William Shakespeare's Hamlet the Bard's most famous play is the story of a young man's idealism utterly destroyed
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > Hamlet > Act V. Scene I.

Hamlet

Study Guides
Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Macbeth
Merchant of Venice
Othello
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Trivia
Authorship
Bard Facts
Bibliography
Biography
FAQ
Films
Globe Theatre
Pictures
Quiz
Timeline

Act V. Scene I.

Act V. Scene I.—A Churchyard.

Enter two Clowns, with spades and mattock.

First Clo. Is she to be buried in Christian
burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation?
Sec. Clo. I tell thee she is; and therefore
make her grave straight: the crowner hath sat
on her, and finds it Christian burial.
First Clo. How can that be, unless she
drowned herself in her own defence?
Sec. Clo. Why, 'tis found so.
First Clo. It must be se offendendo; it can-
not 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, and to
perform: argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
Sec. Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,—
First Clo. Give me leave. Here lies the wa-
ter; 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.
Sec. Clo. But is this law?
First Clo. Ay, marry, is't; crowner's quest
law.
Sec. Clo. Will you ha' the truth on 't? If this
had not been a gentlewoman she should have
been buried out o' Christian burial.
First Clo. Why, there thou sayest; and the
more pity that great folk should have counte-
nance in this world to drown or hang them-
selves more than their even Christian. Come,
my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but
gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers; they hold
up Adam's profession.
Sec. Clo. Was he a gentleman?
First Clo. A' was the first that ever bore arms.
Sec. Clo. Why, he had none.
First Clo. 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 an-
swerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself—
Sec. Clo. Go to.
First Clo. What is he that builds stronger
than either the mason, the shipwright, or the
carpenter?
Sec. Clo. The gallows-maker; for that frame
outhves a thousand tenants.
First Clo. 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.
To't again; come.
Sec. Clo. Who builds stronger than a mason,
a shipwright, or a carpenter?
First Clo. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
Sec. Clo. Marry, now I can tell.
First Clo. To't.
Sec. Clo. Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter HAMLET and HORATIO at a distance.
First Clo. 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.
First Clown 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.
Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his busi-
ness, that he sings at grave-making?
Hor. Custom hath made it in him a property
of easiness.
Ham. 'Tis e'en so; the hand of little employ-
ment hath the daintier sense.
First Clo.
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.
Ham. 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! This might be the pate of a
politician, which this ass now o'er-offices, one
that would circumvent God, might it not?
Hor. It might, my lord.
Ham. Or of a courtier, which could say,
'Good morrow, sweet lord! How dost thou,
good lord?' This might Toe my Lord Such-a-
one, that praised my Lord Such-a-one's horse,
when he meant to beg it, might it not?
Hor. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Why, e'en so, and now my Lady
Worm's; chapless, and knocked about the maz-
zard with a sexton's spade. Here's fine revo-
lution, an we had the trick to see 't. Did these
bones cost no more the breeding but to play at
loggata with 'em? mine ache to think on't.
First Clo.
For and a shrouding sheet;
O! a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
[Throws up another skull.
Ham. 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 re-
cognizances, 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 conveyance of his lands will hardly lie
in this box, and must the inheritor himself have
no more, ha?
Hor. Not a jot more, my lord.
Ham. Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?
Hor. Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.
Ham. They are sheep and calves which seek
out assurance in that. I will speak to this fel-
low. Whose grave's this, sir?
First Clo. Mine, sir,
O! a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
Ham. I think it be thine, indeed; for thou
liest in't.
First Clo. 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.
Ham. 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 Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away
again, from me to you.
Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?
First Clo. For no man, sir.
Ham. What woman, then?
First Clo. For none, neither.
Ham. Who is to be buried in't?
First Clo. One that was a woman, sir; but,
rest her soul, she's dead.
Ham. 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
heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe. How long
hast thou been a grave-maker?
First Clo. Of all the days i' the year, I came
tot that day that our last King Hamlet over-
came Fortinbras.
Ham. How long Is that since?
First Clo. Cannot you toll that? every fool
can tell that; it was the very day that young
Hamlet was born; he that is mad, and sent into
England.
Ham. Ay, marry; why was he sent into
England?
First Clo. Why, because he was mad: he
shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis
no great matter there.
Ham. Why?
First Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there;
there the men are as mad as he.
Ham. How came he mad?
First Clo. Very strangely, they say.
Ham. How strangely?
First Clo. Faith, e'en with losing his wits,
Ham. Upon what ground?
First Clo. Why, here in Denmark; I have
been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.
Ham. How long will a man lie i' the earth
ere he rot?
First Clo. 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.
Ham. Why he more than another?
First Clo. Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with
his trade that he will keep out water a groat
while, and your water is a sore decayer of your
whoreson dead body. Here's a skull now; this
skull hath lain you i' the earth three-and-twenty
years.
Ham. Whose was it?
First Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was:
whose do you think it was?
Ham. Nay, I know not.
First Clo. 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.
Ham. This!
First Clo. E'en that.
Ham. 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 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? Not one now, to mock your
own grinning? quite chapfallen? 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.
Hor. What's that, my lord?
Ham. Dost thou think Alexander looked o'
this fashion i' the earth?
Hor. E'en so.
Ham. And smelt so? pah!
[Puts down the skull.
Hor. E'en so, my lord.
Ham. 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?
Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to con-
sider so.
Ham. 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's flaw.
But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.

Enter Priests, &c., in procession: the Corpse of
OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following;
KING, QUEEN, their Trains, &c.
The queen, the courtiers: who is that 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.
Laer. What ceremony else?
Ham. That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.
Laer. What ceremony else?
First Priest. Her obsequies have been as far
enlarg'd
As we have warrantise: her death was doubt-
ful,
And, but that great command o'ersways the
order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'd
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.
Laer. 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.
Laer. 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.
Ham. What! the fair Ophelia?
Queen. Sweets to the sweet: farewell!
[Scattering flowers.
I hop'd 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.
Laer. O! treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose nicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv'd 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'er-top old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
Ham. [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.
Laer. The devil take thy soul!
[Grapples with him.
Ham. Thou pray'st not well.
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For though I am not splenetive and rash
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Away thy hand!
King. Pluck them asunder.
Queen. Hamlet! Hamlet!
All. Gentlemen,—
Hor. Good my lord, be quiet.
[The Attendants part them, and they
come out of the grave.
Ham. Why, I will fight with him upon this
theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
Queen. O my son! what theme?
Ham. I lov'd Ophelia: forty thousand bro-
thers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
King. O! he is mad, Laertes.
Queen. For love of God, forbear him.
Ham. 'Swounds, show me what thou'It 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'It mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.
Queen. This is mere madness:
And thus a while the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,
His silence will sit drooping.
Ham. Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I lov'd you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
[Exit.
King. I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon
him. [Exit HORATIO.
[To LAERTES.] 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.
[Exeunt.
< PREVIOUS
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards