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OMEO AND JULIET is the production of youthful genius. It is all redolent 
of youth in its subject, its style, and its spirit. It is a tale of mutually youthful 
love, impetuous, ardent, passionate, rapturous, — yet tender, imaginative, idol- 
atrous, — where each of the lovers is the sole object of the other's existence, and 
both of them reckless of all else, even of life itself. Into this one, engrossing, per- 
vading feeling of the poem, the youthful author throws his whole soul ; he pours forth 
his " thick-coming fancies" with the mounting spirit, the keen relish of existence of one 
to whom this world is stiU fresh and young. He does not anticipate the sad and bitter 
hours of the winding-up of the mournful tale he is about to tell, but luxuriates in the 
short-lived happiness of the lovers, and showers over them, and on all around them, 
the flowers and gems of poetical fancy, with a joyous, careless, extraveigant wit. It is 
not until death is about to cast his mantle over the loves of the young and beautiftil 
and brave, that the Poet suffers either his own mind or his reader's to repose from the 
constant excitement of passion, wit, or fancy. It is this buoyancy of spirit, this luxury 
of language and imagery, this fervid activity of intellect and of fancy, that mark 
RoMEO AND JcLiET as a work of the great Poet when just arrived to the full possession and confidence of his 
strength, yet still immature in experience and knowledge ; quite as much as the numerous " conceits depraving 
his pathetic strains" which Johnson censured, or those similar faults which youthful compliance with the taste 
of the age can best explain or excuse ; and not less than the " absence (remarked by Hallam) of that thoughtful 
philosophy which, when it had once germinated in Shakespeare's mind, never ceased to display itsell'." Coleridge 
therefore pronounced this play to have been intended by the author to approach more to the poem than to the 
drama. I should rather say that it bears the internal evidence of having been written in the period of the tran- 
sition of the author's mind from its purely poetical to its dramatic cast of thought ; from the poetry of external 
nature, of ingenious fancy and active thought, to that of the deeper philosophy of the heart. 

This drama is also remarkable in another point of view; as it not only exliibits to us the genius of the Poet in 
this stage of its progress, but it aflbrds no small insight into the history of the progress itself. It was fii'st printed 
in 1597, as having been before that time " often with great applause plaid publiquely." This edition, an original 
copy of which is now of great rarity and value, has been reprinted literatim by Stevens, in his edition of the 
original quartos of " twenty of the plaj's of Shakespeare." Although this first edition v/as probably one of those 
" stolen and surreptitious copies maimed and deformed by the hand which stole them," of which the old folio 
editions complain, yet it enables us, by the comparison of the play there given, with what was afterwards avow- 
edly added, to trace the advance of the author's taste and judgment. It contains the whole of the plot, incidents, and 
characters of the play afterwards enlarged, with its sweetness and beauty of imagery and luxurj" of fanguage, and 
almost all its gayety and wit. Its defects of taste are more conspicuous, because it contains, in a much smaller 
compass, all the rhyming couplets, the ingenious and long-drawn conceits, and the extravagances of fanciful meta- 
phor, which are still intertwined with the nobler beauties of this play. In 1599 appeared a second quarto edition, 
" newly corrected, augmented, and enlarged," containing about one fourth more in quantity, partly from expan- 
sion of thoughts already expressed imperfectlj', and partly by large and admirable additions. Among these are 
the several solUoquies of Juliet, and especially that before taking the sleeping-potion, and the last speech of 
Romeo at the tomb. These all breathe that solemn melody of rhythm which Shakespeare created for the appro- 
priate vehicle of his own mightier thoughts ; while, as compared with the earlier play, the passion becomes more 
direct and intense, and less imaginative, and the language assumes more of that condensed and suggestive cast 
which afterwards became habitual to his mind. 

The original structure is the work of a poet, and arranged with the skill of a practised dramatist ; yet it is also 
evidently the work of a man of genius whose powers were governed, controlled, and modified by the spirit and 
taste of the literature of his day, and it consequently partakes of the usual blemishes of the poetry and eloquence 
of that age. The additions and corrections are those of the same mind, with its mighty energies more developed, 
and now throwing off the influence of inferior minds, giving to itself its own law, and about to assume the sway 
of its country's language and literature. 

The contrast between the revision and the original play, beautiful and glowing as that is, with aU its extrava- 
gance of thought and defects of taste, is such that I fully agree with Mr. Knight's just and acute observation, that 
the development of power and judgment is too great to have taken place in the short period of two years, the 
interval between the dates of the first and second editions; and that therefore the Romeo and Juliet, when 

2 5 


published in 1597, being then a popular acted play, must have been originally written some years before. Mr. 
Hallara (Literature of Europe) judging from the evidence of style and thought, places its composition before that 
of the Midsummer Night's Dkeam, which would make it, in its original form, the production of the Poet's 
twenty-seventh or twenty-eighth year ; and this date corresponds with some slight points of circumstancial evi- 
dence collected by the commentators, such as the supposed allusion of the Nurse to the great earthquake of 1580 
as having occurred eleven years before. The enlarged edition was the work of the Poet's thirty-fourth or thirty- 
fifth year. The third edition appeared in 1609, and this, says Collier, " was printed from the edition which came out 
ten )^ars earlier ; the repetition, in the folio of IG23, of some decided errors of the press, shows that it was a 
reprint of the quarto, 1609. It is remarkable, that although everj' early quarto impression contains a Prologue, 
it was not transferred to the folio." 

The first edition has also its value, as assisting to form a correct text, several difficulties in the later editions 
being cleared up by its aid, and the metrical arrangement especially has been thus preserved ; Mercutio's " Queen 
Mab" speech, when improved in language, having been printed as prose in the enlarged edition, though correctly 
in the first. Otherwise, it is clear that the true text is to be found in the original enlarged editions, collated with 
each other, using the first only to correct accidental errors of the press or the copyist. But it is certainly not 
consistent with sound criticism to employ it, as several editors have done, to make up a text out of two difi"ering 
editions, by inserting what the author had himself thrown aside, to substitute other words or lines. Wherever the 
text of the present edition differs from any in common use, as that of Stevens, the difference will be found to pro- 
ceed from adherence to this principle, which is also followed by both Knight and Collier, the former of whom 
takes the folio of 1623, and the latter the 1597 quarto as the standard of his edition, — a difference which does 
not lead to any very material variations. 


" When Dante reproaches the Emperor Albert for neglect of Italy, — 

' Thy sire and thou have suffer'd thus, 

Though greediness of yonder realms detain'd, 
The garden of the empire to run waste,' — 
He adds, — 

* Come, sec the Capulets and Montagues, 
The Filippeschi and Monaldi, man, 
Who ear'st for nought ! those sunk in grief, and these 
With dire suspicion rack'd.' 

The Capulets and Montagues were among the fierce spirits who, according to the poet, had rendered Italy 
'savage and unmanageable.' The Emperor Albert was murdered in 1308; and the Veronese, who believe the 
story of Romeo and Juliet to be historically true, fix the date of this tragedy as 1303. At that period the Scalas, 
or Scaligers, ruled over Verona. 

" If the records of historj- tell us little of the fair Capulet and her loved Montague, whom Shakespeare has made 
immortal, the novelists have seized upon the subject, as might be expected, from its interest and its obscurity. 
Massuccio, a Neapolitan, who lived about 1470, was, it is supposed, the writer who first gave a somewhat similar 
story the clothing of a connected fiction. He places the scene at Sienna, and, of course, there is no mention of 
the Montagues and Capulets. The story too, of Massuccio, varies in its catastrophe; the bride recovering from 
her lethargy, produced by the same means as in the case of Juliet ; and the husband being executed for a murder 
which had caused him to flee from his country. Mr. Douce has endeavoured to trace back the ground-work of 
the tale to a Greek romance by Xenophon Ephesius. Luigi da Porto, of Vicenza, gave a connected form to the 
legend of Romeo and Juliet, in a novel, under the title of "La Giulietta," which was published after his death 
in 1535. Luigi, in an epistle prefixed to this work, states that the story was told him by " an archer of mine, 
whose name was Peregrino, a man about fifty years old, well practised in the military art, a pleasant companion, 
and, like almost all his countrymen of Verona, a great talker." Bandello, in 1554, published a novel on the 
same subject, the ninth of his second collection. It begins " When the Scaligers were lords of Verona," and goes 
on to say that these events happened "under Bartholomew Scaliger" (Bartolomeo della Scala.) The various 
materials to be found in these sources were embodied in a French novel by Pierre Boisteau, a translation of 
which was published by Paynter in his " Palace of Pleasure," in 1567; and upon this French story was founded 
the English poem by Arthur Brooke, published in 1562, under the title of "The tragicall Hystorj-e of Romeus 
and Juliet, written first in Italian by BandcU, and nowe in Englishe by Ar. Br." It appears highly probable that 
an English play upon the same subject had appeared previous to Brooke's poem; for he says in his address to the 
reader : — " Though I saw the same argument lately set forth on the stage with more commendation than I can 
look for: being there much better set foorth than I have or can dooc, yet the same matter penned as it is, may 
serve to lyke good effect, if the readers do brj'nge with them lyke good myndes, to consider it, which hath the 
more incouraged me to publish it, suche as it is." Thus Shakespeare had materials enough to work upon. But, 
in addition to these sources, there is a play by Lope de Vega in which the incidents are very similar; and an 
Italian tragedy also, by Luigi Groto, which Mr. Walker, in his Historical Memoirs of Italian Tragedy, thinks that 
the English bard read with profit. Mr. Walker gives us passages in support of his assertion, such as a descrip- 
tion of a nightingale when the lovers are parting, which appear to confirm this opinion." — Knight. 



Although Shakespeare gives us scarcely any indications of familiarity with the higher Italian literature (such as 
abound in Spenser,) yet as some knowledge of Italian was in his age a common as well as fashionable acquisition 
among persons of cultivation, it is quite probable that at some (and that not a late) period of his life, he had learned 
enough of the language to read it for any purpose of authorship, such as to get at the plot of an untranslated tale. 
The evidence in support of this probability will be found in some of the notes and remarks of this edition, on other 
plays. It is also well argued by Ch. A. Browne, in his Essay on Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems. It is there- 
fore ver\' probable that he had read or looked into all the books containing the subject of his intended play, so as to 
fill his mind with the incidents and accessories of the stor\'. He had undoubtedly read either Boisteau's novel, or 
Paynter's inelegant translation of it, for he has taken from it at least one circumstance not found in the other ver- 
sions of the plot. But he has otherwise made very little use either of Paynter or of the continental novelist, and has 
adhered closely to Brooke's poem. The commentators have been unjust to Brooke. His poem has been treated 
as a dull and inelegant composition, which it was a sort of merit for a Shakespearian critic to undergo the 
drudgery of reading. Mr. T. Campbell dismisses it contemptuously, as " a dull English poem, of four thousand 
lines." The reader who will turn to it, as reprinted by Malone, in the Variorum editions, or more accurately 
by Collier in his " Shakespeare's Librarj-," will, after overcoming the first repulsive dilKculties of metre and lan- 
guage, find it to be a poem of great power and beauty. The narration is clear, and nearly as fuU of interest as 
the drama itself; the characters are vividly depicted, the descriptions are graceful and poetical. The dramatist 
himself (though he paints far more vividly) does not more distinctly describe than the poet that change in Juliet's 
impassioned character, which Mr. Campbell regards as never even conceived of by any narrators of this tale before 
Shakespeare, — I mean her transition from girlish confidence in the sympathy of others, to the assertion of her 
own superiority, in the majesty of her despair. The language of the poem is of an older date than is familiar 
even to the reader of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and it is clouded, in addition, with affectations, like those 
of Spenser, of still more antiquated English. The metre, too, is unusual and unpleasing to the modem reader, 
being of alternated twelve and fourteen-syllable lines, with an occasional redundant syllable to the already over- 
flowing verse — a rhythm which to modern ears is associated chiefly with ludicrous or humble compositions. It has, 
with all these accidental drawbacks to the modern reader, the additional real defect of partaking of the faults of 
its times, in extravagance of imager}' and harsh coarseness of phrase. Nevertheless, it is with all these faults, 
a noble poem, which, either coming down from antiquity under a great name, or rewritten in modern days by 
Pope or Campbell, would not need defence or eulogy. 

