Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

Enter Hamlet, and two or three of the Players.
Ham. Speake the Speech I pray you, as I pronounc'd
1850it to you trippingly on the Tongue: But if you mouth it,
as many of your Players do, I had as liue the Town-Cryer
had spoke my Lines: Nor do not saw the Ayre too much
your hand thus, but vse all gently; for in the verie Tor-
rent, Tempest, and (as I may say) the Whirle-winde of
1855Passion, you must acquire and beget a Temperance that
may giue it Smoothnesse. O it offends mee to the Soule,
to see a robustious Pery-wig-pated Fellow, teare a Passi-
on to tatters, to verie ragges, to split the eares of the
Groundlings: who (for the most part) are capeable of
1860nothing, but inexplicable dumbe shewes, & noise: I could
haue such a Fellow whipt for o're-doing Termagant: it
out- Herod's Herod. Pray you auoid it.
Player. I warrant your Honor.
Ham. Be not too tame neyther: but let your owne
1865Discretion be your Tutor. Sute the Action to the Word,
the Word to the Action, with this speciall obseruance:
That you ore-stop not the modestie of Nature; for any
thing so ouer-done, is frõ the purpose of Playing, whose
end both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as 'twer
1870the Mirrour vp to Nature; to shew Vertue her owne
Feature, Scorne her owne Image, and the verie Age and
Bodie of the Time, his forme and pressure. Now, this
ouer-done, or come tardie off, though it make the vnskil-
full laugh, cannot but make the Iudicious greeue; The
1875censure of the which One, must in your allowance o're-
way a whole Theater of Others. Oh, there bee Players
that I haue seene Play, and heard others praise, and that
highly (not to speake it prophanely) that neyther hauing
the accent of Christians, nor the gate of Christian, Pagan,
1880or Norman, haue so strutted and bellowed, that I haue
thought some of Natures Iouerney-men had made men,
and not made them well, they imitated Humanity so ab-
Play. I hope we haue reform'd that indifferently with
1885vs, Sir.
Ham. O reforme it altogether. And let those that
play your Clownes, speake no more then is set downe for
them. For there be of them, that will themselues laugh,
to set on some quantitie of barren Spectators to laugh
1890too, though in the meane time, some necessary Question
of the Play be then to be considered: that's Villanous, &
shewes a most pittifull Ambition in the Foole that vses
it. Go make you readie. Exit Players.
Enter Polonius, Rosincrance, and Guildensterne.
1895How now my Lord,
Will the King heare this peece of Worke?
Pol. And the Queene too, and that presently.
Ham. Bid the Players make hast. Exit Polonius.
Will you two helpe to hasten them?
1900Both. We will my Lord. Exeunt.
Enter Horatio.
Ham. What hoa, Horatio?
Hora. Heere sweet Lord, at your Seruice.
Ham. Horatio, thou art eene as iust a man
1905As ere my Conuersation coap'd withall.
Hora. O my deere Lord.
Ham. Nay, do not thinke I flatter:
For what aduancement may I hope from thee,
That no Reuennew hast, but thy good spirits
The Tragedie of Hamlet. 267
1910To feed & cloath thee. Why shold the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the Candied tongue, like absurd pompe,
And crooke the pregnant Hindges of the knee,
Where thrift may follow faining? Dost thou heare,
Since my deere Soule was Mistris of my choyse,
1915And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for her selfe. For thou hast bene
As one in suffering all, that suffers nothing.
A man that Fortunes buffets, and Rewards
Hath 'tane with equall Thankes. And blest are those,
1920Whose Blood and Iudgement are so well co-mingled,
That they are not a Pipe for Fortunes finger,
To sound what stop she please. Giue me that man,
That is not Passions Slaue, and I will weare him
In my hearts Core: I, in my Heart of heart,
1925As I do thee. Something too much of this.
There is a Play to night before the King,
One Scoene of it comes neere the Circumstance
Which I haue told thee, of my Fathers death.
I prythee, when thou see'st that Acte a-foot,
1930Euen with the verie Comment of my Soule
Obserue mine Vnkle: If his occulted guilt,
Do not it selfe vnkennell in one speech,
It is a damned Ghost that we haue seene:
And my Imaginations are as foule
1935As Vulcans Stythe. Giue him needfull note,
For I mine eyes will riuet to his Face:
And after we will both our iudgements ioyne,
To censure of his seeming.
Hora. Well my Lord.
1940If he steale ought the whil'st this Play is Playing,
And scape detecting, I will pay the Theft.
Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosincrance,
Guildensterne, and other Lords attendant with
his Guard carrying Torches. Danish
1945March. Sound a Flourish.
Ham. They are comming to the Play: I must be idle.
Get you a place.
