Anon. (Tragoedia der) bestrafte Brudermord oder Prinz Hamlet aus Dannemark. Der Bestrafte Brudermord (Fratricide Punished). Trans…Berlin 1781. Variorum Hamlet. Ed. Horace Furness. Phila.: Lippincott, 1877.
(excerpted by Clifford Stetner)
THE GERMAN HAMLET
Thought to be clumsy adaptation of Q1. Polonius is Corambis in Q1 and Corambus in German play. Dr. Latham suggests that German play adapted from Kyd play. The German Hamlet says, when Claudius is sending him to England: “ay, ay, King; just send me off to Portugal so that I may never come back again. This is an allusion to the unfortunate expedition to Portugal in 1589, in which eleven thousand soldiers perished. The inference is that the source-play must have been written shortly after that date; and hence it must have been Kyd’s, not Shakespeare’s.
The presence in the German play of unique features from both quartos,--Corambus from the First and Francisco from the Second—affords, under the circumstances, a very strong argument for the derivation from Kyd.
The German play is much closer to
the spirit of Belleforest’s novel than to that of Shakespeare’s play. This
is conclusive evidence that it was derived from
Belleforest directly through Kyd, and not through both Kyd and Shakespeare.
Tragoedia Der bestrafte Brudermord oder Prinz Hamlet aus Dannemark.
I In the Prologue
NIGHT, in a car, covered with stars
2 In the Tragedy
GHOST of the old King of Denmark
ERICO, brother to the King
HAMLET, Prince, son of the murdered King
SIGRIE, the Queen, Hamlet's mother
HORATIO, the Prince's friend, of high rank
CORAMBUS, Lord Chamberlain
LEONHARDUS, his son
OPHELIA, his daughter
PHANTASMO, the clown
FRANCISCO, Officer of the guard
JENS, a peasant
CHARLES, the principal of the comedians
A CORPORAL of the guard
SERVANTS Mute persons
NIGHT, from above I am the
sable Night; and all sleeps through
my might. Of Orpheus I'm the wife, playtime of vice and strife. I'm guardian
of the thief; of lovers friend in chief.
I am the sable Night, and have it
in my might
To magnify excess, and mankind to depress.
My mantle hides the face of every
whore's disgrace. Ere Phoebus' light
shall flame, I shall begin a game. You offspring of my heart, daughters
of lust, come start, You Furies; up arise, and let yourselves appear;
Come diligently learn what soon must happen here.
ALECTO What says dark Night, the
Queen of midnight still ? What is there
new? What's your desire and will?
MÆGERA Hotfoot from Acheron's
pit Mægera stands To hear,
Witch of Ill Fate, thy sweet commands.
THISIPHONE Thisiphone I; what hast
in mind ? now say Black Hecate, how
to serve thee best I may.
NIGHT Hearken, all ye three Furies,
hear! offspring of darkness, bearers
of all misfortune, listen to your poppy-crowned Queen of Night, protectress
of thieves and robbers, friend and light to the incendiary, lover of stolen
goods, and most-beloved goddess of all dishonourable loves, how often will
my evil altar be honoured for this deed! This night and during the coming
day you must assist me, for the king of this realm burns in lust for his
brother's wife, for whose sake he has murdered him that he may possess
her and the kingdom. Now is the hour at hand in which he will celebrate
his nuptials with her. I shall throw my mantle over them so that they see
not their sin. Wherefore be ready to sow the seeds of discord, mix poison
into their marriage and jealousy into their hearts. Kindle a fire of revenge,
and make its sparks fly throughout the kingdom, entangle blood- brothers
in the snare of incest, rejoice the infernal regions with deeds of ruthless
and rancorous malice; be gone, hasten and fulfil my behests.
THISIPHONE Enough. I've heard; I'll
finish, quickly too, More than Night
by herself could plan to do.
MÆGERA Pluto himself can not
inspire in me More ill than men shall
very shortly see.
ALECTO I fan the sparks, and make
the fire to burn. Within two days,
all joy I'll overturn.
NIGHT Then haste; I now ascend; your tasks attend!
Act I: Scene I
I SENT. Who goes there ?
2 SENT A friend!
I SENT. What friend?
2 SENT. The sentry.
I SENT. Ho! comrade, thou com'st
to relieve me. I hope that the time
may not seem so long for thee as it has to me.
2 SENT. Nay, comrade, it's not so
very cold now.
I SENT. Cold or no, I have had an
2 SENT. Why so timid? that is not
right for a soldier; he must fear
neither friend nor foe, nay, not the devil himself.
I SENT. Ay, if he once grip thee
by the short hairs thou'lt soon learn
to say the Miserere Domine.
2 SENT. Tell me then, what has frightened
I SENT. Know then that a ghost has
appeared on the platform of the castle;
and it tried twice to cast me down from the battlements.
2 SENT. Run along, Fool; a dead dog
bites not; I shall soon see whether
a ghost that has neither flesh nor bones can do me any harm.
I SENT. Just see if the trouble he
gives you makes you see otherwise.
I am going to the guard-house. Farewell. [Exit.
2 SENT. Off you go, then; you were
born on a Sunday; such people can
all see ghosts. I must attend to my duty. [Healths within drunk, with
a flourish of trumpets.]
I SENT. Our new King makes merry;
they are drinking healths.
(Ghost of the King approaches
the Sentinel and startles him. Exit.)
2 SENT. Oh! St. Anthony of Padua,
defend me! Now I see for the first time
what my comrade spoke of. Oh! St. Velten, if the main patrol were over
I'd quit my post like any rogue.
[Another flourish of drums and
kettle- drums. 2 SENT. Oh! for
a draught of wine from the King's table to damp down my fearful, burning
[Ghost gives the Sentry a box
on the ear from behind, and makes him
drop his musket. Exit.
2 SENT. The devil in person is in
this game. Oh! I'm too afraid to
move from the spot.
2 SENT. Who s there ?
HORAT. The patrol.
2 SENT. Which ?
HORAT. The main patrol.
2 SENT. Stand, patrol--corporal out!
[Francisco and patrol come out,
give the word from the other side.
HORAT. Sentry, look well to your post; maybe the Prince himself will
go the rounds; look to it you do not sleep at any time; otherwise it might
cost you the best head on your shoulders.
2 SENT. Oh! even if the whole company
were here, not a man amongst them
could sleep, and I must be relieved, or I'll run for it at the risk of
hanging tomorrow on the highest gallows.
HORAT. And why is that ?
2 SENT. Oh, sir, a ghost appears
here in this place every quarter of
an hour, and pesters me so much that I might fancy I was set down while
still alive in purgatory.
PRANCISCO. The first sentry who was
relieved in the last hour, has just
told me the same story.
