Hamlet

Select or Print the text

Original text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter King.

King.
There's matters in these sighes. / These profound heaues
You must translate; Tis fit we vnderstand them.
Where is your Sonne?

Qu.
Ah my good Lord, what haue I seene to night?

King.
What Gertrude? How do's Hamlet?

Qu.
Mad as the Seas, and winde, when both contend
Which is the Mightier, in his lawlesse fit
Behinde the Arras, hearing something stirre,
He whips his Rapier out, and cries a Rat, a Rat,
And in his brainish apprehension killes
The vnseene good old man.

King.
On heauy deed:
It had bin so with vs had we beene there:
His Liberty is full of threats to all,
To you your selfe, to vs, to euery one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deede be answered?
It will be laide to vs, whose prouidence
Should haue kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt,
This mad yong man. But so much was our loue,
We would not vnderstand what was most fit,
But like the Owner of a foule disease,
To keepe it from divulging, let's it feede
Euen on the pith of life. Where is he gone?

Qu.
To draw apart the body he hath kild,
O're whom his very madnesse like some Oare
Among a Minerall of Mettels base
Shewes it selfe pure. He weepes for what is done.

King.
Oh Gertrude, come away:
The Sun no sooner shall the Mountaines touch,
But we will ship him hence, and this vilde deed,
We must with all our Maiesty and Skill
Both countenance, and excuse. / Ho Guildenstern:
Enter Ros. & Guild.
Friends both go ioyne you with some further ayde:
Hamlet in madnesse hath Polonius slaine,
And from his Mother Clossets hath he drag'd him.
Go seeke him out, speake faire, and bring the body
Into the Chappell. I pray you hast in this.
Exit Gent.
Come Gertrude, wee'l call vp our wisest friends,
To let them know both what we meane to do,
And what's vntimely done.
Oh come away,
My soule is full of discord and dismay.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Hamlet.

Ham.
Safely stowed.

Gentlemen
within.
Hamlet, Lord Hamlet.

Ham.
What noise? Who cals on Hamlet?
Oh heere they come.
Enter Ros. and Guildensterne.

Ro.
What haue you done my Lord with the dead body?

Ham.
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis Kinne.

Rosin.
Tell vs where 'tis, that we may take it thence,
And beare it to the Chappell.

Ham.
Do not beleeue it.

Rosin.
Beleeue what?

Ham.
That I can keepe your counsell, and not mine owne.
Besides, to be demanded of a Spundge, what replication
should be made by the Sonne of a King.

Rosin.
Take you me for a Spundge, my Lord?

Ham.
I sir, that sokes vp the Kings Countenance,
his Rewards, his Authorities (but such Officers do the
King best seruice in the end. He keepes them like an Ape
in the corner of his iaw, first mouth'd to be
last swallowed, when he needes what you haue glean'd,
it is but squeezing you, and Spundge you shall be dry
againe.

Rosin.
I vnderstand you not my Lord.

Ham.
I am glad of it: a knauish speech sleepes in a
foolish eare.

Rosin.
My Lord, you must tell vs where the body
is, and go with vs to the King.

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

Guild.
A thing my Lord?

Ham.
Of nothing: bring me to him, hide Fox, and all
after.
Exeunt
Original text
Act IV, Scene III
Enter King.

King.
I haue sent to seeke him, and to find the bodie:
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose:
Yet must not we put the strong Law on him:
Hee's loued of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their iudgement, but their eyes:
And where 'tis so, th'Offenders scourge is weigh'd
But neerer the offence: to beare all smooth, and euen,
This sodaine sending him away, must seeme
Deliberate pause, diseases desperate growne,
By desperate appliance are releeued,
Or not at all.
Enter Rosincrane.
How now? What hath befalne?

Rosin.
Where the dead body is bestow'd my Lord,
We cannot get from him.

King.
But where is he?

Rosin.
Without my Lord, guarded to know your pleasure.

King.
Bring him before vs.

Rosin.
Hoa, Guildensterne? Bring in my Lord.
Enter Hamlet and Guildensterne.

King.
Now Hamlet, where's Polonius?

Ham.
At Supper.

King.
At Supper? Where?

Ham.
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten, a certaine
conuocation of wormes are e'ne at him. Your
worm is your onely Emperor for diet. We fat all creatures
else to fat vs, and we fat our selfe for Magots. Your
fat King, and your leane Begger is but variable seruice
to dishes, but to one Table that's the end.

