THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK
By William Shakespeare
Abridged by Christian Carvajal
THE GHOST OF DEAD KING HAMLET / First Player
LORD POLONIUS / Gravedigger
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not set
His laws against self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Shame on it! ah shame! 'tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it fully.
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our onetime sister, now our queen,
The imperial partner to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,--
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and grief,--
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
My dread lord,
Your leave and favor to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laborsome petition, and at last
Upon his will I sealed my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
Use thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
Laertes! aboard; my blessing with thee!
And these few concepts in thy memory
Keep for character: Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any overheated thought its act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, with their affection proven,
Bind them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not spend thy all in entertainment
Of each new-hatched, youthful comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Fight so the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's viewpoint, but reserve thy judgment.
Wear the best-made clothes your money can buy,
But not expressed fancily: rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of thriftiness.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing ripen this in thee!
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
But now, my nephew Hamlet, and my son,--
A little more than kin, and less than kind.
How is it that the clouds still follow you?
Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.
Good Hamlet, cast thy night-black color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not forever with thy veiled lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou knowest 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Aye, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not "seems."
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy aspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected movements of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passes show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow; but to persevere
In obstinate bereavement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven.
We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I behave toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, offer to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, nephew, and our son.
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:
Live as myself in Denmark. Come away.
That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; so loving to my mother
That he might not allow the winds of heaven to
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
Let me not think on it--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
O, God! a beast, that lacks discourse of reason,
Would have mourned longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules; within a month
She married. O, most wicked speed, to run
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not and it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
Hail to your lordship!
I am glad to see you well:
Horatio, or I do forget myself.
But what is your affair in Elsinore
Castle? We should drink deep ere you depart.
My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
I wish I'd met my dearest foe in heaven
Ere ever I saw that day, Horatio!
My father!--methinks I see my father.
Where, my lord?
In my mind's eye, Horatio.
I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
My lord, the king your father.
The king my father!
Two nights together had two gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encountered. A figure like your father,
His armor matched exactly, head to toe,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walked
By their oppressed and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his cudgel's length; whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stood dumb and spoke not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
And I with them the third night kept the watch;
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
Did you not speak to it?
My lord, I did;
But answer made it none: yet once methought
It lifted up its head and did address
Itself to motion, as if it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crowed loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanished from our sight.
'Tis very strange.
As I do live, my honored lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it set down in our duty
To let you know of it.
Then saw you not his face?
What, looked he frowningly?
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Pale or red?
Nay, very pale.
And fixed his eyes upon you?
I wish I had been there.
It would have much amazed you.
Very like, very like. Stayed it long?
While one with moderate haste might count a hundred.
Hold you the watch tonight?
We do, my lord.
Armed, say you?
Armed, my lord.
I will watch tonight;
Perchance 'twill walk again.
I warrant it will.
If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you, then,
If you have hitherto concealed this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall come tonight,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your love.
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and wealthy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the shrouded dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets:
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the full moon
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse:
And even the like portent of fierce events
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climates here and countrymen.
My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I fear some foul play: would the night were come!
Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth conceal them, to men's eyes.
What is it, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
If it be so, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself as clearly
As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.
He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
Affection! ha! you speak like a green girl
Untested in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
Well then, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby
If you have taken these offers for true pay
Which are not silver. Tender yourself more dearly,
Or you'll tender me a fool.
My lord, he hath oft approached me with love
In honorable fashion.
Ay, fashion you may call it, a whim; go on.
And hath given evidence of his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Aye, snares to catch turkeys. I do know,
When the blood burns, how easily the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, are weak in both,
And as for their promises, even as they're made,
The supposed fire dies. From now on
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set conversation at a higher cost
Than a command performance. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe this much of him: that he is young
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you: in short, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows. Leave it at this:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any leisure moment
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to it, I charge you: mend your ways.
I shall obey, my lord.
The air bites cruelly; it is very cold.
It is a nipping and an eager air.
What hour now?
I think 'tis less than twelve.
No, that hour struck.
Look, my lord, it comes!
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intent wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: the senior Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canonized bones, tombed in death,
Have burst their holy shrouds. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corpse, again in suit of steel
So horrid as to shake our very natures
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? why, then? what should we do?
