Hamlet Text and Translation - Act II

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Act II

Scene I

Original Text Modern Translation

[Elsinore. A room in the house of Polonius.]

Enter old Polonius with his man [Reynaldo] or two.

POLONIUS:
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
POLONIUS:
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
REYNALDO:
I will, my lord.
REYNALDO:
I will, my lord.
POLONIUS:
You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behaviour.(5)
POLONIUS:
You would do very well, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to ask someone
About his behavior.
REYNALDO:
My lord, I did intend it.
REYNALDO:
My lord, I did intend to ask.
POLONIUS:
Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
What company, at what expense; and finding(10)
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it.
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him,
As thus, ‘I know his father and his friends,(15)
And in part him.’ Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
POLONIUS:
By Mary, well said, very well said. Look here, sir,
First ask what Danes are in Paris,
And how, and who, what means, and where they live,
What company, at what expense, and finding,
By this talking around and drift of questions,
That they who do know my son, come nearer to you
Than your particular questions will touch it.
Assume, as it were, that you have only heard about him,
Such as, “I know his father and his friends,
And in part him”, are you listening to me, Reynaldo?
REYNALDO:
Ay, very well, my lord.
REYNALDO:
Yes, very well, my lord.
POLONIUS:
‘And in part him, but,’ you may say, ‘not well.
But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
Addicted so and so’; and there put on him(20)
What forgeries you please—marry, none so rank
As may dishonour him, take heed of that—
But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.(25)
POLONIUS:
”And in part him, but,” you may say, “not very well.
But if it is the one I mean, he's very wild,
Addicted so and so” and there tell him
Whatever lies you please. By Mary, no one is so evil
That they may dishonor him, take heed of that,
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
Are companions as I have noted and most known
To youth and liberty.
REYNALDO:
As gaming, my lord?
REYNALDO:
As gaming, my lord.
POLONIUS:
Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Drabbing. You may go so far.
POLONIUS:
Yes, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Prostitution. You may go that far.
REYNALDO:
My lord, that would dishonour him.
REYNALDO:
My lord, that would dishonor him.
POLONIUS:
Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge.(30)
You must not put another scandal on him,
That he is open to incontinency.
That's not my meaning; but breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,(35)
A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
Of general assault.
POLONIUS:
Believe me, it won’t. Just as you mention it in the charge.
You must not put another scandal on him,
That he is open to inconstancy.
That's not what I mean. Just tell his faults so quaintly
That they may seem to be the stains of freedom,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in wild blood,
An attack that everyone goes through.
REYNALDO:
But, my good lord—
REYNALDO:
But, my good lord,
POLONIUS:
Wherefore should you do this?
POLONIUS:
Why should you do this?
REYNALDO:
Ay, my lord,(40)
I would know that.
REYNALDO:
Yes, my lord,
I want to know that.
POLONIUS:
Marry, sir, here's my drift,
And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
You laying these slight sullies on my son
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working,(45)
Mark you,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence:(50)
‘Good sir,’ or so, or ‘friend,’ or ‘gentleman’
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country
POLONIUS:
By Mary, sir, here's my intention:,
And I believe it is a trick of protection.
You’re laying these slight lies on my son
As it were something dirty that’s being carried out,
Listen to me.
Your part turned around: you would feel him out,
Having seen the youth you say is guilty
In the unnamable crimes. I assure you
He will end his conversation with you like this:
”Good sir,” or something like that, or “friend, “
Or “gentleman” according to the language
Of the man and his country.
REYNALDO:
Very good, my lord.
REYNALDO:
Very good, my lord.
POLONIUS:
And then, sir, does he this—he does—what was I(55)
about to say?
By the mass, I was about to say something! Where did I
leave?
POLONIUS:
And then, sir, ask if he does this, does he--What was I about to say?
By the mass, I was about to say something--Where did I leave off?
REYNALDO:
At ‘closes in the consequence,’ at ‘friend or so,’ and
gentleman.'(60)
REYNALDO:
At “end his conversation,” at “friend or so,” and
gentleman.”
POLONIUS:
At ‘closes in the consequence,’ ay, marry!
He closes with you thus: ‘I know the gentleman.
I saw him yesterday,’ or ‘t'other day,’
Or then, or then, with such, or such; ‘and, as you say,
There was a gaming,’ ‘there o'ertook in's rouse,’(65)
‘There falling out at tennis’; or perchance,
‘I saw him enter such a house of sale,’
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.
See you now;
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth;(70)
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out.
So, by my former lecture and advice,
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?(75)
POLONIUS:
At “end his conversation.” Yes, by Mary!
He ends talking with you like this: “I know the gentleman,
I saw him yesterday, or the other day,
Or then, or then, with such, or such, and, as you say,
There was he gaming, there overindulged in drinking,
There an argument at tennis'. Or maybe,
”I saw him enter such a house of prostitution”
That is to say, a brothel, or so forth
Listen now,
Your bait of lies catches this fish of truth.
And thus we who are wise and ambition,
With winches and with testing of what works,
Will find out what we want to know by being indirect.
So, using my lecture and advice from before,
You shall check on my son. You understand me, yes?
REYNALDO:
My lord, I have.
REYNALDO:
My lord, I do.
POLONIUS:
God be wi' ye. Fare ye well!
POLONIUS:
God be with you, goodbye.
REYNALDO:
Good my lord!
REYNALDO:
My good lord!
POLONIUS:
Observe his inclination in yourself.
POLONIUS:
Observe his inclinations in yourself.
REYNALDO:
I shall, my lord.(80)
REYNALDO:
I shall, my lord.
POLONIUS:
And let him play his music.
POLONIUS:
And let him practice his music.
REYNALDO:
Well, my lord.
REYNALDO:
Well, my lord.
POLONIUS:
Farewell!

Exit Reynaldo.

Enter Ophelia.

How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?
POLONIUS:
Goodbye!

Why, Ophelia! what's the matter?

OPHELIA:
O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!(85)
OPHELIA:
Alas, my lord, I have been so frightened!
POLONIUS:
With what, i' the name of God?
POLONIUS:
By what, in the name of God?
OPHELIA:
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle;(90)
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.
OPHELIA:
My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, with his shirt all unbuttoned,
No hat upon his head, his stockings dirty,
Not pulled up, and fallen down around his ankles,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking together,
And with a look so pitiful in its meaning
As if he had been freed out of hell
To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
POLONIUS:
Mad for thy love?(95)
POLONIUS:
Crazy for your love?
OPHELIA:
My lord, I do not know,
But truly I do fear it.
OPHELIA:
My lord, I don’t know,
But I truly fear it.
POLONIUS:
What said he?
POLONIUS:
What did he say?
OPHELIA:
He took me by the wrist and held me hard;
Then goes he to the length of all his arm,(100)
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,(105)
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As 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;(110)
For out o' doors he went without their help,
And to the last bended their light on me.
OPHELIA:
He took me by the wrist, and held me hard,
Then he went to the length of his whole arm,
And with his other hand like this over his brow,
He started such study of my face
As though he wanted to draw it. He stayed this way a long time,
At last, with a little shaking of my arm,
And waving his head up and down like this three times,
He let out a sigh so pitiful and profound
That it seemed to shatter his whole body
And end his life. That done, he let me go.
And, with his head turned over his shoulder,
He seemed to find his way without his eyes,
Because he went through the doors without looking,
And to the last step, kept his eyes on me.
POLONIUS:
Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself(115)
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?
POLONIUS:
Come, go with me. I will look for the king.
This is the very passion of love
Whose violent property kills itself,
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As often as any passion under heaven
That afflicts our natures. I am sorry,
What, have you spoken to him harshly of late?
OPHELIA:
No, my good lord; but, as you did command,(120)
I did repel his letters and denied
His access to me.
OPHELIA:
No, my good lord, but, as you did command,
I did reject his letters and denied
His access to me.
POLONIUS:
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(125)
And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.(130)
This must be known; which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
POLONIUS:
That has made him crazy.
I am sorry that I didn’t treat him with better heed and Judgment.
I was afraid he was only trifling with you
And meant to wreck you, but curse my jealousy!
It seems it is as proper for our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, let’s go to the king.
This must be known, which, if kept secret, might mean
More trouble to hide it than hate for utter love.

Exeunt.

Scene II

Original Text Modern Translation

[Elsinore. A room in the Castle.]

[Flourish. Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and attendants.]

KING:
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation—so call it,(5)
Sith nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both(10)
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighbour'd to his youth and haviour,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time; so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather(15)
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus
That open'd lies within our remedy.
KING:
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
In addition to the fact that we have wanted to see you for
A long time, the reason we need to see you made us
Send our hasty invitation. You must have heard
Something of Hamlet's transformation. I call it that,
Since neither the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What the problem should be,
More than his father's death that has put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I beg you both
That, being childhood friends and brought up with him,
And since you know well his youth and disposition,
That you will be pleased to rest here in our court
For a while, so that, with your company, you
Draw him on to enjoy himself, and to gather,
So much as from any occasion you may glean,
Whether anything, unknown to us, afflicts him like this,
That, once we know, we can make better.
QUEEN:
Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you,
And sure I am two men there are not living(20)
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks(25)
As fits a king's remembrance.
QUEEN:
Good gentlemen, he has much talked of you,
And I am sure that there are not living two men
With whom he feels close. If you will please
Show us so much gentry and goodwill
As to spend your time with us a while,
To help us find out what is troubling him,
Your visit shall receive such thanks
As only a King can give.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Both your Majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.(30)
ROSENCRANTZ:
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your huge request more into a command
Than to an entreaty.
GUILDENSTERN:
But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
GUILDENSTERN:
We both obey,
And here we give up ourselves, without reservation,
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
KING:
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.(35)
KING:
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
QUEEN:
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
QUEEN:
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
And I beg you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
GUILDENSTERN:
Heavens make our presence and our practices(40)
Pleasant and helpful to him!
GUILDENSTERN:
May the heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!
QUEEN:
Ay, amen!
QUEEN:
Yes, amen!

Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Enter Polonius.

POLONIUS:
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
POLONIUS:
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully returned.
KING:
Thou still hast been the father of good news.(45)
KING:
You have always been the father of good news.
POLONIUS:
Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious King.
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure(50)
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
POLONIUS:
Have I, my lord? I assure you, my good lord,
I believe my duty is, as I believe in my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king.
And I do think— or else this brain of mine
Doesn’t know the trail of policy as surely
As it used to do—, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
KING:
O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.
KING:
O, speak of that, I really want to hear about that.
POLONIUS:
Give first admittance to the ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.(55)
POLONIUS:
First, talk to the ambassadors,
My news shall be the dessert to that great feast of news.
KING:
Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.

[Exit Polonius.]

He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
KING:
Introduce yourself to them, and bring them in.

He tells me, my sweet queen, he has found
The head and source of all your son's unhappiness.

QUEEN:
I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.(60)
QUEEN:
I doubt it is none other than the main reason,
His father's death and our overly hasty marriage.
KING:
Well, we shall sift him.

Enter [Polonius, Voltimand, and Cornelius, Ambassadors.]

Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
KING:
Well, we shall figure him out.

Welcome, my good friends!
Say, Voltimand, what news from our ally, Norway?

VOLTIMAND:
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress(65)
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack,
But better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your Highness; whereat griev'd,
That so his sickness, age, and impotence(70)
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your Majesty.(75)
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack;
With an entreaty, herein further shown,(80)
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.
VOLTIMAND:
He returns your greetings and desires in a good way.
On our first visit, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's activities which seemed to him
To be a preparation against Poland.
But, better looked into, he truly found
It was against your highness. At that he was sorry
That his sickness, age, and impotence
Were lied about in public, and he sent out arrest warrants
For Fortinbras, who, in brief, obeys his uncle,
Receives a scolding from Norway, and, in the end,
Makes a vow before his uncle never more
To raise his armies against your majesty.
At this, old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual pay,
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
Enlisted as they were before, against Poland
With a petition to negotiate peace, herein further shown,
[Gives a paper.]
That it might please you to give them permission to cross
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
And such arrangements for their safety and some food
As therein are set down.
KING:
It likes us well;(85)
And at our more consider'd time we'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour.
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together.
Most welcome home!(90)
KING:
We really like this news,
And later when we have more time we'll read this
Request, answer, and think upon this business.
In the meantime, we thank you for a job well done.
Get some rest, tonight we'll feast together.
A great welcome home!

Exeunt Ambassadors.

POLONIUS:
This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time.
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.(95)
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?(100)
But let that go.
POLONIUS:
This business is well ended.
My lord and madam, to lecture on
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night is night, and time is time,
Is only to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward decoration,
I will be brief: your noble son is crazy.
”Crazy” I call it, because to define true craziness,
What is it except to be nothing else but crazy?
But ignore that.
QUEEN:
More matter, with less art.
QUEEN:
Tell us more details, and use fewer clever words.
POLONIUS:
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true—a foolish figure!(105)
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him then. And now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.(110)
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
Perpend.
I have a daughter—have while she is mine—
Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.(115)

[The Letter.]

To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia—
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; ‘beautified’ is a vile
phrase.
But you shall hear.

[Reads.]

Thus in her excellent white bosom, these, &c.(120)
POLONIUS:
Madam, I swear I use no clever words at all.
That he’s crazy is true. That it’s true is a pity,
And that it’s a pity is true, a foolish figure of speech,
But goodbye to it, for I will use no clever words.
Let’s agree then that he’s crazy, and now it only remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this defective effect comes for a reason.
It remains like this, and the remainder like this.
Consider.
I have a daughter, have while she is mine,
Who, in her duty and obedience, listen,
Has given me this. Now listen and understand.

”To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified
Ophelia, “
That's a bad phrase, a very bad phrase, “beautified” is a very bad
phrase, but you shall hear. Like this:

”In her excellent white bosom, these, et cetera. . .”

QUEEN:
Came this from Hamlet to her?
QUEEN:
This came to her from Hamlet?
POLONIUS:
Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful.

[Reads.] Letter.

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;(125)
But never doubt I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art to reckon
my groans. But that I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him, Hamlet.
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me;(130)
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.
POLONIUS:
Good madam, have patience, I will be faithful.

”You may doubt you that the stars are fire,
”You may doubt that the sun does move,
”You may doubt truth to be a liar,
”But never doubt I love.

“O dear Ophelia, I am sick at the number of my sighs, I
don’t have the skill to calculate my groans. but that I love
you best, O most best, believe it. Adieu. Yours evermore,
most dear lady, while this brain is in him,
HAMLET.'
This my daughter has shown this to me in obedience,
And furthermore, has his gifts,
Which she has described to me by the time, by means,
and place they were received.
KING:
But how hath she
Receiv'd his love?(135)
KING:
But how has she
Received his love?
POLONIUS:
What do you think of me?
POLONIUS:
What do you think of me?
KING:
As of a man faithful and honourable.
KING:
As of a man faithful and honorable.
POLONIUS:
I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing—
As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,(140)
Before my daughter told me—what might you,
Or my dear Majesty your queen here, think,
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight?(145)
What might you think? No, I went round to work
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
‘Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star.
This must not be.’ And then I prescripts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,(150)
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,
And he, repellèd—a short tale to make—
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,(155)
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.
POLONIUS:
I would gladly prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
As I thought it was before my daughter told me—
I must tell you that— what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think
If I had pretended to be a lifeless object like a desk or
Book, or allowed myself to wink and be silent and stupid,
Or looked upon this love without really watching it,
What might you think? No, I went straight to work,
And I spoke to young girl like this:
”Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of your league,
This love must not be,” and then I gave her rules,
That she should lock herself away from his company,
Admit no messengers from him, receive none of his gifts,
Which when I finished, she took my advice,
And he, rejected, to make it long story short,
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Then to a watch, then into a weakness,
Then to a lightness, and by this method,
Into the madness where now he raves,
And all we worry about.
KING:
Do you think 'tis this?
KING:
Do you think it is this?
QUEEN:
It may be, very like.(160)
QUEEN:
It may be, very likely.
POLONIUS:
Hath there been such a time—I would fain know
that—
That I have positively said ‘'tis so,’
When it proved otherwise?
POLONIUS:
Has there been such a time, I’d gladly know that,
That I have positively said “it is so,”
And it wasn’t?
KING:
Not that I know.(165)
KING:
Not that I know of.
POLONIUS:
Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
POLONIUS:
Take this from this, if this isn’t the case now.
If get the opportunity, I will find
Where truth is hidden, though it were hidden indeed
Within the centre of the man.
KING:
How may we try it further?(170)
KING:
How can we find out more?
POLONIUS:
You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
POLONIUS:
You know sometimes he walks for hours and hours
Here in the lobby.
QUEEN:
So he does indeed.
QUEEN:
So he does indeed.
POLONIUS:
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him.
Be you and I behind an arras then;(175)
Mark the encounter. If he love her not,
And he not from his reason fall'n thereon
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
POLONIUS:
At such a time, I’ll make sure my daughter meets him.
You and I will be behind a curtain then,
Listening to their encounter. If he doesn’t love her,
And he’s not gone crazy because of love,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But be a farmer and horse carter.
KING:
We will try it.(180)
KING:
We will try it.

Enter Hamlet [reading on a book.]

QUEEN:
But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
QUEEN:
But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
POLONIUS:
Away, I do beseech you both, away.

Exeunt King and Queen.

I'll board him presently. O, give me leave.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
POLONIUS:
Leave now, I beg you, both of you leave now!

I’ll talk to him in a minute. O, give me permission.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?

HAMLET:
Well, God-a-mercy.(185)
HAMLET:
Well, God have mercy.
POLONIUS:
Do you know me, my lord?
POLONIUS:
Do you know me, my lord?
HAMLET:
Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.
HAMLET:
Excellent well, you're a man who sells fish.
POLONIUS:
Not I, my lord.
POLONIUS:
Not I, my lord.
HAMLET:
Then I would you were so honest a man.
HAMLET:
Then I wish you were so honest a man.
POLONIUS:
Honest, my lord?(190)
POLONIUS:
Honest, my lord!
HAMLET:
Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one
man picked out of ten thousand.
HAMLET:
Yes, sir, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one
man picked out of ten thousand.
POLONIUS:
That's very true, my lord.
POLONIUS:
That's very true, my lord.
HAMLET:
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a
good kissing carrion—Have you a daughter?(195)
HAMLET:
For if the sun breeds maggots in a dead dog, being a
god-kissing rotten flesh— Have you a daughter?
POLONIUS:
I have, my lord.
POLONIUS:
I have, my lord.
HAMLET:
Let her not walk i' th' sun. Conception is a blessing,
but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't.
HAMLET:
Let her not walk in the sun. Pregnancy is a blessing, but
not as your daughter may get pregnant. Friend, look to it.
POLONIUS:
How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter.
Yet he knew me not at first. He said I was a fishmonger.(200)
He is 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?
POLONIUS:
How say you by that? [Aside.] Still harping on my
daughter. But he didn’t know me at first, he said I was a
man who sold fish. He is far gone, far gone! In my youth I
truly suffered much agony for love almost like this. I’ll
speak to him again. What do you read, my lord?
HAMLET:
Words, words, words.
HAMLET:
Words, words, words.
POLONIUS:
What is the matter, my lord?(205)
POLONIUS:
What is the matter, my lord?
HAMLET:
Between who?
HAMLET:
Between who?
POLONIUS:
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
POLONIUS:
I mean, the matter that you are reading, my lord.
HAMLET:
Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here that old
men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their
eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum; and that they(210)
have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams.
All 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, shall grow old as I am if, if like a crab,
you could go backward.(215)
HAMLET:
Slanders, sir. for the satirical slave says here that old
men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their
eyes ooze thick yellow mucous and plum-tree sap, and
that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most
weak legs. all of which, sir, although I believe it most
powerfully and potently, yet I think it was dishonest to
have written it like this, because you yourself, sir, should
be old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
POLONIUS:
Though this be madness, yet there is a method
in't.—
Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
POLONIUS:
[Aside.] Though this be craziness, yet there is a method
in it. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
HAMLET:
Into my grave?
HAMLET:
Into my grave?
POLONIUS:
Indeed, that is out of the air. [Aside.] How pregnant(220)
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 hon-
ourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.(225)
POLONIUS:
Indeed, that is out of the air. [Aside.] How full of meaning
his replies sometimes are! A happiness that often
craziness hits on, which reason and sanity couldn’t
arranged so happily. I will leave him and hurriedly
contrive the means for a meeting between him and my
daughter. My honorable lord, I will most humbly take my
leave of you.
HAMLET:
You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will
more willingly part withal—except my life, except my life,
except my life.
HAMLET:
You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more
willingly part with, except my life, except my life, except my
life.

Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.

POLONIUS:
Fare you well, my lord.
POLONIUS:
Goodbye, my lord.
HAMLET:
These tedious old fools!(230)
HAMLET:
These tedious old fools!
POLONIUS:
You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is.
POLONIUS:
You’re looking for the Lord Hamlet, there he is.
ROSENCRANTZ:
God save you, sir!
ROSENCRANTZ:
God save you, sir!

[Exit Polonius.]

GUILDENSTERN:
My honoured lord!
GUILDENSTERN:
My honored lord!
ROSENCRANTZ:
My most dear lord!
ROSENCRANTZ:
My most dear lord!
HAMLET:
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye
both?
HAMLET:
My excellent good friends! How are you, Guildenstern?
Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do you both?
ROSENCRANTZ:
As the indifferent children of the earth.(235)
ROSENCRANTZ:
As the indifferent children of the earth.
GUILDENSTERN:
Happy, in that we are not over-happy.
On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
GUILDENSTERN:
Happy in that we are not over-happy,
We are not the only button on fortune's cap.
HAMLET:
Nor the soles of her shoe?
HAMLET:
Nor the soles of her shoe?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Neither, my lord.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Neither, my lord.
HAMLET:
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her(240)
favours?
HAMLET:
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her
favors?
GUILDENSTERN:
Faith, her privates we.
GUILDENSTERN:
God, we are her privates.
HAMLET:
In the secret parts of Fortune? O! most true! she is a
strumpet. What news?
HAMLET:
In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true, she is a
loose woman. What's the news?
ROSENCRANTZ:
None, my lord, but that the world's grown(245)
honest.
ROSENCRANTZ:
None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
HAMLET:
Then is doomsday near. But your news is not true. 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?(250)
HAMLET:
Then is doomsday near, but your news is not true. Let
me question more in particular, my good friends, what
you have done to deserve such fortune, that she sends
you to prison hither?
GUILDENSTERN:
Prison, my lord?
GUILDENSTERN:
Prison, my lord!
HAMLET:
Denmark's a prison.
HAMLET:
Denmark's a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Then is the world one.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Then the world is one.
HAMLET:
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.(255)
HAMLET:
A goodly one, in which there are many cells, wards, and
dungeons, Denmark being one of the worst.
ROSENCRANTZ:
We think not so, my lord.
ROSENCRANTZ:
We don’t think so, my lord.
HAMLET:
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.
HAMLET:
Why, then it is not a prison to you, for there is nothing
either good or bad but only thinking makes it so. To me, it is a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Why, then your ambition makes it one. 'tis too
narrow for your mind.(260)
ROSENCRANTZ:
Why, then, your ambition makes it one, your ambition is
too narrow for your mind.
HAMLET:
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count
myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad
dreams.
HAMLET:
O God, I could be put into a nutshell and count myself a
king of infinite space, if it were not that I have bad dreams.
GUILDENSTERN:
Which dreams indeed are ambition; for the
very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a(265)
dream.
GUILDENSTERN:
Those dreams are indeed ambition, for the very
substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
HAMLET:
A dream itself is but a shadow.
HAMLET:
A dream itself is but a shadow.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light
a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality
that it is but a shadow's shadow.
HAMLET:
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and(270)
outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to the
court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.
HAMLET:
Then our beggars are bodies, and our monarchs and
outstretched heroes are the beggars' shadows. Shall we
to the court? for, by my faith, I cannot reason.
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN:
We'll wait upon you.
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN:
We'll wait upon you.
HAMLET:
No such matter! I will not sort you with the rest of
my servants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am(275)
most dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friend-
ship, what make you at Elsinore?
HAMLET:
That’s not necessary. I won’t sort you with the rest of my
servants, because, to speak to you like an honest man, I
am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of
friendship, what are you doing at Elsinore?
ROSENCRANTZ:
To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.
ROSENCRANTZ:
To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.
HAMLET:
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I
thank you; And sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear(280)
a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclin-
ing? Is it a free visitation? Come, deal justly with me.
Come, come! Nay, speak.
HAMLET:
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, but I thank
you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks are a halfpenny
too expensive. Weren’t you sent for? Is it your own desire
to come here? Is it a free visit? Come on, Tell me the
truth. Come on, come on, no, tell me.
GUILDENSTERN:
What should we say, my lord?
GUILDENSTERN:
What should we say, my lord?
HAMLET:
Why, anything, but to the purpose. You were sent(285)
for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which
your modesties have not craft enough to colour. I know the
good King and Queen have sent for you.
HAMLET:
Why, anything but to the answer. You were sent for, and
there is a kind of confession in your looks, which you are
not very good at hiding. I know the good king and queen
have sent for you.
ROSENCRANTZ:
To what end, my lord?
ROSENCRANTZ:
What for, my lord?
HAMLET:
That you must teach me. But let me conjure you by the(290)
rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by
the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more
dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and
direct with me, whether you were sent for or no.
HAMLET:
You have to tell me. But let me beg you, by the rights of
our fellowship, by the harmony of our youth, by the
obligation of our ever preserved love, and by anything
else that could charge you to be even and direct with me,
were you were sent for or not?
ROSENCRANTZ:
What say you?(295)
ROSENCRANTZ:
What do you say?
HAMLET:
Nay then, I have an eye of you.—If you love me, hold
not off.
HAMLET:
No, then, I see it all. If you love me, don’t hold
back.
GUILDENSTERN:
My lord, we were sent for.
GUILDENSTERN:
My lord, we were sent for.
HAMLET:
I will tell you why. So shall my anticipation prevent
your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen(300)
moult no feather. I have of late—but wherefore I know not—
lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed,
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(305)
firmament, 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 a man! how
noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving
how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in(310)
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 nei-
ther, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
HAMLET:
I will tell you why, so that my telling you first may prevent
your finding out, and your secrecy to the king and queen
will not lose anything. I have of late, but why I don’t know,
lost all my joy, given up all habits of exercises, and
indeed, I am so depressed that this good frame, the
earth, seems to me to be a sterile outpost, this most
excellent canopy, the air— look—, this brave sky hanging
over us, this majestic roof divided with golden fire, why, it
seems to me to be nothing but a dirty and disgusting
meeting of vapors. What a piece
of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in
faculties! in form and moving, how expressive and
admirable! In action how like an angel! in understanding,
how like a god! The beauty of the world! the paragon of
animals! And yet, to me, what is this highly refined speck
of dust? Man doesn’t delight me, no, nor woman either,
though by your smiling, you seem to find that funny.
ROSENCRANTZ:
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.(315)
ROSENCRANTZ:
My lord, there wasn’t any such stuff in my thoughts.
HAMLET:
Why did you laugh then, when I said man delights not
me?
HAMLET:
Why did you laugh then, when I said, “Man doesn’t delight me”?
ROSENCRANTZ:
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 com-(320)
ing to offer you service.
ROSENCRANTZ:
To think, my lord, if you do not delight in man, what a
somber reception the players shall receive from you. We
passed them on the way, and they are coming here to perform.
HAMLET:
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
humorous man shall end his part in peace; the clown shall(325)
make those laugh whose lungs are tickle o' the sere; and the
lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt
for't. What players are they?
HAMLET:
The man that plays the king shall be welcome, his
“majesty” shall have my loyalty, the adventurous knight
shall use his sword and shield, the lover won’t sigh for
free, the funny man shall end his part in peace, the clown
shall make those laugh whose lungs are withered and the
lady shall say her mind freely, or the poetry of the play
shall stop for it. What players are they?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Even those you were wont to take such delight
in, the tragedians of the city.(330)
ROSENCRANTZ:
Even those you usually enjoy, the
tragedians of the city.
HAMLET:
How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in
reputation and profit, was better both ways.
HAMLET:
How is it that they travel? Being in the city was better for
them in regards to their reputation and their profits.
ROSENCRANTZ:
I think their inhibition comes by the means of
the late innovation.
ROSENCRANTZ:
I think their traveling to perform a play is a new
innovation.
HAMLET:
Do they hold the same estimation they did when I(335)
was in the city? Are they so followed?
HAMLET:
Do they hold the same respect they did when I was in the
city? Are they still followed?
ROSENCRANTZ:
No, indeed, are they not.
ROSENCRANTZ:
No, indeed, they are not.
HAMLET:
How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
HAMLET:
Why? Do they grow rusty?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace;
but there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that(340)
cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically
clapped for't. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the
common stages—so they call them—that many wearing
rapiers are afraid of goose-quills and dare scarce come
thither.(345)
ROSENCRANTZ:
No, their work keeps them at their usual pace, but there
is, sir, a brood of children, untrained, that complicate their
situation, and are most tyrannically beaten for it. Children
are now very popular, and are on the common stages, as
they call them, so much that many actors are afraid they
cannot compete and barely dare to come there.
HAMLET:
What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? How
are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer
than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards, if they
should grow themselves to common players—as it is most
like, if their means are no better—their writers do them(350)
wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession?
HAMLET:
What, are they children? Who cares for them? Where do
they live? Will they stop pursuing the stage when they
can no longer sing? Won’t they say later, if they should
go on to become common players, which is likely, and
their lives are no better, that their writers did them wrong
to make them exclaim against their own success?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Faith, there has been much to do on both sides;
and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controver-
sy. There was, for a while, no money bid for argument
unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.(355)
ROSENCRANTZ:
Well, there has been a lot of comment on both sides, and
the nation holds it no sin to provoke them to controversy.
There was, for a while, no money paid for debate unless
the poet and the player fought over the question.
HAMLET:
Is't possible?
HAMLET:
Is it possible?
GUILDENSTERN:
O, there has been much throwing about of
brains.
GUILDENSTERN:
O, there has been a lot of bashing of brains going on.
HAMLET:
Do the boys carry it away?
HAMLET:
Do the boys carry them away?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Ay, that they do, my lord, Hercules and his load(360)
too.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Yes, they do, my lord, Hercules and his load too.
HAMLET:
It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of
Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while
my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats
apiece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something(365)
in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
HAMLET:
It is not very strange, for my uncle is king of Denmark,
and those that would make faces at him while my father
lived, paid twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats each for a
little picture of him. God’s blood!, there is something
more than natural in this, if philosophy could figure it out.

Flourish [for the Players.]

GUILDENSTERN:
There are the players.
GUILDENSTERN:
There are the players.
HAMLET:
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your
hands, come! Then appurtenance of welcome is fashion
and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this garb, lest my(370)
extent to the players—which, I tell you, must show fairly
outwards—should more appear like entertainment than
yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-
mother are deceived.
HAMLET:
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Let me shake
your hands. The accessory of a welcome is fashion and
ceremony. Let me comply with it in these clothes, for fear
that my welcome to the players, which I tell you must look
good, should more appear like entertainment than your
plays. You are welcome. but my uncle-father and aunt-
mother are deceived.
GUILDENSTERN:
In what, my dear lord?(375)
GUILDENSTERN:
In what, my dear lord?
HAMLET:
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
HAMLET:
I am but crazy north-north-west. When the wind is from
the south, I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Enter Polonius.

POLONIUS:
Well be with you, gentlemen!
POLONIUS:
Welcome, gentlemen!
HAMLET:
Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too—at each ear a
hearer!(380)
That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling
clouts.
HAMLET:
Listen, Guildenstern, and you too, with each ear. That
great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling clothes.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Happily he's the second time come to them; for
they say an old man is twice a child.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Happily this is the second time he uses them, for they
say an old man is twice a child.
HAMLET:
I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players.(385)
Mark it. You say right, sir; o' Monday morning; 'twas so
indeed.
HAMLET:
I predict he comes to tell me of the players, listen. You
say right, sir. On Monday morning, it was true indeed.
POLONIUS:
My lord, I have news to tell you.
POLONIUS:
My lord, I have news to tell you
HAMLET:
My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was
an actor in Rome—(390)
HAMLET:
My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius the
famous actor, was in Rome. . .
POLONIUS:
The actors are come hither, my lord.
POLONIUS:
The actors have come here, my lord.
HAMLET:
Buzz, buzz!
HAMLET:
Buzz, buzz!
POLONIUS:
Upon my honour—
POLONIUS:
Upon my honor.
HAMLET:
Then came each actor on his ass—
HAMLET:
Then each actor came on his ass.
POLONIUS:
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy,(395)
history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral,
tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral; scene
individable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too
heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty,
these are the only men.(400)
POLONIUS:
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy,
history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral,
tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral,
scene individable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be
too heavy nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and
the liberty, these are the only men.
HAMLET:
O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst
thou!
HAMLET:
O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure you had!
POLONIUS:
What treasure had he, my lord?
POLONIUS:
What treasure did he have, my lord?
HAMLET:
Why,
‘One fair daughter, and no more,(405)
The which he loved passing well.’
HAMLET:
Why,

“One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved passing well.”

POLONIUS:
Still on my daughter.
POLONIUS:
Still harping on my daughter.
HAMLET:
Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah?
HAMLET:
Am I not in the right, old Jephthah?
POLONIUS:
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter
that I love passing well.
POLONIUS:
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I
love passing well.
HAMLET:
Nay, that follows not.(410)
HAMLET:
No, that doesn’t follow.
POLONIUS:
What follows then, my lord?
POLONIUS:
What follows, then, my lord?
HAMLET:
Why,
As by lot, God wot,
and then, you know,
It came to pass, as most like it was.—(415)
The first row of the pious chanson will show you more;
for look where my abridgment comes.

Enter [four or five] Players.

You are welcome, masters; welcome, all. I am glad to see
thee well. Welcome, good friends. O, my old friend, why,
thy face is valanced since I saw thee last. Com'st' thou to'(420)
beard me in Denmark? What, my young lady and mistress?
By'r lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven than
when I saw you last by the altitude of a chopine. Pray
God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not
cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome.(425)
We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see.
We'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your
quality. Come, a passionate speech.
HAMLET:
Why,

“As by lot, God knows,”


and then, you know,

”It came to pass, as most like it was.”


The first line of the
holy song will show you more, for look
where my means of whiling away the time comes.

You are welcome, masters, welcome, all. I am glad to
see you well. Welcome, good friends. O, my old friend!
Your face is bearded since I saw you last, do you come
to beard me in Denmark? What, my young lady and
mistress! By our lady, your ladyship is taller than when I
saw you last, by the height of a high-heeled shoe. Pray
God, your voice, like a an unused gold coin, can’t be
cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome.
We'll act up like French falconers: fly at
anything we see. We'll have a speech right now. Come,
give us a bit of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.

PLAYER:
What speech, my good lord?
PLAYER:
What speech, my lord?
HAMLET:
I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never(430)
acted; or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember,
pleased not the million, 'twas caviary to the general; but
it was—as I received it, and others, whose judgments in
such matters cried in the top of mine—an excellent play,
well digested in the scenes, set down with as much mod-(435)
esty as cunning. I remember one said there were no sal-
lets in the lines to make the matter savoury, nor no mat-
ter in the phrase that might indict the author of affecta-
tion; but called it an honest method, as wholesome as
sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One(440)
speech in't I chiefly loved; 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido, and
thereabout of it especially where he speaks of Priam's
slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line—let
me see, let me see—
The rugged Pyrrhus, like th' Hyrcanian beast—(445)
'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus—
The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd(450)
With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
Now is he total gules, horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons.
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and a damned light(455)
To their lord's murder. Roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.
So, proceed you.(460)
HAMLET:
I heard you do a speech once, but it was never acted, or
if it was, not more than once, for the play, I remember,
didn’t please the crowd, it was caviar to the particular, but
it was, as I took it, and others, whose judgments in such
matters far exceed mine, an excellent play, well
organized in the scenes, set down with as much modesty
as skill. I remember, one said
there were no mixes in the lines to make the matter
spicy, and no matter in the phrase that might accuse the
author of putting on airs, but called it an honest effort, as
wholesome as it was sweet, and, by very much, more
handsome than fine. One speech in it I loved best. It was
Aeneas' tale to Dido, and in it, especially where he
speaks of Priam's slaughter. If you can remember it,
begin at this line, let me see, let me see.
”The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,…”
That’s not it. It begins with Pyrrhus.
”The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose hairy arms were as
Black as his purpose, who looked like the night
When he lay couched in the forbidding horse,
Now has this dread and black complexion smeared
With an announcement more dismal, head to foot
He is now totally red, horridly dressed
With the blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and thickly painted by the hot dry streets
That lend a tyrannous and a damned light
To their vile murders. Roasted by anger and fire,
And like this oversized with coagulating blood,
With eyes like precious red gems, the hellish Pyrrhus
Looks for Old grandfather Priam.”
So, you carry on.
POLONIUS:
'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent
and good discretion.
POLONIUS:
By God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good
judgment.
PLAYER:
'Anon he finds him,
Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,(465)
Repugnant to command. Unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top(470)
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear. For lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick.
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,(475)
And like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below(480)
As hush as death—anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, forged for proof eterne,(485)
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,(490)
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!
PLAYER:
Eventually he finds him,
Striking too short at the Greeks. His old sword,
Rebelling against his arm, lies where it falls,
Resisting his commands. Not matched equally,
Pyrrhus lunges at Priam, strikes wild in rage,
But, with the whiff and wind of his fierce sword,
The shaken father falls. Then senseless Priam,
Seeming to feel this blow, flaming at his top
Stoops to his base, and, with a hideous crash,
Cuts off prisoner Pyrrhus' ear. Behold! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seemed in the air to stick.
So, like a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
And, as if not giving in to his will and body,
Did nothing.
But, as we often see a silence in the heavens,
After some storm, the gales stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the earth below
As hushed as death, and eventually the dreadful thunder
Tears the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
A roused anger renews him and he begins to work,
And never did the One-eyed monster’s hammers fall
On the god of war’s amour, forged for eternal strength,
With less sorrow than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, you loose woman, Fortune! All you gods,
In general meeting, take away her power,
Break all the spokes and curved rims from her wheel,
And bowl the hub of the wheel down the hill of heaven,
As low as you can to kill the fiends!
POLONIUS:
This is too long.
POLONIUS:
This is too long.
HAMLET:
It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Prithee say
on. He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on;(495)
come to Hecuba.
HAMLET:
It shall go to the barber's, to be cut with your beard. I beg
you, continue. He's for a jig or a dirty tale, or he sleeps.
Continue, come to Hecuba.
PLAYER:
But who, O who, had seen the mobled queen—
PLAYER:
But who, O who had seen the wrapped up queen,
HAMLET:
‘The mobled queen’?
HAMLET:
”The wrapped up queen.”
POLONIUS:
That's good! ‘mobled queen’ is good.
POLONIUS:
That's good! “Wrapped up queen” is good.
PLAYER:
Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames(500)
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'erteemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up—
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd(505)
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounced.
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made(510)
Unless things mortal move them not at all
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
And passion in the gods.
PLAYER:
Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames
With blind tears, a cloth on that head
Where lately the crown had stood, and for a robe,
About her thin loins, exhausted from child-bearing,
A blanket, caught up in the panic of fear,
Whoever had seen this, with a very poisoned tongue,
Would have pronounced treason against Fortune's state.
But if the gods themselves saw her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
By chopping her husband’s limbs with his sword,
The instant burst of noise that she made,
Unless mortal events can’t move them at all,
Would have made the burning eyes of heaven milk,
And rouse passion in the gods.
POLONIUS:
Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and
has tears in's eyes. Prithee no more!(515)
POLONIUS:
Look, where he has turned pale, and has tears in his
eyes. I beg you, no more!
HAMLET:
'tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest of this
soon. Good my lord, will you see the players well
bestow'd? Do you hear? Let them be well used; for they
are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After
your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their(520)
ill report while you live.
HAMLET:
It is well. I’ll have you speak out the rest of this soon.
My good lord, will you see the players well taken care of?
Do you hear me? Let them be well used, for they are the
short stories and brief history of the time. After you die, it
would be better to have a bad epitaph then than their ill
report while you live now.
POLONIUS:
My lord, I will use them according to their
desert.
POLONIUS:
My lord, I will use them according to their class.
HAMLET:
God's bodykins, man, much better! Use every
man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping? Use(525)
them after your own honour and dignity. The less they
deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.
HAMLET:
God’s bodkin, man, better. Use every man according to
his class, and who should escape whipping? Use them
according to your class. The less they deserve it, the
more credit it is to you. Take them in.
POLONIUS:
Come, sirs.
POLONIUS:
Come, sirs.
HAMLET:
Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play to-morrow.

Exeunt Polonius and all the Players.

Dost thou hear me, old friend? Can you play ‘The Murder of(530)
Gonzago’?
HAMLET:
Follow him, friends. we'll hear a play tomorrow.

Do you hear me, old friend? Can you play “The Murder of
Gonzago?”

PLAYER:
Ay, my lord.
PLAYER:
Yes, my lord.
HAMLET:
We'll ha't tomorrow night. You could, for a need, study
a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines which I would set
down and insert in't, could you not?(535)
HAMLET:
We'll have it tomorrow night. You could, as necessary,
study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines which I
would write down and insert into it? Couldn’t you?
PLAYER:
Ay, my lord.
PLAYER:
Yes, my lord.
HAMLET:
Very well. Follow that lord, and look you mock him
not. My good friends, I'll leave you till night. You are wel-
come to Elsinore.
HAMLET:
Very well. Follow that lord, and see you don’t mock him.
My good friends [to Rosencrantz and Guild.], I’ll leave
you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Good my lord!(540)
ROSENCRANTZ:
My good lord!

Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

HAMLET:
Ay, so, God be wi' ye!
Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,(545)
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing!(550)
For Hecuba!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears(555)
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech;
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
Yet I,(560)
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing! No, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?(565)
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat,
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this? Ha!
Ha! 'Swounds, I should take it! for it cannot be(570)
But I am pigeon-liver'd and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!(575)
O, vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words(580)
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion! Fie upon't! Foh!
About, my brain! Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
Have by the very cunning of the scene(585)
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ, I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father(590)
Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick. If he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil; and the devil hath power
T' assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps(595)
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this. The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.(600)
HAMLET:
Yes, so, God be with you!
Now I am alone.
O, what a idle, wandering, and peasant slave I am!
Isn’t it monstrous that this actor here,
Only in a play, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own actions
That his grew pale from the words of the speech,
Tears in his eyes, separation from reality in his face,
A broken voice, and his whole function matching
Forms to his role? And all for nothing!
For Hecuba?
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do
If he had the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And split the audience’s with horrid speech,
Make the guilty crazy, and shock the innocent,
Confuse the ignorant, and amaze, indeed,
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
Yet I,
A dull and muddy-spirited rascal, shrink,
Like a dreamy fellow, not full of my cause,
And can’t say anything, no, not for a king
On whose kingdom and most dear life
Were all brought to nothing. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? Breaks my head across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? Lies about me in the throat
As deep as the lungs? Who does this to me, huh?
God’s wounds, I should take it, because it can’t be
That I am meek, and lack the nerve
To make oppression bitter, or else
I should have fed all the hunting birds in the region
With my body’s decaying flesh. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O, vengeance!
Why, what an ass I am! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, release the content of my heart with
words, and fall down cursing like a very drab,
Menial servant in the kitchen!
Shame on it! Argh! Change course, my brain! I have
Heard that guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
Have been so struck to the soul
By the very cunning of the scene that presently
They have confessed their evil deeds,
Because murder, although it is silent, will speak
With its own most miraculous organ, I’ll have these
Players play something like the murder of my father
Before my uncle. I’ll observe his looks,
I’ll watch his every move. Even if he only winks,
I know what I have to do. The ghost that I have seen
May be the Devil. and the Devil has power
To assume a pleasing shape, yes, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As the Devil is very powerful with such spirits,
The Devil abuses me to damn me. I’ll need to have more
proof than this. The play's the thing
Wherein I’ll see the conscience of the king.

Exit.