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    Act 5. Scene I

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    Chapter 19
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    SCENE I. A churchyard.

    Enter two Clowns, with spades, & c
    First Clown
    Is she to be buried in Christian burial that
    wilfully seeks her own salvation?

    Second Clown
    I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave
    straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it
    Christian burial.

    First Clown
    How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her
    own defence?

    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,
    it argues an act: and an act hath three branches: it
    is, to act, to do, to perform: argal, she drowned
    herself wittingly.

    Second Clown
    Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,--

    First Clown
    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.

    Second Clown
    But is this law?

    First Clown
    Ay, marry, is't; crowner's quest law.

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

    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
    Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient
    gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers:
    they hold up Adam's profession.

    Second Clown
    Was he a gentleman?

    First Clown
    He was the first that ever bore arms.

    Second Clown
    Why, he had none.

    First Clown
    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--

    Second Clown
    Go to.

    First Clown
    What is he that builds stronger than either the
    mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

    Second Clown
    The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a
    thousand tenants.

    First Clown
    I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows
    does well; but how does it well? it does well to
    those that do in: 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 shipwright, or
    a carpenter?'

    First Clown
    Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

    Second Clown
    Marry, now I can tell.

    First Clown

    Second Clown
    Mass, I cannot tell.

    Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance

    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 that he makes last till
    doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan: fetch me a
    stoup of liquor.

    Exit Second Clown

    He digs and sings

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

    Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he
    sings at grave-making?

    Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

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

    First Clown
    But age, with his stealing steps,
    Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
    And hath shipped me intil 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 jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It
    might be the pate of a politician, which this ass
    now o'er-reaches; 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 mazzard 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 loggats with 'em? mine ache to think on't.

    First Clown
    A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade,
    For and a shrouding sheet:
    O, 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 quillets,
    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?

    Not a jot more, my lord.

    Is not parchment made of sheepskins?

    Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.

    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
    For such a guest is meet.

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

    First Clown
    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 liest.

    First Clown
    'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away gain, from me to

    What man dost thou dig it for?

    First Clown
    For no man, sir.

    What woman, then?

    First Clown
    For none, neither.

    Who is to be buried in't?

    First Clown
    One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.

    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
    gaffs his kibe. How long hast thou been a

    First Clown
    Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day
    that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

    How long is that since?

    First Clown
    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?

    First Clown
    Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits
    there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.


    First Clown
    'Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men
    are as mad as he.

    How came he mad?

    First Clown
    Very strangely, they say.

    How strangely?

    First Clown
    Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

    Upon what ground?

    First Clown
    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?

    First Clown
    I' faith, if he be not rotten before he die--as we
    have many pocky corses now-a-days, 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?

    First Clown
    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?

    First Clown
    A whoreson mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

    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 Yorick's skull, the king's jester.


    First Clown
    E'en that.

    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 rims 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 chap-fallen?
    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.

    What's that, my lord?

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

    E'en so.

    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 bung-hole?

    '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 into 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 turn'd to clay,
    Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
    O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
    Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
    But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.

    Enter Priest, & c. in procession; the Corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, their trains, & c

    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
    Fordo its own life: 'twas of some estate.
    Couch we awhile, and mark.

    Retiring with HORATIO

    What ceremony else?

    That is Laertes,
    A very noble youth: mark.

    What ceremony else?

    First Priest
    Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
    As we have warrantise: 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 allow'd her virgin crants,
    Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
    Of bell and burial.

    Must there no more be done?

    First 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.

    Lay her i' the 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.

    What, the fair Ophelia!

    Sweets to the sweet: farewell!

    Scattering flowers

    I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
    I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
    And not have strew'd thy grave.

    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 awhile,
    Till I have caught her once more in mine arms:

    Leaps into the grave

    Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
    Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
    To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
    Of blue Olympus.

    [Advancing] 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!

    Grappling with him

    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 wiseness fear: hold off thy hand.

    Pluck them asunder.

    Hamlet, Hamlet!


    Good my lord, be quiet.

    The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave

    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 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.

    This is mere madness:
    And thus awhile 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.


    I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.

    Exit HORATIO


    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.

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    Chapter 19
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