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulfurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!
Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Speak; I am bound to hear.
So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
I am thy father's spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. If I were not forbade
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
But this eternal blaze cannot be told
To ears of flesh and blood. Hear, hear, O hear!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
Haste me to know it, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis said that whilst I slept within my orchard,
A serpent stung me; thus the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged report of my death
Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
O my prophetic soul! My uncle!
Aye, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
A wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But wait! methinks I smell the morning air;
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always in the afternoon,
Into my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of poisonous henbane in a vial,
And in the windows of my ears did pour
The cancerous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigor doth ferment
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despoiled:
Cut off even in the blossom of my sin,
Unprayed-for, unforgiven, unready,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursueth this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul do harm
Against thy mother: no, leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?
And shall I include hell? O, shame! Hold fast, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Aye, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial old records,
All words from books, all laws, all motives past,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
So one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
And therefore like a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come;
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strangely or oddly I bear myself,
As I by chance hereafter shall think fit
To put a manic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
By arms reacting thus, or a headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
Reveal that you know anything: Swear.
Propose the oath, my lord.
Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
So let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The times are out of joint: O curséd spite,
That ever I was born to set them right!
What now, Ophelia? what's the matter?
O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
With what, in the name of God?
My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, with his jacket all unlaced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled,
Unlaced, and fallen down to his ankle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look as piteous in meaning
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To 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;
Then 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 if to draw it. Long stayed he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
That 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,
He seemed to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their help,
And, to the last, he bent their light on me.
Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
This is the very lunacy of love,
Whose violent property undoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven. 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
Him access to me.
'Twas that drove him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not dealt with him: I feared he did but toy with
You to sully thee; but I curse now my skeptic thoughts!
By heaven, it is as common for the old
To overreach our finite understanding
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king.
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king:
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of politics as sure
As it once used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
I doubt it is no other but the main;
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
Well, we shall test him.
My liege, and madam, to expound upon
What majesty is, or what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, or time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad I call it; for, to define true madness,
What is it but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter, with less art.
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But enough about that; I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather, say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the problem is thus. Reflect.
I have a daughter--have while she is mine--
Who, in her duty and obedience, now,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.
"To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most
That's a crude phrase, a vile phrase; "beautified" is
a vile phrase: but you shall hear. Thus:
"In her excellent white bosom (ahem), et cetera."
Came this from Hamlet to her?
Good madam, stay a while; I will be faithful.
"Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am poor at poetics;
I have no art to write down my groans: but that
I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore most dear lady, whilst
this machine still runs--Hamlet."
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
And more beyond, all his solicitings
As they happened, what time, what means and place,
All given to mine ear.
But how hath she
Answered his love?
What do you think of me?
As of a man faithful and honorable.
I hope to prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me--what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
Had I looked upon this love without concern;
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did advise:
'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy league;
This must not be: and then I orders gave her,
That she should hide herself from his approach,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the point of my advice;
And he, repulsed--a short tale to make--
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence without sleep, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and from this descended
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
Which all we mourn for.
Do you think 'tis this?
It may be, very likely.
Hath there been such a time--let me know it--
That I have positively said "’Tis so,"
When it proved otherwise?
Not that I know.
(pointing to his head and shoulder)
Take this from this, if it be otherwise:
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within Earth's center.
How may we test it further?
You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the foyer.
So he does indeed.
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind a curtain then;
Watch the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fallen therefrom,
Let me be no advisor to the state,
But keep a farm and cartmen.
We will try it.
But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
Away, I do beseech you, both away:
I'll greet him presently. O, give me leave:
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Well, God hath mercy.
Do you know me, my lord?
Excellent well; you are a fish merchant.
Not I, my lord.
Then I wish you were as honest a man.
Honest, my lord!
Aye, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be
one man picked out of ten thousand.
That's very true, my lord.
For if the sun breeds maggots in a dead dog, being a
god, it kisses carrion--Have you a daughter?
I have, my lord.
Let her not walk in the sun: conception is a
blessing: but not if your daughter may conceive.
Friend, look to it.
What mean you by that? Still harping on my
daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I
was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and
truly in my youth I suffered from extreme thoughts of
love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord?
