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Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2



A Hall in the Castle

Enter HAMLET and PLAYERS

Enter HAMLET and PLAYERS

HAMLET

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief (willingly) the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw (nor…not – double negative) the air too much with your hand thus, but use all gently, for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious (unruly) periwig-pated (bewigged) fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings (patrons on the ground), who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it.

Termagant and Herod were portrayed in plays

 

HAMLET

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand thus, but use all gently, for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it.

 

FIRST PLAYER

I warrant your honor.

warrant=promise

 

FIRST PLAYER

I warrant your honor.

 

HAMLET

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty (moderation) of nature. For anything so overdone is from (contrary to) the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure (impression). Now this overdone or come tardy off (underdone), though it make the unskillful (ignorant) laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure of the which (by whom) one must in your allowance (you will admit) o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play and heard others praise (and that highly), not to speak it profanely, that, neither having th' accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature’s journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

 

HAMLET

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure of the which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play and heard others praise (and that highly), not to speak it profanely, that, neither having th' accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature’s journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

 

FIRST PLAYER

I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.

reformed that=corrected that fault

indifferently=fairly well

 

FIRST PLAYER

I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.

 

HAMLET

O, reform it altogether! And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them, for there be of them that will themselves laugh to set on some quantity (crowd) of barren (empty headed) spectators to laugh, too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be (is then being) considered. That’s villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.

 

HAMLET

O, reform it altogether! And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them, for there be of them that will themselves laugh to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That’s villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.

 

Exeunt PLAYERS

Exeunt PLAYERS

Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN

Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN

How now, my lord! Will the king hear this piece of work?

How now, my lord! Will the king hear this piece of work?

POLONIUS

And the queen too, and that presently.

presently=right away

 

POLONIUS

And the queen too, and that presently.

 

HAMLET

Bid the players make haste.

 

HAMLET

Bid the players make haste.

 

Exit POLONIUS

Exit POLONIUS

Will you two help to hasten them

Will you two help to hasten them

ROSENCRANTZ

    Ay, my lord.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

    Ay, my lord.

 

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

HAMLET

What ho, Horatio!

 

HAMLET

What ho, Horatio!

 

Enter HORATIO

Enter HORATIO

HORATIO

  Here, sweet lord, at your service.

 

HORATIO

  Here, sweet lord, at your service.

 

HAMLET

Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man

just=honorable

As e'er my conversation coped withal.

 

HAMLET

Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man

As e'er my conversation coped withal.

 

HORATIO

O my dear lord—

 

HORATIO

O my dear lord—

 

HAMLET

  Nay, do not think I flatter.
For what advancement (
service) may I hope from thee

That no revenue hast (who has no revenue) but thy good spirits,

To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?

No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,

And crook the pregnant (supple) hinges of the knee

Where thrift (gain) may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?

Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice (choice of friends)

And could of men distinguish, her election (of Horatio)

Hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been—

As one in suffering all that suffers nothing—

A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards

Hast ta'en with equal thanks. And blessed are those

Whose blood (emotions) and judgment are so well commingled,

That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger

To sound what stop (a stop on a pipe) she please. Give me that man

That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him

In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee.—Something too much (I’ve talked too much) of this.—

There is a play tonight before the king.

One scene of it comes near the circumstance

Which I have told thee of my father’s death.

I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,

Even with the very comment of thy soul

comment of thy soul=inmost insight

Observe mine uncle. If his occulted guilt

occulted=hidden

Do not itself unkennel in one speech,

It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,

And my imaginations are as foul

As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note.

stithy=blacksmith shop

For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,

And after we will both our judgments join

In censure of his seeming.

censure of his seeming=estimation of his behavior

 

HAMLET

  Nay, do not think I flatter.

For what advancement may I hope from thee

That no revenue hast but thy good spirits,

To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?

No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,

And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee

Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?

Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice

And could of men distinguish, her election

Hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been—

As one in suffering all that suffers nothing—

A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards

Hast ta'en with equal thanks. And blessed are those

Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,

That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger

To sound what stop she please. Give me that man

That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him

In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee.—Something too much of this.—

There is a play tonight before the king.

One scene of it comes near the circumstance

Which I have told thee of my father’s death.

I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,

Even with the very comment of thy soul

Observe mine uncle. If his occulted guilt

Do not itself unkennel in one speech,

It is a damnèd ghost that we have seen,

And my imaginations are as foul

As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note.

For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,

And after we will both our judgments join

In censure of his seeming.

 

 

HORATIO

    Well, my lord.

If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,

aught=anything

And ’scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

‘scape=escape

 

HORATIO

    Well, my lord.

If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,

And ’scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

 

Danish march. Sound a flourish. Enter KingCLAUDIUS, Queen GERTRUDE, POLONIUS,OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN and other lords attendant with CLAUDIUS’s; guard carrying torches

Danish march. Sound a flourish. Enter KingCLAUDIUS, Queen GERTRUDE, POLONIUS,OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN and other lords attendant with CLAUDIUS’s; guard carrying torches­­

HAMLET

They are coming to the play. I must be idle.

Get you a place.

 

HAMLET

They are coming to the play. I must be idle.

Get you a place.

 

CLAUDIUS

How fares our cousin Hamlet?

fares means both “is doing” and “is eating”

cousin=relative beyond the immediate family

 

CLAUDIUS

How fares our cousin Hamlet?

 

HAMLET

Excellent, i' faith, of the chameleon’s dish. (It was thought that chameleons live on air.) I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.

 

HAMLET

Excellent, i' faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.

 

CLAUDIUS

I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not mine.

not mine=not understood

 

CLAUDIUS

I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not mine.

 

HAMLET

No, nor mine now. (to POLONIUS) My lord, you played (were a player) once i' th' university, you say?

 

HAMLET

No, nor mine now. (to POLONIUS) My lord, you played once i' th' university, you say?

 

POLONIUS

That did I, my lord, and was accounted a good actor.

 

POLONIUS

That did I, my lord, and was accounted a good actor.

 

HAMLET

What did you enact?

 

HAMLET

What did you enact?

 

POLONIUS

I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i' th' Capitol. Brutus killed me.

 

POLONIUS

I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i' th' Capitol. Brutus killed me.

 

HAMLET

It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.—Be the players ready?

 

HAMLET

It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.—Be the players ready?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Ay, my lord. They stay upon your patience.

patience=permission

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Ay, my lord. They stay upon your patience.

 

GERTRUDE

Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.

 

GERTRUDE

Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.

 

HAMLET

No, good mother. Here’s metal (magnet) more attractive.(sits next to OPHELIA )

 

HAMLET

No, good mother. Here’s metal more attractive.(sits next to OPHELIA )

 

POLONIUS

(to CLAUDIUS) Oh, ho, do you mark that?

 

POLONIUS

(to CLAUDIUS) Oh, ho, do you mark that?

 

HAMLET

Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

 

HAMLET

Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

 

OPHELIA

No, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

No, my lord.

 

HAMLET

I mean, my head upon your lap?

 

HAMLET

I mean, my head upon your lap?

 

OPHELIA

Ay, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

Ay, my lord.

 

HAMLET

Do you think I meant country (barnyard) matters?

 

HAMLET

Do you think I meant country matters?

 

OPHELIA

I think nothing, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

I think nothing, my lord.

 

HAMLET

That’s a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.

 

HAMLET

That’s a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.

 

OPHELIA

What is, my lord?

 

OPHELIA

What is, my lord?

 

HAMLET

Nothing.

 

HAMLET

Nothing.

 

OPHELIA

You are merry, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

You are merry, my lord.

 

HAMLET

Who, I?

 

HAMLET

Who, I?

 

OPHELIA

Ay, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

Ay, my lord.

 

HAMLET

O God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do but be merry? For, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.

 

HAMLET

O God, your only jig-maker. What should a man do but be merry? For, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.

 

OPHELIA

Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.

 

HAMLET

So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, for I’ll have a suit of sables. O heavens! Die two months ago and not forgotten yet? Then there’s hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by 'r Lady, he must build churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is “For, oh, for, oh, the hobby-horse is forgot.”

 

HAMLET

So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, for I’ll have a suit of sables. O heavens! Die two months ago and not forgotten yet? Then there’s hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by 'r Lady, he must build churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is “For, oh, for, oh, the hobby-horse is forgot.”

 

Trumpets sound. The dumb show begins

Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly, the Queen embracing him and he her. She kneels and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up and declines his head upon her neck, lays him (himself) down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon (soon) comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King’s ears, and exits. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes (actors in the “dumb show”), comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love

 

Trumpets sound. The dumb show begins

Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly, the Queen embracing him and he her. She kneels and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up and declines his head upon her neck, lays him down upon a bank of flowers. She, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King’s ears, and exits. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love

 

Exeunt PLAYERS

Exeunt PLAYERS

OPHELIA

What means this, my lord?

 

OPHELIA

What means this, my lord?

 

HAMLET

Marry, this is miching malhecho (hidden evil). It means mischief.

 

HAMLET

Marry, this is miching malhecho. It means mischief.

 

OPHELIA

Belike (probably) this show imports the argument (theme) of the play.

 

OPHELIA

Belike this show imports the argument of the play.

 

Enter PROLOGUE

Enter PROLOGUE

HAMLET

We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot keep counsel (keep counsel=keep a secret). They’ll tell all.

 

HAMLET

We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot keep counsel. They’ll tell all.

 

OPHELIA

Will he tell us what this show meant?

 

OPHELIA

Will he tell us what this show meant?

 

HAMLET

Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be not you ashamed to show, he’ll not shame to tell you what it means.

 

HAMLET

Ay, or any show that you will show him. Be not you ashamed to show, he’ll not shame to tell you what it means.

 

OPHELIA

You are naught (naughty) you are naught. I’ll mark (watch) the play.

 

OPHELIA

You are naught, you are naught. I’ll mark the play.

 

PROLOGUE

For us and for our tragedy,

Here stooping to your clemency (indulgence),

We beg your hearing patiently.

 

PROLOGUE

For us and for our tragedy,

Here stooping to your clemency,

We beg your hearing patiently.

 

Exit PROLOGUE

Exit PROLOGUE

HAMLET

Is this a prologue or the posy (inscription) of a ring?

 

HAMLET

Is this a prologue or the posy of a ring?

 

OPHELIA

'Tis brief, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

'Tis brief, my lord.

 

HAMLET

As woman’s love.

 

HAMLET

As woman’s love.

 

Enter PLAYER KING and PLAYER QUEEN

Enter PLAYER KING and PLAYER QUEEN

PLAYER KING

Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round

Phoebus pulled the sun around the earth

Neptune’s salt wash and Tellus' orbèd ground,

Neptune was god of the sea

Tellus was goddess of the earth

And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen

sheen – borrowed from the sun

About the world have times twelve thirties been,

Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands

Hymen=god of marriage

Unite commutual in most sacred bands.

commutual=mutual

bands=bonds

 

PLAYER KING

Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round

Neptune’s salt wash and Tellus' orbèd ground,

And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen

About the world have times twelve thirties been,

Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands

Unite commutual in most sacred bands.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

So many journeys may the sun and moon

Make us again count o'er ere love be done.

ere=before

But woe is me! You are so sick of late,

So far from cheer and from your former state,

That I distrust you. Yet though I distrust,

distrust=fear for

Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.

discomfort=worry

For women fear too much, even as they love,

And women’s fear and love hold quantity,

quantity=equality

In neither aught, or in extremity.

(fear and love are either both nothing or both in excess)

Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,

And as my love is sized, my fear is so:

Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear.

Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

So many journeys may the sun and moon

Make us again count o'er ere love be done.

But woe is me! You are so sick of late,

So far from cheer and from your former state,

That I distrust you. Yet though I distrust,

Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must.

For women fear too much, even as they love,

And women’s fear and love hold quantity,

In neither aught, or in extremity.

Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,

And as my love is sized, my fear is so:

Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear.

Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

 

PLAYER KING

Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too.

My operant powers their functions leave to do.

operant=life supporting

leave=cease

And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,

Honored, beloved, and haply one as kind

haply=maybe

For husband shalt thou—

 

PLAYER KING

Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too.