2 SENT. Ay, wait but a little while;
it will not stay long away.
[Ghost stalks across the stage.
Upon my life, it is a
ghost, and it looks extremely like the late King of Denmark!
FRANCISCO. He bears himself sadly,
and seems to want to say something.
HORAT. There is some mystery behind
2 SENT. Who s there ?
2 SENT. Who s there ?
2 SENT. Answer, or I'll teach thee
HAMLET. A friend !
2 SENT. What friend ?
HAMLET. Friend to the kingdom.
FRANCISCO. By my life, it is the Prince!
HORAT. Your Highness, is it you or not?
HAMLET. Ha! Horatio, is it you? What are you doing here ?
HORAT. Your Highness, I have gone
the rounds, to see that all
sentries are at their posts.
HAMLET. You act like an honest soldier,
for on you rests the
safety of the king and kingdom.
HORAT. My lord, a strange thing has
happened, for a ghost appears
here every quarter of an hour. To my mind, he is very like your father
the late king. He does much harm to the sentries on their patrol.
HAMLET. I hope not, for the souls
of the faithful rest quietly
till the day of their resurrection.
HORAT. But it is so, your Highness;
I have seen him myself.
FRANCISCO. He frightened me most
horribly, your Highness.
2 SENT. And me he dealt a good box
on the ears.
HAMLET. What time is it now?
FRANCISCO. It is just midnight.
HAMLET. 'Tis well, for it is at this
time that the spirits
usually show themselves when they walk.
Again healths drunk to sound of
HAMLET. Hello! What does this mean?
HORAT. I think that they are still
very merry at court with
HAMLET. True, Horatio! my father
and uncle makes merry indeed
still with his friends and followers. Horatio, I know not why since my
father's death I have all the time such sadness of heart; whereas my royal
mother has so soon forgotten him; but this king still sooner; for whilst
I was in Germany, he had himself crowned in all haste King of Denmark,
and with show of right made over to me the crown of Norway, and appealed
to the election of the states.
2 SENT. Beware, the spirit comes
HORAT. Does your lordship see it
FRANCISCO. My lord, be not afraid.
[The ghost stalks over the stage
and beckons to Hamlet ]
HAMLET. The spirit beckons me. Gentlemen
stand a little aside Horatio,
do not go too far. I will follow the ghost and learn his will. [Exit]
HORAT. Gentlemen, let's follow to
see that no misfortune befalls him.
[The ghost beckons Hamlet to the
middle of the stage, and opens his jaws several times]
HAMLET. Speak! Who art thou? Say
what thou desirest?
HAMLET. Sir !
HAMLET. What wishest thou?
GHOST. Hear me, Hamlet, for the time
draws near when I must
return to the place whence I came: listen and mark well what I shall tell
HAMLET. Speak, thou sacred shade
of my royal father.
GHOST. Then listen, Hamlet, my son,
to what I shall tell thee
of thy father's unnatural death.
HAMLET. What? Unnatural death?
GHOST. Ay, unnatural death. Know
that it was my custom, which
nature had made habitual to me, to retire every day after the noon time
meal to walk in my royal garden, there to enjoy an hour's repose. One
day, when doing this as usual, behold my brother comes to me, thirsting
for the crown, bearing with him the subtle juice of what they call Hebenon.
This oil or juice has this effect, that as soon as a few drops of it mix
with the blood of man, they immediately stop up the veins, and take away
life. While I slept, he poured this juice into my ear, and as it entered
my head, I could not but die immediately; whereupon it was given out that
I had suffered a severe apoplexy. Thus was I robbed of kingdom, wife, nd
life by this tyrant.
HAMLET. Just heaven, if this be true,
I swear to avenge thee.
GHOST I cannot rest until my unnatural
murder be avenged.
HAMLET. I swear not to rest until
I have taken my revenge on this
Horatio, Hamlet, Francisco
HORAT. How is it, my noble lord ?
Why so terror-stricken ? Have you
perhaps been disturbed ?
HAMLET. Why yes, Horatio, beyond
HORAT. Have you seen the ghost, my
HAMLET. Indeed yes, I have seen it,
and spoken with it too.
HORAT. O Heaven! this bodes something
HAMLET. He has revealed to me a horrible
thing; therefore, I pray you,
gentlemen, stand by me in a matter that calls for vengeance.
HORAT. Certainly you are assured
of my loyalty; only explain it to me,
FRANCISCO. Your lordship cannot doubt
of my aid also.
HAMLET. Gentlemen, before I make
this matter known to you, you must
swear an oath by your loyalty and honour.
FRANCISCO. Your lordship knows how
much I love you, and how gladly I
will lend my life if you wish to be revenged.
HORAT. Offer us the oath; we will
stand by you faithfully.
HAMLET. Then lay your finger on my
sword. We swear!
HORAT. and FRANCISCO. We swear.
GHOST. We swear.
HAMLET. What is this? Can there be
an echo here, to give us back our
words? Come, gentlemen, we will go to another spot. We swear.
GHOST. We swear.
HAMLET. This means something strange!
Come, once more; we will go to
the other side. We swear.
HORAT. and FRANCISCO. We swear.
GHOST. We swear.
HAMLET. Ha, what is this? Again:
HORAT. and FRANCISCO. We swear.
GHOST. We swear.
HAMLET. O! now I understand what
it is. It appears that the spirit of
my father is not pleased that I should make this matter known. Good friends,
reveal it all to you. I pray you, leave me--tomorrow I shall reveal it
all to you.
HORAT. and FRANCISCO. Farewell, your
Highness! [Exit Francisco.
HAMLET. Come here, Horatio.
HORAT. What is your Highness' will?
HAMLET. Has the other fellow gone?
HORAT. Yes, he has gone.
HAMLET. I know, Horatio, thou hast
at all times been true to me; therefore
I shall reveal to thee what the ghost told me, namely, that my father died
an unnatural death. My father, he who is now my father, has murdered him.
HORAT. O heavens! what do I hear!
HAMLET. Thou know st, Horatio, that
my late father was accustomed to
sleep an hour every day after dinner in his garden. Knowing this, the villain
comes to my father and pours the juice of hebenon into his ear while he
is asleep; so that through this strong poison, he immediately yields up
the ghost. And this the accursed dog did to obtain the crown: but from
this hour I will put on a feigned madness, and in this deceit I'll play
my part so skilfully that surely I shall find an opportunity to avenge
my father's death.
HORAT. My lord, if the matter stands
thus, I shall offer you my loyal
HAMLET. Horatio, I will so revenge
myself on this usurper, this adulterer,
this murderer, that posterity shall speak of it to all eternity;] now I
shall go, and with dissembling wait upon him until I find an opportunity
to execute my vengeance. [Exeunt.