King. How fares our Cosin Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent Ifaith, of the Camelions dish: I eate
1950the Ayre promise-cramm'd, you cannot feed Capons so.
King. I haue nothing with this answer Hamlet, these
words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine. Now my Lord, you plaid once
i'th'Vniuersity, you say?
1955Polon. That I did my Lord, and was accounted a good
Ham. And what did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Iulius Caesar, I was kill'd i'th'Capitol:
Brutus kill'd me.
1960Ham. It was a bruite part of him, to kill so Capitall a
Calfe there. Be the Players ready?
Rosin. I my Lord, they stay vpon your patience.
Qu. Come hither my good Hamlet, sit by me.
Ha. No good Mother, here's Mettle more attractiue.
1965Pol. Oh ho, do you marke that?
Ham. Ladie, shall I lye in your Lap?
Ophe. No my Lord.
Ham. I meane, my Head vpon your Lap?
Ophe. I my Lord.
1970Ham. Do you thinke I meant Country matters?
Ophe. I thinke nothing, my Lord.
Ham. That's a faire thought to ly between Maids legs
Ophe. What is my Lord?
Ham. Nothing.
1975Ophe. You are merrie, my Lord?
Ham. Who I?
Ophe. I my Lord.
Ham. Oh God, your onely Iigge-maker: what should
a man do, but be merrie. For looke you how cheereful-
1980ly my Mother lookes, and my Father dyed within's two
Ophe. Nay, 'tis twice two moneths, my Lord.
Ham. So long? Nay then let the Diuel weare blacke,
for Ile haue a suite of Sables. Oh Heauens! dye two mo-
1985neths ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a
great mans Memorie, may out-liue his life halfe a yeare:
But byrlady he must builde Churches then: or else shall
he suffer not thinking on, with the Hoby-horsse, whose
Epitaph is, For o, For o, the Hoby-horse is forgot.
1990 Hoboyes play. The dumbe shew enters.
Enter a King and Queene, very louingly; the Queene embra-
cing him. She kneeles, and makes shew of Protestation vnto
him. He takes her vp, and dcclines his head vpon her neck.
Layes him downe vpon a Banke of Flowers. She seeing him
1995a-sleepe, leaues him. Anon comes in a Fellow, takes off his
Crowne, kisses it, and powres poyson in the Kings eares, and
Exits. The Queene returnes, findes the King dead, and
makes passionate Action. The Poysoner, with some two or
three Mutes comes in againe, seeming to lament with her.
2000The dead body is carried away: The Poysoner Wooes the
Queene with Gifts, she seemes loath and vnwilling awhile,
but in the end, accepts his loue. Exeunt
Ophe. What meanes this, my Lord?
Ham. Marry this is Miching Malicho, that meanes
Ophe. Belike this shew imports the Argument of the
Ham. We shall know by these Fellowes: the Players
cannot keepe counsell, they'l tell all.
2010Ophe. Will they tell vs what this shew meant?
Ham. I, or any shew that you'l shew him. Bee not
you asham'd to shew, hee'l not shame to tell you what it
Ophe. You are naught, you are naught, Ile marke the
Enter Prologue.
For vs, and for our Tragedie,
Heere stooping to your Clemencie:
We begge your hearing Patientlie.
2020Ham. Is this a Prologue, or the Poesie of a Ring?
Ophe. 'Tis briefe my Lord.
Ham. As Womans loue.
Enter King and his Queene.
King. Full thirtie times hath Phoebus Cart gon round,
2025Neptunes salt Wash, and Tellus Orbed ground:
And thirtie dozen Moones with borrowed sheene,
About the World haue times twelue thirties beene,
Since loue our hearts, and Hymen did our hands
Vnite comutuall, in most sacred Bands.
2030Bap. So many iournies may the Sunne and Moone
Make vs againe count o're, ere loue be done.
But woe is me, you are so sicke of late,
So farre from cheere, and from your forme state,
That I distrust you: yet though I distrust,
2035Discomfort you (my Lord) it nothing must:
For womens Feare and Loue, holds quantitie,
268 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
In neither ought, or in extremity:
Now what my loue is, proofe hath made you know,
And as my Loue is siz'd, my Feare is so.
2040King. Faith I must leaue thee Loue, and shortly too:
My operant Powers my Functions leaue to do:
And thou shalt liue in this faire world behinde,
Honour'd, belou'd, and haply, one as kinde.
For Husband shalt thou-----
2045Bap. Oh confound the rest:
Such Loue, must needs be Treason in my brest:
In second Husband, let me be accurst,
None wed the second, but who kill'd the first.
Ham. Wormwood, Wormwood.
2050Bapt. The instances that second Marriage moue,
Are base respects of Thrift, but none of Loue.
