Available for non-commercial use, according to the terms of the Creative Commons license, attribution non-commercial.
Dark green goatskin binding, signed by Maltby, Oxford. Embossed binder's border and ornaments on front cover and back cover. Title tooled in gilt on spine reads “HAMLET
Ink stamp BOUND BY MALTBY, OXFORD. on facsimile image 003a.
Bookplate on facsimile image 058b. Text reads: “THE FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY.”
To the Celestiall, my soules Idoll, the most beautifiedOphelia.
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase, beautified is a vile phrase: but
you shall heare, thus in her excellent white bosome, These, &c.
O deareOpheliaI am ill at these numbers, I have not art to
reckon my groanes; but that I love thee best, O most best beleeve
it: Adieu. Thine evermore most deare Lady, whilest this
machine is to him,Hamlet.
For if the Sunne breed maggots in a dead dogge, being a
good kissing carrion. Have you a daughter?
How say you by that? still harping on my daughter, yet he
knew me not at first, a said I was a fish‐monger, a is far gone; and
truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very neare
this: Ile speake to him againe. What doe you read my Lord?
Slanders sir: for the Satyricall Rogue saies here, that old
men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes
purging thicke Amber, and Plum‐tree Gum, and that they have a
plentifull lacke of wit, together with most weake hams, all which
sir though I most powerfully and potently beleeve, yet I hold it
not honestie to have it thus set downe, for your selfe sir shall grow
old, as I am, if like a crab you could goe backward.
Though this be madnesse, yet there is method in't_ will
you walke out of the aire my Lord?
Indeed that's out of the aire; how pregnant sometimes
his replyes are? a happines that often madnes hits on, which rea
son and sanctitie could not so happily be delivered of. I will leave
him and my daughter. My Lord I will take my leave of you.
You cannot take from me any thing that I will not more
willingly part withall, except my life, except my life, except my
In the secret parts of fortune, oh most true, she is a strum
pet. What newes?
Begger that I am, I am even poore in thanks, but I thank
you, and sure deare friends my thanks are too deare a halfe‐peny:
were you not sent for? is it your owne inclining? is it a free visita
tion? come, come, deale justly with me, come, come, nay speake.
Any thing, but to'th purpose, you were sent for, and there
is a kind of confession in your lookes, which your modesties have
not craft enough to colour: I know the good King and Queene
have sent for you.
That you must teach me: but let me conjure you by the
rights of our fellowships, by the consonancy of our youth, by the
obligation of our ever preserved love, and by what more deare a
better proposer can charge you withall, bee even and direct with
me whether you were sent for or no.
I will tell you why, so shall my anticipation prevent your
discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no fea
To thinke my Lord, if you delight not in man, what Lenten
entertainment the Plaiers shall receive from you, we coated them
on the way, and hither are they comming to offer you service.
He that playes the King shall be welcome, his Majestie
shall have tribute of mee, the adventurous Knight shall use his
foyle and target, the lover shall not sigh gratis, the humorous man
shall end his part in peace, and the Lady shall say her mind freely,
or the blanke verse shall halt for't. What players are they?
Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the Tra
gedians of the City.
How chances it they travell? their residence both in re
putation and profit was better both wayes.
I thinke their inhibition comes by the meanes of the late
Doe they hold the same estimation they did when I was
in the City? are they so followed?
It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of Denmark,
and those that would make mouthes at him while my father lived,
give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred duckets a peece for his picture
in little: s'blood there is something in this more than naturall, if
Philosophy could finde it out.
Gentlemen you are welcome to Elsenour, your hands:
come t hen, th'appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremo
ny, let me comply with you in this garbe, lest my extent to the
Plaiers, which I tell you must shew fairly outwards, should more
appeare like entertainment than yours; you are welcome: but
my Uncle‐father and Aunt‐mother are deceived.
I am but mad North North‐west, when the wind is Sou
therly I know a hawke from a hand‐saw.
Harke you Guyldenstern, and you too, at each eare a hea
rer, that great baby as you see is not yet out of his swadling clouts.
Happely he is the second time come to them, for they say
an old man is twice a child.
I will prophecie that he comes to tell me of the Players,
marke it: You say right sir, a Munday morning 'twas then indeed.