King.
What dost thou meane by this?

Ham.
Nothing but to shew you how a King may go a
Progresse through the guts of a Begger.

King.
Where is Polonius.

Ham.
In heauen, send thither to see. If your Messenger
finde him not there, seeke him i'th other place
your selfe: but indeed, if you finde him not this
moneth, you shall nose him as you go vp the staires into
the Lobby.

King.
Go seeke him there.

Ham.
He will stay till ye come.

K.
Hamlet, this deed of thine, for thine especial safety
Which we do tender, as we deerely greeue
For that which thou hast done, must send thee hence
With fierie Quicknesse. Therefore prepare thy selfe,
The Barke is readie, and the winde at helpe,
Th'Associates tend, and euery thing at bent
For England.

Ham.
For England?

King.
I Hamlet.

Ham.
Good.

King.
So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.

Ham.
I see a Cherube that see's him: but come, for
England. Farewell deere Mother.

King.
Thy louing Father Hamlet.

Hamlet.
My Mother: Father and Mother is man and wife:
man & wife is one flesh, and so my mother. Come,
for England.
Exit

King.
Follow him at foote, / Tempt him with speed aboord:
Delay it not, Ile haue him hence to night.
Away, for euery thing is Seal'd and done
That else leanes on th'Affaire, pray you make hast.
And England, if my loue thou holdst at ought,
As my great power thereof may giue thee sense,
Since yet thy Cicatrice lookes raw and red
After the Danish Sword, and thy free awe
Payes homage to vs; thou maist not coldly set
Our Soueraigne Processe, which imports at full
By Letters coniuring to that effect
The present death of Hamlet. Do it England,
For like the Hecticke in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me: Till I know 'tis done,
How ere my happes, my ioyes were ne're begun.
Exit
Original text
Act IV, Scene IV
Enter Fortinbras with an Armie.

For.
Go Captaine, from me greet the Danish King,
Tell him that by his license, Fortinbras
Claimes the conueyance of a promis'd March
Ouer his Kingdome. You know the Rendeuous:
If that his Maiesty would ought with vs,
We shall expresse our dutie in his eye,
And let him know so.

Cap.
I will doo't, my Lord.

For.
Go safely on. Exit.
Original text
Act IV, Scene V
Enter Queene and Horatio.

Qu.
I will not speake with her.

Hor.
She is importunate, indeed distract,
her moode will needs be pittied.

Qu.
What would she haue?

Hor.
She speakes much of her Father; saies she heares
There's trickes i'th'world, and hems, and beats her heart,
Spurnes enuiously at Strawes, speakes things in doubt,
That carry but halfe sense: Her speech is nothing,
Yet the vnshaped vse of it doth moue
The hearers to Collection; they ayme at it,
And botch the words vp fit to their owne thoughts,
Which as her winkes, and nods, and gestures yeeld them,
Indeed would make one thinke there would be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much vnhappily.

Qu.
'Twere good she were spoken with, / For she may strew
dangerous coniectures / In ill breeding minds.
Let her come in.
To my sicke soule (as sinnes true Nature is)
Each toy seemes Prologue, to some great amisse,
So full of Artlesse iealousie is guilt,
It spill's it selfe, in fearing to be spilt.
Enter Ophelia distracted.

Ophe,
Where is the beauteous Maiesty of Denmark.

Qu.
How now Ophelia?

Ophe.
How should I your true loue know
from another one?
By his Cockle hat and staffe,
and his Sandal shoone.

Qu.
Alas sweet Lady: what imports this Song?

Ophe.
Say you? Nay pray you marke.
He is dead and gone Lady,
he is dead and gone,
At his head a grasse-greene Turfe,
at his heeles a stone.

Qu.
Nay but Ophelia.

Ophe.
Pray you marke.
White his Shrow'd as the Mountaine Snow.
Enter King.

Qu.
Alas, looke heere my Lord.

Ophe.

Larded with sweet flowers:
Which bewept to the graue did not go,
With true-loue showres.

King.
How do ye, pretty Lady?

Ophe.
Well, God dil'd you. They say the Owle was a
Bakers daughter. Lord, wee know what we are, but know
not what we may be. God be at your Table.