King, Queen, Hamlet, Corambus, and Attendants
yet our brother's death is fresh in
memory of all and it befits us to suspend all state-celebrations, yet from
this time it is needful for us to change our black mourning garb to crimson,
purple, and scarlet, since my late departed brother's widow has now become
our dearest spouse. Wherefore I pray you, let everyone show himself joyful
and make himself a partner in our mirth. But you, Prince Hamlet, pray you,
be happy. See here your mother, how sad and troubled she is by your melancholy.
Also we have learned that you have resolved to go back to Wittenberg. For
the sake of your mother, do not do so. Stay here, for we love you and like
to see you, and should not wish any harm to overtake you. Stay with us
at court, or, if not, betake yourself to Norway, to your kingdom.
QUEEN. My much-loved son, Prince
Hamlet, it greatly astonishes us to
learn that you have planned to leave us and to go to Wittenberg. You know
well that your royal father died a short time ago, which causes us great
sadness and heaviness of heart, and should you go away from us, it would
greatly increase our grief. Then, dearest son, stay here, and every pleasure
and delight shall be yours without denial. if it so please you.
HAMLET. I shall obey your command
with all my heart, and for the present
shall remain here and not go away.
KING. Do so, dearest Prince! Say,
Corambus, how is it with your son
Leonhard ? Has he already set out for France?
CORAMB. Ay, my gracious lord and
king, he has already gone.
KING. But was it with your consent,
CORAMB. Ay, your majesty, with top
consent, bottom consent, and middle
consent. Indeed he got a most glorious, wonderful, and superb consent from
KING. As he has your consent to go,
I hope that he may prosper, and
that the gods may speed him back here again in safety. Now it is our will
to hold a carousel, so that our dear spouse's grief may end. And you, Prince
Hamlet, and other noble persons of our court must show yourselves mirthful;
but for the present we shall make an end of our festivities, for the day
is approaching to put black night to flight. You, my dearest consort, I
shall accompany to your bedchamber. Come, arm in arm and hand in hand;
tonight In pledge of Love and Rest we'll take delight.
Act II Scene I
KING. Dearest consort, whence comes
it that you are so sad? Pray tell
me the cause of your melancholy! You are indeed our Queen; we love you,
and all that the entire Kingdom affords is your own. What is it then that
troubles you ?
QUEEN. My King, I am greatly troubled
by the melancholy of my son Hamlet,
who is my only prince; it is this that grieves me.
KING. What! is he melancholy ? We
will gather together all the learned
doctors and physicians throughout our whole Kingdom, that they may help
Corambus, to the above.
CORAMB. News, news! my gracious lord
KING. What news, Corambus?
CORAM. Prince Hamlet is mad, aye, as mad as ever the Greek
KING. And why is he mad ?
CORAMB. Because he has lost his wits.
KING. Where has he lost his wits
CORAMB. That I know not. Perhaps
he may know, who has found them.
OPHELIA. Alas! father, protect me.
CORAM. What is it, my child?
OPHELIA. Alas! my father, Prince
Hamlet plagues me; I can have no peace
CORAM. Calm yourself, dear daughter.
But he has not done anything else
to you? O! now I know why Prince Hamlet is mad: he is certainly in love
with my daughter.
KING. Has love then such power as
to make a man mad ?
CORAM. My gracious master and king,
most assuredly is love powerful
enough to make a man mad. I remember when I myself was young, how love
plagued me--indeed, but it made me as mad as a March hare. But now, I care
for it no longer. I prefer to sit by the fire, to count my red pennies,
and drink your Majesty's health.
KING. May we not ourselves see his
raving and madness with our own eyes
CORAM. Yes, your Majesty. We will
stand a little on one side, and my
daughter shall show him the jewel which he gave her. Then will your Majesty
be able to see his madness.
KING. Dearest wife, we beseech you,
go to your chamber. Meanwhile we
will be a witness of his madness.
OPHELIA. I pray your Highness take
back the jewel which you gave me.
HAMLET. What, young lady! cost want
a husband? Get thee away from me--nay,
come back. Listen girl, you young women do make nothing but fools of us
bachelors; you buy your beauty from apothecaries and pedlars. Listen while
I tell you a tale. There was once a cavalier in Anion, who fell in love
with a lady, who, to look at, was like the goddess Venus. Now when they
were to go to bed together, the bride went first and began to undress.
First she took out one eye, which had been set very cleverly--then the
front teeth made of ivory, so finely that no one had ever seen the like.
Then she washed herself, and the paint with which she had smeared herself
disappeared also. At length came the bridegroom expecting to embrace his
bride. But as soon as he caught sight of her, he started back, and thought
it was a ghost. Thus it is ye deceive us young fellows; therefore listen
to me. But wait young lady--nay go, go to a nunnery, but not to a nunnery
where two pairs of slippers lie by the bedside.
CORAMB. Is he not truly
and completely mad, my
gracious King ?
KING. Corambus, leave us. When we
have need of you, we'll send
for you. [Exit Corambus] We have heard the Prince's madness and
raving with great astonishment. But it seems to us no real madness, but
rather a presence. We must contrive to get rid of him from here, or perhaps
indeed put an end to him altogether; otherwise some harm may come of it.
HAMLET. Horatio, my good friend,
I trust by my assumed mad
ness to find an opportunity to avenge my father's death. You know that
my father is at all times surrounded by many guards, so my attempt may
fail. Should you perchance find my body, have it honourably buried, for
on the first occasion that I find I shall make an attempt on him.
HORAT. I entreat your lordship to
do nothing of the kind. Perchance
the ghost has deceived you.
HAMLET. Oh no! his words were all
too plain. I can believe
him fully. Ha! what news is that old fool bringing now ?
news! my lord! The actors
have come. HAMLET. When Marus Russig was an actor in Rome, what
fine times those were !
CORAMB. Ha, ha, ha, how your Highness
always teases me!
HAMLET. O! Jephthah, Jephthah! what
a fair daughter hast thou!
CORAMB. Why, my lord, you are always
harping on my daughter.
HAMLET. Well, well, old man, let
the master of the actors come
I will, my lord.
HAMLET. These actors come in the
nick of time, for through them I
shall prove whether the ghost told me the truth or not. Once I saw a tragedy
wherein one brother murders the other in the garden; this shall they act.
And if the king turns pale, then he has done what the ghost told me.
Actors, Charles, the principal
the gods bestow on your
Highness many blessings, happiness, and health!
HAMLET. I thank you, my friend. What
do you desire ?
CHARLES. Pardon, your Highness, but
we are strangers, High
German actors, and we wanted the honour of acting at his Majesty's ` wedding.
