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Act 5, Scene 1


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Enter two GRAVEDIGGERS

Two GRAVEDIGGERS enter.

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

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Is she really going to receive a Christian burial after she took her own life?

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
I tell thee she is. Therefore make her grave straight. The crowner hath sat on her and finds it Christian burial.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
I'm telling you, she is. So make that grave immediately. The coroner examined her says it should be a Christian funeral.

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5

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

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in self-defense?

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Why, 'tis found so.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
That's exactly what they've determined.

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10

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
It must be se offendendo. It cannot be else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act. And an act hath three branches—it is to act, to do, to perform. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
They must mean "self-offense." It couldn't be anything else. Here's my point: if you drown yourself on purpose, then that's an act. An act has three sides to it: to act, to do, and to perform. Therefore, she must have known she was drowning herself.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver—

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
No, but listen to me, my good gravedigger—

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15

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Give me leave. Here lies the water. Good. Here stands the man. Good. If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he nill he, he goes. 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.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Let me finish. Here's the water, right? Now here stands a man, right? If the man goes into the water and drowns himself, he is, whether you like or not, the one doing it. Got that? But if the water comes to him and drowns him, then he doesn't drown himself. Therefore, he who is not guilty of his own death does not shorten his own life.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
But is this law?

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Is that the law?

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20

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Ay, marry, is 't. Crowner's quest law.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Yes, indeed it is. The coroner's inquest law.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Will you ha' the truth on 't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Do you want the truth? If this woman hadn't been a noble, she wouldn't have been given a Christian burial.

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25

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Why, there thou sayst. And the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They hold up Adam's profession.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Well, now you've said it. It's a pity that the nobles are given more leeway to drown or hang themselves than other Christians are. Come on, shovel. The most ancient nobles in the world are gardeners, ditch-diggers, and gravediggers. They keep up Adam's profession.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Was he a gentleman?

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Was he a noble?

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30

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
He was the first that ever bore arms.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
He was the first person who ever bore arms. (Editor's note: noble families have a symbol called a "coat of arms" and to display that symbol was to "bear arms.")

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Why, he had none.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
He didn't bear any arms.

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35

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand 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—

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
What, are you not a Christian? Do you now know the Bible? The Bible says Adam dug. Could he dig without arms? I'll ask you another question. If you can't answer it, admit it—

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Go to.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Go ahead!

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

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Who builds stronger things than a stonemason, a shipbuilder, or a carpenter does?

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
The one who builds the gallows where people are hung, because the gallows outlives a thousand users.

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40

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

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
I like your humor, I swear. The gallows do well. But how? It does well to those who do bad. But you do bad to say that the gallows are stronger than a church. Therefore, the gallows may do well to you. Come on, try again.

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SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
"Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?"

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
"Who builds stronger things than a stonemason, a shipbuilder, or a carpenter?"

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Yup, tell me that, then you can call it a day.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Marry, now I can tell.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Yeah, I'll give you answer!

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
To 't.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Do it.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Mass, I cannot tell.

SECOND GRAVEDIGGER
Damn, I forgot.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO afar off

HAMLET and HORATIO enter, in the distance.

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50

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
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 that he makes last till doomsday. Go, get thee in. Fetch me a stoup of liquor.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Stop wracking your brains on it. After all, wou can't make a slow donkey run by beating it. The next time someone asks you this riddle, say "a gravedigger." The houses he makes last till Judgment Day. Go inside, now, and get me some alcohol.

Exit SECOND GRAVEDIGGER

The SECOND GRAVEDIGGER exits.

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(digs and sings)
In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet
To contract–o–the time, for–a–my behove,
Oh, methought, there–a–was nothing–a–meet
.

(the FIRST GRAVEDIGGER digs and sings)
In my youth when I did love, did love,
I though it was very sweet
To set—O—the date for—Ahh—my duty
Oh, I thought it—ahh—was not—ahh—right
.

HAMLET
Has this fellow no feeling of his business? He sings at grave- making.

HAMLET
Does this man not understand what he's doing? He's singing while digging a grave.

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60

HORATIO
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

HORATIO
He's gotten so used to digging graves that it's now no longer anything special to him.

HAMLET
'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.

HAMLET
That's it exactly. Only those who don't have to work can be so sensitive.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
(sings)
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)

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
(sings)
But old age has snuck up on me
And caught me in his claws,
And has shipped me into the ground
As if I'd never been like that.
(he throws up a skull)

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65

HAMLET
That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jawbone, that did the first murder! It might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'erreaches, one that would circumvent God, might it not?

HAMLET
That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. That idiot flings it to the ground as if belonged to Cain, who committed the first murder! It might be the skull of a power-grasping politician who could talk his way around God, right? And now this idiot is grasping it.

