Hamlet

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosincrance,
Guildenstern, and Lords.

King.
And can you by no drift of circumstance
Get from him why he puts on this Confusion:
Grating so harshly all his dayes of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous Lunacy.

Rosin.
He does confesse he feeles himselfe distracted,
But from what cause he will by no meanes speake.

Guil.
Nor do we finde him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty Madnesse keepes aloofe:
When we would bring him on to some Confession
Of his true state.

Qu.
Did he receiue you well?

Rosin.
Most like a Gentleman.

Guild.
But with much forcing of his disposition.

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

Qu.
Did you assay him
to any pastime?

Rosin.
Madam, it so fell out, that certaine Players
We ore-wrought on the way: of these we told him,
And there did seeme in him a kinde of ioy
To heare of it: They are about the Court,
And (as I thinke) they haue already order
This night to play before him.

Pol.
'Tis most true:
And he beseech'd me to intreate your Maiesties
To heare, and see the matter.

King.
With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To heare him so inclin'd.
Good Gentlemen, / Giue him a further edge,
and driue his purpose on / To these delights.

Rosin.
We shall my Lord.
Exeunt.

King.
Sweet Gertrude leaue vs too,
For we haue closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may there
Affront Ophelia.
Her Father, and my selfe (lawful espials)
Will so bestow our selues, that seeing vnseene
We may of their encounter frankely iudge,
And gather by him, as he is behaued,
If't be th'affliction of his loue, or no.
That thus he suffers for.

Qu.
I shall obey you,
And for your part Ophelia, I do wish
That your good Beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlets wildenesse: so shall I hope your Vertues
Will bring him to his wonted way againe,
To both your Honors.

Ophe.
Madam, I wish it may.

Pol.
Ophelia, walke you heere. Gracious so please ye
We will bestow our selues: Reade on this booke,
That shew of such an exercise may colour
Your lonelinesse. We are oft too blame in this,
'Tis too much prou'd, that with Deuotions visage,
And pious Action, we do surge o're
The diuell himselfe.

King.
Oh 'tis true:
How smart a lash that speech doth giue my Conscience?
The Harlots Cheeke beautied with plaist'ring Art
Is not more vgly to the thing that helpes it,
Then is my deede, to my most painted word.
Oh heauie burthen!

Pol.
I heare him comming, let's withdraw my Lord.
Exeunt.
Enter Hamlet.

Ham.
To be, or not to be, that is the Question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the minde to suffer
The Slings and Arrowes of outragious Fortune,
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to dye, to sleepe
No more; and by a sleepe, to say we end
The Heart-ake, and the thousand Naturall shockes
That Flesh is heyre too? 'Tis a consummation
Deuoutly to be wish'd. To dye to sleepe,
To sleepe, perchance to Dreame; I, there's the rub,
For in that sleepe of death, what dreames may come,
When we haue shufflel'd off this mortall coile,
Must giue vs pawse. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would beare the Whips and Scornes of time,
The Oppressors wrong, the poore mans Contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'd Loue, the Lawes delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurnes
That patient merit of the vnworthy takes,
When he himselfe might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardles beare
To grunt and sweat vnder a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The vndiscouered Countrey, from whose Borne
No Traueller returnes, Puzels the will,
And makes vs rather beare those illes we haue,
Then flye to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of vs all,
And thus the Natiue hew of Resolution
Is sicklied o're, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprizes of great pith and moment,
With this regard their Currants turne away,
And loose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The faire Ophelia? Nimph, in thy Orizons
Be all my sinnes remembred.

Ophe.
Good my Lord,
How does your Honor for this many a day?

Ham.
I humbly thanke you: well, well, well.

Ophe.
My Lord, I haue Remembrances of yours,
That I haue longed long to re-deliuer.
I pray you now, receiue them.

Ham.
No, no,
I neuer gaue you ought.

Ophe.
My honor'd Lord, I know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath compos'd,
As made the things more rich, then perfume left:
Take these againe, for to the Noble minde
Rich gifts wax poore, when giuers proue vnkinde.
There my Lord.

Ham.
Ha, ha: Are you honest?

Ophe.
My Lord.

Ham.
Are you faire?

Ophe.
What meanes your Lordship?

Ham.
That if you be honest and faire, your Honesty
should admit no discourse to your Beautie.

Ophe.
Could Beautie my Lord, haue better Comerce
then your Honestie?

Ham.
I trulie: for the power of Beautie, will sooner
transforme Honestie from what it is, to a Bawd, then the
force of Honestie can translate Beautie into his likenesse.
This was sometime a Paradox, but now the time giues it
proofe. I did loue you once.

Ophe.
Indeed my Lord, you made me beleeue so.

Ham.
You should not haue beleeued me. For vertue
cannot so innocculate our old stocke, but we shall rellish of
it. I loued you not.

Ophe.
I was the more deceiued.

Ham.
Get thee to a Nunnerie. Why would'st thou be a
breeder of Sinners? I am my selfe indifferent honest, but
yet I could accuse me of such things, that it were better
my Mother had not borne me. I am very prowd, reuengefull,
Ambitious, with more offences at my becke, then I
haue thoughts to put them in imagination, to giue them
shape, or time to acte them in. What should such Fellowes
as I do, crawling betweene Heauen and Earth. We are
arrant Knaues all, beleeue none of vs. Goe thy wayes to a
Nunnery. Where's your Father?

Ophe.
At home, my Lord.

Ham.
Let the doores be shut vpon him, that he may
play the Foole no way, but in's owne house. Farewell.

Ophe.
O helpe him, you sweet Heauens.

Ham.
If thou doest Marry, Ile giue thee this Plague for
thy Dowrie. Be thou as chast as Ice, as pure as Snow,
thou shalt not escape Calumny. Get thee to a Nunnery.
Go, 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.
Farwell.

Ophe.
O heauenly Powers, restore him.

Ham.
I haue heard of your pratlings too wel enough.
God has giuen you one pace, and you make your selfe
another: you gidge, you amble, and you lispe, and nickname
Gods creatures, and make your Wantonnesse, your
Ignorance. Go too, Ile no more on't, it hath made me
mad. I say, we will haue no more Marriages. Those that
are married already, all but one shall liue, the rest
shall keep as they are. To a Nunnery, go.
Exit Hamlet.

Ophe.
O what a Noble minde is heere o're-throwne?
The Courtiers, Soldiers, Schollers: Eye, tongue, sword,
Th'expectansie and Rose of the faire State,
The glasse of Fashion, and the mould of Forme,
Th'obseru'd of all Obseruers, quite, quite downe.
Haue I of Ladies most deiect and wretched,
That suck'd the Honie of his Musicke Vowes:
Now see that Noble, and most Soueraigne Reason,
Like sweet Bels iangled out of tune, and harsh,
That vnmatch'd Forme and Feature of blowne youth,
Blasted with extasie. Oh woe is me,
T'haue seene what I haue seene: see what I see.
Enter King, and Polonius.

King.
Loue? His affections do not that way tend,
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd Forme a little,
Was not like Madnesse. There's something in his soule?
O're which his Melancholly sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch, and the disclose
Will be some danger, which to preuent
I haue in quicke determination
Thus set it downe. He shall with speed to England
For the demand of our neglected Tribute:
Haply the Seas and Countries different
With variable Obiects, shall expell
This something setled matter in his heart:
Whereon his Braines still beating, puts him thus
From fashion of himselfe. What thinke you on't?

Pol.
It shall do well. But yet do I beleeue
The Origin and Commencement of this greefe
Sprung from neglected loue. How now Ophelia?
You neede not tell vs, what Lord Hamlet saide,
We heard it all. My Lord, do as you please,
But if you hold it fit after the Play,
Let his Queene Mother all alone intreat him
To shew his Greefes: let her be round with him,
And Ile be plac'd so, please you in the eare
Of all their Conference. If she finde him not,
To England send him: Or confine him where
Your wisedome best shall thinke.

King.
It shall be so:
Madnesse in great Ones, must not vnwatch'd go.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Hamlet, and two or three of the Players.

Ham.
Speake the Speech I pray you, as I pronounc'd
it to you trippingly on the Tongue: But if you mouth it,
as many of your Players do, I had as liue the Town-Cryer
had spoke my Lines: Nor do not saw the Ayre too much
your hand thus, but vse all gently; for in the verie Torrent,
Tempest, and (as I may say) the Whirle-winde of
Passion, you must acquire and beget a Temperance that
may giue it Smoothnesse. O it offends mee to the Soule, to
see a robustious Pery-wig-pated Fellow, teare a Passion to
tatters, to verie ragges, to split the eares of the Groundlings:
who (for the most part) are capeable of nothing, but
inexplicable dumbe shewes, & noise: I could haue such a
Fellow whipt for o're-doing Termagant: it out- Herod's
Herod. Pray you auoid it.

Player.
I warrant your Honor.

Ham.
Be not too tame neyther: but let your owne Discretion
be your Tutor. Sute the Action to the Word, the
Word to the Action, with this speciall obseruance: That
you ore-stop not the modestie of Nature; for any thing so
ouer-done, is frõ the purpose of Playing, whose end
both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as 'twer
the Mirrour vp to Nature; to shew Vertue her owne Feature,
Scorne her owne Image, and the verie Age and Bodie of the
Time, his forme and pressure. Now, this ouer-done, or come
tardie off, though it make the vnskilfull laugh, cannot
but make the Iudicious greeue; The censure of the which
One, must in your allowance o're-way a whole Theater
of Others. Oh, there bee Players that I haue seene Play, and
heard others praise, and that highly (not to speake it
prophanely) that neyther hauing the accent of Christians,
nor the gate of Christian, Pagan, or Norman, haue so
strutted and bellowed, that I haue thought some of
Natures Iouerney-men had made men, and not made
them well, they imitated Humanity so abhominably.

Play.
I hope we haue reform'd that indifferently
with vs, Sir.

Ham.
O reforme it altogether. And let those that play
your Clownes, speake no more then is set downe for them.
For there be of them, that will themselues laugh, to set on
some quantitie of barren Spectators to laugh too, though
in the meane time, some necessary Question of the Play be
then to be considered: that's Villanous, & shewes a
most pittifull Ambition in the Foole that vses it.
Go make you readie.
Exit Players.
Enter Polonius, Rosincrance, and Guildensterne.
How now my Lord, / Will the King heare this peece of
Worke?

Pol.
And the Queene too, and that presently.

Ham.
Bid the Players make hast.
Exit Polonius.
Will you two helpe to hasten them?

Both.
We will my Lord.
Exeunt.

Ham.
What hoa, Horatio?
Enter Horatio.

Hora.
Heere sweet Lord, at your Seruice.

Ham.
Horatio, thou art eene as iust a man
As ere my Conuersation coap'd withall.

Hora.
O my deere Lord.

Ham.
Nay, do not thinke I flatter:
For what aduancement may I hope from thee,
That no Reuennew hast, but thy good spirits
To feed & cloath thee. Why shold the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the Candied tongue, like absurd pompe,
And crooke the pregnant Hindges of the knee,
Where thrift may follow faining? Dost thou heare,
Since my deere Soule was Mistris of my choyse,
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for her selfe. For thou hast bene
As one in suffering all, that suffers nothing.
A man that Fortunes buffets, and Rewards
Hath 'tane with equall Thankes. And blest are those,
Whose Blood and Iudgement are so well co-mingled,
That they are not a Pipe for Fortunes finger,
To sound what stop she please. Giue me that man,
That is not Passions Slaue, and I will weare him
In my hearts Core: I, in my Heart of heart,
As I do thee. Something too much of this.
There is a Play to night before the King,
One Scoene of it comes neere the Circumstance
Which I haue told thee, of my Fathers death.
I prythee, when thou see'st that Acte a-foot,
Euen with the verie Comment of my Soule
Obserue mine Vnkle: If his occulted guilt,
Do not it selfe vnkennell in one speech,
It is a damned Ghost that we haue seene:
And my Imaginations are as foule
As Vulcans Stythe. Giue him needfull note,
For I mine eyes will riuet to his Face:
And after we will both our iudgements ioyne,
To censure of his seeming.

Hora.
Well my Lord.
If he steale ought the whil'st this Play is Playing,
And scape detecting, I will pay the Theft.

Ham.
They are comming to the Play: I must be idle. Get
you a place.
Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosincrance,
Guildensterne, and other Lords attendant with
his Guard carrying Torches. Danish March. Sound a Flourish.

King.
How fares our Cosin Hamlet?

Ham.
Excellent Ifaith, of the Camelions dish: I eate
the Ayre promise-cramm'd, you cannot feed Capons so.

King.
I haue nothing with this answer Hamlet, these
words are not mine.

Ham.
No, nor mine. Now my Lord, you
plaid once i'th'Vniuersity, you say?

Polon.
That I did my Lord, and was accounted a
good Actor.

Ham.
And what did you enact?

Pol.
I did enact Iulius Casar, I was kill'd
i'th'Capitol: Brutus kill'd me.

Ham.
It was a bruite part of him, to kill so Capitall a Calfe
there. Be the Players ready?

