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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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, Editor's Version)

    Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.
    Who's there?
    Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
    Long live the King!
    You come most carefully upon your hour.
    'Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.
    For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold,
    And I am sick at heart.
    Have you had quiet guard?
    Not a mouse stirring.
    Well, good night.
    If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
    The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    I think I hear them.--Stand, ho! Who is there?
    Friends to this ground.
    And liegemen to the Dane.
    Give you good night.
    Oh, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
    Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.
    Exit Francisco.
    Holla, Barnardo!
    Say, what, is Horatio there?
    A piece of him.
    Welcome, Horatio. Welcome, good Marcellus.
    What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
    I have seen nothing.
    Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
    And will not let belief take hold of him,
    Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
    35Therefore I have entreated him along
    With us to watch the minutes of this night,
    That if again this apparition come
    He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
    Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
    Sit down awhile,
    And let us once again assail your ears,
    That are so fortified against our story,
    What we two nights have seen.
    Well, sit we down,
    45And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
    Last night of all,
    When yond same star that's westward from the pole
    Had made his course t'illume that part of heaven
    Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
    50The bell then beating one--
    Enter the Ghost.
    Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again!
    In the same figure like the King that's dead.
    Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.
    Looks it not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
    Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
    It would be spoke to.
    Question it, Horatio.
    What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
    60Together with that fair and warlike form
    In which the majesty of buried Denmark
    Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee speak!
    It is offended.
    See, it stalks away.
    Stay, speak, speak, I charge thee speak!
    Exit the Ghost.
    'Tis gone, and will not answer.
    How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
    Is not this something more than fantasy?
    70What think you on't?
    Before my God, I might not this believe
    Without the sensible and true avouch
    Of mine own eyes.
    Is it not like the King?
    As thou art to thyself.
    Such was the very armor he had on
    When he the ambitious Norway combated.
    So frowned he once, when in an angry parle
    He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
    80'Tis strange.
    Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
    With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
    In what particular thought to work I know not,
    But in the gross and scope of mine opinion
    85This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
    Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
    Why this same strict and most observant watch
    So nightly toils the subject of the land,
    And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
    90And foreign mart for implements of war,
    Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
    Does not divide the Sunday from the week:
    What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
    Doth make the night joint-laborer with the day?
    95Who is't that can inform me?
    That can I.
    At least the whisper goes so: our last King,
    Whose image even but now appeared to us,
    Was as you know by Fortinbras of Norway,
    100Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
    Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet--
    For so this side of our known world esteemed him--
    Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact
    Well ratified by law and heraldry
    105Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
    Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror;
    Against the which a moiety competent
    Was gagèd by our King, which had returned
    To the inheritance of Fortinbras
    110Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same cov'nant
    And carriage of the article design[ed]
    His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
    Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
    Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
    115Sharked up a list of landless resolutes
    For food and diet to some enterprise
    That hath a stomach in't, which is no other,
    As it doth well appear unto our state,
    But to recover of us by strong hand
    120And terms compulsative those foresaid lands
    So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
    Is the main motive of our preparations,
    The source of this our watch, and the chief head
    Of this post-haste and rummage in the land.
    I think it be no other but e'en so.
    Well may it sort that this portentous figure
    Comes armèd through our watch so like the King
    That was and is the question of these wars.
    A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
    In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
    A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
    The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
    Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets,
    124.10As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
    Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,
    Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
    Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
    And even the like precurse of feared events,
    124.15As harbingers preceding still the fates
    And prologue to the omen coming on,
    Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
    Unto our climatures and countrymen.
    125Enter Ghost again.
    But soft, behold, lo, where it comes again!
    I'll cross it though it blast me.--Stay, illusion!
    It spreads his arms.
    If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
    Speak to me!
    If there be any good thing to be done
    130That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
    Speak to me!
    If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
    Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
    Oh, speak!
    Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
    Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
    135For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
    Speak of it. Stay and speak!
    The cock crows.
    Stop it, Marcellus!
    Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
    Do, if it will not stand.
    'Tis here.
    'Tis here.
    Exit Ghost.
    'Tis gone.
    We do it wrong, being so majestical,
    To offer it the show of violence,
    For it is as the air, invulnerable,
    145And our vain blows malicious mockery.
    It was about to speak when the cock crew.
    And then it started like a guilty thing
    Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
    The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
    150Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
    Awake the god of day, and, at his warning,
    Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
    Th'extravagant and erring spirit hies
    To his confine; and of the truth herein
    155This present object made probation.
    It faded on the crowing of the cock.
    Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
    Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
    The bird of dawning singeth all night long,
    160And then they say no spirit can walk abroad;
    The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
    No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
    So hallowed and so gracious is that time.
    So have I heard and do in part believe it.
    165But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
    Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
    Break we our watch up, and by my advice
    Let us impart what we have seen tonight
    Unto young Hamlet, for, upon my life,
    170This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
    Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it
    As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
    Let's do 't, I pray, and I this morning know
    Where we shall find him most conveniently.
    Flourish. Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, and his sister Ophelia, Lords attendant [including Voltemand and Cornelius].
    Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
    180The memory be green, and that it us befitted
    To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
    To be contracted in one brow of woe,
    Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
    That we with wisest sorrow think on him
    185Together with remembrance of ourselves.
    Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
    Th'imperial jointress of this warlike state,
    Have we as 'twere with a defeated joy,
    With one auspicious and one dropping eye,
    190With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
    In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
    Taken to wife. Nor have we herein barred
    Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
    With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
    195Now follows that you know: young Fortinbras,
    Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
    Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
    Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
    Co-leaguèd with this dream of his advantage,
    200He hath not failed to pester us with message
    Importing the surrender of those lands
    Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
    To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
    205Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting,
    Thus much the business is: we have here writ
    To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
    Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
    Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
    210His further gait herein, in that the levies,
    The lists, and full proportions are all made
    Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
    You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
    For bearers of this greeting to old Norway,
    215Giving to you no further personal power
    To business with the King more than the scope
    Of these dilated articles allow.
    Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
    Cornelius and Voltemand In that and all things will we show our duty.
    We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
    Exeunt Voltemand and Cornelius.
    And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
    You told us of some suit. What is't, Laertes?
    You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
    225And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
    That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
    The head is not more native to the heart,
    The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
    Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
    230What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
    Dread my lord,
    Your leave and favor to return to France,
    From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
    To show my duty in your coronation,
    235Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
    My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
    And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
    Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
    H'ath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
    240.1By laborsome petition, and at last
    Upon his will I sealed my hard consent.
    I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
    Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
    And thy best graces spend it at thy will.
    But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son--
    A little more than kin, and less than kind.
    How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
    Not so, my lord, I am too much i'th' sun.
    Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off
    And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
    250Do not forever with thy vailèd lids
    Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
    Thou know'st 'tis common: all that lives must die,
    Passing through nature to eternity.
    Ay, madam, it is common.
    If it be,
    Why seems it so particular with thee?
    "Seems," madam? Nay, it is, I know not "seems."
    'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
    Nor customary suits of solemn black,
    260Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
    No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
    Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
    Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief
    That can denote me truly. These indeed seem,
    265For they are actions that a man might play.
    But I have that within which passeth show;
    These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
    'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
    270To give these mourning duties to your father.
    But you must know your father lost a father;
    That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
    In filial obligation for some term
    To do obsequious sorrow; but to persever
    275In obstinate condolement is a course
    Of impious stubbornness. 'Tis unmanly grief.
    It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
    A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
    An understanding simple and unschooled;
    280For what we know must be and is as common
    As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
    Why should we in our peevish opposition
    Take it to heart? Fie, 'tis a fault to heaven,
    A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
    285To reason most absurd, whose common theme
    Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried
    From the first corpse till he that died today
    "This must be so." We pray you throw to earth
    This unprevailing woe, and think of us
    290As of a father; for let the world take note
    You are the most immediate to our throne,
    And with no less nobility of love
    Than that which dearest father bears his son
    Do I impart toward you. For your intent
    295In going back to school in Wittenberg,
    It is most retrograde to our desire,
    And we beseech you bend you to remain
    Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
    Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
    Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
    I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
    I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
    Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply.
    305Be as ourself in Denmark.--Madam, come.
    This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
    Sits smiling to my heart, in grace whereof
    No jocund health that Denmark drinks today
    But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
    310And the King's rouse the heavens shall bruit again,
    Respeaking earthly thunder. Come, away!
    Flourish. Exeunt all but Hamlet.
    Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
    Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
    315Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
    His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! Oh, God, God,
    How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
    Seem to me all the uses of this world!
    Fie on't, ah, fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden
    320That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
    Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
    But two months dead--nay, not so much, not two!
    So excellent a king, that was to this
    Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother
    325That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
    Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth,
    Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
    As if increase of appetite had grown
    By what it fed on. And yet within a month--
    330Let me not think on't; frailty, thy name is woman!
    A little month, or ere those shoes were old
    With which she followed my poor father's body,
    Like Niobe, all tears, why, she, even she--
    Oh, God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
    335Would have mourned longer!--married with my uncle,
    My father's brother, but no more like my father
    Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
    Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
    Had left the flushing of her gallèd eyes,
    340She married. Oh, most wicked speed, to post
    With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
    It is not, nor it cannot come to good,
    But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
    Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.
    Hail to your lordship!
    I am glad to see you well.--
    Horatio, or I do forget myself!
    The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
    Sir, my good friend, I'll change that name with you.