King.
Conceit vpon her Father.

Ophe.
Pray you let's haue no words of this: but when they
aske you what it meanes, say you this:
To morrow is S. Valentines day,
all in the morning betime,
And I a Maid at your Window,
to be your Valentine.
Then vp he rose, & don'd his clothes,
& dupt the chamber dore,
Let in the Maid, that out a Maid,
neuer departed more.

King.
Pretty Ophelia.

Ophe.
Indeed la? without an oath Ile make an end
ont.
By gis, and by S. Charity,
Alacke, and fie for shame:
Yong men wil doo't, if they come too't,
By Cocke they are too blame.
Quoth she before you tumbled me,
You promis'd me to Wed:
So would I ha done by yonder Sunne,
And thou hadst not come to my bed.

King.
How long hath she bin this?

Ophe.
I hope all will be well. We must bee patient, but
I cannot choose but weepe, to thinke they should lay him
i'th'cold ground: My brother shall knowe of it, and so I
thanke you for your good counsell. Come, my Coach:
Goodnight Ladies: Goodnight sweet Ladies: Goodnight,
goodnight.
Exit.

King.
Follow her close, / Giue her good watch I pray you:
Oh this is the poyson of deepe greefe, it springs
All from her Fathers death.
Oh Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrowes comes, they come not single spies,
But in Battaliaes. First, her Father slaine,
Next your Sonne gone, and he most violent Author
Of his owne iust remoue: the people muddied,
Thicke and vnwholsome in their thoughts, and whispers
For good Polonius death; and we haue done but greenly
In hugger mugger to interre him. Poore Ophelia
Diuided from her selfe, and her faire Iudgement,
Without the which we are Pictures, or meere Beasts.
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her Brother is in secret come from France,
Keepes on his wonder, keepes himselfe in clouds,
And wants not Buzzers to infect his eare
With pestilent Speeches of his Fathers death,
Where in necessitie of matter Beggard,
Will nothing sticke our persons to Arraigne
In eare and eare. O my deere Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering Peece in many places,
Giues me superfluous death.
A Noise within.

Qu.
Alacke, what noyse is this?

King.
Where are my Switzers? / Let them guard the doore.
Enter a Messenger.
What is the matter?

Mes.
Saue your selfe, my Lord.
The Ocean (ouer-peering of his List)
Eates not the Flats with more impittious haste
Then young Laertes, in a Riotous head,
Ore-beares your Officers, the rabble call him Lord,
And as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, Custome not knowne,
The Ratifiers and props of euery word,
They cry choose we? Laertes shall be King,
Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds,
Laertes shall be King, Laertes King.
Noise within.

Qu.
How cheerefully on the false Traile they cry,
Oh this is Counter you false Danish Dogges.

King.
The doores are broke.
Enter Laertes.

Laer.
Where is the King, sirs? Stand you all without.

All.
No, let's come in.

Laer.
I pray you giue me leaue.

Al.
We will, we will.

Laer.
I thanke you: Keepe the doore.
Oh thou vilde King,
giue me my Father.

Qu.
Calmely good Laertes.

Laer.
That drop of blood, that calmes / Proclaimes me Bastard:
Cries Cuckold to my Father, brands the Harlot
Euen heere betweene the chaste vnsmirched brow
Of my true Mother.

King.
What is the cause Laertes,
That thy Rebellion lookes so Gyant-like?
Let him go Gertrude: Do not feare our person:
There's such Diuinity doth hedge a King,
That Treason can but peepe to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me Laertes,
Why thou art thus Incenst? Let him go Gertrude.
Speake man.

Laer.
Where's my Father?

King.
Dead.

Qu.
But not by him.

King.
Let him demand his fill.

Laer.
How came he dead? Ile not be Iuggel'd with.
To hell Allegeance: Vowes, to the blackest diuell.
Conscience and Grace, to the profoundest Pit.
I dare Damnation: to this point I stand,
That both the worlds I giue to negligence,
Let come what comes: onely Ile be reueng'd
Most throughly for my Father.

King.
Who shall stay you?

Laer.
My Will, not all the world,
And for my meanes, Ile husband them so well,
They shall go farre with little.

King.
Good Laertes:
If you desire to know the certaintie
Of your deere Fathers death, if writ in your reuenge,
That Soop-stake you will draw both Friend and Foe,
Winner and Looser.