But Fortune turned her back on us, and contrary winds their face towards
us. We therefore beseech your Highness to allow i us to act a story, that
our long journey be not all in vain.
HAMLET. Were you not some few years
ago at the University at
Wittenberg ? It seems to me I have seen you act before.
CHARLES. Yes, your Highness, we are
the same actors.
HAMLET. Have you the whole of the
same company still ?
CHARLES. We are not quite so numerous,
because some students ;
took engagements in Hamburg. Nevertheless we are numerous enough for many
merry comedies and tragedies.
HAMLET. Could you give us a play
CHARLES. Yes, your Highness, we are
numerous enough, and well
HAMLET. Have you still the three
actresses with you ? They
used to play well.
CHARLES. No, only two; one stayed
behind with her husband at the court
HAMLET. You acted good comedies that time when you were at
Wittenberg. But you had some fellows in your company, who had
good dothes, but dirty shirts; others
who had boots but no spurs.
CHARLES. Your Highness, it is often
hard to procure everything; maybe they
thought they would not need to ride
HAMLET. Still it is better to have
everything correct. But
listen a little longer, and excuse me, for you do not often hear directly
what judgments the spectators pass on you. There were also a few who wore
silk stockings and white shoes, but had on their heads black hats full
of feathers, nearly as many below as on the top; I think they must have
gone to bed in them instead of nightcaps. Now that is bad, yet it may easily
be reformed.] Moreover you may tell some of them, that when they have to
act a royal or a princely personage, they should not make such eyes whenever
they pay a compliment to a lady. Neither should they walk so many Spanish
pavane or put on such airs. A man of rank laughs at such things. Natural
ease is best. He who plays a king must in the play fancy himself a king;
and he who plays a peasant, must fancy himself a peasant.
CHARLES. Your Highness, I accept
your Highness's reproof with
the deepest respect and will endeavour to do better in future.
HAMLET. I am a great lover of your
art, and hold it not wrong,
since by it one can, as in a mirror, see one's failings. Hear me now; you
once acted a piece in Wittenberg about a King Pyr, Pyr--Pyr something.
CHARLES. Ah, it was perhaps about
the great King Pyrrhus?
HAMLET. Methinks it was, but I am
not quite sure.
CHARLES. Perhaps your Highness would
name some persons in it,
or give me some idea of the matter.
HAMLET. It was about one brother
murdering the other in the
CHARLES. It will be the same piece.
Did not the king's brother
pour poison into the king's ear?
HAMLET. True, true, the same story;
could you play that piece
CHARLES. Oh yes, we can do that easily
enough, for there are
few characters in the play.
HAMLET. Then go, prepare the stage
in the great hall: whatever
wood you may require, you can get from the master-builder; if you want
anything from the armoury or if you have not dresses enough, make known
your wants to the master of the robes or the steward; we wish you to be
provided with everything.
CHARLES. I thank your Highness most
humbly for your favour.
We shall hasten to get ready. Farewell.
HAMLET. These actors
come most opportunely for me. Horatio,
pay good heed to the king; if he grow pale or alter favour, then most
surely has he done the deed, for play actors with their feigned fables
often hit the target of truth. Listen, I'll tell you a fine tale. In Germany,
at Strasburg, there was once a remarkable case in which a wife murdered
her husband with an awl through the heart Afterwards she and her paramour
buried the man under the threshold. This deed remained hid nine whole years,
till at last it chanced that some actors came that way, and played a tragedy
of like import. The woman who was present at the play with her husband
began to cry aloud (her conscience being touched) 'Alas! this hits at me,
for thus did I murder my innocent husband.' She tore her hair, ran straight
out of the theatre to the judge, freely confessed the murder, and when
it was proved true, in deep repentance for her sins she received the holy
unction from the priest, gave her body in true contrition to the executioner,
and recommended her soul to God. Oh that my uncle-father would thus take
it to heart if he has committed this crime! Come Horatio, let us go and
wait upon the King; but pray note all things exactly, for I must dissemble
HORAT. Your Highness, I shall make
my eyes keep a sharp look-out.
King, Queen, Hamlet, Horatio, Corambus, Ophelia,
KING. Our dearest wife, I hope that
you will now banish your sadness,
and make it give place to joy; before supper there is to be a comedy, played
by the German actors, and after the meal a ballet given by our own people.
QUEEN. Most gladly shall I see such
sport; still, I hardly
believe that my heart will be at ease, for gloomy forebodings of misfortune,
I know not what, disturb my soul.
KING. Pray, be content. Prince Hamlet,
we are informed that
some players have arrived here who will perform a comedy tonight. Tell
me, is it so ?
HAMLET. Ay, father, it is so. They
asked my permission, and
I have given it. I hope that your Majesty will also approve.
KING. What is the subject ? There's
nothing offensive or uncivil
in it ?
HAMLET. It is a good subject. We
that have a good conscience,
it touches us not.
KING. Where are they? Let them begin
at once; we should like
to see what the Germans can do.
HAMLET. Marshal, go and see whether
the actors are ready; tell
them to begin.
CORAMB. Actors, where are you? Quick,
you are to begin at once.
Ah! here they come.
[Here the play enters: The King
with his consort. He wishes to lie
down and sleep; the Queen entreats him not to do so; he lies down all the
same. The Queen kisses him, and takes her leave. The King's brother comes
with a phial and pours something into his ear, and exit.
HAMLET. That is King Pyrrhus who
goes to sleep in the garden.
The Queen entreats him not to do so, but he lies down. The poor wife goes
away: see, there comes the King's brother bearing the poisonous juice of
hebenon; and he pours into his ear that which, as soon as it mixes with
the blood of a man, immediately destroys his life.
KING. Bring torches, lanterns here!
the play does not please
CORAMB. Pages, lackeys, light the
torches! The King wishes
to depart: quick with the lights! The actors have made a mess of it.
[Exeunt King, Queen, Corambus
and retinue. HAMLET. Bring
torches here, the play does not please us! Now thou seest that the Ghost
has not deceived me! Players, you can go from here with this verdict, that
although you have not played the piece to its end, and it has not pleased
the King, yet it pleased us all the same. Horatio shall reward you on my
CHARLES. We thank you and ask for
HAMLET. You shall have one. [Exeunt
Players.] Now may
I go boldly on to vengeance. Did you perceive how the king went pale when
he saw the play ?
HORAT. Yes, your Highness; the thing
HAMLET. My poor father was murdered,
just as we have seen in
this play! But I will punish him for this wicked deed.
CORAMB. The Players,
I fear, will get a
poor recompense, for their play has deeply displeased the King.
HAMLET. What say'st thou, old man;
they will get a recompense
? And if they are ill-rewarded by the King, they will be all the better
rewarded by Heaven.
