Open Source Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Act V

Scene 1. Elsinore. A churchyard.

Scene 2. Elsinore. A hall in the Castle.

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Act V, Scene 1

Elsinore. A churchyard.


Enter two Clowns, [with spades and pickaxes].

  • First Clown. Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she wilfully seeks her own salvation?
  • Second Clown. I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight.
    The crowner hath sate on her, and finds it Christian burial. 3350
  • First Clown. How can that be, unless she drown'd herself in her own
  • Second Clown. Why, 'tis found so.
  • First Clown. 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 3355
    act hath three branches-it is to act, to do, and to perform;
    argal, she drown'd herself wittingly.
  • Second Clown. Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver!
  • First Clown. 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, 3360
    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.
  • Second Clown. But is this law?
  • First Clown. Ay, marry, is't- crowner's quest law. 3365
  • Second Clown. Will you ha' the truth an't? If this had not been a
    gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.
  • First Clown. 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 3370
    ancient gentlemen but gard'ners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They
    hold up Adam's profession.
  • Second Clown. Was he a gentleman?
  • First Clown. 'A was the first that ever bore arms.
  • Second Clown. Why, he had none. 3375
  • First Clown. 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-
  • Second Clown. Go to! 3380
  • First Clown. What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the
    shipwright, or the carpenter?
  • Second Clown. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand
  • First Clown. I like thy wit well, in good faith. The gallows does well. 3385
    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!
  • Second Clown. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a
    carpenter? 3390
  • First Clown. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
  • Second Clown. Marry, now I can tell!
  • First Clown. To't.
  • Second Clown. Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.

  • First Clown. 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
    liquor. 3400

[Exit Second Clown.]

[Clown digs and] sings.

  • First Clown. In youth when I did love, did love,
    Methought it was very sweet;
    To contract- O- the time for- a- my behove, 3405
    O, methought there- a- was nothing- a- meet.
  • Hamlet. Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at
  • Horatio. Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
  • Hamlet. 'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the daintier 3410
  • First Clown. [sings]
    But age with his stealing steps
    Hath clawed me in his clutch,
    And hath shipped me intil the land, 3415
    As if I had never been such.

[Throws up a skull.]

  • Hamlet. 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, 3420
    which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would circumvent God,
    might it not?
  • Horatio. It might, my lord.
  • Hamlet. 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 3425
    prais'd my Lord Such-a-one's horse when he meant to beg it- might
    it not?
  • Horatio. Ay, my lord.
  • Hamlet. 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, 3430
    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
  • First Clown. [Sings]
    A pickaxe and a spade, a spade, 3435
    For and a shrouding sheet;
    O, a Pit of clay for to be made
    For such a guest is meet.
    Throws up [another skull].
  • Hamlet. There's another. Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? 3440
    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 3445
    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 3450
    scarcely lie in this box; and must th' inheritor himself have no
    more, ha?
  • Horatio. Not a jot more, my lord.
  • Hamlet. Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
  • Horatio. Ay, my lord, And of calveskins too. 3455
  • Hamlet. They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I
    will speak to this fellow. Whose grave's this, sirrah?
  • First Clown. Mine, sir.
    [Sings] O, a pit of clay for to be made
    For such a guest is meet. 3460
  • Hamlet. I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
  • First 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.
  • Hamlet. 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. 3465
  • First Clown. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again from me to you.
  • Hamlet. What man dost thou dig it for?
  • First Clown. For no man, sir.
  • Hamlet. What woman then?
  • First Clown. For none neither. 3470
  • Hamlet. Who is to be buried in't?
  • First Clown. One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.
  • Hamlet. 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 3475
    of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls
    his kibe.- How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
  • First Clown. Of all the days i' th' year, I came to't that day that our
    last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
  • Hamlet. How long is that since? 3480
  • First Clown. 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
    into England.
  • Hamlet. Ay, marry, why was be sent into England?
  • First Clown. Why, because 'a was mad. 'A shall recover his wits there; 3485
    or, if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter there.
  • Hamlet. Why?
  • First Clown. 'Twill not he seen in him there. There the men are as mad as
  • Hamlet. How came he mad? 3490
  • First Clown. Very strangely, they say.
  • Hamlet. How strangely?
  • First Clown. Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
  • Hamlet. Upon what ground?
  • First Clown. Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and boy 3495
    thirty years.
  • Hamlet. How long will a man lie i' th' earth ere he rot?
  • First Clown. 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 3500
    you nine year.
  • Hamlet. Why he more than another?
  • First Clown. 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 3505
    you i' th' earth three-and-twenty years.
  • Hamlet. Whose was it?
  • First Clown. A whoreson, mad fellow's it was. Whose do you think it was?
  • Hamlet. Nay, I know not.
  • First Clown. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'A pour'd a flagon of 3510
    Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's
    skull, the King's jester.
  • Hamlet. This?
  • First Clown. E'en that.
  • Hamlet. Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, 3515
    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 3520
    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. 3525
  • Horatio. What's that, my lord?
  • Hamlet. Dost thou think Alexander look'd o' this fashion i' th' earth?
  • Horatio. E'en so.
  • Hamlet. And smelt so? Pah!