The best Actors in the world, either for Tragedy, Comedy,
History, Pastorall, Pastorall‐Comicall, Historical‐Pastorall scene
indevidable, or Poem unlimited: Seneca cannot bee too heavie,
nor Plautus too light for the law of writ and the liberty; these are
the onely men.
Why one faire daughter and no more, the which hee lo
ved passing well.
Why as by lot God wot, and then you know it came to
passe, as most like it was: the first row of the pans chanson will
You are welcome masters, welcome all, I am glad to see
thee well, welcome good friends; oh old friend! why thy face is
valanc'd since I saw thee last, com'st thou to beard mee in Den
marke? what my young Lady and Mistresse! my Lady your Ladi
ship is neerer to heaven than when I saw you last by the altitude
of a chopine, pray God your voice, like a peece of uncurrant gold,
be not crackt within the ring: masters you are all welcome, wee'll
e'en to't like friendly Faukners, flye at any thing wee see, wee'll
have a speech strait, come give us a taste of your quality, come a
I heard thee speake me a speech once, but it was never a
cted, or if it was, not above once, for the play I remember pleased
not the million, 'twas caviary to the generall, but it was as I recei
ved it and others, whose judgements in such matters cried in the
top of mine, an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set
downe with as much modesty as cunning. I remember one said
there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savoury, nor
no matter in the phrase that might indite the author of affection,
but call'd it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very
much more handsome than fine; one speech in't I chiefly loved,
'twas Æneas talke to Dido, and thereabout of it especially when
he speakes of Priams slaughter, if it live in your memory begin at
this line, let me see, let me see, the rugged Pyrrhus like th'ircanian
Beast, 'tis not it begins with Pyrrhus. The rugged Pyrrhus, hee
whose sable armes,
It shall to the Barbers with your beard: prethee say on, he's
for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps; say on, come to Hecuba.
Looke where he has not turned his colour, and has teares
in's eyes: prethee no more.
'Tis well, Ile have thee speake out the rest of this soone.
Good my Lord doe you see the Players well bestowed, doe you
heare, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and briefe
Chronicles of the time; after your death you were better have a
bad Epitaph, than their ill report while you live.
Gods bodkin man much better, use every man after his
desert, and who shall scape whipping? use them after your owne
honour and dignity, the lesse they deserve the more merit is in
your bounty: Take them in.
Follow him friends, wee'll heare a play to morrow; doest
thou heare me old friend, can you play the murder of Gonzago?
Wee'll hav't to morrow night: you could for need study
a speech of some dosen lines, or sixteene lines, which I would set
downe and insert in't, could you not?
Very well: follow that Lord, and looke you mocke him
not. My good friends, Ile leave you till night, you are welcome
That if you bee honeft and faire, you should admit no
discourse to your beauty.
I truly, for the power of beautie will sooner transforme
honestie from what it is to a baud, than the force of honestie can
translate beauty to his likenesse: this was sometime a Paradoxe,
but now the time gives it proofe. I did love you once.
You should not have beleev'd mee, for vertue cannot so
evacuate our old stocke but we shall rellish of it: I loved you not.
Get thee a Nunry, why wouldst thou be a breeder of sin
ners? I am my selfe indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me
of such things, that it were better my mother had not born me: I
am very proud, revengefull, ambitious, with more offences at my
beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give thē
shape, or time to act them in: what should such fellowes as I doe
If thou dost marry, Ile give thee this plague for thy dow
ry, be thou as chaste as Ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape
calumny, get thee to a Nunry, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs mar
ry, marrie a foole, for wisemen know well enough what monsters
you make of them: to a Nunry, goe, and quickly too, farewell.
I have heard of your paintings well enough: God hath gi
ven you one face, and you make your selves another, gig and am
ble, and you list you nickname Gods creatures, and make your
wantonnesse ignorance; go too, Ile no more on't, it hath made me
mad: I say we will have no moe marriages, those that are married
already all but one shall live, the rest shall keepe as they are: to a
Speake the speech I pray you as I pronounc'd it to you,
trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our
Players do, I had as lieve the Towne‐crier spoke my lines: nor do
not saw the aire too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent tempest, and, as I may say, whirle‐wind of
your passion you must acquire and beget a temperance that may
give it smoothnesse: O it offends mee to the soule to heare a ro
bustious Perwig‐pated fellow teare a passion to totters, to very
rags, to spleet the eares of the ground‐lings, who for the most part
are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumbe shewes and noise:
I would have such a fellow whipt for ore‐doing Termagant, it out
Herods Herod, pray you avoid it.
