HAMLET

Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4, 18-78
Arden 3 | Second Quarto | Neil Taylor & Anne Thompson | London: Bloomsbury, 2006 | 333-354

Scene
Arden 3 | Second Quarto | 2006

[ 3.4 ]

Enter Queen and Polonius.

POLONIUS
’A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.

Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I’ll silence me even here.
Pray you be round .                                                            5

QUEEN
——————–I’ll warrant you, fear me not.
Withdraw, I hear him coming.

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!

[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope. O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
——-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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost] Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200

Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Words and Pronunciation +
Arden 3 | Second Quarto | 2006

Words

O God: one of several apostrophes to the Deity by Juliet. (Weis)

honey: sweet, used here adjectivally; honey was the standard sweetener in Shakespeare’s day, and Juliet is humouring Nurse. (Weis)

aweary: tired (Leung); weary, tired (SW)

jaunt: fatiguing journey (cited in OED) (Weis)

have I: have I had (Weis)

would: 3. a. Denoting expression (usually authoritative) of a wish or intention: Determine, decree, ordain, enjoin, give order (that something be done). Obs. (OED)

Jesu: not yet banned at this date and, outside RJ, used exclusively in the history plays, particularly in the Henry IVs (Weis)

stay the circumstance: wait for the detail (see without circumstance, 5.3.181) (Weis)

circumstance: special argument, detailed explanation (SW); circumlocution, verbiage, unnecessary detail (SW): pageantry, ceremony, spectacle (SW)

simple: foolish; Nurse picks up Juliet’s formal dichotomy of good and bad while ignoring the substance of her question. (Weis); foolish, silly, stupid (SW)

flower of courtesy: effectively a non sequitur after flower of courtesy since gentleness could be thought to be part of courtesy; ‘as gentle as a lamb’ is proverbial (Dent, L34). (Weis)

go thy ways: ‘Lucky you!’ ways: well done (SW), carry on, go ahead (SW); get along, be off (SW)

wench:  a term of endearment for a young woman (OED sb. c) (Weis)

serve God: ‘Be good.’ (Weis)

dined: had your midday meal (Weis)

as: as if (Weis, re: line 49)

beshrew your heart: a mild and humorous imprecation on Juliet’s romantic heart for sending Nurse on this ‘back-breaking’ trip (cf. MA 5.1.55) (Weis)

beshrew: blame, censure, take to task, wish mischief on (SW); curse, devil take, evil befall (SW)

jauncing: prancing about (cited under OED jaunce v.)(Weis); jaunce: jaunt, trudge about, run around (SW); jaunt, fatiguing journey (SW)

honest: honourable (Weis); honourable, respectable, upright (SW); genuine, real, true (SW); innocent, well-intentioned, innocuous (SW)

warrant: assure, promise, guarantee, confirm (SW)

oddly: unequally, unevenly; or unusually, in a peculiar way (SW)

O God’s Lady: ‘by the Virgin Mary’ (Weis)

hot: eager, with a teasing intimation of unbecoming sexual passion (Weis); active, vigourous (SW); hot-tempered, angry, passionate (SW); fast, hasty (SW); lecherous, lustful, hot-blooded (SW); amorous, sexually eager, ardent, appetent (Partridge)

marry come up: a proverbial expression of indignant or amused surprise (Dent, M699.2) (Weis); expression of (real or playful) impatience (SW)

marry: [exclamation] by Mary (SW)

I trow: here meaning ‘surely’ (OED v. 4b glosses ‘I suppose’) (Weis); trow: (I) wonder, (I) ask you (SW); think, expect, believe (SW); believe, give credence to, accept as true (SW); hope, trust, suppose (SW); think, be sure (SW); know, guess, imagine (SW)

poultice: soothing dressing (Shakespeare’s only usage of the word) (Weis);1. A moist, usually heated mass of a substance with a soft, pasty consistency, applied to the skin, usually by means of a bandage or dressing, in order to promote healing, reduce swelling, relieve pain, etc.; a fomentation, a cataplasm. Also figurative. (OED)

coil: ado, fuss; cf. ‘I am not worth this coil that’s made for me’ (KJ 2.1.165).(Weis); turmoil, disturbance, fuss (SW); 1. Noisy disturbance, ‘row’; ‘tumult, turmoil, bustle, stir, hurry, confusion’ (Johnson).2. Confused noise of inanimate things; clutter, rattle, confused din. 3. Fuss, ado; a ‘business’.  4.a. to keep a coil: to keep up a disturbance; make a fuss, bustle, much ado.

shrift:  confession (Leung, SW); absolution (SW); confessional, place for hearing confession (SW)

hie: hasten, go quickly (also at 72, 77, 78) (Weis); hasten, hurry, speed (SW)

cell: small, humble dwelling (SW)

stays: waits (Leung); stay: stay in hiding, remain hidden (SW); staying, remaining, continued presence (SW); remain, continue, endure (SW); wait (for), await (SW)

wanton blood: Juliet is starting to blush (Weis)

blood: spirit, vigour, mettle (SW); anger, temper, passion (SW); colouring, healthy complexion, blushing (SW); hot blood, the blood as affected by sexual passion (Partridge, 67)

wanton: feminine; or: childlike (SW); lascivious, lewd, obscene (SW); carefree, lighthearted, frolicsome, playful (SW)

climb: to climb a woman’s legs (as though they were the limb of a tree) and then enjoy her (Partridge, 80)

bird’s nest: i.e. Juliet’s bedroom; the idiom ‘to climb a bird’s nest’ may have been proverbial (Dent, N124.1). (Weis) pudend and pubic hair (Partridge, 66)

at any: hasten, go quickly (also at 72, 77, 78) (Weis)

drudge and toil in your delight: ‘I am a mean labourer and hack, and I labour for your pleasure.’ (Weis)

drudge: slave, serf, lackey (SW)

bear the burden: assume responsibility for what will ensue; but also suggesting that Juliet will experience the weight of Romeo’s body during love-making (cf. AC 1.5.22).(Weis); bear: to bear children; to bear, support, a superincumbent man (Partridge, 63)

soon at night: tonight (proverbial; Dent, S639.1) (Weis); quickly, in a short time (SW)

hie to high fortune: Wish me luck. (No Fear Shakespeare Translation)

Pronunciation +

lookest: possibly “look’st” (Leung, also: Arden CWRE, 1998)

shamest: (line 23) Q2–3; sham’st Q4, F; not in Q1 (Weis)

Jesu: (line 29) jeez-yoo or jee-zoo; jayz-yoo or jay-zoo

you: (line 29) The more formal pronoun is used consistently by Nurse when addressing Juliet, while the 13-year-old uses the familiar thou, thee, thy to her servant, in conformity with the etiquette of the day in which social class overrides age. (Weis)

marry: (line 62) mah-ree (UK); meh-ree (US) (OED)

trow: (line 62) tr-ah-oo (UK); tr-oh (US) (OED)

hie: (line 68) hah-ee

wanton: (line 70) want-en or want-in

+prose: (lines 38-45) The nurse switches to prose for this speech.

Translation
No Fear Shakespeare

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Assonance
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Pronunciation +

shamest: (line 23) Q2–3; sham’st Q4, F; not in Q1 (Weis)

Jesu: (line 29) jeez-yoo or jee-zoo; jayz-yoo or jay-zoo

you: (line 29) The more formal pronoun is used consistently by Nurse when addressing Juliet, while the 13-year-old uses the familiar thou, thee, thy to her servant, in conformity with the etiquette of the day in which social class overrides age. (Weis)

marry: (line 62) mah-ree (UK); meh-ree (US) (OED)

trow: (line 62) tr-ah-oo (UK); tr-oh (US) (OED)

hie: (line 68) hah-ee

wanton: (line 70) want-en or want-in

Alliteration
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Consonance
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Thoughts
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

HAMLET

Long:
Medium:
Short:
Complex:

End stopped:
Midline:

Period:
Exclamation:
Question:
Dash:

Total:

GERTRUDE

Long:
Medium:
Short:
Complex:

End stopped:
Midline:

Period:
Exclamation:
Question:
Dash:

Total:

Rhythm
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Pacing
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Beats
Arden 3 | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

Beat 1


HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

Beat 2


QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

Beat 4


QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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.

Beat 5


QUEEN
What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

Beat 6


HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

Beat 7


QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

Beat 8


– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.

Beat 9


– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

Beat 10


HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Beat 11


Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
Do not forget! This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.

Beat 12


But look, amazement on thy mother sits!
O step between her and her fighting soul.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

Beat 13


HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost] Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

 

Beat 14


QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

 

Beat 15


QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.

 

Beat 16


Top

Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Beats +

shamest: (line 23) Q2–3; sham’st Q4, F; not in Q1 (Weis)

Jesu: (line 29) jeez-yoo or jee-zoo; jayz-yoo or jay-zoo

you: (line 29) The more formal pronoun is used consistently by Nurse when addressing Juliet, while the 13-year-old uses the familiar thou, thee, thy to her servant, in conformity with the etiquette of the day in which social class overrides age. (Weis)

marry: (line 62) mah-ree (UK); meh-ree (US) (OED)

trow: (line 62) tr-ah-oo (UK); tr-oh (US) (OED)

hie: (line 68) hah-ee

wanton: (line 70) want-en or want-in

Scene
Arden 3 | Second Quarto | 2006

Second Quarto [ 3.4 ] (333-354)

Enter Queen and Polonius.

POLONIUS
’A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I’ll silence me even here.
Pray you be round .                                                            5

QUEEN
——————–I’ll warrant you, fear me not.
Withdraw, I hear him coming.

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Rhetoric
Arden 3 | Second Quarto | 2006

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Scene
Arden 3 | Second Quarto | 2006

Second Quarto [ 3.4 ] (333-354)

Enter Queen and Polonius.

POLONIUS
’A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I’ll silence me even here.
Pray you be round .                                                            5

QUEEN
——————–I’ll warrant you, fear me not.
Withdraw, I hear him coming.

[Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

QUEEN
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.               10

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

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
————————What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
———————-No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
And, would it were not so, you are my mother.                15

QUEEN
Nay then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
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 –                20
Help, ho!

POLONIUS [behind the arras]
———-What ho! Help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
[Kills Polonius.]

POLONIUS
O, I am slain!

QUEEN
————–O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!                            25

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
As kill a king?

HAMLET
————–Ay, lady, it was my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;                      30
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger.
– Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
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                           35
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

HAMLET
——————————Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose                          40
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes                          45
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face does glow
O’er this solidity and compound mass
With heated visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
—————————Ay me, what act
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?                 50

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
See what a grace was seated on this brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,                    55
A station like the herald Mercury
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;                              60
This was your husband. Look you now what follows:
Here is your husband like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor ? Ha, have you eyes?                  65
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have –
Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense      70
Is apoplexed, for madness would not err
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled
But it reserved some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?              75
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope . O shame, where is thy blush?
Rebellious hell,                                                                                   80
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn                                85
And reason pardons will.

QUEEN
————————-O Hamlet, speak no more.
Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul
And there I see such black and grieved spots
As will leave there their tinct.

HAMLET
——————————Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed                              90
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
———————-O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in my ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
————————-A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe [kith]               95
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
—————————No more!

HAMLET
————————————- – a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,                   100
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN
Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’important acting of your dread command?                105
O say!

GHOST
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.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.                  110
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
————————-Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,                    115
And as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm
Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?              120

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares,
His form and cause conjoined preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost  Do not look upon me
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do                        125
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?                                                 130

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
Why, look you there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

(Exit Ghost.)

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.                             135
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
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                         140
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from. 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 the ulcerous place                      145
Whiles rank corruption mining all within
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,          150
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it                                   155
And live the purer with the other half.
Goodnight, but go not to my uncle’s bed;
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster Custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil , is angel yet in this,                                  160
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on . Refrain tonight
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.                   165
For use almost can change the stamp of nature
And either shame the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more goodnight,
And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord                      170
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again goodnight.                      175
I must be cruel only to be kind.
This bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady!

QUEEN
—————————-What shall I do?

HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,                      180
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness                                185
But mad in craft . ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy                                  190
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath                  195
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that.

QUEEN
Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
There’s letters sealed and my two schoolfellows –         200
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged –
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, and’t shall go hard                  205
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.                          210
Mother, goodnight indeed. This councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a most foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.                                                              215

(Exit [Hamlet tugging in Polonius].)

Scene
Arden 3 | First Folio | 2007

First Folio [3.4] (288-297)

Enter Queen and Polonius.

POLONIUS
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I’ll silence me e’en here.
5Pray you be round with him.

HAMLET ((within))
Mother, mother, mother.

QUEEN
I’ll warrant you, fear me not.
Withdraw, I hear him coming.

[ Polonius hides behind the arras.]

Enter Hamlet.

HAMLET
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

QUEEN
10Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.

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

HAMLET
Go, go, you question with an idle tongue.

QUEEN
Why, how now, Hamlet!

HAMLET
What’s the matter now?

QUEEN
15Have you forgot me?

HAMLET
15No, by the rood, not so.
You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,
But would you were not so. You are my mother.

QUEEN
Nay, then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

HAMLET
Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.
20You 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!

POLONIUS
[behind the arras]
What ho! Help, help, help!

HAMLET
How now! A rat! Dead for a ducat, dead!
Kills Polonius.

POLONIUS
25O, I am slain!

QUEEN
25O me, what hast thou done?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not. Is it the King?

QUEEN
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

HAMLET
A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

QUEEN
30As kill a king?

HAMLET
30Ay, lady, ’twas my word.

[Uncovers the body of Polonius.]

– Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell:
I took thee for thy betters . Take thy fortune;
Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger. –
Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down
35And let me wring your heart. For so I shall
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damned custom have not brazed it so
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.

QUEEN
What have I done that thou dar’st wag thy tongue
40In noise so rude against me?

HAMLET
40Such 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 makes a blister there, makes marriage vows
45As false as dicers’ oaths – O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words. Heaven’s face doth glow,
Yea , this solidity and compound mass,
50With tristful visage as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

QUEEN
Ay me, what act,
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?

HAMLET
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers:
55See what a grace was seated on his brow,
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten or command,
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
60A 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 mildewed ear
65Blasting his wholesome brother . Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed
And batten on this moor? Ha? Have you eyes?
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble
70And waits upon the judgement, and what judgement
Would step from this to this? What devil was’t
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
O shame, where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
75To flaming youth let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
As reason panders will.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, speak no more.
80Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.

HAMLET
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
85Over the nasty sty –

QUEEN
85O speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in mine ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

HAMLET
A murderer and a villain,
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
90A cutpurse of the empire and the rule
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole
And put it in his pocket, –

QUEEN
No more!

HAMLET
– a king of shreds and patches –

Enter Ghost.

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

QUEEN
95Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th’ important acting of your dread command?
O say!

GHOST
Do not forget! This visitation
100Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But look, amazement on thy mother sits!
O, step between her and her fighting soul.
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
Speak to her, Hamlet.

HAMLET
105How is it with you, lady?

QUEEN
105Alas, how is’t with you,
That you bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th’alarm,
110Your bedded hair like life in excrements
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?

HAMLET
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares;
115His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones
Would make them capable. [to Ghost ] Do not look upon me,
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects! Then what I have to do
Will want true colour, tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN
120To who do you speak this?

HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?

QUEEN
No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET
125Why, look you, there! Look how it steals away –
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes even now out at the portal!

Exit [ Ghost ].

QUEEN
This is the very coinage of your brain.
This bodiless creation ecstasy
130Is very cunning in.

HAMLET
130Ecstasy?
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 reword, which madness
135Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not a flattering unction to your soul
That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption mining all within
140Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven,
Repent what’s past, avoid what is to come,
And do not spread the compost o’er the weeds
To make them rank . Forgive me this my virtue,
For in the fatness of these pursy times
145Virtue itself of Vice must pardon beg.
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

QUEEN
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET
O throw away the worser part of it
And live the purer with the other half.
150Goodnight, but go not to mine uncle’s bed,
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
Refrain tonight,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence. Once more goodnight,
155And when you are desirous to be blessed
I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord
I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
160I will bestow him and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again, goodnight.
I must be cruel only to be kind.
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

QUEEN
What shall I do?

HAMLET
165Not this, by no means, that I bid you do –
Let the blunt King tempt you again to bed,
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
170Make you to ravel all this matter out
That I essentially am not in madness
But mad in craft. ’Twere good you let him know,
For who that’s but a queen – fair, sober, wise –
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
175Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy
Unpeg the basket on the house’s top,
Let the birds fly and like the famous ape
To try conclusions in the basket creep
180And break your own neck down.

QUEEN
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

HAMLET
I must to England – you know that?

QUEEN
185Alack, I had forgot; ’tis so concluded on.

HAMLET
This man shall set me packing;
I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.
Mother, goodnight. Indeed this councillor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave
190Who was in life a foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Goodnight, mother.

( Exit Hamlet tugging in Polonius. )

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