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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)

    175Scena Secunda.
    Enter Claudius King of Denmarke, Gertrude the Queene,
    Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, and his Sister O-
    phelia, Lords Attendant..
    King. Though yet of Hamlet our deere Brothers death
    180The memory be greene: and that it vs befitted
    To beare our hearts in greefe, and our whole Kingdome
    To be contracted in one brow of woe:
    Yet so farre hath Discretion fought with Nature,
    That we with wisest sorrow thinke on him,
    185Together with remembrance of our selues.
    Therefore our sometimes Sister, now our Queen,
    Th'Imperiall Ioyntresse of this warlike State,
    Haue we, as 'twere, with a defeated ioy,
    With one Auspicious, and one Dropping eye,
    190With mirth in Funerall, and with Dirge in Marriage,
    In equall Scale weighing Delight and Dole
    Taken to Wife; nor haue we heerein barr'd
    Your better Wisedomes, which haue freely gone
    With this affaire along, for all our Thankes.
    195Now followes, that you know young Fortinbras,
    Holding a weake supposall of our worth;
    Or thinking by our late deere Brothers death,
    Our State to be disioynt, and out of Frame,
    Colleagued with the dreame of his Aduantage;
    200He hath not fayl'd to pester vs with Message,
    Importing the surrender of those Lands
    Lost by his Father: with all Bonds of Law
    To our most valiant Brother. So much for him.
    Enter Voltemand and Cornelius.
    205Now for our selfe, and for this time of meeting
    Thus much the businesse is. We haue heere writ
    To Norway, Vncle of young Fortinbras,
    Who Impotent and Bedrid, scarsely heares
    Of this his Nephewes purpose, to suppresse
    210His further gate heerein. In that the Leuies,
    The Lists, and full proportions are all made
    Out of his subiect: and we heere dispatch
    You good Cornelius, and you Voltemand,
    For bearing of this greeting to old Norway,
    215Giuing to you no further personall power
    To businesse with the King, more then the scope
    Of these dilated Articles allow:
    Farewell, and let your hast commend your duty.
    Volt. In that, and all things, will we shew our duty.
    220King. We doubt it nothing, heartily farewell.
    Exit Voltemand and Cornelius.
    And now Laertes, what's the newes with you?
    154 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    You told vs of some suite. What is't Laertes?
    You cannot speake of Reason to the Dane,
    225And loose your voyce. What would'st thou beg Laertes,
    That shall not be my Offer, not thy Asking?
    The Head is not more Natiue to the Heart,
    The Hand more Instrumentall to the Mouth,
    Then is the Throne of Denmarke to thy Father.
    230What would'st thou haue Laertes?
    Laer. Dread my Lord,
    Your leaue and fauour to returne to France,
    From whence, though willingly I came to Denmarke
    To shew my duty in your Coronation,
    235Yet now I must confesse, that duty done,
    My thoughts and wishes bend againe towards France,
    And bow them to your gracious leaue and pardon.
    King. Haue you your Fathers leaue?
    What sayes Pollonius?
    240Pol. He hath my Lord:
    I do beseech you giue him leaue to go.
    King. Take thy faire houre Laertes, time be thine,
    And thy best graces spend it at thy will:
    But now my Cosin Hamlet, and my Sonne?
    245Ham. A little more then kin, and lesse then kinde.
    King. How is it that the Clouds still hang on you?
    Ham. Not so my Lord, I am too much i'th' Sun.
    Queen. Good Hamlet cast thy nightly colour off,
    And let thine eye looke like a Friend on Denmarke.
    250Do not for euer with thy veyled lids
    Seeke for thy Noble Father in the dust;
    Thou know'st 'tis common, all that liues must dye,
    Passing through Nature, to Eternity.
    Ham. I Madam, it is common.
    255Queen. If it be;
    Why seemes it so particular with thee.
    Ham. Seemes Madam? Nay, it is: I know not Seemes:
    'Tis not alone my Inky Cloake (good Mother)
    Nor Customary suites of solemne Blacke,
    260Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
    No, nor the fruitfull Riuer in the Eye,
    Nor the deiected hauiour of the Visage,
    Together with all Formes, Moods, shewes of Griefe,
    That can denote me truly. These indeed Seeme,
    265For they are actions that a man might play:
    But I haue that Within, which passeth show;
    These, but the Trappings, and the Suites of woe.
