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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 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!