Part 13 out of 63
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?
Laer. 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. Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
Pol. 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. 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-
Ham. [aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind!
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Ham. Not so, my lord. I am too much i' th' sun.
Queen. 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.
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
Queen. If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Ham. 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 forc'd 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. '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. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply.
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come.
This gentle and unforc'd 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 heaven shall bruit again,
Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Flourish. Exeunt all but Hamlet.
Ham. 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 followed 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.
Hor. Hail to your lordship!
Ham. I am glad to see you well.
Horatio!- or I do forget myself.
Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
Ham. Sir, my good friend- I'll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?
Mar. My good lord!
Ham. I am very glad to see you.- [To Bernardo] Good even, sir.-
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.
Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do my 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.
Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Ham. I prithee do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak'd 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.
Hor. O, where, my lord?
Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Hor. I saw him once. He was a goodly king.
Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all.
I shall not look upon his like again.
Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw? who?
Hor. My lord, the King your father.
Ham. The King my father?
Hor. Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear, till I may deliver
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
Ham. For God's love let me hear!
Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen
(Marcellus and Bernardo) on their watch
In the dead vast and middle of the night
Been thus encount'red. 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 distill'd
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.
Ham. But where was this?
Mar. My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
Ham. Did you not speak to it?
Hor. My lord, I did;
But answer made it none. Yet once methought
It lifted up it 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.
Ham. 'Tis very strange.
Hor. 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.
Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs. But this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
Both [Mar. and Ber.] We do, my lord.
Ham. Arm'd, say you?
Both. Arm'd, my lord.
Ham. From top to toe?
Both. My lord, from head to foot.
Ham. Then saw you not his face?
Hor. O, yes, my lord! He wore his beaver up.
Ham. What, look'd he frowningly.
Hor. A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Ham. Pale or red?
Hor. Nay, very pale.
Ham. And fix'd his eyes upon you?
Hor. Most constantly.
Ham. I would I had been there.
Hor. It would have much amaz'd you.
Ham. Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?
Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
Both. Longer, longer.
Hor. Not when I saw't.
Ham. His beard was grizzled- no?
Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.
Ham. I will watch to-night.
Perchance 'twill walk again.
Hor. I warr'nt it will.
Ham. 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.
Ham. 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.
Elsinore. A room in the house of Polonius.
Enter Laertes and Ophelia.
Laer. 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.
Oph. Do you doubt that?
Laer. 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;
Oph. No more but so?
Laer. 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 circumscrib'd
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 unmast'red 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 scopes not calumnious strokes.
The canker galls the infants of the spring
Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd,
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.
Oph. I shall th' 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.
Laer. O, fear me not!
I stay too long. But here my father comes.
A double blessing is a double grace;
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
Pol. 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
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar:
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine 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 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 own self 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!
Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
Pol. The time invites you. Go, your servants tend.
Laer. Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
What I have said to you.
Oph. 'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
Laer. Farewell. Exit.
Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you?
Oph. So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
Pol. 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 behooves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.
Oph. He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
Pol. Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Oph. I do not know, my lord, what I should think,
Pol. Marry, I will 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.
Oph. My lord, he hath importun'd me with love
In honourable fashion.
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to!
Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
Pol. 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 something 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.
Oph. I shall obey, my lord.
Elsinore. The platform before the Castle.
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.
Ham. What hour now?
Hor. I think it lacks of twelve.
Mar. No, it is struck.
Hor. Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces go off.
What does this mean, my lord?
Ham. The King doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swagg'ring upspring reels,
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Hor. Is it a custom?
Ham. 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 traduc'd and tax'd of other nations;
They clip 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'erleavens
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 e'il
Doth all the noble substance often dout To his own scandal.
Hor. Look, my lord, it comes!
Ham. 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 com'st 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 canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again. What may this mean
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
Revisits 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.
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Mar. Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground.
But do not go with it!
Hor. No, by no means!
Ham. It will not speak. Then will I follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord!
Ham. Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at 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.
Hor. 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 fadoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
Ham. It waves me still.
Go on. I'll follow thee.
Mar. You shall not go, my lord.
Ham. Hold off your hands!
Hor. Be rul'd. You shall not go.
Ham. My fate cries out
And makes each petty artire 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.
Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination.
Mar. Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
Hor. Have after. To what issue wail this come?
Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Hor. Heaven will direct it.
Mar. Nay, let's follow him.
Elsinore. The Castle. Another part of the fortifications.
Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak! I'll go no further.
Ghost. Mark me.
Ham. I will.
Ghost. My hour is almost come,
When I to sulph'rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Ham. Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Ham. Speak. I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd 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 an 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-
Ham. O God!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther.
Ghost. Murther most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Ham. 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 rots 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 abus'd. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
Ham. O my prophetic soul!
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 mov'd,
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 hebona 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 quicksilverr it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigour it 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,
Unhous'led, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
Ham. O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
Ghost. 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 glowworm shows the matin to be near
And gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, adieu! Remember me. Exit.
Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? 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 am sure it may be so in Denmark. [Writes.]
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word:
It is 'Adieu, adieu! Remember me.'
I have sworn't.
Hor. (within) My lord, my lord!
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
Mar. Lord Hamlet!
Hor. Heaven secure him!
Ham. So be it!
Mar. Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come.
Mar. How is't, my noble lord?
Hor. What news, my lord?
Mar. O, wonderful!
Hor. Good my lord, tell it.
Ham. No, you will reveal it.
Hor. Not I, my lord, by heaven!
Mar. Nor I, my lord.
Ham. How say you then? Would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?
Both. Ay, by heaven, my lord.
Ham. There's neer a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.
Hor. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
Ham. Why, right! You are in the right!
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part;
You, as your business and desires shall point you,
For every man hath business and desire,
Such as it is; and for my own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
Hor. These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
Ham. I am sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, faith, heartily.
Hor. There's no offence, my lord.
Ham. 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.
Hor. What is't, my lord? We will.
Ham. Never make known what you have seen to-night.
Both. My lord, we will not.
Ham. Nay, but swear't.
Hor. In faith,
My lord, not I.
Mar. Nor I, my lord- in faith.
Ham. Upon my sword.
Mar. We have sworn, my lord, already.
Ham. Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ghost cries under the stage.
Ham. Aha boy, say'st thou so? Art thou there, truepenny?
Come on! You hear this fellow in the cellarage.
Consent to swear.
Hor. Propose the oath, my lord.
Ham. Never to speak of this that you have seen.
Swear by my sword.
Ghost. [beneath] Swear.
Ham. 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 by his sword.
Ham. Well said, old mole! Canst work i' th' earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends."
Hor. O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
Ham. And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
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 encumb'red thus, or this head-shake,
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 is not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Ghost. [beneath] Swear.
Ham. Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you;
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t' 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.
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Act II. Scene I.
Elsinore. A room in the house of Polonius.
Enter Polonius and Reynaldo.
Pol. Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
Rey. I will, my lord.
Pol. You shall do marvell's wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before You visit him, to make inquire
Of his behaviour.
Rey. My lord, I did intend it.
Pol. Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
Enquire 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?
Rey. Ay, very well, my lord.
Pol. '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.
Rey. As gaming, my lord.
Pol. Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Drabbing. You may go so far.
Rey. My lord, that would dishonour him.
Pol. 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.
Rey. But, my good lord-
Pol. Wherefore should you do this?
Rey. Ay, my lord,
I would know that.
Pol. Marry, sir, here's my drift,
And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
You laying these slight sullies on my son
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' th' working,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assur'd
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-
Rey. Very good, my lord.
Pol. And then, sir, does 'a this- 'a does- What was I about to say?
By the mass, I was about to say something! Where did I leave?
Rey. At 'closes in the consequence,' at 'friend or so,' and
Pol. 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
Rey. My lord, I have.
Pol. God b' wi' ye, fare ye well!
Rey. Good my lord! [Going.]
Pol. Observe his inclination in yourself.
Rey. I shall, my lord.
Pol. And let him ply his music.
Rey. Well, my lord.
How now, Ophelia? What's the matter?
Oph. O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
Pol. With what, i' th' name of God I
Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac'd,
No hat upon his head, his stockings foul'd,
Ungart'red, and down-gyved to his ankle;
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors- he comes before me.
Pol. Mad for thy love?
Oph. My lord, I do not know,
But truly I do fear it.
Pol. What said he?
Oph. 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 rais'd 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 help
And to the last bended their light on me.
Pol. 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?
