A line-by-line translation

Hamlet

Hamlet Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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HAMLET and HORATIO enter.

HAMLET

So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other.You do remember all the circumstances?

HAMLET

That’s everything about that, sir. Now I’ll tell you my other story. You do remember the circumstances of my situation, righ?

HORATIO

Remember it, my lord?

HORATIO

How could I not, my lord?

HAMLET

Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly— And praised be rashness for it: let us know Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well When our deep plots do pall, and that should teach us There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will—

HAMLET

Sir, there was a kind of war in my heart that wouldn’t let me sleep. It seemed to me that I was in worse shape even than captive rebels in chains. I impulsively—let me praise impulsiveness. Sometimes acting impulsively works even when our complicated plans don’t work out, showing us that a God who shapes our destiny—

HORATIO

That is most certain.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

Up from my cabin, My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark Groped I to find out them, had my desire, Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew To mine own room again, making so bold (My fears forgetting manners) to unseal Their grand commission, where I found, Horatio— O royal knavery!—an exact command, Larded with many several sorts of reasons Importing Denmark’s health, and England’s too, With—ho!—such bugs and goblins in my life That, on the supervise (no leisure bated, No, not to stay the grinding of the ax) My head should be struck off.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Is ’t possible?

HORATIO

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HAMLET

[shows HORATIO a document] Here’s the commission. Read it at more leisure.But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?

HAMLET

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HORATIO

I beseech you.

HORATIO

Lorem i

HAMLET

Being thus benetted round with villainies— Ere I could make a prologue to my brains, They had begun the play—I sat me down, Devised a new commission, wrote it fair. I once did hold it, as our statists do, A baseness to write fair, and labored much How to forget that learning, but, sir, now It did me yeoman’s service. Wilt thou know Th’ effect of what I wrote?

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Ay, good my lord.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

An earnest conjuration from the king, As England was his faithful tributary, As love between them like the palm might flourish, As peace should stiff her wheaten garland wear And stand a comma ’tween their amities, And many suchlike “as’s” of great charge, That, on the view and knowing of these contents, Without debatement further, more or less, He should the bearers put to sudden death, Not shriving time allowed.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

How was this sealed?

HORATIO

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HAMLET

Why, even in that was heaven ordinant. I had my father’s signet in my purse, Which was the model of that Danish seal. Folded the writ up in form of th’ other, Subscribed it, gave ’t th’ impression, placed it safely, The changeling never known. Now, the next day Was our sea fight, and what to this was sequent Thou know’st already.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to ’t.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

Why, man, they did make love to this employment. They are not near my conscience. Their defeat Does by their own insinuation grow. ‘Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes Between the pass and fell incensèd points Of mighty opposites.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Why, what a king is this!

HORATIO

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HAMLET

Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon— He that hath killed my king and whored my mother, Popped in between th’ election and my hopes, Thrown out his angle for my proper life (And with such cozenage!) —is ’t not perfect conscience To quit him with this arm? And is ’t not to be damned To let this canker of our nature come In further evil?

HAMLET

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HORATIO

It must be shortly known to him from EnglandWhat is the issue of the business there.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

It will be short. The interim’s mine. And a man’s life’s no more than to say “one.” But I am very sorry, good Horatio, That to Laertes I forgot myself, For by the image of my cause I see The portraiture of his. I’ll court his favors. But sure the bravery of his grief did put me Into a towering passion.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Peace.—Who comes here?

HORATIO

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OSRIC, a young courtier, enters with his hat in his hand.

OSRIC

Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

I humbly thank you, sir. [aside to HORATIO] Dost know this water-fly?

HAMLET

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HORATIO

[aside to HAMLET] No, my good lord.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

[aside to HORATIO] Thy state is the more gracious, for ’tis a vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile. Let a beast be lord of beasts and his crib shall stand at the king’s mess. ‘Tis a chough, but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from His Majesty.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use. ‘Tis for the head.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

I thank your lordship. It is very hot.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

No, believe me, ’tis very cold. The wind is northerly.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Exceedingly, my lord. It is very sultry—as ’twere—I cannot tell how. My lord, his majesty bade me signify toyou that he has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter—

OSRIC

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HAMLET

I beseech you, remember— [indicates that OSRIC should put on his hat]

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Nay, good my lord, for mine ease, in good faith. Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes, believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society and great showing. Indeed, to speakfeelingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry,for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you, thoughI know to divide him inventorially would dizzy th’ arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article, andhis infusion of such dearth and rareness as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror. And who else would trace him? His umbrage, nothing more.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Sir?

