Enter two Clowns
Is she to be buried in Christian burial
when she wilfully seeks her own salvation?
I tell thee she is. Therefore make her
grave straight. The crowner hath sat on her, and finds
it Christian burial.
How can that be, unless she drowned
herself in her own defence?
Why, 'tis found so.
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, and to perform. Argal, she drowned herself
Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver.
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.
But is this law?
Ay, marry, is't – crowner's quest law.
Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had
not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried
out o' Christian burial.
Why, there thou sayst. 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 gentlemen
but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They
hold up Adam's profession.
Was he a gentleman?
'A was the first that ever bore arms.
Why, he had none.
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 –
What is he that builds stronger than
either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
The gallows-maker, for that frame
outlives a thousand tenants.
I like thy wit well, in good faith. The
gallows does well. But how does it well? It does well to
those that do ill. Now thou dost ill to say the gallows is
built stronger than the church. Argal, the gallows may
do well to thee. To't again, come.
Who builds stronger than a mason, a
shipwright, or a carpenter?
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Marry, now I can tell.
Mass, I cannot tell.
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 he makes lasts till Doomsday. Go,
get thee in, and fetch me a stoup of liquor.
Exit Second Clown
(sings) In youth, when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet
To contract – O – the time for – a – my behove,
O, methought there – a – was nothing – a – meet.
Enter Hamlet and Horatio
Has this fellow no feeling of his business? 'A
sings in grave-making.
Custom hath made it in him a property of
'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment
hath the daintier sense.
But age with his stealing steps
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me into the land,
As if I had never been such.
He throws up a skull
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing
once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if 'twere
Cain's jawbone, that did the first murder! This might be
the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'erreaches;
one that would circumvent God, might it not?
It might, my lord.
Or of a courtier, which could say ‘ Good morrow,
sweet lord! How dost thou, sweet lord?’ This
might be my Lord Such-a-one, that praised my Lord
Such-a-one's horse when 'a meant to beg it, might it
Ay, my lord.
Why, e'en so, and now my Lady Worm's, chopless,
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 them? Mine ache to think on't.
type of game [in which sticks are thrown to lie near a target stake]
A pickaxe 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.
He throws up another skull
There's another. Why may not that be the skull
of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets,
quibble, equivocation, hair-splitting distinction
his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he
suffer this mad 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,
statute (n.) 2
bond securing a debt with the debtor's land; legal security
his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries.
fine (n.) 6
[legal] agreement to transfer land possession
recovery (n.) 2
[legal] procedure for transferring property into full ownership
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
scarcely lie in this box, and must th' inheritor himself
have no more, ha?
Not a jot more, my lord.
Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?
Ay, my lord, and of calves' skins too.
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance
in that. I will speak to this fellow. – Whose
grave's this, sirrah?
(sings) O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis
not yours. For my part, I do not lie in't, and yet it is mine.
Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine.
'Tis for the dead, not for the quick. Therefore thou
'Tis a quick lie, sir. 'Twill away again
from me to you.
What man dost thou dig it for?
For no man, sir.
What woman then?
For none neither.
Who is to be buried in't?
One that was a woman, sir. But, rest her
soul, she's dead.
How absolute the knave is! We must speak by
the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord,
Horatio, this three years I have took note of it, the age
is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so
near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe. – How
long hast thou been grave-maker?
Of all the days i'th' year, I came to't that
day that our last King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
How long is that since?
Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell
that. It was that very day that young Hamlet was born –
he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
Why, because 'a was mad. 'A shall recover
his wits there. Or, if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter
'Twill not be seen in him there. There
the men are as mad as he.
How came he mad?
Very strangely, they say.
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
Upon what ground?
Why, here in Denmark. I have been
sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.
How long will a man lie i'th' earth ere he rot?
Faith, if 'a be not rotten before 'a die, as
we have many pocky corses nowadays that will scarce
poxy, disease-infected [with syphilis, smallpox]
hold the laying in, 'a will last you some eight year or
nine year. A tanner will last you nine year.
Why he more than another?
Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his
trade that 'a will keep out water a great while, and your
water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.
Here's a skull now hath lien you i'th' earth three-and-twenty
Whose was it?
A whoreson mad fellow's it was. Whose
do you think it was?
Nay, I know not.
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue!
'A poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This
same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester.
Let me see. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,
Horatio. A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
He hath bore me on his back a thousand times. And
now how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge
rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have 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 chop-fallen? Now get
you to my lady's table 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.
What's that, my lord?
Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion
And smelt so? Pah!
E'en so, my lord.
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why
may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander
till 'a find it stopping a bunghole?
'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.
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 to 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 turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t' expel the winter's flaw!
But soft, but soft awhile!
Enter the King and Queen, Laertes, and the corpse of
Ophelia, with lords attendant and a Priest
Here comes the King,
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 it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile, and mark.
He withdraws with Horatio
What ceremony else?
That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
What ceremony else?
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. 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 allowed her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
Must there no more be done?
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.
Lay her i'th' 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.
What, the fair Ophelia?
Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
She scatters flowers
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.
O, treble woe
Fall ten times double 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.
He leaps in the grave
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead
Till of this flat a mountain you have made
T' o'ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
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.
The devil take thy soul!
Thou prayest not well.
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat.
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand.
Pluck them asunder.
Good my lord, be quiet.
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
O my son, what theme?
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
O, he is mad, Laertes.
For love of God, forbear him.
'Swounds, show me what thou't 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.
This is mere madness.
And thus a while 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.
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.
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
Exit Hamlet and Horatio
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.