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Hamlet Main Text Act-V

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Hamlet is a notable literary work by William Shakespeare. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Hamlet.

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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Act -Five

SCENE I. A churchyard.

Enter two Clowns, with spades, & c

First Clown

Is she to be buried in Christian burial that

wilfully seeks her own salvation?

Second Clown

I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave

straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds 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. 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, to perform: argal, she drowned

herself wittingly.

Second Clown

Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,–

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 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.

Second Clown

But is this law?

First Clown

Ay, marry, is’t; crowner’s quest law.

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 say’st: 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

gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers:

they hold up Adam’s profession.

Second Clown

Was he a gentleman?

First Clown

He 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 outlives a

thousand tenants.

First Clown

I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows

does well; but how does it well? it does well to

those that do in: 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.

Second Clown

‘Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or

a carpenter?’

First Clown

Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

Second Clown

Marry, now I can tell.

First Clown

To’t.

Second Clown

Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance

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 that he makes last till

doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan: fetch me a

stoup of liquor.

Exit Second Clown

He digs and sings

In youth, when I did love, did love,

Methought it was very sweet,

To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove,

O, methought, there was nothing meet.

HAMLET

Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he

sings at grave-making?

HORATIO

Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

HAMLET

‘Tis e’en so: the hand of little employment hath

the daintier sense.

First Clown

[Sings]

But age, with his stealing steps,

Hath claw’d me in his clutch,

And hath shipped me intil the land,

As if I had never been such.

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 it were

Cain’s jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It

might be the pate of a politician, which this ass

now o’er-reaches; one that would circumvent God,

might it not?

HORATIO

It might, my lord.

HAMLET

Or of a courtier; which could say ‘Good morrow,

sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord?’ This might

be my lord such-a-one, that praised my lord

such-a-one’s horse, when he meant to beg it; might it not?

HORATIO

Ay, my lord.

HAMLET

Why, e’en so: and now my Lady Worm’s; chapless, 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 ’em? mine ache to think on’t.

First Clown

[Sings]

A pick-axe, 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.

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,

his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he

suffer this rude 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, his fines, his double vouchers,

his recoveries: 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 hardly lie in

this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more, ha?

HORATIO

Not a jot more, my lord.

HAMLET

Is not parchment made of sheepskins?

HORATIO

Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.

HAMLET

They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance

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 it is 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 liest.

First Clown

‘Tis a quick lie, sir; ’twill away gain, 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 the

card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord,

Horatio, these three years I have taken a note of

it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the

peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he

gaffs his kibe. How long hast thou been a

grave-maker?

First Clown

Of all the days i’ the 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 the 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 he was mad: he shall recover his wits

there; or, if he do not, it’s no great matter there.

HAMLET

Why?

First Clown

‘Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men

are as mad as he.

HAMLET

How came he mad?

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’ the earth ere he rot?

First Clown

I’ faith, if he be not rotten before he die–as we

have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce

hold the laying in–he will last you some eight year

or 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

he will keep out water a great while; and your water

is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.

Here’s a skull now; this skull has lain in the 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 same skull,

sir, was Yorick’s skull, the king’s jester.

HAMLET

This?

First Clown

E’en that.

HAMLET

Let me see.

Takes the skull

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow

of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath

borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how

abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at

  1. 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 chap-fallen?

Now get you to my lady’s chamber, 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.

HORATIO

What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’

the earth?

HORATIO

E’en so.

HAMLET

And smelt so? pah!

Puts down the skull

HORATIO

E’en so, my lord.

HAMLET

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may

not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,

till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

HORATIO

‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HAMLET

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 into 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 turn’d 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 to expel the winter flaw!

But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.

Enter Priest, & c. in procession; the Corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, their trains, & c

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 its own life: ’twas of some estate.

Couch we awhile, and mark.

Retiring with HORATIO

LAERTES

What ceremony else?

HAMLET

That is Laertes,

A very noble youth: mark.

LAERTES

What ceremony else?

First Priest

Her obsequies have been as far enlarged

As we have warrantise: 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 allow’d her virgin crants,

Her maiden strewments and the bringing home

Of bell and burial.

LAERTES

Must there no more be done?

First Priest

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.

LAERTES

Lay her i’ the 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.

HAMLET

What, the fair Ophelia!

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Sweets to the sweet: farewell!

Scattering flowers

I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife;

I thought thy bride-bed to have deck’d, sweet maid,

And not have strew’d thy grave.

LAERTES

O, treble woe

Fall ten times treble 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:

Leaps into the grave

Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,

Till of this flat a mountain you have made,

To o’ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head

Of blue Olympus.

HAMLET

[Advancing] 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.

Leaps into the grave

LAERTES

The devil take thy soul!

Grappling with him

HAMLET

Thou pray’st not well.

I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;

For, though I am not splenitive and rash,

Yet have I something in me dangerous,

Which let thy wiseness fear: hold off thy hand.

KING CLAUDIUS

Pluck them asunder.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Hamlet, Hamlet!

All

Gentlemen,–

HORATIO

Good my lord, be quiet.

The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave

HAMLET

Why I will fight with him upon this theme

Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

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 CLAUDIUS

O, he is mad, Laertes.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

For love of God, forbear him.

HAMLET

‘Swounds, show me what thou’lt 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.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

This is mere madness:

And thus awhile 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.

HAMLET

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.

Exit

KING CLAUDIUS

I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.

Exit HORATIO

To LAERTES

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.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A hall in the castle.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO

HAMLET

So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;

You do remember all the circumstance?

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,

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.

HAMLET

Up from my cabin,

My sea-gown scarf’d about me, in the dark

Groped I to find out them; had my desire.

Finger’d 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 axe,

My head should be struck off.

HORATIO

Is’t possible?

HAMLET

Here’s the commission: read it at more leisure.

But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?

HORATIO

I beseech you.

HAMLET

Being thus be-netted round with villanies,–

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 labour’d much

How to forget that learning, but, sir, now

It did me yeoman’s service: wilt thou know

The effect of what I wrote?

HORATIO

Ay, good my lord.

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 such-like ‘As’es 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 allow’d.

HORATIO

How was this seal’d?

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 the other,

Subscribed it, gave’t the 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.

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 incensed points

Of mighty opposites.

HORATIO

Why, what a king is this!

HAMLET

Does it not, think’st thee, stand me now upon–

He that hath kill’d my king and whored my mother,

Popp’d in between the 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 damn’d,

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.

HAMLET

It will be short: the interim is 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 favours.

But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me

Into a towering passion.

HORATIO

Peace! who comes here?

Enter OSRIC

OSRIC

Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

HAMLET

I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?

HORATIO

No, my good lord.

HAMLET

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.

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.

HAMLET

No, believe me, ’tis very cold; the wind is

northerly.

OSRIC

It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

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. But, 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–

HAMLET moves him to 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, 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 in you;

though, I know, to divide him inventorially would

dizzy the 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.

HAMLET

The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman

in our more rawer breath?

OSRIC

Sir?

HORATIO

Is’t not possible to understand in another tongue?

You will do’t, sir, really.

HAMLET

What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

OSRIC

Of Laertes?

HORATIO

His purse is empty already; all’s golden words are spent.

HAMLET

Of him, sir.

OSRIC

I know you are not ignorant–

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–

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, in his meed he’s unfellowed.

HAMLET

What’s his weapon?

OSRIC

Rapier and dagger.

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 imponed, 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?

HORATIO

I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.

OSRIC

The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

HAMLET

The phrase would be more german 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 ‘imponed,’ as you call it?

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’?

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 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 re-deliver you e’en so?

HAMLET

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

OSRIC

I commend my duty to your lordship.

HAMLET

Yours, yours.

Exit OSRIC

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.

HAMLET

He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.

Thus has he–and many more of the same bevy that I

know the dressy age dotes on–only got the tune of

the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of

yesty collection, which carries them through and

through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do

but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.

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.

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.

HAMLET

In happy time.

Lord

The queen desires you to use some gentle

entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.

HAMLET

She well instructs me.

Exit 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 practise: 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,–

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 any thing, 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 has aught of what he

leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, & c

KING CLAUDIUS

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

KING CLAUDIUS 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 punish’d

With sore distraction. What I have done,

That might your nature, honour and exception

Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.

Was’t Hamlet wrong’d 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 wrong’d;

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,

Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most

To my revenge: but in my terms of honour

I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,

Till by some elder masters, of known honour,

I have a voice and precedent of peace,

To keep my name ungored. But till that time,

I do receive your offer’d 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.

LAERTES

Come, one for me.

HAMLET

I’ll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance

Your skill shall, like a star i’ the darkest night,

Stick fiery off indeed.

LAERTES

You mock me, sir.

HAMLET

No, by this hand.

KING 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’ the weaker side.

KING CLAUDIUS

I do not fear it; I have seen you both:

But since he is better’d, we have therefore odds.

LAERTES

This is too heavy, let me see another.

HAMLET

This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

They prepare to play

OSRIC

Ay, my good lord.

KING CLAUDIUS

Set me the stoops 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 dunks to Hamlet.’ Come, begin:

And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

HAMLET

Come on, sir.

LAERTES

Come, my lord.

They play

HAMLET

One.

LAERTES

No.

HAMLET

Judgment.

OSRIC

A hit, a very palpable hit.

LAERTES

Well; again.

KING CLAUDIUS

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

Here’s to thy health.

Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off within

Give him the cup.

HAMLET

I’ll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.

They play

Another hit; what say you?

LAERTES

A touch, a touch, I do confess.

KING CLAUDIUS

Our son shall win.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

He’s fat, and scant of breath.

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

The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

HAMLET

Good madam!

KING CLAUDIUS

Gertrude, do not drink.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

KING CLAUDIUS

[Aside] It is the poison’d cup: it is too late.

HAMLET

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

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Come, let me wipe thy face.

LAERTES

My lord, I’ll hit him now.

KING CLAUDIUS

I do not think’t.

LAERTES

[Aside] And yet ’tis almost ‘gainst my conscience.

HAMLET

Come, for the third, Laertes: you 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.

They play

OSRIC

Nothing, neither way.

LAERTES

Have at you now!

LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then in scuffling, they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES

KING CLAUDIUS

Part them; they are incensed.

HAMLET

Nay, come, again.

QUEEN GERTRUDE falls

OSRIC

Look to the queen there, ho!

HORATIO

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

OSRIC

How is’t, Laertes?

LAERTES

Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;

I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.

HAMLET

How does the queen?

KING CLAUDIUS

She swounds to see them bleed.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

No, no, the drink, the drink,–O my dear Hamlet,–

The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.

Dies

HAMLET

O villany! Ho! let the door be lock’d:

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 envenom’d: the foul practise

Hath turn’d itself on me lo, here I lie,

Never to rise again: thy mother’s poison’d:

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

HAMLET

The point!–envenom’d too!

Then, venom, to thy work.

Stabs KING CLAUDIUS

All

Treason! treason!

KING CLAUDIUS

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

HAMLET

Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,

Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?

Follow my mother.

KING CLAUDIUS dies

LAERTES

He is justly served;

It is a poison temper’d 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.

HORATIO

Never believe it:

I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:

Here’s yet some liquor left.

HAMLET

As thou’rt a man,

Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I’ll have’t.

O good 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 awhile,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,

To tell my story.

March afar off, and shot within

What warlike noise is this?

OSRIC

Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,

To the ambassadors of England gives

This warlike volley.

HAMLET

O, I die, Horatio;

The potent poison quite o’er-crows 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 the occurrents, more and less,

Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

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?

March within

Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others

PRINCE FORTINBRAS

Where is this sight?

HORATIO

What is it ye would see?

If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

PRINCE 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?

First 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 fulfill’d,

That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:

Where should we have our thanks?

HORATIO

Not from his mouth,

Had it the 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 placed to the view;

And let me speak to the 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 the inventors’ reads: all this can I

Truly deliver.

PRINCE 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;

But let this same be presently perform’d,

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

On plots and errors, happen.

PRINCE 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.

A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off

THE END

 

Source: https://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet/full.html