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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Lords.
    And can you by no drift of conference
    Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
    1650Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
    With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
    He does confess he feels himself distracted,
    But from what cause, 'a will by no means speak.
    Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
    1655But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
    When we would bring him on to some confession
    Of his true state.
    Did he receive you well?
    Most like a gentleman.
    But with much forcing of his disposition.
    Niggard of question, but of our demands
    Most free in his reply.
    Did you assay him to any pastime?
    Madam, it so fell out that certain players
    1665We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
    And there did seem in him a kind of joy
    To hear of it. They are here about the court,
    And, as I think, they have already order
    This night to play before him.
    1670Polonius 'Tis most true,
    And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties
    To hear and see the matter.
    With all my heart,and it doth much content me
    To hear him so inclined.
    Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
    1675And drive his purpose into these delights.
    We shall, my lord.
    Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [and Lords].
    Sweet Gertrard, leave us two,
    For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
    1680That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
    Affront Ophelia. Her father and myself,
    We'll so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
    We may of their encounter frankly judge,
    And gather by him, as he is behaved,
    1685If't be th'affliction of his love or no
    That thus he suffers for.
    I shall obey you.
    And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
    That your good beauties be the happy cause
    1690Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
    Will bring him to his wonted way again,
    To both your honors.
    Madam, I wish it may.
    [Exit Queen.]
    Ophelia, walk you here.--Gracious, so please you,
    1695We will bestow ourselves. [To Ophelia, as he gives her a book] Read on this book,
    That show of such an exercise may color
    Your lowliness. We are oft too blame in this,
    'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage
    And pious action we do sugar o'er
    1700The devil himself.
    [Aside] Oh, 'tis too true!
    How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
    The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
    Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
    1705Than is my deed to my most painted word.
    Oh, heavy burden!
    Enter Hamlet.
    I hear him coming. Withdraw, my lord.
    [The King and Polonius conceal themselves.]
    To be, or not to be, that is the question,
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
    1715No more--and by a sleep to say we end
    The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to; 'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
    1720For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
    Must give us pause. There's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life.
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    1725Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
    The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office, and the spurns
    That patient merit of th'unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    1730With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered country from whose bourn
    No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
    1735And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    Thus conscience does make cowards,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sickl[i]ed o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    1740And enterprises of great pitch and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry
    And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
    The fair Ophelia!--Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins remembered.
    Good my lord,
    How does your honor for this many a day?
    I humbly thank you well.
    My lord, I have remembrances of yours
    That I have longèd long to redeliver.
    1750I pray you now receive them.
    No, not I. I never gave you aught.
    My honored lord, you know right well you did,
    And with them words of so sweet breath composed
    As made these things more rich. Their perfume lost,
    1755Take these again, for to the noble mind
    Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind,
    There, my lord.
    [She offers Hamlet the remembrances.]
    Ha, ha! Are you honest?
    My lord?
    Are you fair?
    What means your lordship?
    That if you be honest and fair, you should admit no discourse to your beauty.
    Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce 1765than with honesty?
    Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
    Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
    You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so evocutate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
    I was the more deceived.
    Get thee [to] a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves; believe none of us.Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father?
    At home, my lord.
    Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in's own house. Farewell.
    Oh, help him, you sweet heavens!
    If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you 1795make of them. To a nunnery go, and quickly too. Farewell.
    Heavenly powers restore him!
    I have heard of your paintings well enough. God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another. You jig and 1800amble, and you lisp, you nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad. I say we will have no mo marriage. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
    Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
    Th'expectation and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mold of form,
    1810Th'observed of all observers, quite, quite down,
    And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
    That sucked the honey of his musicked vows,
    Now see what noble and most sovereign reason
    Like sweet bells jangled out of time, and harsh,
    1815That unmatched form and stature of blown youth
    Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me
    T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
    Enter King and Polonius [stepping forward from concealment].
    Love? His affections do not that way tend,
    1820Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
    Was not like madness. There's something in his soul
    O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
    And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
    Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
    1825I have in quick determination
    Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England,
    For the demand of our neglected tribute.
    Haply the seas, and countries different,
    With variable objects, shall expel
    1830This something-settled matter in his heart,
    Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
    From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
    It shall do well. But yet do I believe
    the origin and commencement of his grief
    1835Sprung from neglected love.--How now, Ophelia?
    You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said,
    We heard it all.--My lord, do as you please,
    But if you hold it fit, after the play
    Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
    1840To show his grief. Let her be round with him,
    And I'll be placed (so please you) in the ear
    Of all their conference. If she find him not,
    To England send him, or confine him where
    Your wisdom best shall think.
    It shall be so;
    Madness in great ones must not unmatched go.