Rosin.
I my Lord, they stay vpon your
patience.

Qu.
Come hither my good Hamlet, sit by me.

Ha.
No good Mother, here's Mettle more attractiue.

Pol.

Oh ho, do you marke that?

Ham.
Ladie, shall I lye in your Lap?

Ophe.
No my Lord.

Ham.
I meane, my Head vpon your Lap?

Ophe.
I my Lord.

Ham.
Do you thinke I meant Country matters?

Ophe.
I thinke nothing, my Lord.

Ham.
That's a faire thought to ly between Maids
legs

Ophe.
What is my Lord?

Ham.
Nothing.

Ophe.
You are merrie, my Lord?

Ham.
Who I?

Ophe.
I my Lord.

Ham.
Oh God, your onely Iigge-maker: what should a
man do, but be merrie. For looke you how cheerefully my
Mother lookes, and my Father dyed within's two Houres.

Ophe.
Nay, 'tis twice two moneths, my Lord.

Ham.
So long? Nay then let the Diuel weare blacke, for
Ile haue a suite of Sables. Oh Heauens! dye two moneths
ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a great
mans Memorie, may out-liue his life halfe a yeare: But
byrlady he must builde Churches then: or else shall he suffer
not thinking on, with the Hoby-horsse, whose Epitaph
is, For o, For o, the Hoby-horse is forgot.
Hoboyes play.
The dumbe shew enters. Enter a King and Queene, very
louingly; the Queene embracing him. She
kneeles, and makes shew of Protestation vntohim. He
takes her vp, and dcclines his head vpon her neck.
Layes him downe vpon a Banke of Flowers. She seeing him
a-sleepe, leaues him. Anon comes in a Fellow, takes
off hisCrowne, kisses it, and powres poyson in the Kings
eares, andExits. The Queene returnes, findes the
King dead, andmakes passionate Action. The Poysoner,
with some two orthree Mutes comes in againe, seeming to lament
with her. The dead body is carried away: The
Poysoner Wooes the Queene with Gifts, she seemes loath and vnwilling
awhile, but in the end, accepts his loue.
Exeunt

Ophe.
What meanes this, my Lord?

Ham.
Marry this is Miching Malicho, that meanes
Mischeefe.

Ophe.
Belike this shew imports the Argument of the
Play?

Ham.
We shall know by these Fellowes: the Players cannot
keepe counsell, they'l tell all.

Ophe.
Will they tell vs what this shew meant?

Ham.
I, or any shew that you'l shew him. Bee not
you asham'd to shew, hee'l not shame to tell you what
it meanes.

Ophe.
You are naught, you are naught, Ile marke the
Play.

Enter Prologue.
For vs, and for our Tragedie,
Heere stooping to your Clemencie:
We begge your hearing Patientlie.

Ham.
Is this a Prologue, or the Poesie of a Ring?

Ophe.
'Tis briefe my Lord.

Ham.
As Womans loue.
Enter King and his Queene.

King.
Full thirtie times hath Phoebus Cart gon round,
Neptunes salt Wash, and Tellus Orbed ground:
And thirtie dozen Moones with borrowed sheene,
About the World haue times twelue thirties beene,
Since loue our hearts, and Hymen did our hands
Vnite comutuall, in most sacred Bands.

Bap.
So many iournies may the Sunne and Moone
Make vs againe count o're, ere loue be done.
But woe is me, you are so sicke of late,
So farre from cheere, and from your forme state,
That I distrust you: yet though I distrust,
Discomfort you (my Lord) it nothing must:

For womens Feare and Loue, holds quantitie,
In neither ought, or in extremity:
Now what my loue is, proofe hath made you know,
And as my Loue is siz'd, my Feare is so.

King.
Faith I must leaue thee Loue, and shortly too:
My operant Powers my Functions leaue to do:
And thou shalt liue in this faire world behinde,
Honour'd, belou'd, and haply, one as kinde.
For Husband shalt thou-----

Bap.
Oh confound the rest:
Such Loue, must needs be Treason in my brest:
In second Husband, let me be accurst,
None wed the second, but who kill'd the first.

Ham.

Wormwood, Wormwood.

Bapt.
The instances that second Marriage moue,
Are base respects of Thrift, but none of Loue.
A second time, I kill my Husband dead,
When second Husband kisses me in Bed.

King.
I do beleeue you. Think what now you speak:
But what we do determine, oft we breake:
Purpose is but the slaue to Memorie,
Of violent Birth, but poore validitie:
Which now like Fruite vnripe stickes on the Tree,
But fall vnshaken, when they mellow bee.
Most necessary 'tis, that we forget
To pay our selues, what to our selues is debt:
What to our selues in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of other Greefe or Ioy,
Their owne ennactors with themselues destroy:
Where Ioy most Reuels, Greefe doth most lament;
Greefe ioyes, Ioy greeues on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That euen our Loues should with our Fortunes change.
For 'tis a question left vs yet to proue,
Whether Loue lead Fortune, or else Fortune Loue.
The great man downe, you marke his fauourites flies,
The poore aduanc'd, makes Friends of Enemies:
And hitherto doth Loue on Fortune tend,
For who not needs, shall neuer lacke a Frend:
And who in want a hollow Friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his Enemie.
But orderly to end, where I begun,
Our Willes and Fates do so contrary run,
That our Deuices still are ouerthrowne,
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our owne.
So thinke thou wilt no second Husband wed.
But die thy thoughts, when thy first Lord is dead.

Bap.
Nor Earth to giue me food, nor Heauen light,
Sport and repose locke from me day and night:
Each opposite that blankes the face of ioy,
Meet what I would haue well, and it destroy:
Both heere, and hence, pursue me lasting strife,
If once a Widdow, euer I be Wife.

Ham.
If she should breake it now.

King.
'Tis deepely sworne: / Sweet, leaue me heere a while,
My spirits grow dull, and faine I would beguile
The tedious day with sleepe.

Qu.
Sleepe rocke thy Braine,
And neuer come mischance betweene vs twaine.
Sleepes Exit

Ham.
Madam, how like you this Play?

Qu.
The Lady protests to much me thinkes.

Ham.
Oh but shee'l keepe her word.

King.
Haue you heard the Argument, is there no Offence
in't?

Ham.
No, no, they do but iest, poyson in iest, no
Offence i'th'world.

King.
What do you call the Play?

Ham.
The Mouse-trap: Marry how? Tropically: This
Play is the Image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago
is the Dukes name, his wife Baptista: you shall see
anon: 'tis a knauish peece of worke: But what o'that?
Your Maiestie, and wee that haue free soules, it touches vs
not: let the gall'd iade winch: our withers are vnrung.
Enter Lucianus.
This is one Lucianus nephew to the King.