    And what make you from Wittenberg,
    My good lord.
    I am very glad to see you. [To Barnardo.] Good even, sir.
    [To Horatio] But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
    A truant disposition, good my lord.
    I would not have your enemy say so,
    Nor shall you do my ear that violence
    360To make it truster of your own report
    Against yourself. I know you are no truant.
    But what is your affair in Elsinore?
    We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
    My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
    I prithee do not mock me, fellow student.
    I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
    Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
    Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
    Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
    370Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
    Ere I had ever
    seen that day, Horatio!
    My father--methinks I see my father.
    Oh, where, my lord?
    In my mind's eye, Horatio.
    I saw him once. 'A was a goodly king.
    'A was a man, take him for all in all,
    I shall not look upon his like again.
    My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
    Saw? Who?
    My lord, the King your father.
    The King my father?
    Season your admiration for a while
    With an attent ear till I may deliver,
    Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
    385This marvel to you.
    For God's love, let me hear!
    Two nights together had these gentlemen,
    Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch
    In the dead waste and middle of the night
    390Been thus encountered: a figure like your father
    Armed at all points, exactly, cap-à-pie,
    Appears before them, and with solemn march
    Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked
    By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd eyes
    395 Within his truncheon's length, whilst they, distilled
    Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
    Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
    In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
    And I with them the third night kept the watch,
    400Where, as they had delivered, both in time,
    Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
    The apparition comes. I knew your father.
    These hands are not more like.
    But where was this?
    My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
    Did you not speak to it?
    My lord, I did,
    But answer made it none. Yet once methought
    It lifted up it head and did address
    410Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
    But even then the morning cock crew loud,
    And at the sound it shrunk in haste away
    And vanished from our sight.
    'Tis very strange.
    As I do live, my honored lord, 'tis true,
    And we did think it writ down in our duty
    To let you know of it.
    Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
    Hold you the watch tonight?
    We do, my lord.
    Armed, say you?
    Armed, my lord.
    From top to toe?
    My lord, from head to foot.
    Then saw you not his face?
    Oh, yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.
    What looked he, frowningly?
    A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
    Pale, or red?
    Nay, very pale.
    And fixed his eyes upon you?
    Most constantly.
    I would I had been there.
    It would have much amazed you.
    Very like, very like. Stayed it long?
    While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
    Longer, longer.
    Not when I saw't.
    His beard was grizzled, no?
    It was as I have seen it in his life,
    A sable silvered.
    I will watch tonight.
    Perchance 'twill walk again.
    I warr'nt it will.
    If it assume my noble father's person,
    445I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
    And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
    If you have hitherto concealed this sight
    Let it be tenable in your silence still,
    And whatsomever else shall hap tonight,
    450Give it an understanding but no tongue;
    I will requite your loves. So, fare you well.
    Upon the platform 'twixt eleven and twelve
    I'll visit you.
    Our duty to your honor.
    Exeunt [all but Hamlet].
    Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell.
    My father's spirit--in arms! All is not well.
    I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!
    Till then, sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise,
    Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
    Enter Laertes, and Ophelia his sister.
    My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
    And sister, as the winds give benefit
    And convoy is assistant, do not sleep
    465But let me hear from you.
    Do you doubt that?
    For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
    Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
    A violet in the youth of primy nature,
    470Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
    The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
    No more.
    No more but so?
    Think it no more.
    For nature crescent does not grow alone
    475In thews and bulk, but as this temple waxes
    The inward service of the mind and soul
    Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
    And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
    The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
    480His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
    For he himself is subject to his birth.
    He may not, as unvalued persons do,
    Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
    The safety and health of the whole state,
    485And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
    Unto the voice and yielding of that body
    Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
    It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
    As he in his particular act and place
    490May give his saying deed, which is no further
    Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
    Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain
    If with too credent ear you list his songs,
    Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
    495To his unmastered importunity.
    Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
    And keep within the rear of your affection,
    Out of the shot and danger of desire.
    The chariest maid is prodigal enough
    500If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
    Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes.
    The canker galls the infants of the spring
    Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
    And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
    505Contagious blastments are most imminent.
    Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
    Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
    I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
    As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
    510Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
    Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven
    Whilst, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
    Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
    And recks not his own rede.
    Enter Polonius
    Oh, fear me not.
    I stay too long. But here my father comes.
    A double blessing is a double grace;
    Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
    Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
    The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
    And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with thee,
    And these few precepts in thy memory
    See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
    525Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
    Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
    530Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
    Bear't that th'opposèd may beware of thee.
    Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.
    Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
    535Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not expressed in fancy--rich, not gaudy,
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
    And they in France of the best rank and station
    Are of all most select and generous, chief in that.
    540Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulleth edge of husbandry.
    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow as the night the day
    545Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
    Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
    The time invites you. Go. Your servants tend.
    Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
    550What I have said to you.
    'Tis in my memory locked,
    And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
    Exit Laertes.
    What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
    So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
    Marry, well bethought.
    'Tis told me he hath very oft of late
    Given private time to you, and you yourself
    Have of your audience been most free and bounteous.
    560If it be so--as so 'tis put on me,
    And that in way of caution--I must tell you
    You do not understand yourself so clearly
    As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
    What is between you? Give me up the truth.
    He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
    Of his affection to me.
    Affection? Pooh, you speak like a green girl,
    Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
    Do you believe his "tenders," as you call them?
    I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
    Marry, I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby
    That you have ta'en his tenders for true pay
    Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly,
    Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase
    575Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
    My lord, he hath importuned me with love
    In honorable fashion.
    Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to.
    And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
    580With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
    Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know
    When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
    Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
    Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
    585Even in their promise as it is a-making,
    You must not take for fire. From this time, daughter,
    Be something scanter of your maiden presence.
    Set your entreatments at a higher rate
    Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
    590Believe so much in him that he is young,
    And with a larger tether may he walk
    Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
    Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers
    Not of that dye which their investments show,
    595But mere implorators of unholy suits,
    Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds
    The better to beguile. This is for all:
    I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
    Have you so slander any moment leisure
    600As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
    Look to't, I charge you. Come your ways.
    I shall obey, my lord.
    Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
    The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
    It is a nipping and an eager air.
    What hour now?
    I think it lacks of twelve.
    No, it is struck.
    Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
    610Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
    A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces goes off.
    What does this mean, my lord?
    The King doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
    Keeps wassail, and the swagg'ring upspring reels;
    And as he drains his drafts of Rhenish down
    615The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
    The triumph of his pledge.
    Is it a custom?
    Ay, marry, is't,
    But to my mind, though I am native here
    620And to the manner born, it is a custom
    More honored in the breach than the observance.
    621.1This heavy-headed revel east and west
    Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
    They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
    Soil our addition, and indeed it takes
    621.5From our achievements, though performed at height,
    The pith and marrow of our attribute.
    So, oft it chances in particular men,
    That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
    As in their birth, wherein they are not guilty,
    621.10Since nature cannot choose his origin,
    By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
    Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
    Or by some habit that too much o'erleavens
    The form of plausive manners, that these men,
    621.15Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
    Being Nature's livery, or Fortune's star,
    His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
    As infinite as man may undergo,
    Shall in the general censure take corruption
    621.20From that particular fault. The dram of evil
    Doth all the noble substance often dout
    To his own scandal.
    Enter Ghost.
    Look, my lord, it comes!
    Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
    625Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
    Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
    Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
    Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
    That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
    630King, father, royal Dane. Oh, answer me!
    Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
    Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
    Have burst their cerements? Why the sepulcher
    Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned
    635Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
    To cast thee up again? What may this mean
    That thou, dead corpse, again in complete steel
    Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
    Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
    640So horridly to shake our disposition
    With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
    Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?
    [The] Ghost beckons Hamlet.
    It beckons you to go away with it,
    645As if it some impartment did desire
    To you alone.
    Look with what courteous action
    It wafts you to a more removèd ground.
    But do not go with it.
    No, by no means.
    It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
    Do not, my lord.
    Why, what should be the fear?
    I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
    655And for my soul, what can it do to that,
    Being a thing immortal as itself?
    [The Ghost beckons Hamlet.]
    It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.
    What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
    Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
    660That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
    And there assume some other horrible form
    Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
    And draw you into madness? Think of it:
    663.1The very place puts toys of desperation,
    Without more motive, into every brain
    That looks so many fathoms to the sea
    And hears it roar beneath.
    [The Ghost beckons Hamlet.]
    It wafts me still.--Go on, I'll follow thee.
    You shall not go, my lord.
    [They attempt to restrain him.]
    Hold off your hands!
    Be ruled. You shall not go.
    My fate cries out
    And makes each petty artery in this body
    670As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
    [The Ghost beckons Hamlet.]
    Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen!
    By heav'n, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
    I say, away!--Go on, I'll follow thee.
    Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet.
    He waxes desperate with imagination.
    Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
    Have after. To what issue will this come?
    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
    Heaven will direct it.
    Nay, let's follow him.
    Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
    Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further.
    Mark me.
    I will.
    My hour is almost come
    When I to sulf'rous and tormenting flames
    Must render up myself.
    Alas, poor ghost!
    Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
    690To what I shall unfold.
    Speak. I am bound to hear.
    So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
    I am thy father's spirit,
    695Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
    And for the day confined to fast in fires,
    Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
    Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
    To tell the secrets of my prison house,
    700I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
    Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
    Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
    Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
    And each particular hair to stand on end
    705Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
    But this eternal blazon must not be
    To ears of flesh and blood. List, Hamlet, oh, list:
    If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
    O God!
    Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
    Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
    But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
    Haste me to know't, 715that I with wings as swift
    As meditation or the thoughts of love
    May sweep to my revenge.
    I find thee apt,
    And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
    720That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf
    Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
    'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
    A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
    Is by a forgèd process of my death
    725Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
    The serpent that did sting thy father's life
    Now wears his crown.
    Oh, my prophetic soul! My uncle?
    Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
    730With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts--
    Oh, wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
    So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
    The will of my most seeming virtuous queen.
    Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
    735From me, whose love was of that dignity
    That it went hand in hand even with the vow
    I made to her in marriage, and to decline
    Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
    To those of mine. But virtue, as it never will be moved,
    740Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
    So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
    Will sate itself in a celestial bed
    And prey on garbage.
    But soft, methinks I scent the morning's air.
    Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
    745My custom always of the afternoon,
    Upon my secure hour, thy uncle stole
    With juice of cursèd hebona in a vial,
    And in the porches of my ears did pour
    The leperous distillment, whose effect
    750Holds such an enmity with blood of man
    That swift as quicksilver it courses through
    The natural gates and alleys of the body,
    And with a sudden vigor it doth posset
    And curd like eager droppings into milk
    755The thin and wholesome blood; so did it mine,
    And a most instant tetter barked about,
    Most lazarlike with vile and loathsome crust,
    All my smooth body.
    Thus was I sleeping by a brother's hand
    760Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
    Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
    Unhousled, disappointed, unaneled,
    No reck'ning made, but sent to my account
    With all my imperfections on my head.
    765Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!
    If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
    Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
    A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
    But howsomever thou pursues this act,
    770Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
    Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven
    And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
    To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
    The glow-worm shows the matin to be near
    775And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
    Adieu, adieu, Hamlet! Remember me.
    O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
    And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, hold, my heart,
    And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
    780But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
    Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
    In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
    Yea, from the table of my memory
    I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
    785All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
    That youth and observation copied there,
    And thy commandment all alone shall live
    Within the book and volume of my brain,
    Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, yes, by heaven.
    790Oh, most pernicious woman!
    Oh, villain, villain, smiling damnèd villain!
    My tables, my tables--meet it is I set it down
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
    At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
    795So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
    It is "Adieu, adieu, remember me."
    I have sworn't.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus [calling first from within].
    My lord, my lord!
    Lord Hamlet!
    Heavens secure him!
    So be it.
    Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
    Hillo, ho, ho, boy, come, bird, come!
    How is't, my noble lord?
    What news, my lord?
    Oh, wonderful!
    Good my lord, tell it.
    No, you'll reveal it.
    Not I, my lord, by heaven.
    Nor I, my lord.
    How say you then, would heart of man once think it--
    But you'll be secret?
    Ay, by heaven, my lord.
    There's ne'er a villaindwelling in all Denmark
    815But he's an arrant knave.
    There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
    To tell us this.
    Why, right, you are i'th' right.
    And so, without more circumstance at all
    820I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
    You as your business and desires shall point you
    (For every man hath business and desire,
    Such as it is), and for my own poor part,
    Look you, I'll go pray.
    These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
    I am sorry they offend you--heartily,
    Yes, faith, heartily.
    There's no offense, my lord.
    Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
    830And much offense too. Touching this vision here,
    It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
    For your desire to know what is between us,
    O'ermaster it as you may. And now, good friends,
    As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
    835Give me one poor request.
    What is't, my lord? We will.
    Never make known what you have seen tonight.
    My lord, we will not.
    Nay, but swear't.
    In faith, my lord, not I.
    Nor I, my lord, in faith.
    Upon my sword.
    [He holds out his sword.]
    We have sworn, my lord, already.
    Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
    845Ghost cries under the stage.
    Ha, ha, boy, say'st thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?--
    Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
    Consent to swear.
    Propose the oath, my lord.
    Never to speak of this that you have seen.
    Swear by my sword.
    [They swear.]
    Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
    [He moves them to another spot.]
    Come hither, gentlemen,
    855And lay your hands again upon my sword.
    Never to speak of this that you have heard
    Swear by my sword.
    Ghost Swear by his sword.
    [They swear.]
    Well said, old mole. Canst work i'th' earth so fast?
    860A worthy pioneer!--Once more remove, good friends.
    [They move once more.]
    Oh, day and night, but this is wondrous strange.
    And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come,
    865Here as before: never, so help you mercy,
    How strange or odd some'er I bear myself
    (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
    To put an antic disposition on),
    That you at such times seeing me never shall,
    870With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
    Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase
    As, "Well, well, we know," or "We could an if we would,"
    Or "If we list to speak," or "There be, an if they might,"
    Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
    875That you know aught of me. This not to do,
    So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
    [They swear.]
    Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit.--So, gentlemen,
    880With all my love I do commend me to you,
    And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
    May do t'express his love and friending to you,
    God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
    And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
    885The time is out of joint. Oh, cursèd spite,
    That ever I was born to set it right!
    [They wait for him to leave first.]
    Nay, come, let's go together.
    Enter old Polonius, with his man [Reynaldo] or two.
    Give him this money, and these notes, Reynaldo.
    [He gives money and papers.]
    I will, my lord.
    You shall do marv'lous wisely, good Reynaldo,
    Before you visit him, to make inquire
    Of his behavior.
    My lord, I did intend it.
    Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
    Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
    And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
    900What company, at what expense; and finding
    By this encompassment and drift of question
    That they do know my son, come you more nearer
    Than your particular demands will touch it;
    Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him,
    905As thus: "I know his father, and his friends,
    And in part him." Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
    Ay, very well, my lord.
    "And in part him. But," you may say, "not well,
    But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
    910Addicted so and so," and there put on him
    What forgeries you please--marry, none so rank
    As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
    But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
    As are companions noted and most known
    915To youth and liberty.
    As gaming, my lord?
    Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
    Quarreling, drabbing--you may go so far.
    My lord, that would dishonor him.
    Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
    You must not put another scandal on him
    That he is open to incontinency;
    That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
    That they may seem the taints of liberty,
    925The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
    A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
    Of general assault.
    But, my good lord--
    Wherefore should you do this?
    Ay, my lord, I would know that.
    Marry sir, here's my drift,
    And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
    You laying these slight sullies on my son
    As 'twere a thing a little soiled i'th' working,
    Mark you, your party in converse, him you would sound,
    935Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
    The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
    He closes with you in this consequence:
    "Good sir" (or so), or "friend," or "gentleman,"
    According to the phrase and the addition
    940Of man and country.
    Very good, my lord.
    And then, sir, does 'a this, 'a does--what was I about to say?
    By the mass, I was about to say something.
    Where did I leave?
    At "closes in the consequence."
    At "friend," or so, and "gentleman."
    At "closes in the consequence." Ay, marry,
    He closes with you thus: "I know the gentleman,
    I saw him yesterday"--or t'other day,
    950Or then, or then--"with such and such, and as you say,
    There was 'a gaming, there o'ertook in's rouse,
    There falling out at tennis," or perchance
    "I saw him enter such a house of sale,"
    Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now,
    955Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,
    And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
    With windlasses and with assays of bias,
    By indirections find directions out;
    So by my former lecture and advice
    960Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
    My lord, I have.
    God b'wi' ye, fare ye well.
    Good my lord.
    Observe his inclination in yourself.
    I shall, my lord.
    And let him ply his music.
    Well, my lord.
    Exit Reynaldo.
    Enter Ophelia.
    Farewell.--How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?
    Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
    With what, i'th' name of God?
    My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
    Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
    975No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
    Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
    Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
    And with a look so piteous in purport
    As if he had been loosèd out of hell
    980To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
    Mad for thy love?
    My lord, I do not know,
    But truly I do fear it.
    What said he?
    He took me by the wrist, and held me hard.
    985Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
    And with his other hand thus o'er his brow
    He falls to such perusal of my face
    As 'a would draw it. Long stayed he so.
    At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
    990And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
    He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
    That it did seem to shatter all his bulk
    And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
    And with his head over his shoulder turned
    995He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
    For out o' doors he went without their help,
    And to the last bended their light on me.
    Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
    This is the very ecstasy of love,
    1000Whose violent property fordoes itself
    And leads the will to desperate undertakings
    As oft as any passion under heaven
    That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
    What, have you given him any hard words of late?
    No, my good lord, but as you did command
    I did repel his letters, and denied
    His access to me.
    That hath made him mad.
    I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
    1010I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle
    And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
    By heaven, it is as proper to our age
    To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
    As it is common for the younger sort
    1015To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
    This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
    More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
    Flourish. Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, and 1020Guildenstern [with others].
    Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Moreover that we much did long to see you,
    The need we have to use you did provoke
    Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
    1025Of Hamlet's transformation--so I call it,
    Since not th'exterior nor the inward man
    Resembles that it was. What it should be,
    More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
    So much from th'understanding of himself,
    1030I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
    That, being of so young days brought up with him,
    And since so neighbored to his youth and humor,
    That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
    Some little time, so by your companies
    1035To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
    So much as from occasions you may glean,
    1036.1Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus
    That, opened, lies within our remedy.
    Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you,
    And sure I am two men there is not living
    1040To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
    To show us so much gentry and good will
    As to expend your time with us awhile
    For the supply and profit of our hope,
    Your visitation shall receive such thanks
    1045As fits a king's remembrance.
