Scene 5
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.
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.
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.
I thank you. Keep the door. Followers exit. O, thou
vile king,
Give me my father!
QUEEN    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.
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,
Speak, man.
LAERTES    Where is my father?
KING    Dead.
But not by him.
KING    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.
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
Winner and loser?
LAERTES    None but his enemies.
KING    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.
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.
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
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
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.
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?
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.