Act 4, Scene 5

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[Enter Gertrude and Horatio.]    

Gertrude

I will not speak with her. 

Horatio

                                         She is importunate
Indeed distract. Her mood will needs be pitied.

Gertrude   

What would she have?

Horatio

She speaks much of her father, says she hears
There's tricks i'th' 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 unshapèd 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 would be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.

Gertrude

'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew 
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
Let her come in.
[Aside] 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.
[Enter Ophelia, distracted.]

Ophelia

Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

Gertrude   

How now, Ophelia?

Ophelia

[She sings a love ballad.]
How should I your true love know 
  From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff, 
  And his sandal shoon.

Gertrude

Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Ophelia

Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
[She sings.]    
He is dead and gone, lady,     
 He is dead and gone.
At his head a grass-green turf, 
 At his heels a stone.
[Enter Claudius.]

Gertrude   

Nay, but Ophelia ... 

Ophelia

 Pray you, mark. 
[She sings.]
White his shroud as the mountain snow

Gertrude    

Alas, look here, my lord.

Ophelia

[She sings.]
Larded with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the ground did not go     
With true-love showers.

Claudius    

How do you, pretty lady?

Ophelia

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!    

Claudius    

Conceit upon her father.

Ophelia

Pray you, let's have no words of this, but when 
they ask you what it means, say you this:
[She sings.]
Tomorrow 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 donned his clothes, 
And dupped the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid 
Never departed more.    

Claudius    

Pretty Ophelia... 

Ophelia

Indeed, la! Without an oath I'll make an end on't.
[She sings.]
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."

Claudius    

How long hath she been thus? 

Ophelia

I hope all will be well. We must be patient. But I
cannot choose but weep to think they should lay him i'th'
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.
[Exit.]

Claudius

[To Horatio.] Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you. 
[Exit Horatio.]
Oh, this is the poison of deep grief! It springs
All from her father's death. Oh, 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 thoughts and whispers
For good Polonius’s 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 this 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 beggared,
Will nothing stick our persons to arraign
In ear and ear. Oh, my dear Gertrude, this, 
Like to a murdering piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
[A noise within. Enter a Messenger.]

Gertrude   

Alack, what noise is this? 

Claudius

Attend! Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
What is the matter?

Messenger

                                 Save yourself, my lord! 
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impiteous 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!"

Gertrude

How cheerfully on the false trail they cry! 
Oh, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!    
[Enter Laertes, armed, with Danes following.]

Claudius   

The doors are broke.

Laertes

Where is this king? [To his followers]  Sirs, stand you all without.

Danes  

[Offstage]  No, let's come in.

Laertes

                                                  I pray you, give me leave.

Danes   

We will, we will.

Laertes

I thank you. Keep the door.   
                                      [To Claudius] Oh thou vile king, 
Give me my father!

Gertrude

Calmly, good Laertes.

Laertes

That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard, 
Cries "Cuckold!" to my father, brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirchèd brow
Of my true mother.

Claudius

                                 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.

Laertes   

Where's my father? 

Claudius   

Dead.

Gertrude   

But not by him.

Claudius   

Let him demand his fill.

Laertes

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 throughly for my father.

Claudius

Who shall stay you? 

Laertes

                                  My will, not all the world.
And for my means, I'll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.

Claudius

                                               Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge
That, sweepstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?    

Laertes 

                               None but his enemies. 

Claudius

Will you know them, then?

Laertes

To his good friends, thus wide I'll ope my arms,
And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.    

Claudius 

                                                  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.
[A noise within.]

All Followers

                                         Let her come in.

Laertes   

How now, what noise is that? 
[Enter Ophelia.]
Oh 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 turns the beam. Oh rose of May,
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
Oh heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as a poor man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

Ophelia

[She sings.]
They bore him bare-faced on the bier,
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny,
And in his grave rains many a tear.
Fare you well, my dove.

Laertes

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge
It could not move thus.

Ophelia

You must sing "down, a-down," an you call
him "a-down-a." Oh, how the wheel becomes it!  
It is thefalse steward that stole his master's daughter.

Laertes   

This nothing's more than matter.

Ophelia

[Handing out flowers]
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. 
Pray, love, remember. And there is pansies, 
that's for thoughts.

Laertes

A document in madness — thoughts and remembrance fitted.

Ophelia

There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for 
you, and here's some for me. We may call it herb-grace 
Of Sundays. Oh, 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. 
[She sings.]
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

Laertes

Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself —
She turns to favor and to prettiness.

Ophelia

[She sings.]
And will he not come again? 
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead, 
Go to thy deathbed,
He never will come again.
His beard as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll.
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan.
God have mercy on his soul!
And of all Christians' souls, I pray God. God buy you!
[Exit Ophelia and Gertrude.]

Laertes   

Do you see this, you gods?

Claudius 

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 touched, we will our kingdom give —
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours —
To you in satisfaction. But if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labor with your soul
To give it due content.

Laertes

                                        Let this be so. 
His means of death, his obscure burial:
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 in question.

Claudius

                                                  So you shall,
And where th' offense is, let the great ax fall.
I pray you, go with me.
[Exit.]