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)

    Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
    Ham. Where wilt thou lead me? speak; Ile go no fur-(ther.
    Gho. Marke me.
    Ham. I will.
    685Gho. My hower is almost come,
    When I to sulphurous and tormenting Flames
    Must render vp my selfe.
    Ham. Alas poore Ghost.
    Gho. Pitty me not, but lend thy serious hearing
    690To what I shall vnfold.
    Ham. Speake, I am bound to heare.
    Gho. So art thou to reuenge, when thou shalt heare.
    Ham. What?
    Gho. I am thy Fathers Spirit,
    695Doom'd for a certaine terme to walke the night;
    And for the day confin'd to fast in Fiers,
    Till the foule crimes done in my dayes of Nature
    Are burnt and purg'd away? But that I am forbid
    To tell the secrets of my Prison-House;
    700I could a Tale vnfold, whose lightest word
    Would harrow vp thy soule, freeze thy young blood,
    Make thy two eyes like Starres, start from their Spheres,
    Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
    And each particular haire to stand an end,
    705Like Quilles vpon the fretfull Porpentine:
    But this eternall blason must not be
    To eares of flesh and bloud; list Hamlet, oh list,
    If thou didst euer thy deare Father loue.
    Ham. Oh Heauen!
    710Gho. Reuenge his foule and most vnnaturall Murther.
    Ham. Murther?
    Ghost. Murther most foule, as in the best it is;
    But this most foule, strange, and vnnaturall.
    Ham. Hast, hast me to know it,
    715That with wings as swift
    As meditation, or the thoughts of Loue,
    May sweepe to my Reuenge.
    Ghost. I finde thee apt,
    And duller should'st thou be then the fat weede
    720That rots it selfe in ease, on Lethe Wharfe,
    Would'st thou not stirre in this. Now Hamlet heare:
    It's giuen out, that sleeping in mine Orchard,
    A Serpent stung me: so the whole eare of Denmarke,
    Is by a forged processe of my death
    725Rankly abus'd: But know thou Noble youth,
    The Serpent that did sting thy Fathers life,
    Now weares his Crowne.
    Ham. O my Propheticke soule: mine Vncle?
    Ghost. I that incestuous, that adulterate Beast
    730With witchcraft of his wits, hath Traitorous guifts.
    Oh wicked Wit, and Gifts, that haue the power
    So to seduce? Won to to this shamefull Lust
    The will of my most seeming vertuous Queene:
    Oh Hamlet, what a falling off was there,
    735From me, whose loue was of that dignity,
    That it went hand in hand, euen with the Vow
    I made to her in Marriage; and to decline
    Vpon a wretch, whose Naturall gifts were poore
    To those of mine. But Vertue, as it neuer wil be moued,
    740Though Lewdnesse court it in a shape of Heauen:
    So Lust, though to a radiant Angell link'd,
    Will sate it selfe in a Celestiallbed, & prey on Garbage.
    Oo But
    258 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    But soft, me thinkes I sent the Mornings Ayre;
    Briefe let me be: Sleeping within mine Orchard,
    745My custome alwayes in the afternoone;
    Vpon my secure hower thy Vncle stole
    With iuyce of cursed Hebenon in a Violl,
    And in the Porches of mine eares did poure
    The leaperous Distilment; whose effect
    750Holds such an enmity with bloud of Man,
    That swift as Quick-siluer, it courses through
    The naturall Gates and Allies of the Body;
    And with a sodaine vigour it doth posset
    And curd, like Aygre droppings into Milke,
    755The thin and wholsome blood: so did it mine;
    And a most instant Tetter bak'd about,
    Most Lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
    All my smooth Body.
    Thus was I, sleeping, by a Brothers hand,
    760Of Life, of Crowne, and Queene at once dispatcht;
    Cut off euen in the Blossomes of my Sinne,
    Vnhouzzled, disappointed, vnnaneld,
    No reckoning made, but sent to my account
    With all my imperfections on my head;
    765Oh horrible, Oh horrible, most horrible:
    If thou hast nature in thee beare it not;
    Let not the Royall Bed of Denmarke be
    A Couch for Luxury and damned Incest.
    But howsoeuer thou pursuest this Act,
    770Taint not thy mind; nor let thy Soule contriue
    Against thy Mother ought; leaue her to heauen,
    And to those Thornes that in her bosome lodge,
    To pricke and sting her. Fare thee well at once;
    The Glow-worme showes the Matine to be neere,
    775And gins to pale his vneffectuall Fire:
    Adue, adue, Hamlet: remember me. Exit.
    Ham. Oh all you host of Heauen! Oh Earth; what els?
    And shall I couple Hell? Oh fie: hold my heart;
    And you my sinnewes, grow not instant Old;
    780But beare me stiffely vp: Remember thee?
