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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Tragedie of Hamlet
    Then I will come to my mother by and by,
    2255They foole me to the top of my bent, I will come by & by,
    Leaue me friends.
    I will, say so. By and by is easily said,
    Tis now the very witching time of night,
    2260When Churchyards yawne, and hell it selfe breakes out
    Contagion to this world: now could I drinke hote blood,
    And doe such busines as the bitter day
    Would quake to looke on: soft, now to my mother,
    O hart loose not thy nature, let not euer
    2265The soule of Nero enter this firme bosome,
    Let me be cruell, not vnnaturall,
    I will speake dagger to her, but vse none,
    My tongue and soule in this be hypocrites,
    How in my words someuer she be shent,
    2270To giue them seales neuer my soule consent.

    Enter King, Rosencraus, and Guyldensterne.
    King. I like him not, nor stands it safe with vs
    To let his madnes range, therefore prepare you,
    I your commission will forth-with dispatch,
    2275And he to England shall along with you,
    The termes of our estate may not endure
    Hazerd so neer's as doth hourely grow
    Out of his browes.
    Guyl. We will our selues prouide,
    2280Most holy and religious feare it is
    To keepe those many many bodies safe
    That liue and feede vpon your Maiestie.
    Ros. The single and peculier life is bound
    2285With all the strength and armour of the mind
    To keepe it selfe from noyance, but much more
    That spirit, vpon whose weale depends and rests
    The liues of many, the cesse of Maiestie
    Dies not alone; but like a gulfe doth draw
    2290What's neere it, with it, or it is a massie wheele
    Fixt on the somnet of the highest mount,
    To whose hough spokes, tenne thousand lesser things
    Are morteist and adioynd, which when it falls,