CORAMB. Your Highness, do actors
then get into heaven?
HAMLET. Think'st thou, old fool,
that they will not find their
place there? Wherefore go and treat these people well for me
CORAMB. Yes, I shall treat them as
HAMLET. Treat them well, I say; for
there is no greater praise
to be gained than through actors, for they travel far and wide in the world.
If they are treated well at one place, they do not know how to praise
it enough at the next; for their theatre is a little world, in which they
represent all that takes place in the great world. They revive the old
forgotten histories, and display to us good and bad examples; they publish
abroad the justice and laudable government of princes; they punish vices,
and exalt virtues, they praise the good, and show how tyranny is punished--wherefore
you must reward them well.
CORAMB. Well, they shall certainly
have their reward, since
they are such great folk. Farewell, your Highness. [Exit.
HAMLET. Come Horatio, I am going,
and from this hour I shall
accordingly seek means to find the King alone, that I may take his life,
as he has taken my father's.
HORAT. My lord, consider well, that you come to no harm.
HAMLET. I ought, I must, I will this crime repay
if not by craft, with force I'll
make a way!
Act III, Scene
A church and altar.
KING [alone]. Now my conscience
begins to awaken: the
sting of my treachery begins to prick me hard. It is time I turn to repentance,
and confess to Heaven the evil I have done. I fear that my guilt is so
great, that it could never be forgiven. Yet I will pray fervently to the
gods, that they will pardon my great sins.
[kneels before the altar.
Hamlet, with a drawn sword.
HAMLET. For so long have I followed
the accursed dog, till
at last I have found him. Now it is time, since he is alone. I will take
his life at the height of his devotions [he is about to stab him]. But
no, I will first let him finish his prayer. Ha! when I think of it, he
did not leave my father so much time as to say a prayer first, but sent
him to hell (perhaps) in his sleep, in his sins; wherefore, I'll send him
also to the same place [again about to stab him from behind ] Nay,
hold Hamlet! Why cost thou want to take his sins upon thee? I shall let
him end his prayer, and let him go this time, and will give him his life.
But I shall wreak my vengeance at another time.
KING. My conscience is somewhat lightened,
but still the dog
lies gnawing at my heart. Now will I go and make my peace with heaven by
fasting, alms, and also with fervent prayer. Ah cursed ambition! To what
hast thou brought me ?
QUEEN. Tell me, Corambus, how is
my son, Prince Hamlet? Does
his madness decrease at all, or will his ravings never come to an end ?
CORAMB. Ah no, your Majesty, he is
just as mad as he was before.
HORAT. Most gracious Queen, Prince
Hamlet is in the antechamber,
and desires a private audience.
QUEEN. He is most dear to us; admit
HORAT. It shall be done, your Majesty.
QUEEN. Hide yourself behind the arras,
Corambus, till we call
CORAMB. Ay, ay, I will hide myself
a little. [He hides himself.
HAMLET. Mother, did you know your
first husband well ?
QUEEN. O! do not remind me of my former sadness. I cannot restrain my
tears when I think of him.
HAMLET. You weep? Leave off doing
that; they are only crocodile
tears. But look, there in that gallery hangs the counterfeit resemblance
of your first husband, and there hangs the counterfeit of your present
one. What think you now? Which of them is the finer looking ? Is not the
first the nobler Lord ?
QUEEN. Indeed that is so.
HAMLET. How then could you forget
him so soon? Fie! Shame on you! You
celebrated his funeral and your wedding almost on the same day! But hush
! are all the doors shut fast ?
QUEEN. Why do you ask that?
[Corambus coughs behind the arras.
HAMLET. Ha! ha! who is that, listening
to us? [Stabs him.
CORAMB. O! Prince, what are you doing?
I am slain!
QUEEN. O Heavens! My son, what have
you done ? It is Corambus,
the Lord Chamberlain!
Ghost stalks over the stage. [Lightning.]
HAMLET. Ah, gracious spirit of my
father, stay. What cost
thou want? Dost thou demand revenge? I shall execute it at the right time.
QUEEN. What are you doing? With whom
are you speaking?
HAMLET. See you not the spirit of
your late husband? Look,
he beckons as if he would speak to you.
QUEEN. How? I see nothing.
HAMLET. Indeed I believe you see
nothing, for you are no longer
worthy to look upon his form. Fie, shame on you! I shall say not another
word to you.
QUEEN [alone]. O Heavens!
what great madness
melancholy has brought upon the Prince! Alas, my only son has entirely
lost his reason! And I am much to blame for it! Had I not taken in marriage
my brother-in- law, I should not have robbed my son of the crown
of Denmark. But what can be done about things that are done? Nothing, they
must stay as they are. Had not the Pope allowed such a marriage, it would
never have happened. I shall go and try my utmost to restore my son to
his former understanding and health.
It's a long time since I was last
at court and paid my taxes. I am afraid,
go where I may, I shall be clapped in prison. If I could find only one
good friend to put in a good word for me so that I might not be punished!
PHANT. There are queer goings on
at court now. Prince Hamlet
is mad, Ophelia is mad too. In sum, it's very queer here altogether, so
that I have a good mind to take myself off.
JENS. My goodness! there I see my
good friend Phantasmo. I
couldn't find a better. I'll beg him to put in a good word for me. Good
luck to you, Master Phantasmo!
PHANT. Thank you kindly! What do
you want, Master Clown ?
JENS. Eh, Master Phantasmo, 'tis
a long time since I have been
at court, and I am greatly in arrears. So prithee put in a good word for
me, and I'll treat you to a good cheese.
PHANT. What, lout, cost think that
I get nothing to eat at
OPHELIA. I run and race and yet cannot
find my sweetheart. He sent a
messenger to tell me to come to him. We are to be married, and I have dressed
myself for it already. But ah! there is my love. Art thou there, my lamb
? Oh! I have sought thee so much; yes, I have sought thee. Ah, only think;
the tailor has quite spoiled my calico gown! See! there's a pretty flower
for thee, my heart!
PHANT. O the devil! I wish I were
far away!_she thinks I am
OPHELIA. What say'st thou my love
? We will go to bed together;
I'll wash thee quite clean.
PHANT. Ay, ay, I'll soap you in return,
and wash you out too.
OPHELIA. Listen my love, hast already
put on thy beautiful new suit?
Ay! how finely it is made, quite in the new fashion.
PHANT. I know that well without .
OPHELIA. Gracious me! what I had
nearly forgotten! The King has asked me
to supper, I must run quickly. Look, there's my little coach, my little
PHANT. O Hecate, thou queen of witches,
how glad I am that
that mad thing's gone away! If she had stayed any longer, I should
have gone mad with her. I must be off before the crazy thing comes back
JENS. Oh kind-hearted Master Phantasmo!
