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ambassador that was bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
Hor. [Reads] '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 make you way for these your letters; And do't the speedier, that you may direct me To him from whom you brought them. [Exeunt.
It well appears: but tell me
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself-
Laer. 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
I loved your father, and we love ourself;
How now! what news?
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet: This to your majesty; this to the queen. King. From Hamlet! who brought them? Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them
They were given me by Claudio; he received
Of him that brought them.
King. Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us. [Exit Messenger. [Reads] 'High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom. To-morrow 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? 50
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Laer. I'm lost in it, my lord.
But let him
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
Ay, my lord; So you will not o'errule me to a peace. King. To thine own peace. If he be now
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
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
Here was a gentleman of Normandy:-
What out of this, my lord?
Why ask you this?
But that I know love is begun by time;
And hath abatements and delays as many
And wager on your heads: he, being remiss,
I will do 't:
And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
When in your motion you are hot and dry-
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Alas, then, she is drown'd?
And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet
SCENE I. A churchyard.
Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c. First Clo. Is she to be buried in Christian burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation?
Sec. Clo. I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.
First Clo. How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?
Sec. Clo. Why, 'tis found so.
First Clo. It must be 'se offendendo;' itness, that he sings at grave-making? cannot be else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and an act hath three branches; it is, to act, to do, and to perform: argal, she drowned herself wittingly. Sec. Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,
First Clo. Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here stands the man; good: if the man go to this water, and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes,-mark you that; but if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself: argal, he that is not guilty of his
own death shortens not his own life.
Sec. Clo. Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.
Ay, marry, is't; crowner's quest
Hor. Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
Ham. 'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense. First Clo. [Sings]
But age, with his stealing steps, Hath claw'd me in his clutch, And hath shipped me intil the land, As if I had never been such. [Throws up a skull. Ham. That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once: how the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'er-reaches; one that would circumvent God, might it not? Hor. It might, my lord.
Ham. Or of a courtier; which could say 'Good morrow, sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord?' This might be my lord such-a-one, that praised my lord such-a-one's horse, when he meant to beg it; might it not? Hor. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Why, e'en so: and now my Lady Worm's; chapless, and knocked about the mazzard with a sexton's spade: here's fine revolution, an we had the trick to see't. Did these bones A' was the first that ever bore cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with 'em? mine ache to think on't. First Clo. [Sings]
First Clo. Why, there thou say'st: and the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: they hold up Adam's profession.
Sec. Clo. Was he a gentleman?
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance.
First Clo. Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating; and, when you are asked this question next, say 'a grave-maker:' the houses that he makes last till doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan: fetch me a stoup of liquor.
Sec. Clo. Why, he had none.
First Clo. What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture? The Scripture says 'Adam digged:' could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself—
Sec. Clo. Go to.
First Clo. What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
Sec. Clo. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.
First Clo. To 't.
Sec. Clo. Mass, I cannot tell.
[Exit Sec. Clown. [He digs, and sings. In youth, when I did love, did love, Methought it was very sweet, To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove, O, methought, there was nothing meet. Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his busi
First Clo. I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows docs well; but how does it well? it does well to those that do ill: now thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church: argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To 't again, come.
Sec. Clo. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?'
First Clo. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Sec. Clo. Marry, now I can tell.
A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade,
[Throws up another skull.
Hor. Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too. Ham. They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave's this, sirrah?
First Clo. Mine, sir.
[Sings] O, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet. 130 Ham. I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.
First Clo. You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, and yet it is mine.
Ham. Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine 'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
First Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.
Ham. What man dost thou dig it for? First Clo. For no man, sir. Ham. What woman, then? First Clo. For none, neither. Ham. Who is to be buried in 't? First Clo. One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.
Ham. How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe. How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
First Clo. Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
Ham. How long is that since?
First Clo. Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: it was the very day that young Hamlet was born; he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
First Clo. Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
First Clo. Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
First Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was? Ham. Nay, I know not.
First Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! a' poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.
Ham. This ?
Ham. How came he mad?
First Clo. Very strangely, they say.
Ham. How strangely? First Clo. Faith, e'en with losing his wits. Ham. Upon what ground? First Clo. Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years. Ham. How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot? 179
First Clo. I' faith, if he be not rotten before he die as we have many pocky corses now-adays, that will scarce hold the laying in-he will last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.
Ham. Why he more than another?
First Clo. Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. Here's a skull now; this skull has lain in the earth three and twenty years. 191
Ham. Whose was it?
First Clo. E'en that. Ham. Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
Hor. What's that, my lord?
Ham. Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' the earth? Hor. E'en so.
Ham. And smelt so? pah! [Puts down the skull.
Hor. E'en so, my lord. Ham. To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bung-hole?
Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
Ham. No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Cæsar, dead and turn'd to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away: O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw! But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king. Enter Priests, &c. in procession; the Corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING, QUEEN, their trains, &c.
[Retiring with Horatio. Laer. What ceremony else? Ham.
That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark. Laer. What ceremony else? First Priest. Her obsequies have been as far enlarged 249
As we have warranty: her death was doubtful; And, but that great command o'ersways the order, She should in ground unsanctified have lodged Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her:
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants,
Laer. Must there no more be done?
Laer. Lay her i' the earth: And from her fair and unpolluted flesh May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest, A ministering angel shall my sister be, When thou liest howling.
Ham. What, the fair Ophelia ! Queen. Sweets to the sweet: farewell! [Scattering flowers. I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.
Laer. O, treble woe Fall ten times treble on that cursed head, Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile, Till I have caught her once more in mine arms: [Leaps into the grave. Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead, Till of this flat a mountain you have made, To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head Of blue Olympus.
Ham. [Advancing] What is he whose grief Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I, 280 Hamlet the Dane. [Leaps into the grave. Laer. The devil take thy soul! [Grappling with him.
Ham. Thou pray'st not well. I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat; For, though I am not splenitive and rash, Yet have I something in me dangerous, Which let thy wiseness fear: hold off thy hand. King. Pluck them asunder. Queen.
Good my lord, be quiet. [The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave. Ham. Why, I will fight with him upon this theme Until my eyelids will no longer wag. Queen. O my son, what theme?
Ham. I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Queen. For love of God, forbear him.
Woo't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
This is mere madness: And thus awhile the fit will work on him; Anon, as patient as the female dove, When that her golden couplets are disclosed, 310 His silence will sit drooping.
Ham. Hear you, sir; What is the reason that you use me thus? I loved you ever: but it is no matter; Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew and dog will have his day. [Exit. King. I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon [Exit Horatio. [To Laertes] Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
We'll put the matter to the present push.
SCENE II. A hall in the castle.
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO.
Ham. So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
You do remember all the circumstance?
Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,
That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will,
Ham. Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
That is most certain.
O royal knavery!-an exact command,
Ham. Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
Ham. Being thus be-netted round with villanies,
Ere could make a prologue to my brains,