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  • Title: Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)

    Enter old Polonius, with his man [Reynaldo] or two.
    Give him this money, and these notes, Reynaldo.
    [He gives money and papers.]
    I will, my lord.
    You shall do marv'lous wisely, good Reynaldo,
    Before you visit him, to make inquire
    Of his behavior.
    My lord, I did intend it.
    Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
    Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
    And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
    900What company, at what expense; and finding
    By this encompassment and drift of question
    That they do know my son, come you more nearer
    Than your particular demands will touch it;
    Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him,
    905As thus: "I know his father, and his friends,
    And in part him." Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
    Ay, very well, my lord.
    "And in part him. But," you may say, "not well,
    But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
    910Addicted so and so," and there put on him
    What forgeries you please--marry, none so rank
    As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
    But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
    As are companions noted and most known
    915To youth and liberty.
    As gaming, my lord.
    Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
    Quarreling, drabbing--you may go so far.
    My lord, that would dishonor him.
    Faith, as you may season it in the charge.
    You must not put another scandal on him
    That he is open to incontinency;
    That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
    That they may seem the taints of liberty,
    925The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
    A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
    Of general assault.
    But, my good lord--
    Wherefore should you do this?
    Ay, my lord, I would know that.
    Marry sir, here's my drift,
    And I believe it is a fetch of wit.
    You laying these slight sallies on my son
    As 'twere a thing a little soiled with working,
    Mark you, your party in converse, him you would sound,
    935Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
    The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
    He closes with you in this consequence:
    "Good sir" (or so), or "friend," or "gentleman,"
    According to the phrase, or the addition
    940Of man and country.
    Very good, my lord.
    And then, sir, does 'a this, 'a does--what was I about to say?
    By the mass, I was about to say something.
    Where did I leave?
    At "closes in the consequence."
    At "closes in the consequence." Ay, marry,
    He closes thus: "I know the gentleman,
    I saw him yesterday"--or th'other day,
    950Or then, or then--"with such or such, and as you say,
    There was 'a gaming there, or took in's rouse,
    There falling out at tennis," or perchance
    "I saw him enter such a house of sale,"
    Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth. See you now,
    955Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth,
    And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
    With windlasses and with assays of bias,
    By indirections find directions out;
    So by my former lecture and advice
    960Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
    My lord, I have.
    God buy ye, fare ye well.
    Good my lord.
    Observe his inclination in yourself.
    I shall, my lord.
    And let him ply his music.
    Well, my lord.
    Exit Reynaldo.
    Enter Ophelia.
    Farewell.--How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?
    Oh, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
    With what, i'th' name of God?
    My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
    Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
    975No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
    Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
    Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
    And with a look so piteous in purport
    As if he had been loosèd out of hell
    980To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
    Mad for thy love?
    My lord, I do not know,
    But truly I do fear it.
    What said he?
    He took me by the wrist, and held me hard.
    985Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
    And with his other hand thus o'er his brow
    He falls to such perusal of my face
    As 'a would draw it. Long stayed he so.
    At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
    990And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
    He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
    As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
    And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
    And with his head over his shoulder turned
    995He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
    For out o' doors he went without their helps,
    And to the last bended their light on me.
    Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
    This is the very ecstasy of love,
    1000Whose violent property fordoes itself
    And leads the will to desperate undertakings
    As oft as any passions under heaven
    That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
    What, have you given him any hard words of late?
    No, my good lord, but as you did command
    I did repel his letters, and denied
    His access to me.
    That hath made him mad.
    I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
    1010I had not coted him. I feared he did but trifle
    And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
    By heaven, it is as proper to our age
    To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
    As it is common for the younger sort
    1015To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
    This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
    More grief to hide than hate to utter love.