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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Hamlet, and three of the Players.
    Ham. Speake the speech I pray you as I pronoun'd it to you, trip-
    1850pingly on the tongue, but if you mouth it as many of our Players do,
    I had as liue the towne cryer spoke my lines, nor doe not saw the ayre
    too much with your hand thus, but vse all gently, for in the very tor-
    rent tempest, and as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must
    1855acquire and beget a temperance, that may giue it smoothnesse, o it
    offends mee to the soule, to heare a robustious perwig-pated fellowe
    tere a passion to totters, to very rags, to spleet the eares of the ground-
    lings, vvho for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplica-
    1860ble dumbe showes, and noyse: I would haue such a fellow whipt for
    ore-dooing Termagant, it out Herods Herod, pray you auoyde it.
    Player. I warrant your honour.
    Hamlet. Be not too tame neither, but let your owne discretion be
    1865your tutor, sute the action to the word, the word to the action, with
    this speciall obseruance, that you ore-steppe not the modestie of na-
    ture: For any thing so ore-doone, is from the purpose of playing,
    whose end both at the first, and novve, was and is, to holde as twere
    1870the Mirrour vp to nature, to shew vertue her feature; scorne her own
    Image, and the very age and body of the time his forme and pressure:
    Now this ouer-done, or come tardie off, though it makes the vnskil-
    full laugh, cannot but make the iudicious greeue, the censure of
    1875which one, must in your allowance ore-weigh a whole Theater of o-
    thers. O there be Players that I haue seene play, and heard others
    praysd, and that highly, not to speake it prophanely, that neither ha-
    uing th'accent of Christians, nor the gate of Christian, Pagan, nor
    1880man, haue so strutted & bellowed, that I haue thought some of Na-
    tures Iornimen had made men, and not made them well, they imita-
    ted humanitie so abhominably.
    Player. I hope we haue reform'd that indifferently with vs.
    Ham. O reforme it altogether, and let those that play your clownes
    speake no more then is set downe for them, for there be of them that
    wil themselues laugh, to set on some quantitie of barraine spectators
    to laugh to, though in the meane time, some necessary question of
    the play be then to be considered, that's villanous, and shewes a most
    pittifull ambition in the foole that vses it : goe make you readie. How
    1895now my Lord, will the King heare this peece of worke?
    Enter Polonius, Guyldensterne, & Rosencraus.
    Pol. And the Queene to, and that presently.
    Ham. Bid the Players make hast. Will you two help to hasten thē.
    1900Ros. I my Lord. Exeunt they two.
    Ham. What howe, Horatio. Enter Horatio.
    Hora. Heere sweet Lord, at your seruice.
    Ham. Horatio, thou art een as iust a man
    1905As ere my conuersation copt withall.
    Hor. O my deere Lord.
    Nay, doe not thinke I flatter,
    For what aduancement may I hope from thee
    That no reuenew hast but thy good spirits
    1910To feede and clothe thee, why should the poore be flatterd?
    No, let the candied tongue licke absurd pompe,
    And crooke the pregnant hindges of the knee
    Where thrift may follow fauning; doost thou heare,
    Since my deare soule was mistris of her choice,
    1915And could of men distinguish her election,
    S'hath seald thee for herselfe, for thou hast been
    As one in suffring all that suffers nothing,
    A man that Fortunes buffets and rewards
    Hast tane with equall thanks; and blest are those
    1920Whose blood and iudgement are so well comedled,
    That they are not a pype for Fortunes finger
    To sound what stop she please: giue me that man
    That is not passions slaue, and I will weare him
    In my harts core, I in my hart of hart
    1925As I doe thee. Something too much of this,
    There is a play to night before the King,
    One scene of it comes neere the circumstance
    Which I haue told thee of my fathers death,
    I prethee when thou seest that act a foote,
    1930Euen with the very comment of thy soule
    Obserue my Vncle, if his occulted guilt
    Doe not it selfe vnkennill in one speech,
    It is a damned ghost that we haue seene,
    And my imaginations are as foule
    1935As Vulcans stithy; giue him heedfull note,
    For I mine eyes will riuet to his face,
    And after we will both our iudgements ioyne
    In censure of his seeming.
    Hor. Well my lord,
    1940If a steale ought the whilst this play is playing
    And scape detected, I will pay the theft.
    Enter Trumpets and Kettle Drummes,King, Queene,
    Polonius, Ophelia
    Ham. They are comming to the play. I must be idle,
    Get you a place.
