by William Shakespeare
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P. Queen. O, confound the rest! Such love must needs be treason in my breast: In second husband let me be accurst! None wed the second but who kill'd the first.

Ham. That's wormwood.

[Aside to HORATIO, R.]

P. King. I do believe you think what now you speak; But what we do determine oft we break.[79] So think you thou wilt no second husband wed; But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.

P. Queen. Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light! Sport and repose lock from me day and night! Both here, and hence, pursue me lasting strife, If, once a widow, ever I be wife!

P. King. 'Tis deeply sworn.

Ham. If she should break it now!—


P. King. Sweet, leave me here awhile; My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile The tedious day with sleep.

[Reposes on a bank, R., and sleeps.]

P. Queen. Sleep rock thy brain; And never come mischance between us twain!

[Exit, L.H.]

Ham. Madam, how like you this play?

Queen. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Ham. O, but she'll keep her word.

King. Have you heard the argument?[80] Is there no offence in't?

Ham. No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence i'the world.

King. What do you call the play?

Ham. The mouse-trap.[81] Marry, how? Tropically.[82] This play is the image of a murder[83] done in Vienna: Gonzago is the Duke's name; his wife, Baptista: you shall see anon;—'tis a knavish piece of work: but what of that? your majesty, and we that have free souls, it touches us not: Let the galled jade wince,[84] our withers[85] are unwrung.


This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

Oph. You are as good as a chorus,[86] my lord.

Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.[87] Begin, murderer; leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come:—

——The croaking raven Doth bellow for revenge.[88]

Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing; Confederate season, else no creature seeing; Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds[89] collected, With Hecat's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected, Thy natural magick and dire property, On wholesome life usurp[90] immediately. [Pours the poison into the Sleeper's Ears.]

Ham. He poisons him i' the garden for his estate. His name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and written in very choice Italian: You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

King. Give me some light: away!

All. Lights, lights, lights!

[Exeunt all, R. and L., but HAMLET and HORATIO.]

Ham. Why, let the strucken deer go weep,[91] The hart ungalled play; For some must watch, while some must sleep: So runs the world away.—

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

Hor. (R.) Very well, my lord.

Ham. (C.) Upon the talk of the poisoning.—

Hor. I did very well note him.

Ham. Ah, ah! come, some musick! come, the recorders!

[Exit HORATIO, R.H.]

Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN (L.H.) HAMLET seats himself in the chair (R.)

Guil. (L.C.) Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.

Ham. Sir, a whole history.

Guil. The king, sir,——

Ham. Ay, sir, what of him?

Guil. Is, in his retirement, marvellous distempered.[92]

Ham. With drink, sir?

Guil. No, my lord, with choler.

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

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

Ham. I am tame, sir:—pronounce.

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

Ham. You are welcome.

Guil. 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.

Ham. Sir, I cannot.

Guil. What, my lord?

Ham. 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,—

Ros. (Crosses to C.) Then thus she says: Your behaviour hath struck her into amazement and admiration.[93]

Ham. O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's admiration?—impart.

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

Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?[94]

Ros. My lord, you once did love me.

Ham. And do still, by these pickers and stealers.[95]

[Rises and comes forward, C.]

Ros. (R.) Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? you do, surely, bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.[96]

Ham. Sir, I lack advancement.

Ros. How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?[97]

Ham. Ay, sir, but While the grass grows,—the proverb is something musty.[98]

Enter HORATIO and Musicians (R.H.)

O, the recorders:[99]—let me see one.—So; withdraw with you:—

[Exeunt HORATIO and Musicians R.H. GUILDENSTERN, after speaking privately to ROSENCRANTZ, crosses behind HAMLET to R.H.]

Why do you go about to recover the wind of me,[100] as if you would drive me into a toil?[101]

Guil. (R.) O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.[102]

Ham. (C.) I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?

Guil. My lord, I cannot.

Ham. I pray you.

Guil. Believe me, I cannot.

Ham. I do beseech you.

Ros. (L.) I know no touch of it, my lord.

Ham. 'Tis 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.[103] Look you, these are the stops.

Guil. But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.

Ham. 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. 'Sdeath, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.[104]

[Crosses to L.H.]


Pol. (R.) My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.

Ham. (C.) Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?

Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.

Ham. Methinks it is like a weasel.

Pol. It is backed like a weasel.

Ham. Or like a whale?

Pol. Very like a whale.

Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by. They fool me to the top of my bent.[105] I will come by and by.

Pol. I will say so.

Ham. By and by is easily said.


Leave me, friends.


'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[106] as the 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.




King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us[107] To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you; I your commission will forthwith despatch, And he to England shall along with you: Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage; For we will fetters put upon this fear,[108] Which now goes too free-booted.

Ros. } } We will haste us. Guil.}

[Cross behind the KING, and exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN, L.H.]


Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet: Behind the arras I'll convey myself,[109] To hear the process;[110] I'll warrant, she'll tax him home: And, as you said, and wisely was it said, 'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother, Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear The speech of vantage.[111] Fare you well, my liege:

[POLONIUS crosses to L.H.]

I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know.

King. Thanks, dear my lord.

[Exeunt POLONIUS, L.H., and KING, R.H.]



Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him:[112] Tell him his pranks have been too broad[113] to bear with, And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.[114] Pray you, be round with him.

Queen. I'll warrant you; Fear me not:—withdraw, I hear him coming.

[POLONIUS hides himself, L.H.U.E.

Enter HAMLET (R.)

Ham. (R.C.) Now, mother, what's the matter?

Queen. (L.C.) Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

Ham. Mother, you have my father much offended.

Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet!

Ham. What's the matter now?

Queen. Have you forgot me?

Ham. No, by the rood,[115] not so: You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife; And—would it were not so!—you are my mother.

Queen. Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.

Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge; You go not till I set you up a glass Where you may see the inmost part of you.

Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me? Help, help, ho!



What, ho! help!

Ham. How now! a rat?[116]


Dead, for a ducat, dead!

[HAMLET rushes off behind the arras.]

Pol. (Behind.) O, I am slain!

[Falls and dies.]

Queen. O me, what hast thou done?



Nay, I know not: Is it the king?

Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

Ham. A bloody deed!—almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

Queen. As kill a king!

Ham. Ay, lady, 'twas my word.

[Goes off behind the arras, and returns.]

Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!

[To the dead body of POLONIUS, behind the arras.]

I took thee for thy better. Leave wringing of your hands: Peace; sit you down,

[To the QUEEN.]

And let me wring your heart: for so I shall, If it be made of penetrable stuff; If damned custom have not brazed it so,[117] That it be proof and bulwark against sense.[118]


(Sits R.C.)

What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue In noise so rude against me?


(Seated L.C.)

Such an act, That blurs the grace and blush of modesty; Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there;[119] makes marriage vows As false as dicer's oaths: O, such a deed As from the body of contraction plucks The very soul;[120] and sweet religion makes A rhapsody of words.— Ah, me, that act!

Queen. Ah me, what act?

Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this, The counterfeit presentment[121] of two brothers. See, what a grace was seated on this brow; Hyperion's curls;[122] the front of Jove himself; An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; A station like the herald Mercury[123] New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill; A combination, and a form, indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world assurance of a man; This was your husband.—Look you now, what follows: Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear, Blasting his wholesome brother.[124] Have you eyes? Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed, And batten on this moor?[125] Ha! have you eyes? You cannot call it love; for, at your age The hey-day in the blood[126] is tame, it's humble, And waits upon the judgment: And what judgment Would step from this to this? O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell, If thou canst mutine,[127] in a matron's bones, To flaming youth let virtue be as wax, And melt in her own fire.