To this poem, Shakespeare owed the outline at least, of ever)' character except Mercutio (what an exception ! 
sufficient to have made a reputation as brilliant as Sheridan's, for an ordmary dramatist.) He owes to the story 
abundant hints worked up in the dialogue. Will not Shakespeare's readers agree with me in the opinion that 
this fact is, like many others, a proof of the real greatness of his mind ? He had before him, or within his reach, 
materials enough for his purpose, in books not familiar to his audience ; but he went to the best source, although 
it was one where every reader of poetry might trace his adaptations, while only the judicious few of his own day 
would note and understand how much of the absorbing interest of the plot, of the picturesque or minute descrip- 
tion, of the towering magnificence of thought, the wit, of the passion and the pathos, belonged to the dramatist 
alone. He used what was best, and improved it. The author who borrows to improve, in this fashion, is no 
plagiarist. In the happy phrase of some French critic, who defends Moliere against a charge of plagiarism, 
founded on a similar use of the ideas of a preceding novelist — " Le plagiat n'est iin vol que poiir la me'diocrite." 

Malone has collected a number of minute circumstances that prove decisively that Shakespeare founded his 
play mainly on Arthur Brooke's poem. The following passages, pointed out by Collier, will show the nature of 
some of his obligations, and that they went beyond the mere plot, names, and characters. No doubt can be enter- 
tained by those who only compare a passage from a speech of Friar Laurence with three lines from Brooke's 
" Roraeus and Juliet :" — 

'Art thou a man ? Thy form cries out thou art ; 
Thy tears are womanish ; thy wild acts denote 
The unreasonable fury of a beast.' — (Act iii. scene 3.) 

This is almost verbally from Brooke's poem : — 

'Art thou, (quoth he,) a man ? thy shape saith so thou art ; 
Thy crying and thy weeping eyes denote a woman's heart * * 
If thou a man or woman wert, or els a brutish beast.' 

It is also particularly worthy of remark, that Shakespeare has chosen to follow Brooke in his narration of the 
catastrophe from that of Bandello's novel, or what Brooke calls " Bandel's written stor}'." According to Brooke 
and Shakespeare, Juliet, when she awakes from her sleep, finds Romeo dead ; but in the " Giulietta" of Luigi da 
Porto, and in Bandello's novel, she recovers soon enough to hear Romeo speak, and see him struggle in the agonies 
of a painful death ; then the Friar endeavours to persuade her to leave the tomb ; she refuses, and determines on 
death, and after closing her husband's eyes, resolutely holds her breath (riccoUo a se il fiato, e per Iniono spazio 
tenutolo) until, with a loud cry, she falls upon her husband's body and dies. Some of the critics (Skottowc and 
Dunlop) have regretted this as written in ignorance of the original stor^', and thus " losing circumstances more 
affecting and better calculated for the stage." Garrick thought so too, and remodelled the catastrophe upon the 
original plan, thus introducing a last interview between the lovers, which, however common-place in language or 
thought, is always painful in its effect. Sounder criticism, and the decision of a more cultivated public taste, has of 



late years vindicated Shakespeare's judsiment in following Brooke's narration of the Italian story, and pronounced 
tliat this sol'tenins; the catastrophe is, in relation to the dramatic form of the story, the deliberate choice of exquis- 
ite taste and true feeling. After such a chain of events of deep and exciting interest, where wild hope and rap- 
turous joy alternate with desperate urief, furtiier prolongation of mental agony, (and that mixed with bodily suf- 
fering,) must cease to be pathetic, for it becomes merely painful. The simpler termination which the Poet delib- 
erately preferred, leaves the youthful lovers to sink into death with calm resolution. They repose together in their 
antique tomb as placid as the lovely children on Chantrey's exquisite monument; the fiercer passions are hushed 
in their presence ; old enmities die away, and a quiet solemn melancholy is spread over the scene as the day breaks 
slowly in gloom and sorrow over a mourning city. 

(Costume of ii yuung Vcnctiiiu N jIjIciiuui, from 

(Bills and Partisans, from specimens.) 


" The slight foundation of historical truth which can be established in the legend of Romeo and Juliet — that of 
the ' civil broils' of the two rival houses of Verona — would place the period of the action about the time of 
Dante. But this one circumstance ought not very strictly to limit this period. The legend is so obscure that we 
may be justified in carrying its date forward or backward, to the extent even of a century, if any thing may be 
gained by such a freedom. In this case, we may venture to associate the story with the period which followed 
the times of Petrarch and Boccaccio — verging towards the close of the fourteenth century — a period full of rich 
associations of literature and art. To date the period of the action of Romeo and Juliet before this revival of 
learning and the arts, would be to make its accessories out of harmony with the exceeding beauty of Shake- 
speare's drama. 

" Assuming that the incidents of this tragedy took place (at least traditionally) at the commencement of the four- 
teenth century, the costume of the personages represented would be that exhibited to us in the paintings of Giotto 
and his pupils or contemporaries." — Knight. 

Mr. Knight is as usual historically accurate, but as there is no historical or other connection to fix the date at 
any precise period of Italian story, the incidents may well have occurred at any time during the middle ages, 
while Italy was divided into small independent states, and its cities distracted by the fierce family factions of their 
nobles ; as from the year 1300 almost down to the Poet's own times. Mr. Knight has therefore manifested his 
usual good taste in adding to his notice of the strictly historical costume of the long robes and the fantastic hats 
and hoods of the supposed times of the hero and heroine, that " artists of every description are perfectly justified 
in clothing the dramatis personae of this tragedy in the habits of the time in which it was written, by which 
means all serious anachronisms will be prevented." 

But in another respect this play allows much less latitude to art. Romeo and Juliet have so long been the his- 
torical belief of Italy, and the poetical faith of the rest of the world, as to be characters indissolubly connected 
with the real scenerj-, palaces, churches, and monuments of Verona and Mantua. All the localities of the story 
are preserved by old tradition and popular opinion ; and their Palladian palaces, remains of Roman grandeur, 
and natural beauties, still represent the very scenes that floated before the Poet's fancy. Above all, the painter 
will observe that the Poet, by some Mesmeric faculty of his imagination, had transported himself into Italy, and 
become as familiar with the banks of the Adige as with those of his own Avon. His incidental descriptions, his 
allusions to rural beauties, are none of them drawn from the silver clouds, the chill moons, the long-lingering 
spring, and fadeless green of England ; but they are all brilliant and joyous with " summer's ripening breath," 
beneath the hot blaze of an Italian sun, or are bathed in such moonlight as often " tips with silver" the cliffs of 
our Palisades or Catskills. 



Two households, both ahke in dignity, 

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, 
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny. 

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes 

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life ; 
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows 

Do, with their death, bury their parents' strife. 
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, 

And the continuance of their parents' rage. 
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, 

Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage ; 
The which if you with patient ears attend. 
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. 





ESCALUS. Prince of Verona. 

PAF.IS. a young Nobleman. Kinsman to the Prince 

MONTAGUE. ) 2^^^ ^j ^^„ j^„3^1g Houses. 


Uncle to Capulet. 


MERCUTIO. Kinsman to the Prince, and Friend to Rombo 

BENVOLIO. Nephew to Montaoue, and Friend to RoiiBO 

TYBALT. Nephew to lady Capclet. 

FRIAR LAURENCE, a Franciscan. 

FRIAR JOHN, of the same Order. 

BALTHASAR. Servant to Romeo. 



PETER, another Servant to 

ABRAM, Servant to MoNTAons. 

An Apothecary. 

Three Iklusicians. 

CHORUS.' Boy . Page to Paris ; an Officer. 

iY. J 

Servants to CAPnLET. 

LADY MONTAGUE. Wife to Montagos. 
LADY CAPULET, "Wife to Capdlet. 
JULIET, Daughter to Capulet. 
Nurse to Juliet. 

Citizens of Verona: Male and Female Relations to both 
Houses ; Maskers. Guards. Watchmen, and Attendants. 

Scene, during the greater part of the Play, in Vebosa ; 
once, in the fifth act, at Maktca. 




Scene I. — A Public Place. 

Enter Sampson and Gregory, armed wiOi Swords 
and Bucklers. 

Sam. Gregory, on my word, we'll not carry coals. 

Gre. No, for then we should be colliers. 

Sam. I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw. 

Gre. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of 
the collar. 

Sam. I strike quickly, being moved. 

Gre. But thou art not quickly moved to strike. 

Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves me. 

Gre. To move is to stir, and to be vali;uit is to 
stand; therefore, if thou art moved, thou run'st 

Sam. A dog of that house shall move me to 
stand. I will take the wall of any man or maid of 


Chre. That shows thee a weak slave ; for the 
weakest goes to the wall. 

Sam. 'Tis tnie ; and therefore ^vomen, being the 
weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall : — there- 
fore, I will push Montague's men from the wall, 
and thrust his maids to the wall. 

Gre. The quarrel is between our masters, and 
us their men. 

Sam. 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant : 
when I have fought with the men. I will be civil 
with the maids ; 1 will cut off their heads. 

Gre. The heads of the maids ? 

Sam. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maid- 
enheads ; take it in what sense thou wilt. 

Gre. They must take it in sense, that feel it. 

Sam. Me they shall feel, while 1 am able to 
stand ; and, 'tis known, 1 am a pretty piece of flesh. 

Gre. 'Tis well, thou art not fish ; if thou hadst. 




thou hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool ; here 
comes two of the house of the Montagues. 

Enter Abram and Balthasar. 

Sam. My naked weapon is out : quarrel, I will 
back thee. 

Ore. How! turn thy back, and run? 

Sam. Fear me not. 

Gre. No marry : I fear thee ! 

Sam. Let us take the law of our sides ; let them 

Gre. I will frown as I pass by, and let them take 
it as they list. 

Sam. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb 
at them ; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. 

Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir ] 

Satn. I do bite my thumb, sir. 

Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir ? 

Sam. Is the law of our side, if I say — ay ? 

Gre. No. 

Sam. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, 
sir ; Wt I bite my thumb, sir. 

Gre. Do you quarrel,, sir ? 

Abr. Quarrel, sir? no, sir. 

Sam. If you do, sir, I am for you : I serve as 
good a man as you. 

Abr. No better. 

Sam. Well, sir. 

Enter Benvolio, at a distance. 

Gre. Say — better : here comes one of my mas- 
ter's kinsmen. 

Sam. Yes, better, sir. 
Abr. You lie. 


Sam. Draw, if you be men.— Gregory, remem- 
ber thy swashing blow. [Theij Jiaht. 

Ben. Part, fools! put up your swords ; you know 
not what you do. [Beat's down their Swords. 

Enter Ttbalt. 

Tyb. What ! art thou drawn among these heart- 
less hinds ? 
Turn thee, Benvolio; look upon thy death. 

Ben. I do but keep the peace : put up thy 
Or manage it to part these men with me. 

Ti/h. What! drawn, and talk of peace? I hate 
the word, 
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. 
Have at thee, coward. [They figld. 





Enter several persons of hoth Houses, who join the 
fray ; tlien, enter Citizens, with clubs or par- 

1 Cit. Clubs, bills, and partisans ! strike ! beat 
them down ! 
Down with the Capulets ! down with the Mon- 
tagues ! 

Enter Capulet, in his gown ; and Lady Capulet. 

