ACT 2
Scene 2
Flourish. Enter King and Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Attendants.

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 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 days brought up with him
And sith so neighbored to his youth and havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time, so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus
That, opened, lies within our remedy.
QUEEN    
Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you,
And sure I am two men there is not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and goodwill
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king’s remembrance.
ROSENCRANTZ    Both your Majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
GUILDENSTERN    But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
KING    
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
QUEEN    
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changèd son.—Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
GUILDENSTERN    
Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!
QUEEN    Ay, amen!
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit with some Attendants.

Enter Polonius.

POLONIUS    
Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully returned.
KING    
Thou still hast been the father of good news.
POLONIUS    
Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege
I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king,
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.
KING    
O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
POLONIUS    
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.
Polonius exits.
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 Ambassadors Voltemand and Cornelius with Polonius.

Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
VOLTEMAND    
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation ’gainst the Polack,
But, better looked into, he truly found
It was against your Highness. Whereat, grieved
That so his sickness, age, and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras, which he, in brief, obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give th’ assay of arms against your Majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three-score 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,
He 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 considered time, we’ll read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labor.
Go to your rest. At night we’ll feast together.
Most welcome home!
Voltemand and Cornelius exit.
POLONIUS    This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
“Mad” call I it, for, to define true madness,
What is ’t but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
QUEEN    More matter with less art.
POLONIUS    
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he’s mad, ’tis true; ’tis true ’tis pity,
And pity ’tis ’tis true—a foolish figure,
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him then, and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or, rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
Perpend.
I have a daughter (have while she is mine)
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
He reads. To the celestial, and my soul’s idol, the
most beautified Ophelia—
That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase; “beautified” is a
vile phrase. But you shall hear. Thus: He reads.
In her excellent white bosom, these, etc.—
QUEEN    Came this from Hamlet to her?
POLONIUS    
Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful.
He reads the letter.
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not
art to reckon my groans, but that I love thee best, O
most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst
this machine is to him, Hamlet.
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.
KING    But how hath she received his love?
POLONIUS    What do you think of me?
KING    
As of a man faithful and honorable.
POLONIUS    
I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing
(As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me), what might you,
Or my dear Majesty your queen here, think,
If I had played the desk or table-book
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or looked 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, repelled (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 , to Queen    Do you think ’tis this?
QUEEN    It may be, very like.
POLONIUS    
Hath there been such a time (I would fain know
that)
That I have positively said “’Tis so,”
When it proved otherwise?
KING    Not that I know.
POLONIUS    
Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid, indeed,
Within the center.
KING    How may we try it further?
POLONIUS    
You know sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
QUEEN    So he does indeed.
POLONIUS    
At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.
To the King. Be you and I behind an arras then.
Mark the encounter. If he love her not,
And be not from his reason fall’n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
KING    We will try it.

Enter Hamlet reading on a book.

QUEEN    
But look where sadly the poor wretch comes
reading.
POLONIUS    
Away, I do beseech you both, away.
I’ll board him presently. O, give me leave.
King and Queen exit with Attendants.
ACT 3
Scene 1
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.

KING    
And can you by no drift of conference
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
ROSENCRANTZ    
He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
GUILDENSTERN    
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
QUEEN    Did he receive you well?
ROSENCRANTZ    Most like a gentleman.
GUILDENSTERN    
But with much forcing of his disposition.
ROSENCRANTZ    
Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.
QUEEN    Did you assay him to any pastime?
ROSENCRANTZ    
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.
POLONIUS    ’Tis most true,
And he beseeched 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 inclined.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose into these delights.
ROSENCRANTZ    
We shall, my lord.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Lords exit.
Scene 2
Enter Trumpets and Kettle Drums. Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and other Lords attendant with the King’s guard carrying torches.

KING    How fares our cousin Hamlet?
HAMLET    Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I
eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed
capons so.
KING    I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These
words are not mine.
HAMLET    No, nor mine now. To Polonius. My lord, you
played once i’ th’ university, you say?
POLONIUS    That did I, my lord, and was accounted a
good actor.
HAMLET    What did you enact?
POLONIUS    I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i’ th’
Capitol. Brutus killed me.
HAMLET    It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a
calf there.—Be the players ready?
ROSENCRANTZ    Ay, my lord. They stay upon your
patience.
QUEEN    Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
HAMLET    No, good mother. Here’s metal more
attractive.Hamlet takes a place near Ophelia.
POLONIUS , to the King    Oh, ho! Do you mark that?
HAMLET    Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
OPHELIA    No, my lord.
HAMLET    I mean, my head upon your lap?
OPHELIA    Ay, my lord.
HAMLET    Do you think I meant country matters?
OPHELIA    I think nothing, my lord.
HAMLET    That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’
legs.
OPHELIA    What is, my lord?
HAMLET    Nothing.
OPHELIA    You are merry, my lord.
HAMLET    Who, I?
OPHELIA    Ay, my lord.
HAMLET    O God, your only jig-maker. What should a
man do but be merry? For look you how cheerfully
my mother looks, and my father died within ’s two
hours.
OPHELIA    Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.
HAMLET    So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black,
for I’ll have a suit of sables. O heavens, die two
months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there’s
hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half
a year. But, by ’r Lady, he must build churches, then,
or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the
hobby-horse, whose epitaph is “For oh, for oh, the
hobby-horse is forgot.”
The trumpets sounds. Dumb show follows.

