What do you like about the ISE? What could we do better? Please tell us in this 10-minute survey!

Start Survey

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in


Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • Title: Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 2, 1604)

    Prince of Denmarke.
    Ghost. I that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
    730With witchcraft of his wits, with trayterous gifts,
    O wicked wit, and giftes that haue the power
    So to seduce; wonne to his shamefull lust
    The will of my most seeming vertuous Queene;
    O Hamlet, what falling off was there
    735From me whose loue was of that dignitie
    That it went hand in hand, euen with the vowe
    I made to her in marriage, and to decline
    Vppon a wretch whose naturall gifts were poore,
    To those of mine; but vertue as it neuer will be mooued,
    740Though lewdnesse court it in a shape of heauen
    So but though to a radiant Angle linckt,
    Will sort it selfe in a celestiall bed
    And pray on garbage.
    But soft, me thinkes I sent the morning ayre,
    Briefe let me be; sleeping within my Orchard,
    745My custome alwayes of the afternoone,
    Vpon my secure houre, thy Vncle stole
    With iuyce of cursed Hebona in a viall,
    And in the porches of my eares did poure
    The leaprous distilment, whose effect
    750Holds such an enmitie with blood of man,
    That swift as quicksiluer it courses through
    The naturall gates and allies of the body,
    And with a sodaine vigour it doth possesse
    And curde like eager droppings into milke,
    755The thin and wholsome blood; so did it mine,
    And a most instant tetter barckt about
    Most Lazerlike with vile and lothsome crust
    All my smooth body.
    Thus was I sleeping by a brothers hand,
    760Of life, of Crowne, of Queene at once dispatcht,
    Cut off euen in the blossomes of my sinne,
    Vnhuzled, disappointed, vnanueld,
    No reckning made, but sent to my account
    Withall my imperfections on my head,
    765O horrible, ô horrible, most horrible.
    If thou hast nature in thee beare it not,