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ACT V. - William Shakespeare, Hamlet Prince of Denmark 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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Enter two Clowns, with spades and mattock.
Is she to be buried in Christian burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation?
I tell thee she is; and therefore make her grave straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?
Why, ’tis found so.
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, and to perform: argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,—
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.
But is this law?
Ay, marry, is ’t; crowner’s quest law.
Will you ha’ the truth on ’t? If this had not been a gentlewoman she should have been buried out o’ Christian burial.
Why, there thou sayest; 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 gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers; they hold up Adam’s profession.
Was he a gentleman?
A’ was the first that ever bore arms.
Why, he had none.
What! art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture? The Scripture says, Adam digged; could be dig without arms?
I’ll put another question to thee; if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself—
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.
I like thy wit well, in good faith; the gallows does well, but how does it well? it does well to those that do ill; now thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church: argal, the gallows may do well to thee.
To ’t again; come.
Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Marry, now I can tell.
Mass, I cannot tell.
EnterHamletandHoratioat a distance.
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.
Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at grave-making?
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
’Tis e’en so; the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.
[Throws up a skull.
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! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o’er-offices, one that would circumvent God, might it not?
It might, my lord.
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?
Ay, my lord.
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.
[Throws up another skull.
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 conveyance of his lands will hardly lie in this box, and must the inheritor himself have no more, ha?
Not a jot more, my lord.
Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?
Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave’s this, sir?
I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in ’t.
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.
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.
’Tis a quick lie, sir; ’twill away again, from me to you.
What man dost thou dig it for?
For no man, sir.
What woman, then?
For none, neither.
Who is to be buried in ’t?
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she’s dead.
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 note of it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe. How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
Of all the days i’ the year, I came to ’t that day that our last King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
How long is that since?
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.
Ay, marry; why was he sent into England?
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, ’tis no great matter there
’Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
How came he mad?
Very strangely, they say.
Faith, e’en with losing his wits.
Upon what ground?
Why, here in Denmark; I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.
How long will a man lie i’ the earth ere he rot?
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.
Why he more than another?
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 hath lain you i’ the earth three-and-twenty years.
Whose was it?
A whoreson mad fellow’s it was: whose do you think it was?
Nay, I know not.
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.
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 rises at it. 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 chapfallen? 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.
What’s that, my lord?
Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’ the earth?
And smelt so? pah!
[Puts down the skull.
E’en so, my lord.
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?
’Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
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?
But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.
Enter Priests, &c., in procession: the Corpse ofOphelia, Laertesand Mourners following;King, Queen,their Trains, &c.
The queen, the courtiers: who is that 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.
What ceremony else?
That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.
What ceremony else?
Her obsequies have been as far enlarg’d
As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful,
And, but that great command o’ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg’d
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.
Must there no more be done?
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.
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.
What! the fair Ophelia?
Sweets to the sweet: farewell!
I hop’d 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.
O! treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv’d 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’er-top old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
[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.
The devil take thy soul!
[Grapples with him.
Thou pray’st not well.
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For though I am not splenetive and rash
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Away thy hand!
Pluck them asunder.
Good my lord, be quiet.
[The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave.
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
O my son! what theme?
I lov’d Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
O! he is mad, Laertes.
For love of God, forbear him.
’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.
This is mere madness:
And thus a while the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclos’d,
His silence will sit drooping.
Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I lov’d you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.
[ToLaertes.] 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.
A Hall in the Castle.
So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
You do remember all the circumstance?
Remember it, my lord?
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 prais’d 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.
That is most certain.
Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf’d about me, in the dark
Grop’d 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.
Is ’t possible?
Here’s the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
I beseech you.
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,
Devis’d 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?
Ay, good my lord.
An earnest conjuration from the king,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm should flourish,
As peace should still 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.
How was this seal’d?
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,
Subscrib’d it, gave’t th’ impression, plac’d it safely,
The changeling never known. Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight, and what to this was sequent
Thou know’st already.
So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to ’t.
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.
Why, what a king is this!
Does it not, thinks’t thee, stand me now upon—
He that hath kill’d my king and whor’d 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?
