ACT Five.



Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c. (L.H.U.E.)

1st Clo. (R.) Is she to be buried in christian burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation?

2nd Clo. (L.) I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight: the crowner hath set on her, and finds it christian burial.

1st Clo. How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

2nd Clo. Why, ‘tis found so.

1st 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.

2nd Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.

1st 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; 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.

2nd Clo. But is this law?

1st Clo. Ay, marry is’t; crowner’s-quest law.

2nd Clo. Will you ha’ the truth on’t? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.

1st Clo. Why, there thou say’st: And the more pity that great folks 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.

2nd Clo. Was he a gentleman?

1st Clo. He was the first that ever bore arms. I’ll put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself——

2nd Clo. Go to.

1st Clo. What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

2nd Clo. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1st 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.

2nd Clo. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?

1st Clo. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

2nd Clo. Marry, now I can tell.

1st Clo. To’t.

2nd Clo. Mass, I cannot tell.

1st 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, and fetch me a stoup of liquor.

[Exit 2nd Clown, L.H.U.E.]

Enter Hamlet and Horatio (L.H.U.E.)

First Clown 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.

Ham. (Behind the grave.) Has this fellow no feeling of his business, he sings at grave-making?

Hor. (On Hamlet’s R.) Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

Ham. ‘Tis e’en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.

1st Clo.

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.]

Ham. 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! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o’er-reaches; one that would circumvent Heaven, might it not?

Hor. It might, my lord.

[Gravedigger throws up bones.]

Ham. Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with them? mine ache to think on’t.

1st 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 a skull.]

Ham. There’s another: Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits 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? I will speak to this fellow.—Whose grave’s this, sirrah?

1st Clo. Mine, sir.—


O, a pit of clay for to be made

For such a guest is meet.

Ham. (R. of grave.) I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in’t.

1st Clo. You lie out on’t, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in’t, yet it is mine.

Ham. 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.

1st. Clo. ‘Tis a quick lie, sir; ‘twill away again, from me to you.

Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?

1st Clo. For no man, sir.

Ham. What woman, then?

1st Clo. For none, neither.

Ham. Who is to be buried in’t?

1st Clo. One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she’s dead.

Ham. How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us, [To Horatio, R.] How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

1st Clo. Of all the days i’the year, I came to’t that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

Ham. How long’s that since?

1st 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.

Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

1st Clo. Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, ‘tis no great matter there.

Ham. Why?

1st Clo. ‘Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham. How came he mad?

1st Clo. Very strangely, they say.

Ham. How strangely?

1st Clo. ‘Faith, e’en with losing his wits.

Ham. Upon what ground?

1st Clo. Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

Ham. How long will a man lie i’the earth ere he rot?

1st Clo. ‘Faith, if he be not rotten before he die, he will last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.

Ham. Why he more than another?

1st 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 ill-begotten dead body. Here’s a skull now, hath lain in the earth three-and-twenty years.

Ham. Whose was it?

1st Clo. O, a mad fellow’s it was: Whose do you think it was?

Ham. Nay, I know not.

1st Clo. 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.

Ham. This?

[Takes the skull.]

1st Clo. E’en that.

Ham. 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. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! 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.

Hor. What’s that, my lord?

Ham. Dost thou think Alexander look’d o’this fashion i’the earth?

Hor. E’en so.

Ham. And smelt so? pah!

[Gives the skull to Horatio, who returns it to the grave-digger.]

Hor. E’en so, my lord.

Ham. To what base uses may we return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till it find it stopping a bung-hole?

Hor. ‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

Ham. 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?

Imperial Cæsar, dead and turn’d to clay,

Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:

O, that the 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,

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 awhile, and mark.

[Retiring with Horatio, R.H.]

Enter Priests, &c., in procession; the corpse of Ophelia, Laertes and Mourners following; King, Queen, their Trains, &c.

Laer. (L. of the grave.) What ceremony else?

Ham. (R.)

That is Laertes,

A very noble youth.

1st Priest. (R. of the grave.) Her obsequies have been as far enlarg’d

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.

Laer. Must there no more be done?

1st 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.

Laer. O, 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!

Queen. (Behind the grave, C. with the King.)

Sweets to the sweet: Farewell!

[Scattering flowers.]

I hop’d 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

Depriv’d thee of!—Hold off the earth a while,

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.

Ham. (Advancing.) What is he whose grief

Bears such an emphasis?—whose phrase of sorrow

Conjures the wand’ring stars, and makes them stand

Like wonder-wounded hearers?—this is I,

Hamlet the Dane.

Laer. (L., leaping from the grave.) The devil take thy soul!

[Grappling with him.]

Ham. (R.C.) Thou pray’st not well.

I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;

For, though I am not splenetive and rash,

Yet have I in me something dangerous,

Which let thy wisdom fear: Hold off thy hand!

King. Pluck them asunder.

Queen. (C.)

Hamlet, Hamlet!

Ham. (R.C.) Why, I will fight with him upon this theme

Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

Queen. O my son, what theme?

Ham. I lov’d Ophelia: forty thousand brothers

Could not, with all their quantity of love,

Make up my sum.—What wilt thou do for her?

Queen. O, he is mad, Laertes.

Ham. Come, show me what thou’lt do:

Wou’lt weep? wou’lt fight? wou’lt fast? wou’lt tear thyself?

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 disclos’d,

His silence will sit drooping.


Hear you, sir;

What is the reason that you use me thus?

I lov’d 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, R.H.]

King. (C.) I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

[Exit Horatio, R.H.]

Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son,

[Exit Queen, attended, R.H.]

Strengthen your patience in our last night’s speech;

[To Laertes.]

We’ll put the matter to the present push.—

This grave shall have a living monument:

An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;

Till then, in patience our proceeding be.

[The characters group round the grave.]