ACT 4, SCENE 5: The Castle.


QUEEN: I will not speak with her.

GENTLEMAN: She is importunate, indeed distract.
Her mood will needs be pitied.

QUEEN:                           What would she have?

GENTLEMAN: She speaks much of her father, says she hears
There's tricks i' th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,              [5]
Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they yawn at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,                           [10]
Which as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.

HORATIO: 'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.                                    [15]

QUEEN: Let her come in.

[Exit Gentleman.]

To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss,
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.                                                          [20]

Enter OPHELIA distracted, playing on a lute, and her hair down, singing.

OPHELIA: Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

QUEEN: How now, Ophelia?

She sings.

OPHELIA: "How should I your true-love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,                                                                    [25]
And his sandal shoon."

QUEEN: Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

OPHELIA: Say you? Nay, pray you mark.
"He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone,                                                                               [30]
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone."
O ho!

QUEEN: Nay, but, Ophelia --

OPHELIA: Pray you mark.                                                                                   [35]

"White his shroud as the mountain snow" --

Enter KING.

QUEEN: Alas, look here, my lord.

OPHELIA:             Song.
"Larded all with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers."                                                                        [40]

KING: How do you, pretty lady?

OPHELIA: Well, God dild you! They say the owl was a
baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but
know not what we may be. God be at your table!

KING: Conceit upon her father.                                                                         [45]

OPHELIA: Pray let's have no words of this, but when
they ask you what it means, say you this:
"To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,                                                                [50]
To be your Valentine.

"Then up he rose and donned his clo'es,
And dupp'd the chamber-door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more."                                                                          [55]

KING: Pretty Ophelia!

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

"By Gis, and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't if they come to't,                                                  [60]
By Cock, they are to blame.

"Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.' "
(He answers.)
" 'So would I 'a' done, by yonder sun,                                                   [65]
And thou hadst not come to my bed.' "

KING: How long hath she been thus?

OPHELIA: I hope all will be well. We must be patient,
but I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay
him I' th' cold ground. My brother shall know of it, and                 [70]
so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach!
Good night, ladies, good night. Sweet ladies, good night,
good night.


KING: Follow her close, give her good watch, I pray you.

[Exit Horatio.]

O, this is the poison of deep grief, it springs                                        [75]
All from her father's death -- and now behold!
O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions: first, her father slain;
Next, your son gone, and he most violent author                             [80]
Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,                                      [85]
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts;
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France,
Feeds on this wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear                                                [90]
With pestilent speeches of his father's death,
Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering-piece, in many places                                          [95]
Gives me superfluous death.

A noise within.

QUEEN:                           Alack, what noise is this?

KING: Attend!
Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.


What is the matter?

MESSENGER:                           Save yourself, my lord!
The ocean, overpeering of his list,                                                         [100]
Eats not the flags with more impiteous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord,
And as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,                                                   [105]
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry, "'Choose we, Laertes shall be king!"
Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds,
"Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!"

A noise within.

QUEEN: How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!                                        [110]
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!

Enter LAERTES with others.

KING: The doors are broke.

LAERTES: Where is this king? Sirs, stand you all without.

ALL: No, let's come in.

LAERTES:                           I pray you give me leave.

ALL: We will we will.                                                                                            [115]

LAERTES: I thank you; keep the door.

[Exeunt Laertes' followers.]
                           O thou vile king,
Give me my father!

QUEEN:                           Calmly, good Laertes.

LAERTES: That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirched brow                               [120]
Of my true mother.

KING:                          What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
Let him go, Gertrude, do not fear our person:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king
That treason can but peep to what it would,                                        [125]
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Speak, man.

LAERTES: Where is my father?

KING:                           Dead.

QUEEN:                           But not by him.

KING: Let him demand his fill.                                                                          [130]

LAERTES: How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with.
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,                                           [135]
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most throughly for my father.

KING:                           Who shall stay you?

LAERTES: My will, not all the world's:
And for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.                                                                     [140]

KING:                           Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father, is't writ in your revenge
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?

LAERTES: None but his enemies.                                                                      [145]

KING:                           Will you know them then?

LAERTES: To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms,
And like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

KING:                           Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,                                            [150]
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment 'pear
As day does to your eye.

A noise within: "Let her come in!"

LAERTES: How now, what noise is that?


O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt                                 [155]
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid with weight
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits                                       [160]
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

OPHELIA: Song "They bore him barefaced on the bier,                              [165]
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny,
And in his grave rained many a tear" --
Fare you well, my dove!

LAERTES: Hadst thou thy wits and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.                                                                            [170]

OPHELIA: You must sing, "A-down, a-down," and you
call him a-down-a. O how the wheel becomes it! It is
the false steward, that stole his master's daughter.

LAERTES: This nothing's more than matter.

OPHELIA: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;                                   [175]
pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that's
for thoughts.

LAERTES: A document in madness, thoughts and
remembrance fitted.

OPHELIA: There's fennel for you, and columbines.                                       [180]
There's rue for you, and here's some for me; we
may call it herb of grace a' Sundays. You may
wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy. I
would give you some violets, but they withered all
when my father died. They say 'a made a good end --                     [185]
"For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

LAERTES: Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.

OPHELIA: [Song.] "And will 'a not come again?
And will 'a not come again?                                                                    [190]
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death-bed,
He never will come again.

"His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his pole,                                                                             [195]
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan,
God 'a' mercy on his soul!"
And of all Christians' souls, I pray God. God buy you


LAERTES: Do you see this O God?                                                                     [200]

KING: Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
If by direct or by collateral hand                                                              [205]
They find us touched, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul                                        [210]
To give it due content.

LAERTES:                           Let this be so.
His means of death, his obscure funeral --
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation --
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,                                [215]
That I must call't in question.

KING:                           So you shall,
And where th' offence is, let the great axe fall.
I pray you go with me.


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