It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business there.
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 count his favours:
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.
Peace! who comes here?
Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
I humbly thank you, sir. [Aside toHoratio.] Dost know this water-fly?
[Aside toHamlet.] No, my good lord.
[Aside toHoratio.] 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.
Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Your bonnet to his right use; ’tis for the head.
I thank your lordship, ’tis very hot.
No, believe me, ’tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
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,—
I beseech you, remember—
[Hamletmoves him to put on his hat.
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.
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.
Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Is ’t not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do ’t, sir, really.
What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
His purse is empty already; all ’s golden words are spent.
Of him, sir.
I know you are not ignorant—
I would you did, sir; in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me. Well, sir.
You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is—
I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself.
I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he’s unfellowed.
What’s his weapon?
Rapier and dagger.
That’s two of his weapons; but, well.
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.
What call you the carriages?
I knew you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.
The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
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?
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.
How if I answer no?
I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
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.
Shall I re-deliver you so?
To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
I commend my duty to your lordship.
Yours, yours. [ExitOsric.] He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for ’s turn.
This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
He did comply with his dug before he sucked it. Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy, that I know the drossy 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.
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.
I am constant to my purposes; they follow the king’s pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now, or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.
The king, and queen, and all are coming down.
In happy time.
The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.
She well instructs me.
You will lose this wager, my lord.
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.
Nay, good my lord,—
It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gain-giving as would perhaps trouble a woman.
If your mind dislike any thing, obey it; I will forestal their repair hither, and say you are not fit.
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? Let be.
EnterKing, Queen, Laertes, Lords, Osric,and Attendants with foils, &c.
Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
[TheKingputs the hand ofLaertesinto that ofHamlet.
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 purpos’d evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o’er the house,
And hurt my brother.
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 ungor’d. But till that time,
I do receive your offer’d love like love,
And will not wrong it.
I embrace it freely;
And will this brother’s wager frankly play.
Give us the foils. Come on.
Come, one for me.
I’ll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i’ the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
You mock me, sir.
No, by this hand.
Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?
Very well, my lord;
Your Grace hath laid the odds o’ the weaker side.
I do not fear it; I have seen you both;
But since he is better’d, we have therefore odds.
This is too heavy; let me see another.
This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
Ay, my good lord.
[They prepare to play.
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.
Come on, sir.
Come, my lord.
A hit, a very palpable hit.
Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here’s to thy health. Give him the cup.
[Trumpets sound; and cannon shot off within.
I’ll play this bout first; set it by awhile.
Come.—[They play.] Another hit; what say you?
A touch, a touch, I do confess.
Our son shall win.
He’s fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Gertrude, do not drink.
I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
[Aside.] It is the poison’d cup! it is too late.
I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
Come, let me wipe thy face.
My lord, I’ll hit him now.
I do not think ’t
[Aside.] And yet ’tis almost ’gainst my conscience.
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.
Say you so? come on.
Nothing, neither way.
Have at you now.
[LaerteswoundsHamlet;then, in scuffling, they change rapiers, andHamletwoundsLaertes.
Part them! they are incens’d
Nay, come, again.
Look to the queen there, ho!
They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?
How is it, Laertes?
Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.
How does the queen?
She swounds to see them bleed.
No, no, the drink, the drink,—O my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink; I am poison’d.
O villany! Ho! let the door be lock’d:
Treachery! seek it out.
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 practice
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.
The point envenom’d tool—.
Then, venom, to thy work.
O! yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion;—is thy union here?
Follow my mother.
He is justly serv’d;
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!
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 liv’st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
Never believe it;
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
Here’s yet some liquor left.
As thou’rt a man,
Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I’ll have ’t.
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 awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.
[March afar off, and shot within.
What war-like noise is this?
Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This war-like volley.
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.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Why does the drum come hither?
EnterFortinbras,the English Ambassadors, and Others.
Where is this sight?
What is it ye would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
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?
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?
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 arriv’d, 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 forc’d cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall’n on the inventors’ heads; all this can I
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.
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.
Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have prov’d 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 bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off.