    King. 'Tis sweet and commendable
    In your Nature Hamlet,
    270To giue these mourning duties to your Father:
    But you must know, your Father lost a Father,
    That Father lost, lost his, and the Suruiuer bound
    In filiall Obligation, for some terme
    To do obsequious Sorrow. But to perseuer
    275In obstinate Condolement, is a course
    Of impious stubbornnesse. 'Tis vnmanly greefe,
    It shewes a will most incorrect to Heauen,
    A Heart vnfortified, a Minde impatient,
    An Vnderstanding simple, and vnschool'd:
    280For, what we know must be, and is as common
    As any the most vulgar thing to sence,
    Why should we in our peeuish Opposition
    Take it to heart? Fye, 'tis a fault to Heauen,
    A fault against the Dead, a fault to Nature,
    285To Reason most absurd, whose common Theame
    Is death of Fathers, and who still hath cried,
    From the first Coarse, till he that dyed to day,
    This must be so. We pray you throw to earth
    This vnpreuayling woe, and thinke of vs
    290As of a Father; For let the world take note,
    You are the most immediate to our Throne,
    And with no lesse Nobility of Loue,
    Then that which deerest Father beares his Sonne,
    Do I impart towards you. For your intent
    295In going backe to Schoole in Wittenberg,
    It is most retrograde to our desire:
    And we beseech you, bend you to remaine
    Heere in the cheere and comfort of our eye,
    Our cheefest Courtier Cosin, and our Sonne.
    300Qu. Let not thy Mother lose her Prayers Hamlet:
    I prythee stay with vs, go not to Wittenberg.
    Ham. I shall in all my best
    Obey you Madam.
    King. Why 'tis a louing, and a faire Reply,
    305Be as our selfe in Denmarke. Madam come,
    This gentle and vnforc'd accord of Hamlet
    Sits smiling to my heart; in grace whereof,
    No iocond health that Denmarke drinkes to day,
    But the great Cannon to the Clowds shall tell,
    310And the Kings Rouce, the Heauens shall bruite againe,
    Respeaking earthly Thunder. Come away. Exeunt
    Manet Hamlet.
    Ham. Oh that this too too solid Flesh, would melt,
    Thaw, and resolue it selfe into a Dew:
    315Or that the Euerlasting had not fixt
    His Cannon 'gainst Selfe-slaughter. O God, O God!
    How weary, stale, flat, and vnprofitable
    Seemes to me all the vses of this world?
    Fie on't? Oh fie, fie, 'tis an vnweeded Garden
    320That growes to Seed: Things rank, and grosse in Nature
    Possesse it meerely. That it should come to this:
    But two months dead: Nay, not so much; not two,
    So excellent a King, that was to this
    Hiperion to a Satyre: so louing to my Mother,
    325That he might not beteene the windes of heauen
    Visit her face too roughly. Heauen and Earth
    Must I remember: why she would hang on him,
    As if encrease of Appetite had growne
    By what it fed on; and yet within a month?
    330Let me not thinke on't: Frailty, thy name is woman.
    A little Month, or ere those shooes were old,
    With which she followed my poore Fathers body
    Like Niobe, all teares. Why she, euen she.
    (O Heauen! A beast that wants discourse of Reason
    335Would haue mourn'd longer) married with mine Vnkle,
    My Fathers Brother: but no more like my Father,
    Then I to Hercules. Within a Moneth?
    Ere yet the salt of most vnrighteous Teares
    Had left the flushing of her gauled eyes,
    340She married. O most wicked speed, to post
    With such dexterity to Incestuous sheets:
    It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
    But breake my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
    Enter Horatio, Barnard, and Marcellus.
    345Hor. Haile to your Lordship.
    Ham. I am glad to see you well:
    Horatio, or I do forget my selfe.
    Hor. The same my Lord,
    And your poore Seruant euer.
    350Ham. Sir my good friend,
    Ile change that name with you:
    And what make you from Wittenberg Horatio?
    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 155
    Mar. My good Lord.
    355Ham. I am very glad to see you: good euen Sir.
    But what in faith make you from Wittemberge?
    Hor. A truant disposition, good my Lord.
    Ham. I would not haue your Enemy say so;
    Nor shall you doe mine eare that violence,
    360To make it truster of your owne report
    Against your selfe. I know you are no Truant:
    But what is your affaire in Elsenour?
