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Title: Hamlet
Author: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hamlet" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

    Transcriber's Note:
    This is a heavily edited version of _Hamlet_. It was used
    for Charles Kean's 1859 stage production. Phrases printed
    in italics in the book are indicated in this electronic
    version by _ (underscore). Footnotes originally appeared
    at the bottom of each page. For this electronic version
    the footnotes are collected at the end of each act. In
    Act I, Scene 5, the word Uumix'd has been changed to
    Unmix'd. A closing bracket ] was added to Act IV footnote
    37 after _Naked on your kingdom_,. A closing bracket ]
    was added to Act IV footnote 50 after _Venom'd stuck_,.
    The word o'er-crows appears in Act V, Scene 3; in
    footnote V.81, o'ercrows appears without a hyphen. Both
    are as they appear in the book.



             PRINCE OF DENMARK.

          Royal Princess's Theatre


            CHARLES KEAN, F.S.A.

               AS PERFORMED ON
          MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 1859.




Dramatis Personæ

  CLAUDIUS (_King of Denmark_)          Mr. RYDER.

  HAMLET (_son to the former and_
    _nephew to the present King_).      Mr. CHARLES KEAN.

  POLONIUS (_Lord Chamberlain_)         Mr. MEADOWS.

  HORATIO (_friend To Hamlet_)          Mr. GRAHAM.

  LAERTES (_son To Polonius_)           Mr. J. F. CATHCART.

  ROSENCRANTZ     }                  {  Mr. BRAZIER.
  GUILDENSTERN    } (_Courtiers_)    {  Mr. G. EVERETT.
  OSRICK          }                  {  Mr. DAVID FISHER.

  PRIEST                                Mr. TERRY.

  MARCELLUS                             Mr. PAULO.

  BERNARDO                              Mr. DALY.

  FRANCISCO                             Mr. COLLETT.



  SECOND GRAVEDIGGER                    Mr. H. SAKER.

  FIRST PLAYER                          Mr. F. COOKE.

  SECOND PLAYER                         Mr. ROLLESTON.

  GERTRUDE (_Queen of Denmark, and_
    _mother of Hamlet_)                 Mrs. CHARLES KEAN.

  OPHELIA (_daughter of Polonius_)      Miss HEATH.

  ACTRESS                               Miss DALY.


R. H. means Right Hand; L. H. Left Hand; U. E. Upper Entrance; R. H.
C. Enters through the Centre from the Right Hand; L. H. C. Enters
through the Centre from the Left Hand.


R. means on the Right side of the Stage; L. on the Left side of the
Stage; C. Centre of the Stage; R. C. Right Centre of the Stage; L. C.
Left Centre of the Stage.

The reader is supposed _to be on the Stage_, facing the audience.


The play of _Hamlet_ is above all others the most stupendous monument
of Shakespeare's genius, standing as a beacon to command the wonder
and admiration of the world, and as a memorial to future generations,
that the mind of its author was moved by little less than inspiration.
_Lear_, with its sublime picture of human misery;--_Othello_, with its
harrowing overthrow of a nature great and amiable;--_Macbeth_, with
its fearful murder of a monarch, whose "virtues plead like angels
trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking
off,"--severally exhibit, in the most pre-eminent degree, all those
mighty elements which constitute the perfection of tragic art--the
grand, the pitiful, and the terrible. _Hamlet_ is a history of mind--a
tragedy of thought. It contains the deepest philosophy, and most
profound wisdom; yet speaks the language of the heart, touching the
secret spring of every sense and feeling. Here we have no ideal
exaltation of character, but life with its blended faults and
virtues,--a gentle nature unstrung by passing events, and thus
rendered "out of tune and harsh."

The original story of Hamlet is to be found in the Latin pages of the
Danish historian, Saxo Grammaticus, who died in the year 1208.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, the French author, Francis
de Belleforest, introduced the fable into a collection of novels,
which were translated into English, and printed in a small quarto
black letter volume, under the title of the "Historie of Hamblett,"
from which source Shakespeare constructed the present tragedy.

Saxo has placed his history about 200 years before Christianity, when
barbarians, clothed in skins, peopled the shores of the Baltic. The
poet, however, has so far modernised the subject as to make Hamlet a
Christian, and England tributary to the "sovereign majesty of
Denmark." A date can therefore be easily fixed, and the costume of
the tenth and eleventh centuries may be selected for the purpose.
There are but few authentic records in existence, but these few
afford reason to believe that very slight difference existed between
the dress of the Dane and that of the Anglo-Saxon of the same period.

Since its first representation, upwards of two centuries and a half
ago, no play has been acted so frequently, or commanded such
universal admiration. It draws within the sphere of its attraction
both the scholastic and the unlearned. It finds a response in every
breast, however high or however humble. By its colossal aid it exalts
the drama of England above that of every nation, past or present. It
is, indeed, the most marvellous creation of human intellect.






  FRANCISCO _on his post. Enter to him_ BERNARDO (L.H.)

  _Ber._ Who's there?

  _Fran._ (R.) Nay, answer me:[1] stand, and unfold[2] yourself.

  _Ber._ Long live the king![3]

  _Fran._                   Bernardo?

  _Ber._                             He.

  _Fran._ You come most carefully upon your hour.

  _Ber._ 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.

  _Fran._ For this relief much thanks:

    [_Crosses to_ L.]

                                      'tis bitter cold,
  And I am sick at heart.

  _Ber._ Have you had quiet guard?

  _Fran._                         Not a mouse stirring.

  _Ber._ Well, good night.
  If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
  The rivals of my watch,[4] bid them make haste.

  _Fran._ I think I hear them.--Stand, ho! Who's there?

  _Hor._ Friends to this ground.

  _Mar._                        And liegemen to the Dane.[5]

    _Enter_ HORATIO _and_ MARCELLUS (L.H.)

  _Fran._ Give you good night.

  _Mar._                      O, farewell, honest soldier:
  Who hath reliev'd you?

  _Fran._ Bernardo hath my place.
  Give you good night.

    [_Exit_ FRANCISCO, L.H.]

  _Mar._         Holloa! Bernardo!

  _Ber._                          Say,
  What, is Horatio there?

  _Hor._ (_Crosses to_ C.) A piece of him.[6]

  _Ber._ (R.) Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.

  _Hor._ What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?

  _Ber._ I have seen nothing.

  _Mar._ (L.) Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy,
  And will not let belief take hold of him,
  Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
  Therefore I have entreated him, along
  With us, to watch the minutes of this night;[7]
  That, if again this apparition come,
  He may approve our eyes,[8] and speak to it.

  _Hor._ Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.

  _Ber._ Come, let us once again assail your ears,
  That are so fortified against our story,
  What we two nights have seen.[9]

  _Hor._ Well, let us hear Bernardo speak of this.

  _Ber._ Last night of all,
  When yon same star that's westward from the pole
  Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
  Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself,
  The bell then beating one--

  _Mar._ Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes

    _Enter_ Ghost (L.H.)

  _Ber._ In the same figure, like the king that's dead.

  _Hor._ Most like:--it harrows me with fear and wonder.[10]

  _Ber._ It would be spoke to.

  _Mar._ Speak to it, Horatio.

  _Hor._ What art thou, that usurp'st this time of night,[11]
  Together with that fair and warlike form
  In which the majesty of buried Denmark
  Did sometimes march? By heaven I charge thee, speak!

  _Mar._ It is offended.

      [Ghost _crosses to_ R.]

  _Ber._                See! it stalks away!

  _Hor._ Stay!--speak!--speak, I charge thee, speak!

                          [_Exit_ Ghost, R.H.]

  _Mar._ 'Tis gone, and will not answer.

  _Ber._ How now, Horatio! You tremble, and look pale:
  Is not this something more than fantasy?
  What think you of it?

  _Hor._ Before heaven, I might not this believe,
  Without the sensible and true avouch[12]
  Of mine own eyes.

  _Mar._           Is it not like the king?

  _Hor._ As thou art to thyself:
  Such was the very armour he had on,
  When he the ambitious Norway combated.

  _Mar._ Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour,[13]
  With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.

  _Hor._ In what particular thought to work,[14] I know not;
  But in the gross and scope[15] of mine opinion,
  This bodes some strange eruption to our state.[16]
  In the most high and palmy[17] state of Rome,
  A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
  The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
  Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

    _Re-enter_ Ghost (R.H.)

  But, (L.C.) soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!
  I'll cross it, though it blast me.

    [HORATIO _crosses in front of the_ Ghost _to_ R.
    Ghost _crosses to_ L.]

                                    Stay, illusion!
  If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,[18]
  Speak to me:
  If there be any good thing to be done,
  That may to thee do ease, and grace to me,
  Speak to me:
  If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
  Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid,
  O, speak!
  O, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
  Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,[19]
  For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
  Speak of it:--stay, and speak!

    [_Exit_ Ghost, L.H.]

  _Mar._ 'Tis gone!
  We do it wrong, being so majestical,
  To offer it the show of violence.

  _Ber._ It was about to speak, when the cock crew.

  _Hor._ And then it started like a guilty thing
  Upon a fearful summons.[20] I have heard,
  The cock, that is the trumpet of the morn,
  Doth with his lofty[21] and shrill-sounding throat
  Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
  Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
  The extravagant and erring spirit[22] hies
  To his confine.
  But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
  Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill:
  Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,
  Let us impart what we have seen to-night
  Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
  This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.

    [_Exeunt_, L.H.]


    _Trumpet March._

    _Enter the_ KING _and_ QUEEN, _preceded by_ POLONIUS, HAMLET,
    LAERTES,[23] Lords, Ladies, _and_ Attendants.

  _King._ (R.C.) Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
  The memory be green;[24] and that it us befitted
  To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
  To be contracted in one brow of woe;
  Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
  That we with wisest sorrow[25] think on him,
  Together with remembrance of ourselves.
  Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
  The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
  Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,[26]
  Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd[27]
  Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
  With this affair along:--For all, our thanks.
  And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
  You told us of some suit; What is't, Laertes?

  _Laer._ (R.)                   My dread lord,
  Your leave and favour[28] to return to France;
  From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
  To show my duty in your coronation,
  Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
  My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France,
  And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.

  _King._ Have you your father's leave? What says Polonious?

  _Pol._ (R.) He hath, my lord, (wrung from me my slow leave
  By laboursome petition; and, at last,
  Upon his will I sealed my hard consent):[29]
  I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

  _King._ Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
  And thy best graces spend it at thy will![30]
  But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,----

  _Ham._ (L.) A little more than kin, and less than kind.[31]


  _King._ How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

  _Ham._ Not so, my lord; I am too much i'the sun.[32]

  _Queen._(L.C.) Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour[33] off,
  And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
  Do not for ever with thy vailed lids[34]
  Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
  Thou know'st 'tis common, all that live must die,
  Passing through nature to eternity.

  _Ham._ Ay, madam, it is common.

  _Queen._                          If it be,
  Why seems it so particular with thee?

  _Ham._ Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.
  'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
  Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
  No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
  Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
  That can denote me truly: These, indeed, seem,
  For they are actions that a man might play.
  But I have that within which passeth show;[35]
  These but the trappings[36] and the suits of woe.

  _King._ 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
  To give these mourning duties to your father:
  But, you must know, your father lost a father;
  That father lost, lost his;[37] and the survivor bound,
  In filial obligation, for some term
  To do obsequious sorrow:[38] But to perséver[39]
  In obstinate condolement,[40] is a course
  Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
  It shows a will most incorrect to Heaven.[41]
  We pray you, throw to earth
  This unprevailing[42] woe; and think of us
  As of a father: for let the world take note,
  You are the most immediate to our throne;
  Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

  _Queen._ Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
  I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.

  _Ham._ I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

  _King._ Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply;
  Be as ourself in Denmark.--Madam, come;
  This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
  Sits smiling to my heart:[43] in grace whereof,[44]
  No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day,[45]
  But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell;
  Re-speaking earthly thunder.

    [_Trumpet March repeated. Exeunt_ KING _and_ QUEEN,
    _preceded by_ POLONIUS, Lords, Ladies, LAERTES, _and_
    Attendants, R.H.]

  _Ham._ O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
  Thaw, and resolve itself[46] into a dew!
  Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
  His canon[47] 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!
  How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
  Seem to me all the uses of this world![48]
  Fye on't! O fye! 'tis an unweeded garden,
  That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
  Possess it merely.[49] That it should come to this!
  But two months dead!--nay, not so much, not two:
  So excellent a king; that was, to this,
  Hyperion to a satyr:[50] so loving to my mother,
  That he might not beteem[51] the winds of heaven
  Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
  Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
  As if increase of appetite had grown
  By what it fed on: And yet, within a month,--
  Let me not think on't,--Frailty, thy name is Woman!--
  A little month; or ere those shoes were old
  With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
  Like Niobe, all tears;--she married with my uncle,
  My father's brother; but no more like my father
  Than I to Hercules.
  It is not, nor it cannot come to, good:
  But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue!


  _Hor._ Hail to your lordship!

  _Ham._                       I am glad to see you well:
  Horatio,--or I do forget myself.

  _Hor._ The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.

  _Ham._ Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you:[52]
  And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?--

    [_Crosses to_ C.]

  _Mar._ (R.) My good lord,

  _Ham._ (C.) I am very glad to see you; good even, sir.

    [_To_ BERNARDO, R.]

  But what, in faith,[53] make you[54] from Wittenberg?[55]

  _Hor._ (L.) A truant disposition, good my lord.

  _Ham._ I would not hear your enemy say so;
  Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
  To make it truster of your own report
  Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
  But what is your affair in Elsinore?
  We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart.

  _Hor._ My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.

  _Ham._ I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
  I think it was to see my mother's wedding.

  _Hor._ Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

  _Ham._ Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral bak'd meats
  Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
  Would I had met my dearest foe[56] in Heaven
  Ere ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
  My father,--Methinks, I see my father.

  _Hor._                           Where,
  My lord?

  _Ham._ In my mind's eye, Horatio.

  _Hor._ I saw him once; he was a goodly king.[57]

  _Ham._ He was a man, take him for all in all,
  I shall not look upon his like again.

    [_Crosses to_ L.]

  _Hor._ (C.) My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.

  _Ham._ Saw who?

  _Hor._ My lord, the king your father.

  _Ham._                               The king my father!

  _Hor._ Season your admiration for a while[58]
  With an attent ear; till I may deliver,
  Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
  This marvel to you.

  _Ham._             For Heaven's love, let me hear.

  _Hor._ Two nights together had these gentlemen,
  Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
  In the dead waste and middle of the night,[59]
  Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
  Arm'd at all points exactly, cap-à-pé,
  Appears before them, and, with solemn march
  Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
  By their oppress'd and fear-surprisèd eyes,
  Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distill'd
  Almost to jelly with the act of fear,[60]
  Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me
  In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
  And I with them the third night kept the watch:
  Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
  Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
  The apparition comes.

  _Ham._ But where was this?

    [_Crosses to_ MARCELLUS.]

  _Mar._ (R.) My lord, upon the platform where we

  _Ham._ (C.) Did you not speak to it?

  _Hor._ (L.)                    My lord, I did;
  But answer made it none: yet once methought
  It lifted up its head, and did address[61]
  Itself to motion, like as it would speak:
  But, even then, the morning cock crew loud,
  And at the sound it shrunk in haste away;
  And vanish'd from our sight.

  _Ham._                      'Tis very strange.

  _Hor._ As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
  And we did think it writ down[62] in our duty
  To let you know of it.

  _Ham._ Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
  Hold you the watch to-night?

  _Mar._                      We do, my lord.

  _Ham._ Arm'd, say you?

  _Mar._                Arm'd, my lord.

  _Ham._                               From top to toe?

  _Mar._ My lord, from head to foot.

  _Ham._                            Then saw you not
  His face?

  _Hor._ O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.[63]

  _Ham._ What, looked he frowningly?

  _Hor._                            A countenance more
  In sorrow than in anger.

  _Ham._                  Pale or red?

  _Hor._ Nay, very pale.

  _Ham._                And fix'd his eyes upon you?

  _Hor._ Most constantly.

  _Ham._                 I would I had been there.

  _Hor._ It would have much amaz'd you.

  _Ham._                               Very like,
  Very like. Stay'd it long?

  _Hor._ While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.

        } Longer, Longer.

  _Hor._ Not when I saw it.

  _Ham._                   His beard was grizzl'd, No?

  _Hor._ It was, as I have seen it in his life,
  A sable silver'd.

  _Ham._           I will watch to-night;
  Perchance, 'twill walk again.

  _Hor._ (C.)                  I warrant it will.

  _Ham._ If it assume my noble father's person,
  I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape,
  And bid me hold my peace.

    [_Crosses to_ L.]
                           I pray you all,
  If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
  Let it be tenable[64] in your silence still;
  And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
  Give it an understanding, but no tongue;
  I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
  Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
  I'll visit you.

  _Hor._ (R.) Our duty to your honour.

  _Ham._ Your loves, as mine to you: Farewell.

    [_Exeunt_ HORATIO, MARCELLUS, _and_ BERNARDO, R.H.]

  My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
  I doubt some foul play: 'would the night were come;
  Till then sit still, my soul: Foul deeds will rise,
  Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
    [_Exit_, L.H.]


    _Enter_ LAERTES _and_ OPHELIA (R.H.)

  _Laer._ (L.C.) My necessaries are embarked: farewell:
  And, sister, as the winds give benefit,[65]
  Let me hear from you.

  _Oph._ (R.C.)        Do you doubt that?

  _Laer._ For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,[66]
  Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
  A violet in the youth of primy nature,
  Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
  The pérfume and suppliance of a minute.[67]

  _Oph._ No more but so?

  _Laer._ He may not, as unvalued persons do,
  Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
  The safety and the health of the whole state.
  Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
  If with too credent ear you list his songs.
  Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister;
  And keep within the rear of your affection,[68]
  Out of the shot and danger of desire.
  The chariest maid[69] is prodigal enough,
  If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
  Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes:
  Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear:
  Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

  _Oph._ I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
  As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
  Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
  Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven
  Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,[70]
  Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
  And recks not his own read.[71]

  _Laer._                      O, fear me not.
  I stay too long;--but here my father comes.

    _Enter_ POLONIUS (L.H.)

  _Pol._ Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
  The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,[72]
  And you are staid for. There,--my blessing with you!

    [_Laying his hand on_ LAERTES' _head_.]

  And these few precepts in thy memory--
  Look thou charácter.[73] Give thy thoughts no tongue,
  Nor any unproportion'd thought[74] his act.
  Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
  The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
  Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel;
  But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
  Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware
  Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
  Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee.
  Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
  Take each man's censure,[75] but reserve thy judgment.
  Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
  But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
  For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
  And they in France of the best rank and station
  Are most select and generous, chief in that.[76]
  Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
  For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
  And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.[77]
  This above all,--To thine ownself be true;
  And it must follow, as the night the day,
  Thou canst not then be false to any man.
  Farewell; my blessing season this in thee![78]

  _Laer._ Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

    [_Crosses to_ L.]

  Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
  What I have said to you.

  _Oph._ (_Crosses to_ LAERTES.) 'Tis in my memory lock'd,
  And you yourself shall keep the key of it.[79]

  _Laer._ Farewell.

    [_Exit_ LAERTES, L.H.]

  _Pol._ What is it, Ophelia, he hath said to you?

  _Oph._ So please you, something touching the lord Hamlet.

  _Pol._ Marry, well bethought:
  'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
  Given private time to you;[80] and you yourself
  Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
  If it be so (as so 'tis put on me,[81]
  And that in way of caution), I must tell you,
  You do not understand yourself so clearly
  As it behoves my daughter, and your honour.
  What is between[82] you? give me up the truth.

  _Oph._ He hath, my lord, of late, made many tenders
  Of his affection to me.

  _Pol._ Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
  Unsifted[83] in such perilous circumstance.
  Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

  _Oph._ I do not know, my lord, what I should think.

  _Pol._ Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
  That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
  Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
  Or, you'll tender me a fool.

  _Oph._ My lord, he hath impórtun'd me with love
  In honourable fashion.

  _Pol._ Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.

  _Oph._ And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
  With almost all the holy vows of heaven.

  _Pol._ Ay, springes to catch woodcocks.[84] I do know,
  When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
  Lends the tongue vows: This is for all,--
  I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
  Have you so slander any leisure moment,[85]
  As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet.
  Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.

  _Oph._ I shall obey, my lord.

    [_Exeunt_, R.H.]


    _Enter_ HAMLET, HORATIO, _and_ MARCELLUS (L.H.U.E.)

  _Ham._ The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.

  _Hor._ It is a nipping and an eager air.[86]

  _Ham._ What hour now?