Prithee, do not forget
PHANT. Come along, Brother Windy;
I'll see if I can put you
right with the tax-collector.
King, Hamlet, Horatio, Two Attendants
KING. Where is the body of Corambus
bestowed ? Has it not yet
been removed ?
HORAT. He is still lying in the place
where he was stabbed.
KING. I t grieves us that Corambus
has lost his life so unexpectedly.
Go, have him carried away; we wish him to have honourable burial. Ah, Prince
Hamlet, what have you done, stabbing that innocent old man? It grieves
us deeply; still, because it was done unwittingly this murderous deed is
perhaps somewhat to be pardoned. Nevertheless I fear that when this gets
known amongst t he nobles, it may easily excite a rising among my subjects,
and they may avenge his death on you. But out of our paternal care we have
devised a way of avoiding this misfortune.
HAMLET. I am sorry for it, my uncle
and father? I wished to discuss
something privately with the Queen, and this spy lay in wait for us. But
I did not realise that it could be this silly old fool. What now does your
Majesty propose it were best to do with me?
KING. We have determined to send
you to England, because that
crown is friendly to our own, so that you may cool down there somewhat,
since the air is wholesomer, and may aid your recovery better than here.
We shall give you some of our attendants, who must accompany you and serve
ay, King, just send me off to Portugal,
that I may never come back again, that is the best plan.
KING. No, not to Portugal, but to
England, and these two shall accompany
you on the journey. But when you arrive in England, you shall have more
HAMLET. Are those the lackeys? A
pair of fine fellows!
KING. Listen, both of you! [secretly
to the two attendants.] As
soon as ye reach England, do as I have commanded you. Take a dagger or
pistol each, and kill him. But should your attempt miscarry, take this
letter and bring it along with the prince to the place written down on
it; there he will be so well cared for that he will never come back from
England again. But this I warn you, that ye make known this to no man.
Your reward shall be given you immediately on your return.
HAMLET. Well, your Majesty, who are
these fine fellows that are to travel
with me ?
KING. These two. The gods be with
you, and give you a fair wind to reach
HAMLET. Now farewell, Mother!
KING. What, Prince! Why do you call
HAMLET. Man and wife is one flesh--Father
or Mother, it is all the same
KING. Well, fare ye well. May Heaven
be with you.
HAMLET. Now! you sprigs
of nobility, are you to be my
ATTEND. Yes, your Highness.
HAMLET. Come then, my noble sirs,
each by the hand], let's
go, let's go to England! Take your little messages in your hand; you are
indeed an honest fellow. Let's go, let's go to England!
PHANT. Wherever I go or stay, that
cracked girl runs after me
from every corner. I can get not
a moment's peace for her; she says
continually that I'm her lover; and that's not true. If I could only hide
where she couldn't find me! Oh, the devil's loose again; there she is once
OPHELIA. Where can my sweetheart
be? The rogue will not stay with me
he'd rather flee from me--but see! there he is. Listen darling, I've
been to the priest, and he will unite us this very day I have made
all ready for the wedding; and bought pullets, hares, meat, butter,
cheese. Now there is nothing more wanting than for the musicians to play
us to bed.
PHANT. I can only say yes. Come then,
we'll go to bed together.
OPHELIA. No, no, my puppet, we must
first go to church together, afterwards
eat and drink, and then dance-ah ! how merry we shall be!
PHANT. Ay, it will be very merry;
three will eat off one plate.
OPHELIA. What do you say ? If you
will not have me, I will not have
you [strikes him]. There, there, is my dearest, he beckons me Look
there, what a beautiful suit he has on!_look, he wants to entice me to
him, he throws me a lily and a rose; he wants to take me m his arms; he
beckons me; I come, I come.
PHANT. At close quarters she's lost
her wits, but further off she's
clean mad. I wish she were hanged, and then the carrion could not pester
Act IV, Scene I
Hamlet, Two Ruffians
HAMLET. It is a pleasant place here
on this island! Let us stay here
for a while and dine. There is a delightful wood, and here a cool spring
of water. So fetch the best from our ship, and we'll make right merry here.
RUFF I. There's no dinner time here
for you, my lord, since you i will
never leave this island, for here's the place destined for your grave.
HAMLET. What say st thou, scoundrel,
slave' Dost thou know who I am?
Wouldst thou jest thus with a royal prince? However, on this occasion I
RUFF 2. No, it is no jest, but grim
earnest. Prepare yourself for death.
HAMLET. Wherefore this? What harm
have I ever done you' I cannot recollect
any; therefore speak out, why do ye have such wicked thoughts?
RUFF I. We have been ordered to do
it by the King. as soon as we have
brought your Highness to this island, we are to take your life.
HAMLET. Dear friends, spare my life!
Say that you have done it properly,
and I will never return to the King as long as I live. Consider well, what
do you gain by covering your hand with the innocent blood of a prince?
Will you stain your consciences with my sins ? What bad luck that I came
here unarmed! If only I had something in my hand!
[Grabs at a sword.
RUFF 2. Take care of thy weapon,
RUFF 1. I'll take good care. Now
Prince, prepare yourself; we haven't
HAMLET. Since it cannot be otherwise,
and I must die at your hands,
by the orders of the tyrannical king, I must submit, although I am innocent.
And since you have been bribed through poverty, I freely pardon you. Yet
this murderer of his brother and my father must answer for my blood at
the Last Great Day.
RUFF. 1. Eh! what is that great day
to us? we must carry out our orders
RUFF. 2. That's true, brother! Quickly
to work; it must be so! You fire
from this side, I from the other.
to one word more from me. Since even
the wickedest evildoer is not executed without being given time to repent,
I, an innocent prince, beg you to let me first address a fervent prayer
to my Creator; after which I shall willingly die. But I shall give you
a sign: I shall raise my hands to heaven, and as soon as I spread out my
arms, fire! Level both pistols at my sides, and when I say shoot, give
me as much as I need, and be sure and hit me, that I may not suffer long.
RUFF. 2. Well, we may do that much
to please him; so go right ahead.
HAMLET. [Spreads out his hands.]
down forward between the two servants, who shoot each other.] Just
Heaven! Thanks be to thee for thy angelic inspiration; henceforth I will
ever worship the guardian angel who working through my thoughts has saved
my life. But these scoundrels, as they worked, so were they paid out. The
dogs move still; they have shot each other, but for revenge I'll give them
the coup de grace; otherwise one of the rogues might escape. [He stabs
them with their own swords.] Now I'll search them, to see whether they
have some warrant on them. This one has nothing. But here I find a letter
on this murderer. I'll read it. This letter is written to an arch- murderer
in England, so that should this attempt miscarry, they would hand me over
to him, and he would soon blow out the light of my life! But the gods ever
stand by the just. Now I will go back again to my 'father', to terrify
him; but I will not trust to water again, for who knows whether the captain
may not likewise prove a rogue. I shall go to the first town and take the
post. The sailors I shall order back to Denmark, but these scoundrels I'll
throw into the water. [Exit.
