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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

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Act IV, Scene 5

Elsinore. A room in the Castle.


Enter Horatio, Queen, and a Gentleman.

  • Gentleman. She is importunate, indeed distract.
    Her mood will needs be pitied.
  • 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 2865
    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. 2870
  • 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) 2875
    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? 2880
  • Ophelia. [sings]
    How should I your true-love know
    From another one?
    By his cockle bat and' staff 2885
    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; 2890
    At his head a grass-green turf,
    At his heels a stone.
    O, ho!
  • Ophelia. Pray you mark. 2895
    (Sings) White his shroud as the mountain snow-

Enter King.

  • Ophelia. [Sings]
    Larded all with sweet flowers; 2900
    Which bewept to the grave did not go
    With true-love showers.
  • 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 2905
    your table!
  • 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, 2910
    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, 2915
    Let in the maid, that out a maid
    Never departed more.
  • Ophelia. Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't!
    [Sings] By Gis and by Saint Charity, 2920
    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.' 2925
    He answers:
    'So would I 'a' done, by yonder sun,
    An thou hadst not come to my bed.'
  • Ophelia. I hope all will be well. We must be patient; but I cannot 2930
    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. 2935
    [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; 2940
    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 2945
    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, 2950
    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, 2955
    Like to a murd'ring piece, in many places
    Give me superfluous death. A noise within.
  • Claudius. Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
    [Enter a Messenger.] 2960
    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, 2965
    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!' 2970
    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! 2975

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. 2980
  • All. We will, we will!
  • Laertes. I thank you. Keep the door. [Exeunt his Followers.]
    O thou vile king,
    Give me my father!
  • 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, 2990
    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, 2995
    Why thou art thus incens'd. Let him go, Gertrude.
    Speak, man.
  • 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, 3005
    That both the world, I give to negligence,
    Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
    Most throughly for my father.
  • Laertes. My will, not all the world! 3010
    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 3015
    That sweepstake you will draw both friend and foe,
    Winner and loser?
  • Laertes. To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms 3020
    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, 3025
    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? 3030
    [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! 3035
    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 3040
    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. 3045
    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 3050
    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. 3055
  • 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. 3060
    [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? 3065
    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, 3070
    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. 3075


  • 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, 3080
    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, 3085
    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- 3090
    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; 3095
    And where th' offence is let the great axe fall.
    I pray you go with me.