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  • Title: Hamlet (Modern, Quarto 1)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • 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
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Modern, Quarto 1)

    [Scene 9]
    Enter Hamlet and the Players.
    Pronounce me this speech trippingly o'the tongue as I taught thee.
    1850Marry, an you mouth it, as a many of your players do,
    I'd rather hear a town bull bellow
    Than such a fellow speak my lines.
    Nor do not saw the air thus with your hands,
    But give everything his action with temperance.
    Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig fellow
    To tear a passion in totters, into very rags,
    To split the ears of the ignorant, who for the
    Most part are capable of nothing but dumb shows and noises.
    1860I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant.
    It out-Herods Herod.
    My lord, we have indifferently reformed that 1885among us.
    The better, the better. Mend it altogether.
    There be fellows that I have seen play,
    And heard others commend them, and that highly too,
    That, having neither the gait of Christian, pagan,
    1880Nor Turk, have so strutted and bellowed
    That you would ha' thought some of Nature's journeymen
    Had made men, and not made them well,
    They imitated humanity so abhominable.
    Take heed, avoid it.
    I warrant you, my lord.
    And do you hear? Let not your Clown speak
    More than is set down. There be of them, I can tell you,
    That will laugh themselves, to set on some
    Quantity of barren spectators to laugh with them,
    1890Albeit there is some necessary point in the play
    Then to be observed. Oh, 'tis vile, and shows
    A pitiful ambition in the fool that useth it.
    1892.1And then you have some again that keeps one suit
    Of jests, as a man is known by one suit of
    Apparel, and gentlemen quotes his jests down
    In their tables before they come to the play, as thus:
    1892.5"Cannot you stay till I eat my porridge?" and "You owe me
    A quarter's wages," and "My coat wants a cullison,"
    And "Your beer is sour," and blabbering with his lips
    And thus keeping in his cinquepace of jests
    When, God knows, the warm Clown cannot make a jest
    1892.10Unless by chance, as the blind man catcheth a hare.
    Masters, tell him of it.
    We will, my lord.
    Well, go make you ready.
    Exeunt Players.
    [Enter Horatio.]
    Here, my lord.
    Horatio, thou art even as just a man
    1905As e'er my conversation coped withal.
    Oh, my lord!
    Nay, why should I flatter thee?
    1910Why should the poor be flattered?
    What gain should I receive by flattering thee,
    That nothing hath but thy good mind?
    Let flattery sit on those time-pleasing tongues
    To gloze with them that loves to hear their praise,
    1912.1And not with such as thou, Horatio.
    There is a play tonight, wherein one scene they have
    Comes very near the murder of my father.
    When thou shalt see that act afoot,
    Mark thou the King; do but observe his looks,
    For I mine eyes will rivet to his face.
    And if he do not bleach and change at that,
    It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen.
    Horatio, have a care; observe him well.
    My lord, mine eyes shall still be on his face,
    1940And not the smallest alteration
    That shall appear in him but I shall note it.
    Hark, they come.
    Enter King, Queen, Corambis, [Ofelia,] and other Lords [Rossencraft and Gilderstone].
    How now, son Hamlet, how fare you? Shall we have a play?
    I'faith, the chameleon's dish, not capon-crammed-- 1950feed o'the air.
    Ay, father! [To Corambis] My lord, you played in the university.
    That I did, my lord, and I was counted a good actor.
    What did you enact there?
    My lord, I did act Julius Caesar. I was killed in the Capitol. Brutus killed me.
    It was a brute part of him
    To kill so capital a calf.
    Come, be these players ready?
    Hamlet, come sit down by me.
    No, by my faith, mother, here's a mettle more attractive.
    [To Ofelia.] Lady, will you give me leave, and so forth,
    To lay my head in your lap?
    No, my lord.
    Upon your lap. What, do you think I meant contrary matters?
    1990Enter, in a dumb-show, the King and the Queen. He sits down in an arbor. She leaves him. Then enters Lucianus with poison in a vial, and pours it in his ears, and goes away. Then the Queen cometh and finds him dead, and goes away with the other.
    [Exeunt Players.]
    What means this, my lord?
    Enter the Prologue.
    This is miching Mallico. That means mischief.
    What doth this mean, my lord?
    You shall hear anon. This fellow will tell you all.
    Will he tell us what this show means?
    Ay, or any show you'll show him.
    Be not afeard to show, he'll not be afeard to tell.
    Oh, these players cannot keep counsel. They'll tell all.
    For us, and for our tragedy,
    Here stooping to your clemency,
    We beg your hearing patiently.
    Is't a prologue, or a poesie for a ring?
    'Tis short, my lord.
    As women's love.
    Enter the Duke and Duchess.
    Full forty years are past--their date is gone--
    Since happy time joined both our hearts as one.
    2028.1And now the blood that filled my youthful veins
    Runs weakly in their pipes, and all the strains
    Of music, which whilom pleased mine ear,
    Is now a burden that age cannot bear.
    2028.5And therefore sweet Nature must pay his due.
    2040To heaven must I, and leave the earth with you.
    Oh, say not so, lest that you kill my heart!
    When death takes you, let life from me depart!
    Content thyself. When ended is my date,
    Thou mayst perchance have a more noble mate,
    2043.1More wise, more youthful, and one--
    Oh, speak no more, for then I am accurst!