  _Hor._               I think it lacks of twelve.

  _Mar._ No, it is struck.

  _Hor._ (R.C.) Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the season,
  Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

    [_A Flourish of Trumpets, and Ordnance shot off without._]

  What does this mean, my lord?

  _Ham._ (L.C.) The king doth wake to-night,[87] and takes his
  And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
  The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
  The triumph of his pledge.

  _Hor._                    Is it a custom?

  _Ham._ Ay, marry, is't:

    [_Crosses to_ HORATIO.]

  But to my mind,--though I am native here,
  And to the manner born,--it is a custom
  More honour'd in the breach than the observance.

    _Enter_ Ghost (L.H.)

  _Hor._ (R.H.) Look, my lord, it comes!

  _Ham._ (C.) Angels and ministers of grace defend us!--
  Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
  Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
  Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
  Thou com'st in such a questionable shape,[89]
  That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee--Hamlet,
  King, father: Royal Dane: O, answer me!
  Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
  Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,[90]
  Have burst their cerements;[91] why the sepulchre,
  Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd,
  Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
  To cast thee up again! What may this mean,
  That thou, dead corse, again, in cómplete steel,
  Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
  Making night hideous; and we fools of nature[92]
  So horridly to shake our disposition[93]
  With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
  Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?

    [Ghost _beckons._]

  _Hor._ It beckons you to go away with it,
  As if it some impartment did desire
  To you alone.

    [Ghost _beckons again._]

  _Mar._   Look, with what courteous action
  It waves you to a more removèd ground:[94]
  But do not go with it.

  _Hor._                No, by no means.

  _Ham._ It will not speak; then I will follow it.

  _Hor._ Do not, my lord.

  _Ham._                 Why, what should be the fear?
  I do not set my life at a pin's fee;[95]
  And for my soul, what can it do to that,
  Being a thing immortal as itself?

    [Ghost _beckons._]

  It waves me forth again;--I'll follow it.

  _Hor._ What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,[96]
  Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
  That beetles o'er his base into the sea,[97]
  And there assume some other horrible form,
  And draw you into madness?

    [Ghost _beckons._]

  _Ham._                 It waves me still.--
  Go on; I'll follow thee.

  _Mar._ You shall not go, my lord.

  _Ham._                             Hold off your hands.

  _Hor._ Be rul'd; you shall not go.

  _Ham._                             My fate cries out,
  And makes each petty artery in this body
  As hardy as the Némean lion's nerve.[98]

    [Ghost _beckons_]

  Still am I call'd:--unhand me, gentlemen;

    [_Breaking from them._]

  By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me:--[99]
  I say, away!--Go on; I'll follow thee.

    [_Exeunt_ Ghost _and_ HAMLET, L.H., _followed at a distance by_


    _Re-enter_ Ghost _and_ HAMLET (L.H.U.E.)

  _Ham._ (R.) Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak; I'll go no further.

  _Ghost._ (L.) Mark me.

  _Ham._                I will.

  _Ghost._                     My hour is almost come,
  When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
  Must render up myself.

  _Ham._                Alas, poor ghost!

  _Ghost._ Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
  To what I shall unfold.

  _Ham._                 Speak; I am bound to hear.

  _Ghost._ So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

  _Ham._ What?

  _Ghost._ I am thy father's spirit;
  Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
  And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,[100]
  Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
  Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
  To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
  I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
  Would harrow up thy soul;[101] freeze thy young blood;
  Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres;
  Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
  And each particular hair to stand on end,[102]
  Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:[103]
  But this eternal blazon[104] must not be
  To ears of flesh and blood.--List, list, O, list!--
  If thou didst ever thy dear father love,----

  _Ham._ O Heaven!

  _Ghost._ Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

  _Ham._ Murder!

  _Ghost._ Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
  But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.

  _Ham._ Haste me to know it, that I, with wings as swift
  As meditation or the thoughts of love,
  May sweep to my revenge.

  _Ghost._                 I find thee apt;
  And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
  That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,[105]
  Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
  'Tis given out that, sleeping in mine orchard,[106]
  A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
  Is by a forged process[107] of my death
  Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
  The serpent that did sting thy father's life
  Now wears his crown.

  _Ham._ O, my prophetic soul! my uncle!

  _Ghost._ Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
  With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
  Won to his shameful lust
  The will of my most seeming virtuous queen:
  O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
  From me, whose love was of that dignity,
  That it went hand in hand even with the vow
  I made to her in marriage; and to decline
  Upon a wretch,[108] whose natural gifts were poor
  To those of mine!
  But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
  Brief let me be.--Sleeping within mine orchard,
  My custom always in the afternoon,
  Upon my secure[109] hour thy uncle stole,
  With juice of cursed hebenon[110] in a vial,
  And in the porches of mine ears did pour
  The leperous distilment; whose effect
  Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
  That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through
  The natural gates and alleys of the body;
  So did it mine;
  Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
  Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd:[111]
  Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
  Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;[112]
  No reckoning made, but sent to my account
  With all my imperfections on my head.

  _Ham._ O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!

  _Ghost._ If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
  Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
  A couch for luxury[113] and damnèd incest.
  But, howsoever thou pursu'st this act,
  Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
  Against thy mother aught: leave her to Heaven,
  And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
  To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
  The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
  And 'gins to pale his ineffectual fire:[114]
  Adieu, adieu, adieu! remember me.

    [_Exit_, L.H.]

  _Ham._ Hold, hold, my heart;
  And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
  But bear me stiffly up.--Remember thee!
  Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
  In this distracted globe.[115] Remember thee!
  Yea, from the table of my memory
  I'll wipe away all forms, all pressures past,[116]
  And thy commandment all alone shall live
  Within the book and volume of my brain,
  Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven,
  I have sworn't.

  _Hor._ (_Without._) My lord, my lord,----

  _Mar._ (_Without._) Lord Hamlet,----

  _Hor._ (_Without._) Heaven secure him!

  _Ham._                                So be it!

  _Mar._ (_Without._) Illo, ho, ho, my lord!

  _Ham._ Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.[117]

  _Enter_ HORATIO _and_ MARCELLUS (L.H.U.E.)

  _Mar._ (R.) How is't, my noble lord?

  _Hor._ (L.)                         What news, my lord?

  _Ham._ (C.) O, wonderful!

  _Hor._                   Good my lord, tell it.

  _Ham._                                         No;
  You will reveal it.

  _Hor._ Not I, my lord, by heaven.

  _Mar._                           Nor I, my lord.

  _Ham._ How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?
  But you'll be secret?--

        }                Ay, by heaven, my lord.

  _Ham._ There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all Denmark--
  But he's an arrant knave.[118]

  _Hor._ There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
  To tell us this.

  _Ham._ Why, right; you are in the right;
  And so, without more circumstance at all,
  I hold it fit that we shake hands, and part:
  You as your business and desire shall point you,
  For every man hath business and desire,
  Such as it is;--and, for my own poor part,
  Look you, I will go pray.

  _Hor._ These are but wild and whirling words,[119] my lord.

  _Ham._ I am sorry they offend you, heartily.

  _Hor._ There's no offence, my lord.

  _Ham._ Yes, by Saint Patrick,[120] but there is, Horatio,
  And much offence, too. Touching this vision here,
  It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
  For your desire to know what is between us,
  O'er-master it[121] as you may. And now, good friends,
  As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
  Give me one poor request.

  _Hor._                   What is't, my lord?
  We will.

  _Ham._ Never make known what you have seen to-night.

        } My lord, we will not.

  _Ham._                           Nay, but swear't.

  _Hor._                       Propose the oath, my lord.

  _Ham._ Never to speak of this that you have seen.
  Swear by my sword.

  [HORATIO _and_ MARCELLUS _place each their right
  hand on_ HAMLET'S _sword._]

  _Ghost._ (_Beneath._) Swear.

  _Hor._ O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

  _Ham._ And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.[122]
  There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
  Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
  But come;--
  Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
  How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
  As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet
  To put an antick disposition[123] on,--
  That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
  With arms encumber'd thus,[124] or this head-shake,
  Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
  As, _Well, we know_; or, _We could, an if we would_; or, _If
  we list to speak_;--or, _There be, an if they might_;--
  Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
  That you know aught of me:--This do you swear,
  So grace and mercy at your most need help you!

    [HORATIO _and_ MARCELLUS _again place their hands on_ HAMLET'S

  _Ghost._ (_Beneath._) Swear.

  _Ham._ Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! So gentlemen,
  With all my love I do commend me to you:
  And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
  May do, to express his love and friending to you,
  Heaven willing, shall not lack.[125] Let us go in together;

    [_Crosses to_ L.]

  And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
  The time is out of joint;--O cursèd spite,
  That ever I was born to set it right!
  Nay, come, let's go together.

    [_Exeunt_ L.H.]



Act I

    [Footnote I.1: _Me:_] _i.e., me_ who am already on the watch, and
    have a right to demand the watch-word.]

    [Footnote I.2: _Unfold_] Announce, make known.]

    [Footnote I.3: _Long live the King._] The watch-word.]

    [Footnote I.4: _The rivals of my watch_,] _Rivals_, for partners
    or associates.]

    [Footnote I.5: _And liegemen to the Dane._] _i.e._, owing
    allegiance to Denmark.]

    [Footnote I.6: _A piece of him._] Probably a cant expression.]

    [Footnote I.7: _To watch the minutes of this night_; This seems
    to have been an expression common in Shakespeare's time.]

    [Footnote I.8: _Approve our eyes_,] To _approve_, in
    Shakespeare's age, signified to make good or establish.]

    [Footnote I.9: _What we have seen._] We must here supply "with,"
    or "by relating" before "what we have seen."]

    [Footnote I.10: _It harrows me with fear and wonder._] _i.e._, it
    confounds and overwhelms me.]

    [Footnote I.11: _Usurp'st this time of night_,] _i.e._, abuses,
    uses against right, and the order of things.]

    [Footnote I.12: _I might not this believe, &c._] I _could_ not:
    it had not been permitted me, &c., without the full and perfect
    evidence, &c.]

    [Footnote I.13: _Jump at this dead hour_,] _Jump_ and _just_ were
    synonymous in Shakespeare's time.]

    [Footnote I.14: _In what particular thought to work_,] In what
    particular course to set my thoughts at work: in what particular
    train to direct the mind and exercise it in conjecture.]

    [Footnote I.15: _Gross and scope_] Upon the whole, and in a
    general view.]

    [Footnote I.16: _Bodes some strange eruption to our state_,]
    _i.e._, some political distemper, which will break out in
    dangerous consequences.]

    [Footnote I.17: _Palmy state_] Outspread, flourishing. Palm
    branches were the emblem of victory.]

    [Footnote I.18: _Sound, or use of voice_,] Articulation.]

    [Footnote I.19:

            _Uphoarded in thy life
      Extorted treasure in the womb of earth_,]

    So in Decker's Knight's Conjuring, &c. "If any of them had bound
    the spirit of gold by any charmes _in cares_, or in iron fetters,
    _under the ground_, they should, _for their own soule's quiet
    (which, questionless, else would whine up and down_,) not for the
    good of their children, release it."]

    [Footnote I.20:

      _And then it started like a guilty thing
      Upon a fearful summons._]

    Apparitions were supposed to fly from the crowing of the cock,
    because it indicated the approach of day.]

    [Footnote I.21: _Lofty_] High and loud.]

    [Footnote I.22: _The extravagant and erring spirit_]
    _Extravagant_ is, got out of his bounds. _Erring_ is here used in
    the sense of wandering.]

    [Footnote I.23: Laertes is unknown in the original story, being
    an introduction of Shakespeare's.]

    [Footnote I.24: _Green_;] Fresh.]

    [Footnote I.25: _Wisest sorrow_] Sober grief, passion discreetly

    [Footnote I.26: _With a defeated joy_,] _i.e._, with joy baffled;
    with joy interrupted by grief.]

    [Footnote I.27: _Barr'd_] Excluded--acted without the concurrence

    [Footnote I.28: _Your leave and favour_] The favour of your leave
    granted, the kind permission. Two substantives with a copulative
    being here, as is the frequent practice of our author, used for
    an adjective and substantive: an adjective sense is given to a

    [Footnote I.29: _Upon his will I sealed my hard consent:_] At or
    upon his earnest and importunate suit, I gave my full and final,
    though hardly obtained and reluctant, consent.]

    [Footnote I.30:

      _Take thy fair hour! time be thine;
      And thy best graces spend it at thy will!_]

    Catch the auspicious moment! be time thine own! and may the
    exercise of thy fairest virtue fill up those hours, that are
    wholly at your command!]

    [Footnote I.31: _A little more than kin, and less than kind._]
    Dr. Johnson says that _kind_ is the Teutonic word for _child_.
    Hamlet, therefore, answers to the titles of _cousin_ and _son_,
    which the king had given him, that he was somewhat more than
    _cousin_, and less than _son_. Steevens remarks, that it seems to
    have been another proverbial phrase: "The nearer we are in blood,
    the further we must be from love; the greater the _kindred_ is,
    the less the _kindness_ must be." _Kin_ is still used in the
    Midland Counties for _cousin_, and _kind_ signifies _nature_.
    Hamlet may, therefore, mean that the relationship between them
    had become _unnatural_.]

    [Footnote I.32: _I am too much i'the sun._] Meaning, probably,
    his being sent for from his studies to be exposed at his uncle's
    marriage as his _chiefest courtier_, and being thereby placed too
    much in the radiance of the king's presence; or, perhaps, an
    allusion to the proverb, "_Out of Heaven's blessing, into the
    warm sun:_" but it is not unlikely that a quibble is meant
    between _son_ and _sun_.]

    [Footnote I.33: _Nighted colour_] Black--night-like.]

    [Footnote I.34: _Vailed lids_] Cast down.]

    [Footnote I.35: _Which passeth show_;] _i.e._, "external manners
    of lament."]

    [Footnote I.36: _Trappings_] _Trappings_ are "furnishings."]

    [Footnote I.37: _That father lost, lost his_;] "That lost father
    (of your father, _i.e._, your grandfather), or father so lost,
    lost his.]"

    [Footnote I.38: _Do obsequious sorrow:_] Follow with becoming and
    ceremonious observance the memory of the deceased.]

    [Footnote I.39: _But to perséver_] This word was anciently
    accented on the second syllable.]

    [Footnote I.40: _Obstinate condolement_,] Ceaseless and
    unremitted expression of grief.]

    [Footnote I.41: _Incorrect to Heaven._] Contumacious towards

    [Footnote I.42: _Unprevailing_] Fruitless, unprofitable.]

    [Footnote I.43: _Sits smiling to my heart:_] _To_ is _at_:
    gladdens my heart.]

    [Footnote I.44: _In grace whereof_,] _i.e._, respectful regard or
    honour of which.]

    [Footnote I.45: _No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day_,]
    Dr. Johnson remarks, that the king's intemperance is very
    strongly impressed; everything that happens to him gives him
    occasion to drink. The Danes were supposed to be hard drinkers.]

    [Footnote I.46: _Resolve itself_] _To resolve_ is an old word
    signifying _to dissolve_.]

    [Footnote I.47: _His canon_] _i.e._, his rule or law].

    [Footnote I.48: _The uses of this world!_] _i.e._, the habitudes
    and usages of life.]

    [Footnote I.49: _Merely._] Wholly--entirely.]

    [Footnote I.50: _Hyperion to a satyr:_] An allusion to the
    exquisite beauty of Apollo, compared with the deformity of a
    satyr; that satyr, perhaps, being Pan, the brother of Apollo. Our
    great poet is here guilty of a false quantity, by calling
    Hypĕrīon, Hypērĭon, a mistake not unusual among our English

    [Footnote I.51: _Might not beteem_] _i.e._, might not allow,

    [Footnote I.52: _I'll change that name with you._] _i.e._, do not
    call yourself my _servant_, you are my _friend_; so I shall call
    you, and so I would have you call me.]

    [Footnote I.53: _In faith._] Faithfully, in pure and simple

    [Footnote I.54: _But what make you_] What is your object? What
    are you doing?]

    [Footnote I.55: _What, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?_] In
    Shakespeare's time there was a university at Wittenberg; but as
    it was not founded till 1502, it consequently did not exist in
    the time to which this play refers.]

    [Footnote I.56: _My dearest foe_] _i.e._, my direst or most
    important foe. This epithet was commonly used to denote the
    strongest and liveliest interest in any thing or person, for or

    [Footnote I.57: _Goodly king._] _i.e._, a good king.]

    [Footnote I.58:

      _Season your admiration for a while
      with an attent ear_;]

    _i.e._, suppress your astonishment for a short time, that you may
    be the better able to give your attention to what we will

    [Footnote I.59: _In the dead waste and middle of the night_,]
    _i.e._, in the dark and desolate vast, or vacant space and middle
    of the night. It was supposed that spirits had permission to
    range the earth by night alone.]

    [Footnote I.60: _With the act of fear_,] _i.e._, by the influence
    or power of fear.]

    [Footnote I.61: _Address_] _i.e._, make ready.]

    [Footnote I.62: _Writ down_] Prescribed by our own duty.]

    [Footnote I.63: _He wore his beaver up._] That part of the helmet
    which may be lifted up, to take breath the more freely.]

    [Footnote I.64: _Tenable_] _i.e._, strictly maintained.]

    [Footnote I.65: _Benefit_,] Favourable means.]

    [Footnote I.66: _Trifling of his favour_,] Gay and thoughtless

    [Footnote I.67: _Pérfume and suppliance of a minute._] _i.e._, an
    amusement to fill up a vacant moment, and render it agreeable.]

    [Footnote I.68: _Keep within the rear of your affection_,] Front
    not the peril; withdraw or check every warm emotion: advance not
    so far as your affection would lead you.]

    [Footnote I.69: _The chariest maid_] Chary is cautious.]

    [Footnote I.70: _Puff'd and reckless libertine._] Bloated and
    swollen, the effect of excess; and heedless and indifferent to

    [Footnote I.71: _Recks not his own read._] _i.e._, heeds not his
    own lessons or counsel.]

    [Footnote I.72: _Shoulder of your sail_,] A common sea phrase.]

    [Footnote I.73: _Look thou charácter._] _i.e._, a word often used
    by Shakespeare to signify to _write, strongly infix_; the accent
    is on the second syllable.]

    [Footnote I.74: _Unproportion'd thought_] Irregular, disorderly

    [Footnote I.75: _Each man's censure_,] Sentiment, opinion.]

    [Footnote I.76: _Chief in that._] _i.e._, chiefly in that.]

    [Footnote I.77: _Husbandry_] _i.e._, thrift, economical

    [Footnote I.78: _Season this in thee!_] _i.e._, infix it in such
    a manner as that it may never wear out.]

    [Footnote I.79: _Yourself shall keep the key of it._] Thence it
    shall not be dismissed, till you think it needless to retain it.]

    [Footnote I.80: _Given private time to you_;] Spent his time in
    private visits to you.]

    [Footnote I.81: _As so 'tis put on me_,] Suggested to, impressed
    on me.]

    [Footnote I.82: _Is between_] _i.e._, what has passed--what
    intercourse had.]

    [Footnote I.83: _Green girl, Unsifted_] _i.e._, inexperienced
    girl. Unsifted means one who has not nicely _canvassed_ and
    examined the peril of her situation.]

    [Footnote I.84: _Woodcocks._] Witless things.]

    [Footnote I.85: _Slander any leisure moment_,] _i.e._, I would
    not have you so disgrace your most idle moments, as not to find
    better employment for them than lord Hamlet's conversation.]

    [Footnote I.86: _An eager air._] _Eager_ here means _sharp_, from
    _aigre_, French.]

    [Footnote I.87: _Doth wake to-night_,] _i.e._, holds a late

    [Footnote I.88: _Takes his rouse_,] _Rouse_ means drinking bout,

    [Footnote I.89: _Questionable shape_,] To _question_, in our
    author's time, signified to _converse_. Questionable, therefore,
    means _capable of being conversed with._]

    [Footnote I.90: _Hearsed in death_,] Deposited with the
    accustomed funeral rites.]

    [Footnote I.91: _Cerements_;] Those precautions usually adopted
    in preparing dead bodies for sepulture.]

    [Footnote I.92: _Fools of nature_] _i.e._, making sport for

    [Footnote I.93: _Disposition_] Frame of mind and body.]

    [Footnote I.94: _Removèd ground:_] _Removed_ for _remote_.]

    [Footnote I.95: _At a pin's fee_;] _i.e._, the value of a pin.]

