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stage directions:
dumb show
Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
Francisco exits.
Enter Ghost.
, to Horatio
Ghost exits.
Enter Ghost.
It spreads his arms.
The cock crows.
Ghost exits.
They exit.
Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude theQueen, the Council, as Polonius, and his son Laertes,Hamlet, with others, among them Voltemand andCornelius.
Giving them a paper.
Voltemand and Cornelius exit.
, aside
All but Hamlet exit.
Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.
To Barnardo.
All but Hamlet exit.
He exits.
Enter Laertes and Ophelia, his sister.
Enter Polonius.
Laertes exits.
They exit.
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
A flourish of trumpets and two pieces goes off.
Enter Ghost.
Ghost beckons.
They hold back Hamlet.
Ghost and Hamlet exit.
They exit.
Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
He exits.
He writes.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
cries under the stage
, beneath
, beneath
, beneath
They exit.
Enter old Polonius with his man Reynaldo.
Reynaldo exits.
Enter Ophelia.
They exit.
Enter King and Queen, Rosencrantz andGuildenstern and Attendants.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exitwith some Attendants.
Enter Polonius.
Polonius exits.
Enter Ambassadors Voltemand and Cornelius withPolonius.
He gives a paper.
Voltemand and Cornelius exit.
He reads.
He reads.
He reads the letter.
, to Queen
To the King.
Enter Hamlet reading on a book.
King and Queen exit with Attendants.
, aside
, aside
, aside
Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.
, to Polonius
Polonius exits.
, to Guildenstern
, aside
A flourish for the Players.
Enter Polonius.
, aside
Enter the Players.
Polonius and Players exit
Hamlet speaks tothe First Player.
First Player exits.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
He exits.
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz,Guildenstern, and Lords.
Rosencrantz and Guildensternand Lords exit.
Queen exits.
To Ophelia.
, aside
They withdraw.
Enter Hamlet.
He exits.
, advancing with Polonius
They exit.
Enter Hamlet and three of the Players.
Players exit.
Enter Polonius, Guildenstern, and Rosencrantz.
Polonius exits.
They exit.
Enter Horatio.
Sound a flourish.
Enter Trumpets and Kettle Drums. Enter King, Queen,Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and otherLords attendant with the King’s guard carryingtorches.
To Polonius.
Hamlet takes a place near Ophelia.
, to the King
The trumpets sounds. Dumb show follows.
Enter a King and a Queen, very lovingly, the Queenembracing him and he her. She kneels and makes show ofprotestation unto him. He takes her up and declines hishead upon her neck. He lies him down upon a bank offlowers. She, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anoncomes in another man, takes off his crown, kisses it, pourspoison in the sleeper’s ears, and leaves him. The Queenreturns, finds the King dead, makes passionate action. Thepoisoner with some three or four come in again, seem tocondole with her. The dead body is carried away. Thepoisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems harshawhile but in the end accepts his love.
Players exit.
Enter Prologue.
He exits.
Enter the Player King and Queen.
Player Queen exits.
Enter Lucianus.
Pours the poison in his ears.
Claudius rises.
All but Hamlet and Horatio exit.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Enter the Players with recorders.
He takes arecorder and turns to Guildenstern.
Enter Polonius.
All but Hamlet exit.
He exits.
Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
Enter Polonius.
Polonius exits.
He kneels.
Enter Hamlet.
He draws his sword.
He sheathes his sword.
Hamlet exits.
, rising
He exits.
Enter Queen and Polonius.
, within
Polonius hides behind the arras.
Enter Hamlet.
, behind the arras
He kills Polonius by thrusting a rapierthrough the arras.
, behind the arras
He pulls Polonius’ body from behind the arras.
To Queen.
Enter Ghost.
To the Ghost.
Ghost exits.
Pointing to Polonius.
They exit, Hamlet tugging in Polonius.
Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz andGuildenstern.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.
They exit.
Enter Hamlet.
, within
Enter Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and others.
They exit.
Enter King and two or three.
Enter Rosencrantz.
They enter with Hamlet.
, to Attendants.
Attendants exit.
He exits.
All but the King exit.
He exits.
Enter Fortinbras with his army over the stage.
All but the Captain exit.
Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and others.
He exits.
All but Hamlet exit.
He exits.
Enter Horatio, Queen, and a Gentleman.
Gentleman exits.
Enter Ophelia distracted.
Enter King.
She exits.
Horatio exits.
A noise within.
Enter a Messenger.
A noise within.
Enter Laertes with others.
Followers exit.
A noise within:
Enter Ophelia.
She exits.
They exit.
Enter Horatio and others.
Gentleman exits.
Enter Sailors.
He hands Horatio a letter.
reads the letter
They exit.
Enter King and Laertes.
Enter a Messenger with letters.
Messenger exits.
Enter Queen.
He exits.
They exit.
Enter Gravedigger and Another.
Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.
The Other Man exits
and the Gravedigger digs and sings.
He digs up a skull.
He digs up more skulls.
, taking the skull
He puts the skull down.
Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Lords attendant, and thecorpse of Ophelia, with a Doctor of Divinity.
They step aside.
, to Horatio
She scatters flowers.
Leaps in the grave.
, advancing
, coming out of the grave
They grapple.
Hamlet and Laertes are separated.
Hamlet exits.
Horatio exits.
To Laertes.
They exit.
Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
Handing him a paper.
Enter Osric, a courtier.
Aside to Horatio.
, aside to Hamlet
, aside to Horatio
He motions toOsric to put on his hat.
, to Osric
Osric exits.
Enter a Lord.
Lord exits.
A table prepared.
Enter Trumpets, Drums, and Officerswith cushions, King, Queen, Osric, and all the state,foils, daggers, flagons of wine, and Laertes.
He puts Laertes’ hand into Hamlet’s.
, to Laertes
Prepare to play.
Trumpets the while.
They play.
He drinks and then drops the pearl in the cup.
Drum, trumpets, and shot.
They play.
She lifts the cup.
She drinks.
, aside
, to Claudius
, aside
Laertes wounds Hamlet. Then in scuffling they changerapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.
The Queen falls.
He falls.
She dies.
Osric exits.
Hurts the King.
Forcing him to drink the poison.
King dies.
He picks up the cup.
A march afar off and shot within.
Enter Osric.
March within.
Enter Fortinbras with the English Ambassadors withDrum, Colors, and Attendants.
They exit, marching, after the which, a peal ofordnance are shot off.
The Ghost

Mark me.

My hour is almost come
When I to sulf’rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.

Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.

So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

I am thy father’s spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night
And for the day confined to fast in fires
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their
Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end,
Like quills upon the fearful porpentine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love—

Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.

I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear.
’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forgèd process of my death
Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
Now wears his crown.

Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wits, with traitorous gifts—
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!—won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.
O Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine.
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So, lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
But soft, methinks I scent the morning air.
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursèd hebona in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leprous distilment, whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigor it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine,
And a most instant tetter barked about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand
Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
Cut off, even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
No reck’ning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
But, howsomever thou pursues this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once.
The glowworm shows the matin to be near
And ’gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me.



Swear by his sword.


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.

Prince of Denmark, son of the late King Hamlet

A little more than kin and less than kind.

Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.

Ay, madam, it is common.

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.

I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon ’gainst self-slaughter! O God, God,
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on ’t, ah fie! ’Tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this:
But two months dead—nay, not so much, not two.
So excellent a king, that was to this
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth,
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on. And yet, within a month
(Let me not think on ’t; frailty, thy name is woman!),
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father’s body,
Like Niobe, all tears—why she, even she
(O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer!), married with my
My father’s brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her gallèd eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.

I am glad to see you well.
Horatio—or I do forget myself!

Sir, my good friend. I’ll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?—

I am very glad to see you. Good
even, sir.—
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?

I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do my ear that violence
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself. I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

I prithee, do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.

Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father—methinks I see my father.

