Internet Shakespeare Editions


Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 two Clowns [with spades and mattocks].
    Is she to be buried in Christian burial, when she willfully seeks her own salvation?
    I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight. The crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.
    How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her owndefense?
    Why, 'tis found so.
    It must be so offended, it cannot be else, for here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act, and an act hath 3200three branches: it is to act, to do, and to perform. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
    Nay, but hear you, good man delver.
    Give me leave. Here lies the water; good. Here stands the 3205man; good. If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes. Mark you that. But if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.
    But is this law?
    Ay, marry, is't, crowner's quest law.
    Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o'Christian burial.
    Why, there thou say'st, and the more pity that great folk should have count'nance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even-Christen. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and gravemakers. They hold up Adam's profession.
    Was he a gentleman?
    'A was the first that ever bore arms. I'll put another question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself.
    Go to.
    What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
    The gallows-maker, for that outlives a thousand tenants.
    I like thy wit well, in good faith, the gallows does well.3235But how does it well? It does well to those that do ill. Now, thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church. Argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.
    "Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a 3240carpenter?"
    Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
    Marry, now I can tell.
    Mass, I cannot tell.
    Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating; and when you are asked this question next, say "a grave-maker." The houses he makes lasts till doomsday. Go get thee in, and fetch me a soope of liquor.
    [Exit Second Clown.]
    [The First Clown digs.]
    In youth when I did love, did love,
    Methought it was very sweet
    To contract--oh--the time for-a--my behove,
    3255Oh, methought there--a--was nothing--a--meet.
    3245Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
    Has this fellow no feeling of his business? 'A sings in grave-making.
    Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
    'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.
    But age with his stealing steps
    Hath clawed me in his clutch,
    3265And hath shipped me into the land,
    As if I had never been such.
    [The Clown throws up a skull.]
    That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, that did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now 3270o'erreaches, one that would circumvent God, might it not?
    It might, my lord.
    Or of a courtier, which could say, "Good morrow, sweet lord, how dost thou, sweet lord?" This might be my Lord Such-a-one, that 3275praised my Lord Such-a-one's horse when 'a went to beg it, might it not?
    Ay, my lord.
    Why, e'en so. And now my Lady Worm's, chopless, and knocked about the massene with a sexton's spade. Here's fine revolution, an 3280we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggets with them? Mine ache to think on't.
    A pickax and a spade, a spade,
    For and a shrouding sheet;
    Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
    For such a guest is meet.
    [He throws up another skull.]
    There's another. Why may not that be the 3290skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this mad knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? H'm! This fellow might be 3295in's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? Will vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length 3300and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will scarcely lie in this box, and must th'inheritor himself have no more, ha?
    Not a jot more, my lord.
    Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
    Ay, my lord, and of calves' skins too.
    They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow.--Whose grave's this, sirrah?
    Mine, sir.
    Oh, a pit of clay for to be made --
    I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
    You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not yours. For my part, I 3315do not lie in't, yet it is mine.
    Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine. 'Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
    'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again from me to you.
    What man dost thou dig it for?
    For no man, sir.
    What woman, then?
    For none, neither.
    Who is to be buried in't?
    One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she's dead.
    [To Horatio] How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, this three years I 3330have took note of it, the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe.--How long hast thou been grave-maker?
    Of the days i'th' year, I came to't that day that our last King 3335Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
    How long is that since?
    Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was that very day that young Hamlet was born--he that is mad and sent into England.
    Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
    Why, because 'a was mad. 'A shall recover his wits there, or if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter there.
    'Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.
    How came he mad?
    Very strangely, they say.
    How strangely?
    Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
    Upon what ground?
    Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.
    How long will a man lie i'th' earth ere he rot?
    Faith, if 'a be not rotten before 'a die--as we have many 3355pocky corses nowadays that will scarce hold the laying in--'a will last you some eight year, or nine year. A tanner will last you nine year.