My operant powers their functions leave to do.

And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,

Honored, beloved, and haply one as kind

For husband shalt thou—

 

PLAYER QUEEN

    Oh, confound the rest!

Such love must needs be treason in my breast.

such love=love for a second husband

In second husband let me be accursed!

None wed the second but who killed the first.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

    Oh, confound the rest!

Such love must needs be treason in my breast.

In second husband let me be accursed!

None wed the second but who killed the first.

 

HAMLET

(aside) Wormwood, wormwood

(wormwood has a bitter taste)

HAMLET

(aside) Wormwood, wormwood.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

The instances that second marriage move

instances=motives

Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.

respects=thoughts

A second time I kill my husband dead

When second husband kisses me in bed.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

The instances that second marriage move

Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.

A second time I kill my husband dead

When second husband kisses me in bed.

 

PLAYER KING

I do believe you think what now you speak,

But what we do determine oft we break.

Purpose is but the slave to memory,

Of violent birth, but poor validity,

validity=strength

Which (purpose, good intentions) now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,

But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.

Most necessary ’tis that we forget

To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.

debt=due

What to ourselves in passion we propose,

The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.

The violence of either grief or joy

Their own enactures with themselves destroy.

(grief and joy are destroyed when violently enacted)

Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament.

Grief joys, joy grieves on slender accident.

accident=trifles

This world is not for aye, nor ’tis not strange

for aye=forever, unchanging

(nor ‘tis not strange – double negative, therefore, nor is it strange)

That even our loves should with our fortunes change.

For ’tis a question left us yet to prove,

Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.

fortune=luck

The great man down, you mark his favorite flies.

(his favorite is a follower)

The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.

And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,

hitherto doth=before that did

For who not needs shall never lack a friend,

And who in want a hollow friend doth try,

try=appeal to

Directly seasons him his enemy.

seasons=makes

But, orderly to end where I begun,

Our wills and fates do so contrary run

wills and fates=what we intend and what we get

That our devices still are overthrown.

devices still=plans always

Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.

So think thou wilt no second husband wed,

think thou wilt=you think that you will

But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.

but die thy thoughts=but such thoughts die

 

PLAYER KING

I do believe you think what now you speak,

But what we do determine oft we break.

Purpose is but the slave to memory,

Of violent birth, but poor validity,

Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,

But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.

Most necessary ’tis that we forget

To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.

What to ourselves in passion we propose,

The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.

The violence of either grief or joy

Their own enactures with themselves destroy.

Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament.

Grief joys, joy grieves on slender accident.

This world is not for aye, nor ’tis not strange

That even our loves should with our fortunes change.

For ’tis a question left us yet to prove,

Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.

The great man down, you mark his favorite flies.

The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.

And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,

For who not needs shall never lack a friend,

And who in want a hollow friend doth try,

Directly seasons him his enemy.

But, orderly to end where I begun,

Our wills and fates do so contrary run

That our devices still are overthrown.

Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.

So think thou wilt no second husband wed,

But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light.

nor=let not

Sport and repose lock from me day and night.

To desperation turn my trust and hope.

An anchor’s cheer in prison be my scope.

anchor=anchorite (hermit)

Each opposite that blanks the face of joy

Meet what I would have well and it destroy.

Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife

here and hence=now and in the future

pursue me lasting strife=lasting strife pursue me

If, once a widow, ever I be wife!

 

PLAYER QUEEN

Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light.

Sport and repose lock from me day and night.

To desperation turn my trust and hope.

An anchor’s cheer in prison be my scope.

Each opposite that blanks the face of joy

Meet what I would have well and it destroy.

Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife

If, once a widow, ever I be wife!

 

HAMLET

If she should break it now!

(break her vow never to remarry)

 

HAMLET

If she should break it now!

 

PLAYER KING

'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.

My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile

fain=gladly

beguile=while away

The tedious day with sleep.

 

PLAYER KING

'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile.

My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile

The tedious day with sleep.

 

The PLAYER KING sleeps

The PLAYER KING sleeps

PLAYER QUEEN

    Sleep rock thy brain,

And never come mischance between us twain.

 

PLAYER QUEEN

    Sleep rock thy brain,

And never come mischance between us twain.

 

Exit PLAYER QUEEN

Exit PLAYER QUEEN

HAMLET

Madam, how like you this play?

 

HAMLET

Madam, how like you this play?

 

GERTRUDE

The lady protests too much, methinks.

 

GERTRUDE

The lady protests too much, methinks.

 

HAMLET

Oh, but she’ll keep her word.

 

HAMLET

Oh, but she’ll keep her word.

 

CLAUDIUS

Have you heard the argument (plot)? Is there no offense in ’t?

 

CLAUDIUS

Have you heard the argument? Is there no offense in ’t?

 

HAMLET

No, no, they do but jest. Poison in jest. No offense i' th' world.

 

HAMLET

No, no, they do but jest. Poison in jest. No offense i' th' world.

 

CLAUDIUS

What do you call the play?

 

CLAUDIUS

What do you call the play?

 

HAMLET

The Mousetrap. Marry (by the Virgin Mary), how? Tropically (a trope, not literally a mousetrap). This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the duke’s name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon (soon). 'Tis a knavish (rascally) piece of work, but what o' that? Your majesty and we that have free (innocent) souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade (horse chafed under its collar=guilty) wince, our withers (neck bones) are unwrung (unchafed).

 

HAMLET

The Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the duke’s name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what o' that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.

 

Enter LUCIANUS

Enter LUCIANUS

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the player king.

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king. This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

OPHELIA

You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

 

OPHELIA

You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

 

HAMLET

I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets (players) dallying.

 

HAMLET

I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.

 

OPHELIA

You are keen, my lord, you are keen.

 

OPHELIA

You are keen, my lord, you are keen.

 

HAMLET

It would cost you a groaning to take off mine edge (sharp wit).

 

HAMLET

It would cost you a groaning to take off mine edge.

 

OPHELIA

Still better and worse.

 

OPHELIA

Still better and worse.

 

HAMLET

So (in such a way – better and worse) you must take your husbands.—Begin, murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces (actor making faces), and begin. Come, “The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge—”

 

HAMLET

So you must take your husbands.—Begin, murderer. Pox, leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come, “The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge—”

 

LUCIANUS

Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,

Confederate (all features working together – see line above) season, else (besides myself) no creature seeing,

Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,

With Hecate’s (goddess of witchcraft) ban thrice blasted, thrice infected (her spell on the poison),

Thy natural magic and dire property (the poison)

On wholesome life usurp immediately.

(pours poison into PLAYER KING ’s ears)

 

LUCIANUS

Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,

Confederate season, else no creature seeing,

Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,

With Hecate’s ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,

Thy natural magic and dire property

On wholesome life usurp immediately.

(pours poison into PLAYER KING ’s ears)

 

HAMLET

He poisons him i' th' garden for ’s estate (that is, his kingdom). His name’s Gonzago. The story is extant (in existence), and writ in choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago’s wife.

 

HAMLET

He poisons him i' th' garden for ’s estate. His name’s Gonzago. The story is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago’s wife.

 

CLAUDIUS stands up

CLAUDIUS stands up

OPHELIA

The king rises.

 

OPHELIA

The king rises.

 

HAMLET

What, frighted with false fire (gun firing a blank)?

 

HAMLET

What, frighted with false fire?

 

GERTRUDE

How fares my lord?

 

GERTRUDE

How fares my lord?

 

POLONIUS

Give o'er the play.

 

POLONIUS

Give o'er the play.

 

CLAUDIUS

Give me some light, away!

 

CLAUDIUS

Give me some light, away!

 

POLONIUS

Lights, lights, lights!

 

POLONIUSo:p>

Lights, lights, lights!

 

 Commotion. Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO

 Commotion. Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO

HAMLET

  Why, let the stricken deer go weep,

stricken=wounded

  The hart ungallèd play.

hart=male deer

ungalled=uninjured

  For some must watch while some must sleep.

  So runs the world away.

Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers (lots of feathers in his hat)—if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk (bad) with me—with two Provincial roses on my razed shoes (shoes with slits), get me a fellowship (a job) in a cry (pack, as of hounds) of players?

