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.
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.
In that and all things will we show our duty.
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,
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?
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.
Have you your father’s leave? What says 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.
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—
A little more than kin and less than kind.
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.
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.
Ay, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
“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.
’Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,
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.
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
I pray thee, stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg.
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
Why, ’tis a loving and a fair reply.
Be as ourself in Denmark.—Madam, come.
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.
Flourish. Enter King and Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Attendants.
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.
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.
Both your Majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
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.
Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit with some Attendants.
Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully returned.
Thou still hast been the father of good news.
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.
O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
Give first admittance to th’ ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
Thyself do grace to them and bring them in.
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son’s distemper.
I doubt it is no other but the main—
His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.
Well, we shall sift him.
Enter Ambassadors Voltemand and Cornelius with Polonius.
Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
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
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.
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.
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.
More matter with less art.
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.
I have a daughter (have while she is mine)
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
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.—
Came this from Hamlet to her?
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.
But how hath she received his love?
What do you think of me?
As of a man faithful and honorable.
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.
, to Queen
Do you think ’tis this?
It may be, very like.
Hath there been such a time (I would fain know
That I have positively said “’Tis so,”
When it proved otherwise?
Not that I know.
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.
How may we try it further?
You know sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
So he does indeed.
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.
We will try it.
Enter Hamlet reading on a book.
But look where sadly the poor wretch comes
Away, I do beseech you both, away.
I’ll board him presently. O, give me leave.
King and Queen exit with Attendants.
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.
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?
He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
Did he receive you well?
Most like a gentleman.
But with much forcing of his disposition.
Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.
Did you assay him to any pastime?
Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o’erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are here about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
’Tis most true,
And he beseeched me to entreat your Majesties
To hear and see the matter.
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.
We shall, my lord.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Lords exit.
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as ’twere by accident, may here
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If ’t be th’ affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
I shall obey you.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet’s wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honors.
Madam, I wish it may.
Enter Trumpets and Kettle Drums. Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and other Lords attendant with the King’s guard carrying torches.
How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I
eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed
I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These
words are not mine.
No, nor mine now. To Polonius.
My lord, you
played once i’ th’ university, you say?
That did I, my lord, and was accounted a
What did you enact?
I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i’ th’
Capitol. Brutus killed me.
It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a
calf there.—Be the players ready?
Ay, my lord. They stay upon your
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
No, good mother. Here’s metal more
attractive.Hamlet takes a place near Ophelia.
, to the King
Oh, ho! Do you mark that?
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
No, my lord.
I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ay, my lord.
Do you think I meant country matters?
I think nothing, my lord.
That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’
What is, my lord?
You are merry, my lord.
Ay, my lord.
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
Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.
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.
What means this, my lord?
Marry, this is miching mallecho. It means
Belike this show imports the argument of the
We shall know by this fellow. The players
cannot keep counsel; they’ll tell all.
Will he tell us what this show meant?
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.
You are naught, you are naught. I’ll mark the
For us and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.He exits.
Is this a prologue or the posy of a ring?
’Tis brief, my lord.
As woman’s love.
Enter the Player King and Queen.
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.
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.
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—
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.
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.
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.
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.
If she should break it now!
’Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.Sleeps.
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain.
Player Queen exits.
Madam, how like you this play?
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
O, but she’ll keep her word.
Have you heard the argument? Is there no
offense in ’t?
No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No
offense i’ th’ world.
What do you call the play?
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.
This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.
You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
I could interpret between you and your love,
if I could see the puppets dallying.
You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
It would cost you a groaning to take off mine
Still better and worse.
So you mis-take your husbands.—Begin,
murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces and
begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for
Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time
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.
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.
The King rises.
What, frighted with false fire?
How fares my lord?
Give o’er the play.
Give me some light. Away!
Lights, lights, lights!
All but Hamlet and Horatio exit.
Enter Queen and Polonius.
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear
And that your Grace hath screened and stood
Much heat and him. I’ll silence me even here.
Pray you, be round with him.
Mother, mother, mother!
I’ll warrant you. Fear me not. Withdraw,
I hear him coming.
Polonius hides behind the arras.
Now, mother, what’s the matter?
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Mother, you have my father much offended.
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Why, how now, Hamlet?
What’s the matter now?
Have you forgot me?
No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And (would it were not so) you are my mother.
Nay, then I’ll set those to you that can speak.
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge.
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
, behind the arras
What ho! Help!
How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead.
He kills Polonius by thrusting a rapier through the arras.
, behind the arras
O, I am slain!
O me, what hast thou done?
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
A bloody deed—almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.
As kill a king?
Ay, lady, it was my word.
He pulls Polonius’ body from behind the arras.
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell.
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune.