Queen. O, Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct.[128]

Ham. Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,——[129]

Queen. O, speak to me no more; No more, sweet Hamlet!

Ham. A murderer and a villain: A slave that is not twentieth part the tythe Of your precedent lord;—a vice of kings;[130] A cutpurse of the empire and the rule; That from a shelf the precious diadem stole, And put it in his pocket![131]

Queen. No more!

Ham. A king Of shreds and patches.[132]

[Enter Ghost, R.]

Save me

[Starts from his chair],

and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

Queen. Alas, he's mad!


Ham. (L.) Do you not come your tardy son to chide, That, laps'd in time and passion,[133] lets go by The important acting of your dread command? O, say!

Ghost. (R.) Do not forget: This visitation Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. But, look, amazement on thy mother sits: O, step between her and her fighting soul. Speak to her Hamlet.

Ham. How is it with you, lady?

Queen. Alas, how is't with you, That you do bend your eye on vacancy, And with the incorporal air do hold discourse? Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep. O gentle son,

[Crosses to HAMLET.]

Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper Sprinkle cool patience.[134] Whereon do you look?

Ham. On him, on him!—Look you, how pale he glares! His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones, Would make them capable.[135] Do not look upon me; Lest with this piteous action, you convert My stern effects:[136] then what I have to do Will want true colour; tears perchance, for blood.

Queen. To whom do you speak this?

Ham. Do you see nothing there?

Queen. Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see.[137]

Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?

Queen. No, nothing but ourselves.

Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!

[Ghost crosses to L.]

My father in his habit as he lived![138] Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!

[Exit Ghost, L.H. HAMLET sinks into chair C. The QUEEN falls on her knees by his side.]

Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain: This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.[139]

Ham. Ecstasy! My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, And makes as healthful music: It is not madness That I have uttered: bring me to the test, And I the matter will re-word; which madness Would gambol from.[140] Mother, for love of grace,


Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass, but my madness speaks: It will but skin and film[141] the ulcerous place, Whiles rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven; Repent what's past; avoid what is to come.

Queen. O, Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed;

[Raising the QUEEN.]

Assume a virtue, if you have it not. Once more, good night! And when you are desirous to be bless'd, I'll blessing beg of you.[142] For this same lord,

[Pointing to POLONIUS.]

I do repent: I will bestow him, and will answer well The death I gave him. So, again, good night.

[Exit QUEEN, R.H.]

I must be cruel, only to be kind: Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.

[Exit HAMLET behind the arras, L.H.U.E.




[Footnote III.1: Forward] Disposed, inclinable.]

[Footnote III.2: Assay him to] Try his disposition towards.]

[Footnote III.3: O'er-raught on the way:] Reached or overtook.]

[Footnote III.4 Have closely sent] i.e., privately sent.]

[Footnote III.5 May here affront Ophelia:] To affront is to come face to face—to confront.]

[Footnote III.6 Lawful espials,] Spies justifiably inquisitive. From the French, espier.]

[Footnote III.7 Too much prov'd,] Found by too frequent experience.]

[Footnote III.8 To be, or not to be, that is the question:] Hamlet is deliberating whether he should continue to live, or put an end to his existence.]

[Footnote III.9: Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,] A sea of troubles among the Greeks grew into a proverbial usage; so that the expression figuratively means, the troubles of human life, which flow in upon us, and encompass us round like a sea.]

[Footnote III.10: This mortal coil,] Coil is here used in each of its senses, that of turmoil or bustle, and that which entwines or wraps round.]

[Footnote III.11: Must give us pause:] i.e., occasion for reflection.]

[Footnote III.12: There's the respect That makes calamity of so long life;] The consideration that makes the evils of life so long submitted to, lived under.]

[Footnote III.13: The whips and scorns of time,] Those sufferings of body and mind, those stripes and mortifications to which, in its course, the life of man is subjected.]

[Footnote III.14: Contumely,] Contemptuousness, rudeness.]

[Footnote III.15: His quietus make] Quietus means the official discharge of an account: from the Latin. Particularly in the Exchequer accounts, where it is still current. Chiefly used by authors in metaphorical senses.]

[Footnote III.16: A bare bodkin?] Bodkin was an ancient term for a small dagger. In the margin of Stowe's Chronicle it is said that Caesar was slain with bodkins.]

[Footnote III.17: Who would fardels bear,] Fardel is a burden. Fardellus, low Latin.]

[Footnote III.18: From whose bourn] i.e., boundary.]

[Footnote III.19: No traveller returns,] The traveller whom Hamlet had seen, though he appeared in the same habit which he had worn in his life-time, was nothing but a shadow, "invulnerable as the air," and, consequently, incorporeal. The Ghost has given us no account of the region from whence he came, being, as he himself informed us, "forbid to tell the secrets of his prison-house."—MALONE.]

[Footnote III.20: Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;] A state of doubt and uncertainty, a conscious feeling or apprehension, a misgiving "How our audit stands."]

[Footnote III.21: Of great pith and moment,] i.e., of great vigour and importance.]

[Footnote III.22:

With this regard, their currents turn away, And lose the name of action.]

From this sole consideration have their drifts diverted, and lose the character and name of enterprise.]

[Footnote III.23: Soft you now!] A gentler pace! have done with lofty march!]

[Footnote III.24: Nymph, in thy orisons] i.e., in thy prayers. Orison is from oraison—French.]

[Footnote III.25: If you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.] i.e., if you really possess these qualities, chastity and beauty, and mean to support the character of both, your honesty should be so chary of your beauty, as not to suffer a thing so fragile to entertain discourse, or to be parleyed with.

The lady interprets the words otherwise, giving them the turn best suited to her purpose.]

[Footnote III.26: His likeness:] Shakespeare and his contemporaries frequently use the personal for the neutral pronoun.]

[Footnote III.27: Inoculate our old stock, but we shall relish of it:] So change the original constitution and properties, as that no smack of them shall remain. "Inoculate our stock" are terms in gardening.]

[Footnote III.28: With more offences at my beck] That is, always ready to come about me—at my beck and call.]

[Footnote III.29: Than I have thoughts to put them in, &c.] "To put a thing into thought," Johnson says, is "to think on it."]

[Footnote III.30: I have heard of your paintings,] These destructive aids of beauty seem, in the time of Shakespeare, to have been general objects of satire.]

[Footnote III.31: Heaven hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another:] i.e., Heaven hath given you one face, and you disfigure his image by making yourself another.]

[Footnote III.32: You jig, you amble, and you lisp,] This is an allusion to the manners of the age, which Shakespeare, in the spirit of his contemporaries, means here to satirise.]

[Footnote III.33: Make your wantonness your ignorance.] You mistake by wanton affectation, and pretend to mistake by ignorance.]

[Footnote III.34: All but one shall live;] One is the king.]

[Footnote III.35: To a nunnery, go. Exit Hamlet.] There is no doubt that Hamlet's attachment to Ophelia is ardent and sincere, but he treats her with apparent severity because he is aware that Ophelia has been purposely thrown in his way; that spies are about them; and that it is necessary for the preservation of his life, to assume a conduct which he thought would be attributed to madness only.]