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70

HORATIO
It might, my lord.

HORATIO
It could, my lord.

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

HAMLET
Or a courtier, who used to say, "Good night, my sweet lord! How are you, good lord?" This might be the skull of Lord So-and-So, who praised Lord So-and-So's horse when he wanted to borrow it, right?

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75

HORATIO
Ay, my lord.

HORATIO
Yes, my lord.

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80

HAMLET
Why, e'en so. And now my Lady Worm's, chapless and knocked about the mazard with a sexton's spade. Here's fine revolution, an we had the trick to see 't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggets with them? Mine ache to think on 't.

HAMLET
Yup. Exactly. And now it's the property of Lady Worm, with its lower jaw knocked off and thwacked on the head with a little shovel. What a change of fortune, if we could only see it? Were these bones grown and used so that they would be worth no more than bowling pins now? My bones ache to think about it.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
(sings)
A pickax and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet,
Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
(throws up another skull)

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
(sings)
A pickax and a shovel, a shovel,
A sheet for a funeral shroud,
Oh, a pit of dirt to be made up
Is the right thing for our guest.
(he throws up another skull)

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95

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 does he suffer this rude 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 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 conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box, and must the inheritor himself have no more, ha?

HAMLET
There's another. Why couldn't that be a lawyer's skull? Where are all his lawyerly quibbles, his smarts, his cases, and his tricks? Why does he let this rude fool knock him on the head with a shovel without suing him for assault and battery? Maybe he was a great landowner, with his bonds, his deeds, and his rents. Was it part of his contracts and deeds that his skull should get filled up with dirt? Does he get to keep only as much of his land as equals the width and length of a pair of his contracts spread out on the ground? The deeds to his properties would barely fit in this coffin—and that coffin is all he gets to have? Ha!

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100

HORATIO
Not a jot more, my lord.

HORATIO
Not a bit more, my lord.

HAMLET
Is not parchment made of sheepskins?

HAMLET
Aren't legal documents made of sheepskin?

HORATIO
Ay, my lord, and of calfskins too.

HORATIO
Yes, my lord, and calfskin too.

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

HAMLET
Anyone who looks for assurance in such documents is a sheep or a calf. I'm going to talk to this man.—Excuse me, sir, whose grave is this?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Mine, sir.
(sings)
Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet
.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
It's mine, sir.
(sings)
Oh, a pit of dirt to be made up
Is the right thing for our guest
.

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105

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

HAMLET
I think it must be yours, because you're lying in it.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
You lie out on 't, sir, and therefore it is not yours. For my part, I do not lie in 't, and yet it is mine.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
You're lying outside of it, sir, so therefore it's not yours. As for me, I'm not lying in it—it's really mine.

HAMLET
Thou dost lie in 't, to be in 't and say it is thine. 'Tis for the dead, not for the quick. Therefore thou liest.

HAMLET
But you are lying in it, since you're in it and saying it's yours. It's for the dead, not the living. Therefore, you're lying.

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110

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
'Tis a quick lie, sir. 'Twill away gain from me to you.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
That's a lively lie, sir, jumping like that from me to you.

HAMLET
What man dost thou dig it for?

HAMLET
What man are you digging it for?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
For no man, sir.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
For no man, sir.

HAMLET
What woman, then?

HAMLET
What woman, then?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
For none, neither.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
For no woman, either.

HAMLET
Who is to be buried in 't?

HAMLET
Who's to be buried in it?

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115

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she's dead.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
One who used to be a woman, sire, but, bless her soul, is now dead.

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120

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

HAMLET
How literal this jokester is! We have to speak precisely, or his word play will defeat us. Lord, Horatio, I've been noticing this for the last three years. The commoners have become so sophisticated that they're nipping at the heels of noblemen.—How long have you been a gravedigger?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Of all the days i' the year, I came to 't that day that our last
King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Of all the days in the year, I started this work on the day that the late King Hamlet defeated Fortinbras.

HAMLET
How long is that since?

HAMLET
How long ago was that?

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

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
You don't know that? Any fool could tell you that. It was the day that young Hamlet was born—the one who's insane and got sent to England.

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

HAMLET
Yes, right, and why was he sent to England?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits there, or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Why? Because he was insane. He'll recover his sanity there. Or if he doesn't, it won't matter in England.

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130

HAMLET
Why?

HAMLET
Why?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
'Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Nobody there will notice. All the people there are as crazy as he is.

HAMLET
How came he mad?

HAMLET
How did he go insane?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Very strangely, they say.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Very strangely, they say.

HAMLET
How "strangely"?

