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Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Hamlet Act 5, Scene 2



A Hall in the Castle

Hamlet Act 5 Scene 2

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO

HAMLET

So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other.

You do remember all the circumstance?

 

HAMLET

So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other.

You do remember all the circumstance?

 

HORATIO

Remember it, my lord?

 

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—

mutines=mutineers

bilboes=shackles

And praised be rashness for it: let us know

rashness . . .- rashness, for it lets us know?? – scholars are uncertain

Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well

When our deep plots do pall, and that should teach us

pall=fail

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,

Rough-hew them how we will—

 

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.

 

HORATIO

That is most certain.

 

HAMLET

Up from my cabin,

My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark

Groped I to find out them, had my desire,

had my desire=fulfilled my purpose

Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew

in fine=in conclusion

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

bugs and goblins=ravings, crimes, etc.

That, on the supervise (no leisure bated,

on the supervise=on reading it

bated=allowed

No, not to stay the grinding of the ax)

stay=wait for

My head should be struck off.

 

HAMLET

Up from my cabin,

My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark

Groped I to find out them, had my desire,

Fingered 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 ax)

My head should be struck off.

 

HORATIO

    Is ’t possible?

 

HORATIO

    Is ’t possible?

 

HAMLET

(shows HORATIO a document)

Here’s the commission. Read it at more leisure.

But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?

 

HAMLET

(shows HORATIO a document)

Here’s the commission. Read it at more leisure.

But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?

 

HORATIO

I beseech you.

 

HORATIO

I beseech you.

 

HAMLET

Being thus be-netted round with villainies—

Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,

(introduce myself to my thoughts)

They had begun the play—I sat me down,

(my brains had begun a plan OR my captors had begun to act)

Devised a new commission, wrote it fair.

fair=with good handwriting

I once did hold it, as our statists do,

statists=statesmen

A baseness to write fair, and labored much

How to forget that learning, but, sir, now

learning=learning to write well

It did me yeoman’s service. Wilt thou know

it=learning to write well

(yeomen rendered good service)

Th' effect of what I wrote?

 

HAMLET

Being thus benetted round with villainies—

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 labored much

How to forget that learning, but, sir, now

It did me yeoman’s service. Wilt thou know

Th' effect of what I wrote?

 

HORATIO

Ay, good my lord.

 

HORATIO

Ay, good my lord.

 

HAMLET

An earnest conjuration from the king,

As England was his faithful tributary,

(England paid tribute to Denmark)

As love between them like the palm might flourish,

As peace should still her wheaten garland wear

(Peace was pictured with wheat)

And stand a comma ’tween their amities,

comma=connection

And many suchlike “as’s” of great charge,

That, on the view and knowing of these contents,

Without debatement further, more or less,

debatement=consideration

He should the bearers put to sudden death,

Not shriving time allowed.

shriving time=time for religious confession of sins

 

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 suchlike “as’s” 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 allowed.

 

HORATIO

How was this sealed (with an official seal)?

 

HORATIO

How was this sealed?

 

HAMLET

Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.

ordinant=in control

I had my father’s signet in my purse,

signet=signet ring

Which was the model of that Danish seal.

Folded the writ up in form of th' other,

(folded the fake document just like the original)

Subscribed it, gave ’t th' impression, placed it safely,

subscribed=signed (forged)

The changeling never known. Now, the next day

Was our sea fight, and what to this was sequent

was sequent=followed

Thou know’st already.

 

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 th' other,

Subscribed it, gave ’t th' 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 (are in for it).

 

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.

insinuation=worming their way into my business

'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes

Between the pass and fell incensèd points

pass=thrust (fencing term)

fell=cruelty

points=sword points

Of mighty opposites.

 

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 incensèd points

Of mighty opposites.

 

HORATIO

Why, what a king is this!

 

HORATIO

Why, what a king is this!

