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Hamlet
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
ACT I
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.
FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO
BERNARDO
Who's there?
FRANCISCO
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.
BERNARDO
Long live the king!
FRANCISCO
Bernardo?
BERNARDO
He.
FRANCISCO
You come most carefully upon your hour.
BERNARDO
'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.
FRANCISCO
For this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
BERNARDO
Have you had quiet guard?
FRANCISCO
Not a mouse stirring.
BERNARDO
Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
FRANCISCO
I think I hear them. Stand, ho! Who's there?
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
HORATIO
Friends to this ground.
MARCELLUS
And liegemen to the Dane.
FRANCISCO
Give you good night.
MARCELLUS
O, farewell, honest soldier:
Who hath relieved you?
FRANCISCO
Bernardo has my place.
Give you good night.
Exit
MARCELLUS
Holla! Bernardo!
BERNARDO
Say,
What, is Horatio there?
HORATIO
A piece of him.
BERNARDO
Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.
MARCELLUS
What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?
BERNARDO
I have seen nothing.
MARCELLUS
Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
HORATIO
Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
BERNARDO
Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story
What we have two nights seen.
HORATIO
Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
BERNARDO
Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,--
Enter Ghost
MARCELLUS
Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!
BERNARDO
In the same figure, like the king that's dead.
MARCELLUS
Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
BERNARDO
Looks it not like the king? mark it, Horatio.
HORATIO
Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.
BERNARDO
It would be spoke to.
MARCELLUS
Question it, Horatio.
HORATIO
What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak!
MARCELLUS
It is offended.
BERNARDO
See, it stalks away!
HORATIO
Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!
Exit Ghost
MARCELLUS
'Tis gone, and will not answer.
BERNARDO
How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale:
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on't?
HORATIO
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
MARCELLUS
Is it not like the king?
HORATIO
As thou art to thyself:
Such was the very armour he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
'Tis strange.
MARCELLUS
Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
HORATIO
In what particular thought to work I know not;
But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
MARCELLUS
Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week;
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day:
Who is't that can inform me?
HORATIO
That can I;
At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet--
For so this side of our known world esteem'd him--
Did slay this Fortinbras; who by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same covenant,
And carriage of the article design'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other--
As it doth well appear unto our state--
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
BERNARDO
I think it be no other but e'en so:
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
That was and is the question of these wars.
HORATIO
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted 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 moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse:
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.--
But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!
Re-enter Ghost
I'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me:
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me:
Cock crows
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it: stay, and speak! Stop it, Marcellus.
MARCELLUS
Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
HORATIO
Do, if it will not stand.
BERNARDO
'Tis here!
HORATIO
'Tis here!
MARCELLUS
'Tis gone!
Exit Ghost
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
BERNARDO
It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
HORATIO
And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.
MARCELLUS
It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
HORATIO
So have I heard and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill:
Break we our watch up; and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
MARCELLUS
Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.
Exeunt
SCENE II. A room of state in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants
KING CLAUDIUS
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 sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress 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 dole,--
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting:
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,--
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,--to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject: and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these delated articles allow.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
CORNELIUS VOLTIMAND
In that and all things will we show our duty.
KING CLAUDIUS
We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And loose your voice: what wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
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?
LAERTES
My dread lord,
Your leave and favour 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.
KING CLAUDIUS
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
LORD POLONIUS
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laboursome petition, and at last
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
KING CLAUDIUS
Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,--
HAMLET
[Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind.
KING CLAUDIUS
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
HAMLET
Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
HAMLET
Ay, madam, it is common.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
HAMLET
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 suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior 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 passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
KING CLAUDIUS
'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 persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd: whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
'This must be so.' 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 impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
HAMLET
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
KING CLAUDIUS
Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
And the king's rouse the heavens all bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Exeunt all but HAMLET
HAMLET
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
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't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she--
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
Enter HORATIO, MARCELLUS, and BERNARDO
HORATIO
Hail to your lordship!
HAMLET
I am glad to see you well:
Horatio,--or I do forget myself.
HORATIO
The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
HAMLET
Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you:
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio? Marcellus?
MARCELLUS
My good lord--
HAMLET
I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
HORATIO
A truant disposition, good my lord.
HAMLET
I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
HORATIO
My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
HAMLET
I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
HORATIO
Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
HAMLET
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father!--methinks I see my father.
HORATIO
Where, my lord?
HAMLET
In my mind's eye, Horatio.
HORATIO
I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
HAMLET
He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
HORATIO
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
HAMLET
Saw? who?
HORATIO
My lord, the king your father.
HAMLET
The king my father!
HORATIO
Season your admiration for awhile
With an attent ear, till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
HAMLET
For God's love, let me hear.
HORATIO
Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Armed at point exactly, cap-a-pe,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
And I with them the third night kept the watch;
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
HAMLET
But where was this?