Cap. What noise is this ? — Give me my long 

sword, ho ! 
La. Cap. A crutch, a crutch ! — Why call you 

for a sword ? 
Cap. My sword, I say ! — Old Montague is come, 
And flourishes his blade in spite of me. 

Enter Montague and Lady Montague. 

Mon. Thou villain Capulet ! — Hold me not ; let 

me go. 
La. Mon. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a 


Enter Prince, with his train. 

Prin. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, 
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel, — 
Will they not hear ? — what ho ! you men, you 

That quench the fire of your pernicious rage 
With purple fountains issuing from your veins. 
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands 
Throw your mis-temper'd weapons to the ground. 
And hear the sentence of your moved prince. — 
Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, 
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, 
Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets; 
And made Verona's ancient citizens 
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, 
To wield old partisans, in hands as old, 
Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate. 
If ever you disturb our streets again. 
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace : 
For this time, all the rest depart away. 
You, Capulet, shall go along whh me ; 
And, Montague, come you this afternoon. 
To know our further pleasure in this case, 
To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. 
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. 
[Exeunt Prince and Attendants ; Capulet, Lady 
Capulet, Tybalt, Citizens, and Servants. 

Mon. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach ? 
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began ? 

Ben. Here were the servants of your adversary, 
And yours, close fighting, ere I did approach. 
I drew to part them : in the instant came 
The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd ; 
Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears. 
He swung about his head, and cut the winds. 
Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss'd him in scorn. 
While we were interchanging thnists and blows, 
Came more and more, and fought on part and part, 
Till the prince came, who parted either part. 

La. Mon. O ! where is Romeo ? — saw you him 
to-day ? 
Right glad I am he was not at this fray. 

Ben. Madam, an hour befi)re the worshipp'd sun 
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east, 
A troubled luind drave me to walk abroad ; 
Where, underneath the <rrove of sycamore 
That westward rooteth from the city's side. 
So early walking did I see your son. 
Towards him I made; but he was 'ware of me, 


And stole into the covert of the wood : 
I, measuring his atlections by my own. 
Which then most sought, where most might not 

be found. 
Being one too many by my weary self, 
Pursu'd my humour, not pursuing his. 
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me. 

Mon. Many a morning hath he there been seen. 
With tears augmenting the (Vesh morning's dew, 
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs : 
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun 
Should in the furthest east begin to draw 
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed. 
Away from light steals home my heavy son, 
And private in his chamber pens himself; 
Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out, 
And makes himself an artificial night. 
Black and portentous luust this humour prove, 
Unless good counsel ?uay the cause remove. 

Ben. My noble uncle, do you know the cause? 

Mon. I neither know it, nor can learn of him. 

Ben. Have you importim'd him by any means ? 

3Ion. Both by myself, and many other friends : 
But he, his own affections' coiinsellor, 
Is to himself — I will not say, how true — 
But to himself so secret and so close, 
So far from sounding and discovery, 
As is the bud bit with an envious worm. 
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, 
Or dedicate his beauty to the sun. 
Could we but learn from whence his sortows grow, 
We would as willingly give cure, as know. 

Enter Romeo, at a distance. 

Ben. See, where he comes : so please you, stej) 
aside ; 
I'll know his grievance, or be much denied. 

Mon. I would, thou wert so hajipy by thy stay. 
To hear true shrift. — Coiue, madam, let's away. 

[Exeunt Montague avd Lady. 

Ben. Good morrow, cousin. 

Rom. Is the day so young ? 

Ben. But new struck nine. 

Rom. Ah me ! sad hours seem long. 

Was that my father that went hence so fast ? 

Ben. It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo's 
hours ? 

Rotn. Not having that, which, having, makes 
them short. 

Ben. In love? 

Ro7n. Out. 

Ben. Of love? 

Rom. Out of her favour, where I am in love. 

Ben. Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, 
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof! 

Rom. Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, 
Should without eyes see pathways to his will I 
Where shall we dine ? — O me ! — What fray was 

here ? 
Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. 
Here's much to do with hate, but more with love : 
Why then, O brawling love ! ( ) loving hate ! 
O any thing, of nothing first created! 
O heavy lightness ! s(>rious vanity ! 
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms ! 
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health ! 
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is ! — 
H'his love feel 1, that feel no love in this. 
Dost thou not laugh? 

Ben. No, C07, ; I rather weep. 

Rom. Good heart, at what ? 




Ben. At thy good heart's oppression. 

Rom. Why, such is love's transgression. — 
Griefs of mine own he heavy in my breast ; 
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it press'd 
With more of thine : this love, that thou hast 

Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. 
Love is a smoke, made with the fume of sighs ; 
Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; 
Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lover's tears: 
What is it else ? a madness most discreet, 
A choking gall, and a presei-vLng sweet. 
Farewell, my coz. [Going. 

Ben. Soft, I will go along : 

And if you leave me so, you do me wrong. 

JRoni. Tut! I have lost myself ; I am not here; 
This is not Romeo, he's some other where. 

Ben. Tell me in sadness, who is that you love. 

Ro?n. What ! shall I groan, and tell thee ? 

Ben. Groan ! why, no ; 

But sadly tell me, who. 

Rom. Bid a sick man in sadness make his will; 
A word ill urg'd to one that is so ill. — 
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman. 

Ben. I aim'd so near, when I suppos'd you lov'd. 

Rom. A right good mark-man I — And she's fair 
I love. 

Ben, A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit. 

Rom. Well, in that hit, you miss : she'll not be 
With Cupid's anow. She hath Dian's wit; 
And in strong proof of chastity well arm'd, 

From love's weak childish bow she lives unharni'd. 

She will not stay the siege of loving terms, 

Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes, 

Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold : 

O I she is rich in beauty ; only poor. 

That when she dies with beauty dies her store. 

Ben. Then she hath sworn, that she will still live 
chaste ? 

Rom. She hath, and in that sparing makes huge 
waste ; 
For beauty, starv'd with her severity, 
Cuts beauty ofi'from all posterity. 
She is too fair, too wise ; wisely too fair, 
To merit bliss by making me despair : 
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow 
Do I live dead, that live to tell it now. 

Ben. Be rul'd by me ; forget to think of her. 

Rom. O ! teach me how I should forget to think. 

Ben. By giving liberty unto thine eyes: 
Examine other beauties. 

Rom. 'Tis the way 

To call her's, exquisite, in question more. 
These happy masks, that kiss fair ladies' brows, 
Being black, put us in mind they hide the fair : 
He, that is stricken bUnd, cannot forget 
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost. 
Show me a mistress that is passing fair. 
What doth her beauty serve, but as a note 
Where I may read who pass'd that passing fair? 
Farewell : thou canst not teach me to forget. 

Ben. I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt. 





SCENE II. in« 

Scene II. — A Street. 
Enter Capulet, Paris, and Servant. 

Cap. Bwt Montague is bound as well as I, 
In penalty alike ; and 'tis not hard, I think, 
For men so old as we to keep the peace. 

Par. Of honourable reckonins^ are you both; 
And pity 'tis, you liv'd at od<is so loni;. 
But now, my lord, what say you to my suit? 

Cap. But saying o'er what 1 have said before ; 
My child is yet a stranger in the world, 
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years : 
Let two more sumniei-s wither in their pride, 
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride. 

Par. Younger than she are happy mothers made 

Cup. And too soon marr'd are those so early made. 
Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she, 
She is the hopeful lady of my earth : 
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart, 
My will to her consent is but a part ; 
An she agree, within her scope of choice 
Lies my consent and fair according voice. 
This night I hold an old accustom'd feast, 
Whereto I have invited many a guest. 
Such as I love ; and you among the store. 
One more most welcome, makes my number more. 
At my poor house look to behold this night 
Earth-treading stars, that make dark heaven light : 
Such comfort, as do lusty young men feel, 
When well-apparel'd April on the heel 
Of limping winter treads, even such delight 
Among fresh female buds shall you this night 
Inherit at my house : hear all, all see, 
And like her most, whose merit most shall be : 
Which, on more view of many, mine being one. 
May stand in number, though in reckoning none. 
Come, go with me. — Go, sirrah, trudge about 
Through fair Verona; find those persons out. 
Whose names are written there, and to them say, 

[Givini:: a paper. 
My house and welcome on theu" pleasure stay. 

[Exeunt Capulet and Paris. 

Serv. Find them out, whose names are written 
here ? It is written, that the shoemaker should 
meddle with his yard, and the tailor with his last, 
the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his 
nets ; but I am sent to find those persons, whose 
names are here writ, and can never find wliat names 
the writing person hath here writ. I must to the 
learned : — in good time. 

Enter Benvolio and Romeo. 

Ben. Tut, man! one fire burns out another's burning. 

One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish ; 
Turn giddy, and I)e holp by backward turning; 

One des|)erate grief cures with another's languish : 
Take thou some new infection to thy eye, 
And the rank poison of the old will die. 

Rom. ^'our plantain leaf is excellent for that. 
Ben. For what, I pray thee ? 
Bom. For your broken shin. 

Ben. Why, Romeo, art thou mad ? 
Bmn. Not mad, but bound more than a madman 
is : 
Shut up in prison, kept without my food, 
Whipp'd, and tormented, and — (tood-dcn, good 
iSerj;. Gcid gi' good den. — 1 \n"\\, sir, can you 

Bom. Ay, mine own fortune in my misery. 

Serv. Perhaps you have learn'd it without book; 
but I pray, can you read any thing you see ? 

Rum. Ay, if 1 know the letters, and the language. 
Serv. Ye say honestly. Rest you meny. 
Rom. Stay, fellow ; 1 can read. [Reads. 

" Signior Martino, and his wife, and daughters ; 
County Anselme, and his beauteous sisters; the 
lady widow of \'itruvio ; Signior Placentio, and his 
lovely nieces ; Mercutio, and his brother Valentine ; 
mine uncle Capulet, his wife, and daughters ; my 
fair niece Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio, and 
his cousin Tybalt ; Lucio, and the lively Helena." 

A fair assembly ; whither should they come ] 

Serv. Up. 

Rom. Whither ? to supper ? 

Serv. To our house. 

Rom. Whose house ? 

Serv. My master's. 

Rom. Indeed, I should have asked jou that before. 

Serv. Now, I'll tell you without asking. My 
master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not 
of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush 
a cup of wine. Rest you meny. [Exit. 

Ben. At this same ancient feast of Capulel's 
Sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so lov'st, 
With all the admired beauties of Verona : 
Go thither; and, with vniattainted eye, 
Compare her face with some that I shall show, 
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow. 

Rom. When the devout religion of mine eye 

Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires ; 
And these, who, often drown'd, could never die, 

Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars. 
One fairer than my love ! the all-seeing sun 
Ne'er saw her match, since first the world begun. 

Ben. Tut ! you saw her fair, none else being by. 
Herself pois'd with herself in either eye ; 
But in those ciyslal scales, let there be weigh'd 
Your lady's love against some other maid. 
That I will show you shining at this feast, 
And she shall scant show well, that now shows best. 

Rom. I'll go along, no such sight to be shoAvn, 
But to rejoice in splendour of mine own. [Exeunt. 

Scene HI. — A Room in Capulet's House. 
Enter Lady Capulet and Nurse. 

La. Cap. Niuse, Where's my daughter? call her 

forth to me. 
Nurse. Now, by my maiden-head at twelve year 
I bade her come. — What, lamb ! what, lady-bird I — 
Gud forbid! — where's this girl? — what, Juliet! 

Enter Juliet. 

Jill. How now! who calls? 

Nurse. Your mother. 

Jul. Madam, I am here. 

What is your will ? 