OSRIC

Lore

HORATIO

[aside to HAMLET] Is ’t not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do ’t, sir, really.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Of Laertes?

OSRIC

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HORATIO

[aside to HAMLET] His purse is empty already. All ’s golden words are spent.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

Of him, sir.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

I know you are not ignorant—

OSRIC

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HAMLET

I would you did, sir. Yet in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me. Well, sir?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is—

OSRIC

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HAMLET

I dare not confess that lest I should compare with him in excellence, but to know a man well were to know himself.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

I mean, sir, for his weapon. But in the imputation laidon him by them, in his meed he’s unfellowed.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

What’s his weapon?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Rapier and dagger.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

That’s two of his weapons. But well.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses, against the which he has impawned, as I take it,six French rapiers and poniards with their assigns—as girdle, hangers, and so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

What call you the carriages?

HAMLET

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HORATIO

[aside to HAMLET] I knew you must be edified by the margin ere you had done.

HORATIO

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OSRIC

The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

The phrase would be more germane to the matter if we could carry cannon by our sides. I would it might be hangers till then. But, on: six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages—that’s the French bet against the Danish. Why is this “impawned,” as you call it?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

The king, sir, hath laid that in a dozen passes betweenyourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits. He hath laid on twelve for nine, and it would come to immediate trial if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

How if I answer “No”?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please His Majesty, ’tis the breathing time of day with me. Let thefoils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose. I will win for him an I can. If not, Iwill gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Shall I redeliver you e’en so?

OSRIC

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HAMLET

To this effect, sir, after what flourish your nature will.

HAMLET

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OSRIC

I commend my duty to your lordship.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

Yours, yours.

HAMLET

Lorem ipsu

OSRIC exits.

HAMLET

He does well to commend it himself. There are no tongues else for ’s turn.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

He did comply, sir, with his dug before he sucked it. Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter, a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them totheir trial, the bubbles are out.

HAMLET

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A LORD enters.

LORD

My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings back to him that you attend him in thehall. He sends to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time.

LORD

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HAMLET

I am constant to my purpose. They follow the king’s pleasure. If his fitness speaks, mine is ready, now or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.

HAMLET

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LORD

The king and queen and all are coming down.

LORD

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HAMLET

In happy time.

HAMLET

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LORD

The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment toLaertes before you fall to play.

LORD

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The LORD exits.

HAMLET

She well instructs me.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

You will lose this wager, my lord.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

I do not think so. Since he went into France, I have been in continual practice. I shall win at the odds. Butthou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart. But it is no matter.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Nay, good my lord—

HORATIO

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HAMLET

It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of gain-givingas would perhaps trouble a woman.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

If your mind dislike anything, obey it. I will forestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.

HORATIO

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HAMLET

Not a whit. We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If itbe not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is ’t to leave betimes? Let be.

HAMLET

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CLAUDIUS enters with GERTRUDE, LAERTES, OSRIC, lords, and other attendants with trumpets, drums, fencing swords, a table, and pitchers of wine.

CLAUDIUS

Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me. [puts LAERTES’ hand into HAMLET’s]

CLAUDIUS

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HAMLET

Give me your pardon, sir. I’ve done you wrong. But pardon ’t, as you are a gentleman. This presence knows, And you must needs have heard, how I am punished With sore distraction. What I have done, That might your nature, honor, and exception Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness. Was ’t Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet. If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away, And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not. Hamlet denies it. Who does it, then? His madness. If’t be so, Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged. His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy. Sir, in this audience, Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil Free me so far in your most generous thoughts That I have shot mine arrow o’er the house And hurt my brother.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

I am satisfied in nature, Whose motive in this case should stir me most To my revenge. But in my terms of honor I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement Till by some elder masters, of known honor, I have a voice and precedent of peace To keep my name ungored. But till that time I do receive your offered love like love And will not wrong it.

