[Enter two Gravediggers with spades and picks.]
Is she to be buried in Christian burial, that willfully seeks
I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight.
The crowner has sat on her, and finds it Christian
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own
It must be so offendendo, it cannot be else. For here lies
the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act,
and an act has three branches: it is an act, to do, and to
perform. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
Nay, but hear you, goodman delver –
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.
Ay, marry, is't, crowner's quest law.
Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been
a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out
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 gentlemen but
gardeners, ditchers, and gravemakers. They
hold up Adam's profession.
He was the first that ever bore arms.
Why, 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.
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason,
the shipwright, or the carpenter?
The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand
I like thy wit well, in good faith. The gallows does well,
But how does it well? It does well to those that do ill.
Now, thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger
than the church. Argal, the gallows may do well to thee.
Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
[Enter Hamlet and Horatio who overhear the gravediggers]
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 he makes lasts till doomsday. Go, get thee to
Yaughan, fetch me a stoup of liquor.
[Exit Second Gravedigger. The First Gravedigger digs and sings.]
In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet
To contract...uh...the time for...uh...my behove,
Oh, methought there...uh...was nothing...uh...meet.
[Aside to Horatio] Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he
Custom has made it in him a property of easiness.
'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment
But age with his stealing steps
Has caught me in his clutch,
And has shipped me into the land,
As if I had never been such.
[He throws up a skull.]
That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once.
How the knave jowls it to th' ground, as if it were Cain's
jawbone that did the first murder! It might be the pate of
a politician, which this ass now o'er-offices, one that
would circumvent God, might it not?
Or of a courtier, which could say, "Good morrow,
sweet 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?
Why, e'en so. And now my lady Worm's chapless, and
knocked about the mazard with a sexton's spade.
Here's fine revolution, if 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.
A pickax and a spade, a spade,
Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
[He throws up another skull.]
There's another. Why may not that be the skull of
a lawyer? Where be his quiddits now? His quillets? His
cases? His tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this
rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a
dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery?
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 th' inheritor
himself have no more? Ha.
Is not parchment made of sheepskins?
Ay, my lord, and of calves' skins too.
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. –
I will speak to this fellow.
[To First Gravedigger]
Oh, 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.
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis 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.
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away
What man dost thou dig it for?
Who is to be buried in't?
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.
[To Horatio] 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 note of it — the age is grown
so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the
heels of the courtier he galls his kibe.
[To First Gravedigger] How long have thou been grave-maker?
Of all the days i'th' year, I came to't that day that our
last King Hamlet o'ercame Fortinbras.
Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was the
very day that young Hamlet was born — he that was mad
Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits there;
or if he do not, it's no great matter there.
'Twill not be seen in him. There the men are as mad as he.
Very strangely, they say.
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
Why, here in Denmark. I have been sexton here,
man and boy, thirty years.
How long will a man lie i'th'earth ere he rot?
Faith, if he be not rotten before 'a die (as we have many
pocky corpses that will scarce hold the laying in) he
will last you some eight year or nine year. A tanner will
Why he more than another?
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.
[He picks up a skull.]
This skull has lain i'th' earth three-and-twenty years.
A whoreson mad fellow's it was. Whose do you think it was?
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.
Let me see. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio,
a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He
has bore me on his back a thousand times; and now
how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises
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? No one now to mock your
own grinning? Quite chop-fall'n? Now get you to my
lady's chamber and tell her — let her paint an inch thick,
to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.
Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
Dost thou think Alexander looked of this fashion i'th' earth?
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why, may not
imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find
'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 to dust, the
dust is earth, of earth we make loam. And why, of that loam
whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
Oh, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t'expel the winter's flaw!
But soft, but soft, aside!
[Enter King, Queen, Laertes, a Priest, and a coffin followed by many noble persons]
The queen, the courtiers. Who is that they follow,
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken,
The corpse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo it own life. 'Twas some estate.
Couch we awhile and mark.
[Hamlet and Horatio conceal themselves.]
That is Laertes, a very noble youth. Mark.
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified been lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is, allowed her virgin rites,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Must there no more be done?
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing sage requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A minist'ring angel shall my sister be
Sweets to the sweet. Farewell.
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.
Fall ten times treble on that cursèd 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 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
Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
[Hamlet leaps into the grave and starts grappling with Laertes.]
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat.
Sir, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear. Away thy hand!
[Hamlet and Laertes are separated.]
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
[To Claudius] For love of God,
Come, show me what thou'lt do.
Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't tear thyself?
Woo't drink up eisil? 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.
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.
[to Laertes] 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 thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
[Aside to Laertes] Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.
We'll put the matter to the present push.
[Aloud] Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument.
An hour of quiet thereby shall we see.
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.