King, and retinue
KING. We long to hear how things
have gone with our son, Prince Hamlet,
and whether the companions we gave him for his journey have faithfully
performed what we ordered.
PHANT. News, Monsieur the King! The
very latest news!
KING. What is it, Phantasmo?
PHANT. Leonhardus has come back home
KING. We are glad of it. Let him
come into our presence.
LEON. My gracious Lord and King,
I demand my father or just vengeance
for his grievous murder. If this is not granted, I shall forget that you
are king, and avenge myself on the criminal. KING. Be satisfied, Leonhardus,
that we are guiltless of your i` father's death. Prince Hamlet unwittingly
ran him through behind the arras: but we shall see that he is punished
LEON. Since your Majesty is innocent
of my father's death, I humbly
crave your pardon on my knees. My anger, together with my filial affection,
so overcame me that I hardly knew what I was doing.
KING. It is forgiven thee, for we
can easily believe that it must have
gone deep into thy heart to lose thy noble father so piteously. But
rest content; thou shalt find another father in ourselves.
LEON. I thank you for this most kingly
PHANT. Uncle King, more news still!
KING. What fresh news do you bring
PHANT. Prince Hamlet has come back!
KING. The devil has come back, not
PHANT. Prince Hamlet has come back
and not the devil!
KING. Leonhardus, hear. Now thou
canst avenge thy father's
death, for the Prince has come home again. But you must swear to us an
oath to disclose it to no man.
LEON. Doubt me not, your Majesty;
what you reveal shall be
as secret as if you had spoken to a stone.
KING. We shall arrange a match between
thyself and him on these
terms: you shall fence with rapiers, and the one of you who makes the first
three hits, shall have won a white Neapolitan horse. But in the middle
of this bout you must let your foil drop, and instead of it, you must have
a rapier with a sharp point ready to hand, which must be made exactly like
the foil, but you must rub the point of it with a strong poison ; as soon
as you shall wound his body with it, he will certainly die, but you shall
win the prize, and your king's favour as well.
LEON. Your Majesty must excuse me!
I dare not undertake this,
for the Prince is a skilled fencer and might well turn the tables on me.
KING. Leonhardus, do not refuse,
but do it to please thy King;
do it to revenge thy father's death. For know, the Prince as assassin of
your father deserves such a death. But we cannot do justice on him, because
his mother backs him, and my subjects love him dearly. If therefore we
avenged ourselves on him openly, a rebellion might easily follow. But that
we now reject him as our step-son and nephew is the will of sacred Justice,
since he is bloodthirsty and insane, and for the future we must ourselves
be afraid of so wicked a man. If you do what we desire, you will relieve
your King of his fear, and secretly avenge yourself on the murderer of
LEON. It is a difficult thing which
I scarcely dare venture.
For should it come out, it would cost me my life.
KING. Do not doubt; if this should
fail we have already devised
another trick. We shall have an oriental diamond powdered fine, and this,
when he is hot, we shall offer to him in a goblet filled with wine mixed
with sugar: thus shall he drink death to our health.
LEON. Well then, your Majesty, under
this protection I will
carry it out.
QUEEN. My gracious lord and King,
my dearest consort, I bring
you bad news
KING. What is it, dear soul ?
QUEEN. My dearest maid-in-waiting,
Ophelia, runs up and down,
and cries, and screams, and neither eats nor drinks; they think that she
has entirely lost her wits.
KING. Alas! One hears nothing but
the most sad and unhappy
Ophelia, with flowers
OPHELIA. Look, there's a flower for
thee; for thee too, and
for thee too [gives a flower to each]. But gracious me, what had I clean
forgotten! I must run quickly, I have forgotten my jewels. Ah! my diadem.
I must go quick to the court goldsmith and ask what new fashions he has
got. So, so, set the table quick; I shall soon be back again. [Runs
LEON. Am I then born to every misfortune!
My father dead, and
my sister robbed of her reason! My heart will almost burst for very grief!
KING. Take comfort, Leonhardus, thou
shalt live supreme in
our favour. But you, sweet Queen, be pleased to walk inside with us, for
we have something to reveal to you in private. Leonhardus, do not forget
what we have told you.
LEON. I shall be diligent to perform
QUEEN. My King, we must find some
means by which this unhappy
bb maiden may be restored to her senses.
KING. Let the case be handed over
to our own physician. Follow
us, Leonhardus. [Exit.
Act V, Scene
HAMLET. Unhappy Prince, how long
must thou live without rest! How long
a time, O just Nemesis, cost thou appoint for whetting thy just sword of
vengeance against my uncle, the fratricide! Now am I back here once more,
and cannot yet attain to my revenge, because this fratricide is at all
times surrounded by many people. But I swear, that ere the sun has finished
his journey from east to west, I will avenge myself on him.
HORAT. Your Highness, I am heartily
glad to see you here again
in good health. But I pray you, tell me why you have come back again so
HAMLET. Alas! Horatio, thou hast
very nearly not seen me alive
again, for my life was already at stake, had not the Divine Power specially
HORAT. How ? What does your Highness
say ? How did it happen
HAMLET. You know that my father gave
me two fellow-travellers
as servants to accompany me. Now it chanced that one day we had contrary
winds, and we cast anchor by an island not far from Dover. With my two
attendants I left the ship to breathe the fresh air. There the cursed villains
came and wished to take my life, saying that the King had hired them to
do so. I begged for my life, saying that I would give them as much reward,
and that if they would report my death to the King, I would never show
myself at court again. But there was no mercy in them. At length the gods
put an idea in my mind: I begged them that I might say a prayer before
my end, and when I called 'Shoot!' they were to fire at me. But as I called,
I fell flat on the ground, so that they shot each other. Thus I escaped
this time with my life. But my arrival will not be very agreeable to the
HORAT. O unheard of treachery!
HAMLET. Look Horatio, this fool is
much dearer to the king
than person Let's hear what he has to say.
PHANT. Welcome home, Prince Hamlet!
Have you heard the news?
The King has laid a wager on you and young Leonhardus. You are to
fight together with foils, and he who gives his opponent the first two
hits is to win a white Neapolitan horse.
HAMLET. Is this certain that you
PHANT. Yes, nothing else!
what can this mean ? Leonhardus and I to fight each
other! I believe they have been mocking this fool, for one can make him
believe what one likes. Observe. Signor Phantasmo, it is terribly cold.