 

HAMLET

Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon—

stand me now upon=now become my duty

He that hath killed my king and whored my mother,

Popped in between th' election and my hopes,

Thrown out his angle for my proper life

angle=fishing hook

(And with such cozenage!)—is ’t not perfect conscience

cozenage=deceit

perfect conscience=in good conscience

To quit him with this arm? And is ’t not to be damned

quit him=finish him off

arm=sword

To let this canker of our nature come

canker=blight

come=proceed

In further evil?

 

HAMLET

Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon—

He that hath killed my king and whored my mother,

Popped in between th' 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 damned

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.

 

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’s 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 favors.

But sure the bravery of his grief did put me

Into a towering passion.

 

HAMLET

It will be short. The interim’s 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 favors.

But sure the bravery of his grief did put me

Into a towering passion.

 

HORATIO

Peace.—Who comes here?

 

HORATIO

Peace.—Who comes here?

 

Enter young OSRIC, a courtier, hat in hand

Enter young OSRIC, a courtier, hat in hand

OSRIC

Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

 

OSRIC

Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

 

HAMLET

I humbly thank you, sir. (aside to HORATIO) Dost know this water-fly?

 

HAMLET

I humbly thank you, sir. (aside to HORATIO) Dost know this water-fly?

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) No, my good lord.

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) No, my good lord.

 

HAMLET

(aside to HORATIO) 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 (feeding trough) shall stand at the king’s mess (dinner table). 'Tis a chough, but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

(choughs, which are crow-like birds, jump about when feeding and look foolish)

 

HAMLET

(aside to HORATIO) 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.

 

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 (hat) to his right use. 'Tis for the head.

 

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.

 

OSRIC

I thank your lordship. It is very hot.

 

HAMLET

No, believe me, ’tis very cold. The wind is northerly.

 

HAMLET

No, believe me, ’tis very cold. The wind is northerly.

 

OSRIC

It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

 

OSRIC

It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

 

HAMLET

But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion (constitution).

 

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. My lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter—

 

OSRIC

Exceedingly, my lord. It is very sultry—as ’twere—I cannot tell how. 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—(indicates that OSRIC should put on his hat)

 

HAMLET

I beseech you, remember—(indicates that OSRIC should 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 (accomplishments), of very soft (high) society and great showing. Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or calendar (handbook) of gentry, for you shall find in him the continent (mass) of what part a gentleman would see.

 

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 (diminution) in you, though I know to divide him inventorially would dizzy th' arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw (lag) 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 (quality) 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 (shadow), nothing more.

 

HAMLET

Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you, though I know to divide him inventorially would dizzy th' 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.

 

OSRIC

Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

 

HAMLET

The concernancy (what is the point that concerns me), sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath (language)?

 

HAMLET

The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?

 

OSRIC

Sir?

 

OSRIC

Sir?

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) Is ’t not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do ’t (speak affectedly), sir, really.

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) Is ’t not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do ’t, sir, really.

 

HAMLET

What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

(what is the meaning of naming this gentleman)

 

HAMLET

What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

 

OSRIC

Of Laertes?

 

OSRIC

Of Laertes?

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) His purse is empty already. All ’s golden words are spent.

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) His purse is empty already. All ’s golden words are spent.

 

HAMLET

Of him, sir.

 

HAMLET

Of him, sir.

 

OSRIC

I know you are not ignorant—

 

OSRIC

I know you are not ignorant—

 

HAMLET

I would you did, sir. Yet in faith, if you did, it would not much approve (commend) me. Well, sir?

 

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—

 

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.

(One can’t really understand a person superior to oneself. If I understood Laertes’ excellence, I would be equally excellent, and I am not.)

 

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 (reputation), in his meed (merit) he’s unfellowed (unequaled).

 

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?

 

HAMLET

What’s his weapon?

 

OSRIC

Rapier and dagger.

 

OSRIC

Rapier and dagger.

 

HAMLET

That’s two of his weapons. But well.

 

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 impawned (wagered), as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards with their assigns (appurtenances)—as girdle, hangers, and so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages (loop attached to a belt for holding a sword), and of very liberal conceit (design).

 

OSRIC

The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses, against the which he has impawned, 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?

 

HAMLET

What call you the carriages?

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) I knew you must be edified by the margin (notes in the margin) ere you had done.

 

HORATIO

(aside to HAMLET) I knew you must be edified by the margin ere you had done.

 

OSRIC

The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

 

OSRIC

The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

 

HAMLET

The phrase would be more germane 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 “impawned,” as you call it?

 

HAMLET

The phrase would be more germane 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 “impawned,” as you call it?

 

OSRIC

The king, sir, hath laid that in a dozen passes (rounds) 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.

 

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”?

 

HAMLET

How if I answer “No”?

 

OSRIC

I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial (if you enter the match).

 

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 (exercising) 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.

 

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 redeliver you e'en so?

 

OSRIC

Shall I redeliver you e'en so?

 

HAMLET

To this effect, sir, after what flourish your nature will.

 

HAMLET

To this effect, sir, after what flourish your nature will.

 

OSRIC

I commend my duty to your lordship.

 

OSRIC

I commend my duty to your lordship.

 

HAMLET

Yours, yours.

 

HAMLET

Yours, yours.

 

Exit OSRIC

Exit OSRIC

He does well to commend it himself. There are no tongues else for ’s turn.

(he would do well to commend himself. There are no other tongues that would do it)

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.

(lapwings run as soon as hatched)

 

HORATIO

This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

 

HAMLET

He did comply (make friends), sir, with his dug before he sucked it. Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy (company) that I know the drossy (trashy) age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit (veneer) of encounter (meeting people), a kind of yeasty (frothy) collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed (purified) opinions; and do but blow them to their trial (try blowing on them), the bubbles are out (deflated).

 

HAMLET

He did comply (make friends), sir, with his dug before he sucked it. Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy (company) that I know the drossy (trashy) age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit (veneer) of encounter (meeting people), a kind of yeasty (frothy) collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed (purified) opinions; and do but blow them to their trial (try blowing on them), the bubbles are out (deflated).

 

Enter a LORD

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

LORD

The king and queen and all are coming down.

 

HAMLET

In happy time.

 

HAMLET

In happy time.

 

LORD

The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to

Laertes before you fall to play.

 

LORD

The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to

Laertes before you fall to play.

 

Exit LORD

Exit LORD

HAMLET

She well instructs me.

 

HAMLET

She well instructs me.

 

HORATIO

You will lose this wager, my 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 practice. I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart. But it is no matter.

 

HAMLET

I do not think so. Since he went into France, I have been in continual practice. 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—

 

HORATIO

Nay, good my lord—

 

HAMLET

It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of gain-giving (misgiving) as would perhaps trouble a woman.

 

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 anything, obey it. I will forestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.

 

HORATIO

If your mind dislike anything, 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 of aught he leaves knows, what is ’t to leave betimes (early)? Let be.

(uncertain: no man with possessions knows when he will be dispossessed (die), so why not die early)

 

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 of aught he leaves knows, what is ’t to leave betimes? Let be.

 

Enter King CLAUDIUS, Queen GERTRUDE,LAERTES, OSRIC, lords, and other attendants with trumpets, drums, foils, a table, and flagons of wine

Enter King CLAUDIUS, Queen GERTRUDE,LAERTES, OSRIC, lords, and other attendants with trumpets, drums, foils, a table, and flagons of wine

CLAUDIUS

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

 

CLAUDIUS

Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me. (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 punished

With sore distraction. What I have done,

That might your nature, honor, and exception

Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.

Was ’t Hamlet wronged 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 wronged.

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.

 

HAMLET

Give me your pardon, sir. I’ve done you wrong.

But pardon ’t, as you are a gentleman.

This presence (assembly) knows,

And you must needs have heard, how I am punished

With sore distraction. What I have done,

That might your nature, honor, and exception

Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.

Was ’t Hamlet wronged 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 wronged.

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,

in nature=in the way of natural feeling

Whose motive in this case should stir me most

To my revenge. But in my terms of honor

I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement

Till by some elder masters, of known honor,

I have a voice and precedent of peace

To keep my name ungored. But till that time

ungored=unblemished

I do receive your offered love like love

And will not wrong it.

 

LAERTES

    I am satisfied in nature,

Whose motive in this case should stir me most

To my revenge. But in my terms of honor

I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement

Till by some elder masters, of known honor,

I have a voice and precedent of peace

To keep my name ungored. But till that time

I do receive your offered 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.

 

HAMLET

    I embrace it freely,

And will this brother’s wager frankly play.—

Give us the foils. Come on.

 

LAERTES

     Come, one for me.

 

LAERTES

     Come, one for me.

 

HAMLET

I’ll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance

Your skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,

Stick (show) fiery off indeed.

 

HAMLET

I’ll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance

Your skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,

Stick fiery off indeed.

 

LAERTES

You mock me, sir.

 

LAERTES

You mock me, sir.

 

HAMLET

No, by this hand.

 

HAMLET

No, by this hand.

 

CLAUDIUS

Give them the foils, young Osric.—Cousin Hamlet,

You know the wager?

 

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' th' weaker side (weaker opponent).

 

HAMLET

    Very well, my lord.

Your grace hath laid the odds o' th' weaker side.

 

CLAUDIUS

I do not fear it. I have seen you both.

But since he is better we have therefore odds.

 

CLAUDIUS

I do not fear it. I have seen you both.

But since he is better we have therefore odds.

 

LAERTES

(tests a rapier) This is too heavy. Let me see another.

 

LAERTES

(tests a rapier) This is too heavy. Let me see another.

 

HAMLET

(tests a rapier) This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

 

HAMLET

(tests a rapier) This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

 

OSRIC

Ay, my good lord.

 

OSRIC

Ay, my good lord.

 

HAMLET and LAERTES prepare to play

HAMLET and LAERTES prepare to play

CLAUDIUS

Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.

stoups=goblets

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,

breath=spirit

And in the cup an union shall he throw

union=large pearl

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,

kettle=kettle drum

The trumpet to the cannoneer without,

The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,

“Now the king drinks to Hamlet.” Come, begin.—

And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

 

CLAUDIUS

Set me the stoups 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 drinks to Hamlet.” Come, begin.—

And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

 

HAMLET

Come on, sir.

 

HAMLET

Come on, sir.

 

LAERTES

Come, my lord.

 

LAERTES

Come, my lord.

 

HAMLET and LAERTES play

HAMLET and LAERTES play

HAMLET

One.

 

HAMLET

One.

 

LAERTES

No.

 

LAERTES

No.

 

HAMLET

Judgment?

 

HAMLET

Judgment?

 

OSRIC

A hit, a very palpable hit.

 

OSRIC

A hit, a very palpable hit.

 

LAERTES

Well, again.

 

LAERTES

Well, again.

 

CLAUDIUS

Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl is thine.

Here’s to thy health.

 

CLAUDIUS

Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl is thine.

Here’s to thy health.

 

Drums, trumpets sound, shot goes off

CLAUDIUS drops pearl into cup

Drums and trumpets play, and a gun is fired.

CLAUDIUS drops pearl into cup

Give him the cup.

Give him the cup.

HAMLET

I’ll play this bout first. Set it by a while.

Come.

 

HAMLET

I’ll play this bout first. Set it by a while.

Come.

 

HAMLET and LAERTES play

HAMLET and LAERTES play

Another hit. What say you?

Another hit. What say you?

LAERTES

A touch, a touch, I do confess ’t.

 

LAERTES

A touch, a touch, I do confess ’t.

 

CLAUDIUS

Our son shall win.

 

CLAUDIUS

Our son shall win.

 

GERTRUDE

He’s fat, and scant of breath.—

Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.

The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

(picks up the cup with the pearl)

 

GERTRUDE

He’s fat, and scant of breath.—

Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.

The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

(picks up the cup with the pearl)

 

HAMLET

Good madam.

 

HAMLET

Good madam.

 

CLAUDIUS

  Gertrude, do not drink.

 

CLAUDIUS

  Gertrude, do not drink.

 

GERTRUDE

I will, my lord. I pray you, pardon me. (drinks)

 

GERTRUDE

I will, my lord. I pray you, pardon me. (drinks)

 

CLAUDIUS

(aside) It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.

 

CLAUDIUS

(aside) It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.

 

HAMLET

I dare not drink yet, madam. By and by.

 

HAMLET

I dare not drink yet, madam. By and by.

 

GERTRUDE

Come, let me wipe thy face.

 

GERTRUDE

Come, let me wipe thy face.

 

LAERTES

(aside to CLAUDIUS) My lord, I’ll hit him now.

 

LAERTES

(aside to CLAUDIUS) My lord, I’ll hit him now.

 

CLAUDIUS

I do not think ’t.

 

CLAUDIUS

I do not think ’t.

 

LAERTES

(aside) And yet it is almost 'gainst my conscience.

 

LAERTES

(aside) And yet it is almost 'gainst my conscience.

 

HAMLET

Come, for the third, Laertes. You do but dally.

I pray you, pass with your best violence.

I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

 

HAMLET

Come, for the third, Laertes. You do 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.

 

LAERTES

Say you so? Come on.

 

HAMLET and LAERTES play

HAMLET and LAERTES play

OSRIC

    Nothing, neither way.

 

OSRIC

    Nothing, neither way.

 

LAERTES

Have at you now!

 

LAERTES

Have at you now!

 

LAERTES wounds HAMLET In scuffling, they change rapiers. HAMLET wounds LAERTES

LAERTES wounds HAMLET In scuffling, they change rapiers. HAMLET wounds LAERTES

CLAUDIUS

Part them! They are incensed.

 

CLAUDIUS

Part them! They are incensed.

 

HAMLET

Nay, come, again.

 

HAMLET

Nay, come, again.

 

GERTRUDE falls

GERTRUDE falls

OSRIC

  Look to the queen there, ho!

 

OSRIC

  Look to the queen there, ho!

 

HORATIO

They bleed on both sides.—How is it, my lord?

 

HORATIO

They bleed on both sides.—How is it, my lord?

 

OSRIC

How is ’t, Laertes?

 

OSRIC

How is ’t, Laertes?

 

LAERTES

Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe (trap), Osric. I am justly killed with mine own treachery. (falls)

 

LAERTES

Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric. I am justly killed with mine own treachery. (falls)

 

HAMLET

How does the queen?

 

HAMLET

How does the queen?

 

CLAUDIUS

    She swoons to see them bleed.

 

CLAUDIUS

    She swoons to see them bleed.

 

GERTRUDE

No, no, the drink, the drink!—O my dear Hamlet!

The drink, the drink! I am poisoned. (dies)

 

GERTRUDE

No, no, the drink, the drink!—O my dear Hamlet!

The drink, the drink! I am poisoned. (dies)

 

HAMLET

O villainy! Ho, let the door be locked.

 

HAMLET

O villainy! Ho, let the door be locked.

 

Exit OSRIC

Exit OSRIC

Treachery! Seek it out.

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 envenomed. The foul practice

unbated=unblunted

Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,

Never to rise again. Thy mother’s poisoned.

I can no more. The king, the king’s to blame.

 

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 envenomed. The foul practice

Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,

Never to rise again. Thy mother’s poisoned.

I can no more. The king, the king’s to blame.

 

HAMLET

The point envenomed too!—Then, venom, to thy work.

 

HAMLET

The point envenomed too!—Then, venom, to thy work.

 

HAMLET hurts CLAUDIUS

HAMLET hurts CLAUDIUS

ALL

Treason! Treason!

 

ALL

Treason! Treason!

 

CLAUDIUS

O, yet defend me, friends. I am but hurt.

 

CLAUDIUS

O, yet defend me, friends. I am but hurt.

 

HAMLET

Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damnèd Dane,

Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?

Follow my mother.