Ophe.
You are a good Chorus, my Lord.

Ham.
I could interpret betweene you and your loue: if
I could see the Puppets dallying.

Ophe.
You are keene my Lord, you are keene.

Ham.
It would cost you a groaning, to take off my
edge.

Ophe.
Still better and worse.

Ham.
So you mistake Husbands. / Begin Murderer.
Pox, leaue thy damnable Faces, and begin. Come,
the croaking Rauen doth bellow for Reuenge.

Lucian.
Thoughts blacke, hands apt, / Drugges fit, and Time agreeing:
Confederate season, else, no Creature seeing:
Thou mixture ranke, of Midnight Weeds collected,
With Hecats Ban, thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy naturall Magicke, and dire propertie,
On wholsome life, vsurpe immediately.
Powres the poyson in his eares.

Ham.
He poysons him i'th'Garden for's estate: His
name's Gonzago: the Story is extant and writ in
choyce Italian. You shall see anon how the Murtherer
gets the loue of Gonzago's wife.

Ophe.
The King rises.

Ham.
What, frighted with false fire.

Qu.
How fares my Lord?

Pol.
Giue o're the Play.

King.
Giue me some Light. Away.

All.
Lights, Lights, Lights.
Exeunt Manet Hamlet & Horatio.

Ham.
Why let the strucken Deere go weepe,
The Hart vngalled play:
For some must watch, while some must sleepe;
So runnes the world away.
Would not this Sir, and a Forrest of Feathers, if the rest
of my Fortunes tutne Turke with me; with two Prouinciall
Roses on my rac'd Shooes, get me a Fellowship in a crie of
Players sir.

Hor.
Halfe a share.

Ham.
A whole one I,
For thou dost know: Oh Damon deere,
This Realme dismantled was
of Ioue himselfe, / And now reignes heere.
A verie verie Paiocke.

Hora.
You might haue Rim'd.

Ham.
Oh good Horatio, Ile take the Ghosts word for a
thousand pound. Did'st perceiue?

Hora.
Verie well my Lord.

Ham.
Vpon the talke of the poysoning?

Hora.
I did verie well note him.

Ham.
Oh, ha? Come some Musick. Come ye Recorders:
For if the King like not the Comedie,
Why then belike he likes it not perdie.
Come some Musicke.
Enter Rosincrance and Guildensterne.

Guild.
Good my Lord, vouchsafe me a word
with you.

Ham.
Sir, a whole History.

Guild.
The King, sir.

Ham.
I sir, what of him?

Guild.
Is in his retyrement, maruellous
distemper'd.

Ham.
With drinke Sir?

Guild.
No my Lord, rather with choller.

Ham.
Your wisedome should shew it selfe more richer, to
signifie this to his Doctor: for for me to put him to his
Purgation, would perhaps plundge him into farre more Choller.

Guild.
my Lord put your discourse into
some frame, and start not so wildely from my affayre.

Ham.
I am tame Sir, pronounce.

Guild.
The Queene your Mother, in most great
affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

Ham.
You are welcome.

Guild.
Nay, good my Lord, this courtesie is not
of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a
wholsome answer, I will doe your Mothers command'ment:
if not, your pardon, and my returne shall bee the
end of my Businesse.

Ham.
Sir, I cannot.

Guild.
What, my Lord?

Ham.
Make you a wholsome answere: my wits
diseas'd. But sir, such answers as I can make, you shal
command: or rather you say, my Mother: therfore
no more but to the matter. My Mother you say.

Rosin.
Then thus she sayes: your behauior hath
stroke her into amazement, and admiration.

Ham.
Oh wonderfull Sonne, that can so astonish a Mother.
But is there no sequell at the heeles of this Mothers
admiration?

Rosin.
She desires to speake with you in her
Closset, ere you go to bed.

Ham.
We shall obey, were she ten times our Mother.
Haue you any further Trade with vs?

Rosin.
My Lord, you once did loue me.

Ham.
So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.

Rosin.
Good my Lord, what is your cause of distemper?
You do freely barre the doore of your owne
Libertie, if you deny your greefes to your Friend.

Ham.
Sir I lacke Aduancement.

Rosin.
How can that be, when you haue the
voyce of the King himselfe, for your Succession in
Denmarke?

Ham.
I, but while the grasse growes, the Prouerbe
is something musty.
Enter one with a Recorder.
O the Recorder. Let me see, to withdraw with
you, why do you go about to recouer the winde of mee, as
if you would driue me into a toyle?

Guild.
O my Lord, if my Dutie be too bold, my
loue is too vnmannerly.

Ham.
I do not well vnderstand that. Will you play
vpon this Pipe?

Guild.
My Lord, I cannot.

Ham.
I pray you.

Guild.
Beleeue me, I cannot.

Ham.
I do beseech you.

Guild.
I know no touch of it, my Lord.

Ham.
'Tis as easie as lying: gouerne these Ventiges with
your finger and thumbe, giue it breath with your mouth,
and it will discourse most excellent Musicke. Looke you,
these are the stoppes.

Guild.
But these cannot I command to any
vtterance of hermony, I haue not the skill.

Ham.
Why looke you now, how vnworthy a thing you
make of me: you would play vpon mee; you would seeme
to know my stops: you would pluck out the heart of my
Mysterie; you would sound mee from my lowest Note, to
the top of my Compasse: and there is much Musicke, excellent
Voice, in this little Organe, yet cannot you make it.
Why do you thinke, that I am easier to bee plaid
on, then a Pipe? Call me what Instrument you will,
though you can fret me, you cannot play vpon me.
Enter Polonius.
God blesse you Sir.

Polon.
My Lord; the Queene would speak with you,
and presently.

Ham.
Do you see that Clowd? that's almost in shape
like a Camell.

Polon.
By'th'Misse, and it's like a Camell indeed.

Ham.
Me thinkes it is like a Weazell.

Polon.
It is back'd like a Weazell.

Ham.
Or like a Whale?

Polon.
Verie like a Whale.

Ham.
Then will I come to my Mother, by and by:
They foole me to the top of my bent. / I will
come by and by.

Polon.
I will say so.

Ham.
By and by, is easily said.
Exit.
Leaue me Friends:

'Tis now the verie witching time of night,
When Churchyards yawne, and Hell it selfe breaths out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter businesse as the day
Would quake to looke on. Soft now, to my Mother:
Oh Heart, loose not thy Nature; let not euer
The Soule of Nero, enter this firme bosome:
Let me be cruell, not vnnaturall,
I will speake Daggers to her, but vse none:
My Tongue and Soule in this be Hypocrites.
How in my words someuer she be shent,
To giue them Seales, neuer my Soule consent.
Original text
Act III, Scene III
Enter King, Rosincrance, and Guildensterne.

