The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1600-1)


Act IV, Scene 5

Elsinore. A room in the Castle.

Enter Horatio, Queen, and a Gentleman.

Gertrude I will not speak with her.

Gentleman She is importunate, indeed distract.
Her mood will needs be pitied.

Gertrude What would she have?

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.

Horatio 'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

Gertrude Let her come in.
[Exit Gentleman.]
[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.

Ophelia Where is the beauteous Majesty of Denmark?

Gertrude How now, Ophelia?

Ophelia [sings]
How should I your true-love know
From another one?
By his cockle bat and' staff
And his sandal shoon.

Gertrude Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Ophelia 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.
O, ho!

Gertrude Nay, but Ophelia-

Ophelia Pray you mark.
(Sings) White his shroud as the mountain snow-

Enter King.

Gertrude Alas, look here, my lord!

Ophelia [Sings]
Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did not go
With true-love showers.

Claudius How do you, pretty lady?

Ophelia 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
your table!

Claudius Conceit upon her father.

Ophelia 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.

Claudius Pretty Ophelia!

Ophelia 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.'
He answers:
'So would I 'a' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.'

Claudius How long hath she been thus?

Ophelia 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

Claudius Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
[Exit Horatio.]
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.

Gertrude Alack, what noise is this?

Claudius Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
[Enter a Messenger.]
What is the matter?

Messenger 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.

Gertrude How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!

Claudius The doors are broke.

Enter Laertes with others.

Laertes Where is this king?- Sirs, staid you all without.

All No, let's come in!

Laertes I pray you give me leave.

All We will, we will!

Laertes I thank you. Keep the door. [Exeunt his Followers.]
O thou vile king,
Give me my father!

Gertrude Calmly, good Laertes.

Laertes 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.

Claudius 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.
Speak, man.

Laertes Where is my father?

Gertrude But not by him!

Claudius Let him demand his fill.

Laertes 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.

Claudius Who shall stay you?

Laertes My will, not all the world!
And for my means, I'll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.

Claudius Good Laertes,
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?

Laertes None but his enemies.

Claudius Will you know them then?

Laertes To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

Claudius 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.'

Laertes 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.

Ophelia [sings]
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!

Laertes Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.

Ophelia 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
master's daughter.

Laertes This nothing's more than matter.

Ophelia There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love,
remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts.

Laertes A document in madness! Thoughts and remembrance fitted.

Ophelia 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.

Laertes Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.

Ophelia [sings]
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.

Exit.

Laertes Do you see this, O God?

Claudius 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.

Laertes 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.

Claudius So you shall;
And where th' offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you go with me.

Exeunt

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