Re: HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK by William Shakespeare

None but his enemies.

Will you know them then?

To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;
And, like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.

(Within) Let her come in.

How now! What noise is that?

(Re-enter Ophelia, fantastically dressed with straws and

O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!--
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!--
O heavens! is't possible a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love; and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

   They bore him barefac'd on the bier
   Hey no nonny, nonny, hey nonny
   And on his grave rain'd many a tear.--

Fare you well, my dove!

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.

You must sing 'Down a-down, an you call him a-down-a.' O,
how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward, that stole his
master's daughter.

This nothing's more than matter.

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love,
remember: and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.

A document in madness,--thoughts and remembrance fitted.

There's fennel for you, and columbines:--there's rue for you;
and here's some for me:--we may call it herb of grace o'
Sundays:--O, you must wear your rue with a difference.--There's a
daisy:--I would give you some violets, but they wither'd all when
my father died:--they say he made a good end,--
   For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,--

Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.

   And will he not come again?
   And will he not come again?
     No, no, he is dead,
     Go to thy death-bed,
   He never will come again.

   His beard was as white as snow,
   All flaxen was his poll:
     He is gone, he is gone,
     And we cast away moan:
   God ha' mercy on his soul!

And of all Christian souls, I pray God.--God b' wi' ye.


Do you see this, O God?

Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.

Let this be so;
His means of death, his obscure burial,--
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation,--
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.

So you shall;
And where the offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you go with me.


Scene VI. Another room in the Castle.

(Enter Horatio and a Servant.)

What are they that would speak with me?

Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.

Let them come in.

(Exit Servant.)

I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

(Enter Sailors.)

I Sailor.
God bless you, sir.

Let him bless thee too.

He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you,
sir,--it comes from the ambassador that was bound for England; if
your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.

(Reads.) 'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked
this, give these fellows some means to the king: they have
letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of
very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too
slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I
boarded them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so I
alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves
of mercy: but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for
them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou
to me with as much haste as thou wouldst fly death. I have words
to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb; yet are they much too
light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows will bring
thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course
for England: of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.
He that thou knowest thine,       HAMLET.'

Come, I will give you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.


Scene VII. Another room in the Castle.

(Enter King and Laertes.)

Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
And you must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursu'd my life.

It well appears:--but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.

O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself,--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which,--
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms,--
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections:--but my revenge will come.

Break not your sleeps for that:--you must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine,--

(Enter a Messenger.)

How now! What news?

Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.

From Hamlet! Who brought them?

Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
They were given me by Claudio:--he receiv'd them
Of him that brought them.

Laertes, you shall hear them.
Leave us.

(Exit Messenger.)

(Reads)'High and mighty,--You shall know I am set naked on your
kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes:
when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the
occasions of my sudden and more strange return.       HAMLET.'

What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

Know you the hand?

'Tis Hamlet's character:--'Naked!'--
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?

I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'

If it be so, Laertes,--
As how should it be so? how otherwise?--
Will you be rul'd by me?

Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.

To thine own peace. If he be now return'd--
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it,--I will work him
To exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind shall breathe;
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.

My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.

It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.

What part is that, my lord?

A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness.--Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy,--
I've seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't: he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.

A Norman was't?

A Norman.

Upon my life, Lamond.

The very same.

I know him well: he is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.

He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with him.
Now, out of this,--

What out of this, my lord?

Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?

Why ask you this?

Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But to the quick o' the ulcer:--
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?

To cut his throat i' the church.

No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.

I will do't:
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
This is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance.
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold
If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see:--
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings,--
I ha't:
When in your motion you are hot and dry,--
As make your bouts more violent to that end,--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepar'd him
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.

(Enter Queen.)

How now, sweet queen!

One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow:--your sister's drown'd, Laertes.

Drown'd! O, where?

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indu'd
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Alas, then she is drown'd?

Drown'd, drown'd.

Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will: when these are gone,
The woman will be out.--Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.


Let's follow, Gertrude;
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.



Scene I. A churchyard.

(Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c.)

1 Clown.
Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she wilfully
seeks her own salvation?

2 Clown.
I tell thee she is; and therefore make her grave straight: the
crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.

1 Clown.
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

2 Clown.
Why, 'tis found so.

1 Clown.
It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies
the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and an
act hath three branches; it is to act, to do, and to perform:
argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

2 Clown.
Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,--

1 Clown.
Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here stands the
man; good: if the man go to this water and drown himself, it is,
will he, nill he, he goes,--mark you that: but if the water come
to him and drown him, he drowns not himself; argal, he that is
not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.

2 Clown.
But is this law?

1 Clown.
Ay, marry, is't--crowner's quest law.

2 Clown.
Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a
gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.

1 Clown.
Why, there thou say'st: and the more pity that great folk
should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves
more than their even Christian.--Come, my spade. There is no
ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: they
hold up Adam's profession.

2 Clown.
Was he a gentleman?

1 Clown.
He was the first that ever bore arms.

2 Clown.
Why, he had none.

1 Clown.
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?
The Scripture says Adam digg'd: could he dig without arms? I'll
put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the
purpose, confess thyself,--

2 Clown.
Go to.

1 Clown.
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the
shipwright, or the carpenter?

2 Clown.
The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1 Clown.
I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows does well;
but how does it well? it does well to those that do ill: now,
thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the
church; argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.

2 Clown.
Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?

1 Clown.
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

2 Clown.
Marry, now I can tell.

1 Clown.

2 Clown.
Mass, I cannot tell.

(Enter Hamlet and Horatio, at a distance.)

1 Clown.
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will
not mend his pace with beating; and when you are asked this
question next, say 'a grave-maker;' the houses he makes last
till doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan; fetch me a stoup of

(Exit Second Clown.)

(Digs and sings.)

   In youth when I did love, did love,
     Methought it was very sweet;
   To contract, O, the time for, ah, my behove,
     O, methought there was nothing meet.

Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at

Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier

1 Clown.
   But age, with his stealing steps,
     Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
   And hath shipp'd me intil the land,
     As if I had never been such.

(Throws up a skull.)

That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once: how the
knave jowls it to the ground,as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, that
did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician,
which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would circumvent God,
might it not?


Re: HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK by William Shakespeare

It might, my lord.

Or of a courtier, which could say 'Good morrow, sweet lord!
How dost thou, good lord?' This might be my lord such-a-one, that
praised my lord such-a-one's horse when he meant to beg
it,--might it not?

Ay, my lord.

Why, e'en so: and now my Lady Worm's; chapless, and knocked
about the mazard with a sexton's spade: here's fine revolution,
an we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the
breeding but to play at loggets with 'em? mine ache to think

1 Clown.
   A pickaxe and a spade, a spade,
     For and a shrouding sheet;
   O, a pit of clay for to be made
     For such a guest is meet.

(Throws up another skull).

There's another: why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?
Where be his quiddits now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures,
and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock
him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him
of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in's time a
great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his
fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries: is this the fine of
his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine
pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more of
his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth
of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will
scarcely lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no
more, ha?

Not a jot more, my lord.

Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?

Ay, my lord, And of calf-skins too.

They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I
will speak to this fellow.--Whose grave's this, sir?

1 Clown.
Mine, sir.
   O, a pit of clay for to be made
     For such a guest is meet.

I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.

1 Clown.
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not yours: for my part,
I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.

Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine: 'tis for
the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

1 Clown.
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 't will away again from me to you.

What man dost thou dig it for?

1 Clown.
For no man, sir.

What woman then?

1 Clown.
For none neither.

Who is to be buried in't?

1 Clown.
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.

How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or
equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, these three
years I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked that
the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he
galls his kibe.--How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

1 Clown.
Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day that our
last King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

How long is that since?

1 Clown.
Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: it was the
very day that young Hamlet was born,--he that is mad, and sent
into England.

Ay, marry, why was be sent into England?

1 Clown.
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there;
or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.


1 Clown.
'Twill not he seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

How came he mad?

1 Clown.
Very strangely, they say.

How strangely?

1 Clown.
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

Upon what ground?

1 Clown.
Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man and boy,
thirty years.

How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?

1 Clown.
Faith, if he be not rotten before he die,--as we have many
pocky corses now-a-days that will scarce hold the laying in,--he
will last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will last
you nine year.

Why he more than another?

1 Clown.
Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd with his trade that he will
keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of
your whoreson dead body. Here's a skull now; this skull hath lain
in the earth three-and-twenty years.

Whose was it?

1 Clown.
A whoreson, mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

Nay, I know not.

1 Clown.
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'a pour'd a flagon of
Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's
skull, the king's jester.


1 Clown.
E'en that.

Let me see. (Takes the skull.) Alas, poor Yorick!--I knew him,
Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he
hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred
in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those
lips that I have kiss'd I know not how oft. Where be your gibes
now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that
were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your
own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now, get you to my lady's
chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this
favour she must come; make her laugh at that.--Pr'ythee, Horatio,
tell me one thing.

What's that, my lord?

Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' the earth?

E'en so.

And smelt so? Pah!

(Throws down the skull.)

E'en so, my lord.

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not
imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it
stopping a bung-hole?

'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.

No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty
enough, and likelihood to lead it: as thus: Alexander died,
Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is
earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he
was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
   Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
   Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
   O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
   Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside!--Here comes the king.

(Enter priests, &c, in procession; the corpse of Ophelia,
Laertes, and Mourners following; King, Queen, their Trains, &c.)

The queen, the courtiers: who is that they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo it own life: 'twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile and mark.

(Retiring with Horatio.)

What ceremony else?

That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.

What ceremony else?

1 Priest.
Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd
As we have warranties: her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'd
Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her,
Yet here she is allowed her virgin rites,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

Must there no more be done?

1 Priest.
No more be done;
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

Lay her i' the earth;--
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!--I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.

What, the fair Ophelia?

Sweets to the sweet: farewell.
(Scattering flowers.)
I hop'd thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.

O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv'd thee of!--Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms:
(Leaps into the grave.)
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
To o'ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.

What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? this is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
(Leaps into the grave.)

The devil take thy soul!
(Grappling with him.)

Thou pray'st not well.
I pr'ythee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenetive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear: away thy hand!

Pluck them asunder.

Hamlet! Hamlet!


Good my lord, be quiet.

(The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave.)

Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

O my son, what theme?

I lov'd Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.--What wilt thou do for her?

O, he is mad, Laertes.

For love of God, forbear him!

'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:
Woul't weep? woul't fight? woul't fast? woul't tear thyself?
Woul't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't.--Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.

This is mere madness:
And thus a while the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,
His silence will sit drooping.

Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I lov'd you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.


I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.--

(Exit Horatio.)
(To Laertes)
Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
We'll put the matter to the present push.--
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.--
This grave shall have a living monument:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then in patience our proceeding be.


Scene II. A hall in the Castle.

(Enter Hamlet and Horatio.)

So much for this, sir: now let me see the other;
You do remember all the circumstance?

Remember it, my lord!

Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
Worse than the mutinies in the bilboes. Rashly,
And prais'd be rashness for it,--let us know,
Our indiscretion sometime serves us well,
When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.

That is most certain.

Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Grop'd I to find out them: had my desire;
Finger'd their packet; and, in fine, withdrew
To mine own room again: making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio,
O royal knavery! an exact command,--
Larded with many several sorts of reasons,
Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,--
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.

Is't possible?

Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou bear me how I did proceed?

I beseech you.

Being thus benetted round with villanies,--
Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play,--I sat me down;
Devis'd a new commission; wrote it fair:
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
The effect of what I wrote?

Ay, good my lord.

An earnest conjuration from the king,--
As England was his faithful tributary;
As love between them like the palm might flourish;
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma 'tween their amities;
And many such-like as's of great charge,--
That, on the view and know of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving-time allow'd.

How was this seal'd?

Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal:
Folded the writ up in the form of the other;
Subscrib'd it: gave't the impression; plac'd it safely,
The changeling never known. Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
Thou know'st already.

So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow:
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.

Why, what a king is this!

Does it not, thinks't thee, stand me now upon,--
He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother;
Popp'd in between the election and my hopes;
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience
To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?

It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business there.

It will be short: the interim is mine;
And a man's life is no more than to say One.
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself;
For by the image of my cause I see
The portraiture of his: I'll court his favours:
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.

Peace; who comes here?

(Enter Osric.)

Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?

No, my good lord.

Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him. He
hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and
his crib shall stand at the king's mess; 'tis a chough; but, as I
say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should
impart a thing to you from his majesty.

I will receive it with all diligence of spirit. Put your
bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

I thank your lordship, t'is very hot.

No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.

Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--as 'twere--I cannot
tell how. But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that
he has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the

I beseech you, remember,--
(Hamlet moves him to put on his hat.)

Nay, in good faith; for mine ease, in good faith. Sir, here
is newly come to court Laertes; believe me, an absolute
gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft
society and great showing: indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he
is the card or calendar of gentry; for you shall find in him the
continent of what part a gentleman would see.

Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;--though, I
know, to divide him inventorially would dizzy the arithmetic of
memory, and yet but yaw neither, in respect of his quick sail.
But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great
article, and his infusion of such dearth and rareness as, to make
true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror, and who else
would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.

Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more
rawer breath?


Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't,
sir, really.

What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

Of Laertes?

His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.

Of him, sir.

I know, you are not ignorant,--

I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not
much approve me.--Well, sir.

You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is,--

I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in
excellence; but to know a man well were to know himself.

I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on
him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.

What's his weapon?

Rapier and dagger.

That's two of his weapons:--but well.

The king, sir, hath wager'd with him six Barbary horses:
against the which he has imponed, as I take it, six French
rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and
so: three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy,
very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of
very liberal conceit.

What call you the carriages?

I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.

The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

The phrase would be more german to the matter if we could
carry cannon by our sides. I would it might be hangers till then.
But, on: six Barbary horses against six French swords, their
assigns, and three liberal conceited carriages: that's the French
bet against the Danish: why is this all imponed, as you call it?

The king, sir, hath laid that, in a dozen passes between
your and him, he shall not exceed you three hits: he hath
laid on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial
if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

How if I answer no?

I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please his majesty,
it is the breathing time of day with me: let the foils be
brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose,
I will win for him if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my
shame and the odd hits.

Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?

To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.

I commend my duty to your lordship.

Yours, yours.

(Exit Osric.)

He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else
for's turn.

This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

He did comply with his dug before he suck'd it. Thus has he,--and
many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes on,--
only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter;
a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and
through the most fanned and winnowed opinions; and do but blow
them to their trial, the bubbles are out,

(Enter a Lord.)

My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric,
who brings back to him that you attend him in the hall: he sends
to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you
will take longer time.

I am constant to my purposes; they follow the king's pleasure:
if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now or whensoever, provided
I be so able as now.

The King and Queen and all are coming down.

In happy time.

The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to
Laertes before you fall to play.

She well instructs me.

(Exit Lord.)

You will lose this wager, my lord.

I do not think so; since he went into France I have been in
continual practice: I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not
think how ill all's here about my heart: but it is no matter.


Re: HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK by William Shakespeare

Nay, good my lord,--

It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gain-giving as
would perhaps trouble a woman.

If your mind dislike anything, obey it: I will forestall their
repair hither, and say you are not fit.

Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be
not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come:
the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves,
what is't to leave betimes?

(Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Lords, Osric, and Attendants with
foils &c.)

Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

(The King puts Laertes' hand into Hamlet's.)

Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you wrong:
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punish'd with sore distraction.
What I have done
That might your nature, honour, and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
That I have shot my arrow o'er the house
And hurt my brother.

I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge. But in my terms of honour
I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters of known honour
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungor'd. But till that time
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.

I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager frankly play.--
Give us the foils; come on.

Come, one for me.

I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star in the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.

You mock me, sir.

No, by this hand.

Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?

Very well, my lord;
Your grace has laid the odds o' the weaker side.

I do not fear it; I have seen you both;
But since he's better'd, we have therefore odds.

This is too heavy, let me see another.

This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

(They prepare to play.)

Ay, my good lord.

Set me the stoups of wine upon that table,--
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire;
The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
'Now the king drinks to Hamlet.'--Come, begin:--
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

Come on, sir.

Come, my lord.

(They play.)




A hit, a very palpable hit.


Stay, give me drink.--Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.--

(Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off within.)

Give him the cup.

I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile.--
Come.--Another hit; what say you?

(They play.)

A touch, a touch, I do confess.

Our son shall win.

He's fat, and scant of breath.--
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows:
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

Good madam!

Gertrude, do not drink.

I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me.

(Aside.) It is the poison'd cup; it is too late.

I dare not drink yet, madam; by-and-by.

Come, let me wipe thy face.

My lord, I'll hit him now.

I do not think't.

(Aside.) And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.

Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
I pray you pass with your best violence:
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

Say you so? come on.

(They play.)

Nothing, neither way.

Have at you now!

(Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling, they
change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.)

Part them; they are incens'd.

Nay, come again!

(The Queen falls.)

Look to the queen there, ho!

They bleed on both sides.--How is it, my lord?

How is't, Laertes?

Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osric;
I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

How does the Queen?

She swoons to see them bleed.

No, no! the drink, the drink!--O my dear Hamlet!--
The drink, the drink!--I am poison'd.


O villany!--Ho! let the door be lock'd:
Treachery! seek it out.

(Laertes falls.)

It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour of life;
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practice
Hath turn'd itself on me; lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
I can no more:--the king, the king's to blame.

The point envenom'd too!--
Then, venom, to thy work.

(Stabs the King.)

Osric and Lords.
Treason! treason!

O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.

Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion.--Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.

(King dies.)

He is justly serv'd;
It is a poison temper'd by himself.--
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me!


Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.--
I am dead, Horatio.--Wretched queen, adieu!--
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time,--as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest,--O, I could tell you,--
But let it be.--Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv'st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

Never believe it:
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.--
Here's yet some liquor left.

As thou'rt a man,
Give me the cup; let go; by heaven, I'll have't.--
O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.--

(March afar off, and shot within.)

What warlike noise is this?

Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.

O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited.--the rest is silence.


Now cracks a noble heart.--Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Why does the drum come hither?

(March within.)

(Enter Fortinbras, the English Ambassadors, and others.)

Where is this sight?

What is it you will see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

This quarry cries on havoc.--O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?

1 Ambassador.
The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late:
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?

Not from his mouth,
Had it the ability of life to thank you:
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
Are here arriv'd, give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view;
And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
How these things came about: so shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts;
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters;
Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause;
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on the inventors' heads: all this can I
Truly deliver.

Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now, to claim my vantage doth invite me.

Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more:
But let this same be presently perform'd,
Even while men's minds are wild: lest more mischance
On plots and errors happen.

Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have prov'd most royally: and, for his passage,
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.--
Take up the bodies.--Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

(A dead march.)

(Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after the which a peal of
ordnance is shot off.)