    [Footnote I.96: _What if it tempt you toward the flood, &c._]
    Malignant spirits were supposed to entice their victims into
    places of gloom and peril, and exciting in them the deepest

    [Footnote I.97: _Beetles o'er his base into the sea_,] _i.e._,
    projects darkly over the sea.]

    [Footnote I.98: _Némean lion's nerve._] Shakespeare, and nearly
    all the poets of his time, disregarded the quantity of Latin
    names. The poet has here placed the accent on the first syllable,
    instead of the second.]

    [Footnote I.99: _That lets me:_] To let, in the sense in which it
    is here used, means to hinder--to obstruct--to oppose. The word
    is derived from the Saxon.]

    [Footnote I.100: _To fast in fires_,] Chaucer has a similar
    passage with regard to eternal punishment--_"And moreover the
    misery of Hell shall be in default of meat and drink."_]

    [Footnote I.101: _Harrow up thy soul_;] Agitate and convulse.]

    [Footnote I.102: _Hair to stand on end_,] A common image of that

      "_Standing_ as frighted with _erected haire_."]

    [Footnote I.103: _The fretful porcupine:_] This animal being
    considered irascible and timid.]

    [Footnote I.104: _Eternal blazon_] _i.e._, publication or
    divulgation of things eternal.]

    [Footnote I.105: _Rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf_,] _i.e._,
    in indolence and sluggishness, by its torpid habits contributes
    to that morbid state of its juices which may figuratively be
    denominated rottenness.]

    [Footnote I.106: _Orchard_,] Garden.]

    [Footnote I.107: _Forged process_] _i.e._, false report of

    [Footnote I.108: _Decline upon a wretch._] Stoop with degradation

    [Footnote I.109: _Secure_] Unguarded.]

    [Footnote I.110: _Hebenon_] Hebenon is described by Nares in his
    Glossary, as the juice of ebony, supposed to be a deadly poison.]

    [Footnote I.111: _Despatch'd:_] Despoiled--bereft.]

    [Footnote I.112: _Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd_;] To
    _housel_ is to minister the sacrament to one lying on his death
    bed. _Disappointed_ is the same as unappointed, which here means
    unprepared. _Unanel'd_ is without extreme unction.]

    [Footnote I.113: _Luxury_] Lasciviousness.]

    [Footnote I.114: _Pale his uneffectual fire:_] _i.e._, not seen
    by the light of day; or it may mean, shining without heat.]

    [Footnote I.115: _In this distracted globe._] _i.e._, his head
    distracted with thought.]

    [Footnote I.116: _Pressures past_,] Impressions heretofore made.]

    [Footnote I.117: _Come, bird, come._] This is the call which
    falconers used to their hawk in the air when they would have him
    come down to them.]

    [Footnote I.118:

      _There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark--
      But he's an arrant knave._]

    Hamlet probably begins these words in the ardour of confidence
    and sincerity; but suddenly alarmed at the magnitude of the
    disclosure he was going to make, and considering that, not his
    friend Horatio only, but another person was present, he breaks
    off suddenly:--"There's ne'er a villain in all Denmark that can
    match (perhaps he would have said) my uncle in villainy; but
    recollecting the danger of such a declaration, he pauses for a
    moment, and then abruptly concludes:--"but he's an arrant

    [Footnote I.119: _Whirling words_,] Random words thrown out with
    no specific aim.]

    [Footnote I.120: _By Saint Patrick_,] At this time all the whole
    northern world had their learning from Ireland; to which place it
    had retired, and there flourished under the auspices of this

    [Footnote I.121: _O'er-master it_] Get the better of it.]

    [Footnote I.122: _Give it welcome._] Receive it courteously, as
    you would a stranger when introduced.]

    [Footnote I.123: _Antick disposition_] _i.e._, strange, foreign
    to my nature, a disposition which Hamlet assumes as a protection
    against the danger which he apprehends from his uncle, and as a
    cloak for the concealment of his own meditated designs.]

    [Footnote I.124: _Arms encumber'd thus_,] _i.e._, folded.]

    [Footnote I.125: _Friending to you--shall not lack_] Disposition
    to serve you shall not be wanting.]



    _Enter_ POLONIUS[1] (L.H.), _meeting Ophelia._ (R.H.)

  _Pol._ How now, Ophelia! What's the matter?

  _Oph._ O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!

  _Pol._ With what, in the name of Heaven?

  _Oph._ My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
  Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac'd;
  Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other,
  And with a look so piteous in purport,
  He comes before me.

  _Pol._ Mad for thy love?

  _Oph._                     My lord, I do not know;
  But, truly, I do fear it.

  _Pol._                 What said he?

  _Oph._ He took me by the wrist, and held me hard;
  Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
  And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
  He falls to such perusal of my face
  As he would draw it. Long staid he so;
  At last,--a little shaking of mine arm,
  And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
  He rais'd a sigh so piteous and profound,
  As it did seem to shatter all his bulk,[2]
  And end his being: That done, he lets me go:
  And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
  He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
  For out o'doors he went without their helps,
  And, to the last, bended their light on me.

  _Pol._ Come, go with me; I will go seek the king.
  This is the very ecstacy of love;[3]
  What, have you given him any hard words of late?

  _Oph._ No, my good lord; but, as you did command,
  I did repel his letters, and denied
  His access to me.

  _Pol._           That hath made him mad.
  Come, go we to the king:
  This must be known; which, being kept close, might move
  More grief to hide than hate to utter love.[4]
    [_Exeunt_ L.H.]


    Attendants (R.H.)

  _King._ (C.) Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
  Moreover that we much did long to see you,
  The need we have to use you did provoke
  Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
  Of Hamlet's transformation. What it should be,
  More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
  So much from the understanding of himself,[5]
  I cannot dream of: I entreat you both,
  That you vouchsafe your rest[6] here in our court
  Some little time: so by your companies
  To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
  Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
  That, open'd, lies within our remedy.

  _Queen._ (R.C.) Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you;
  And sure I am two men there are not living
  To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
  So to expend your time with us a while,
  Your visitation shall receive such thanks
  As fits a king's remembrance.

  _Ros._ (R.)                  Both your majesties
  Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,[7]
  Put your dread pleasures more into command
  Than to entreaty.

  _Guil._ (R.)     But we both obey,
  And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,[8]
  To lay our service freely at your feet.

  _King._ Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.

  _Queen._ I do beseech you instantly to visit
  My too much changèd son. Go, some of you,
  And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
  Attendants, R.H.]

  _Enter_ POLONIUS (L.H.)

  _Pol._ Now do I think (or else this brain of mine
  Hunts not the trail of policy[9] so sure
  As it hath us'd to do), that I have found
  The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

  _King._ (C.) O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.

  _Pol._ (L.C.) My liege, and madam, to expostulate[10]
  What majesty should be, what duty is,
  Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
  Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
  Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
  And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,--
  I will be brief:--Your noble son is mad:
  Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
  What is't, but to be nothing else but mad?
  But let that go.

  _Queen._ (R.C.) More matter, with less art.

  _Pol._ Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
  That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
  And pity 'tis, 'tis true: a foolish figure;
  But farewell it, for I will use no art.
  Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
  That we find out the cause of this effect,
  Or, rather say, the cause of this defect,
  For this effect defective comes by cause:
  Thus it remains, and the remainder thus,
  I have a daughter, have, while she is mine,
  Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
  Hath given me this: Now gather, and surmise.

    [Reads] _To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified

    That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase, _beautified_ is a vile phrase:
    but you shall hear. Thus:

    _In her excellent white bosom,[13] these_, &c.[14]

  _Queen._ Came this from Hamlet to her?

  _Pol._ Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.--

      _Doubt thou the stars are fire;_
        _Doubt thou the sun doth move;_
      _Doubt truth to be a liar;_
        _But never doubt, I love._

    _O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers;[15] I have not art to
    reckon my groans: but that I love thee best, O most best,[16]
    believe it. Adieu._

    _Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him_,[17]

  This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me:
  And more above,[18] hath his solicitings,[19]
  As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
  All given to my ear.

  _King._             But how hath she
  Receiv'd his love?

  _Pol._ What do you think of me?

  _King._ As of a man faithful and honourable.

  _Pol._ I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
  When I had seen this hot love on the wing
  (As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
  Before my daughter told me), what might you,
  Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
  If I had play'd the desk or table book;[20]
  Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb;[21]
  Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;[22]
  What might you think? No, I went round to work,[23]
  And my young mistress thus did I bespeak:
  _Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy sphere;
  This must not be:_ and then I precepts gave her,
  That she should lock herself from his resort,
  Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
  Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;[24]
  And he, repuls'd (a short tale to make),
  Fell into sadness; thence into a weakness;
  Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
  Into the madness wherein now he raves,
  And all we mourn for.

  _King._              Do you think 'tis this?

  _Queen._ It may be, very likely.

  _Pol._ Hath there been such a time (I'd fain know that,)
  That I have positively said, _'tis so_,
  When it proved otherwise?

  _King._                  Not that I know.

  _Pol._ Take this from this, if it be otherwise:

    [_Pointing to his head and shoulder._]

  If circumstances lead me, I will find
  Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
  Within the centre.

  _King._           How may we try it further?

  _Pol._ You know, sometimes he walks for hours together
  Here in the lobby.

  _Queen._          So he does, indeed.

  _Pol._ At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
  Mark the encounter: if he love her not,
  And be not from his reason fallen thereon,
  Let me be no assistant for a state,
  But keep a farm, and carters.

  _King._                      We will try it.

  _Queen._ But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.

  _Pol._ Away, I do beseech you both, away:
  I'll board him presently.[25]

    [_Exeunt_ KING _and_ QUEEN, R.H.]

    _Enter_ HAMLET, _reading_ (L.C.)

_Pol._ How does my good lord Hamlet?

_Ham._ (C.) Excellent well.

_Pol._ (R.) Do you know me, my lord?

_Ham._ Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.[26]

_Pol._ Not I, my lord.

_Ham._ Then I would you were so honest a man.

_Pol._ Honest, my lord!

_Ham._ Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man
picked out of ten thousand.

_Pol._ That's very true, my lord.

_Ham._ For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god,
kissing carrion,----Have you a daughter?[27]

_Pol._ I have, my lord.

_Ham._ Let her not walk i'the sun: conception is a blessing; but as
your daughter may conceive,--friend, look to't, look to't, look to't.

  [_Goes up stage._]

_Pol._ (_Aside._) Still harping on my daughter:--yet he knew me not
at first; he said I was a fishmonger.

[_Crosses to_ L.]

I'll speak to him again.--What do you read, my lord?

_Ham._ (C.) Words, words, words.

_Pol._ (L.) What is the matter, my lord?

_Ham._ Between who?

_Pol._ I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

_Ham._ Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue[28] says here that old
men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes
purging thick amber and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful
lack of wit, together with most weak hams: All of which, sir, though
I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to
have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, shall be as old as I am,
if, like a crab, you could go backward.

  [_Crosses_, L.]

_Pol._ (_Aside._) Though this be madness, yet there's method in it.
Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

_Ham._ Into my grave?

  [_Crosses_ R.]

_Pol._ (L.) Indeed, that is out o' the air.--How pregnant sometimes
his replies[29] are! a happiness that often madness hits on, which
reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will
leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and
my daughter.--My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of

_Ham._ (C.) You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more
willingly part withall, except my life, except my life, except my

_Pol._ Fare you well, my lord.

  [_Exit_ POLONIUS, L.H.]

_Ham._ These tedious old fools!

_Pol._ (_Without._) You go to seek the lord Hamlet; there he is.

_Ros._ Heaven save you, sir!


_Guil._ My honor'd lord!--

_Ros._ My most dear lord!--

_Ham._ My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern?

  [_Crosses to_ ROSENCRANTZ.]

Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both? What news?

_Ros._ (L.) None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.

_Ham._ (C.) Then is dooms-day near: but your news is not true. In the
beaten way of friendship,[30] what make you at Elsinore?

_Ros._ To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.

_Ham._ Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you.
Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free
visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.

_Guil._ (R.) What should we say, my lord?

_Ham._ Any thing--but to the purpose. You were sent for; and there is
a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not
craft enough to colour: I know the good king and queen have sent for

_Ros._ To what end, my lord?

_Ham._ That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights
of our fellowship, [_taking their hands_,] by the consonancy of our
youth,[31] by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what
more dear a better proposer[32] could charge you withal, be even[33]
and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no?

_Ros._ What say you?


_Ham._ Nay, then, I have an eye of you.[34]

  [_Crosses_ R.]


--if you love me, hold not off.

_Guil._ My lord, we were sent for.

_Ham._ (_Returning_ C.) I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult
no feather.[35] I have of late (but wherefore I know not) lost all my
mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and, indeed, it goes so
heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems
to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look
you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul
and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man!
How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving
how express[36] and admirable! in action how like an angel! in
apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon[37]
of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man
delights not me,--nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem
to say so.

_Ros._ My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.

_Ham._ Why did you laugh, then, when I said, _Man delights not me?_

_Ros._ To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten
entertainment[38] the players shall receive from you: we coted them
on the way;[39] and hither are they coming, to offer you service.

_Ham._ He that plays the king shall be welcome, his majesty shall
have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foil and
target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall end
his part in peace;[40] and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the
blank verse shall halt for't.[41]--What players are they?

_Ros._ Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the
tragedians of the city.

_Ham._ How chances it, they travel?[42] their residence, both in
reputation and profit, was better both ways. Do they hold the same
estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed?

_Ros._ No, indeed, they are not.

_Ham._ It is not very strange; for my uncle is king of Denmark,[43]
and those that would make mouths at him[44] while my father lived,
give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece for his picture
in little.[45] There is something in this more than natural, if
philosophy could find it out.

  [_Flourish of trumpets without._]

_Guil._ There are the players.

_Ham._ Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands. You are
welcome: but my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.

_Guil._ In what, my dear lord?

_Ham._ I am but mad north-north west: when the wind is southerly I
know a hawk from a hern-shaw.[46]

  [_Crosses_ R.]

_Pol._ (_Without_, L.H.) Well be with you, gentlemen!

_Ham._ (_Crosses_ C.) Hark you, Guildenstern;--and Rosencrantz: that
great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.

_Ros._ (R.) Haply he's the second time come to them; for they say an
old man is twice a child.

_Ham._ I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players; mark
it.--You say right, sir: o'Monday morning; 'twas then, indeed.

  _Enter_ POLONIUS (L.H.)

_Pol._ My lord, I have news to tell you.

_Ham._ My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor in

_Pol._ The actors are come hither, my lord.

_Ham._ Buz, buz![47]

_Pol._ Upon my honour,----

_Ham._ Then came each actor on his ass.[48]

_Pol._ The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy,
history, pastoral, pastorical-comical, historical-pastoral, scene
indivisible, or poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor
Plautus too light.[49] For the law of writ and the liberty, these are
the only men.[50]

_Ham._ _O, Jephthah, judge of Israel_,--what a treasure hadst thou!

_Pol._ What a treasure had he, my lord?

  _Ham._ Why,--_One fair daughter, and no more,
  The which he loved passing well._

_Pol._ Still harping on my daughter.


_Ham._ Am I not i'the right, old Jephthah?

_Pol._ If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I
love passing well.

_Ham._ Nay, that follows not.

_Pol._ What follows, then, my lord?

_Ham._ Why, _As by lot, God wot_,[51] and then, you know, _It came to
pass, As most like it was_,--The first row of the pious Chanson[52]
will show you more; for look, my abridgment comes.[53]

  _Enter Four or Five_ Players (L.H.)--POLONIUS _crosses behind_
     HAMLET _to_ R.H.

You are welcome, masters; welcome, all: O, old friend! Why, thy face
is valanced[54] since I saw thee last; Com'st thou to beard me[55] in
Denmark?--What, my young lady and mistress. By-'r-lady, your ladyship
is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a
chopine.[56] You are welcome. We'll e'en to't like French
falconers,[57] fly at anything we see: We'll have a speech straight:
Come, give us a taste of your quality;[58] come, a passionate speech.

_1st Play._ (L.H.) What speech, my lord?

_Ham._ I heard thee speak me a speech once,--but it was never acted;
or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not
the million; 'twas caviare to the general:[59] but it was an
excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much
modesty as cunning.[60] One speech in it I chiefly loved; 'twas
Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks
of Priam's slaughter: If it live in your memory, begin at this line;
let me see, let me see;--

_The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast_,--'tis not so: it
begins with Pyrrhus:

  _The rugged Pyrrhus,--he, whose sable arms_,
  _Black as his purpose, did the night resemble_,
  _Old grandsire Priam seeks._

_Pol._ (R.) 'Fore Heaven, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and
good discretion.

_Ham._ (C.) So proceed you.

  _1st Play._ (L.) _Anon he finds him
  Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
  Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
  Repugnant to command: Unequal match'd,
  Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
  But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword[61]
  The unnerved father falls.
  But, as we often see, against some storm,
  A silence in the heavens, the rack[62] stand still,
  The bold wind speechless, and the orb below
  As hush as death; anon the dreadful thunder
  Doth rend the region; So, after Pyrrhus' pause,
  A roused vengeance sets him new a work;
  And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
  On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne,
  With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
  Now falls on Priam.--
  Out, out, thou fickle Fortune!_

_Pol._ (R.) This is too long.

_Ham._ It shall to the barber's, with your beard.--Say on;--come to

  _1st Play._ _But who, ah woe, had seen the mobled queen_--

_Ham._ The mobled queen?[63]

_Pol._ That's good; mobled queen is good.

  _1st Play._ _Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames;
  A clout upon that head
  Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe,
  A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
  Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
  'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounced._

_Pol._ Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and has tears in's
eyes.--Prithee, no more.

_Ham._ (C.) 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this
soon.--Good, my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you
hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief
chronicles of the time: After your death you were better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.

_Pol._ (R.) My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

_Ham._ Much better: Use every man after his desert, and who shall
'scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity: The less
they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.

  [_Crosses to_ R.H.]

_Pol._ Come, sirs.

_Ham._ Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.

  [_Exit_ POLONIUS _with some of the_ Players, L.H.]

Old friend

  [_Crosses to_ C.]

--My good friends


I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore--can you play
the murder of Gonzago?


_1st Play._ Ay, my lord.

_Ham._ We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a
speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would insert
in't--could you not?

_1st Play._ Ay, my lord.

_Ham._ Very well.--Follow that lord; and look you mock him not.

[_Exit_ Player, L.H.]

                    Now I am alone.
  O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
  Is it not monstrous, that this player here,
  But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
  Could force his soul so to his own conceit,
  That, from her working, all his visage wann'd;[64]
  Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
  A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
  With forms to his conceit?[65] And all for nothing!
  For Hecuba?
  What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
  That he should weep for her? What would he do,
  Had he the motive and the cue[66] for passion
  That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
  And cleave the general ear with horrid speech;
  Make mad the guilty, and appal the free;
  Confound the ignorant, and amaze, indeed,
  The very faculties of eyes and ears.
  Yet I,
  A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
  Like John a-dreams,[67] unpregnant of my cause,[68]
  And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
  Upon whose property and most dear life
  A damn'd defeat was made.[69] Am I a coward?
  Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
  Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?
  Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i'the throat,
  As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this,
  Why, I should take it: for it cannot be
  But I am pigeon-liver'd, and lack gall
  To make oppression bitter;[70] or, ere this,
  I should have fatted all the region kites
  With this slave's offal: Bloody, bawdy villain!
  Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless[71] villain!
  O, vengeance!
  Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
  That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
  Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
  Must, like a scold, unpack my heart with words,
  And fall a cursing, like a very drab,
  A scullion!
  Fye upon't! fye! About, my brains![72] I have heard
  That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
  Have by the very cunning of the scene
  Been struck so to the soul, that presently
  They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
  For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
  With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
  Play something like the murder of my father
  Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
  I'll tent him to the quick:[73] if he do blench,[74]
  I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
  May be the devil: and the devil hath power
  To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps
  Out of my weakness and my melancholy
  (As he is very potent with such spirits),
  Abuses me to damn me: I'll have good grounds
  More relative than this:[75] The play's the thing
  Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

    [_Exit_, R.H.]



Act II

    [Footnote II.1: _Polonius_,] Doctor Johnson describes Polonius as
    "a man bred in courts, exercised in business, stored with
    observation, confident in his knowledge, proud of his eloquence,
    and declining into dotage. A man positive and confident, because
    he knows his mind was once strong, and knows not that it is
    become weak." The idea of dotage encroaching upon wisdom will
    solve all the phenomena of the character of Polonius.]

    [Footnote II.2: _His bulk_,] Frame.]

