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not been a gentlewoman, she should have been bury'd out of christian burial.

1 Graved. Why, there thou say'st: And the more pity, that great folks 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 gravemakers; they hold up Adam's profession.

2 Graved. Was he a gentleman?

1 Graved. He was the first that ever bore arms. I'll put a question to thee: if thou answer'st me not to the purpose, confess thyself

2 Graved. Go to.

1 Graved. What is he, that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter? 2 Graved. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1 Graved. I like thy wit well, in good faith; the gallows does well: But how does it well? it does well to those that do ill: now thou dost ill, to say, the gallows is built stronger than the church; argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again; come.

2 Graved. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?

i Graved. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke. 2 Graved. Marry, now I can tell.

1 Graved. To't.

2 Graved. Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a Distance.

1 Graved. Cudgel thy brains no more about it; for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating. and, when you are ask'd this question next, say, a grave-maker; the houses, that he makes, last till doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan, and fetch me a stoup of liquor. [Exit SECOND Gravedigger.

The GRAVEDIGGER 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 business? He sings in grave-making.

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.


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

[Throws up a Scull.

Ham. That scull 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! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now over-reaches; one that would circumvent Heaven, might it not?

[The GRAVEDIGGER throws up Bones.

Hor. It might, my lord.

Ham. Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with them? mine ache to think on't.


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 Scull.

Ham. There's another: Why may not that be the scull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits 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?—I will speak to this fellow : -Whose grave's this, sirrah?

Graved. Mine, sir,—


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

Ham. I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in it.

Graved. You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.

Ham. Thou dos't lie in't, to be in't, and say, it is thine: 'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

Graved. "Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.

Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?
Graved. For no man, sir.

Ham. What woman then?

Graved. For none neither.

Ham. Who is to be buried in't?

Graved. 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.—How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

Graved. 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?

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

Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England? Graved. Why, because he was mad he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.

Ham. Why?

Graved. "Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham. How came he mad?

Graved. Very strangely, they say.

Ham. How strangely?

Graved. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
Ham. Upon what ground?

Graved. 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?

Gravd. 'Faith, if he be not rotten before he die, he will last you some eight year, or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.

Ham. Why he more than another?

Graved. Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd 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 scull now has lain you i' the earth three and twenty years.


Ham. Whose was it?

Graved. A whoreson mad fellow's it was :- -Whose you think it was?

Ham. Nay, I know not.

Graved. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he pour'd a flaggon of Rhenish on my head once. This same scull, sir, was Yorick's scull, the king's jester. Ham. This? [Taking the Scull.

Graved. E'en that.

Ham. 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: here hung those lips, that I have kiss'd I know not how oft; and now, how abhorr'd in my imagination it is! 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 fall'n? 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.-

'Pr'ythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Hor. What's that, my lord?

Ham. Dost thou think, Alexander look'd o' this fashion i' the earth?

Hor. E'en so.

Ham. And smelt so? pah!

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

Ham. No, 'faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead

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