still cheaper than therapy*

cheese sandwich
I had a dream that my ex-husband introduced me to his new girlfriend, and his new girlfriend was a sculpted Croatian surfer dude with bleached tips. I did not know which pronoun set to use, which was awkward and embarrassing.


It's so, so gossamer light when it's being laid down. You don't even notice, when it's being laid down, it's just one tiny invisible thread at a time - but i don't even know how far it goes back. It's so light, so delicate, and so fucking binding, i have no idea when it began. When i consider, when i consider x and y and z, i am nearly certain it goes back all the way to the beginning. That first summer, for example, and what he told me about it long afterwards; and the way it sheds light on how i was treated down south, in general - that's not an accident. It wasn't my imagination and i wasn't being overly sensitive and i wasn't crazy - that was the pattern. I rather think it was always there. (That's pretty fucking dark, that is.)

This is going to keep popping up, isn't it, unexpectedly, like this? Less and less often, as i identify more and more pattern, how wide and how deep and how long, and how all-encompassing, like some horrible, corrosive lace laid over an entire decade. I'll just stumble into some raw stub of history and be numb and angry for a week or two. Even now, I know enough to go, Oh, That old thing again. I know that one, i was expecting it.

(I met someone who told me something i had suspected about what now by all rights ought to be ancient history but i that had not known for absolute certain until just that moment. So. You know. I was expecting it. Still. Ow.)

I am also not sure what i can say.

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When reading, Glinda the Witch of the North and Charlotte the Spider have the same voice.

The girl in the apartment upstairs has a new boyfriend. I can tell.

The gifted ficus tree that was so unhappy by the balcony door has perked right back up, now, by comparison. New little leaves are growing, and the old ones are basically all dead and gone, so the crispy winter look has receded. He is still two-thirds naked, the poor thing, but better. I think it was too drafty, before.

I have had at least two unexpected compliments on my manicure. The third either i am imagining or is very subtle and admiring and gradual, but if i asked about it, the asking would destroy everything i have worked so hard to build.

Knitting is like a study of realtime topology - seriously, Mathematican Friends, look into it. You could be massively, cultily famous for inventing an improved left-leaning decrease.


(all the other plants are happy, but not the Ficus benjamina)
Dracena marginata
Calathea rufibarba
purple Echeveria
Phalaenopsis orchid - white, large
Ficus benjamina
jade (small) x8
jade (large)
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa
Natal plum
Phalaenopsis orchid- magenta, large
Phalaenopsis orchid- magenta, small


in which i go on vacation and get shingles
We were staying, of course, in a tiny French beach house/condo in the Languedoc, with a lovely little front and back porch, and just enough beds and inflatable mattresses and folding couches to sleep us all: me and E and Y, and Y's uncle and cousin and cousin's ex-boyfriend: it was the uncle's house. And the half of us were upstairs and the ceilings upstairs were quite low, and the ceiling beams were lower, and i was ever so careful to not bump my head on them because they were large and solid and wooden and very low, especially over the stairs. (Ominous.) The ex-boyfriend bumped his head on them just about daily or at least twice in the three and a half days that we were there that i saw, as our space was in front of the stairs, with a very clear view of everyone bumping their heads on the damned ceiling beams. I was luckier, back then.

On the very last morning, cleaning out the little space and packing everything into the little-but-not-so-little rented car (it was a bimmer, with sixteen kilometers on it when we stared, and five and a half thousand kilometers on it when we gave it back later) i was carrying too many things and looking around and as i was rotating my head from looking around to see what was left to be picked up to back forwards to go down the stairs - the ceilings were not so low that one couldn't stand up straight, except for the ceiling beams - i whaled my temple on this old black wood. I thought nothing of it. I whaled my temple; so what? (Please note: mechanical trauma, ding ding ding. gatti 2010, thomas 2004.)

It hurt the whole day. We drove halfway across France. There was a small museum, some wine. (I whaled my temple; so what?)

