ACT 1
Scene 2
Flourish. Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, the Council, as Polonius, and his son Laertes, Hamlet, with others, among them Voltemand and Cornelius.

KING    
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
Th’ imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we (as ’twere with a defeated joy,
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole)
Taken to wife. Nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows that you know. Young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth
Or thinking by our late dear brother’s death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleaguèd with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not failed to pester us with message
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother—so much for him.
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew’s purpose, to suppress
His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions are all made
Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway,
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the King more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.
Giving them a paper.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
CORNELIUS/VOLTEMAND    
In that and all things will we show our duty.
KING    
We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
Voltemand and Cornelius exit.
And now, Laertes, what’s the news with you?
You told us of some suit. What is ’t, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
And 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.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
LAERTES    My dread lord,
Your leave and favor to return to France,
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
To show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
KING    
Have you your father’s leave? What says Polonius?
POLONIUS    
Hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laborsome petition, and at last
Upon his will I sealed my hard consent.
I do beseech you give him leave to go.
KING    
Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will.—
But now, my cousin Hamlet and my son—
HAMLET , aside    
A little more than kin and less than kind.
KING    
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
HAMLET    
Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.
QUEEN    
Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not forever with thy vailèd lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
HAMLET    
Ay, madam, it is common.
QUEEN    If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
HAMLET    
“Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”
’Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly. These indeed “seem,”
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passes show,
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
KING    
’Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,
Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know your father lost a father,
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness. ’Tis unmanly grief.
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschooled.
For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie, ’tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd, whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died today,
“This must be so.” We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe and think of us
As of a father; for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne,
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire,
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
QUEEN    
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
I pray thee, stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg.
HAMLET    
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
KING    
Why, ’tis a loving and a fair reply.
Be as ourself in Denmark.—Madam, come.
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart, in grace whereof
No jocund health that Denmark drinks today
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
And the King’s rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Flourish. All but Hamlet exit.
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.
KING    Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as ’twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If ’t be th’ affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
QUEEN    I shall obey you.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet’s wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honors.
OPHELIA    Madam, I wish it may.
Queen exits.
POLONIUS    
Ophelia, walk you here.—Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves. To Ophelia. Read on this
book,
That show of such an exercise may color
Your loneliness.—We are oft to blame in this
(’Tis too much proved), that with devotion’s visage
And pious action we do sugar o’er
The devil himself.
KING , aside    O, ’tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my
conscience.
The harlot’s cheek beautied with plast’ring art
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O heavy burden!
POLONIUS    
I hear him coming. Let’s withdraw, my lord.
They withdraw.

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET    
To be or not to be—that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep—
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised 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 fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia.—Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.
OPHELIA    Good my lord,
How does your Honor for this many a day?
HAMLET    I humbly thank you, well.
OPHELIA    
My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longèd long to redeliver.
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 composed
As made the things more rich. Their perfume
lost,
Take these again, for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.
HAMLET    Ha, ha, are you honest?
OPHELIA    My lord?
HAMLET    Are you fair?
OPHELIA    What means your Lordship?
HAMLET    That if you be honest and fair, your honesty
should admit no discourse to your beauty.
OPHELIA    Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce
than with honesty?
HAMLET    Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than
the force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now
the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
OPHELIA    Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
HAMLET    You should not have believed me, for virtue
cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall
relish of it. I loved you not.
OPHELIA    I was the more deceived.
HAMLET    Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be
a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest,
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me: I am
very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses
at my beck than I have thoughts to put them
in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act
them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves
all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where’s your father?
OPHELIA    At home, my lord.
HAMLET    Let the doors be shut upon him that he may
play the fool nowhere but in ’s own house. Farewell.
OPHELIA    O, help him, you sweet heavens!
HAMLET    If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague
for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry,
marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what
monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and
quickly too. Farewell.
OPHELIA    Heavenly powers, restore him!
HAMLET    I have heard of your paintings too, well
enough. God hath given you one face, and you
make yourselves another. You jig and amble, and
you lisp; you nickname God’s creatures and make
your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I’ll no
more on ’t. It hath made me mad. I say we will have
no more marriage. Those that are married already,
all but one, shall live. The rest shall keep as they are.
To a nunnery, go.He exits.
OPHELIA    
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue,
sword,
Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mold of form,
Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his musicked vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh;
That unmatched form and stature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
KING , advancing with Polonius    
Love? His affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul
O’er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
For the demand of our neglected tribute.
Haply the seas, and countries different,
With variable objects, shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on ’t?
POLONIUS    
It shall do well. But yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love.—How now, Ophelia?
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all.—My lord, do as you please,
But, if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief. Let her be round with him;
And I’ll be placed, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.
KING    It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
They 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.
Scene 3
Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.

KING    
I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you.
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so near ’s as doth hourly grow
Out of his brows.
GUILDENSTERN    We will ourselves provide.
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your Majesty.
ROSENCRANTZ    
The single and peculiar life is bound
With all the strength and armor of the mind
To keep itself from noyance, but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depends and rests
The lives of many. The cess of majesty
Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
What’s near it with it; or 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, which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist’rous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
KING    
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage,
For we will fetters put about this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
ROSENCRANTZ    We will haste us.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.