A second time, I kill my Husband dead,
When second Husband kisses me in Bed.
King. I do beleeue you. Think what now you speak:
2055But what we do determine, oft we breake:
Purpose is but the slaue to Memorie,
Of violent Birth, but poore validitie:
Which now like Fruite vnripe stickes on the Tree,
But fall vnshaken, when they mellow bee.
2060Most necessary 'tis, that we forget
To pay our selues, what to our selues is debt:
What to our selues in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of other Greefe or Ioy,
2065Their owne ennactors with themselues destroy:
Where Ioy most Reuels, Greefe doth most lament;
Greefe ioyes, Ioy greeues on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That euen our Loues should with our Fortunes change.
2070For 'tis a question left vs yet to proue,
Whether Loue lead Fortune, or else Fortune Loue.
The great man downe, you marke his fauourites flies,
The poore aduanc'd, makes Friends of Enemies:
And hitherto doth Loue on Fortune tend,
2075For who not needs, shall neuer lacke a Frend:
And who in want a hollow Friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his Enemie.
But orderly to end, where I begun,
Our Willes and Fates do so contrary run,
2080That our Deuices still are ouerthrowne,
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our owne.
So thinke thou wilt no second Husband wed.
But die thy thoughts, when thy first Lord is dead.
Bap. Nor Earth to giue me food, nor Heauen light,
2085Sport and repose locke from me day and night:
Each opposite that blankes the face of ioy,
Meet what I would haue well, and it destroy:
Both heere, and hence, pursue me lasting strife,
If once a Widdow, euer I be Wife.
2090Ham. If she should breake it now.
King. 'Tis deepely sworne:
Sweet, leaue me heere a while,
My spirits grow dull, and faine I would beguile
The tedious day with sleepe.
2095Qu. Sleepe rocke thy Braine, Sleepes
And neuer come mischance betweene vs twaine. Exit
Ham. Madam, how like you this Play?
Qu. The Lady protests to much me thinkes.
Ham. Oh but shee'l keepe her word.
2100King. Haue you heard the Argument, is there no Of-
fence in't?
Ham. No, no, they do but iest, poyson in iest, no Of-
fence i'th'world.
King. What do you call the Play?
2105Ham. The Mouse-trap: Marry how? Tropically:
This Play is the Image of a murder done in Vienna: Gon-
zago is the Dukes name, his wife Baptista: you shall see
anon: 'tis a knauish peece of worke: But what o'that?
Your Maiestie, and wee that haue free soules, it touches
2110vs not: let the gall'd iade winch: our withers are vnrung.
Enter Lucianus.
This is one Lucianus nephew to the King.
Ophe. You are a good Chorus, my Lord.
Ham. I could interpret betweene you and your loue:
2115if I could see the Puppets dallying.
Ophe. You are keene my Lord, you are keene.
Ham. It would cost you a groaning, to take off my
Ophe. Still better and worse.
2120Ham. So you mistake Husbands.
Begin Murderer. Pox, leaue thy damnable Faces, and
begin. Come, the croaking Rauen doth bellow for Re-
Lucian. Thoughts blacke, hands apt,
2125Drugges fit, and Time agreeing:
Confederate season, else, no Creature seeing:
Thou mixture ranke, of Midnight Weeds collected,
With Hecats Ban, thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy naturall Magicke, and dire propertie,
2130On wholsome life, vsurpe immediately.
Powres the poyson in his eares.
Ham. He poysons him i'th'Garden for's estate: His
name's Gonzago: the Story is extant and writ in choyce
Italian. You shall see anon how the Murtherer gets the
2135loue of Gonzago's wife.
Ophe. The King rises.
Ham. What, frighted with false fire.
Qu. How fares my Lord?
Pol. Giue o're the Play.
2140King. Giue me some Light. Away.
All. Lights, Lights, Lights. Exeunt
Manet Hamlet & Horatio.
Ham. Why let the strucken Deere go weepe,
The Hart vngalled play:
2145For some must watch, while some must sleepe;
So runnes the world away.
Would not this Sir, and a Forrest of Feathers, if the rest of
my Fortunes tutne Turke with me; with two Prouinciall
Roses on my rac'd Shooes, get me a Fellowship in a crie
2150of Players sir.
Hor. Halfe a share.
Ham. A whole one I,
For thou dost know: Oh Damon deere,
This Realme dismantled was of Ioue himselfe,
2155And now reignes heere.
A verie verie Paiocke.
Hora. You might haue Rim'd.
Ham. Oh good Horatio, Ile take the Ghosts word for
a thousand pound. Did'st perceiue?
2160Hora. Verie well my Lord.
