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)

    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 271
    As from the body of Contraction pluckes
    2430The very soule, and sweete Religion makes
    A rapsidie of words. Heauens face doth glow,
    Yea this solidity and compound masse,
    With tristfull visage as against the doome,
    Is thought-sicke at the act.
    2435Qu. Aye me; what act, that roares so lowd, & thun-
    ders in the Index.
    Ham. Looke heere vpon this Picture, and on this,
    The counterfet presentment of two Brothers:
    See what a grace was seated on his Brow,
    2440Hyperions curles, the front of Ioue himselfe,
    An eye like Mars, to threaten or command
    A Station, like the Herald Mercurie
    New lighted on a heauen-kissing hill:
    A Combination, and a forme indeed,
    2445Where euery God did seeme to set his Seale,
    To giue the world assurance of a man.
    This was your Husband. Looke you now what followes.
    Heere is your Husband, like a Mildew'd eare
    Blasting his wholsom breath. Haue you eyes?
    2450Could you on this faire Mountaine leaue to feed,
    And batten on this Moore? Ha? Haue you eyes?
    You cannot call it Loue: For at your age,
    The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
    And waites vpon the Iudgement: and what Iudgement
    2455Would step from this, to this? What diuell was't,
    That thus hath cousend you at hoodman-blinde?
    O Shame! where is thy Blush? Rebellious Hell,
    If thou canst mutine in a Matrons bones,
    To flaming youth, let Vertue be as waxe,
    2460And melt in her owne fire. Proclaime no shame,
    When the compulsiue Ardure giues the charge,
    Since Frost it selfe, as actiuely doth burne,
    As Reason panders Will.
    Qu. O Hamlet, speake no more.
    2465Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soule,
    And there I see such blacke and grained spots,
    As will not leaue their Tinct.
    Ham. Nay, but to liue
    In the ranke sweat of an enseamed bed,
    2470Stew'd in Corruption; honying and making loue
    Ouer the nasty Stye.
    Qu. Oh speake to me, no more,
    These words like Daggers enter in mine eares.
    No more sweet Hamlet.
    2475Ham. A Murderer, and a Villaine:
    A Slaue, that is not twentieth patt the tythe
    Of your precedent Lord. A vice of Kings,
    A Cutpurse of the Empire and the Rule.
    That from a shelfe, the precious Diadem stole,
    2480And put it in his Pocket.
    Qu. No more.
    Enter Ghost.
    Ham. A King of shreds and patches.
    Saue me; and houer o're me with your wings
    2485You heauenly Guards. What would you gracious figure?
    Qu. Alas he's mad.
    Ham. Do you not come your tardy Sonne to chide,
    That laps't in Time and Passion, lets go by
    Th'important acting of your dread command? Oh say.
    2490Ghost. Do not forget: this Visitation
    Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
    But looke, Amazement on thy Mother sits;
    O step betweene her, and her fighting Soule,
    Conceit in weakest bodies, strongest workes.
    2495Speake to her Hamlet.
    Ham. How is it with you Lady?
    Qu. Alas, how is't with you?
    That you bend your eye on vacancie,
    And with their corporall ayre do hold discourse.
    2500Forth at your eyes, your spirits wildely peepe,
    And as the sleeping Soldiours in th'Alarme,
    Your bedded haire, like life in excrements,
    Start vp, and stand an end. Oh gentle Sonne,
    Vpon the heate and flame of thy distemper
    2505Sprinkle coole patience. Whereon do you looke?
    Ham. On him, on him: look you how pale he glares,
    His forme and cause conioyn'd, preaching to stones,
    Would make them capeable. Do not looke vpon me,
    Least with this pitteous action you conuert
    2510My sterne effects: then what I haue to do,
    Will want true colour; teares perchance for blood.
    Qu. To who do you speake this?
    Ham. Do you see nothing there?
    Qu. Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.
    2515Ham. Nor did you nothing heare?
    Qu. No, nothing but our selues.
    Ham. Why look you there: looke how it steals away:
    My Father in his habite, as he liued,
    Looke where he goes euen now out at the Portall. Exit.
    2520Qu. This is the very coynage of your Braine,
    This bodilesse Creation extasie is very cunning in.
    Ham. Extasie?
    My Pulse as yours doth temperately keepe time,
    And makes as healthfull Musicke. It is not madnesse
    2525That I haue vttered; bring me to the Test
    And I the matter will re-word: which madnesse
    Would gamboll from. Mother, for loue of Grace,
    Lay not a flattering Vnction to your soule,
    That not your trespasse, but my madnesse speakes:
    2530It will but skin and filme the Vlcerous place,
    Whil'st ranke Corruption mining all within,
    Infects vnseene. Confesse your selfe to Heauen,
    Repent what's past, auoyd what is to come,
    And do not spred the Compost or the Weedes,
    2535To make them ranke. Forgiue me this my Vertue,
    For in the fatnesse of this pursie times,
    Vertue it selfe, of Vice must pardon begge,
    Yea courb, and woe, for leaue to do him good.
    Qu. Oh Hamlet,
    2540Thou hast cleft my heart in twaine.
    Ham. O throw away the worser part of it,
    And liue the purer with the other halfe.
    Good night, but go not to mine Vnkles bed,
    Assume a Vertue, if you haue it not, refraine to night,
    2545And that shall lend a kinde of easinesse
    To the next abstinence. Once more goodnight,
    And when you are desirous to be blest,
    Ile blessing begge of you. For this same Lord,
    I do repent: but heauen hath pleas'd 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 gaue him: so againe, good night.
    I must be cruell, onely to be kinde;
    2555Thus bad begins, and worse remaines behinde.
    Qu. What shall I do?
    Ham. Not this by no meanes that I bid you do:
    Let the blunt King tempt you againe to bed,
    Pinch Wanton on your cheeke, call you his Mouse,
    2560And let him for a paire of reechie kisses,
    pp2 Or