La. Caj). This is the matter. — Nurse, give leave 
We must talk in secret. — Nurse, come back again : 
T have remcnilxM'd me, thou slialt hear om- counsel. 
Thou know'sl my daughter's of a pretly age. 

Nvrse. 'Faith, 1 can tell her age unto an hoiu. 

La. Ca2). She's not fourteen. 

Nurse. Ill l;iy fourteen of my teeth. 

And yet to my teen be il s])oken T liave but four, 
She is not fourteen. How long is it now 
To Lammas-tide ? 




La. Cap. A fortniirht, and odd days. 

Nurse. Even or odd, of all days in the year, 
Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen. 
Susan and she, — God rest all Christian souls ! — 
"Were of an age. — Well, Susan is with God ; 
She was too good for me. But, as I said, 
On Lammas-eve at night sliall she be fourteen ; 
That shall she, marry : I remember it well. 
'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years ; 
And she was wean'd, — I never shall forget it, — 
Of all the days of the year, upon that day ; 
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug. 
Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall: 
My lord and you were then at Mantua.^ 

Nay, I do bear a brain : — but, as I said, 

Wlien it did taste the wonnwood on the nipple 

Of my dug, and felt it bitter, pretty fool, 

To see it tetchy, and fallout with the dug! 

Shake, quoth the dove-house : 'twas no need, I trow, 

To bid me trudge. 

And since that time it is eleven years ; 

For then she could stand alone ; nay, by the rood, 

She could have run and waddled all about. 

For even the day before she broke her brow : 

And then my husband — God be with his soul ! 

'A was a meny man, — took up the child : 

" Yea," qtioth he, " dost thou fall upon thy face ? 

Thou wilt fall backward, when thou hast more wit ; 


Wilt thou not, Jule ?" and, by my holy-dam, 
The pretty wretch left ciying, and said — " Ay." 
To see, now, how a jest shall come about! 
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years, 
I never should forget it: "Wilt thou not, Jule ?" 

quoth he ; 
And, pretty fool, it stinted, and said — "Ay." 
La. Cap. Enough of this : I pray thee, hold thy 

Nurse. Yes, madam. Yet I cannot choose but 

To think it should leave ciying, and say — "Ay :" 

I And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow 
^ A bump as big as a young cockrel's stone, 
A perilous knock ; and it cried bitterly. 
" Yea," quoth my husband, "fall'st upon thy face? 
Thou wilt foil backward, when thou com'st to age; 
Wilt thou not, Jule ?" it stinted, and said — " Ay." 
Jul. And stint tliou too, I jiray tliee, nurse, say 1. 
Nurse. Peace, I have done. God mark thee to 
his grace ! 
Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nurs'd : 
An I might live to see thee married once, 
I have my wish. 





La. Cap. Mairy, that marry is the very theme 
I came to talk of: — tell me, daiiijhter Juliet, 
IIow stands your disposition to be married? 

Jul. It is an honour that I dream not of. 

Nurse. An honour! were not I thine only ninvse, 
I would say, thou hadst sucked wisdom from thy teat. 

La. Cap. Well, think of marriage now ; younger 
than you, 
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, 
Are made already mothers : by my count, 
I was your mother, much upon these years 
That you are now a maid. Thus, then, in brief ;^ 
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love. 

Nurse. A man, young lady ! lady, such a man, 
As all the world — Why, he's a man of wax. 

La. Caj). Verona's summer hath not such a 

Nurse. Nay, he's a flower ; in fiiith, a very flower. 

La. Cap. What say you ? can you love the gen- 
tleman ? 
This night you shall behold him at our feast: 
Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face, 
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen. 
Examine every married lineament. 
And see how one another lends content ; 
And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies, 
Find written in the margin of his eyes. 
This precious book of love, this unbound lover. 
To beautify him, only lacks a cover : 
The fish lives in the sea ; and 'tis much pride. 
For fair without the fair within to hide. 
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory, 
That in gold clasps locks in the golden story ; 
So shall you share all that he doth possess, 
By having him making yourself no less. 

Nurse. No less ? nay, bigger : women grow by 

La. Cap. Speak briefly, can you like of Paris' 
love ? 

Jul. I'll look to like, if looking liking move ; 
But no more deep will I endart mine eye, 
Thau your consent gives strength to malie it fly. 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv. Madam, the guests are come, supper served 
up, you called, my young lady asked for, the nurse 
cursed in the pantry, and every thing in extremity. 
I must hence to wait ; I beseech you, follow 

La. Cap. We follow thee. Juliet, the county 

Nurse. Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy 
days. \_E.reunt. 

Scene IV. — A Street. 

Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, with five or 
six Maskers, Torch-bearers, and others. 

Rom. What, shall this speech be spoke for our 
Or shall we on withovit apology ? 

Ben. The date is out of such prolixity: 
We'll have no Cu])id hood-wink'd with a scarf, 
Bearing a Tartar's f)aint('d how of lath. 
Scaring the ladies like a crow-kee])er; 
Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke 
After the ])rompter, for our entrance: 
But, let them measure us by what they will. 
We'll measure them a measui'e, and be gone. 

Rom. Give me a torch ; I am not for this ambling : 
Being but heavy, I will bear the light. 


Mer. Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you 

Rom. Not I, believe me. You have dancing 
With nimble soles ; I have a soul of lead. 
So stakes me to the ground, I cannot move. 

Mer. You are a lover : borrow Cupid's wings, 
And soar with them above a common bound. 

Rum. I am too sore enpierced with his shaft. 
To soar with his light feathers ; and so bound, 
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe : 
Under love's heavy burden do I sink. 

Mer. And, to sink in it, should you burden love; 
Too great oppression for a tender thing. 

Rom. Is love a tender thing ? it is too rough. 
Too rude, too boisterous ; and it pricks like thorn. 

Mer. If love be rough with you, be rough with 
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down. — 
Give me a case to put my visage in : 

[Putting on a mask. 
A visor for a visor ! — what care I, 
What curious eye doth quote deformities ? 
Here are the beetle-brows shall blush for me. 

Ben. Come, knock, and enter; and no sooner in. 
But eveiy man betake him to his legs. 

Rom. A torch for me : let wantons, light of heart, 
Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels ; 
For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase, — 
I'll be a candle-holder, and look on : 
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done. 

Mer. Tut ! dun's the mouse, the constable's own 
If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire 
Of this save-reverence love, wherein thou stick'st 
Up to the ears. — Come, we burn day-light, ho. 

Rom. Nay, that's not so. 

Mer. I mean, sir, in delay 

We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day. 
Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits 
Five times in that, ere once in our five wits. 

Rom. And we mean well in going to this mask, 
But 'tis no wit to go. 

Mer. Why, may one ask ? 

Rom. I dreamt a dream to-night ? 

Mer. And so did I. 

Rom. Well, what was yours ? 

Mer. That dreamers often lie. 

Rom. In bed asleep, while they do dream things 

Mer. O ! then, I see, queen Mab hath been with 
She is the fairies' luidwife ; and she comes 
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 
On the fore-finger of an alderman, 
Drawn with a team of little atomies 
Over men's noses as they lie asleep : 
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs ; 
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ; 
The traces, of the smallest spider's web ; 
The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams : 
Her whip, of cricket's bone ; the lash, of film : 
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat. 
Not half so big as a romid little worm 
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid. 
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut. 
Made by the joiner s(]uirrel, or old grub. 
Time out of mind the fairies' coach-makers. 
And in this state she gallops night by night 
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of 
love : 




On courtiers' knees, that dream on comt'sies 

straight : 
O'er lawyers' tingei-s, who straight dream on fees: 
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream ; 
Which oft the angi'y Mab with blisters plagues. 
Because their breatlis with sweet-meats tainted 

Soinetime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose, 
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit : 
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail, 
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep ; 
Then he dreams of another benefice. 
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck, 
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, 
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, 
Of healths five fathom deep ; and then anon 
Drums in his ear, at which he starts, and wakes ; 
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two, 
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab, 
That plats the manes of horses in the night ; 
And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs. 
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes. 
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs. 
That presses them, and learns them first to bear, 

Making them women of good carnage. 
This, is she — 

Rom. Peace, peace! Mercutio, peace ! 

Thou talk'st of nothing. 

Mer. True, I talk of dreams, 

Which are the children of an idle brain, 
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy ; 
Which is as thin of substance as the air; 
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos 
Even now the frozen bosom of the north, 
And, being anger'd, puft's away from thence. 
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south. 

Ben. This wind, you tallv of, blows us from our- 
selves ; 
Supper is done, and we shall come too late. 

Roni. I fear, too early ; for my mind misgives. 
Some consequence, j'et hanging in the stars. 
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date 
With this night's revels ; and expire the term 
Of a despised life, clos'd in my breast. 
By some vile forfeit of untimely death : 
But He, that hath the steerage of my course. 
Direct my sail. — On, lusty gentlemen. 

Ben. Stiike, drum. [Exeunt 


('Court-cupboard,' and Plate.) 

Scene V. — A Hall in Capulet's House. 
Musicians waiting. Enter Servants. 

1 Serv. Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take 
away ? he shift a trencher ! he scrape a trencher ! 

2 Serv. When good manners shall lie all in one 
or two men's hands, and they unwashed too, 'tis a 
foul thing. 

1 Serv. Away with the joint-stools, remove the 
court-cupboard, look to the plate. — Good thou, save 





me a piece of marchpane ; and, as thou lovest me, 
let the porter let in Susan Grindstone, and Nell. — 
Antony I and Potpan ! 
2 Scrv. Ay, boy ; ready. 

1 Scrv. You are looked for, and called for, asked 
for, and sought for, in the great chamber. 

2 Serv. We cannot be here and there too. — 
Cheerly, boys : be brisk awhile, and the longer 
liver take all. [^''^c^ retire behind. 

Enter Capulet, <5*c., uifh the Guests, and the 


Cap. Welcome, gentlemen! Ladies that have 

their toes 
Unplagu'd with corns, will have a bout with you : — 
Ah ha, my mistresses ! which of you all 
Will now deny to dance ? she that makes dainty, 

I'll swear, hath corns. Am I come near you now ? 
You are welcome, gentlemen ! 1 have seen the day, 
That I have worn a visor, and could tell 
A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear. 
Such as would please : — 'tis gone, 'tis gone, 'tis 

You are welcome, gentlemen ! — Come, musicians, 

A hall ! a hall ! give room, and foot it, girls. 

[Music 2)laijs, and they dance. 
More light, ye knaves ! and turn the tables up, 
And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot. — 
Ah ! sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well. 
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Cajmlet, 
For you and I are past our dancing days : 
How long is't now, since last yourself and 1 
Were in a mask ? 

2 Cap. By'r lady, thirty years. 

1 Cap. What, man ! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so 

'Tis since the nuptial of Luccntio, 
Come Pentecost as quickly as it will. 
Some five and twenty years; and then we mask'd. 

2 Cap. 'Tis more, 'tis more : his son is elder, sir ; 
His son is thirty. 

1 Cap. Will you tell me that? 

His son was but a ward two years ago. 

Rom. What lady is that, which doth enrich the 
Of yonder knight? 

Scrv. I know not, sir. 

Rom. O! she doth teach the torches to bum 
Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night 
Like a rich jewel in an TEthiop's ear; 
Beauty too rich for use, for earlli too dear! 
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows. 
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. 
The measure done, I'll watcli her ])lace of stand, 
And, tf)uching hei-s, make blessed my rude hand. 
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! 
I never saw true beauty till this night. 

Tijh. This, by his voice, should he a Montague. — 
Fetch me my rapier, boy. — A\'hat ! dares the slave 
Come hither, cover'd with an antic face, 
To fleer and scorn at our solenuiity? 
Now, l)y the stork and honour of my kin, 
To strike him dead 1 hold it not a sin. 