PHANT. Ay, it is terribly cold
[His teeth chattering with cold.
HAMLET. Now it is not so cold any
PHANT. You're right my lord, just
the happy medium.
HAMLET. But now it is very hot indeed.
PHANT. O what a dreadful heat!
[Wiping his face.
[Also wiping away the
HAMLET. Now it is neither very cold
nor very warm.
PHANT. Yes, now it is just temperate.
HAMLET. Do you see, Horatio, one
can make him believe what one
will. Phantasmo, go back to the King, and tell him that I'll wait upon
him instantly.] [Phant. exit.] Come, Horatio, I go this very NAME="faints">minute, and present myself to the King. Ha! What does this mean Drops of blood
fall from my nose; my whole body trembles! Alas! what is happening to me?
HORAT. Most noble Prince! O Heavens!
what does this mean?
Come to your senses my lord! My noble Prince, what is it ? what is the
matter with you ?
HAMLET. I do not know Horatio. When
I thought of going to ours,
a sudden faintness came over me. The gods alone know what signifies.
HORAT. Heaven grant that this omen
foretells nothing bad'
HAMLET. Be it what it may, I shall
nevertheless go to court, Yen
should it cost me my life.
King, Leonhardus, Phantasmo
KING. Leonhardus prepare, for Prince
Hamlet will also be here
LEON. I am prepared, your Majesty,
and will do my utmost.
KING. Look well to it; here comes
the Prince already.
HAMLET. All health and happiness
wait on your Majesty!
KING. We thank you, Prince! We are
extremely glad that your
melancholy has somewhat left you; wherefore today we have arranged a friendly
match between you and young Leonhardus. You are to fight him with foils
and the one of you who makes the first three hits will have won the prize,
a white Neapolitan horse with saddle and all the trappings.
HAMLET. Your Majesty will pardon
me, for I am little practiced
with the foils, while Leonhardus comes direct from France, where he had
undoubtedly had plenty of practice; wherefore will you please excuse me.
KING. Prince Hamlet will do it to
please us, for we are curious
to learn what feints the Germans and French use.
QUEEN. Gracious Lord and King, I
am the bearer of sad tidings.
KING. Heaven forbid; what is it ?
QUEEN. Ophelia has climbed a high
hill, and cast herself down
and taken her own life.
LEON. Ill-fated Leonhardus! In a
short time thou hast lost
a father and a sister! Whither will misfortune lead thee? I could for grief
wish myself to die.
KING. Be comforted, Leonhardus! You
enjoy our favour; only
begin the contest. Phantasmo, fetch the foils. You, Horatio, shall be umpire.
PHANT. Here is the warm beer.
HAMLET. Well then, Leonhardus, come
on; let's see who is to
put the fool's cap and bells on the other. Should I make a mistake, pray
excuse me, for I have not fought for a long time.
LEON. I am your Lordship's servant;
you are only jesting.
[During the first bout they fence
fairly. Leonhardus receives a thrust.
HAMLET. One! That was a hit, Leonhardus!
LEON. True, your Highness. Now for
my revenge! [He lets
his foil fall, and seizes the poisoned sword which is Iying
ready, and gives the Prince athrust in carte in the left arm. Hamlet
parries on Leonhardus, so that both drop their weapons. They run
to pick them up. Hamlet takes the poisoned sword and mortally wounds
LEON. Alas! I am mortally wounded!
I receive the reward which
e' I thought to pay another. Heaven, have mercy on me!
HAMLET What the devil is this, Leonhardus
? have I pierced
you with the foil? How is this possible?
KING. Go quick, and fetch my goblet,
with wine to refresh our
swordsmen a little. Go, Phantasmo, and fetch it. [Descends from the
throne. Aside.] I hope that they may both drink of the wine and die,
and this trick may not be exposed.
HAMLET. Tell me, Leonhardus, how
did this come about?
LEON. Alas! Prince, I have been misled
into this mishap by the
King! Look at what you have in your hand! It is a poisoned sword.
HAMLET. O! Heavens, what is this!
Preserve me from it!
LEON. I was to wound you with it,
for it is so strongly poisoned
that whoever receives the slightest wound from it must die.
KING. Ho! gentlemen, take this cup
and drink. [Whilst the
King is rising from his chair and speaking these words, the Queen takes
the cup out of Phantasmo's hand and drinks; the King exclaims:] Ah!
where is the cup ? Dear wife, what are you doing ? This drink is mixed
with the strongest poison. Alas! what have you done
QUEEN. Alas! I die!
[The King stands before the Queen.
HAMLET. And thou, tyrant, shalt bear
her company in death.
[Stabs him from behind.
KING. Alas! I receive the reward
of my wickedness!
LEON. Farewell, Prince Hamlet! Farewell,
world! I die too.
th, forgive me, Prince!
HAMLET. May heaven receive thy soul
for thou art guiltless.
But for this tyrant, I wish that he may purge his black sins in Hell. th,
Horatio! now my soul is at peace, now I am avenged on my enemies. 'Tis
true I have received a hit on the arm, but I hope that means nothing. It
grieves me that I have slain Leonhardus. I do tot know how the fatal rapier
came into my hand; but as the work so is the pay, and he has received his
reward. Nothing afflicts me so much as my mother; yet by her sins she has
somewhat deserved this death. But tell me, who gave her the cup that poisoned
PHANT. I, your Highness. I also brought
the poisoned sword, but the
poisoned wine was meant for you alone.
HAMLET. Hast thou been an instrument
of this woe? There, then; thou
too hast thy reward!
PHANT. Stab away, till your blade
HAMLET. O Horatio, I fear that taking
my revenge will cost me my life,
for I am sorely wounded in the arm. I grow faint; my limbs grow weak and
my legs refuse to support me. My voice fails. I feel the poison in all
my members. Gentle Horatio, take the crown to my cousin, Duke Fortenbras
of Norway, so that the kingdom may not fall into other hands. Alas! I am
HORATIO. Noble Prince, help may still
come! Heavens! he is dying in
my arms. Ah, how this Kingdom of Denmark has been scourged. First long
wars; then scarcely has peace been established when it is filled with new
internal disturbances, ambitions, strifes and murders. It may well be that
in no age of the world has such a grievous Tragedy happened as this which
we have just lived through in this court. And now, with the help of all
true Counsellors, I shall make arrangements to have these high personages
buried according to their rank. After which I shall go at once to Norway
with the crown, and deliver it as this unhappy Prince has commanded me.
Thus, if a Prince obtains the Crown
And treacherously takes it as his prey,
He nothing gains but purest hate and scorn,