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be
your tutor; sute the action to the word, the word to the action,
with this speciall observance, that you ore‐step not the modestie
of Nature: For any thing so ore‐done is from the purpose of play
ing, whose end both at first, and now, was and is, to hold as 'twere
the Mirrour up to nature, to shew vertue her feature, scorne her
owne image, and the very age and body of the time his forme and
pressure: now this over‐done, or come tardy of, though it makes
the unskilfull laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of which one must in your allowance ore‐weigh a whole
Theater of others. O there be Players that I have seene play, and
heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that
neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gate of Christian,
Pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought
some of Natures Journy‐men had made men, and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
O reforme it altogether: and let those that play your
Clownes speake no more than is set downe for them, for there be
of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantitie of
barren spectators to laugh too, though in the meane time some
necessary question of the Play be then to be considered: that's vil
lanous, and shewes a most pitifull ambition in the Foole that u
ses it: goe, make you ready. How now my Lord? will the King
heare this piece of worke?
O God! your onely Jig‐maker, what should a man doe
but be merry: for looke you how cheerfully my mother lookes,
and my father died within's two houres.
So long! nay then let the divell weare black, for Ile have
a sute of sables: O heavens! dye two months agoe, and not for
gotten yet! then there's hope a great mans memory may out‐live
his life halfe a yeere; but ber Lady a must build Churches then, or
else shall a suffer not thinking on, with the Hobby‐horse, whose E
pitaph is, for O, for O, the Hobby‐horse is forgot.
The Mouse‐trap; marry how? tropically. This play is the
image of a murther done in Vienna, Gonzago is the Dukes name,
his wife Baptista, you shall see anon, 'tis a knavish piece of work,
but what of that? your Majestie and we shall have free soules, it
touches us not; let the galled jade winch, our withers are un
wrung. This is one Lucianus Nephew to the King.
So you mistake your husbands. Begin murtherer, leave
thy damnable faces and begin, come, the croking raven doth bel
low for revenge.
A poisons him i'th garden for his estate, his name's Gonza
go, the story is extant, and written in very choice Italian: you shall
see anon how the murtherer gets the love of Gonzagoes wife.
Thus runs the world away. Would not this sir, and a forrest of fea
thers, if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me, with provincial
Roses on my raz'd shooes, get me a fellowship in a city of plaiers?
Your wisedome should shew it selfe more richer to sig
nifie this to the Doctor; for for mee to put him to his purgation
would perhaps plunge him into more choler.
Nay good my Lord, this courtesie is not of the right breed,
if it shall please you to make mee a wholsome answer, I will doe
your mothers commandement, if not, your pardon and my re
turne shall be the end of the businesse.
Make you a wholsome answer, my wit's diseas'd, but sir, such
answer as I can make you shall command, or rather as you say, my
mother; therefore no more, but to the matter, my mother you say.
Good my Lord what is your cause of distemper? you doe
surely barre the doore upon your owne liberty, if you deny your
griefes to your friend.
I sir, but while the grasse growes; the proverbe is some
thing musty: oh the Recorders, let me see one, to withdraw with
you; why doe you goe about to recover the wind of me, as if you
would drive me into a toile?
It is as easie as lying; govern these ventages with your fin
gers and the thumbe, give it breath with your mouth, and it will
discourse most eloquent musick: look you, these are the stops.
Why look you now how unworthy a thing you make of
me, you would play upon me, you would seeme to know my stops,
you would plucke out the heart of my mysterie, you would sound
mee from my lowest note to my compasse, and there is much mu
sicke, excellent voice in this little organ, yet cannot you make it
speake, s'bloud do you think I am easier to be plaid on than a pipe?
Call me what instrument you will, though you fret me not, you
cannot play upon me. God blesse you sir.
That I can keepe your counsell and not mine owne; be
sides, to bee demanded of a spunge, what replication should bee
made by the sonne of a King?