In my mind’s eye, Horatio.

He was a man. Take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.

Saw who?

The King my father?

For God’s love, let me hear!

But where was this?

Did you not speak to it?

’Tis very strange.

Indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch tonight?

Armed, say you?

From top to toe?

Then saw you not his face?

What, looked he frowningly?

Pale or red?

And fixed his eyes upon you?

I would I had been there.

Very like. Stayed it long?

His beard was grizzled, no?

I will watch tonight.
Perchance ’twill walk again.

If it assume my noble father’s person,
I’ll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto concealed this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsomever else shall hap tonight,
Give it an understanding but no tongue.
I will requite your loves. So fare you well.
Upon the platform, ’twixt eleven and twelve,
I’ll visit you.

Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell.
My father’s spirit—in arms! All is not well.
I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!
Till then, sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s

The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.

What hour now?

The King doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swagg’ring upspring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

Ay, marry, is ’t,
But, to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
They clepe us drunkards and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition. And, indeed, it takes
From our achievements, though performed at
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So oft it chances in particular men
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin),
By the o’ergrowth of some complexion
(Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason),
Or by some habit that too much o’erleavens
The form of plausive manners—that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature’s livery or fortune’s star,
His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.

Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com’st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I’ll call thee Hamlet,
King, Father, Royal Dane. O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulcher,
Wherein we saw thee quietly interred,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again. What may this mean
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?

It will not speak. Then I will follow it.

Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin’s fee.
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again. I’ll follow it.

It waves me still.—Go on, I’ll follow thee.

Hold off your hands.

My fate cries out
And makes each petty arture in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve.
Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away!—Go on. I’ll follow thee.

Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I’ll go no

I will.

Alas, poor ghost!

Speak. I am bound to hear.


O God!


Haste me to know ’t, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.

O, my prophetic soul! My uncle!

O all you host of heaven! O Earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? O fie! Hold, hold, my heart,
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I’ll wipe away all trivial, fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile and smile and be a villain.
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
It is adieu, adieu, remember me.
I have sworn ’t.

So be it.

Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come!

O, wonderful!

No, you will reveal it.

How say you, then? Would heart of man once think
But you’ll be secret?

There’s never a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he’s an arrant knave.

Why, right, you are in the right.
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part,
You, as your business and desire shall point you
(For every man hath business and desire,
Such as it is), and for my own poor part,
I will go pray.

I am sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, faith, heartily.

Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offense, too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost—that let me tell you.
For your desire to know what is between us,
O’ermaster ’t as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.

Never make known what you have seen tonight.

Nay, but swear ’t.

Upon my sword.

Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.

Ha, ha, boy, sayst thou so? Art thou there,
Come on, you hear this fellow in the cellarage.
Consent to swear.

Never to speak of this that you have seen,
Swear by my sword.

Hic et ubique? Then we’ll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword.
Swear by my sword
Never to speak of this that you have heard.

Well said, old mole. Canst work i’ th’ earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come.
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd some’er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on)
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As Well, well, we know, or We could an if wewould,
Or If we list to speak, or There be an if theymight,
Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note
That you know aught of me—this do swear,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you.

Rest, rest, perturbèd spirit.—So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you,
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t’ express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together,
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let’s go together.

Well, God-a-mercy.

Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.

Then I would you were so honest a man.

Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to
be one man picked out of ten thousand.

For if the sun breed maggots in a dead
dog, being a good kissing carrion—Have you a

Let her not walk i’ th’ sun. Conception is a
blessing, but, as your daughter may conceive,
friend, look to ’t.

Words, words, words.

Between who?

Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here
that old men have gray beards, that their faces are
wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and
plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of
wit, together with most weak hams; all which, sir,
though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I
hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for
yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if, like a crab,
you could go backward.

Into my grave?

You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I
will more willingly part withal—except my life,
except my life, except my life.

These tedious old fools.

My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do
you both?

Nor the soles of her shoe?

Then you live about her waist, or in the
middle of her favors?

In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true!
She is a strumpet. What news?

Then is doomsday near. But your news is not
true. Let me question more in particular. What
have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of
Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?

Denmark’s a prison.

A goodly one, in which there are many confines,
wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’
th’ worst.

Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is
nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it
so. To me, it is a prison.

O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and
count myself a king of infinite space, were it not
that I have bad dreams.

A dream itself is but a shadow.

Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs
and outstretched heroes the beggars’ shadows.
Shall we to th’ court? For, by my fay, I cannot

No such matter. I will not sort you with the
rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an
honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But
in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at

Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks;
but I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks
are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for?
Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation?
Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come; nay,

Anything but to th’ purpose. You were sent
for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks
which your modesties have not craft enough to
color. I know the good king and queen have sent for

That you must teach me. But let me conjure
you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy
of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved
love, and by what more dear a better
proposer can charge you withal: be even and direct
with me whether you were sent for or no.

Nay, then, I have an eye of you.—If
you love me, hold not off.

I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the
King and Queen molt no feather. I have of late, but
wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises, and, indeed, it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
Earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging
firmament, this majestical roof, fretted
with golden fire—why, it appeareth nothing to me
but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in
reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving
how express and admirable; in action how like
an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the
beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and
yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man
delights not me, no, nor women neither, though by
your smiling you seem to say so.

Why did you laugh, then, when I said mandelights not me?

He that plays the king shall be welcome—his
Majesty shall have tribute on me. The adventurous
knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall
not sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his
part in peace, the clown shall make those laugh
whose lungs are tickle o’ th’ sear, and the lady
shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall
halt for ’t. What players are they?

How chances it they travel? Their residence,
both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Do they hold the same estimation they did
when I was in the city? Are they so followed?

How comes it? Do they grow rusty?

What, are they children? Who maintains ’em?
How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality
no longer than they can sing? Will they not say
afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common
players (as it is most like, if their means are
no better), their writers do them wrong to make
them exclaim against their own succession?

Is ’t possible?

Do the boys carry it away?

It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of
Denmark, and those that would make mouths at
him while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty,
a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little.
’Sblood, there is something in this more than natural,
if philosophy could find it out.

Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore.
Your hands, come then. Th’ appurtenance of welcome
is fashion and ceremony. Let me comply
with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players,
which, I tell you, must show fairly outwards, should
more appear like entertainment than yours. You are
welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are

I am but mad north-north-west. When the
wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too—at
each ear a hearer! That great baby you see there is
not yet out of his swaddling clouts.

I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the
players; mark it.—You say right, sir, a Monday
morning, ’twas then indeed.

My lord, I have news to tell you: when Roscius
was an actor in Rome—

Buzz, buzz.

Then came each actor on his ass.

O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure
hadst thou!

Why,One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he lovèd passing well.

Am I not i’ th’ right, old Jephthah?

Nay, that follows not.

Why,As by lot, God wot
and then, you know,It came to pass, as most like it was—
the first row of the pious chanson will show you
more, for look where my abridgment comes.
You are welcome, masters; welcome all.—I am glad
to see thee well.—Welcome, good friends.—O my
old friend! Why, thy face is valanced since I saw thee
last. Com’st thou to beard me in Denmark?—What,
my young lady and mistress! By ’r Lady, your ladyship
is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by
the altitude of a chopine. Pray God your voice, like a
piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the
ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We’ll e’en to ’t
like French falconers, fly at anything we see. We’ll
have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your
quality. Come, a passionate speech.

I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it
was never acted, or, if it was, not above once; for
the play, I remember, pleased not the million:
’twas caviary to the general. But it was (as I
received it, and others whose judgments in such
matters cried in the top of mine) an excellent play,
well digested in the scenes, set down with as much
modesty as cunning. I remember one said there
were no sallets in the lines to make the matter
savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict
the author of affection, but called it an honest
method, as wholesome as sweet and, by very much,
more handsome than fine. One speech in ’t I
chiefly loved. ’Twas Aeneas’ tale to Dido, and
thereabout of it especially when he speaks of
Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at
this line—let me see, let me see:The rugged Pyrrhus, like th’ Hyrcanian beast—
’tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus:The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couchèd in th’ ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot,
Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and a damnèd light
To their lord’s murder. Roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o’ersizèd with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.