Enter Polonius.

POLONIUS    
My lord, he’s going to his mother’s closet.
Behind the arras I’ll convey myself
To hear the process. I’ll warrant she’ll tax him
home;
And, as you said (and wisely was it said),
’Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o’erhear
The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
I’ll call upon you ere you go to bed
And tell you what I know.
KING    Thanks, dear my lord.
Polonius exits.
O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t,
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will.
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin
And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offense?
And what’s in prayer but this twofold force,
To be forestallèd ere we come to fall,
Or pardoned being down? Then I’ll look up.
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? “Forgive me my foul murder”?
That cannot be, since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder:
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offense’s gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft ’tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law. But ’tis not so above:
There is no shuffling; there the action lies
In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
Try what repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay.
Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe.
All may be well.He kneels.

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET    
Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying,
And now I’ll do ’t.He draws his sword.
And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread,
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven.
But in our circumstance and course of thought
’Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
No.
Up sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
He sheathes his sword.
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in th’ incestuous pleasure of his bed,
At game, a-swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in ’t—
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damned and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays.
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
Hamlet exits.
KING , rising    
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
He exits.
ACT 4
Scene 1
Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

KING    
There’s matter in these sighs; these profound heaves
You must translate; ’tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
QUEEN    
Bestow this place on us a little while.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen tonight!
KING    What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
QUEEN    
Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries “A rat, a rat,”
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.
KING    O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we 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 haunt
This mad young man. But so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit,
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
QUEEN    
To draw apart the body he hath killed,
O’er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done.
KING    O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
We must with all our majesty and skill
Both countenance and excuse.—Ho, Guildenstern!

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother’s closet hath he dragged him.
Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
Come, Gertrude, we’ll call up our wisest friends
And let them know both what we mean to do
And what’s untimely done.
Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank
Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
And hit the woundless air. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
They exit.
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.
KING    
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety
(Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done) must send thee
hence
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
Th’ associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.
HAMLET    For England?
KING    Ay, Hamlet.
HAMLET    Good.
KING    
So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.
HAMLET    
I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for
England.
Farewell, dear mother.
KING    Thy loving father, Hamlet.
HAMLET    
My mother. Father and mother is man and wife,
Man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother.—
Come, for England.He exits.
KING    
Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard.
Delay it not. I’ll have him hence tonight.
Away, for everything is sealed and done
That else leans on th’ affair. Pray you, make haste.
All but the King exit.
And England, if my love thou hold’st at aught
(As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us), thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me. Till I know ’tis done,
Howe’er my haps, my joys will ne’er begin.
He exits.
Scene 5
Enter King.

QUEEN    Alas, look here, my lord.
OPHELIA sings    
Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.
KING    How do you, pretty lady?
OPHELIA    Well, God dild you. They say the owl was a
baker’s daughter. Lord, we know what we are but
know not what we may be. God be at your table.
KING    Conceit upon her father.
OPHELIA    Pray let’s have no words of this, but when
they ask you what it means, say you this:
Sings. Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose and donned his clothes
And dupped the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
KING    Pretty Ophelia—
OPHELIA    
Indeed, without an oath, I’ll make an end on ’t:
Sings. By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack and fie for shame,
Young men will do ’t, if they come to ’t;
By Cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she “Before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.”
He answers:
“So would I ’a done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.”
KING    How long hath she been thus?
OPHELIA    I hope all will be well. We must be patient,
but I cannot choose but weep to think they would
lay him i’ th’ cold ground. 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.She exits.
KING    
Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
Horatio exits.
O, this is the poison of deep grief. It springs
All from her father’s death, and now behold!
O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions: first, her father slain;
Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
Thick, and unwholesome in their thoughts and
whispers
For good Polonius’ death, and we have done but
greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France,
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father’s death,
Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O, my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murd’ring piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
A noise within.
QUEEN    Alack, what noise is this?
KING    Attend!
Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.

Enter a Messenger.

What is the matter?
MESSENGER    Save yourself, my lord.
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O’erbears your officers. The rabble call him “lord,”
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry “Choose we, Laertes shall be king!”
Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds,
“Laertes shall be king! Laertes king!”
A noise within.
QUEEN    
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry.
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
KING    The doors are broke.

