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A churchyard.
Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c.

First Clo.
Is she to be buried in Christian
burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation?

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

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

Sec. Clo.
Why, 'tis found so.

First Clo.
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,
and to perform: argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

Sec. Clo.
Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,—

First Clo.
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;
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.

Sec. Clo.
But is this law?

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

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

First Clo.
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 gentlemen but
gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: they
hold up Adam's profession.

Sec. Clo.
Was he a gentleman?

First Clo.
A' was the first that ever bore arms. (39)

Sec. Clo.
Why, he had none.

First Clo.
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 answerert me not to the purpose, confess thyself—

Sec. Clo.
Go to.

First Clo.
What is he that builds stronger
than either the mason, the shipwright, or the

Sec. Clo.
The gallows-maker; for that (50)
frame outlives a thousand tenants.

First Clo.
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.

Sec. Clo.
'Who builds stronger than a mason,
a shipwright, or a carpenter?'

First Clo.
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke. (60)

Sec. Clo.
Marry, now I can tell.

First Clo.

Sec. Clo.
Mass, I cannot tell. Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance.

First Clo.
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 Sec. Clown. [He digs, and sings.

In youth, when I did love, did love,
70 Methought it was very sweet,
To contract, O, the time, for, ah, my behove,
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 Clo.
But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
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? (89)

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 Clo.
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 sheep-skins?

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 Clo.
Mine, sir. [Sings]

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 Clo.
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 Clo.
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away (140)
again, from me to you.

What man dost thou dig it for?

First Clo.
For no man, sir.

What woman, then?

First Clo.
For none, neither.

Who is to be buried in't?

First Clo.
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 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?

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


First Clo.
'Twill not be seen in him there; (170)
there the men are as mad as he.

How came he mad?

First Clo.
Very strangely, they say.

How strangely?

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

Upon what ground?

First Clo.
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 Clo.
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 Clo.
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 (191)
twenty years.

Whose was it?

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

Nay, I know not.

First Clo.
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. (200)


First Clo.
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 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 chap-fallen?
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.

What's that, my lord?

Dost thou think Alexander looked o'
this fashion i' the earth? (220)

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 Cæsar, 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's flaw!

But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king, Enter Priests, &c. in procession; the Corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING, QUEEN, 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.

A very noble youth: mark. [Retiring with Horatio.

What ceremony else?

That is Laertes,

A noble youth, mark.

What ceremony else?

First Priest.
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged

As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful; (251)

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 (260)

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 (270)

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'erton 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 (280)

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 (290)

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? (300)

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. (311)

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. [Exit.

I pray you, 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.

Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son. (320)

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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