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 lies him down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in another man, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the sleeper’s ears, and leaves him. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, makes passionate action. The poisoner with some three or four come in again, seem to condole with her. The dead body is carried away. The poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems harsh awhile but in the end accepts his love.
Players exit.
OPHELIA    What means this, my lord?
HAMLET    Marry, this is miching mallecho. It means
mischief.
OPHELIA    Belike this show imports the argument of the
play.

Enter Prologue.

HAMLET    We shall know by this fellow. The players
cannot keep counsel; they’ll tell all.
OPHELIA    Will he tell us what this show meant?
HAMLET    Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be
not you ashamed to show, he’ll not shame to tell you
what it means.
OPHELIA    You are naught, you are naught. I’ll mark the
play.
PROLOGUE    
For us and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.He exits.
HAMLET    Is this a prologue or the posy of a ring?
OPHELIA    ’Tis brief, my lord.
HAMLET    As woman’s love.

Enter the Player King and Queen.

PLAYER KING    
Full thirty times hath Phoebus’ cart gone round
Neptune’s salt wash and Tellus’ orbèd ground,
And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
PLAYER QUEEN    
So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o’er ere love be done!
But woe is me! You are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.
For women fear too much, even as they love,
And women’s fear and love hold quantity,
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
And, as my love is sized, my fear is so:
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
PLAYER KING    
Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too.
My operant powers their functions leave to do.
And thou shall live in this fair world behind,
Honored, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou—
PLAYER QUEEN    O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
In second husband let me be accurst.
None wed the second but who killed the first.
HAMLET    That’s wormwood!
PLAYER QUEEN    
The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
A second time I kill my husband dead
When second husband kisses me in bed.
PLAYER KING    
I do believe you think what now you speak,
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity,
Which now, the fruit unripe, sticks on the tree
But fall unshaken when they mellow be.
Most necessary ’tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy.
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor ’tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For ’tis a question left us yet to prove
Whether love lead fortune or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favorite flies;
The poor, advanced, makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But, orderly to end where I begun:
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
So think thou wilt no second husband wed,
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
PLAYER QUEEN    
Nor Earth to me give food, nor heaven light,
Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
To desperation turn my trust and hope,
An anchor’s cheer in prison be my scope.
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well and it destroy.
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife.
HAMLET    If she should break it now!
PLAYER KING    
’Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.Sleeps.
PLAYER QUEEN    Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain.
Player Queen exits.
HAMLET    Madam, how like you this play?
QUEEN    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
HAMLET    O, but she’ll keep her word.
KING    Have you heard the argument? Is there no
offense in ’t?
HAMLET    No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No
offense i’ th’ world.
KING    What do you call the play?
HAMLET    The Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically.
This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna.
Gonzago is the duke’s name, his wife Baptista. You
shall see anon. ’Tis a knavish piece of work, but
what of that? Your Majesty and we that have free
souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade wince;
our withers are unwrung.

Enter Lucianus.

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.
OPHELIA    You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
HAMLET    I could interpret between you and your love,
if I could see the puppets dallying.
OPHELIA    You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
HAMLET    It would cost you a groaning to take off mine
edge.
OPHELIA    Still better and worse.
HAMLET    So you mis-take your husbands.—Begin,
murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces and
begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for
revenge.
LUCIANUS    
Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time
agreeing,
Confederate season, else no creature seeing,
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate’s ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property
On wholesome life usurp immediately.
Pours the poison in his ears.
HAMLET    He poisons him i’ th’ garden for his estate. His
name’s Gonzago. The story is extant and written in
very choice Italian. You shall see anon how the
murderer gets the love of Gonzago’s wife.
Claudius rises.
OPHELIA    The King rises.
HAMLET    What, frighted with false fire?
QUEEN    How fares my lord?
POLONIUS    Give o’er the play.
KING    Give me some light. Away!
POLONIUS    Lights, lights, lights!
All but Hamlet and Horatio exit.
ACT 4
Scene 3
Enter King and two or three.