    King. How fares our cosin Hamlet?
    Ham. Excellent yfaith,
    Of the Camelions dish, I eate the ayre,
    1950Promiscram'd, you cannot feede Capons so.
    King. I haue nothing with this aunswer Hamlet,
    These words are not mine.
    Ham. No, nor mine now my Lord.
    You playd once i'th Vniuersitie you say,
    1955Pol. That did I my Lord, and was accounted a good Actor,
    Ham. What did you enact?
    Pol. I did enact Iulius Cæsar, I was kild i'th Capitall,
    Brutus kild mee.
    1960Ham. It was a brute part of him to kill so capitall a calfe there,
    Be the Players readie?
    Ros. I my Lord, they stay vpon your patience.
    Ger. Come hether my deere Hamlet, sit by me.
    Ham. No good mother, heere's mettle more attractiue.
    1965Pol. O ho, doe you marke that.
    Ham. Lady shall I lie in your lap?
    Ophe. No my Lord.
    1970Ham. Doe you thinke I meant country matters?
    Oph. I thinke nothing my Lord.
    Ham. That's a fayre thought to lye betweene maydes legs.
    Oph. What is my Lord?
    Ham. Nothing.
    1975Oph. You are merry my Lord.
    Ham. Who I?
    Oph. I my Lord.
    Ham. O God your onely Iigge-maker, what should a man do but
    be merry, for looke you how cheerefully my mother lookes, and my
    1980father died within's two howres.
    Oph. Nay, tis twice two months my Lord.
    Ham. So long, nay then let the deule weare blacke, for Ile haue a
    sute of sables; o heauens, die two months agoe, and not forgotten yet,
    1985then there's hope a great mans memorie may out-liue his life halfe a
    yeere, but ber Lady a must build Churches then, or els shall a suffer
    not thinking on, with the Hobby-horse, whose Epitaph is, for ô, for
    ô, the hobby-horse is forgot.
    1990The Trumpets sounds. Dumbe show followes.
    Enter a King and a Queene, the Queene embracing him, and he her,he
    takes her vp, and declines his head vpon her necke,he lyes him downe vp-
    pon a bancke of flowers, she seeing him asleepe, leaues him: anon come in an
    1995other man, takes off his crowne, kisses it, pours poyson in the sleepers eares,
    and leaues him: the Queene returnes, finds the King dead, makes passionate
    action, the poysner with some three or foure come in againe, seeme to con-
    dole with her, the dead body is carried away, the poysner wooes the Queene
    with gifts, shee seemes harsh awhile, but in the end accepts loue.
    Oph. VVhat meanes this my Lord?
    Ham. Marry this munching Mallico, it meanes mischiefe.
    Oph. Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
    Ham. We shall know by this fellow, Enter Prologue.
    The Players cannot keepe, they'le tell all.
    2010Oph. Will a tell vs what this show meant?
    Ham. I, or any show that you will show him, be not you asham'd
    to show, heele not shame to tell you what it meanes.
    Oph. You are naught, you are naught, Ile mark the play.
    Prologue. For vs and for our Tragedie,
    Heere stooping to your clemencie,
    We begge your hearing patiently.
    2020Ham. Is this a Prologue, or the posie of a ring?
    Oph. Tis breefe my Lord.
    Ham. As womans loue.
    Enter King and Queene.
    King. Full thirtie times hath Phebus cart gone round
    2025Neptunes salt wash, and Tellus orb'd the ground,
    And thirtie dosen Moones with borrowed sheene
    About the world haue times twelue thirties beene
    Since loue our harts, and Hymen did our hands
    Vnite comutuall in most sacred bands.
    2030Quee. So many iourneyes may the Sunne and Moone
    Make vs againe count ore ere loue be doone,
    But woe is me, you are so sicke of late,
    So farre from cheere, and from our former state,
    That I distrust you, yet though I distrust,
    2035Discomfort you my Lord it nothing must.
    2035.1For women feare too much, euen as they loue,
    And womens feare and loue hold quantitie,
    Eyther none, in neither ought, or in extremitie,
    Now what my Lord is proofe hath made you know,
    And as my loue is ciz'd, my feare is so,
    2039.1Where loue is great, the litlest doubts are feare,
    Where little feares grow great, great loue growes there.
    2040King. Faith I must leaue thee loue, and shortly to,
    My operant powers their functions leaue to do,
    And thou shalt liue in this faire world behind,
    Honord, belou'd, and haply one as kind,
    For husband shalt thou.
