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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)

    Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
    3500Ham. So much for this Sir; now let me see the other,
    You doe remember all the Circumstance.
    Hor. Remember it my Lord?
    Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kinde of fighting,
    That would not let me sleepe; me thought I lay
    3505Worse then the mutines in the Bilboes, rashly,
    (And praise be rashnesse for it) let vs know,
    Our indiscretion sometimes serues vs well,
    When our deare plots do paule, and that should teach vs,
    There's a Diuinity that shapes our ends,
    3510Rough-hew them how we will.
    Hor. That is most certaine.
    Ham. Vp from my Cabin
    My sea-gowne scarft about me in the darke,
    Grop'd I to finde out them; had my desire,
    3515Finger'd their Packet, and in fine, withdrew
    To mine owne roome againe, making so bold,
    (My feares forgetting manners) to vnseale
    Their grand Commission, where I found Horatio,
    Oh royall knauery: An exact command,
    3520Larded with many seuerall sorts of reason;
    Importing Denmarks health, and Englands too,
    With hoo, such Bugges and Goblins in my life,
    That on the superuize no leasure bated,
    No not to stay the grinding of the Axe,
    3525My head shoud be struck off.
    Hor. Ist possible?
    Ham. Here's the Commission, read it at more leysure:
    But wilt thou heare me how I did proceed?
    Hor. I beseech you.
    3530Ham. Being thus benetted round with Villaines,
    Ere I could make a Prologue to my braines,
    They had begun the Play. I sate me downe,
    Deuis'd a new Commission, wrote it faire,
    I once did hold it as our Statists doe,
    3535A basenesse to write faire; and laboured much
    How to forget that learning: but Sir now,
    It did me Yeomans seruice: wilt thou know
    The effects of what I wrote?
    Hor. I, good my Lord.
    3540Ham. An earnest Coniuration from the King,
    As England was his faithfull Tributary,
    As loue betweene them, as the Palme should flourish,
    As Peace should still her wheaten Garland weare,
    And stand a Comma 'tweene their amities,
    3545And many such like Assis of great charge,
    That on the view and know of these Contents,
    Without debatement further, more or lesse,
    He should the bearers put to sodaine death,
    Not shriuing time allowed.
    3550Hor. How was this seal'd?
    Ham. Why, euen in that was Heauen ordinate;
    I had my fathers Signet in my Purse,
    Which was the Modell of that Danish Seale:
    Folded the Writ vp in forme of the other,
    3555Subscrib'd it, gau't th' impression, plac't it safely,
    The changeling neuer knowne: Now, the next day
    Was our Sea Fight, and what to this was sement,
    Thou know'st already.
    Hor. So Guildensterne and Rosincrance, go too't.
    3560Ham. Why man, they did make loue to this imployment
    They are not neere my Conscience; their debate
    Doth by their owne insinuation grow:
    'Tis dangerous, when the baser nature comes
    Betweene the passe, and fell incensed points
    3565Of mighty opposites.
    Hor. Why, what a King is this?
    Ham. Does it not, thinkst thee, stand me now vpon
    He that bath kil'd my King, and whor'd my Mother,
    Popt in betweene th'election and my hopes,
    3570Throwne out his Angle for my proper life,
    And with such coozenage; is't not perfect conscience,
    To quit him with this arme? And is't not to be damn'd
    To let this Canker of our nature come
    In further euill.
    3575Hor. It must be shortly knowne to him from England
    What is the issue of the businesse there.
    Ham. It will be short,
    The interim's mine, and a mans life's no more
    Then to say one: but I am very sorry good Horatio,
    3580That to Laertes I forgot my selfe;
    For by the image of my Cause, I see
    The Portraiture of his; Ile count his fauours:
    But sure the brauery of his griefe did put me
    Into a Towring passion.
    3585Hor. Peace, who comes heere?
    Enter young Osricke.
    Osr. Your Lordship is right welcome back to Den-(marke.
    Ham. I humbly thank you Sir, dost know this waterflie?
    Hor. No my good Lord.
    3590Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to
    know him: he hath much Land, and fertile; let a Beast
    be Lord of Beasts, and his Crib shall stand at the Kings
    Messe; 'tis a Chowgh; but as I saw spacious in the pos-
    session of dirt.
    3595Osr. Sweet Lord, if your friendship were at leysure,
    I should impart a thing to you from his Maiesty.
    Ham. I will receiue it with all diligence of spirit; put
    your Bonet to his right vse, 'tis for the head.