    [Footnote II.3: _Ecstacy of love_;] _i.e._, madness of love. In
    this sense the word is now obsolete.]

    [Footnote II.4:

      _This must be known; which being kept close, might move
      More grief to hide than hate to utter love._]

    _i.e._, this must be made known to the king, for (being kept
    secret) the hiding Hamlet's love might occasion more mischief to
    us from him and the queen, than the uttering or revealing of it
    will occasion hate and resentment from Hamlet.

    It was the custom of Shakespeare's age, to conclude acts and
    scenes with a couplet, a custom which was continued for nearly a
    century afterwards.]

    [Footnote II.5: _The understanding of himself_,] _i.e._, the just
    estimate of himself.]

    [Footnote II.6: _Vouchsafe your rest_] Please to reside.]

    [Footnote II.7: _Of us_,] _i.e._, over us.]

    [Footnote II.8: _In the full bent_,] To the full stretch and
    range--a term derived from archery.]

    [Footnote II.9: _The trail of policy_] The _trail_ is the
    _course_ of an animal pursued by the scent.]

    [Footnote II.10: _Expostulate_] To _expostulate_ is to discuss,
    to put the pros and cons, to answer demands upon the question.
    _Expose_ is an old term of similar import.]

    [Footnote II.11: _Perpend._] _i.e._, reflect, consider

    [Footnote II.12: _Most beautified Ophelia_,] Heywood, in his
    History of Edward VI., says "Katharine Parre, Queen Dowager to
    King Henry VIII., was a woman _beautified_ with many excellent
    virtues." The same expression is frequently used by other old

    [Footnote II.13: _In her excellent white bosom_,] The ladies, in
    Shakespeare's time, wore pockets in the front of their stays.]

    [Footnote II.14: _These, &c._] In our poet's time, the word
    _these_ was usually added at the end of the superscription of

    [Footnote II.15: _I am ill at these numbers_;] No talent for
    these rhymes.]

    [Footnote II.16: _O most best_,] An ancient mode of expression.]

    [Footnote II.17: _Whilst this machine is to him_,] Belongs to,
    obey his impulse; so long as he is "a sensible warm motion," the
    similar expression to "While my wits are my own."]

    [Footnote II.18: _And more above_,] _i.e._, moreover, besides.]

    [Footnote II.19: _His solicitings_,] _i.e._, his love-making, his
    tender expressions.]

    [Footnote II.20: _If I had played the desk, or table book_;] This
    line may either mean _if I had conveyed intelligence between
    them_, or, _known of their love, if I had locked up his secret in
    my own breast, as closely as it were confined in a desk or table

    [Footnote II.21: _Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb_;]
    _i.e._, connived at it.]

    [Footnote II.22: _With idle sight_;] _i.e._, with indifference.]

    [Footnote II.23: _Round to work_,] _i.e._, roundly, without

    [Footnote II.24: _Which done, she took the fruits of my advice_;]
    She took the _fruits_ of advice when she obeyed advice, the
    advice was then made _fruitful._--JOHNSON.]

    [Footnote II.25: _I'll board him presently._] Accost, address

    [Footnote II.26: _You are a fishmonger._] This was an expression
    better understood in Shakespeare's time than at present, and no
    doubt was relished by the audience of the Globe Theatre as
    applicable to the Papists, who in Queen Elizabeth's time were
    esteemed enemies to the Government. Hence the proverbial phrase
    of _He's an honest man and eats no fish_; to signify he's a
    friend to the Government and a Protestant.]

    [Footnote II.27: _For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,
    being a god, kissing carrion,----Have you a daughter?_] _i.e._,
    Hamlet having just remarked that honesty is very rare in the
    world, adds, that since there is so little virtue, since
    corruption abounds everywhere, and maggots are _bred_ by the sun,
    which is a god, even in a dead dog, Polonius ought to take care
    to prevent his daughter from walking in the sun, lest she should
    prove _"a breeder of sinners;"_ for though _conception_
    (understanding) in general be a blessing, yet as Ophelia might
    chance to _conceive_ (to be pregnant), it might be a calamity.
    Hamlet's abrupt question, _"Have you a daughter?"_ is evidently
    intended to impress Polonius with the belief of the Prince's

    [Footnote II.28: _The satirical rogue_] Hamlet alludes to
    Juvenal, who in his 10th Satire, describes the evils of long

    [Footnote II.29: _How pregnant his replies_] Big with meaning.]

    [Footnote II.30: _Beaten way of friendship_,] Plain track, open
    and unceremonious course.]

    [Footnote II.31: _Rights of our fellowship and constancy of our
    youth_,] Habits of familiar intercourse and correspondent years.]

    [Footnote II.32: _A better proposer_] An advocate of more address
    in shaping his aims, who could make a stronger appeal.]

    [Footnote II.33: _Even_] Without inclination any way.]

    [Footnote II.34: _Nay, then, I have an eye of you._] _i.e._, I
    have a glimpse of your meaning. Hamlet's penetration having shown
    him that his two friends are set over him as spies.]

    [Footnote II.35: _So shall my anticipation prevent your
    discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no
    feather._] Be beforehand with your discovery, and the plume and
    gloss of your secret pledge be in no feather shed or tarnished.]

    [Footnote II.36: _Express_] According to pattern, justly and
    perfectly modelled.]

    [Footnote II.37: _Paragon_] Model of perfection.]

    [Footnote II.38: _Lenten entertainment_] _i.e._, sparing, like
    the entertainments given in Lent.]

    [Footnote II.39: _We coted them on the way_;] To cote, is to pass
    by, to pass the side of another. It appears to be a word of
    French origin, and was a common sporting term in Shakespeare's

    [Footnote II.40: _The humorous man shall end his part in peace_;]
    The fretful or capricious man shall vent the whole of his spleen

    [Footnote II.41: _The lady shall say her mind freely, or the
    blank verse shall halt for't._] _i.e._, the lady shall mar the
    measure of the verse, rather than not express herself freely and

    [Footnote II.42: _Travel?_] Become strollers.]

    [Footnote II.43: _It is not very strange; for my uncle is king of
    Denmark_;] This is a reflection on the mutability of fortune, and
    the variableness of man's mind.]

    [Footnote II.44: _Make mouths at him_] _i.e._, deride him by
    antic gestures and mockery.]

    [Footnote II.45: _In little._] In miniature.]

    [Footnote II.46: _I know a hawk from a hern-shaw._] A hernshaw is
    a heron or hern. _To know a hawk from a hernshaw_ is an ancient
    proverb, sometimes corrupted into _handsaw_. Spencer quotes the
    proverb, as meaning, _wise enough to know the hawk from its

    [Footnote II.47: _Buz, buz!_] Sir William Blackstone states that
    _buz_ used to be an interjection at Oxford when any one began a
    story that was generally known before.]

    [Footnote II.48: _Then came each actor on his ass._] This seems
    to be a line of a ballad.]

    [Footnote II.49: _Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too
    light._] An English translation of the tragedies of Seneca was
    published in 1581, and one comedy of Plautus, viz., the
    Menœchme, in 1595.]

    [Footnote II.50: _For the law of writ and the liberty, these are
    the only men._] The probable meaning of this passage is,--_For
    the observance of the rules of the Drama, while they take such
    liberties, as are allowable, they are the only men_--_writ_ is an
    old word for _writing_.]

    [Footnote II.51: _As by lot, God wot_,] There was an old ballad
    entitled the song of Jephthah, from which these lines are
    probably quotations. The story of Jephthah was also one of the
    favourite subjects of ancient tapestry.]

    [Footnote II.52: _The first row of the pious Chanson_] This
    expression does not appear to be very well understood. Steevens
    tells us that the _pious chansons_ were a kind of _Christmas
    carols_, containing some scriptural history thrown into loose
    rhymes, and sung about the streets. The _first row_ appears to
    mean the _first division_ of one of these.]

    [Footnote II.53: _My abridgment comes._] Hamlet alludes to the
    players, whose approach will shorten his talk.]

    [Footnote II.54: _Thy face is valanced_] _i.e._, fringed with a
    beard. The valance is the fringes or drapery hanging round the
    tester of a bed.]

    [Footnote II.55: _Com'st thou to beard me_] To _beard_ anciently
    meant to set _at defiance_. Hamlet having just told the player
    that his face is valanced, is playing upon the word _beard_.]

    [Footnote II.56: _By the altitude of a chopine._] A chioppine is
    a high shoe, or rather clog, worn by the Italians. Venice was
    more famous for them than any other place. They are described as
    having been made of wood covered with coloured leather, and
    sometimes _even half a yard high_, their altitude being
    proportioned to the rank of the lady, so that they could not walk
    without being supported.]

    [Footnote II.57: _Like French falconers_,] The French seem to
    have been the first and noblest falconers in the western part of
    Europe. The French king sent over his falconers to show that
    sport to King James the First.--_See Weldon's Court of King

    [Footnote II.58: _Quality_;] Qualifications, faculty.]

    [Footnote II.59: _Caviare to the general_;] Caviare is the spawn
    of fish pickled, salted, and dried. It is imported from Russia,
    and was considered in the time of Shakespeare a new and
    fashionable luxury, not obtained or relished by the vulgar, and
    therefore used by him to signify anything above their
    comprehension--general is here used for the people.]

    [Footnote II.60: _As much modesty as cunning._] As much propriety
    and decorum as skill.]

    [Footnote II.61: _Falls with the whiff and wind of his fell
    sword_] Our author employs the same image in almost the same

           "The Grecians _fall
      Even in the fan and wind of your fair sword._"

        _Tr. & Cress. V. 3. Tr._]

    [Footnote II.62: _The rack_] The clouds or congregated vapour.]

    [Footnote II.63: _The mobled queen?_] Mobled is veiled, muffled,

    [Footnote II.64: _All his visage wann'd_;] _i.e._, turned pale or

    [Footnote II.65: _His whole functions suiting with forms to his
    conceit?_] _i.e._, his powers and faculties--the whole energies
    of his soul and body giving material forms to his passion, such
    as tone of voice, expression of face, requisite action, in
    accordance with the ideas that floated in his conceit or

    [Footnote II.66: _The cue_] The point--the direction.]

    [Footnote II.67: _Like John a-dreams_,] Or dreaming John, a name
    apparently coined to suit a dreaming, stupid person; he seems to
    have been a well-known character.]

    [Footnote II.68: _Unpregnant of my cause_,] _i.e._, not quickened
    with a new desire of vengeance; not teeming with revenge.]

    [Footnote II.69: _Defeat was made._] Overthrow.]

    [Footnote II.70: _Lack gall to make oppression bitter_;] _i.e._,
    lack gall to make me feel the bitterness of oppression.]

    [Footnote II.71: _Kindless_] Unnatural.]

    [Footnote II.72: _About, my brains!_] Wits to work.]

    [Footnote II.73: _I'll tent him to the quick:_] _i.e._, probe
    him--search his wounds.]

    [Footnote II.74: _Blench_,] Shrink, start aside.]

    [Footnote II.75: _More relative than this:_] Directly



    _Three chairs on_ L.H., _one on_ R.

    _Enter_ KING _and_ QUEEN, _preceded by_ POLONIUS. OPHELIA,
        ROSENCRANTZ, _and_ GIULDENSTERN, _following_ (R.H.)

  _King._ (C.) And can you, by no drift of conference,
  Get from him why he puts on this confusion?

  _Ros._ (R.) He does confess he feels himself distracted;
  But from what cause he will by no means speak.

  _Guild._ (R.) Nor do we find him forward[1] to be sounded
  But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
  When we would bring him on to some confession
  Of his true state.

  _Queen._ (R.C.) Did you assay him[2]
  To any pastime?

  _Ros._ Madam, it so fell out, that certain players
  We o'er-raught on the way:[3] of these we told him;
  And there did seem in him a kind of joy
  To hear of it: They are about the court;
  And, as I think, they have already order
  This night to play before him.

  _Pol._                        'Tis most true:
  And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties
  To hear and see the matter.

  _King._ With all my heart; and it doth much content me
  To hear him so inclin'd.
  Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
  And drive his purpose on to these delights.

  _Ros._ We shall, my lord.


  _King._                Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
  For we have closely sent[4] for Hamlet hither,
  That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
  Affront Ophelia:[5]
  Her father and myself (lawful espials[6]),
  Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen,
  We may of their encounter frankly judge;
  And gather by him, as he is behaved,
  If't be the affliction of his love or no
  That thus he suffers for.

  _Queen._ (R.)            I shall obey you:
  And for your part, Ophelia,

    [OPHELIA _comes down_ L.H.]

                             I do wish
  That your good beauties be the happy cause
  Of Hamlet's wildness: so shall I hope your virtues
  Will bring him to his wonted way again,
  To both your honours.

  _Oph._               Madam, I wish it may.

    [_Exit_ QUEEN, R.H.]

  _Pol._ Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you,
  We will bestow ourselves. Read on this book;

    [_To_ OPHELIA.]

  That show of such an exercise may colour
  Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,--
  'Tis too much prov'd,[7] that, with devotion's visage
  And pious action, we do sugar o'er
  The devil himself.

  _King._           O, 'tis too true! how smart
  A lash that speech doth give my conscience!


  _Pol._ I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord.

    [_Exeunt_ KING _and_ POLONIUS, R.H.2 E., _and_
      OPHELIA, R.H.U.E.]

  _Enter_ HAMLET (L.H.)

  _Ham._ To be, or not to be, that is the question:[8]
  Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
  The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
  Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,[9]
  And, by opposing end them?--To die,--to sleep,
  No more;--and by a sleep, to say we end
  The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
  That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
  Devoutly to be wished. To die,--to sleep,--
  To sleep! perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
  For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
  When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,[10]
  Must give us pause:[11] There's the respect[12]
  That makes calamity of so long life;
  For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,[13]
  The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,[14]
  The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
  The insolence of office, and the spurns
  That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
  When he himself might his quietus make[15]
  With a bare bodkin?[16] Who would fardels bear,[17]
  To groan and sweat under a weary life,
  But that the dread of something after death,
  The undiscovered country, from whose bourn[18]
  No traveller returns,[19] puzzles the will,
  And makes us rather bear those ills we have
  Than fly to others that we know not of?
  Thus, conscience does make cowards of us all;[20]
  And thus the native hue of resolution
  Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
  And enterprises of great pith and moment,[21]
  With this regard, their currents turn away,
  And lose the name of action.[22]--

    [OPHELIA _returns._]

                                  --Soft you now![23]
  The fair Ophelia:--Nymph, in thy orisons[24]
  Be all my sins remember'd.

  _Oph._ (R.C.)             Good my lord,
  How does your honour for this many a day?

  _Ham._ (L.C.) I humbly thank you; well.

  _Oph._ My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
  That I have longèd long to re-deliver;
  I pray you, now receive them.

  _Ham._                       No, not I;
  I never gave you aught.

  _Oph._ My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
  And, with them, words of so sweet breath compos'd
  As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
  Take these again; for to the noble mind
  Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
  There, my lord.

_Ham._ Ha, ha! are you honest?

_Oph._ My lord?

_Ham._ Are you fair?

_Oph._ What means your lordship?

_Ham._ That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no
discourse to your beauty.[25]

_Oph._ Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

_Ham._ Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform
honesty from what it is to a bawd, than the force of honesty can
translate beauty into his likeness:[26] this was some time a paradox,
but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

_Oph._ Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

_Ham._ You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot so
inoculate our old stock, but we shall relish of it:[27] I loved you

_Oph._ I was the more deceived.

_Ham._ Get thee to a nunnery: Why wouldst thou be a breeder of
sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of
such things, that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am
very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck[28]
than I have thoughts to put them in,[29] imagination to give them
shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do,
crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves, all;
believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father?

_Oph._ At home, my lord.

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

_Oph._ O, help him, you sweet heavens!

_Ham._ If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry.
Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape
calumny. Get thee to a nunnery; farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you
make of them. To a nunnery, go; go; go.

_Oph._ Heavenly powers, restore him!

_Ham._ I have heard of your paintings[30] too, well enough; Heaven
hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another:[31] you
jig, you amble, and you lisp,[32] and nickname Heaven's creatures,
and make your wantonness your ignorance.[33] Go to, I'll no more
of't; it hath made me mad.

  [HAMLET _crosses to_ R.H.]

I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married
already, all but one,[34] shall live; the rest shall keep as they
are. To a nunnery, go.

    [_Exit_ HAMLET, R.H.[35]]

  _Oph._ (L.) O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
  The expectancy and rose of the fair state,[36]
  The glass of fashion[37] and the mould of form,[38]
  The observ'd of all observers, quite, quite down!
  And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
  That suck'd the honey of his musick vows,[39]
  Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
  Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh:
  O, woe is me,
  To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

    [_Exit_ OPHELIA, L.H.]

    _Re-enter_ KING _and_ POLONIUS.

  _King._ Love! his affections do not that way tend;
  Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
  Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
  O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
  He shall with speed to England,
  For the demand of our neglected tribute:
  Haply, the seas, and countries different,
  With variable objects, shall expel
  This something-settled matter in his heart;
  Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
  From fashion of himself. What think you on't?

  _Pol._ It shall do well: But yet I do believe
  The origin and commencement of his grief
  Sprung from neglected love. My lord, do as you please;
  But, if you hold it fit, after the play,
  Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
  To show his grief: let her be round with him;[40]
  And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
  Of all their conference. If she find him not,[41]
  To England send him; or confine him where
  Your wisdom best shall think.

  _King._                      It shall be so:
  Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.

    [_Exeunt_, L.H.]

    _Enter_ HAMLET _and a_ Player (R.H.)

_Ham._ (C.) Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you,
trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of our players
do, I had as lief[42] the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw
the air too much with your hands thus;[43] but use all gently: for in
the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your
passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it
smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious
perrywig-pated fellow[44] tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to
split the ears of the groundlings,[45] who, for the most part, are
capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise: I would
have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant;[46] it
out-herods Herod:[47] Pray you, avoid it.

_1st Play._ (R.) I warrant your honour.

_Ham._ Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your
tutor; suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this
special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for
any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both
at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up
to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and
the very age and body of the time its form and pressure.[48] Now,
this overdone, or come tardy off,[49] though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which
one[50] must, in your allowance,[51] o'erweigh a whole theatre of
others. O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,[52] that, neither
having the accent of christians, nor the gait of christian, pagan,
nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they
imitated humanity so abominably.

  [_Crosses to_ R.]

_1st Play._ (L.) I hope we have reformed that indifferently[53] with

_Ham._ O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns
speak no more than is set down for them:[54] for there be of them
that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren
spectators[55] to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question[56] of the play be then to be considered: that's villainous,
and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make
you ready.

  [_Exit_ Player, L.H.]

_Ham._ What, ho, Horatio!

  _Enter_ HORATIO (R.H.)

_Hor._ Here, sweet lord, at your service.

  _Ham._ Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
  As e'er my conversation cop'd withal.[57]

  _Hor._ O, my dear lord.

  _Ham._                 Nay, do not think I flatter;
  For what advancement may I hope from thee,
  That no revenue hast, but thy good spirits,
  To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flatter'd?
  No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp;
  And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,[58]
  Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
  Since my dear soul[59] was mistress of her choice,
  And could of men distinguish, her election
  Hath seal'd thee for herself: for thou hast been
  As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
  A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
  Has ta'en with equal thanks: and bless'd are those
  Whose blood and judgment[60] are so well co-mingled,
  That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
  To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
  That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
  In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
  As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
  There is a play to-night before the king;
  One scene of it comes near the circumstance
  Which I have told thee of my father's death:
  I pr'ythee when thou seest that act a-foot,
  Even with the very comment of thy soul[61]
  Observe my uncle: if his occulted guilt[62]
  Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
  It is a damned ghost that we have seen;
  And my imaginations are as foul
  As Vulcan's stithy.[63] Give him heedful note:
  For I mine eyes will rivet to his face;
  And, after, we will both our judgments join
  In censure of his seeming.[64]

    [HORATIO _goes off_, U.E.L.H.]

  _March. Enter_ KING _and_ QUEEN, _preceded by_ POLONIUS, OPHELIA,
  HORATIO, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, Lords, Ladies, _and_ Attendants.
  KING _and_ QUEEN _sit_ (L.H.); OPHELIA (R.H.)

_King._ (L.) How fares our cousin Hamlet?

_Ham._ (C.) Excellent, i'faith; of the cameleon's dish: I eat the
air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so.

_King._ I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not

_Ham._ No, nor mine, now.[66] My lord,--you played once in the
university, you say?[67]

  [_To_ POLONIUS, L.]