    Wee'l teach you to drinke deepe, ere you depart.
    Hor. My Lord, I came to see your Fathers Funerall.
    365Ham. I pray thee doe not mock me (fellow Student)
    I thinke it was to see my Mothers Wedding.
    Hor. Indeed my Lord, it followed hard vpon.
    Ham. Thrift, thrift Horatio: the Funerall Bakt-meats
    Did coldly furnish forth the Marriage Tables;
    370Would I had met my dearest foe in heauen,
    Ere I had euer seene that day Horatio.
    My father, me thinkes I see my father.
    Hor. Oh where my Lord?
    Ham. In my minds eye (Horatio)
    375Hor. I saw him once; he was a goodly King.
    Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all:
    I shall not look vpon his like againe.
    Hor. My Lord, I thinke I saw him yesternight.
    Ham. Saw? Who?
    380Hor. My Lord, the King your Father.
    Ham. The King my Father?
    Hor. Season your admiration for a while
    With an attent eare; till I may deliuer
    Vpon the witnesse of these Gentlemen,
    385This maruell to you.
    Ham. For Heauens loue let me heare.
    Hor. Two nights together, had these Gentlemen
    (Marcellus and Barnardo) on their Watch
    In the dead wast and middle of the night
    390Beene thus encountred. A figure like your Father,
    Arm'd at all points exactly, Cap a Pe,
    Appeares before them, and with sollemne march
    Goes slow and stately: By them thrice he walkt,
    By their opprest and feare-surprized eyes,
    395Within his Truncheons length; whilst they bestil'd
    Almost to Ielly with the Act of feare,
    Stand dumbe and speake not to him. This to me
    In dreadfull secrecie impart they did,
    And I with them the third Night kept the Watch,
    400Whereas they had deliuer'd both in time,
    Forme of the thing; each word made true and good,
    The Apparition comes. I knew your Father:
    These hands are not more like.
    Ham. But where was this?
    405Mar. My Lord, vpon the platforme where we watcht.
    Ham. Did you not speake to it?
    Hor. My Lord, I did;
    But answere made it none: yet once me thought
    It lifted vp it head, and did addresse
    410It selfe to motion, like as it would speake:
    But euen then, the Morning Cocke crew lowd;
    And at the sound it shrunke in hast away,
    And vanisht from our sight.
    Ham. Tis very strange.
    415Hor. As I doe liue my honourd Lord 'tis true;
    And we did thinke it writ downe in our duty
    To let you know of it.
    Ham. Indeed, indeed Sirs; but this troubles me.
    Hold you the watch to Night?
    420Both. We doe my Lord.
    Ham. Arm'd, say you?
    Both. Arm'd, my Lord.
    Ham. From top to toe?
    Both. My Lord, from head to foote.
    425Ham. Then saw you not his face?
    Hor. O yes, my Lord, he wore his Beauer vp.
    Ham. What, lookt he frowningly?
    Hor. A countenance more in sorrow then in anger.
    Ham. Pale, or red?
    430Hor. Nay very pale.
    Ham. And fixt his eyes vpon you?
    Hor. Most constantly.
    Ham. I would I had beene there.
    Hor. It would haue much amaz'd you.
    435Ham. Very like, very like: staid it long?
    Hor. While one with moderate hast might tell a hun-(dred.
    All. Longer, longer.
    Hor. Not when I saw't.
    Ham. His Beard was grisly? no.
    440Hor. It was, as I haue seene it in his life,
    A Sable Siluer'd.
    Ham. Ile watch to Night; perchance 'twill wake a-(gaine.
    Hor. I warrant you it will.
    Ham. If it assume my noble Fathers person,
    445Ile speake to it, though Hell it selfe should gape
    And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
    If you haue hitherto conceald this sight;
    Let it bee treble in your silence still:
    And whatsoeuer els shall hap to night,
    450Giue it an vnderstanding but no tongue;
    I will requite your loues; so, fare ye well:
    Vpon the Platforme twixt eleuen and twelue,
    Ile visit you.
    All. Our duty to your Honour. Exeunt.
    455Ham. Your loue, as mine to you: farewell.
    My Fathers Spirit in Armes? All is not well:
    I doubt some foule play: would the Night were come;
    Till then sit still my soule; foule deeds will rise,
    Though all the earth orewhelm them to mens eies. Exit.