Oph. No, my good lord; but, as you did command,
I did repel his letters and denied
His access to me.
Pol. 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 wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
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.
Elsinore. A room in the Castle.
Flourish. [Enter King and Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, cum aliis.
King. 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 I call it,
Sith nor th' 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 th' understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
That, being of so young clays brought up with him,
And since so neighbour'd to his youth and haviour,
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. 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.
Ros. Both your Majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
Guil. 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. Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
Queen. 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.
Guil. Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!
Queen. Ay, amen!
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, [with some
Pol. Th' ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
King. Thou still hast been the father of good news.
Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, 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 us'd to do- that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
King. O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to th' ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
Queen. I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.
King. Well, we shall sift him.
Enter Polonius, Voltemand, and Cornelius.
Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
Volt. 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 griev'd,
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 th' 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,
[Gives 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. It likes us well;
And at our more consider'd time we'll 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 Ambassadors.
Pol. This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night is 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. More matter, with less art.
Pol. 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.
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] the letter.
'To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; 'beautified' is a vile
But you shall hear. Thus:
'In her excellent white bosom, these, &c.'
Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?
Pol. 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
'Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him,
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. But how hath she
Receiv'd his love?
Pol. What do you think of me?
King. As of a man faithful and honourable.
Pol. I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing
(As I perceiv'd 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 prescripts 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. Do you think 'tis this?
Queen. it may be, very like.
Pol. Hath there been such a time- I would fain know that-
That I have Positively said ''Tis so,'
When it prov'd otherwise.?
King. Not that I know.
Pol. [points to his head and shoulder] Take this from this, if this
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
King. How may we try it further?
Pol. You know sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
Queen. So he does indeed.
Pol. 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 he not from his reason fall'n thereon
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
King. We will try it.
Enter Hamlet, reading on a book.
Queen. But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
Pol. Away, I do beseech you, both away
I'll board him presently. O, give me leave.
Exeunt King and Queen, [with Attendants].
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Ham. Well, God-a-mercy.
Pol. Do you know me, my lord?
Ham. Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.
Pol. Not I, my lord.
Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
Pol. Honest, my lord?
Ham. Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man
pick'd out of ten thousand.
Pol. That's very true, my lord.
Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god
kissing carrion- Have you a daughter?
Pol. I have, my lord.
Ham. Let her not walk i' th' sun. Conception is a blessing, but not
as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't.
Pol. [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 suff'red much extremity
for love- very near this. I'll speak to him again.- What do you
read, my lord?
Ham. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter, my lord?
Ham. Between who?
Pol. I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Ham. 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 you yourself, sir,
should be old as I am if, like a crab, you could go backward.
Pol. [aside] Though this be madness, yet there is a method in't.-
Will You walk out of the air, my lord?
Ham. Into my grave?
Pol. Indeed, that is out o' th' 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.
Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more
willingly part withal- except my life, except my life, except my
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Ham. These tedious old fools!
Pol. You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is.
Ros. [to Polonius] God save you, sir!
Guil. My honour'd lord!
Ros. My most dear lord!
Ham. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah,
Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guil. Happy in that we are not over-happy.
On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Ham. Nor the soles of her shoe?
Ros. Neither, my lord.
Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her
Guil. Faith, her privates we.
Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? O! most true! she is a
strumpet. What news ?
Ros. None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
Ham. 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
Guil. Prison, my lord?
Ham. Denmark's a prison.
Ros. Then is the world one.
Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and
dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst.
Ros. We think not so, my lord.
Ham. 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.
Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your
Ham. O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a
king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
Guil. Which dreams indeed are ambition; for the very substance of
the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.
Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that
it is but a shadow's shadow.
Ham. Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretch'd
heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th' court? for, by my
fay, I cannot reason.
Both. We'll wait upon you.
Ham. 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?
Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.
Ham. 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.
Guil. What should we say, my lord?
Ham. Why, anything- but to th' 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.
Ros. To what end, my lord?
Ham. 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.
Ros. [aside to Guildenstern] What say you?
Ham. [aside] Nay then, I have an eye of you.- If you love me, hold
Guil. My lord, we were sent for.
Ham. 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 appeareth 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
faculties! 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.
Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said 'Man delights not me'?
Ros. 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.
Ham. 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 humorous man shall
end his part in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
lungs are tickle o' th' sere; and the lady shall say her mind
freely, or the blank verse shall halt fort. What players are
Ros. Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the
tragedians of the city.
Ham. How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in
reputation and profit, was better both ways.
Ros. I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late
Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the
city? Are they so follow'd?
Ros. No indeed are they not.
Ham. How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace; but there is,
sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top
of question and are most tyrannically clapp'd fort. These are now
the fashion, and so berattle the common stages (so they call
them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goosequills and
dare scarce come thither.
Ham. 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.
Ros. 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.
Ham. Is't possible?
Guil. O, there has been much throwing about of brains.
Ham. Do the boys carry it away?
Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord- Hercules and his load too.
Ham. It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of Denmark, and
those that would make mows at him while my father lived give
twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in
little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if
philosophy could find it out.
Flourish for the Players.
Guil. There are the players.
Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come! Th'
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 outwards) should more appear like
entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father
and aunt-mother are deceiv'd.
Guil. In what, my dear lord?
Ham. I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I
know a hawk from a handsaw.
Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen!
Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern- and you too- at each ear a hearer!
That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling
Ros. Happily he's the second time come to them; for they say an old
man is twice a child.
Ham. I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players. Mark it.-
You say right, sir; a Monday morning; twas so indeed.
Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor in
Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Ham. Buzz, buzz!
Pol. Upon my honour-
Ham. Then came each actor on his ass-
Pol. 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.
Ham. O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!
Pol. What treasure had he, my lord?
'One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved passing well.'
Pol. [aside] Still on my daughter.
Ham. Am I not i' th' right, old Jephthah?
Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I
love passing well.
Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Pol. What follows then, my lord?
'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 abridgment 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? Why, thy face is
valanc'd since I saw thee last. Com'st' 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 a piece of
uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring.- Masters, you are
all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at
anything we see. We'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a
taste of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.
1. Play. What speech, my good lord?
Ham. 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, pleas'd
not the million, 'twas caviary to the general; but it was (as I
receiv'd 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 call'd it an honest method, as wholesome as
sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in't
I chiefly lov'd. '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 th' Hyrcanian beast-'
'Tis 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 be total gules, horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and a damned light
To their lord's murther. Roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'ersized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.'
So, proceed you.
Pol. Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good
1. Play. '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
Th' 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' th' air to stick.
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
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 awork;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, forg'd 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!
Pol. This is too long.
Ham. 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
1. Play. 'But who, O who, had seen the mobled queen-'
Ham. 'The mobled queen'?
Pol. That's good! 'Mobled queen' is good.
1. Play. 'Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning 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'erteemed 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 pronounc'd.
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.'
Pol. Look, whe'r he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's
eyes. Prithee no more!
Ham. 'Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.-
Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow'd? Do you
hear? Let them be well us'd; 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.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. 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.
Pol. Come, sirs.
Ham. Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play to-morrow.
Exeunt Polonius and Players [except the First].
Dost thou hear me, old friend? Can you play 'The Murther of
1. Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. 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?
1. Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. 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
Ros. Good my lord!
Ham. Ay, so, God b' 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!
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.
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 th' nose? gives me the lie i' th' 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!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murther'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,
Fie upon't! foh! About, my brain! Hum, 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 murther, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ, I'll have these Players
Play something like the murther 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 a devil; and the devil hath power
T' 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.
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ACT III. Scene I.
Elsinore. A room in the Castle.
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.
King. 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?
Ros. He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Guil. 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. Did he receive you well?
Ros. Most like a gentleman.
Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition.
Ros. Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.
Queen. Did you assay him
To any pastime?
Ros. Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are here about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
Pol. 'Tis most true;
And he beseech'd me to entreat your Majesties
To hear and see the matter.
King. With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose on to these delights.
Ros. We shall, my lord.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
King. Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
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 behav'd,
If't be th' affliction of his love, or no,
That thus he suffers for.
Queen. 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.
Oph. Madam, I wish it may.
Pol. 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 prov'd, that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The Devil himself.
King. [aside] O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O heavy burthen!
Pol. I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
Exeunt King and Polonius].
Ham. To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be 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,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would these 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 rememb'red.
Oph. Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?
Ham. I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longed long to re-deliver.
I pray you, now receive them.
Ham. No, not I!