1 Cap. Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore 
storm you so ? 

T///). I'ncle, this is a Montague, our foe; 
A villain, that is hither com(> in sjjite. 
To scorn at our solemnity this night. 


1 Cap. Young Romeo is it ? 


Tis he, that villain Romeo. 

1 Cap. Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone, 
He bears him like a portly gentleman ; 
And, to say tnuh, Verona brags of him, 
To be a virtuous and well-goveni'd youth. 
I would not for the wealth of all this town, 
Here, in my house, do him disparagement ; 
Therefore, be i)atient, take no note of him : 
It is my will ; the which if thou respect. 
Show a fair presence, and put of!" these frowns, 
An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast. 

Tyh. It fits, when such a villain is a guest. 
I'll not endure him. 

1 Cap. He shall be endur'd : 

What ! goodman boy ! — I say, he shall ; — go to ; — 
Am I the master here, or you? go to. 
You'll not endure him! God shall mend my soul — 
You'll make a nuitiny among my guests. 
You will set cock-a-hoop! you'll be the man ' 

Tijh. Why, uncle, 'tis a shame. 

1 Cap. Go to, go to ; 

You are a saucy boy. — Is't so, indeed ? — 
This trick may chance to scath you ; — I know what. 
You must contrary me ! marry, 'tis time — 
Well said, my hearts ! — You are a princox ; go : — 
Be quiet, or — More light, more light I — for shame ! 
I'll make you quiet ; — What ! — Cheerly, my hearts ! 

Tyh. Patience perforce with wilful choler meet- 
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting. 

I will withdraw : but this intmsion shall, 
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitter gall. [Exit. 
Rom. If I profane with my un^vorthiest hand 

[To JuLir.T. 
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this, — 
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand 

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. 
Jul. Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too 
Which mannerly devotion shows in this ; 
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch. 
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss. 
Rom. Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? 
Jul. Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in 

Rom. O ! then, dear saint, let lips do what hands 
do ; 
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to des- 
Jul. Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' 

Rom. Then move not, wliile my prayer's effect 
I take. 
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg'd. 

[Kiss ins her. 
Jul. Then have my lips the sin that they have 

Rom. Sin from my lips? O, trespass sweetly 
urg'd ! 
Give me my sin again. 

Jul. You kiss by the I)ook. 

Nurse. Madam, your mother craves a word with 

Rojn. What is her mother? 
Nurse. Marry, bachelor. 

Her mother is the lady of the house. 
And a good lady, and a wise, and virtuous. 
I nurs'd her daiighlcr, that you talk'd \yithal; 
I tell you — he that can lay hold of her 
Shall have the chinks. 




Rom. Is she a Capulet ? 

O, dear account ! my life is my foe's debt. 

Ben. Away, begone : the sport is at the best. 

Rom. Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest. 

1 Cap. Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone ; 
We have a trifling foolish banqiiet towards. — 
Is it e'en so ? Why then, I thank you all ; 
I thank you, honest gentlemen ; good night : — 
More torches here I — Come on, then let's to bed. 
Ah, sirrali, by my fay, it waxes late ; 
I'll to my rest. 

[Exeunt all but Juliet and Nurse. 

Jul. Come hither, nurse. What is yond' gen- 
tleman ? 

Nurse. The son and heir of old Tiberio. 

Jul. What's he, that now is going out of door ? 

Nurse. Marry, that, I think, be young Petruchio. 

Jul. What's he, that follows here, that would 
jiot dance ? 

Nurse. I know not. 

Jul. Go, ask his name. — If he be married, 
My grave is like to be my wedding bed. 

Nurse. His name is Romeo, and a Montague ; 
The only son of your great enemy. 

Jul. My only love sprung from my only hate I 
Too early seen unknown, and known too late ! 
Prodigious birth of love it is to me, 
That I must love a loathed enemy. 

Nurse. What's this ? what's this ? 

Jul. A rhyme I learn'd even now 

Of one I danc'd withal. [One calls within, Juliet ! 

Nurse. Anon, anon : 

Come, let's away ; the strangers all are gone. 


Enter Chorus. 

Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie. 

And young affection gapes to be his heir : 
That fair, for which love groan'd for, and would die, 

With tender Juliet match'd is now not fair. 
Now Romeo is belov'd, and loves again. 

Alike bewitched by the charm of looks ; 
But to his foe suppos'd he must complain. 

And she steal love's sweet bait from fearful hooks : 
Being held a foe, he may not have access 

To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear ; 
And she as much in love, her means much less 

To meet her new-beloved anywhere : 
But passion lends them power, time, means, to meet. 
Tempering extremities with extreme sweet. [Exit. 



ScK.NE 1. — J" <>/>in Place, aJ joining Cai'Ulkt's 

Kilter Romeo. 

Rnm. C;ui I go fonvanl, wlif ii my licart is lieic? 
Turn l)atk, dull eaith, and liiid tliy ((litre out. 
[He climbs the wall., and leaps down within it. 

Enter Bknvolio and Mercutio. 

Ben. Romeo! my cousin Romeo ! Romeo! 

Mer. He is wise; 

And, on my life, hath stoliii liiiu Iidimc to bed. 

Ben. Ill' ran tins wav, and leap'd this orch;u'd 
Call, good Mercutio. 

j\fir. Nay, I'll ron'nnv too. — 

Koni<-o, humours, madman, passion, lover! 
A|)|>i'ar thou in the likeness of a sii:h : 
S|)eal\ but one rliyme, and I am satisfied; 
(!ry but — Ah me ! pronouiue but — love and dove ; 
Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word. 
One niek-name for her purblind son and heir, 
Young Adam ('n|)id, he that shot so trim, 
When king {'(»i)hetua lov'd the beggar-maid. — 
lie heareih not, he siirreih not, he nioveih not; 
The a|)e is dead, and I must conjure liim.^ 
I conjure ihee by Uosaliiie's iiright eyes, 
Hy her high fondiead, and her scarlet lip. 
By her fine f((ot. straiLiht lee, and (]uivering tliigli, 
And the demesnes thai there adjaceiil lie, 
That in iliv likeness tlion appear to us. 

Bin. An if he hear thee, thou wilt anger him. 
Mrr. Thi.s cannot anger him : 'twould anger him 
To raise a spirit in his mistress' circle 

Of some strange nature, letting it there stand 
Till slie had laid it, and conjur'd it down ; 
That were some spite. My invocation 
Is fair and honest, and, in his mistress' name, 
I conjure only but to raise up him. 

Ben. Come, he hath hid himself among these 
To be consorted with the humorous night : 
Blind is his love, and best befits the dark. 

Mcr. If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark. 
Now will he sit under a medlar tree, 
And wish his mistress were that kind of fiaiit, 
As maids call medlars when they laugh alone. — 
Romeo, good night: — I'll to my truckle-bed; 
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep. 
Come, shall we go? 

Ben. Go, then ; for 'tis in vain 

To seek him here, that means not to be found. 


Scene II. — Capulet's Garden. 

Enter Romeo. 

Rom. lie jests at scars, that never felt a wound. — 

[JuLiKT appears above, at a window. 

But, soft! what light through yonder window 

breaks ? 
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun ! — 
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, 
Who is already sick anil jiale with grief. 
That ihou, her maid, art far more fair than she: 
Mi', not her maid, since she is envious ; 
Her vestal livery is but sick and green, 
And none but fools do wear it ; cast it oft'. — 
It is my lady ; O ! it is my love : 




O, that she knew she were ! — 

She speaks, yet she says nothing : what of that ? 

Her eye discourses, I will answer it. — 

I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks : 

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven. 

Having some business, do entreat her eyes 

To twinkle in tlieir spheres till they return. 

Wliat if her eyes were there, they in her head ? 

The brightness of her cheek would shame those 

As daylight doth a lamp : her eyes in heaven 
Would through the airy region stream so bright. 
That birds would sing, and think it were not night. 
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand ! 
O ! that I were a glove upon that hand, 
That I might touch that cheek. 

Jul. Ah me ! 

Rom. She speaks : 

O, speak again, bright angel ! for thou art 
As glorious to this night, being o'er my head. 
As is a winged messenger of heaven 
Unto the white-upturned wond'ring eyes 
Of mortals, that fall back to gaze on him, 
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds, 
And sails upon the bosom of the air. 

Jul. O Romeo, Romeo ! wherefore art thou Ro- 

meo ; 

Deny thy father, and refuse thy name : 
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, 
And I'll no longer be a Capidet. 

Rom. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at 
this ? 

Jul. 'Tis but thy name, that is my enemy: 
Thou art thyself though, not a INIontague. 
What's Montague ? it is nor hand, nor foot, 
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part 
Belonging to a man. O ! be some other name. 
What's in a name ? that which we call a rose, 
By any other name would smell as sweet ; 
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, 
Retain that dear perfection which he owes, 
AVithout that title. — Romeo, doff thy name ; 
And for thy name, which is no pait of thee, 
Take all myself. 

Rom. I take thee at thy word. 

Call me but love, and I'll be new baptiz'd ; 
Henceforth I never will be Romeo. 

Jul. What man ait thou, that, thus bescreen'd 
in night. 
So stumblest on my counsel ? 

Rom. By a name 

I know not how to tell thee who I am : 
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself, 
Because it is an enemy to thee : 
Had I it written, I would tear the word. 

Jul. My ears have yet not drank a hundred words 
Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound. 
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague ? 

Rom. Neither, fair saint, if either thee displease. 

Jul. How cam'st thou hither, tell me ? and 
wherefore ? 
The orchard walls are high, and hard to climb ; 
And the place death, considerinc; who thou ait. 
If any of my kinsmen find thee here. 

Rom. With love's light wings did I o'erperch 
these walls ; 
For stony limits cannot hold love out : 
And what love can do, that dares love attempt ; 
Therefore, thy kinsmen are no stop to me. 

Jul. If they do see thee, they will murder thee. 

Rom. Alack ! there lies more peril in thine eye, 

Than twenty of their swords : look thou but sweet, 
And I am proof against their enmity. 

Jul. I would not for the world they saw thee 

Rom. I have night's cloak to hide me from their 
eyes ; 
And but thou love me, let them find me here : 
My life were better ended by their hate. 
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love. 

Jul. By whose direction fouud'st thou out this 
place ? 

Rom. By love, that first did prompt me to inquire ; 
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes. 
I am no pilot ; yet wert thou as far 
As that vast shore wash'd with the furthest sea, 
I would adventure for such merchandise. 

Jul. Thou kuow'st the mask of night is on my 
face ; 
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek, 
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night. 
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny 
What I have spoke : but farewell compliment ! 
Dost thou love me ? I know thou wilt say — Ay ; 
And I will take thy word ; yet, if thou swear'st. 
Thou may'st prove false : at lovers' perjuries, 
They say, Jove laughs. O, gentle Romeo ! 
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully : 
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won, 
I'll frown, and be pen'erse, and say thee nay. 
So thou wilt woo ; but, else, not for the world. 
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond ; 
And therefore thou may'st think my 'haviour light : 
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true 
Than those that have more cunning to be strange. 
I should have been more strange, I must confess, 
But that thou over-heard'st, ere I was 'ware. 
My true love's passion : therefore, pardon me ; 
And not impute this yielding to light love. 
Which the dark night hath so discovered. 

Rom. Ladv, by yonder blessed moon I swear, 
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops, — 

Jul. O ! swear not by the moon, th' inconstant 
That monthly changes in her circled orb. 
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. 

Rom. What shall I swear by? 

Jul. Do not swear at all ; 

Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self, 
Which is the god of my idolatry, 
And I'll beheve thee. 