The next day continued to be headachey and, hmm, it hurt as well around my cheekbone, which was not where I had whaled my head. A bit of being sleepy but it was so sunny and warm driving south to Spain, everyone was a bit sleepy, so we had a nice family nap/quiet read upon arriving at the little vacation hotel to meet Y's friend and his kid. But why did it still hurt? Anyway we hiked up and wandered around the little cobblestoned historic Spanish medieval city and had many tapas as well as beer, being mostly Germans. E ate all the calamari, again. That night it hurt behind my ear, and around the back-end of my jaw, which were also decidedly not where I had whaled my head. I was getting confused because I had had exactly zero concussion symptoms: no nausea, no dizziness, no forgetting of anything (which is obvious to you, dear reader), no confusion. No more sleepiness than anyone else driving south in the sunshine. It couldn't be a concussion, then, right, with nothing? What the hell? Sleep was hard. I was nervous as fuck all.

The next next day it hurt on my jaw, and behind my ear, and across my cheekbone, and above my eyebrow, and across my forehead. Also my temple hurt, still, continuously. It was a weird sort of hurt, for a headache: not throbby, not at all, but perfectly constant, like a distant air horn. Not, also, what i would call debilitating, at that point. We drove and walked to a funny little river not too far away (they'd recommended it at the little vacation hotel) and E dipped her feet in the water playing with the friend's kid, and Y actually went swimming in the mountain stream, but i can only imagine how cold it was because mountain stream? No thank you. The friend's kid had an utter fascination with rocks, and the breaking of them, being of course seven and a boy. And we had a picnic by the little stream and more and more people kept coming (they brought their dogs, too, and the dogs looked so desperately at our picnic) and it was very sunny but we were also rather high up and there was a continuous breeze off the peaks, so it didn't seem particularly hot but one had to keep reapplying suntan lotion all the same. Everyone stopped to pee in the bushes before we said goodbye.

After the picnic we drove back to France again, dropped E off at an aunt's, and took little old me to the Urgences. It was very quiet in the hospital - i think they are mostly set up for skiing accidents, and this was high summer, being a Sunday in the middle of August - and the poor radiologist on duty kept going back and forth to the coffee machine, to the wc, to flirt with the also bored triage nurse - one nurse walked through with a patient in a wheelchair, to get a coffee, and (later) once i was in a proper room i saw one other proper ER patient come in. I felt like a hideous, self-centered, hysterical moron for going to the fucking ER two days after bumping my head. I think they triaged that i was nothing serious and the doctor could finish his card game. I felt better that it was taking so long for the doctor to show up when absolutely nothing else was going on; it couldn't be threatening, it couldn't be anything at all. Moron, but otherwise generally okay. They also figured out right proper quick that Y was of an important family in the town and we could, for example, give them the Austrian insurance card and they'd try and figure out how Austria would pay for it and we could come back tomorrow and they'd tell us what it would cost then. The waiting room had two buzzing flies in it, and an untouched stack of magazines. Three childrens' books were on top of the magazines, for parents to have immediate access. Very kind, very well thought of. The newest magazine - the spines with dates on them were all facing out - was three years old; most were about home decorating.

A nurse brought me to a room, eventually, and took all my vitals. The doctor will be right with you, eventually. The machine showing my vitals was, of course, behind my head so i couldn't see it. I am sure they put it there on purpose so that patients don't freak out. Y was next to me, translating the six signs posted above the sink about proper washing of hands, as well as everything else. The doctor came in and - was confused. Why did i have a fever? My head hurt. I had bumped it, and it hurt in a different place, and the different place was too far away from the bumping place for it to be a migrating bruise, and my ears were perfect, my eyes were fine, i clearly had no concussion, no worries there. The red spot on my forehead, well, this was a migrating bruise. But where was this fever coming from? (All of this, all of this in the ER, was basically entirely in French. The doctor understood English, so i could talk, and i could understand, oh, the majority of what he said. But not all of it. I am lucky to have Y.) The doctor took my temperature again and the fever was higher than it had been twenty minutes ago when the nurse did it. He consulted his Giant French Doctors' Book on the desk in the corner. Two nurses came in and watched Dr. Maison at work; everything was very mysterious. He came back and said, Okay, we'll try something else - stand up, feet together, hands out straight, eyes shut - now don't fall over. Sit down, hands out straight, eyes shut, hold my hands as steady as possible. Shake hands without looking, squeeze as hard as I can, now the other one. I think he was checking for a brain tumor, now. He squeezed my legs, he asked if i had a bladder infection, if this hurt, if this hurt, if this hurt. He would press somewhere, Ca fait mal?, and I kept saying, rien, rien, rien, rien, rien, until he got to behind my jaw and behind my ear, and then i yelped and squirmed away because la, ca fait mal très très très fort. The other side of my head did not hurt. My teeth did not hurt. Eating did not hurt any more than anything else. Why was there this fever? Why was the one side of my head so swollen? I have a history of sinus infections. It hurt behind my ear, behind my jaw. The doctor tried everything and what felt like aeons later decided an infection, mastoiditis, was maybe just starting in the spongy bit of my skull, and that the behind my ear thing had nothing to do with the head bumping from earlier. I felt like less of an idiot.

