The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of. Denmark. ASCII text placed in the public domain by Moby Lexical Tools, SGML markup by Jon Bosak,. Book: Hamlet. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare between and The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and. [Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes and his sister 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
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The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is the single greatest documentary . QUEEN GERTRUDE, widow of King Hamlet, now married to Claudius. Cambridge Shakespeare and Furness's edition of Hamlet. Thirdly, it gives explanatory notes. Here it is inevitable that my task should in the main be that of. The Tragedy ofHamlet p r i n c e o f d e n ma r k t h e a n n o tat e d s h a k e s p e a r e Hamlet William S.
I pray you now receive them. Hamlet No, not I I never gave you aught. Ophelia My honored lord, you know right well you did, And with them words of so sweet breath composed70 As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost, Take these again, for to the noble71 mind Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord. Are you honest? Ophelia My lord? Hamlet That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to73 your beauty.
Ophelia Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce74 than with honesty? Hamlet Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 a very formal, aloof acknowledgment in part an answer to her query?
Ophelia Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. Hamlet You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock79 but we shall relish of it. Ophelia I was the more deceived. Hamlet Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? What should such fellows as I do,83 crawling between earth and heaven?
We are arrant knaves,84 all: Go thy ways to a nunnery. Ophelia At home, my lord. Ophelia O, help him, you sweet heavens! Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters86 you87make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Ophelia O heavenly powers, restore him! God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another. I say, we will have no mo94 marriage.
Those that are married already — all but one95 — shall live. The rest shall keep96 as they are. To a nunnery, go.
Polonius It shall do well. But yet do I believe The origin and commencement of his grief Sprung from neglected love. You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said: We heard it all. Madness in great ones must not unwatched go. But if you mouth it2 as many of your players3 do, I had as lief 4 the town-crier spoke my lines.
Nor do not saw5 the air too much with your hand — thus — but use all gently,6 for in the very torrent, tempest, and — as I may say — the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
First Player I warrant14 your honor. O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly — not to speak it profanely23 — 12 a violent character in the Mystery Plays, biblical folk-dramas popular in England, thirteenth—sixteenth centuries 13 ruler of Galilee, who presided at the trial of Jesus: Hamlet O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your 35 27 speak no more than is set down for them, for there clowns be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren28 spectators to laugh too, though, in the meantime, some necessary question29 of the play be then to be considered.
Go, make you ready. Will the king hear this piece of work? Polonius And the queen too, and that presently. Hamlet to Polonius Bid the players make haste. Rosencrantz Ay, my lord. No, let the candied tongue lick absurd35 pomp, And crook the pregnant36 hinges of the knee Where thrift may follow fawning.
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,48 Even with the very comment49 of thy soul Observe mine uncle. You cannot feed capons61 so. These words are not mine. Polonius That did I, my lord, and was accounted a good actor. Polonius I did enact Julius Caesar. Hamlet It was a brute part of him to kill so capital65 a calf there. They stay upon your patience. Gertrude Come hither, my dear Hamlet. Sit by me. Hamlet approaches Ophelia No, good mother. Do you mark that?
I mean, my head upon your lap? Ay, my lord. Do you think I meant country matters? What is, my lord? Hamlet Who, I? Ophelia Ay, my lord. Hamlet O God, your only jig-maker. Hamlet So long? Die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Hamlet Marry, this is miching mallecho. Ophelia Belike this show imports the argument89 of the play. Ophelia You are naught,92 you are naught: Prologue For us, and for our tragedy, Here stooping93 to your clemency, We beg your hearing patiently.
Such love must needs be treason in my breast. In second husband let me be accurst! A second time I kill my husband dead When second husband kisses me in bed. Player King I do believe you think what now you speak, But what we do determine oft we break.
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. And hitherto doth love on fortune tend, For who not needs shall never lack a friend, And who in want a hollow friend doth try Directly seasons him his enemy.
But orderly to end where I begun, Our wills and fates do so contrary run That our devices still are overthrown: Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own. If she should break it now! Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile The tedious day with sleep. Gertrude The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Claudius Have you heard the argument? Claudius What do you call the play? You shall see anon. Your Majesty, and we that have free souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade wince: Ophelia You are as good as a chorus, my lord. Leave thy damnable faces, and begin. The story is extant, and written in very choice Italian.
Ophelia The king rises. Claudius Give me some light. Polonius Lights, lights, lights! So runs the world away. Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers — if the rest of my fortunes Turk with me — with two Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players? Hamlet A whole one, I. Didst perceive? Horatio Very well, my lord.
I did very well note him. Ah, ha! Come, some music! Come, the recorders! Hamlet Sir, a whole history. Guildenstern Is in his retirement marvellous distempered. Guildenstern No, my lord, rather with choler. Hamlet You are welcome. Guildenstern Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If not, your pardon and my return shall be the end of my business.