Words, words, words.
What is the matter, my lord?
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here
that old men have gray beards, that their faces are
wrinkled, their eyes bleeding thick amber and
plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of
wit, together with most weak legs: all of which, sir,
though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet
I hold it poor etiquette to have it thus set down, for
yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.
Though this be madness, yet there is method
in it. Will you walk here inside, my lord?
Into my grave.
How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a meaning
that often madness touches on, which reason and sanity
could not so prosperously be capable of. I will
leave him, and suddenly contrive a means of
meeting between him and my daughter.--My honorable
lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will
more willingly part with: except my life, except
my life, except my life.
Fare you well, my lord.
These tedious old fools!
Denmark's a prison.
Then is the world one.
A goodly one; in which there are many confinements,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst;
for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so;
to me it is a prison. O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell
and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams...I have of late--but
why I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof painted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
expressive and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Why did you laugh then, when I said, 'Man delights not me?'
To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what meager
entertainment the actors shall receive from you; we passed by them
on the way; and hither are they coming, to offer you service.
He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty
shall have tribute from me; the adventurous knight
shall use his shield and rapier; the lover shall not
sigh gratis; the comic lead shall end his part
in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
sides can be tickled; and the lady shall
say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt
for it. What players are these?
Even those you were known to take delight in, the
tragedians of the city.
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Welcome:
my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
God be with you, gentlemen!
Look you: that great baby you see there is not yet
out of his diaper cloths.
It seems he's the second time come to them; for they
say an old man is twice a child.
I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players;
(to Lord Polonius)
You say right, sir: on Monday morning;
'twas so indeed.
My lord, I have news to tell you.
The actors are come hither, my lord;
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy,
comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-
comical-historical-pastoral, preserving the unities, or
poem unlimited: For both classical and modern, these are the only men.
O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!
What a treasure had he, my lord?
One fair daughter and no more,
The which he loved pretty well.
Still on my daughter.
Am I not in the right, old Jephthah?
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter
that I love pretty well.
Nay, that follows not...
You are welcome, masters; welcome, all. I am glad
to see thee well. Welcome, good friends. We'll get
to it like French falconers, fly at anything we see:
we'll have a speech straightaway: come, give us a taste
of your quality; come, a passionate speech.
What speech, my lord?
I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was
never acted; or, if it was, not more than once; for the
play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas
caviar to the commoners: but it was--
as I received it--an excellent play. One speech in it I
chiefly loved: 'twas the tale of the sacking of Troy; and
thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of King
Priam's slaughter: let me see, let me see--it begins with Pyrrhus--
"The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous Trojan horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he crimson red; horridly fouled
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons:
he is roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore—
This is too long.
'Tis well: I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.
Good my lord, will you see the players well
secured? Do you hear, let them be treated well;
for it is they who shall tell the chronicles of the
time: after your death you would better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.
My lord, I will use them befitting their just deserts.
God's body, man, much better: use every man
after his deserts, and who should escape whipping?
Use them after your own honor and dignity: the less
they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.
We'll hear a play tomorrow.
Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play
The Murder of Gonzago?
Aye, my lord.
We'll have it tomorrow night. You could, to fill a need,
study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which
I would set down and insert in it, could you not?
Aye, my lord.
Very well. Follow that lord; and see you mock him not.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own idea
That from its workings all his visage paled,
Tears in his eyes, the shock in his expression,
A broken voice, and his whole body suiting
Itself to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Priam's wife!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the country's ears with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appall the free. Yet I,
A dull and apathetic rascal, mope
And can say nothing. Am I a coward?
I should have fatted all the birds of prey
With the king's filthy guts: bloody, gaudy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, monstrous villain!
Why, what a fool am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unload my heart in words,
And fall to cursing like the simplest man,
A servant! Shame upon me! oh! Reverse, my brain!
I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their misdemeanors;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll probe him to the quick: if he but flinch,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relevant than this: the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
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;
No 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: aye, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the problem
That causes us to bear so long a life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's indignity,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
The good man so long of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his deliverance make
With a bare dagger? who would burdens bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
Unless the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose shore
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus reason does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is made sickly with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of lofty importance
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Sweet Gertrude, leave us;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Her father and myself, lawful spies,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge
If it be the 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
Of Hamlet's wildness: so shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his common way again,
To both your honors.
Madam, I wish it may.
I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord.
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy prayers
Be all my sins remembered.
Good my lord,
How does your Honor for this many a day?
I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to redeliver;
I pray you, now receive them.
No, not I;
I never gave a thing.
My honored lord, you know right well you did;
And, with them, words of such sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.
Ha, ha! are you honest?
Are you fair?
What means your lordship?
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
be an impediment to your beauty.
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
Aye, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a whore than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into innocence:
this was onetime 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. 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 more honest than
not; 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
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 outright knaves all;
Believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where's your father?
At home, my lord.
Let the doors be locked outside him, that he may play the
fool nowhere but in his own house. Farewell.
O, help him, you sweet heavens!
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this curse for thy dowry:
be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not
avoid all slander. Get thee to a nunnery, go: farewell.
Or, if thou must needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men
know well enough what monsters you make of them.
To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Farewell.
O heavenly powers, restore him!
I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
has given you one face, and you make yourselves
another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp,
and nickname God's creatures, and attribute sins to
your ignorance. Go on, I'll have no more of it; it hath
made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:
those that are married already, all but one, shall
live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatched form and feature of fresh youth
Blasted by lunacy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Love! his affections do not that way tend;
But what he spoke, though it lacked form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits to brood;
And I fear that what he hatches from it
Will be some danger: for which to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England.
Hopefully the seas and countries different
With unexpected objects shall expel
Solidifying matter in his heart,
Before his brains still beating put him far
From what he used to be. What think you on it?
It shall do well: but still do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love. My lord, do as you please;
But, if you deem it right, after the play
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief: let her be cross with him;
And I'll be placed, so please you, within hearing
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 unwatched go.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I would prefer the
town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a self-control that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a maniacal
stage-toupee-wearing fellow tear his passion to tatters,
to very rags, to split the ears in the cheap seats, people
who, for the most part, comprehend nothing but
inexplicable gestures and noise:
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold as 'twere the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone,
or come tardy off, though it make the illiterate
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
approval of the latter must in your calculations
outweigh a whole theater of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, that have so strutted and bellowed that I thought some of
their natural creators made men but not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
Go, make you ready.
What ho! Horatio!
Here, sweet lord, at your service.
There is a play tonight before the king;
One scene of it comes near the circumstance of my father's death:
I ask thee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very focus of thy soul
Observe mine uncle: if his concealed guilt
Does not itself uncover in one speech,
It is a lying ghost that we have seen.
For I, mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after, we will both our judgments join
To render our assessment.
Well, my lord:
If he should steal while this play is playing,
And 'scape detection, I'll repay the theft.
They are coming to the play; I must be seated.
Hey now, my lord! will the king hear this piece of work?
And the queen too, and that presently.
How fares our kinsman Hamlet?
Excellent, I trust; in the dragon's domain: I eat
the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed chickens so.
I get nothing from this answer, Hamlet; these words
give me nothing.
No, nor myself now.
(to Lord Polonius)
My lord, you played once in the university, you say?
That did I, my lord; and was considered a good actor.
What did you perform?
I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed in the
Capitol; Brutus killed me.
It was brutish of him to kill so capital a calf there.
Be the players ready?
Aye, my lord; they wait upon your patience.
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
(to King Claudius)
O, ho! do you see that?
(lying down at Ophelia's feet)
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
No, my lord.
I mean, my head upon your lap?
Aye, my lord.
Do you think I meant country matters?
I think nothing, my lord.
That's a fair thought, to lie between maids' legs.
What is, my lord?
You are merry, my lord.
Aye, my lord.
O God, I'm your favorite fool. What should a man do
but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my
mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
So long? O heavens! die two
months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's
hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half
a year. But, by our Lady, he must build
churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking on.
(Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him, and
he her. He takes her up, inclines his head upon her neck and lays
down; she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Then comes in a fellow who
takes off the King's crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King's ears,
(The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action
The Poisoner comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body
is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts: she seems
loath and unwilling a while, but in the end accepts his love.)
What means this, my lord?
