[Stage] Two Gravediggers enter.
Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she
willfully seeks her own salvation?
I tell thee she is. Therefore make her grave straight.
The crowner hath sat on her and finds it Christian
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own
Why, ’tis found so.
It must be se offendendo. It cannot be else.
lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues
And an act hath three branches—it is to act, to
do, to perform. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver—
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.
But is this law?
Ay, marry, is ’t. Crowner’s quest law.
Will you ha’ the truth on ’t? If this had not been a
gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’
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
There is no ancient gentleman but gardeners,
ditchers, and grave-makers. They hold up Adam’s
Was he a gentleman?
He was the first that ever bore arms.
Why, he had none.
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the
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—
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason,
the shipwright, or the carpenter?
The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand
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.
“Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Marry, now I can tell.
Mass, I cannot tell.
[Stage] Hamlet and Horatio enter, in the distance.
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.”
houses that he makes last till doomsday. Go, get thee
in. Fetch me a stoup of liquor.
[Stage] The Second Gravedigger exits.
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.
Has this fellow no feeling of his business? He sings at
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
‘Tis e’en so. The hand of little employment hath the
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]
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?
It might, my lord.
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?
Ay, my lord.
Why, e’en so. And now my Lady Worm’s, chapless and
knocked about the mazard with a sexton’s spade.
fine revolution, an we had the trick to see ’t.
these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at
loggets with them? Mine ache to think on ’t.
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]
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
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?
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?
Not a jot more, my lord.
Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
Ay, my lord, and of calfskins too.
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in
I will speak to this fellow.—Whose grave’s this,
Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
I think it be thine, indeed, for thou liest in ’t.
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.
Thou dost lie in ’t, to be in ’t and say it is thine.
‘Tis for the dead, not for the quick. Therefore thou
‘Tis a quick lie, sir. ‘Twill away gain from me to you.
What man dost thou dig it for?
For no man, sir.
What woman, then?
For none, neither.
Who is to be buried in ’t?
One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she’s
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.
long hast thou been a grave-maker?
Of all the days i’ the year, I came to ’t that day that
King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
How long is that since?
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.
Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits
there, or, if he do not, it’s no great matter there.
‘Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as
mad as he.
How came he mad?
Very strangely, they say.
Faith, e’en with losing his wits.
Upon what ground?
Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and
boy, thirty years.
How long will a man lie i’ the earth ere he rot?
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.
Why he more than another?
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.
Here’s a skull now. This skull has lain in the
earth three-and-twenty years.
Whose was it?
A whoreson mad fellow’s it was. Whose do you think it
Nay, I know not.
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.
Let me see.
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
—Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
What’s that, my lord?
Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’ th’
And smelt so? Pah! [puts down the skull]
E’en so, my lord.
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?
‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
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
—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.
[Stage] Claudius enters with Gertrude, Laertes, and a coffin, with a Priest and other lords attendant.
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.
[Stage] Hamlet and Horatio step aside.
What ceremony else?
That is Laertes, a very noble youth, mark.
What ceremony else?
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.
Must there no more be done?
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.
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.
[to Horatio] What, the fair Ophelia?
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,
And not have strewed thy grave.
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.
[Stage] Laertes 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.
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]
The devil take thy soul!
[Stage] Hamlet and Laertes wrestle.
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.
Pluck them asunder.
[to Hamlet] Good my lord, be quiet.
[Stage] Attendants separate Hamlet and Laertes.
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
O my son, what theme?
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
O, he is mad, Laertes.
For love of God, forbear him.
‘Swounds, show me what thou’lt do.
Woo’t weep? Woo’t fight? Woo’t fast? Woo’t tear
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.
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.
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.
[Stage] Hamlet exits.
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
[Stage] Horatio exits.
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.
[Stage] They exit.