Enter two Clowns, [with spades and pickaxes].
I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight.
The crowner hath sate on her, and finds it Christian burial.
It must be se offendendo; 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;
argal, she drown'd herself wittingly.
Give me leave. Here lies the water; good. Here stands the
man; good. If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is,
will he nill he, he goes- mark you that. But if the water come to
him and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not
guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.
Will you ha' the truth an't? If this had not been a
gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.
Why, there thou say'st! And the more pity that great folk
should have count'nance in this world to drown or hang themselves
more than their even-Christian. Come, my spade! There is no
ancient gentlemen but gard'ners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They
hold up Adam's profession.
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?
The Scripture says Adam digg'd. Could he dig without arms? I'll
put another question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the
purpose, confess thyself-
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the
shipwright, or the carpenter?
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!
Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will
not mend his pace with beating; and when you are ask'd this
question next, say 'a grave-maker.' The houses he makes lasts
till doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan; fetch me a stoup of
[Exit Second Clown.]
[Clown digs and] sings.
In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet;
To contract- O- the time for- a- my behove,
O, methought there- a- was nothing- a- meet.
But age with his stealing steps
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.
[Throws up a skull.]
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once. How the
knave jowls it to the ground,as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, that
did the first murther! This might be the pate of a Politician,
which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would circumvent God,
might it not?
Or of a courtier, which could say 'Good morrow, sweet lord!
How dost thou, good lord?' This might be my Lord Such-a-one, that
prais'd my Lord Such-a-one's horse when he meant to beg it- might
Why, e'en so! and now my Lady Worm's, chapless, and knock'd
about the mazzard with a sexton's spade. Here's fine revolution,
and we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the
breeding but to play at loggets with 'em? Mine ache to think
A pickaxe and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet;
O, a Pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
Throws up [another skull].
There's another. Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?
Where be his quiddits now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures,
and his tricks? Why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock
him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him
of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in's time a
great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his
fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of
his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine
pate full of fine dirt? Will his vouchers vouch him no more of
his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth
of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will
scarcely lie in this box; and must th' inheritor himself have no
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I
will speak to this fellow. Whose grave's this, sirrah?
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not yours.
For my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.
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.
How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or
equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, this three years
I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked that the toe
of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls
his kibe.- How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
Of all the days i' th' year, I came to't that day that our
last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was the
very day that young Hamlet was born- he that is mad, and sent
Why, because 'a was mad. 'A shall recover his wits there;
or, if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter there.
Faith, if 'a be not rotten before 'a die (as we have many
pocky corses now-a-days that will scarce hold the laying in, I
will last you some eight year or nine year. A tanner will last
you nine year.
Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd with his trade that 'a will
keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of
your whoreson dead body. Here's a skull now. This skull hath lien
you i' th' earth three-and-twenty years.
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'A pour'd a flagon of
Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's
skull, the King's jester.
Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,
Horatio. A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He
hath borne me on his back a thousand times. And now how abhorred
in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those
lips that I have kiss'd I know not how oft. Where be your gibes
now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment that
were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your
own grinning? Quite chap- fall'n? Now get you to my lady's
chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this
favour she must come. Make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio,
tell me one thing.
[Puts down the skull.]
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not
imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it
stopping a bunghole?
No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty
enough, and likelihood to lead it; as thus: Alexander died,
Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is
earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam (whereto he
was converted) might they not stop a beer barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t' expel the winter's flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside! Here comes the King-
Enter [priests with] a coffin [in funeral procession], King,
[Queen, Laertes, with Lords attendant.]
The Queen, the courtiers. Who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desp'rate hand
Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile, and mark.
[Retires with Horatio.]
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,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'd
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin rites,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
Lay her i' th' earth;
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A minist'ring angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.
Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
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.
O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv'd thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
[Leaps in the grave.]
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead
Till of this flat a mountain you have made
T' o'ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
[comes forward] 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. [Leaps in after Laertes.]
[Grapples with him.]
Thou pray'st not well.
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!
[The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave.]
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?
'Swounds, show me what thou't do.
Woo't weep? woo't fight? woo't fast? woo't tear thyself?
Woo't drink up esill? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.
This is mere madness;
And thus a while the fit will work on him.
Anon, as patient as the female dove
When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,
His silence will sit drooping.
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, and dog will have his day.
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
[To Laertes] Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.
We'll put the matter to the present push.-
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.-
This grave shall have a living monument.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then in patience our proceeding be.
Enter Hamlet and Horatio.
So much for this, sir; now shall you see the other.
You do remember all the circumstance?
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
Worse than the mutinies in the bilboes. Rashly-
And prais'd be rashness for it; let us know,
Our indiscretion sometime serves us well
When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will-
Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Grop'd I to find out them; had my desire,
Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again; making so bold
(My fears forgetting manners) to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio
(O royal knavery!), an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reasons,
Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
With, hoo! such bugs and goblins in my life-
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the finding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.
Here's the commission; read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou bear me how I did proceed?
Being thus benetted round with villanies,
Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play. I sat me down;
Devis'd a new commission; wrote it fair.
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
Th' effect of what I wrote?
An earnest conjuration from the King,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm might flourish,
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
And many such-like as's of great charge,
That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving time allow'd.
Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal;
Folded the writ up in the form of th' other,
Subscrib'd it, gave't th' impression, plac'd it safely,
The changeling never known. Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
Thou know'st already.
Why, man, they did make love to this employment!
They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow.
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.
Does it not, thinks't thee, stand me now upon-
He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother;
Popp'd in between th' election and my hopes;
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such coz'nage- is't not perfect conscience
To quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damn'd
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?
It will be short; the interim is mine,
And a man's life is no more than to say 'one.'
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself,
For by the image of my cause I see
The portraiture of his. I'll court his favours.
But sure the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a tow'ring passion.
Enter young Osric, a courtier.
[aside to Horatio] Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a
vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile. Let a beast be
lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess. 'Tis
a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart
a thing to you from his Majesty.
I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Put your
bonnet to his right use. 'Tis for the head.
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-
[Hamlet moves him to put on his hat.]
Nay, good my lord; for mine ease, in good faith. 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. Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card
or calendar of gentry; for you shall find in him the continent of
what part a gentleman would see.
Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you; though, I
know, to divide him inventorially would dozy th' arithmetic of
memory, and yet but yaw neither in respect of his quick sail.
But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great
article, and his infusion of such dearth and rareness as, to make
true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror, and who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
[aside to Hamlet] Is't not possible to understand in another
tongue? You will do't, sir, really.
I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not
much approve me. Well, sir?
I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in
excellence; but to know a man well were to know himself.
I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him
by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
The King, sir, hath wager'd with him six Barbary horses;
against the which he has impon'd, as I take it, six French
rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and
so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy,
very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of
very liberal conceit.
The phrase would be more germane to the matter if we could
carry cannon by our sides. I would it might be hangers till then.
But on! Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their
assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages: that's the French
bet against the Danish. Why is this all impon'd, as you call it?
The King, sir, hath laid that, in a dozen passes between
yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath
laid on twelve for nine, and it would come to immediate trial
if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his Majesty,
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.
Yours, yours. [Exit Osric.] He does well to commend it
himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
He did comply with his dug before he suck'd it. Thus has he,
and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes
on, only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter-
a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and
through the most fann'd and winnowed opinions; and do but blow
them to their trial-the bubbles are out,
Enter a Lord.
My lord, his Majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who
brings back to him, that you attend him in the hall. He sends to
know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will
take longer time.
I am constant to my purposes; they follow the King's pleasure.
If his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now or whensoever, provided
I be so able as now.
The Queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to
Laertes before you fall to play.
I do not think so. Since he went into France I have been in
continual practice. I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not
think how ill all's here about my heart. But it is no matter.
It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gaingiving as
would perhaps trouble a woman.
If your mind dislike anything, obey it. I will forestall their
repair hither and say you are not fit.
Not a whit, we defy augury; there's a special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be
not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come:
the readiness is all. Since no man knows aught of what he leaves,
what is't to leave betimes? Let be.
Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Osric, and Lords, with other
Attendants with foils and gauntlets.
A table and flagons of wine on it.
[The King puts Laertes' hand into Hamlet's.]
Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you wrong;
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows,
And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done
That might your nature, honour, and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet.
If Hamlet from himself be taken away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness. If't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
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.
I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive in this case should stir me most
To my revenge. But in my terms of honour
I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters of known honour
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungor'd. But till that time
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.
I embrace it freely,
And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Give us the foils. Come on.
I'll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
I do not fear it, I have seen you both;
But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.
Prepare to play.
Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of 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
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
And let the kettle 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.
Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.
[Drum; trumpets sound; a piece goes off [within].]
Give him the cup.
I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile.
Come. [They play.] Another hit. What say you?
He's fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.
The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Come for the third, Laertes! You but dally.
Pray you pass with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then] in scuffling, they change rapiers, [and Hamlet wounds Laertes].
Laertes Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
No, no! the drink, the drink! O my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink! I am poison'd. [Dies.]
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 of life.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom'd. The foul practice
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.
Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion! Is thy union here?
Follow my mother. King dies.
He is justly serv'd.
It is a poison temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me! Dies.
Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
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,
Is strict in his arrest) O, I could tell you-
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv'st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
As th'art a man,
Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I'll ha't.
O good Horatio, what a wounded name
(Things standing thus unknown) shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story. [March afar off, and shot within.]
What warlike noise is this?
Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
O, I die, Horatio!
The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England,
But I do prophesy th' election lights
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th' occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited- the rest is silence. Dies.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Why does the drum come hither?
Enter Fortinbras and English Ambassadors, with Drum, Colours, and Attendants.
This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck.
The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late.
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing
To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
Where should we have our thanks?
Not from his mouth,
Had it th' ability of life to thank you.
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
Are here arriv'd, give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view;
And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
How these things came about. So shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts;
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters;
Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause;
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on th' inventors' heads. All this can I
Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom
Which now, to claim my vantage doth invite me.
Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more.
But let this same be presently perform'd,
Even while men's minds are wild, lest more mischance
On plots and errors happen.
Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have prov'd most royally; and for his passage
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this
Becomes the field but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
Exeunt marching; after the which a peal of ordnance are shot off.