HAMLET
What does "strangely" mean?

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135

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
By losing his mind, of course.

HAMLET
Upon what ground?

HAMLET
On what grounds?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Why, right here in Denmark. I've been the handyman here for thirty years, since I was a boy.

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

HAMLET
How long will a man lie in his grave before he starts to rot?

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140

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Faith, if he be not rotten before he die—as we have many pocky corses nowadays that will scarce hold the laying in— he will last you some eight year or nine year. A tanner will last you nine year.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Well, if he's not rotten before he dies—and ew do have many corpses nowadays that are so rotten that they fall apart just from being laid in the grave—he'll last eight or nine years. A leathermaker will last nine years.

HAMLET
Why he more than another?

HAMLET
Why does he last longer than anyone else?

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145

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade that he will keep out water a great while, and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. (indicates a skull) Here's a skull now. This skull has lain in the earth three-and-twenty years.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
Well, sir, because his skin is so leathery from the work he does that he keeps the water out for a long time, and water is the main cause of dacay in your son-of-a-bitch body. Here's a skull now. It's been buried in the earth twenty-three years.

HAMLET
Whose was it?

HAMLET
Whose was it?

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150

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
A whoreson mad fellow's it was. Whose do you think it was?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
An insane son-of-a-bitch. Whose do you think it was?

HAMLET
Nay, I know not.

HAMLET
I don't know.

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

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
A curse on him, that mad maniac! He poured a pitcher of Rhenish wine on my head once. This skull, sir, belonged to Yorick, the king's jester.

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155

HAMLET
This?

HAMLET
This one?

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
E'en that.

FIRST GRAVEDIGGER
That one.

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HAMLET
Let me see. (takes the skull) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, 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 on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.—Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

HAMLET
Let me see. (takes the skull) Oh, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio. He was a man of endless humor, a great wit. He gave me piggy-back rides a thousand times, and now… how awful my imagination is! It makes me nauseated to think of it. Here hung his lips, which I kissed I don't know how many times. Where are your jokes now? Your dances? Your songs? Your flashes of high spirits that used to set the whole table roaring with laughter? You're not able to mock your own grinning skull now, are you? Now go to my lady's bedroom and tell her that, even if she piles on the makeup an inch thick, she'll still wind up looking like you. Make her laugh at that. Horatio, tell me something.

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HORATIO
What's that, my lord?

HORATIO
What's that, my lord?

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

HAMLET
Do you think Alexander the Great looked like this when he was buried?

HORATIO
E'en so.

HORATIO
Just like that.

HAMLET
And smelt so? Pah! (puts down the skull)

HAMLET
And smelled like this? Yuck! (puts down the skull)

HORATIO
E'en so, my lord.

HORATIO
Just like that, my lord.

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175

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

HAMLET
Look how badly we end up, Horatio. Why you could imagine how the noble ashes of Alexander the Great might end up plugging a hole in a barrel?

HORATIO
'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HORATIO
You'd be thinking too closely, if you thought about that.

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190

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

HAMLET
No, I swear, not at all. It's perfectly reasonable to think of it: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returned to dust, the dust is dirt, and dirt is used to make the material we use to stop up holes. So why can't someone use the loam made from Alexander to plug up a beer barrel? Roman Emperor Caesar, dead and turned to clay, might block a hole to keep the wind away. Oh, that the body that once ruled the entire world could now patch up a wall to keep out the winter! But quiet, be quiet a while.

Enter King CLAUDIUS, Queen GERTRUDE, LAERTES, and a coffin, with a PRIEST and other lords attendant.

CLAUDIUS enters with GERTRUDE, LAERTES, and a coffin, with a PRIEST and other lords attendant.

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195

Here comes the king,
The queen, the courtiers—who is this they follow,
And with such maimèd rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo its own life. 'Twas of some estate.
Couch we a while and mark.

Here comes the king, the queen, and all of their court. Who is it that they're following? And with such a plain ceremony? This must mean that the corpse they're following committed suicide. Must have been someone of quite noble birth. Let's hide and watch a while.

HAMLET and HORATIO withdraw

HAMLET and HORATIO step aside.

LAERTES
What ceremony else?

LAERTES
What other rites will you perform?

HAMLET
That is Laertes, a very noble youth, mark.

HAMLET
That's Laertes, a very noble young man. Listen.

LAERTES
What ceremony else?

LAERTES
What other rites will you perform?

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200
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205

PRIEST
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 have lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers
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.

PRIEST
I've performed all the rites that I'm allowed to. Her death was questionable, and if the king had not given a command that overruled our normal customs, she'd have been buried in the unholy ground outside the church graveyard until Judgment Day, and instead of prayers she would have rocks and broken pottery thrown on her body. Instead, she is dressed up like a pure virgin, with flowers scattered on her grave and the bell tolling for her.

