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HAMLET, waiting.-Enter Ghost.
Ham. 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

Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable * shape,
That I will speak to thee: I'll c ll 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,
Have burst their cerements! why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again! What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature,
So horridly to shake our disposition†
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls ?
Say, why is this?

Ghost. Mark me.

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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, 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

Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres ;

Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine;
But this eternal blazon* must not be
To ears of flesh and blood:-List, Hamlet, O list!-
If thou didst ever thy dear father love,—
Ham. O heaven!

Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther.

Ham. Murther?

Ghost. Murther 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.


I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear;
'Tis given out, that sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process 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! mine uncle!
Ghost. Ay,

With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
He won to himself the love

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, whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!

But soft! methinks I scent the morning's air.
Brief let me be :-Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always in the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
A poisonous distilment.

Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, and queen, at once despatch'd,
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd ;†
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
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 uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu, Hamlet! remember me.
Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth!
What else?


Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young And shall I couple hell ?—O fye !—Hold, my heart,

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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. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,

All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;

Room in Polonius' House.

And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, yes, by heaven.
O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables, my tables,-meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark. [Exit.


Enter POLONIUS and OPHELIA. Pol. How now, Ophelia? what's the matter? Oph. Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted! Pol. With what, in the name of heaven?

Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac'd;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved* to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport,
As if he had been loosed out of hell,

To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
Pol. Mad for thy love?

My lord, I do not know;

What said he?

But, truly, I do fear it.
Oph. He took me by the wrist, and held me

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 stay'd he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,—
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound,
That it did seem to shatter all his bulk,
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 help,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.

Pol. Go with me; I will go seek the king.
This is the very exstasy of love;
Whose violent property foredoes itself,
And leads the will to desperate undertakings,
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry-
What, have you given him any hard words of late?
Oph. No, my good lord; but, as you did com-

I did repel his letters, and denied
His access to me.


That hath made him mad.

I am sorry that with better heed and judgment,
I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew


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SCENE.-A Room in the Castle.
HAMLET reading-enter POLONIUS.

How does my good lord Hamlet?
Ham. Well, god-a'-mercy.
Pol. Do you know me, my lord?
Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Pol. Not I, my lord,

Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
Pol. Honest, my lord?

is to be one man picked out of a thousand. Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, Have you a daughter?

Pol. I have, my lord.

[Aside.] Still

harping on my daughter; yet he knew me not at
first; he said I was a fishmonger: He is far gone,
far gone and truly in my youth I suffered much
extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to
him again. What do you read, my lord?
Ham. Words, words, words!

Pol. 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 slave says here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled. All of which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for you yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there is method in it. [Aside.] Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

Ham. Into my grave?

Pol. Indeed, that is out o' the air. How pregnant sometimes his replies 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 humbly take my leave of you. Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal; except my life, my life.

Pol. Fare you well, my lord.

Ham. These tedious old fools!


Pol. You go to seek my lord Hamlet; there he

*Hanging down like fetters.


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Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my

[Exit POLONIUS. thoughts.
How dost

Ham. My excellent good friends!
thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads,"
how do ye both?

Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guil. Happy, in that we are not over happy.
What's the news?
Ros. None, my lord; but that the world's
grown honest.

is not true.

Ham. Then is doom's-day near: But your news Let me question more in particular: What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?

Guil. Prison, my lord!
Ham. Denmark's a prison.
Ros. Then is the world one.

Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.

Ros. We think not so, my lord.

Hum. Why, then 'tis none to you: for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so; to me it is a prison.

Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one; 'tis too narrow for your mind.

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 the players shall receive from you: we coted them on the way; 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 humourous man shall end his part in peace: the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled o' the sere; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't.-What players are they?

Ros. Even those you were wont to take delight in, the tragedians of the city. Enter POLONIUS. Ham. 'Tis well; rest soon.-Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts, and brief chronicles, of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you lived.

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.



Ham. O God! I could be bounded in a nut- Ham. Odd's bodikin man, better: Use every shell, and count myself a king of infinite space: man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipwere it not that I have bad dreams. I have ping! Use them after your own honour and of late (but wherefore, I know not) lost all my dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is mirth, forgone all custom of exercises: and, in-in your bounty. deed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging-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 faculty in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me, no, nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.

Pol. Come, sirs, 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 proclaimed their malefactions;
For murther, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these

Play something like the murther of my father,
Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick; if he but blench,
I know my course. The play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.


SCENE.-A Room in the Castle.


King. And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
Get from him, why he puts on this confusion;
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy ?

Ros. He does confess he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded;
But with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,

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This night to play before him.

Pol. 'Tis most true: And he beseeched 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.

[Exeunt Ros. and GUIL.
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too:
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither;
That he, as't were by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.

Her father, and myself (lawful espials),

Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge;
And gather by him, as he is behav'd,

If't be the affliction of his love or no,
That thus he suffers for.


I shall obey you :
And for your part, Ophelia, 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. Pol. Ophelia, walk you here:-Gracious, so please you,

We will bestow ourselves :-Read on this book;

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

The devil himself.


O, 'tis too true!

How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! [Aside. Pol. I hear him coming; let's withdraw, my lord. [Exeunt KING and POLONIUS. Enter HAMLET.

Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question : Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or take arms against a sea of troubles, 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 wish'd. 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,* Must give us pause: there's the respect, That makes calamity of so long life: For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of dispriz'd 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

*Coil means care, bustle.

With a bare bodkin?t who would these fardelst bear

To grunt and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn§
No traveller returns, 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;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprizes of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn away,
And lose the name of action.-Soft you, now!
The fair Ophelia :-Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?
Ham. I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;

I pray you, now receive them.

Ham. No, no. I never gave you aught.

Oph. My honour'd lord, I know right well you did;

And, with them, words of so sweet breath com


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.

Hum. 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. Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness: this was sometime 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: I lov'd you not.

Oph. I was the more deceived.

Ham. Get thee to a nunnery. I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in: What should such fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth! 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 no way but in his own house. Farewell.

Oph. O, help him, you sweet heavens !

Ham. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this

† Bodkin was an ancient term for small dagger. Fardels means burdens.

8 Boundary.

plague for thy dowry: Be thou as pure as snow, if you mouth it, as many of you players do, I had thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a as lief as the town-crier had spoke my lines. Nor nunnery, go; farewell: Or, if thou wilt needs do not saw the air too much-your hand thus: but marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well use all gently for in the very torrent, tempest, enough what monsters you make of them. To a and (as I may say) the whirlwind of passion, you nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell. must acquire and beget a temperance, that may Oph. O heavenly powers, restore him! give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well to see a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a enough. God hath given you one face, and you passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and the groundlings ; who, for the most part, are you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows your wantonness your ignorance: Go to, I'll no and noise: I could have such a fellow whipped more on't; it hath made me mad. I say, we will for o'er-doing Termagant; it out-herods_Herod ! have no more marriages: those that are married pray you, avoid it. already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.

Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, word,
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers ! quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his muisc vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstacy:* O, woe is me!

To have seen what I have seen, see what I see.

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

O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And, I do doubt, the hatch, and the disclose,
Will be some danger: Which to prevent,
I have, in quick determination,

Thus set it down: 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, put 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 this grief
Sprung from neglected love.-How now, Ophelia,
You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all.-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 griefs; let her be round with him;
And I'll be plac'd, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference: If she find him not,
To England send him or confine him, where
Your wisdom best shall think.

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


SCENE. A Hall in the same.
Enter HAMLET and certain Players.
Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pro-
nounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue : but

* Ecstacy here means madness,

1 Play. 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 anything 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, his form and pressure. O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, 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 nathem well, they imitated humanity so abomiture's journeymen had made men, and not made nably.

1 Play. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.

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

What, ho; Horatio!


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.
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 prithee, when thou seest that act a foot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe mine uncle. Give him heedful note:
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face ;
And, after, we will both our judgments join,
To censure of his seeming.


Well, my lord:
If he steal aught, the whilst this play is playing,
And 'scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

†The meaner people sat in the pit, and were termed
+ Discourse.

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