Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
There's matter in these sighs. These profound heaves
You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
Bestow this place on us a little while.
[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen to-night!
Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries 'A rat, a rat!'
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.
O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there.
His liberty is full of threats to all-
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt
This mad young man. But so much was our love
We would not understand what was most fit,
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
To draw apart the body he hath kill'd;
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure. He weeps for what is done.
O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
We must with all our majesty and skill
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!
[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him.
Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you haste in this.
[Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].]
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends
And let them know both what we mean to do
And what's untimely done. [So haply slander-]
Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,
Transports his poisoned shot- may miss our name
And hit the woundless air.- O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be
demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son
of a king?
Ay, sir; that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards,
his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in
the end. He keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw;
first mouth'd, to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have
glean'd, it is but squeezing you and, sponge, you shall be dry
I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
He's lov'd of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And where 'tis so, th' offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
Or not at all.
How now O What hath befall'n?
Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern [with Attendants].
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your
only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and
we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar
is but variable service- two dishes, but to one table. That's the
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat
of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger find him not
there, seek him i' th' other place yourself. But indeed, if you
find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up
the stair, into the lobby.
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,-
Which we do tender as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done,- must send thee hence
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
The bark is ready and the wind at help,
Th' associates tend, and everything is bent
My mother! Father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is
one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England!
Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard.
Delay it not; I'll have him hence to-night.
Away! for everything is seal'd and done
That else leans on th' affair. Pray you make haste.
[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]
And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,-
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us,- thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun. Exit.
Enter Fortinbras with his Army over the stage.
Go, Captain, from me greet the Danish king.
Tell him that by his license Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promis'd march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his Majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.
Exeunt [all but the Captain].
Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, [Guildenstern,] and others.
Truly to speak, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw.
This is th' imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies.- I humbly thank you, sir.
I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.
[Exeunt all but Hamlet.]
How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unus'd. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th' event,-
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward,- I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do,'
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
Witness this army of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd,
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep, while to my shame I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth! Exit.
Enter Horatio, Queen, and a Gentleman.
She speaks much of her father; says she hears
There's tricks i' th' world, and hems, and beats her heart;
Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt,
That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
Let her come in.
[Aside] To my sick soul (as sin's true nature is)
Each toy seems Prologue to some great amiss.
So full of artless jealousy is guilt
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Enter Ophelia distracted.
How should I your true-love know
From another one?
By his cockle bat and' staff
And his sandal shoon.
Say you? Nay, pray You mark.
(Sings) He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did not go
With true-love showers.
Well, God dild you! They say the owl was a baker's daughter.
Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at
Pray let's have no words of this; but when they ask, you what
it means, say you this:
(Sings) To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning bedtime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose and donn'd his clo'es
And dupp'd the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't!
[Sings] By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't if they come to't
By Cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me,
You promis'd me to wed.'
'So would I 'a' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.'
I hope all will be well. We must be patient; but I cannot
choose but weep to think they would lay him i' th' cold ground.
My brother shall know of it; and so I thank you for your good
counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies. Good night, sweet
ladies. Good night, good night. Exit
Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
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! First, her father slain;
Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
Thick and and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps, himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death,
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murd'ring piece, in many places
Give me superfluous death. A noise within.
Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
[Enter a Messenger.]
What is the matter?
Save Yourself, my lord:
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste
Than Young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears Your offices. The rabble call him lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry 'Choose we! Laertes shall be king!'
Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds,
'Laertes shall be king! Laertes king!'
A noise within.
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
Enter Laertes with others.
I thank you. Keep the door. [Exeunt his Followers.]
O thou vile king,
Give me my father!
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard;
Cries cuckold to my father; brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirched brows
Of my true mother.
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giantlike?
Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
There's such divinity doth hedge a king
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incens'd. Let him go, Gertrude.
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the world, I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
Most throughly for my father.
My will, not all the world!
And for my means, I'll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge
That sweepstake you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?
To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
Why, now You speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
A noise within: 'Let her come in.'
How now? What noise is that?
[Enter Ophelia. ]
O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.
They bore him barefac'd on the bier
(Hey non nony, nony, hey nony)
And in his grave rain'd many a tear.
Fare you well, my dove!
You must sing 'A-down a-down, and you call him a-down-a.' O,
how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward, that stole his
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love,
remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts.
There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you,
and here's some for me. We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.
O, you must wear your rue with a difference! There's a daisy. I
would give you some violets, but they wither'd all when my father
died. They say he made a good end.
[Sings] For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead;
Go to thy deathbed;
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll.
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan.
God 'a'mercy on his soul!
And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God b' wi' you.
Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.
Let this be so.
His means of death, his obscure funeral-
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation,-
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.
Enter Horatio with an Attendant.
Let them come in.
I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.
'A shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you,
sir,- it comes from th' ambassador that was bound for England- if
your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
[reads the letter] 'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlook'd
this, give these fellows some means to the King. They have
letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of
very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too
slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I
boarded them. On the instant they got clear of our ship; so I
alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves
of mercy; but they knew what they did: I am to do a good turn for
them. Let the King have the letters I have sent, and repair thou
to me with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death. I have words
to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb; yet are they much too
light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows will bring
thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course
for England. Of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.
'He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.'
Come, I will give you way for these your letters,
And do't the speedier that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them. Exeunt.
Enter King and Laertes.
Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
And You must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
It well appears. But tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.
O, for two special reasons,
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The Queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself,-
My virtue or my plague, be it either which,-
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive
Why to a public count I might not go
Is the great love the general gender bear him,
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gives to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.
And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desp'rate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections. But my revenge will come.
Break not your sleeps for that. You must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself,
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine-
[Enter a Messenger with letters.]
How now? What news?
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not.
They were given me by Claudio; he receiv'd them
Of him that brought them.
Laertes, you shall hear them.
[Reads]'High and Mighty,-You shall know I am set naked on your
kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes;
when I shall (first asking your pardon thereunto) recount the
occasion of my sudden and more strange return. 'HAMLET.'
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
'Tis Hamlet's character. 'Naked!'
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?
I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come!
It warms the very sickness in my heart
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'
If it be so, Laertes
(As how should it be so? how otherwise?),
Will you be rul'd by me?
To thine own peace. If he be now return'd
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To exploit now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
And for his death no wind shall breathe
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.
My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather, if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.
It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say you shine, Your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.
A very riband in the cap of youth-
Yet needfull too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since
Here was a gentleman of Normandy.
I have seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback; but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't. He grew unto his seat,
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast. So far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.
He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you. The scrimers of their nation
He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er to play with you.
Now, out of this-
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart,'
Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too-much. That we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But to the quick o' th' ulcer!
Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
No place indeed should murther sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this? Keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home.
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads. He, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.
I will do't!
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
This is but scratch'd withal. I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
Let's further think of this,
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape. If this should fall,
And that our drift look through our bad performance.
'Twere better not assay'd. Therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold
If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see.
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings-
When in your motion you are hot and dry-
As make your bouts more violent to that end-
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepar'd him
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.- But stay, what noise,
How now, sweet queen?
One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears; but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will. When these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord.
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze
But that this folly douts it. Exit.
Let's follow, Gertrude.
How much I had to do to calm his rage I
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.