Laer.
None but his Enemies.

King.
Will you know them then.

La.
To his good Friends, thus wide Ile ope my Armes:
And like the kinde Life-rend'ring Politician,
Repast them with my blood.

King.
Why now you speake
Like a good Childe, and a true Gentleman.
That I am guiltlesse of your Fathers death,
And am most sensible in greefe for it,
It shall as leuell to your Iudgement pierce
As day do's to your eye.
A noise within.
Let her come in.

Laer.
How now? what noise is that?
Enter Ophelia.
Oh heate drie vp my Braines, teares seuen times salt,
Burne out the Sence and Vertue of mine eye.
By Heauen, thy madnesse shall be payed by waight,
Till our Scale turnes the beame. Oh Rose of May,
Deere Maid, kinde Sister, sweet Ophelia:
Oh Heauens, is't possible, a yong Maids wits,
Should be as mortall as an old mans life?
Nature is fine in Loue, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of it selfe
After the thing it loues.

Ophe.
They bore him bare fac'd on the Beer,
Hey non nony, nony, hey nony:
And on his graue raines many a teare,
Fare you well my Doue.

Laer.
Had'st thou thy wits, and did'st perswade Reuenge,
it could not moue thus.

Ophe.
You must sing downe a-downe, and you call
him a-downe-a. Oh, how the wheele becomes it? It is the
false Steward that stole his masters daughter.

Laer.
This nothings more then matter.

Ophe.
There's Rosemary, that's for Remembraunce.
Pray loue remember: and there is Paconcies, that's
for Thoughts.

Laer.
A document in madnesse, thoughts &
remembrance fitted.

Ophe.
There's Fennell for you, and Columbines: ther's
Rew for you, and heere's some for me. Wee may call it
Herbe-Grace a Sundaies: Oh you must weare your Rew
with a difference. There's a Daysie, I would giue you some
Violets, but they wither'd all when my Father dyed: They
say, he made a good end;
For bonny sweet Robin is all my ioy.

Laer.
Thought, and Affliction, Passion, Hell it selfe:
She turnes to Fauour, and to prettinesse.

Ophe.
And will he not come againe,
And will he not come againe:
No, no, he is dead,
go to thy Death-bed,
He neuer wil come againe.
His Beard as white as Snow,
All Flaxen was his Pole:
He is gone, he is gone,
and we cast away mone,
Gramercy on his Soule.
And of all Christian Soules, I pray God. God buy ye.
Exeunt Ophelia

Laer.
Do you see this, you Gods?

King.
Laertes, I must common with your greefe,
Or you deny me right: go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest Friends you will,
And they shall heare and iudge 'twixt you and me;
If by direct or by Colaterall hand
They finde vs touch'd, we will our Kingdome giue,
Our Crowne, our Life, and all that we call Ours
To you in satisfaction. But if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to vs,
And we shall ioyntly labour with your soule
To giue it due content.

Laer.
Let this be so:
His meanes of death, his obscure buriall;
No Trophee, Sword, nor Hatchment o're his bones,
No Noble rite, nor formall ostentation,
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from Heauen to Earth,
That I must call in question.

King.
So you shall:
And where th'offence is, let the great Axe fall.
I pray you go with me.
Exeunt
Original text
Act IV, Scene VI
Enter Horatio, with an Attendant.

Hora.
What are they that would speake with me?

Ser.
Saylors sir, they say they haue
Letters for you.

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

Say.
God blesse you Sir.

Hor.
Let him blesse thee too.

Say.
Hee shall Sir, and't please him. There's a Letter for
you Sir: It comes from th' Ambassadours that was bound
for England, if your name be Horatio, as I am let to
know it is.
Reads the Letter. HOratio, When thou shalt haue
ouerlook'd this, giue these Fellowes some meanes to the King:
They haue Letters for him. Ere we were two dayes old at Sea,
a Pyrate of very Warlicke appointment gaue vs Chace. Finding
our selues tooslow of Saile, we put on a compelled Valour.
In the Grapple, I boorded them: On the instant they got
cleare of our Shippe, so I alone became their Prisoner. They
haue dealt with mee, likeTheeues of Mercy, but they knew
what they did. I am to doea good turne for them. Let the
King haue the Letters I hauesent, and repaire thou to me
with as much hast as thou wouldestflye death. I haue words
to speake in your eare, will make thee dumbe, yet are they
much too light for the bore of the Matter. These good Fellowes
will bring thee where I am. Rosincrance and Guildensterne,
hold their course for England. Of them I haue much
to tell thee, Farewell.
He that thou knowest thine,
Hamlet.
Come, I will giue you way for these your Letters,
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.
Exit.
Original text
Act IV, Scene VII
Enter King and Laertes.