_Pol._ (L.C.) That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.

_Ham._ (C.) And what did you enact?

_Pol._ I did enact Julius Cæsar:[68] I was killed i'the Capitol;
Brutus killed me.

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

_Ros._ Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.[69]

_Queen._ Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.

  [_Pointing to a chair by her side._]

_Ham._ No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.

_Pol._ O, ho! do you mark that?

  [_Aside to the_ KING.]

_Ham._ Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

  [_Lying down at_ OPHELIA'S _feet._][70]

_Oph._ (R.) You are merry, my lord.

_Ham._ O, your only jig-maker.[71] What should a man do but be merry?
for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died
within these two hours.

_Oph._ Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.

_Ham._ So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a
suit of sables.[72] O heavens! die two months ago, and not forgotten
yet? Then there's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half
a year: But, by'r-lady, he must build churches, then.[73]

_Oph._ What means the play, my lord?

_Ham._ Miching mallecho;[74] it means mischief.

_Oph._ But what is the argument of the play?

  _Enter a_ Player _as_ Prologue (L.H.) _on a raised stage._

_Ham._ We shall know by this fellow.

  _Pro._ _For us, and for our tragedy,
  Here stooping to your clemency,
  We beg your hearing patiently._

    [_Exit_, L.H.]

_Ham._ Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?[75]

_Oph._ 'Tis brief, my lord.

_Ham._ As woman's love.

_Enter a_ KING _and a_ QUEEN (L.H.) _on raised stage._

  _P. King._ (R.) Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart[76] gone round
  Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbèd ground,[77]
  Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands,
  Unite commutual in most sacred bands.

  _P. Queen._ (L.) So many journeys may the sun and moon
  Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
  But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
  So far from cheer and from your former state,
  That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
  Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.

  _P. King._ 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
  My operant powers their functions leave to do:[78]
  And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
  Honour'd, belov'd; and, haply one as kind
  For husband shalt thou----

  _P. Queen._           O, confound the rest!
  Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
  In second husband let me be accurst!
  None wed the second but who kill'd the first.

_Ham._ That's wormwood.

  [_Aside to_ HORATIO, R.]

  _P. King._ I do believe you think what now you speak;
  But what we do determine oft we break.[79]
  So think you thou wilt no second husband wed;
  But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.

  _P. Queen._ Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light!
  Sport and repose lock from me day and night!
  Both here, and hence, pursue me lasting strife,
  If, once a widow, ever I be wife!

  _P. King._ 'Tis deeply sworn.

_Ham._ If she should break it now!--

  [_To_ OPHELIA.]

  _P. King._ Sweet, leave me here awhile;
  My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
  The tedious day with sleep.

    [_Reposes on a bank_, R., _and sleeps._]

  _P. Queen._                Sleep rock thy brain;
  And never come mischance between us twain!

    [_Exit_, L.H.]

_Ham._ Madam, how like you this play?

_Queen._ The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

_Ham._ O, but she'll keep her word.

_King._ Have you heard the argument?[80] Is there no offence in't?

_Ham._ No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence i'the

_King._ What do you call the play?

_Ham._ The mouse-trap.[81] Marry, how? Tropically.[82] This play is
the image of a murder[83] done in Vienna: Gonzago is the Duke's name;
his wife, Baptista: you shall see anon;--'tis a knavish piece of
work: but what of that? your majesty, and we that have free souls, it
touches us not: Let the galled jade wince,[84] our withers[85] are

  _Enter_ LUCIANUS (L.H.)

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

_Oph._ You are as good as a chorus,[86] my lord.

_Ham._ I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see
the puppets dallying.[87] Begin, murderer; leave thy damnable faces,
and begin. Come:--

                 ----The croaking raven
  Doth bellow for revenge.[88]

  _Luc._ Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
  Confederate season, else no creature seeing;
  Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds[89] collected,
  With Hecat's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
  Thy natural magick and dire property,
  On wholesome life usurp[90] immediately.
    [_Pours the poison into the Sleeper's Ears._]

_Ham._ He poisons him i' the garden for his estate. His name's
Gonzago: the story is extant, and written in very choice Italian: You
shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

_King._ Give me some light: away!

_All._ Lights, lights, lights!

  [_Exeunt all_, R. _and_ L., _but_ HAMLET _and_ HORATIO.]

_Ham._ Why, let the strucken deer go weep,[91]
         The hart ungallèd play;
       For some must watch, while some must sleep:
         So runs the world away.--

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

_Hor._ (R.) Very well, my lord.

_Ham._ (C.) Upon the talk of the poisoning.--

_Hor._ I did very well note him.

_Ham._ Ah, ah! come, some musick! come, the recorders!

  [_Exit_ HORATIO, R.H.]

  himself in the chair_ (R.)

_Guil._ (L.C.) Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.

_Ham._ Sir, a whole history.

_Guil._ The king, sir,----

_Ham._ Ay, sir, what of him?

_Guil._ Is, in his retirement, marvellous distempered.[92]

_Ham._ With drink, sir?

_Guil._ No, my lord, with choler.

_Ham._ Your wisdom should show itself more rich to signify this to
the doctor; for, for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps
plunge him into more choler.

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

_Ham._ I am tame, sir:--pronounce.

_Guil._ The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of spirit,
hath sent me to you.

_Ham._ You are welcome.

_Guil._ Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed.
If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your
mother's commandment: if not, your pardon and my return shall be the
end of my business.

_Ham._ Sir, I cannot.

_Guil._ What, my lord?

_Ham._ Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased! But, sir, such
answer as I can make, you shall command: or rather as you say, my
mother: therefore no more, but to the matter: My mother, you say,--

_Ros._ (_Crosses to_ C.) Then thus she says: Your behaviour hath
struck her into amazement and admiration.[93]

_Ham._ O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! But is there
no sequel at the heels of this mother's admiration?--impart.

_Ros._ She desires to speak with you in her closet, ere you go to

_Ham._ We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any
further trade with us?[94]

_Ros._ My lord, you once did love me.

_Ham._ And do still, by these pickers and stealers.[95]

  [_Rises and comes forward_, C.]

_Ros._ (R.) Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? you do,
surely, bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to
your friend.[96]

_Ham._ Sir, I lack advancement.

_Ros._ How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself
for your succession in Denmark?[97]

_Ham._ Ay, sir, but _While the grass grows_,--the proverb is
something musty.[98]

  _Enter_ HORATIO _and_ Musicians (R.H.)

O, the recorders:[99]--let me see one.--So; withdraw with you:--

  [_Exeunt_ HORATIO _and_ Musicians R.H. GUILDENSTERN,
  _after speaking privately to_ ROSENCRANTZ, _crosses
  behind_ HAMLET _to_ R.H.]

Why do you go about to recover the wind of me,[100] as if you would
drive me into a toil?[101]

_Guil._ (R.) O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too

_Ham._ (C.) I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this

_Guil._ My lord, I cannot.

_Ham._ I pray you.

_Guil._ Believe me, I cannot.

_Ham._ I do beseech you.

_Ros._ (L.) I know no touch of it, my lord.

_Ham._ 'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with your fingers
and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most
eloquent music.[103] Look you, these are the stops.

_Guil._ But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I
have not the skill.

_Ham._ Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You
would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck
out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note
to the top of my compass: and there is much music, excellent voice,
in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sdeath, do you
think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what
instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon

  [_Crosses to_ L.H.]

  _Enter_ POLONIUS (R.H.)

_Pol._ (R.) My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.

_Ham._ (C.) Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a

_Pol._ By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.

_Ham._ Methinks it is like a weasel.

_Pol._ It is backed like a weasel.

_Ham._ Or like a whale?

_Pol._ Very like a whale.

_Ham._ Then will I come to my mother by and by. They fool me to the
top of my bent.[105] I will come by and by.

_Pol._ I will say so.

_Ham._ By and by is easily said.

  [_Exit_ POLONIUS, R.H.

Leave me, friends.


  'Tis now the very witching time of night,
  When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
  Contagion to this world: Now could I drink hot blood,
  And do such bitter business[106] as the day
  Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.
  O, heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
  The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
  Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
  I will speak daggers to her, but use none.




  _King._ I like him not; nor stands it safe with us[107]
  To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
  I your commission will forthwith despatch,
  And he to England shall along with you:
  Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
  For we will fetters put upon this fear,[108]
  Which now goes too free-booted.

  _Ros._ }
         }                       We will haste us.

    [_Cross behind the_ KING, _and exeunt_ ROSENCRANTZ _and_

    _Enter_ POLONIUS (R.H.)

  _Pol._ My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:
  Behind the arras I'll convey myself,[109]
  To hear the process;[110] I'll warrant, she'll tax him home:
  And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
  'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
  Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
  The speech of vantage.[111] Fare you well, my liege:

    [POLONIUS _crosses to_ L.H.]

  I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
  And tell you what I know.

  _King._                  Thanks, dear my lord.

    [_Exeunt_ POLONIUS, L.H., _and_ KING, R.H.]


    _Enter_ QUEEN _and_ POLONIUS (L.H.)

  _Pol._ He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him:[112]
  Tell him his pranks have been too broad[113] to bear with,
  And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between
  Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.[114]
  Pray you, be round with him.

  _Queen._                    I'll warrant you;
  Fear me not:--withdraw, I hear him coming.

    [POLONIUS _hides himself_, L.H.U.E.

  _Enter_ HAMLET (R.)

  _Ham._ (R.C.) Now, mother, what's the matter?

  _Queen._ (L.C.) Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

  _Ham._ Mother, you have my father much offended.

  _Queen._ Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

  _Ham._ Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

  _Queen._ Why, how now, Hamlet!

  _Ham._                        What's the matter now?

  _Queen._ Have you forgot me?

  _Ham._                      No, by the rood,[115] not so:
  You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
  And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.

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

  _Ham._ Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;
  You go not till I set you up a glass
  Where you may see the inmost part of you.

  _Queen._ What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?
  Help, help, ho!



                 What, ho! help!

  _Ham._                        How now! a rat?[116]


  Dead, for a ducat, dead!

    [HAMLET _rushes off behind the arras._]

  _Pol._ (_Behind._)      O, I am slain!

    [_Falls and dies._]

  _Queen._ O me, what hast thou done?



                                     Nay, I know not:
  Is it the king?

  _Queen._ O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

  _Ham._ A bloody deed!--almost as bad, good mother,
  As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

  _Queen._ As kill a king!

  _Ham._                  Ay, lady, 'twas my word.

    [_Goes off behind the arras, and returns._]

  Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!

    [_To the dead body of_ POLONIUS, _behind the arras_.]

  I took thee for thy better.
  Leave wringing of your hands: Peace; sit you down,

    [_To the_ QUEEN.]

  And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
  If it be made of penetrable stuff;
  If damnèd custom have not brazed it so,[117]
  That it be proof and bulwark against sense.[118]


    (_Sits_ R.C.)

  What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
  In noise so rude against me?


    (_Seated_ L.C.)

                              Such an act,
  That blurs the grace and blush of modesty;
  Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose
  From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
  And sets a blister there;[119] makes marriage vows
  As false as dicer's oaths: O, such a deed
  As from the body of contraction plucks
  The very soul;[120] and sweet religion makes
  A rhapsody of words.--
  Ah, me, that act!

  _Queen._         Ah me, what act?

  _Ham._ Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
  The counterfeit presentment[121] of two brothers.
  See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
  Hypérion's curls;[122] the front of Jove himself;
  An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
  A station like the herald Mercury[123]
  New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
  A combination, and a form, indeed,
  Where every god did seem to set his seal,
  To give the world assurance of a man;
  This was your husband.--Look you now, what follows:
  Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
  Blasting his wholesome brother.[124] Have you eyes?
  Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
  And batten on this moor?[125] Ha! have you eyes?
  You cannot call it love; for, at your age
  The hey-day in the blood[126] is tame, it's humble,
  And waits upon the judgment: And what judgment
  Would step from this to this?
  O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
  If thou canst mutine,[127] in a matron's bones,
  To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
  And melt in her own fire.

  _Queen._ O, Hamlet, speak no more:
  Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
  And there I see such black and grainèd spots
  As will not leave their tinct.[128]

  _Ham._                             Nay, but to live
  In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,----[129]

  _Queen._ O, speak to me no more;
  No more, sweet Hamlet!

  _Ham._                A murderer and a villain:
  A slave that is not twentieth part the tythe
  Of your precedent lord;--a vice of kings;[130]
  A cutpurse of the empire and the rule;
  That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
  And put it in his pocket![131]

  _Queen._                      No more!

  _Ham._                                A king
  Of shreds and patches.[132]

    [_Enter_ Ghost, R.]

  Save me

    [_Starts from his chair_],

  and hover o'er me with your wings,
  You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

  _Queen._ Alas, he's mad!


  _Ham._ (L.) Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
  That, laps'd in time and passion,[133] lets go by
  The important acting of your dread command?
  O, say!

  _Ghost._ (R.) Do not forget: This visitation
  Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
  But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
  O, step between her and her fighting soul.
  Speak to her Hamlet.

  _Ham._              How is it with you, lady?

  _Queen._ Alas, how is't with you,
  That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
  And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
  Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep.
  O gentle son,

    [_Crosses to_ HAMLET.]

  Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
  Sprinkle cool patience.[134] Whereon do you look?

  _Ham._ On him, on him!--Look you, how pale he glares!
  His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
  Would make them capable.[135] Do not look upon me;
  Lest with this piteous action, you convert
  My stern effects:[136] then what I have to do
  Will want true colour; tears perchance, for blood.

  _Queen._ To whom do you speak this?

  _Ham._                             Do you see nothing there?

  _Queen._ Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see.[137]

  _Ham._ Nor did you nothing hear?

  _Queen._                        No, nothing but ourselves.

  _Ham._ Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!

    [_Ghost crosses to_ L.]

  My father in his habit as he lived![138]
  Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!

    [_Exit_ Ghost, L.H. HAMLET _sinks into chair_ C.
    _The_ QUEEN _falls on her knees by his side._]

  _Queen._ This is the very coinage of your brain:
  This bodiless creation ecstasy
  Is very cunning in.[139]

  _Ham._ Ecstasy!
  My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
  And makes as healthful music: It is not madness
  That I have uttered: bring me to the test,
  And I the matter will re-word; which madness
  Would gambol from.[140] Mother, for love of grace,


  Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
  That not your trespass, but my madness speaks:
  It will but skin and film[141] the ulcerous place,
  Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
  Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
  Repent what's past; avoid what is to come.

  _Queen._ O, Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

  _Ham._ O, throw away the worser part of it,
  And live the purer with the other half.
  Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed;

    [_Raising the_ QUEEN.]

  Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
  Once more, good night!
  And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
  I'll blessing beg of you.[142] For this same lord,

    [_Pointing to_ POLONIUS.]

  I do repent:
  I will bestow him, and will answer well
  The death I gave him. So, again, good night.

    [_Exit_ QUEEN, R.H.]

  I must be cruel, only to be kind:
  Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.

    [_Exit_ HAMLET _behind the arras_, L.H.U.E.




    [Footnote III.1: _Forward_] Disposed, inclinable.]

    [Footnote III.2: _Assay him to_] Try his disposition towards.]

    [Footnote III.3: _O'er-raught on the way:_] Reached or overtook.]

    [Footnote III.4 _Have closely sent_] _i.e._, privately sent.]

    [Footnote III.5 _May here affront Ophelia:_] To affront is to
    come face to face--to confront.]

    [Footnote III.6 _Lawful espials_,] Spies justifiably inquisitive.
    From the French, _espier_.]

    [Footnote III.7 _Too much prov'd_,] Found by too frequent

    [Footnote III.8 _To be, or not to be, that is the question:_]
    Hamlet is deliberating whether he should continue to live, or put
    an end to his existence.]

    [Footnote III.9: _Or to take arms against a sea of troubles_,] _A
    sea of troubles_ among the Greeks grew into a proverbial usage;
    so that the expression figuratively means, the troubles of human
    life, which flow in upon us, and encompass us round like a sea.]

    [Footnote III.10: _This mortal coil_,] Coil is here used in each
    of its senses, that of turmoil or bustle, and that which entwines
    or wraps round.]

    [Footnote III.11: _Must give us pause:_] _i.e._, occasion for

    [Footnote III.12: _There's the respect That makes calamity of so
    long life_;] The _consideration_ that makes the evils of life so
    long submitted to, lived under.]

    [Footnote III.13: _The whips and scorns of time_,] Those
    sufferings of body and mind, those stripes and mortifications to
    which, in its _course_, the life of man is subjected.]

    [Footnote III.14: _Contumely_,] Contemptuousness, rudeness.]

    [Footnote III.15: _His quietus make_] Quietus means the official
    discharge of an account: from the Latin. Particularly in the
    Exchequer accounts, where it is still current. Chiefly used by
    authors in metaphorical senses.]

    [Footnote III.16: _A bare bodkin?_] Bodkin was an ancient term
    for a small dagger. In the margin of Stowe's Chronicle it is said
    that Cæsar was slain with _bodkins_.]

    [Footnote III.17: _Who would fardels bear_,] Fardel is a burden.
    Fardellus, low Latin.]

    [Footnote III.18: _From whose bourn_] _i.e._, boundary.]

    [Footnote III.19: _No traveller returns_,] The traveller whom
    Hamlet had seen, though he appeared in the same habit which he
    had worn in his life-time, was nothing but a shadow,
    "invulnerable as the air," and, consequently, _incorporeal_. The
    Ghost has given us no account of the region from whence he came,
    being, as he himself informed us, "forbid to tell the secrets of
    his prison-house."--MALONE.]

    [Footnote III.20: _Thus conscience does make cowards of us all_;]
    A state of doubt and uncertainty, a conscious feeling or
    apprehension, a misgiving "How our audit stands."]

    [Footnote III.21: _Of great pith and moment_,] _i.e._, of great
    vigour and importance.]

    [Footnote III.22:

      _With this regard, their currents turn away_,
      _And lose the name of action._]

    From this sole consideration have their drifts diverted, and lose
    the character and name of enterprise.]

    [Footnote III.23: _Soft you now!_] A gentler pace! have done with
    lofty march!]

    [Footnote III.24: _Nymph, in thy orisons_] _i.e._, in thy
    prayers. Orison is from _oraison_--French.]

    [Footnote III.25: _If you be honest and fair, your honesty should
    admit no discourse to your beauty._] _i.e._, if you really
    possess these qualities, chastity and beauty, and mean to support
    the character of both, your honesty should be so chary of your
    beauty, as not to suffer a thing so fragile to entertain
    discourse, or to be parleyed with.

    The lady interprets the words otherwise, giving them the turn
    best suited to her purpose.]

    [Footnote III.26: _His likeness:_] Shakespeare and his
    contemporaries frequently use the personal for the neutral

    [Footnote III.27: _Inoculate our old stock, but we shall relish
    of it:_] So change the original constitution and properties, as
    that no smack of them shall remain. "Inoculate our stock" are
    terms in gardening.]

    [Footnote III.28: _With more offences at my beck_] That is,
    always ready to come about me--at my beck and call.]

    [Footnote III.29: _Than I have thoughts to put them in, &c._] "To
    put a thing into thought," Johnson says, is "to think on it."]

    [Footnote III.30: _I have heard of your paintings_,] These
    destructive aids of beauty seem, in the time of Shakespeare, to
    have been general objects of satire.]

    [Footnote III.31: _Heaven hath given you one face, and you make
    yourselves another:_] _i.e._, Heaven hath given you one face, and
    you disfigure his image by making yourself another.]

    [Footnote III.32: _You jig, you amble, and you lisp_,] This is an
    allusion to the manners of the age, which Shakespeare, in the
    spirit of his contemporaries, means here to satirise.]

    [Footnote III.33: _Make your wantonness your ignorance._] You
    mistake by _wanton_ affectation, and pretend to mistake by

    [Footnote III.34: _All but one shall live_;] _One_ is the king.]

    [Footnote III.35: _To a nunnery, go. Exit Hamlet._] There is no
    doubt that Hamlet's attachment to Ophelia is ardent and sincere,
    but he treats her with apparent severity because he is aware that
    Ophelia has been purposely thrown in his way; that spies are
    about them; and that it is necessary for the preservation of his
    life, to assume a conduct which he thought would be attributed to
    madness only.]

    [Footnote III.36: _The expectancy and rose of the fair state_,]
    The first hope and fairest flower. "The gracious mark o' the

    [Footnote III.37: _Glass of fashion_] Speculum

    [Footnote III.38: _The mould of form_,] The cast, in which is
    shaped the only perfect form.

    [Footnote III.39: _Musick vows_,] Musical, mellifluous.

    [Footnote III.40: _Be round with him_;] _i.e._, plain with
    him--without reserve.

    [Footnote III.41: _If she find him not_,] Make him not out.

    [Footnote III.42: _As lief_] As willingly.]

    [Footnote III.43: _Thus_;] _i.e._, thrown out thus.]

    [Footnote III.44: _Robustious perrywig-pated fellow_] This is a
    ridicule on the quantity of false hair worn in Shakespeare's
    time, for wigs were not in common use till the reign of Charles
    the Second. _Robustious_ means making an extravagant show of

    [Footnote III.45: _The ears of the groundlings_,] The meaner
    people appear to have occupied the pit of the theatre (which had
    neither floor nor benches in Shakespeare's time), as they now sit
    in the upper gallery.]

    [Footnote III.46: _O'er-doing Termagant_;] The Crusaders, and
    those who celebrated them, confounded Mahometans with Pagans, and
    supposed Mahomet, or Mahound, to be one of their deities, and
    Tervagant or Termagant, another. This imaginary personage was
    introduced into our old plays and moralities, and represented as
    of a most violent character, so that a ranting actor might always
    appear to advantage in it. The word is now used for a scolding

    [Footnote III.47: _It out-herods Herod:_] In all the old
    moralities and mysteries this personage was always represented as
    a tyrant of a very violent temper, using the most exaggerated
    language. Hence the expression.]

    [Footnote III.48: _The very age and body of the time its form and
    pressure._] _i.e._, to delineate exactly the manners of the age,
    and the particular humours of the day--_pressure_ signifying
    resemblance, as in a print.]

    [Footnote III.49: _Come tardy off_,] Without spirit or animation;
    heavily, sleepily done.]

    [Footnote III.50: _The censure of which one_] _i.e._, the censure
    of one of which.]

    [Footnote III.51: _Your allowance_,] In your approbation.]

    [Footnote III.52: _Not to speak it profanely_,] _i.e._,
    _irreverently_, in allusion to Hamlet's supposition that God had
    not made such men, but that they were only the handy work of
    God's assistants.]

    [Footnote III.53: _Indifferently_] In a reasonable degree.]

    [Footnote III.54: _Speak no more them is set down for them:_]
    Shakespeare alludes to a custom of his time, when the clown, or
    low comedian, as he would now be called, addressing the audience
    during the play, entered into a contest of raillery and sarcasm
    with such spectators as chose to engage with him.]

    [Footnote III.55: _Barren spectators_] _i.e._, dull,
    unapprehensive spectators.]

    [Footnote III.56: _Question_] Point, topic.]

    [Footnote III.57: _Cop'd withal._] Encountered with.]

    [Footnote III.58: _Pregnant hinges of the knee_,] _i.e._, bowed
    or bent: ready to kneel where _thrift_, that is, thriving, or
    emolument may follow sycophancy.]

    [Footnote III.59: _Since my dear soul_] _Dear_ is out of which
    arises the liveliest interest.]

    [Footnote III.60: _Whose blood and judgment_] Dr. Johnson says
    that according to the doctrine of the four humours, _desire_ and
    _confidence_ were seated in the blood, and judgment in the
    phlegm, and the due mixture of the humours made a perfect

    [Footnote III.61: _The very comment of thy soul_] The most
    intense direction of every faculty.]

    [Footnote III.62: _Occulted guilt do not itself unkennel_]
    Stifled, secret guilt, do not develope itself.]

    [Footnote III.63: _As Vulcan's stithy._] A stithy is the smith's
    shop, as stith is the anvil.]

    [Footnote III.64: _In censure of his seeming._] In making our
    estimate of the appearance he shall put on.]

    [Footnote III.65: _I have nothing with this answer; these words
    are not mine._] _i.e._, they grow not out of mine: have no
    relation to anything said by me.]

    [Footnote III.66: _No, nor mine, now._] They are now anybody's.
    Dr. Johnson observes, "a man's words, says the proverb, are his
    own no longer than while he keeps them unspoken."]

    [Footnote III.67: _You played once in the university, you say?_]
    The practice of acting Latin plays in the universities of Oxford
    and Cambridge is very ancient, and continued to near the middle
    of the last century.]

    [Footnote III.68: _I did enact Julius Cæsar:_] A Latin play on
    the subject of Cassar's death, was performed at Christ-church,
    Oxford, in 1582.]

    [Footnote III.69: _They stay upon your patience._] _Patience_ is
    here used for _leisure_.]

    [Footnote III.70: _Lying down at Ophelia's feet._] To lie at the
    feet of a mistress during any dramatic representation, seems to
    have been a common act of gallantry.]

    [Footnote III.71: _Jig-maker_,] Writer of ludicrous interludes.
    _A jig_ was not in Shakespeare's time only a dance, but a
    ludicrous dialogue in metre; many historical ballads were also
    called _jigs_.]

    [Footnote III.72: _For I'll have a suit of sables._] Wherever his
    scene might be, the customs of his country were ever in
    Shakespeare's thoughts. A suit trimmed with sables was in our
    author's own time the richest dress worn by men in England. By
    the Statute of Apparel, 24 Henry VIII., c. 13, (_article
    furres_), it is ordained, that none under the degree of an _Earl_
    may use _sables_.]

    [Footnote III.73: _He must build churches, then._] Such
    benefactors to society were sure to be recorded by means of the
    feast day on which the patron saints and founders of churches
    were commemorated in every parish. This custom has long since

    [Footnote III.74: _Miching mallecho_;] To _mich_ is a provincial
    word, signifying _to lie hid_, or _to skulk_, or _act by
    stealth_. It was probably once generally used. Mallecho is
    supposed to be corrupted from the Spanish _Malechor_, which means
    a poisoner.]

    [Footnote III.75: _The posy of a ring?_] Such poetry as you may
    find engraven on a ring.]

    [Footnote III.76: _Phoebus' cart_] A chariot was anciently called
    a cart.]

    [Footnote III.77: _Tellus' orbèd ground_,] _i.e._, the globe of
    the earth. Tellus is the personification of the earth, being
    described as the first being that sprung from Chaos.]

    [Footnote III.78: _My operant powers their functions leave to
    do:_] _i.e._, my active energies cease to perform their offices.]

    [Footnote III.79: _What we do determine, oft we break._] Unsettle
    our most fixed resolves.]

    [Footnote III.80: _The argument?_] The subject matter.]

    [Footnote III.81: _The mouse-trap._]

      He calls it the mouse-trap, because it is the thing,
      In which he'll catch the conscience of the king.]

    [Footnote III.82: _Tropically._] _i.e._, figuratively.]

    [Footnote III.83: _The image of a murder_,] _i.e._, the lively
    portraiture, the correct and faithful representation of a murder,

    [Footnote III.84: _Let the galled jade wince_,] A proverbial

    [Footnote III.85: _Our withers are unwrung._] Withers is the
    joining of the shoulder bones at the bottom of the neck and mane
    of a horse. _Unwrung_ is _not pinched_.]

    [Footnote III.86: _You are as good as a chorus_,] The persons who
    are supposed to behold what passes in the acts of a tragedy, and
    sing their sentiments between the acts.

    The use to which Shakespeare converted the chorus, may be seen in
    King Henry V.]

    [Footnote III.87: _I could interpret between you and your love,
    if I could see the puppets dallying._] This refers to the
    interpreter, who formerly sat on the stage at all _puppet shows_,
    and explained to the audience. _The puppets dallying_ are here
    made to signify to the agitations of Ophelia's bosom.]

    [Footnote III.88:

      _The croaking raven_
      _Doth bellow for revenge._]

    _i.e._, begin without more delay; for the raven, foreknowing the
    deed, is already croaking, and, as it were, calling out for the
    revenge which will ensue.]

    [Footnote III.89: _Midnight weeds_] The force of the epithet
    _midnight_, will be best displayed by a corresponding passage in

      "Root of hemlock, _digg'd i' the dark_."]

    [Footnote III.90: _Usurp_] Encroach upon.]

    [Footnote III.91: _Let the strucken deer go weep_,] Shakespeare,
    in _As you like it_, in allusion to the wounded stag, speaks of
    the _big round tears_ which _cours'd one another down his
    innocent nose in piteous chase_. In the 13th song of Drayton's
    Polyolbion, is a similar passage--"_The harte weepeth at his
    dying; his tears are held to be precious in medicine._"]

    [Footnote III.92: _Marvellous distempered._] _i.e._,

    [Footnote III.93: _Admiration._] _i.e._, wonder.]

    [Footnote III.94: _Trade with us?_] _i.e._ Occasion of

    [Footnote III.95: _By these pickers and stealers._] _i.e._, by
    these hands. The phrase is taken from the Church catechism,
    where, in our duty to our neighbour, we are taught to keep our
    hands from _picking and stealing_.]

    [Footnote III.96: _You do freely bar the door of your own
    liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend._] By your own
    act you close the way against your own ease, and the free
    discharge of your griefs, if you open not the source of them to
    your friends.]

    [Footnote III.97: _You have the voice of the king himself for
    your succession in Denmark?_] Though the crown was elective, yet
    regard was paid to the recommendation of the preceding prince,
    and preference given to royal blood, which, by degrees, produced
    hereditary succession.]

    [Footnote III.98: _"While the grass grows,"--the proverb is
    something musty._] The proverb is, "_While the grass grows, the
    steed starves._" Hamlet alludes to his own position, while
    waiting for his succession to the throne of Denmark. A similar
    adage is, "_A slip between the cup and the lip._"]

    [Footnote III.99: _Recorder._] _i.e._ A kind of flute, or pipe.]

    [Footnote III.100: _Why do you go about to recover the wind of
    me_,] Equivalent to our more modern saying of _Get on the blind

    [Footnote III.101: _Into a toil?_] _i.e._, net or snare.]

    [Footnote III.102: _If my duty be too bold, my love is too
    unmannerly._] If my sense of duty have led me too far, it is
    affection and regard for you that makes the carriage of that duty
    border on disrespect.]

    [Footnote III.103: _Govern these ventages--and it will discourse
    most eloquent music._] Justly order these vents, or air-holes,
    and it will breathe or utter, &c.]

    [Footnote III.104: _Though you can fret me, you cannot play upon
    me._] A _fret_ is a stop or key of a musical instrument. Here is,
    therefore, a play upon the words. Though you cannot fret, stop,
    or vex, you cannot play or impose upon me.]

    [Footnote III.105: _They fool me to the top of my bent._] To the
    height; as far as they see me _incline_ to go: an allusion to the
    utmost flexure of a bow.]

    [Footnote III.106: _Bitter business_] _i.e._, shocking, horrid

    [Footnote III.107: _Stands it safe with us_] Is it _consistent_
    with our security.]

    [Footnote III.108: _This fear_,] Bugbear.]

    [Footnote III.109: _Behind the arras I'll convey myself_,] The
    arras-hangings, in Shakespeare's time, were hung at such a
    distance from the walls, that a person might easily stand behind
    them unperceived.]

    [Footnote III.110: _To hear the process_;] The course of the

    [Footnote III.111: _The speech of vantage._] _i.e._, opportunity
    or advantage of secret observations.]

    [Footnote III.112: _Lay home to him:_] Pointedly and closely
    charge him.]

    [Footnote III.113: _Pranks too broad_] Open and bold.]

    [Footnote III.114: _I'll 'sconce me even here._] 'Sconce and
    ensconce are constantly used figuratively for _hide._ In "The
    Merry Wives of Windsor," Falstaff says, "I will _ensconce_ me
    behind the arras."]

    [Footnote III.115: _By the rood_,] _i.e._, the cross or

    [Footnote III.116: _How now! a rat?_] This is an expression
    borrowed from the History of Hamblet.]

    [Footnote III.117: _Have not braz'd it so_,] _i.e._, soldered
    with brass.]

    [Footnote III.118: _Proof and bulwark against sense._] Against
    all feeling.]

    [Footnote III.119: _Takes off the rose From the fair forehead of
    an innocent love, And sets a blister there_;] _i.e._, takes the
    clear tint from the brow of unspotted, untainted innocence. "True
    or honest as the skin between one's brows" was a proverbial
    expression, and is frequently used by Shakespeare.]

    [Footnote III.120: _As from the body of contraction plucks The
    very soul_;] Annihilates the very principle of contracts.
    Contraction for marriage contract.]

    [Footnote III.121: _The counterfeit presentment_] _i.e._, picture
    or mimic representation.]

    [Footnote III.122: _Hypérion's curls_;] Hyperion is used by
    Spenser with the same error in quantity.]

    [Footnote III.123: _A station like the herald Mercury_] Station
    is attitude--act of standing.]

    [Footnote III.124:

      _Like a mildew'd ear_,
      _Blasting his wholesome brother._]

    This alludes to Pharaoh's dream, in the 41st chapter of Genesis.]

    [Footnote III.125: _Batten on this moor?_] Batten is to feed

    [Footnote III.126: _Hey-day in the blood_] This expression is
    occasionally used by old authors.]

    [Footnote III.127: _Thou canst mutine_] _i.e._, rebel.]

    [Footnote III.128: _As will not leave their tinct._] So dyed _in
    grain_, that they will not relinquish or lose their tinct--are
    not to be discharged. In a sense not very dissimilar he presently

      "Then what I have to do
      Will _want true colour_."]

    [Footnote III.129: _An enseamed bed._] _i.e._, greasy bed of
    grossly fed indulgence.]

    [Footnote III.130: _A vice of kings_;] _i.e._, a low mimick of
    kings. The vice was the fool of the old moralities or dramas, who
    was generally engaged in contests with the devil, by whom he was
    finally carried away. Dr. Johnson says the modern Punch is
    descended from the vice.]

    [Footnote III.131:

      _From a shelf the precious diadem stole_,
      _And put it in his pocket!_]

    In allusion to the usurper procuring the crown as a common
    pilferer or thief, and not by open villainy that carried danger
    with it.]

    [Footnote III.132: _A king of shreds and patches._] This is said,
    pursuing the idea of the _vice of kings_. The vice being dressed
    as a fool, in a coat of party-coloured patches.]

    [Footnote III.133: _Laps'd in time and passion_,] That having
    suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, &c. It was supposed
    that nothing was more offensive to apparitions than the neglect
    to attach importance to their appearance, or to be inattentive to
    their admonitions.]

    [Footnote III.134: _Cool patience._] _i.e._, moderation.]

    [Footnote III.135: _Make them capable._] Make them
    intelligent--capable of conceiving.]

    [Footnote III.136: _My stem effects:_] _i.e._, change the nature
    of my purposes, or what I mean to effect.]

    [Footnote III.137: _Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see._] It
    is in perfect consistency with the belief that all spirits were
    not only naturally invisible, but that they possessed the power
    of making themselves visible to such persons only as they

    [Footnote III.138: _My father, in his habit as he lived!_] In the
    habit he was accustomed to wear when living.]

    [Footnote III.139:

      _This bodiless creation ecstasy_
      _Is very cunning in._]

    _i.e._, "Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries." Ecstasy in
    this place, as in many others, means a temporary alienation of
    mind--a fit.]

    [Footnote III.140: _Gambol from._] Start away from.]

    [Footnote III.141: _Skin and film_,] Cover with a thin skin.]

    [Footnote III.142:

      _And when you are desirous to be bless'd_,
      _I'll blessing beg of you_]

    When you are desirous to receive a blessing from heaven (which
    you cannot, seriously, till you reform), I will beg to receive a
    blessing from you.]



    _Enter_ KING _and_ QUEEN, _from_ (R.H.) _centre._

  _King._ There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:
  You must translate:[1] 'tis fit we understand them.
  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,[2] kills
  The unseen good old man.

  _King._                 O heavy deed!
  It had been so with us, had we been there:
  Where is he gone?

  _Queen._ To draw apart the body he hath kill'd.

  _King._ 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!


  Friends both, go join you with some further aid:
  Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
  And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
  Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
  Into the chapel.

    [ROSENCRANTZ _and_ GUILDENSTERN _cross to_ R.]

  I pray you, haste in this.


  Go, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
  And let them know, both what we mean to do,
  And what's untimely done.

    [_Exit_ QUEEN, R.C.]

  How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
  Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
  He's lov'd of the distracted multitude,
  Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
  And where 'tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
  But never the offence.[3]

    _Enter_ ROSENCRANTZ (R.)

  How now! what hath befallen?

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

  _King._                But where is he?

  _Ros._ Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

  _King._ Bring him before us.

  _Ros._ Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.

    _Enter_ HAMLET, GUILDENSTERN, _and_ Attendants (R.H.)

  _King._ (C.) Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

  _Ham._ (R.) At supper.

  _King._ At supper? Where?

  _Ham._ Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a
  certain convocation of politick worms[4] are e'en at him.

  _King._ Where's Polonius?

  _Ham._ In Heaven; send thither to see: if your messenger
  find him not there, seek him i'the other place
  yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not within this
  month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into
  the lobby.

  _King._ Go seek him there.


  _Ham._ He will stay till you come.

    [_Exit_ GUILDENSTERN, R.H.]

  _King._ Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,
  Must send thee hence:
  Therefore prepare thyself;
  The bark is ready, and the wind at help,[5]
  For England.

  _Ham._      For England!

  _King._                 Ay, Hamlet.

  _Ham._                             Good.

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

  _Ham._ I see a cherub that sees them. But, come; for
  England!--Farewell, dear mother.

  _King._ Thy loving father, Hamlet.

_Ham._ My mother: Father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is
one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England.

    [_Exit_, R.H.]

  _King._ Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard;
  Away! for everything is seal'd and done.

    [_Exeunt_ ROSENCRANTZ _and_ Attendants, R.H.]

  And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,
  Thou may'st not coldly set[6]
  Our sovereign process;[7] which imports at full,
  By letters conjuring to that effect,[8]
  The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
  For thou must cure me: 'Till I know 'tis done,
  Howe'er my haps,[9] my joys will ne'er begin.

    [_Exit_ KING, L.H.]

    _Enter_ QUEEN _and_ HORATIO (R. _centre._)

  _Queen._ ----I will not speak with her.

  _Hor._ She is importunate; indeed, distract:
  'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
  Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

  _Queen._ Let her come in.

    [_Exit_ HORATIO, R.C.]

    _Re-enter_ HORATIO, _with_ OPHELIA (R. _centre._)

  _Oph._ Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

  _Queen._ How now, Ophelia!

  _Oph._ (C.)


    _How should I your true love know_
      _From another one?_
    _By his cockle hat and staff_,
      _And his sandal shoon._[10]

  _Queen._ (L.C.) Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

  _Oph._ Say you? nay, pray you, mark.


    _He is dead and gone, lady_,
      _He is dead and gone_;
    _At his head a grass-green turf_,
      _At his heels a stone._

  _Enter the_ KING (L.H.)

  _Queen._ Nay, but, Ophelia,----

  _Oph._                         Pray you, mark.


    _White his shroud as the mountain-snow_,
      _Larded all with sweet flowers_;[11]
    _Which bewept to the grave did go_
      _With true-love showers._

  _King._ How do you, pretty lady?

  _Oph._ Well, Heaven 'ield you![12]

    (_Crosses to the_ KING.)

  They say the owl was a baker's daughter.[13] We know
  what we are, but know not what we may be.

  _King._ Conceit upon her father.[14]

  _Oph._ Pray, you, let us have no words of this; but when
  they ask you what it means, say you this:

    _To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day_,
      _All in the morning betime_,
    _And I, a maid at your window_,
      _To be your Valentine:_

  _King._ Pretty Ophelia!

  _Oph._ Indeed, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:

    _Then up he rose, and don'd his clothes_,
      _And dupp'd[15] the chamber door_;
    _Let in the maid, that out a maid_
      _Never departed more._

    [_Crosses to_ R.H.]

  _King._ (L.) How long hath she been thus?

_Oph._ (R.) I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot
choose but weep, to think they should lay him i'the 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_, R.C.]

  _King._ Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.

    [_Exit_ HORATIO, _through centre_ R.]

  O! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
  All from her father's death.
  O, Gertrude, Gertrude,
  When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
  But in battalions!

    _Enter_ MARCELLUS (R. _centre._)

  _King._ What is the matter?

  _Mar._                     Save yourself, my lord:
  The young Laertes, in a riotous head,[16]
  O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord;
  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_, R.C.]

    _Enter_ LAERTES, _armed_; Danes _following_ (R. _centre._)

  _Laer._ Where is this king?--Sirs, stand you all without.

