Internet Shakespeare Editions

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)

    264 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    So as a painted Tyrant Pyrrhus stood,
    And like a Newtrall to his will and matter, did nothing.
    But as we often see against some storme,
    A silence in the Heauens, the Racke stand still,
    1525The bold windes speechlesse, and the Orbe below
    As hush as death: Anon the dreadfull Thunder
    Doth rend the Region. So after Pyrrhus pause,
    A rowsed Vengeance sets him new a-worke,
    And neuer did the Cyclops hammers fall
    1530On Mars his Armours, forg'd for proofe Eterne,
    With lesse remorse then Pyrrhus bleeding sword
    Now falles on Priam.
    Out, out, thou Strumpet-Fortune, all you Gods,
    In generall Synod take away her power:
    1535Breake all the Spokes and Fallies from her wheele,
    And boule the round Naue downe the hill of Heauen,
    As low as to the Fiends.
    Pol. This is too long.
    Ham. It shall to'th Barbars, with your beard. Pry-
    1540thee say on: He's for a Iigge, or a tale of Baudry, or hee
    sleepes. Say on; come to Hecuba.
    1. Play. But who, O who, had seen the inobled Queen.
    Ham. The inobled Queene?
    Pol. That's good: Inobled Queene is good.
    15451. Play. Run bare-foot vp and downe,
    Threatning the flame
    With Bisson Rheume: A clout about that head,
    Where late the Diadem stood, and for a Robe
    About her lanke and all ore-teamed Loines,
    1550A blanket in th' Alarum of feare caught vp.
    Who this had seene, with tongue in Venome steep'd,
    'Gainst Fortunes State, would Treason haue pronounc'd?
    But if the Gods themselues did see her then,
    When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
    1555In mincing with his Sword her Husbands limbes,
    The instant Burst of Clamour that she made
    (Vnlesse things mortall moue them not at all)
    Would haue made milche the Burning eyes of Heauen,
    And passion in the Gods.
    1560Pol. Looke where he ha's not turn'd his colour, and
    ha's teares in's eyes. Pray you no more.
    Ham. 'Tis well, Ile haue thee speake out the rest,
    soone. Good my Lord, will you see the Players wel be-
    stow'd. Do ye heare, let them be well vs'd: for they are
    1565the Abstracts and breefe Chronicles of the time. After
    your death, you were better haue a bad Epitaph, then
    their ill report while you liued.
    Pol. My Lord, I will vse them according to their de-
    1570Ham. Gods bodykins man, better. Vse euerie man
    after his desart, and who should scape whipping: vse
    them after your own Honor and Dignity. The lesse they
    deserue, the more merit is in your bountie. Take them
    1575Pol. Come sirs. Exit Polon.
    Ham. Follow him Friends: wee'l heare a play to mor-
    row. Dost thou heare me old Friend, can you play the
    murther of Gonzago?
    Play. I my Lord.
    1580Ham. Wee'l ha't to morrow night. You could for a
    need study a speech of some dosen or sixteene lines, which
    I would set downe, and insert in't? Could ye not?
    Play. I my Lord.
    Ham. Very well. Follow that Lord, and looke you
    1585mock him not. My good Friends, Ile leaue you til night
    you are welcome to Elsonower?
    Rosin. Good my Lord. Exeunt.
    Manet Hamlet.
    Ham. I so, God buy'ye: Now I am alone.
    1590Oh what a Rogue and Pesant slaue am I?
    Is it not monstrous that this Player heere,
    But in a Fixion, in a dreame of Passion,
    Could force his soule so to his whole conceit,
    That from her working, all his visage warm'd;
    1595Teares in his eyes, distraction in's Aspect,
    A broken voyce, and his whole Function suiting
    With Formes, to his Conceit? And all for nothing?
    For Hecuba?
    What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
    1600That he should weepe for her? What would he doe,
    Had he the Motiue and the Cue for passion
    That I haue? He would drowne the Stage with teares,
    And cleaue the generall eare with horrid speech:
    Make mad the guilty, and apale the free,
    1605Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed,
    The very faculty of Eyes and Eares. Yet I,
    A dull and muddy-metled Rascall, peake
    Like Iohn a-dreames, vnpregnant of my cause,
    And can say nothing: No, not for a King,
    1610Vpon whose property, and most deere life,
    A damn'd defeate was made. Am I a Coward?
    Who calles me Villaine? breakes my pate a-crosse?
    Pluckes off my Beard, and blowes it in my face?
    Tweakes me by'th'Nose? giues me the Lye i'th'Throate,
    1615As deepe as to the Lungs? Who does me this?
    Ha? Why I should take it: for it cannot be,
    But I am Pigeon-Liuer'd, and lacke Gall
    To make Oppression bitter, or ere this,
    I should haue fatted all the Region Kites
    1620With this Slaues Offall, bloudy: a Bawdy villaine,
    Remorselesse, Treacherous, Letcherous, kindles villaine!
    Oh Vengeance!
    Who? What an Asse am I? I sure, this is most braue,
    That I, the Sonne of the Deere murthered,
    1625Prompted to my Reuenge by Heauen, and Hell,
    Must (like a Whore) vnpacke my heart with words,
    And fall a Cursing like a very Drab,
    A Scullion? Fye vpon't: Foh. About my Braine.
    I haue heard, that guilty Creatures sitting at a Play,
    1630Haue by the very cunning of the Scoene,
    Bene strooke so to the soule, that presently
    They haue proclaim'd their Malefactions.
    For Murther, though it haue no tongue, will speake
    With most myraculous Organ. Ile haue these Players,
    1635Play something like the murder of my Father,
    Before mine Vnkle. Ile obserue his lookes,
    Ile tent him to the quicke: If he but blench
    I know my course. The Spirit that I haue seene
    May be the Diuell, and the Diuel hath power
    1640T'assume a pleasing shape, yea and perhaps
    Out of my Weaknesse, and my Melancholly,
    As he is very potent with such Spirits,
    Abuses me to damne me. Ile haue grounds
    More Relatiue then this: The Play's the thing,
    1645Wherein Ile catch the Conscience of the King. Exit

    Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Ro-
    sincrance, Guildenstern, and Lords.

    King. And can you by no drift of circumstance
    Get from him why he puts on this Confusion:
    1650Grating so harshly all his dayes of quiet