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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.

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It well appears: but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,

As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.

O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his



Lives almost by his looks; and for myself-
My virtue or my plague, be it either which-
She's 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,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

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
That we can let our beard be shook with danger
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear


I loved your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine-
Enter a Messenger.

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. Know you the hand?
King. 'Tis Hamlet's character.
And in a postscript here, he says ' alone.'
Can you advise me?

Laer. I'm lost in it, my lord.


But let him


It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'

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


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
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.

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

It falls right.
You have been talk'd 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.


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:-
I've 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;

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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?



Why ask you this?
King. Not that I think you did not love your

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'

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' the
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake,
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?


To cut his throat i' the church.
King. No place, indeed, should murder sanc-
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd 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 to-

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.


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 scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
Let's further think of this; 149
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 per-

'Twere better not assay'd: 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 prepared

A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.

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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,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.


Alas, then, she is drown'd?
Queen. Drown'd, drown'd.
Laer. Too much of water hast thou, poor


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 of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.
Let's follow, Gertrude:
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
140 Therefore let's follow.



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. But is this law?
First Clo.

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?
First Clo.

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

[Throws up another skull.
Ham. There's another: why may not that
be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities
now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his
tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now
to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel,
and will not tell him of his action of battery?
Hum! This fellow might be in's time a great
buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances,
his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries: is
this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his
recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt?
will his vouchers vouch him no more of his pur-
chases, and double ones too, than the length and
breadth of a pair of indentures? The very con-
veyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box;
and must the inheritor himself have no more,
Hor. Not a jot more, my lord.
Ham. Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?



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.

Ham. Why?

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.

The queen,
the courtiers: who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo it own life: 'twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile, and mark.

[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,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

Laer. Must there no more be done?
First Priest.
No more be done:
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.


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.

Hamlet, Hamlet!

All. Gentlemen,-

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,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
King. O, he is mad, Laertes.

Queen. For love of God, forbear him.
Ham. 'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:
Woo't weep? woo't fight? woo't fast? woo't
tear thyself?

Woo't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:

And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.


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.
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be. [Exeunt.


SCENE II. A hall in the castle.


Ham. So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;

You do remember all the circumstance?
Hor. Remember it, my lord!

Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,

That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
And praised be rashness for it, let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall: and that should
teach us

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
Groped I to find out them; had my desire,
Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again; making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Ho-

That is most certain.


O royal knavery!-an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reasons
Importing Denmark's health and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.


Is't possible?

Ham. Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.

But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
Hor. I beseech you.

Ham. Being thus be-netted round with villanies,


Ere could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play-I sat me down,
Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
I once did hold it, as our statists do,

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