Scene 1
Enter Gravedigger and Another.

GRAVEDIGGER    Is she to be buried in Christian burial,
when she willfully seeks her own salvation?
OTHER    I tell thee she is. Therefore make her grave
straight. The crowner hath sat on her and finds it
Christian burial.
GRAVEDIGGER    How can that be, unless she drowned
herself in her own defense?
OTHER    Why, ’tis found so.
GRAVEDIGGER    It must be se offendendo; it cannot be
else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself
wittingly, it argues an act, and an act hath three
branches—it is to act, to do, to perform. Argal, she
drowned herself wittingly.
OTHER    Nay, but hear you, goodman delver—
GRAVEDIGGER    Give me leave. Here lies the water;
good. Here stands the man; good. If the man go to
this water and drown himself, it is (will he, nill he)
he goes; mark you that. But if the water come to him
and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he
that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his
own life.
OTHER    But is this law?
GRAVEDIGGER    Ay, marry, is ’t—crowner’s ’quest law.
OTHER    Will you ha’ the truth on ’t? If this had not been
a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’
Christian burial.
GRAVEDIGGER    Why, there thou sayst. And the more
pity that great folk should have count’nance in this
world to drown or hang themselves more than
their even-Christian. Come, my spade. There is no
ancient gentlemen but gard’ners, ditchers, and
grave-makers. They hold up Adam’s profession.
OTHER    Was he a gentleman?
GRAVEDIGGER    He was the first that ever bore arms.
OTHER    Why, he had none.
GRAVEDIGGER    What, art a heathen? How dost thou
understand the scripture? The scripture says Adam
digged. Could he dig without arms? I’ll put another
question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the
purpose, confess thyself—
OTHER    Go to!
GRAVEDIGGER    What is he that builds stronger than
either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
OTHER    The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a
thousand tenants.
GRAVEDIGGER    I like thy wit well, in good faith. The
gallows does well. But how does it well? It does
well to those that do ill. Now, thou dost ill to say the
gallows is built stronger than the church. Argal, the
gallows may do well to thee. To ’t again, come.
OTHER    “Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright,
or a carpenter?”
GRAVEDIGGER    Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
OTHER    Marry, now I can tell.
OTHER    Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.

GRAVEDIGGER    Cudgel thy brains no more about it,
for your dull ass will not mend his pace with
beating. And, when you are asked this question
next, say “a grave-maker.” The houses he makes
lasts till doomsday. Go, get thee in, and fetch me a
stoup of liquor.
The Other Man exits and the Gravedigger digs and sings.