LAERTES

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HAMLET

I embrace it freely,And will this brother’s wager frankly play.—Give us the foils. Come on.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

Come, one for me.

LAERTES

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HAMLET

I’ll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignoranceYour skill shall, like a star i’ th’ darkest night,Stick fiery off indeed.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

You mock me, sir.

LAERTES

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HAMLET

No, by this hand.

HAMLET

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CLAUDIUS

Give them the foils, young Osric.—Cousin Hamlet,You know the wager?

CLAUDIUS

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HAMLET

Very well, my lord.Your grace hath laid the odds o’ th’ weaker side.

HAMLET

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CLAUDIUS

I do not fear it. I have seen you both.But since he is better we have therefore odds.

CLAUDIUS

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LAERTES

[tests a rapier] This is too heavy. Let me see another.

LAERTES

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HAMLET

[tests a rapier] This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

HAMLET

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OSRIC

Ay, my good lord.

OSRIC

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HAMLET and LAERTES prepare to fence.

CLAUDIUS

Set me the stoups of wine upon that table. If Hamlet give the first or second hit Or quit in answer of the third exchange, Let all the battlements their ordnance fire! The king shall drink to Hamlet’s better breath, And in the cup an union shall he throw Richer than that which four successive kings In Denmark’s crown have worn. Give me the cups. And let the kettle to the trumpet speak, The trumpet to the cannoneer without, The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth, “Now the king dunks to Hamlet.” Come, begin.— And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

CLAUDIUS

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Trumpets

HAMLET

Come on, sir.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

Come, my lord.

LAERTES

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HAMLET and LAERTES fence.

HAMLET

One.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

No.

LAERTES

Lor

HAMLET

Judgment?

HAMLET

Lorem ip

OSRIC

A hit, a very palpable hit.

OSRIC

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LAERTES

Well, again.

LAERTES

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CLAUDIUS

Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl is thine.Here’s to thy health.

CLAUDIUS

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CLAUDIUS drops the pearl into a cup.

Drums, trumpets sound, shot goes off

CLAUDIUS

Give him the cup.

CLAUDIUS

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HAMLET

I’ll play this bout first. Set it by a while.Come.

HAMLET

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HAMLET and LAERTES fence.

HAMLET

Another hit. What say you?

HAMLET

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LAERTES

A touch, a touch, I do confess ’t.

LAERTES

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CLAUDIUS

Our son shall win.

CLAUDIUS

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GERTRUDE

He’s fat, and scant of breath.—Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet. [picks up the cup with the pearl]

GERTRUDE

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HAMLET

Good madam.

HAMLET

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CLAUDIUS

Gertrude, do not drink.

CLAUDIUS

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GERTRUDE

I will, my lord. I pray you, pardon me. [drinks]

GERTRUDE

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CLAUDIUS

[aside] It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.

CLAUDIUS

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HAMLET

I dare not drink yet, madam. By and by.

HAMLET

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GERTRUDE

Come, let me wipe thy face.

GERTRUDE

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LAERTES

[aside to CLAUDIUS] My lord, I’ll hit him now.

LAERTES

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CLAUDIUS

I do not think ’t.

CLAUDIUS

Lorem ipsum

LAERTES

[aside] And yet it is almost ‘gainst my conscience.

LAERTES

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HAMLET

Come, for the third, Laertes. You do but dally.I pray you, pass with your best violence.I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

Say you so? Come on.

LAERTES

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HAMLET and LAERTES fence.

OSRIC

Nothing, neither way.

OSRIC

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LAERTES

Have at you now!

LAERTES

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LAERTES wounds HAMLET. They scuffle and end up with each other’s swords. HAMLET wounds LAERTES.

CLAUDIUS

Part them! They are incensed.

CLAUDIUS

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HAMLET

Nay, come, again.

HAMLET

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GERTRUDE collapses.

OSRIC

Look to the queen there, ho!

OSRIC

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HORATIO

They bleed on both sides.—How is it, my lord?