So, proceed you.

It shall to the barber’s with your beard.—
Prithee say on. He’s for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or
he sleeps. Say on; come to Hecuba.

The moblèd queen?

’Tis well. I’ll have thee speak out the rest of
this soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players
well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used,
for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
time. After your death you were better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.

God’s bodykins, man, much better! Use every
man after his desert and who shall ’scape
whipping? Use them after your own honor and
dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in
your bounty. Take them in.

Follow him, friends. We’ll hear a play
Dost thou hear me, old friend? Can
you play The Murder of Gonzago?

We’ll ha ’t tomorrow night. You could, for a
need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen
lines, which I would set down and insert in ’t,
could you not?

Very well. Follow that lord—and look you
mock him not. My good friends,
I’ll leave you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.

Ay, so, good-bye to you.
Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit—and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing—no, not for a king
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i’ th’ throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha! ’Swounds, I should take it! For it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless
O vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A stallion! Fie upon ’t! Foh!
About, my brains!—Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks;
I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil, and the devil hath power
T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds
More relative than this. The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.

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.

I humbly thank you, well.

No, not I. I never gave you aught.

Ha, ha, are you honest?

Are you fair?

That if you be honest and fair, your honesty
should admit no discourse to your beauty.

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.

You should not have believed me, for virtue
cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall
relish of it. I loved you not.

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?

Let the doors be shut upon him that he may
play the fool nowhere but in ’s own house. Farewell.

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.

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.

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced
it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth
it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and
beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. O,
it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious,
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very
rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the
most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable
dumb shows and noise. I would have such a fellow
whipped for o’erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods
Herod. Pray you, avoid it.

Be not too tame neither, but let your own
discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the
word, the word to the action, with this special
observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of
nature. For anything so o’erdone is from the purpose
of playing, whose end, both at the first and
now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to
nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her
own image, and the very age and body of the time
his form and pressure. Now this overdone or come
tardy off, though it makes the unskillful laugh,
cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure
of the which one must in your allowance o’erweigh
a whole theater of others. O, there be players that I
have seen play and heard others praise (and that
highly), not to speak it profanely, that, neither
having th’ accent of Christians nor the gait of
Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and
bellowed that I have thought some of nature’s
journeymen had made men, and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

O, reform it altogether. And let those that play
your clowns speak no more than is set down for
them, for there be of them that will themselves
laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators
to laugh too, though in the meantime some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered.
That’s villainous and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it. Go make you ready.
How now, my lord, will the King hear this piece of

Bid the players make haste.
Will you two help to hasten them?

What ho, Horatio!

Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man
As e’er my conversation coped withal.

Nay, do not think I flatter,
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath sealed thee for herself. For thou hast been
As one in suffering all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards
Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and blessed are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well
That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.—Something too much of this.—
There is a play tonight before the King.
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father’s death.
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note,
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And, after, we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.

They are coming to the play. I must be idle.
Get you a place.

Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I
eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed
capons so.

No, nor mine now. My lord, you
played once i’ th’ university, you say?

What did you enact?

It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a
calf there.—Be the players ready?

No, good mother. Here’s metal more

Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

I mean, my head upon your lap?

Do you think I meant country matters?

That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’


Who, I?

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

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, thehobby-horse is forgot.

Marry, this is miching mallecho. It means

We shall know by this fellow. The players
cannot keep counsel; they’ll tell all.

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.

Is this a prologue or the posy of a ring?

As woman’s love.

That’s wormwood!

If she should break it now!

Madam, how like you this play?

O, but she’ll keep her word.

No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No
offense i’ th’ world.

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.

I could interpret between you and your love,
if I could see the puppets dallying.

It would cost you a groaning to take off mine

So you mis-take your husbands.—Begin,
murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces and
begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for

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.

What, frighted with false fire?

Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
The hart ungallèd play.
For some must watch, while some must sleep:
Thus runs the world away.
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers (if the
rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me) with two
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a
fellowship in a cry of players?

A whole one, I.For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself, and now reigns here
A very very—pajock.

O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s word for
a thousand pound. Didst perceive?

Upon the talk of the poisoning?

Ah ha! Come, some music! Come, the
recorders!For if the King like not the comedy,
Why, then, belike he likes it not, perdy.

Come, some music!

Sir, a whole history.

Ay, sir, what of him?

With drink, sir?

Your wisdom should show itself more richer
to signify this to the doctor, for for me to put him to
his purgation would perhaps plunge him into more

I am tame, sir. Pronounce.

You are welcome.

Sir, I cannot.

Make you a wholesome answer. My wit’s
diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you
shall command—or, rather, as you say, my mother.
Therefore no more but to the matter. My mother,
you say—

O wonderful son that can so ’stonish a mother!
But is there no sequel at the heels of this
mother’s admiration? Impart.

We shall obey, were she ten times our mother.
Have you any further trade with us?

And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

Sir, I lack advancement.

Ay, sir, but While the grass grows—the
proverb is something musty.
O, the recorders! Let me see one.
To withdraw
with you: why do you go about to recover the wind
of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?

I do not well understand that. Will you play
upon this pipe?

I pray you.

I do beseech you.

It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages
with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with
your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent
music. Look you, these are the stops.

Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing
you make of me! You would play upon me, you
would seem to know my stops, you would pluck
out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me
from my lowest note to the top of my compass;
and there is much music, excellent voice, in this
little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. ’Sblood,
do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?
Call me what instrument you will, though you can
fret me, you cannot play upon me.
God bless you, sir.

Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in
shape of a camel?

Methinks it is like a weasel.

Or like a whale.

Then I will come to my mother by and by.
They fool me to the top of my bent.—I will
come by and by.

By and by is easily said. Leave me,
’Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural.
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
How in my words somever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent.

Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying,
And now I’ll do ’t.
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?
Up sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
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.

Mother, mother, mother!

Now, mother, what’s the matter?

Mother, you have my father much offended.

Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

What’s the matter now?

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.

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.

How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead.

Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

A bloody deed—almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

Ay, lady, it was my word.
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
you down,
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.

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.

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 heaven-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?
Rebellious hell,
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.

Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed,
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty!

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

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?
O, say!

How is it with you, lady?

On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares.
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not
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.

Do you see nothing there?

Nor did you nothing hear?

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!

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, 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
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.

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.

I must to England, you know that.

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.

Safely stowed.

But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet?
O, here they come.

Compounded it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.

Do not believe it.

That I can keep your counsel and not mine
own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, what
replication should be made by the son of a king?

Ay, sir, that soaks up the King’s countenance,
his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
King best service in the end. He keeps them like an
ape an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed,
to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
shall be dry again.

I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a
foolish ear.

The body is with the King, but the King is not
with the body. The King is a thing—

Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and
all after!

At supper.

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.

A man may fish with the worm that hath eat
of a king and eat of the fish that hath fed of that

Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
progress through the guts of a beggar.

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.

He will stay till you come.

For England?


I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for
Farewell, dear mother.

My mother. Father and mother is man and wife,
Man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother.—
Come, for England.

Good sir, whose powers are these?

How purposed, sir, I pray you?

Who commands them, sir?

Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
Or for some frontier?

Why, then, the Polack never will defend it.

Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw.
This is th’ impostume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks and shows no cause without
Why the man dies.—I humbly thank you, sir.