 

HAMLET

  Why, let the stricken deer go weep,

  The hart ungallèd play.

  For some must watch while some must sleep.

  So runs the world away.

Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers—if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me—with two Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players?

 

HORATIO

Half a share.

half a share=it would get you half a share of the company

 

HORATIO

Half a share.

 

HAMLET

A whole one, I.

  For thou dost know, O Damon dear,

Damon=friend, as in Damon and Pythias

  This realm dismantled was

dismantled=robbed

  Of Jove himself. And now reigns here

Jove=referring to Hamlet’s father

  A very, very—pajock.

pajock=peacock  

 

HAMLET

A whole one, I.

  For thou dost know, O Damon dear,

  This realm dismantled was

  Of Jove himself. And now reigns here

  A very, very—pajock.

 

HORATIO

You might have rhymed.

 

HORATIO

You might have rhymed.

 

HAMLET

O good Horatio, I’ll take (bet on) the ghost’s word for (up to) a thousand pound (pound=English currency). Didst perceive?

 

HAMLET

O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?

 

HORATIO

Very well, my lord.

 

HORATIO

Very well, my lord.

 

HAMLET

Upon the talk of the poisoning?

 

HAMLET

Upon the talk of the poisoning?

 

HORATIO

I did very well note him.

 

HORATIO

I did very well note him.

 

HAMLET

Ah ha! Come, some music! Come, the recorders!

  For if the king like not the comedy,

  Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.

belike=probably

perdy=by God (per Dieu)

Come, some music!

 

HAMLET

Ah ha! Come, some music! Come, the recorders!

  For if the king like not the comedy,

  Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.

Come, some music!

 

Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

GUILDENSTERN

Good my lord, vouchsafe (permit) me a word with you.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.

 

HAMLET

Sir, a whole history (that is, more than a word).

 

HAMLET

Sir, a whole history.

 

GUILDENSTERN

The king, sir—

 

GUILDENSTERN

The king, sir—

 

HAMLET

Ay, sir, what of him?

 

HAMLET

Ay, sir, what of him?

 

GUILDENSTERN

Is in his retirement marvelous distempered.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Is in his retirement marvelous distempered.

 

HAMLET

With drink, sir?

 

HAMLET

With drink, sir?

 

GUILDENSTERN

No, my lord, with choler (anger).

 

GUILDENSTERN

No, my lord, with choler.

 

HAMLET

Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to the doctor. For, for me to put him to his purgation (for me to clean out his system) would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.

 

HAMLET

Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to the doctor. For, for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame (order) and start (recoil) not so wildly from my affair (what I was talking about).

 

GUILDENSTERN

Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame and start not so wildly from my affair.

 

HAMLET

I am tame, sir. Pronounce (say on).

 

HAMLET

I am tame, sir. Pronounce.

 

GUILDENSTERN

The queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

 

GUILDENSTERN

The queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

 

HAMLET

You are welcome.

 

HAMLET

You are welcome.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother’s commandment. If not, your pardon and my return (to your mother) shall be the end of my business.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother’s commandment. If not, your pardon and my return shall be the end of my business.

 

HAMLET

Sir, I cannot.

 

HAMLET

Sir, I cannot.

 

GUILDENSTERN

What, my lord?

 

GUILDENSTERN

What, my lord?

 

HAMLET

Make you a wholesome answer. My wit’s diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command. Or, rather, as you say, my mother. Therefore no more but to the matter. My mother, you say—

 

HAMLET

Make you a wholesome answer. My wit’s diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command. Or, rather, as you say, my mother. Therefore no more but to the matter. My mother, you say—

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Then thus she says: your behavior hath struck her into amazement and admiration (wonder).

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Then thus she says: your behavior hath struck her into amazement and admiration.

 

HAMLET

O wonderful son that can so ’stonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother’s admiration? Impart.

 

HAMLET

O wonderful son that can so ’stonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother’s admiration? Impart.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

She desires to speak with you in her closet (bedroom) ere you go to bed.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.

 

HAMLET

We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?

 

HAMLET

We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

My lord, you once did love me.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

My lord, you once did love me.