King.
Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
And you must put me in your heart for Friend,
Sith you haue heard, and with a knowing eare,
That he which hath your Noble Father slaine,
Pursued my life.

Laer.
It well appeares. But tell me,
Why you proceeded not against these feates,
So crimefull, and so Capitall in Nature,
As by your Safety, Wisedome, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd vp?

King.
O for two speciall Reasons,
Which may to you (perhaps) seeme much vnsinnowed,
And yet to me they are strong. The Queen his Mother,
Liues almost by his lookes: and for my selfe,
My Vertue or my Plague, be it either which,
She's so coniunctiue to my life and soule;
That as the Starre moues not but in his Sphere,
I could not but by her. The other Motiue,
Why to a publike count I might not go,
Is the great loue the generall gender beare him,
Who dipping all his Faults in their affection,
Would like the Spring that turneth Wood to Stone,
Conuert his Gyues to Graces. So that my Arrowes
Too slightly timbred for so loud a Winde,
Would haue reuerted to my Bow againe,
And not where I had arm'd them.

Laer.
And so haue I a Noble Father lost,
A Sister driuen into desperate tearmes,
Who was (if praises may go backe againe)
Stood Challenger on mount of all the Age
For her perfections. But my reuenge will come.

King.
Breake not your sleepes for that, / You must not thinke
That we are made of stuffe, so flat, and dull,
That we can let our Beard be shooke with danger,
And thinke it pastime. You shortly shall heare more,
I lou'd your Father, and we loue our Selfe,
And that I hope will teach you to imagine---
Enter a Messenger.
How now? What Newes?

Mes.
Letters my Lord from Hamlet.
This to your Maiesty: this to the Queene.

King.
From Hamlet? Who brought them?

Mes.
Saylors my Lord they say, I saw them not:
They were giuen me by Claudio, he receiu'd them.

King.
Laertes you shall heare them:
Leaue vs.
Exit Messenger

High and Mighty, you shall know I am set naked on your
Kingdome. To morrow shall I begge leaue to see your Kingly
Eyes. When I shall (first asking your Pardon thereunto)
recount th'Occasions of my sodaine, and more strange returne.
Hamlet.
What should this meane? Are all the rest come backe?
Or is it some abuse? Or no such thing?

Laer.
Know you the hand?

Kin.
'Tis Hamlets Character, naked
and in a Post- script here he sayes alone:
Can you aduise me?

Laer.
I'm lost in it my Lord; but let him come,
It warmes the very sicknesse in my heart,
That I shall liue and tell him to his teeth;
Thus diddest thou.

Kin.
If it be so Laertes,
as how should it be so: / How otherwise
will you be rul'd by me?

Laer.
If so you'l not o'rerule me to a peace.

Kin.
To thine owne peace: if he be now return'd,
As checking at his Voyage, and that he meanes
No more to vndertake it; I will worke him
To an exployt now ripe in my Deuice,
Vnder the which he shall not choose but fall;
And for his death no winde of blame shall breath,
But euen his Mother shall vncharge the practice,
And call it accident:
Some two Monthes hence
Here was a Gentleman of Normandy,
I'ue seene my selfe, and seru'd against the French,
And they ran well on Horsebacke; but this Gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew into his Seat,
And to such wondrous doing brought his Horse,
As had he beene encorps't and demy-Natur'd
With the braue Beast, so farre he past my thought,
That I in forgery of shapes and trickes,
Come short of what he did.

Laer.
A Norman was't?

Kin.
A Norman.

Laer.
Vpon my life Lamound.

Kin.
The very same.

Laer.
I know him well, he is the Brooch indeed,
And Iemme of all our Nation.

Kin.
Hee mad confession of you,
And gaue you such a Masterly report,
For Art and exercise in your defence;
And for your Rapier most especially,
That he cryed out, t'would be a sight indeed,
If one could match you
Sir. This report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his Enuy,
That he could nothing doe but wish and begge,
Your sodaine comming ore to play with him;
Now out of this.