I’ll be with you straight. Go a little before.
How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge. What is a man
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
Sure He that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unused. Now whether it be
Bestial oblivion or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th’ event
(A thought which, quartered, hath but one part
And ever three parts coward), I do not know
Why yet I live to say This thing’s to do,
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do ’t. Examples gross as Earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor’s at the stake. How stand I, then,
That have a father killed, a mother stained,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep, while to my shame I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth
My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!

Has this fellow no feeling of his business? He
sings in grave-making.

’Tis e’en so. The hand of little employment
hath the daintier sense.

That skull had a tongue in it and could sing
once. How the knave jowls it to the ground as if
’twere Cain’s jawbone, that did the first murder!
This might be the pate of a politician which this ass
now o’erreaches, one that would circumvent God,
might it not?

Or of a courtier, which could say Goodmorrow, sweet lord! How dost thou, sweet lord?
This might be my Lord Such-a-one that praised my
Lord Such-a-one’s horse when he went to beg it,
might it not?

Why, e’en so. And now my Lady Worm’s,
chapless and knocked about the mazard with a
sexton’s spade. Here’s fine revolution, an we had
the trick to see ’t. Did these bones cost no more the
breeding but to play at loggets with them? Mine
ache to think on ’t.

There’s another. Why may not that be the
skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his
quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why
does he suffer this mad knave now to knock him
about the sconce with a dirty shovel and will not tell
him of his action of battery? Hum, this fellow might
be in ’s time a great buyer of land, with his statutes,
his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers,
his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines and the
recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full
of fine dirt? Will his vouchers vouch him no more
of his purchases, and double ones too, than the
length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very
conveyances of his lands will scarcely lie in this box,
and must th’ inheritor himself have no more, ha?

Is not parchment made of sheepskins?

They are sheep and calves which seek out
assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow.—
Whose grave’s this, sirrah?

I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in ’t.

Thou dost lie in ’t, to be in ’t and say it is thine.
’Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou

What man dost thou dig it for?

What woman then?

Who is to be buried in ’t?

How absolute the knave is! We must speak by
the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the
Lord, Horatio, this three years I have took note of
it: the age is grown so picked that the toe of the
peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he
galls his kibe.—How long hast thou been

How long is that since?

Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?


How came he mad?

How strangely?

Upon what ground?

How long will a man lie i’ th’ earth ere he rot?

Why he more than another?

Whose was it?

Nay, I know not.


Let me see. Alas, poor
Yorick! I knew him, Horatio—a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his
back a thousand times, and now how abhorred in
my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung
those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.
Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your
songs? your flashes of merriment that were wont to
set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your
own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my
lady’s chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch
thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh
at that.—Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this
fashion i’ th’ earth?

And smelt so? Pah!

To what base uses we may return, Horatio!
Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of
Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?

No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither,
with modesty enough and likelihood to lead it, as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander
returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth
we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he
was converted might they not stop a beer barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t’ expel the winter’s flaw!
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.

That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.

What, the fair Ophelia?

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.

Thou pray’st not well.
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.

Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag!

I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?

’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.

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.

So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other.
You do remember all the circumstance?

Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly—
And praised be rashness for it: let us know,
Our indiscretion sometime serves us well
When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will—

Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark
Groped I to find out them; had my desire,
Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again, making so bold
(My fears forgetting manners) to unfold
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio,
A royal knavery—an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reasons
Importing Denmark’s health and England’s too,
With—ho!—such bugs and goblins in my life,
That on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the ax,
My head should be struck off.

Here’s the commission. Read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?

Being thus benetted round with villainies,
Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play. I sat me down,
Devised a new commission, wrote it fair—
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labored much
How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
It did me yeoman’s service. Wilt thou know
Th’ effect of what I wrote?

An earnest conjuration from the King,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm might flourish,
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma ’tween their amities,
And many suchlike ases of great charge,
That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should those bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving time allowed.

Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father’s signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal;
Folded the writ up in the form of th’ other,
Subscribed it, gave ’t th’ impression, placed it
The changeling never known. Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
Thou knowest already.

Why, man, they did make love to this employment.
They are not near my conscience. Their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow.
’Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensèd points
Of mighty opposites.

Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon—
He that hath killed my king and whored my mother,
Popped in between th’ election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage—is ’t not perfect
To quit him with this arm? And is ’t not to be
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?

It will be short. The interim’s mine,
And a man’s life’s no more than to say one.
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself,
For by the image of my cause I see
The portraiture of his. I’ll court his favors.
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a tow’ring passion.

I humbly thank you, sir.
Dost know this waterfly?

Thy state is the more gracious,
for ’tis a vice to know him. He hath much
land, and fertile. Let a beast be lord of beasts and his
crib shall stand at the king’s mess. ’Tis a chough,
but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of
spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use: ’tis for the

No, believe me, ’tis very cold; the wind is

But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for
my complexion.

I beseech you, remember.

Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in
you, though I know to divide him inventorially
would dozy th’ arithmetic of memory, and yet but
yaw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the
verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great
article, and his infusion of such dearth and rareness
as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his
mirror, and who else would trace him, his umbrage,
nothing more.

The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the
gentleman in our more rawer breath?

What imports the nomination of
this gentleman?

Of him, sir.

I would you did, sir. Yet, in faith, if you did, itwould not much approve me. Well, sir?

I dare not confess that, lest I should compare
with him in excellence. But to know a man well
were to know himself.

What’s his weapon?

That’s two of his weapons. But, well—

What call you the carriages?

The phrase would be more germane to the
matter if we could carry a cannon by our sides. I
would it might be hangers till then. But on. Six
Barbary horses against six French swords, their
assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages—
that’s the French bet against the Danish. Why is this
all impawned, as you call it?

How if I answer no?

Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his
Majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me. Let
the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the
King hold his purpose, I will win for him, an I can.
If not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd

To this effect, sir, after what flourish your
nature will.

Yours. He does well to commend
it himself. There are no tongues else for ’s

He did comply, sir, with his dug before he
sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same
breed that I know the drossy age dotes on) only got
the tune of the time, and, out of an habit of
encounter, a kind of yeasty collection, which carries
them through and through the most fanned
and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to
their trial, the bubbles are out.

I am constant to my purposes. They follow
the King’s pleasure. If his fitness speaks, mine is
ready now or whensoever, provided I be so able as

In happy time.

She well instructs me.

I do not think so. Since he went into France, I
have been in continual practice. I shall win at the
odds; but thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here
about my heart. But it is no matter.

It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of
gaingiving as would perhaps trouble a woman.

Not a whit. We defy augury. There is a
special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be
now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The
readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves
knows, what is ’t to leave betimes? Let be.

Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you wrong;
But pardon ’t as you are a gentleman. This presence
And you must needs have heard, how I am punished
With a sore distraction. What I have done
That might your nature, honor, and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was ’t Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet.
If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away,
And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not; Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness. If ’t be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged;
His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.
Sir, in this audience
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
That I have shot my arrow o’er the house
And hurt my brother.

I embrace it freely
And will this brothers’ wager frankly play.—
Give us the foils. Come on.

I’ll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i’ th’ darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.

No, by this hand.

Very well, my lord.
Your Grace has laid the odds o’ th’ weaker side.

This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

Come on, sir.



I’ll play this bout first. Set it by awhile.
Come. Another hit. What say you?

Good madam.

I dare not drink yet, madam—by and by.

Come, for the third, Laertes. You do but dally.
I pray you pass with your best violence.
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

Nay, come again.

How does the Queen?

O villainy! Ho! Let the door be locked.
Treachery! Seek it out.

The point envenomed too! Then, venom, to thy

Here, thou incestuous, murd’rous, damnèd Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.

Heaven make thee free of it. I follow thee.—
I am dead, Horatio.—Wretched queen, adieu.—
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time (as this fell sergeant, Death,
Is strict in his arrest), O, I could tell you—
But let it be.—Horatio, I am dead.
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

As thou ’rt a man,
Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I’ll ha ’t.
O God, Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
To tell my story.
What warlike noise is this?