MARCELLUS
My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
HAMLET
Did you not speak to it?
HORATIO
My lord, I did;
But answer made it none: yet once methought
It lifted up its head and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crew loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanish'd from our sight.
HAMLET
'Tis very strange.
HORATIO
As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.
HAMLET
Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
We do, my lord.
HAMLET
Arm'd, say you?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Arm'd, my lord.
HAMLET
From top to toe?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
My lord, from head to foot.
HAMLET
Then saw you not his face?
HORATIO
O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
HAMLET
What, look'd he frowningly?
HORATIO
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
HAMLET
Pale or red?
HORATIO
Nay, very pale.
HAMLET
And fix'd his eyes upon you?
HORATIO
Most constantly.
HAMLET
I would I had been there.
HORATIO
It would have much amazed you.
HAMLET
Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?
HORATIO
While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Longer, longer.
HORATIO
Not when I saw't.
HAMLET
His beard was grizzled--no?
HORATIO
It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.
HAMLET
I will watch to-night;
Perchance 'twill walk again.
HORATIO
I warrant it will.
HAMLET
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 all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
All
Our duty to your honour.
HAMLET
Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.
Exeunt all but HAMLET
My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!
Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
Exit
SCENE III. A room in Polonius' house.
Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA
LAERTES
My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.
OPHELIA
Do you doubt that?
LAERTES
For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.
OPHELIA
No more but so?
LAERTES
Think it no more;
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes:
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then; best safety lies in fear:
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
OPHELIA
I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
LAERTES
O, fear me not.
I stay too long: but here my father comes.
Enter POLONIUS
A double blessing is a double grace,
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
LORD POLONIUS
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
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 season this in thee!
LAERTES
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
The time invites you; go; your servants tend.
LAERTES
Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.
OPHELIA
'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTES
Farewell.
Exit
LORD POLONIUS
What is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?
OPHELIA
So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, well bethought:
'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, as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behoves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? give me up the truth.
OPHELIA
He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
LORD POLONIUS
Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
OPHELIA
I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
OPHELIA
My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honourable fashion.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.
OPHELIA
And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him, that he is young
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you: in few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.
OPHELIA
I shall obey, my lord.
Exeunt
SCENE IV. The platform.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS
HAMLET
The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
HORATIO
It is a nipping and an eager air.
HAMLET
What hour now?
HORATIO
I think it lacks of twelve.
HAMLET
No, it is struck.
HORATIO
Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within
What does this mean, my lord?
HAMLET
The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
HORATIO
Is it a custom?
HAMLET
Ay, marry, is't:
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
HORATIO
Look, my lord, it comes!
Enter Ghost
HAMLET
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Ghost beckons HAMLET
HORATIO
It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
MARCELLUS
Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
HORATIO
No, by no means.
HAMLET
It will not speak; then I will follow it.
HORATIO
Do not, my lord.
HAMLET
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life in a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again: I'll follow it.
HORATIO
What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
HAMLET
It waves me still.
Go on; I'll follow thee.
MARCELLUS
You shall not go, my lord.
HAMLET
Hold off your hands.
HORATIO
Be ruled; you shall not go.
HAMLET
My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.
Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET
HORATIO
He waxes desperate with imagination.
MARCELLUS
Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
HORATIO
Have after. To what issue will this come?
MARCELLUS
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
HORATIO
Heaven will direct it.
MARCELLUS
Nay, let's follow him.
Exeunt
SCENE V. Another part of the platform.
Enter GHOST and HAMLET
HAMLET
Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.
Ghost
Mark me.
HAMLET
I will.
Ghost
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
HAMLET
Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost
Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
HAMLET
Speak; I am bound to hear.
Ghost
So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
HAMLET
What?
Ghost
I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd 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. But that I am forbid
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,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
HAMLET
O God!
Ghost
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
HAMLET
Murder!
Ghost
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
HAMLET
Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
Ghost
I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
HAMLET
O my prophetic soul! My uncle!
Ghost
Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,--
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous 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 vigour doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
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 pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.
Exit
HAMLET
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?
And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Ay, 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 fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,--meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark:
Writing
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is 'Adieu, adieu! remember me.'
I have sworn 't.
MARCELLUS HORATIO
[Within] My lord, my lord,--
MARCELLUS
[Within] Lord Hamlet,--
HORATIO
[Within] Heaven secure him!
HAMLET
So be it!
HORATIO
[Within] Hillo, ho, ho, my lord!
HAMLET
Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS
MARCELLUS
How is't, my noble lord?
HORATIO
What news, my lord?
HAMLET
O, wonderful!
HORATIO
Good my lord, tell it.
HAMLET
No; you'll reveal it.
HORATIO
Not I, my lord, by heaven.
MARCELLUS
Nor I, my lord.
HAMLET
How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?
HORATIO MARCELLUS
Ay, by heaven, my lord.
HAMLET
There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.