(I googled it later. Mastoiditis would also have sucked.)

He gave me ten days' worth of antibiotics and three days' worth of paracetamol. I call it three days' worth because of the max dosage on the packaging to avoid the bad parts of liver toxicity. I was on the max dosage of paracetamol for ... several days, after this. With the paracetamol, i could sleep. Kinda. For a little while. Which was a fucking gift of god, let me tell you. French Dr. House said, if it doesn't get better by Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, see a doctor again, either come back here (i.e. the ER) or another doctor.

The next day, Monday, i was very hopeful and expecting all the best from the antibiotic, but Y said i looked worse than the day before. I had funny hives on my forehead, inside the red, branching, linear shape. Because i am a genius at explaining to everybody that i am perfectly okay, all the time, no matter what, i decided that they must be brennesseln from when we stopped to pee in the bushes by the little Spanish river - in a line, after all, more or less, and i've never learned to notice what brennesseln look like because it's not poison ivy and anyway it goes away in an hour. Genius, like i said. We walked to a little restaurant in town and saw some friend of the aunt's on the street, and in the restaurant, stopped to chat, all kinds of people. It is a very small town. Monday night, as well as the rest of the time between paracetamols, everything that had ever hurt, hurt. About four a.m on Tuesday morning i decided i had to go back to the doctor because dear god stop the pain. I ate another paracetamol.

We went in the morning to the aunt's GP, twenty minutes' drive out of town, up closer to the skiing. He had me lie down on fresh paper and, wordlessly, and veryvery fast, he appeared with a tiny little sterile vial of something yellow and poured it into my eye and then switched on the brightest light i have ever seen and shined it at me, and then, bless him, turned off the light and rinsed out the yellow with something clear. (Really, certain people are very like tigers.) And that was it: i was diagnosed, he was done, his ex-wife in town (see her, there, that's the friend of the aunt's - it is a very small town) had called him the day before to say i'd be coming and looked funny with those blisters, and he'd diagnosed me before we'd met, only needing the yellow to confirm it, and he was totally right. (Note that i hadn't had the characteristic blisters on the Sunday, so it wasn't at all the ER guy's fault, and props to him for knowing that something, anything, was coming.) The only thing remaining was to somehow communicate to me what i had, because Y did not know how to say "shingles" in English and i had never heard of it in any other language because that is some very specific and in-depth vocabulary. But la varicelle is similar enough and it's a childhood illness and then it restes in les ganglions nerveux and i go, I HAVE SHINGLES? and they all have no idea because nobody else knows what it is en Anglais. I make a spots and scratching gesture, la varicelle, c'est avec les trucs? Et ca reste à l'intérieur? and, yeah, that, yesyes. Fucking hell. Fucking hell. I recover the information that he put something fluorescéine in my eye: no shit, sherlock; that was glowy as anything. I get ten days' worth of two different antivirals, more paracetamol, a topical disinfectant. This three times a day, this two, this as needed, this two, this three, this two. This not in your eye. This in, because of the BLISTER ON MY MOTHERFUCKING CORNEA. I am on more drugs than i have ever been on in my life.

I ate my antivirals and paracetamol and smeared my eye and my face all up and tried to sleep. It didn't work, the trying to sleep. Ever. I could come out and eat, some - Tantine gave me a pair of Dior sunglasses and a Christian Lacroix giant silk scarf, to hide the disfigurement of my head. That was the up side: that and the food. (Tantine takes excellent care of us, always.) E got to watch French cartoons and have all the croque-monsieur she could eat. I hurt, and counted the seconds until i could take more paracetamol. The paracetamol helped, a little.