HORATIO

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OSRIC

How is ’t, Laertes?

OSRIC

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LAERTES

Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric. I am justly killed with mine own treachery. [falls]

LAERTES

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HAMLET

How does the queen?

HAMLET

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CLAUDIUS

She swoons to see them bleed.

CLAUDIUS

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GERTRUDE

No, no, the drink, the drink!—O my dear Hamlet!The drink, the drink! I am poisoned. [dies]

GERTRUDE

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HAMLET

O villainy! Ho, let the door be locked.

HAMLET

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OSRIC exits

HAMLET

Treachery! Seek it out.

HAMLET

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LAERTES

It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain. No medicine in the world can do thee good. In thee there is not half an hour of life. The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenomed. The foul practice Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie, Never to rise again. Thy mother’s poisoned. I can no more. The king, the king’s to blame.

LAERTES

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HAMLET

The point envenomed too!—Then, venom, to thy work.

HAMLET

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HAMLET wounds CLAUDIUS.

ALL

Treason! Treason!

ALL

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CLAUDIUS

O, yet defend me, friends. I am but hurt.

CLAUDIUS

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HAMLET

Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damnèd Dane,Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?Follow my mother.

HAMLET

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HAMLET forces CLAUDIUS to drink. CLAUDIUS dies.

LAERTES

He is justly served. It is a poison tempered by himself. Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet. Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee, Nor thine on me. [dies]

LAERTES

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HAMLET

Heaven make thee free of it. I follow thee.— I am dead, Horatio. —Wretched queen, adieu!— You that look pale and tremble at this chance, That are but mutes or audience to this act, Had I but time (as this fell sergeant, Death, Is strict in his arrest), O, I could tell you— But let it be. —Horatio, I am dead. Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright To the unsatisfied.

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Never believe it.I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.Here’s yet some liquor left. [lifts the poisoned cup]

HORATIO

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HAMLET

As thou’rt a man, Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I’ll have ’t. [takes cup from HORATIO] O God, Horatio, what a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me! If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart Absent thee from felicity a while, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain To tell my story.

HAMLET

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A military march plays offstage.

HAMLET

What warlike noise is this?

HAMLET

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OSRIC enters.

OSRIC

Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,To th’ ambassadors of England givesThis warlike volley.

OSRIC

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HAMLET

O, I die, Horatio. The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit. I cannot live to hear the news from England. But I do prophesy the election lights On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice. So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less, Which have solicited. The rest is silence. O, O, O, O. [dies]

HAMLET

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HORATIO

Now cracks a noble heart.—Good night, sweet prince,And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!—Why does the drum come hither?

HORATIO

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FORTINBRAS and the English AMBASSADOR enter, with a drummer and attendants.

FORTINBRAS

Where is this sight?

FORTINBRAS

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HORATIO

What is it ye would see?If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

HORATIO

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FORTINBRAS

This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death, What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, That thou so many princes at a shot So bloodily hast struck?

FORTINBRAS

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AMBASSADOR

The sight is dismal, And our affairs from England come too late. The ears are senseless that should give us hearing, To tell him his commandment is fulfilled, That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Where should we have our thanks?

AMBASSADOR

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HORATIO

[indicates CLAUDIUS] Not from his mouth, Had it th’ ability of life to thank you. He never gave commandment for their death. But since so jump upon this bloody question, You from the Polack wars, and you from England, Are here arrived, give order that these bodies High on a stage be placèd to the view, And let me speak to th’ yet-unknowing world How these things came about. So shall you hear Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads. All this can I Truly deliver.

HORATIO

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FORTINBRAS

Let us haste to hear it, And call the noblest to the audience. For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune. I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

FORTINBRAS

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HORATIO

Of that I shall have also cause to speak, And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more. But let this same be presently performed, Even while men’s minds are wild, lest more mischance On plots and errors happen.

HORATIO

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FORTINBRAS

Let four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage, For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royally. And, for his passage, The soldiers’ music and the rites of war Speak loudly for him. Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

FORTINBRAS

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They exit marching, carrying the bodies, as cannons fire.

Hamlet
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.