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Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 5 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Hamlet Act 4, Scene 5



Elsinore - a Room in the Castle

Hamlet Act 4 Scene 5

Enter HORATIO, GERTRUDE, and a GENTLEMAN

Enter HORATIO, GERTRUDE, and a GENTLEMAN

GERTRUDE

I will not speak with her.

 

GERTRUDE

I will not speak with her.

 

GENTLEMAN

    She is importunate,

Indeed distract. Her mood will needs be pitied.

distract=crazed

 

GENTLEMAN

    She is importunate,

Indeed distract. Her mood will needs be pitied.

 

GERTRUDE

What would she have?

 

GERTRUDE

What would she have?

 

GENTLEMAN

She speaks much of her father, says she hears

There’s tricks i' th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,

hems=coughs

heart=breast

Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt

spurns enviously at straws=kicks spitefully at tiny matters

things in doubt=obscure things

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,

to collection=to piece them together

aim at it=guess

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.

 

GENTLEMAN

She speaks much of her father, says she hears

There’s tricks i' th' 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.

 

HORATIO

'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew

Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

 

GERTRUDE

Let her come in.

 

GERTRUDE

Let her come in.

 

Exit GENTLEMAN

Exit GENTLEMAN

(aside) To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is)

Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.

toy=trifle

So full of artless jealousy is guilt,

artless jealousy=silly suspicion

It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.

 

(aside) 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.

 

Enter OPHELIA, distracted (insane)

Enter OPHELIA, distracted

OPHELIA

Where is the beauteous majesty (the queen) of Denmark?

 

OPHELIA

Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

 

GERTRUDE

How now, Ophelia?

 

GERTRUDE

How now, Ophelia?

 

OPHELIA

(sings)

How should I your true love know

  From another one?

By his cockle hat and staff,

cockle hat=hat with a cockleshell on it, worn by pilgrims

  And his sandal shoon.

shoon=shoes

 

OPHELIA

(sings)

How should I your true love know

  From another one?

By his cockle hat and staff,

  And his sandal shoon.

 

GERTRUDE

Alas, sweet lady, what imports (means) this song?

 

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.

Oh, ho!

 

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.

Oh, ho!

 

GERTRUDE

Nay, but, Ophelia—

 

GERTRUDE

Nay, but, Ophelia—

 

OPHELIA

Pray you, mark.

(sings)

White his shroud as the mountain snow

 

OPHELIA

Pray you, mark.

(sings)

White his shroud as the mountain snow

 

Enter CLAUDIUS

Enter CLAUDIUS

GERTRUDE

Alas, look here, my lord.

 

GERTRUDE

Alas, look here, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

(sings)

  Larded all with sweet flowers,

larded=decorated

Which bewept to the ground did not go

  With true-love showers.

(Polonius was buried secretly)

 

OPHELIA

(sings)

  Larded all with sweet flowers,

Which bewept to the ground did not go

  With true-love showers.

 

CLAUDIUS

How do you, pretty lady?

 

CLAUDIUS

How do you, pretty lady?

 

OPHELIA

Well (I’m well), God'ield you (God yield you help)! They say the owl was (had been) a baker’s daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table.

 

OPHELIA

Well, God'ield 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.

 

CLAUDIUS

Conceit (fanciful thinking) upon her father.

 

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)

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,

  All in the morning betime,

betime=early

And I a maid at your window,

  To be your Valentine.

Then up he rose, and donned his clothes,

  And dupped the chamber door.

dup=do up, open

Let in the maid that out a maid

maid=virgin

  Never departed more.

 

OPHELIA

Pray you, let’s have no words of this, but when they ask you what it means, say you this:

(sings)

Tomorrow 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 donned his clothes,

  And dupped the chamber door.

Let in the maid that out a maid

  Never departed more.

 

CLAUDIUS

Pretty Ophelia—

 

CLAUDIUS

Pretty Ophelia—

 

OPHELIA

Indeed, without an oath I’ll make an end on ’t:

(sings)

By Gis and by Saint Charity,

Gis=Jesus

  Alack, and fie, for shame!

Young men will do ’t, if they come to ’t.

  By Cock, they are to blame.

Cock=variant of “God” (double meaning with “a pert boy”)

Quoth she, “Before you tumbled me,

  You promised me to wed.”