 

HAMLET

Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damnèd Dane,

Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?

Follow my mother.

 

HAMLET forces CLAUDIUS to drink CLAUDIUS

HAMLET forces CLAUDIUS to drink CLAUDIUS

LAERTES

  He is justly served.

It is a poison tempered by himself.

Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.

Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,

Nor thine on me. (dies)

 

LAERTES

  He is justly served.

It is a poison tempered 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.

 

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.

(lifts the poisoned cup)

 

HORATIO

  Never believe it.

I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.

Here’s yet some liquor left.

(lifts the poisoned cup)

 

HAMLET

    As thou'rt a man,

Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I’ll have ’t.

(takes cup from HORATIO)

O God, 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 a while,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain

To tell my story.

 

HAMLET

    As thou'rt a man,

Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I’ll have ’t.

(takes cup from HORATIO)

O God, 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 a while,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain

To tell my story.

 

March afar off and shout within

March afar off and shout within

What warlike noise is this?

What warlike noise is this?

Enter OSRIC

Enter OSRIC

OSRIC

Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,

To th' ambassadors of England gives

This warlike volley.

 

OSRIC

Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,

To th' ambassadors of England gives

This warlike volley.

 

HAMLET

  O, I die, Horatio.

The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.

o’ercrows=overpowers

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 th' occurrents, more and less,

occurrents=occurrences

Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

O, O, O, O. (dies)

 

HAMLET

  O, I die, Horatio.

The potent poison quite o'ercrows 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 th' occurrents, more and less,

Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

O, O, O, O. (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?

 

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?

 

Enter FORTINBRAS and the English AMBASSADOR, with drummer and attendants

Enter FORTINBRAS and the English AMBASSADOR, with drummer and attendants

FORTINBRAS

Where is this sight?

 

FORTINBRAS

Where is this sight?

 

HORATIO

What is it ye would see?

If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

aught=anything

 

HORATIO

What is it ye would see?

If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

 

FORTINBRAS

This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,

quarry=pile of bodies (hunting term)

What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,

toward=in preparation

That thou so many princes at a shot

So bloodily hast struck?

 

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?

 

AMBASSADOR

    The sight is dismal,

And our affairs from England come too late.

affairs=news

The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,

To tell him his commandment is fulfilled,

him=Claudius

That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

Where should we have our thanks?

 

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 fulfilled,

That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

Where should we have our thanks?

 

HORATIO

(indicates CLAUDIUS) Not from his mouth,

Had it th' ability of life to thank you.

He never gave commandment for their death.

But since so jump upon this bloody question,

jump=timely

You from the Polack wars, and you from England,

Are here arrived, give order that these bodies

High on a stage be placèd to the view,

And let me speak to th' yet-unknowing world

How these things came about. So shall you hear

Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,

Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,

accidental judgments=judgments affecting Polonius and Gertrude

Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,

forced cause=deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

And, in this upshot, purposes mistook

Fall'n on th' inventors' heads. All this can I

inventors=Claudius and Laertes

Truly deliver.

 

HORATIO

(indicates CLAUDIUS) Not from his mouth,

Had it th' 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 placèd to the view,

And let me speak to th' 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 th' inventors' heads. All this can I

Truly deliver.

 

FORTINBRAS

  Let us haste to hear it,

And call the noblest to the audience.

to the audience=to hear it

For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.

I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,

of memory=that are remembered

Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

vantage=suitable opportunity

 

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.

his=Hamlet’s

But let this same be presently performed,

presently=now

Even while men’s minds are wild, lest more mischance

On plots and errors happen.

 

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 performed,

Even while men’s minds are wild, lest more mischance

On plots and errors happen.

 

FORTINBRAS

Let four captains

Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,

For he was likely, had he been put on,

put on=made king

To have proved most royally. And, for his passage,

passage=death

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.

the field=field of battle

Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

 

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.

 

Exeunt marching, carrying the bodies, after the which a peal of ordnance is shot off

Exeunt marching, carrying the bodies, after the which a peal of ordnance is shot off