[Puts down the skull.]

  • Horatio. E'en so, my lord.
  • Hamlet. 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?
  • Horatio. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so. 3535
  • Hamlet. 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? 3540
    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- 3545
    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 3550
    Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
    Couch we awhile, and mark.

[Retires with Horatio.]

  • Laertes. What ceremony else?
  • Hamlet. That is Laertes, 3555
    A very noble youth. Mark.
  • Laertes. What ceremony else?
  • Priest. 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, 3560
    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 3565
    Of bell and burial.
  • Laertes. Must there no more be done?
  • Priest. No more be done.
    We should profane the service of the dead
    To sing a requiem and such rest to her 3570
    As to peace-parted souls.
  • Laertes. 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 3575
    When thou liest howling.
  • Hamlet. What, the fair Ophelia?
  • Gertrude. Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
    [Scatters flowers.]
    I hop'd thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife; 3580
    I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
    And not have strew'd thy grave.
  • Laertes. O, treble woe
    Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
    Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense 3585
    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 3590
    T' o'ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
    Of blue Olympus.
  • Hamlet. [comes forward] What is he whose grief
    Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow
    Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand 3595
    Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
    Hamlet the Dane. [Leaps in after Laertes.]
  • Laertes. The devil take thy soul!

[Grapples with him.]

  • Hamlet. Thou pray'st not well. 3600
    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!
  • Claudius. Pluck them asunder. 3605
  • Gertrude. Hamlet, Hamlet!
  • All. Gentlemen!
  • Horatio. Good my lord, be quiet.

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

  • Hamlet. Why, I will fight with him upon this theme 3610
    Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
  • Gertrude. O my son, what theme?
  • Hamlet. 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? 3615
  • Claudius. O, he is mad, Laertes.
  • Gertrude. For love of God, forbear him!
  • Hamlet. '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? 3620
    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, 3625
    Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
    Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
    I'll rant as well as thou.
  • Gertrude. This is mere madness;
    And thus a while the fit will work on him. 3630
    Anon, as patient as the female dove
    When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,
    His silence will sit drooping.
  • Hamlet. Hear you, sir!
    What is the reason that you use me thus? 3635
    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.


  • Claudius. I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him. 3640
    [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. 3645
    An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
    Till then in patience our proceeding be.



Act V, Scene 2

Elsinore. A hall in the Castle.


Enter Hamlet and Horatio.

  • Hamlet. So much for this, sir; now shall you see the other. 3650
    You do remember all the circumstance?
  • Horatio. Remember it, my lord!
  • Hamlet. 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- 3655
    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- 3660
  • Horatio. That is most certain.
  • Hamlet. 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 3665
    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, 3670
    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. 3675
  • Horatio. Is't possible?
  • Hamlet. Here's the commission; read it at more leisure.
    But wilt thou bear me how I did proceed?
  • Horatio. I beseech you.
  • Hamlet. Being thus benetted round with villanies, 3680
    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 3685
    How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
    It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
    Th' effect of what I wrote?
  • Horatio. Ay, good my lord.
  • Hamlet. An earnest conjuration from the King, 3690
    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, 3695
    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.
  • Horatio. How was this seal'd? 3700
  • Hamlet. 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, 3705
    The changeling never known. Now, the next day
    Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
    Thou know'st already.
  • Horatio. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
  • Hamlet. Why, man, they did make love to this employment! 3710
    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. 3715
  • Horatio. Why, what a king is this!
  • Hamlet. 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, 3720
    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?
  • Horatio. It must be shortly known to him from England 3725
    What is the issue of the business there.
  • Hamlet. 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, 3730
    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.
  • Horatio. Peace! Who comes here? 3735

Enter young Osric, a courtier.

  • Osric. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
  • Hamlet. I humbly thank you, sir. [Aside to Horatio] Dost know this
  • Horatio. [aside to Hamlet] No, my good lord. 3740
  • Hamlet. [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.
  • Osric. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart 3745
    a thing to you from his Majesty.
  • Hamlet. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Put your
    bonnet to his right use. 'Tis for the head.
  • Osric. I thank your lordship, it is very hot.
  • Hamlet. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly. 3750
  • Osric. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
  • Hamlet. But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
  • Osric. 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- 3755
  • Hamlet. I beseech you remember.

[Hamlet moves him to put on his hat.]

  • Osric. 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 3760
    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.
  • Hamlet. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you; though, I
    know, to divide him inventorially would dozy th' arithmetic of 3765
    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.
  • Osric. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him. 3770
  • Hamlet. The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman in our more
    rawer breath?
  • Osric. Sir?
  • Horatio. [aside to Hamlet] Is't not possible to understand in another
    tongue? You will do't, sir, really. 3775
  • Hamlet. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
  • Osric. Of Laertes?
  • Horatio. [aside] His purse is empty already. All's golden words are
  • Hamlet. Of him, sir. 3780
  • Osric. I know you are not ignorant-
  • Hamlet. I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not
    much approve me. Well, sir?
  • Osric. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is-
  • Hamlet. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in 3785
    excellence; but to know a man well were to know himself.
  • Osric. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him
    by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
  • Hamlet. What's his weapon?
  • Osric. Rapier and dagger. 3790
  • Hamlet. That's two of his weapons- but well.
  • Osric. 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, 3795
    very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of
    very liberal conceit.
  • Hamlet. What call you the carriages?
  • Horatio. [aside to Hamlet] I knew you must be edified by the margent
    ere you had done. 3800
  • Osric. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
  • Hamlet. 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 3805
    bet against the Danish. Why is this all impon'd, as you call it?
  • Osric. 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. 3810
  • Hamlet. How if I answer no?
  • Osric. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
  • Hamlet. 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, 3815
    I will win for him if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my
    shame and the odd hits.
  • Osric. Shall I redeliver you e'en so?
  • Hamlet. To this effect, sir, after what flourish your nature will.
  • Osric. I commend my duty to your lordship. 3820
  • Hamlet. Yours, yours. [Exit Osric.] He does well to commend it
    himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
  • Horatio. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
  • Hamlet. 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 3825
    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.

  • 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.
  • Hamlet. I am constant to my purposes; they follow the King's pleasure. 3835
    If his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now or whensoever, provided
    I be so able as now.
  • Lord. The King and Queen and all are coming down.
  • Hamlet. In happy time.
  • Lord. The Queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to 3840
    Laertes before you fall to play.
  • Hamlet. She well instructs me.

[Exit Lord.]

  • Horatio. You will lose this wager, my lord.
  • Hamlet. I do not think so. Since he went into France I have been in 3845
    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.
  • Horatio. Nay, good my lord—
  • Hamlet. It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gaingiving as
    would perhaps trouble a woman. 3850
  • Horatio. If your mind dislike anything, obey it. I will forestall their
    repair hither and say you are not fit.
  • Hamlet. 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: 3855
    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.

  • Claudius. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

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

  • Hamlet. Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you wrong;
    But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
    This presence knows, 3865
    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. 3870
    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; 3875
    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 3880
    And hurt my brother.
  • Laertes. 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 3885
    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. 3890
  • Hamlet. I embrace it freely,
    And will this brother's wager frankly play.
    Give us the foils. Come on.
  • Laertes. Come, one for me.
  • Hamlet. I'll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance 3895
    Your skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,
    Stick fiery off indeed.
  • Laertes. You mock me, sir.
  • Hamlet. No, by this hand.
  • Claudius. Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet, 3900
    You know the wager?
  • Hamlet. Very well, my lord.
    Your Grace has laid the odds o' th' weaker side.
  • Claudius. I do not fear it, I have seen you both;
    But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds. 3905
  • Laertes. This is too heavy; let me see another.
  • Hamlet. This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

Prepare to play.

  • Osric. Ay, my good lord.
  • Claudius. Set me the stoups of wine upon that table. 3910
    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 3915
    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, 3920
    'Now the King drinks to Hamlet.' Come, begin.
    And you the judges, bear a wary eye.
  • Hamlet. Come on, sir.
  • Laertes. Come, my lord. They play.
  • Hamlet. One. 3925
  • Laertes. No.
  • Hamlet. Judgment!
  • Osric. A hit, a very palpable hit.
  • Laertes. Well, again!
  • Claudius. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine; 3930
    Here's to thy health.
    [Drum; trumpets sound; a piece goes off [within].]
    Give him the cup.
  • Hamlet. I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile.
    Come. [They play.] Another hit. What say you? 3935
  • Laertes. A touch, a touch; I do confess't.
  • Claudius. Our son shall win.
  • Gertrude. He's fat, and scant of breath.
    Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.
    The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet. 3940
  • Hamlet. Good madam!
  • Claudius. Gertrude, do not drink.
  • Gertrude. I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me. Drinks.
  • Claudius. [aside] It is the poison'd cup; it is too late.
  • Hamlet. I dare not drink yet, madam; by-and-by. 3945
  • Gertrude. Come, let me wipe thy face.
  • Laertes. My lord, I'll hit him now.
  • Claudius. I do not think't.
  • Laertes. [aside] And yet it is almost against my conscience.
  • Hamlet. Come for the third, Laertes! You but dally. 3950
    Pray you pass with your best violence;
    I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
  • Laertes. Say you so? Come on. Play.
  • Osric. Nothing neither way.
  • Laertes. Have at you now! 3955

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

  • Claudius. Part them! They are incens'd.
  • Hamlet. Nay come! again! The Queen falls.
  • Osric. Look to the Queen there, ho!
  • Horatio. They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord? 3960
  • Osric. How is't, Laertes?
  • Laertes. Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
  • Hamlet. How does the Queen?
  • Claudius. She sounds to see them bleed.
  • Gertrude. No, no! the drink, the drink! O my dear Hamlet! 3965
    The drink, the drink! I am poison'd. [Dies.]
  • Hamlet. O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd.
    Treachery! Seek it out.

[Laertes falls.]

  • Laertes. It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain; 3970
    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, 3975
    Never to rise again. Thy mother's poison'd.
    I can no more. The King, the King's to blame.
  • Hamlet. The point envenom'd too?
    Then, venom, to thy work. Hurts the King.
  • All. Treason! treason! 3980
  • Claudius. O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.
  • Hamlet. Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane,
    Drink off this potion! Is thy union here?
    Follow my mother. King dies.
  • Laertes. He is justly serv'd. 3985
    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.
  • Hamlet. Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee. 3990
    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- 3995
    But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
    Thou liv'st; report me and my cause aright
    To the unsatisfied.
  • Horatio. Never believe it.
    I am more an antique Roman than a Dane. 4000
    Here's yet some liquor left.
  • Hamlet. 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! 4005
    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? 4010
  • Osric. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
    To the ambassadors of England gives
    This warlike volley.
  • Hamlet. O, I die, Horatio!
    The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit. 4015
    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. 4020
  • Horatio. Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
    And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
    [March within.]
    Why does the drum come hither?
    Enter Fortinbras and English Ambassadors, with Drum, Colours, and Attendants. 4025
  • Fortinbras. Where is this sight?
  • Horatio. What is it you will see?
    If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
  • Fortinbras. This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternal cell 4030
    That thou so many princes at a shot
    So bloodily hast struck.
  • Ambassador. The sight is dismal;
    And our affairs from England come too late.
    The ears are senseless that should give us hearing 4035
    To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd
    That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
    Where should we have our thanks?
  • Horatio. Not from his mouth,
    Had it th' ability of life to thank you. 4040
    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; 4045
    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; 4050
    And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
    Fall'n on th' inventors' heads. All this can I
    Truly deliver.
  • Fortinbras. Let us haste to hear it,
    And call the noblest to the audience. 4055
    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.
  • Horatio. Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
    And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more. 4060
    But let this same be presently perform'd,
    Even while men's minds are wild, lest more mischance
    On plots and errors happen.
  • Fortinbras. Let four captains
    Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage; 4065
    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 4070
    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.