O, I die, Horatio!
The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy th’ election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited—the rest is silence.
O, O, O, O!

Queen Gertrude
widow of King Hamlet, now married to Claudius

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.

If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?

Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
I pray thee, stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg.

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.

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.

Ay, amen!

I doubt it is no other but the main—
His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.

More matter with less art.

Came this from Hamlet to her?

It may be, very like.

So he does indeed.

But look where sadly the poor wretch comes

Did he receive you well?

Did you assay him to any pastime?

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.

Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

How fares my lord?

I’ll warrant you. Fear me not. Withdraw,
I hear him coming.

Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

Why, how now, Hamlet?

Have you forgot me?

Nay, then I’ll set those to you that can speak.

What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
Help, ho!

O me, what hast thou done?

O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

As kill a king?

What have I done, that thou dar’st wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?

Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?

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.

O, speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet!

No more!

Alas, he’s mad.

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?

To whom do you speak this?

Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

No, nothing but ourselves.

This is the very coinage of your brain.
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain!

What shall I do?

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 had forgot! ’Tis so concluded on.

Bestow this place on us a little while.
Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen tonight!

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.

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.

I will not speak with her.

What would she have?

Let her come in.
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.

How now, Ophelia?

Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Nay, but Ophelia—

Alas, look here, my lord.

Alack, what noise is this?

How cheerfully on the false trail they cry.
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!

Calmly, good Laertes.

But not by him.

One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister’s drowned, Laertes.

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.

Drowned, drowned.

Sweets to the sweet, farewell!
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.

Hamlet! Hamlet!

O my son, what theme?

For love of God, forbear him.

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.

He’s fat and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin; rub thy brows.
The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me.

Come, let me wipe thy face.

No, no, the drink, the drink! O, my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink! I am poisoned.

King Claudius
brother to the late King Hamlet

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.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.

We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
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?

Have you your father’s leave? What says Polonius?

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—

How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

’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.

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.

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.

Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.

Thou still hast been the father of good news.

O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.

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.

Well, we shall sift him.
Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?

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!

But how hath she received his love?

As of a man faithful and honorable.

Do you think ’tis this?

Not that I know.

How may we try it further?

We will try it.

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?

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.

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.

O, ’tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my
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!

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?

It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

How fares our cousin Hamlet?

I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These
words are not mine.

Have you heard the argument? Is there no
offense in ’t?

What do you call the play?

Give me some light. Away!

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.

Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage,
For we will fetters put about this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.

Thanks, dear my lord.
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.

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

There’s matter in these sighs; these profound heaves
You must translate; ’tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?

What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?

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?

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!
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.
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 ear. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.

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.
How now, what hath befallen?

But where is he?

Bring him before us.

Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?

At supper where?

Alas, alas!

What dost thou mean by this?

Where is Polonius?

Go, seek him there.

Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety
(Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done) must send thee
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
Th’ associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.

Ay, Hamlet.

So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.

Thy loving father, Hamlet.

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.
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.

How do you, pretty lady?

Conceit upon her father.

Pretty Ophelia—

How long hath she been thus?

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.

Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
What is the matter?

The doors are broke.

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.


Let him demand his fill.

Who shall stay you?

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?

Will you know them, then?

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.

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.

So you shall,
And where th’ offense is, let the great ax fall.
I pray you, go with me.

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.

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.

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—
How now? What news?

From Hamlet? Who brought them?

Laertes, you shall hear
Leave us.
High and mighty, you shall know I am setnaked 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?

’Tis Hamlet’s character. Naked
And in a postscript here, he says alone.
Can you advise me?

If it be so, Laertes
(As how should it be so? how otherwise?),
Will you be ruled by me?

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.

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.

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.

A Norman.

The very same.

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
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, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?

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
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?

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,
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.

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
’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
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.—But stay, what

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.

Pluck them asunder.

O, he is mad, Laertes!

I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
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.

Come, Hamlet, come and take this hand from me.

Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?

I do not fear it; I have seen you both.
But, since he is better, we have therefore odds.

Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.—
If Hamlet give the first or second hit
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire.
The King shall drink to Hamlet’s better breath,
And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark’s crown have worn. Give me the cups,
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
Now the King drinks to Hamlet. Come, begin.
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl is thine.
Here’s to thy health.
Give him the cup.

Our son shall win.

Gertrude, do not drink.

It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.

I do not think ’t.

Part them. They are incensed.

She swoons to see them bleed.

O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.


Do you doubt that?

No more but so?

I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.

’Tis in my memory locked,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

So please you, something touching the Lord

He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.

I do not know, my lord, what I should think.

My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honorable fashion—

And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.

I shall obey, my lord.

O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!

My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosèd out of hell
To speak of horrors—he comes before me.

My lord, I do not know,
But truly I do fear it.

He took me by the wrist and held me hard.
Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And, with his other hand thus o’er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stayed he so.
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
And, with his head over his shoulder turned,
He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
For out o’ doors he went without their helps
And to the last bended their light on me.

No, my good lord, but as you did command
I did repel his letters and denied
His access to me.

Madam, I wish it may.

Good my lord,
How does your Honor for this many a day?

My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longèd long to redeliver.
I pray you now receive them.

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
Take these again, for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.

My lord?

What means your Lordship?

Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce
than with honesty?

Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

I was the more deceived.

At home, my lord.

O, help him, you sweet heavens!

Heavenly powers, restore him!

O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue,
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!

No, my lord.

Ay, my lord.

I think nothing, my lord.

What is, my lord?

You are merry, my lord.

Ay, my lord.

Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.

What means this, my lord?

Belike this show imports the argument of the

Will he tell us what this show meant?

You are naught, you are naught. I’ll mark the

’Tis brief, my lord.

You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

You are keen, my lord, you are keen.

Still better and worse.

The King rises.

Where is the beauteous Majesty of Denmark?

How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff
And his sandal shoon.

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.

Oh, ho!

Pray you, mark.White his shroud as the mountain snow—

Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.

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.

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.

He answers:So would I ’a done, by yonder sun,An thou hadst not come to my bed.

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.

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.

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

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.
Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies,
that’s for thoughts.

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.

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’

her brother

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.

My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convey is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.

For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
No more.

Think it no more.
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will; but you must fear,
His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,
For he himself is subject to his birth.
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
The safety and the health of this whole state.
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then, if he says he loves
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed, which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain
If with too credent ear you list his songs
Or lose your heart or your chaste treasure open
To his unmastered importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia; fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough
If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
Virtue itself ’scapes not calumnious strokes.
The canker galls the infants of the spring
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And, in the morn and liquid dew of youth,
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

O, fear me not.
I stay too long. But here my father comes.
A double blessing is a double grace.
Occasion smiles upon a second leave.

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well
What I have said to you.


Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without.

I pray you, give me leave.

I thank you. Keep the door. O, thou
vile king,
Give me my father!

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.

Where is my father?

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.

My will, not all the world.
And for my means, I’ll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.

None but his enemies.

To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rend’ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

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.

Hadst thou thy wits and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.

This nothing’s more than matter.

A document in madness: thoughts and remembrance

Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself
She turns to favor and to prettiness.

Do you see this, O God?

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.

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.

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.

Know you the hand?

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.

Ay, my lord,
So you will not o’errule me to a peace.

My lord, I will be ruled,
The rather if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.

What part is that, my lord?

A Norman was ’t?

Upon my life, Lamord.

I know him well. He is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.

What out of this, my lord?

Why ask you this?

To cut his throat i’ th’ church.

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.

Drowned? O, where?

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.

What ceremony else?

What ceremony else?

Must there no more be done?

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.

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.
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.

The devil take thy soul!

I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive in this case should stir me most
To my revenge; but in my terms of honor
I stand aloof and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters of known honor
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungored. But till that time
I do receive your offered love like love
And will not wrong it.