HORATIO
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
HAMLET
Why, right; you are i' the right;
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You, as your business and desire shall point you;
For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
HORATIO
These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
HAMLET
I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, 'faith heartily.
HORATIO
There's no offence, my lord.
HAMLET
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.
HORATIO
What is't, my lord? we will.
HAMLET
Never make known what you have seen to-night.
HORATIO MARCELLUS
My lord, we will not.
HAMLET
Nay, but swear't.
HORATIO
In faith,
My lord, not I.
MARCELLUS
Nor I, my lord, in faith.
HAMLET
Upon my sword.
MARCELLUS
We have sworn, my lord, already.
HAMLET
Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there,
truepenny?
Come on--you hear this fellow in the cellarage--
Consent to swear.
HORATIO
Propose the oath, my lord.
HAMLET
Never to speak of this that you have seen,
Swear by my sword.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Hic et ubique? then we'll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword:
Never to speak of this that you have heard,
Swear by my sword.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
HORATIO
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
HAMLET
And therefore as 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 strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if we would,'
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
They swear
So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you:
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.
Exeunt
ACT II
SCENE I. A room in POLONIUS' house.
Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDO
LORD POLONIUS
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
REYNALDO
I will, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.
REYNALDO
My lord, I did intend it.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, well said; very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it:
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him;
As thus, 'I know his father and his friends,
And in part him: ' do you mark this, Reynaldo?
REYNALDO
Ay, very well, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
'And in part him; but' you may say 'not well:
But, if't be he I mean, he's very wild;
Addicted so and so:' and there put on him
What forgeries you please; marry, none so rank
As may dishonour him; take heed of that;
But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.
REYNALDO
As gaming, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Drabbing: you may go so far.
REYNALDO
My lord, that would dishonour him.
LORD POLONIUS
'Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge
You must not put another scandal on him,
That he is open to incontinency;
That's not my meaning: but breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
Of general assault.
REYNALDO
But, my good lord,--
LORD POLONIUS
Wherefore should you do this?
REYNALDO
Ay, my lord,
I would know that.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, sir, here's my drift;
And I believe, it is a fetch of wit:
You laying these slight sullies on my son,
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working, Mark you,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence;
'Good sir,' or so, or 'friend,' or 'gentleman,'
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country.
REYNALDO
Very good, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
And then, sir, does he this--he does--what was I
about to say? By the mass, I was about to say
something: where did I leave?
REYNALDO
At 'closes in the consequence,' at 'friend or so,'
and 'gentleman.'
LORD POLONIUS
At 'closes in the consequence,' ay, marry;
He closes thus: 'I know the gentleman;
I saw him yesterday, or t' other day,
Or then, or then; with such, or such; and, as you say,
There was a' gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse;
There falling out at tennis:' or perchance,
'I saw him enter such a house of sale,'
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.
See you now;
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth:
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out:
So by my former lecture and advice,
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
REYNALDO
My lord, I have.
LORD POLONIUS
God be wi' you; fare you well.
REYNALDO
Good my lord!
LORD POLONIUS
Observe his inclination in yourself.
REYNALDO
I shall, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
And let him ply his music.
REYNALDO
Well, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
Farewell!
Exit REYNALDO
Enter OPHELIA
How now, Ophelia! what's the matter?
OPHELIA
O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
LORD POLONIUS
With what, i' the name of God?
OPHELIA
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.
LORD POLONIUS
Mad for thy love?
OPHELIA
My lord, I do not know;
But truly, I do fear it.
LORD POLONIUS
What said he?
OPHELIA
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 he would draw it. Long stay'd 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
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being: that done, he lets me go:
And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their helps,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.
LORD POLONIUS
Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?
OPHELIA
No, my good lord, but, as you did command,
I did repel his fetters and denied
His access to me.
LORD POLONIUS
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:
This must be known; which, being kept close, might
move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Exeunt
SCENE II. A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and Attendants
KING CLAUDIUS
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so call it,
Sith nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of: I entreat you both,
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighbour'd to his youth and havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time: so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you;
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.
ROSENCRANTZ
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
GUILDENSTERN
But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz:
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
GUILDENSTERN
Heavens make our presence and our practises
Pleasant and helpful to him!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Ay, amen!
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants
Enter POLONIUS
LORD POLONIUS
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thou still hast been the father of good news.
LORD POLONIUS
Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege,
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 policy so sure
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
KING CLAUDIUS
O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
LORD POLONIUS
Give first admittance to the ambassadors;
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
Exit POLONIUS
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
I doubt it is no other but the main;
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
KING CLAUDIUS
Well, we shall sift him.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
Welcome, my good friends!
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
VOLTIMAND
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness: whereat grieved,
That so his sickness, age and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee,
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shown,
Giving a paper
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.
KING CLAUDIUS
It likes us well;
And at our more consider'd time well read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour:
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together:
Most welcome home!