    Both your majesties
    Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
    Put your dread pleasures more into command
    Than to entreaty.
    But we both obey,
    And here give up ourselves in the full bent
    To lay our service freely at your feet
    To be commanded.
    Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guildenstern.
    Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz.
    And I beseech you instantly to visit
    My too-much-changèd son.--Go, some of you,
    And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
    Heavens make our presence and our practices
    Pleasant and helpful to him!
    Ay, amen.
    Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [and other Courtiers].
    Enter Polonius.
    Th'ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
    1065Are joyfully returned.
    Thou still hast been the father of good news.
    Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
    I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
    Both to my God and to my gracious king;
    1070And I do think--or else this brain of mine
    Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
    As it hath used to do--that I have found
    The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
    Oh, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
    Give first admittance to th'ambassadors.
    My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
    Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
    [Polonius goes to bring in the ambassadors.]
    He tells me, my sweet Queen, that he hath found
    The head and source of all your son's distemper.
    I doubt it is no other but the main:
    His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
    Enter Polonius, Voltemand, and Cornelius.
    Well, we shall sift him.--Welcome, my good friends.
    Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
    Most fair return of greetings and desires.
    Upon our first, he sent out 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 Fortinbras, which he in brief obeys,
    Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
    1095Makes vow before his uncle never more
    To give th'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
    [Giving a letter to the King]
    That it might please you to give quiet pass
    Through your dominions for his enterprise
    On such regards of safety and allowance
    1105As therein are set down.
    It likes us well,
    And at our more considered time we'll read,
    Answer, and think upon this business.
    Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labor.
    1110Go to your rest. At night we'll feast together.
    Most welcome home!
    Exeunt Ambassadors.
    This business is well ended.
    My liege and madam, to expostulate
    What majesty should be, what duty is,
    1115Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
    Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
    Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
    And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
    I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
    1120Mad call I it, for to define true madness,
    What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
    But let that go.
    More matter with less art.
    Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
    1125That he is mad, 'tis true. 'Tis true 'tis pity,
    And pity 'tis 'tis true--a foolish figure,
    But farewell it, for I will use no art.
    Mad let us grant him, then. And now remains
    That we find out the cause of this effect,
    1130Or rather say the cause of this defect,
    For this effect defective comes by cause.
    Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
    I have a daughter--have whilst she is mine--
    Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
    1135Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
    [He reads from] the letter.
    "To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia." That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; "beautified" is a vile phrase. But you shall hear. "These in 1140her excellent white bosom, these," etc.
    Came this from Hamlet to her?
    Good madam, stay awhile, I will be faithful.
    [He reads the] letter.
    "Doubt thou the stars are fire,
    1145Doubt that the sun doth move,
    Doubt truth to be a liar,
    But never doubt I love."
    "O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art to reckon my groans. But that I love thee best, oh, most best, believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him, Hamlet."
    This in obedience hath my daughter shown me,
    And, more above, hath his solicitings,
    1155As they fell out, by time, by means, and place,
    All given to mine ear.
    But how hath she received his love?
    What do you think of me?
    As of a man faithful and honorable.
    I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
    When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
    As I perceived it (I must tell you that)
    Before my daughter told me--what might you,
    Or my dear majesty your queen here, think
    1165If I had played the desk or table-book,
    Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
    Or looked upon this love with idle sight,
    What might you think? No, I went round to work,
    And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
    1170"Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.
    This must not be." And then I precepts gave her
    That she should lock herself from his resort,
    Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
    Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,
    1175And he, repulsèd, a short tale to make,
    Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
    Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
    Thence to a lightness, and by this declension
    Into the madness wherein now he raves,
    1180And all we mourn for.
    [To Queen] Do you think 'tis this?
    It may be, very like.
    Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--
    That I have positively said "'Tis so"
    1185When it proved otherwise?
    Not that I know.
    Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
    If circumstances lead me, I will find
    Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
    1190 Within the center.
    How may we try it further?
    You know sometimes he walks four hours together
    Here in the lobby.
    So he does indeed.
    At such a time, I'll loose my daughter to him.
    Be you and I behind an arras then;
    Mark the encounter. If he love her not,
    And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
    1200Let me be no assistant for a state
    But keep a farm and carters.
    We will try it.
    Enter Hamlet reading on a book.
    But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
    Away, I do beseech you both, away.
    I'll board him presently. Oh, give me leave.--
    Exit King and Queen.
    How does my good Lord Hamlet?
    Well, God-a-mercy.
    Do you know me, my lord?
    Excellent, excellent well. You're a fishmonger.
    Not I, my lord.
    Then I would you were so honest a man.
    Honest, my lord?
    Ay, sir, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
    That's very true, my lord.
    For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion--Have you a daughter?
    I have, my lord.
    Let her not walk i'th' sun. Conception is a blessing, but as your daughter may conceive, friend, look to't.
    [Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. 'A said I was a fishmonger. 'A is far gone, far gone. And truly, in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near this. I'll speak to him again.--What do you read, my lord?
    Words, words, words.
    What is the matter, my lord?
    Between who?
    I mean the matter that you read, my lord.
    Slanders sir; for the satirical rogue says here that old 1235men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plumtree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams--all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not 1240honesty to have it thus set down; for you yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
    [Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.--Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
    Into my grave.
    [Aside] Indeed, that's out of the air. How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting 1255between him and my daughter.--My honorable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
    You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal--except my life, except my life, except my 1260life.
    Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.
    Fare you well, my lord.
    These tedious old fools!
    [To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern] You go to seek the Lord Hamlet? There he is.
    [To Polonius] God save you, sir.
    [Exit Polonius.]
    My honored lord!
    My most dear lord!
    My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? 1270Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
    As the indifferent children of the earth.
    Happy in that we are not over-happy. On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
    Nor the soles of her shoe?
    Neither, my lord.
    Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favors.
    Faith, her privates we.
    In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true, she is a strumpet. What's the news?
    None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
    Then is doomsday near. But your news is 1285 not true. Let me question more in particular. What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?
    Prison, my lord?
    Denmark's a prison.
    Then is the world one.
    A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o'th' worst.
    We think not so, my lord.
    Why, then 'tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
    Why, then your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your mind.
    Oh, God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
    Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow 1305of a dream.
    A dream itself is but a shadow.
    Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
    Then are our beggars bodies, and our 1310monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th'court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.
    We'll wait upon you.
    No such matter. I will not sort you with the 1315rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
    To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.
    Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, but I 1320thank you; and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come, nay, speak.
    What should we say, my lord?
    Why, anything--but to th' purpose. You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color. I know the good King and Queen have sent for you.
    To what end, my lord?
    That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me whether you 1335were sent for or no.
    [Aside to Guildenstern] What say you?
    [Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If you love me, hold not off.
    My lord, we were sent for.
    I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen molt no feather. I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a 1345sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a 1350man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god; the beauty of the world; the paragon of animals. And yet to me what is this quintessence of 1355dust? Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
    My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
    Why did you laugh, then, when I said man delights not me?
    To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.
    He that plays the King shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me. The Adventurous Knight shall use his foil and target, the Lover shall not sigh gratis, the Humorous Man shall end his part in peace, the Clown shall make those laugh whose lungs 1370are tickled o'th' sear, and the Lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't. What players are they?
    Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the 1375tragedians of the city.
    How chances it they travel? Their residence both in reputation and profit was better both ways.
    I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late 1380innovation.
    Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed?
    No, indeed, they are not.
    How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
    Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted pace. But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for't. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages--so they 1390call them--that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.
    What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards, 1395if they should grow themselves to common players--as it is most like if their means are not better--their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession?
    Faith, there has been much to-do on both sides, 1400and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy. There was for a while no money bid for argument unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.
    Is't possible?
    Oh, there has been much throwing about of brains.
    Do the boys carry it away?
    Ay, that they do, my lord, Hercules and his load too.
    It is not very strange, for my uncle is 1410King of Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
    1415Flourish for the players.
    There are the players.
    Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come.Th'appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players, 1420which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
    In what, my dear lord?
    I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
    Enter Polonius.
    Well be with you, gentlemen.
    Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too, at each ear a hearer: 1430that great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling clouts.
    Haply he is the second time come to them, for they say an old man is twice a child.
    I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the 1435players. Mark it.-- You say right, sir, o'Monday morning, 'twas then indeed.
    My lord, I have news to tell you.
    My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor in Rome--
    The actors are come hither, my lord.
    Buzz, buzz.
    Upon my honor--
    Then came each actor on his ass.
    The best actors in the world, either for 1445tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the 1450only men.
    O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou?
    What a treasure had he, my lord?
    One fair daughter and no more,
    The which he lovèd 1455passing well.
    [Aside] Still on my daughter.
    Am I not i'th' right, old Jephthah?
    If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well.
    Nay, that follows not.
    What follows then, my lord?
    As by lot,
    God wot,
    and then you know,
    It came to pass,
    As most like it was.
    The first row of the pious chanson will show you more, for look where my 1465abridgment comes.
    Enter four or five Players.
    You are welcome, masters, welcome all.--I am glad to see thee well. Welcome, good friends.--Oh, my old friend! Thy face is valanced since I saw thee last. Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark?-- 1470What, my young lady and mistress! By'r Lady, your ladyship is nearer heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring.--Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en 1475to't, like French falconers: fly at anything we see. We'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.
