ACT 5, SCENE I: A churchyard.

Enter two CLOWNS with spades and mattocks.

FIRST CLOWN: Is she to be buried in Christian burial when
she willfully seeks her own salvation?

SECOND CLOWN: I tell thee she is, therefore make her grave
straight. The crowner hath sate on her, and finds it
Christian burial.                                                                                         [5]

FIRST CLOWN: How can that be, unless she drowned herself
in her own defense?

SECOND CLOWN: Why, 'tis found so.

FIRST CLOWN: It must be se offendendo, it cannot be else.
For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly,                          [10]
it argues an act, and an act hath three branches -- it is to
act, to do, to perform; argal, she drowned herself

SECOND CLOWN: Nay, but hear you, goodman delver --

FIRST CLOWN: Give me leave. Here lies the water; good.                          [15]
Here stands the man; good. If the man go to this
water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes,
mark you that. But if the water come to him and
drown him, he drowns not himself; argal, he that is
not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.                     [20]

SECOND CLOWN: But is this law?

FIRST CLOWN: Ay, marry, is't -- crowner's quest law.

SECOND CLOWN: Will you ha' the truth an't? If this had not
been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out
a' Christian burial.                                                                                    [25]

FIRST CLOWN: Why, there thou say'st, and the more pity
that great folk should have countenance in this world
to drown or hang themselves, more than their even
Christen. Come, my spade. There is no ancient
gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers;                     [30]
they hold up Adam's profession.

SECOND CLOWN: Was he a gentleman?

FIRST CLOWN: 'A was the first that ever bore arms.

SECOND CLOWN: Why, he had none.

FIRST CLOWN: What, art a heathen? How dost thou under-                    [35]
stand the Scripture? The Scripture says Adam digged;
could he dig without arms? I'll put another question
to thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose,
confess thyself --

SECOND CLOWN: Go to.                                                                                     [40]

FIRST CLOWN: What is he that builds stronger than either
the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

SECOND CLOWN: The gallows-maker, for that outlives a
thousand tenants.

FIRST CLOWN: I like thy wit well, in good faith. The gallows                   [45]
does well; but how does it well? It does well to those
that do ill. Now thou dost ill to say the gallows is
built stronger than the church; argal, the gallows may
do well to thee. To't again, come.

SECOND CLOWN: Who builds stronger than a mason, a ship-                 [50]
wright, or a carpenter?

FIRST CLOWN: Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

SECOND CLOWN: Marry, now I can tell.


SECOND CLOWN: Mass, I cannot tell.                                                             [55]

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO afar off.

FIRST CLOWN: Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your
dull ass will not mend his pace with beating, and
when you are asked this question next, say "a grave-
maker": the houses he makes lasts till doomsday. Go
get thee in, and fetch me a sup of liquor.                                              [60]

[Exit Second Clown. First Clown digs.]

"In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet,
To contract -- O -- the time for -- a -- my behove,
O, methought there -- a -- was nothing -- a -- meet."

HAMLET: Has this fellow no feeling of his business? 'a                               [65]
sings in grave-making.

HORATIO: Custom hath made it in him a property of

HAMLET: 'Tis e'en so, the hand of little employment
hath the daintier sense.                                                                            [70]

FIRST CLOWN: Song. "But age with his stealing steps
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me into the land,
As if I had never been such."

Throws up a skull.

HAMLET: That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing                               [75]
once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if
'twere Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! This
might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now
o'erreaches, one that would circumvent God, might
it not?                                                                                                            [80]

HORATIO: It might, my lord.

HAMLET: Or of a courtier, which could say, "Good
morrow, sweet lord! How dost thou, sweet lord?"
This might be my Lord Such-a-one, that praised my
Lord Such-a-one's horse when 'a meant to beg it, might                  [85]
it not?

HORATIO: Ay, my lord.

HAMLET: Why, e'en so, and now my Lady Worm's,
chopless, and knocked about the mazzard with a
sexton's spade. Here's fine revolution, and we had the                    [90]
trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the
breeding, but to play at loggats with them? Mine ache
to think on't.

FIRST CLOWN: Song. "A pickaxe and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet:                                                                      [95]
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.

[Throws up another skull.]

HAMLET: There's another. Why may not that be the
skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his
quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why                        [100]
does he suffer this mad knave now to knock him about
the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him
of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be
in 's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his
recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his                             [105]
recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery
of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt?
Will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases,
and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a
pair of indentures? The very convenyances of his lands                 [110]
will scarcely lie in this box, and must th' inheritor
himself have no more, ha?

HORATIO: Not a jot more, my lord.

HAMLET: Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?

HORATIO: Ay, my lord, and of calves'-skins too.                                           [115]

HAMLET: They are sheep and calves which seek out
assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose
grave's this, sirrah?

FIRST CLOWN: Mine, sir.
"O, a pit of clay for to be made                                                                 [120]
For such a guest is meet."

HAMLET: I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.

FIRST CLOWN: You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not
yours; for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.

HAMLET: Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is                                        [125]
thine. 'Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore
thou liest.

FIRST CLOWN: 'Tis a quick lie, sir, 'twill away again from
me to you.

HAMLET: What man dost thou dig it for?                                                      [130]

FIRST CLOWN: For no man, sir.

HAMLET: What woman then?

FIRST CLOWN: For none neither.

HAMLET: Who is to be buried in't?

FIRST CLOWN: One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul,                   [135]
she's dead.

HAMLET: How absolute the knave is! We must speak
by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the
Lord, Horatio, this three years I have took note of it:
the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant                       [140]
comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe.
How long hast thou been grave-maker?

FIRST CLOWN: Of all the days i' th' year, I came to't that day
that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

HAMLET: How long is that since?                                                                     [145]

FIRST CLOWN: Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that.
It was that very day that young Hamlet was born -- he
that is mad, and sent into England.

HAMLET: Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

FIRST CLOWN: Why, because 'a was mad. 'A shall recover his                 [150]
wits there, or if 'a do not, 'tis no great matter there.


FIRST CLOWN: 'Twill not be seen in him there, there the
men are as mad as he.

HAMLET: How came he mad?                                                                            [155]

FIRST CLOWN: Very strangely, they say.

HAMLET: How strangely?

FIRST CLOWN: Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

HAMLET: Upon what ground?

FIRST CLOWN: Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton                      [160]
here, man and boy, thirty years.

HAMLET: How long will a man lie i' th' earth ere he

FIRST CLOWN: Faith, if 'a be not rotten before 'a die -- as we
have many pocky corses nowadays, that will scarce                          [165]
hold the laying in -- 'a will last you some eight year or
nine year. A tanner will last you nine year.

HAMLET: Why he more than another?

FIRST CLOWN: Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade
that 'a will keep out water a great while, and your                            [170]
water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.
Here's a skull now hath lien you i' th' earth three and
twenty years.

HAMLET: Whose was it?

FIRST CLOWN: A whoreson mad fellow's it was. Whose do                     [175]
you think it was?

HAMLET: Nay, I know not.

FIRST CLOWN: A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'a
poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This
same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester.                  [180]

HAMLET: This? [Takes the skull.]

FIRST CLOWN: E'en that.

HAMLET: Alas, poor
Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest,
of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back                       [185]
a thousand times, and now how abhorred in my
imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those
lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be
your gibes now, your gambols, your songs, your
flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table                       [190]
on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning --
quite chapfall'n? Now get you to my lady's chamber,
and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour
she must come; make her laugh at that. Prithee,
Horatio, tell me one thing.                                                                      [195]

HORATIO: What's that, my lord?

HAMLET: Dost thou think Alexander looked a' this
fashion i' th' earth?

HORATIO: E'en so.

HAMLET: And smelt so? pah! [Puts down the skull.]                                    [200]

HORATIO: E'en so, my lord.

HAMLET: To what base uses we may return, Horatio!
Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of
Alexander, till 'a find it stopping a bunghole?

HORATIO: 'Twere to consider too curiously, to con-                                     [205]
sider so.

HAMLET: No, faith, not a jot, but to follow him thither
with modesty enough and likelihood to lead it:
Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alex-
ander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we                      [210]
make loam; and why of that loam whereto he was
converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O that that earth which kept the world in awe                                   [215]
Should patch a wall t' expel the winter's flaw!
But soft, but soft awhile, here comes the King,

DIVINITY], following the coffin, with LORDS attending.

The Queen, the courtiers. Who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand                                  [220]
Foredo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
Couch we a while and mark. [Retires with Horatio.]

LAERTES: What ceremony else?

HAMLET: That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.

LAERTES: What ceremony else?                                                                       [225]

DOCTOR: Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
And but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified been lodged
Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,                                         [230]
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

LAERTES: Must there no more be done?                                                          [235]

DOCTOR:                           No more be done:
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

LAERTES:                           Lay her i' th' earth,
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,                                    [240]
A minist'ring angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.

HAMLET:                           What, the fair Ophelia!

QUEEN: [Scattering flowers.] Sweets to the sweet, farewell!
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,                         [245]
And not have strewed thy grave.

LAERTES:                           O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth a while,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.                                [250]

Leaps in the grave.

Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made
T' o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.

HAMLET:              [Coming forward.] What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow                              [255]
Conjures the wandering stars and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane!

LAERTES: The devil take thy soul!

[Grapples with him.]

HAMLET:                           Thou pray'st not well.
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat.                                            [260]
For though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!

KING: Pluck them asunder.

QUEEN:                           Hamlet, Hamlet!

ALL:                           Gentlemen!

HORATIO: Good my lord, be quiet.                                                                   [265]

[The Attendants part them.]

HAMLET: Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

QUEEN: O my son, what theme?

HAMLET: I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love                                             [270]
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?

KING: O, he is mad, Laertes.

QUEEN: For love of God, forbear him.

HAMLET: 'Swounds, show me what thou't do.
Woo't weep, woo't fight, woo't fast, woo't tear thyself?                    [275]
Woo't drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw                               [280]
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, and thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.

QUEEN:                           This is mere madness,
And thus a while the fit will work on him;                                        [285]
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
His silence will sit drooping.

HAMLET:                           Hear you, sir,
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever. But it is no matter.                                                     [290]
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.

[Exit Hamlet]

KING: I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

[Exit Horatio.]

[To Laertes.]
Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech,
We'll put the matter to the present push. --                                       [295]
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see,
Till then in patience our proceeding be.


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