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
LORD POLONIUS
This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and 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 call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
More matter, with less art.
LORD POLONIUS
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 farewell it, for 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 remainder thus. Perpend.
I have a daughter--have while she is mine--
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.
Reads
'To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most
beautified Ophelia,'--
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; 'beautified' is
a vile phrase: but you shall hear. Thus:
Reads
'In her excellent white bosom, these, & c.'
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Came this from Hamlet to her?
LORD POLONIUS
Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.
Reads
'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 ill at these numbers;
I have not art to reckon my groans: but that
I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
'Thine evermore most dear lady, whilst
this machine is to him, HAMLET.'
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means and place,
All given to mine ear.
KING CLAUDIUS
But how hath she
Received his love?
LORD POLONIUS
What do you think of me?
KING CLAUDIUS
As of a man faithful and honourable.
LORD POLONIUS
I would fain 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,
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star;
This must not be:' and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed--a short tale to make--
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.
KING CLAUDIUS
Do you think 'tis this?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
It may be, very likely.
LORD POLONIUS
Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--
That I have positively said 'Tis so,'
When it proved otherwise?
KING CLAUDIUS
Not that I know.
LORD POLONIUS
[Pointing to his head and shoulder]
Take this from this, if this be otherwise:
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
KING CLAUDIUS
How may we try it further?
LORD POLONIUS
You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
So he does indeed.
LORD POLONIUS
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
KING CLAUDIUS
We will try it.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
LORD POLONIUS
Away, I do beseech you, both away:
I'll board him presently.
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, and Attendants
Enter HAMLET, reading
O, give me leave:
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
HAMLET
Well, God-a-mercy.
LORD POLONIUS
Do you know me, my lord?
HAMLET
Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
LORD POLONIUS
Not I, my lord.
HAMLET
Then I would you were so honest a man.
LORD POLONIUS
Honest, my lord!
HAMLET
Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be
one man picked out of ten thousand.
LORD POLONIUS
That's very true, my lord.
HAMLET
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a
god kissing carrion,--Have you a daughter?
LORD POLONIUS
I have, my lord.
HAMLET
Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is a
blessing: but not as your daughter may conceive.
Friend, look to 't.
LORD POLONIUS
[Aside] How say 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 much extremity for
love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord?
HAMLET
Words, words, words.
LORD POLONIUS
What is the matter, my lord?
HAMLET
Between who?
LORD POLONIUS
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
HAMLET
Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here
that old men have grey beards, that their faces are
wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and
plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of
wit, together with most weak hams: all which, sir,
though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet
I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down, for
yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.
LORD POLONIUS
[Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method
in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
HAMLET
Into my grave.
LORD POLONIUS
Indeed, that is out o' the air.
Aside
How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness
that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity
could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will
leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of
meeting between him and my daughter.--My honourable
lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
HAMLET
You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will
more willingly part withal: except my life, except
my life, except my life.
LORD POLONIUS
Fare you well, my lord.
HAMLET
These tedious old fools!
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
LORD POLONIUS
You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is.
ROSENCRANTZ
[To POLONIUS] God save you, sir!
Exit POLONIUS
GUILDENSTERN
My honoured lord!
ROSENCRANTZ
My most dear lord!
HAMLET
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
ROSENCRANTZ
As the indifferent children of the earth.
GUILDENSTERN
Happy, in that we are not over-happy;
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.
HAMLET
Nor the soles of her shoe?
ROSENCRANTZ
Neither, my lord.
HAMLET
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of
her favours?
GUILDENSTERN
'Faith, her privates we.
HAMLET
In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; she
is a strumpet. What's the news?
ROSENCRANTZ
None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
HAMLET
Then is doomsday near: but your news is not true.
Let me question more in particular: what have you,
my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune,
that she sends you to prison hither?
GUILDENSTERN
Prison, my lord!
HAMLET
Denmark's a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.
HAMLET
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.
ROSENCRANTZ
We think not so, my lord.
HAMLET
Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me
it is a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too
narrow for your mind.
HAMLET
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count
myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.
GUILDENSTERN
Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very
substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
HAMLET
A dream itself is but a shadow.
ROSENCRANTZ
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a
quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
HAMLET
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and
outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we
to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.
ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
We'll wait upon you.
HAMLET
No such matter: I will not sort you with the rest
of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest
man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the
beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
ROSENCRANTZ
To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.
HAMLET
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I
thank you: and sure, dear friends, my thanks are
too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it
your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come,
deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.
GUILDENSTERN
What should we say, my lord?
HAMLET
Why, any thing, but to the purpose. You were sent
for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks
which your modesties have not craft enough to colour:
I know the good king and queen have sent for you.
ROSENCRANTZ
To what end, my lord?
HAMLET
That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by
the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of
our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved
love, and by what more dear a better proposer could
charge you withal, be even and direct with me,
whether you were sent for, or no?
