Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Polonius, with his man Reynaldo


Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.


I will, my lord.


You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
marvellous (adv.) very, extremely, exceedingly See Topics: Frequency count

Before you visit him, to make inquire

Of his behaviour.


                         My lord, I did intend it.


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,
keep (v.) 1 lodge, live, dwell

What company, at what expense; and finding

By this encompassment and drift of question
encompassment (n.) talking around [a subject], roundabout means

That they do know my son, come you more nearer

Than your particular demands will touch it.
demand (n.) 1 question, enquiry, request
particular (adj.) 2 detailed, specific, precise
touch (v.) 4 achieve, accomplish, attain

Take you as 'twere some distant knowledge of him,
take (v.) 11 assume, pretend, feign

As thus, ‘ I know his father and his friends,

And in part him ’ – do you mark this, Reynaldo?
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


Ay, very well, my lord.


‘ 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
put upon / on (v.) ascribe to, impute to, attribute to

What forgeries you please – marry, none so rank
forgery (n.) 1 fictitious account, invention, fabrication
rank (adj.) 4 gross, outlandish, coarse

As may dishonour him – take heed of that –

But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
wanton (adj.) 3 unrestrained, undisciplined, boisterous, uncontrolled

As are companions noted and most known

To youth and liberty.


                         As gaming, my lord.


Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,

Drabbing. You may go so far.
drabbing (n.) whoring, associating with harlots


My lord, that would dishonour him.


Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
charge (n.) 6 accusation, censure, blame
season (v.) 3 modify, soften, alleviate

You must not put another scandal on him,
scandal (n.) 2 disgraceful reputation, scandalous imputation

That he is open to incontinency.
incontinency (n.) lack of sexual restraint, sexual indulgence, infidelity

That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
breathe (v.) 1 speak, utter, talk
quaintly (adv.) 1 subtly, skilfully, ingeniously

That they may seem the taints of liberty,
taint (n.) 1 fault, blemish, flaw

The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,

A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
unreclaimed (adj.) unreformed, uncorrected, untamed

Of general assault.
assault (n.) attack, temptation, snare


                         But, my good lord –


Wherefore should you do this?


                         Ay, my lord,

I would know that.


                         Marry, sir, here's my drift,

And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
fetch (n.) 1 dodge, stratagem, contrivance
warrant, of allowed, warranted, justifiable

You laying these slight sullies on my son,
sully (n.) blemish, stain, flaw

As 'twere a thing a little soiled i'th' working,
soil (v.) blemish, stain, tarnish
working, in the being used, being worked upon [by the world]

Mark you,
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

Your party in converse, him you would sound,
converse (n.) conversation, discourse, interaction
sound (v.) 1 sound out, question, examine

Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
crime (n.) 1 sin, offence, wrong-doing
prenominate (adj.) aforesaid, previously mentioned

The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
breathe (v.) 1 speak, utter, talk

He closes with you in this consequence:
close (v.) 1 agree, come to terms, compromise
consequence, in this in the following way

‘ Good sir,’ or so, or ‘ friend,’ or ‘ gentleman ’ –

According to the phrase or the addition
addition (n.) 4 polite form of address, style of address

Of man and country –


                         Very good, my lord.


And then, sir, does 'a this – 'a does – What

was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say

something! Where did I leave?


At ‘ closes in the consequence ’, at ‘ friend,’

‘ or so,’ and ‘ gentleman.’


At ‘ closes in the consequence ’ – Ay, marry!

He closes thus: ‘ I know the gentleman.

I saw him yesterday, or th' other day,

Or then, or then, with such or such, and, as you say,

There was 'a gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse;
overtake (v.) 4 drunkenly overcome, overpowered by drink
rouse (n.) full draught (of wine), brimful cup, carousing

There falling out at tennis;’ or perchance
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count

‘ 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,
reach (n.) 2 capacity of mind, penetration

With windlasses and with assays of bias,
assay (n.) 2 attack, attempt, trial
bias (n.) 2 indirectness, obliqueness
windlass (n.) circuit made to intercept game while hunting; roundabout way

By indirections find directions out.
direction (n.) 3 way of proceeding, course of action
indirection (n.) 1 roundabout means, indirect approach

So, by my former lecture and advice,
lecture (n.) 1 lesson, instructive example

Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?
have (v.) 1 understand, grasp, comprehend


My lord, I have.


                         God bye ye, fare ye well.


Good my lord.


Observe his inclination in yourself.


I shall, my lord.


And let him ply his music.
ply one's music go one's own way


                         Well, my lord.



Exit Reynaldo

Enter Ophelia

                         How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?


O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
affright (v.) frighten, terrify, scare


With what, i'th' name of God?


My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room

Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
unbraced (adj.) unfastened, not laced up, loose

No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
fouled (adj.) filthy, dirtied

Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle,
down-gyved (adj.) hanging down like fetters [gyves]

Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,

And with a look so piteous in purport
purport (n.) meaning, expression, effect

As if he had been loosed out of hell

To speak of horrors – he comes before me.


Mad for thy love?


                         My lord, I do not know,

But truly I do fear it.


                         What said he?


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
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

He falls to such perusal of my face
perusal (n.) inspection, scrutiny, examination

As 'a would draw it. Long stayed 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
bulk (n.) 1 body, trunk, frame

And end his being. That done, he lets me go;
being (n.) 2 physical existence, life

And, with his head over his shoulder turned,

He seemed 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.


Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.

This is the very ecstasy of love,
ecstasy (n.) 1 fit, bout of madness, frenzied behaviour

Whose violent property fordoes itself
fordo (v.) 1 wreck, destroy, ruin
property (n.) 1 quality, character, nature

And leads the will to desperate undertakings

As oft as any passion under heaven
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.

What, have you given him any hard words of late?


No, my good lord. But, as you did command,

I did repel his letters and denied

His access to me.


                         That hath made him mad.

I am sorry that with better heed and judgement

I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle
quote (v.) 1 closely observe, note, examine

And meant to wrack thee. But beshrew my jealousy.
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count
jealousy (n.) 1 suspicion, mistrust, apprehension
wrack (v.) 2 destroy, ruin, dishonour

By heaven, it is as proper to our age
proper (adj.) 6 characteristic, typical, normal

To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
cast (v.) 1 calculate, reckon, estimate

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
close (adv.) 6 safely, secretly, out of sight

More grief to hide than hate to utter love.



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