King.
I like him not, nor stands it safe with vs,
To let his madnesse range. Therefore prepare you,
I your Commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The termes of our estate, may not endure
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourely grow
Out of his Lunacies.

Guild.
We will our selues prouide:
Most holie and Religious feare it is
To keepe those many many bodies safe
That liue and feede vpon your Maiestie.

Rosin.
The single / And peculiar life is bound
With all the strength and Armour of the minde,
To keepe it selfe from noyance: but much more,
That Spirit, vpon whose spirit depends and rests
The liues of many, the cease of Maiestie
Dies not alone; but like a Gulfe doth draw
What's neere it, with it. It is a massie wheele
Fixt on the Somnet of the highest Mount,
To whose huge Spoakes, ten thousand lesser things
Are mortiz'd and adioyn'd: which when it falles,
Each small annexment, pettie consequence
Attends the boystrous Ruine. Neuer alone
Did the King sighe, but with a generall grone.

King.
Arme you, I pray you to this speedie Voyage;
For we will Fetters put vpon this feare,
Which now goes too free-footed.

Both.
We will haste vs.
Exeunt Gent.
Enter Polonius.

Pol.
My Lord, he's going to his Mothers Closset:
Behinde the Arras Ile conuey my selfe
To heare the Processe. Ile warrant shee'l tax him home,
And as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meete that some more audience then a Mother,
Since Nature makes them partiall, should o're-heare
The speech of vantage. Fare you well my Liege,
Ile call vpon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.

King.
Thankes deere my Lord.
Oh my offence is ranke, it smels to heauen,
It hath the primall eldest curse vpon't,
A Brothers murther. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharpe as will:
My stronger guilt, defeats my strong intent,
And like a man to double businesse bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect; what if this cursed hand
Were thicker then it selfe with Brothers blood,
Is there not Raine enough in the sweet Heauens
To wash it white as Snow? Whereto serues mercy,
But to confront the visage of Offence?
And what's in Prayer, but this two-fold force,
To be fore-stalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being downe? Then Ile looke vp,
My fault is past. But oh, what forme of Prayer
Can serue my turne? Forgiue me my foule Murther:
That cannot be, since I am still possest
Of those effects for which I did the Murther.
My Crowne, mine owne Ambition, and my Queene:
May one be pardon'd, and retaine th'offence?
In the corrupted currants of this world,
Offences gilded hand may shoue by Iustice,
And oft 'tis seene, the wicked prize it selfe
Buyes out the Law; but 'tis not so aboue,
There is no shuffling, there the Action lyes
In his true Nature, and we our selues compell'd
Euen to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To giue in euidence. What then? What rests?
Try what Repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
Oh wretched state! Oh bosome, blacke as death!
Oh limed soule, that strugling to be free,
Art more ingag'd: Helpe Angels, make assay:
Bow stubborne knees, and heart with strings of Steele,
Be soft as sinewes of the new-borne Babe,
All may be well.
Enter Hamlet.

Ham.
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying,
And now Ile doo't, and so he goes to Heauen,
And so am I reueng'd: that would be scann'd,
A Villaine killes my Father, and for that
I his foule Sonne, do this same Villaine send
To heauen.
Oh this is hyre and Sallery, not Reuenge.
He tooke my Father grossely, full of bread,
With all his Crimes broad blowne, as fresh as May,
And how his Audit stands, who knowes, saue Heauen:
But in our circumstance and course of thought
'Tis heauie with him: and am I then reueng'd,
To take him in the purging of his Soule,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
No.
Vp Sword, and know thou a more horrid hent
When he is drunke asleepe: or in his Rage,
Or in th'incestuous pleasure of his bed,
At gaming, swearing, or about some acte
That ha's no rellish of Saluation in't,
Then trip him, that his heeles may kicke at Heauen,
And that his Soule may be as damn'd aud blacke
As Hell, whereto it goes. My Mother stayes,
This Physicke but prolongs thy sickly dayes.
Exit.

King.
My words flye vp, my thoughts remain below,
Words without thoughts, neuer to Heauen go.
Exit.
Original text
Act III, Scene IV
Enter Queene and Polonius.

Pol.
He will come straight: / Looke you lay home to him,
Tell him his prankes haue been too broad to beare with,
And that your Grace hath scree'nd, and stoode betweene
Much heate, and him. Ile silence me e'ene heere:
Pray you be round with him.

Ham.
within.
Mother, mother, mother.

Qu.
Ile warrant you, feare me not. / Withdraw, I heare
him comming.
Enter Hamlet.

Ham.
Now Mother, what's the matter?

Qu.
Hamlet, thou hast thy Father much offended.

Ham.
Mother, you haue my Father much offended.

Qu.
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

Ham.
Go, go, you question with an idle tongue.

Qu.
Why how now Hamlet?

Ham.
Whats the matter now?

Qu.
Haue you forgot me?

Ham.
No by the Rood, not so:
You are the Queene, your Husbands Brothers wife,
But would you were not so. You are my Mother.

Qu.
Nay, then Ile set those to you that can speake.

Ham.
Come, come, and sit you downe, you shall not boudge:
You go not till I set you vp a glasse,
Where you may see the inmost part of you?

Qu.
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murther me?
Helpe, helpe, hoa.

Pol.
What hoa, helpe, helpe, helpe.

Ham.

How now, a Rat? dead for a Ducate, dead.
Killes Polonius.

Pol.
Oh I am slaine.

Qu.
Oh me, what hast thou done?

Ham.
Nay I know not, is it the King?

Qu.
Oh what a rash, and bloody deed is this?

Ham.
A bloody deed, almost as bad good Mother,
As kill a King, and marrie with his Brother.

Qu.
As kill a King?

Ham.
I Lady, 'twas my word.
Thou wretched, rash, intruding foole farewell,
I tooke thee for thy Betters, take thy Fortune,
Thou find'st to be too busie, is some danger.
Leaue wringing of your hands, peace, sit you downe,
And let me wring your heart, for so I shall
If it be made of penetrable stuffe;
If damned Custome haue not braz'd it so,
That it is proofe and bulwarke against Sense.

Qu.
What haue I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tong,
In noise so rude against me?

Ham.
Such an Act
That blurres the grace and blush of Modestie,
Cals Vertue Hypocrite, takes off the Rose
From the faire forehead of an innocent loue,
And makes a blister there. Makes marriage vowes
As false as Dicers Oathes. Oh such a deed,
As from the body of Contraction pluckes
The very soule, and sweete Religion makes
A rapsidie of words. Heauens face doth glow,
Yea this solidity and compound masse,
With tristfull visage as against the doome,
Is thought-sicke at the act.