Laer.
Why out of this, my Lord?

Kin.
Laertes was your Father deare to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?

Laer.
Why aske you this?

Kin.
Not that I thinke you did not loue your Father,
But that I know Loue is begun by Time:
And that I see in passages of proofe,
Time qualifies the sparke and fire of it:

Hamlet comes backe: what would you vndertake,
To show your selfe your Fathers sonne indeed,
More then in words?

Laer.
To cut his throat i'th' Church.

Kin.
No place indeed should murder Sancturize;
Reuenge should haue no bounds: but good Laertes
Will you doe this, keepe close within your Chamber,
Hamlet return'd, shall know you are come home:
Wee'l put on those shall praise your excellence,
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gaue you, bring you in fine together,
And wager on your heads, he being remisse,
Most generous, and free from all contriuing,
Will not peruse the Foiles? So that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A Sword vnbaited, and in a passe of practice,
Requit him for your Father.

Laer.
I will doo't,
And for that purpose Ile annoint my Sword:
I bought an Vnction of a Mountebanke
So mortall, I but dipt a knife in it,
Where it drawes blood, no Cataplasme so rare,
Collected from all Simples that haue Vertue
Vnder the Moone, can saue the thing from death,
That is but scratcht withall: Ile touch my point,
With this contagion, that if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

Kin.
Let's further thinke of this,
Weigh what conuenience both of time and meanes
May fit vs to our shape, if this should faile;
And that our drift looke through our bad performance,
'Twere better not assaid; therefore this Proiect
Should haue a backe or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proofe: Soft, let me see
Wee'l make a solemne wager on your commings,
I ha't:
when in your motion you are hot and dry,
As make your bowts more violent to the end,
And that he cals for drinke; Ile haue prepar'd him
A Challice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there;
Enter Queene
how sweet Queene.

Queen.
One woe doth tread vpon anothers heele,
So fast they'l follow: your Sister's drown'd Laertes.

Laer.
Drown'd! O where?

Queen.
There is a Willow growes aslant a Brooke,
That shewes his hore leaues in the glassie streame:
There with fantasticke Garlands did she come,
Of Crow-flowers, Nettles, Daysies, and long Purples,
That liberall Shepheards giue a grosser name;
But our cold Maids doe Dead Mens Fingers call them:
There on the pendant boughes, her Coronet weeds
Clambring to hang; an enuious sliuer broke,
When downe the weedy Trophies, and her selfe,
Fell in the weeping Brooke, her cloathes spred wide,
And Mermaid-like, a while they bore her vp,
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her owne distresse,
Or like a creature Natiue, and indued
Vnto that Element: but long it could not be,
Till that her garments, heauy with her drinke,
Pul'd the poore wretch from her melodious buy,
To muddy death.

Laer.
Alas then, is she drown'd?

Queen.
Drown'd, drown'd.

Laer.
Too much of water hast thou poore Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my teares: but yet
It is our tricke, Nature her custome holds,
Let shame say what it will; when these are gone
The woman will be out: Adue my Lord,
I haue a speech of fire, that faine would blaze,
But that this folly doubts it.
Exit.

Kin.
Let's follow, Gertrude:
How much I had to doe to calme his rage?
Now feare I this will giue it start againe;
Therefore let's follow.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter the King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern

KING
There's matter in these sighs. These profound heaves
You must translate. 'Tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?

QUEEN
Bestow this place on us a little while.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!

KING
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?

QUEEN
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.

KING
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?

QUEEN
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. 'A weeps for what is done.

KING
O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
We must with all our majesty and skill
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragged him.
Go seek him out. Speak fair. And bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you haste in this.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends
And let them know both what we mean to do
And what's untimely done. So haply slander,
Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank
Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
And hit the woundless air. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Hamlet

HAMLET
Safely stowed.

GENTLEMEN
(within)
Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!

HAMLET
But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet?
O, here they come.
Enter Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and attendants

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

HAMLET
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.

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

HAMLET
Do not believe it.

ROSENCRANTZ
Believe what?

HAMLET
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?

ROSENCRANTZ
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

HAMLET
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.

ROSENCRANTZ
I understand you not, my lord.