Rom. If my heart's dear love — 

Jul. Well, do not swear. Although I joy in 
I have no joj^ of this contract to-night : 
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden ; 
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be. 
Ere one can say it lightens. Sweet, good night! 
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath. 
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. 
Good night, good niglit ! as sweet repose and rest 
Come to thy heart, as that within my breast ! 

Rom. O ! wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied ? 

Jul. What satisfaction canst thou have to-night? 

Rom. Th' exchange of thy love's faithful vow 
for mine. 

Jul. I gave thee mine before thou didst request it; 
And yet I would it were to give again. 

Rom. Would'st thou withdraw it ? for what pur- 
pose, love ? 

Jul. But to be frank, and give it thee again ; 
And yet I wish but for the thing I have. 






Rom. A thousand times the worse, to want thy 
Love goes toward love, as school-boys from their 

But love from love, toward school with heavy looks. 


Re-enter Juliet, above. 

Jul. Hist ! Romeo, hist ! O, for a falconer's voice, 
To lure this tercel-gentle back again ! 
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud ; 
Else would I tear the cave where echo lies. 
And make her airy voice more hoarse than mine 
With repetition of my Romeo's name. 

Rom. It is my soul, that calls upon my name: 
How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night, 
Like softest music to attending eais ! 

Jul. Romeo ! 

Rom. My dear ! 

Jul. At what o'clock to-morrow 

Shall I send to thee ? 

Rom. By the hour of nine. 

Jul. I will not fail : 'tis twenty years till then. 
I have forgot why I did call thee back. 

Rom. Let me stand here, till thou remember it. 

Jul. I shall forget to have thee still stand there. 
Remembering how I love thy company. 

Rom. And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,' 
Forgetting any other home biU this. 

Jul. 'Tis almost morning, I would have thee 
And yet no further than a wanton's bird, 

- lM^^^/5.^^^; >'■■"•»'.;;,• t.- ^, 

My bounty is as boundless as the sea. 
My love as deep; the more I give to thee, 
The more I have, for both are infinite. 

[Nur.sp calls within. 
I hear some noise within : dear love, adieu I — 
Anon, good nurse ! — Sweet Montague, be true. 
Stay but a little, I will come again. [£.17/. 

Rom. O blessed blessed night ! T am afeard. 
Being in night, all this is but a dieam, 
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial. 

Re-enter Juliet, above. 

Jul. Three words, dear Romeo, and good night, 
If that thy bent of love be honourable. 
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow, 
Bv one that I'll procure to come to thee. 
Where, and what time, thou wilt i)Pvform the rite ; 
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay. 
And follow thee my lord throughout the world. 

Nurse. [JVillnn.] Madam. 

Jul. I come, anon. — But if thou mean'st not well, 
I do beseech thee, — 

Nurse. [Within.] Madam. 

.Tul. By and by ; T come. — 

To cease thy strife, and leave me to my grief : 
To-morrow will I send. 

Rom. So thrive my soul, — 

Jul. A thousand times good night ! [Exit. 






Who lets it hop a Uttle from her hand, 
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves, 
And with a silk thread plucks it back again, 
So loving-jealons of his liberty. 

Rom. I would, I were thy bird. 

Jul. Sweet, so would I : 

Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing. 
Good night, good night : parting is such sweet sor- 
That I shall say good night, till it be morrow. 


Rom. Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy 
breast ! — 
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest ! 
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell ; 
His help to crave, and my good hap to tell. [Exit. 

Scene III. — Friar Laurence's Cell. 

Enter Friar Laurence, with a basJcet. 

Fri. The grey-ey'd morn smiles on the frown- 
ing night, 
Checquering the eastern clouds with streaks of light ; 
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels 
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels : 
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye 
The day to cheer, and night's dank dew to dry, 
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours. 
With baleful weeds, and precious-juiced flowers. 
The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb ; 
What is her burying grave, that is her womb ; 
And from her womb children of divers kind 
We sucking on her natural bosom find : 
Many for many virtues excellent, 
None but for some, and yet all diff'erent. 
O ! mickle is the powerful grace that lies 
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities : 
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live 
But to the earth some special good doth give ; 
Nor aught so good, but strain'd from that fair use, 
Revolts from tnie birth, stumbling on abuse : 
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, 
And vice sometime'sby action dignified. 
Within the infant rind of this weak flower 
Poison hath residence, and medicine power : 
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each 

Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart. 
Two such opposed kings encamp them still 
In man as well as herbs, grace, and rude will ; 
And where the worser is predominant. 
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant. 

Enter Romeo. 

Rom. Good morrow, father ! 

Fri. Benedicite ! 

What early tongue so sweet saluteth me ? — 
Young son, it argues a distemper'd head. 
So soon to bid good mon-ow to thy bed : 
Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye, 
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie; 
But where unbruised youth, with unstuff''d brain. 
Doth couch his limbs, thrt-e golden sleep doth reign. 
Therefore, thy earliness doth me assure. 
Thou art up-rous'd by some distemperature : 
Or if not so, then here I hit it right — 
Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night. 

Rom. That last is true ; the sweeter rest was 

Fri. God pardon sin ! wert thou with Rosaline 1 

Rom. With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no ; 
I have forgot that name, and that name's woe. 
Fri. That's my good son : but where hast thou 

been, then ? 
Ro7n. I'll tell thee, ere thou ask it me again. 
I have been feasting with mine enemy ; 
Where, on a sudden, one hath wounded me, 
That's by me wounded : both our remedies 
Within thy help and holy physic lies : 
I bear no hatred, blessed man ; for, lo ! 
My intercession likewise steads my foe. 

Fri. Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift; 
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift. 

Rom. Then plainly know, my heart's dear love 
is set 
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet : 
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine ; 
And all combin'd, save what thou must combine 
By holy marriage. When, and where, and how, 
We met, we woo'd, and made exchange of vow, 
I'll tell thee as we pass ; but this I pray. 
That thou consent to many us to-day. 

Fri. Holy Saint Francis ! what a change is here ! 
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear. 
So soon forsaken ? young men's love, then, lies 
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes. 
Jesu Maria.' what a deal of brine 
Hath wash'd thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline ! 
How much salt water thrown away in waste 
To season love, that of it doth not taste ! 
The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears, 
Thy old groans ring yet in my ancient ears; 
Lol here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit 
Of an old tear that is not wash'd oft" yet. 
If e'er thou wast thyself, and these woes thine, 
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline : 
And art thou chang'd ? pronounce this sentence, 

then — 
Women may fall, when there's no strength in men. 

Rom. Thou chidd'st me oft for loving Rosaline. 

Fri. For doting, not for loving, pupil mine. 

Rom. And bad'st me bury love. 

Fri. Not in a grave, 

To lay one in, another out to have. 

Rom. I pray thee, chide not : she whom I love 
Doth grace for grace, and love for love allow : 
The other did not so. 

Fri. O ! she knew well, 

Thy love did read by rote, and could not spell. 
But come, young wavercr, come, go with me, 
In one respect I'll thy assistant be ; 
For this alliance may so happy prove. 
To turn your households' rancour to pure love. 

Rom. O ! let us hence : I stand on sudden haste. 

Fri. Wisely, and slow; they stumble that ran 
fast. [Exeunt. 

Scene IV.— ^ Street. 
Enter Benvolio and Mercutio. 
3fer. Where the devil should this Romeo be? — 
Came he not home to-night ? 

Ben. Not to his father's : I spoke with his man. 
Mcr. Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, 
that Rosaline, 
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad. 
Ben. Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet, 
Hath sent a letter to his father's house. 
Mer. A challenge, on my life. 
Ben. Romeo will answer it. 




Ar.v man iliat can wriic may answer a " my whole five. Was I with you there for the 



li,n. Nay, he will answer the letter's master, 
how lie (lares, l)ein;; dared. 

Mir. Alas, poor Romeo! he is already dead! 
stabbed with a white wench's black eye; run 
thoniujih the ear with a love-soiii; ; the very pin 
of his heart cleft with the l)lin(l bow-boy's butt- 
shalt ; and is he a man to encounter Tybalt? 

Ben. Why, what is Tybalt ? 

Mer. More than prince of cats, I can tell you. 
O! he is the couraiceous captain of comijliments. 
He fights as you siu^ prirk-son^j;, keeps lime, dis- 
tance, and |)r(iportion; rests me his minim rest, 
one, two, and the third in your bosom : the very 
butcher of a silk button, aduellist, aduellist ; a gen- 
tleman of the very first house, of the first and sec- 
ond cause. Ail, the immortal passado ! the puuto 
reverso ! the hav ! — 

Ben. The what 1 

Mer. The |)ox of such antic, lisping, affecting 
faiitasticoes, these new tuners of accents! — " ]5y 
Jesu, a very good blade! — a veiy tall man ! — a very 
good whore I" — Why ! is not this a lamentable 
thiiiii. grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted 
with these strange (lies, these fasliion-iiiongers, 
these i>iiri/(/nnrz-n'ji.s, who stand so much on tlie 
new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old 
bench ? U, their bans, their bons ! 


Ben. Here comes Romeo, here comes Romeo. 
,"l/» r. Without his roe, like a dried herring. — O 
flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! — Now is he for 
the numbers that Petrarch tlowed in : Laura, to 
his lady, was a kitchen-wench : — marry, she had a 
better love to bc-rhyme her : Dido, a dowdy ; Cleo- 
patra, a gipsy; Helen and Hero, hildings and liar- 
lots ; Tiiisbe, a grey eye or .so, but not to the pur- 
j)ose. — Si<;nior Komeo, btin jour! there's a French 
salutation to your French slop. You gave us the 
counterfeit fairly last night. 

Rom. (iood morrow to you both. AVhat coun- 
terfeit liiil I give you ? 

Mer. The slip, sir, the slip : can jou not con- 
ceive ? 

Rom. Pardon, good Mercutio, my business was 
great ; and in such a case as mine, a man may 
strain courtesv. 

M>r. That's as much as to say — such a case as 
yours constrains a man to bow in the hams. 
Rom. .^Ieaning — to courtesy. 

Thou hast most kindly hit it. 
A most <-(nirteous exposition. 
Nay, I am the very pink of courtesy. 
I^iiik for flower. 

Why. then is my pump well flowered. 
Wid! said: follow me tliis jt st now, till 
thou hast worn out thy pump; tliat, when the sin- 
gle sole of it is worn, the jest may remain, after 
the wearing, solely sih;.'ular. 

Rom. () .single-soled jest ! solely singular for the 

Mer. Come between us, good Bi-nvolio, for my 
wits fail. 

Rom. .Switch and sjuirs, switch and spurs ; or 
111 in- a maleh. 

Mt. Nay, if our wits nm the wild-coose chase 
I have done; for ihou hast more of the wild-gonse 
in one of thv wits, than. I am sure, I have in 



goose ; 

Rum. Thou wast never with me for any thing, 
when tliou wast not there fi)r the goose. 

Mer. 1 will bite thee iiy the ear for that jest. 

Rom. Nay, good goose, bite not. 

Mer. Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting ; it is a 
most sharp sauce. 

Rom. And is it not well seiTed in to a sweet 
goose ? 

Mer. O ! here's a wit of cheverel, that stretches 
from an inch narrow to an ell broad. 

Rom. 1 stretch it out for tliat word — broad : 
wliich added to the goose, pi-oves thee far and wide 
abroad — goose. 

Mer. Why, is not this better now than groaning 
for love 1 now art thou sociable, now art thou 
Komeo ; now art tliou what thou art, by art as well 
as by nature ; for this driveling love is like a great 
natural, that runs lolling up and down to hide his 
bauble in a hole. 

Ben. Stop there, stop there. 

Mer. Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against 
the hair. 

Ben. Thou would'st else have made thy tale large. 