Qu.
Aye me; what act,
that roares so lowd, & thunders in the Index.

Ham.
Looke heere vpon this Picture, and on this,
The counterfet presentment of two Brothers:
See what a grace was seated on his Brow,
Hyperions curles, the front of Ioue himselfe,
An eye like Mars, to threaten or command
A Station, like the Herald Mercurie
New lighted on a heauen-kissing hill:
A Combination, and a forme indeed,
Where euery God did seeme to set his Seale,
To giue the world assurance of a man.
This was your Husband. Looke you now what followes.
Heere is your Husband, like a Mildew'd eare
Blasting his wholsom breath. Haue you eyes?
Could you on this faire Mountaine leaue to feed,
And batten on this Moore? Ha? Haue you eyes?
You cannot call it Loue: For at your age,
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waites vpon the Iudgement: and what Iudgement
Would step from this, to this?
What diuell was't,
That thus hath cousend you at hoodman-blinde?
O Shame! where is thy Blush? Rebellious Hell,
If thou canst mutine in a Matrons bones,
To flaming youth, let Vertue be as waxe,
And melt in her owne fire. Proclaime no shame,
When the compulsiue Ardure giues the charge,
Since Frost it selfe, as actiuely doth burne,
As Reason panders Will.

Qu.
O Hamlet, speake no more.
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soule,
And there I see such blacke and grained spots,
As will not leaue their Tinct.

Ham.
Nay, but to liue
In the ranke sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in Corruption; honying and making loue
Ouer the nasty Stye.

Qu.
Oh speake to me, no more,
These words like Daggers enter in mine eares.
No more sweet Hamlet.

Ham.
A Murderer, and a Villaine:
A Slaue, that is not twentieth patt the tythe
Of your precedent Lord. A vice of Kings,
A Cutpurse of the Empire and the Rule.
That from a shelfe, the precious Diadem stole,
And put it in his Pocket.

Qu.
No more.

Ham.
A King of shreds and patches.
Enter Ghost.
Saue me; and houer o're me with your wings
You heauenly Guards. What would you gracious figure?

Qu.
Alas he's mad.

Ham.
Do you not come your tardy Sonne to chide,
That laps't in Time and Passion, lets go by
Th'important acting of your dread command?
Oh say.

Ghost.
Do not forget: this Visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But looke, Amazement on thy Mother sits;
O step betweene her, and her fighting Soule,
Conceit in weakest bodies, strongest workes.
Speake to her Hamlet.

Ham.
How is it with you Lady?

Qu.
Alas, how is't with you?
That you bend your eye on vacancie,
And with their corporall ayre do hold discourse.
Forth at your eyes, your spirits wildely peepe,
And as the sleeping Soldiours in th'Alarme,
Your bedded haire, like life in excrements,
Start vp, and stand an end. Oh gentle Sonne,
Vpon the heate and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle coole patience. Whereon do you looke?

Ham.
On him, on him: look you how pale he glares,
His forme and cause conioyn'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capeable. Do not looke vpon me,
Least with this pitteous action you conuert
My sterne effects: then what I haue to do,
Will want true colour; teares perchance for blood.

Qu.
To who do you speake this?

Ham.
Do you see nothing there?

Qu.
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

Ham.
Nor did you nothing heare?

Qu.
No, nothing but our selues.

Ham.
Why look you there: looke how it steals away:
My Father in his habite, as he liued,
Looke where he goes euen now out at the Portall.
Exit.

Qu.
This is the very coynage of your Braine,
This bodilesse Creation extasie
is very cunning in.

Ham.
Extasie?
My Pulse as yours doth temperately keepe time,
And makes as healthfull Musicke. It is not madnesse
That I haue vttered; bring me to the Test
And I the matter will re-word: which madnesse
Would gamboll from. Mother, for loue of Grace,
Lay not a flattering Vnction to your soule,
That not your trespasse, but my madnesse speakes:
It will but skin and filme the Vlcerous place,
Whil'st ranke Corruption mining all within,
Infects vnseene. Confesse your selfe to Heauen,
Repent what's past, auoyd what is to come,
And do not spred the Compost or the Weedes,
To make them ranke. Forgiue me this my Vertue,
For in the fatnesse of this pursie times,
Vertue it selfe, of Vice must pardon begge,
Yea courb, and woe, for leaue to do him good.

Qu.
Oh Hamlet, / Thou hast cleft my heart in twaine.

Ham.
O throw away the worser part of it,
And liue the purer with the other halfe.
Good night, but go not to mine Vnkles bed,
Assume a Vertue, if you haue it not,
refraine to night,
And that shall lend a kinde of easinesse
To the next abstinence.
Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blest,
Ile blessing begge of you. For this same Lord,
I do repent: but heauen hath pleas'd 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 gaue him: so againe, good night.
I must be cruell, onely to be kinde;
Thus bad begins, and worse remaines behinde.

Qu.
What shall I do?

Ham.
Not this by no meanes that I bid you do:
Let the blunt King tempt you againe to bed,
Pinch Wanton on your cheeke, call you his Mouse,
And let him for a paire of reechie kisses,
Or padling in your necke with his damn'd Fingers,
Make you to rauell all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madnesse,
But made in craft. 'Twere good you let him know,
For who that's but a Queene, faire, sober, wise,
Would from a Paddocke, from a Bat, a Gibbe,
Such deere concernings hide, Who would do so,
No in despight of Sense and Secrecie,
Vnpegge the Basket on the houses top:
Let the Birds flye, and like the famous Ape
To try Conclusions in the Basket, creepe
And breake your owne necke downe.

Qu.
Be thou assur'd, if words be made of breath,
And breath of life: I haue no life to breath
What thou hast saide to me.

Ham.
I must to England, you know that?

Qu.
Alacke
I had forgot: 'Tis so concluded on.

Ham.
This man shall set me packing:
Ile lugge the Guts into the Neighbor roome,
Mother goodnight. Indeede this Counsellor
Is now most still, most secret, and most graue,
Who was in life, a foolish prating Knaue.
Come sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night Mother.
Exit Hamlet tugging in Polonius.
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
Enter the King and Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz,
Guildenstern, and lords

KING
And can you by no drift of conference
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

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

GUILDENSTERN
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.

QUEEN
Did he receive you well?

ROSENCRANTZ
Most like a gentleman.

GUILDENSTERN
But with much forcing of his disposition.