    I, thou poore Ghost, while memory holds a seate
    In this distracted Globe: Remember thee?
    Yea, from the Table of my Memory,
    Ile wipe away all triuiall fond Records,
    785All sawes of Bookes, all formes, all presures past,
    That youth and obseruation coppied there;
    And thy Commandment all alone shall liue
    Within the Booke and Volume of my Braine,
    Vnmixt with baser matter; yes, yes, by Heauen:
    790Oh most pernicious woman!
    Oh Villaine, Villaine, smiling damned Villaine!
    My Tables, my Tables; meet it is I set it downe,
    That one may smile, and smile and be a Villaine;
    At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmarke;
    795So Vnckle there you are: now to my word;
    It is; Adue, Adue, Remember me: I haue sworn't.
    Hor. & Mar. within. My Lord, my Lord.
    Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
    Mar. Lord Hamlet.
    800Hor. Heauen secure him.
    Mar. So be it.
    Hor. Illo, ho, ho, my Lord.
    Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy; come bird, come.
    Mar. How ist't my Noble Lord?
    805Hor. What newes, my Lord?
    Ham. Oh wonderfull!
    Hor. Good my Lord tell it.
    Ham. No you'l reueale it.
    Hor. Not I, my Lord, by Heauen.
    810Mar. Nor I, my Lord.
    Ham. How say you then, would heart of man once (think it?
    But you'l be secret?
    Both. I, by Heau'n, my Lord.
    Ham. There's nere a villaine dwelling in all Denmarke
    815But hee's an arrant knaue.
    Hor. There needs no Ghost my Lord, come from the
    Graue, to tell vs this.
    Ham. Why right, you are i'th' right;
    And so, without more circumstance at all,
    820I hold it fit that we shake hands, and part:
    You, as your busines and desires shall point you:
    For euery man ha's businesse and desire,
    Such as it is: and for mine owne poore part,
    Looke you, Ile goe pray.
    825Hor. These are but wild and hurling words, my Lord.
    Ham. I'm sorry they offend you heartily:
    Yes faith, heartily.
    Hor. There's no offence my Lord.
    Ham. Yes, by Saint Patricke, but there is my Lord,
    830And much offence too, touching this Vision heere:
    It is an honest Ghost, that let me tell you:
    For your desire to know what is betweene vs,
    O'remaster't as you may. And now good friends,
    As you are Friends, Schollers and Soldiers,
    835Giue me one poore request.
    Hor. What is't my Lord? we will.
    Ham. Neuer make known what you haue seen to night.
    Both. My Lord, we will not.
    Ham. Nay, but swear't.
    840Hor. Infaith my Lord, not I.
    Mar. Nor I my Lord: in faith.
    Ham. Vpon my sword.
    Marcell. We haue sworne my Lord already.
    Ham. Indeed, vpon my sword, Indeed.
    845Gho. Sweare. Ghost cries vnder the Stage.
    Ham. Ah ha boy, sayest thou so. Art thou there true-
    penny? Come one you here this fellow in the selleredge
    Consent to sweare.
    Hor. Propose the Oath my Lord.
    850Ham. Neuer to speake of this that you haue seene.
    Sweare by my sword.
    Gho. Sweare.
    Ham. Hic & vbique? Then wee'l shift for grownd,
    Come hither Gentlemen,
    855And lay your hands againe vpon my sword,
    Neuer to speake of this that you haue heard:
    Sweare by my Sword.
    Gho. Sweare.
    Ham. Well said old Mole, can'st worke i'th' ground so (fast?
    860A worthy Pioner, once more remoue good friends.
    Hor. Oh day and night: but this is wondrous strange.
    Ham. And therefore as a stranger giue it welcome.
    There are more things in Heauen and Earth, Horatio,
    Then are dream't of in our Philosophy. But come,
    865Here as before, neuer so helpe you mercy,
    How strange or odde so ere I beare my selfe;
    (As I perchance heereafter shall thinke meet
    To put an Anticke disposition on:)
    That you at such time seeing me, neuer shall
    870With Armes encombred thus, or thus, head shake;
    Or by pronouncing of some doubtfull Phrase;
    As well, we know, or we could and if we would,
    Or if we list to speake; or there be and if there might,
    Or such ambiguous giuing out to note,
    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 259
    875That you know ought of me; this not to doe:
    So grace and mercy at your most neede helpe you:
    Ghost. Sweare.
    Ham. Rest, rest perturbed Spirit: so Gentlemen,
    880With all my loue I doe commend me to you;
    And what so poore a man as Hamlet is,
    May doe t' expresse his loue and friending to you,
    God willing shall not lacke: let vs goe in together,
    And still your fingers on your lippes I pray,
    885The time is out of ioynt: Oh cursed spight,
    That euer I was borne to set it right.
    Nay, come let's goe together. Exeunt.