Hamlet


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter two Clowns


FIRST CLOWN

Is she to be buried in Christian burial

when she wilfully seeks her own salvation?


SECOND CLOWN

I tell thee she is. Therefore make her

grave straight. The crowner hath sat on her, and finds
crowner (n.) coroner
sit (v.) 3 hold an inquest
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

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.
se... in self-defence See Topics: Latin

For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it

argues an act, and an act hath three branches – it is to
argue (v.) 1 indicate, betoken, be evidence of
branch (n.) division, section, part [of an argument]

act, to do, and to perform. Argal, she drowned herself

wittingly.


SECOND CLOWN

Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver.
delver (n.) [grave]digger, excavator


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
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
nill (v.) will not

you that. But if the water come to him and drown him,

he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of
argal, argo (adv.) [variants of Latin ‘ergo’] therefore See Topics: Latin

his own death shortens not his own life.


SECOND CLOWN

But is this law?


FIRST CLOWN

Ay, marry, is't – crowner's quest law.
crowner (n.) coroner
quest (n.) 4 inquest


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 sayst. And the more pity
say (v.) 6 speak the truth, speak to the point See Topics: Discourse markers

that great folk should have countenance in this world to
countenance (n.) 6 favour, patronage, approval

drown or hang themselves more than their even-Christian.
even-Christian (n.) fellow Christian

Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen

but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They
ditcher (n.) ditch-maker

hold up Adam's profession.
hold up (v.) 1 continue, keep going, carry on


SECOND CLOWN

Was he a gentleman?


FIRST CLOWN

'A 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
frame (n.) 1 framework, structure, construction

outlives a thousand tenants.


FIRST CLOWN

I like thy wit well, in good faith. The
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

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
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil

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.
unyoke (v.) 2 stop working, cease labouring


SECOND CLOWN

Marry, now I can tell.


FIRST CLOWN

To't.


SECOND CLOWN

Mass, I cannot tell.


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 he makes lasts till Doomsday. Go,

get thee in, and fetch me a stoup of liquor.
liquor (n.) 1 [alcoholic] drink
stoup (n.) cup, flagon, jug, tankard

Exit Second Clown

(sings) In youth, when I did love, did love,

Methought it was very sweet
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

To contract – O – the time for – a – my behove,
behove (n.) benefit, advantage, gain
contract (v.) 2 shorten, reduce, lessen

O, methought there – a – was nothing – a – meet.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio
feeling (n.) 1 sensibility, intuition, understanding


HAMLET

Has this fellow no feeling of his business? 'A

sings in grave-making.


HORATIO

Custom hath made it in him a property of
custom (n.) 1 habit, usual practice, customary usage
easiness (n.) 1 indifference, unconcern, carelessness
property (n.) 2 feature, characteristic, particular respect

easiness.


HAMLET

'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment
even, e'en (adv.) 1 just, exactly See Topics: Discourse markers

hath the daintier sense.
dainty (adj.) 3 fastidious, scrupulous, refined, particular
sense (n.) 3 feeling, sensibility, capacity to feel


FIRST CLOWN

(sings)
stealing (adj.) stealthily moving, gliding quietly by

But age with his stealing steps

Hath clawed me in his clutch,

And hath shipped me into the land,
ship (v.) dispatch, send, consign

As if I had never been such.

He 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 'twere
jowl (v.) dash, knock, thrust
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow

Cain's jawbone, that did the first murder! This might be

the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'erreaches;
overreach, over-reach (v.), past form overraught 3 get the better of, has the advantage of
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count
politician (n.) schemer, intriguer, plotter

one that would circumvent God, might it not?
circumvent (v.) outwit, cheat, get the better of


HORATIO

It might, my lord.


HAMLET

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

not?


HORATIO

Ay, my lord.