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

QUEEN
Did you assay him
To any pastime?

ROSENCRANTZ
Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o'er-raught on the way. Of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are here about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.

POLONIUS
'Tis most true,
And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties
To hear and see the matter.

KING
With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclined.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose into these delights.

ROSENCRANTZ
We shall, my lord.
Exeunt Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and lords

KING
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too.
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
We'll so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If't be th' affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.

QUEEN
I shall obey you. –
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.

OPHELIA
Madam, I wish it may.
Exit the Queen

POLONIUS
Ophelia, walk you here. – Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves. (to Ophelia) Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,
'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.

KING
O, 'tis too true.
(aside) How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O, heavy burden!

POLONIUS
I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
Exeunt the King and Polonius
Enter Hamlet

HAMLET
To be, or not to be – that is the question;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep –
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep –
To sleep – perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! – Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

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

HAMLET
I humbly thank you, well, well, well.

OPHELIA
My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longed long to re-deliver.
I pray you now receive them.

HAMLET
No, not I.
I never gave you aught.

OPHELIA
My honoured lord, you know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost,
Take these again. For to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.

HAMLET
Ha, ha! Are you honest?

OPHELIA
My lord?

HAMLET
Are you fair?

OPHELIA
What means your lordship?

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

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

HAMLET
Ay, truly. For the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness.
This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it
proof. I did love you once.

OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

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

OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.

HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but
yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better
my mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful,
ambitious, with more offences at my beck than I
have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them
shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows
as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are
arrant knaves all. Believe none of us. Go thy ways to a
nunnery. Where's your father?

OPHELIA
At home, my lord.

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

OPHELIA
O, help him, you sweet heavens!

HAMLET
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for
thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow,
thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery.
Go, farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool.
For wise men know well enough what monsters you
make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too.
Farewell.

OPHELIA
O heavenly powers, restore him!

HAMLET
I have heard of your paintings too, well enough.
God has 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.
Exit

OPHELIA
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
Th' expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th' observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh,
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Enter the King and Polonius

KING
Love? His affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
For the demand of our neglected tribute.
Haply the seas, and countries different,
With variable objects, shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?

POLONIUS
It shall do well. But yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love. – How now, Ophelia?
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said.
We heard it all. – My lord, do as you please,
But if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his Queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief. Let her be round with him,
And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.

KING
It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Hamlet and the Players

HAMLET
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced
it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it
as many of your 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.

FIRST PLAYER
I warrant your honour.

HAMLET
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 make the unskilful laugh, cannot
but make the judicious grieve; the censure of the which
one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theatre
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.

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

HAMLET
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. And then
you have some again that keeps one suit of jests, as a man
is known by one suit of apparel; and gentlemen quote
his jests down in their tables before they come to the
play; as thus, ‘ Cannot you stay till I eat my porridge?’,
and ‘ You owe me a quarter's wages,’ and ‘ My coat
wants a cullison,’ and ‘ Your beer is sour,’ and blabbering
with his lips, and thus keeping in his cinquepace of
jests, when, God knows, the warm clown cannot make a
jest unless by chance, as the blind man catcheth a hare.
Masters, tell him of it.

FIRST PLAYER
We will, my lord.

HAMLET
Well, go make you ready.
Exeunt Players
Enter Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern
How now, my lord? Will the King hear this piece of
work?

POLONIUS
And the Queen too, and that presently.

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

ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, my lord.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

HAMLET
What, ho, Horatio!
Enter Horatio

HORATIO
Here, sweet lord, at your service.

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

HORATIO
O my dear lord –

HAMLET
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 flattered?
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,
Sh'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 blest are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well commeddled
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 damned 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 judgements join
In censure of his seeming.

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

HAMLET
They are coming to the play. I must be idle. Get
you a place.
Danish march. Flourish
Trumpets and kettledrums
Enter the King and Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz,
Guildenstern, and other lords attendant, with
the guard carrying torches

KING
How fares our cousin Hamlet?

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

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

HAMLET
No, nor mine now. (to Polonius) My lord, you
played once i'th' university, you say?

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

HAMLET
What did you enact?

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

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

ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, my lord. They stay upon your
patience.

QUEEN
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.

HAMLET
No, good mother. Here's metal more attractive.

POLONIUS
(to the King)
O ho! Do you mark that?

HAMLET
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

OPHELIA
No, my lord.

HAMLET
I mean, my head upon your lap?

OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.

HAMLET
Do you think I meant country matters?

OPHELIA
I think nothing, my lord.

HAMLET
That's a fair thought – to lie between maids'
legs.

OPHELIA
What is, my lord?

HAMLET
Nothing.

OPHELIA
You are merry, my lord.

HAMLET
Who, I?

OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.

HAMLET
O God, your only jig-maker! What should a
man do but be merry? For look you how cheerfully my
mother looks, and my father died within's two hours.

OPHELIA
Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.

HAMLET
So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, for
I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens! Die two months
ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great
man's memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by'r
Lady, 'a must build churches then, or else shall 'a suffer
not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph
is ‘ For O, for O, the hobby-horse is forgot!’
The trumpets sound
Dumb show follows: Enter a King and a Queen very
lovingly, the Queen embracing him, and he her. She
kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. He
takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck. He
lies him down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him
asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in another man; takes
off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the sleeper's
ears, and leaves him. The Queen returns, finds the
King dead, makes passionate action. The poisoner,
with some three or four, comes in again, seem to condole
with her. The dead body is carried away. The
poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems harsh
awhile, but in the end accepts love
Exeunt dumb show

OPHELIA
What means this, my lord?

HAMLET
Marry, this is miching mallecho. It means
mischief.

OPHELIA
Belike this show imports the argument of the
play.
Enter the Fourth Player as Prologue

HAMLET
We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot
keep counsel. They'll tell all.

OPHELIA
Will 'a tell us what this show meant?

HAMLET
Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be not
you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what
it means.

OPHELIA
You are naught, you are naught. I'll mark the
play

FOURTH PLAYER (as Prologue)
For us and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Exit

HAMLET
Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?

OPHELIA
'Tis brief, my lord.

HAMLET
As woman's love.
Enter two Players as King and Queen

FIRST PLAYER (as King)
Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed 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.

SECOND PLAYER (as Queen)
So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
But woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.
For women fear too much, even as they love,
And women's fear and love hold quantity,
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
And as my love is sized, my fear is so.
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear.
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

FIRST PLAYER (as King)
Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too.
My operant powers their functions leave to do.
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honoured, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou –

SECOND PLAYER (as Queen)
O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accursed!
None wed the second but who killed the first.

HAMLET
(aside)
That's wormwood.

