
    1265 Enter Gilderstone and Rossencraft.
    Hamlet
    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.
    1263.1 Gilderstone
    Health to your lordship!
    1270 Hamlet
    What, Gilderstone, and Rossencraft!
    Welcome, kind schoolfellows, to Elsinore.
    1417.1 Gilderstone
    We thank your grace, and would be very glad
    You were as when we were at Wittenberg.
    Hamlet
    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?
    Hamlet
    [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.
    2210 Hamlet
    Why, I want preferment.
    Rossencraft
    I think not so, my lord.
    1345 Hamlet
    Yes, faith, this great world you see contents me not,
    No, nor the spangled heavens, 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.
    Gilderstone
    My lord, we laugh not at that.
    1360 Hamlet
    Why did you laugh, then,
    1360 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.
    Hamlet
    Players? What players be they?
    1375 Rossencraft
    My lord, the tragedians of the city,
    Those that you took delight to see so often.
    Hamlet
    How comes it that they travel? Do they grow resty?
    1385 Gilderstone
    No, my lord, their reputation holds as it was wont.
    1385.1 Hamlet
    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.
    Hamlet
    I do not greatly wonder of it,
    1410 For those that would make mops and mows
    1410 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,
    1370 The Clown shall make them laugh
    1370 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.
    1415 The Trumpets sound.
    Enter Corambis.
    1430 Do you see yonder great baby?
    1430 He is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.
    Gilderstone
    That may be, for they say an old man
    Is twice a child.
    Hamlet
    I'll prophesy to you he comes to tell me o'the players.--
    1435 You say true, o'Monday last, 'twas so indeed.
    Corambis
    My lord, I have news to tell you.
    Hamlet
    My lord, I have news to tell you:
    When Roscius was an actor in Rome--
    1440 Corambis
    The actors are come hither, my lord.
    Hamlet
    Buzz, buzz.
    Corambis
    The best actors in Christendom,
    Either for comedy, tragedy, history, pastoral,
    1445 Pastoral-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.
    Hamlet
    O Jephthah, judge of Israel! What a treasure hadst thou?
    Corambis
    Why, what a treasure had he, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Why one fair daughter, and no more,
    1455 The 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.
    1460 Hamlet
    Nay that follows not.
    Corambis
    What follows, then, my lord?
    Hamlet
    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?--
    1470 My 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,
    1475 Fly at any thing we see. Come, a taste of your
    Quality, a speech, a passionate speech.
    Players
    What speech, my good lord?
    Hamlet
    I heard thee speak a speech once,
    but it was never acted, or, if it were,
    1480 Never 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.
    1485 One 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,
    1490 And 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:
    1493.1 Oh, I have it.
    The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
    1495 Black 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
    1500 With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons.
    Baked and imparchèd in calagulate gore,
    Rifted in earth and fire, old grandsire Pram seeks.
    1503.1 So, go on.
    Corambis
    Afore God, my lord, well spoke, and with good accent.
    Player
    Anon he finds him striking too short at Greeks.
    1510 His 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.
    Hamlet
    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,
    1540 Or else he sleeps. Come on to Hecuba, come.
    Player
    But who, oh, who had seen the moblèd queen--
    Corambis
    Moblèd queen is good, 'faith, very good.
    1550 Player
    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
    1555 Mincing her husband's limbs,
    It would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
    And passion in the gods.
    1560 Corambis
    Look, my Lord, if he hath not changed his color,
    1560 and hath tears in his eyes.--No more, good heart, no more!
    Hamlet
    'Tis well, 'tis very well. [To Polonius I pray, my lord,
    Will you see the players well bestowed?
    I tell you, they are the chronicles
    1565 And brief abstracts of the time.
    1565 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.
    1570 Hamlet
    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.
    1575 Corambis
    [To the Players] Welcome, my good fellows.
    Exit.
    Hamlet
    [As the Players are about to follow Corambis] Come hither, masters. Can you not play "The Murder of Gonzago"?
    Players
    Yes, my lord.
    1580 Hamlet
    And couldst not thou for a need study me
    Some dozen or sixteen lines,
    Which I would set down and insert?
    Players
    Yes, very easily, my good lord.
    Hamlet
    '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,
    1585 And for a time I would desire you leave me.
    1585.1 Gilderstone
    Our love and duty is at your command.
    Exeunt all but Hamlet.
    1590 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?
    1600 What would he do an if he had my loss?
    1600.1 His father murdered, and a crown bereft him?
    He would turn all his tears to drops of blood,
    Amaze the standers-by with his laments,
    1603.1 Strike more than wonder in the judicial ears,
    1605 Confound the ignorant, and make mute the wise.
    1605.1 Indeed, 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
    1620 With 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
    1630 Hath, by the very cunning of the scene, confessed a murder
    1630.1 Committed 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
    1645 Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
    Exit.