By Mary, this is mincing malhecho; it means mischief.
'Tis brief, my lord.
As woman's love.
Have you heard the play's theme? Is there no offense in it?
No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offense
in the world.
What do you call the play?
The Mousetrap. Ah, but why? Metaphorically. This play
re-enacts a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is
the duke's name; his wife, Baptista:
'tis a knavish piece of work: but what of that?
Your Majesty and we that have free souls, it
touches us not: let the guilty old nag wince, our
own flanks remain dry.
You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
Still better, and worse.
He poisons him in the garden for his estate.
The murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
The king rises.
What, affrighted by friendly fire?
How fares my lord?
Cancel the play.
Give me some light: I'm going!
Lights, lights, lights!
"Why, let the stricken deer go weep..."
O good Horatio, I'll trade the ghost's word for a
thousand pounds. Didst perceive?
Very well, my lord.
Upon the talk of the poisoning?
I did very well see him.
My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.
Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
By the Mass, it is like a camel, indeed.
Methinks it has a back like a weasel.
It is shaped like a weasel.
Or like a whale?
Very like a whale.
Then I will come to my mother by and by
They push me to the end of my patience.
I will come by and by.
I will say so.
"By and by" is easily said. Leave me, friends.
Tis now the very witching time of night,
When graveyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Hush! now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let no matricidal
Cowardice enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be opposites!
My lord, he's going to his mother's bedroom:
Behind the curtain I'll convey myself
To hear the process. Fare you well, my liege:
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
Thanks, my dear lord.
(Exit Lord Polonius)
O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon it,
A brother's murder! Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent.
What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? What form of prayer
Can serve my need? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain the offense?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
Bow, stubborn knees; all may be well.
Now might I do it here, now he is praying;
And now I'll do it. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That doesn't scan:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
O, this is to reward him, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes full blown, as ripe as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in my recollection and regard,
'Twas heavy with him: so am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
Up, sword; and find thou a more shameful time:
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no flavor of salvation in it;
Then trip him, so his heels may kick at heaven,
And so his soul may be as damned and black
As hell, to which it goes.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Mother, mother, mother!
(to Lord Polonius)
Withdraw, I hear him coming.
(Lord Polonius hides behind a curtain.)
Now, mother, what's the matter?
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Mother, you have my father much offended.
Come, come, you answer with a foolish tongue.
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Why, what do you mean, Hamlet?
What's the matter now?
Have you forgot who I am?
No, by our God, not so:
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
Nay, then, I'll bring in others who can speak.
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;
You go not till I set you up a mirror
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?
(behind the arras)
What? Oh, help, help, help!
What's this! a rat? Dead then, I'll wager, dead!
(He stabs through the curtain.)
O, I am slain!
O me, what hast thou done?
Nay, I know not:
Is it the king?
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
As kill a king!
Aye, lady, that was the word.
(lifts up the curtain and discovers Lord Polonius)
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy master.
What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as gamblers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the bond of matrimony plucks
The very soul, and of sweet religion makes
A disarray of words.
Why then, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the darkness?
Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
The artificial likeness of two brothers.
Look, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Apollo's curls; the face of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like mildewed corn,
Infecting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
How could you this fair mountain leave, to graze
And fatten on this field? Huh? have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would stoop from this to this? O shame! where is thy blush?
O Hamlet, speak no more:
You turn my eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots
As can never be cleansed.
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an infected bed,
Stewed in corruption, cuddling and making love
Over the nasty sty--
O, speak to me no more;
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!
A murderer and a villain;
A slave that is no twentieth of a tenth
Of your previous lord; the worst of kings;
A cutpurse of the empire and its rule,
Who from a shelf the precious crown stole,
And put it in his pocket!
A king of shreds and patches,--
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards! What needs your gracious figure?
Alas, he's mad!
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command? O, say!
Do not forget: this visitation
Is but to hone thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
Speak to her, Hamlet.
How is it with you, lady?
Alas, how is it with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with the incorporeal air hold discourse?
Forth from your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your hair now stands on end. Whereon do you look?
On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!
To whom do you speak this?
Do you see nothing there?
Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see.
Nor did you nothing hear?
No, nothing but ourselves.
Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!