  _Dan._ No, let's come in.

  _Laer._                  I pray you, give me leave.

  _Dan._ We will, we will.

    [_They retire without_, R.H.]

  _Laer._ O, thou vile king,
  Give me my father.



  Calmly, good Laertes.

  _Laer._ (R.) That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard;
  Cries cuckold to my father; brands the harlot
  Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
  Of my true mother.[17]

  _King._ (L.) What is the cause, Laertes,
  That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
  Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person:
  There's such divinity doth hedge a king,[18]
  That treason can but peep to what it would,
  Acts little of his will.
  Let him go, Gertrude.

    [QUEEN _obeys._]

  _Laer._ Where is my father?

  _King._                    Dead.

  _Queen._                       But not by him.

  _King._ Let him demand his fill.

  _Laer._ How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
  To hell, allegiance! To this point I stand,
  That both the worlds I give to negligence,[19]
  Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
  Most throughly for my father.

  _King._                      Who shall stay you!

  _Laer._ My will, not all the world's:[20]
  And, for my means, I'll husband them so well,
  They shall go far with little.

  _King._                       Good Laertes,
  That I am guiltless of your father's death,
  And am most sensible in grief[21] for it,
  It shall as level to your judgment 'pear
  As day does to your eye.



  Oh, poor Ophelia!

  _King._ Let her come in.

    _Enter_ OPHELIA (R.C.), _fantastically dressed with Straws
    and Flowers._


    (_Goes up_ L.C.)

                         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?

  _Oph._ (R.C.)

    _They bore him barefac'd on the bier_;
      _And on his grave rain many a tear,--_

  Fare you well, my dove!


    (_Coming down_ R.)

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

_Oph._ You must sing, _Down-a-down,[22] an you call him a-down-a._ O,
how well the wheel becomes it![23] It is the false steward, that
stole his master's daughter.

_Laer._ This nothing's more than matter.

_Oph._ There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;[24] pray you, love,
remember: and there is pansies,[25] that's for thoughts.

_Laer._ A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.

_Oph._ There's fennel for you,

  (_crosses to the_ KING _on_ L.H.)

and columbines:[26] there's rue for you;

  (_turns to the_ QUEEN, _who is_ R.C.)

and here's some for me:--we may call it herb of grace
o'Sundays:[27]--you may wear your rue with a difference.[28]--There's
a daisy:[29]--I would give you some violets,[30] but they withered
all when my father died:--They say he made a good end,----

  _For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy--_[31]

  _Laer._ (R.) Thought and affliction,[32] passion, hell itself,
  She turns to favour and to prettiness.


      _And will he not come again?_
      _And will he not come again?_
        _No, no, he is dead_,
        _Gone to his death-bed_,
      _He never will come again._

      _His beard was white as snow_,
      _All flaxen was his poll:_
        _He is gone, he is gone_,
        _And we cast away moan:_
      _Heaven 'a mercy on his soul!_

  And of all christian souls, I pray Heaven. Heaven be wi' you.

    [_Exit_ OPHELIA, R.C., QUEEN _following._]

  _Laer._ Do you see this, O Heaven?

  _King._ (L.C.) Laertes, I must commune with your grief,[33]
  Or you deny me right.
  Be you content to lend your patience to us,
  And we shall jointly labour with your soul
  To give it due content.

  _Laer._ (R.C.)           Let this be so;
  His means of death, his obscure funeral,--
  No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,[34]
  No noble rite nor formal ostentation,--
  Cry to be heard,[35] as 'twere from heaven to earth,
  That I must call't in question.

  _King._                     So you shall;
  And where the offence is let the great axe fall.[36]
  How now! what news?

    _Enter_ BERNARDO (R.H.C.)

  _Ber._ (C.)         Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
  This to your majesty; this to the Queen.

  _King._ From Hamlet! who brought them?

  _Ber._ Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not.

  _King._         Laertes, you shall hear them.--
  Leave us.

    [_Exit_, L.H.C.]

_High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom.[37]
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?
  Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

  _Laer._ (R.) Know you the hand?

  _King._ (L.) 'Tis Hamlet's character:[38] _Naked,--_

  And in a postscript here, he says, _alone_.
  Can you advise me?

  _Laer._ 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 diddest thou_.

  _King._             If it be so, Laertes,
  Will you be rul'd by me?

  _Laer._                 Ay, my lord;
  So you will not o'er-rule me to a peace.

  _King._ To thine own peace.
  Some two months since,
  Here was a gentleman of Normandy,
  He made confession of[39] you;
  And gave you such a masterly report,
  For art and exercise in your defence,[40]
  And for your rapier most especially,
  That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,
  If one could match you: 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,----

  _Laer._              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?

  _Laer._                Why ask you this?

  _King._ 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, together,
  And wager o'er your heads; he, being remiss,[41]
  Most generous, and free from all contriving,
  Will not peruse the foils:[42] so that, with ease,
  Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
  A sword unbated,[43] and, in a pass of practice,[44]
  Requite him for your father.

  _Laer._                     I will do't:
  And, for the 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[45] so rare,
  Collected from all simples[46] 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.

  _King._ (L.) Let's further think of this;
  We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings,[47]
  When in your motion[48] you are hot and dry,
  (As make your bouts more violent to that end,)
  And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
  A chalice for the nonce;[49] whereon but sipping,
  If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,[50]
  Our purpose may hold there. But stay, what noise?

    _Enter_ QUEEN (R.C.)

  _Queen._ (C.) One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
  So fast they follow: Your sister's drown'd, Laertes.

  _Laer._ (R.) Drown'd! O, where?

  _Queen._ There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
  That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
  Therewith fantastick garlands did she make
  Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples;[51]
  There, on the pendent boughs her cornet weeds
  Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
  When down her weedy trophies, and herself,
  Fell in the weeping brook.

  _Laer._ I forbid my tears: But yet
  It is our trick:[52] nature her custom holds,
  Let shame say what it will: when these are gone,
  The woman will be out.[53]
  Adieu, my lord:
  I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
  But that this folly drowns it.[54]

    [_Exeunt._ C.]



Act IV

    [Footnote IV.1: _Translate:_] Interpret.]

    [Footnote IV.2: _In this brainish apprehension_,] Distempered,
    brainsick mood.]

    [Footnote IV.3: _Where the offender's scourge is weigh'd, But
    never the offence._] When an offender is popular, the people
    never consider what his crime was, but they scrutinise his

    [Footnote IV.4: _Politick worms_] _i.e._, artful, cunning worms.]

    [Footnote IV.5: _The wind at help_,] _i.e._, ready.]

    [Footnote IV.6: _May'st not coldly set_] Set is to value or
    estimate. "Thou may'st not _set little by it_, or _estimate it

    [Footnote IV.7: _Our sovereign process:_] _i.e._, our royal

    [Footnote IV.8: _By letters conjuring to that effect_,] The verb
    to conjure, in the sense of to supplicate, was formerly accented
    on the first syllable.]

    [Footnote IV.9: _Howe'er my haps_,] Chances of fortune.]

    [Footnote IV.10: _His sandal shoon._] Shoon is the old plural of
    shoe. The verse is descriptive of a pilgrim. While this kind of
    devotion was in favour, love intrigues were carried on under that

    [Footnote IV.11: _Larded with sweet flowers_;] _i.e._, Garnished
    with sweet flowers.]

    [Footnote IV.12: _Heaven 'ield you._] Requite; yield you

    [Footnote IV.13: _The owl was a baker's daughter._] This is in
    reference to a story that was once prevalent among the common
    people of Gloucestershire.]

    [Footnote IV.14: _Conceit upon her father._] Fancies respecting
    her father.]

    [Footnote IV.15: _Don'd and dupp'd_] _To don_, is to _do on_, or
    _put on_, as _doff_ is to _do off_, or _put off_. To _dupp_ is to
    _do up_, or _lift up_ the latch.]

    [Footnote IV.16: _In a riotous head_,] The tide, strongly
    flowing, is said to pour in with a great _head_.]

    [Footnote IV.17: _The chaste unsmirched brow of my true mother._]
    _Unsmirched_ is unstained, not defiled.]

    [Footnote IV.18: _Doth hedge a king_,] The word _hedge_ is used
    by the gravest writers upon the highest subjects.]

    [Footnote IV.19: _Both the worlds I give to negligence_,] I am
    careless of my present and future prospects, my views in this
    life, as well as that which is to come.]

    [Footnote IV.20: _My will, not all the world's:_] _i.e._, by my
    will as far as my will is concerned, not all the world shall stop
    me; and, as for my means, I'll husband them so well, they shall
    go far, though really little.]

    [Footnote IV.21: _Sensible in grief_] Poignantly affected with.]

    [Footnote IV.22: _You must sing Down-a-down_,] This was the
    burthen of an old song, well known in Shakespeare's time.]

    [Footnote IV.23: _How well the wheel becomes it!_] This probably
    means that the song or charm is well adapted to those who are
    occupied at spinning at the wheel.]

    [Footnote IV.24: _There's rosemary, that's for remembrance_;]
    Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and was
    carried at funerals and wore at weddings. It was also considered
    the emblem of fidelity in lovers; and at weddings it was usual to
    dip the rosemary in the cup, and drink to the health of the new
    married couple.]

    [Footnote IV.25: _There is pansies_,] _i.e._, a little flower
    called _heart's-ease_. Pansies in French signifies _thoughts_.]

    [Footnote IV.26: _There's fennel for you, and columbines:_]
    Fennel was considered an emblem of flattery, and columbine was
    anciently supposed to be a _thankless flower_; signifying
    probably that the courtiers flattered to get favours, and were
    thankless after receiving them. Columbine was emblematical of
    forsaken lovers.]

    [Footnote IV.27: _There's rue for you; and here's some for
    me:--we may call it herb of grace o' Sundays:_] Probably a
    quibble is meant here, as _rue_ anciently signified the same as
    _ruth_, _i.e._, sorrow. In the common dictionaries of
    Shakespeare's time, it was called _herb of grace_. Ophelia wishes
    to remind the Queen of the sorrow and contrition she ought to
    feel for her unlawful marriage; and that she may wear her rue
    with peculiar propriety on Sundays, when she solicits pardon for
    the crime which she has so much occasion to _rue_ and repent

    [Footnote IV.28: _You may wear your rue with a difference._]
    _i.e._, to distinguish it from that worn by Ophelia, herself:
    because her tears flowed from the loss of a father--those of the
    Queen ought to flow for her guilt.]

    [Footnote IV.29: _There's a daisy:_] A daisy signified a warning
    to young women, not to trust the fair promises of their lovers.]

    [Footnote IV.30: _I would give you some violets_,] Violets
    signified faithfulness.]

    [Footnote IV.31: _For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,--_] Part
    of an old song.]

    [Footnote IV.32: _Thought and affliction_,] Thought here, as in
    many other places, means melancholy.]

    [Footnote IV.33: _I must commune with your grief_,] _i.e._,
    confer, discuss, or argue with.]

    [Footnote IV.34: _No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his
    bones_,] Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and
    tabard, (_i.e._, a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were
    anciently depicted, from whence the term _coat_ of armour), are
    hung over the grave of every knight.]

    [Footnote IV.35: _Cry to be heard_,] All these multiplied
    incitements are things which cry, &c.]

    [Footnote IV.36: _Let the great axe fall._] _i.e._, the axe that
    is to be laid to the root.]

    [Footnote IV.37: _Naked on your kingdom_,] _i.e._, unprovided and

    [Footnote IV.38: _'Tis Hamlet's character_,] Peculiar mode of
    shaping his letters.]

    [Footnote IV.39: _Made confession of_] Acknowledged.]

    [Footnote IV.40: _In your defence_,] _i.e._, "in your art and
    science of defence."]

    [Footnote IV.41: _He, being remiss_,] _i.e._, unsuspicious, not

    [Footnote IV.42: _Peruse the foils_;] Closely inspect them.]

    [Footnote IV.43: _A sword unbated_,] Not blunted, as foils are by
    a button fixed to the end.]

    [Footnote IV.44: _In a pass of practice_,] This probably means
    some favourite pass, some trick of fencing, with which Hamlet was
    inexperienced, and by which Laertes may be sure of success.]

    [Footnote IV.45: _No cataplasm_,] _i.e._, poultice--a healing

    [Footnote IV.46: _Collected from all simples_,] _i.e._, from all
    ingredients in medicine.]

    [Footnote IV.47: _On your cunnings_,] _i.e._, on your dexterity.]

    [Footnote IV.48: _In your motion_] Exercise, rapid evolutions.]

    [Footnote IV.49: _For the nonce_;] _i.e._, present purpose or

    [Footnote IV.50: _Venom'd stuck_,] Thrust. Stuck was a term of
    the fencing school.]

    [Footnote IV.51: _Long purples_,] One of the names for a species
    of orchis, a common English flower.]

    [Footnote IV.52: _Our trick:_] Our course, or habit; a property
    that clings to, or makes a part of, us.]

    [Footnote IV.53:

      _When these are gone_,
      _The woman will be out._]

    When these tears are shed, this womanish passion will be over.]

    [Footnote IV.54: _But that this folly drowns it._] _i.e._, my
    rage had flamed, if this flood of tears had not extinguished it.]



  _Enter two_ Clowns,[1] _with spades, &c._ (L.H.U.E.)

_1st Clo._ (R.) Is she to be buried in christian burial that wilfully
seeks her own salvation?

_2nd Clo._ (L.) I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave
straight:[2] the crowner[3] hath set on her, and finds it christian

_1st Clo._ How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own

_2nd Clo._ Why, 'tis found so.

_1st Clo._ It must be _se offendendo_;[4] it 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:[5]
argal,[6] she drowned herself wittingly.

_2nd Clo._ Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.[7]

_1st 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,[8] 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.

_2nd Clo._ But is this law?

_1st Clo._ Ay, marry is't; crowner's-quest law.[9]

_2nd Clo._ Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a
gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.

_1st Clo._ Why, there thou say'st:[10] And the more pity that great
folks should have countenance in this world to drown or hang
themselves, more than their even christian.[11] Come, my spade. There
is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers:
they hold up Adam's profession.

_2nd Clo._ Was he a gentleman?[12]

_1st Clo._ He was the first that ever bore arms. I'll put another
question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess

_2nd Clo._ Go to.

_1st Clo._ What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the
shipwright, or the carpenter?

_2nd Clo._ The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand

_1st Clo._ 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.

_2nd Clo._ Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a

_1st Clo._ Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.[14]

_2nd Clo._ Marry, now I can tell.

_1st Clo._ To't.

_2nd Clo._ Mass, I cannot tell.

_1st Clo._ Cudgel thy brains no more about it,[15] 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, and fetch me a stoup of

  [_Exit_ 2nd Clown, L.H.U.E.]

  _Enter_ HAMLET _and_ HORATIO (L.H.U.E.)

  First Clown _digs and sings._

    _In youth, when I did love, did love_,[17]
      _Methought, it was very sweet_,
    _To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove_
      _O, methought, there was nothing meet._


  (_Behind the grave._)

Has this fellow no feeling of his business, he sings at grave-making?


  (_On_ HAMLET'S R.)

Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

_Ham._ 'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier

_1st Clo._
  _But age, with his stealing steps_,
    _Hath clawed me in his clutch_,
  _And hath shipped me into 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! This might be the pate of a politician, which this
ass now o'er-reaches; one that would circumvent Heaven, might it not?

_Hor._ It might, my lord.

  [_Gravedigger throws up bones._]

_Ham._ Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at
loggats with them?[19] mine ache to think on't.

_1st Clo._


  _A pick-axe and a spade, a spade_,
    _For and a shrouding sheet:_[20]
  _O, a pit of clay for to be made_
    _For such a guest is meet._

  [_Throws up a skull._

_Ham._ There's another: Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?
Where be his quiddits now, his quillets,[21] his cases, his tenures,
and his tricks? Why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him
about the sconce[22] 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?

_1st Clo._ Mine, sir.--


  _O, a pit of clay for to be made_
    _For such a guest is meet._

_Ham._ (R. _of grave._) I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest

_1st Clo._ 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 dost lie in't, to be in't, and say it is thine: 'tis for
the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

_1st. Clo._ 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.

_Ham._ What man dost thou dig it for?

_1st Clo._ For no man, sir.

_Ham._ What woman, then?

_1st Clo._ For none, neither.

_Ham._ Who is to be buried in't?

_1st Clo._ One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.

_Ham._ How absolute the knave is![23] we must speak by the card,[24]
or equivocation will undo us,

  [_To_ HORATIO, R.]

How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

_1st Clo._ Of all the days i'the year, I came to't that day that our
last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

_Ham._ How long's that since?

_1st Clo._ Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: It was the
very day that young Hamlet was born,[25] he that is mad, and sent
into England.

_Ham._ Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

_1st Clo._ Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there;
or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.

_Ham._ Why?

_1st Clo._ 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad
as he.

_Ham._ How came he mad?

_1st Clo._ Very strangely, they say.

_Ham._ How strangely?

_1st Clo._ 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

_Ham._ Upon what ground?

_1st 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?

_1st Clo._ '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?

_1st 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 ill-begotten dead body. Here's a skull now, hath lain in the
earth three-and-twenty years.

_Ham._ Whose was it?

_1st Clo._ O, a mad fellow's it was: Whose do you think
it was?

_Ham._ Nay, I know not.

_1st Clo._ A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he poured a flagon of
Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull,
the king's jester.

_Ham._ This?

  [_Takes the skull._]

_1st Clo._ 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 kissed I know not
how oft; and now, how abhorred 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-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and
tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour[26] 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 look'd o'this fashion i'the earth?

_Hor._ E'en so.

_Ham._ And smelt so? pah!

  [_Gives the skull to HORATIO, who returns it to the grave-digger._]

_Hor._ E'en so, my lord.

_Ham._ To what base uses may we return, Horatio! Why may not
imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till it find it
stopping a bung-hole?

_Hor._ 'Twere to consider too curiously,[27] 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 to 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?

  Imperial Cæsar,[28] dead and turn'd to clay,
  Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
  O, that the earth, which kept the world in awe,
  Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw![29]

  But soft! but soft! aside: Here comes the king,
  The queen, the courtiers: Who is this they follow?
  And with such maimèd rites?[30] This doth betoken
  The corse they follow did with desperate hand
  Fordo its own life:[31] 'Twas of some estate.[32]
  Couch we awhile, and mark.

    [_Retiring with_ HORATIO, R.H.]

    _Enter_ Priests, &c., _in procession; the corpse of_ OPHELIA,
    LAERTES _and_ Mourners _following_; KING, QUEEN, _their_
    Trains, _&c._


    (L. _of the grave._)

  What ceremony else?

  _Ham._ (R.)        That is Laertes,
  A very noble youth.

  _1st Priest._

    (R. _of the grave._)

  Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd
  As we have warranty: Her death was doubtful;
  And, but that great command o'ersways the order,[33]
  She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
  Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,
  Shards,[34] flints, and pebbles, should be thrown on her:
  Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,[35]
  Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
  Of bell and burial.[36]

  _Laer._ Must there no more be done?

  _1st Priest._                      No more be done:
  We should profane the service of the dead
  To sing a _requiem_,[37] and such rest to her
  As to peace-parted souls.

  _Laer._ O, from her fair and unpolluted flesh
  May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,[38]
  A ministering angel shall my sister be,
  When thou liest howling.

  _Ham._                  What, the fair Ophelia!


    (_Behind the grave_, C. _with the_ KING.)

  Sweets to the sweet: Farewell!

    [_Scattering flowers._]

  I hop'd 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[39]
  Depriv'd thee of!--Hold off the earth a while,
  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,[40] or the skyish head
  Of blue Olympus.



                  What is he whose grief
  Bears such an emphasis?--whose phrase of sorrow
  Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand
  Like wonder-wounded hearers?--this is I,
  Hamlet the Dane.


    (L., _leaping from the grave._)

  The devil take thy soul!

    [_Grappling with him._]

  _Ham._ (R.C.)           Thou pray'st not well.
  I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
  For, though I am not splenetive and rash,
  Yet have I in me something dangerous,
  Which let thy wisdom fear: Hold off thy hand!

  _King._ Pluck them asunder.

  _Queen._ (C.)              Hamlet, Hamlet!

  _Ham._ (R.C.) Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
  Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

  _Queen._ O my son, what theme?

  _Ham._ I lov'd Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
  Could not, with all their quantity of love,
  Make up my sum.--What wilt thou do for her?

  _Queen._ O, he is mad, Laertes.