Mer. O, thou ait deceived! I would have made 
it short ; for I was come to the whole depth of my 
tale, and meant, indeed, to occupy the aigument 
no longer. 

Rom. Here's goodly geer ! 

Enter Nurse and Peter. 

Mer. A sail, a sail ! 

Ben. Two, two; a shiit, and a smock. 

Nurse. Peter, pr'ythee give me my fan. 

Mer. Pr'ythee, do, good Peter, to hide her face ; 
for her fan's the fairer of the two. 

Nurse. God ye good monow, gentlemen. 

Mer. God ye good den, fair gentlewoman. 

Nurse. Is it good den ? 

Mer. 'Tis no less, I tell you ; for the bawdy hand 
of the dial is now uj)on the prick of noon. 

Nurse, (hit upon you! what a man are you. 

Rom. One, gentlewoman, that God hath made 
for himself to mar. 

Nurse. By my troth, it is well said ; — for himself 
to mar, rpioth'a ? — Gentlemen, can any of you tell 
me where 1 may find the young Romeo ? 

Rom. I can tell you ; but young Romeo will be 
older when you have found him, tlian he was when 
you sought him. I am the youngest of that name, 
for fault of a worse. 

Nurse. You say well. 

Mer. Yea! is "the worst well? veiy well took, 
i'faith ; wisely, wisely. 

Nurse. If you be he, sir, T desire some confidence 
with you. 

Hen. ^hr will indite liim to .some supper. 

Mer. A bawd, a bawd, a bawd ! So ho! 

Rnm. What hast thou found ? 

Mer. No hare, sir; unless a liare, sir. in a lenten 
pie, that is something stale and hoar ere it be spent. 

An eihl heire hoar, and an old hare hoar. 

Is rerij s<ind mrnt in lent: 
But a hare that is hoar, is too much for a score. 

When it hoars ere it he spent. — 

Romeo, will you come to yotir father's ? we'll to 
dinner thilher. ^ 

Rom. 1 will follow you. 

Mer. Farewell, ancient lady ; farewell, lady, lady, 
lady. \^Exeunt Mkrcutio and Bknvolio. 

Nurse. Marry, farewell! — I pray you, sir, what 
saucy merchant was this, that was so full of his 

Rom. A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear 
himself talk ; and w'ill speak more in a minute, than 
he will stand to in a month. 

Nurse. An 'a speak any thing against me, V\\ 
take him down, an 'a were lustier than he Ls, and 
twenty such Jacks ; and if I cannot, I'll find those 
that shall. Scui-vy knave ! I am none of his flirt- 
gills ; I am none of his skains-mates. — And thou 
must stand by, too, and suifer eveiy knave to use 
me at his pleasure ? 

Pet. I saw no man use you at his pleasure ; if I 
had, my weapon should quickly have been out, I 
warrant you. I dare draw as soon as another man, 
if I see occasion in a good quarrel, and the law on 
my side. 

Nurse. Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every 
])art about me quivers. — Scurvy knave I — Pray you, 
sir, a word ; and as I told you, my young lady bade 
me inquire you out : what she bid me say, I will 
keep to myself; but first let me tell ye, if ye should 
lead her in a fool's paradise, as they say, it were 
a very gross kind of behaviour, as they say, for 
the gentlewoman is young; and, therefore, if you 
should deal double with her, ti-uly, it were an ill 
thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very 
weak dealing. 

Rom. Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mis- 
tress. I protest unto thee, — 

Nurse. Good heart I and, i' faith, I will tell her 
as much. Lord, lord ! she will be a joyful woman. 
^ Rom. What wilt thou tell her, nurse ? thou dost 
not mark me. 

Nurse. I will tell her, sir, — that you do protest ; 
which, as I take it, is a gentlemanlike offer. 

Rom. B id her devise some means to come to shrift 
This afternoon ; 

And there she shall at friar Laurence' cell 
Be shriv'd, and married. Here is for thy pains. 

Nurse. No, truly, sir; not a penny. 

Rom. Go to, I say, you shall. 

Nurse. This afternoon, sir ? well, she shall be 





Rom. And stay, good nurse, behind the abbey- 
wall : 
Within this iiour my m;ui shall he with tliee. 
Ami biiiin tiu'f loiils made like a tackli'd stair; 
Which to the high top-gallant of my joy 
Must 1)1' my cuiivoy in the sorrot niiiht. 
Farcwfll !— Ui- iiiisty, and I'll '((uitc thy {lains. 
Karcwrll I — ('(immfiid me to thy mistress. 

yur^c. Now, God in heaven ble^s thee I — Hark 
you, sir. 

Rom. What say'st thou, my dear nurse? 

Nurse. Is your man sec ret ? Did yuu ne'er hear 
Two may kei-p counsel, j)uttii)g one away ? 

Rom. 1 warrant thee; uiy man's true as steel. Well, sir; my mistress is the sweetest 
lady — Ijord, lord I — when "twas a little jnating 
thing, — <)I — There's a nobleman in town, one 

Paris, that would fain lay knife aboard ; but she, 
good soul, had as lieve see a toad, a very toad, as 
see him. I anger her sometimes, and tell her that 
Paris is the properer man ; but, I'll warrant you, 
when I say so, she looks as pale as any clout in the 
varsal world. Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin 
both with a letter ? 

Rom. Ay, nurse; What of that? both with an R. 

Nurse. Ah, mocker! that's the dog's name. R 
is for thee ? no : I know it begins with some other 
letter ; and she has the prettiest sententious of it, 
of you and rosemaiy, that it would do you good to 
hear it. 

Rom. Commend me to thy lady. [Exit. 

Nurse. Ay, a thousand times. — Peter ! 

Pet. Anon ? 

Nurse. Peter, take my fan, and go before. 


Scene V. — Capulet's Garden. 
Enter Juliet. 

Jul. The clock struck nine, when 1 did send the 
nurse ; 
In half an hour she promis'd to return. 
Peri'hancc, she cannot meet him : — that's not so. — 
O! she is lame ■ love's heralds should be thoughts. 
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams 
Driving back shadows over lowering hills: 
Tlierelore do niml)le-|)inion'd doves draw love, 
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings. 
Now is the sun upon tlie highmost hill 
Of this day's journey ; and from nine till twelve 
Is three long hours, — yet she is not come. 
Had she alfeetions, and warm youthful blood, 
Slip'd be as swift in motion as a ball; 
My words would bamly her to my sweet love, 
And hi.s to mc : 


But old folks, many feign as they were dead ; 
Unwieldy, slow, heavy, and pale as lead. 

Enter Nurse and Peter. 

O God ! she comes. — O honey nurse ! what news ? 
Hast tliou met with him ? Send thy man away. 
Nurse. Peter, stay at the gate. [Exit Peter. 
Jul. Now, good sweet nurse, — O lord! why 
look'st thou sad ? 
Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily ; 
If good, thou sham'st the music of sweet news 
By playing it to me with so sour a face. I am aweary, give me leave awhile. — 
Fie, how my bones ache ! What a jaunt have 1 
had ! 
Jul. I would, thou liadst my bones, and I thy 
news : 
Nay, come, I pray thee, speak ; — good, good nurse, 




Nurse. Jesn, what haste I can you not stay 

awhile ? 
Do you not see, that I am out of breatli ? 

Jul. How art thou out of breath, when thou hast 

To say to nie — that thou art out of breath 1 
The excuse that thou dost make in this delay 
Is longer than the tale thou dost excuse. 
Is thy news good, or bad ? answer to that; 
Say either, and I'll stay the circumstance. 
Let me be satisfied, is't good or bad ? 

Xursc. Well, you have made a simple choice ; 
30U know not how to choose a man: Romeo! no, 
not he ; though his face be better than any man's, 
yet his leg excels all men's ; and for a hand, and a 
foot, and a body, — though they be not to be talked 
on, yet they are past compare. He is not the 
flower of courtesj', — but, I'll warrant him, as gen- 
tle as a lanrb. — Go thy ways, wench : serve God. — 
What, have you dined at home ? 

Jul. No, no : but all this did I know before. 
What says he of our marriage ? what of that ? 
Nurse. Lord, how my head aches ! what a head 

have I ! 
It beats as it would fall in twenty pieces. 
My back! o' t' other side. — O, my back, my 

back !— 
Beshrew your heart for sending me about. 
To catch my death with jaunting up and down. 
Jul. r faith, I am sorry that thou art not well. 

Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what saj^s my 
love ? 

Nurse. Your love says like an honest gentleman, 
And a courteous, and a kind, and a handsome, 
And, I warrant, a virtuous. — Where is your mother? 

.Jul. Where is my mother ? — why, she is within : 
Where should she be ? How oddly thou reply'st ; 
" Your love says like an honest gentleman, — 
Where is your mother?" 

Nurse. O, God's lady dear! 

Are you so hot ? ^laiTy, come up, I trow ; 
Is this the poultice for my aching bones ? 
Hencefonvard do your messages yourself. 

Jul. Here's such a coil — Come, what says Ro- 
meo ? 

Nurse. Have you got leave to go to shiift to-day ? 

Jul. I have. 

Nurse. Then, hie you hence to friar Laurence' 
There stays a husband to make you a wife : 
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks, 
They'll be in scarlet straight at any news. 
Hie you to church ; I must another way, 
To fetch a ladder, by the which your love 
Must climb a bird's nest soon, when it is dark : 
I am the drudge, and toil in your delight, 
But you shall bear the burdea soon at night. 
Go; I'll to dinner: hie you to the cell. 

Jul. Hie to high forttme ! — honest nurse, fare- 



(Nurse and Peter.) 

Scene VI. — Friar Laurence's cell. 
Enter Friar Laurence and Romeo. 

Fri. So smile the heavens upon this holy act. 
That after-hours with sorrow chide us not ! 

Rom. Amen, amen! but come what sorrow can, 
It cannot countervail the exchange of joy 


That one short minute gives me in her sight : 
Do thou but close our hands with holy words, 
Then love-devouring death do what he dare ; 
It is enough I may but call her mine. 

Fri. These violent delights have violent ends. 
And in their triumph die : like fire and powder. 
Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey 





Is loathsoiuf ill his own dfliciousness, 
Ami in tlie lastc ct)iik)un(ls the ;ip|)ftitc : 
Therefore, love moderately; lon^ love doth so; 
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. 

Enter Julikt. 

Hcie comes tlie lady. — O! so liilht a foot 
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint: 
A lover may ln-stride thi' ijossamers 
That idle in the wanton siinnner air, 
And yet not fall ; so liijht is vanity. 

Jul. (Jood even to my ghostly confessor. 

Fri. Romeo shall tllank thee, daughter, for us 

Jul. As much to him, else are his thanks too 

Rom. Ah, Juliet ! if the measure of thy joy 
Be heap'd like mine, and that thy skill be more 
To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath 
This neighbour air, and let rich music's tongue 
Unfold the imagin'd happiness, that both 
Receive in either by this dear encounter. 

Jul. Conceit, more rich in matter than in words, 
Brags of his substance, not of ornament : 
They are but beggars that can count their worth ; 
But my true love is grown to such excess, 
I cannot sum up half my sum of wealth. 

Fri. Come, come with me, and we will make 
short work ; 
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone, 
Till holy church incorporate two in one. 


ScEXE I. — A Public Place. 
Enter Mercutio, Benvolio, Page, and Servants. 

Ben. T jiray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire : 
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad. 
And if we meet we shall not 'scape a brawl ; 
P'or now, these hot days, is the mad blood stining. 

Mrr. Tiiou art like one of those fellows that, 
when he enters the confines of a tavern, claps me 
his sword upon the table, and says, " God send me 
no need of thee !" and, by the operation of the 
second cup, draws him on the drawer, when, in- 
deed, there is no need. 

Ben. Am I like such a fellow? 