I sir, that sokes up the Kings countenance, his rewards, his
authorities: but such Officers doe the King best service in the end,
he keeps them like an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouth'd
to be last swallowed; when he needs what you have gleaned, it is
but squeesing you, and spunge you shall be dry againe.
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten, a certain convo
cation of politick worms are een at him: your worme is your only
Emperour for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and wee fat
our selves for maggots; your fat King and your lean beggar is but
variable service, two dishes but to one table, that's the end.
In heaven, send thither to see, if your messenger find him
not there, seeke him i'th other place your selfe: but indeed if you
find him not within this moneth, you shall nose him as you go up
the staires into the Lobby.
Well, good dild you, they say the Owle was a Bakers
daughter: Lord, we know what wee are, but know not what wee
may be. God be at your table.
I hope all will be well, we must be patient: but I cannot
chuse but weep to think they would lay him i'th cold ground; my
brother shall know of it, & so I thank you for your good counsell.
There's Fennill for you, and Columbines, there's Rew for
you, and here's some for mee, wee may call it herbe of Grace a
Sundayes, you may weare your Rew with a difference; there's a
Dasie: I would give you some Violets, but they witherd all when
my father died; they say a made a good end.
A shall sir an't please him. There's a letter for you sir, it
came from the Embassadour that was bound for England, if your
name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
Horatio, when thou shalt have over‐look't this, give these
fellowes some meanes to the King, they have Letters for him. Ere
So that thou knowest thine,
High and mighty, you shall know I am set naked on your King
dome: to morrow shall I beg leave to see your Kingly eyes, when
I shall (first asking you pardon) thereunto recount the occasion of
my sudden returne.
It must be so offended, it cannot be else; for here lies the
point, if I drowne my selfe wittingly it argues an act, and an act
hath three branches, it is to act, to doe, to performe, or all; shee
drown'd her selfe wittingly.
Give me leave, here lyes the water, good, here stands the
man, good, if the man goe to this water and drowne himselfe, it is
will he nill he; he goes, marke you that: but if the water come to
him and drowne him, he drownes not himselfe; argall hee that is
not guilty of his owne death shortens not his owne life.
Why there thou saist, and the more pitty that great folke
should have countenance in this world to drowne or hang them
selves, more than their even Christen: Come my spade, there is no
ancient Gentlemen but Gardeners, Ditchers, and Grave‐makers,
they hold up Adams profession.
A was the first that ever bore armes.
I like thy wit well in good faith, the gallowes does well, but
how does it well? it does well to those that do ill, now thou doest
ill to say the gallowes is built ftronger than the Church, argall the
gallowes may doe well to thee. To't againe, come.
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull asse wil
not mend his pace with beating, & when you are askt this questiō
next, say a grave‐maker, the houses he makes last till Doomesday.
Goe get thee in, and fetch me a soope of liquor.
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once, how the
knave jowles it to the ground, as if 'twere Cains jaw‐bone, that
did the first murther: this might be the pate of a Polititian which
this asse now ore‐reaches, one that would circumvent God, might
Or of a Courtier, which could say, Good morrow my
Lord, how doest thou sweet Lord? This might be my Lord such
a one, that praised my Lord such a ones horse when a meant to
beg it, might it not?
Why een so, and now my Lady worms Choples, and knockt
about the mazer with a Sextens spade; here's fine revolution and
we had the tricke to see't, did these bones cost no more the bree
ding but to play at loggits with them? mine ake to think on't.
There's another, why may not that be the skull of a Lawier?
where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures,
and his tricks? why does he suffer this mad knave now to knocke
him about the sconce with a dirty shovell, and will not tell him of
his actions of battery? hum: this fellow might be in's time a great
buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognisances, his fines, his
double vouchers, his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine
dirt: will vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases and dou
bles, than the length and bredth of a paire of Indentures? the ve
ry conveiances of his land will scarcely lye in this boxe, and must
th'inheritor himselfe have no more? ha?
How absolute the knave is, we must speake by the card, or
equivocation will undo us. By the Lord Horatio this 3. yeeres I
have took note of it, the age is grown so picked, that the toe of the
pesant comes so neere the heele of the Courtier, he galls his kibe.