Come, one for me.

You mock me, sir.

This is too heavy. Let me see another.

Come, my lord.


Well, again.

A touch, a touch. I do confess ’t.

My lord, I’ll hit him now.

And yet it is almost against my conscience.

Say you so? Come on.

Have at you now!

Why as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.
I am justly killed with mine own treachery.

It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain.
No med’cine in the world can do thee good.
In thee there is not half an hour’s life.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenomed. The foul practice
Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again. Thy mother’s poisoned.
I can no more. The King, the King’s to blame.

He is justly served.
It is a poison tempered by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.

father of Ophelia and Laertes, councillor to King Claudius

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.

Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear ’t that th’ opposèd may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy (rich, not gaudy),
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee.

The time invests you. Go, your servants tend.

What is ’t, Ophelia, he hath said to you?

Marry, well bethought.
’Tis told me he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you, and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and
If it be so (as so ’tis put on me,
And that in way of caution), I must tell you
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behooves my daughter and your honor.
What is between you? Give me up the truth.

Affection, puh! You speak like a green girl
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

Marry, I will teach you. Think yourself a baby
That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly,
Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus) you’ll tender me a fool.

Ay, fashion you may call it. Go to, go to!

Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
Even in their promise as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be something scanter of your maiden presence.
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parle. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him that he is young,
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth
Have you so slander any moment leisure
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to ’t, I charge you. Come your ways.

Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.

You shall do marvelous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.

Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
And how, and who, what means, and where they
What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it.
Take you, as ’twere, some distant knowledge of him,
As thus: I know his father and his friendsAnd, in part, him. Do you mark this, Reynaldo?

And, in part, him, but, you may say, not well.But if ’t be he I mean, he’s very wild,
Addicted so and so.
And there put on him
What forgeries you please—marry, none so rank
As may dishonor him, take heed of that,
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.

Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
Quarreling, drabbing—you may go so far.

Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
You must not put another scandal on him
That he is open to incontinency;
That’s not my meaning. But breathe his faults so
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
Of general assault.

Wherefore should you do this?

Marry, sir, here’s my drift,
And I believe it is a fetch of wit.
You, laying these slight sullies on my son,
As ’twere a thing a little soiled i’ th’ working,
Mark you, your party in converse, him you would
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence:
Good sir, or so, or friend, or gentleman,
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country—

And then, sir, does he this, he does—what
was I about to say? By the Mass, I was about to say
something. Where did I leave?

At closes in the consequence—ay, marry—
He closes thus: I know the gentleman.I saw him yesterday, or th’ other day
(Or then, or then, with such or such), and as yousay,
There was he gaming, there o’ertook in ’s rouse,
There falling out at tennis
; or perchance
I saw him enter such a house of sale
Videlicet, a brothel—or so forth. See you now
Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth;
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out.
So by my former lecture and advice
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?

God be wi’ you. Fare you well.

Observe his inclination in yourself.

And let him ply his music.

How now, Ophelia, what’s the matter?

With what, i’ th’ name of God?

Mad for thy love?

What said he?

Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passions under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?

That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not coted him. I feared he did but trifle
And meant to wrack thee. But beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
This must be known, which, being kept close, might
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.

Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully returned.

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.

Give first admittance to th’ ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.

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.

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, themost beautified Ophelia—
That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase; beautified is a
vile phrase. But you shall hear. Thus:In her excellent white bosom, these, etc.—

Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful.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.

What do you think of me?

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.

Hath there been such a time (I would fain know
That I have positively said ’Tis so,
When it proved otherwise?

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.

You know sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.

At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.
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.

Away, I do beseech you both, away.
I’ll board him presently. O, give me leave.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?

Do you know me, my lord?

Not I, my lord.

Honest, my lord?

That’s very true, my lord.

I have, my lord.

How say you by that? Still harping on
my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first; he said I
was a fishmonger. He is far gone. And truly, in my
youth, I suffered much extremity for love, very near
this. I’ll speak to him again.—What do you read, my

What is the matter, my lord?

I mean the matter that you read, my lord.

Though this be madness, yet there is
method in ’t.—Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

Indeed, that’s out of the air. How
pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness
that often madness hits on, which reason and
sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I
will leave him and suddenly contrive the means of
meeting between him and my daughter.—My lord,
I will take my leave of you.

Fare you well, my lord.

You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is.

Well be with you, gentlemen.

My lord, I have news to tell you.

The actors are come hither, my lord.

Upon my honor—

The best actors in the world, either for
tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
historical-pastoral, tragical-historical,
tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or
poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor
Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty,
these are the only men.

What a treasure had he, my lord?

Still on my daughter.

If you call me Jephthah, my lord: I have a
daughter that I love passing well.

What follows then, my lord?

’Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good
accent and good discretion.

This is too long.

That’s good. Moblèd queen is good.

Look whe’er he has not turned his color and
has tears in ’s eyes. Prithee, no more.

My lord, I will use them according to their

Come, sirs.

’Tis most true,
And he beseeched me to entreat your Majesties
To hear and see the matter.

Ophelia, walk you here.—Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves. Read on this
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.

I hear him coming. Let’s withdraw, my lord.

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.

And the Queen too, and that presently.

That did I, my lord, and was accounted a
good actor.

I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i’ th’
Capitol. Brutus killed me.

Oh, ho! Do you mark that?

Give o’er the play.

Lights, lights, lights!

My lord, the Queen would speak with you,
and presently.

By th’ Mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.

It is backed like a weasel.

Very like a whale.

I will say so.

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
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.

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.

What ho! Help!

O, I am slain!

servant to Polonius

I will, my lord.

My lord, I did intend it.

Ay, very well, my lord.

As gaming, my lord.

My lord, that would dishonor him.

But, my good lord—

Ay, my lord, I would know that.

Very good, my lord.

At closes in the consequence, at friend,or so, and gentleman.

My lord, I have.

Good my lord.

I shall, my lord.

Well, my lord.

Hamlet’s friend and confidant

Friends to this ground.

A piece of him.

What, has this thing appeared again tonight?

Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.

Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.

Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.

What art thou that usurp’st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee,

Stay! speak! speak! I charge thee, speak!

Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.

As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armor he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated.
So frowned he once when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
’Tis strange.

In what particular thought to work I know not,
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

That can I.
At least the whisper goes so: our last king,
Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror.
Against the which a moiety competent
Was gagèd by our king, which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same comart
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes
For food and diet to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in ’t; which is no other
(As it doth well appear unto our state)
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this posthaste and rummage in the land.

A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands,
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of feared events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.
But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again!
I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me.
If thou art privy to thy country’s fate,
Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it.
Stay and speak!—Stop it, Marcellus.

Do, if it will not stand.

’Tis here.

And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day, and at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
Th’ extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine, and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.

So have I heard and do in part believe it.
But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.
Break we our watch up, and by my advice
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

Hail to your Lordship.

The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.

A truant disposition, good my lord.

My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.

Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

Where, my lord?

I saw him once. He was a goodly king.

My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.

My lord, the King your father.

Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear, till I may deliver
Upon the witness of these gentlemen
This marvel to you.

Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encountered: a figure like your father,
Armèd at point exactly, cap-à-pie,
Appears before them and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them. Thrice he walked
By their oppressed and fear-surprisèd eyes
Within his truncheon’s length, whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
And I with them the third night kept the watch,
Where, as they had delivered, both in time,
Form of the thing (each word made true and good),
The apparition comes. I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.

My lord, I did,
But answer made it none. Yet once methought
It lifted up its head and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crew loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away
And vanished from our sight.

As I do live, my honored lord, ’tis true.
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.

We do, my lord.

Armed, my lord.

My lord, from head to foot.

O, yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.

A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.

Nay, very pale.

Most constantly.

It would have much amazed you.

While one with moderate haste might tell a

Not when I saw ’t.