Ham. Vpon the talke of the poysoning?
Hora. I did verie well note him.
Enter Rosincrance and Guildensterne.
Ham. Oh, ha? Come some Musick. Come ye Recorders:
2165For if the King like not the Comedie,
Why then belike he likes it not perdie.
Come some Musicke.
Guild. Good my Lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
The Tragedie of Hamlet. 269
Ham. Sir, a whole History.
2170Guild. The King, sir.
Ham. I sir, what of him?
Guild. Is in his retyrement, maruellous distemper'd.
Ham. With drinke Sir?
Guild. No my Lord, rather with choller.
2175Ham. Your wisedome should shew it selfe more ri-
cher, to signifie this to his Doctor: for for me to put him
to his Purgation, would perhaps plundge him into farre
more Choller.
Guild. Good my Lord put your discourse into some
2180frame, and start not so wildely from my affayre.
Ham. I am tame Sir, pronounce.
Guild. The Queene your Mother, in most great affli-
ction of spirit, hath sent me to you.
Ham. You are welcome.
2185Guild. Nay, good my Lord, this courtesie is not of
the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a whol-
some answer, I will doe your Mothers command'ment:
if not, your pardon, and my returne shall bee the end of
my Businesse.
2190Ham. Sir, I cannot.
Guild. What, my Lord?
Ham. Make you a wholsome answere: my wits dis-
eas'd. But sir, such answers as I can make, you shal com-
mand: or rather you say, my Mother: therfore no more
2195but to the matter. My Mother you say.
Rosin. Then thus she sayes: your behauior hath stroke
her into amazement, and admiration.
Ham. Oh wonderfull Sonne, that can so astonish a
Mother. But is there no sequell at the heeles of this Mo-
2200thers admiration?
Rosin. She desires to speake with you in her Closset,
ere you go to bed.
Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our Mother.
Haue you any further Trade with vs?
2205Rosin. My Lord, you once did loue me.
Ham. So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
Rosin. Good my Lord, what is your cause of distem-
per? You do freely barre the doore of your owne Liber-
tie, if you deny your greefes to your Friend.
2210Ham. Sir I lacke Aduancement.
Rosin. How can that be, when you haue the voyce of
the King himselfe, for your Succession in Denmarke?
Ham. I, but while the grasse growes, the Prouerbe is
something musty.
2215 Enter one with a Recorder.
O the Recorder. Let me see, to withdraw with you, why
do you go about to recouer the winde of mee, as if you
would driue me into a toyle?
Guild. O my Lord, if my Dutie be too bold, my loue
2220is too vnmannerly.
Ham. I do not well vnderstand that. Will you play
vpon this Pipe?
Guild. My Lord, I cannot.
Ham. I pray you.
2225Guild. Beleeue me, I cannot.
Ham. I do beseech you.
Guild. I know no touch of it, my Lord.
Ham. 'Tis as easie as lying: gouerne these Ventiges
with your finger and thumbe, giue it breath with your
2230mouth, and it will discourse most excellent Musicke.
Looke you, these are the stoppes.
Guild. But these cannot I command to any vtterance
of hermony, I haue not the skill.
Ham. Why looke you now, how vnworthy a thing
2235you make of me: you would play vpon mee; you would
seeme to know my stops: you would pluck out the heart
of my Mysterie; you would sound mee from my lowest
Note, to the top of my Compasse: and there is much Mu-
sicke, excellent Voice, in this little Organe, yet cannot
2240you make it. Why do you thinke, that I am easier to bee
plaid on, then a Pipe? Call me what Instrument you will,
though you can fret me, you cannot play vpon me. God
blesse you Sir.
Enter Polonius.
2245Polon. My Lord; the Queene would speak with you,
and presently.
Ham. Do you see that Clowd? that's almost in shape
like a Camell.
Polon. By'th'Misse, and it's like a Camell indeed.
2250Ham. Me thinkes it is like a Weazell.
Polon. It is back'd like a Weazell.
Ham. Or like a Whale?
Polon. Verie like a Whale.
Ham. Then will I come to my Mother, by and by:
2255They foole me to the top of my bent.
I will come by and by.
Polon. I will say so. Exit.
Ham. By and by, is easily said. Leaue me Friends:
'Tis now the verie witching time of night,
2260When Churchyards yawne, and Hell it selfe breaths out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter businesse as the day
Would quake to looke on. Soft now, to my Mother:
Oh Heart, loose not thy Nature; let not euer
2265The Soule of Nero, enter this firme bosome:
Let me be cruell, not vnnaturall,
I will speake Daggers to her, but vse none:
My Tongue and Soule in this be Hypocrites.
How in my words someuer she be shent,
2270To giue them Seales, neuer my Soule consent.