How long hast thou been a Grave‐maker?
Cannot you tell that? every foole can tell that; it was that
very day that young Hamlet was borne, hee that is mad and sent
Faith if a be not rotten before he dye, as wee have many
pocky coarses that will scarce hold the laying in, a will last you
some eight yeere, or nine yeere; a Tanner will last you nine yeere.
Why sir his hide is so tan'd with his trade, _hat a will keep
out water a great while, and your water is a sore decayer of your
whorson dead body: here's a skull now hath lyen you i'th earth (23. yeares.
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue, a pour'd a flaggon of
Rhenish on my head once; this same skull sir, was sir Yorickes
skull the Kings Jester.
Alas poor Yoricke, I knew him Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy, he hath bore me on his backe a thou
sand times, and now how abhorred in my imagination it is? my
gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kist I know not
how oft: where bee your jibes now, your gamboles, your songs,
your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a
Now get you to my Ladies table, and tell her, let her paint an
inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.
Prethee Horatio tell me one thing.
To what base uses we may returne Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till a finde it
stopping a bung‐hole.
No faith not a jot, but to follow him thither with modesty
enough, and likelihood to lead it. Alexander died, Alexander was
buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we
make lome, & why of that lome whereto he was converted might
they not stop a Beere‐barrell?
Thy state is the more gracious, for 'tis a vice to know
him; he hath much land and fertill, let a beast be Lord of beasts,
and his crib shall stand at the Kings messe; 'tis a chough, but as I
say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Exceedingly my Lord, it is very soultry, as 'twere I can
not tell how: my Lord, his Majesty bad me signifie unto you, that
a has laid a great wager on your head, sir this is the matter.
Nay good my Lord, for my ease in good faith. Sir here is
newly come to Court Laertes, beleeve mee an absolute Gentle
man, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society, and
great shewing: indeed, to speake feelingly of him, he is the Card
or Kalendar of Gentry, for you shall finde in him the continent of
what part a Gentleman would see.
Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you, though I
know to divide him inventorially, would dizzie th'arithmetick of
memory, and yet but raw neither in respect of his quicke saile;
but in the verity of extolment, I take him to be soule of a great ar
ticle, and his infusion of such dearth and rarenesse, as to make true
diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour, and who else would
trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
The King sir hath wager'd with him sixe Barbery horses,
against the which he has impawn'd as I take it six French Rapiers
and Poniards, with their assignes, as girdle, hanger, and so: three
of the carriages in faith are very deare to fancy, very responsive to
the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberall conceit.
The phrase would be more german to the matter if wee
could carry a cannon by our sides, I would it might be hangers till
then: but on, sixe Barbary horses against sixe French swords, their
assignes, and three liberall conceited carriages, that's the French
bet against the Danish, why is this all you call it?
The King sir, hath laid sir, that in a dozen passes betweene
your selfe and him he shall not exceed you three hits, he hath laid
on twelve for nine, and it would come to immediate triall, if your
Lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
Sir I will walke here in the hall, if it please his Majestie,
it is the breathing time of day with me, let the foiles be brought,
the Gentleman willing, and the King hold his purpose, I will win
for him and I can; if not, I will gaine nothing but my shame and
the odde hits.
A did so sir with his dugge before a suckt it; thus has he
& many more of the same breed that I know, the drossie age dotes
on, onely got the tune of the time, and out of an habit of incoun
ter, a kinde of misty collection, which carries them through and
through the most profane and trennowned opinions; and doe but
blow them to their triall, the bubbles are out.
My Lord, his Majestie commended him to you by young
Ostricke, who brings back to him that you attend him in the hall,
he sends to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that
you will take longer time?
I am constant to my purposes, they follow the Kings
pleasure; if his fitnesse speaks, mine is ready, now or whensoever,
provided I be so able as now.
I doe not thinke so, since he went into France I have bin
in continuall practice; I shall win at the oddes: thou wouldst not
think how ill all's here about my heart, but it is no matter.
Not a whit, we defie Augury, there is a speciall providence
in the fall of a Sparrow: if it be, 'tis not to come, if it bee not to
come, it will be now, if it be not now, yet it will come, the readi
nesse is all, since no man of ought he leaves knowes what is't to