    Why he more than another?
    Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade that 'a will keep 3360out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. [He picks up a skull.] Here's a skull now hath lyen you i'th'earth 23 years.
    Whose was it?
    A whoreson mad fellow's it was. Whose do you think it was?
    Nay, I know not.
    A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'A poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester.
    E'en that.
    [taking the skull] Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge 3375rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.--Where be your gibes now? Your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chopfall'n? Now get you 3380to my lady's table and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
    What's that, my lord?
    Dost thou think Alexander looked o'this fashion i'th' earth?
    E'en so.
    And smelt so? Pah!
    [He throws the skull down.]
    E'en so, my lord.
    To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till 'a find it stopping a bunghole?
    'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.
    No, faith, not a jot. But to follow him thither with modesty 3395enough, and likelihood to lead it: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam, and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
    3400Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
    Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
    Oh, that that earth which kept the world in awe
    Should patch a wall t'expel the water's flaw!
    Enter King, Queen, Laertes, and the corse [of Ophelia, in funeral procession, with the "Doctor" or Priest, and others].
    But soft, but soft awhile! Here comes the King,
    The Queen, the courtiers. Who is this they follow?
    And with such maimèd rites? This doth betoken
    The corse they follow did with desp'rate hand
    3410Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
    Couch we awhile and mark.
    [Hamlet and Horatio conceal themselves. Ophelia's body is taken to the grave.]
    What ceremony else?
    [Aside to Horatio] That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
    What ceremony else?
    Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
    As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
    And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
    She should in ground unsanctified been lodged
    Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
    3420Flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her;
    Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
    Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
    Of bell and burial.
    Must there no more be done?
    No more be done.
    We should profane the service of the dead
    To sing a requiem and such rest to her
    As to peace-parted souls.
    Lay her i'th' earth,
    3430And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
    May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
    A minist'ring angel shall my sister be
    When thou liest howling.
    [To Horatio] What, the fair Ophelia!
    [Scattering flowers] Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
    I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
    I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
    And not have strewed thy grave.
    Oh, treble woe
    3440Fall ten times double on that cursèd head
    Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
    Deprived thee of!--Hold off the earth awhile,
    Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
    [He leaps in the grave]
    3445Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
    Till of this flat a mountain you have made
    T'o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
    Of blue Olympus.
    [Coming forward] What is he whose grief
    3450Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
    Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand
    Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
    Hamlet the Dane.
    Laertes[Grappling with Hamlet]
    The devil take thy soul!
    Thou pray'st not well. I prithee take thy fingers from my throat,
    For, though I am not splenative rash,
    Yet have I in me something dangerous,
    Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!
    Pluck them asunder.
    Hamlet, Hamlet!
    Good my lord, be quiet.
    [Hamlet and Laertes are parted.]
    Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
    Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
    Oh, my son, what theme?
    I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
    Could not with all their quantity of love
    Make up my sum.--What wilt thou do for her?
    Oh, he is mad, Laertes.
    For love of God, forbear him.
    'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do.
    Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't fast? Woo't tear thyself?
    Woo't drink up eisil? Eat a crocodile?
    I'll do't. Dost come here to whine?
    3475To outface me with leaping in her grave?
    Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
    And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
    Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
    Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
    3480Make Ossa like a wart. Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
    I'll rant as well as thou.
    This is mere madness,
    And this awhile the fit will work on him;
    Anon, as patient as the female dove
    3485When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
    His silence will sit drooping.
    [To Laertes] Hear you, sir,
    What is the reason that you use me thus?
    I loved you ever. But it is no matter.
    3490Let Hercules himself do what he may,
    The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.
    Exit Hamlet.
    I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
    And Horatio [exits too].
    [Aside to Laertes] Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
    We'll put the matter to the present push.--
    3495Good Gertrard, set some watch over your son.--
    This grave shall have a living monument.
    An hour of quiet thereby shall we see;
    Till then, in patience our proceeding be.