My father, dressed exactly as in life!
Look, where he goes, even now!
This the very figment of your brain:
This lunacy imagination
Is very cunning in.
My pulse, as yours, doth easily keep time,
And makes as healthful music: it is not madness
That I have uttered: for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering salve upon your soul:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker.
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to mine uncle's bed;
Pretend a virtue, if you have it not.
And when you are desirous to be blessed,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord
(pointing to Lord Polonius)
I do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so,
To punish me with this and this with me.
I will enshroud him. So, again, good night.
I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.
What shall I do?
Not this, by no means, do this last of all:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch with lust at your cheek; call you his mouse;
Or let him, for a flurry of foul kisses,
Or stroking at your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to reveal all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft.
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
I must to England; you know that?
Alas, I had forgot: 'tis thus decided on.
This man shall set me packing:
I'll lug the guts into the room next door.
Mother, good night. Indeed this counsellor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish babbling knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night, mother.
There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:
You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend
Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,
Behind the curtain hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, 'A rat, a rat!'
And, in this mad misunderstanding, kills
The unseen good old man.
O heavy deed!
He would have done to me, had I been there:
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
It will be laid on us: but so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from the public, let it feed
Even on the meat of life.
What now! what hath befall'n?
Where the dead body is concealed, my lord,
We cannot get from him.
But where is he [Hamlet]?
Outside, my lord; guarded, to hear your order.
Bring him before us.
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?
At supper! where?
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain
political convention of worms are eating at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet: we fatten all
creatures else to fatten us, and we fatten ourselves for
maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar are but
two different courses, two dishes, but at one table:
that's the end.
A man may fish with the worm that hath eaten of a
king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
What do you mean by this?
Nothing but to show you how a king may go in
progress through the guts of a beggar.
Where is Polonius?
In heaven; send hither to see: if your messenger
find him not there, seek him in the other place
yourself. But indeed, if you find him not within
this month, you shall smell him as you go up the
stairs into the main hall.
Go seek him there.
He will stay till ye come.
Hamlet, this deed, for thine special safety,--
Which we hold tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done--must send thee hence
With fiery quickness: therefore prepare thyself;
The boat is ready, and everything is bent
Farewell, dear mother.
Thy loving father, Hamlet.
My mother: father and mother is man and wife; man
and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England!
Where is the beauteous Majesty of Denmark?
Right here, Ophelia!
He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
Nay, but, Ophelia--
White his shroud as the mountain snow--
Alas, look here, my lord.
She sings about her father.
How long hath she been thus?
I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I
cannot choose but weep at how they did lay him
in the cold ground. My brother shall know of it:
and so I thank you for your good counsel. Bring my
coach! Goodnight, ladies; goodnight, sweet ladies;
Follow her close; give her close watch,
I beg you.
O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions. First, her father slain;
Next, your son gone; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment.
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself aloof,
And heeds the buzzers who infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death.
(Enter Laertes, armed.)
Where is this king? O thou vile king,
Give me my father!
Calmly, good Laertes.
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard.
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
Let him go, Gertrude; tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Where is my father?
But not by him.
Let him demand his fill.
(Exit Queen Gertrude)
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation.
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
Who shall stop you?
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, must it be in your revenge
That, pell-mell, you will fight both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?
None but his enemies.
Will you know them then?
To his good friends thus wide I'll spread my arms.
Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sorrowful in grief for it,
It shall as clearly to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
How now, what noise is that?
They laid him down; his face was bare;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rained many a tear.
Fare you well, my dove.
O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is it possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
There's rosemary; that's for remembrance; please,
love, remember: and there is pansies; that's for thoughts.
A case study in madness, thoughts and remembrance entwined.
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb of grace on Sundays: we wear it but not for
repentance. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end--
Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favor and to prettiness.
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy deathbed:
He never will come again.
God have mercy on his soul!
--And on all Christian souls, I pray God. God be with ye.
Do you see this, O God?
Laertes, I must concur with your grief,
Or you disown me rightly.
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labor with your soul
To give it due contentment.
And where the offense is let the great axe fall.
Now you must put me in your heart as friend,
Since you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he who hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
Let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his face,
'Thus diddest thou.'