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

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

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

GUILDENSTERN
A thing, my lord?

HAMLET
Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all
after.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene III
Enter the King and two or three attendants

KING
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 judgement but their eyes;
And where 'tis so, th' offender's scourge is weighed,
But never the offence. 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.
Enter Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and all the rest
How now? What hath befallen?

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

KING
But where is he?

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

KING
Bring him before us.

ROSENCRANTZ
Ho! Bring in the lord.
Enter attendants with Hamlet

KING
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

HAMLET
At supper.

KING
At supper? Where?

HAMLET
Not where he eats, but where 'a 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.

KING
Alas, alas!

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

KING
What dost thou mean by this?

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

KING
Where is Polonius?

HAMLET
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.

KING
(to attendants) Go seek him there.

HAMLET
'A will stay till you come.
Exeunt attendants

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

HAMLET
For England?

KING
Ay, Hamlet.

HAMLET
Good.

KING
So is it, if thou knewest our purposes.

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

KING
Thy loving father, Hamlet.

HAMLET
My mother. Father and mother is man and wife;
man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come,
for England!
Exit

KING
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 the affair. Pray you make haste.
Exeunt all but the King
And, England, if my love thou holdest 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 were ne'er begun.
Exit
Modern text
Act IV, Scene IV
Enter Fortinbras with his army over the stage

FORTINBRAS
Go, captain, from me greet the Danish King.
Tell him that by his licence 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.

CAPTAIN
I will do't, my lord.

FORTINBRAS
Go softly on.
Exeunt all but the Captain
Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and
attendants

HAMLET
Good sir, whose powers are these?

CAPTAIN
They are of Norway, sir.

HAMLET
How purposed, sir, I pray you?

CAPTAIN
Against some part of Poland.

HAMLET
Who commands them, sir?

CAPTAIN
The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.

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

CAPTAIN
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.

HAMLET
Why, then the Polack never will defend it.

CAPTAIN
Yes, it is already garrisoned.

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

CAPTAIN
God bye you, sir.
Exit

ROSENCRANTZ
Will't please you go, my lord?

HAMLET
I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.
Exeunt all but Hamlet
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 wisdom
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 honour'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!
Exit
Modern text
Act IV, Scene V
Enter the Queen, Horatio, and a Gentleman

QUEEN
I will not speak with her.

GENTLEMAN
She is importunate, indeed distract.
Her mood will needs be pitied.

QUEEN
What would she have?

GENTLEMAN
She speaks much of her father; says she hears
There's tricks i'th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,
Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing.
Yet the unshaped 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 them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.

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

QUEEN
Let her come in.
Exit the Gentleman
(aside) To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
So full of artless jealousy is guilt
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Enter Ophelia

OPHELIA
Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

QUEEN
How now, Ophelia?

OPHELIA
(sings)
How should I your true-love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

QUEEN
Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

OPHELIA
Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
(sings) He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone.
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
O, ho!

QUEEN
Nay, but, Ophelia –

OPHELIA
Pray you, mark.
(sings) White his shroud as the mountain snow, –
Enter the King

QUEEN
Alas, look here, my lord.

OPHELIA
(sings)
Larded all with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.

KING
How do you, pretty lady?

OPHELIA
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!

KING
Conceit upon her father –

OPHELIA
Pray let's have no words of this, but when they
ask you what it means, say you this:
(sings) 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.

KING
Pretty Ophelia!

OPHELIA
Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end
on't.
(sings) 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 ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.'

KING
How long hath she been thus?

OPHELIA
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.
Exit

KING
Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you.
Exit Horatio
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 whispers
For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgement,
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 murdering-piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
A noise within

QUEEN
Alack, what noise is this?

KING
Attend. Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
Enter a Messenger
What is the matter?

MESSENGER
Save yourself, my lord.
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord,
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry ‘ Choose we! Laertes shall be king!’
Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds:
‘ Laertes shall be king! Laertes king!’
A noise within

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

KING
The doors are broke.
Enter Laertes with his followers

LAERTES
Where is this King? – Sirs, stand you all without.

HIS FOLLOWERS
No, let's come in.

LAERTES
I pray you give me leave.

HIS FOLLOWERS
We will, we will.

LAERTES
I thank you. Keep the door.
Exeunt his followers
O thou vile King,
Give me my father.

QUEEN
Calmly, good Laertes.