Hamlet Sir, I cannot. Rosencrantz What, my lord? Hamlet Make you a wholesome answer. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command — or, rather, as you say, my mother. Therefore no more, but to the matter. My mother, you say — Rosencrantz Then thus she says: Hamlet We shall obey, were she ten times our mother.
Rosencrantz My lord, you once did love me. Hamlet So I do still, by these pickers and stealers. Hamlet Sir, I lack advancement. Let me see one. Will you play upon this pipe? Guildenstern My lord, I cannot. Hamlet I pray you. Guildenstern Believe me, I cannot. Hamlet I do beseech you. Guildenstern I know no touch of it, my lord. Look you, these are the stops. Guildenstern But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony.
Hamlet Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to to get upwind of me from hunting: Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me. Polonius My lord, the Queen would speak with you, and presently. Hamlet Methinks it is like a weasel. Polonius It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet Or like a whale. Polonius Very like a whale. Polonius I will say so. Now could I drink hot blood And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on. Now to my mother. O heart, lose not thy nature.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural. I will speak daggers to her, but use none. My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites. I your commission will forthwith dispatch,3 And he to England shall along with you.
The terms of our estate4 may not endure 5 Hazard so near us as doth hourly grow Out of his brows. Guildenstern We will ourselves provide. It is a massy wheel, Fixed on the summit of the highest mount, To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things Are mortised and adjoined,13 which when it falls, Each small annexment petty consequence!
Never alone Did the king sigh, but with a general15 groan. Claudius Arm16 you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage, For we will fetters17 put upon this fear, Which now goes too free-footed.
Rosencrantz, Guildenstern We will haste us. Thanks, dear my lord. Pray can I not, Though inclination be as sharp23 as will. But O, what form of prayer Can serve my turn?
What then? Yet what can it when one can not repent? O wretched state! O bosom41 black as death! Make assay! All may be well. That would be scanned. O, this is hire and salary,49 not revenge. My mother stays: Words without thoughts never to heaven go. Look you lay home to him. Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with, And that your grace hath screened1 and stood between Much heat2 and him.
Hamlet within Mother, mother, mother! Fear me not. Withdraw, I hear him coming. Come, come, you answer with an idle7 tongue. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue. Why, how now,8 Hamlet! You shall not budge. Gertrude What wilt thou do? Help, ho! Polonius behind the arras What, ho! Help, help, help! Hamlet drawing his sword How now!
A rat? Gertrude behind O, I am slain! O me, what hast thou done? Hamlet Nay, I know not. Is it the king? Gertrude O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
Hamlet A bloody deed? Almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother. I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune. Gertrude Ay me, what act, That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
This was your husband. Look you now what follows. Here is your husband, like a mildewed40 ear, Blasting his wholesome41 brother. Have you eyes? Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed And batten on this moor? Proclaim no shame When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,56 Since frost itself as actively doth burn57 And reason panders will. These words like daggers enter in mine ears. Hamlet A murderer and a villain, A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe Of your precedent lord64 — a Vice65 of kings, A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,66 That from a shelf the precious diadem67 stole And put it in his pocket — Gertrude No more!
O, say! This visitation Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. Conceit74 in weakest bodies strongest works. Speak to her, Hamlet. Hamlet How is it with you, lady? Hamlet On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares! His form and cause conjoined,83 preaching to stones, Would make them capable.
Hamlet Do you see nothing there? Gertrude Nothing at all. Yet all that is89 I see. Hamlet Nor did you nothing hear? Gertrude No, nothing but ourselves.
Hamlet Why, look you there! Look how it90 steals away! My father, in his habit as he lived! Hamlet Ecstasy? My pulse as yours doth temperately93 keep time, And makes as healthful music. It is not madness That I have uttered. Forgive me this my virtue, For in the fatness of these pursy times Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg — Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
Hamlet O, throw away the worser part of it And live the purer with the other half. Assume a virtue, if you have it not. Refrain to-night, And that shall lend a kind of easiness To the next abstinence, the next more easy, For use almost can change the stamp of nature, And either [. For this same lord, pointing to Polonius I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so, To punish me with this and this with me, That I must be their scourge and minister.
So again, good night. I must be cruel, only to be kind. Thus bad begins and worse remains behind. Gertrude What shall I do? Hamlet I must to England.
You know that? Alack, Gertrude I had forgot. Mother, good night. Indeed, this counsellor Is now most still, most secret and most grave, Who was in life a foolish, prating knave.
Good night, mother. These profound heaves1 You must translate: Where is your son? Gertrude to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Bestow2 this place on us a little while. Claudius What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Gertrude Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend Which is the mightier. Claudius O heavy deed! It had been so with us, had we4 been there. His liberty is full of threats to all, To you yourself, to us, to everyone. Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered? It will be laid to us, whose providence Should have kept short, restrained and out of haunt5 This mad young man. Where is he gone? Claudius O Gertrude, come away! Go seek him out.
Speak fair,14 and bring the body Into the chapel.
O, come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay. Rosencrantz, Guildenstern from within Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
Hamlet But soft, what noise? O, here they come. Hamlet Do not believe it. Rosencrantz Believe what? Hamlet That I can keep your counsel and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! Rosencrantz Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
Hamlet I am glad of it: Rosencrantz My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the King. Hamlet Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all 10 after. How dangerous is it that this man goes loose! Yet must not we put the strong1 law on him: To bear5 all smooth and even, This sudden sending him away must seem Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown By desperate appliance6 are relieved, Or not at all. What hath befallen? Rosencrantz Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord, We cannot get from him.
Claudius But where is he? Bring in the lord. Hamlet At supper. Claudius At supper? Your10 worm 20 is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else11 to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service12 — two dishes, but to one table.
Claudius What dost thou mean by this?
Claudius Where is Polonius? Hamlet In heaven. Send thither to see. Therefore prepare thyself. Hamlet For England? Claudius Ay, Hamlet. Hamlet Good. But, come, for England! Farewell, dear mother. Claudius Thy loving father, Hamlet. Hamlet My mother. Father and mother is man and wife. Come, for England! Delay it not. Pray you, make haste. Do it, England, For like the hectic30 in my blood he rages, And thou must cure me.
Tell him that, by his licence, Fortinbras Craves the conveyance1 of a promised2 march Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous. If that his Majesty would aught with us, We shall express our duty in his eye.
They are of Norway, sir. How purposed, sir, I pray you? Against some part6 of Poland. Who commands them, sir? The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras. Captain Yes, it is already garrisoned. Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats 25 Hamlet Will not debate13 the question of this straw. I humbly thank you, sir. Captain God bye you, sir. Go a little before. What is a man, If his chief good and market18 of his time Be but to sleep and feed?
A beast, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse,19 Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and god-like reason To fust20 in us unused. Examples gross as earth exhort24 me. O, from this time forth, My38 thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth! Gentleman She is importunate, indeed distract. Her speech is nothing, Yet the unshaped7 use of it doth move The hearers to collection. Gertrude Let her come in. Gertrude How now, Ophelia! Ophelia sings How should I your true love know From another one?
Nay, pray you, mark. At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone. Gertrude Nay, but, Ophelia — Ophelia Pray you, mark. God be at your table! Then up he rose, and donned his clothes, And dupped the chamber door,35 Let in the maid, that out a maid36 Never departed more. By Cock,39 they are to blame. Ophelia I hope all will be well.
My brother shall know of it. And so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies, good night. Sweet ladies, good night, good night. Give her good watch,42 I pray you. O Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies 39 40 41 42 1 God, and 2 penis threw me on the ground: First, her father slain.
Next, your son gone, and he most violent author43 Of his own just remove. Poor Ophelia Divided from herself and her fair judgment,47 Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts. Claudius Where are my Switzers? 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.
Into my grave? Indeed, that is out o' th' air. I will leave him and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter. You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal- except my life, except my life, except my life, Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Fare you well, my lord. These tedious old fools! You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is. Exit [Polonius]. My honour'd lord!
My most dear lord! My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both? As the indifferent children of the earth. Happy in that we are not over-happy. Nor the soles of her shoe? Neither, my lord. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours? Faith, her privates we. In the secret parts of Fortune? What news? None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest. Then is doomsday near! But your news is not true.
Let me question more in particular. What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune that she sends you to prison hither? Prison, my lord? Denmark's a prison. Then is the world one. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst. We think not so, my lord. 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.
Why, then your ambition makes it one. 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. Which dreams indeed are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
A dream itself is but a shadow. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow. Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretch'd heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th' court?
Hamlet (The Annotated Shakespeare)
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? To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. 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.
What should we say, my lord? 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.
To what end, my lord? 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. My lord, we were sent for.
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!
And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me- no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Why did you laugh then, when I said 'Man delights not me'? To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service. He that plays the king shall be welcome- his Majesty shall have tribute 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 for't.
What players are they? Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the tragedians of the city. How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways. I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city?
Are they so follow'd? No indeed are they not. How comes it?
Do they grow rusty? 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 for't. 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. 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. 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.
O, there has been much throwing about of brains. Do the boys carry it away? Ay, that they do, my lord- Hercules and his load too. 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. There are the players. 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. In what, my dear lord? I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw. Well be with you, gentlemen! Hark you, Guildenstern- and you too- at each ear a hearer!