He answers,

“So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,

  An thou hadst not come to my bed.”

 

OPHELIA

Indeed, 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.”

He answers,

“So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,

  An thou hadst not come to my bed.”

 

CLAUDIUS

How long hath she been thus?

 

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' th' 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.

 

OPHELIA

I hope all will be well. We must be patient, but I cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him i' th' 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 OPHELIA

Exit OPHELIA

CLAUDIUS

Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you.

 

CLAUDIUS

Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you.

 

Oh, this is the poison of deep grief. It springs

All from her father’s death, and now behold!

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,

muddied=confused

Thick, and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers

For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly

greenly=foolishly

In hugger-mugger to inter him. Poor Ophelia

hugger-mugger=secret

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,

clouds=suspicions

And wants not buzzers to infect his ear

wants not buzzers=is not lacking whisperers

With pestilent speeches of his father’s death,

of=as to the cause of

Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,

of matter beggared=lacking evidence

Will nothing stick our person to arraign

(will not hesitate to accuse me)

In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,

Like to a murdering piece, in many places

murdering piece=gun

Gives me superfluous death.

superfluous death=death again and again

Oh, this is the poison of deep grief. It springs

All from her father’s death, and now behold!

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 beggared,

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

A noise within

GERTRUDE

    Alack, what noise is this?

 

GERTRUDE

    Alack, what noise is this?

 

CLAUDIUS

Where are my Switzers (hired Swiss bodyguards)? Let them guard the door.

 

CLAUDIUS

Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.

 

Enter a MESSENGER

Enter a MESSENGER

What is the matter?

What is the matter?

MESSENGER

  Save yourself, my lord.

The ocean, overpeering of his list,

list=bounds

Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste

Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,

riotous head=mob

O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him “lord”

And—as the world were now but to begin,

as the world=as if the world

but to begin=at its beginning

Antiquity forgot, custom not known,

The ratifiers and props of every word—

(antiquity and custom are the props  - underpinnings – of the world)

They cry, “Choose we! Laertes shall be king!”

Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds:

“Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!”

 

MESSENGER

  Save yourself, my lord.

The ocean, overpeering of his list,

Eats not the flats with more impiteous 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!”

 

GERTRUDE

How cheerfully on the false trail they (hounds following a false scent) cry.

O, this is counter (a bad scent), you false Danish dogs!

 

GERTRUDE

How cheerfully on the false trail they cry.

O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!

 

Noise within

Noise within

CLAUDIUS

The doors are broke.

 

CLAUDIUS

The doors are broke.

 

Enter LAERTES with others

Enter LAERTES with others

LAERTES

Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without.

 

LAERTES

Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without.

 

ALL

No, let’s come in!

 

ALL

No, let’s come in!

 

LAERTES

I pray you, give me leave.

 

LAERTES

I pray you, give me leave.

 

ALL

We will, we will.

 

ALL

We will, we will.

 

Exeunt LAERTES' FOLLOWERS

Exeunt LAERTES' FOLLOWERS

LAERTES

I thank you. Keep the door.—O thou vile king,

Give me my father!

 

LAERTES

I thank you. Keep the door.—O thou vile king,

Give me my father!

 

GERTRUDE

  Calmly, good Laertes.

 

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 unsmirchèd brow

Of my true mother.

(if I’m calm, then . . . )

 

LAERTES

That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me bastard,

Cries “Cuckold!” to my father, brands the “harlot”

Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow

Of my true mother.

 

CLAUDIUS

  What is the cause, Laertes,

That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?—

Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.

do not fear our person=fear not for me

There’s such divinity doth hedge a king

hedge=protect

That treason can but peep to what it would,

Acts little of his will.—Tell me, Laertes,

acts little of his will=does not act on its desires

Why thou art thus incensed.—Let him go, Gertrude.—

Speak, man.

 

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?

 

LAERTES

 Where is my father?

 

CLAUDIUS

    Dead.

 

CLAUDIUS

    Dead.

 

GERTRUDE

But not by him.

 

GERTRUDE

But not by him.

 

CLAUDIUS

  Let him demand his fill.

 

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!

vows, to the blackest devil=feudal vows, to the devil with them

Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!

profoundest pit=deepest hell

I dare damnation. To this point I stand

That both the worlds I give to negligence.

both the worlds=heaven and hell (or this world and the next)

Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged

Most thoroughly for my father.

