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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 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?
    None but his enemies,
    Will you know them, then?
    To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms,
    And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
    Repast them with my blood.
    Why, now you speak
    Like a good child and a true gentleman.
    2900That I am guiltless of your father's death,
    And am most sensibly in grief for it,
    It shall as level to your judgment 'pear
    As day does to your eye.
    A noise within.
    Voices within
    Let her come in!
    How now, what noise is that?
    2905Enter Ophelia, as before.
    O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt
    Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
    By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight
    2910Till our scale turns the beam. O rose of May,
    Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
    O heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits
    Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
    Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine
    2915It sends some precious instance of itself
    After the thing it loves.
    They bore him bare-faced on the bier,
    Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny,
    And on his grave rained many a tear.
    2920Fare you well, my dove.
    Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
    It could not move thus.
    You must sing "a-down, a-down," an you call him "a-down-a." Oh, how the wheel becomes it!It is the 2925false steward that stole his master's daughter.
    This nothing's more than matter.
    There's rosemary; that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies; that's for thoughts.
    A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
    There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you, and here's some for me; we may call it herb of grace o'Sundays. You may wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy. I would 2935give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say 'a made a good end.
    [She sings.]
    For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
    Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself
    2940She turns to favor and to prettiness.
    And will 'a not come again?
    And will 'a not come again?
    No, no, he is dead,
    Go to thy deathbed,
    He never will come again.
    2945His beard was as white as snow,
    All flaxen was his poll.
    He is gone, he is gone,
    And we cast away moan.
    God 'a' mercy on his soul!
    And of all Christian souls, I pray God. 2950God b'wi' you!
    Exeunt Ophelia [and the Queen, following her.]
    Do you see this, O God?
    Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
    Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
    Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
    2955And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
    If by direct or by collateral hand
    They find us touched, we will our kingdom give,
    Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours
    To you in satisfaction; but if not,
    2960Be you content to lend your patience to us,
    And we shall jointly labor with your soul
    To give it due content.
    Let this be so.
    His means of death, his obscure burial--
    2965No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
    No noble rite, nor formal ostentation--
    Cry to be heard as 'twere from heaven to earth,
    That I must call't in question.
    So you shall,
    2970And where th'offense is, let the great ax fall.
    I pray you go with me.