HAMLET

Why, e'en so, and now my Lady Worm's, chopless,

and knocked about the mazzard with a sexton's
mazzard (n.) [jocular] skull, head, bowl

spade. Here's fine revolution, an we had the trick to
revolution (n.) 1 reversal, change, twists and turns [of fortune]
trick (n.) 2 way, knack, skill

see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding but
breeding (n.) 1 raising, upbringing

to play at loggats with them? Mine ache to think on't.
loggats (n.) type of game [in which sticks are thrown to lie near a target stake]


FIRST CLOWN

(sings)

A pickaxe and a spade, a spade,

For and a shrouding sheet.
for and (conj.) and [emphatic]

O, a pit of clay for to be made

For such a guest is meet.
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

He 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,
quiddity (n.) subtlety, nicety, quibble
quillet (n.) quibble, equivocation, hair-splitting distinction

his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he
tenure (n.) 1 [legal] condition for holding property

suffer this mad knave now to knock him about the
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow

sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his
sconce (n.) 1 [jocular] head, pate, bonce

action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in's

time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances,
recognizance (n.) 2 bond recognizing a debt
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
voucher (n.) 2 [legal] warrantor of someone's right to property

Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his
fine (n.) 1 outcome, final result, conclusion
recovery (n.) 1 attainment, gain, restoration

recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? Will
fine (adj.) 3 handsome [as modern use]
fine (adj.) 9 powdery [as modern use]
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count

his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and
vouch (v.) 2 guarantee, assure, warrant

double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair

of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will
conveyance (n.) 7 [legal] document transferring property
indenture (n.) 1 (plural) [legal] joint agreement, articles of agreement

scarcely lie in this box, and must th' inheritor himself
inheritor (n.) owner, possessor, acquirer

have no more, ha?


HORATIO

Not a jot more, my lord.


HAMLET

Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?


HORATIO

Ay, my lord, and of calves' skins too.


HAMLET

They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance
assurance (n.) 1 security, certainty, confidence
calf (n.) fool, dolt, idiot
sheep (n.) fool, dolt, idiot

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 'tis

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
quick (n.) 2 living, those alive

liest.


FIRST CLOWN

'Tis a quick lie, sir. 'Twill away again

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
absolute (adj.) 4 precise, literal, particular
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow

the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord,
card, by the (n.) [of a compass-card] with minute precision
equivocation (n.) ambiguous usage, double-meaning

Horatio, this three years I have took note of it, the age

is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so
picked (adj.) 2 over-refined, fastidious, particular

near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe. – How
gall (v.) 2 chafe, rub, make sore
kibe (n.) chilblain, inflamed heel

long hast thou been grave-maker?


FIRST CLOWN

Of all the days i'th' 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 that 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 'a was mad. 'A shall recover

his wits there. Or, if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter

there.


HAMLET

Why?


FIRST CLOWN

'Twill not be seen in him there. There

the men are as mad as he.


HAMLET

How came he mad?
come (v.) 1 become, grow, come to be


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'th' earth ere he rot?


FIRST CLOWN

Faith, if 'a be not rotten before 'a die, as

we have many pocky corses nowadays that will scarce
corse (n.) corpse, dead body See Topics: Frequency count
pocky (adj.) poxy, disease-infected [with syphilis, smallpox]

hold the laying in, 'a will last you some eight year or
hold (v.) 6 survive, last out [until]

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 'a will keep out water a great while, and your

water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.
sore (adj.) 1 severe, harsh, heavy

Here's a skull now hath lien you i'th' 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
Rhenish (n.) Rhineland wine

same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester.


HAMLET

This?


FIRST CLOWN

E'en that.
even, e'en (adv.) 1 just, exactly See Topics: Discourse markers


HAMLET

Let me see. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,

Horatio. A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
fancy (n.) 3 imagination, creativity, inventiveness

He hath bore me on his back a thousand times. And

now how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge
abhorred (adj.) horrifying, disgusting, abominable
gorge (n.) 2 stomach contents

rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I

know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that

were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to
wont (v.) be accustomed, used [to], be in the habit of See Topics: Frequency count

mock your own grinning? Quite chop-fallen? Now get
chop-fallen downcast, dejected, down in the mouth

you to my lady's table and tell her, let her paint an inch
paint (v.) adorn, beautify, enhance

thick, to this favour she must come. Make her laugh at
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks

that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.


HORATIO

What's that, my lord?


HAMLET

Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion

i'th' earth?


HORATIO

E'en so.


HAMLET

And smelt so? Pah!


HORATIO

E'en so, my lord.


HAMLET

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count

may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander

till 'a find it stopping a bunghole?


HORATIO

'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.
curiously (adv.) 3 fastidiously, minutely, ingeniously


HAMLET

No, faith, not a jot. But to follow him thither

with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it; as thus:
modesty (n.) 1 moderation, restraint, discipline

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
convert (v.) change, transform, alter

might they not stop a beer barrel?

Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
imperious, emperious (adj.) imperial, majestic, sovereign

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!
flaw (n.) 1 gust, squall, blast

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
maimed (adj.) incomplete, deficient, wanting

The corse they follow did with desperate hand
corse (n.) corpse, dead body See Topics: Frequency count

Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
estate (n.) 2 high rank, standing, status
fordo (v.) 2 put an end to, kill, destroy

Couch we awhile, and mark.
awhile (adv.) a short time, briefly
couch (v.) 1 conceal, hide, lie hidden
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

He withdraws with Horatio


LAERTES

What ceremony else?


HAMLET

That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


LAERTES

What ceremony else?


PRIEST

Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
enlarge (v.) 3 widen, extend, augment

As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
warranty (n.) authorization, permission, sanction

And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
order (n.) 2 prescribed practice, regular procedure
oversway (v.) prevail upon, override, overturn

She should in ground unsanctified have lodged

Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
for (prep.) 5 instead of

Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
shard (n.) 1 broken pottery, pot fragments

Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
crants (n.) (singular) garland, wreath, chaplet

Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
strewment (n.) strewn flowers [on a grave]

Of bell and burial.
burial (n.) 1 burial service, funeral solemnities


LAERTES

Must there no more be done?


PRIEST

                         No more be done.

We should profane the service of the dead

To sing a requiem and such rest to her
sage (adj.) solemn, grave, dignified

As to peace-parted souls.
peace-parted (adj.) who have departed this life in peace


LAERTES

                         Lay her i'th' earth,

And from her fair and unpolluted flesh

May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
churlish (adj.) 1 rude, blunt, ungracious

A ministering angel shall my sister be

When thou liest howling.


HAMLET

                         What, the fair Ophelia?


QUEEN

Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
sweet (n.) 2 sweet-scented flower, fragrant plant

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.


LAERTES

                         O, treble woe

Fall ten times double on that cursed head

Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
ingenious (adj.) 1 alert, fully conscious, intelligent, capable
sense (n.) 5 mind, power of reason, wits

Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,

Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.

He leaps in the grave
quick (n.) 2 living, those alive

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
skyish (adj.) lofty, sky-reaching

Of blue Olympus.


HAMLET

(coming forward)

                         What is he whose grief

Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
emphasis (n.) vigorous expression, forceful utterance

Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
conjure (v.) 5 put a spell on, charm, bewitch
stand (v.) 4 stand still, stop, cease moving
wandering (adj.) 1 [astrology] having its own motion

Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
wonder-wounded (adj.) awestruck, wonder-struck

Hamlet the Dane.


LAERTES

                         The devil take thy soul!


HAMLET

Thou prayest not well.

I prithee take thy fingers from my throat.

For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
splenitive, spleenative (adj.) of angry temperament, hot-headed

Yet have I in me something dangerous,
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count

Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand.
wisdom (n.) 2 good sense, judgement


KING

Pluck them asunder.


QUEEN

                         Hamlet, Hamlet!


ALL

Gentlemen!


HORATIO

                         Good my lord, be quiet.


HAMLET

Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
theme (n.) 1 subject, subject-matter, topic of discourse

Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
wag (v.) 3 move, stir, rouse


QUEEN

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

O, he is mad, Laertes.


QUEEN

For love of God, forbear him.
forbear (v.) 2 leave alone, avoid, stay away [from] See Topics: Frequency count


HAMLET

'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
prate (v.) prattle, chatter, blather See Topics: Frequency count

Millions of acres on us, till our ground,

Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count
zone, burning inter-tropical domain encircling the earth

Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,

I'll rant as well as thou.
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count


QUEEN

                         This is mere madness.

And thus a while the fit will work on him.

Anon, as patient as the female dove
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
couplet (n.) 2 two chicks, pair of young
disclose (v.) 1 hatch, be born

His silence will sit drooping.


HAMLET

                         Hear you, sir.

What is the reason that you use me thus?
use (v.) 2 treat, deal with, manage

I loved you ever. But it is no matter.

Let Hercules himself do what he may,

The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.


KING

I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

Exit Hamlet and Horatio

(to Laertes)
speech (n.) conversation, talk, discourse

Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.

We'll put the matter to the present push.
push (n.) 3 test, trial

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

 
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