LAERTES
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirched brows
Of my true mother.

KING
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giantlike?
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, Gertrude.
Speak, man.

LAERTES
Where is my father?

KING
Dead.

QUEEN
But not by him.

KING
Let him demand his fill.

LAERTES
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with.
To hell allegiance! Vows to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes, only I'll be revenged
Most throughly for my father.

KING
Who shall stay you?

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

KING
Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father, is't writ in your revenge
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?

LAERTES
None but his enemies.

KING
Will you know them then?

LAERTES
To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms
And like the kind life-rendering pelican
Repast them with my blood.

KING
Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgement 'pear
As day does to your eye.
A noise within

VOICES
(within)
Let her come in.

LAERTES
How now? What noise is that?
Enter Ophelia
O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid with weight
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May,
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

OPHELIA
(sings)
They bore him bare-faced on the bier,
Hey non nony, nony, hey nony,
And in his grave rained many a tear –
Fare you well, my dove!

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

OPHELIA
You must sing ‘ A-down a-down, and you call
him a-down-a.’ O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the
false steward, that stole his master's daughter.

LAERTES
This nothing's more than matter.

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

LAERTES
A document in madness: thoughts and
remembrance fitted.

OPHELIA
There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's
rue for you, and here's some for me. We may call it
herb of grace o' Sundays. O, 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 'a made a good end.
(sings) For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

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

OPHELIA
(sings)
And will 'a not come again?
And will 'a 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 Christian souls, I pray God. God bye you.
Exit

LAERTES
Do you see this? O God!

KING
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 labour with your soul
To give it due content.

LAERTES
Let this be so.
His means of death, his obscure funeral –
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation –
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.

KING
So you shall.
And where th' offence is, let the great axe fall.
I pray you go with me.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene VI
Enter Horatio and a Gentleman

HORATIO
What are they that would speak with me?

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

HORATIO
Let them come in.
Exit the Gentleman
I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted if not from Lord Hamlet.
Enter Sailors

SAILOR
God bless you, sir.

HORATIO
Let him bless thee, too.

SAILOR
'A shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for
you, sir – it comes from th' ambassador that was bound
for England – if your name be Horatio, as I am let to
know it is.

HORATIO
(reads the letter) 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 valour,
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,
Hamlet
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.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene VII
Enter the King and Laertes

KING
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.

LAERTES
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.

KING
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,
And not where I had aimed them.

LAERTES
And so have I a noble father lost,
A sister driven into desperate 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.

KING
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 –
Enter a Messenger with letters
How now? What news?

MESSENGER
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet.
These to your majesty. This to the Queen.

KING
From Hamlet? Who brought them?

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

KING
Laertes, you shall hear them. –
Leave us.
Exit the Messenger
(He reads)
High and mighty, you shall know I am set naked 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?

LAERTES
Know you the hand?

KING
'Tis Hamlet's character. ‘ Naked!’
And in a postscript here, he says ‘ alone.’
Can you devise me?

LAERTES
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 didest thou.’

KING
If it be so, Laertes –
As how should it be so? How otherwise? –
Will you be ruled by me?

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

KING
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.

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

KING
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.

LAERTES
What part is that, my lord?

KING
A very riband 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 incorpsed 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.

LAERTES
A Norman was't?

KING
A Norman.

LAERTES
Upon my life, Lamord.

KING
The very same.

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

KING
He made confession of you,
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especial,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you; the scrimers of their nation
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
What out of this, my lord?

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

LAERTES
Why ask you this?

KING
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 plurisy,
Dies in his own too-much. That we would do
We should do when we would. For this ‘ would ’ changes,
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 o'th' ulcer –
Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake
To show yourself in deed your father's son
More than in words?

LAERTES
To cut his throat i'th' church!

KING
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 together,
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.

LAERTES
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.

KING
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 performance,
'Twere better not assayed. Therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold
If this should 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 preferred him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,
Our purpose may hold there. – But stay, what noise?
Enter the Queen
How, sweet Queen!

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

LAERTES
Drowned! O, where?

QUEEN
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 them.
There on the pendent boughs her crownet weeds
Clambering 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 tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
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.

LAERTES
Alas, then she is drowned?

QUEEN
Drowned, drowned.

LAERTES
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.
Exit

KING
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.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL