ACT 3, SCENE 1: The Castle.


KING: And can you by no drift of conference
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

ROSENCRANTZ: He does confess he feels himself distracted,                   [5]
But from what cause 'a will by no means speak.

GUILDENSTERN: Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.                                                                                          [10]

QUEEN:              Did he receive you well?

ROSENCRANTZ: Most like a gentleman.

GUILDENSTERN: But with much forcing of his disposition.

ROSENCRANTZ: Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.

QUEEN:                           Did you assay him
To any pastime?                                                                                         [15]

ROSENCRANTZ: Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o'erraught on the way; of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are here about the court,
And as I think, they have already order                                               [20]
This night to play before him.

POLONIUS:                           'Tis most true,
And he beseeched me to entreat your Majesties
To hear and see the matter.

KING: With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclined.                                                                          [25]
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
And drive his purpose into these delights.

ROSENCRANTZ: We shall, my lord.

Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

KING:                           Sweet Gertrude, leave us two,
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here                                               [30]
Affront Ophelia.
Her father and myself (lawful espials)
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,                                                    [35]
If't be th' affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.

QUEEN:                           I shall obey you.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues                           [40]
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.

OPHELIA:              Madam, I wish it may.

[Exit Queen.]

POLONIUS: Ophelia, walk you here. -- Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves. [To Ophelia.] Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may colour                                           [45]
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this --
'Tis too much proved -- that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.

KING:                           [Aside.] O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!                  [50]
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O heavy burthen!

POLONIUS: I hear him coming. Withdraw, my lord.                                    [55]

[King and Polonius withdraw.]

HAMLET: To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep --                                 [60]
No more, and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep --
To sleep, perchance to dream -- ay, there's the rub,                          [65]
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause; there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,                           [70]
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make                                          [75]
With a bare bodkin; who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,                                                  [80]
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,                                       [85]
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. -- Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia. Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.                                                                    [90]

OPHELIA:                           Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?

HAMLET: I humbly thank you, well, well, well.

OPHELIA: My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longed long to redeliver.
I pray you now receive them.                                                                  [95]

HAMLET:                           No, not I,
I never gave you aught.

OPHELIA: My honoured lord, you know right well you did,
And with them words of so sweet breath composed
As made these things more rich. Their perfume lost,
Take these again, for to the noble mind                                               [100]
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.

HAMLET: Ha, ha! are you honest?

OPHELIA: My lord?

HAMLET: Are you fair?                                                                                        [105]

OPHELIA: What means your lordship?

HAMLET: That if you be honest and fair, your
honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

OPHELIA: Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce
than with honesty?                                                                                    [110]

HAMLET: Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will
sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd
than the force of honesty can translate beauty into
his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now
the time gives it proof. I did love you once.                                        [115]

OPHELIA: Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

HAMLET: You should not have believed me, for virtue
cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it. I loved you not.

OPHELIA: I was the more deceived.                                                                   [120]

HAMLET: Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou
be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest,
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were
better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud,
revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck                     [125]
than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to
give them shape, or time to act them in. What should
such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven?
We are arrant knaves, believe none of us. Go thy ways
to a nunnery. Where's your father?                                                      [130]

OPHELIA: At home, my lord.

HAMLET: Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may
play the fool no where but in 's own house. Farewell.

OPHELIA: O, help him, you sweet heavens!

HAMLET: If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague                                 [135]
for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry
a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters
you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too.                     [140]

OPHELIA: Heavenly powers, restore him!

HAMLET: I have heard of your paintings, well enough.
God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves
another. You jig and amble, and you lisp, you nickname                [145]
God's creatures and make your wantonness your ignorance.
Go to, I'll no more on't, it hath made me mad. I say we will
have no moe marriage. Those that are married already
(all but one) shall live, the rest shall keep as they are. To a
nunnery, go.                                                                                                [150]


OPHELIA: O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
Th' expectation and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th' observed of all observers, quite, quite down!                               [155]
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled out of time and harsh;
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth                           [160]
Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!


KING: Love? his affections do not that way tend,
Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul                     [165]
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England                              [170]
For the demand of our neglected tribute.
Haply the seas, and countries different,
With variable objects, shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus                                 [175]
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?

POLONIUS: It shall do well; but yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love. How now, Ophelia?
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said,                                      [180]
We heard it all. My lord, do as you please,
But if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his queen-mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief. Let her be round with him,
And I'll be placed (so please you) in the ear                                         [185]
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.

KING:                           It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.


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