If it be so, Laertes--
As how else should it be? how otherwise?--
Will you be ruled by me?
Aye, my lord; if you will not o'errule me to a peace.
To thine own peace. If he be now returned,
I will trick him Into exploits, now ripe in my ideas,
Under the which he cannot help but fall:
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
But even his mother shall forgive the event
And call it accident.
My lord, I will be ruled;
The better, if you could devise it so
That I might be the agent.
It falls right.
You have been talked of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine: a masterly report
Of art and exercise in self-defense
And for your rapier most especially.
Sir, this report did Hamlet so envenom with an envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming back to duel with him.
So out of this--
What out of this, my lord?
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?
Why ask you this?
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake,
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
To cut his throat in the church.
No place, indeed, should murder be forgiven;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this? Stay locked within your chamber.
Hamlet returned shall know you are come home:
We'll marshal those who praise your excellence
And bring you in close together
And wager on your heads: so with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unblunted, and in a game of sparring
Repay him for your father.
I will do it:
And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
I bought a potion from a false doctor,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no medication so rare,
Collected from all the herbs that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratched with it: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I brush him slightly,
It may be death.
Let's further think on this; I have it.
When in your motion you are hot and dry--
So make your bouts more violent to that end--
And if he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
A chalice for the time, wherefrom but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venomed cut,
Our purpose is fulfilled. But wait, what noise?
(Enter Queen Gertrude.)
One woe doth tread upon the other's heel,
So fast they follow; your sister's drowned, Laertes.
Drowned! O, where?
There is a willow grows across a brook,
That shows his gray leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That vulgar shepherds give a grosser name,
But our pure maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the drooping boughs her crown of weeds
She climbed out to hang--an envious offshoot broke;
And down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, a while they bore her up:
Meantime she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one indifferent to her own distress,
Or like a creature native and adapted
To that element: but long it could not be
Until her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious song
To muddy death.
Alas, then, she is drowned.
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears. But yet
It is our way. Nature this custom holds,
Let shame say what it will. When these are spent,
My strength will reemerge. Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire that soon must blaze.
What is he that builds stronger than either the
mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a
thousand tenants. Aye, a grave-maker;
the houses that he makes last till doomsday.
In youth, when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet--
Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he
sings at grave-making?
Routine hath given it for him a quality of easiness.
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once:
how the knave dumps it to the ground, as if it were
Cain's jawbone that did the first murder! It
might be the skull of a politician, one who would argue with
God, might it not? Or of a courtier,
who could say, "Good morning,
sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord?"
But now it is my Lady Worm's; jawless, and
knocked about the melon with a sexton's spade:
here's fine revolution, if we had the eyes to
see it. I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave's this, sir?
'Thou dost lie in't, to be in it and say it is thine:
'tis for the dead, not the living; therefore thou liest.
What man dost thou dig it for?
For no man, sir.
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.
How literal the knave is! How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
I came to it the very day that young Hamlet was born; he that
is mad, and sent into England.
Aye, by Mary, why was he sent into England?
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits
there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men
are as mad as he.
How long will a man lie in the earth ere he rot?
In truth, if he be not rotten before he die--as we
have many poxy corpses nowadays that will scarce
stand the laying in--he 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
he will keep out water a great while; and your water
is a sore decayer of your bastard dead body.
Here's a skull now; this skull has lain in the earth
three and twenty years.
Whose was it?
A bastard mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?
Nay, I know not.
A pestilence on him, the crazy rogue! He poured a
flagon of German beer on my head once. This same skull,
sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.
Let me see.
(takes the skull)
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of fertile imagination: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my vision it is! my gorge rises at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how often. Where be your gibes now? your
dances? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were apt to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? Please, Horatio, tell
me one thing.
What's that, my lord?
Dost thou think Alexander looked in this fashion in
And smelt so? pah!
Even so, my lord.
To what base uses we may return, Horatio!
Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make clay; and why, of that clay, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
But wait! wait a while: here comes the king.
The queen, who is this they bury?
And with such plain rites? This doth indicate
The corpse they bury did with desperate hand
Undo its own life: 'twas of rich estate.
Her death was doubtful;
And, but his great command belays the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodged.