ROSENCRANTZ
[Aside to GUILDENSTERN] What say you?
HAMLET
[Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If you
love me, hold not off.
GUILDENSTERN
My lord, we were sent for.
HAMLET
I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king
and queen moult no feather. I have of late--but
wherefore 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 fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express 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.
ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
HAMLET
Why did you laugh then, when I said 'man delights not me'?
ROSENCRANTZ
To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what
lenten entertainment the players shall receive from
you: we coted them on the way; and hither are they
coming, to offer you service.
HAMLET
He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty
shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight
shall use his foil and target; the lover shall not
sigh gratis; the humourous man shall end his part
in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
lungs are tickled o' the sere; and the lady shall
say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt
for't. What players are they?
ROSENCRANTZ
Even those you were wont to take delight in, the
tragedians of the city.
HAMLET
How chances it they travel? their residence, both
in reputation and profit, was better both ways.
ROSENCRANTZ
I think their inhibition comes by the means of the
late innovation.
HAMLET
Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was
in the city? are they so followed?
ROSENCRANTZ
No, indeed, are they not.
HAMLET
How comes it? do they grow rusty?
ROSENCRANTZ
Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: but
there is, sir, an aery of children, little eyases,
that cry out on the top of question, and are most
tyrannically clapped for't: these are now the
fashion, and so berattle the common stages--so they
call them--that many wearing rapiers are afraid of
goose-quills and dare scarce come thither.
HAMLET
What, are they children? who maintains 'em? how are
they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no
longer than they can sing? will they not say
afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common
players--as it is most like, if their means are no
better--their writers do them wrong, to make them
exclaim against their own succession?
ROSENCRANTZ
'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and
the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to
controversy: there was, for a while, no money bid
for argument, unless the poet and the player went to
cuffs in the question.
HAMLET
Is't possible?
GUILDENSTERN
O, there has been much throwing about of brains.
HAMLET
Do the boys carry it away?
ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his load too.
HAMLET
It is not very strange; for mine uncle is king of
Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while
my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an
hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little.
'Sblood, there is something in this more than
natural, if philosophy could find it out.
Flourish of trumpets within
GUILDENSTERN
There are the players.
HAMLET
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands,
come then: the appurtenance of welcome is fashion
and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb,
lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you,
must show fairly outward, should more appear like
entertainment than yours. You are welcome: but my
uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
GUILDENSTERN
In what, my dear lord?
HAMLET
I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Enter POLONIUS
LORD POLONIUS
Well be with you, gentlemen!
HAMLET
Hark you, Guildenstern; and you too: at each ear a
hearer: that great baby you see there is not yet
out of his swaddling-clouts.
ROSENCRANTZ
Happily he's the second time come to them; for they
say an old man is twice a child.
HAMLET
I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players;
mark it. You say right, sir: o' Monday morning;
'twas so indeed.
LORD POLONIUS
My lord, I have news to tell you.
HAMLET
My lord, I have news to tell you.
When Roscius was an actor in Rome,--
LORD POLONIUS
The actors are come hither, my lord.
HAMLET
Buz, buz!
LORD POLONIUS
Upon mine honour,--
HAMLET
Then came each actor on his ass,--
LORD POLONIUS
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy,
comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-
comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or
poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor
Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the
liberty, these are the only men.
HAMLET
O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!
LORD POLONIUS
What a treasure had he, my lord?
HAMLET
Why,
'One fair daughter and no more,
The which he loved passing well.'
LORD POLONIUS
[Aside] Still on my daughter.
HAMLET
Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah?
LORD POLONIUS
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter
that I love passing well.
HAMLET
Nay, that follows not.
LORD POLONIUS
What follows, then, my lord?
HAMLET
Why,
'As by lot, God wot,'
and then, you know,
'It came to pass, as most like it was,'--
the first row of the pious chanson will show you
more; for look, where my abridgement comes.
Enter four or five Players
You are welcome, masters; welcome, all. I am glad
to see thee well. Welcome, good friends. O, my old
friend! thy face is valenced since I saw thee last:
comest thou to beard me in Denmark? What, my young
lady and mistress! By'r lady, your ladyship is
nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the
altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like
apiece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the
ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en
to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see:
we'll have a speech straight: come, give us a taste
of your quality; come, a passionate speech.
First Player
What speech, my lord?
HAMLET
I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was
never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the
play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas
caviare to the general: but it was--as I received
it, and others, whose judgments in such matters
cried in the top of mine--an excellent play, well
digested in the scenes, set down with as much
modesty as cunning. I remember, one said there
were no sallets in the lines to make the matter
savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might
indict the author of affectation; but called it an
honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very
much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I
chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' tale to Dido; and
thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of
Priam's slaughter: if it live in your memory, begin
at this line: let me see, let me see--
'The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,'--
it is not so:--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 horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their lord's murder: roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.'
