by William Shakespeare



Scene I. A churchyard.

[Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c.]

1 Clown.Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she wilfullyseeks her own salvation?

2 Clown.I tell thee she is; and therefore make her grave straight: thecrowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.

1 Clown.How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

2 Clown.Why, 'tis found so.

1 Clown.It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here liesthe point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and anact hath three branches; it is to act, to do, and to perform:argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

2 Clown.Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,--

1 Clown.Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here stands theman; 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 cometo him and drown him, he drowns not himself; argal, he that isnot guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.

2 Clown.But is this law?

1 Clown.Ay, marry, is't--crowner's quest law.

2 Clown.Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been agentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.

1 Clown.Why, there thou say'st: and the more pity that great folkshould have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselvesmore than their even Christian.--Come, my spade. There is noancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: theyhold up Adam's profession.

2 Clown.Was he a gentleman?

1 Clown.He was the first that ever bore arms.

2 Clown.Why, he had none.

1 Clown.What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?The Scripture says Adam digg'd: could he dig without arms? I'llput another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to thepurpose, confess thyself,--

2 Clown.Go to.

1 Clown.What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, theshipwright, or the carpenter?

2 Clown.The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1 Clown.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 thechurch; argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.

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

1 Clown.Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

2 Clown.Marry, now I can tell.

1 Clown.To't.

2 Clown.Mass, I cannot tell.

[Enter Hamlet and Horatio, at a distance.]

1 Clown.Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass willnot mend his pace with beating; and when you are asked thisquestion next, say 'a grave-maker;' the houses he makes lasttill doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan; fetch me a stoup ofliquor.

[Exit Second Clown.]

[Digs and sings.]

In youth when I did love, did love, Methought it was very sweet; To contract, O, the time for, ah, my behove, O, methought there was nothing meet.

Ham.Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings atgrave-making?

Hor.Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

Ham.'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintiersense.

1 Clown.[Sings.] But age, with his stealing steps, Hath claw'd me in his clutch, And hath shipp'd me intil 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 theknave jowls it to the ground,as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, thatdid the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician,which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would circumvent God,might it not?

Hor.It might, my lord.

Ham.Or of a courtier, which could say 'Good morrow, sweet lord!How dost thou, good lord?' This might be my lord such-a-one, thatpraised my lord such-a-one's horse when he meant to begit,--might it not?

Hor.Ay, my lord.

Ham.Why, e'en so: and now my Lady Worm's; chapless, and knockedabout the mazard with a sexton's spade: here's fine revolution,an we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more thebreeding but to play at loggets with 'em? mine ache to thinkon't.

1 Clown.[Sings.] 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].

Ham.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 knockhim about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell himof his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in's time agreat buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, hisfines, his double vouchers, his recoveries: is this the fine ofhis fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his finepate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more ofhis purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadthof a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands willscarcely lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have nomore, ha?

Hor.Not a jot more, my lord.

Ham.Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?

Hor.Ay, my lord, And of calf-skins too.

Ham.They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. Iwill speak to this fellow.--Whose grave's this, sir?

1 Clown.Mine, sir.[Sings.] O, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet.

Ham.I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.

1 Clown.You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis 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 forthe dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

1 Clown.'Tis a quick lie, sir; 't will away again from me to you.

Ham.What man dost thou dig it for?

1 Clown. For no man, sir.

Ham.What woman then?

1 Clown.For none neither.

Ham.Who is to be buried in't?

1 Clown.One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.

Ham.How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, orequivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, these threeyears I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked thatthe toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier hegalls his kibe.--How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

1 Clown.Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day that ourlast King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

Ham.How long is that since?

1 Clown.Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: it was thevery day that young Hamlet was born,--he that is mad, and sentinto England.

Ham.Ay, marry, why was be sent into England?

1 Clown.Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there;or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.


1 Clown.'Twill not he seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham.How came he mad?

1 Clown.Very strangely, they say.

Ham.How strangely?

1 Clown.Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

Ham.Upon what ground?

1 Clown.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?

1 Clown.Faith, if he be not rotten before he die,--as we have manypocky corses now-a-days that will scarce hold the laying in,--hewill last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will lastyou nine year.

Ham.Why he more than another?

1 Clown.Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd with his trade that he willkeep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer ofyour whoreson dead body. Here's a skull now; this skull hath lainin the earth three-and-twenty years.

Ham.Whose was it?

1 Clown.A whoreson, mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

Ham.Nay, I know not.

1 Clown.A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'a pour'd a flagon ofRhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick'sskull, the king's jester.


1 Clown.E'en that.

Ham.Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Yorick!--I knew him,Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: hehath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorredin my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung thoselips that I have kiss'd I know not how oft. Where be your gibesnow? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, thatwere wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock yourown grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now, get you to my lady'schamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to thisfavour she must come; make her laugh at that.--Pr'ythee, Horatio,tell me one thing.

Hor.What's that, my lord?

Ham.Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' the earth?

Hor.E'en so.

Ham.And smelt so? Pah!

[Throws down the skull.]

Hor.E'en so, my lord.

Ham.To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may notimagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find itstopping a bung-hole?

Hor.'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.

Ham.No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modestyenough, and likelihood to lead it: as thus: Alexander died,Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust isearth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto hewas 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 to expel the winter's flaw!But soft! but soft! aside!--Here comes the king.

[Enter priests, &c, in procession; the corpse of Ophelia,Laertes, and Mourners following; King, Queen, their Trains, &c.]

The queen, the courtiers: who is that they follow?And with such maimed rites? This doth betokenThe corse they follow did with desperate handFordo it own life: 'twas of some estate.Couch we awhile and mark.

[Retiring with Horatio.]

Laer.What ceremony else?

Ham.That is Laertes,A very noble youth: mark.

Laer.What ceremony else?

1 Priest.Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'dAs we have warranties: her death was doubtful;And, but that great command o'ersways the order,She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'dTill the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her,Yet here she is allowed her virgin rites,Her maiden strewments, and the bringing homeOf bell and burial.

Laer.Must there no more be done?

1 Priest.No more be done;We should profane the service of the deadTo sing a requiem and such rest to herAs to peace-parted souls.

Laer.Lay her i' the earth;--And from her fair and unpolluted fleshMay violets spring!--I tell thee, churlish priest,A ministering angel shall my sister beWhen thou liest howling.

Ham.What, the fair Ophelia?

Queen.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 woeFall ten times treble on that cursed headWhose wicked deed thy most ingenious senseDepriv'd thee of!--Hold off the earth awhile,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 or the skyish headOf blue Olympus.

Ham.[Advancing.]What is he whose griefBears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrowConjures the wandering stars, and makes them standLike wonder-wounded hearers? this is I,Hamlet the Dane.[Leaps into the grave.]

Laer.The devil take thy soul![Grappling with him.]

Ham.Thou pray'st not well.I pr'ythee, take thy fingers from my throat;For, though I am not splenetive and rash,Yet have I in me something dangerous,Which let thy wiseness fear: away thy hand!

King.Pluck them asunder.

Queen.Hamlet! Hamlet!


Hor.Good my lord, be quiet.

[The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave.]

Ham.Why, I will fight with him upon this themeUntil my eyelids will no longer wag.

Queen.O my son, what theme?

Ham.I lov'd Ophelia; forty thousand brothersCould not, with all their quantity of love,Make up my sum.--What wilt thou do for her?

King.O, he is mad, Laertes.

Queen.For love of God, forbear him!

Ham.'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:Woul't weep? woul't fight? woul't fast? woul't tear thyself?Woul't drink up eisel? 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 throwMillions 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.

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,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, and dog will have his day.


King.I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.--

[Exit Horatio.][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.


Scene II. A hall in the Castle.

[Enter Hamlet and Horatio.]

Ham.So much for this, sir: now let me see the other;You do remember all the circumstance?

Hor.Remember it, my lord!

Ham.Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fightingThat would not let me sleep: methought I layWorse 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 fail; and that should teach usThere's a divinity that shapes our ends,Rough-hew them how we will.

Hor.That is most certain.

Ham.Up from my cabin,My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the darkGrop'd I to find out them: had my desire;Finger'd their packet; and, in fine, withdrewTo mine own room again: making so bold,My fears forgetting manners, to unsealTheir 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, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,--That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,My head should be struck off.

Hor.Is't possible?

Ham.Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.But wilt thou bear me how I did proceed?

Hor.I beseech you.

Ham.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 muchHow to forget that learning; but, sir, nowIt did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou knowThe effect of what I wrote?

Hor.Ay, good my lord.

Ham.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 wearAnd stand a comma 'tween their amities;And many such-like as's of great charge,--That, on the view and know of these contents,Without debatement further, more or less,He should the bearers put to sudden death,Not shriving-time allow'd.

Hor.How was this seal'd?

Ham.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 the other;Subscrib'd it: gave't the impression; plac'd it safely,The changeling never known. Now, the next dayWas our sea-fight; and what to this was sequentThou know'st already.

Hor.So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

Ham.Why, man, they did make love to this employment;They are not near my conscience; their defeatDoes by their own insinuation grow:'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comesBetween the pass and fell incensed pointsOf mighty opposites.

Hor.Why, what a king is this!

Ham.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 the election and my hopes;Thrown out his angle for my proper life,And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscienceTo quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'dTo let this canker of our nature comeIn further evil?

Hor.It must be shortly known to him from EnglandWhat is the issue of the business there.

Ham.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 seeThe portraiture of his: I'll court his favours:But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put meInto a towering passion.

Hor.Peace; who comes here?

[Enter Osric.]

Osr.Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

Ham.I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?

Hor.No, my good lord.

Ham.Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him. Hehath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, andhis crib shall stand at the king's mess; 'tis a chough; but, as Isay, spacious in the possession of dirt.

Osr.Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I shouldimpart a thing to you from his majesty.

Ham.I will receive it with all diligence of spirit. Put yourbonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

Osr.I thank your lordship, t'is very hot.

Ham.No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

Osr.It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Ham.Methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.

Osr.Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--as 'twere--I cannottell how. But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you thathe has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is thematter,--

Ham.I beseech you, remember,--[Hamlet moves him to put on his hat.]

Osr.Nay, in good faith; for mine ease, in good faith. Sir, hereis newly come to court Laertes; believe me, an absolutegentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very softsociety and great showing: indeed, to speak feelingly of him, heis the card or calendar of gentry; for you shall find in him thecontinent of what part a gentleman would see.

Ham.Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;--though, Iknow, to divide him inventorially would dizzy the arithmetic ofmemory, 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 greatarticle, and his infusion of such dearth and rareness as, to maketrue diction of him, his semblable is his mirror, and who elsewould trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.

Osr.Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

Ham.The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our morerawer breath?


Hor.Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't,sir, really.

Ham.What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

Osr.Of Laertes?

Hor.His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.

Ham.Of him, sir.

Osr.I know, you are not ignorant,--

Ham.I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would notmuch approve me.--Well, sir.

Osr.You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is,--

Ham.I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him inexcellence; but to know a man well were to know himself.

Osr.I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid onhim by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.

Ham.What's his weapon?

Osr.Rapier and dagger.

Ham.That's two of his weapons:--but well.

Osr.The king, sir, hath wager'd with him six Barbary horses:against the which he has imponed, as I take it, six Frenchrapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, andso: three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy,very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and ofvery liberal conceit.

Ham.What call you the carriages?

Hor.I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.

Osr.The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

Ham.The phrase would be more german to the matter if we couldcarry cannon by our sides. I would it might be hangers till then.But, on: six Barbary horses against six French swords, theirassigns, and three liberal conceited carriages: that's the Frenchbet against the Danish: why is this all imponed, as you call it?

Osr.The king, sir, hath laid that, in a dozen passes betweenyour and him, he shall not exceed you three hits: he hathlaid on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trialif your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

Ham.How if I answer no?

Osr.I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Ham.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 bebrought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose,I will win for him if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but myshame and the odd hits.

Osr.Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?

Ham.To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.

Osr.I commend my duty to your lordship.

Ham.Yours, yours.

[Exit Osric.]

He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues elsefor's turn.

Hor.This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

Ham.He did comply with his dug before he suck'd it. Thus has he,--andmany 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 andthrough the most fanned and winnowed opinions; and do but blowthem to their trial, the bubbles are out,

[Enter a Lord.]

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 sendsto know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that youwill take longer time.

Ham.I am constant to my purposes; they follow the king's pleasure:if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now or whensoever, providedI be so able as now.

Lord.The King and Queen and all are coming down.

Ham.In happy time.

Lord.The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment toLaertes before you fall to play.

Ham.She well instructs me.

[Exit Lord.]

Hor.You will lose this wager, my lord.

Ham.I do not think so; since he went into France I have been incontinual practice: I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst notthink 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 aswould perhaps trouble a woman.

Hor.If your mind dislike anything, obey it: I will forestall theirrepair hither, and say you are not fit.

Ham.Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special providence inthe fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it benot to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come:the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves,what is't to leave betimes?

[Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Lords, Osric, and Attendants withfoils &c.]

King.Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

[The King puts Laertes' hand into Hamlet's.]

Ham.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 doneThat might your nature, honour, and exceptionRoughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:If Hamlet from himself be ta'en 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 evilFree me so far in your most generous thoughtsThat I have shot my arrow o'er the houseAnd hurt my brother.

Laer.I am satisfied in nature,Whose motive, in this case, should stir me mostTo my revenge. But in my terms of honourI stand aloof; and will no reconcilementTill by some elder masters of known honourI have a voice and precedent of peaceTo keep my name ungor'd. But till that timeI 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; come on.

Laer.Come, one for me.

Ham.I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignoranceYour skill shall, like a star in the darkest night,Stick fiery off indeed.

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 has laid the odds o' the weaker side.

King.I do not fear it; I have seen you both;But since he's better'd, we have therefore odds.

Laer.This is too heavy, let me see another.

Ham.This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

[They prepare to play.]

Osr.Ay, my good lord.

King.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 kingsIn 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 heavens 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.]




Osr.A hit, a very palpable hit.


King.Stay, give me drink.--Hamlet, this pearl is thine;Here's to thy health.--

[Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off within.]

Give him the cup.

Ham.I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile.--Come.--Another hit; what say you?

[They play.]

Laer.A touch, a touch, I do confess.

King.Our son shall win.

Queen.He's fat, and scant of breath.--Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows:The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

Ham.Good madam!

King.Gertrude, do not drink.

Queen.I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me.

King.[Aside.] It is the poison'd cup; it is too late.

Ham.I dare not drink yet, madam; by-and-by.

Queen.Come, let me wipe thy face.

Laer.My lord, I'll hit him now.

King.I do not think't.

Laer.[Aside.] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.

Ham.Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;I pray you pass with your best violence:I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

Laer.Say you so? come on.

[They play.]

Osr.Nothing, neither way.

Laer.Have at you now!

[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling, theychange rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.]

King.Part them; they are incens'd.

Ham.Nay, come again!

[The Queen falls.]

Osr.Look to the queen there, ho!

Hor.They bleed on both sides.--How is it, my lord?

Osr.How is't, Laertes?

Laer.Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osric;I am justly kill'd 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.


Ham.O villany!--Ho! let the door be lock'd:Treachery! seek it out.

[Laertes falls.]

Laer.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 practiceHath 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.

[Stabs the King.]

Osric and Lords.Treason! treason!

King.O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.

Ham.Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,Drink off this potion.--Is thy union here?Follow my mother.

[King dies.]

Laer.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!


Ham.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 arightTo the unsatisfied.

Hor.Never believe it:I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.--Here's yet some liquor left.

Ham.As thou'rt a man,Give me the cup; let go; by heaven, I'll have'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?

Osr.Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,To the ambassadors of England givesThis warlike volley.

Ham.O, I die, Horatio;The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:I cannot live to hear the news from England;But I do prophesy the election lightsOn Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,Which have solicited.--the rest is silence.


Hor.Now cracks a noble heart.--Good night, sweet prince,And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!Why does the drum come hither?

[March within.]

[Enter Fortinbras, the English Ambassadors, and others.]

Fort.Where is this sight?

Hor.What is it you will see?If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

Fort.This quarry cries on havoc.--O proud death,What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,That thou so many princes at a shotSo bloodily hast struck?

1 Ambassador.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'dThat Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:Where should we have our thanks?

Hor.Not from his mouth,Had it the 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 bodiesHigh on a stage be placed to the view;And let me speak to the yet unknowing worldHow these things came about: so shall you hearOf 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 mistookFall'n on the inventors' heads: all this can ITruly deliver.

Fort.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.

Hor.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 mischanceOn plots and errors happen.

Fort.Let four captainsBear 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 warSpeak loudly for him.--Take up the bodies.--Such a sight as thisBecomes the field, but here shows much amiss.Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

[A dead march.]

[Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after the which a peal ofordnance is shot off.]

The End of Project Gutenberg Etext of Hamlet by ShakespearePG has multiple editions of William Shakespeare's Complete Works



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