    First Player
    What speech, my good lord?
    I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted, 1480or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million, 'twas caviare to the general. But it was, as I received it, and others whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine, an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down 1485with as much modesty as cunning. I remember one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation, but called it an honest method, 1488.1as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in't I chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' tale 1490to Dido, and thereabout of it especially where he speaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line--let me see, let me see--
    The rugged Pyrrhus, like th'Hyrcanian beast--
    'Tis not so, it begins with Pyrrhus.
    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 this dread and black complexion smeared
    With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
    Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
    1500With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
    Baked and empasted with the parching streets
    That lend a tyrannous and damnèd light
    To their vile murders. Roasted in wrath and fire,
    And thus o'ersizèd with coagulate gore,
    1505With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Phyrrhus
    Old grandsire Priam seeks.
    So proceed you.
    'Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.
    First Player
    Anon he finds him,
    1510Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
    Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
    Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,
    Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,
    But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
    1515Th'unnervèd father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
    Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
    Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
    Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear; for lo! his sword,
    Which was declining on the milky head
    1520Of reverend Priam, seemed i'th' air to stick.
    So as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood,
    And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
    Did nothing.
    But as we often see against some storm
    A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
    1525The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
    As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
    Doth rend the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
    A rousèd vengeance sets him new a-work,
    And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
    1530On Mars his armor forged for proof eterne
    With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
    Now falls on Priam.
    Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods
    In general synod take away her power,
    1535Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
    And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven
    As low as to the fiends!
    This is too long.
    It shall to the barber's with your beard.--1540Prithee, say on. He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on. Come to Hecuba..
    First Player
    But who, oh, who, had seen the moblèd queen--.
    The moblèd queen!
    That's good. "Mobleèd queen" is good.
    1545First Player
    Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames
    With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head
    Where late the diadem stood, and, for a robe,
    About her lank and all-o'erteemèd loins
    1550A blanket in th'alarm of fear caught up--
    Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped
    'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounced;
    But if the gods themselves did see her then,
    When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
    1555In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
    The instant burst of clamor that she made,
    Unless things mortal move them not at all,
    Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
    And passion in the gods.
    Look whe'er he has not turned his color, and has tears in's eyes.--Prithee, no more.
    'Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon. [To Polonius] Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do ye hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstracts and brief 1565chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
    My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
    God's bodykins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert and who should scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.
    Come, sirs.
    Exit Polonius.
    Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play tomorrow. [Aside to the First Player]
    Dost thou hear me, old friend, can you play "The Murder of Gonzago"?
    [First] Player
    Ay, my lord.
    We'll ha't tomorrow night. You could for a need study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in't, could you not?
    [First] Player
    Ay, my lord.
    Very well. Follow that lord, and look you mock him not.
    Exeunt Players.
    1585 My good friends, I'll leave you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.
    Good my lord.
    Ay, so, God b'wi' you.
    Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    Now I am alone.
    1590Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
    Is it not monstrous that this player here,
    But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
    Could force his soul so to his whole conceit
    That from her working all his visage wanned,
    1595Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
    A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
    With forms to his conceit? And all or nothing?
    For Hecuba?
    What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
    1600That he should weep for her? What would he do
    Had he the motive and the cue for passion
    That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
    And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
    Make mad the guilty, and appal the free,
    1605Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
    The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
    A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
    Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
    And can say nothing; no, not for a king
    1610Upon whose property and most dear life
    A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
    Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across?
    Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
    Tweaks me by th' nose? Gives me the lie i'th' throat
    1615As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this,
    Ha? 'Swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be
    But I am pigeon-livered, and lack gall
    To make oppression bitter, or ere this
    I should ha' fatted all the region kites
    1620With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
    Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
    Oh, vengeance!
    Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
    That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
    1625Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
    Must like a whore unpack my heart with words,
    And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
    A scullion. Fie upon't, foh! About, my brain!
    Hum, I have heard
    That guilty creatures sitting at a play
    1630Have by the very cunning of the scene
    Been struck so to the soul that presently
    They have proclaimed their malefactions;
    For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
    With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
    1635Play something like the murder of my father
    Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks;
    I'll tent him to the quick. If 'a but blench
    I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
    May be the devil, and the devil hath power
    1640T'assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
    Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such spirits,
    Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
    More relative than this. The play's the thing
    1645Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
    Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.
    And can you by no drift of circumstance
    Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
    1650Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
    With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
    He does confess he feels himself distracted,
    But from what cause, 'a will by no means speak.
    Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
    1655But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
    When we would bring him on to some confession
    Of his true state.
    Did he receive you well?
    Most like a gentleman.
    But with much forcing of his disposition.
    Niggard of question, but of our demands
    Most free in his reply.
    Did you assay him to any pastime?
    Madam, it so fell out that certain players
    1665We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
    And there did seem in him a kind of joy
    To hear of it. They are about the court,
    And, as I think, they have already order
    This night to play before him.
    1670Polonius 'Tis most true,
    And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties
    To hear and see the matter.
    With all my heart,and it doth much content me
    To hear him so inclined. Good gentlemen,
    1675Give him a further edge, and drive his purpose on
    To these delights.
    We shall, my lord.
    Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [and Lords].
    Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,
    For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
    1680That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
    Affront Ophelia.
    Her father and myself, lawful espials,
    Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
    We may of their encounter frankly judge,
    And gather by him, as he is behaved,
    1685If't be th'affliction of his love or no
    That thus he suffers for.
    I shall obey you.
    And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
    That your good beauties be the happy cause
    1690Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
    Will bring him to his wonted way again,
    To both your honors.
    Madam, I wish it may.
    [Exit Queen.]
    Ophelia, walk you here.--Gracious, so please you,
    1695We will bestow ourselves. [To Ophelia, as he gives her a book] Read on this book,
    That show of such an exercise may color
    Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,
    'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage
    And pious action we do sugar o'er
    1700The devil himself.
    [Aside] Oh, 'tis too true!
    How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
    The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
    Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
    1705Than is my deed to my most painted word.
    Oh, heavy burden!
    Enter Hamlet.
    I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
    [The King and Polonius conceal themselves.]
    To be, or not to be, that is the question,
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
    1715No more--and by a sleep to say we end
    The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to; 'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
    1720For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
    Must give us pause. There's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life.
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    1725Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
    The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office, and the spurns
    That patient merit of th'unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    1730With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered country from whose bourn
    No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
    1735And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    1740And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry
    And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
    The fair Ophelia!--Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins remembered.
    Good my lord,
    How does your honor for this many a day?
    I humbly thank you, well, well, well.
    My lord, I have remembrances of yours
    That I have longèd long to redeliver.
    1750I pray you now receive them.
    No, not I. I never gave you aught.
    My honored lord, you know right well you did,
    And with them words of so sweet breath composed
    As made these things more rich. Their perfume lost,
    1755Take these again, for to the noble mind
    Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind,
    There, my lord.
    [She offers Hamlet the remembrances.]
    Ha, ha! Are you honest?
    My lord?
    Are you fair?
    What means your lordship?
    That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.
    Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce 1765than with honesty?
    Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
    Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
    You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
    I was the more deceived.
    Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, 1780ambitious, with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us.Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father?
    At home, my lord.
    Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in's own house. Farewell.
    Oh, help him, you sweet heavens!
    If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery. Go, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you 1795make of them. To a nunnery go, and quickly too. Farewell.
    O heavenly powers, restore him!
    I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hathgiven you one face, and you make yourselves 1800another. You jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad. I say we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
    Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
    Th'expectancy and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mold of form,
    1810Th'observed of all observers, quite, quite down,
    And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
    That sucked the honey of his music vows,
    Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
    Like sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh,
    1815That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
    Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me
    T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
    Enter King and Polonius [stepping forward from concealment].
    Love? His affections do not that way tend,
    1820Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
    Was not like madness. There's something in his soul
    O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
    And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
    Will be some danger; which to prevent,
    1825I have in quick determination
    Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
    For the demand of our neglected tribute.
    Haply the seas, and countries different,
    With variable objects, shall expel
    1830This something-settled matter in his heart,
    Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
    From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
    It shall do well.But yet do I believe
    The origin and commencement of his grief
    1835Sprung from neglected love.--How now, Ophelia?
    You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said,
    We heard it all.--My lord, do as you please,
    But if you hold it fit, after the play
    Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
    1840To show his grief. Let her be round with him,
    And I'll be placed (so please you) in the ear
    Of all their conference. If she find him not,
    To England send him, or confine him where
    Your wisdom best shall think.
    It shall be so;
    Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
    Enter Hamlet, and two or three of the Players.
    Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced 1850it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your 1855passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellowtear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of 1860nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.
    I warrant your honor.
    Be not too tame, neither, but let your own 1865discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so o'erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold as 'twere 1870the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the 1875censure of the which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theater of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having th'accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor 1880no man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
    I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.
    Oh, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh 1890too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That's villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go make you ready.
    Exeunt Players.
    Enter Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
    [To Polonius] How 1895now, my lord, will the King hear this piece of work?
    And the Queen too, and that presently.
    Bid the players make haste.
    Exit Polonius.
    Will you two help to hasten them?
    1900Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    We will, my lord.
    Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    What ho, Horatio!
    Enter Horatio.
    Here, sweet lord, at your service.
    Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
    1905As e'er my conversation coped withal.