    Osr. I thanke your Lordship, 'tis very hot.
    3600Ham. No, beleeue mee 'tis very cold, the winde is
    Osr. It is indifferent cold my Lord indeed.
    Ham. Mee thinkes it is very soultry, and hot for my
    280 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    3605Osr. Exceedingly, my Lord, it is very soultry, as 'twere
    I cannot tell how: but my Lord, his Maiesty bad me sig-
    nifie to you, that he ha's laid a great wager on your head:
    Sir, this is the matter.
    Ham. I beseech you remember.
    3610Osr. Nay, in good faith, for mine ease in good faith:
    Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at
    his weapon.
    Ham. What's his weapon?
    Osr. Rapier and dagger.
    3615Ham. That's two of his weapons; but well.
    Osr. The sir King ha's wag'd with him six Barbary Hor-
    ses, against the which he impon'd as I take it, sixe French
    Rapiers and Poniards, with their assignes, as Girdle,
    Hangers or so: three of the Carriages infaith are very
    3620deare to fancy, very responsiue to the hilts, most delicate
    carriages, and of very liberall conceit.
    Ham. What call you the Carriages?
    Osr. The Carriages Sir, are the hangers.
    Ham. The phrase would bee more Germaine to the
    3625matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides; I would
    it might be Hangers till then; but on sixe Barbary Hor-
    ses against sixe French Swords: their Assignes, and three
    liberall conceited Carriages, that's the French but a-
    gainst the Danish; why is this impon'd as you call it?
    3630Osr. The King Sir, hath laid that in a dozen passes be-
    tweene you and him, hee shall not exceed you three hits;
    He hath one twelue for mine, and that would come to
    imediate tryall, if your Lordship would vouchsafe the
    3635Ham. How if I answere no?
    Osr. I meane my Lord, the opposition of your person
    in tryall.
    Ham. Sir, I will walke heere in the Hall; if it please
    his Maiestie, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let
    3640the Foyles bee brought, the Gentleman willing, and the
    King hold his purpose; I will win for him if I can: if
    not, Ile gaine nothing but my shame, and the odde hits.
    Osr. Shall I redeliuer you ee'n so?
    Ham. To this effect Sir, after what flourish your na-
    3645ture will.
    Osr. I commend my duty to your Lordship.
    Ham. Yours, yours; hee does well to commend it
    himselfe, there are no tongues else for's tongue.
    Hor. This Lapwing runs away with the shell on his
    Ham. He did Complie with his Dugge before hee
    suck't it: thus had he and mine more of the same Beauy
    that I know the drossie age dotes on; only got the tune of
    the time, and outward habite of encounter, a kinde of
    3655yesty collection, which carries them through & through
    the most fond and winnowed opinions; and doe but blow
    them to their tryalls: the Bubbles are out.
    Hor. You will lose this wager, my Lord.
    Ham. I doe not thinke so, since he went into France,
    3660I haue beene in continuall practice; I shall winne at the
    oddes: but thou wouldest not thinke how all heere a-
    bout my heart: but it is no matter.
    Hor. Nay, good my Lord.
    Ham. It is but foolery; but it is such a kinde of
    3665gain-giuing as would perhaps trouble a woman.
    Hor. If your minde dislike any thing, obey. I will fore-
    stall their repaire hither, and say you are not fit.
    Ham. Not a whit, we defie Augury; there's a speciall
    Prouidence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not
    3670to come: if it bee not to come, it will bee now: if it
    be not now; yet it will come; the readinesse is all, since no
    man ha's ought of what he leaues. What is't to leaue be-
    Enter King, Queene, Laertes and Lords, with other Atten-
    3675 dants with Foyles, and Gauntlets, a Table and
    Flagons of Wine on it.
    Kin. Come Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
    Ham. Giue me your pardon Sir, I'ue done you wrong,
    But pardon't as you are a Gentleman.
    3680This presence knowes,
    And you must needs haue heard how I am punisht
    With sore distraction? What I haue done
    That might your nature honour, and exception
    Roughly awake, I heere proclaime was madnesse:
    3685Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Neuer Hamlet.
    If Hamlet from himselfe be tane away:
    And when he's not himselfe, do's wrong Laertes,
    Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it:
    Who does it then? His Madnesse? If't be so,
    3690Hamlet is of the Faction that is wrong'd,
    His madnesse is poore Hamlets Enemy.
    Sir, in this Audience,
    Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd euill,
    Free me so farre in your most generous thoughts,
    3695That I haue shot mine Arrow o're the house,
    And hurt my Mother.