From her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee,
A ministering angel shall my sister be.
What, the fair Ophelia!
Sweets to the sweet: farewell!
I hoped thou should have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride bed to have flowered, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.
O, triple woe
Fall ten times triple on that cursed head,
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth a while,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
What is he whose grief
Has such an emphasis? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
(grappling with him)
The devil take thy soul!
Thou prayest not well.
I pray thee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not quarrelsome and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear: hold off thy hand.
I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
O, he is mad, Laertes.
For love of God, forgive him.
God's wounds, show me what thou wilt do:
You'll weep? or fight? or fast? or tear thyself?
I will, too. Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you treat me thus?
I loved you ever: but it is no matter;
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will--
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
I pray thee, good Horatio, go to him.
(to Laertes) Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.
We'll push the matter to the coming duel.—
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.—
(to Laertes) This grave shall have a lasting monument.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see.
You will lose this wager, my lord.
I do not think so: since he went into France, I
have been in continual practice.
Nay, good my lord--
It is but foolery.
If your mind suspects anything, obey it: I will
forestall their progress hither, and say you are not fit.
Not a whit, we defy prophecy: if it be not now, yet it will come:
the readiness is all: since no man remembers what he
leaves, what is it to leave early? Let be.
Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
(King Claudius puts Laertes' hand into Hamlet's.)
Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;
But pardon it, as you are a gentleman.
What I have done,
That might your nature, honor and nobility
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
I am satisfied in my heart,
Whose motives in this case should stir me most
To my revenge. But in my terms of honor
I stand aloof, and wish no reconcilement
Till with some elder judges of known honor,
I have a voice and settlement of law,
To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
I do receive your offered love like love,
And will not wrong it.
I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager freely play.
Give us the foils. Come on.
Come, one for me.
Give them the foils. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?
Very well, my lord.
Your grace hath placed his bets on the weaker side.
I do not fear it. I have seen you both.
His handicap is he must beat you by three.
(testing a rapier)
This fits me well. These foils are all one length?
Aye, my good lord.
Set me the mugs of wine upon that table.
The king shall drink to Hamlet's better health,
And in the cup a jewel shall he throw
Richer than those which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Come, begin.
Come on, sir.
Come, my lord.
A hit, a very palpable hit.
Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.
Give him the cup.
I'll play this bout first; set it down a while. Come.
Another hit; what say you?
A touch, a touch, I do confess.
Our son shall win.
He's tired and scant of breath.--
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows:
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Gertrude, do not drink.
I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
It is the poisoned cup: it is too late.
I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
Come, let me wipe thy face.
My lord, I'll get him now.
I do not think it.
And yet 'tis almost against my conscience.
Come for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
I pray you, come with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a plaything of me.
Say you so? Come on. Have at you now!
(Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling, they change rapiers,
and Hamlet wounds Laertes.)
Part them; they are incensed.
Nay, come, again.
They bleed on both sides. How are you, my lord?
How are you, Laertes?
Why, as a turkey to mine own snare;
I am justly killed with mine own treachery.
(Queen Gertrude falls.)
How is the queen?
She faints to see them bleed.
No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,--
The drink, the drink! I am poisoned.
(Queen Gertrude dies.)
O villainy! Ho! let the door be locked:
Treachery! Seek it out.
It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour of life;
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unblunted and envenomed: the foul method
Hath turned itself on me; look, here I lie,
Never to rise again: thy mother's poisoned:
I speak no more: the king, the king's to blame.
The point!--envenomed too!
Then, venom, do thy work.
(He stabs King Claudius.)
O, yet defend me, friends. I am but hurt.
Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damnéd Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy pearl in here?
Follow my mother.
(King Claudius dies.)
He is justly served;
It is a poison blended by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.
Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
(to the audience)
You that look pale and tremble at this turn,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time--this evil sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest--O, I could tell you--
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
Not for a moment.
I am more a loyal Roman than a Dane.
Here's yet some liquor left.
(He lifts the poisoned cup; Hamlet pulls it away.)
If thou art a man,
Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I'll have it.
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
Delay the sweet release of death a while,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story. I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'erpowers my spirit.
The rest is silence.
(Hamlet dies, leaving Horatio alone.)
Now breaks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!