[Footnote III.36: The expectancy and rose of the fair state,] The first hope and fairest flower. "The gracious mark o' the land."]

[Footnote III.37: Glass of fashion] Speculum consuetudinis.—CICERO.

[Footnote III.38: The mould of form,] The cast, in which is shaped the only perfect form.

[Footnote III.39: Musick vows,] Musical, mellifluous.

[Footnote III.40: Be round with him;] i.e., plain with him—without reserve.

[Footnote III.41: If she find him not,] Make him not out.

[Footnote III.42: As lief] As willingly.]

[Footnote III.43: Thus;] i.e., thrown out thus.]

[Footnote III.44: Robustious perrywig-pated fellow] This is a ridicule on the quantity of false hair worn in Shakespeare's time, for wigs were not in common use till the reign of Charles the Second. Robustious means making an extravagant show of passion.]

[Footnote III.45: The ears of the groundlings,] The meaner people appear to have occupied the pit of the theatre (which had neither floor nor benches in Shakespeare's time), as they now sit in the upper gallery.]

[Footnote III.46: O'er-doing Termagant;] The Crusaders, and those who celebrated them, confounded Mahometans with Pagans, and supposed Mahomet, or Mahound, to be one of their deities, and Tervagant or Termagant, another. This imaginary personage was introduced into our old plays and moralities, and represented as of a most violent character, so that a ranting actor might always appear to advantage in it. The word is now used for a scolding woman.]

[Footnote III.47: It out-herods Herod:] In all the old moralities and mysteries this personage was always represented as a tyrant of a very violent temper, using the most exaggerated language. Hence the expression.]

[Footnote III.48: The very age and body of the time its form and pressure.] i.e., to delineate exactly the manners of the age, and the particular humours of the day—pressure signifying resemblance, as in a print.]

[Footnote III.49: Come tardy off,] Without spirit or animation; heavily, sleepily done.]

[Footnote III.50: The censure of which one] i.e., the censure of one of which.]

[Footnote III.51: Your allowance,] In your approbation.]

[Footnote III.52: Not to speak it profanely,] i.e., irreverently, in allusion to Hamlet's supposition that God had not made such men, but that they were only the handy work of God's assistants.]

[Footnote III.53: Indifferently] In a reasonable degree.]

[Footnote III.54: Speak no more them is set down for them:] Shakespeare alludes to a custom of his time, when the clown, or low comedian, as he would now be called, addressing the audience during the play, entered into a contest of raillery and sarcasm with such spectators as chose to engage with him.]

[Footnote III.55: Barren spectators] i.e., dull, unapprehensive spectators.]

[Footnote III.56: Question] Point, topic.]

[Footnote III.57: Cop'd withal.] Encountered with.]

[Footnote III.58: Pregnant hinges of the knee,] i.e., bowed or bent: ready to kneel where thrift, that is, thriving, or emolument may follow sycophancy.]

[Footnote III.59: Since my dear soul] Dear is out of which arises the liveliest interest.]

[Footnote III.60: Whose blood and judgment] Dr. Johnson says that according to the doctrine of the four humours, desire and confidence were seated in the blood, and judgment in the phlegm, and the due mixture of the humours made a perfect character.]

[Footnote III.61: The very comment of thy soul] The most intense direction of every faculty.]

[Footnote III.62: Occulted guilt do not itself unkennel] Stifled, secret guilt, do not develope itself.]

[Footnote III.63: As Vulcan's stithy.] A stithy is the smith's shop, as stith is the anvil.]

[Footnote III.64: In censure of his seeming.] In making our estimate of the appearance he shall put on.]

[Footnote III.65: I have nothing with this answer; these words are not mine.] i.e., they grow not out of mine: have no relation to anything said by me.]

[Footnote III.66: No, nor mine, now.] They are now anybody's. Dr. Johnson observes, "a man's words, says the proverb, are his own no longer than while he keeps them unspoken."]

[Footnote III.67: You played once in the university, you say?] The practice of acting Latin plays in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge is very ancient, and continued to near the middle of the last century.]

[Footnote III.68: I did enact Julius Caesar:] A Latin play on the subject of Caesar's death, was performed at Christ-church, Oxford, in 1582.]

[Footnote III.69: They stay upon your patience.] Patience is here used for leisure.]

[Footnote III.70: Lying down at Ophelia's feet.] To lie at the feet of a mistress during any dramatic representation, seems to have been a common act of gallantry.]

[Footnote III.71: Jig-maker,] Writer of ludicrous interludes. A jig was not in Shakespeare's time only a dance, but a ludicrous dialogue in metre; many historical ballads were also called jigs.]

[Footnote III.72: For I'll have a suit of sables.] Wherever his scene might be, the customs of his country were ever in Shakespeare's thoughts. A suit trimmed with sables was in our author's own time the richest dress worn by men in England. By the Statute of Apparel, 24 Henry VIII., c. 13, (article furres), it is ordained, that none under the degree of an Earl may use sables.]

[Footnote III.73: He must build churches, then.] Such benefactors to society were sure to be recorded by means of the feast day on which the patron saints and founders of churches were commemorated in every parish. This custom has long since ceased.]

[Footnote III.74: Miching mallecho;] To mich is a provincial word, signifying to lie hid, or to skulk, or act by stealth. It was probably once generally used. Mallecho is supposed to be corrupted from the Spanish Malechor, which means a poisoner.]

[Footnote III.75: The posy of a ring?] Such poetry as you may find engraven on a ring.]

[Footnote III.76: Phoebus' cart] A chariot was anciently called a cart.]

[Footnote III.77: Tellus' orbed ground,] i.e., the globe of the earth. Tellus is the personification of the earth, being described as the first being that sprung from Chaos.]

[Footnote III.78: My operant powers their functions leave to do:] i.e., my active energies cease to perform their offices.]

[Footnote III.79: What we do determine, oft we break.] Unsettle our most fixed resolves.]

[Footnote III.80: The argument?] The subject matter.]

[Footnote III.81: The mouse-trap.]

He calls it the mouse-trap, because it is the thing, In which he'll catch the conscience of the king.]

[Footnote III.82: Tropically.] i.e., figuratively.]

[Footnote III.83: The image of a murder,] i.e., the lively portraiture, the correct and faithful representation of a murder, &c.]

[Footnote III.84: Let the galled jade wince,] A proverbial saying.]

[Footnote III.85: Our withers are unwrung.] Withers is the joining of the shoulder bones at the bottom of the neck and mane of a horse. Unwrung is not pinched.]

[Footnote III.86: You are as good as a chorus,] The persons who are supposed to behold what passes in the acts of a tragedy, and sing their sentiments between the acts.

The use to which Shakespeare converted the chorus, may be seen in King Henry V.]

[Footnote III.87: I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.] This refers to the interpreter, who formerly sat on the stage at all puppet shows, and explained to the audience. The puppets dallying are here made to signify to the agitations of Ophelia's bosom.]

[Footnote III.88:

The croaking raven Doth bellow for revenge.]

i.e., begin without more delay; for the raven, foreknowing the deed, is already croaking, and, as it were, calling out for the revenge which will ensue.]

[Footnote III.89: Midnight weeds] The force of the epithet midnight, will be best displayed by a corresponding passage in Macbeth:

"Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark."]

[Footnote III.90: Usurp] Encroach upon.]

[Footnote III.91: Let the strucken deer go weep,] Shakespeare, in As you like it, in allusion to the wounded stag, speaks of the big round tears which cours'd one another down his innocent nose in piteous chase. In the 13th song of Drayton's Polyolbion, is a similar passage—"The harte weepeth at his dying; his tears are held to be precious in medicine."]

[Footnote III.92: Marvellous distempered.] i.e., discomposed.]

[Footnote III.93: Admiration.] i.e., wonder.]

[Footnote III.94: Trade with us?] i.e. Occasion of intercourse.]

[Footnote III.95: By these pickers and stealers.] i.e., by these hands. The phrase is taken from the Church catechism, where, in our duty to our neighbour, we are taught to keep our hands from picking and stealing.]

[Footnote III.96: You do freely bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.] By your own act you close the way against your own ease, and the free discharge of your griefs, if you open not the source of them to your friends.]

[Footnote III.97: You have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?] Though the crown was elective, yet regard was paid to the recommendation of the preceding prince, and preference given to royal blood, which, by degrees, produced hereditary succession.]

[Footnote III.98: "While the grass grows,"—the proverb is something musty.] The proverb is, "While the grass grows, the steed starves." Hamlet alludes to his own position, while waiting for his succession to the throne of Denmark. A similar adage is, "A slip between the cup and the lip."]

[Footnote III.99: Recorder.] i.e. A kind of flute, or pipe.]

[Footnote III.100: Why do you go about to recover the wind of me,] Equivalent to our more modern saying of Get on the blind side.]

[Footnote III.101: Into a toil?] i.e., net or snare.]

[Footnote III.102: If my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.] If my sense of duty have led me too far, it is affection and regard for you that makes the carriage of that duty border on disrespect.]

[Footnote III.103: Govern these ventages—and it will discourse most eloquent music.] Justly order these vents, or air-holes, and it will breathe or utter, &c.]

[Footnote III.104: Though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.] A fret is a stop or key of a musical instrument. Here is, therefore, a play upon the words. Though you cannot fret, stop, or vex, you cannot play or impose upon me.]

[Footnote III.105: They fool me to the top of my bent.] To the height; as far as they see me incline to go: an allusion to the utmost flexure of a bow.]

[Footnote III.106: Bitter business] i.e., shocking, horrid business.]

[Footnote III.107: Stands it safe with us] Is it consistent with our security.]

[Footnote III.108: This fear,] Bugbear.]

[Footnote III.109: Behind the arras I'll convey myself,] The arras-hangings, in Shakespeare's time, were hung at such a distance from the walls, that a person might easily stand behind them unperceived.]

[Footnote III.110: To hear the process;] The course of the conversation.]

[Footnote III.111: The speech of vantage.] i.e., opportunity or advantage of secret observations.]

[Footnote III.112: Lay home to him:] Pointedly and closely charge him.]

[Footnote III.113: Pranks too broad] Open and bold.]

[Footnote III.114: I'll 'sconce me even here.] 'Sconce and ensconce are constantly used figuratively for hide. In "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Falstaff says, "I will ensconce me behind the arras."]

[Footnote III.115: By the rood,] i.e., the cross or crucifix.]

[Footnote III.116: How now! a rat?] This is an expression borrowed from the History of Hamblet.]

[Footnote III.117: Have not braz'd it so,] i.e., soldered with brass.]

[Footnote III.118: Proof and bulwark against sense.] Against all feeling.]

[Footnote III.119: Takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there;] i.e., takes the clear tint from the brow of unspotted, untainted innocence. "True or honest as the skin between one's brows" was a proverbial expression, and is frequently used by Shakespeare.]

[Footnote III.120: As from the body of contraction plucks The very soul;] Annihilates the very principle of contracts. Contraction for marriage contract.]

[Footnote III.121: The counterfeit presentment] i.e., picture or mimic representation.]

[Footnote III.122: Hyperion's curls;] Hyperion is used by Spenser with the same error in quantity.]

[Footnote III.123: A station like the herald Mercury] Station is attitude—act of standing.]

[Footnote III.124:

Like a mildew'd ear, Blasting his wholesome brother.]

This alludes to Pharaoh's dream, in the 41st chapter of Genesis.]

[Footnote III.125: Batten on this moor?] Batten is to feed rankly.]

[Footnote III.126: Hey-day in the blood] This expression is occasionally used by old authors.]

[Footnote III.127: Thou canst mutine] i.e., rebel.]

[Footnote III.128: As will not leave their tinct.] So dyed in grain, that they will not relinquish or lose their tinct—are not to be discharged. In a sense not very dissimilar he presently says,

"Then what I have to do Will want true colour."]

[Footnote III.129: An enseamed bed.] i.e., greasy bed of grossly fed indulgence.]

[Footnote III.130: A vice of kings;] i.e., a low mimick of kings. The vice was the fool of the old moralities or dramas, who was generally engaged in contests with the devil, by whom he was finally carried away. Dr. Johnson says the modern Punch is descended from the vice.]

[Footnote III.131:

From a shelf the precious diadem stole, And put it in his pocket!]

In allusion to the usurper procuring the crown as a common pilferer or thief, and not by open villainy that carried danger with it.]

[Footnote III.132: A king of shreds and patches.] This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice being dressed as a fool, in a coat of party-coloured patches.]

[Footnote III.133: Laps'd in time and passion,] That having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, &c. It was supposed that nothing was more offensive to apparitions than the neglect to attach importance to their appearance, or to be inattentive to their admonitions.]

[Footnote III.134: Cool patience.] i.e., moderation.]

[Footnote III.135: Make them capable.] Make them intelligent—capable of conceiving.]

[Footnote III.136: My stem effects:] i.e., change the nature of my purposes, or what I mean to effect.]

[Footnote III.137: Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see.] It is in perfect consistency with the belief that all spirits were not only naturally invisible, but that they possessed the power of making themselves visible to such persons only as they pleased.]

[Footnote III.138: My father, in his habit as he lived!] In the habit he was accustomed to wear when living.]

[Footnote III.139:

This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.]

i.e., "Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries." Ecstasy in this place, as in many others, means a temporary alienation of mind—a fit.]

[Footnote III.140: Gambol from.] Start away from.]

[Footnote III.141: Skin and film,] Cover with a thin skin.]

[Footnote III.142:

And when you are desirous to be bless'd, I'll blessing beg of you]

When you are desirous to receive a blessing from heaven (which you cannot, seriously, till you reform), I will beg to receive a blessing from you.]



Enter KING and QUEEN, from (R.H.) centre.

King. There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves: You must translate:[1] 'tis fit we understand them. How does Hamlet?

Queen. Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend Which is the mightier: In his lawless fit, Behind the arras hearing something stir, Whips out his rapier, cries A rat, a rat! And, in this brainish apprehension,[2] kills The unseen good old man.

King. O heavy deed! It had been so with us, had we been there: Where is he gone?

Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd.

King. The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch, But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed We must, with all our majesty and skill, Both countenance and excuse.—Ho, Guildenstern!


Friends both, go join you with some further aid: Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain, And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him: Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body Into the chapel.


I pray you, haste in this.


Go, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends; And let them know, both what we mean to do, And what's untimely done.

[Exit QUEEN, R.C.]

How dangerous is it that this man goes loose! Yet must not we put the strong law on him: He's lov'd of the distracted multitude, Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes; And where 'tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd, But never the offence.[3]


How now! what hath befallen?

Ros. Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord, We cannot get from him.

King. But where is he?

Ros. Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

King. Bring him before us.

Ros. Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.

Enter HAMLET, GUILDENSTERN, and Attendants (R.H.)

King. (C.) Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

Ham. (R.) At supper.

King. At supper? Where?

Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politick worms[4] are e'en at him.

King. Where's Polonius?

Ham. In Heaven; send thither to see: if your messenger find him not there, seek him i'the other place yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.

King. Go seek him there.


Ham. He will stay till you come.


King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety, Must send thee hence: Therefore prepare thyself; The bark is ready, and the wind at help,[5] For England.

Ham. For England!

King. Ay, Hamlet.

Ham. Good.

King. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.

Ham. I see a cherub that sees them. But, come; for England!—Farewell, dear mother.

King. Thy loving father, Hamlet.

Ham. My mother: Father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England.

[Exit, R.H.]

King. Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard; Away! for everything is seal'd and done.

[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and Attendants, R.H.]

And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught, Thou may'st not coldly set[6] Our sovereign process;[7] which imports at full, By letters conjuring to that effect,[8] The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England; For thou must cure me: 'Till I know 'tis done, Howe'er my haps,[9] my joys will ne'er begin.

[Exit KING, L.H.]

Enter QUEEN and HORATIO (R. centre.)

Queen. ——I will not speak with her.

Hor. She is importunate; indeed, distract: 'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

Queen. Let her come in.

[Exit HORATIO, R.C.]

Re-enter HORATIO, with OPHELIA (R. centre.)

Oph. Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

Queen. How now, Ophelia!

Oph. (C.)


How should I your true love know From another one? By his cockle hat and staff, And his sandal shoon.[10]

Queen. (L.C.) Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Oph. Say you? nay, pray you, mark.


He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone.

Enter the KING (L.H.)

Queen. Nay, but, Ophelia,——

Oph. Pray you, mark.


White his shroud as the mountain-snow, Larded all with sweet flowers;[11] Which bewept to the grave did go With true-love showers.

King. How do you, pretty lady?

Oph. Well, Heaven 'ield you![12]

(Crosses to the KING.)

They say the owl was a baker's daughter.[13] We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

King. Conceit upon her father.[14]

Oph. Pray, you, let us have no words of this; but when they ask you what it means, say you this:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day, All in the morning betime, And I, a maid at your window, To be your Valentine:

King. Pretty Ophelia!

Oph. Indeed, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:

Then up he rose, and don'd his clothes, And dupp'd[15] the chamber door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.

[Crosses to R.H.]

King. (L.) How long hath she been thus?

Oph. (R.) I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him i'the cold ground. My brother shall know of it; and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies; good night, good night.

[Exit, R.C.]

King. Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.

[Exit HORATIO, through centre R.]

O! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs All from her father's death. O, Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions!

Enter MARCELLUS (R. centre.)

King. What is the matter?

Mar. Save yourself, my lord: The young Laertes, in a riotous head,[16] O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord; They cry, Choose we: Laertes shall be king! Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds, Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!

[Noise within, R.C.]

Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following (R. centre.)

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

Dan. No, let's come in.

Laer. I pray you, give me leave.

Dan. We will, we will.

[They retire without, R.H.]

Laer. O, thou vile king, Give me my father.



Calmly, good Laertes.

Laer. (R.) That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard; Cries cuckold to my father; brands the harlot Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow Of my true mother.[17]

King. (L.) What is the cause, Laertes, That thy rebellion looks so giant-like? Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person: There's such divinity doth hedge a king,[18] That treason can but peep to what it would, Acts little of his will. Let him go, Gertrude.

[QUEEN obeys.]

Laer. Where is my father?

King. Dead.

Queen. But not by him.

King. Let him demand his fill.

Laer. How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with: To hell, allegiance! To this point I stand, That both the worlds I give to negligence,[19] Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd Most throughly for my father.

King. Who shall stay you!

Laer. My will, not all the world's:[20] And, for my means, I'll husband them so well, They shall go far with little.

King. Good Laertes, That I am guiltless of your father's death, And am most sensible in grief[21] for it, It shall as level to your judgment 'pear As day does to your eye.



Oh, poor Ophelia!

King. Let her come in.

Enter OPHELIA (R.C.), fantastically dressed with Straws and Flowers.


(Goes up L.C.)

O rose of May! Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia! O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits Should be as mortal as an old man's life?

Oph. (R.C.)

They bore him barefac'd on the bier; And on his grave rain many a tear,—

Fare you well, my dove!


(Coming down R.)

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, It could not move thus.

Oph. You must sing, Down-a-down,[22] an you call him a-down-a. O, how well the wheel becomes it![23] It is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter.

Laer. This nothing's more than matter.

Oph. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;[24] pray you, love, remember: and there is pansies,[25] that's for thoughts.

Laer. A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.

Oph. There's fennel for you,

(crosses to the KING on L.H.)

and columbines:[26] there's rue for you;

(turns to the QUEEN, who is R.C.)

and here's some for me:—we may call it herb of grace o'Sundays:[27]—you may wear your rue with a difference.[28]—There's a daisy:[29]—I would give you some violets,[30] but they withered all when my father died:—They say he made a good end,——

For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy—[31]

Laer. (R.) Thought and affliction,[32] passion, hell itself, She turns to favour and to prettiness.


And will he not come again? And will he not come again? No, no, he is dead, Gone to his death-bed, He never will come again.

His beard was white as snow, All flaxen was his poll: He is gone, he is gone, And we cast away moan: Heaven 'a mercy on his soul!

And of all christian souls, I pray Heaven. Heaven be wi' you.

[Exit OPHELIA, R.C., QUEEN following.]

Laer. Do you see this, O Heaven?

King. (L.C.) Laertes, I must commune with your grief,[33] Or you deny me right. Be you content to lend your patience to us, And we shall jointly labour with your soul To give it due content.

Laer. (R.C.) Let this be so; His means of death, his obscure funeral,— No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,[34] No noble rite nor formal ostentation,— Cry to be heard,[35] as 'twere from heaven to earth, That I must call't in question.

King. So you shall; And where the offence is let the great axe fall.[36] How now! what news?


Ber. (C.) Letters, my lord, from Hamlet: This to your majesty; this to the Queen.

King. From Hamlet! who brought them?

Ber. Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not.

King. Laertes, you shall hear them.— Leave us.

[Exit, L.H.C.] [Reads.]

High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom.[37] To morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return. HAMLET.

What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

Laer. (R.) Know you the hand?

King. (L.) 'Tis Hamlet's character:[38] Naked,—

And in a postscript here, he says, alone. Can you advise me?

Laer. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come; It warms the very sickness in my heart, That I shall live and tell him to his teeth, Thus diddest thou.

King. If it be so, Laertes, Will you be rul'd by me?

Laer. Ay, my lord; So you will not o'er-rule me to a peace.

King. To thine own peace. Some two months since, Here was a gentleman of Normandy, He made confession of[39] you; And gave you such a masterly report, For art and exercise in your defence,[40] And for your rapier most especially, That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed, If one could match you: this report of his Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy, That he could nothing do but wish and beg Your sudden coming o'er, to play with you. Now, out of this,——

Laer. What out of this, my lord?

King. Laertes, was your father dear to you? Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, A face without a heart?

Laer. Why ask you this?

King. Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home: We'll put on those shall praise your excellence, And set a double varnish on the fame The Frenchman gave you; bring you, in fine, together, And wager o'er your heads; he, being remiss,[41] Most generous, and free from all contriving, Will not peruse the foils:[42] so that, with ease, Or with a little shuffling, you may choose A sword unbated,[43] and, in a pass of practice,[44] Requite him for your father.

Laer. I will do't: And, for the purpose, I'll anoint my sword. I bought an unction of a mountebank, So mortal, that but dip a knife in it, Where it draws blood no cataplasm[45] so rare, Collected from all simples[46] that have virtue Under the moon, can save the thing from death That is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly, It may be death.

King. (L.) Let's further think of this; We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings,[47] When in your motion[48] you are hot and dry, (As make your bouts more violent to that end,) And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him A chalice for the nonce;[49] whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,[50] Our purpose may hold there. But stay, what noise?

Enter QUEEN (R.C.)

Queen. (C.) One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow: Your sister's drown'd, Laertes.

Laer. (R.) Drown'd! O, where?

Queen. There is a willow grows aslant a brook, That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream; Therewith fantastick garlands did she make Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples;[51] There, on the pendent boughs her cornet weeds Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke; When down her weedy trophies, and herself, Fell in the weeping brook.

Laer. I forbid my tears: But yet It is our trick:[52] nature her custom holds, Let shame say what it will: when these are gone, The woman will be out.[53] Adieu, my lord: I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze, But that this folly drowns it.[54]

[Exeunt. C.]



Act IV

[Footnote IV.1: Translate:] Interpret.]

[Footnote IV.2: In this brainish apprehension,] Distempered, brainsick mood.]

[Footnote IV.3: Where the offender's scourge is weigh'd, But never the offence.] When an offender is popular, the people never consider what his crime was, but they scrutinise his punishment.]

[Footnote IV.4: Politick worms] i.e., artful, cunning worms.]

[Footnote IV.5: The wind at help,] i.e., ready.]

[Footnote IV.6: May'st not coldly set] Set is to value or estimate. "Thou may'st not set little by it, or estimate it lightly."]

[Footnote IV.7: Our sovereign process:] i.e., our royal design.]

[Footnote IV.8: By letters conjuring to that effect,] The verb to conjure, in the sense of to supplicate, was formerly accented on the first syllable.]

[Footnote IV.9: Howe'er my haps,] Chances of fortune.]

[Footnote IV.10: His sandal shoon.] Shoon is the old plural of shoe. The verse is descriptive of a pilgrim. While this kind of devotion was in favour, love intrigues were carried on under that mask.]

[Footnote IV.11: Larded with sweet flowers;] i.e., Garnished with sweet flowers.]

[Footnote IV.12: Heaven 'ield you.] Requite; yield you recompence.]

[Footnote IV.13: The owl was a baker's daughter.] This is in reference to a story that was once prevalent among the common people of Gloucestershire.]

[Footnote IV.14: Conceit upon her father.] Fancies respecting her father.]

[Footnote IV.15: Don'd and dupp'd] To don, is to do on, or put on, as doff is to do off, or put off. To dupp is to do up, or lift up the latch.]

[Footnote IV.16: In a riotous head,] The tide, strongly flowing, is said to pour in with a great head.]

[Footnote IV.17: The chaste unsmirched brow of my true mother.] Unsmirched is unstained, not defiled.]

[Footnote IV.18: Doth hedge a king,] The word hedge is used by the gravest writers upon the highest subjects.]

[Footnote IV.19: Both the worlds I give to negligence,] I am careless of my present and future prospects, my views in this life, as well as that which is to come.]

[Footnote IV.20: My will, not all the world's:] i.e., by my will as far as my will is concerned, not all the world shall stop me; and, as for my means, I'll husband them so well, they shall go far, though really little.]

[Footnote IV.21: Sensible in grief] Poignantly affected with.]

[Footnote IV.22: You must sing Down-a-down,] This was the burthen of an old song, well known in Shakespeare's time.]

[Footnote IV.23: How well the wheel becomes it!] This probably means that the song or charm is well adapted to those who are occupied at spinning at the wheel.]

[Footnote IV.24: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;] Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and was carried at funerals and wore at weddings. It was also considered the emblem of fidelity in lovers; and at weddings it was usual to dip the rosemary in the cup, and drink to the health of the new married couple.]

[Footnote IV.25: There is pansies,] i.e., a little flower called heart's-ease. Pansies in French signifies thoughts.]

[Footnote IV.26: There's fennel for you, and columbines:] Fennel was considered an emblem of flattery, and columbine was anciently supposed to be a thankless flower; signifying probably that the courtiers flattered to get favours, and were thankless after receiving them. Columbine was emblematical of forsaken lovers.]

[Footnote IV.27: There's rue for you; and here's some for me:—we may call it herb of grace o' Sundays:] Probably a quibble is meant here, as rue anciently signified the same as ruth, i.e., sorrow. In the common dictionaries of Shakespeare's time, it was called herb of grace. Ophelia wishes to remind the Queen of the sorrow and contrition she ought to feel for her unlawful marriage; and that she may wear her rue with peculiar propriety on Sundays, when she solicits pardon for the crime which she has so much occasion to rue and repent of.—MALONE.]

[Footnote IV.28: You may wear your rue with a difference.] i.e., to distinguish it from that worn by Ophelia, herself: because her tears flowed from the loss of a father—those of the Queen ought to flow for her guilt.]

[Footnote IV.29: There's a daisy:] A daisy signified a warning to young women, not to trust the fair promises of their lovers.]

[Footnote IV.30: I would give you some violets,] Violets signified faithfulness.]

[Footnote IV.31: For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,—] Part of an old song.]

[Footnote IV.32: Thought and affliction,] Thought here, as in many other places, means melancholy.]

[Footnote IV.33: I must commune with your grief,] i.e., confer, discuss, or argue with.]

[Footnote IV.34: No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,] Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard, (i.e., a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour), are hung over the grave of every knight.]

[Footnote IV.35: Cry to be heard,] All these multiplied incitements are things which cry, &c.]

[Footnote IV.36: Let the great axe fall.] i.e., the axe that is to be laid to the root.]

[Footnote IV.37: Naked on your kingdom,] i.e., unprovided and defenceless.]

[Footnote IV.38: 'Tis Hamlet's character,] Peculiar mode of shaping his letters.]

[Footnote IV.39: Made confession of] Acknowledged.]

[Footnote IV.40: In your defence,] i.e., "in your art and science of defence."]

[Footnote IV.41: He, being remiss,] i.e., unsuspicious, not cautious.]

[Footnote IV.42: Peruse the foils;] Closely inspect them.]

[Footnote IV.43: A sword unbated,] Not blunted, as foils are by a button fixed to the end.]

[Footnote IV.44: In a pass of practice,] This probably means some favourite pass, some trick of fencing, with which Hamlet was inexperienced, and by which Laertes may be sure of success.]

[Footnote IV.45: No cataplasm,] i.e., poultice—a healing application.]

[Footnote IV.46: Collected from all simples,] i.e., from all ingredients in medicine.]

[Footnote IV.47: On your cunnings,] i.e., on your dexterity.]

[Footnote IV.48: In your motion] Exercise, rapid evolutions.]

[Footnote IV.49: For the nonce;] i.e., present purpose or design.]

[Footnote IV.50: Venom'd stuck,] Thrust. Stuck was a term of the fencing school.]

[Footnote IV.51: Long purples,] One of the names for a species of orchis, a common English flower.]

[Footnote IV.52: Our trick:] Our course, or habit; a property that clings to, or makes a part of, us.]

[Footnote IV.53:

When these are gone, The woman will be out.]

When these tears are shed, this womanish passion will be over.]

[Footnote IV.54: But that this folly drowns it.] i.e., my rage had flamed, if this flood of tears had not extinguished it.]



Enter two Clowns,[1] with spades, &c. (L.H.U.E.)

1st Clo. (R.) Is she to be buried in christian burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation?

2nd Clo. (L.) I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight:[2] the crowner[3] hath set on her, and finds it christian burial.

1st Clo. How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

2nd Clo. Why, 'tis found so.

1st Clo. It must be se offendendo;[4] 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:[5] argal,[6] she drowned herself wittingly.

2nd Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.[7]

1st Clo. 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,[8] 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.

2nd Clo. But is this law?

1st Clo. Ay, marry is't; crowner's-quest law.[9]

2nd Clo. Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.

1st Clo. Why, there thou say'st:[10] And the more pity that great folks should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even christian.[11] Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: they hold up Adam's profession.

2nd Clo. Was he a gentleman?[12]

1st Clo. He was the first that ever bore arms. I'll put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself——[13]

2nd Clo. Go to.

1st Clo. What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

2nd Clo. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1st Clo. 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.

2nd Clo. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?

1st Clo. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.[14]

2nd Clo. Marry, now I can tell.

1st Clo. To't.

2nd Clo. Mass, I cannot tell.

1st Clo. Cudgel thy brains no more about it,[15] 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, and fetch me a stoup of liquor.[16]

[Exit 2nd Clown, L.H.U.E.]


First Clown digs and sings.

In youth, when I did love, did love,[17] Methought, it was very sweet, To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove O, methought, there was nothing meet.


(Behind the grave.)

Has this fellow no feeling of his business, he sings at grave-making?



Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

Ham. 'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.[18]

1st Clo. But age, with his stealing steps, Hath clawed me in his clutch, And hath shipped me into the land, As if I had never been such.

[Throws up a skull.]

Ham. 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-reaches; one that would circumvent Heaven, might it not?

Hor. It might, my lord.

[Gravedigger throws up bones.]

Ham. Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with them?[19] mine ache to think on't.

1st Clo.


A pick-axe and a spade, a spade, For and a shrouding sheet:[20] O, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet.

[Throws up a skull.

Ham. There's another: Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits now, his quillets,[21] his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce[22] with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? I will speak to this fellow.—Whose grave's this, sirrah?

1st Clo. Mine, sir.—


O, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet.

Ham. (R. of grave.) I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.

1st Clo. You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.

Ham. 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.

1st. Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.

Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?

1st Clo. For no man, sir.

Ham. What woman, then?

1st Clo. For none, neither.

Ham. Who is to be buried in't?

1st Clo. One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.

Ham. How absolute the knave is![23] we must speak by the card,[24] or equivocation will undo us,


How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

1st Clo. Of all the days i'the year, I came to't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

Ham. How long's that since?

1st Clo. Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: It was the very day that young Hamlet was born,[25] he that is mad, and sent into England.

Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

1st Clo. Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.

Ham. Why?

1st Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham. How came he mad?

1st Clo. Very strangely, they say.

Ham. How strangely?

1st Clo. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

Ham. Upon what ground?

1st Clo. Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

Ham. How long will a man lie i'the earth ere he rot?

1st Clo. 'Faith, if he be not rotten before he die, he will last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.

Ham. Why he more than another?

1st Clo. 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 ill-begotten dead body. Here's a skull now, hath lain in the earth three-and-twenty years.

Ham. Whose was it?

1st Clo. O, a mad fellow's it was: Whose do you think it was?

Ham. Nay, I know not.

1st Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.

Ham. This?

[Takes the skull.]

1st Clo. E'en that.

Ham. 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. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! 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[26] she must come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Hor. What's that, my lord?

Ham. Dost thou think Alexander look'd o'this fashion i'the earth?

Hor. E'en so.

Ham. And smelt so? pah!

[Gives the skull to HORATIO, who returns it to the grave-digger.]

Hor. E'en so, my lord.

Ham. To what base uses may we return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till it find it stopping a bung-hole?

Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously,[27] to consider so.

Ham. 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 to 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?

Imperial Caesar,[28] dead and turn'd to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away: O, that the earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw![29]

But soft! but soft! aside: Here comes the king, The queen, the courtiers: Who is this they follow? And with such maimed rites?[30] This doth betoken The corse they follow did with desperate hand Fordo its own life:[31] 'Twas of some estate.[32] Couch we awhile, and mark.

[Retiring with HORATIO, R.H.]

Enter Priests, &c., in procession; the corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING, QUEEN, their Trains, &c.


(L. of the grave.)

What ceremony else?

Ham. (R.) That is Laertes, A very noble youth.

1st Priest.

(R. of the grave.)

Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd As we have warranty: Her death was doubtful; And, but that great command o'ersways the order,[33] She should in ground unsanctified have lodged Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers, Shards,[34] flints, and pebbles, should be thrown on her: Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,[35] Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home Of bell and burial.[36]

Laer. Must there no more be done?

1st Priest. No more be done: We should profane the service of the dead To sing a requiem,[37] and such rest to her As to peace-parted souls.

Laer. O, from her fair and unpolluted flesh May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,[38] A ministering angel shall my sister be, When thou liest howling.

Ham. What, the fair Ophelia!


(Behind the grave, C. with the KING.)

Sweets to the sweet: Farewell!

[Scattering flowers.]

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.

Laer. O, treble woe Fall ten times treble on that cursed head, Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense[39] Depriv'd thee of!—Hold off the earth a while, 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,[40] or the skyish head Of blue Olympus.



What is he whose grief Bears such an emphasis?—whose phrase of sorrow Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand Like wonder-wounded hearers?—this is I, Hamlet the Dane.


(L., leaping from the grave.)

The devil take thy soul!

[Grappling with him.]

Ham. (R.C.) 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: Hold off thy hand!

King. Pluck them asunder.

Queen. (C.) Hamlet, Hamlet!

Ham. (R.C.) Why, I will fight with him upon this theme Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

Queen. O my son, what theme?

Ham. 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?

Queen. O, he is mad, Laertes.

Ham. Come, show me what thou'lt do: Wou'lt weep? wou'lt fight? wou'lt fast? wou'lt tear thyself? I'll do't.—Dost thou come here to whine? To outface me[41] 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,[42] Singeing his pate against the burning zone, Make Ossa[43] like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth, I'll rant as well as thou.

Queen. 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,[44] His silence will sit drooping.

Ham. 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,[45] and dog will have his day.

[Exit, R.H.]

King. (C.) I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

[Exit HORATIO, R.H.]

Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son,

[Exit QUEEN, attended, R.H.]

Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;[46]


We'll put the matter to the present push.— This grave shall have a living monument:[47] An hour of quiet shortly shall we see; Till then, in patience our proceeding be.

[The characters group round the grave.]



Ham. But I am very sorry, good Horatio, That to Laertes I forgot myself; For by the image of my cause,[48] I see The portraiture of his.