LAERTES
Must there no more be done?

LAERTES
Can nothing more be done?

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210

PRIEST
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.

PRIEST
Nothing more. We would be disrespectful to the other dead if we sang the same requiem for her that we sang for those who died peacefully.

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215

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

LAERTES
Lay her in the ground, and may violets bloom from her pure and beautiful body! I'm telling you, you uncharitable priest, my sister will be an angel in heaven while you're howling in hell.

HAMLET
(to HORATIO) What, the fair Ophelia?

HAMLET
(to HORATIO) What, the beautiful Ophelia?

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220

GERTRUDE
Sweets to the sweet. Farewell! (scatters flowers)
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.

QUEEN
Sweet flowers for a sweet girl. Goodbye! (scatters flowers) I hoped you'd be my Hamlet's wife. I thought I'd be scattering ewrs on your wedding bed, sweet girl, not strewing them on your grave.

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225

LAERTES
Oh, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursèd head,
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.

LAERTES
Oh, damn three times, damn thirty times the cursed one whose actions stole your brilliant mind. Do not bury her until I've held her in my arms once more.

(leaps into the grave)

(he jumps into 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.
Now pile the dirt onto the living and the dead, till you've made this flat ground into mountain higher than Mount Pelion or the towering peaks of Mount Olympus.

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230

HAMLET
(comes forward) What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane. (leaps into the grave)

HAMLET
(comes forward) Who is the man whose grief is so profound, whose words of sadness makes the stars stand still in the heavens as if struck dunb by what they've heard? It is me, Hamlet the Dane. (jumps into the grave)

LAERTES
The devil take thy soul!

LAERTES
The devil take your soul!

HAMLET and LAERTES grapple

HAMLET and LAERTES wrestle

*
*
235

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

HAMLET
That's not the right way to pray. (they fight) I ask you, please remove your fingers from my throat. I'm not rash and quick-tempered, but I have something dangerous in me which you would be wise to fear. Take your hands off me.

CLAUDIUS
Pluck them asunder.

CLAUDIUS
Separate them.

GERTRUDE
Hamlet, Hamlet!

GERTRUDE
Hamlet! Hamlet!

*
240

ALL
Gentlemen—

ALL
Gentlemen!

HORATIO
(to HAMLET) Good my lord, be quiet.

HORATIO
(to HAMLET ) My lord, calm down.

Attendants separate HAMLET and LAERTES

Attendants separate HAMLET and LAERTES

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

HAMLET
I'll fight him on this topic until my eyelids cease to blink.

GERTRUDE
O my son, what theme?

GERTRUDE
Oh, my son, what topic?

*
245

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

HAMLET
I loved Ophelia. The love of forty thousand brothers, added together, could not match mine. What are you going to do for her?

CLAUDIUS
O, he is mad, Laertes.

CLAUDIUS
Oh, he is crazy, Laertes!

GERTRUDE
For love of God, forbear him.

GERTRUDE
For the love of God, leave him alone.

*
250
*
*
*
*
255
*
*
*
*
260

HAMLET
'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do.
Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't fast? Woo't tear thyself?
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
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.

HAMLET
God's wounds! Show me what you're going to do for her. Will you cry? Will you fight? Will you cease to eat? Will you cut yousjjan7rself? Will you drink vinegar, or eat a crocodile? I'll do it. Did you come here to whine? To outdo me by jumping into her grave so theatrically? To be buried alive with her? So will I. And if you babble about mountains, then let them throw millions of acres over us until the peak. scrapes against sun and makes Mount Ossa look like a wart. See? I can rant as well as you.

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

GERTRUDE
This is pure madness. This fit will stay with him for a little while. Then he'll be as calm as a female dove watching a pair of chicks hatch.

*
265

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

HAMLET
Listen to me, sir. Why do you treat me like this? I always loved you. But it doesn't matter. No matter what a hero like Hercules does, fools will seek to draw attention to themselves.

Exit HAMLET

HAMLET exits.

CLAUDIUS
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

CLAUDIUS
I beg you, Horatio, go with him.

Exit HORATIO

HORATIO exits.

270
*
*
*
*
275

(to LAERTES) Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.
We'll put the matter to the present push.—
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.

(to LAERTES) Control yourself by thinking of our talk last night. We'll handle this issue very soon.—Good Gertrude, please set some kind of watch over your son. We will build a monument for this grave that will last forever. Soon we'll have the calm we need. Until then we must work patiently.

Exeunt

They exit.

 

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