So, proceed you.
LORD POLONIUS
'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and
good discretion.
First Player
'Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command: unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick:
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
And like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod 'take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!'
LORD POLONIUS
This is too long.
HAMLET
It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Prithee,
say on: he's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he
sleeps: say on: come to Hecuba.
First Player
'But who, O, who had seen the mobled queen--'
HAMLET
'The mobled queen?'
LORD POLONIUS
That's good; 'mobled queen' is good.
First Player
'Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have
pronounced:
But if the gods themselves did see her then
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made,
Unless things mortal move them not at all,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.'
LORD POLONIUS
Look, whether he has not turned his colour and has
tears in's eyes. Pray you, no more.
HAMLET
'Tis well: I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.
Good my lord, will you see the players well
bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for
they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
time: after your death you were better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.
LORD POLONIUS
My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
HAMLET
God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man
after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?
Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less
they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.
Take them in.
LORD POLONIUS
Come, sirs.
HAMLET
Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.
Exit POLONIUS with all the Players but the First
Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the
Murder of Gonzago?
First Player
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
We'll ha't to-morrow night. You could, for a need,
study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which
I would set down and insert in't, could you not?
First Player
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him
not.
Exit First Player
My good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are
welcome to Elsinore.
ROSENCRANTZ
Good my lord!
HAMLET
Ay, so, God be wi' ye;
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Now I am alone.
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 conceit
That from her working all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
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 general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat,
As deep as to the lungs? who does me this?
Ha!
'Swounds, I should take it: for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-liver'd and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O, vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion!
Fie upon't! foh! About, 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 proclaim'd their malefactions;
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 tent him to the quick: if he but blench,
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 relative than this: the play 's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
Exit
ACT III
SCENE I. A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN
KING CLAUDIUS
And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
ROSENCRANTZ
He does confess he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
GUILDENSTERN
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Did he receive you well?
ROSENCRANTZ
Most like a gentleman.
GUILDENSTERN
But with much forcing of his disposition.
ROSENCRANTZ
Niggard of question; but, of our demands,
Most free in his reply.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Did you assay him?
To any pastime?
ROSENCRANTZ
Madam, it so fell out, that certain players
We o'er-raught on the way: of these we told him;
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it: they are about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
LORD POLONIUS
'Tis most true:
And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties
To hear and see the matter.
KING CLAUDIUS
With all my heart; and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclined.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
And drive his purpose on to these delights.
ROSENCRANTZ
We shall, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
KING CLAUDIUS
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia:
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If 't be the affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
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 wonted way again,
To both your honours.
OPHELIA
Madam, I wish it may.
Exit QUEEN GERTRUDE
LORD POLONIUS
Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves.
To OPHELIA
Read on this book;
That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,--
'Tis too much proved--that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.
KING CLAUDIUS
[Aside] O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burthen!
LORD POLONIUS
I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord.
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS
Enter HAMLET
HAMLET
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 heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, 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 respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The 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 the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith 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 remember'd.
OPHELIA
Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?
HAMLET
I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
OPHELIA
My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them.
HAMLET
No, not I;
I never gave you aught.
OPHELIA
My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
And, with them, words of so 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.
HAMLET
Ha, ha! are you honest?
OPHELIA
My lord?
HAMLET
Are you fair?
OPHELIA
What means your lordship?
HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.
OPHELIA
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
with honesty?
HAMLET
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.
OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
HAMLET
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.
OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.
HAMLET
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 offences 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,
all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where's your father?
OPHELIA
At home, my lord.
HAMLET
Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the
fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.
OPHELIA
O, help him, you sweet heavens!
HAMLET
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, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt 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.
OPHELIA
O heavenly powers, restore him!
HAMLET
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
nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; 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.
Exit
OPHELIA
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Re-enter KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS
KING CLAUDIUS
Love! his affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd 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,
I 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
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
LORD POLONIUS
It shall do well: but yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung 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
To 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.
KING CLAUDIUS
It shall be so:
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
Exeunt
SCENE II. A hall in the castle.
Enter HAMLET and Players
HAMLET
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 had as lief 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 temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.
First Player
I warrant your honour.
HAMLET
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 o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing 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 unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,
that, neither having the accent of Christians nor
the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
First Player
I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us,
sir.
HAMLET
O, reform it altogether. And let those that play
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Exeunt Players
Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN
How now, my lord! I will the king hear this piece of work?
LORD POLONIUS
And the queen too, and that presently.
HAMLET
Bid the players make haste.
Exit POLONIUS
Will you two help to hasten them?
ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
We will, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
HAMLET
What ho! Horatio!
Enter HORATIO
HORATIO
Here, sweet lord, at your service.
HAMLET
Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
As e'er my conversation coped withal.