Hor. Peace! who comes here?

Enter OSRIC (L.H.)

Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

Ham. (C.) I humbly thank you, sir.—Dost know this water-fly?[49]

Hor. (R.) No, my good lord.

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him.

Osr. (L.) Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.

Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit.[50] Your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.

Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Ham. But yet, methinks it is very sultry and hot,[51] for my complexion,—

Osr. 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,—

Ham. I beseech you, remember——

[HAMLET moves him to put on his hat.]

Osr. Nay, good my lord; for mine ease, in good faith.[52] 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:[53] Indeed, to speak feelingly of him,[54] he is the card or calendar of gentry,[55] for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.[56]

Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?[57]

Osr. Of Laertes?

Ham. Of him, sir.

Osr. Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is—

Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself.[58]

Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon.

Ham. What is his weapon?

Osr. Rapier and dagger.

Ham. That's two of his weapons: but, well.

Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses: against the which he has imponed,[59] as I take it, six French rapiers and poignards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers,[60] or 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.[61]

Ham. What call you the carriages?

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

Ham. The phrase would be more german[62] to the matter, if we could carry cannon by our sides.

Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.[63]

Ham. How if I answer no?[64]

Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Ham. Sir, it is 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 if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.

Osr. Shall I deliver you so?

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

Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit, L.H.]

Hor. (R.) You will lose this wager, my lord.

Ham. (C.) I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds.[65] But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heart: but it is no matter.

Hor. Nay, good my lord.

Ham. It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gain-giving,[66] as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.

Hor. If your mind dislike any thing, obey it:[67] I will forestall their repair hither, and say, you are not fit.

Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury: there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.

[Exeunt, L.H.]


KING and QUEEN, on a dais, LAERTES (R.), LORDS (R.), LADIES (L.), OSRIC (R.) and Attendants, with Foils, &c., discovered (R.H.); Tables (R. and L.)— Flourish of Trumpets.


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

Ham. (offering his hand to LAERTES) Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you wrong; But pardon it, as you are a gentleman. Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil Free me so far in your most generous thoughts, That I have shot my arrow o'er the house, And hurt my brother.

Laer. (R.) I am satisfied in nature, Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most To my revenge. I do receive your offer'd love like love, And will not wrong it.

Ham. I embrace it freely: And will this brother's wager frankly play. Give us the foils.

Laer. Come, one for me.

Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance Your skill shall, like a star i'the darkest night, Stick fiery off indeed.[68]

Laer. You mock me, sir.

Ham. No, by this hand.

King. Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet, You know the wager?

Ham. Very well, my lord; Your grace hath laid the odds o'the weaker side.

King. I do not fear it; I have seen you both: But since he's better'd,[69] we have therefore odds.

Laer. This is too heavy, let me see another.

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

Osr. Ay, my good lord.

King. Set me the stoups of wine[70] upon that table.—

[Pages exeunt R. and L.]

If Hamlet give the first or second hit, Or quit[71] in answer to 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,[72] Richer than that which four successive kings In Denmark's crown have worn.

[Pages return with wine.]

Give me the cup; And let the kettle[73] to the trumpet speak, The trumpet to the cannoneer without, The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth, Now the king drinks to Hamlet.—Come, begin; And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

Ham. Come on, sir.

Laer. Come, my lord.

[They play.]

Ham. One.

Laer. No.

Ham. Judgment.

Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.

Laer. Well:—again.

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

[Drops poison into the goblet.]

Here's to thy health.

[Pretends to drink.] [Trumpets sound; and cannon shot off within.]

Give him the cup.

Ham. I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile.

[Page places the goblet on table, L.]

Come. Another hit; What say you?

[They play.]

Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.

King. Our son shall win.

Queen. The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.[74]

Ham. Good madam!——

[Trumpets sound.]

King. Gertrude, do not drink.

Queen. I have, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

King. It is the poison'd cup; it is too late.


Laer. I'll hit him now And yet it is almost against my conscience.


Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes: You do but dally; I pray you, pass with your best violence; I am afeard you make a wanton of me.[75]

Laer. Say you so? come on.

[They play.]

[LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuffling they change Rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES.]

King. Part them; they are incensed.

Ham. Nay, come, again.

[The QUEEN falls back in her chair.]


(Supporting LAERTES, R.)

Look to the queen there, ho!


(Supporting HAMLET, L.)

How is it, my lord?

Osr. How is't, Laertes?

Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe,[76] Osric; I am justly killed with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen?

King. She swoons to see them bleed.

Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,—O, my dear Hamlet,— The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.

[The QUEEN is conveyed off the stage by her attendant Ladies, in a dying state, L.H.U.E.]

Ham. O villainy! Ho! let the doors be lock'd: Treachery! seek it out.

[LAERTES falls.]

Laer. (R.) 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's life; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenom'd:[77] the foul practice[78] 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.

Ham. The point Envenom'd too! Then, venom, to thy work. Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane, Follow my mother.

[Stabs the KING, who is borne away by his attendants, mortally wounded, R.H.U.E.]

Laer. He is justly serv'd; Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet: Mine and my father's death come not upon thee, Nor thine on me!


Ham. (C.) Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee. 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,[79] Is strict in his arrest), O, I could tell you,— But let it be. Horatio, Report me and my cause aright To the unsatisfied.

Hor. (L.) Never believe it: I am more an antique Roman than a Dane: Here's yet some liquor left.

[Seizing the goblet on table, L.]

Ham. As thou'rt a man,— Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have it.

[Dashes the goblet away.]

O good Horatio, what a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me![80] 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.— O, I die, Horatio; The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit;[81] The rest is silence.

[Dies, C., OSRIC on his R., and HORATIO on his L.]

Dead March afar off.

Curtain slowly descends.



Act V

[Footnote V.1: Enter two Clowns,] These characters are not in the original story, but are introduced by Shakespeare.]

[Footnote V.2: Make her grave straight:] i.e., straightways, forthwith.]

[Footnote V.3: The crowner] A corruption of coroner.]

[Footnote V.4: It must be se offendendo;] A confusion of things as well as of terms: used for se defendendo, a finding of the jury in justifiable homicide.]

[Footnote V.5: To act, to do, and to perform:] Warburton says, this is ridicule on scholastic divisions without distinction, and of distinctions without difference.]

[Footnote V.6: Argal,] A corruption of the Latin word, ergo, therefore.]

[Footnote V.7: Delver.] i.e., a digger, one that opens the ground with a spade.]

[Footnote V.8: If the man go to this water,—it is, will he, nill he, he goes,] Still floundering and confounding himself. He means to represent it as a wilful act, and of course without any mixture of nill or nolens in] it. Had he gone, as stated, whether he would or not, it would not have been of his own accord, or his act.]

[Footnote V.9: Crowner's-quest law.] Crowner's-quest is a vulgar corruption of coroner's inquest.]

[Footnote V.10: Why, there thou say'st] Say'st something, speak'st to the purpose.]

[Footnote V.11: More than their even christian.] An old English expression for fellow-christian.]

[Footnote V.12: Was he a gentleman?] Mr. Douce says this is intended as a ridicule upon heraldry.]

[Footnote V.13: Confess thyself——] Admit, or by acknowledgment pass sentence upon thyself, as a simpleton? "Confess, and be hanged," was a proverbial sentence.]

[Footnote V.14: Tell me that, and unyoke.] Unravel this, and your day's work is done, your team may then unharness.]

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