KING    
I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
He’s loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And, where ’tis so, th’ offender’s scourge is weighed,
But never the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved
Or not at all.

Enter Rosencrantz.

How now, what hath befallen?
ROSENCRANTZ    
Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
We cannot get from him.
KING    But where is he?
ROSENCRANTZ    
Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.
KING    
Bring him before us.
ROSENCRANTZ    Ho! Bring in the lord.

They enter with Hamlet.

KING    Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?
HAMLET    At supper.
KING    At supper where?
HAMLET    Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A
certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at
him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We
fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves
for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is
but variable service—two dishes but to one table.
That’s the end.
KING    Alas, alas!
HAMLET    A man may fish with the worm that hath eat
of a king and eat of the fish that hath fed of that
worm.
KING    What dost thou mean by this?
HAMLET    Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
progress through the guts of a beggar.
KING    Where is Polonius?
HAMLET    In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger
find him not there, seek him i’ th’ other
place yourself. But if, indeed, you find him not
within this month, you shall nose him as you go up
the stairs into the lobby.
KING , to Attendants.    Go, seek him there.
HAMLET    He will stay till you come.Attendants exit.
Scene 6
Enter Horatio and others.

HORATIO    What are they that would speak with me?
GENTLEMAN    Seafaring men, sir. They say they have
letters for you.
HORATIO    Let them come in. Gentleman exits. I do not
know from what part of the world I should be
greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

Enter Sailors.

SAILOR    God bless you, sir.
HORATIO    Let Him bless thee too.
SAILOR    He shall, sir, an ’t please Him. There’s a letter
for you, sir. It came from th’ ambassador that was
bound for England—if your name be Horatio, as I
am let to know it is.He hands Horatio a letter.
HORATIO reads the letter    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 valor, 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 speed
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.
They exit.
ACT 5
Scene 1
Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Lords attendant, and the corpse of Ophelia, with a Doctor of Divinity.

But soft, but soft awhile! Here comes the King,
The Queen, the courtiers. Who is this they follow?
And with such maimèd rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desp’rate hand
Fordo its own life. ’Twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile and mark.They step aside.
LAERTES    What ceremony else?
HAMLET    That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
LAERTES    What ceremony else?
DOCTOR    
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
And, but that great command o’ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified been lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on
her.
Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
LAERTES    
Must there no more be done?
DOCTOR    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.
LAERTES    Lay her i’ th’ earth,
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A minist’ring angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.
HAMLET , to Horatio    What, the fair Ophelia?
QUEEN    Sweets to the sweet, farewell!
She scatters flowers.
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.
LAERTES    O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursèd head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of!—Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
Leaps in the grave.
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made
T’ o’ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
HAMLET , advancing    
What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wand’ring stars and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
LAERTES , coming out of the grave    
The devil take thy soul!
HAMLET    Thou pray’st not well.They grapple.
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat,
For though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand.
KING    Pluck them asunder.
QUEEN    Hamlet! Hamlet!
ALL    Gentlemen!
HORATIO    Good my lord, be quiet.
Hamlet and Laertes are separated.
HAMLET    
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag!
QUEEN    O my son, what theme?
HAMLET    
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
KING    O, he is mad, Laertes!
QUEEN    For love of God, forbear him.
HAMLET    ’Swounds, show me what thou ’t do.
Woo’t weep, woo’t fight, woo’t fast, woo’t tear
thyself,
Woo’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.
QUEEN    This is mere madness;
And thus awhile the fit will work on him.
Anon, as patient as the female dove
When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
His silence will sit drooping.
HAMLET    Hear you, sir,
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever. But it is no matter.
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.
Hamlet exits.
KING    
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
Horatio exits.
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 thereby shall we see.
Till then in patience our proceeding be.
They exit.
Scene 2
Enter a Lord.

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.
HAMLET    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.
LORD    The King and Queen and all are coming down.
HAMLET    In happy time.
LORD    The Queen desires you to use some gentle
entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.
HAMLET    She well instructs me.Lord exits.
A table prepared. Enter Trumpets, Drums, and Officers with cushions, King, Queen, Osric, and all the state, foils, daggers, flagons of wine, and Laertes.