It was as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silvered.

I warrant it will.

Our duty to your Honor.

It is a nipping and an eager air.

I think it lacks of twelve.

Indeed, I heard it not. It then draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
What does this mean, my lord?

Is it a custom?

Look, my lord, it comes.

It beckons you to go away with it
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.

No, by no means.

Do not, my lord.

What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord?
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o’er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? Think of it.
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.

Be ruled. You shall not go.

He waxes desperate with imagination.

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Heaven will direct it.

My lord, my lord!

Heavens secure him!

What news, my lord?

Good my lord, tell it.

Not I, my lord, by heaven.

Ay, by heaven, my lord.

There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.

These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.

There’s no offense, my lord.

What is ’t, my lord? We will.

My lord, we will not.

In faith, my lord, not I.

Propose the oath, my lord.

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.

Here, sweet lord, at your service.

O, my dear lord—

Well, my lord.
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing
And ’scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

Half a share.

You might have rhymed.

Very well, my lord.

I did very well note him.

’Twere good she were spoken with, for she may
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

What are they that would speak with me?

Let them come in. I do not
know from what part of the world I should be
greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

Let Him bless thee too.

Horatio, when thou shalt have
overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the
King. They have letters for him. Ere we were two days
old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave
us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on
a compelled valor, and in the grapple I boarded them.
On the instant, they got clear of our ship; so I alone
became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like
thieves of mercy, but they knew what they did: I am to
do a good turn for them. Let the King have the letters
I have sent, and repair thou to me with as much speed
as thou wouldst fly death. I have words to speak in
thine ear will make thee dumb; yet are they much too
light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows
will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
hold their course for England; of them I have
much to tell thee. Farewell.He that thou knowest thine,
Come, I will give you way for these your letters
And do ’t the speedier that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.

Custom hath made it in him a property of

It might, my lord.

Ay, my lord.

Not a jot more, my lord.

Ay, my lord, and of calves’ skins too.

What’s that, my lord?

E’en so.

E’en so, my lord.

’Twere to consider too curiously to consider

Good my lord, be quiet.

Remember it, my lord!

That is most

Is ’t possible?

I beseech you.

Ay, good my lord.

How was this sealed?

So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to ’t.

Why, what a king is this!

It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business there.

Peace, who comes here?

No, my good lord.

Is ’t not possible to understand in another
tongue? You will to ’t, sir, really.

His purse is empty already; all ’s golden words
are spent.

I knew you must be edified by the margent
ere you had done.

This lapwing runs away with the shell on his

You will lose, my lord.

Nay, good my lord—

If your mind dislike anything, obey it. I will
forestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.

They bleed on both sides.—How is it, my lord?

Never believe it.
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.
Here’s yet some liquor left.

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Why does the drum come hither?

What is it you would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

Not from his
Had it th’ ability of life to thank you.
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
Are here arrived, give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view,
And let me speak to th’ yet unknowing world
How these things came about. So shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads. All this can I
Truly deliver.

Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on
But let this same be presently performed
Even while men’s minds are wild, lest more
On plots and errors happen.

courtiers at the Danish court

In that and all things will we show our duty.

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,
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.


In that and all things will we show our duty.


Both your Majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

God save you, sir.

My most dear lord.

As the indifferent children of the earth.

Neither, my lord.

None, my lord, but that the world’s
grown honest.

Then is the world one.

We think not so, my lord.

Why, then, your ambition makes it one.
’Tis too narrow for your mind.

Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy
and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.

We’ll wait upon you.

To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.

To what end, my lord?

What say you?

My lord, there was no such stuff in my

To think, my lord, if you delight not in
man, what Lenten entertainment the players shall
receive from you. We coted them on the way, and
hither are they coming to offer you service.

Even those you were wont to take such
delight in, the tragedians of the city.

I think their inhibition comes by the
means of the late innovation.

No, indeed are they not.

Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted
pace. But there is, sir, an aerie of children, little
eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are
most tyrannically clapped for ’t. These are now the
fashion and so berattle the common stages (so
they call them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid
of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.

Faith, there has been much to-do on
both sides, and the nation holds it no sin to tar
them to controversy. There was for a while no
money bid for argument unless the poet and the
player went to cuffs in the question.

Ay, that they do, my lord—Hercules
and his load too.

Haply he is the second time come to
them, for they say an old man is twice a child.

Good my lord.

He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause he will by no means speak.

Most like a gentleman.

Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.

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.

We shall, my lord.

Ay, my lord.

Ay, my lord. They stay upon your

What, my lord?

Then thus she says: your behavior hath
struck her into amazement and admiration.

She desires to speak with you in her
closet ere you go to bed.

My lord, you once did love me.

Good my lord, what is your cause of
distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your
own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.

How can that be, when you have the
voice of the King himself for your succession in

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.

We will haste us.

What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?

Tell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.

Believe what?

Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

I understand you not, my lord.

My lord, you must tell us where the
body is and go with us to the King.

Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
We cannot get from him.

Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

Ho! Bring in the lord.

Will ’t please you go, my lord?


But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.

Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!

My honored lord.

Happy in that we are not overhappy.
On Fortune’s cap, we are not the very button.

Faith, her privates we.

Prison, my lord?

Which dreams, indeed, are ambition,
for the very substance of the ambitious is merely
the shadow of a dream.

We’ll wait upon you.

What should we say, my lord?

My lord, we were sent for.

O, there has been much throwing
about of brains.

There are the players.

In what, my dear lord?

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.

But with much forcing of his disposition.

Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word
with you.

The King, sir—

Is in his retirement marvelous

No, my lord, with choler.

Good my lord, put your discourse into
some frame and start not so wildly from my

The Queen your mother, in most great
affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not
of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me
a wholesome answer, I will do your mother’s
commandment. If not, your pardon and my return
shall be the end of my business.

O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my
love is too unmannerly.

My lord, I cannot.

Believe me, I cannot.

I know no touch of it, my lord.

But these cannot I command to any
utt’rance of harmony. I have not the skill.

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.

A thing, my lord?


Your lordship is right welcome back to

Sweet lord, if your Lordship were at leisure, I
should impart a thing to you from his Majesty.

I thank your Lordship; it is very hot.

It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, as
’twere—I cannot tell how. My lord, his Majesty
bade me signify to you that he has laid a great wager
on your head. Sir, this is the matter—

Nay, good my lord, for my ease, in good faith.
Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes—believe
me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent
differences, of very soft society and great showing.
Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or
calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the
continent of what part a gentleman would see.

Your Lordship speaks most infallibly of him.


Of Laertes?

I know you are not ignorant—

You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes

I mean, sir, for his weapon. But in the imputation
laid on him by them, in his meed he’s

Rapier and dagger.

The King, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
horses, against the which he has impawned, as I
take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their
assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so. Three of the
carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very
responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and
of very liberal conceit.

The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

The King, sir, hath laid, sir, that in a dozen
passes between yourself and him, he shall not
exceed you three hits. He hath laid on twelve for
nine, and it would come to immediate trial if your
Lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person
in trial.

Shall I deliver you e’en so?

I commend my duty to your Lordship.

Ay, my good lord.

A hit, a very palpable hit.

Nothing neither way.

Look to the Queen there, ho!

How is ’t, Laertes?

Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To th’ ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.


Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!


She is importunate,
Indeed distract; her mood will needs be pitied.

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.

Seafaring men, sir. They say they have
letters for you.

A Lord

My lord, his Majesty commended him to you by
young Osric, who brings back to him that you
attend him in the hall. He sends to know if your
pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will
take longer time.

The King and Queen and all are coming down.

The Queen desires you to use some gentle
entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.

Danish soldiers

Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.


You come most carefully upon your hour.

For this relief much thanks. ’Tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.

Not a mouse stirring.

I think I hear them.—Stand ho! Who is there?

Give you good night.