    Oh, my dear lord--
    Nay, do not think I flatter,
    For what advancement may I hope from thee
    That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
    1910To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
    No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp
    And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
    Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
    Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
    1915And could of men distinguish her election,
    Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
    As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
    A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
    Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
    1920Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
    That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
    To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
    That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
    In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
    1925As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
    There is a play tonight before the King.
    One scene of it comes near the circumstance
    Which I have told thee of my father's death.
    I prithee, when thou see'st that act afoot,
    1930Even with the very comment of thy soul
    Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt
    Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
    It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,
    And my imaginations are as foul
    1935As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note,
    For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
    And after we will both our judgments join
    In censure of his seeming.
    Well, my lord,
    1940If 'a steal aught the whilst this play is playing
    And scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
    Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and other lord attendant with his Guard carrying torches. Danish 1945march. Sound a flourish
    They are coming to the play. I must be idle. Get you a place.
    How fares our cousin Hamlet?
    Excellent, i'faith, of the chameleon's dish; I eat the air, 1950promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.
    I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not mine.
    No, nor mine now. [To Polonius] My lord, you played once i'th' university, you say?
    That I did, my lord, and was accounted a good actor.
    And what did you enact?
    I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i'th' Capitol. Brutus killed me.
    It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.--Be the players ready?
    Ay, my lord, they stay upon your patience.
    Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
    No, good mother, here's mettle more attractive.
    [To the King] Oho, do you mark that?
    [To Ophelia, as he lies at her feet] Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
    No, my lord.
    I mean, my head upon your lap.
    Ay, my lord.
    Do you think I meant country matters?
    I think nothing, my lord.
    That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
    What is, my lord?
    You are merry, my lord.
    Who, I?
    Ay, my lord.
    Oh, God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do but be merry? For look you how cheerfully my mother looks, and my 1980father died within's two hours.
    Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
    So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables. Oh, heavens! Die two 1985months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by'r Lady, 'a must build churches then, or else shall 'a suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is, "For oh, for oh, the hobby-horse is forgot."
    1990Hautboys play. The dumb-show enters.
    Enter [Players as] a King and Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him. She kneels and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck. Lays him down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him 1995asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King's ears, and exits. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. 2000The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love. Exeunt [Players].
    What means this, my lord?
    Marry, this is miching mallico. It means mischief.
    Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
    Enter [a Player as] Prologue.
    We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
    Will 'a tell us what this show meant?
    Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
    You are naught, you are naught. I'll mark the 2015play.
    For us and for our tragedy,
    Here stooping to your clemency,
    We beg your hearing patiently.
    Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
    'Tis brief, my lord.
    As woman's love.
    Enter [two Players as] King and his Queen.
    Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
    2025Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbèd ground,
    And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
    About the world have times twelve thirties been
    Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
    Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
    So many journeys may the sun and moon
    Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
    But woe is me, you are so sick of late,
    So far from cheer and from your former state,
    That I distrust you. Yet though I distrust,
    2035Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.
    2035.1For women fear too much, even as they love,
    And women's fear and love holds quantity:
    In neither aught, or in extremity.
    Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
    And as my love is sized, my fear is so.
    2039.1Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
    Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
    Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
    My operant powers their functions leave to do.
    And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
    Honored, beloved; and haply one as kind
    For husband shalt thou--
    Oh, confound the rest!
    Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
    In second husband let me be accurst!
    None wed the second but who killed the first.
    Wormwood, wormwood.
    The instances that second marriage move
    Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
    A second time I kill my husband dead
    When second husband kisses me in bed.
    I do believe you think what now you speak,
    2055But what we do determine, oft we break.
    Purpose is but the slave to memory,
    Of violent birth, but poor validity,
    Which now like fruit unripe sticks on the tree,
    But fall unshaken when they mellow be.
    2060Most necessary 'tis that we forget
    To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
    What to ourselves in passion we propose,
    The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
    The violence of either grief or joy
    2065Their own enactures with themselves destroy.
    Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
    Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
    This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
    That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
    2070For 'tis a question left us yet to prove
    Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
    The great man down, you mark his favorites flies;
    The poor advanced makes friends of enemies;
    And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,
    2075For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
    And who in want a hollow friend doth try
    Directly seasons him his enemy.
    But orderly to end where I begun,
    Our wills and fates do so contrary run
    2080That our devices still are overthrown;
    Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
    So, think thou wilt no second husband wed,
    But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
    Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light,
    2085Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
    2085.1To desperation turn my trust and hope,
    An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope!
    Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
    Meet what I would have well, and it destroy!
    Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
    If once a widow, ever I be wife!
    If she should break it now!
    'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
    My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
    The tedious day with sleep.
    Sleep rock thy brain,
    And never come mischance between us twain!
    [The Player King] sleeps.Exit [Player Queen].
    Madam, how like you this play?
    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
    Oh, but she'll keep her word.
    Have you heard the argument? Is there no offense in't?
    No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No offense i'th' world.
    What do you call the play?
    2105HamletThe Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the Duke's name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what of that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches 2110us not. Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.
    Enter Lucianus.
    This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King.
    You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
    I could interpret between you and your love 2115if I could see the puppets dallying.
    You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
    It would cost you a groaning to take off mine edge.
    Still better and worse.
    So you mis-take your husbands.--Begin, murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces and begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.
    Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,
    Confederate season, else no creature seeing,
    Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
    With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
    Thy natural magic and dire property
    2130On wholesome life usurp immediately.
    Pours the poison in his ears. Exit.
    'A poisons him i'th' garden for his estate. His name's Gonzago. The story is extant, and written in very choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
    The King rises.
    What, frighted with false fire?
    How fares my lord?
    Give o'er the play.
    Give me some light. Away!
    The Courtiers
    Lights, lights, lights!
    Exeunt all but Hamlet and Horatio.
    "Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
    The heart ungallèd play,
    2145For some must watch while some must sleep;
    Thus runs the world away."
    Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers--if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a 2150cry of players, sir?
    Half a share.
    A whole one, I.
    For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
    This realm dismantled was
    Of Jove himself, and now reigns here
    A very, very pajock.
    You might have rhymed.
    O good Horatio, I'll take the Ghost's word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?
    Very well, my lord.
    Upon the talk of the poisoning?
    I did very well note him.
    Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Aha, come, some music! Come, the recorders.
    2165For if the King like not the comedy,
    Why, then belike he likes it not, pardie.
    Come, some music.
    Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
    Sir a whole history.
    The King, sir--
    Ay, sir, what of him?
    Is in his retirement marvelous distempered.
    With drink, sir?
    No, my lord, rather with choler.
    Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to his doctor, for, for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.
    Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame, 2180and start not so wildly from my affair.
    I am tame sir. Pronounce.
    The Queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
    You are welcome.
    Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment. If not, your pardon and my return shall be the end of my business.
    Sir, I cannot.
    What, my lord?
    Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command, or rather, as you say, my mother. Therefore no more, but to the matter. My mother, you say.
    Then thus she says: your behavior hath struck her into amazement and admiration.
    Oh, wonderful son, that can so 'stonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this 2200mother's admiration? Impart.
    She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.
    We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?
    My lord, you once did love me.
    So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
    Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.
    Sir, I lack advancement.
    How can that be, when you have the voice of the King himself for your succession in Denmark?
    2215Enter the Players, with recorders.
    Ay, sir, but "while the grass grows"--the proverb is something musty.--Oh, the recorders. Let me see one. [He takes a recorder.] To withdraw with you, why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?
    Oh, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love 2220is too unmannerly.
    I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?
    My lord, I cannot.
    I pray you.
    Believe me, I cannot.
    I do beseech you.
    I know no touch of it, my lord.
    It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse 2230most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.
    But these cannot I command to any utt'rance of harmony. I have not the skill.
    Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing 2235you make of me! You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass, and there is much music, excellent voice in this little organ, yet cannot 2240you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
    Enter Polonius.
    [To Polonius, as he enters] God bless you, sir.
    My lord, the Queen would speak with you, and presently.
    Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
    By th' mass, and 'tis like a camel indeed.
    Methinks it is like a weasel.
    It is backed like a weasel.
    Or like a whale.
    Very like a whale.
    Hamlet Then I will come to my mother by and by. 2255[Aside] They fool me to the top of my bent. [Aloud] I will come by and by.
    I will say so.
    "By and by" is easily said.--Leave me, friends.
    Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    'Tis now the very witching time of night,
    2260When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
    Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
    And do such bitter business as the day
    Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.
    O heart, lose not thy nature! Let not ever
    2265The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
    Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
    I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
    My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
    How in my words somever she be shent,
    2270To give them seals never my soul consent!
    Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
    I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
    To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
    I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
    2275And he to England shall along with you.
    The terms of our estate may not endure
    Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
    Out of his lunacies.
    Guildenstern We will ourselves provide.
    2280Most holy and religious fear it is
    To keep those many many bodies safe
    That live and feed upon your majesty.
    The single and peculiar life is bound
    2285With all the strength and armor of the mind
    To keep itself from noyance, but much more
    That spirit upon whose weal depends and rests
    The lives of many. The cease of majesty
    Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
    2290What's near it with it. It is a massy wheel
    Fixed on the summit of the highest mount,
    To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
    Are mortised and adjoined, which, when it falls,
    Each small annexment, petty consequence,
    2295Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
    Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
    Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage,
    For we will fetters put upon this fear
    Which now goes too free-footed.