 

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.

 

CLAUDIUS

Who shall stay you?

stay=stop

 

CLAUDIUS

Who shall stay you?

 

LAERTES

My will, not all the world.

(no one shall restrain me but myself)

And for my means, I’ll husband them so well,

They shall go far with little.

 

LAERTES

My will, not all the world.

And for my means, I’ll husband them so well,

They shall go far with little.

 

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,

swoopstake=the most desperate of all gambling plays

draw=pick out from a pack of cards

Winner and loser?

 

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.

 

LAERTES

None but his enemies.

 

CLAUDIUS

Will you know them then?

 

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,

(the pelican was thought to feed its young with its own blood)

Repast them with my blood.

 

LAERTES

To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms

And, like the kind life-rendering pelican,

Repast them with my blood.

 

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,

sensible=plain to see

It shall as level to your judgment pierce

it=that I am guiltless

level=clearly

As day does to your eye.

 

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.

 

Noise within: “Let her come in!”

Noise within: “Let her come in!”

LAERTES

How now? What noise is that?

 

LAERTES

How now? What noise is that?

 

Enter OPHELIA

Enter OPHELIA

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

heat – it was thought that heat resulted from sorrow

Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!

virtue=power

By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,

Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May,

scale=mechanical scale (two trays suspended from the ends of a beam)

Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!

O heavens, is ’t possible a young maid’s wits

Should be as mortal 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.

(nature in love gives something of itself to its beloved)

 

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 mortal 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 rained many a tear.

Fare you well, my dove.

 

OPHELIA

(sings)

They bore him barefaced on the bier,

  Hey, non nonny, nonny, hey, nonny,

And in his grave rained many a tear.

Fare you well, my dove.

 

LAERTES

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,

It could not move thus.

(your rational persuasion could not move me as much)

 

LAERTES

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,

It could not move thus.

 

OPHELIA

You must sing A-down a-down—And you, Call him a- down-a—Oh, how the wheel (song refrain?) becomes it (takes over)! It is the false ( greedy) steward that stole his master’s daughter.

 

OPHELIA

You must sing A-down a-down—And you, Call him a- down-a—Oh, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward that stole his master’s daughter.

 

LAERTES

This nothing’s more than matter.

(Ophelia’s nonsense makes more sense than rational talk)

 

LAERTES

This nothing’s more than matter.

 

OPHELIA

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.

 

OPHELIA

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.

 

LAERTES

A document in madness. Thoughts and remembrance fitted.

 

LAERTES

A document in madness. Thoughts and remembrance fitted.

 

OPHELIA

There’s fennel for you, and columbines.—There’s rue (rue represents repentance) for you, and here’s some for me. We may call it “herb of grace” (forgiveness) o' Sundays.—Oh, you must wear your rue with a difference.—There’s a daisy (daisy represents faithlessness). I would give you some violets (violets represent faithfulness), but they withered all when my father died. They say he made a good end (sings) For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy

Robin=Robin Hood

 

OPHELIA

There’s fennel for you, and columbines.—There’s rue for you, and here’s some for me. We may call it “herb of grace” o' Sundays.—Oh, 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 favor and to prettiness.

favor=charm

 

LAERTES

Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,

She turns to favor 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 deathbed.

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,

All flaxen was his poll.

poll=head

  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.

 

OPHELIA

(sings)

And will he not come again?

And will he not come again?

  No, no, he is dead,

  Go to thy deathbed.

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 OPHELIA

Exit OPHELIA

LAERTES

Do you see this, O God

 

LAERTES

Do you see this, O God

 

CLAUDIUS

Laertes, I must commune with your grief,

Or you deny me right. Go but apart,

right=my right

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 touched, we will our kingdom give,

us=me

we=I

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 labor with your soul

To give it due content.

content=satisfaction

 

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 touched, 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 labor 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,

hatchment=tablet

No noble rite nor formal ostentation—

Cry to be heard as ’twere from heaven to earth,

That I must call ’t in question.

 

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.

 

CLAUDIUS

    So you shall.

And where the offense is, let the great ax fall.

I pray you, go with me.

 

CLAUDIUS

    So you shall.

And where the offense is, let the great ax fall.

I pray you, go with me.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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