Act V - Scene I

[Elsinore. A churchyard.]

Enter two Clowns.

FIRST CLOWN:
Is she to be buried in Christian burial that wilfully
seeks her own salvation?
SECOND CLOWN:
I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave
straight. The crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian
burial.(5)
FIRST CLOWN:
How can that be, unless she drown'd 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(10)
act; and an act hath three branches: it is to act, to do, and to
perform; argal, she drown'd 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(15)
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?(20)
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(25)
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.(30)
SECOND CLOWN:
Was he a gentleman?
FIRST CLOWN:
A was the first that ever bore arms.
SECOND CLOWN:
Why, he had none.
FIRST CLOWN:
What, art a heathen? How dost thou under-
stand the Scripture? The Scripture says Adam digged.(35)
Could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to
thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thy-
self—
SECOND CLOWN:
Go to!
FIRST CLOWN:
What is he that builds stronger than either the(40)
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(45)
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!
SECOND CLOWN:
Who builds stronger than a mason, a ship-
wright, or a carpenter?(50)
FIRST CLOWN:
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
SECOND CLOWN:
Marry, now I can tell!
FIRST CLOWN:
To't.
SECOND CLOWN:
Mass, I cannot tell.
FIRST CLOWN:
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your(55)
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 in
Yaughan; fetch me a stoup of liquor.

[Exit Second Clown. First Clown digs and sings.]

In youth when I did love, did love,(60)
Methought it was very sweet;
To contract—O—the time for—a—my behove,
O, methought there—a—was nothing—a meet.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio.

HAMLET:
Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings
at grave-making?(65)
HORATIO:
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
HAMLET:
'tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the
daintier sense.
FIRST CLOWN:
[Sings.]
But age with his stealing steps(70)
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.

[Throws up a skull.]

HAMLET:
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once.
How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if 'were Cain's(75)
jawbone, that did the first murder! This might be the pate of a
politician, which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would
circumvent God, might it not?
HORATIO:
It might, my lord.
HAMLET:
Or of a courtier, which could say 'Good morrow, sweet(80)
lord!
How dost thou, sweet 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?
HORATIO:
Ay, my lord.(85)
HAMLET:
Why, e'en so! and now my Lady Worm's, chapless,
and knock'd about the mazard with a sexton's spade. Here's
fine revolution, and we had the trick to see't. Did these bones
cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggets with 'em?
Mine ache to think on't.(90)
FIRST CLOWN:
[Sings.]
A pickaxe 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.(95)

[Throws up another skull.]

HAMLET:
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?(100)
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(105)
purchases, and double ones too, than the length and
breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances
of his lands will scarcely lie in this box; and must the inheritor
himself have no more, ha?
HORATIO:
Not a jot more, my lord.(110)
HAMLET:
Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
HORATIO:
Ay, my lord, And of calveskins too.
HAMLET:
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance
in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave's this, sir-
rah?(115)
FIRST CLOWN:
Mine, sir.

[Sings.]

O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
HAMLET:
I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
FIRST CLOWN:
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not(120)
yours. For my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.
HAMLET:
Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it' 'tis thine. 'tis
for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
FIRST CLOWN:
'tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again from me to
you.(125)
HAMLET:
What man dost thou dig it for?
FIRST CLOWN:
For no man, sir.
HAMLET:
What woman then?
FIRST CLOWN:
For none, neither.
HAMLET:
Who is to be buried in't?(130)
FIRST CLOWN:
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul,
she's dead.
HAMLET:
How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the
card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord,
Horatio, this three years I have taken note of it, the age is(135)
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 CLOWN:
Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day
that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.(140)
HAMLET:
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.
HAMLET:
Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?(145)
FIRST CLOWN:
Why, because a was mad. A shall recover his wits
there; or, if a do not, 'tis no great matter there.
HAMLET:
Why?
FIRST CLOWN:
'Twill not he seen in him there. There the men are
as mad as he.(150)
HAMLET:
How came he mad?
FIRST CLOWN:
Very strangely, they say.
HAMLET:
How 'strangely'?
FIRST CLOWN:
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
HAMLET:
Upon what ground?(155)
FIRST CLOWN:
Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here,
man and boy, thirty years.
HAMLET:
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 nowadays that will scarce hold the(160)
laying in—he will last you some eight year or nine year. A
tanner will last you nine year.
HAMLET:
Why he more than another?
FIRST CLOWN:
Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade that
a will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore(165)
decayer of your whoreson dead body. Here's a skull, now.
This skull hath lain in the earth three and twenty years.
HAMLET:
Whose was it?
FIRST CLOWN:
A whoreson, mad fellow's it was. Whose do you
think it was?(170)
HAMLET:
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.
HAMLET:
This?(175)
FIRST CLOWN:
E'en that.
HAMLET:

[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(180)
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
chop-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell(185)
her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come. Make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell me one
thing.
HORATIO:
What's that, my lord?
HAMLET:
Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i'(190)
the earth?
HORATIO:
E'en so.
HAMLET:
And smelt so? Pah!
HORATIO:
E'en so, my lord.
HAMLET:
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may(195)
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he
find it stopping a bung-hole?
HORATIO:
'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
HAMLET:
No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it; as thus:(200)
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,(205)
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 awhile! Here comes the King,
The Queen, the courtiers.(210)

[Enter Priests, in procession, corpes of Ophelia, Laertes and Mourners following King, Queen, and Attendants.]

Who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile, and mark.(215)
LAERTES:
What ceremony else?
HAMLET:
That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
LAERTES:
What ceremony else?
PRIEST:
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful;(220)
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,(225)
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
LAERTES:
Must there no more be done?
PRIEST:
No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead(230)
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
LAERTES:
Lay her i' the earth;
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,(235)
A ministering angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.
HAMLET:
What, the fair Ophelia?
QUEEN:
Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;(240)
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.
LAERTES:
O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense(245)
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.

[Leaps in 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(250)
Of blue Olympus.
HAMLET:
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,(255)
Hamlet the Dane.

[Leaps in after Laertes.]

LAERTES:
The devil take thy soul!
HAMLET:
Thou pray'st not well.
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,(260)
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!
KING:
Pluck them asunder.
QUEEN:
Hamlet, Hamlet!
ALL:
Gentlemen!(265)
HORATIO:
Good my lord, be quiet.
HAMLET:
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
QUEEN:
O my son, what theme?
HAMLET:
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers(270)
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
KING:
O, he is mad, Laertes.
QUEEN:
For love of God, forbear him!
HAMLET:
'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do.(275)
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.(280)
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.(285)
QUEEN:
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.(290)
HAMLET:
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.(295)

[Exit.]

KING:
I pray thee, 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.(300)
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.

Exeunt.