Barnardo hath my place. Give you good night.


Who’s there?

Long live the King!


’Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco.

Have you had quiet guard?

Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

Say, what, is Horatio there?

Welcome, Horatio.—Welcome, good Marcellus.

I have seen nothing.

Sit down awhile,
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.

Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
Had made his course t’ illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one—

In the same figure like the King that’s dead.

Looks he not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.

It would be spoke to.

See, it stalks away.

How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on ’t?

I think it be no other but e’en so.
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armèd through our watch so like the king
That was and is the question of these wars.

’Tis here.

It was about to speak when the cock crew.

We do, my lord.

Armed, my lord.

My lord, from head to foot.

Longer, longer.

Our duty to your Honor.


And liegemen to the Dane.

O farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved

Holla, Barnardo.

Horatio says ’tis but our fantasy
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us.
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night,
That, if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.

Peace, break thee off! Look where it comes again.

Thou art a scholar. Speak to it, Horatio.

Speak to it, Horatio.

It is offended.

’Tis gone and will not answer.

Is it not like the King?

Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
And foreign mart for implements of war,
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week.
What might be toward that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint laborer with the day?
Who is ’t that can inform me?

Shall I strike it with my partisan?

’Tis gone.
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence,
For it is as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.

It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever ’gainst that season comes
Wherein our Savior’s birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that time.

Let’s do ’t, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most convenient.

My good lord.

My lord, upon the platform where we watch.

We do, my lord.

Armed, my lord.

My lord, from head to foot.

Longer, longer.

Our duty to your Honor.

No, it is struck.

Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removèd ground.
But do not go with it.

You shall not go, my lord.

Let’s follow. ’Tis not fit thus to obey him.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Nay, let’s follow him.

Lord Hamlet.

Illo, ho, ho, my lord!

How is ’t, my noble lord?

Nor I, my lord.

Ay, by heaven, my lord.

My lord, we will not.

Nor I, my lord, in faith.

We have sworn, my lord, already.

Prince of Norway

Go, Captain, from me greet the Danish king.
Tell him that by his license Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promised march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his Majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.

Go softly on.

Where is this sight?

This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?

Let us haste to hear it
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royal; and for his passage,
The soldier’s music and the rite of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this
Becomes the field but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

A Captain in Fortinbras’s army

I will do ’t, my lord.

They are of Norway, sir.

Against some part of Poland.

The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.

Truly to speak, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

Yes, it is already garrisoned.

God be wi’ you, sir.

Ambassadors to Denmark from England

The sight is dismal,
And our affairs from England come too late.
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing
To tell him his commandment is fulfilled,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
Where should we have our thanks?

Players who take the roles of Prologue, Player King, Player Queen, and Lucianus in The Murder of Gonzago

What speech, my good lord?

Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
Th’ unnervèd father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus’ ear. For lo, his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seemed i’ th’ air to stick.
So as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But as we often see against some storm
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus’ pause,
Arousèd vengeance sets him new a-work,
And never did the Cyclops’ hammers fall
On Mars’s armor, forged for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus’ bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods
In general synod take away her power,
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven
As low as to the fiends!

But who, ah woe, had seen the moblèd queen—

Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning the flames
With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o’erteemèd loins
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up—
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped,
’Gainst Fortune’s state would treason have
But if the gods themselves did see her then
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband’s limbs,
The instant burst of clamor that she made
(Unless things mortal move them not at all)
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
And passion in the gods.

Ay, my lord.

Ay, my lord.


I warrant your Honor.

I hope we have reformed that indifferently
with us, sir.

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 shall 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.

’Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.

Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain.


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.

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 shall thou—

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.

’Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.


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.

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.

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.

Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain.


For us and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.


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.

Two Messengers

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!

Letters, my lord, from
These to your Majesty, this to the Queen.

Sailors, my lord, they say. I saw them not.
They were given me by Claudio. He received them
Of him that brought them.


God bless you, sir.

He shall, sir, an ’t please Him. There’s a letter
for you, sir. It came from th’ ambassador that was
bound for England—if your name be Horatio, as I
am let to know it is.


Is she to be buried in Christian burial,
when she willfully seeks her own salvation?

I tell thee she is. Therefore make her grave
straight. The crowner hath sat on her and finds it
Christian burial.

How can that be, unless she drowned
herself in her own defense?

Why, ’tis found so.

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.

Nay, but hear you, goodman delver—

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.

But is this law?

Ay, marry, is ’t—crowner’s ’quest law.

Will you ha’ the truth on ’t? If this had not been
a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’
Christian burial.

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.

Was he a gentleman?

He was the first that ever bore arms.

Why, he had none.

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—

Go to!

What is he that builds stronger than
either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a
thousand tenants.

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.

Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright,or a carpenter?

Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

Marry, now I can tell.

To ’t.

Mass, I cannot tell.

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.In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet
To contract—O—the time for—a—my behove,
O, methought there—a—was nothing—a—meet.

But age with his stealing steps
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me into the land,
As if I had never been such.

A pickax and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet,
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.

Mine, sir.O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.

You lie out on ’t, sir, and therefore ’tis
not yours. For my part, I do not lie in ’t, yet it is

’Tis a quick lie, sir; ’twill away again
from me to you.

For no man, sir.

For none, neither.

One that was a woman, sir, but, rest
her soul, she’s dead.

Of all the days i’ th’ year, I came to ’t
that day that our last King Hamlet overcame

Cannot you tell that? Every fool can
tell that. It was that very day that young Hamlet
was born—he that is mad, and sent into England.

Why, because he was mad. He shall
recover his wits there. Or if he do not, ’tis no great
matter there.

’Twill not be seen in him there. There
the men are as mad as he.

Very strangely, they say.

Faith, e’en with losing his wits.

Why, here in Denmark. I have been
sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

Faith, if he be not rotten before he die
(as we have many pocky corses nowadays that will
scarce hold the laying in), he will last you some
eight year or nine year. A tanner will last you nine

Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his
trade that he will keep out water a great while; and
your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead
body. Here’s a skull now hath lien you i’ th’ earth
three-and-twenty years.

A whoreson mad fellow’s it was.
Whose do you think it was?

A pestilence on him for a mad rogue!
He poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once.
This same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick’s skull, the
King’s jester.

E’en that.

Gravedigger’s companion

I tell thee she is. Therefore make her grave
straight. The crowner hath sat on her and finds it
Christian burial.

Why, ’tis found so.

Nay, but hear you, goodman delver—

But is this law?

Will you ha’ the truth on ’t? If this had not been
a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’
Christian burial.

Was he a gentleman?

Why, he had none.

Go to!

The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a
thousand tenants.

Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright,or a carpenter?

Marry, now I can tell.

Mass, I cannot tell.

Doctor of Divinity

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.

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.

Attendants, Lords, Guards, Musicians, Laertes’s Followers, Soldiers, Officers



No, let’s come in!

We will, we will.


Treason, treason!



"To See or Not to See" is a web-based tool for the visualization and analysis of quantitative characteristics of Shakespeare plays.

We use resources from the Folger Digital Texts as input data for our tool. The Folger Shakespeare texts are annotated with structural markup from the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI).

Our tool interactively visualizes which character says what and how much at a particular point in time, allowing customized interpretations of Shakespeare plays on the basis of quantitative aspects, without having to care about technical hurdles such as markup or programming languages.

Please see our corresponding paper for more detailed information about the project.

Feel free to report errors to the author.


Wilhelm, T., Burghardt, M. & Wolff, C. (2013). "To See or Not to See" - An Interactive Tool for the Visualization and Analysis of Shakespeare Plays. In Franken-Wendelstorf, R., Lindinger, E. & Sieck J. (eds): Kultur und Informatik - Visual Worlds & Interactive Spaces, Berlin (pp. 175-185). Glückstadt: Verlag Werner Hülsbusch.