    2300Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    We will haste us.
    Exeunt gentlemen [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    Enter Polonius.
    My lord, he's going to his mother's closet.
    Behind the arras I'll convey myself
    To hear the process. I'll warrant she'll tax him home.
    2305And, as you said--and wisely was it said--
    'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
    Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
    The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
    I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
    2310And tell you what I know.
    Thanks, dear my lord.
    Exit [Polonius].
    Oh, my offense is rank! It smells to heaven.
    It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
    A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
    2315Though inclination be as sharp as will;
    My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
    And like a man to double business bound
    I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
    And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
    2320Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
    Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
    To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
    But to confront the visage of offense?
    And what's in prayer but this twofold force,
    2325To be forestallèd ere we come to fall,
    Or pardoned being down? Then I'll look up.
    My fault is past. But, oh, what form of prayer
    Can serve my turn? "Forgive me my foul murder"?
    That cannot be, since I am still possessed
    2330Of those effects for which I did the murder:
    My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
    May one be pardoned and retain th'offense?
    In the corrupted currents of this world,
    Offense's gilded hand may shove by justice,
    2335And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
    Buys out the law. But 'tis not so above:
    There is no shuffling, there the action lies
    In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
    Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
    2340To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
    Try what repentance can. What can it not?
    Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
    O wretched state, O bosom black as death,
    O limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
    2345Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay.
    Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel,
    Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
    All may be well.
    [He kneels.]
    Enter Hamlet.
    Now might I do it pat, now 'a is a-praying,
    And now I'll do't.
    [He draws his sword.]
    And so 'a goes to heaven,
    And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
    A villain kills my father, and for that,
    I, his sole son, do this same villain send
    2355To heaven.
    Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
    'A took my father grossly, full of bread,
    With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May,
    And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven?
    But in our circumstance and course of thought
    2360 'Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged
    To take him in the purging of his soul,
    When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
    [He sheathes his sword.]
    Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
    When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
    2365Or in th'incestuous pleasure of his bed,
    At gaming, swearing, or about some act
    That has no relish of salvation in't,
    Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
    And that his soul may be as damned and black
    2370As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays.
    This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
    My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
    Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
    Enter Queen [Gertrude] and Polonius.
    'A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
    Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
    And that your grace hath screened and stood between
    Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
    2380Pray you, be round with him.
    Within. Mother, mother, mother!
    I'll warrant you. Fear me not.
    Withdraw; I hear him coming.
    [Polonius conceals himself behind the arras.]
    Enter Hamlet.
    Now mother, what's the matter?
    Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
    Mother, you have my father much offended.
    Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
    Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
    Why, how now, Hamlet?
    What's the matter now?
    Have you forgot me?
    No, by the rood, not so.
    You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife,
    2395And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
    Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
    Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.
    You go not till I set you up a glass
    2400Where you may see the inmost part of you.
    What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
    Help, help, ho!
    [Behind the arras] What ho! Help, help, help!
    How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!
    [Hamlet thrusts through the arras with his sword.]
    [Behind the arras] Oh, I am slain!
    [Polonius falls onto the stage floor, dead].
    Oh, me, what hast thou done?
    Nay I know not. Is it the King?
    Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
    A bloody deed--almost as bad, good mother,
    2410As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
    As kill a king?
    Ay, lady, it was my word.
    [He parts the arras and discovers the dead Polonius.]
    Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
    I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune.
    2415Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
    [To the Queen] Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down,
    And let me wring your heart, for so I shall
    If it be made of penetrable stuff,
    If damnèd custom have not brazed it so
    2420That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
    What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
    In noise so rude against me?
    Such an act
    That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
    2425Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
    From the fair forehead of an innocent love
    And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
    As false as dicers' oaths--oh, such a deed
    As from the body of contraction plucks
    2430The very soul, and sweet religion makes
    A rhapsody of words. Heaven's face doth glow
    O'er this solidity and compound mass
    With tristful visage, as against the doom,
    Is thought-sick at the act.
    Ay me, what act,
    That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
    Hamlet [Showing her two likenesses, of Hamlet senior and Claudius]
    Look here upon this picture, and on this,
    The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
    See what a grace was seated on this brow:
    2440Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,
    An eye like Mars to threaten and command,
    A station like the herald Mercury
    New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill,
    A combination and a form indeed
    2445Where every god did seem to set his seal
    To give the world assurance of a man.
    This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
    Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear,
    Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
    2450Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
    And batten on this moor? Ha, have you eyes?
    You cannot call it love, for at your age
    The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
    And waits upon the judgment, and what judgment
    2455Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
    2455.1Else could you not have motion, but sure that sense
    Is apoplexed, for madness would not err,
    Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled
    But it reserved some quantity of choice
    2455.5To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
    That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
    2456.1Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
    Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
    Or but a sickly part of one true sense
    Could not so mope. O shame, where is thy blush?
    Rebellious hell,
    If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
    To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
    2460And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
    When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
    Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
    And reason panders will.
    Oh, Hamlet speak no more!
    2465Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
    And there I see such black and grainèd spots
    As will not leave their tinct.
    Nay, but to live
    In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed
    2470Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
    Over the nasty sty!
    Oh, speak to me no more!
    These words like daggers enter in my ears.
    No more, sweet Hamlet.
    A murderer and a villain,
    A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
    Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
    A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
    That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
    2480And put it in his pocket--
    No more!
    Enter Ghost [in his nightgown].
    A king of shreds and patches--
    [Seeing the Ghost]Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
    2485You heavenly guards! What would you, gracious figure?
    Alas, he's mad!
    Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
    That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
    Th'important acting of your dread command?
    Oh, say!
    Do not forget. This visitation
    Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
    But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
    Oh, step between her and her fighting soul!
    Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
    2495Speak to her, Hamlet.
    How is it with you, lady?
    Alas, how is't with you,
    That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
    And with th'incorporal air do hold discourse?
    2500Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
    And, as the sleeping soldiers in th'alarm,
    Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
    Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
    Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
    2505Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
    On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!
    His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
    Would make them capable. [To the Ghost] Do not look upon me,
    Lest with this piteous action you convert
    2510My stern effects. Then what I have to do
    Will want true color, tears perchance for blood.
    To whom do you speak this?
    Do you see nothing there?
    Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.
    Nor did you nothing hear?
    No, nothing but ourselves.
    Why, look you there, look how it steals away!
    My father in his habit as he lived.
    Look where he goes, even now out at the portal!
    Exit Ghost.
    This is the very coinage of your brain.
    This bodiless creation ecstasy
    Is very cunning in.
    My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time,
    And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
    2525That I have uttered. Bring me to the test,
    And I the matter will reword, which madness
    Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
    Lay not that flattering unction to your soul
    That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
    2530It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
    Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
    Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
    Repent what's past, avoid what is to come,
    And do not spread the compost on the weeds
    2535To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,
    For in the fatness of these pursy times
    Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
    Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
    Oh, Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
    Oh, throw away the worser part of it,
    And live the purer with the other half.
    Good night. But go not to my uncle's bed;
    Assume a virtue if you have it not.
    2544.1That monster custom, who all sense doth eat,
    Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
    That to the use of actions fair and good
    He likewise gives a frock or livery
    2544.5That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
    2545And that shall lend a kind of easiness
    To the next abstinence; the next more easy:
    2546.1For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
    And either [in] the devil, or throw him out
    With wondrous potency. Once more good night,
    And when you are desirous to be blest,
    I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
    I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so
    2550To punish me with this, and this with me,
    That I must be their scourge and minister.
    I will bestow him, and will answer well
    The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
    I must be cruel only to be kind.
    2555Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
    2555.1One word more, good lady.
    What shall I do?
    Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
    Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,
    Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
    2560And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
    Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
    Make you to ravel all this matter out
    That I essentially am not in madness,
    But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know,
    2565For who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
    Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
    Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
    No, in dispite of sense and secrecy,
    Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
    2570Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
    To try conclusions, in the basket creep,
    And break your own neck down.
    Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
    And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
    2575What thou hast said to me.
    I must to England. You know that?
    Alack, I had forgot. 'Tis so concluded on.
    There's letters sealed, and my two schoolfellows,
    Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged,
    They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
    And marshal me to knavery. Let it work,
    2577.5For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
    Hoised with his own petard, and't shall go hard
    But I will delve one yard below their mines,
    And blow them at the moon. Oh 'tis most sweet
    When in one line two crafts directly meet.
    This man shall set me packing.
    I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room.
    2580Mother, good night indeed. This counselor
    Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
    Who was in life a foolish prating knave.--
    Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.--
    Good night, mother.
    2585Exit Hamlet, tugging in Polonius.
    Enter King, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves.
    You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.
    2590Where is your son?
    [To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern] Bestow this place on us a little while.
    [Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
    Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!
    What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
    Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
    Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
    2595Behind the arras hearing something stir,
    Whips out his rapier, cries, "A rat, a rat!"
    And in this brainish apprehension kills
    The unseen good old man.
    Oh, heavy deed!
    2600It had been so with us had we been there.
    His liberty is full of threats to all--
    To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
    Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
    It will be laid to us, whose providence
    2605Should have kept short, restrained, and out of haunt
    This mad young man. But so much was our love,
    We would not understand what was most fit,
    But like the owner of a foul disease,
    To keep it from divulging, let it feed
    2610Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
    To draw apart the body he hath killed,
    O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
    Among a mineral of metals base,
    Shows itself pure: 'a weeps for what is done.