    None weds the second but she kills the first.
    A second time I kill my lord that's dead
    When second husband kisses me in bed.
    Oh, wormwood, wormwood!
    I do believe you, sweet, what now you speak,
    2055But what we do determine oft we break,
    2080For our demises still are overthrown;
    Our thought are ours, their end's none of our own.
    So think you will no second husband wed,
    But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
    Both here and there pursue me lasting strife,
    If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
    If she should break now!
    'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
    My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
    The tedious time with sleep.
    Sleep rock thy brain,
    And never come mischance between us twain!
    Exit Lady.
    Madam, how do you like this play?
    The lady protests too much.
    Oh, but she'll keep her word.
    Have you heard the argument? Is there no offense in it?
    No offense in the world. Poison in jest, poison in jest.
    What do you call the name of the play?
    Mousetrap. Marry, how? Trapically. This play is
    The image of a murder done in Guiana. Albertus
    Was the duke's name, his wife Baptista.
    Father, it is a knavish piece o'work, but what
    O' that? It toucheth not us, you and I that have free
    2110Souls. Let the galled jade wince. This is one
    [Enter Lucianus.]
    Lucianus, nephew to the King.
    Y'are as good as a chorus, my lord.
    I could interpret the love you bear, if I saw the 2115poopies dallying.
    Y'are very pleasant, my lord.
    Who, I? Your only jig-maker. Why, what should a man do but be merry? For look how cheerfully my 1980mother looks; my father died within these two hours.
    Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
    Two months? Nay, then, let the devil wear black,
    For I'll have a suit of sables. Jesus, two months dead,
    1985And not forgotten yet? Nay, then, there's some
    Likelihood a gentleman's death may outlive memory.
    But, by my faith, he must build churches, then,
    Or else he must follow the old epitithe:
    "With ho, with ho, the hobby-horse is forgot."
    Your jests are keen, my lord.
    It would cost you a groaning to take them off.
    Still better and worse.
    So you must take your husband, begin. Murdered!
    Begin. A pox, leave thy damnable faces and begin.
    Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.
    Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,
    Confederate season, else no creature seeing,
    Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
    With Hecate's bane thrice blasted, thrice infected,
    Thy natural magic and dire property
    2130One wholesome life usurps immediately.
    [He pours the poison in the sleeper's ears.]
    He poisons him for his estate.
    Lights! I will to bed.
    The King rises. Lights, ho!
    Exeunt King and Lords.
    What, frighted with false fires?
    Then let the stricken deer go weep,
    The heart ungallèd play,
    2145For some must laugh, while some must weep;
    Thus runs the world away.
    The King is moved, my lord.
    Ay, Horatio, I'll take the Ghost's word
    for more than all the coin in Denmark.
    Enter Rossencraft and Gilderstone.
    Now, my lord, how is't with you?
    An if the King like not the tragedy,
    Why, then, belike he likes it not, perdy.
    We are very glad to see your grace so pleasant.
    My good lord, let us again entreat
    To know of you the ground and cause of your distemperature.
    My lord, your mother craves to speak with you.
    We shall obey, were she ten times our mother.
    But, my good lord, shall I entreat thus much?
    [Offering Rossencraft a recorder] I pray, will you play upon this pipe?
    Alas, my lord, I cannot.
    [To Gilderstone] Pray, will you?
    I have no skill, my lord.
    Why look, it is a thing of nothing.
    'Tis but stopping of these holes,
    And with a little breath from your lips
    2230it will give most delicate music.
    But this cannot we do, my lord.
    Pray now, pray, heartily, I beseech you.
    My lord, we cannot.
    Why, how unworthy a thing would you make of me!
    2235You would seem to know my stops, you would play upon me,
    You would search the very inward part of my heart
    And dive into the secret of my soul.
    2240Zounds, do you think I am easier to be played
    On than a pipe? Call me what instrument
    You will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot
    Play upon me. Besides, to be demanded by a sponge--
    How, a sponge, my lord?
    Ay, sir, a sponge, that soaks up the King's
    Countenance, favors, and rewards, that makes
    His liberality your storehouse. But such as you
    Do the King, in the end, best service;
    For he doth keep you as an ape doth nuts,
    In the corner of his jaw: first mouths you,
    Then swallows you. So, when he hath need
    Of you, 'tis but squeezing of you,
    2650And, sponge, you shall be dry again, you shall.
    Well, my lord, we'll take our leave.
    Farewell, farewell. God bless you.
    2242.1Exit Rossencraft and Gilderstone.
    Enter Corambis
    My lord, the Queen would speak with you.
    Do you see yonder cloud in the shape of a camel?
    'Tis like a camel, indeed.
    Now me thinks it's like a weasel.
    'Tis backed like a weasel.
    Or like a whale.
    Very like a whale.
    Exit Corambis.
    Why then, tell my mother I'll come by and by.
    2254.1Good night, Horatio.
    Good night unto your lordship.
    Exit Horatio.
    My mother! She hath sent to speak with me.
    O God, let ne'er the heart of Nero enter
    2265This soft bosom.
    Let me be cruel, not unnatural.
    I will speak daggers. Those sharp words being spent,
    2270To do her wrong my soul shall ne'er consent.