I tried to meditate, but could not empty myself. I visualized a flame that would draw away the pain but it was too burny and didn't help anyway. I recited the Litany against Fear - after all, my head was in the box, my head was the box, that scene has always stuck with me, except Paul was done in only moments and (as i write this later) he was unmarked afterwards, unlike some people i might mention - and i wasn't scared, i can let the pain pass over me and through me, but letting it pass did not reduce it, because more always came.

An aura healer lady came who was known, in the town, for being able to heal shingles pain, specifically. She put her hands on my shoulders, and near my head, near my eye, and before she was started i couldn't open my eye - it had been swollen shut - and after she was done, i could open it. Things were bright and weird, but i could open it, and it hurt much less, much less, a much bigger difference than the paracetamol, and i could eat, a little bit, and i could sleep. I could sleep and it was such a gift, and the aura healer lady wouldn't take any money, and i am going to send her the most beautiful christmas present EVER because i could sleep, finally, finally. All i had ever wanted in the world was that the pain would either make me pass out, somehow, like one always reads about in war novels and such, or else wane enough that i could sleep, instead of being so - tenacious. So possessive. And this magical French country witch was now my best friend in the entire world.

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diy pixie
acquired fancy, expensive haircutting scissors and with the help of an extra mirror i have made a giant mess in the bathroom several times now. The scissors cost more than going to a salon once but (anyway for the sort of salons that i would frequent) less than going twice, and with short hair i have to do Something about it nearly once a month. I feel like i am depriving myself when i go two months; my neck starts to get itchy and hot, i start to get bored, hair is long and annoying and blah. I use my fingers as a guide for length in back.

Cutting my own hair is also nice because i don't feel bad about messing up the stylist's Art and Vision and if some weird piece is sticking out, if it annoys me for more than a day, i can cut it right the hell off. And some weird piece is always sticking out. And if i go to a Real Salon and then end up with a weird thing happening, then i am also mad for having dropped so much cash on something that didn't really end up being worth it, because there are no twenty-five-dollar womens' hair salons in Vienna like there used to be at home, or anyway none that i have managed to locate, yet. I can walk through the shittiest neighborhood and the haircuts still start at €forty.

And with a pixie it changes so fast. It will go from looking like a boy's hair one day to The Perfect Length for about four days, or maybe a week, and then it's okay until i can't stand it any more and cut it all off again. So yes, clearly the thing to do is to cut all around my head at midnight before packing to go to somebody's wedding or to disappear on vacation or even just when i ought to be sleeping already. Midnight is the best time for cutting hair.


circumstances beyond control
it is easier for me to allow moments. the weekend will be empty enough - i can plan for this. The hottest day of the year, at that. I will find - something. I will not walk aimlessly, endlessly, without a goal in mind. Life goes on because it has to. It will. It will. It will.


witness, as requested
Well - i can't say we were friends, twenty years ago when we met, though we were Friends or we wouldn't have. It must have been about twenty years ago - were you at Earthsong in 1993? you must have been - and anyway we were just kids, and you were older, and wiser, even then. Even then i had a towering respect for you, but then i did for everybody, and i guess you were a better example than most. (I picture my young self as being mousey and quiet, wearing clothes that were too big and trying to be invisible. When someone i knew then remembers me i always feel complimented, and surprised, and a little doubtful.) But we ran in different circles, and we still do, mostly - look at you, you've got two thousand facebookies, so being one more barely counts. And anyway i haven't seen you in real in almost another decade.

Now, though, you're like this twirling, growing, dancing vortex of ... peace and contemplation. Like an artisan's kaleidoscope, or, better, a rainbowing prism hung in a sunny window.

Does a rainbowing prism make a difference? Even as distantly as this.

And to be entering the ministry! - you will find your path, and it will be full of joy and love. And it will be inspiring, and it will be meaningful, and it will be full of gratitude and creativity and music and surprises, and these are all things you know. I am wistful whenever someone I know makes this choice: wistful, and not quite jealous, not quite. But what a stillness, what freedom, what radicalness. Leaps of faith are part of the job description, though, right up there on the top. And also how optimistic, and beautiful, and demonstrative of a great trust in and love for humanity. Respect, dude. It'll be a mountain of undertaking, each step.

I tend to idolize those in the ministry, i know. I know. It's a failing. I met a woman once who i'd known as a kid - i saw her as an adult - i saw her being rude. I couldn't imagine it, even seeing it, even knowing it. Was i wrong, before? Had something awful happened? I didn't ask, and what a question that would have been. I was massively disappointed, and i need to forgive her for that; it was my fault, expecting so much from a human. I had been so in awe of her. I still am, too: she still exists like that in my memory. Note to self: nobody is perfect at all moments. Not you, not her, not even him, nobody. Couldn't've been.

(Doesn't mean i can't try.)


food for thought
David H. Freedman, How junk food can end obesity. The Atlantic, july/august 2013.

David Berreby, The obesity era. aeon magazine, 19 June 2013.


I found a four-hundred-and-sixty-five-euro Montblanc pen at work (i googled it, yes) and i am sure the person it belongs to is going to call and want it back. It is entirely ridiculous to spend four hundred and sixty-five euros on a pen, entirely, and i would never, even if i can see spending it on a really and truly excellent piece of luggage, say, or a couple of days in a hotel, for several people, or even - maybe - a winter coat, and anyway, sure, i've bought a car, i've bought a house - but to purchase a pen like this would be completely mad, because i would lose it, like i do nice umbrellas or bright flashlights or the toothpicks of pocket knives. I have never had a pen like this. I am going to write everything with it until they find me. I feel poor.

Also the person it belongs to, judging by the people who were attending the meeting in that room before me, is probably a lawyer. I am not a lawyer. I have not ever accomplished anything.

It is nearly summer and it is hot and therefore i must be fat.

My husband left me and my boyfriend still hasn't quit smoking. Obviously, life is terrible.

I keep seeing women wearing peplums in just ever so slightly the wrong place and they look stupid.

We have just started Season One and that means that Ned Stark is going to have all those things happen to him. Ned Stark doesn't deserve this. And, it is massively hard to watch any American media from anywhere outside of America (breakup at a wedding dot com, i am talking at you) and this sucks.

My kid is at her dad's for the weekend and there are no good movies out. What's the point of having an ex-husband otherwise?

It's hot (see: summer) and i am not hungry but consistently forget to drink enough water, and whatever i do with suntan lotion leaves it all over my hands for ever afterwards. I hate the feel of it on my hands. I wish it washed off.


there is only one way to go to Paris
and it is on a sleeper train in Spring.


unanswerable questions
what would happen if there was a dinosaur inside a black hole?
how can i love you so much?
who will i marry?
why do we sleep?
why are some people mean?
how many planets are there?
when will i be big enough for the sparkly hello kitty shoes?


in which i am an arrogant bitch
Nearly every weekday morning, we take the subway and then the streetcar, and at the station where we transfer is a bakery and a kebap stand and the little street sales that there are. Our streetcar comes directly in front of the kebap stand, and we wait there, and E rollers her little grown-up-sized scooter, and we sing, and she asks questions, and we laugh at each other. There are two men who work in the kebap stand and one of them, the taller one, never looks up - the other has eyebrows like a Muppet and a big nose. We nod good morning, every day when he's there. The kebap stand isn't open for business in the morning and by the time we come home on the way back, if it is the same way, and even then we are only walking on the other side of the tracks, if he is there i don't know; i am wanting to be home, and not hungry, and we don't often speak. But we nod in the morning and say hello if he's outside, unlocking the windows or bringing out the mulleimer.

I wonder what he thinks of me, with my big branded winter jacket, with sometimes a paper cup of coffee. With my home made knit hats, and always just one kid, or maybe a newspaper or an ebook or something, and a smartphone, and i always have the kid on the same days of the week, going the same way at the same time. I feel like knitting is a luxury hobby, typically self-indulgent, costing more than it's worth, stealing time from vague - from what? I should be doing something meaningful, like perfecting microfinance or saving - the rainforest, or starving babies, or canning balcony-grown tomatoes to give to a food bank. I could learn French or Dutch or Portugese and then move somewhere ex-colonial and - help, somehow, and instead i'm here being white and UMC. And the trendy, tech fabric, expensive coat; as much as i apologize for it (it's warm, well designed, it's eco, it's waterproof, all these pockets, it's just so reliable, it's going to last forever) it will always be what it is. And it's the cheapest, most basic smartphone i can find, but of course you don't see that from away. I feel guilty, and lucky, and pay my high Austrian taxes and go easily on about my day.

After the last snowstorm, he was sweeping out the little lager, and he sprinkled all the bread crumbs outside the door for the pigeons, on the snow. Inside my head i instantly forgave him and then, just as instantly, felt like a gigantic asshole.


five and a half
Means that in the middle of the dark, black night, when the house is all the way to quiet and i am curled up with only a reading lamp on in bed (but still obviously awake, if silent), then a certain medium-sized Someone can wake up, come out from her bed, wander vaguely down the hall to the bathroom, turn on the light (dark black, remember,) get herself a cup and a drink of water, turn the light back off, pad softly back to bed, and go right on back to sleep, without peeking in or calling out or asking any five-and-a-half questions.

That you sing. You wake up in the morning and sing, to the dolls, to yourself, to the mermaids in the coloring book. Songs i have heard and songs that are brand new, new verses, old songs, you were singing The Neverending Story song in the streetcar, but today we sang:
My rhinoceros eats cabbage
Of every style and art
But you'll really notice it later
With the smell of rhinoceros fart.

That i want you to play forever. That i make compromises: okay, imaginative play with Barbies is still better than watching a movie. I want you to be a kid and not worry about things, i want to always be honest with you, but i want to keep you safe, and happy, and untarnished, and free. I want to give you the whole world, and i want it to be full of wonderful things and kind people. Honest to God i think it is full of wonderful things and kind people, which makes it a whole lot easier to send you out into it, to give you to the world.


sad thought that is happy:
I have nothing to wear to all these weddings.

happy thought that is sad:
Wow, chemo appointments get scheduled so promptly.


act v, scene ii
A hall in the castle.

So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
You do remember all the circumstance?
Remember it, my lord?
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,--
That is most certain.
Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Groped I to find out them; had my desire.
Finger'd 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 axe,
My head should be struck off.
Is't possible?
Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
I beseech you.
Being thus be-netted round with villanies,--
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 labour'd much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
The effect of what I wrote?
Ay, good my lord.
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 such-like 'As'es 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 allow'd.
How was this seal'd?
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 the other,
Subscribed it, gave't the 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.
So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
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 incensed points
Of mighty opposites.
Why, what a king is this!
Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--
He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
Popp'd in between the 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 damn'd,
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?
It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business there.
It will be short: the interim is 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 favours.
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.
Peace! who comes here?

Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?
No, my good lord.
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.
Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I
should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of
spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
I thank your lordship, it is very hot.
No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is
It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my
Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--as
'twere,--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his
majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a
great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter,--
I beseech you, remember--
HAMLET moves him to put on his hat

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 speak feelingly 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.
Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;
though, I know, to divide him inventorially would
dizzy the 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; and his 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.
Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman
in our more rawer breath?
Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?
You will do't, sir, really.
What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
Of Laertes?
His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.
Of him, sir.
I know you are not ignorant--
I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did,
it would not much approve me. Well, sir?
You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is--
I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with
him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to
know himself.
I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation
laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
What's his weapon?
Rapier and dagger.
That's two of his weapons: but, well.
The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
horses: against the which he has imponed, 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.
What call you the carriages?
I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.
The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
The phrase would be more german 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 'imponed,' as you call it?
The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes
between yourself 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.
How if I answer 'no'?
I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please his
majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let
the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the
king hold his purpose, I will win for him an I can;
if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?
To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
I commend my duty to your lordship.
Yours, yours.

He does well to commend it himself; there are no
tongues else for's turn.
This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.
Thus has he--and many more of the same bevy that I
know the dressy age dotes on--only got the tune of
the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of
yesty collection, which carries them through and
through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do
but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
Enter a Lord

My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young
Osric, 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 purpose; they follow the king's
pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now
or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.
The king and queen and all are coming down.
In happy time.
The queen desires you to use some gentle
entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.
She well instructs me.
Exit Lord

You will lose this wager, my lord.
I do not think so: since he went into France, I
have been in continual practise: I shall win at the
odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here
about my heart: but it is no matter.
Nay, good my lord,--
It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of
gain-giving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.
If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will
forestall their repair hither, and say you are not
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 it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, & c

Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

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 punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done,
That might your nature, honour and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd 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 wrong'd;
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.
I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,
Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
I have a voice and precedent of peace,
To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.
I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Give us the foils. Come on.
Come, one for me.
I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
You mock me, sir.
No, by this hand.
Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?
Very well, my lord
Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.
I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.
This is too heavy, let me see another.
This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
They prepare to play

Ay, my good lord.
Set me the stoops 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.
Come on, sir.
Come, my lord.
They play

A hit, a very palpable hit.
Well; again.
Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.
Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off within

Give him the cup.
I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.
They play

Another hit; what say you?
A touch, a touch, I do confess.
Our son shall win.
He's fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Good madam!
Gertrude, do not drink.
I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
[Aside] It is the poison'd cup: it is too late.
I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
Come, let me wipe thy face.
My lord, I'll hit him now.
I do not think't.
[Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
I pray you, pass with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
Say you so? come on.
They play

Nothing, neither way.
Have at you now!
LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then in scuffling, they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES

Part them; they are incensed.
Nay, come, again.

Look to the queen there, ho!
They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?
How is't, Laertes?
Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
How does the queen?
She swounds to see them bleed.
No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,--
The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.

O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd:
Treachery! Seek it out.
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 envenom'd: the foul practise
Hath turn'd itself on me lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.
The point!--envenom'd too!
Then, venom, to thy work.

Treason! treason!
O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.

He is justly served;
It is a poison temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.

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.
Never believe it:
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
Here's yet some liquor left.
As thou'rt a man,
Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't.
O good 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 awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.
March afar off, and shot within

What warlike noise is this?
Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows 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 the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

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

Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others

Where is this sight?
What is it ye would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
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?
First 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 fulfill'd,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?
Not from his mouth,
Had it the 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 placed to the view;
And let me speak to the 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 the inventors' reads: all this can I
Truly deliver.
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.
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 perform'd,
Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
On plots and errors, happen.
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.
A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off


act v, scene i
A churchyard.

Enter two Clowns, with spades, & c
First Clown
Is she to be buried in Christian burial that
wilfully seeks her own salvation?
Second Clown
I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave
straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it
Christian burial.
First Clown
How can that be, unless she drowned 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 act: and an act hath three branches: it
is, to act, to do, to perform: argal, she drowned
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 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?
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
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
gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers:
they hold up Adam's profession.
Second Clown
Was he a gentleman?
First Clown
He was the first that ever bore arms.
Second Clown
Why, he had none.
First Clown
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 answerest me not to the
purpose, confess thyself--
Second Clown
Go to.
First Clown
What is he that builds stronger than either the
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 do in: 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 shipwright, or
a carpenter?'
First Clown
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Second Clown
Marry, now I can tell.
First Clown
Second Clown
Mass, I cannot tell.
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance

First Clown
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 Second Clown

He 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.
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 Clown
But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
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?
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 Clown
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 sheepskins?
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 Clown
Mine, sir.

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 Clown
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 Clown
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away gain, from me to
What man dost thou dig it for?
First Clown
For no man, sir.
What woman, then?
First Clown
For none, neither.
Who is to be buried in't?
First Clown
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 a note of
it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the
peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he
gaffs his kibe. How long hast thou been a
First Clown
Of 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 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.
Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
First Clown
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits
there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
First Clown
'Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men
are as mad as he.
How came he mad?
First Clown
Very strangely, they say.
How strangely?
First Clown
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
Upon what ground?
First Clown
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 Clown
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 Clown
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 twenty years.
Whose was it?
First Clown
A whoreson mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?
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.
First Clown
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 rims 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 favour 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?
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 Caesar, 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 flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.
Enter Priest, & c. in procession; the Corpse of OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following; KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, 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.
Couch we awhile, and mark.
Retiring with HORATIO

What ceremony else?
That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.
What ceremony else?
First Priest
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warrantise: 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 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
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
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'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
[Advancing] 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,
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
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?
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.
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.

I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.


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:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.


act vi, scene vii
Another room in the castle.

Now must your conscience my acquaintance seal,
And you must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
It well appears: but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.
O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which--
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.
And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections: but my revenge will come.
Break not your sleeps for that: you must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I loved your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine--
Enter a Messenger

How now! what news?
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.
From Hamlet! who brought them?
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
They were given me by Claudio; he received them
Of him that brought them.
Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us.
Exit Messenger


'High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on
your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see
your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your
pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden
and more strange return. 'HAMLET.'
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Know you the hand?
'Tis Hamlets character. 'Naked!
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?
I'm lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'
If it be so, Laertes--
As how should it be so? how otherwise?--
Will you be ruled by me?
Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
To thine own peace. If he be now return'd,
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
But even his mother shall uncharge the practise
And call it accident.
My lord, I will be ruled;
The rather, if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.
It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one, and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.
What part is that, my lord?
A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy:--
I've seen myself, and served against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorpsed and demi-natured
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.
A Norman was't?
A Norman.
Upon my life, Lamond.
The very same.
I know him well: he is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.
He made confession of you,
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation,
He swore, had had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you opposed them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with him.
Now, out of this,--
What out of this, my lord?
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?
Why ask you this?
Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time;
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o' the ulcer:--
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake,
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
To cut his throat i' the church.
No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you, bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that, with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and in a pass of practise
Requite him for your father.
I will do't:
And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance,
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft! let me see:
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings: I ha't.
When in your motion you are hot and dry--
As make your bouts more violent to that end--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.

How now, sweet queen!
One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow; your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
Drown'd! O, where?
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Alas, then, she is drown'd?
Drown'd, drown'd.
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will: when these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.

Let's follow, Gertrude:
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.


act iv, scene vi
Another room in the castle.

Enter HORATIO and a Servant
What are they that would speak with me?
Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.
Let them come in.
Exit Servant

I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.
Enter Sailors

First Sailor
God bless you, sir.
Let him bless thee too.
First Sailor
He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for
you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was
bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am
let to know it is.
[Reads] 'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked
this, give these fellows some means to the king:
they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old
at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us
chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on
a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded
them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so
I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with
me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they
did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king
have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me
with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death. I
have words to speak in thine ear will make thee
dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of
the matter. These good fellows will bring thee
where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their
course for England: of them I have much to tell
thee. Farewell.
'He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.'
Come, I will make you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.


act iv, scene v
Elsinore. A room in the castle.

Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE, HORATIO, and a Gentleman
I will not speak with her.
She is importunate, indeed distract:
Her mood will needs be pitied.
What would she have?
She speaks much of her father; says she hears
There's tricks i' the world; and hems, and beats her heart;
Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt,
That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures
yield them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
Let her come in.

To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss:
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Re-enter HORATIO, with OPHELIA

Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?
How now, Ophelia!
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.
Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
Say you? nay, pray you, mark.

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
Nay, but, Ophelia,--
Pray you, mark.

White his shroud as the mountain snow,--

Alas, look here, my lord.
Larded with sweet flowers
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.
How do you, pretty lady?
Well, God 'ild you! They say the owl was a baker's
daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not
what we may be. God be at your table!
Conceit upon her father.
Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they
ask you what it means, say you this:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
Pretty Ophelia!
Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:

By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.
How long hath she been thus?
I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I
cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him
i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it:
and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my
coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;
good night, good night.

Follow her close; give her good watch,
I pray you.

O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions. First, her father slain:
Next, your son gone; and he most violent author
Of his own just remove: the people muddied,
Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers,
For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly,
In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts:
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering-piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
A noise within

Alack, what noise is this?
Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
Enter another Gentleman

What is the matter?
Save yourself, my lord:
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry 'Choose we: Laertes shall be king:'
Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds:
'Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!'
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
The doors are broke.
Noise within

Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following

Where is this king? Sirs, stand you all without.
No, let's come in.
I pray you, give me leave.
We will, we will.
They retire without the door

I thank you: keep the door. O thou vile king,
Give me my father!
Calmly, good Laertes.
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Speak, man.
Where is my father?
But not by him.
Let him demand his fill.
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
Who shall stay you?
My will, not all the world:
And for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.
Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge,
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?
None but his enemies.
Will you know them then?
To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;
And like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensible in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
[Within] Let her come in.
How now! what noise is that?
Re-enter OPHELIA

O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as moral as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.
They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
Fare you well, my dove!
Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.
You must sing a-down a-down,
An you call him a-down-a.
O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
steward, that stole his master's daughter.
This nothing's more than matter.
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--

For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy death-bed:
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
God ha' mercy on his soul!
And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.

Do you see this, O God?
Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will.
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me:
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we can ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.
Let this be so;
His means of death, his obscure funeral--
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation--
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.
So you shall;
And where the offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you, go with me.


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