That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling clouts. Happily he's the second time come to them; for they say an old man is twice a child. I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players. Mark it. My lord, I have news to tell you.
When Roscius was an actor in Rome- Polonius. The actors are come hither, my lord. Buzz, buzz! Upon my honour- Hamlet. Then came each actor on his ass- Polonius. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral; scene individable, or poem unlimited.
Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men. O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou! What treasure had he, my lord? Why, 'One fair daughter, and no more, The which he loved passing well. Am I not i' th' right, old Jephthah?
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well. Nay, that follows not. What follows then, my lord? Why, 'As by lot, God wot,' and then, you know, 'It came to pass, as most like it was. Why, thy face is valanc'd since I saw thee last. Com'st' thou to' beard me in Denmark? 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. 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. What speech, my good lord? 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. If it live in your memory, begin at this line- let me see, let me see: 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.
Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion. First Player. 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! So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood, And, like a neutral to his will and matter, Did nothing. But, as we often see, against some storm, A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still, The bold winds speechless, and the orb below As hush as death- anon the dreadful thunder Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus' pause, Aroused vengeance sets him new 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! This is too long. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on; come to Hecuba. That's good! Look, whe'r he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes. Prithee no more! I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon. 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.
My lord, I will use them according to their desert. 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. Come, sirs. Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play to-morrow. Can you play 'The Murther of Gonzago'?
Ay, my lord.
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
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?
Very well. Follow that lord- and look you mock him not. You are welcome to Elsinore. Ay, so, God b' wi' ye! 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. Yet I, A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, And can say nothing!
No, not for a king, Upon whose property and most dear life A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward? Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face? Tweaks me by th' nose?
Who does me this, ha? Bloody bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, sitess 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, A scullion! Fie upon't! 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.
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?
He does confess he feels himself distracted, But from what cause he will by no means speak. 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. Did he receive you well? Most like a gentleman. But with much forcing of his disposition. Niggard of question, but of our demands Most free in his reply. Did you assay him To any pastime? 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. With all my heart, and it doth much content me To hear him so inclin'd.
We shall, my lord. Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Sweet Gertrude, leave us too; For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither, That he, as 'twere by accident, may here Affront Ophelia. Her father and myself lawful espials Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen, We may of their encounter frankly judge And gather by him, as he is behav'd, If't be th' affliction of his love, or no, That thus he suffers for.
I shall obey you; And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish That your good beauties be the happy cause Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues Will bring him to his wonted way again, To both your honours.
Madam, I wish it may. Ophelia, walk you here. 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! I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord. Exeunt King and Polonius]. Enter Hamlet. To be, or not to be- that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.
To die- to sleep- No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to. To die- to sleep. To sleep- perchance to dream: 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?
The fair Ophelia! Good my lord, How does your honour for this many a day? I humbly thank you; well, well, well. My lord, I have remembrances of yours That I have longed long to re-deliver. I pray you, now receive them. No, not I! 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. Ha, ha! Are you honest?
My lord? Are you fair? What means your lordship? That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty? 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. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. You should not have believ'd me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not. I was the more deceived. Get thee to a nunnery! Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.
I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do, crawling between earth and heaven?
We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father? At home, my lord. Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in's own house. O, help him, you sweet heavens! If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: 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. O heavenly powers, restore him! 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! 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.
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!
O, woe is me T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see! Enter King and Polonius. 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: 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.
It shall do well. But yet do I believe The origin and commencement of his grief Sprung from neglected love. We heard it all. 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. It shall be so. Enter Hamlet and three of the Players. 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. I warrant your honour. 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: 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. I hope we have reform'd that indifferently with us, sir. 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. Will the King hear this piece of work?
And the Queen too, and that presently. Bid the players make haste, [Exit Polonius. Exeunt they two. What, ho, Horatio! Enter Horatio. Here, sweet lord, at your service. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man As e'er my conversation cop'd withal. O, my dear lord! 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? What is't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking? The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more instrumental to the mouth, Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father. 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.
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius? He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave By laboursome petition, and at last Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent. I do beseech you give him leave to go. Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Not so, my lord. I am too much i' th' sun. 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. Ay, madam, it is common. If it be, Why seems it so particular with thee? Seems, madam, Nay, it is. I know not 'seems. 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.
But to persever In obstinate condolement is a course Of impious stubbornness. 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. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet. I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
I shall in all my best obey you, madam. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply. Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come. Come away. Exeunt all but Hamlet. O that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! 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!After the theatres re-opened, Hamlet was brought back to the stage by author and entrepreneur, William Davenant , and the play's popularity has been constant ever since.
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? What did you enact? 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! Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon. I have repunctuated wherever I thought it necessary, and sometimes reparagraphed.