Act V

Scene I A churchyard.

[Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c]
First Clown Is she to be buried in Christian burial that
wilfully seeks her own salvation?
Second Clown I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave
straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it
Christian burial.
First Clown How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her
own defence?
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 act hath three branches: it
is, to act, to do, to perform: argal, she drowned
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, 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.
Second Clown Will you ha' the truth on'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 countenance in this world to
drown or hang themselves, more than their even
Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient
gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers:
they hold up Adam's profession.
Second Clown Was he a gentleman?
First Clown He was the first that ever bore arms.
Second Clown Why, he had none.
First Clown What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the
Scripture? The Scripture says 'Adam digged:'
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.
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 tenants.
First Clown I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows
does well; but how does it well? it does well to
those that do in: 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?'
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, at a distance]
First Clown Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull
ass will not mend his pace with beating; and, when
you are asked this question next, say 'a
grave-maker: 'the houses that he makes last till
doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan: fetch me a
stoup of liquor.
[Exit Second Clown]
[He digs and sings]
In youth, when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet,
To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove,
O, methought, there was nothing meet.
HAMLET Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he
sings at grave-making?
HORATIO Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
HAMLET 'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath
the daintier sense.
First Clown [Sings]
But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
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 it were
Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It
might be the pate of a politician, which this ass
now o'er-reaches; 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 praised 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
knocked about the mazzard with a sexton's spade:
here's fine revolution, an we had the trick to
see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding,
but to play at loggats with 'em? mine ache to think on't.
First Clown [Sings]
A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet:
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
[Throws up another skull]
HAMLET There's another: why may not that be the skull of a
lawyer? Where be his quiddities 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 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 hardly lie in
this box; and must the 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 calf-skins too.
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.
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
HAMLET I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.
First Clown You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not
yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, and 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.
First Clown 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away gain, from me to
HAMLET What man dost thou dig it for?
First Clown For no man, sir.
HAMLET What woman, then?
First Clown For none, neither.
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, these three years I have taken a note of
it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the
peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he
gaffs his kibe. How long hast thou been a
First Clown Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day
that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
HAMLET How long is that since?
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 he sent into England?
First Clown Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits
there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
First Clown 'Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men
are as mad as he.
HAMLET How came he mad?
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, thirty years.
HAMLET How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?
First Clown I' faith, if he be not rotten before he die--as we
have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce
hold the laying in--he will last you some eight year
or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.
HAMLET Why he more than another?
First Clown Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that
he 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 has lain in the 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' poured a
flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull,
sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.
First Clown E'en that.
HAMLET Let me see.
[Takes the skull]
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, 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 rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
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.
HORATIO What's that, my lord?
HAMLET Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i'
the 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 bung-hole?
HORATIO 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
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?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.
[Enter Priest, &c. in procession; the Corpse of
OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING
CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, their trains, &c]
The queen, the courtiers: who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo its own life: 'twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile, and mark.
[Retiring with HORATIO]
LAERTES What ceremony else?
HAMLET That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.
LAERTES What ceremony else?
First Priest Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
Till the last trumpet: for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her;
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
LAERTES Must there no more be done?
First Priest No more be done:
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
LAERTES Lay her i' the earth:
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be,
When thou liest howling.
HAMLET What, the fair Ophelia!
QUEEN GERTRUDE Sweets to the sweet: farewell!
[Scattering flowers]
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.
LAERTES O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head,
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms:
[Leaps into the grave]
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
HAMLET [Advancing] What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
[Leaps into the grave]
LAERTES The devil take thy soul!
[Grappling with him]
HAMLET Thou pray'st not well.
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear: hold off thy hand.
KING CLAUDIUS Pluck them asunder.
QUEEN 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
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
QUEEN GERTRUDE O my son, what theme?
HAMLET I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
KING CLAUDIUS O, he is mad, Laertes.
QUEEN GERTRUDE For love of God, forbear him.
HAMLET 'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:
Woo't weep? woo't fight? woo't fast? woo't tear thyself?
Woo't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.
QUEEN GERTRUDE This is mere madness:
And thus awhile the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
His silence will sit drooping.
HAMLET Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
KING CLAUDIUS I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.
Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
We'll put the matter to the present push.
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.

Scene II A hall in the castle.

HAMLET So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
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 mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
And praised be rashness for it, let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will,--
HORATIO That is most certain.
HAMLET Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Groped I to find out them; had my desire.
Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
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
Importing Denmark's health and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.
HORATIO Is't possible?
HAMLET Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
HORATIO I beseech you.
HAMLET Being thus be-netted round with villanies,--
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play--I sat me down,
Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
The effect of what I wrote?
HORATIO Ay, good my lord.
HAMLET An earnest conjuration from the king,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm might flourish,
As peace should stiff her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
And many such-like 'As'es of great charge,
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?
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 form of the other,
Subscribed it, gave't the impression, placed it safely,
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;
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.
HORATIO Why, what a king is this!
HAMLET Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--
He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect 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
What is the issue of the business there.
HAMLET It will be short: the interim is mine;
And a man's life's no more than to say 'One.'
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself;
For, by the image of my cause, I see
The portraiture of his: I'll court his favours.
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.
HORATIO Peace! who comes here?
[Enter OSRIC]
OSRIC Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
HAMLET I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?
HORATIO No, my good lord.
HAMLET 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 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
OSRIC It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
HAMLET But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my
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,--
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 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
dizzy the arithmetic of 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.
HAMLET The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman
in our more rawer breath?
HORATIO Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?
You will do't, sir, really.
HAMLET What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
OSRIC Of Laertes?
HORATIO His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.
HAMLET Of him, sir.
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 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.
HAMLET That's two of his weapons: but, well.
OSRIC The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
horses: against the which he has imponed, 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, very
responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages,
and of very liberal conceit.
HAMLET What call you the carriages?
HORATIO I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.
OSRIC The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
HAMLET The phrase would be more german 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 bet
against the Danish. Why is this 'imponed,' 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.
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, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let
the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the
king hold his purpose, I will win for him an I can;
if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
OSRIC Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?
HAMLET To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
OSRIC I commend my duty to your lordship.
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 sucked it.
Thus has he--and many more of the same bevy that I
know the dressy age dotes 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 fond 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 purpose; they follow the king's
pleasure: 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 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 continual practise: 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
gain-giving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.
HORATIO If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will
forestall their repair hither, and say you are not
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: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, &c]
KING CLAUDIUS Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
HAMLET Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows,
And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done,
That might your nature, honour and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
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,
Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
I have a voice and precedent of peace,
To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.
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
Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
LAERTES You mock me, sir.
HAMLET No, by this hand.
KING CLAUDIUS Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?
HAMLET Very well, my lord
Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.
KING CLAUDIUS I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.
LAERTES This is too heavy, let me see another.
HAMLET This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
[They prepare to play]
OSRIC Ay, my good lord.
KING CLAUDIUS Set me the stoops of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire:
The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive 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 heavens to earth,
'Now the king dunks to Hamlet.' Come, begin:
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
HAMLET Come on, sir.
LAERTES Come, my lord.
[They play]
HAMLET Judgment.
OSRIC A hit, a very palpable hit.
LAERTES Well; again.
KING CLAUDIUS Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.
[Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off within]
Give him the cup.
HAMLET I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.
[They play]
Another hit; what say you?
LAERTES A touch, a touch, I do confess.
KING CLAUDIUS Our son shall win.
QUEEN GERTRUDE He's fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
HAMLET Good madam!
KING CLAUDIUS Gertrude, do not drink.
QUEEN GERTRUDE I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
KING CLAUDIUS [Aside] It is the poison'd cup: it is too late.
HAMLET I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
QUEEN GERTRUDE Come, let me wipe thy face.
LAERTES My lord, I'll hit him now.
KING CLAUDIUS I do not think't.
LAERTES [Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
HAMLET Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
I pray you, pass with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
LAERTES Say you so? come on.
[They play]
OSRIC Nothing, neither way.
LAERTES Have at you now!
[LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then in scuffling, they
change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES]
KING CLAUDIUS Part them; they are incensed.
HAMLET Nay, come, again.
OSRIC Look to the queen there, ho!
HORATIO They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?
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?
KING CLAUDIUS She swounds to see them bleed.
QUEEN GERTRUDE No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,--
The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.
HAMLET O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd:
Treachery! Seek it out.
LAERTES It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour of life;
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practise
Hath turn'd itself on me lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.
HAMLET The point!--envenom'd too!
Then, venom, to thy work.
All Treason! treason!
KING CLAUDIUS O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
HAMLET Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.
LAERTES He is justly served;
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.
HAMLET Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time--as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest--O, I could tell you--
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
HORATIO Never believe it:
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
Here's yet some liquor left.
HAMLET As thou'rt a man,
Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't.
O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.
[March afar off, and shot within]
What warlike noise is this?
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'er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
HORATIO Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Why does the drum come hither?
[March within]
[Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors,
and others]
PRINCE FORTINBRAS Where is this sight?
HORATIO What is it ye would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
PRINCE FORTINBRAS This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?
First Ambassador The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late:
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?
HORATIO Not from his mouth,
Had it the ability of life to thank you:
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
Are here arrived give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view;
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 forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on the inventors' reads: all this can I
Truly deliver.
PRINCE FORTINBRAS Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.
HORATIO Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more;
But let this same be presently perform'd,
Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
On plots and errors, happen.
PRINCE FORTINBRAS Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved 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
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
[A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead
bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off]

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