I never gave you aught.
Oph. My honour'd lord, you know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath compos'd
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.
Ham. Ha, ha! Are you honest?
Oph. My lord?
Ham. Are you fair?
Oph. What means your lordship?
Ham. That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no
discourse to your beauty.
Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?
Ham. 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.
Oph. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
Ham. You should not have believ'd me; for virtue cannot so
inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you
Oph. I was the more deceived.
Ham. 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
Oph. At home, my lord.
Ham. Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool
nowhere but in's own house. Farewell.
Oph. O, help him, you sweet heavens!
Ham. 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.
Oph. O heavenly powers, restore him!
Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath
given you one face, and you make yourselves another. You jig, you
amble, and you lisp; you nickname 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 moe marriages. Those that are
married already- all but one- shall live; the rest shall keep as
they are. To a nunnery, go. Exit.
Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, scholar's, soldier's, eye, tongue, sword,
Th' expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th' observ'd 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
T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Enter King and Polonius.
King. 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?
Pol. 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 plac'd 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. It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go. Exeunt.
Elsinore. hall in the Castle.
Enter Hamlet and three of the Players.
Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it to you,
trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our
players do, I had as live 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)
whirlwind of your 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 cars of the groundlings, who
(for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb
shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing
Termagant. It out-herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.
Player. I warrant your honour.
Ham. Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your
tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with
this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of
nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing,
whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as
'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show Virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his
form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though
it make the 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.
Player. I hope we have reform'd that indifferently with us, sir.
Ham. 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.
Enter Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
How now, my lord? Will the King hear this piece of work?
Pol. And the Queen too, and that presently.
Ham. Bid the players make haste, [Exit Polonius.] Will you two
help to hasten them?
Both. We will, my lord. Exeunt they two.
Ham. What, ho, Horatio!
Hor. Here, sweet lord, at your service.
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
As e'er my conversation cop'd withal.
Hor. O, my dear lord!
Ham. 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 scald thee for herself. For thou hast been
As one, in suff'ring 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 I
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 my 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.
Hor. Well, my lord.
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,
And scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
Sound a flourish. [Enter Trumpets and Kettledrums. Danish
march. [Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz,
Guildenstern, and other Lords attendant, with the Guard
Ham. They are coming to the play. I must be idle.
Get you a place.
King. How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish. I eat the air,
promise-cramm'd. You cannot feed capons so.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not
Ham. No, nor mine now. [To Polonius] My lord, you play'd once
i' th' university, you say?
Pol. That did I, my lord, and was accounted a good actor.
Ham. What did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Julius Caesar; I was kill'd i' th' Capitol; Brutus
Ham. It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there. Be
the players ready.
Ros. Ay, my lord. They stay upon your patience.
Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
Ham. No, good mother. Here's metal more attractive.
Pol. [to the King] O, ho! do you mark that?
Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
[Sits down at Ophelia's feet.]
Oph. No, my lord.
Ham. I mean, my head upon your lap?
Oph. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Do you think I meant country matters?
Oph. I think nothing, my lord.
Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
Oph. What is, my lord?
Oph. You are merry, my lord.
Ham. Who, I?
Oph. Ay, my lord.
Ham. 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 's two hours.
Oph. Nay 'tis twice two months, my lord.
Ham. 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. He 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, pours poison in the sleeper's ears, and
leaves him. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes
passionate action. The Poisoner with some three or four Mutes,
comes in again, seem to condole with her. The dead body is
carried away. The Poisoner wooes the Queen with gifts; she
seems harsh and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts
Oph. What means this, my lord?
Ham. Marry, this is miching malhecho; it means mischief.
Oph. Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
Ham. We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot keep counsel;
they'll tell all.
Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant?
Ham. Ay, or any show that you'll show him. Be not you asham'd to
show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
Oph. You are naught, you are naught! I'll mark the play.
Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently. [Exit.]
Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord.
Ham. As woman's love.
Enter [two Players as] King and Queen.
King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
And thirty dozed moons with borrowed sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands,
Unite comutual in most sacred bands.
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 siz'd, my fear is so.
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
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, belov'd, and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou-
Queen. O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
When second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who killed the first.
Ham. [aside] Wormwood, wormwood!
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.
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 fill 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 advanc'd 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.