    Oh, Gertrude, come away!
    The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
    But we will ship him hence, and this vile deed
    We must with all our majesty and skill
    Both countenance and excuse.--Ho, Guildenstern!
    Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
    Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
    And from his mother's closet hath he dragged him.
    Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
    2625Into the chapel. I pray you haste in this.
    Exit Gentlemen [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].
    Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends
    To let them know both what we mean to do
    And what's untimely done. [So envious slander,]
    2628.1Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
    As level as the cannon to his blank,
    Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
    And hit the woundless air. Oh, come away!
    My soul is full of discord and dismay.
    2630Enter Hamlet.
    Safely stowed.
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    within Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
    But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet? Oh, here they come.
    2635Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
    Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.
    Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
    And bear it to the chapel.
    Do not believe it.
    Believe what?
    That I can keep your counsel and not mine own. Besides,to be demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son of a king?
    Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
    Ay, sir, that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in the end: he keeps them, like an ape an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but 2650squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
    I understand you not, my lord.
    I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
    My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us 2655to the King.
    The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body. The King is a thing--
    A thing, my lord?
    Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after!
    Enter King, and two or three.
    I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
    How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
    Yet must not we put the strong law on him;
    2665He's loved of the distracted multitude,
    Who like not in their judgment but their eyes,
    And where 'tis so, th'offender's scourge is weighed,
    But ne'er the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
    This sudden sending him away must seem
    2670Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
    By desperate appliance are relieved,
    Or not at all.
    Enter Rosencrantz.
    How now, what hath befall'n?
    Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
    2675We cannot get from him.
    But where is he?
    Without, my lord, guarded, to know your pleasure.
    Bring him before us.
    [Calling] Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.
    Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern [with Guards].
    Now Hamlet, where's Polonius?
    At supper.
    At supper? Where?
    Not where he eats, but where 'a is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service: two dishes 2690but to one table. That's the end.
    Alas, alas!
    A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
    What dost thou mean by this?
    Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.
    Where is Polonius?
    In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i'th' other place yourself. But if indeed you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
    [To some attendants] Go seek him there.
    'A will stay till you come.
    [Exeunt attendants.]
    Hamlet, this deed of thine, for thine especial safety--
    Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
    For that which thou hast done--must send thee hence
    With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
    2705The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
    Th'associates tend, and everything is bent
    For England.
    For England!
    Ay, Hamlet.
    So is it if thou knew'st our purposes.
    I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for England! Farewell, dear mother.
    Thy loving father, Hamlet.
    My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother. Come, for England!
    Follow him at foot.Tempt him with speed aboard.
    2720Delay it not. I'll have him hence tonight.
    Away! For everything is sealed and done
    That else leans on th'affair. Pray you, make haste.
    Exeunt all but the King.
    And England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,
    As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
    2725Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
    After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
    Pays homage to us, thou mayst not coldly set
    Our sovereign process, which imports at full
    By letters congruing to that effect
    2730The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
    For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
    And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
    Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.
    Enter Fortinbras [and a Captain] with his army over the stage.
    Go, captain, from me greet the Danish King.
    Tell him that by his license Fortinbras
    Craves the conveyance of a promised march
    Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
    If that his majesty would aught with us,
    2740We shall express our duty in his eye;
    And let him know so.
    I will do't, my lord.
    [To his soldiers] Go softly on.
    [Exeunt all but the Captain.]
    2743.1Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, [Guildenstern,] etc.
    [To the Captain] Good sir, whose powers are these?
    They are of Norway, sir.
    How purposed, sir, I pray you?
    Against some part of Poland.
    Who commands them, sir?
    The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.
    Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
    Or for some frontier?
    Truly to speak, and with no addition,
    We go to gain a little patch of ground
    That hath in it no profit but the name.
    To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it,
    Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
    2743.15A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
    Why then the Polack never will defend it.
    Yes, it is already garrisoned.
    Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
    Will not debate the question of this straw.
    2743.20This is th'impostume of much wealth and peace,
    That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
    Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
    God b'wi' you, sir.
    Will't please you go, my lord?
    I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.
    [Exeunt all but Hamlet.]
    How all occasions do inform against me,
    And spur my dull revenge! What is a man
    If his chief good and market of his time
    Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
    2743.30Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
    Looking before and after, gave us not
    That capability and godlike reason
    To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
    Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
    2743.35Of thinking too precisely on th'event--
    A thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom
    And ever three parts coward--I do not know
    Why yet I live to say this thing's to do,
    Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
    2743.40To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
    Witness this army of such mass and charge,
    Led by a delicate and tender prince,
    Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed
    Makes mouths at the invisible event,
    2743.45Exposing what is mortal and unsure
    To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
    Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
    Is not to stir without great argument,
    But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
    2743.50When honor's at the stake. How stand I, then,
    That have a father killed, a mother stained,
    Excitements of my reason and my blood,
    And let all sleep, while to my shame I see
    The imminent death of twenty thousand men
    2743.55That for a fantasy and trick of fame
    Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
    Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
    Which is not tomb enough and continent
    To hide the slain? Oh, from this time forth,
    2743.60My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
    Enter Queen and Horatio.
    I will not speak with her.
    She is importunate,
    Indeed, distract. Her mood will needs be pitied.
    What would she have?
    She speaks much of her father, says she hears
    2750There's tricks i'th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,
    Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
    That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
    Yet the unshapèd use of it doth move
    The hearers to collection; they yawn at it,
    2755And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,
    Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
    Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
    Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
    Queen'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew
    2760Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
    Let her come in.
    [Horatio withdraws to admit Ophelia.]
    [Aside] To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
    Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
    So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
    2765It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
    Enter Ophelia distracted, playing on a lute, and her hair down, singing.
    Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?
    How now, Ophelia?
    She sings.
    How should I your true love know
    From another one?
    2770By his cockle hat and staff,
    And his sandal shoon.
    Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
    Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
    He is dead and gone, lady,
    He is dead and gone.
    At his head a grass-green turf,
    At his heels a stone.
    Nay, but Ophelia--
    Pray you, mark.
    White his shroud as the mountain snow--
    2775Enter King.
    Alas, look here, my lord.
    Larded with sweet flowers,
    Which bewept to the grave did not go
    With true-love showers.
    How do you, pretty lady?
    Well God'ield you. They say the owl was a baker's 2785daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.
    God be at your table!
    Conceit upon her father.
    Pray you, let's have no words of this, but when they ask you what it means, say you this:
    Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's Day,
    All in the morning betime,
    And I a maid at your window
    To be your Valentine.
    Then up he rose, and donned his clothes
    And dupped the chamber door,
    Let in the maid, that out a maid
    Never departed more.
    Pretty Ophelia--
    Indeed, la? Without an oath I'll make an end on't.
    By Gis and by Saint Charity,
    Alack, and fie for shame!
    Young men will do't if they come to't;
    By Cock, they are to blame.
    2800Quoth she, "Before you tumbled me,
    You promised me to wed."
    2801.1He answers,
    "So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
    An thou hadst not come to my bed."
    How long hath she been thus?
    I hope all will be well. We must be patient. But I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him i'th' cold ground. My brother shall know of it. And so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.
    [To Horatio.] Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you.
    [Exit Horatio.]
    Oh, this is the poison of deep grief! It springs
    All from her father's
    death, and now behold!
    Oh, Gertrude, Gertrude,
    2815When sorrows come, they come not single spies
    But in battalions. First, her father slain;
    Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
    Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
    Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
    2820For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly
    In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
    Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
    Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
    Last, and as much containing as all these,
    2825Her brother is in secret come from France,
    Feeds on this wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
    And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
    With pestilent speeches of his father's death,
    Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
    2830Will nothing stick our person to arraign
    In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
    Like to a murd'ring piece, in many places
    Gives me superfluous death.
    A noise within.
    Enter a Messenger.
    Alack, what noise is this?
    Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
    What is the matter?
    Save yourself, my lord!
    The ocean, overpeering of his list,
    2840Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste
    Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
    O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord,
    And, as the world were now but to begin,
    Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
    2845The ratifiers and props of every word,
    They cry, "Choose we! Laertes shall be king!"
    Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds:
    "Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!"
    How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
    A noise within.
    2850Oh, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
    The doors are broke.
    Enter Laertes with others.
    Where is this king?--Sirs, stand you all without.
    No, let's come in.
    I pray you, give me leave.
    We will, we will.
    I thank you. Keep the door.
    [Exeunt followers.]
    O thou vile king,
    Give me my father!
    Calmly, good Laertes.
    That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
    Cries "Cuckold!" to my father, brands the harlot
    Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow
    Of my true mother.
    What is the cause, Laertes,
    That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?--
    Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
    There's such divinity doth hedge a king
    That treason can but peep to what it would,
    2870Acts little of his will.--Tell me, Laertes,
    Why thou art thus incensed?--Let him go, Gertrude.--
    Speak, man.
    Where is my father?
    But not by him.
    Let him demand his fill.
    How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with.
    To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
    Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
    2880I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
    That both the worlds I give to negligence,
    Let come what comes, only I'll be revenged
    Most throughly for my father.
    Who shall stay you?
    My will, not all the world's.
    And for my means, I'll husband them so well
    They shall go far with little.
    Good Laertes,
    If you desire to know the certainty
    2890Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge
    That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
    Winner and loser?