 

HAMLET

And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

Hands cannot be trusted not to pick and steal – they are untrustworthy, like his “friend” Rosencrantz

 

HAMLET

And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.

 

HAMLET

Sir, I lack advancement.

 

HAMLET

Sir, I lack advancement.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?

 

Reenter the PLAYERS with recorders

Reenter the PLAYERS with recorders

HAMLET

Ay, sir, but “While the grass grows—” The proverb is something musty—Oh, the recorders! Let me see one. (takes a recorder) (aside to ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN ) To withdraw with you, why do you go about to recover the wind (stand on the windward side) of me as if you would drive me into a toil (trap)?

 

HAMLET

Ay, sir, but “While the grass grows—” The proverb is something musty—Oh, the recorders! Let me see one. (takes a recorder) (aside toROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN ) To withdraw with you, why do you go about to recover the wind of me as if you would drive me into a toil?

 

GUILDENSTERN

O my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.

(If I am too bold, it is because my love drives me to be unmannerly.)

GUILDENSTERN

O my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.

 

HAMLET

I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?

 

HAMLET

I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?

 

GUILDENSTERN

My lord, I cannot.

 

GUILDENSTERN

My lord, I cannot.

 

HAMLET

I pray you.

 

HAMLET

I pray you.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Believe me, I cannot.

 

GUILDENSTERN

Believe me, I cannot.

 

HAMLET

I do beseech you.

 

HAMLET

I do beseech you.

 

GUILDENSTERN

I know no touch of it, my lord.

 

GUILDENSTERN

I know no touch of it, my lord.

 

HAMLET

It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages (vents) with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.

 

HAMLET

It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.

 

GUILDENSTERN

But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony.

I have not the skill.

 

GUILDENSTERN

But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony.

I have not the skill.

 

HAMLET

Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops. You would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass (range). And there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? 'Sblood (God’s blood), do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret (both “upset” and “use the frets”) me, yet you cannot play upon me.

 

HAMLET

Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops. You would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. And there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.

 

Enter POLONIUS

Enter POLONIUS

God bless you, sir.

God bless you, sir.

POLONIUS

My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently (right away).

 

POLONIUS

My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.

 

HAMLET

Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

 

HAMLET

Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

 

POLONIUS

By th' mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.

 

POLONIUS

By th' mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.

 

HAMLET

Methinks it is like a weasel.

 

HAMLET

Methinks it is like a weasel.

 

POLONIUS

It is backed like a weasel.

 

POLONIUS

It is backed like a weasel.

 

HAMLET

Or like a whale.

 

HAMLET

Or like a whale.

 

POLONIUS

Very like a whale.

 

POLONIUS

Very like a whale.

 

HAMLET

Then I will come to my mother by and by. (aside) They fool me to the top of my bent (extent, to which a bow can be bent).—I will come by and by.

 

HAMLET

Then I will come to my mother by and by. (aside)They fool me to the top of my bent.—I will come by and by.

 

POLONIUS

I will say so.

 

POLONIUS

I will say so.

 

HAMLET

“By and by” is easily said.

 

HAMLET

“By and by” is easily said.

 

Exit POLONIUS

Exit POLONIUS

Leave me, friends.

Leave me, friends.

Exeunt all but HAMLET

Exeunt all but HAMLET

'Tis now the very witching time of night,

witching time=time when witches roam

When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out

Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood

And do such bitter business as the bitter day

Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.—

O heart, lose not thy nature, let not ever

nature=natural affection

The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.

soul of Nero=murderer of wife and mother

Let me be cruel, not unnatural.

unnatural=lacking in natural affection

I will speak daggers to her but use none.

My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites.

How in my words somever she be shent,

somever=to what extent

shent=hurt

To give them seals never, my soul, consent!

seals=confirmation of deeds (both land deeds and personal deeds)

 

'Tis now the very witching time of night,

When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out

Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood

And do such bitter business as the bitter day

Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.—

O heart, lose not thy nature, let not ever

The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.

Let me be cruel, not unnatural.

I will speak daggers to her but use none.

My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites.

How in my words somever she be shent,

To give them seals never, my soul, consent!

 

 

 

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