HORATIO
O, my dear lord,--
HAMLET
Nay, do not think I flatter;
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for herself; for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing,
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
There is a play to-night before the king;
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father's death:
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note;
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.
HORATIO
Well, my lord:
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,
And 'scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
HAMLET
They are coming to the play; I must be idle:
Get you a place.
Danish march. A flourish. Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others
KING CLAUDIUS
How fares our cousin Hamlet?
HAMLET
Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish: I eat
the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so.
KING CLAUDIUS
I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words
are not mine.
HAMLET
No, nor mine now.
To POLONIUS
My lord, you played once i' the university, you say?
LORD POLONIUS
That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
HAMLET
What did you enact?
LORD POLONIUS
I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed i' the
Capitol; Brutus killed me.
HAMLET
It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf
there. Be the players ready?
ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
HAMLET
No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
LORD POLONIUS
[To KING CLAUDIUS] O, ho! do you mark that?
HAMLET
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Lying down at OPHELIA's feet
OPHELIA
No, my lord.
HAMLET
I mean, my head upon your lap?
OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
Do you think I meant country matters?
OPHELIA
I think nothing, my lord.
HAMLET
That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
OPHELIA
What is, my lord?
HAMLET
Nothing.
OPHELIA
You are merry, my lord.
HAMLET
Who, I?
OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
O God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do
but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my
mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
OPHELIA
Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
HAMLET
So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, for
I'll have a suit of sables. 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'r lady, he must build churches,
then; or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with
the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is 'For, O, for, O,
the hobby-horse is forgot.'
Hautboys play. The dumb-show enters
Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him, and he her. She kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck: lays him down upon a bank of flowers: she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King's ears, and exit. The Queen returns; finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner wooes the Queen with gifts: she seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love
Exeunt
OPHELIA
What means this, my lord?
HAMLET
Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief.
OPHELIA
Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
Enter Prologue
HAMLET
We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot
keep counsel; they'll tell all.
OPHELIA
Will he tell us what this show meant?
HAMLET
Ay, or any show that you'll show him: be not you
ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
OPHELIA
You are naught, you are naught: I'll mark the play.
Prologue
For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Exit
HAMLET
Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
OPHELIA
'Tis brief, my lord.
HAMLET
As woman's love.
Enter two Players, King and Queen
Player King
Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
And thirty dozen moons with borrow'd sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
Player Queen
So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women's fear and love holds quantity;
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is sized, my fear is so:
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
Player King
'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
My operant powers their functions leave to do:
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou--
Player Queen
O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who kill'd the first.
HAMLET
[Aside] Wormwood, wormwood.
Player Queen
The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love:
A second time I kill my husband dead,
When second husband kisses me in bed.
Player King
I do believe you think what now you speak;
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity;
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree;
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy:
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies;
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
Player Queen
Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light!
Sport and repose lock from me day and night!
To desperation turn my trust and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope!
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well and it destroy!
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
HAMLET
If she should break it now!
Player King
'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile;
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.
Sleeps
Player Queen
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!
Exit
HAMLET
Madam, how like you this play?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
The lady protests too much, methinks.
HAMLET
O, but she'll keep her word.
KING CLAUDIUS
Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in 't?
HAMLET
No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence
i' the world.
KING CLAUDIUS
What do you call the play?
HAMLET
The Mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play
is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is
the duke's name; his wife, Baptista: you shall see
anon; 'tis a knavish piece of work: but what o'
that? your majesty and we that have free souls, it
touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our
withers are unwrung.
Enter LUCIANUS
This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.
OPHELIA
You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
HAMLET
I could interpret between you and your love, if I
could see the puppets dallying.
OPHELIA
You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
HAMLET
It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
OPHELIA
Still better, and worse.
HAMLET
So you must take your husbands. Begin, murderer;
pox, leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come:
'the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.'
LUCIANUS
Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
Confederate season, else no creature seeing;
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.
Pours the poison into the sleeper's ears
HAMLET
He poisons him i' the garden for's estate. His
name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and writ in
choice Italian: you shall see anon how the murderer
gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
OPHELIA
The king rises.
HAMLET
What, frighted with false fire!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
How fares my lord?
LORD POLONIUS
Give o'er the play.
KING CLAUDIUS
Give me some light: away!
All
Lights, lights, lights!
Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO
HAMLET
Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch, while some must sleep:
So runs the world away.
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers-- if
the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a
fellowship in a cry of players, sir?
HORATIO
Half a share.
HAMLET
A whole one, I.
For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
A very, very--pajock.
HORATIO
You might have rhymed.
HAMLET
O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a
thousand pound. Didst perceive?
HORATIO
Very well, my lord.
HAMLET
Upon the talk of the poisoning?
HORATIO
I did very well note him.
HAMLET
Ah, ha! Come, some music! come, the recorders!
For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
HAMLET
Sir, a whole history.
GUILDENSTERN
The king, sir,--
HAMLET
Ay, sir, what of him?