KING    
Come, Hamlet, come and take this hand from me.
He puts Laertes’ hand into Hamlet’s.
HAMLET , to Laertes    
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 punished
With a sore distraction. What I have done
That might your nature, honor, and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was ’t Hamlet wronged 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 wronged;
His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.
Sir, in this audience
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
That I have shot my arrow o’er the house
And hurt my brother.
LAERTES    I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive in this case should stir me most
To my revenge; but in my terms of honor
I stand aloof and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters of known honor
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungored. But till that time
I do receive your offered love like love
And will not wrong it.
HAMLET    I embrace it freely
And will this brothers’ wager frankly play.—
Give us the foils. Come on.
LAERTES    Come, one for me.
HAMLET    
I’ll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i’ th’ darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
LAERTES    You mock me, sir.
HAMLET    No, by this hand.
KING    
Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?
HAMLET    Very well, my lord.
Your Grace has laid the odds o’ th’ weaker side.
KING    
I do not fear it; I have seen you both.
But, since he is better, we have therefore odds.
LAERTES    
This is too heavy. Let me see another.
HAMLET    
This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
OSRIC    Ay, my good lord.
Prepare to play.
KING    
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 heaven to earth,
“Now the King drinks to Hamlet.” Come, begin.
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
Trumpets the while.
HAMLET    Come on, sir.
LAERTES    Come, my lord.They play.
HAMLET    One.
LAERTES    No.
HAMLET    Judgment!
OSRIC    A hit, a very palpable hit.
LAERTES    Well, again.
KING    
Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl is thine.
Here’s to thy health.
He drinks and then drops the pearl in the cup.
Drum, trumpets, and shot.
Give him the cup.
HAMLET    
I’ll play this bout first. Set it by awhile.
Come. They play. Another hit. What say you?
LAERTES    
A touch, a touch. I do confess ’t.
KING    
Our son shall win.
QUEEN    He’s fat and scant of breath.—
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin; rub thy brows.
The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
She lifts the cup.
HAMLET    Good madam.
KING    Gertrude, do not drink.
QUEEN    
I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me.She drinks.
KING , aside    
It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.
HAMLET    
I dare not drink yet, madam—by and by.
QUEEN    Come, let me wipe thy face.
LAERTES , to Claudius    
My lord, I’ll hit him now.
KING    I do not think ’t.
LAERTES , aside    
And yet it is almost against my conscience.
HAMLET    
Come, for the third, Laertes. You do but dally.
I pray you pass with your best violence.
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
LAERTES    Say you so? Come on.Play.
OSRIC    Nothing neither way.
LAERTES    Have at you now!
Laertes wounds Hamlet. Then in scuffling they change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.
KING    Part them. They are incensed.
HAMLET    Nay, come again.
The Queen falls.
OSRIC    Look to the Queen there, ho!
HORATIO    
They bleed on both sides.—How is it, my lord?
OSRIC    How is ’t, Laertes?
LAERTES    
Why as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.
He falls.
I am justly killed with mine own treachery.
HAMLET    
How does the Queen?
KING    She swoons to see them bleed.
QUEEN    
No, no, the drink, the drink! O, my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink! I am poisoned.She dies.
HAMLET    
O villainy! Ho! Let the door be locked.Osric exits.
Treachery! Seek it out.
LAERTES    
It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain.
No med’cine in the world can do thee good.
In thee there is not half an hour’s life.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenomed. The foul practice
Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again. Thy mother’s poisoned.
I can no more. The King, the King’s to blame.
HAMLET    
The point envenomed too! Then, venom, to thy
work.Hurts the King.
ALL    Treason, treason!
KING    
O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.
HAMLET    
Here, thou incestuous, murd’rous, damnèd Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Forcing him to drink the poison.
Follow my mother.King dies.
LAERTES    He is justly served.
It is a poison tempered by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.Dies.
HAMLET    
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 livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
HORATIO    Never believe it.
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.
Here’s yet some liquor left.He picks up the cup.
HAMLET    As thou ’rt a man,
Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I’ll ha ’t.
O God, Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave 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.
A march afar off and shot within.
What warlike noise is this?

Enter Osric.

OSRIC    
Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To th’ ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
HAMLET    O, I die, Horatio!
The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy th’ election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited—the rest is silence.
O, O, O, O!Dies.
HORATIO    
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
March within.
Why does the drum come hither?

Enter Fortinbras with the English Ambassadors with Drum, Colors, and Attendants.

FORTINBRAS    Where is this sight?
HORATIO    What is it you would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
FORTINBRAS    
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?
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 fulfilled,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
Where should we have our thanks?
HORATIO    Not from his
mouth,
Had it th’ 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 arrived, give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view,
And let me speak to th’ 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 forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads. All this can I
Truly deliver.
FORTINBRAS    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.
HORATIO    
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 performed
Even while men’s minds are wild, lest more
mischance
On plots and errors happen.
FORTINBRAS    Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royal; and for his passage,
The soldier’s music and the rite 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.
They exit, marching, after the which, a peal of ordnance are shot off.