    Laer. I am satisfied in Nature,
    Whose motiue in this case should stirre me most
    To my Reuenge. But in my termes of Honor
    3700I stand aloofe, and will no reconcilement,
    Till by some elder Masters of knowne Honor,
    I haue a voyce, and president of peace
    To keepe my name vngorg'd. But till that time,
    I do receiue your offer'd loue like loue,
    3705And wil not wrong it.
    Ham. I do embrace it freely,
    And will this Brothers wager frankely play.
    Giue vs the Foyles: Come on.
    Laer. Come one for me.
    3710Ham. Ile be your foile Laertes, in mine ignorance,
    Your Skill shall like a Starre i'th'darkest night,
    Sticke fiery off indeede.
    Laer. You mocke me Sir.
    Ham. No by this hand.
    3715King. Giue them the Foyles yong Osricke,
    Cousen Hamlet, you know the wager.
    Ham. Verie well my Lord,
    Your Grace hath laide the oddes a'th'weaker side.
    King. I do not feare it,
    3720I haue seene you both:
    But since he is better'd, we haue therefore oddes.
    Laer. This is too heauy,
    Let me see another.
    Ham. This likes me well,
    3725These Foyles haue all a length. Prepare to play.
    Osricke. I my good Lord.
    King. Set me the Stopes of wine vpon that Table:
    If Hamlet giue the first, or second hit,
    Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
    3730Let all the Battlements their Ordinance fire,
    The King shal drinke to Hamlets better breath,
    And in the Cup an vnion shal he throw
    Richer then that, which foure successiue Kings
    In Denmarkes Crowne haue worne.
    The Tragedie of Hamlet. 281
    3735Giue me the Cups,
    And let the Kettle to the Trumpets speake,
    The Trumpet to the Cannoneer without,
    The Cannons to the Heauens, the Heauen to Earth,
    Now the King drinkes to Hamlet. Come, begin,
    3740And you the Iudges beare a wary eye.
    Ham. Come on sir.
    Laer. Come on sir. They play.
    Ham. One.
    Laer. No.
    3745Ham. Iudgement.
    Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
    Laer. Well: againe.
    King. Stay, giue me drinke.
    Hamlet, this Pearle is thine,
    3750Here's to thy health. Giue him the cup,
    Trumpets sound, and shot goes off.
    Ham. Ile play this bout first, set by a-while.
    Come: Another hit; what say you?
    Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confesse.
    3755King. Our Sonne shall win.
    Qu. He's fat, and scant of breath.
    Heere's a Napkin, rub thy browes,
    The Queene Carowses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
    Ham. Good Madam.
    3760King. Gertrude, do not drinke.
    Qu. I will my Lord;
    I pray you pardon me.
    King. It is the poyson'd Cup, it is too late.
    Ham. I dare not drinke yet Madam,
    3765By and by.
    Qu. Come, let me wipe thy face.
    Laer. My Lord, Ile hit him now.
    King. I do not thinke't.
    Laer. And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
    3770Ham. Come for the third.
    Laertes, you but dally,
    I pray you passe with your best violence,
    I am affear'd you make a wanton of me.
    Laer. Say you so? Come on. Play.
    3775Osr. Nothing neither way.
    Laer. Haue at you now.
    In scuffling they change Rapiers.
    King. Part them, they are incens'd.
    Ham. Nay come, againe.
    3780Osr. Looke to the Queene there hoa.
    Hor. They bleed on both sides. How is't my Lord?
    Osr. How is't Laertes?
    Laer. Why as a Woodcocke
    To mine Sprindge, Osricke,
    3785I am iustly kill'd with mine owne Treacherie.
    Ham. How does the Queene?
    King. She sounds to see them bleede.
    Qu. No, no, the drinke, the drinke.
    Oh my deere Hamlet, the drinke, the drinke,
    3790I am poyson'd.
    Ham. Oh Villany! How? Let the doore be lock'd.
    Treacherie, seeke it out.
    Laer. It is heere Hamlet.
    Hamlet, thou art slaine,
    3795No Medicine in the world can do thee good.
    In thee, there is not halfe an houre of life;
    The Treacherous Instrument is in thy hand,
    Vnbated and envenom'd: the foule practise
    Hath turn'd it selfe on me. Loe, heere I lye,
    3800Neuer to rise againe: Thy Mothers poyson'd:
    I can no more, the King, the King's too blame.
    Ham. The point envenom'd too,
    Then venome to thy worke.