GUILDENSTERN
Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.
HAMLET
With drink, sir?
GUILDENSTERN
No, my lord, rather with choler.
HAMLET
Your wisdom should show itself more richer to
signify this to his doctor; for, for me to put him
to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far
more choler.
GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame and
start not so wildly from my affair.
HAMLET
I am tame, sir: pronounce.
GUILDENSTERN
The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of
spirit, hath sent me to you.
HAMLET
You are welcome.
GUILDENSTERN
Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right
breed. If it shall please you to make me a
wholesome answer, I will do your mother's
commandment: if not, your pardon and my return
shall be the end of my business.
HAMLET
Sir, I cannot.
GUILDENSTERN
What, my lord?
HAMLET
Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased: but,
sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command;
or, rather, as you say, my mother: therefore no
more, but to the matter: my mother, you say,--
ROSENCRANTZ
Then thus she says; your behavior hath struck her
into amazement and admiration.
HAMLET
O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! But
is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's
admiration? Impart.
ROSENCRANTZ
She desires to speak with you in her closet, ere you
go to bed.
HAMLET
We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have
you any further trade with us?
ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, you once did love me.
HAMLET
So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
ROSENCRANTZ
Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? you
do, surely, bar the door upon your own liberty, if
you deny your griefs to your friend.
HAMLET
Sir, I lack advancement.
ROSENCRANTZ
How can that be, when you have the voice of the king
himself for your succession in Denmark?
HAMLET
Ay, but sir, 'While the grass grows,'--the proverb
is something musty.
Re-enter Players with recorders
O, the recorders! let me see one. To withdraw with
you:--why do you go about to recover the wind of me,
as if you would drive me into a toil?
GUILDENSTERN
O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too
unmannerly.
HAMLET
I do not well understand that. Will you play upon
this pipe?
GUILDENSTERN
My lord, I cannot.
HAMLET
I pray you.
GUILDENSTERN
Believe me, I cannot.
HAMLET
I do beseech you.
GUILDENSTERN
I know no touch of it, my lord.
HAMLET
'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with
your lingers and thumb, give it breath with your
mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
Look you, these are the stops.
GUILDENSTERN
But these cannot I command to any utterance of
harmony; I have not the skill.
HAMLET
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of
me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know
my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my
mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to
the top of my compass: and there is much music,
excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot
you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what
instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you
cannot play upon me.
Enter POLONIUS
God bless you, sir!
LORD POLONIUS
My lord, the queen would speak with you, and
presently.
HAMLET
Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
LORD POLONIUS
By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
HAMLET
Methinks it is like a weasel.
LORD POLONIUS
It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET
Or like a whale?
LORD POLONIUS
Very like a whale.
HAMLET
Then I will come to my mother by and by. They fool
me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.
LORD POLONIUS
I will say so.
HAMLET
By and by is easily said.
Exit POLONIUS
Leave me, friends.
Exeunt all but HAMLET
Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards 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. Soft! now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero 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 hypocrites;
How in my words soever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!
Exit
SCENE III. A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN
KING CLAUDIUS
I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.
GUILDENSTERN
We will ourselves provide:
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your majesty.
ROSENCRANTZ
The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from noyance; but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depend and rest
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortised and adjoin'd; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
KING CLAUDIUS
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
We will haste us.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Enter POLONIUS
LORD POLONIUS
My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,
To hear the process; and warrant she'll tax him home:
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege:
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thanks, dear my lord.
Exit POLONIUS
O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. 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? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: but 'tis not so above;
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.
Retires and kneels
Enter HAMLET
HAMLET
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
No!
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
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 relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
Exit
KING CLAUDIUS
[Rising] My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Exit
SCENE IV. The Queen's closet.
Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE and POLONIUS
LORD POLONIUS
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him:
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.
Pray you, be round with him.
HAMLET
[Within] Mother, mother, mother!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
I'll warrant you,
Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.
POLONIUS hides behind the arras
Enter HAMLET
HAMLET
Now, mother, what's the matter?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
HAMLET
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Why, how now, Hamlet!
HAMLET
What's the matter now?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Have you forgot me?
HAMLET
No, by the rood, not so:
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
HAMLET
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?
Help, help, ho!
LORD POLONIUS
[Behind] What, ho! help, help, help!
HAMLET
[Drawing] How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!
Makes a pass through the arras
LORD POLONIUS
[Behind] O, I am slain!
Falls and dies
QUEEN GERTRUDE
O me, what hast thou done?
HAMLET
Nay, I know not:
Is it the king?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
HAMLET
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
As kill a king!
HAMLET
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
Lifts up the array and discovers POLONIUS
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune;
Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
Leave wringing of your hands: peace! sit you down,
And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damned custom have not brass'd it so
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
HAMLET
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 dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words: heaven's face doth glow:
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Ay me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
HAMLET