  _Ham._ Come, show me what thou'lt do:
  Wou'lt weep? wou'lt fight? wou'lt fast? wou'lt tear thyself?
  I'll do't.--Dost thou come here to whine?
  To outface me[41] 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,[42]
  Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
  Make Ossa[43] like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
  I'll rant as well as thou.

  _Queen._               This is mere madness:
  And thus a while the fit will work on him;
  Anon, as patient as the female dove,
  When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,[44]
  His silence will sit drooping.

  _Ham._                     Hear you, sir;
  What is the reason that you use me thus?
  I lov'd you ever: But it is no matter;
  Let Hercules himself do what he may,
  The cat will mew,[45] and dog will have his day.

    [_Exit_, R.H.]

  _King._ (C.) I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

    [_Exit_ HORATIO, R.H.]

  Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son,

    [_Exit_ QUEEN, _attended_, R.H.]

  Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;[46]

    [_To_ LAERTES.]

  We'll put the matter to the present push.--
  This grave shall have a living monument:[47]
  An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
  Till then, in patience our proceeding be.

    [_The characters group round the grave._]


    _Enter_ HAMLET _and_ HORATIO (R.H.)

  _Ham._ But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
  That to Laertes I forgot myself;
  For by the image of my cause,[48] I see
  The portraiture of his.

  _Hor._                 Peace! who comes here?

    _Enter_ OSRIC (L.H.)

  _Osr._ Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

_Ham._ (C.) I humbly thank you, sir.--Dost know this water-fly?[49]

_Hor._ (R.) No, my good lord.

_Ham._ Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him.

_Osr._ (L.) Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should
impart a thing to you from his majesty.

_Ham._ I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit.[50] Your
bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

_Osr._ I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.

_Ham._ No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

_Osr._ It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

_Ham._ But yet, methinks it is very sultry and hot,[51] for my

_Osr._ Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, as 'twere,--I cannot
tell how.--But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you, that he
has laid a great wager on your head: Sir, this is the matter,--

_Ham._ I beseech you, remember----

  [HAMLET _moves him to put on his hat._]

_Osr._ Nay, good my lord; for mine ease, in good faith.[52] Sir, here
is newly come to court Laertes; believe me, an absolute gentleman,
full of most excellent differences, of very soft society and great
showing:[53] Indeed, to speak feelingly of him,[54] he is the card or
calendar of gentry,[55] for you shall find in him the continent of
what part a gentleman would see.[56]

_Ham._ What imports the nomination of this gentleman?[57]

_Osr._ Of Laertes?

_Ham._ Of him, sir.

_Osr._ Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is--

_Ham._ I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in
excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself.[58]

_Osr._ I mean, sir, for his weapon.

_Ham._ What is his weapon?

_Osr._ Rapier and dagger.

_Ham._ That's two of his weapons: but, well.

_Osr._ The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses:
against the which he has imponed,[59] as I take it, six French
rapiers and poignards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers,[60] or
so: Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very
responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal

_Ham._ What call you the carriages?

_Osr._ The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

_Ham._ The phrase would be more german[62] to the matter, if we could
carry cannon by our sides.

_Osr._ The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between
yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; and it would
come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the

_Ham._ How if I answer no?[64]

_Osr._ I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

_Ham._ Sir, it is the breathing time of day with me; let the foils be
brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will
win for him if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and
the odd hits.

_Osr._ Shall I deliver you so?

_Ham._ To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.

_Osr._ I commend my duty to your lordship. [_Exit_, L.H.]

_Hor._ (R.) You will lose this wager, my lord.

_Ham._ (C.) I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been
in continual practice; I shall win at the odds.[65] But thou wouldst
not think how ill all's here about my heart: but it is no matter.

_Hor._ Nay, good my lord.

_Ham._ It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gain-giving,[66]
as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.

_Hor._ If your mind dislike any thing, obey it:[67] I will forestall
their repair hither, and say, you are not fit.

_Ham._ Not a whit, we defy augury: there is a special providence in
the fall of a sparrow.

  [_Exeunt_, L.H.]


    KING _and_ QUEEN, _on a dais_, LAERTES (R.), LORDS (R.),
    LADIES (L.), OSRIC (R.) _and_ Attendants, _with Foils, &c.,
    discovered_ (R.H.); _Tables_ (R. _and_ L.)--
    _Flourish of Trumpets._

    _Enter_ HAMLET _and_ HORATIO (L.H.)

  _King._ Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from

  _Ham._ (_offering his hand to_ LAERTES) Give me your
  pardon, sir: I have done you wrong;
  But pardon it, as you are a gentleman.
  Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
  Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
  That I have shot my arrow o'er the house,
  And hurt my brother.

  _Laer._ (R.)        I am satisfied in nature,
  Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
  To my revenge.
  I do receive your offer'd love like love,
  And will not wrong it.

  _Ham._                I embrace it freely:
  And will this brother's wager frankly play.
  Give us the foils.

  _Laer._         Come, one for me.

  _Ham._ I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance
  Your skill shall, like a star i'the darkest night,
  Stick fiery off indeed.[68]

  _Laer._                You mock me, sir.

  _Ham._ No, by this hand.

  _King._ Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
  You know the wager?

  _Ham._             Very well, my lord;
  Your grace hath laid the odds o'the weaker side.

  _King._ I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
  But since he's better'd,[69] we have therefore odds.

  _Laer._ This is too heavy, let me see another.

  _Ham._ This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

  _Osr._ Ay, my good lord.

  _King._ Set me the stoups of wine[70] upon that table.--

    [Pages _exeunt_ R. _and_ L.]

  If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
  Or quit[71] in answer to the third exchange,
  Let all the battlements their ordnance fire;
  The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
  And in the cup an union shall he throw,[72]
  Richer than that which four successive kings
  In Denmark's crown have worn.

    [Pages _return with wine._]

          Give me the cup;
  And let the kettle[73] to the trumpet speak,
  The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
  The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
  _Now the king drinks to Hamlet._--Come, begin;
  And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

  _Ham._ Come on, sir.

  _Laer._            Come, my lord.

    [_They play._]

  _Ham._                           One.

  _Laer._                              No.

  _Ham._                                  Judgment.

  _Osr._ A hit, a very palpable hit.

  _Laer._                           Well:--again.

  _King._ Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;

    [_Drops poison into the goblet._]

  Here's to thy health.

    [_Pretends to drink._]
    [_Trumpets sound; and cannon shot off within._]

  Give him the cup.

  _Ham._ I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile.

    [Page _places the goblet on table_, L.]

  Another hit; What say you?

    [_They play._]

  _Laer._ A touch, a touch, I do confess.

  _King._ Our son shall win.

  _Queen._ The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.[74]

  _Ham._ Good madam!----

    [_Trumpets sound._]

  _King._                Gertrude, do not drink.

  _Queen._ I have, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

  _King._ It is the poison'd cup; it is too late.


  _Laer._ I'll hit him now
  And yet it is almost against my conscience.


  _Ham._ Come, for the third, Laertes: You do but dally;
  I pray you, pass with your best violence;
  I am afeard you make a wanton of me.[75]

  _Laer._ Say you so? come on.

    [_They play._]

    [LAERTES _wounds_ HAMLET; _then, in scuffling they change
    Rapiers, and_ HAMLET _wounds_ LAERTES.]

  _King._                     Part them; they are incensed.

  _Ham._ Nay, come, again.

    [_The_ QUEEN _falls back in her chair._]


    (_Supporting_ LAERTES, R.)

  Look to the queen there, ho!


    (_Supporting_ HAMLET, L.)

  How is it, my lord?

  _Osr._ How is't, Laertes?

  _Laer._ Why, as a woodcock to my own springe,[76] Osric;
  I am justly killed with mine own treachery.

  _Ham._ How does the queen?

  _King._                    She swoons to see them bleed.

  _Queen._ No, no, the drink, the drink,--O, my dear Hamlet,--
  The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.

    [_The_ QUEEN _is conveyed off the stage by her attendant_
    Ladies, _in a dying state_, L.H.U.E.]

  _Ham._ O villainy! Ho! let the doors be lock'd:
  Treachery! seek it out.

    [LAERTES _falls._]

  _Laer._ (R.) It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
  No medicine in the world can do thee good,
  In thee there is not half an hour's life;
  The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
  Unbated and envenom'd:[77] the foul practice[78]
  Hath turn'd itself on me; lo, here I lie,
  Never to rise again: Thy mother's poison'd:
  I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.

  _Ham._ The point
  Envenom'd too! Then, venom, to thy work.
  Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damnèd Dane,
  Follow my mother.

    [_Stabs the_ KING, _who is borne away by his attendants,
    mortally wounded_, R.H.U.E.]

  _Laer._          He is justly serv'd;
  Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
  Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
  Nor thine on me!


  _Ham._ (C.) Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
  You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
  That are but mutes or audience to this act,
  Had I but time (as this fell sergeant, death,[79]
  Is strict in his arrest), O, I could tell you,--
  But let it be. Horatio,
  Report me and my cause aright
  To the unsatisfied.

  _Hor._ (L.)        Never believe it:
  I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
  Here's yet some liquor left.

    [_Seizing the goblet on table_, L.]

  _Ham._                      As thou'rt a man,--
  Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have it.

    [_Dashes the goblet away._]

  O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
  Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me![80]
  If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
  Absènt thee from felicity awhile,
  And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
  To tell my story.--
  O, I die, Horatio;
  The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit;[81]
  The rest is silence.

    [_Dies_, C., OSRIC _on his_ R., _and_ HORATIO _on his_ L.]

    _Dead March afar off._

    _Curtain slowly descends._



Act V

    [Footnote V.1: _Enter two Clowns_,] These characters are not in
    the original story, but are introduced by Shakespeare.]

    [Footnote V.2: _Make her grave straight:_] _i.e._, straightways,

    [Footnote V.3: _The crowner_] A corruption of coroner.]

    [Footnote V.4: _It must be se offendendo_;] A confusion of things
    as well as of terms: used for _se defendendo_, a finding of the
    jury in justifiable homicide.]

    [Footnote V.5: _To act, to do, and to perform:_] Warburton says,
    this is ridicule on scholastic divisions without distinction, and
    of distinctions without difference.]

    [Footnote V.6: _Argal_,] A corruption of the Latin word, _ergo,

    [Footnote V.7: _Delver._] _i.e._, a digger, one that opens the
    ground with a spade.]

    [Footnote V.8: _If the man go to this water,--it is, will he,
    nill he, he goes_,] Still floundering and confounding himself. He
    means to represent it as a _wilful_ act, and of course without
    any mixture of _nill_ or nolens in] it. Had he gone, as stated,
    whether he _would or not_, it would not have been of his own
    accord, or his act.]

    [Footnote V.9: _Crowner's-quest law._] Crowner's-quest is a
    vulgar corruption of coroner's inquest.]

    [Footnote V.10: _Why, there thou say'st_] Say'st something,
    speak'st to the purpose.]

    [Footnote V.11: _More than their even christian._] An old English
    expression for fellow-christian.]

    [Footnote V.12: _Was he a gentleman?_] Mr. Douce says this is
    intended as a ridicule upon heraldry.]

    [Footnote V.13: _Confess thyself----_] Admit, or by
    acknowledgment pass sentence upon thyself, as a simpleton?
    "Confess, and be hanged," was a proverbial sentence.]

    [Footnote V.14: _Tell me that, and unyoke._] Unravel this, and
    your day's work is done, your team may then unharness.]

    [Footnote V.15: _Cudgel thy brains no more about it_;] _i.e._,
    beat about thy brains no more.]

    [Footnote V.16: _A stoup of liquor._] A stoup is a jug.]

    [Footnote V.17: _In youth, when I did love, did love._] The three
    stanzas sung here by the Grave-Digger, are extracted, with a
    slight variation, from a little poem called _The Aged Lover
    renounceth Love_, written by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who
    was beheaded in 1547. The song is to be found in Dr. Percy's
    _Reliques of Ancient English Poetry_.]

    [Footnote V.18: _The hand of little employment hath the daintier
    sense._] _i.e._, its "palm less dulled or staled."]

    [Footnote V.19: _But to play at loggats with them?_] A _loggat_
    is a small _log_, or piece of wood; a diminutive from _log_.
    Hence _loggats_, as the name of an old game among the common
    people, and one of those forbidden by a statute of the 33rd of
    Henry VIII. A stake was fixed into the ground, and those who
    played threw _loggats_ at it.]

    [Footnote V.20: _For and a shrouding sheet:_] For and is an
    ancient expression, answering to _and eke, and likewise_.]

    [Footnote V.21: _Where be his quiddits now, his quillets_,]
    Quiddits are subtilties; quillets are nice and frivolous

    [Footnote V.22: _Knock him about the sconce_] _i.e._, head.]

    [Footnote V.23: _How absolute the knave is!_] Peremptory,
    strictly and tyrannously precise.]

    [Footnote V.24: _We must speak by the card_,] The _card_ is the
    mariner's compass. Properly the paper on which the points of the
    wind are marked. Hence, _to speak by the card_, meant to speak
    with great exactness; true to a point.]

    [Footnote V.25: _The very day that young Hamlet was born_,] It
    would appear by this that Hamlet was thirty years old, and knew
    Yorick well, who had been dead twenty-two years.]

    [Footnote V.26: _Favour_] Feature, countenance, or complexion.]

    [Footnote V.27: _'Twere to consider too curiously_,] Be pressing
    the argument with too much critical nicety, to dwell upon mere

    [Footnote V.28: _Imperial Cæsar_,] In some edition it is
    _imperious_ Cæsar. Imperious was a more ancient term, signifying
    the same as imperial.]

    [Footnote V.29: _The winter's flaw!_] _i.e._, winter's blast.]

    [Footnote V.30: _Maimèd rites?_] Curtailed, imperfect.]

    [Footnote V.31: _Fordo its own life:_] Destroy.]

    [Footnote V.32: _'Twas of some estate._] _i.e._, of rank or

    [Footnote V.33: _Command o'ersways the order_,] The course which
    ecclesiastical rules prescribe.]

    [Footnote V.34: _Shards_,] _i.e._, broken pots or tiles.]

    [Footnote V.35: _Virgin crants_,] _i.e._, virgin garlands. Nares,
    in his Glossary, says that _crants_ is a German word, and
    probably Icelandic.]

    [Footnote V.36: _Bringing home of bell and burial_,] Conveying to
    her last home with these accustomed forms of the church, and this
    sepulture in consecrated ground.]

    [Footnote V.37: _A requiem_,] A mass performed in Popish churches
    for the rest of the soul of a person deceased.]

    [Footnote V.38: _Churlish priest_,] Churlish is, figuratively,
    ill-humoured, ill-bred, uncourtly, "rustic and rude."]

    [Footnote V.39: _Ingenious sense_] Life and sense.]

    [Footnote V.40: _To o'ertop old Pelion_,] Pelion is one of a
    lofty range of mountains in Thessaly. The giants, in their war
    with the gods, are said to have attempted to heap Ossa and
    Olympus on Pelion, in order to scale Heaven.]

    [Footnote V.41: _Outface me_] _i.e._, brave me.]

    [Footnote V.42: _Our ground_,] The earth about us.]

    [Footnote V.43: _Ossa_] A celebrated mountain in Thessaly,
    connected with Pelion, and in the neighbourhood of Mount

    [Footnote V.44: _Her golden couplets are disclos'd_,] To
    disclose, was anciently used for to _hatch_. A pigeon never lays
    more than two eggs.]

    [Footnote V.45: _The cat will mew, and dog, &c._] "Things have
    their appointed course; nor have we power to divert it," may be
    the sense here conveyed.]

    [Footnote V.46: _Strengthen your patience in our last night's
    speech_;] Let the consideration of the topics then urged, confirm
    your resolution taken of quietly waiting events a little longer.]

    [Footnote V.47: _This grave shall have a living monument:_] There
    is an ambiguity in this phrase. It either means an _endurable_
    monument such as will outlive time, or it darkly hints at the
    impending fate of Hamlet.]

    [Footnote V.48: _Image of my cause_,] Representation or

    [Footnote V.49: _Dost know this water-fly?_] Dr. Johnson remarks
    that a _water-fly_ skips up and down upon the surface of the
    water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the
    proper emblem of a busy trifler.]

    [Footnote V.50: _All diligence of spirit._] "With the whole bent
    of my mind." A happy phraseology; in ridicule, at the same time
    that it was in conformity with the style of the airy, affected
    insect that was playing round him.]

    [Footnote V.51: _Very sultry and hot_,] Hamlet is here playing
    over the same farce with Osric which he had formerly done with
    Polonius. The idea of this scene is evidently suggested by

    [Footnote V.52: _For mine ease, in good faith._] From
    contemporary authors this appears to have been the ordinary
    language of courtesy in our author's own time.]

    [Footnote V.53: _An absolute--a great showing:_] A finished
    gentleman, full of various accomplishments, of gentle manners,
    and very imposing appearance.]

    [Footnote V.54: _To speak feelingly of him_,] With insight and

    [Footnote V.55: _Card or calendar of gentry_,] The card by which
    a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is
    to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and

    [Footnote V.56: _The continent of what part a gentleman would
    see._] The word continent in this sense is frequently used by
    Shakespeare; _i.e._, you shall find him _containing_ and
    _comprising_ every quality which a _gentleman_ would desire to
    _contemplate_ for imitation.]

    [Footnote V.57: _What imports the nomination, &c._] What is the
    object of the introduction of this gentleman's name?]

    [Footnote V.58: _I dare not--lest I should compare--were to know
    himself._] No one can have a perfect conception of the measure of
    another's excellence, unless he shall himself come up to that
    standard. Dr. Johnson says, I dare not pretend to know him, lest
    I should pretend to an equality: no man can completely know
    another, but by knowing himself, which is the utmost extent of
    human wisdom.]

    [Footnote V.59: _He has imponed_,] _i.e._, to lay down as a stake
    or wager. Impono.]

    [Footnote V.60: _Hangers_,] That part of the girdle or belt by
    which the swords were suspended was, in our poet's time, called
    the _hangers_.]

    [Footnote V.61: _Very dear to fancy--very liberal conceit._] Of
    exquisite invention, well adapted to their hilts, and in their
    conception rich and high fashioned.]

    [Footnote V.62: _More german_] More a-kin.]

    [Footnote V.63: _Vouchsafe the answer._] Condescend to answer, or
    meet his wishes.]

    [Footnote V.64: _How if I answer, no?_] Reply.]

    [Footnote V.65: _I shall win at the odds._] I shall succeed with
    the advantage that I am allowed.]

    [Footnote V.66: _Gain-giving_,] Misgiving.]

    [Footnote V.67: _If your mind, &c._] If you have any presentiment
    of evil, yield to its suggestion.]

    [Footnote V.68: _Like a star i'the darkest night, stick fiery
    off_] Be made by the strongest relief to stand brightly

    [Footnote V.69: _Better'd_,] He stands higher in estimation.]

    [Footnote V.70: _Stoups of wine_] Flagons of wine.]

    [Footnote V.71: _Quit in answer_] Make the wager _quit_, or so
    far drawn.]

    [Footnote V.72: _An union shall he throw_,] _i.e._, a fine pearl.
    To swallow a pearl in a draught seems to have been equally common
    to royal and mercantile prodigality. It may be observed that
    pearls were supposed to possess an exhilarating quality. It was
    generally thrown into the drink as a compliment to some
    distinguished guest, and the King in this scene, under the
    pretence of throwing a pearl into the cup, drops some poisonous
    drug into the wine.]

    [Footnote V.73: _Kettle_] _i.e._, kettle drum.]

    [Footnote V.74: _The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet._]
    _i.e._, drinks to your success.]

    [Footnote V.75: _You make a wanton of me._] _i.e._, you trifle
    with me as if you were playing with a child.]

    [Footnote V.76: _As a woodcock to my own springe._] I have run
    into a springe like a woodcock, and into such a noose or trap as
    a fool only would have fallen into; one of my own setting.]

    [Footnote V.77: _Unbated, and envenom'd:_] _i.e._, having a sharp
    point envenomed with poison.]

    [Footnote V.78: _The foul practice_] _i.e._, the wicked trick
    which I have practised.]

    [Footnote V.79: _Fell sergeant, death_,] _i.e._, cruel
    sergeant--sergeant being an officer of the law.]

    [Footnote V.80: _Live behind me!_] Survive me.]

    [Footnote V.81: _Quite o'ercrows my spirit_;] Overpowers, exults
    over; no doubt an image taken from the lofty carriage of a
    victorious cock.]

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