    Hurts the King.
    3805All. Treason, Treason.
    King. O yet defend me Friends, I am but hurt.
    Ham. Heere thou incestuous, murdrous,
    Damned Dane,
    Drinke off this Potion: Is thy Vnion heere?
    3810Follow my Mother. King Dyes.
    Laer. He is iustly seru'd.
    It is a poyson temp'red by himselfe:
    Exchange forgiuenesse with me, Noble Hamlet;
    Mine and my Fathers death come not vpon thee,
    3815Nor thine on me. Dyes.
    Ham. Heauen make thee free of it, I follow thee.
    I am dead Horatio, wretched Queene adiew,
    You that looke pale, and tremble at this chance,
    That are but Mutes or audience to this acte:
    3820Had I but time (as this fell Sergeant death
    Is strick'd in his Arrest) oh I could tell you.
    But let it be: Horatio, I am dead,
    Thou liu'st, report me and my causes right
    To the vnsatisfied.
    3825Hor. Neuer beleeue it.
    I am more an Antike Roman then a Dane:
    Heere's yet some Liquor left.
    Ham. As th'art a man, giue me the Cup.
    Let go, by Heauen Ile haue't.
    3830Oh good Horatio, what a wounded name,
    (Things standing thus vnknowne) shall liue behind me.
    If thou did'st euer hold me in thy heart,
    Absent thee from felicitie awhile,
    And in this harsh world draw thy breath in paine,
    3835To tell my Storie.
    March afarre off, and shout within.
    What warlike noyse is this?
    Enter Osricke.
    Osr. Yong Fortinbras, with conquest come frõ Poland
    3840To th' Ambassadors of England giues rhis warlike volly.
    Ham. O I dye Horatio:
    The potent poyson quite ore-crowes my spirit,
    I cannot liue to heare the Newes from England,
    But I do prophesie th'election lights
    3845On Fortinbras, he ha's my dying voyce,
    So tell him with the occurrents more and lesse,
    Which haue solicited. The rest is silence. O, o, o, o. Dyes
    Hora. Now cracke a Noble heart:
    Goodnight sweet Prince,
    3850And flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest,
    Why do's the Drumme come hither?
    Enter Fortinbras and English Ambassador, with Drumme,
    Colours, and Attendants.
    Fortin. Where is this sight?
    3855Hor. What is it ye would see;
    If ought of woe, or wonder, cease your search.
    For. His quarry cries on hauocke. Oh proud death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternall Cell.
    That thou so many Princes, at a shoote,
    3860So bloodily hast strooke.
    Amb. The sight is dismall,
    And our affaires from England come too late,
    The eares are senselesse that should giue vs hearing,
    To tell him his command'ment is fulfill'd,
    qq That
    280 The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    3865That Rosincrance and Guildensterne are dead:
    Where should we haue our thankes?
    Hor. Not from his mouth,
    Had it th'abilitie of life to thanke you:
    He neuer gaue command'ment for their death.
    3870But since so iumpe vpon this bloodie question,
    You from the Polake warres, and you from England
    Are heere arriued. Giue order that these bodies
    High on a stage be placed to the view,
    And let me speake to th'yet vnknowing world,
    3875How these things came about. So shall you heare
    Of carnall, bloudie, and vnnaturall acts,
    Of accidentall iudgements, casuall slaughters
    Of death's put on by cunning, and forc'd cause,
    And in this vpshot, purposes mistooke,
    3880Falne on the Inuentors heads. All this can I
    Truly deliuer.
    For. Let vs hast to heare it,
    And call the Noblest to the Audience.
    For me, with sorrow, I embrace my Fortune,
    3885I haue some Rites of memory in this Kingdome,
    Which are ro claime, my vantage doth
    Inuite me,
    Hor. Of that I shall haue alwayes cause to speake,
    And from his mouth
    3890Whose voyce will draw on more:
    But let this same be presently perform'd,
    Euen whiles mens mindes are wilde,
    Lest more mischance
    On plots, and errors happen.
    3895For. Let foure Captaines
    Beare Hamlet like a Soldier to the Stage,
    For he was likely, had he beene put on
    To haue prou'd most royally:
    And for his passage,
    3900The Souldiours Musicke, and the rites of Warre
    Speake lowdly for him.
    Take vp the body; Such a sight as this
    Becomes the Field, but heere shewes much amis.
    Go, bid the Souldiers shoote.
    3905Exeunt Marching: after the which, a Peale of
    Ordenance are shot off.