    2045Quee. O confound the rest,
    Such loue must needes be treason in my brest,
    In second husband let me be accurst,
    None wed the second, but who kild the first. Ham. That's wormwood
    2050 The instances that second marriage moue
    Are base respects of thrift, but none of loue,
    A second time I kill my husband dead,
    When second husband kisses me in bed.
    King. I doe belieue you thinke what now you speake,
    2055But what we doe determine, oft we breake,
    Purpose is but the slaue to memorie,
    Of violent birth, but poore validitie,
    Which now the fruite vnripe sticks on the tree,
    But fall vnshaken when they mellow bee.
    2060Most necessary tis that we forget
    To pay our selues what to our selues is debt,
    What to our selues in passion we propose,
    The passion ending, doth the purpose lose,
    The violence of eyther, griefe, or ioy,
    2065Their owne ennactures with themselues destroy,
    Where ioy most reuels, griefe doth most lament,
    Greefe ioy, ioy griefes, on slender accedent,
    This world is not for aye, nor tis not strange,
    That euen our loues should with our fortunes change:
    2070For tis a question left vs yet to proue,
    Whether loue lead fortune, or els fortune loue.
    The great man downe, you marke his fauourite flyes,
    The poore aduaunc'd, makes friends of enemies,
    And hetherto doth loue on fortune tend,
    2075For who not needes, shall neuer lacke a friend,
    And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
    Directly seasons him his enemy.
    But orderly to end where I begunne,
    Our wills and fates doe so contrary runne,
    2080That our deuises still are ouerthrowne,
    Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our owne,
    So thinke thou wilt no second husband wed,
    But die thy thoughts when thy first Lord is dead.
    Quee. Nor earth to me giue foode, nor heauen light,
    2085Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
    2085.1To desperation turne my trust and hope,
    And Anchors cheere in prison be my scope,
    Each opposite that blancks the face of ioy,
    Meete what I would haue well, and it destroy,
    Both heere and hence pursue me lasting strife, Ham. If she should breake it now.
    If once I be a widdow, euer I be a wife.
    King. Tis deeply sworne, sweet leaue me heere a while,
    My spirits grow dull, and faine I would beguile
    The tedious day with sleepe.
    2095Quee. Sleepe rock thy braine,
    And neuer come mischance betweene vs twaine. Exeunt.
    Ham. Madam, how like you this play?
    Quee. The Lady doth protest too much mee thinks.
    Ham. O but shee'le keepe her word.
    2100King. Haue you heard the argument? is there no offence in't?
    Ham. No, no, they do but iest, poyson in iest, no offence i'th world.
    King. What doe you call the play?
    2105Ham. The Mousetrap, mary how tropically, this play is the Image
    of a murther doone in Vienna, Gonzago is the Dukes name, his wife
    Baptista, you shall see anon, tis a knauish peece of worke, but what of
    that? your Maiestie, and wee that haue free soules, it touches vs not,
    2110let the gauled Iade winch, our withers are vnwrong. This is one Lu-
    cianus, Nephew to the King.
    Enter Lucianus.
    Oph. You are as good as a Chorus my Lord.
    Ham. I could interpret betweene you and your loue
    2115If I could see the puppets dallying.
    Oph. You are keene my lord, you are keene.
    Ham. It would cost you a groning to take off mine edge.
    Oph. Still better and worse.
    2120Ham. So you mistake your husbands. Beginne murtherer, leaue
    thy damnable faces and begin, come, the croking Rauen doth bellow
    for reuenge.
    Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugges fit, and time agreeing,
    Considerat season els no creature seeing,
    Thou mixture ranck, of midnight weedes collected,
    VVith Hecats ban thrice blasted, thrice inuected,
    Thy naturall magicke, and dire property,
    2130On wholsome life vsurps immediatly.
    Ham. A poysons him i'th Garden for his estate, his names Gonza-
    go, the story is extant, and written in very choice Italian, you shall see
    anon how the murtherer gets the loue of Gonzagoes wife.
    Oph. The King rises.
    Quee. How fares my Lord?
    Pol. Giue ore the play.
    2140King. Giue me some light, away.
    Pol. Lights, lights, lights. Exeunt all but Ham. & Horatio.
    Ham. Why let the strooken Deere goe weepe,
    The Hart vngauled play,
    2145For some must watch while some must sleepe,
    Thus runnes the world away. Would not this sir & a forrest of fea-
    thers, if the rest of my fortunes turne Turk with me, with prouinciall
    Roses on my raz'd shooes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players?
    Hora. Halfe a share.
    Ham. A whole one I.
    For thou doost know oh Damon deere
    This Realme dismantled was
    Of Ioue himselfe, and now raignes heere
    A very very paiock.
    Hora. You might haue rym'd.
    Ham. O good Horatio, Ile take the Ghosts word for a thousand
    pound. Did'st perceiue?
    2160Hora. Very well my Lord.
    Ham. Vpon the talke of the poysning.
    Hor. I did very well note him.
    Ham. Ah ha, come some musique, come the Recorders,
    2165For if the King like not the Comedie,
    Why then belike he likes it not perdy.
    Come, some musique.
    Enter Rosencraus and Guyldensterne.
    Guyl. Good my Lord, voutsafe me a word with you.
    Ham. Sir a whole historie.
    2170Guyl. The King sir.
    Ham. I sir, what of him?
    Guyl. Is in his retirement meruilous distempred.
    Ham. With drinke sir?
    Guyl. No my Lord, with choller,
    2175Ham. Your wisedome should shewe it selfe more richer to signifie
    this to the Doctor, for, for mee to put him to his purgation, would
    perhaps plunge him into more choller.
    Guyl. Good my Lord put your discourse into some frame,
    2180And stare not so wildly from my affaire.
    Ham. I am tame sir, pronounce.
    Guyl. The Queene your mother in most great affliction of spirit,
    hath sent me to you.
    Ham. You are welcome.
    2185Guyl. Nay good my Lord, this curtesie is not of the right breede, if
    it shall please you to make me a wholsome aunswere, I will doe your
    mothers commaundement, if not, your pardon and my returne, shall
    be the end of busines.
    2190Ham. Sir I cannot.
    Ros. What my Lord.
    Ham. Make you a wholsome answer, my wits diseasd, but sir, such
    answere as I can make, you shall commaund, or rather as you say, my
    mother, therefore no more, but to the matter, my mother you say.
    Ros. Then thus she sayes, your behauiour hath strooke her into a-
    mazement and admiration.
    Ham. O wonderful sonne that can so stonish a mother, but is there
    no sequell at the heeles of this mothers admiration, impart.
    Ros. She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.
    Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our mother, haue you any
    further trade with vs?
    2205Ros. My Lord, you once did loue me.
    Ham. And doe still by these pickers and stealers.
    Ros. Good my Lord, what is your cause of distemper, you do sure-
    ly barre the doore vpon your owne liberty if you deny your griefes to
    your friend.
    2210Ham. Sir I lacke aduauncement.
    Ros. How can that be, when you haue the voyce of the King him-
    selfe for your succession in Denmarke.
    2215Enter the Players with Recorders.
    Ham. I sir, but while the grasse growes, the prouerbe is something
    musty, ô the Recorders, let mee see one, to withdraw with you, why
    doe you goe about to recouer the wind of mee, as if you would driue
    me into a toyle?
    Guyl. O my lord, if my duty be too bold, my loue is too vnmanerly.
    Ham. I do not wel vnderstand that, wil you play vpon this pipe?
    Guyl. My lord I cannot.
    Ham. I pray you.
    2225Guyl. Beleeue me I cannot.
    Ham. I doe beseech you.
    Guyl. I know no touch of it my Lord.
    Ham. It is as easie as lying; gouerne these ventages with your fin-
    gers, & the vmber, giue it breath with your mouth, & it wil discourse
    2230most eloquent musique, looke you, these are the stops.
    Guil. But these cannot I commaund to any vttrance of harmonie, I
    haue not the skill.
    Ham. Why looke you now how vnwoorthy a thing you make of
    2235me, you would play vpon mee, you would seeme to know my stops,
    you would plucke out the hart of my mistery, you would sound mee
    from my lowest note to my compasse, and there is much musique ex-
    cellent voyce in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak, s'bloud
    2240do you think I am easier to be plaid on then a pipe, call mee what in-
    strument you wil, though you fret me not, you cannot play vpon me.
    God blesse you sir.
    Enter Polonius.
    2245Pol. My Lord, the Queene would speake with you, & presently.
    Ham. Do you see yonder clowd that's almost in shape of a Camel?
    Pol. By'th masse and tis, like a Camell indeed.
    2250Ham. Mee thinks it is like a Wezell.
    Pol. It is backt like a Wezell.
    Ham. Or like a Whale.
    Pol. Very like a Whale.
    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. Exit.