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About this text

  • Title: Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • 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
    Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 261
    Mad let vs grant him then: and now remaines
    That we finde out the cause of this effect,
    1130Or rather say, the cause of this defect;
    For this effect defectiue, comes by cause,
    Thus it remaines, and the remainder thus. Perpend,
    I haue a daughter: haue, whil'st she is mine,
    Who in her Dutie and Obedience, marke,
    1135Hath giuen me this: now gather, and surmise.
    The Letter.
    To the Celestiall, and my Soules Idoll, the most beautifed O-
    That's an ill Phrase, a vilde Phrase, beautified is a vilde
    1140Phrase: but you shall heare these in her excellent white
    bosome, these.
    Qu. Came this from Hamlet to her.
    Pol. Good Madam stay awhile, I will be faithfull.
    Doubt thou, the Starres are fire,
    1145Doubt, that the Sunne doth moue:
    Doubt Truth to be a Lier,
    But neuer Doubt, I loue.
    O deere Ophelia, I am ill at these Numbers: I haue not Art to
    reckon my grones; but that I loue thee best, oh most Best be-
    1150leeue it. Adieu.
    Thine euermore most deere Lady, whilst this
    Machine is to him, Hamlet.
    This in Obedience hath my daughter shew'd me:
    And more aboue hath his soliciting,
    1155As they fell out by Time, by Meanes, and Place,
    All giuen to mine eare.
    King. But how hath she receiu'd his Loue?
    Pol. What do you thinke of me?
    King. As of a man, faithfull and Honourable.
    1160Pol. I wold faine proue so. But what might you think?
    When I had seene this hot loue on the wing,
    As I perceiued it, I must tell you that
    Before my Daughter told me what might you
    Or my deere Maiestie your Queene heere, think,
    1165If I had playd the Deske or Table-booke,
    Or giuen my heart a winking, mute and dumbe,
    Or look'd vpon this Loue, with idle sight,
    What might you thinke? No, I went round to worke,
    And (my yong Mistris) thus I did bespeake
    1170Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of thy Starre,
    This must not be: and then, I Precepts gaue her,
    That she should locke her selfe from his Resort,
    Admit no Messengers, receiue no Tokens:
    Which done, she tooke the Fruites of my Aduice,
    1175And he repulsed. A short Tale to make,
    Fell into a Sadnesse, then into a Fast,
    Thence to a Watch, thence into a Weaknesse,
    Thence to a Lightnesse, and by this declension
    Into the Madnesse whereon now he raues,
    1180And all we waile for.
    King. Do you thinke 'tis this?
    Qu. It may be very likely.
    Pol. Hath there bene such a time, I'de fain know that,
    That I haue possitiuely said, 'tis so,
    1185When it prou'd otherwise?
    King. Not that I know.
    Pol. Take this from this; if this be otherwise,
    If Circumstances leade me, I will finde
    Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeede
    1190Within the Center.
    King. How may we try it further?
    Pol. You know sometimes
    He walkes foure houres together, heere
    In the Lobby.
    1195Qu. So he ha's indeed.
    Pol. At such a time Ile loose my Daughter to him,
    Be you and I behinde an Arras then,
    Marke the encounter: If he loue her not,
    And be not from his reason falne thereon;
    1200Let me be no Assistant for a State,
    And keepe a Farme and Carters.
    King. We will try it.

    Enter Hamlet reading on a Booke.

    Qu. But looke where sadly the poore wretch
    1205Comes reading.
    Pol. Away I do beseech you, both away,
    Ile boord him presently. Exit King & Queen.
    Oh giue me leaue. How does my good Lord Hamlet?
    Ham. Well, God-a-mercy.
    1210Pol. Do you know me, my Lord?
    Ham. Excellent, excellent well: y'are a Fishmonger.
    Pol. Not I my Lord.
    Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
    Pol. Honest, my Lord?
    1215Ham. I sir, to be honest as this world goes, is to bee
    one man pick'd out of two thousand.
    Pol. That's very true, my Lord.
    Ham. For if the Sun breed Magots in a dead dogge,
    being a good kissing Carrion-----
    1220Haue you a daughter?
    Pol. I haue my Lord.
    Ham. Let her not walke i'th'Sunne: Conception is a
    blessing, but not as your daughter may conceiue. Friend
    looke too't.
    1225Pol. How say you by that? Still harping on my daugh-
    ter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a Fishmon-
    ger: he is farre gone, farre gone: and truly in my youth,
    I suffred much extreamity for loue: very neere this. Ile
    speake to him againe. What do you read my Lord?
    1230Ham. Words, words, words.
    Pol. What is the matter, my Lord?
    Ham. Betweene who?
    Pol. I meane the matter you meane, my Lord.
    Ham. Slanders Sir: for the Satyricall slaue saies here,
    1235that old men haue gray Beards; that their faces are wrin-
    kled; their eyes purging thicke Amber, or Plum-Tree
    Gumme: and that they haue a plentifull locke of Wit,
    together with weake Hammes. All which Sir, though I
    most powerfully, and potently beleeue; yet I holde it
    1240not Honestie to haue it thus set downe: For you your
    selfe Sir, should be old as I am, if like a Crab you could
    go backward.
    Pol. Though this be madnesse,
    Yet there is Method in't: will you walke
    1245Out of the ayre my Lord?
    Ham. Into my Graue?
    Pol. Indeed that is out o'th' Ayre:
    How pregnant (sometimes) his Replies are?
    A happinesse,
    1250That often Madnesse hits on,
    Which Reason and Sanitie could not
    So prosperously be deliuer'd of.
    I will leaue him,
    And sodainely contriue the meanes of meeting
    1255Betweene him, and my daughter.
    My Honourable Lord, I will most humbly
    Take my leaue of you.
    oo3 Ham