SECOND PLAYER (as Queen)
The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
A second time I kill my husband dead
When second husband kisses me in bed.

FIRST PLAYER (as King)
I do believe you think what now you speak,
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity,
Which now, like 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 favourite 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.

SECOND PLAYER (as Queen)
Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light,
Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
To desperation turn my trust and hope,
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope,
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well, and it destroy,
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!

HAMLET
(aside)
If she should break it now!

FIRST PLAYER (as King)
'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.

SECOND PLAYER (as Queen)
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!
The Player-King sleeps. Exit the Player-Queen

HAMLET
Madam, how like you this play?

QUEEN
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

HAMLET
O, but she'll keep her word.

KING
Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence
in't?

HAMLET
No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest. No
offence i'th' world.

KING
What do you call the play?

HAMLET
The Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This
play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago
is the duke's name; his wife, Baptista. You shall see
anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work. But what of that?
Your majesty, and we that have free souls, it touches us
not. Let the galled jade wince. Our withers are unwrung.
Enter the Third Player, as Lucianus
This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King.

OPHELIA
You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

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

OPHELIA
You are keen, my lord, you are keen.

HAMLET
It would cost you a groaning to take off mine
edge.

OPHELIA
Still better, and worse.

HAMLET
So you must take your husbands. – Begin, murderer.
Pox, leave thy damnable faces and begin. Come;
the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.

THIRD PLAYER (as Lucianus)
Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,
Confederate season, else no creature seeing,
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecat's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property
On wholesome life usurps immediately.
He pours the poison in the King's ears

HAMLET
'A 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.

OPHELIA
The King rises.

HAMLET
What, frighted with false fire?

QUEEN
How fares my lord?

POLONIUS
Give o'er the play.

KING
Give me some light. Away!

POLONIUS
Lights, lights, lights!
Exeunt all but Hamlet and Horatio

HAMLET
Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled 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, sir?

HORATIO
Half a share.

HAMLET
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 – peacock.

HORATIO
You might have rhymed.

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

HORATIO
Very well, my lord.

HAMLET
Upon the talk of the poisoning?

HORATIO
I did very well note him.

HAMLET
Aha! 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!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word
with you.

HAMLET
Sir, a whole history.

GUILDENSTERN
The King, sir –

HAMLET
Ay, sir, what of him?

GUILDENSTERN
Is in his retirement marvellous
distempered.

HAMLET
With drink, sir?

GUILDENSTERN
No, my lord, with choler.

HAMLET
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 choler.

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

HAMLET
I am tame, sir. Pronounce.

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

HAMLET
You are welcome.

GUILDENSTERN
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.

HAMLET
Sir, I cannot.

GUILDENSTERN
What, my lord?

HAMLET
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 –

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

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

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

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

ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, you once did love me.

HAMLET
And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

ROSENCRANTZ
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.

HAMLET
Sir, I lack advancement.

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

HAMLET
Ay, sir, but ‘ while the grass grows ’ – the proverb
is something musty.
Enter a Player with recorders
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?

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

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

GUILDENSTERN
My lord, I cannot.

HAMLET
I pray you.

GUILDENSTERN
Believe me, I cannot.

HAMLET
I do beseech you.

GUILDENSTERN
I know no touch of it, my lord.

HAMLET
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.

GUILDENSTERN
But these cannot I command to any
utterance of harmony. I have not the skill.

HAMLET
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.
Enter Polonius
God bless you, sir!

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

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

POLONIUS
By th' mass, and 'tis like a camel indeed.

HAMLET
Methinks it is like a weasel.

POLONIUS
It is backed like a weasel.

HAMLET
Or like a whale.

POLONIUS
Very like a whale.

HAMLET
Then I will come to my mother by and by.
(aside) They fool me to the top of my bent. – I will
come by and by.

POLONIUS
I will say so.

HAMLET
‘ By and by ’ is easily said.
Exit Polonius
Leave me, friends.
Exeunt all but Hamlet
'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
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!
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene III
Enter the King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern

KING
I like him not; nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you.
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so near us as doth hourly grow
Out of his brows.

GUILDENSTERN
We will ourselves provide.
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your majesty.

ROSENCRANTZ
The single and peculiar life is bound
With all the strength and armour 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 'tis 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 boisterous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.

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

ROSENCRANTZ
We will haste us.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Enter Polonius

POLONIUS
My lord, he's going to his mother's closet.
Behind the arras I'll convey myself
To hear the process. I'll warrant she'll tax him home.
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed
And tell you what I know.

KING
Thanks, dear my lord.
Exit Polonius
O, my offence 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 cursed 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 offence?
And what's in prayer but this twofold force,
To be forestalled 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' offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence'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 limed 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 new-born babe!
All may be well.
The King kneels. Enter Hamlet

HAMLET
Now might I do it pat, now 'a is a-praying.
And now I'll do't. And so 'a 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.
'A took my father grossly, full of bread,
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
No.
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
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.
Exit

KING
(rising)
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene IV
Enter the Queen and Polonius

POLONIUS
'A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll silence me even here.
Pray you be round with him.

HAMLET
(within)
Mother, mother, mother!

QUEEN
I'll warrant you. Fear me not. Withdraw. I hear
him coming.
Polonius hides behind the arras
Enter Hamlet

HAMLET
Now, mother, what's the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

HAMLET
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet?

HAMLET
What's the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
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.

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

HAMLET
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.

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

POLONIUS
(behind)
What, ho! Help!

HAMLET
(drawing his sword)
How now? A rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!
He makes a thrust through the arras and kills Polonius

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

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

QUEEN
As kill a king!

HAMLET
Ay, lady, it was my word.
He sees Polonius
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune.
Thou findest 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 damned custom have not brassed it so
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

QUEEN
What have I done that thou darest wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?

HAMLET
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,
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the Doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

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

HAMLET
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 judgement; and what judgement
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 ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turnest mine eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.

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

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

HAMLET
A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket –

QUEEN
No more.

HAMLET
A king of shreds and patches –
(Enter the Ghost)
Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards! – What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he's mad.

HAMLET
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!

GHOST
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.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
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?

HAMLET
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 colour – tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all. Yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
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!
Exit the Ghost

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

HAMLET
Ecstasy?
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 re-word, 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.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
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 master 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.
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.

QUEEN
What shall I do?

HAMLET
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.

QUEEN
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.

HAMLET
I must to England. You know that?

QUEEN
Alack,
I had forgot. 'Tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
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 petar; 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 neighbour room.
Mother, good night. Indeed, this counsellor
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.
Exeunt Hamlet, tugging in Polonius, and the Queen
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL