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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

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ACT I

SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.

FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO


BERNARDO
Who's there?
FRANCISCO
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.
BERNARDO
Long live the king!
FRANCISCO
Bernardo?
BERNARDO
He.
FRANCISCO
You come most carefully upon your hour.
BERNARDO
'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.
FRANCISCO
For this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
BERNARDO
Have you had quiet guard?
FRANCISCO
Not a mouse stirring.
BERNARDO
Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
FRANCISCO
I think I hear them. Stand, ho! Who's there?
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS

HORATIO
Friends to this ground.
MARCELLUS
And liegemen to the Dane.
FRANCISCO
Give you good night.
MARCELLUS
O, farewell, honest soldier:
Who hath relieved you?
FRANCISCO
Bernardo has my place.
Give you good night.
Exit

MARCELLUS
Holla! Bernardo!
BERNARDO
Say,
What, is Horatio there?
HORATIO
A piece of him.
BERNARDO
Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.
MARCELLUS
What, has this thing appear'd again to-night?
BERNARDO
I have seen nothing.
MARCELLUS
Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
HORATIO
Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
BERNARDO
Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story
What we have two nights seen.
HORATIO
Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
BERNARDO
Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,--
Enter Ghost

MARCELLUS
Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!
BERNARDO
In the same figure, like the king that's dead.
MARCELLUS
Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
BERNARDO
Looks it not like the king? mark it, Horatio.
HORATIO
Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.
BERNARDO
It would be spoke to.
MARCELLUS
Question it, Horatio.
HORATIO
What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak!
MARCELLUS
It is offended.
BERNARDO
See, it stalks away!
HORATIO
Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!
Exit Ghost

MARCELLUS
'Tis gone, and will not answer.
BERNARDO
How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale:
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on't?
HORATIO
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
MARCELLUS
Is it not like the king?
HORATIO
As thou art to thyself:
Such was the very armour he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
'Tis strange.
MARCELLUS
Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
HORATIO
In what particular thought to work I know not;
But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
MARCELLUS
Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week;
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day:
Who is't that can inform me?
HORATIO
That can I;
At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet--
For so this side of our known world esteem'd him--
Did slay this Fortinbras; who by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same covenant,
And carriage of the article design'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other--
As it doth well appear unto our state--
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
BERNARDO
I think it be no other but e'en so:
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
That was and is the question of these wars.
HORATIO
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets:
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse:
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.--
But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!
Re-enter Ghost

I'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion!


If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me:
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me:
Cock crows

If thou art privy to thy country's fate,


Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it: stay, and speak! Stop it, Marcellus.
MARCELLUS
Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
HORATIO
Do, if it will not stand.
BERNARDO
'Tis here!
HORATIO
'Tis here!
MARCELLUS
'Tis gone!
Exit Ghost

We do it wrong, being so majestical,


To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
BERNARDO
It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
HORATIO
And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.
MARCELLUS
It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
HORATIO
So have I heard and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill:
Break we our watch up; and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
MARCELLUS
Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently.
Exeunt

SCENE II. A room of state in the castle.

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND,


CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants
KING CLAUDIUS
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,--
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,--
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting:
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,--
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,--to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject: and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these delated articles allow.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
CORNELIUS VOLTIMAND
In that and all things will we show our duty.
KING CLAUDIUS
We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS

And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?


You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And loose your voice: what wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
LAERTES
My dread lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
KING CLAUDIUS
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
LORD POLONIUS
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laboursome petition, and at last
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.
KING CLAUDIUS
Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,--
HAMLET
[Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind.
KING CLAUDIUS
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
HAMLET
Not so, my lord; I am too much i' the sun.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
HAMLET
Ay, madam, it is common.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
HAMLET
Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
KING CLAUDIUS
'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd:
For what we know must be and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd: whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
'This must be so.' We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
HAMLET
I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
KING CLAUDIUS
Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
And the king's rouse the heavens all bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.
Exeunt all but HAMLET

HAMLET
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she--
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
Enter HORATIO, MARCELLUS, and BERNARDO

HORATIO
Hail to your lordship!
HAMLET
I am glad to see you well:
Horatio,--or I do forget myself.
HORATIO
The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
HAMLET
Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you:
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio? Marcellus?
MARCELLUS
My good lord--
HAMLET
I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
HORATIO
A truant disposition, good my lord.
HAMLET
I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
HORATIO
My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
HAMLET
I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
HORATIO
Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.
HAMLET
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father!--methinks I see my father.
HORATIO
Where, my lord?
HAMLET
In my mind's eye, Horatio.
HORATIO
I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
HAMLET
He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
HORATIO
My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
HAMLET
Saw? who?
HORATIO
My lord, the king your father.
HAMLET
The king my father!
HORATIO
Season your admiration for awhile
With an attent ear, till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.
HAMLET
For God's love, let me hear.
HORATIO
Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Armed at point exactly, cap-a-pe,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them: thrice he walk'd
By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did;
And I with them the third night kept the watch;
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes: I knew your father;
These hands are not more like.
HAMLET
But where was this?
MARCELLUS
My lord, upon the platform where we watch'd.
HAMLET
Did you not speak to it?
HORATIO
My lord, I did;
But answer made it none: yet once methought
It lifted up its head and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crew loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanish'd from our sight.
HAMLET
'Tis very strange.
HORATIO
As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.
HAMLET
Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
We do, my lord.
HAMLET
Arm'd, say you?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Arm'd, my lord.
HAMLET
From top to toe?
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
My lord, from head to foot.
HAMLET
Then saw you not his face?
HORATIO
O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
HAMLET
What, look'd he frowningly?
HORATIO
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
HAMLET
Pale or red?
HORATIO
Nay, very pale.
HAMLET
And fix'd his eyes upon you?
HORATIO
Most constantly.
HAMLET
I would I had been there.
HORATIO
It would have much amazed you.
HAMLET
Very like, very like. Stay'd it long?
HORATIO
While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
MARCELLUS BERNARDO
Longer, longer.
HORATIO
Not when I saw't.
HAMLET
His beard was grizzled--no?
HORATIO
It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.
HAMLET
I will watch to-night;
Perchance 'twill walk again.
HORATIO
I warrant it will.
HAMLET
If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
All
Our duty to your honour.
HAMLET
Your loves, as mine to you: farewell.
Exeunt all but HAMLET

My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;


I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!
Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
Exit

SCENE III. A room in Polonius' house.

Enter LAERTES and OPHELIA


LAERTES
My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.
OPHELIA
Do you doubt that?
LAERTES
For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.
OPHELIA
No more but so?
LAERTES
Think it no more;
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes:
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then; best safety lies in fear:
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
OPHELIA
I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
LAERTES
O, fear me not.
I stay too long: but here my father comes.
Enter POLONIUS

A double blessing is a double grace,


Occasion smiles upon a second leave.
LORD POLONIUS
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
LAERTES
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
The time invites you; go; your servants tend.
LAERTES
Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.
OPHELIA
'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.
LAERTES
Farewell.
Exit

LORD POLONIUS
What is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?
OPHELIA
So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, well bethought:
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
If it be so, as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behoves my daughter and your honour.
What is between you? give me up the truth.
OPHELIA
He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
LORD POLONIUS
Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
OPHELIA
I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
OPHELIA
My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honourable fashion.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, fashion you may call it; go to, go to.
OPHELIA
And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,
With almost all the holy vows of heaven.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him, that he is young
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you: in few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.
OPHELIA
I shall obey, my lord.
Exeunt

SCENE IV. The platform.

Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS


HAMLET
The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
HORATIO
It is a nipping and an eager air.
HAMLET
What hour now?
HORATIO
I think it lacks of twelve.
HAMLET
No, it is struck.
HORATIO
Indeed? I heard it not: then it draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off, within

What does this mean, my lord?


HAMLET
The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
HORATIO
Is it a custom?
HAMLET
Ay, marry, is't:
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
HORATIO
Look, my lord, it comes!
Enter Ghost

HAMLET
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Ghost beckons HAMLET

HORATIO
It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
MARCELLUS
Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
HORATIO
No, by no means.
HAMLET
It will not speak; then I will follow it.
HORATIO
Do not, my lord.
HAMLET
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life in a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again: I'll follow it.
HORATIO
What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.
HAMLET
It waves me still.
Go on; I'll follow thee.
MARCELLUS
You shall not go, my lord.
HAMLET
Hold off your hands.
HORATIO
Be ruled; you shall not go.
HAMLET
My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.
Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET

HORATIO
He waxes desperate with imagination.
MARCELLUS
Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
HORATIO
Have after. To what issue will this come?
MARCELLUS
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
HORATIO
Heaven will direct it.
MARCELLUS
Nay, let's follow him.
Exeunt

SCENE V. Another part of the platform.

Enter GHOST and HAMLET


HAMLET
Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.
Ghost
Mark me.
HAMLET
I will.
Ghost
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
HAMLET
Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost
Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
HAMLET
Speak; I am bound to hear.
Ghost
So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
HAMLET
What?
Ghost
I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
HAMLET
O God!
Ghost
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
HAMLET
Murder!
Ghost
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
HAMLET
Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
Ghost
I find thee apt;
And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his crown.
HAMLET
O my prophetic soul! My uncle!
Ghost
Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,--
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks I scent the morning air;
Brief let me be. Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man
That swift as quicksilver it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body,
And with a sudden vigour doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hamlet, remember me.
Exit

HAMLET
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?
And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,--meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark:
Writing

So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;


It is 'Adieu, adieu! remember me.'
I have sworn 't.
MARCELLUS HORATIO
[Within] My lord, my lord,--
MARCELLUS
[Within] Lord Hamlet,--
HORATIO
[Within] Heaven secure him!
HAMLET
So be it!
HORATIO
[Within] Hillo, ho, ho, my lord!
HAMLET
Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS

MARCELLUS
How is't, my noble lord?
HORATIO
What news, my lord?
HAMLET
O, wonderful!
HORATIO
Good my lord, tell it.
HAMLET
No; you'll reveal it.
HORATIO
Not I, my lord, by heaven.
MARCELLUS
Nor I, my lord.
HAMLET
How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?
HORATIO MARCELLUS
Ay, by heaven, my lord.
HAMLET
There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.
HORATIO
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
HAMLET
Why, right; you are i' the right;
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You, as your business and desire shall point you;
For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
HORATIO
These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
HAMLET
I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, 'faith heartily.
HORATIO
There's no offence, my lord.
HAMLET
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.
HORATIO
What is't, my lord? we will.
HAMLET
Never make known what you have seen to-night.
HORATIO MARCELLUS
My lord, we will not.
HAMLET
Nay, but swear't.
HORATIO
In faith,
My lord, not I.
MARCELLUS
Nor I, my lord, in faith.
HAMLET
Upon my sword.
MARCELLUS
We have sworn, my lord, already.
HAMLET
Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there,
truepenny?
Come on--you hear this fellow in the cellarage--
Consent to swear.
HORATIO
Propose the oath, my lord.
HAMLET
Never to speak of this that you have seen,
Swear by my sword.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Hic et ubique? then we'll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword:
Never to speak of this that you have heard,
Swear by my sword.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?
A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
HORATIO
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
HAMLET
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come;
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if we would,'
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
Ghost
[Beneath] Swear.
HAMLET
Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
They swear

So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you:
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.
Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. A room in POLONIUS' house.

Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDO


LORD POLONIUS
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
REYNALDO
I will, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behavior.
REYNALDO
My lord, I did intend it.
LORD 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
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,
And in part him: ' do you mark this, Reynaldo?
REYNALDO
Ay, very well, my lord.
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
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.
REYNALDO
As gaming, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Drabbing: you may go so far.
REYNALDO
My lord, that would dishonour him.
LORD POLONIUS
'Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge
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,
A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
Of general assault.
REYNALDO
But, my good lord,--
LORD POLONIUS
Wherefore should you do this?
REYNALDO
Ay, my lord,
I would know that.
LORD POLONIUS
Marry, sir, here's my drift;
And I believe, it is a fetch of wit:
You laying these slight sullies on my son,
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' the working, 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;
'Good sir,' or so, or 'friend,' or 'gentleman,'
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country.
REYNALDO
Very good, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
And then, sir, does he this--he does--what was I
about to say? By the mass, I was about to say
something: where did I leave?
REYNALDO
At 'closes in the consequence,' at 'friend or so,'
and 'gentleman.'
LORD POLONIUS
At 'closes in the consequence,' ay, marry;
He closes 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;
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:
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?
REYNALDO
My lord, I have.
LORD POLONIUS
God be wi' you; fare you well.
REYNALDO
Good my lord!
LORD POLONIUS
Observe his inclination in yourself.
REYNALDO
I shall, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
And let him ply his music.
REYNALDO
Well, my lord.
LORD POLONIUS
Farewell!
Exit REYNALDO

Enter OPHELIA

How now, Ophelia! what's the matter?


OPHELIA
O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
LORD POLONIUS
With what, i' 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 foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.
LORD POLONIUS
Mad for thy love?
OPHELIA
My lord, I do not know;
But truly, I do fear it.
LORD POLONIUS
What said he?
OPHELIA
He took me by the wrist and held me hard;
Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
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;
For out o' doors he went without their helps,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.
LORD POLONIUS
Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?
OPHELIA
No, my good lord, but, as you did command,
I did repel his fetters and denied
His access to me.
LORD 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,
And meant to wreck 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:
This must be known; which, being kept close, might
move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Exeunt
SCENE II. A room in the castle.

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and Attendants


KING CLAUDIUS
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,
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,
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighbour'd to his youth and havior,
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,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you;
And sure I am two men there are not living
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
As fits a king's remembrance.
ROSENCRANTZ
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to 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.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
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.
GUILDENSTERN
Heavens make our presence and our practises
Pleasant and helpful to him!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Ay, amen!
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants

Enter POLONIUS

LORD POLONIUS
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thou still hast been the father of good news.
LORD POLONIUS
Have I, my lord? I assure 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
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
KING CLAUDIUS
O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
LORD POLONIUS
Give first admittance to the ambassadors;
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
KING CLAUDIUS
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.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
I doubt it is no other but the main;
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
KING CLAUDIUS
Well, we shall sift him.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS

Welcome, my good friends!


Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
VOLTIMAND
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
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 grieved,
That so his sickness, age and impotence
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.
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,
Giving a paper

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.
KING CLAUDIUS
It likes us well;
And at our more consider'd time well 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!
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS

LORD 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.
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?
But let that go.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
More matter, with less art.
LORD 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;
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:
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.
Reads

'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. Thus:
Reads

'In her excellent white bosom, these, & c.'


QUEEN GERTRUDE
Came this from Hamlet to her?
LORD POLONIUS
Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.
Reads

'Doubt thou the stars are fire;


Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
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,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means and place,
All given to mine ear.
KING CLAUDIUS
But how hath she
Received his love?
LORD POLONIUS
What do you think of me?
KING CLAUDIUS
As of a man faithful and honourable.
LORD POLONIUS
I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
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;
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 precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed--a short tale to make--
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.
KING CLAUDIUS
Do you think 'tis this?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
It may be, very likely.
LORD POLONIUS
Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--
That I have positively said 'Tis so,'
When it proved otherwise?
KING CLAUDIUS
Not that I know.
LORD POLONIUS
[Pointing to his head and shoulder]
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.
KING CLAUDIUS
How may we try it further?
LORD POLONIUS
You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
So he does indeed.
LORD POLONIUS
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
KING CLAUDIUS
We will try it.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
LORD POLONIUS
Away, I do beseech you, both away:
I'll board him presently.
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, and Attendants

Enter HAMLET, reading

O, give me leave:
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
HAMLET
Well, God-a-mercy.
LORD POLONIUS
Do you know me, my lord?
HAMLET
Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
LORD POLONIUS
Not I, my lord.
HAMLET
Then I would you were so honest a man.
LORD POLONIUS
Honest, my lord!
HAMLET
Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be
one man picked out of ten thousand.
LORD POLONIUS
That's very true, my lord.
HAMLET
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a
god kissing carrion,--Have you a daughter?
LORD POLONIUS
I have, my lord.
HAMLET
Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is a
blessing: but not as your daughter may conceive.
Friend, look to 't.
LORD POLONIUS
[Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my
daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I
was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and
truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for
love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord?
HAMLET
Words, words, words.
LORD POLONIUS
What is the matter, my lord?
HAMLET
Between who?
LORD POLONIUS
I mean, the matter that you read, 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 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
yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.
LORD POLONIUS
[Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method
in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
HAMLET
Into my grave.
LORD POLONIUS
Indeed, that is out o' the air.
Aside

How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness


that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity
could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will
leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of
meeting between him and my daughter.--My honourable
lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
HAMLET
You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will
more willingly part withal: except my life, except
my life, except my life.
LORD POLONIUS
Fare you well, my lord.
HAMLET
These tedious old fools!
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

LORD POLONIUS
You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is.
ROSENCRANTZ
[To POLONIUS] God save you, sir!
Exit POLONIUS

GUILDENSTERN
My honoured lord!
ROSENCRANTZ
My most dear lord!
HAMLET
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
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.
HAMLET
Nor the soles of her shoe?
ROSENCRANTZ
Neither, my lord.
HAMLET
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of
her favours?
GUILDENSTERN
'Faith, her privates we.
HAMLET
In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; she
is a strumpet. What's the news?
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?
GUILDENSTERN
Prison, my lord!
HAMLET
Denmark's a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.
HAMLET
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.
ROSENCRANTZ
We think not 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.
ROSENCRANTZ
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too
narrow for your mind.
HAMLET
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count
myself a king of infinite space, were it 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 dream.
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.
HAMLET
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and
outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we
to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.
ROSENCRANTZ 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 most dreadfully attended. But, in the
beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
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 a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it
your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come,
deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.
GUILDENSTERN
What should we say, my lord?
HAMLET
Why, any thing, but to the purpose. You were sent
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.
ROSENCRANTZ
To what end, my lord?
HAMLET
That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by
the 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?
ROSENCRANTZ
[Aside to GUILDENSTERN] What say you?
HAMLET
[Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If you
love me, hold not off.
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 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 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 apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.
ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
HAMLET
Why did you laugh then, when I said 'man delights not 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
coming, to offer you service.
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 humourous man shall end his part
in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
lungs are tickled o' the sere; and the lady shall
say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt
for't. What players are they?
ROSENCRANTZ
Even those you were wont to take delight in, the
tragedians of the city.
HAMLET
How chances it they travel? their residence, both
in reputation and profit, was better both ways.
ROSENCRANTZ
I think their inhibition comes by the means of the
late innovation.
HAMLET
Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was
in the city? are they so followed?
ROSENCRANTZ
No, indeed, are they not.
HAMLET
How comes it? do they grow rusty?
ROSENCRANTZ
Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: but
there is, sir, an aery of children, little eyases,
that 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.
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 wrong, to make them
exclaim against their own succession?
ROSENCRANTZ
'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and
the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to
controversy: there was, for a while, no money bid
for argument, unless the poet and the player went to
cuffs in the question.
HAMLET
Is't possible?
GUILDENSTERN
O, there has been much throwing about of brains.
HAMLET
Do the boys carry it away?
ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his load too.
HAMLET
It is not very strange; for mine uncle is king of
Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while
my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an
hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little.
'Sblood, there is something in this more than
natural, if philosophy could find it out.
Flourish of trumpets within

GUILDENSTERN
There are the players.
HAMLET
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands,
come then: the appurtenance of welcome is fashion
and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb,
lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you,
must show fairly outward, should more appear like
entertainment than yours. You are welcome: but my
uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
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.
Enter POLONIUS

LORD POLONIUS
Well be with you, gentlemen!
HAMLET
Hark you, Guildenstern; and you too: at each ear a
hearer: that great baby you see there is not yet
out of his swaddling-clouts.
ROSENCRANTZ
Happily he's the second time come to them; for they
say an old man is twice a child.
HAMLET
I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players;
mark it. You say right, sir: o' Monday morning;
'twas so indeed.
LORD 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,--
LORD POLONIUS
The actors are come hither, my lord.
HAMLET
Buz, buz!
LORD POLONIUS
Upon mine honour,--
HAMLET
Then came each actor on his ass,--
LORD 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!
LORD POLONIUS
What a treasure had he, my lord?
HAMLET
Why,
'One fair daughter and no more,
The which he loved passing well.'
LORD POLONIUS
[Aside] Still on my daughter.
HAMLET
Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah?
LORD POLONIUS
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter
that I love passing well.
HAMLET
Nay, that follows not.
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,'--
the first row of the pious chanson will show you
more; for look, where my abridgement 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! thy face is valenced since I saw thee last:
comest thou to 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
apiece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the
ring. Masters, you are all welcome. 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.
First Player
What speech, my lord?
HAMLET
I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was
never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the
play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas
caviare 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
modesty as cunning. I remember, one said there
were no sallets in the lines to make the matter
savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might
indict the author of affectation; but called it an
honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very
much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I
chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' 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 the Hyrcanian beast,'--
it is 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
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 damned light
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.
LORD POLONIUS
'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and
good discretion.
First Player
'Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
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
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,
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
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
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,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!'
LORD 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: come to Hecuba.
First Player
'But who, O, who had seen the mobled queen--'
HAMLET
'The mobled queen?'
LORD POLONIUS
That's good; 'mobled queen' is good.
First Player
'Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'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,
Unless things mortal move them not at all,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.'
LORD POLONIUS
Look, whether he has not turned his colour and has
tears in's eyes. Pray you, no more.
HAMLET
'Tis well: I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.
Good my lord, will you see the players well
bestowed? 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 ill report while you live.
LORD POLONIUS
My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
HAMLET
God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man
after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?
Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less
they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.
Take them in.
LORD POLONIUS
Come, sirs.
HAMLET
Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.
Exit POLONIUS with all the Players but the First

Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the
Murder of Gonzago?
First Player
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
We'll ha't to-morrow 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?
First Player
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him
not.
Exit First Player

My good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are


welcome to Elsinore.
ROSENCRANTZ
Good my lord!
HAMLET
Ay, so, God be wi' ye;
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

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,
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!
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
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,
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?
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!
'Swounds, I should take it: for it cannot be
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!
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,
And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion!
Fie upon't! foh! About, my brain! I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have 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
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 the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
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.
Exit

ACT III
SCENE I. A room in the castle.

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, and


GUILDENSTERN
KING CLAUDIUS
And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
ROSENCRANTZ
He does confess he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
GUILDENSTERN
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Did he receive you well?
ROSENCRANTZ
Most like a gentleman.
GUILDENSTERN
But with much forcing of his disposition.
ROSENCRANTZ
Niggard of question; but, of our demands,
Most free in his reply.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Did you assay him?
To any pastime?
ROSENCRANTZ
Madam, it so fell out, that certain players
We o'er-raught on the way: of these we told him;
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it: they are about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
LORD POLONIUS
'Tis most true:
And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties
To hear and see the matter.
KING CLAUDIUS
With all my heart; and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclined.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
And drive his purpose on to these delights.
ROSENCRANTZ
We shall, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

KING CLAUDIUS
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia:
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If 't be the affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
I shall obey you.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness: so shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.
OPHELIA
Madam, I wish it may.
Exit QUEEN GERTRUDE

LORD POLONIUS
Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves.
To OPHELIA

Read on this book;


That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,--
'Tis too much proved--that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.
KING CLAUDIUS
[Aside] O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burthen!
LORD POLONIUS
I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord.
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS

Enter HAMLET

HAMLET
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
OPHELIA
Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?
HAMLET
I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
OPHELIA
My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them.
HAMLET
No, not I;
I never gave you aught.
OPHELIA
My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.
HAMLET
Ha, ha! are you honest?
OPHELIA
My lord?
HAMLET
Are you fair?
OPHELIA
What means your lordship?
HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.
OPHELIA
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
with honesty?
HAMLET
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.
OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
HAMLET
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.
OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.
HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest;
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at
my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where's your father?
OPHELIA
At home, my lord.
HAMLET
Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the
fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.
OPHELIA
O, help him, you sweet heavens!
HAMLET
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for
thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
nunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough
what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,
and quickly too. Farewell.
OPHELIA
O heavenly powers, restore him!
HAMLET
I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
has given you one face, and you make yourselves
another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath
made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:
those that are married already, all but one, shall
live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
nunnery, go.
Exit

OPHELIA
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Re-enter KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS

KING CLAUDIUS
Love! his affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger: which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England,
For the demand of our neglected tribute
Haply the seas and countries different
With variable objects shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
LORD POLONIUS
It shall do well: but yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love. How now, Ophelia!
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all. My lord, do as you please;
But, if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief: let her be round with him;
And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.
KING CLAUDIUS
It shall be so:
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
Exeunt

SCENE II. A hall in the castle.

Enter HAMLET and Players


HAMLET
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.
First Player
I warrant your honour.
HAMLET
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone,
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,
that, neither having the accent of Christians nor
the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
First Player
I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us,
sir.
HAMLET
O, reform it altogether. And let those that play
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Exeunt Players

Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN

How now, my lord! I will the king hear this piece of work?
LORD POLONIUS
And the queen too, and that presently.
HAMLET
Bid the players make haste.
Exit POLONIUS

Will you two help to hasten them?


ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
We will, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

HAMLET
What ho! Horatio!
Enter HORATIO

HORATIO
Here, sweet lord, at your service.
HAMLET
Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
As e'er my conversation coped withal.
HORATIO
O, my dear lord,--
HAMLET
Nay, do not think I flatter;
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for herself; for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing,
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.--Something too much of this.--
There is a play to-night before the king;
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father's death:
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note;
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.
HORATIO
Well, my lord:
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,
And 'scape detecting, I will pay the theft.
HAMLET
They are coming to the play; I must be idle:
Get you a place.
Danish march. A flourish. Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA,
ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others

KING CLAUDIUS
How fares our cousin Hamlet?
HAMLET
Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish: I eat
the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so.
KING CLAUDIUS
I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words
are not mine.
HAMLET
No, nor mine now.
To POLONIUS

My lord, you played once i' the university, you say?


LORD POLONIUS
That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
HAMLET
What did you enact?
LORD POLONIUS
I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed i' the
Capitol; Brutus killed me.
HAMLET
It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf
there. Be the players ready?
ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
HAMLET
No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
LORD POLONIUS
[To KING CLAUDIUS] O, ho! do you mark that?
HAMLET
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Lying down at OPHELIA's feet

OPHELIA
No, my lord.
HAMLET
I mean, my head upon your lap?
OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
Do you think I meant country matters?
OPHELIA
I think nothing, my lord.
HAMLET
That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
OPHELIA
What is, my lord?
HAMLET
Nothing.
OPHELIA
You are merry, my lord.
HAMLET
Who, I?
OPHELIA
Ay, my lord.
HAMLET
O God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do
but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my
mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
OPHELIA
Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
HAMLET
So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, for
I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens! die two
months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's
hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half
a year: but, by'r lady, he must build churches,
then; or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with
the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is 'For, O, for, O,
the hobby-horse is forgot.'
Hautboys play. The dumb-show enters

Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly; the Queen embracing him, and he her. She
kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his
head upon her neck: lays him down upon a bank of flowers: she, seeing him asleep,
leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours
poison in the King's ears, and exit. The Queen returns; finds the King dead, and
makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in
again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner
wooes the Queen with gifts: she seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end
accepts his love

Exeunt

OPHELIA
What means this, my lord?
HAMLET
Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief.
OPHELIA
Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
Enter Prologue

HAMLET
We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot
keep counsel; they'll tell all.
OPHELIA
Will he tell us what this show meant?
HAMLET
Ay, or any show that you'll show him: be not you
ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
OPHELIA
You are naught, you are naught: I'll mark the play.
Prologue
For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Exit

HAMLET
Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
OPHELIA
'Tis brief, my lord.
HAMLET
As woman's love.
Enter two Players, King and Queen

Player King
Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
And thirty dozen moons with borrow'd sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
Player Queen
So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women's fear and love holds quantity;
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is sized, my fear is so:
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.
Player King
'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
My operant powers their functions leave to do:
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou--
Player Queen
O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who kill'd the first.
HAMLET
[Aside] Wormwood, wormwood.
Player Queen
The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love:
A second time I kill my husband dead,
When second husband kisses me in bed.
Player King
I do believe you think what now you speak;
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity;
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree;
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy:
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies;
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
Player Queen
Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light!
Sport and repose lock from me day and night!
To desperation turn my trust and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope!
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well and it destroy!
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
HAMLET
If she should break it now!
Player King
'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile;
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.
Sleeps

Player Queen
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!
Exit

HAMLET
Madam, how like you this play?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
The lady protests too much, methinks.
HAMLET
O, but she'll keep her word.
KING CLAUDIUS
Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in 't?
HAMLET
No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence
i' the world.
KING CLAUDIUS
What do you call the play?
HAMLET
The Mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play
is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is
the duke's name; his wife, Baptista: you shall see
anon; 'tis a knavish piece of work: but what o'
that? your majesty and we that have free souls, it
touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our
withers are unwrung.
Enter LUCIANUS

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.


OPHELIA
You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
HAMLET
I could interpret between you and your love, if I
could see the puppets dallying.
OPHELIA
You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
HAMLET
It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
OPHELIA
Still better, and worse.
HAMLET
So you must take your husbands. Begin, murderer;
pox, leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come:
'the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.'
LUCIANUS
Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
Confederate season, else no creature seeing;
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.
Pours the poison into the sleeper's ears
HAMLET
He poisons him i' the garden for's estate. His
name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and writ in
choice Italian: you shall see anon how the murderer
gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
OPHELIA
The king rises.
HAMLET
What, frighted with false fire!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
How fares my lord?
LORD POLONIUS
Give o'er the play.
KING CLAUDIUS
Give me some light: away!
All
Lights, lights, lights!
Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO

HAMLET
Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch, while some must sleep:
So runs the world away.
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers-- if
the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a
fellowship in a cry of players, sir?
HORATIO
Half a share.
HAMLET
A whole one, I.
For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
A very, very--pajock.
HORATIO
You might have rhymed.
HAMLET
O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a
thousand pound. Didst perceive?
HORATIO
Very well, my lord.
HAMLET
Upon the talk of the poisoning?
HORATIO
I did very well note him.
HAMLET
Ah, ha! Come, some music! come, the recorders!
For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
HAMLET
Sir, a whole history.
GUILDENSTERN
The king, sir,--
HAMLET
Ay, sir, what of him?
GUILDENSTERN
Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.
HAMLET
With drink, sir?
GUILDENSTERN
No, my lord, rather with choler.
HAMLET
Your wisdom should show itself more richer to
signify this to his doctor; for, for me to put him
to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far
more choler.
GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame and
start not so wildly from my affair.
HAMLET
I am tame, sir: pronounce.
GUILDENSTERN
The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of
spirit, hath sent me to you.
HAMLET
You are welcome.
GUILDENSTERN
Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right
breed. If it shall please you to make me a
wholesome answer, I will do your mother's
commandment: if not, your pardon and my return
shall be the end of my business.
HAMLET
Sir, I cannot.
GUILDENSTERN
What, my lord?
HAMLET
Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased: but,
sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command;
or, rather, as you say, my mother: therefore no
more, but to the matter: my mother, you say,--
ROSENCRANTZ
Then thus she says; your behavior hath struck her
into amazement and admiration.
HAMLET
O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! But
is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's
admiration? Impart.
ROSENCRANTZ
She desires to speak with you in her closet, ere you
go to bed.
HAMLET
We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have
you any further trade with us?
ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, you once did love me.
HAMLET
So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
ROSENCRANTZ
Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? you
do, surely, bar the door upon your own liberty, if
you deny your griefs to your friend.
HAMLET
Sir, I lack advancement.
ROSENCRANTZ
How can that be, when you have the voice of the king
himself for your succession in Denmark?
HAMLET
Ay, but sir, 'While the grass grows,'--the proverb
is something musty.
Re-enter Players with recorders

O, the recorders! let me see one. To withdraw with


you:--why do you go about to recover the wind of me,
as if you would drive me into a toil?
GUILDENSTERN
O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too
unmannerly.
HAMLET
I do not well understand that. Will you play upon
this pipe?
GUILDENSTERN
My lord, I cannot.
HAMLET
I pray you.
GUILDENSTERN
Believe me, I cannot.
HAMLET
I do beseech you.
GUILDENSTERN
I know no touch of it, my lord.
HAMLET
'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with
your lingers and thumb, give it breath with your
mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
Look you, these are the stops.
GUILDENSTERN
But these cannot I command to any utterance of
harmony; I have not the skill.
HAMLET
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of
me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know
my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my
mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to
the top of my compass: and there is much music,
excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot
you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what
instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you
cannot play upon me.
Enter POLONIUS

God bless you, sir!


LORD POLONIUS
My lord, the queen would speak with you, and
presently.
HAMLET
Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
LORD POLONIUS
By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
HAMLET
Methinks it is like a weasel.
LORD POLONIUS
It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET
Or like a whale?
LORD POLONIUS
Very like a whale.
HAMLET
Then I will come to my mother by and by. They fool
me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.
LORD POLONIUS
I will say so.
HAMLET
By and by is easily said.
Exit POLONIUS

Leave me, friends.


Exeunt all but HAMLET

Tis now the very witching time of night,


When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
How in my words soever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!
Exit

SCENE III. A room in the castle.

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN


KING CLAUDIUS
I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.
GUILDENSTERN
We will ourselves provide:
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your majesty.
ROSENCRANTZ
The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from noyance; but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depend and rest
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortised and adjoin'd; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
KING CLAUDIUS
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN
We will haste us.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Enter POLONIUS

LORD POLONIUS
My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,
To hear the process; and warrant she'll tax him home:
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege:
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thanks, dear my lord.
Exit POLONIUS

O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;


It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: but 'tis not so above;
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.
Retires and kneels

Enter HAMLET

HAMLET
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
No!
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
Exit

KING CLAUDIUS
[Rising] My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Exit

SCENE IV. The Queen's closet.

Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE and POLONIUS


LORD POLONIUS
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him:
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.
Pray you, be round with him.
HAMLET
[Within] Mother, mother, mother!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
I'll warrant you,
Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.
POLONIUS hides behind the arras
Enter HAMLET

HAMLET
Now, mother, what's the matter?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
HAMLET
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Why, how now, Hamlet!
HAMLET
What's the matter now?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Have you forgot me?
HAMLET
No, by the rood, not so:
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
HAMLET
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?
Help, help, ho!
LORD POLONIUS
[Behind] What, ho! help, help, help!
HAMLET
[Drawing] How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!
Makes a pass through the arras

LORD POLONIUS
[Behind] O, I am slain!
Falls and dies

QUEEN GERTRUDE
O me, what hast thou done?
HAMLET
Nay, I know not:
Is it the king?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
HAMLET
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
As kill a king!
HAMLET
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
Lifts up the array and discovers POLONIUS

Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!


I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune;
Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
Leave wringing of your hands: peace! sit you down,
And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damned custom have not brass'd it so
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
HAMLET
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage-vows
As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words: heaven's face doth glow:
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Ay me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
HAMLET
Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man:
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserved some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
And reason panders will.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
O Hamlet, speak no more:
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.
HAMLET
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty,--
QUEEN GERTRUDE
O, speak to me no more;
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!
HAMLET
A murderer and a villain;
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings;
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
No more!
HAMLET
A king of shreds and patches,--
Enter Ghost

Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,


You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alas, he's mad!
HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command? O, say!
Ghost
Do not forget: this visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul:
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works:
Speak to her, Hamlet.
HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alas, how is't with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
To whom do you speak this?
HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.
HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
No, nothing but ourselves.
HAMLET
Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!
Exit Ghost

QUEEN GERTRUDE
This the very coinage of your brain:
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
HAMLET
Ecstasy!
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music: it is not madness
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that mattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue;
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
HAMLET
O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to mine uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [ ] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
Pointing to POLONIUS

I do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so,


To punish me with this and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
What shall I do?
HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know;
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top.
Let the birds fly, and, like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep,
And break your own neck down.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath,
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
HAMLET
I must to England; you know that?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alack,
I had forgot: 'tis so concluded on.
HAMLET
There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way,
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing:
I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room.
Mother, good night. Indeed this counsellor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night, mother.
Exeunt severally; HAMLET dragging in POLONIUS
ACT IV

SCENE I. A room in the castle.

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN


KING CLAUDIUS
There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:
You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Bestow this place on us a little while.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!


KING CLAUDIUS
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend
Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, 'A rat, a rat!'
And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
The unseen good old man.
KING CLAUDIUS
O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there:
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd and out of haunt,
This mad young man: but so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of Life. Where is he gone?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done.
KING CLAUDIUS
O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Friends both, go join you with some further aid:


Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;


And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Exeunt

SCENE II. Another room in the castle.

Enter HAMLET
HAMLET
Safely stowed.
ROSENCRANTZ: GUILDENSTERN:
[Within] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
HAMLET
What noise? who calls on Hamlet?
O, here they come.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

ROSENCRANTZ
What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
HAMLET
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.
ROSENCRANTZ
Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.
HAMLET
Do not believe it.
ROSENCRANTZ
Believe what?
HAMLET
That I can keep your counsel and not mine own.
Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! what
replication should be made by the son of a king?
ROSENCRANTZ
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
HAMLET
Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, his
rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
king best service in the end: he keeps them, like
an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to
be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
shall be dry again.
ROSENCRANTZ
I understand you not, my lord.
HAMLET
I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a
foolish ear.
ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go
with us to the king.
HAMLET
The body is with the king, but the king is not with
the body. The king is a thing--
GUILDENSTERN
A thing, my lord!
HAMLET
Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.
Exeunt

SCENE III. Another room in the castle.


Enter KING CLAUDIUS, attended
KING CLAUDIUS
I have sent to seek him, and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
He's loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And where tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause: diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ

How now! what hath befall'n?


ROSENCRANTZ
Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
We cannot get from him.
KING CLAUDIUS
But where is he?
ROSENCRANTZ
Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.
KING CLAUDIUS
Bring him before us.
ROSENCRANTZ
Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.
Enter HAMLET and GUILDENSTERN

KING CLAUDIUS
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?
HAMLET
At supper.
KING CLAUDIUS
At supper! where?
HAMLET
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all
creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for
maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but
variable service, two dishes, but to one table:
that's the end.
KING CLAUDIUS
Alas, alas!
HAMLET
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a
king, and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
KING CLAUDIUS
What dost you mean by this?
HAMLET
Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
progress through the guts of a beggar.
KING CLAUDIUS
Where is Polonius?
HAMLET
In heaven; send hither to see: if your messenger
find him not there, seek him i' the other place
yourself. But indeed, if you find him not within
this month, you shall nose him as you go up the
stairs into the lobby.
KING CLAUDIUS
Go seek him there.
To some Attendants

HAMLET
He will stay till ye come.
Exeunt Attendants

KING CLAUDIUS
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,--
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done,--must send thee hence
With fiery quickness: therefore prepare thyself;
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
The associates tend, and every thing is bent
For England.
HAMLET
For England!
KING CLAUDIUS
Ay, Hamlet.
HAMLET
Good.
KING CLAUDIUS
So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.
HAMLET
I see a cherub that sees them. But, come; for
England! Farewell, dear mother.
KING CLAUDIUS
Thy loving father, Hamlet.
HAMLET
My mother: father and mother is man and wife; man
and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England!
Exit

KING CLAUDIUS
Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard;
Delay it not; I'll have him hence to-night:
Away! for every thing is seal'd and done
That else leans on the affair: pray you, make haste.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught--


As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us--thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process; which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me: till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.
Exit

SCENE IV. A plain in Denmark.


Enter FORTINBRAS, a Captain, and Soldiers, marching
PRINCE FORTINBRAS
Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;
Tell him that, by his licence, Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promised march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.
Captain
I will do't, my lord.
PRINCE FORTINBRAS
Go softly on.
Exeunt FORTINBRAS and Soldiers

Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others

HAMLET
Good sir, whose powers are these?
Captain
They are of Norway, sir.
HAMLET
How purposed, sir, I pray you?
Captain
Against some part of Poland.
HAMLET
Who commands them, sir?
Captain
The nephews to old Norway, Fortinbras.
HAMLET
Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
Or for some frontier?
Captain
Truly to speak, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
HAMLET
Why, then the Polack never will defend it.
Captain
Yes, it is already garrison'd.
HAMLET
Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw:
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
Captain
God be wi' you, sir.
Exit

ROSENCRANTZ
Wilt please you go, my lord?
HAMLET
I'll be with you straight go a little before.
Exeunt all except HAMLET
How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward, I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
Exit

SCENE V. Elsinore. A room in the castle.

Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE, HORATIO, and a Gentleman


QUEEN GERTRUDE
I will not speak with her.
Gentleman
She is importunate, indeed distract:
Her mood will needs be pitied.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
What would she have?
Gentleman
She speaks much of her father; says she hears
There's tricks i' the world; and hems, and beats her heart;
Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt,
That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures
yield them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
HORATIO
'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Let her come in.
Exit HORATIO

To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,


Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss:
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Re-enter HORATIO, with OPHELIA

OPHELIA
Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
How now, Ophelia!
OPHELIA
[Sings]
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
OPHELIA
Say you? nay, pray you, mark.
Sings

He is dead and gone, lady,


He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Nay, but, Ophelia,--
OPHELIA
Pray you, mark.
Sings

White his shroud as the mountain snow,--


Enter KING CLAUDIUS

QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alas, look here, my lord.
OPHELIA
[Sings]
Larded with sweet flowers
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.
KING CLAUDIUS
How do you, pretty lady?
OPHELIA
Well, God 'ild you! They say the owl was a baker's
daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not
what we may be. God be at your table!
KING CLAUDIUS
Conceit upon her father.
OPHELIA
Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they
ask you what it means, say you this:
Sings

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,


All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
KING CLAUDIUS
Pretty Ophelia!
OPHELIA
Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:
Sings

By Gis and by Saint Charity,


Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.
KING CLAUDIUS
How long hath she been thus?
OPHELIA
I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I
cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him
i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it:
and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my
coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;
good night, good night.
Exit

KING CLAUDIUS
Follow her close; give her good watch,
I pray you.
Exit HORATIO

O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs


All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions. First, her father slain:
Next, your son gone; and he most violent author
Of his own just remove: the people muddied,
Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers,
For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly,
In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts:
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering-piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
A noise within

QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alack, what noise is this?
KING CLAUDIUS
Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
Enter another Gentleman

What is the matter?


Gentleman
Save yourself, my lord:
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry 'Choose we: Laertes shall be king:'
Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds:
'Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!'
QUEEN GERTRUDE
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
KING CLAUDIUS
The doors are broke.
Noise within

Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following

LAERTES
Where is this king? Sirs, stand you all without.
Danes
No, let's come in.
LAERTES
I pray you, give me leave.
Danes
We will, we will.
They retire without the door

LAERTES
I thank you: keep the door. O thou vile king,
Give me my father!
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Calmly, good Laertes.
LAERTES
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.
KING CLAUDIUS
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Speak, man.
LAERTES
Where is my father?
KING CLAUDIUS
Dead.
QUEEN GERTRUDE
But not by him.
KING CLAUDIUS
Let him demand his fill.
LAERTES
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
KING CLAUDIUS
Who shall stay you?
LAERTES
My will, not all the world:
And for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.
KING CLAUDIUS
Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge,
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?
LAERTES
None but his enemies.
KING CLAUDIUS
Will you know them then?
LAERTES
To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;
And like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
KING CLAUDIUS
Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensible in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
Danes
[Within] Let her come in.
LAERTES
How now! what noise is that?
Re-enter OPHELIA

O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,


Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as moral as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.
OPHELIA
[Sings]
They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
Fare you well, my dove!
LAERTES
Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.
OPHELIA
[Sings]
You must sing a-down a-down,
An you call him a-down-a.
O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
steward, that stole his master's daughter.
LAERTES
This nothing's more than matter.
OPHELIA
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
LAERTES
A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
OPHELIA
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--
Sings

For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.


LAERTES
Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.
OPHELIA
[Sings]
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy death-bed:
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
God ha' mercy on his soul!
And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.
Exit

LAERTES
Do you see this, O God?
KING CLAUDIUS
Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will.
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me:
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we can ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.
LAERTES
Let this be so;
His means of death, his obscure funeral--
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation--
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.
KING CLAUDIUS
So you shall;
And where the offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you, go with me.
Exeunt

SCENE VI. Another room in the castle.

Enter HORATIO and a Servant


HORATIO
What are they that would speak with me?
Servant
Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.
HORATIO
Let them come in.
Exit Servant

I do not know from what part of the world


I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.
Enter Sailors

First Sailor
God bless you, sir.
HORATIO
Let him bless thee too.
First Sailor
He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for
you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was
bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am
let to know it is.
HORATIO
[Reads] 'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked
this, give these fellows some means to the king:
they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old
at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us
chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on
a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded
them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so
I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with
me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they
did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king
have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me
with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death. I
have words to speak in thine ear will make thee
dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of
the matter. These good fellows will bring thee
where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their
course for England: of them I have much to tell
thee. Farewell.
'He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.'
Come, I will make you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.
Exeunt

SCENE VII. Another room in the castle.

Enter KING CLAUDIUS and LAERTES


KING CLAUDIUS
Now must your conscience my acquaintance seal,
And you must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
LAERTES
It well appears: but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.
KING CLAUDIUS
O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which--
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.
LAERTES
And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections: but my revenge will come.
KING CLAUDIUS
Break not your sleeps for that: you must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I loved your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine--
Enter a Messenger

How now! what news?


Messenger
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.
KING CLAUDIUS
From Hamlet! who brought them?
Messenger
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
They were given me by Claudio; he received them
Of him that brought them.
KING CLAUDIUS
Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us.
Exit Messenger

Reads

'High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on


your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see
your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your
pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden
and more strange return. 'HAMLET.'
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
LAERTES
Know you the hand?
KING CLAUDIUS
'Tis Hamlets character. 'Naked!
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?
LAERTES
I'm lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'
KING CLAUDIUS
If it be so, Laertes--
As how should it be so? how otherwise?--
Will you be ruled by me?
LAERTES
Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
KING CLAUDIUS
To thine own peace. If he be now return'd,
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
But even his mother shall uncharge the practise
And call it accident.
LAERTES
My lord, I will be ruled;
The rather, if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.
KING CLAUDIUS
It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one, and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.
LAERTES
What part is that, my lord?
KING CLAUDIUS
A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy:--
I've seen myself, and served against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorpsed and demi-natured
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.
LAERTES
A Norman was't?
KING CLAUDIUS
A Norman.
LAERTES
Upon my life, Lamond.
KING CLAUDIUS
The very same.
LAERTES
I know him well: he is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.
KING CLAUDIUS
He made confession of you,
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation,
He swore, had had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you opposed them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with him.
Now, out of this,--
LAERTES
What out of this, my lord?
KING CLAUDIUS
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?
LAERTES
Why ask you this?
KING CLAUDIUS
Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time;
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o' the ulcer:--
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake,
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
LAERTES
To cut his throat i' the church.
KING CLAUDIUS
No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you, bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that, with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and in a pass of practise
Requite him for your father.
LAERTES
I will do't:
And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
KING CLAUDIUS
Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance,
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft! let me see:
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings: I ha't.
When in your motion you are hot and dry--
As make your bouts more violent to that end--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.
Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE

How now, sweet queen!


QUEEN GERTRUDE
One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow; your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
LAERTES
Drown'd! O, where?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
LAERTES
Alas, then, she is drown'd?
QUEEN GERTRUDE
Drown'd, drown'd.
LAERTES
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will: when these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.
Exit

KING CLAUDIUS
Let's follow, Gertrude:
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.
Exeunt

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.
Sings

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
you.
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
grave-maker?
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.
HAMLET
Why?
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.
HAMLET
This?
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.
Exit

KING CLAUDIUS
I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.
Exit HORATIO

To LAERTES

Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;


We'll put the matter to the present push.
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.
Exeunt

SCENE II. A hall in the castle.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO


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
northerly.
OSRIC
It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
HAMLET
But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my
complexion.
OSRIC
Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--as
'twere,--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his
majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a
great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter,--
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?
OSRIC
Sir?
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
fit.
HAMLET
Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with
foils, & c

KING CLAUDIUS
Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
KING CLAUDIUS puts LAERTES' hand into HAMLET's

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
One.
LAERTES
No.
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.
QUEEN GERTRUDE falls

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.
Dies

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.
Stabs KING CLAUDIUS

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.
KING CLAUDIUS dies

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.
Dies

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.
Dies

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

The Second part of King Henry the Fourth


Shakespeare homepage | Henry IV, part 2 | Entire play
None

Warkworth. Before the castle


Enter RUMOUR, painted full of tongues
RUMOUR
Open your ears; for which of you will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert enmity
Under the smile of safety wounds the world:
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters and prepared defence,
Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to anatomize
Among my household? Why is Rumour here?
I run before King Harry's victory;
Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury
Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion
Even with the rebel's blood. But what mean I
To speak so true at first? my office is
To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword,
And that the king before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,
Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learn'd of me: from Rumour's tongues
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than
true wrongs.
Exit

ACT I
SCENE I. The same.

Enter LORD BARDOLPH


LORD BARDOLPH
Who keeps the gate here, ho?
The Porter opens the gate

Where is the earl?


Porter
What shall I say you are?
LORD BARDOLPH
Tell thou the earl
That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
Porter
His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard;
Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself wilt answer.
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND

LORD BARDOLPH
Here comes the earl.
Exit Porter

NORTHUMBERLAND
What news, Lord Bardolph? every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem:
The times are wild: contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose
And bears down all before him.
LORD BARDOLPH
Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Good, an God will!
LORD BARDOLPH
As good as heart can wish:
The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John
And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk Sir John,
Is prisoner to your son: O, such a day,
So fought, so follow'd and so fairly won,
Came not till now to dignify the times,
Since Caesar's fortunes!
NORTHUMBERLAND
How is this derived?
Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?
LORD BARDOLPH
I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence,
A gentleman well bred and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
Enter TRAVERS

LORD BARDOLPH
My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
And he is furnish'd with no certainties
More than he haply may retail from me.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?
TRAVERS
My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better horsed,
Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard
A gentleman, almost forspent with speed,
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand what news from Shrewsbury:
He told me that rebellion had bad luck
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold.
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And bending forward struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head, and starting so
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Ha! Again:
Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur Coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill luck?
LORD BARDOLPH
My lord, I'll tell you what;
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?
LORD BARDOLPH
Who, he?
He was some hilding fellow that had stolen
The horse he rode on, and, upon my life,
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
Enter MORTON

NORTHUMBERLAND
Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
MORTON
I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
To fright our party.
NORTHUMBERLAND
How doth my son and brother?
Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death ere thou report'st it.
This thou wouldst say, 'Your son did thus and thus;
Your brother thus: so fought the noble Douglas:'
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with 'Brother, son, and all are dead.'
MORTON
Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;
But, for my lord your son--
NORTHUMBERLAND
Why, he is dead.
See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
He that but fears the thing he would not know
Hath by instinct knowledge from others' eyes
That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton;
Tell thou an earl his divination lies,
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
MORTON
You are too great to be by me gainsaid:
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye:
Thou shakest thy head and hold'st it fear or sin
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so;
The tongue offends not that reports his death:
And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,
Not he which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remember'd tolling a departing friend.
LORD BARDOLPH
I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
MORTON
I am sorry I should force you to believe
That which I would to God I had not seen;
But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rendering faint quittance, wearied and out-breathed,
To Harry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down
The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
From whence with life he never more sprung up.
In few, his death, whose spirit lent a fire
Even to the dullest peasant in his camp,
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best temper'd courage in his troops;
For from his metal was his party steel'd;
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turn'd on themselves, like dull and heavy lead:
And as the thing that's heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear
That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
Fly from the field. Then was the noble Worcester
Too soon ta'en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword
Had three times slain the appearance of the king,
'Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame
Of those that turn'd their backs, and in his flight,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is that the king hath won, and hath sent out
A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster
And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.
NORTHUMBERLAND
For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
In poison there is physic; and these news,
Having been well, that would have made me sick,
Being sick, have in some measure made me well:
And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints,
Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms, even so my limbs,
Weaken'd with grief, being now enraged with grief,
Are thrice themselves. Hence, therefore, thou nice crutch!
A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoif!
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
Which princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring
To frown upon the enraged Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! now let not Nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confined! let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead!
TRAVERS
This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord.
LORD BARDOLPH
Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour.
MORTON
The lives of all your loving complices
Lean on your health; the which, if you give o'er
To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
You cast the event of war, my noble lord,
And summ'd the account of chance, before you said
'Let us make head.' It was your presurmise,
That, in the dole of blows, your son might drop:
You knew he walk'd o'er perils, on an edge,
More likely to fall in than to get o'er;
You were advised his flesh was capable
Of wounds and scars and that his forward spirit
Would lift him where most trade of danger ranged:
Yet did you say 'Go forth;' and none of this,
Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
The stiff-borne action: what hath then befallen,
Or what hath this bold enterprise brought forth,
More than that being which was like to be?
LORD BARDOLPH
We all that are engaged to this loss
Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas
That if we wrought our life 'twas ten to one;
And yet we ventured, for the gain proposed
Choked the respect of likely peril fear'd;
And since we are o'erset, venture again.
Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.
MORTON
'Tis more than time: and, my most noble lord,
I hear for certain, and do speak the truth,
The gentle Archbishop of York is up
With well-appointed powers: he is a man
Who with a double surety binds his followers.
My lord your son had only but the corpse,
But shadows and the shows of men, to fight;
For that same word, rebellion, did divide
The action of their bodies from their souls;
And they did fight with queasiness, constrain'd,
As men drink potions, that their weapons only
Seem'd on our side; but, for their spirits and souls,
This word, rebellion, it had froze them up,
As fish are in a pond. But now the bishop
Turns insurrection to religion:
Supposed sincere and holy in his thoughts,
He's followed both with body and with mind;
And doth enlarge his rising with the blood
Of fair King Richard, scraped from Pomfret stones;
Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;
Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land,
Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke;
And more and less do flock to follow him.
NORTHUMBERLAND
I knew of this before; but, to speak truth,
This present grief had wiped it from my mind.
Go in with me; and counsel every man
The aptest way for safety and revenge:
Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed:
Never so few, and never yet more need.
Exeunt

SCENE II. London. A street.

Enter FALSTAFF, with his Page bearing his sword and buckler
FALSTAFF
Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?
Page
He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy
water; but, for the party that owed it, he might
have more diseases than he knew for.
FALSTAFF
Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me: the
brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not
able to invent anything that tends to laughter, more
than I invent or is invented on me: I am not only
witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other
men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that
hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the
prince put thee into my service for any other reason
than to set me off, why then I have no judgment.
Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be worn
in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never
manned with an agate till now: but I will inset you
neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and
send you back again to your master, for a jewel,--
the juvenal, the prince your master, whose chin is
not yet fledged. I will sooner have a beard grow in
the palm of my hand than he shall get one on his
cheek; and yet he will not stick to say his face is
a face-royal: God may finish it when he will, 'tis
not a hair amiss yet: he may keep it still at a
face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence
out of it; and yet he'll be crowing as if he had
writ man ever since his father was a bachelor. He
may keep his own grace, but he's almost out of mine,
I can assure him. What said Master Dombledon about
the satin for my short cloak and my slops?
Page
He said, sir, you should procure him better
assurance than Bardolph: he would not take his
band and yours; he liked not the security.
FALSTAFF
Let him be damned, like the glutton! pray God his
tongue be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! a rascally
yea-forsooth knave! to bear a gentleman in hand,
and then stand upon security! The whoreson
smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and
bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is
through with them in honest taking up, then they
must stand upon security. I had as lief they would
put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with
security. I looked a' should have sent me two and
twenty yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he
sends me security. Well, he may sleep in security;
for he hath the horn of abundance, and the lightness
of his wife shines through it: and yet cannot he
see, though he have his own lanthorn to light him.
Where's Bardolph?
Page
He's gone into Smithfield to buy your worship a horse.
FALSTAFF
I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in
Smithfield: an I could get me but a wife in the
stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.
Enter the Lord Chief-Justice and Servant

Page
Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the
Prince for striking him about Bardolph.
FALSTAFF
Wait, close; I will not see him.
Lord Chief-Justice What's he that goes there?
Servant
Falstaff, an't please your lordship.
Lord Chief-Justice He that was in question for the robbery?
Servant
He, my lord: but he hath since done good service at
Shrewsbury; and, as I hear, is now going with some
charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.
Lord Chief-Justice What, to York? Call him back again.
Servant
Sir John Falstaff!
FALSTAFF
Boy, tell him I am deaf.
Page
You must speak louder; my master is deaf.
Lord Chief-Justice I am sure he is, to the hearing of any thing good.
Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.
Servant
Sir John!
FALSTAFF
What! a young knave, and begging! Is there not
wars? is there not employment? doth not the king
lack subjects? do not the rebels need soldiers?
Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it
is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side,
were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell
how to make it.
Servant
You mistake me, sir.
FALSTAFF
Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting
my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied
in my throat, if I had said so.
Servant
I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and our
soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you,
you lie in your throat, if you say I am any other
than an honest man.
FALSTAFF
I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that
which grows to me! if thou gettest any leave of me,
hang me; if thou takest leave, thou wert better be
hanged. You hunt counter: hence! avaunt!
Servant
Sir, my lord would speak with you.
Lord Chief-Justice Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
FALSTAFF
My good lord! God give your lordship good time of
day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad: I heard
say your lordship was sick: I hope your lordship
goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not
clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in
you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I must
humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverent care
of your health.
Lord Chief-Justice Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to
Shrewsbury.
FALSTAFF
An't please your lordship, I hear his majesty is
returned with some discomfort from Wales.
Lord Chief-Justice I talk not of his majesty: you would not come when
I sent for you.
FALSTAFF
And I hear, moreover, his highness is fallen into
this same whoreson apoplexy.
Lord Chief-Justice Well, God mend him! I pray you, let me speak with
you.
FALSTAFF
This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy,
an't please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the
blood, a whoreson tingling.
Lord Chief-Justice What tell you me of it? be it as it is.
FALSTAFF
It hath its original from much grief, from study and
perturbation of the brain: I have read the cause of
his effects in Galen: it is a kind of deafness.
Lord Chief-Justice I think you are fallen into the disease; for you
hear not what I say to you.
FALSTAFF
Very well, my lord, very well: rather, an't please
you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady
of not marking, that I am troubled withal.
Lord Chief-Justice To punish you by the heels would amend the
attention of your ears; and I care not if I do
become your physician.
FALSTAFF
I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient:
your lordship may minister the potion of
imprisonment to me in respect of poverty; but how
should I be your patient to follow your
prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a
scruple, or indeed a scruple itself.
Lord Chief-Justice I sent for you, when there were matters against you
for your life, to come speak with me.
FALSTAFF
As I was then advised by my learned counsel in the
laws of this land-service, I did not come.
Lord Chief-Justice Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.
FALSTAFF
He that buckles him in my belt cannot live in less.
Lord Chief-Justice Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.
FALSTAFF
I would it were otherwise; I would my means were
greater, and my waist slenderer.
Lord Chief-Justice You have misled the youthful prince.
FALSTAFF
The young prince hath misled me: I am the fellow
with the great belly, and he my dog.
Lord Chief-Justice Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound: your
day's service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded
over your night's exploit on Gad's-hill: you may
thank the unquiet time for your quiet o'er-posting
that action.
FALSTAFF
My lord?
Lord Chief-Justice But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a
sleeping wolf.
FALSTAFF
To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.
Lord Chief-Justice What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt
out.
FALSTAFF
A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow: if I did say
of wax, my growth would approve the truth.
Lord Chief-Justice There is not a white hair on your face but should
have his effect of gravity.
FALSTAFF
His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.
Lord Chief-Justice You follow the young prince up and down, like his
ill angel.
FALSTAFF
Not so, my lord; your ill angel is light; but I hope
he that looks upon me will take me without weighing:
and yet, in some respects, I grant, I cannot go: I
cannot tell. Virtue is of so little regard in these
costermonger times that true valour is turned
bear-herd: pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath
his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings: all the
other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of
this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry.
You that are old consider not the capacities of us
that are young; you do measure the heat of our
livers with the bitterness of your galls: and we
that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess,
are wags too.
Lord Chief-Justice Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth,
that are written down old with all the characters of
age? Have you not a moist eye? a dry hand? a
yellow cheek? a white beard? a decreasing leg? an
increasing belly? is not your voice broken? your
wind short? your chin double? your wit single? and
every part about you blasted with antiquity? and
will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!
FALSTAFF
My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the
afternoon, with a white head and something a round
belly. For my voice, I have lost it with halloing
and singing of anthems. To approve my youth
further, I will not: the truth is, I am only old in
judgment and understanding; and he that will caper
with me for a thousand marks, let him lend me the
money, and have at him! For the box of the ear that
the prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince,
and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
chequed him for it, and the young lion repents;
marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in new silk
and old sack.
Lord Chief-Justice Well, God send the prince a better companion!
FALSTAFF
God send the companion a better prince! I cannot
rid my hands of him.
Lord Chief-Justice Well, the king hath severed you and Prince Harry: I
hear you are going with Lord John of Lancaster
against the Archbishop and the Earl of
Northumberland.
FALSTAFF
Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look
you pray, all you that kiss my lady Peace at home,
that our armies join not in a hot day; for, by the
Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I mean
not to sweat extraordinarily: if it be a hot day,
and I brandish any thing but a bottle, I would I
might never spit white again. There is not a
dangerous action can peep out his head but I am
thrust upon it: well, I cannot last ever: but it
was alway yet the trick of our English nation, if
they have a good thing, to make it too common. If
ye will needs say I am an old man, you should give
me rest. I would to God my name were not so
terrible to the enemy as it is: I were better to be
eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to
nothing with perpetual motion.
Lord Chief-Justice Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your
expedition!
FALSTAFF
Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to
furnish me forth?
Lord Chief-Justice Not a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient to
bear crosses. Fare you well: commend me to my
cousin Westmoreland.
Exeunt Chief-Justice and Servant

FALSTAFF
If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man
can no more separate age and covetousness than a'
can part young limbs and lechery: but the gout
galls the one, and the pox pinches the other; and
so both the degrees prevent my curses. Boy!
Page
Sir?
FALSTAFF
What money is in my purse?
Page
Seven groats and two pence.
FALSTAFF
I can get no remedy against this consumption of the
purse: borrowing only lingers and lingers it out,
but the disease is incurable. Go bear this letter
to my Lord of Lancaster; this to the prince; this
to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to old
Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry
since I perceived the first white hair on my chin.
About it: you know where to find me.
Exit Page

A pox of this gout! or, a gout of this pox! for


the one or the other plays the rogue with my great
toe. 'Tis no matter if I do halt; I have the wars
for my colour, and my pension shall seem the more
reasonable. A good wit will make use of any thing:
I will turn diseases to commodity.
Exit

SCENE III. York. The Archbishop's palace.

Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, the Lords HASTINGS, MOWBRAY, and BARDOLPH
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Thus have you heard our cause and known our means;
And, my most noble friends, I pray you all,
Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes:
And first, lord marshal, what say you to it?
MOWBRAY
I well allow the occasion of our arms;
But gladly would be better satisfied
How in our means we should advance ourselves
To look with forehead bold and big enough
Upon the power and puissance of the king.
HASTINGS
Our present musters grow upon the file
To five and twenty thousand men of choice;
And our supplies live largely in the hope
Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
With an incensed fire of injuries.
LORD BARDOLPH
The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus;
Whether our present five and twenty thousand
May hold up head without Northumberland?
HASTINGS
With him, we may.
LORD BARDOLPH
Yea, marry, there's the point:
But if without him we be thought too feeble,
My judgment is, we should not step too far
Till we had his assistance by the hand;
For in a theme so bloody-faced as this
Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
Of aids incertain should not be admitted.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed
It was young Hotspur's case at Shrewsbury.
LORD BARDOLPH
It was, my lord; who lined himself with hope,
Eating the air on promise of supply,
Flattering himself in project of a power
Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts:
And so, with great imagination
Proper to madmen, led his powers to death
And winking leap'd into destruction.
HASTINGS
But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.
LORD BARDOLPH
Yes, if this present quality of war,
Indeed the instant action: a cause on foot
Lives so in hope as in an early spring
We see the appearing buds; which to prove fruit,
Hope gives not so much warrant as despair
That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then must we rate the cost of the erection;
Which if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at last desist
To build at all? Much more, in this great work,
Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
And set another up, should we survey
The plot of situation and the model,
Consent upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo,
To weigh against his opposite; or else
We fortify in paper and in figures,
Using the names of men instead of men:
Like one that draws the model of a house
Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
Gives o'er and leaves his part-created cost
A naked subject to the weeping clouds
And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.
HASTINGS
Grant that our hopes, yet likely of fair birth,
Should be still-born, and that we now possess'd
The utmost man of expectation,
I think we are a body strong enough,
Even as we are, to equal with the king.
LORD BARDOLPH
What, is the king but five and twenty thousand?
HASTINGS
To us no more; nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph.
For his divisions, as the times do brawl,
Are in three heads: one power against the French,
And one against Glendower; perforce a third
Must take up us: so is the unfirm king
In three divided; and his coffers sound
With hollow poverty and emptiness.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
That he should draw his several strengths together
And come against us in full puissance,
Need not be dreaded.
HASTINGS
If he should do so,
He leaves his back unarm'd, the French and Welsh
Baying him at the heels: never fear that.
LORD BARDOLPH
Who is it like should lead his forces hither?
HASTINGS
The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth:
But who is substituted 'gainst the French,
I have no certain notice.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Let us on,
And publish the occasion of our arms.
The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited:
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
O thou fond many, with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke,
Before he was what thou wouldst have him be!
And being now trimm'd in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him,
That thou provokest thyself to cast him up.
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard;
And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up,
And howl'st to find it. What trust is in
these times?
They that, when Richard lived, would have him die,
Are now become enamour'd on his grave:
Thou, that threw'st dust upon his goodly head
When through proud London he came sighing on
After the admired heels of Bolingbroke,
Criest now 'O earth, yield us that king again,
And take thou this!' O thoughts of men accursed!
Past and to come seems best; things present worst.
MOWBRAY
Shall we go draw our numbers and set on?
HASTINGS
We are time's subjects, and time bids be gone.
Exeunt

ACT II

SCENE I. London. A street.

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY, FANG and his Boy with her, and SNARE following.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Master Fang, have you entered the action?
FANG
It is entered.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Where's your yeoman? Is't a lusty yeoman? will a'
stand to 't?
FANG
Sirrah, where's Snare?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O Lord, ay! good Master Snare.
SNARE
Here, here.
FANG
Snare, we must arrest Sir John Falstaff.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Yea, good Master Snare; I have entered him and all.
SNARE
It may chance cost some of us our lives, for he will stab.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Alas the day! take heed of him; he stabbed me in
mine own house, and that most beastly: in good
faith, he cares not what mischief he does. If his
weapon be out: he will foin like any devil; he will
spare neither man, woman, nor child.
FANG
If I can close with him, I care not for his thrust.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
No, nor I neither: I'll be at your elbow.
FANG
An I but fist him once; an a' come but within my vice,--
MISTRESS QUICKLY
I am undone by his going; I warrant you, he's an
infinitive thing upon my score. Good Master Fang,
hold him sure: good Master Snare, let him not
'scape. A' comes continuantly to Pie-corner--saving
your manhoods--to buy a saddle; and he is indited to
dinner to the Lubber's-head in Lumbert street, to
Master Smooth's the silkman: I pray ye, since my
exion is entered and my case so openly known to the
world, let him be brought in to his answer. A
hundred mark is a long one for a poor lone woman to
bear: and I have borne, and borne, and borne, and
have been fubbed off, and fubbed off, and fubbed
off, from this day to that day, that it is a shame
to be thought on. There is no honesty in such
dealing; unless a woman should be made an ass and a
beast, to bear every knave's wrong. Yonder he
comes; and that errant malmsey-nose knave, Bardolph,
with him. Do your offices, do your offices: Master
Fang and Master Snare, do me, do me, do me your offices.
Enter FALSTAFF, Page, and BARDOLPH

FALSTAFF
How now! whose mare's dead? what's the matter?
FANG
Sir John, I arrest you at the suit of Mistress Quickly.
FALSTAFF
Away, varlets! Draw, Bardolph: cut me off the
villain's head: throw the quean in the channel.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Throw me in the channel! I'll throw thee in the
channel. Wilt thou? wilt thou? thou bastardly
rogue! Murder, murder! Ah, thou honeysuckle
villain! wilt thou kill God's officers and the
king's? Ah, thou honey-seed rogue! thou art a
honey-seed, a man-queller, and a woman-queller.
FALSTAFF
Keep them off, Bardolph.
FANG
A rescue! a rescue!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Good people, bring a rescue or two. Thou wo't, wo't
thou? Thou wo't, wo't ta? do, do, thou rogue! do,
thou hemp-seed!
FALSTAFF
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You
fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.
Enter the Lord Chief-Justice, and his men

Lord Chief-Justice What is the matter? keep the peace here, ho!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Good my lord, be good to me. I beseech you, stand to me.
Lord Chief-Justice How now, Sir John! what are you brawling here?
Doth this become your place, your time and business?
You should have been well on your way to York.
Stand from him, fellow: wherefore hang'st upon him?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O most worshipful lord, an't please your grace, I am
a poor widow of Eastcheap, and he is arrested at my suit.
Lord Chief-Justice For what sum?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all,
all I have. He hath eaten me out of house and home;
he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of
his: but I will have some of it out again, or I
will ride thee o' nights like the mare.
FALSTAFF
I think I am as like to ride the mare, if I have
any vantage of ground to get up.
Lord Chief-Justice How comes this, Sir John? Fie! what man of good
temper would endure this tempest of exclamation?
Are you not ashamed to enforce a poor widow to so
rough a course to come by her own?
FALSTAFF
What is the gross sum that I owe thee?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself and the
money too. Thou didst swear to me upon a
parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin-chamber,
at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, upon
Wednesday in Wheeson week, when the prince broke
thy head for liking his father to a singing-man of
Windsor, thou didst swear to me then, as I was
washing thy wound, to marry me and make me my lady
thy wife. Canst thou deny it? Did not goodwife
Keech, the butcher's wife, come in then and call me
gossip Quickly? coming in to borrow a mess of
vinegar; telling us she had a good dish of prawns;
whereby thou didst desire to eat some; whereby I
told thee they were ill for a green wound? And
didst thou not, when she was gone down stairs,
desire me to be no more so familiarity with such
poor people; saying that ere long they should call
me madam? And didst thou not kiss me and bid me
fetch thee thirty shillings? I put thee now to thy
book-oath: deny it, if thou canst.
FALSTAFF
My lord, this is a poor mad soul; and she says up
and down the town that the eldest son is like you:
she hath been in good case, and the truth is,
poverty hath distracted her. But for these foolish
officers, I beseech you I may have redress against them.
Lord Chief-Justice Sir John, Sir John, I am well acquainted with your
manner of wrenching the true cause the false way. It
is not a confident brow, nor the throng of words
that come with such more than impudent sauciness
from you, can thrust me from a level consideration:
you have, as it appears to me, practised upon the
easy-yielding spirit of this woman, and made her
serve your uses both in purse and in person.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Yea, in truth, my lord.
Lord Chief-Justice Pray thee, peace. Pay her the debt you owe her, and
unpay the villany you have done her: the one you
may do with sterling money, and the other with
current repentance.
FALSTAFF
My lord, I will not undergo this sneap without
reply. You call honourable boldness impudent
sauciness: if a man will make courtesy and say
nothing, he is virtuous: no, my lord, my humble
duty remembered, I will not be your suitor. I say
to you, I do desire deliverance from these officers,
being upon hasty employment in the king's affairs.
Lord Chief-Justice You speak as having power to do wrong: but answer
in the effect of your reputation, and satisfy this
poor woman.
FALSTAFF
Come hither, hostess.
Enter GOWER
Lord Chief-Justice Now, Master Gower, what news?
GOWER
The king, my lord, and Harry Prince of Wales
Are near at hand: the rest the paper tells.
FALSTAFF
As I am a gentleman.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Faith, you said so before.
FALSTAFF
As I am a gentleman. Come, no more words of it.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
By this heavenly ground I tread on, I must be fain
to pawn both my plate and the tapestry of my
dining-chambers.
FALSTAFF
Glasses, glasses is the only drinking: and for thy
walls, a pretty slight drollery, or the story of
the Prodigal, or the German hunting in water-work,
is worth a thousand of these bed-hangings and these
fly-bitten tapestries. Let it be ten pound, if thou
canst. Come, an 'twere not for thy humours, there's
not a better wench in England. Go, wash thy face,
and draw the action. Come, thou must not be in
this humour with me; dost not know me? come, come, I
know thou wast set on to this.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Pray thee, Sir John, let it be but twenty nobles: i'
faith, I am loath to pawn my plate, so God save me,
la!
FALSTAFF
Let it alone; I'll make other shift: you'll be a
fool still.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Well, you shall have it, though I pawn my gown. I
hope you'll come to supper. You'll pay me all together?
FALSTAFF
Will I live?
To BARDOLPH

Go, with her, with her; hook on, hook on.


MISTRESS QUICKLY
Will you have Doll Tearsheet meet you at supper?
FALSTAFF
No more words; let's have her.
Exeunt MISTRESS QUICKLY, BARDOLPH, Officers and Boy

Lord Chief-Justice I have heard better news.


FALSTAFF
What's the news, my lord?
Lord Chief-Justice Where lay the king last night?
GOWER
At Basingstoke, my lord.
FALSTAFF
I hope, my lord, all's well: what is the news, my lord?
Lord Chief-Justice Come all his forces back?
GOWER
No; fifteen hundred foot, five hundred horse,
Are marched up to my lord of Lancaster,
Against Northumberland and the Archbishop.
FALSTAFF
Comes the king back from Wales, my noble lord?
Lord Chief-Justice You shall have letters of me presently:
Come, go along with me, good Master Gower.
FALSTAFF
My lord!
Lord Chief-Justice What's the matter?
FALSTAFF
Master Gower, shall I entreat you with me to dinner?
GOWER
I must wait upon my good lord here; I thank you,
good Sir John.
Lord Chief-Justice Sir John, you loiter here too long, being you are to
take soldiers up in counties as you go.
FALSTAFF
Will you sup with me, Master Gower?
Lord Chief-Justice What foolish master taught you these manners, Sir John?
FALSTAFF
Master Gower, if they become me not, he was a fool
that taught them me. This is the right fencing
grace, my lord; tap for tap, and so part fair.
Lord Chief-Justice Now the Lord lighten thee! thou art a great fool.
Exeunt

SCENE II. London. Another street.

Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS


PRINCE HENRY
Before God, I am exceeding weary.
POINS
Is't come to that? I had thought weariness durst not
have attached one of so high blood.
PRINCE HENRY
Faith, it does me; though it discolours the
complexion of my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth
it not show vilely in me to desire small beer?
POINS
Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as
to remember so weak a composition.
PRINCE HENRY
Belike then my appetite was not princely got; for,
by my troth, I do now remember the poor creature,
small beer. But, indeed, these humble
considerations make me out of love with my
greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember
thy name! or to know thy face to-morrow! or to
take note how many pair of silk stockings thou
hast, viz. these, and those that were thy
peach-coloured ones! or to bear the inventory of thy
shirts, as, one for superfluity, and another for
use! But that the tennis-court-keeper knows better
than I; for it is a low ebb of linen with thee when
thou keepest not racket there; as thou hast not done
a great while, because the rest of thy low
countries have made a shift to eat up thy holland:
and God knows, whether those that bawl out the ruins
of thy linen shall inherit his kingdom: but the
midwives say the children are not in the fault;
whereupon the world increases, and kindreds are
mightily strengthened.
POINS
How ill it follows, after you have laboured so hard,
you should talk so idly! Tell me, how many good
young princes would do so, their fathers being so
sick as yours at this time is?
PRINCE HENRY
Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?
POINS
Yes, faith; and let it be an excellent good thing.
PRINCE HENRY
It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.
POINS
Go to; I stand the push of your one thing that you
will tell.
PRINCE HENRY
Marry, I tell thee, it is not meet that I should be
sad, now my father is sick: albeit I could tell
thee, as to one it pleases me, for fault of a
better, to call my friend, I could be sad, and sad
indeed too.
POINS
Very hardly upon such a subject.
PRINCE HENRY
By this hand thou thinkest me as far in the devil's
book as thou and Falstaff for obduracy and
persistency: let the end try the man. But I tell
thee, my heart bleeds inwardly that my father is so
sick: and keeping such vile company as thou art
hath in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.
POINS
The reason?
PRINCE HENRY
What wouldst thou think of me, if I should weep?
POINS
I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
PRINCE HENRY
It would be every man's thought; and thou art a
blessed fellow to think as every man thinks: never
a man's thought in the world keeps the road-way
better than thine: every man would think me an
hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most
worshipful thought to think so?
POINS
Why, because you have been so lewd and so much
engraffed to Falstaff.
PRINCE HENRY
And to thee.
POINS
By this light, I am well spoke on; I can hear it
with my own ears: the worst that they can say of
me is that I am a second brother and that I am a
proper fellow of my hands; and those two things, I
confess, I cannot help. By the mass, here comes Bardolph.
Enter BARDOLPH and Page

PRINCE HENRY
And the boy that I gave Falstaff: a' had him from
me Christian; and look, if the fat villain have not
transformed him ape.
BARDOLPH
God save your grace!
PRINCE HENRY
And yours, most noble Bardolph!
BARDOLPH
Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful fool, must you
be blushing? wherefore blush you now? What a
maidenly man-at-arms are you become! Is't such a
matter to get a pottle-pot's maidenhead?
Page
A' calls me e'en now, my lord, through a red
lattice, and I could discern no part of his face
from the window: at last I spied his eyes, and
methought he had made two holes in the ale-wife's
new petticoat and so peeped through.
PRINCE HENRY
Has not the boy profited?
BARDOLPH
Away, you whoreson upright rabbit, away!
Page
Away, you rascally Althaea's dream, away!
PRINCE HENRY
Instruct us, boy; what dream, boy?
Page
Marry, my lord, Althaea dreamed she was delivered
of a fire-brand; and therefore I call him her dream.
PRINCE HENRY
A crown's worth of good interpretation: there 'tis,
boy.
POINS
O, that this good blossom could be kept from
cankers! Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.
BARDOLPH
An you do not make him hanged among you, the
gallows shall have wrong.
PRINCE HENRY
And how doth thy master, Bardolph?
BARDOLPH
Well, my lord. He heard of your grace's coming to
town: there's a letter for you.
POINS
Delivered with good respect. And how doth the
martlemas, your master?
BARDOLPH
In bodily health, sir.
POINS
Marry, the immortal part needs a physician; but
that moves not him: though that be sick, it dies
not.
PRINCE HENRY
I do allow this wen to be as familiar with me as my
dog; and he holds his place; for look you how be writes.
POINS
[Reads] 'John Falstaff, knight,'--every man must
know that, as oft as he has occasion to name
himself: even like those that are kin to the king;
for they never prick their finger but they say,
'There's some of the king's blood spilt.' 'How
comes that?' says he, that takes upon him not to
conceive. The answer is as ready as a borrower's
cap, 'I am the king's poor cousin, sir.'
PRINCE HENRY
Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it
from Japhet. But to the letter.
POINS
[Reads] 'Sir John Falstaff, knight, to the son of
the king, nearest his father, Harry Prince of
Wales, greeting.' Why, this is a certificate.
PRINCE HENRY
Peace!
POINS
[Reads] 'I will imitate the honourable Romans in
brevity:' he sure means brevity in breath,
short-winded. 'I commend me to thee, I commend
thee, and I leave thee. Be not too familiar with
Poins; for he misuses thy favours so much, that he
swears thou art to marry his sister Nell. Repent
at idle times as thou mayest; and so, farewell.
Thine, by yea and no, which is as much as to
say, as thou usest him, JACK FALSTAFF with my
familiars, JOHN with my brothers and sisters,
and SIR JOHN with all Europe.'
My lord, I'll steep this letter in sack and make him eat it.
PRINCE HENRY
That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do
you use me thus, Ned? must I marry your sister?
POINS
God send the wench no worse fortune! But I never said so.
PRINCE HENRY
Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the
spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us.
Is your master here in London?
BARDOLPH
Yea, my lord.
PRINCE HENRY
Where sups he? doth the old boar feed in the old frank?
BARDOLPH
At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.
PRINCE HENRY
What company?
Page
Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.
PRINCE HENRY
Sup any women with him?
Page
None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and
Mistress Doll Tearsheet.
PRINCE HENRY
What pagan may that be?
Page
A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of my master's.
PRINCE HENRY
Even such kin as the parish heifers are to the town
bull. Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at supper?
POINS
I am your shadow, my lord; I'll follow you.
PRINCE HENRY
Sirrah, you boy, and Bardolph, no word to your
master that I am yet come to town: there's for
your silence.
BARDOLPH
I have no tongue, sir.
Page
And for mine, sir, I will govern it.
PRINCE HENRY
Fare you well; go.
Exeunt BARDOLPH and Page

This Doll Tearsheet should be some road.


POINS
I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint
Alban's and London.
PRINCE HENRY
How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night
in his true colours, and not ourselves be seen?
POINS
Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and wait
upon him at his table as drawers.
PRINCE HENRY
From a God to a bull? a heavy decension! it was
Jove's case. From a prince to a prentice? a low
transformation! that shall be mine; for in every
thing the purpose must weigh with the folly.
Follow me, Ned.
Exeunt

SCENE III. Warkworth. Before the castle.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND, LADY NORTHUMBERLAND, and LADY PERCY


NORTHUMBERLAND
I pray thee, loving wife, and gentle daughter,
Give even way unto my rough affairs:
Put not you on the visage of the times
And be like them to Percy troublesome.
LADY
NORTHUMBERLAND
I have given over, I will speak no more:
Do what you will; your wisdom be your guide.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Alas, sweet wife, my honour is at pawn;
And, but my going, nothing can redeem it.
LADY PERCY
O yet, for God's sake, go not to these wars!
The time was, father, that you broke your word,
When you were more endeared to it than now;
When your own Percy, when my heart's dear Harry,
Threw many a northward look to see his father
Bring up his powers; but he did long in vain.
Who then persuaded you to stay at home?
There were two honours lost, yours and your son's.
For yours, the God of heaven brighten it!
For his, it stuck upon him as the sun
In the grey vault of heaven, and by his light
Did all the chivalry of England move
To do brave acts: he was indeed the glass
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves:
He had no legs that practised not his gait;
And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish,
Became the accents of the valiant;
For those that could speak low and tardily
Would turn their own perfection to abuse,
To seem like him: so that in speech, in gait,
In diet, in affections of delight,
In military rules, humours of blood,
He was the mark and glass, copy and book,
That fashion'd others. And him, O wondrous him!
O miracle of men! him did you leave,
Second to none, unseconded by you,
To look upon the hideous god of war
In disadvantage; to abide a field
Where nothing but the sound of Hotspur's name
Did seem defensible: so you left him.
Never, O never, do his ghost the wrong
To hold your honour more precise and nice
With others than with him! let them alone:
The marshal and the archbishop are strong:
Had my sweet Harry had but half their numbers,
To-day might I, hanging on Hotspur's neck,
Have talk'd of Monmouth's grave.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Beshrew your heart,
Fair daughter, you do draw my spirits from me
With new lamenting ancient oversights.
But I must go and meet with danger there,
Or it will seek me in another place
And find me worse provided.
LADY
NORTHUMBERLAND
O, fly to Scotland,
Till that the nobles and the armed commons
Have of their puissance made a little taste.
LADY PERCY
If they get ground and vantage of the king,
Then join you with them, like a rib of steel,
To make strength stronger; but, for all our loves,
First let them try themselves. So did your son;
He was so suffer'd: so came I a widow;
And never shall have length of life enough
To rain upon remembrance with mine eyes,
That it may grow and sprout as high as heaven,
For recordation to my noble husband.
NORTHUMBERLAND
Come, come, go in with me. 'Tis with my mind
As with the tide swell'd up unto his height,
That makes a still-stand, running neither way:
Fain would I go to meet the archbishop,
But many thousand reasons hold me back.
I will resolve for Scotland: there am I,
Till time and vantage crave my company.
Exeunt

SCENE IV. London. The Boar's-head Tavern in Eastcheap.

Enter two Drawers


First Drawer
What the devil hast thou brought there? apple-johns?
thou knowest Sir John cannot endure an apple-john.
Second Drawer
Mass, thou sayest true. The prince once set a dish
of apple-johns before him, and told him there were
five more Sir Johns, and, putting off his hat, said
'I will now take my leave of these six dry, round,
old, withered knights.' It angered him to the
heart: but he hath forgot that.
First Drawer
Why, then, cover, and set them down: and see if
thou canst find out Sneak's noise; Mistress
Tearsheet would fain hear some music. Dispatch: the
room where they supped is too hot; they'll come in straight.
Second Drawer
Sirrah, here will be the prince and Master Poins
anon; and they will put on two of our jerkins and
aprons; and Sir John must not know of it: Bardolph
hath brought word.
First Drawer
By the mass, here will be old Utis: it will be an
excellent stratagem.
Second Drawer
I'll see if I can find out Sneak.
Exit

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY and DOLL TEARSHEET

MISTRESS QUICKLY
I' faith, sweetheart, methinks now you are in an
excellent good temperality: your pulsidge beats as
extraordinarily as heart would desire; and your
colour, I warrant you, is as red as any rose, in good
truth, la! But, i' faith, you have drunk too much
canaries; and that's a marvellous searching wine,
and it perfumes the blood ere one can say 'What's
this?' How do you now?
DOLL TEARSHEET
Better than I was: hem!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Why, that's well said; a good heart's worth gold.
Lo, here comes Sir John.
Enter FALSTAFF

FALSTAFF
[Singing] 'When Arthur first in court,'
--Empty the jordan.
Exit First Drawer

Singing

--'And was a worthy king.' How now, Mistress Doll!


MISTRESS QUICKLY
Sick of a calm; yea, good faith.
FALSTAFF
So is all her sect; an they be once in a calm, they are sick.
DOLL TEARSHEET
You muddy rascal, is that all the comfort you give me?
FALSTAFF
You make fat rascals, Mistress Doll.
DOLL TEARSHEET
I make them! gluttony and diseases make them; I
make them not.
FALSTAFF
If the cook help to make the gluttony, you help to
make the diseases, Doll: we catch of you, Doll, we
catch of you; grant that, my poor virtue grant that.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Yea, joy, our chains and our jewels.
FALSTAFF
'Your broaches, pearls, and ouches:' for to serve
bravely is to come halting off, you know: to come
off the breach with his pike bent bravely, and to
surgery bravely; to venture upon the charged
chambers bravely,--
DOLL TEARSHEET
Hang yourself, you muddy conger, hang yourself!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
By my troth, this is the old fashion; you two never
meet but you fall to some discord: you are both,
i' good truth, as rheumatic as two dry toasts; you
cannot one bear with another's confirmities. What
the good-year! one must bear, and that must be
you: you are the weaker vessel, as they say, the
emptier vessel.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Can a weak empty vessel bear such a huge full
hogshead? there's a whole merchant's venture of
Bourdeaux stuff in him; you have not seen a hulk
better stuffed in the hold. Come, I'll be friends
with thee, Jack: thou art going to the wars; and
whether I shall ever see thee again or no, there is
nobody cares.
Re-enter First Drawer

First Drawer
Sir, Ancient Pistol's below, and would speak with
you.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Hang him, swaggering rascal! let him not come
hither: it is the foul-mouthed'st rogue in England.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
If he swagger, let him not come here: no, by my
faith; I must live among my neighbours: I'll no
swaggerers: I am in good name and fame with the
very best: shut the door; there comes no swaggerers
here: I have not lived all this while, to have
swaggering now: shut the door, I pray you.
FALSTAFF
Dost thou hear, hostess?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Pray ye, pacify yourself, Sir John: there comes no
swaggerers here.
FALSTAFF
Dost thou hear? it is mine ancient.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Tilly-fally, Sir John, ne'er tell me: your ancient
swaggerer comes not in my doors. I was before Master
Tisick, the debuty, t'other day; and, as he said to
me, 'twas no longer ago than Wednesday last, 'I'
good faith, neighbour Quickly,' says he; Master
Dumbe, our minister, was by then; 'neighbour
Quickly,' says he, 'receive those that are civil;
for,' said he, 'you are in an ill name:' now a'
said so, I can tell whereupon; 'for,' says he, 'you
are an honest woman, and well thought on; therefore
take heed what guests you receive: receive,' says
he, 'no swaggering companions.' There comes none
here: you would bless you to hear what he said:
no, I'll no swaggerers.
FALSTAFF
He's no swaggerer, hostess; a tame cheater, i'
faith; you may stroke him as gently as a puppy
greyhound: he'll not swagger with a Barbary hen, if
her feathers turn back in any show of resistance.
Call him up, drawer.
Exit First Drawer

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Cheater, call you him? I will bar no honest man my
house, nor no cheater: but I do not love
swaggering, by my troth; I am the worse, when one
says swagger: feel, masters, how I shake; look you,
I warrant you.
DOLL TEARSHEET
So you do, hostess.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Do I? yea, in very truth, do I, an 'twere an aspen
leaf: I cannot abide swaggerers.
Enter PISTOL, BARDOLPH, and Page

PISTOL
God save you, Sir John!
FALSTAFF
Welcome, Ancient Pistol. Here, Pistol, I charge
you with a cup of sack: do you discharge upon mine hostess.
PISTOL
I will discharge upon her, Sir John, with two bullets.
FALSTAFF
She is Pistol-proof, sir; you shall hardly offend
her.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Come, I'll drink no proofs nor no bullets: I'll
drink no more than will do me good, for no man's
pleasure, I.
PISTOL
Then to you, Mistress Dorothy; I will charge you.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Charge me! I scorn you, scurvy companion. What!
you poor, base, rascally, cheating, lack-linen
mate! Away, you mouldy rogue, away! I am meat for
your master.
PISTOL
I know you, Mistress Dorothy.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Away, you cut-purse rascal! you filthy bung, away!
by this wine, I'll thrust my knife in your mouldy
chaps, an you play the saucy cuttle with me. Away,
you bottle-ale rascal! you basket-hilt stale
juggler, you! Since when, I pray you, sir? God's
light, with two points on your shoulder? much!
PISTOL
God let me not live, but I will murder your ruff for this.
FALSTAFF
No more, Pistol; I would not have you go off here:
discharge yourself of our company, Pistol.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
No, Good Captain Pistol; not here, sweet captain.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Captain! thou abominable damned cheater, art thou
not ashamed to be called captain? An captains were
of my mind, they would truncheon you out, for
taking their names upon you before you have earned
them. You a captain! you slave, for what? for
tearing a poor whore's ruff in a bawdy-house? He a
captain! hang him, rogue! he lives upon mouldy
stewed prunes and dried cakes. A captain! God's
light, these villains will make the word as odious
as the word 'occupy;' which was an excellent good
word before it was ill sorted: therefore captains
had need look to 't.
BARDOLPH
Pray thee, go down, good ancient.
FALSTAFF
Hark thee hither, Mistress Doll.
PISTOL
Not I I tell thee what, Corporal Bardolph, I could
tear her: I'll be revenged of her.
Page
Pray thee, go down.
PISTOL
I'll see her damned first; to Pluto's damned lake,
by this hand, to the infernal deep, with Erebus and
tortures vile also. Hold hook and line, say I.
Down, down, dogs! down, faitors! Have we not
Hiren here?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Good Captain Peesel, be quiet; 'tis very late, i'
faith: I beseek you now, aggravate your choler.
PISTOL
These be good humours, indeed! Shall pack-horses
And hollow pamper'd jades of Asia,
Which cannot go but thirty mile a-day,
Compare with Caesars, and with Cannibals,
And Trojan Greeks? nay, rather damn them with
King Cerberus; and let the welkin roar.
Shall we fall foul for toys?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
By my troth, captain, these are very bitter words.
BARDOLPH
Be gone, good ancient: this will grow to abrawl anon.
PISTOL
Die men like dogs! give crowns like pins! Have we
not Heren here?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O' my word, captain, there's none such here. What
the good-year! do you think I would deny her? For
God's sake, be quiet.
PISTOL
Then feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis.
Come, give's some sack.
'Si fortune me tormente, sperato me contento.'
Fear we broadsides? no, let the fiend give fire:
Give me some sack: and, sweetheart, lie thou there.
Laying down his sword

Come we to full points here; and are etceteras nothing?


FALSTAFF
Pistol, I would be quiet.
PISTOL
Sweet knight, I kiss thy neaf: what! we have seen
the seven stars.
DOLL TEARSHEET
For God's sake, thrust him down stairs: I cannot
endure such a fustian rascal.
PISTOL
Thrust him down stairs! know we not Galloway nags?
FALSTAFF
Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat
shilling: nay, an a' do nothing but speak nothing,
a' shall be nothing here.
BARDOLPH
Come, get you down stairs.
PISTOL
What! shall we have incision? shall we imbrue?
Snatching up his sword

Then death rock me asleep, abridge my doleful days!


Why, then, let grievous, ghastly, gaping wounds
Untwine the Sisters Three! Come, Atropos, I say!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Here's goodly stuff toward!
FALSTAFF
Give me my rapier, boy.
DOLL TEARSHEET
I pray thee, Jack, I pray thee, do not draw.
FALSTAFF
Get you down stairs.
Drawing, and driving PISTOL out

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Here's a goodly tumult! I'll forswear keeping
house, afore I'll be in these tirrits and frights.
So; murder, I warrant now. Alas, alas! put up
your naked weapons, put up your naked weapons.
Exeunt PISTOL and BARDOLPH

DOLL TEARSHEET
I pray thee, Jack, be quiet; the rascal's gone.
Ah, you whoreson little valiant villain, you!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
He you not hurt i' the groin? methought a' made a
shrewd thrust at your belly.
Re-enter BARDOLPH
FALSTAFF
Have you turned him out o' doors?
BARDOLPH
Yea, sir. The rascal's drunk: you have hurt him,
sir, i' the shoulder.
FALSTAFF
A rascal! to brave me!
DOLL TEARSHEET
Ah, you sweet little rogue, you! alas, poor ape,
how thou sweatest! come, let me wipe thy face;
come on, you whoreson chops: ah, rogue! i'faith, I
love thee: thou art as valorous as Hector of Troy,
worth five of Agamemnon, and ten times better than
the Nine Worthies: ah, villain!
FALSTAFF
A rascally slave! I will toss the rogue in a blanket.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Do, an thou darest for thy heart: an thou dost,
I'll canvass thee between a pair of sheets.
Enter Music

Page
The music is come, sir.
FALSTAFF
Let them play. Play, sirs. Sit on my knee, Doll.
A rascal bragging slave! the rogue fled from me
like quicksilver.
DOLL TEARSHEET
I' faith, and thou followedst him like a church.
Thou whoreson little tidy Bartholomew boar-pig,
when wilt thou leave fighting o' days and foining
o' nights, and begin to patch up thine old body for heaven?
Enter, behind, PRINCE HENRY and POINS, disguised

FALSTAFF
Peace, good Doll! do not speak like a death's-head;
do not bid me remember mine end.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Sirrah, what humour's the prince of?
FALSTAFF
A good shallow young fellow: a' would have made a
good pantler, a' would ha' chipp'd bread well.
DOLL TEARSHEET
They say Poins has a good wit.
FALSTAFF
He a good wit? hang him, baboon! his wit's as thick
as Tewksbury mustard; there's no more conceit in him
than is in a mallet.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Why does the prince love him so, then?
FALSTAFF
Because their legs are both of a bigness, and a'
plays at quoits well, and eats conger and fennel,
and drinks off candles' ends for flap-dragons, and
rides the wild-mare with the boys, and jumps upon
joined-stools, and swears with a good grace, and
wears his boots very smooth, like unto the sign of
the leg, and breeds no bate with telling of discreet
stories; and such other gambol faculties a' has,
that show a weak mind and an able body, for the
which the prince admits him: for the prince himself
is such another; the weight of a hair will turn the
scales between their avoirdupois.
PRINCE HENRY
Would not this nave of a wheel have his ears cut off?
POINS
Let's beat him before his whore.
PRINCE HENRY
Look, whether the withered elder hath not his poll
clawed like a parrot.
POINS
Is it not strange that desire should so many years
outlive performance?
FALSTAFF
Kiss me, Doll.
PRINCE HENRY
Saturn and Venus this year in conjunction! what
says the almanac to that?
POINS
And look, whether the fiery Trigon, his man, be not
lisping to his master's old tables, his note-book,
his counsel-keeper.
FALSTAFF
Thou dost give me flattering busses.
DOLL TEARSHEET
By my troth, I kiss thee with a most constant heart.
FALSTAFF
I am old, I am old.
DOLL TEARSHEET
I love thee better than I love e'er a scurvy young
boy of them all.
FALSTAFF
What stuff wilt have a kirtle of? I shall receive
money o' Thursday: shalt have a cap to-morrow. A
merry song, come: it grows late; we'll to bed.
Thou'lt forget me when I am gone.
DOLL TEARSHEET
By my troth, thou'lt set me a-weeping, an thou
sayest so: prove that ever I dress myself handsome
till thy return: well, harken at the end.
FALSTAFF
Some sack, Francis.
PRINCE HENRY POINS
Anon, anon, sir.
Coming forward

FALSTAFF
Ha! a bastard son of the king's? And art not thou
Poins his brother?
PRINCE HENRY
Why, thou globe of sinful continents! what a life
dost thou lead!
FALSTAFF
A better than thou: I am a gentleman; thou art a drawer.
PRINCE HENRY
Very true, sir; and I come to draw you out by the ears.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O, the Lord preserve thy good grace! by my troth,
welcome to London. Now, the Lord bless that sweet
face of thine! O, Jesu, are you come from Wales?
FALSTAFF
Thou whoreson mad compound of majesty, by this light
flesh and corrupt blood, thou art welcome.
DOLL TEARSHEET
How, you fat fool! I scorn you.
POINS
My lord, he will drive you out of your revenge and
turn all to a merriment, if you take not the heat.
PRINCE HENRY
You whoreson candle-mine, you, how vilely did you
speak of me even now before this honest, virtuous,
civil gentlewoman!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
God's blessing of your good heart! and so she is,
by my troth.
FALSTAFF
Didst thou hear me?
PRINCE HENRY
Yea, and you knew me, as you did when you ran away
by Gad's-hill: you knew I was at your back, and
spoke it on purpose to try my patience.
FALSTAFF
No, no, no; not so; I did not think thou wast within hearing.
PRINCE HENRY
I shall drive you then to confess the wilful abuse;
and then I know how to handle you.
FALSTAFF
No abuse, Hal, o' mine honour, no abuse.
PRINCE HENRY
Not to dispraise me, and call me pantier and
bread-chipper and I know not what?
FALSTAFF
No abuse, Hal.
POINS
No abuse?
FALSTAFF
No abuse, Ned, i' the world; honest Ned, none. I
dispraised him before the wicked, that the wicked
might not fall in love with him; in which doing, I
have done the part of a careful friend and a true
subject, and thy father is to give me thanks for it.
No abuse, Hal: none, Ned, none: no, faith, boys, none.
PRINCE HENRY
See now, whether pure fear and entire cowardice doth
not make thee wrong this virtuous gentlewoman to
close with us? is she of the wicked? is thine
hostess here of the wicked? or is thy boy of the
wicked? or honest Bardolph, whose zeal burns in his
nose, of the wicked?
POINS
Answer, thou dead elm, answer.
FALSTAFF
The fiend hath pricked down Bardolph irrecoverable;
and his face is Lucifer's privy-kitchen, where he
doth nothing but roast malt-worms. For the boy,
there is a good angel about him; but the devil
outbids him too.
PRINCE HENRY
For the women?
FALSTAFF
For one of them, she is in hell already, and burns
poor souls. For the other, I owe her money, and
whether she be damned for that, I know not.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
No, I warrant you.
FALSTAFF
No, I think thou art not; I think thou art quit for
that. Marry, there is another indictment upon thee,
for suffering flesh to be eaten in thy house,
contrary to the law; for the which I think thou wilt howl.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
All victuallers do so; what's a joint of mutton or
two in a whole Lent?
PRINCE HENRY
You, gentlewoman,-
DOLL TEARSHEET
What says your grace?
FALSTAFF
His grace says that which his flesh rebels against.
Knocking within

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Who knocks so loud at door? Look to the door there, Francis.
Enter PETO

PRINCE HENRY
Peto, how now! what news?
PETO
The king your father is at Westminster:
And there are twenty weak and wearied posts
Come from the north: and, as I came along,
I met and overtook a dozen captains,
Bare-headed, sweating, knocking at the taverns,
And asking every one for Sir John Falstaff.
PRINCE HENRY
By heaven, Poins, I feel me much to blame,
So idly to profane the precious time,
When tempest of commotion, like the south
Borne with black vapour, doth begin to melt
And drop upon our bare unarmed heads.
Give me my sword and cloak. Falstaff, good night.
Exeunt PRINCE HENRY, POINS, PETO and BARDOLPH

FALSTAFF
Now comes in the sweetest morsel of the night, and
we must hence and leave it unpicked.
Knocking within

More knocking at the door!


Re-enter BARDOLPH

How now! what's the matter?


BARDOLPH
You must away to court, sir, presently;
A dozen captains stay at door for you.
FALSTAFF
[To the Page] Pay the musicians, sirrah. Farewell,
hostess; farewell, Doll. You see, my good wenches,
how men of merit are sought after: the undeserver
may sleep, when the man of action is called on.
Farewell good wenches: if I be not sent away post,
I will see you again ere I go.
DOLL TEARSHEET
I cannot speak; if my heart be not read to burst,--
well, sweet Jack, have a care of thyself.
FALSTAFF
Farewell, farewell.
Exeunt FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Well, fare thee well: I have known thee these
twenty-nine years, come peascod-time; but an
honester and truer-hearted man,--well, fare thee well.
BARDOLPH
[Within] Mistress Tearsheet!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
What's the matter?
BARDOLPH
[Within] Good Mistress Tearsheet, come to my master.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O, run, Doll, run; run, good Doll: come.
She comes blubbered

Yea, will you come, Doll?


Exeunt

ACT III

SCENE I. Westminster. The palace.

Enter KING HENRY IV in his nightgown, with a Page


KING HENRY IV
Go call the Earls of Surrey and of Warwick;
But, ere they come, bid them o'er-read these letters,
And well consider of them; make good speed.
Exit Page

How many thousand of my poorest subjects


Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leavest the kingly couch
A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Enter WARWICK and SURREY

WARWICK
Many good morrows to your majesty!
KING HENRY IV
Is it good morrow, lords?
WARWICK
'Tis one o'clock, and past.
KING HENRY IV
Why, then, good morrow to you all, my lords.
Have you read o'er the letters that I sent you?
WARWICK
We have, my liege.
KING HENRY IV
Then you perceive the body of our kingdom
How foul it is; what rank diseases grow
And with what danger, near the heart of it.
WARWICK
It is but as a body yet distemper'd;
Which to his former strength may be restored
With good advice and little medicine:
My Lord Northumberland will soon be cool'd.
KING HENRY IV
O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent,
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea! and, other times, to see
The beachy girdle of the ocean
Too wide for Neptune's hips; how chances mock,
And changes fill the cup of alteration
With divers liquors! O, if this were seen,
The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
Would shut the book, and sit him down and die.
'Tis not 'ten years gone
Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
Did feast together, and in two years after
Were they at wars: it is but eight years since
This Percy was the man nearest my soul,
Who like a brother toil'd in my affairs
And laid his love and life under my foot,
Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard
Gave him defiance. But which of you was by--
You, cousin Nevil, as I may remember--
To WARWICK

When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears,


Then cheque'd and rated by Northumberland,
Did speak these words, now proved a prophecy?
'Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne;'
Though then, God knows, I had no such intent,
But that necessity so bow'd the state
That I and greatness were compell'd to kiss:
'The time shall come,' thus did he follow it,
'The time will come, that foul sin, gathering head,
Shall break into corruption:' so went on,
Foretelling this same time's condition
And the division of our amity.
WARWICK
There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And by the necessary form of this
King Richard might create a perfect guess
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness;
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless on you.
KING HENRY IV
Are these things then necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities:
And that same word even now cries out on us:
They say the bishop and Northumberland
Are fifty thousand strong.
WARWICK
It cannot be, my lord;
Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the fear'd. Please it your grace
To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord,
The powers that you already have sent forth
Shall bring this prize in very easily.
To comfort you the more, I have received
A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
Your majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
And these unseason'd hours perforce must add
Unto your sickness.
KING HENRY IV
I will take your counsel:
And were these inward wars once out of hand,
We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land.
Exeunt

SCENE II. Gloucestershire. Before SHALLOW'S house.

Enter SHALLOW and SILENCE, meeting; MOULDY, SHADOW, WART, FEEBLE, BULLCALF, a
Servant or two with them
SHALLOW
Come on, come on, come on, sir; give me your hand,
sir, give me your hand, sir: an early stirrer, by
the rood! And how doth my good cousin Silence?
SILENCE
Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
SHALLOW
And how doth my cousin, your bedfellow? and your
fairest daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?
SILENCE
Alas, a black ousel, cousin Shallow!
SHALLOW
By yea and nay, sir, I dare say my cousin William is
become a good scholar: he is at Oxford still, is he not?
SILENCE
Indeed, sir, to my cost.
SHALLOW
A' must, then, to the inns o' court shortly. I was
once of Clement's Inn, where I think they will
talk of mad Shallow yet.
SILENCE
You were called 'lusty Shallow' then, cousin.
SHALLOW
By the mass, I was called any thing; and I would
have done any thing indeed too, and roundly too.
There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire,
and black George Barnes, and Francis Pickbone, and
Will Squele, a Cotswold man; you had not four such
swinge-bucklers in all the inns o' court again: and
I may say to you, we knew where the bona-robas were
and had the best of them all at commandment. Then
was Jack Falstaff, now Sir John, a boy, and page to
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
SILENCE
This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about soldiers?
SHALLOW
The same Sir John, the very same. I see him break
Skogan's head at the court-gate, when a' was a
crack not thus high: and the very same day did I
fight with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer,
behind Gray's Inn. Jesu, Jesu, the mad days that I
have spent! and to see how many of my old
acquaintance are dead!
SILENCE
We shall all follow, cousin.
SHADOW
Certain, 'tis certain; very sure, very sure: death,
as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall
die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair?
SILENCE
By my troth, I was not there.
SHALLOW
Death is certain. Is old Double of your town living
yet?
SILENCE
Dead, sir.
SHALLOW
Jesu, Jesu, dead! a' drew a good bow; and dead! a'
shot a fine shoot: John a Gaunt loved him well, and
betted much money on his head. Dead! a' would have
clapped i' the clout at twelve score; and carried
you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a
half, that it would have done a man's heart good to
see. How a score of ewes now?
SILENCE
Thereafter as they be: a score of good ewes may be
worth ten pounds.
SHALLOW
And is old Double dead?
SILENCE
Here come two of Sir John Falstaff's men, as I think.
Enter BARDOLPH and one with him

BARDOLPH
Good morrow, honest gentlemen: I beseech you, which
is Justice Shallow?
SHALLOW
I am Robert Shallow, sir; a poor esquire of this
county, and one of the king's justices of th e peace:
What is your good pleasure with me?
BARDOLPH
My captain, sir, commends him to you; my captain,
Sir John Falstaff, a tall gentleman, by heaven, and
a most gallant leader.
SHALLOW
He greets me well, sir. I knew him a good backsword
man. How doth the good knight? may I ask how my
lady his wife doth?
BARDOLPH
Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated than
with a wife.
SHALLOW
It is well said, in faith, sir; and it is well said
indeed too. Better accommodated! it is good; yea,
indeed, is it: good phrases are surely, and ever
were, very commendable. Accommodated! it comes of
'accommodo' very good; a good phrase.
BARDOLPH
Pardon me, sir; I have heard the word. Phrase call
you it? by this good day, I know not the phrase;
but I will maintain the word with my sword to be a
soldier-like word, and a word of exceeding good
command, by heaven. Accommodated; that is, when a
man is, as they say, accommodated; or when a man is,
being, whereby a' may be thought to be accommodated;
which is an excellent thing.
SHALLOW
It is very just.
Enter FALSTAFF

Look, here comes good Sir John. Give me your good


hand, give me your worship's good hand: by my
troth, you like well and bear your years very well:
welcome, good Sir John.
FALSTAFF
I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert
Shallow: Master Surecard, as I think?
SHALLOW
No, Sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with me.
FALSTAFF
Good Master Silence, it well befits you should be of
the peace.
SILENCE
Your good-worship is welcome.
FALSTAFF
Fie! this is hot weather, gentlemen. Have you
provided me here half a dozen sufficient men?
SHALLOW
Marry, have we, sir. Will you sit?
FALSTAFF
Let me see them, I beseech you.
SHALLOW
Where's the roll? where's the roll? where's the
roll? Let me see, let me see, let me see. So, so:
yea, marry, sir: Ralph Mouldy! Let them appear as
I call; let them do so, let them do so. Let me
see; where is Mouldy?
MOULDY
Here, an't please you.
SHALLOW
What think you, Sir John? a good-limbed fellow;
young, strong, and of good friends.
FALSTAFF
Is thy name Mouldy?
MOULDY
Yea, an't please you.
FALSTAFF
'Tis the more time thou wert used.
SHALLOW
Ha, ha, ha! most excellent, i' faith! Things that
are mouldy lack use: very singular good! in faith,
well said, Sir John, very well said.
FALSTAFF
Prick him.
MOULDY
I was pricked well enough before, an you could have
let me alone: my old dame will be undone now for
one to do her husbandry and her drudgery: you need
not to have pricked me; there are other men fitter
to go out than I.
FALSTAFF
Go to: peace, Mouldy; you shall go. Mouldy, it is
time you were spent.
MOULDY
Spent!
SHALLOW
Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside: know you where
you are? For the other, Sir John: let me see:
Simon Shadow!
FALSTAFF
Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under: he's like
to be a cold soldier.
SHALLOW
Where's Shadow?
SHADOW
Here, sir.
FALSTAFF
Shadow, whose son art thou?
SHADOW
My mother's son, sir.
FALSTAFF
Thy mother's son! like enough, and thy father's
shadow: so the son of the female is the shadow of
the male: it is often so, indeed; but much of the
father's substance!
SHALLOW
Do you like him, Sir John?
FALSTAFF
Shadow will serve for summer; prick him, for we have
a number of shadows to fill up the muster-book.
SHALLOW
Thomas Wart!
FALSTAFF
Where's he?
WART
Here, sir.
FALSTAFF
Is thy name Wart?
WART
Yea, sir.
FALSTAFF
Thou art a very ragged wart.
SHALLOW
Shall I prick him down, Sir John?
FALSTAFF
It were superfluous; for his apparel is built upon
his back and the whole frame stands upon pins:
prick him no more.
SHALLOW
Ha, ha, ha! you can do it, sir; you can do it: I
commend you well. Francis Feeble!
FEEBLE
Here, sir.
FALSTAFF
What trade art thou, Feeble?
FEEBLE
A woman's tailor, sir.
SHALLOW
Shall I prick him, sir?
FALSTAFF
You may: but if he had been a man's tailor, he'ld
ha' pricked you. Wilt thou make as many holes in
an enemy's battle as thou hast done in a woman's petticoat?
FEEBLE
I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.
FALSTAFF
Well said, good woman's tailor! well said,
courageous Feeble! thou wilt be as valiant as the
wrathful dove or most magnanimous mouse. Prick the
woman's tailor: well, Master Shallow; deep, Master Shallow.
FEEBLE
I would Wart might have gone, sir.
FALSTAFF
I would thou wert a man's tailor, that thou mightst
mend him and make him fit to go. I cannot put him
to a private soldier that is the leader of so many
thousands: let that suffice, most forcible Feeble.
FEEBLE
It shall suffice, sir.
FALSTAFF
I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is next?
SHALLOW
Peter Bullcalf o' the green!
FALSTAFF
Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.
BULLCALF
Here, sir.
FALSTAFF
'Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick me Bullcalf
till he roar again.
BULLCALF
O Lord! good my lord captain,--
FALSTAFF
What, dost thou roar before thou art pricked?
BULLCALF
O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.
FALSTAFF
What disease hast thou?
BULLCALF
A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught
with ringing in the king's affairs upon his
coronation-day, sir.
FALSTAFF
Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown; we wilt
have away thy cold; and I will take such order that
my friends shall ring for thee. Is here all?
SHALLOW
Here is two more called than your number, you must
have but four here, sir: and so, I pray you, go in
with me to dinner.
FALSTAFF
Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry
dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW
O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night
in the windmill in Saint George's field?
FALSTAFF
No more of that, good Master Shallow, no more of that.
SHALLOW
Ha! 'twas a merry night. And is Jane Nightwork alive?
FALSTAFF
She lives, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW
She never could away with me.
FALSTAFF
Never, never; she would always say she could not
abide Master Shallow.
SHALLOW
By the mass, I could anger her to the heart. She
was then a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?
FALSTAFF
Old, old, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW
Nay, she must be old; she cannot choose but be old;
certain she's old; and had Robin Nightwork by old
Nightwork before I came to Clement's Inn.
SILENCE
That's fifty-five year ago.
SHALLOW
Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that
this knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I well?
FALSTAFF
We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW
That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith,
Sir John, we have: our watch-word was 'Hem boys!'
Come, let's to dinner; come, let's to dinner:
Jesus, the days that we have seen! Come, come.
Exeunt FALSTAFF and Justices

BULLCALF
Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend;
and here's four Harry ten shillings in French crowns
for you. In very truth, sir, I had as lief be
hanged, sir, as go: and yet, for mine own part, sir,
I do not care; but rather, because I am unwilling,
and, for mine own part, have a desire to stay with
my friends; else, sir, I did not care, for mine own
part, so much.
BARDOLPH
Go to; stand aside.
MOULDY
And, good master corporal captain, for my old
dame's sake, stand my friend: she has nobody to do
any thing about her when I am gone; and she is old,
and cannot help herself: You shall have forty, sir.
BARDOLPH
Go to; stand aside.
FEEBLE
By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once: we
owe God a death: I'll ne'er bear a base mind:
an't be my destiny, so; an't be not, so: no man is
too good to serve's prince; and let it go which way
it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.
BARDOLPH
Well said; thou'rt a good fellow.
FEEBLE
Faith, I'll bear no base mind.
Re-enter FALSTAFF and the Justices

FALSTAFF
Come, sir, which men shall I have?
SHALLOW
Four of which you please.
BARDOLPH
Sir, a word with you: I have three pound to free
Mouldy and Bullcalf.
FALSTAFF
Go to; well.
SHALLOW
Come, Sir John, which four will you have?
FALSTAFF
Do you choose for me.
SHALLOW
Marry, then, Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble and Shadow.
FALSTAFF
Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at home
till you are past service: and for your part,
Bullcalf, grow till you come unto it: I will none of you.
SHALLOW
Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong: they are
your likeliest men, and I would have you served with the best.
FALSTAFF
Will you tell me, Master Shallow, how to choose a
man? Care I for the limb, the thewes, the stature,
bulk, and big assemblance of a man! Give me the
spirit, Master Shallow. Here's Wart; you see what a
ragged appearance it is; a' shall charge you and
discharge you with the motion of a pewterer's
hammer, come off and on swifter than he that gibbets
on the brewer's bucket. And this same half-faced
fellow, Shadow; give me this man: he presents no
mark to the enemy; the foeman may with as great aim
level at the edge of a penknife. And for a retreat;
how swiftly will this Feeble the woman's tailor run
off! O, give me the spare men, and spare me the
great ones. Put me a caliver into Wart's hand, Bardolph.
BARDOLPH
Hold, Wart, traverse; thus, thus, thus.
FALSTAFF
Come, manage me your caliver. So: very well: go
to: very good, exceeding good. O, give me always a
little, lean, old, chapt, bald shot. Well said, i'
faith, Wart; thou'rt a good scab: hold, there's a
tester for thee.
SHALLOW
He is not his craft's master; he doth not do it
right. I remember at Mile-end Green, when I lay at
Clement's Inn--I was then Sir Dagonet in Arthur's
show,--there was a little quiver fellow, and a'
would manage you his piece thus; and a' would about
and about, and come you in and come you in: 'rah,
tah, tah,' would a' say; 'bounce' would a' say; and
away again would a' go, and again would a' come: I
shall ne'er see such a fellow.
FALSTAFF
These fellows will do well, Master Shallow. God
keep you, Master Silence: I will not use many words
with you. Fare you well, gentlemen both: I thank
you: I must a dozen mile to-night. Bardolph, give
the soldiers coats.
SHALLOW
Sir John, the Lord bless you! God prosper your
affairs! God send us peace! At your return visit
our house; let our old acquaintance be renewed;
peradventure I will with ye to the court.
FALSTAFF
'Fore God, I would you would, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW
Go to; I have spoke at a word. God keep you.
FALSTAFF
Fare you well, gentle gentlemen.
Exeunt Justices

On, Bardolph; lead the men away.


Exeunt BARDOLPH, Recruits, & c

As I return, I will fetch off these justices: I do


see the bottom of Justice Shallow. Lord, Lord, how
subject we old men are to this vice of lying! This
same starved justice hath done nothing but prate to
me of the wildness of his youth, and the feats he
hath done about Turnbull Street: and every third
word a lie, duer paid to the hearer than the Turk's
tribute. I do remember him at Clement's Inn like a
man made after supper of a cheese-paring: when a'
was naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked
radish, with a head fantastically carved upon it
with a knife: a' was so forlorn, that his
dimensions to any thick sight were invincible: a'
was the very genius of famine; yet lecherous as a
monkey, and the whores called him mandrake: a' came
ever in the rearward of the fashion, and sung those
tunes to the overscutched huswives that he heard the
carmen whistle, and swear they were his fancies or
his good-nights. And now is this Vice's dagger
become a squire, and talks as familiarly of John a
Gaunt as if he had been sworn brother to him; and
I'll be sworn a' ne'er saw him but once in the
Tilt-yard; and then he burst his head for crowding
among the marshal's men. I saw it, and told John a
Gaunt he beat his own name; for you might have
thrust him and all his apparel into an eel-skin; the
case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for him, a
court: and now has he land and beefs. Well, I'll
be acquainted with him, if I return; and it shall
go hard but I will make him a philosopher's two
stones to me: if the young dace be a bait for the
old pike, I see no reason in the law of nature but I
may snap at him. Let time shape, and there an end.
Exit

ACT IV

SCENE I. Yorkshire. Gaultree Forest.

Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, MOWBRAY, LORD HASTINGS, and others


ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
What is this forest call'd?
HASTINGS
'Tis Gaultree Forest, an't shall please your grace.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Here stand, my lords; and send discoverers forth
To know the numbers of our enemies.
HASTINGS
We have sent forth already.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
'Tis well done.
My friends and brethren in these great affairs,
I must acquaint you that I have received
New-dated letters from Northumberland;
Their cold intent, tenor and substance, thus:
Here doth he wish his person, with such powers
As might hold sortance with his quality,
The which he could not levy; whereupon
He is retired, to ripe his growing fortunes,
To Scotland: and concludes in hearty prayers
That your attempts may overlive the hazard
And fearful melting of their opposite.
MOWBRAY
Thus do the hopes we have in him touch ground
And dash themselves to pieces.
Enter a Messenger

HASTINGS
Now, what news?
Messenger
West of this forest, scarcely off a mile,
In goodly form comes on the enemy;
And, by the ground they hide, I judge their number
Upon or near the rate of thirty thousand.
MOWBRAY
The just proportion that we gave them out
Let us sway on and face them in the field.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
What well-appointed leader fronts us here?
Enter WESTMORELAND

MOWBRAY
I think it is my Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELAND
Health and fair greeting from our general,
The prince, Lord John and Duke of Lancaster.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Say on, my Lord of Westmoreland, in peace:
What doth concern your coming?
WESTMORELAND
Then, my lord,
Unto your grace do I in chief address
The substance of my speech. If that rebellion
Came like itself, in base and abject routs,
Led on by bloody youth, guarded with rags,
And countenanced by boys and beggary,
I say, if damn'd commotion so appear'd,
In his true, native and most proper shape,
You, reverend father, and these noble lords
Had not been here, to dress the ugly form
Of base and bloody insurrection
With your fair honours. You, lord archbishop,
Whose see is by a civil peace maintained,
Whose beard the silver hand of peace hath touch'd,
Whose learning and good letters peace hath tutor'd,
Whose white investments figure innocence,
The dove and very blessed spirit of peace,
Wherefore do you so ill translate ourself
Out of the speech of peace that bears such grace,
Into the harsh and boisterous tongue of war;
Turning your books to graves, your ink to blood,
Your pens to lances and your tongue divine
To a trumpet and a point of war?
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Wherefore do I this? so the question stands.
Briefly to this end: we are all diseased,
And with our surfeiting and wanton hours
Have brought ourselves into a burning fever,
And we must bleed for it; of which disease
Our late king, Richard, being infected, died.
But, my most noble Lord of Westmoreland,
I take not on me here as a physician,
Nor do I as an enemy to peace
Troop in the throngs of military men;
But rather show awhile like fearful war,
To diet rank minds sick of happiness
And purge the obstructions which begin to stop
Our very veins of life. Hear me more plainly.
I have in equal balance justly weigh'd
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we suffer,
And find our griefs heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run,
And are enforced from our most quiet there
By the rough torrent of occasion;
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles;
Which long ere this we offer'd to the king,
And might by no suit gain our audience:
When we are wrong'd and would unfold our griefs,
We are denied access unto his person
Even by those men that most have done us wrong.
The dangers of the days but newly gone,
Whose memory is written on the earth
With yet appearing blood, and the examples
Of every minute's instance, present now,
Hath put us in these ill-beseeming arms,
Not to break peace or any branch of it,
But to establish here a peace indeed,
Concurring both in name and quality.
WESTMORELAND
When ever yet was your appeal denied?
Wherein have you been galled by the king?
What peer hath been suborn'd to grate on you,
That you should seal this lawless bloody book
Of forged rebellion with a seal divine
And consecrate commotion's bitter edge?
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
My brother general, the commonwealth,
To brother born an household cruelty,
I make my quarrel in particular.
WESTMORELAND
There is no need of any such redress;
Or if there were, it not belongs to you.
MOWBRAY
Why not to him in part, and to us all
That feel the bruises of the days before,
And suffer the condition of these times
To lay a heavy and unequal hand
Upon our honours?
WESTMORELAND
O, my good Lord Mowbray,
Construe the times to their necessities,
And you shall say indeed, it is the time,
And not the king, that doth you injuries.
Yet for your part, it not appears to me
Either from the king or in the present time
That you should have an inch of any ground
To build a grief on: were you not restored
To all the Duke of Norfolk's signories,
Your noble and right well remember'd father's?
MOWBRAY
What thing, in honour, had my father lost,
That need to be revived and breathed in me?
The king that loved him, as the state stood then,
Was force perforce compell'd to banish him:
And then that Harry Bolingbroke and he,
Being mounted and both roused in their seats,
Their neighing coursers daring of the spur,
Their armed staves in charge, their beavers down,
Their eyes of fire sparking through sights of steel
And the loud trumpet blowing them together,
Then, then, when there was nothing could have stay'd
My father from the breast of Bolingbroke,
O when the king did throw his warder down,
His own life hung upon the staff he threw;
Then threw he down himself and all their lives
That by indictment and by dint of sword
Have since miscarried under Bolingbroke.
WESTMORELAND
You speak, Lord Mowbray, now you know not what.
The Earl of Hereford was reputed then
In England the most valiant gentlemen:
Who knows on whom fortune would then have smiled?
But if your father had been victor there,
He ne'er had borne it out of Coventry:
For all the country in a general voice
Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers and love
Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on
And bless'd and graced indeed, more than the king.
But this is mere digression from my purpose.
Here come I from our princely general
To know your griefs; to tell you from his grace
That he will give you audience; and wherein
It shall appear that your demands are just,
You shall enjoy them, every thing set off
That might so much as think you enemies.
MOWBRAY
But he hath forced us to compel this offer;
And it proceeds from policy, not love.
WESTMORELAND
Mowbray, you overween to take it so;
This offer comes from mercy, not from fear:
For, lo! within a ken our army lies,
Upon mine honour, all too confident
To give admittance to a thought of fear.
Our battle is more full of names than yours,
Our men more perfect in the use of arms,
Our armour all as strong, our cause the best;
Then reason will our heart should be as good
Say you not then our offer is compell'd.
MOWBRAY
Well, by my will we shall admit no parley.
WESTMORELAND
That argues but the shame of your offence:
A rotten case abides no handling.
HASTINGS
Hath the Prince John a full commission,
In very ample virtue of his father,
To hear and absolutely to determine
Of what conditions we shall stand upon?
WESTMORELAND
That is intended in the general's name:
I muse you make so slight a question.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Then take, my Lord of Westmoreland, this schedule,
For this contains our general grievances:
Each several article herein redress'd,
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
That are insinew'd to this action,
Acquitted by a true substantial form
And present execution of our wills
To us and to our purposes confined,
We come within our awful banks again
And knit our powers to the arm of peace.
WESTMORELAND
This will I show the general. Please you, lords,
In sight of both our battles we may meet;
And either end in peace, which God so frame!
Or to the place of difference call the swords
Which must decide it.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
My lord, we will do so.
Exit WESTMORELAND

MOWBRAY
There is a thing within my bosom tells me
That no conditions of our peace can stand.
HASTINGS
Fear you not that: if we can make our peace
Upon such large terms and so absolute
As our conditions shall consist upon,
Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.
MOWBRAY
Yea, but our valuation shall be such
That every slight and false-derived cause,
Yea, every idle, nice and wanton reason
Shall to the king taste of this action;
That, were our royal faiths martyrs in love,
We shall be winnow'd with so rough a wind
That even our corn shall seem as light as chaff
And good from bad find no partition.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
No, no, my lord. Note this; the king is weary
Of dainty and such picking grievances:
For he hath found to end one doubt by death
Revives two greater in the heirs of life,
And therefore will he wipe his tables clean
And keep no tell-tale to his memory
That may repeat and history his loss
To new remembrance; for full well he knows
He cannot so precisely weed this land
As his misdoubts present occasion:
His foes are so enrooted with his friends
That, plucking to unfix an enemy,
He doth unfasten so and shake a friend:
So that this land, like an offensive wife
That hath enraged him on to offer strokes,
As he is striking, holds his infant up
And hangs resolved correction in the arm
That was uprear'd to execution.
HASTINGS
Besides, the king hath wasted all his rods
On late offenders, that he now doth lack
The very instruments of chastisement:
So that his power, like to a fangless lion,
May offer, but not hold.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
'Tis very true:
And therefore be assured, my good lord marshal,
If we do now make our atonement well,
Our peace will, like a broken limb united,
Grow stronger for the breaking.
MOWBRAY
Be it so.
Here is return'd my Lord of Westmoreland.
Re-enter WESTMORELAND

WESTMORELAND
The prince is here at hand: pleaseth your lordship
To meet his grace just distance 'tween our armies.
MOWBRAY
Your grace of York, in God's name then, set forward.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Before, and greet his grace: my lord, we come.
Exeunt

SCENE II. Another part of the forest.

Enter, from one side, MOWBRAY, attended; afterwards the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK,
HASTINGS, and others: from the other side, Prince John of LANCASTER, and
WESTMORELAND; Officers, and others with them
LANCASTER
You are well encounter'd here, my cousin Mowbray:
Good day to you, gentle lord archbishop;
And so to you, Lord Hastings, and to all.
My Lord of York, it better show'd with you
When that your flock, assembled by the bell,
Encircled you to hear with reverence
Your exposition on the holy text
Than now to see you here an iron man,
Cheering a rout of rebels with your drum,
Turning the word to sword and life to death.
That man that sits within a monarch's heart,
And ripens in the sunshine of his favour,
Would he abuse the countenance of the king,
Alack, what mischiefs might he set abrooch
In shadow of such greatness! With you, lord bishop,
It is even so. Who hath not heard it spoken
How deep you were within the books of God?
To us the speaker in his parliament;
To us the imagined voice of God himself;
The very opener and intelligencer
Between the grace, the sanctities of heaven
And our dull workings. O, who shall believe
But you misuse the reverence of your place,
Employ the countenance and grace of heaven,
As a false favourite doth his prince's name,
In deeds dishonourable? You have ta'en up,
Under the counterfeited zeal of God,
The subjects of his substitute, my father,
And both against the peace of heaven and him
Have here up-swarm'd them.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Good my Lord of Lancaster,
I am not here against your father's peace;
But, as I told my lord of Westmoreland,
The time misorder'd doth, in common sense,
Crowd us and crush us to this monstrous form,
To hold our safety up. I sent your grace
The parcels and particulars of our grief,
The which hath been with scorn shoved from the court,
Whereon this Hydra son of war is born;
Whose dangerous eyes may well be charm'd asleep
With grant of our most just and right desires,
And true obedience, of this madness cured,
Stoop tamely to the foot of majesty.
MOWBRAY
If not, we ready are to try our fortunes
To the last man.
HASTINGS
And though we here fall down,
We have supplies to second our attempt:
If they miscarry, theirs shall second them;
And so success of mischief shall be born
And heir from heir shall hold this quarrel up
Whiles England shall have generation.
LANCASTER
You are too shallow, Hastings, much too shallow,
To sound the bottom of the after-times.
WESTMORELAND
Pleaseth your grace to answer them directly
How far forth you do like their articles.
LANCASTER
I like them all, and do allow them well,
And swear here, by the honour of my blood,
My father's purposes have been mistook,
And some about him have too lavishly
Wrested his meaning and authority.
My lord, these griefs shall be with speed redress'd;
Upon my soul, they shall. If this may please you,
Discharge your powers unto their several counties,
As we will ours: and here between the armies
Let's drink together friendly and embrace,
That all their eyes may bear those tokens home
Of our restored love and amity.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
I take your princely word for these redresses.
LANCASTER
I give it you, and will maintain my word:
And thereupon I drink unto your grace.
HASTINGS
Go, captain, and deliver to the army
This news of peace: let them have pay, and part:
I know it will well please them. Hie thee, captain.
Exit Officer
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
To you, my noble Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELAND
I pledge your grace; and, if you knew what pains
I have bestow'd to breed this present peace,
You would drink freely: but my love to ye
Shall show itself more openly hereafter.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
I do not doubt you.
WESTMORELAND
I am glad of it.
Health to my lord and gentle cousin, Mowbray.
MOWBRAY
You wish me health in very happy season;
For I am, on the sudden, something ill.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Against ill chances men are ever merry;
But heaviness foreruns the good event.
WESTMORELAND
Therefore be merry, coz; since sudden sorrow
Serves to say thus, 'some good thing comes
to-morrow.'
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Believe me, I am passing light in spirit.
MOWBRAY
So much the worse, if your own rule be true.
Shouts within

LANCASTER
The word of peace is render'd: hark, how they shout!
MOWBRAY
This had been cheerful after victory.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
A peace is of the nature of a conquest;
For then both parties nobly are subdued,
And neither party loser.
LANCASTER
Go, my lord,
And let our army be discharged too.
Exit WESTMORELAND

And, good my lord, so please you, let our trains


March, by us, that we may peruse the men
We should have coped withal.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Go, good Lord Hastings,
And, ere they be dismissed, let them march by.
Exit HASTINGS

LANCASTER
I trust, lords, we shall lie to-night together.
Re-enter WESTMORELAND

Now, cousin, wherefore stands our army still?


WESTMORELAND
The leaders, having charge from you to stand,
Will not go off until they hear you speak.
LANCASTER
They know their duties.
Re-enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS
My lord, our army is dispersed already;
Like youthful steers unyoked, they take their courses
East, west, north, south; or, like a school broke up,
Each hurries toward his home and sporting-place.
WESTMORELAND
Good tidings, my Lord Hastings; for the which
I do arrest thee, traitor, of high treason:
And you, lord archbishop, and you, Lord Mowbray,
Of capitol treason I attach you both.
MOWBRAY
Is this proceeding just and honourable?
WESTMORELAND
Is your assembly so?
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Will you thus break your faith?
LANCASTER
I pawn'd thee none:
I promised you redress of these same grievances
Whereof you did complain; which, by mine honour,
I will perform with a most Christian care.
But for you, rebels, look to taste the due
Meet for rebellion and such acts as yours.
Most shallowly did you these arms commence,
Fondly brought here and foolishly sent hence.
Strike up our drums, pursue the scatter'd stray:
God, and not we, hath safely fought to-day.
Some guard these traitors to the block of death,
Treason's true bed and yielder up of breath.
Exeunt

SCENE III. Another part of the forest.

Alarum. Excursions. Enter FALSTAFF and COLEVILE, meeting


FALSTAFF
What's your name, sir? of what condition are you,
and of what place, I pray?
COLEVILE
I am a knight, sir, and my name is Colevile of the dale.
FALSTAFF
Well, then, Colevile is your name, a knight is your
degree, and your place the dale: Colevile shall be
still your name, a traitor your degree, and the
dungeon your place, a place deep enough; so shall
you be still Colevile of the dale.
COLEVILE
Are not you Sir John Falstaff?
FALSTAFF
As good a man as he, sir, whoe'er I am. Do ye
yield, sir? or shall I sweat for you? if I do
sweat, they are the drops of thy lovers, and they
weep for thy death: therefore rouse up fear and
trembling, and do observance to my mercy.
COLEVILE
I think you are Sir John Falstaff, and in that
thought yield me.
FALSTAFF
I have a whole school of tongues in this belly of
mine, and not a tongue of them all speaks any other
word but my name. An I had but a belly of any
indifference, I were simply the most active fellow
in Europe: my womb, my womb, my womb, undoes me.
Here comes our general.
Enter PRINCE JOHN OF LANCASTER, WESTMORELAND, BLUNT, and others

LANCASTER
The heat is past; follow no further now:
Call in the powers, good cousin Westmoreland.
Exit WESTMORELAND

Now, Falstaff, where have you been all this while?


When every thing is ended, then you come:
These tardy tricks of yours will, on my life,
One time or other break some gallows' back.
FALSTAFF
I would be sorry, my lord, but it should be thus: I
never knew yet but rebuke and cheque was the reward
of valour. Do you think me a swallow, an arrow, or a
bullet? have I, in my poor and old motion, the
expedition of thought? I have speeded hither with
the very extremest inch of possibility; I have
foundered nine score and odd posts: and here,
travel-tainted as I am, have in my pure and
immaculate valour, taken Sir John Colevile of the
dale, a most furious knight and valorous enemy.
But what of that? he saw me, and yielded; that I
may justly say, with the hook-nosed fellow of Rome,
'I came, saw, and overcame.'
LANCASTER
It was more of his courtesy than your deserving.
FALSTAFF
I know not: here he is, and here I yield him: and
I beseech your grace, let it be booked with the
rest of this day's deeds; or, by the Lord, I will
have it in a particular ballad else, with mine own
picture on the top on't, Colevile kissing my foot:
to the which course if I be enforced, if you do not
all show like gilt twopences to me, and I in the
clear sky of fame o'ershine you as much as the full
moon doth the cinders of the element, which show
like pins' heads to her, believe not the word of
the noble: therefore let me have right, and let
desert mount.
LANCASTER
Thine's too heavy to mount.
FALSTAFF
Let it shine, then.
LANCASTER
Thine's too thick to shine.
FALSTAFF
Let it do something, my good lord, that may do me
good, and call it what you will.
LANCASTER
Is thy name Colevile?
COLEVILE
It is, my lord.
LANCASTER
A famous rebel art thou, Colevile.
FALSTAFF
And a famous true subject took him.
COLEVILE
I am, my lord, but as my betters are
That led me hither: had they been ruled by me,
You should have won them dearer than you have.
FALSTAFF
I know not how they sold themselves: but thou, like
a kind fellow, gavest thyself away gratis; and I
thank thee for thee.
Re-enter WESTMORELAND

LANCASTER
Now, have you left pursuit?
WESTMORELAND
Retreat is made and execution stay'd.
LANCASTER
Send Colevile with his confederates
To York, to present execution:
Blunt, lead him hence; and see you guard him sure.
Exeunt BLUNT and others with COLEVILE

And now dispatch we toward the court, my lords:


I hear the king my father is sore sick:
Our news shall go before us to his majesty,
Which, cousin, you shall bear to comfort him,
And we with sober speed will follow you.
FALSTAFF
My lord, I beseech you, give me leave to go
Through Gloucestershire: and, when you come to court,
Stand my good lord, pray, in your good report.
LANCASTER
Fare you well, Falstaff: I, in my condition,
Shall better speak of you than you deserve.
Exeunt all but Falstaff

FALSTAFF
I would you had but the wit: 'twere better than
your dukedom. Good faith, this same young sober-
blooded boy doth not love me; nor a man cannot make
him laugh; but that's no marvel, he drinks no wine.
There's never none of these demure boys come to any
proof; for thin drink doth so over-cool their blood,
and making many fish-meals, that they fall into a
kind of male green-sickness; and then when they
marry, they get wenches: they are generally fools
and cowards; which some of us should be too, but for
inflammation. A good sherris sack hath a two-fold
operation in it. It ascends me into the brain;
dries me there all the foolish and dull and curdy
vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive,
quick, forgetive, full of nimble fiery and
delectable shapes, which, delivered o'er to the
voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes
excellent wit. The second property of your
excellent sherris is, the warming of the blood;
which, before cold and settled, left the liver
white and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity
and cowardice; but the sherris warms it and makes
it course from the inwards to the parts extreme:
it illumineth the face, which as a beacon gives
warning to all the rest of this little kingdom,
man, to arm; and then the vital commoners and
inland petty spirits muster me all to their captain,
the heart, who, great and puffed up with this
retinue, doth any deed of courage; and this valour
comes of sherris. So that skill in the weapon is
nothing without sack, for that sets it a-work; and
learning a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil, till
sack commences it and sets it in act and use.
Hereof comes it that Prince Harry is valiant; for
the cold blood he did naturally inherit of his
father, he hath, like lean, sterile and bare land,
manured, husbanded and tilled with excellent
endeavour of drinking good and good store of fertile
sherris, that he is become very hot and valiant. If
I had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I
would teach them should be, to forswear thin
potations and to addict themselves to sack.
Enter BARDOLPH

How now Bardolph?


BARDOLPH
The army is discharged all and gone.
FALSTAFF
Let them go. I'll through Gloucestershire; and
there will I visit Master Robert Shallow, esquire:
I have him already tempering between my finger and
my thumb, and shortly will I seal with him. Come away.
Exeunt

SCENE IV. Westminster. The Jerusalem Chamber.

Enter KING HENRY IV, the Princes Thomas of CLARENCE and Humphrey of GLOUCESTER,
WARWICK, and others
KING HENRY IV
Now, lords, if God doth give successful end
To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,
We will our youth lead on to higher fields
And draw no swords but what are sanctified.
Our navy is address'd, our power collected,
Our substitutes in absence well invested,
And every thing lies level to our wish:
Only, we want a little personal strength;
And pause us, till these rebels, now afoot,
Come underneath the yoke of government.
WARWICK
Both which we doubt not but your majesty
Shall soon enjoy.
KING HENRY IV
Humphrey, my son of Gloucester,
Where is the prince your brother?
GLOUCESTER
I think he's gone to hunt, my lord, at Windsor.
KING HENRY IV
And how accompanied?
GLOUCESTER
I do not know, my lord.
KING HENRY IV
Is not his brother, Thomas of Clarence, with him?
GLOUCESTER
No, my good lord; he is in presence here.
CLARENCE
What would my lord and father?
KING HENRY IV
Nothing but well to thee, Thomas of Clarence.
How chance thou art not with the prince thy brother?
He loves thee, and thou dost neglect him, Thomas;
Thou hast a better place in his affection
Than all thy brothers: cherish it, my boy,
And noble offices thou mayst effect
Of mediation, after I am dead,
Between his greatness and thy other brethren:
Therefore omit him not; blunt not his love,
Nor lose the good advantage of his grace
By seeming cold or careless of his will;
For he is gracious, if he be observed:
He hath a tear for pity and a hand
Open as day for melting charity:
Yet notwithstanding, being incensed, he's flint,
As humorous as winter and as sudden
As flaws congealed in the spring of day.
His temper, therefore, must be well observed:
Chide him for faults, and do it reverently,
When thou perceive his blood inclined to mirth;
But, being moody, give him line and scope,
Till that his passions, like a whale on ground,
Confound themselves with working. Learn this, Thomas,
And thou shalt prove a shelter to thy friends,
A hoop of gold to bind thy brothers in,
That the united vessel of their blood,
Mingled with venom of suggestion--
As, force perforce, the age will pour it in--
Shall never leak, though it do work as strong
As aconitum or rash gunpowder.
CLARENCE
I shall observe him with all care and love.
KING HENRY IV
Why art thou not at Windsor with him, Thomas?
CLARENCE
He is not there to-day; he dines in London.
KING HENRY IV
And how accompanied? canst thou tell that?
CLARENCE
With Poins, and other his continual followers.
KING HENRY IV
Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds;
And he, the noble image of my youth,
Is overspread with them: therefore my grief
Stretches itself beyond the hour of death:
The blood weeps from my heart when I do shape
In forms imaginary the unguided days
And rotten times that you shall look upon
When I am sleeping with my ancestors.
For when his headstrong riot hath no curb,
When rage and hot blood are his counsellors,
When means and lavish manners meet together,
O, with what wings shall his affections fly
Towards fronting peril and opposed decay!
WARWICK
My gracious lord, you look beyond him quite:
The prince but studies his companions
Like a strange tongue, wherein, to gain the language,
'Tis needful that the most immodest word
Be look'd upon and learn'd; which once attain'd,
Your highness knows, comes to no further use
But to be known and hated. So, like gross terms,
The prince will in the perfectness of time
Cast off his followers; and their memory
Shall as a pattern or a measure live,
By which his grace must mete the lives of others,
Turning past evils to advantages.
KING HENRY IV
'Tis seldom when the bee doth leave her comb
In the dead carrion.
Enter WESTMORELAND

Who's here? Westmoreland?


WESTMORELAND
Health to my sovereign, and new happiness
Added to that that I am to deliver!
Prince John your son doth kiss your grace's hand:
Mowbray, the Bishop Scroop, Hastings and all
Are brought to the correction of your law;
There is not now a rebel's sword unsheath'd
But peace puts forth her olive every where.
The manner how this action hath been borne
Here at more leisure may your highness read,
With every course in his particular.
KING HENRY IV
O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
Which ever in the haunch of winter sings
The lifting up of day.
Enter HARCOURT

Look, here's more news.


HARCOURT
From enemies heaven keep your majesty;
And, when they stand against you, may they fall
As those that I am come to tell you of!
The Earl Northumberland and the Lord Bardolph,
With a great power of English and of Scots
Are by the sheriff of Yorkshire overthrown:
The manner and true order of the fight
This packet, please it you, contains at large.
KING HENRY IV
And wherefore should these good news make me sick?
Will fortune never come with both hands full,
But write her fair words still in foulest letters?
She either gives a stomach and no food;
Such are the poor, in health; or else a feast
And takes away the stomach; such are the rich,
That have abundance and enjoy it not.
I should rejoice now at this happy news;
And now my sight fails, and my brain is giddy:
O me! come near me; now I am much ill.
GLOUCESTER
Comfort, your majesty!
CLARENCE
O my royal father!
WESTMORELAND
My sovereign lord, cheer up yourself, look up.
WARWICK
Be patient, princes; you do know, these fits
Are with his highness very ordinary.
Stand from him. Give him air; he'll straight be well.
CLARENCE
No, no, he cannot long hold out these pangs:
The incessant care and labour of his mind
Hath wrought the mure that should confine it in
So thin that life looks through and will break out.
GLOUCESTER
The people fear me; for they do observe
Unfather'd heirs and loathly births of nature:
The seasons change their manners, as the year
Had found some months asleep and leap'd them over.
CLARENCE
The river hath thrice flow'd, no ebb between;
And the old folk, time's doting chronicles,
Say it did so a little time before
That our great-grandsire, Edward, sick'd and died.
WARWICK
Speak lower, princes, for the king recovers.
GLOUCESTER
This apoplexy will certain be his end.
KING HENRY IV
I pray you, take me up, and bear me hence
Into some other chamber: softly, pray.
SCENE V. Another chamber.

KING HENRY IV lying on a bed: CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, WARWICK, and others in


attendance
KING HENRY IV
Let there be no noise made, my gentle friends;
Unless some dull and favourable hand
Will whisper music to my weary spirit.
WARWICK
Call for the music in the other room.
KING HENRY IV
Set me the crown upon my pillow here.
CLARENCE
His eye is hollow, and he changes much.
WARWICK
Less noise, less noise!
Enter PRINCE HENRY

PRINCE HENRY
Who saw the Duke of Clarence?
CLARENCE
I am here, brother, full of heaviness.
PRINCE HENRY
How now! rain within doors, and none abroad!
How doth the king?
GLOUCESTER
Exceeding ill.
PRINCE HENRY
Heard he the good news yet?
Tell it him.
GLOUCESTER
He alter'd much upon the hearing it.
PRINCE HENRY
If he be sick with joy, he'll recover without physic.
WARWICK
Not so much noise, my lords: sweet prince,
speak low;
The king your father is disposed to sleep.
CLARENCE
Let us withdraw into the other room.
WARWICK
Will't please your grace to go along with us?
PRINCE HENRY
No; I will sit and watch here by the king.
Exeunt all but PRINCE HENRY

Why doth the crown lie there upon his pillow,


Being so troublesome a bedfellow?
O polish'd perturbation! golden care!
That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide
To many a watchful night! sleep with it now!
Yet not so sound and half so deeply sweet
As he whose brow with homely biggen bound
Snores out the watch of night. O majesty!
When thou dost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit
Like a rich armour worn in heat of day,
That scalds with safety. By his gates of breath
There lies a downy feather which stirs not:
Did he suspire, that light and weightless down
Perforce must move. My gracious lord! my father!
This sleep is sound indeed, this is a sleep
That from this golden rigol hath divorced
So many English kings. Thy due from me
Is tears and heavy sorrows of the blood,
Which nature, love, and filial tenderness,
Shall, O dear father, pay thee plenteously:
My due from thee is this imperial crown,
Which, as immediate as thy place and blood,
Derives itself to me. Lo, here it sits,
Which God shall guard: and put the world's whole strength
Into one giant arm, it shall not force
This lineal honour from me: this from thee
Will I to mine leave, as 'tis left to me.
Exit

KING HENRY IV
Warwick! Gloucester! Clarence!
Re-enter WARWICK, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and the rest

CLARENCE
Doth the king call?
WARWICK
What would your majesty? How fares your grace?
KING HENRY IV
Why did you leave me here alone, my lords?
CLARENCE
We left the prince my brother here, my liege,
Who undertook to sit and watch by you.
KING HENRY IV
The Prince of Wales! Where is he? let me see him:
He is not here.
WARWICK
This door is open; he is gone this way.
GLOUCESTER
He came not through the chamber where we stay'd.
KING HENRY IV
Where is the crown? who took it from my pillow?
WARWICK
When we withdrew, my liege, we left it here.
KING HENRY IV
The prince hath ta'en it hence: go, seek him out.
Is he so hasty that he doth suppose
My sleep my death?
Find him, my Lord of Warwick; chide him hither.
Exit WARWICK

This part of his conjoins with my disease,


And helps to end me. See, sons, what things you are!
How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object!
For this the foolish over-careful fathers
Have broke their sleep with thoughts, their brains with care,
Their bones with industry;
For this they have engrossed and piled up
The canker'd heaps of strange-achieved gold;
For this they have been thoughtful to invest
Their sons with arts and martial exercises:
When, like the bee, culling from every flower
The virtuous sweets,
Our thighs pack'd with wax, our mouths with honey,
We bring it to the hive, and, like the bees,
Are murdered for our pains. This bitter taste
Yield his engrossments to the ending father.
Re-enter WARWICK

Now, where is he that will not stay so long


Till his friend sickness hath determined me?
WARWICK
My lord, I found the prince in the next room,
Washing with kindly tears his gentle cheeks,
With such a deep demeanor in great sorrow
That tyranny, which never quaff'd but blood,
Would, by beholding him, have wash'd his knife
With gentle eye-drops. He is coming hither.
KING HENRY IV
But wherefore did he take away the crown?
Re-enter PRINCE HENRY

Lo, where he comes. Come hither to me, Harry.


Depart the chamber, leave us here alone.
Exeunt WARWICK and the rest
PRINCE HENRY
I never thought to hear you speak again.
KING HENRY IV
Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought:
I stay too long by thee, I weary thee.
Dost thou so hunger for mine empty chair
That thou wilt needs invest thee with my honours
Before thy hour be ripe? O foolish youth!
Thou seek'st the greatness that will o'erwhelm thee.
Stay but a little; for my cloud of dignity
Is held from falling with so weak a wind
That it will quickly drop: my day is dim.
Thou hast stolen that which after some few hours
Were thine without offence; and at my death
Thou hast seal'd up my expectation:
Thy life did manifest thou lovedst me not,
And thou wilt have me die assured of it.
Thou hidest a thousand daggers in thy thoughts,
Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart,
To stab at half an hour of my life.
What! canst thou not forbear me half an hour?
Then get thee gone and dig my grave thyself,
And bid the merry bells ring to thine ear
That thou art crowned, not that I am dead.
Let all the tears that should bedew my hearse
Be drops of balm to sanctify thy head:
Only compound me with forgotten dust
Give that which gave thee life unto the worms.
Pluck down my officers, break my decrees;
For now a time is come to mock at form:
Harry the Fifth is crown'd: up, vanity!
Down, royal state! all you sage counsellors, hence!
And to the English court assemble now,
From every region, apes of idleness!
Now, neighbour confines, purge you of your scum:
Have you a ruffian that will swear, drink, dance,
Revel the night, rob, murder, and commit
The oldest sins the newest kind of ways?
Be happy, he will trouble you no more;
England shall double gild his treble guilt,
England shall give him office, honour, might;
For the fifth Harry from curb'd licence plucks
The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth on every innocent.
O my poor kingdom, sick with civil blows!
When that my care could not withhold thy riots,
What wilt thou do when riot is thy care?
O, thou wilt be a wilderness again,
Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants!
PRINCE HENRY
O, pardon me, my liege! but for my tears,
The moist impediments unto my speech,
I had forestall'd this dear and deep rebuke
Ere you with grief had spoke and I had heard
The course of it so far. There is your crown;
And He that wears the crown immortally
Long guard it yours! If I affect it more
Than as your honour and as your renown,
Let me no more from this obedience rise,
Which my most inward true and duteous spirit
Teacheth, this prostrate and exterior bending.
God witness with me, when I here came in,
And found no course of breath within your majesty,
How cold it struck my heart! If I do feign,
O, let me in my present wildness die
And never live to show the incredulous world
The noble change that I have purposed!
Coming to look on you, thinking you dead,
And dead almost, my liege, to think you were,
I spake unto this crown as having sense,
And thus upbraided it: 'The care on thee depending
Hath fed upon the body of my father;
Therefore, thou best of gold art worst of gold:
Other, less fine in carat, is more precious,
Preserving life in medicine potable;
But thou, most fine, most honour'd: most renown'd,
Hast eat thy bearer up.' Thus, my most royal liege,
Accusing it, I put it on my head,
To try with it, as with an enemy
That had before my face murder'd my father,
The quarrel of a true inheritor.
But if it did infect my blood with joy,
Or swell my thoughts to any strain of pride;
If any rebel or vain spirit of mine
Did with the least affection of a welcome
Give entertainment to the might of it,
Let God for ever keep it from my head
And make me as the poorest vassal is
That doth with awe and terror kneel to it!
KING HENRY IV
O my son,
God put it in thy mind to take it hence,
That thou mightst win the more thy father's love,
Pleading so wisely in excuse of it!
Come hither, Harry, sit thou by my bed;
And hear, I think, the very latest counsel
That ever I shall breathe. God knows, my son,
By what by-paths and indirect crook'd ways
I met this crown; and I myself know well
How troublesome it sat upon my head.
To thee it shall descend with bitter quiet,
Better opinion, better confirmation;
For all the soil of the achievement goes
With me into the earth. It seem'd in me
But as an honour snatch'd with boisterous hand,
And I had many living to upbraid
My gain of it by their assistances;
Which daily grew to quarrel and to bloodshed,
Wounding supposed peace: all these bold fears
Thou see'st with peril I have answered;
For all my reign hath been but as a scene
Acting that argument: and now my death
Changes the mode; for what in me was purchased,
Falls upon thee in a more fairer sort;
So thou the garland wear'st successively.
Yet, though thou stand'st more sure than I could do,
Thou art not firm enough, since griefs are green;
And all my friends, which thou must make thy friends,
Have but their stings and teeth newly ta'en out;
By whose fell working I was first advanced
And by whose power I well might lodge a fear
To be again displaced: which to avoid,
I cut them off; and had a purpose now
To lead out many to the Holy Land,
Lest rest and lying still might make them look
Too near unto my state. Therefore, my Harry,
Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out,
May waste the memory of the former days.
More would I, but my lungs are wasted so
That strength of speech is utterly denied me.
How I came by the crown, O God forgive;
And grant it may with thee in true peace live!
PRINCE HENRY
My gracious liege,
You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me;
Then plain and right must my possession be:
Which I with more than with a common pain
'Gainst all the world will rightfully maintain.
Enter Lord John of LANCASTER

KING HENRY IV
Look, look, here comes my John of Lancaster.
LANCASTER
Health, peace, and happiness to my royal father!
KING HENRY IV
Thou bring'st me happiness and peace, son John;
But health, alack, with youthful wings is flown
From this bare wither'd trunk: upon thy sight
My worldly business makes a period.
Where is my Lord of Warwick?
PRINCE HENRY
My Lord of Warwick!
Enter WARWICK, and others

KING HENRY IV
Doth any name particular belong
Unto the lodging where I first did swoon?
WARWICK
'Tis call'd Jerusalem, my noble lord.
KING HENRY IV
Laud be to God! even there my life must end.
It hath been prophesied to me many years,
I should not die but in Jerusalem;
Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land:
But bear me to that chamber; there I'll lie;
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die.
Exeunt

ACT V

SCENE I. Gloucestershire. SHALLOW'S house.

Enter SHALLOW, FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, and Page


SHALLOW
By cock and pie, sir, you shall not away to-night.
What, Davy, I say!
FALSTAFF
You must excuse me, Master Robert Shallow.
SHALLOW
I will not excuse you; you shall not be excused;
excuses shall not be admitted; there is no excuse
shall serve; you shall not be excused. Why, Davy!
Enter DAVY

DAVY
Here, sir.
SHALLOW
Davy, Davy, Davy, Davy, let me see, Davy; let me
see, Davy; let me see: yea, marry, William cook,
bid him come hither. Sir John, you shall not be excused.
DAVY
Marry, sir, thus; those precepts cannot be served:
and, again, sir, shall we sow the headland with wheat?
SHALLOW
With red wheat, Davy. But for William cook: are
there no young pigeons?
DAVY
Yes, sir. Here is now the smith's note for shoeing
and plough-irons.
SHALLOW
Let it be cast and paid. Sir John, you shall not be excused.
DAVY
Now, sir, a new link to the bucket must need be
had: and, sir, do you mean to stop any of William's
wages, about the sack he lost the other day at
Hinckley fair?
SHALLOW
A' shall answer it. Some pigeons, Davy, a couple
of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any
pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell William cook.
DAVY
Doth the man of war stay all night, sir?
SHALLOW
Yea, Davy. I will use him well: a friend i' the
court is better than a penny in purse. Use his men
well, Davy; for they are arrant knaves, and will backbite.
DAVY
No worse than they are backbitten, sir; for they
have marvellous foul linen.
SHALLOW
Well conceited, Davy: about thy business, Davy.
DAVY
I beseech you, sir, to countenance William Visor of
Woncot against Clement Perkes of the hill.
SHALLOW
There is many complaints, Davy, against that Visor:
that Visor is an arrant knave, on my knowledge.
DAVY
I grant your worship that he is a knave, sir; but
yet, God forbid, sir, but a knave should have some
countenance at his friend's request. An honest
man, sir, is able to speak for himself, when a knave
is not. I have served your worship truly, sir,
this eight years; and if I cannot once or twice in
a quarter bear out a knave against an honest man, I
have but a very little credit with your worship. The
knave is mine honest friend, sir; therefore, I
beseech your worship, let him be countenanced.
SHALLOW
Go to; I say he shall have no wrong. Look about, Davy.
Exit DAVY

Where are you, Sir John? Come, come, come, off


with your boots. Give me your hand, Master Bardolph.
BARDOLPH
I am glad to see your worship.
SHALLOW
I thank thee with all my heart, kind
Master Bardolph: and welcome, my tall fellow.
To the Page

Come, Sir John.


FALSTAFF
I'll follow you, good Master Robert Shallow.
Exit SHALLOW

Bardolph, look to our horses.


Exeunt BARDOLPH and Page

If I were sawed into quantities, I should make four


dozen of such bearded hermits' staves as Master
Shallow. It is a wonderful thing to see the
semblable coherence of his men's spirits and his:
they, by observing of him, do bear themselves like
foolish justices; he, by conversing with them, is
turned into a justice-like serving-man: their
spirits are so married in conjunction with the
participation of society that they flock together in
consent, like so many wild-geese. If I had a suit
to Master Shallow, I would humour his men with the
imputation of being near their master: if to his
men, I would curry with Master Shallow that no man
could better command his servants. It is certain
that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is
caught, as men take diseases, one of another:
therefore let men take heed of their company. I
will devise matter enough out of this Shallow to
keep Prince Harry in continual laughter the wearing
out of six fashions, which is four terms, or two
actions, and a' shall laugh without intervallums. O,
it is much that a lie with a slight oath and a jest
with a sad brow will do with a fellow that never
had the ache in his shoulders! O, you shall see him
laugh till his face be like a wet cloak ill laid up!
SHALLOW
[Within] Sir John!
FALSTAFF
I come, Master Shallow; I come, Master Shallow.
Exit

SCENE II. Westminster. The palace.

Enter WARWICK and the Lord Chief-Justice, meeting


WARWICK
How now, my lord chief-justice! whither away?
Lord Chief-Justice How doth the king?
WARWICK
Exceeding well; his cares are now all ended.
Lord Chief-Justice I hope, not dead.
WARWICK
He's walk'd the way of nature;
And to our purposes he lives no more.
Lord Chief-Justice I would his majesty had call'd me with him:
The service that I truly did his life
Hath left me open to all injuries.
WARWICK
Indeed I think the young king loves you not.
Lord Chief-Justice I know he doth not, and do arm myself
To welcome the condition of the time,
Which cannot look more hideously upon me
Than I have drawn it in my fantasy.
Enter LANCASTER, CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, WESTMORELAND, and others

WARWICK
Here come the heavy issue of dead Harry:
O that the living Harry had the temper
Of him, the worst of these three gentlemen!
How many nobles then should hold their places
That must strike sail to spirits of vile sort!
Lord Chief-Justice O God, I fear all will be overturn'd!
LANCASTER
Good morrow, cousin Warwick, good morrow.
GLOUCESTER CLARENCE
Good morrow, cousin.
LANCASTER
We meet like men that had forgot to speak.
WARWICK
We do remember; but our argument
Is all too heavy to admit much talk.
LANCASTER
Well, peace be with him that hath made us heavy.
Lord Chief-Justice Peace be with us, lest we be heavier!
GLOUCESTER
O, good my lord, you have lost a friend indeed;
And I dare swear you borrow not that face
Of seeming sorrow, it is sure your own.
LANCASTER
Though no man be assured what grace to find,
You stand in coldest expectation:
I am the sorrier; would 'twere otherwise.
CLARENCE
Well, you must now speak Sir John Falstaff fair;
Which swims against your stream of quality.
Lord Chief-Justice Sweet princes, what I did, I did in honour,
Led by the impartial conduct of my soul:
And never shall you see that I will beg
A ragged and forestall'd remission.
If truth and upright innocency fail me,
I'll to the king my master that is dead,
And tell him who hath sent me after him.
WARWICK
Here comes the prince.
Enter KING HENRY V, attended
Lord Chief-Justice Good morrow; and God save your majesty!
KING HENRY V
This new and gorgeous garment, majesty,
Sits not so easy on me as you think.
Brothers, you mix your sadness with some fear:
This is the English, not the Turkish court;
Not Amurath an Amurath succeeds,
But Harry Harry. Yet be sad, good brothers,
For, by my faith, it very well becomes you:
Sorrow so royally in you appears
That I will deeply put the fashion on
And wear it in my heart: why then, be sad;
But entertain no more of it, good brothers,
Than a joint burden laid upon us all.
For me, by heaven, I bid you be assured,
I'll be your father and your brother too;
Let me but bear your love, I 'll bear your cares:
Yet weep that Harry's dead; and so will I;
But Harry lives, that shall convert those tears
By number into hours of happiness.
Princes
We hope no other from your majesty.
KING HENRY V
You all look strangely on me: and you most;
You are, I think, assured I love you not.
Lord Chief-Justice I am assured, if I be measured rightly,
Your majesty hath no just cause to hate me.
KING HENRY V
No!
How might a prince of my great hopes forget
So great indignities you laid upon me?
What! rate, rebuke, and roughly send to prison
The immediate heir of England! Was this easy?
May this be wash'd in Lethe, and forgotten?
Lord Chief-Justice I then did use the person of your father;
The image of his power lay then in me:
And, in the administration of his law,
Whiles I was busy for the commonwealth,
Your highness pleased to forget my place,
The majesty and power of law and justice,
The image of the king whom I presented,
And struck me in my very seat of judgment;
Whereon, as an offender to your father,
I gave bold way to my authority
And did commit you. If the deed were ill,
Be you contented, wearing now the garland,
To have a son set your decrees at nought,
To pluck down justice from your awful bench,
To trip the course of law and blunt the sword
That guards the peace and safety of your person;
Nay, more, to spurn at your most royal image
And mock your workings in a second body.
Question your royal thoughts, make the case yours;
Be now the father and propose a son,
Hear your own dignity so much profaned,
See your most dreadful laws so loosely slighted,
Behold yourself so by a son disdain'd;
And then imagine me taking your part
And in your power soft silencing your son:
After this cold considerance, sentence me;
And, as you are a king, speak in your state
What I have done that misbecame my place,
My person, or my liege's sovereignty.
KING HENRY V
You are right, justice, and you weigh this well;
Therefore still bear the balance and the sword:
And I do wish your honours may increase,
Till you do live to see a son of mine
Offend you and obey you, as I did.
So shall I live to speak my father's words:
'Happy am I, that have a man so bold,
That dares do justice on my proper son;
And not less happy, having such a son,
That would deliver up his greatness so
Into the hands of justice.' You did commit me:
For which, I do commit into your hand
The unstained sword that you have used to bear;
With this remembrance, that you use the same
With the like bold, just and impartial spirit
As you have done 'gainst me. There is my hand.
You shall be as a father to my youth:
My voice shall sound as you do prompt mine ear,
And I will stoop and humble my intents
To your well-practised wise directions.
And, princes all, believe me, I beseech you;
My father is gone wild into his grave,
For in his tomb lie my affections;
And with his spirit sadly I survive,
To mock the expectation of the world,
To frustrate prophecies and to raze out
Rotten opinion, who hath writ me down
After my seeming. The tide of blood in me
Hath proudly flow'd in vanity till now:
Now doth it turn and ebb back to the sea,
Where it shall mingle with the state of floods
And flow henceforth in formal majesty.
Now call we our high court of parliament:
And let us choose such limbs of noble counsel,
That the great body of our state may go
In equal rank with the best govern'd nation;
That war, or peace, or both at once, may be
As things acquainted and familiar to us;
In which you, father, shall have foremost hand.
Our coronation done, we will accite,
As I before remember'd, all our state:
And, God consigning to my good intents,
No prince nor peer shall have just cause to say,
God shorten Harry's happy life one day!
Exeunt

SCENE III. Gloucestershire. SHALLOW'S orchard.

Enter FALSTAFF, SHALLOW, SILENCE, DAVY, BARDOLPH, and the Page


SHALLOW
Nay, you shall see my orchard, where, in an arbour,
we will eat a last year's pippin of my own graffing,
with a dish of caraways, and so forth: come,
cousin Silence: and then to bed.
FALSTAFF
'Fore God, you have here a goodly dwelling and a rich.
SHALLOW
Barren, barren, barren; beggars all, beggars all,
Sir John: marry, good air. Spread, Davy; spread,
Davy; well said, Davy.
FALSTAFF
This Davy serves you for good uses; he is your
serving-man and your husband.
SHALLOW
A good varlet, a good varlet, a very good varlet,
Sir John: by the mass, I have drunk too much sack
at supper: a good varlet. Now sit down, now sit
down: come, cousin.
SILENCE
Ah, sirrah! quoth-a, we shall
Do nothing but eat, and make good cheer,
Singing

And praise God for the merry year;


When flesh is cheap and females dear,
And lusty lads roam here and there
So merrily,
And ever among so merrily.
FALSTAFF
There's a merry heart! Good Master Silence, I'll
give you a health for that anon.
SHALLOW
Give Master Bardolph some wine, Davy.
DAVY
Sweet sir, sit; I'll be with you anon. most sweet
sir, sit. Master page, good master page, sit.
Proface! What you want in meat, we'll have in drink:
but you must bear; the heart's all.
Exit

SHALLOW
Be merry, Master Bardolph; and, my little soldier
there, be merry.
SILENCE
Be merry, be merry, my wife has all;
Singing

For women are shrews, both short and tall:


'Tis merry in hall when beards wag all,
And welcome merry Shrove-tide.
Be merry, be merry.
FALSTAFF
I did not think Master Silence had been a man of
this mettle.
SILENCE
Who, I? I have been merry twice and once ere now.
Re-enter DAVY

DAVY
There's a dish of leather-coats for you.
To BARDOLPH
SHALLOW
Davy!
DAVY
Your worship! I'll be with you straight.
To BARDOLPH

A cup of wine, sir?


SILENCE
A cup of wine that's brisk and fine,
Singing

And drink unto the leman mine;


And a merry heart lives long-a.
FALSTAFF
Well said, Master Silence.
SILENCE
An we shall be merry, now comes in the sweet o' the night.
FALSTAFF
Health and long life to you, Master Silence.
SILENCE
Fill the cup, and let it come;
Singing

I'll pledge you a mile to the bottom.


SHALLOW
Honest Bardolph, welcome: if thou wantest any
thing, and wilt not call, beshrew thy heart.
Welcome, my little tiny thief.
To the Page

And welcome indeed too. I'll drink to Master


Bardolph, and to all the cavaleros about London.
DAVY
I hove to see London once ere I die.
BARDOLPH
An I might see you there, Davy,--
SHALLOW
By the mass, you'll crack a quart together, ha!
Will you not, Master Bardolph?
BARDOLPH
Yea, sir, in a pottle-pot.
SHALLOW
By God's liggens, I thank thee: the knave will
stick by thee, I can assure thee that. A' will not
out; he is true bred.
BARDOLPH
And I'll stick by him, sir.
SHALLOW
Why, there spoke a king. Lack nothing: be merry.
Knocking within

Look who's at door there, ho! who knocks?


Exit DAVY

FALSTAFF
Why, now you have done me right.
To SILENCE, seeing him take off a bumper

SILENCE
[Singing]
Do me right,
And dub me knight: Samingo.
Is't not so?
FALSTAFF
'Tis so.
SILENCE
Is't so? Why then, say an old man can do somewhat.
Re-enter DAVY

DAVY
An't please your worship, there's one Pistol come
from the court with news.
FALSTAFF
From the court! let him come in.
Enter PISTOL

How now, Pistol!


PISTOL
Sir John, God save you!
FALSTAFF
What wind blew you hither, Pistol?
PISTOL
Not the ill wind which blows no man to good. Sweet
knight, thou art now one of the greatest men in this realm.
SILENCE
By'r lady, I think a' be, but goodman Puff of Barson.
PISTOL
Puff!
Puff in thy teeth, most recreant coward base!
Sir John, I am thy Pistol and thy friend,
And helter-skelter have I rode to thee,
And tidings do I bring and lucky joys
And golden times and happy news of price.
FALSTAFF
I pray thee now, deliver them like a man of this world.
PISTOL
A foutre for the world and worldlings base!
I speak of Africa and golden joys.
FALSTAFF
O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news?
Let King Cophetua know the truth thereof.
SILENCE
And Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John.
Singing

PISTOL
Shall dunghill curs confront the Helicons?
And shall good news be baffled?
Then, Pistol, lay thy head in Furies' lap.
SILENCE
Honest gentleman, I know not your breeding.
PISTOL
Why then, lament therefore.
SHALLOW
Give me pardon, sir: if, sir, you come with news
from the court, I take it there's but two ways,
either to utter them, or to conceal them. I am,
sir, under the king, in some authority.
PISTOL
Under which king, Besonian? speak, or die.
SHALLOW
Under King Harry.
PISTOL
Harry the Fourth? or Fifth?
SHALLOW
Harry the Fourth.
PISTOL
A foutre for thine office!
Sir John, thy tender lambkin now is king;
Harry the Fifth's the man. I speak the truth:
When Pistol lies, do this; and fig me, like
The bragging Spaniard.
FALSTAFF
What, is the old king dead?
PISTOL
As nail in door: the things I speak are just.
FALSTAFF
Away, Bardolph! saddle my horse. Master Robert
Shallow, choose what office thou wilt in the land,
'tis thine. Pistol, I will double-charge thee with dignities.
BARDOLPH
O joyful day!
I would not take a knighthood for my fortune.
PISTOL
What! I do bring good news.
FALSTAFF
Carry Master Silence to bed. Master Shallow, my
Lord Shallow,--be what thou wilt; I am fortune's
steward--get on thy boots: we'll ride all night.
O sweet Pistol! Away, Bardolph!
Exit BARDOLPH

Come, Pistol, utter more to me; and withal devise


something to do thyself good. Boot, boot, Master
Shallow: I know the young king is sick for me. Let
us take any man's horses; the laws of England are at
my commandment. Blessed are they that have been my
friends; and woe to my lord chief-justice!
PISTOL
Let vultures vile seize on his lungs also!
'Where is the life that late I led?' say they:
Why, here it is; welcome these pleasant days!
Exeunt

SCENE IV. London. A street.

Enter Beadles, dragging in HOSTESS QUICKLY and DOLL TEARSHEET


MISTRESS QUICKLY
No, thou arrant knave; I would to God that I might
die, that I might have thee hanged: thou hast
drawn my shoulder out of joint.
First Beadle
The constables have delivered her over to me; and
she shall have whipping-cheer enough, I warrant
her: there hath been a man or two lately killed about her.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Nut-hook, nut-hook, you lie. Come on; I 'll tell
thee what, thou damned tripe-visaged rascal, an
the child I now go with do miscarry, thou wert
better thou hadst struck thy mother, thou
paper-faced villain.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O the Lord, that Sir John were come! he would make
this a bloody day to somebody. But I pray God the
fruit of her womb miscarry!
First Beadle
If it do, you shall have a dozen of cushions again;
you have but eleven now. Come, I charge you both go
with me; for the man is dead that you and Pistol
beat amongst you.
DOLL TEARSHEET
I'll tell you what, you thin man in a censer, I
will have you as soundly swinged for this,--you
blue-bottle rogue, you filthy famished correctioner,
if you be not swinged, I'll forswear half-kirtles.
First Beadle
Come, come, you she knight-errant, come.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
O God, that right should thus overcome might!
Well, of sufferance comes ease.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Come, you rogue, come; bring me to a justice.
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Ay, come, you starved blood-hound.
DOLL TEARSHEET
Goodman death, goodman bones!
MISTRESS QUICKLY
Thou atomy, thou!
DOLL TEARSHEET
Come, you thin thing; come you rascal.
First Beadle
Very well.
Exeunt

SCENE V. A public place near Westminster Abbey.

Enter two Grooms, strewing rushes


First Groom
More rushes, more rushes.
Second Groom
The trumpets have sounded twice.
First Groom
'Twill be two o'clock ere they come from the
coronation: dispatch, dispatch.
Exeunt

Enter FALSTAFF, SHALLOW, PISTOL, BARDOLPH, and Page

FALSTAFF
Stand here by me, Master Robert Shallow; I will
make the king do you grace: I will leer upon him as
a' comes by; and do but mark the countenance that he
will give me.
PISTOL
God bless thy lungs, good knight.
FALSTAFF
Come here, Pistol; stand behind me. O, if I had had
time to have made new liveries, I would have
bestowed the thousand pound I borrowed of you. But
'tis no matter; this poor show doth better: this
doth infer the zeal I had to see him.
SHALLOW
It doth so.
FALSTAFF
It shows my earnestness of affection,--
SHALLOW
It doth so.
FALSTAFF
My devotion,--
SHALLOW
It doth, it doth, it doth.
FALSTAFF
As it were, to ride day and night; and not to
deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience
to shift me,--
SHALLOW
It is best, certain.
FALSTAFF
But to stand stained with travel, and sweating with
desire to see him; thinking of nothing else,
putting all affairs else in oblivion, as if there
were nothing else to be done but to see him.
PISTOL
'Tis 'semper idem,' for 'obsque hoc nihil est:'
'tis all in every part.
SHALLOW
'Tis so, indeed.
PISTOL
My knight, I will inflame thy noble liver,
And make thee rage.
Thy Doll, and Helen of thy noble thoughts,
Is in base durance and contagious prison;
Haled thither
By most mechanical and dirty hand:
Rouse up revenge from ebon den with fell
Alecto's snake,
For Doll is in. Pistol speaks nought but truth.
FALSTAFF
I will deliver her.
Shouts within, and the trumpets sound

PISTOL
There roar'd the sea, and trumpet-clangor sounds.
Enter KING HENRY V and his train, the Lord Chief- Justice among them

FALSTAFF
God save thy grace, King Hal! my royal Hal!
PISTOL
The heavens thee guard and keep, most royal imp of fame!
FALSTAFF
God save thee, my sweet boy!
KING HENRY IV
My lord chief-justice, speak to that vain man.
Lord Chief-Justice Have you your wits? know you what 'tis to speak?
FALSTAFF
My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!
KING HENRY IV
I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers;
How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!
I have long dream'd of such a kind of man,
So surfeit-swell'd, so old and so profane;
But, being awaked, I do despise my dream.
Make less thy body hence, and more thy grace;
Leave gormandizing; know the grave doth gape
For thee thrice wider than for other men.
Reply not to me with a fool-born jest:
Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn'd away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.
When thou dost hear I am as I have been,
Approach me, and thou shalt be as thou wast,
The tutor and the feeder of my riots:
Till then, I banish thee, on pain of death,
As I have done the rest of my misleaders,
Not to come near our person by ten mile.
For competence of life I will allow you,
That lack of means enforce you not to evil:
And, as we hear you do reform yourselves,
We will, according to your strengths and qualities,
Give you advancement. Be it your charge, my lord,
To see perform'd the tenor of our word. Set on.
Exeunt KING HENRY V, & c

FALSTAFF
Master Shallow, I owe you a thousand pound.
SHALLOW
Yea, marry, Sir John; which I beseech you to let me
have home with me.
FALSTAFF
That can hardly be, Master Shallow. Do not you
grieve at this; I shall be sent for in private to
him: look you, he must seem thus to the world:
fear not your advancements; I will be the man yet
that shall make you great.
SHALLOW
I cannot well perceive how, unless you should give
me your doublet and stuff me out with straw. I
beseech you, good Sir John, let me have five hundred
of my thousand.
FALSTAFF
Sir, I will be as good as my word: this that you
heard was but a colour.
SHALLOW
A colour that I fear you will die in, Sir John.
FALSTAFF
Fear no colours: go with me to dinner: come,
Lieutenant Pistol; come, Bardolph: I shall be sent
for soon at night.
Re-enter Prince John of LANCASTER, the Lord Chief-Justice; Officers with them

Lord Chief-Justice Go, carry Sir John Falstaff to the Fleet:


Take all his company along with him.
FALSTAFF
My lord, my lord,--
Lord Chief-Justice I cannot now speak: I will hear you soon.
Take them away.
PISTOL
Si fortune me tormenta, spero contenta.
Exeunt all but PRINCE JOHN and the Lord Chief-Justice

LANCASTER
I like this fair proceeding of the king's:
He hath intent his wonted followers
Shall all be very well provided for;
But all are banish'd till their conversations
Appear more wise and modest to the world.
Lord Chief-Justice And so they are.
LANCASTER
The king hath call'd his parliament, my lord.
Lord Chief-Justice He hath.
LANCASTER
I will lay odds that, ere this year expire,
We bear our civil swords and native fire
As far as France: I beard a bird so sing,
Whose music, to my thinking, pleased the king.
Come, will you hence?
Exeunt

EPILOGUE
Spoken by a Dancer

First my fear; then my courtesy; last my speech.


My fear is, your displeasure; my courtesy, my duty;
and my speech, to beg your pardons. If you look
for a good speech now, you undo me: for what I have
to say is of mine own making; and what indeed I
should say will, I doubt, prove mine own marring.
But to the purpose, and so to the venture. Be it
known to you, as it is very well, I was lately here
in the end of a displeasing play, to pray your
patience for it and to promise you a better. I
meant indeed to pay you with this; which, if like an
ill venture it come unluckily home, I break, and
you, my gentle creditors, lose. Here I promised you
I would be and here I commit my body to your
mercies: bate me some and I will pay you some and,
as most debtors do, promise you infinitely.
If my tongue cannot entreat you to acquit me, will
you command me to use my legs? and yet that were but
light payment, to dance out of your debt. But a
good conscience will make any possible satisfaction,
and so would I. All the gentlewomen here have
forgiven me: if the gentlemen will not, then the
gentlemen do not agree with the gentlewomen, which
was never seen before in such an assembly.
One word more, I beseech you. If you be not too
much cloyed with fat meat, our humble author will
continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make
you merry with fair Katharine of France: where, for
any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat,
unless already a' be killed with your hard
opinions; for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is
not the man. My tongue is weary; when my legs are
too, I will bid you good night: and so kneel down
before you; but, indeed, to pray for the queen.

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