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit
And let me wring your heart; for so I shall
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damnèd custom have not brazed it so
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
What have I done, that thou dar’st wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths—O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words! Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
Look here upon this picture and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars’ to threaten and command,
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a -kissing hill,
A combination and a form indeed
Where every god did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.
This was your husband. Look you now what follows.
Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor? Ha! Have you eyes?
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgment; and what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense sure you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure that sense
Is apoplexed; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled,
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was ’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope. O shame, where is thy blush?
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.
O Hamlet, speak no more!
Thou turn’st my eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grainèd spots
As will not leave their tinct.
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed,
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty!
O, speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet!
A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket—
A king of shreds and patches—
Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious
Alas, he’s mad.
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’ important acting of your dread command?
Do not forget. This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
O, step between her and her fighting soul.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
Speak to her, Hamlet.
How is it with you, lady?
Alas, how is ’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’ incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th’ alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Start up and stand an end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience! Whereon do you look?
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares.
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. To the Ghost.
look upon me,
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects. Then what I have to do
Will want true color—tears perchance for blood.
To whom do you speak this?
Do you see nothing there?
Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.
Nor did you nothing hear?
No, nothing but ourselves.
Why, look you there, look how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!
This is the very coinage of your brain.
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
That I have uttered. Bring me to the test,
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul
That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,
For, in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain!
O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half!
Good night. But go not to my uncle’s bed.
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night,
And, when you are desirous to be blest,
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord
Pointing to Polonius.
I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins, and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.
What shall I do?
Not this by no means that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed,
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
I must to England, you know that.
I had forgot! ’Tis so concluded on.
There’s letters sealed; and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work,
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard; and ’t shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing.
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbor room.
Mother, good night indeed. This counselor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.—
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.—
Good night, mother.
They exit, Hamlet tugging in Polonius.
Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
There’s matter in these sighs; these profound heaves
You must translate; ’tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
Bestow this place on us a little while.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen tonight!
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Enter Horatio, Queen, and a Gentleman.
I will not speak with her.
She is importunate,
Indeed distract; her mood will needs be pitied.
What would she have?
She speaks much of her father, says she hears
There’s tricks i’ th’ world, and hems, and beats her
Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshapèd use of it doth move
The hearers to collection. They aim at it
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield
Indeed would make one think there might be
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
’Twere good she were spoken with, for she may
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
Let her come in.Gentleman exits.
To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is),
Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Enter Ophelia distracted.
Where is the beauteous Majesty of Denmark?
How now, Ophelia?
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff
And his sandal shoon.
Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
Nay, but Ophelia—
Pray you, mark.
White his shroud as the mountain snow—
Alas, look here, my lord.
Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.
How do you, pretty lady?
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.
Conceit upon her father.
Pray let’s have no words of this, but when
they ask you what it means, say you this:
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.
Indeed, without an oath, I’ll make an end on ’t:
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.”
“So would I ’a done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.”
How long hath she been thus?
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.
Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
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
For good Polonius’ death, and we have done but
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.
Alack, what noise is this?
Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
Enter a Messenger.
What is the matter?
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.
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry.
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
The doors are broke.
Enter Laertes with others.
Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without.
No, let’s come in!
I pray you, give me leave.
We will, we will.
I thank you. Keep the door. Followers exit.
Give me my father!
Calmly, good Laertes.
That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me
Cries “cuckold” to my father, brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow
Of my true mother.
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,
Where is my father?
But not by him.
Let him demand his fill.
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.
Who shall stay you?
My will, not all the world.
And for my means, I’ll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.
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
Winner and loser?
None but his enemies.
Will you know them, then?
To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rend’ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father’s death
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment ’pear
As day does to your eye.
A noise within:
“Let her come in!”
How now, what noise is that?
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.
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.
Hadst thou thy wits and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.
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
This nothing’s more than matter.
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.
Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies,
that’s for thoughts.
A document in madness: thoughts and remembrance
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.
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself
She turns to favor and to prettiness.
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’
Do you see this, O God?
Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
And they shall hear and judge ’twixt you and me.
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us 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.
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.
So you shall,
And where th’ offense is, let the great ax fall.
I pray you, go with me.
One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister’s drowned, Laertes.
Drowned? O, where?
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
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.
Alas, then she is drowned.
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.
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.
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.
What ceremony else?
That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
What ceremony else?
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
Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
Must there no more be done?
No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
Lay her i’ 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.
, to Horatio
What, the fair Ophelia?
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.
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.
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.
, coming out of the grave
The devil take thy soul!
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.
Pluck them asunder.
Good my lord, be quiet.
Hamlet and Laertes are separated.
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag!
O my son, what theme?
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
O, he is mad, Laertes!
For love of God, forbear him.
’Swounds, show me what thou ’t do.
Woo’t weep, woo’t fight, woo’t fast, woo’t tear
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.
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.
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.
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
Strengthen your patience in our last
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.