Enter Laertes with others.
LAERTES    
Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without.
ALL    No, let’s come in!
LAERTES    I pray you, give me leave.
ALL    We will, we will.
LAERTES    
I thank you. Keep the door. Followers exit. O, thou
vile king,
Give me my father!
QUEEN    Calmly, good Laertes.
LAERTES    
That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me
bastard,
Cries “cuckold” to my father, brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow
Of my true mother.
KING    What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?—
Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
There’s such divinity doth hedge a king
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will.—Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed.—Let him go,
Gertrude.—
Speak, man.
LAERTES    Where is my father?
KING    Dead.
QUEEN    
But not by him.
KING    Let him demand his fill.
LAERTES    
How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with.
To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged
Most throughly for my father.
KING    Who shall stay you?
LAERTES    My will, not all the world.
And for my means, I’ll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.
KING    Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father, is ’t writ in your revenge
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and
foe,
Winner and loser?
LAERTES    None but his enemies.
KING    Will you know them, then?
LAERTES    
To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rend’ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
KING    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 ’pear
As day does to your eye.
   A noise within: “Let her come in!”
LAERTES    How now, what noise is that?

Enter Ophelia.

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 with 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.
OPHELIA sings    
They bore him barefaced on the bier,
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny,
And in his grave rained many a tear.
Fare you well, my dove.
LAERTES    
Hadst thou thy wits and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.
OPHELIA    You must sing “A-down a-down”—and you
“Call him a-down-a.”—O, how the wheel becomes
it! It is the false steward that stole his master’s
daughter.
LAERTES    This nothing’s more than matter.
OPHELIA    There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.
Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies,
that’s for thoughts.
LAERTES    A document in madness: thoughts and remembrance
fitted.
OPHELIA    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. You must wear
your rue with a difference. There’s a daisy. I would
give you some violets, but they withered all when
my father died. They say he made a good end.
Sings. For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
LAERTES    
Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself
She turns to favor and to prettiness.
OPHELIA sings    
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead.
Go to thy deathbed.
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 ’a mercy on his soul.
And of all Christians’ souls, I pray God. God be wi’
you.She exits.
LAERTES    Do you see this, O God?
KING    
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 touched, 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 labor with your soul
To give it due content.
LAERTES    Let this be so.
His means of death, his obscure funeral
(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.
KING    So you shall,
And where th’ offense is, let the great ax fall.
I pray you, go with me.
They exit.
Scene 7
Enter King and Laertes.

KING    
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
Pursued my life.
LAERTES    It well appears. But tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So criminal and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirred up.
KING    O, for two special reasons,
Which may to you perhaps seem much unsinewed,
But yet to me they’re strong. The Queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks, and for myself
(My virtue or my plague, be it either which),
She is 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,
Work like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces, so that my arrows,
Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
But not where I have aimed them.
LAERTES    
And so have I a noble father lost,
A sister driven into desp’rate 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.
KING    
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 loved your father, and we love ourself,
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine—

Enter a Messenger with letters.

How now? What news?
MESSENGER    Letters, my lord, from
Hamlet.
These to your Majesty, this to the Queen.
KING    From Hamlet? Who brought them?
MESSENGER    
Sailors, my lord, they say. I saw them not.
They were given me by Claudio. He received them
Of him that brought them.
KING    Laertes, you shall hear
them.—
Leave us.Messenger exits.
Reads. High and mighty, you shall know I am set
naked on your kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to
see your kingly eyes, when I shall (first asking your
pardon) thereunto recount the occasion 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?
LAERTES    Know you the hand?
KING    ’Tis Hamlet’s character. “Naked”—
And in a postscript here, he says “alone.”
Can you advise me?
LAERTES    
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 didst thou.”
KING    If it be so, Laertes
(As how should it be so? how otherwise?),
Will you be ruled by me?
LAERTES    Ay, my lord,
So you will not o’errule me to a peace.
KING    
To thine own peace. If he be now returned,
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.
LAERTES    My lord, I will be ruled,
The rather if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.
KING    It falls right.
You have been talked 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.
LAERTES    What part is that, my lord?
KING    
A very ribbon 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 have seen myself, and served 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 encorpsed and demi-natured
With the brave beast. So far he topped my thought
That I in forgery of shapes and tricks
Come short of what he did.
LAERTES    A Norman was ’t?
KING    A Norman.
LAERTES    
Upon my life, Lamord.
KING    The very same.
LAERTES    
I know him well. He is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.
KING    He made confession of you
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defense,
And for your rapier most especial,
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 opposed 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 you.
Now out of this—
LAERTES    What out of this, my lord?
KING    
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?
LAERTES    Why ask you this?
KING    
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 pleurisy,
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 of th’ ulcer:
Hamlet comes back; what would you undertake
To show yourself indeed your father’s son
More than in words?
LAERTES    To cut his throat i’ th’ church.
KING    
No place indeed should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this? Keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet, returned, 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.
LAERTES    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
That is but scratched withal. I’ll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
KING    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 assayed. 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 prepared
him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.—But stay, what
noise?

Enter Queen.

QUEEN    
One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister’s drowned, Laertes.
LAERTES    Drowned? O, where?
QUEEN    
There is a willow grows askant the brook
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
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 chanted snatches of old lauds,
As one incapable of her own distress
Or like a creature native and endued
Unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
LAERTES    Alas, then she is drowned.
QUEEN    Drowned, drowned.
LAERTES    
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 o’ fire that fain would blaze,
But that this folly drowns it.He exits.
KING    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.
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.