Mer. Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy 
mood, as any in Italy ; and as soon moved to be 
moody, and as soon moody to be moved. 

Bfn. And what to .' 

Mer. Nay, and there were two such, we should 
have none shortly, for one would kill the other. 
Thou! wliy tliou wilt (|uarnl with a man thai hath 
a hair more, or a hair less, in his beard, than thou 
hast. Thou wilt ((uarrel with a man for cracking 
nuLs, having no other reason, but because tliou hast 
haze! eyes : what eye, but such an eye, would spy 
out such a (piarrel .' Thy head is as fidl of quar- 
n-ls, as an egg is full of meat ; and yet thy head 
hath l)een beaten as addle as an egg for quarrelling. 
Thou hast quarrelled with a man for coughing in 
the street, beciiuse he liath wakened thy dog that 
hath lain asleep iti tlie sun. Didst thou not fall 
out with a tailor for wearing his new doublet before 
Easter ? with another, for tying his new shoes with 
old riband 1 and yet thou wilt tutor me from quar- 
relling I 

Ben. An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, 

any man should buy the fee-simple of iny life for 
an hour and a quarter. 

Mer. The fee-siiuple ? O simple ! 

Ben. By my head, here come the Capulets. 

Enter Tybalt, and others. 

Mer. By my heel, I care not. 

Tyb. Follow me close, for I will speak to 
them. — 
Gentlemen, good den ! a word with one of you. 

Mer. And but one word with one of us ? Couple 
it with something ; make it a word and a blow. 

7')//>. You will find me apt enough to that, sir, 
if you will give me occasion. 

Mer. Could you not take some occasion without 
giving ? 

T>/b. Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo. — 

Mer. Consort ! w hat ! dost thou make us min- 
strels ? an thou make minstrels of us, look to hear 
nothing but discords : here's luy fiddlestick ; here's 
that shall make you dance. 'Zounds, consort ! 

Brn. We talk here in the jniblic haunt of men : 
Either withdraw unto some private place, 
Or reason coldly of your grievances, 
Or else depart ; here all eyes gaze on us. 

Mer. Men's eyes were made to look, and let 
them gaze : 
I will not biulge for no man's pleasure, I. 

Enter Romeo. 

Tijb. Well, peace be with you, sir. Here comes 

my man. 
Mer. But I'll be hang'd, sir, if he wear your 
lively : 
Marrj', go before to field, he'll be your follower ; 
Your worship, in that sense, may call him — man. 


Tyh. Romeo, the hate I bear thee, can afford 
No better term than this — thou art a villain. 

R(jm. Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee 
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage 
To such a greeting: — villain am I none ; 
Therefore farewell : I see, thou know'st me not. 

Tyh. Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries 
That thou hast done me ; therefore, turn and draw. 

Rom. I do protest, I never injur'd thee; 
But love thee better than thou canst devise. 
Till thou shall know the reason of my love : 
And so, good Capulet, — which name I tender 
As dearly as mine own, — be satisfied. 

Mer. O calm, dishonourable, vile submission ! 
A la stoccata carries it away. \^Draws. 

Tybalt, yaw rat-catcher, will you walk ? 

Tijh. What would'st thou have with me ? 

Mer. Good king of cats, nothing, but one of your 
nine lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and, 
as you shall use me hereafter, dry-beat the rest of 
the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his 
pilcher by the ears ? make haste, lest mine be 
about your ears ere it be out. 

Tyh. I am for you. \^Dratoing. 

Rom. Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up. 

Mer. Come, sir, your passado. [They fight. 

Rom. Draw, Benvolio ; 
Beat down their weapons : — gentlemen, for shame 
Forbear this outrage ! — Tybalt — Mercutio — 
The prince expressly hath forbid this bandying 
In Verona streets. — Hold, Tybalt I — good Mer- 
cutio ! [Exeunt Tybalt and his Partisans. 

Mer. I am hurt ; — 
A plague o' both the houses ! — I am sped : — 
Is he gone, and hath nothing ? 

Ben. What ! art thou hurt ? 

Mer. Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch ; marry, 'tis 
enough. — 
Where is my page ? — go, villain, fetch a surgeon. 

[Exit Page. 

Rom. Courage, man ; the hurt cannot be much. 

Mer. No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide 
as a church door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve : ask 
for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave 
man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world : — 
a plague o' both your houses ! — 'Zounds ! a dog, a 
rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death ! a 
braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book 
of arithmetic I— Why, the devil, came you between 
us ? I was hurt under your arm. 

Rom, I thought all for the best. 

ACT 111. 



sconi the earth. 

Mrr. Hilp me into some liouse, Benvolio, 
Or 1 shall laint.— A plague o' both your houses. 
They have made worms' meat of me : 
I have it, ami soundly too :— your houses! 

[[■:.r(ii>il iMK.KCL'Tio find Benvolio. 

Rom. This {rentleman, the princ<''s near ally, 
My very tVii-nd, liath s;ot his nioiial hurt 
In" my hehalf; my reputation stain'd 
Willi Tybalt's slander, Tybalt, that an hour 
Hath been my cousin ;— O sweet Juliet! 
Thy beauty liath made me elieminate. 
And in my temper soCten'd valour's steel. 
Ke-enler Benvolio. 

Ben. O Romeo, Romeo! brave Mercutio's dead; 
That irallant spirit hatli aspir'd tin 
Which too untimely here did 

Rom. This day's black fate on more days doth 
depend ; 
This but begins the woe, others must end. 

Re-enter Tybalt. 

Ben. Here comes the furious Tybalt back again. 

Rom. Alive! intriumi)hl and Mercutio slain ! 
Away to lieaven, respective lenity, 
Andfire-ev'd fury be my conduct now! 
Now, Tyball, take the villain back again, 
That late thou gav'st me ; for Mercutio's soul 
Is but a little way above our heads. 
Staying for thine to keep him company: 
Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him. 

Ti/h. Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort 
him here, 
Shalt with him hence. 

Ron. This shall determine that. 

[ Thei/ fifiht ; Tybalt falls. 

Ben. Romeo, away ! begone ! 
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain: — 
.Stand not ain;iz'd : — the prince will doom thee death, 
If thou art taken. — Hence I — be gone ! — away ! 

Rotn. O ! I am fortune's fool. 

Ben. Why dost thou stay ? 

[Exit Romeo. 
Enter Citizens, ^r. 

1 Cit. Which way ran he, that killed Mercutio ? 
Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he ? 

Ben. There lies that Tybalt. 

1 Cit. Up, sir : — go with me ; 

I charge thee in the prince's name, obey. 

Enter Prince, atlen fieri : Montague, Capulet, 
tlteir Wives, and others. 
Prin. Where are the vile beginners of this fray ? 
Ben. O noble jirince ! I can discover all 
The unlvuky manage of this fatal brawl: 
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo, 
That slew thv kinsman, brave iNIercutio. 

La. Cap. Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother's 
child ! 
O prince! O cousin! husband! O, the blood is spill'd 
Of my dear kinsman ! — Prince, as thou art true, 
For blood of r)urs slied blood of Montague. 
O cousin, cousin ! 

Prin. liciivolio, who began this bloodv fray? 
Ben. Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's liand 
did slay : 
Romeo that s|)oke him fair. i)ad(' him hcihink 
How nice ihc quarrrl was; ami urg'd wiilial 
Your hii:h displeasure : — all this, uttered 
With srentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow'd, 
Could not take truce with the unruly spleen 
Of Tybalt, deaf to peace, but that he tilts 


With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast ; 

Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point. 

And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats 

Cold death aside, and with the other sends 

It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity 

Retorts it. Romeo he cries aloud, 

"Hold, friends! friends, part!" and, swifter than 

his tongue, 
His agile arm beats down their fatal points. 
And 'twixt them rushes ; underneath whose aim, 
An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life 
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled ; 
But by and by comes back to Romeo, 
Who had but newly entertain'd revenge, 
And to't they go like lightning; for ere I 
Could draw to part them was stout Tybalt slain ; 
And as he fell did Romeo turn and fly. 
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die. 

La. Cap. He is a kinsman to the Montague ; 
Artection makes him false, he speaks not true : 
Some twenty of them fought in this black strife, 
And all those twenty could but kill one life. 
I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give : 
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live. 


Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio ; 

Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe ? 

31on. Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio's 
friend ; 
His fault concludes but what the law should end, 
The life of Tybalt. 

Prin. And for that offence, 

Immediately we do exile him hence : 
I have an interest in your hate's proceeding. 
My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a bleeding ; 
But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine, 
That you shall all repent the loss of mine. 
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses, 
Nor tears, nor prayers, shall purchase out abuses ; 
Therefore, use none: let Romeo hence in haste, 
Else, when he's found, that hour is his last. 
Bear hence this body, and attend our will: 
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill. 

[E. I emit. 

Scene II. — A Room in Capulet's House. 

Enter Juliet. 

Jul. Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, 
ToAvards Phirbus' mansion ; such a waggoner 
As Phaeton would whip you to the west, 
And bring in cloudy night immediately. — 
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night ! 
That, unawares, eyes may wink, and Romeo 
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of, and unseen! — 
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites 
By their own beauties ; or if love be blind. 
It best agrees with night. — Come, civil night, 
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black. 
And learn me how to lose a winning match, 
Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods : 
Hood my unmann'd blood, bating in luy cheeks. 
With thy black mantle; till strange love, groAvn bold, 
Think true love acted simple modesty. 
Come night, come Romeo, come tliou day in night; 
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night 
Whiter than new snow u))on a raven's b;u'k. — 
Come, gentle night ; come, loving, black-brow'd 

i "'S'lt, 

1 (rive me my Romeo : and, wlien he shall die, 

! Take him and cut him out in little stars, 

I And he will make the face of heaven so fine, 




That all the world will be in love with night, 

And pay no worship to the garish sun- — 

O, I have bought the mansion of a love, 

But not possess'd it ; and though 1 am sold, 

Not yet enjoy'd. So tedious is this day, 

As is the night before some festival 

To an impatient child that halh new robes. 

And may not wear them. O I here comes my nurse. 

Enter Nurse, uith cords. 

And she brings news ; and ev'ry tongue, that speaks 
But Romeo's name, speaks heavenly eloquence. — 
Now, nurse, what news ? What hast thou there ? 

the cords 
That Romeo bade thee fetch ? 

Nurse. Ay, ay, the cords. 

[Throws them doicn. 
Jul. Ah me ! what news ? why dost thou wring 
thy hands ? 

Nurse. Ah well-a-day I he's dead, he's dead, he's 
dead ! 
We are imdone, lady, we are undone ! — 
Alack the day! — he's gone, he's kill'd, he's dead ! 

Jul. Can heaven be so envious ? 

Nurse. Romeo can, 

Though heaven cannot. — O Romeo, Romeo ! — 
Who ever would have thought it? — Romeo I 

Jul. What devil art thou, that dost torment me 
thus ? 
This torture should be roar'd in dismal hell. 
Hath Romeo slain himself? say thou but /, 
And that bare vowel, /, shall poison more 
Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice : 
I am not I, if there be such an J; 
Or those eyes shut, that make thee answer, /. 
If he be slain, say — I ; or if not — no : 
Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe. 

Nurse. I saw the wovuid, I saw it with mine eyes, — 

God save the mark ! — here on his manly breast : 
A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse ; 
Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaub'd in blood. 
All in gore blood ; — I swounded at the sight. 

Jul. O break, my heait! — poor bankrupt, break 
at once ! 
To pj'ison, eyes; ne'er look on liberty: 
Vile earth, to earth resign : end motion here. 
And thou, and Romeo, press one heavy bier ! 

Nurse. O Tybalt, Tybalt I the best friend I had : 
O courteous Tybalt ! honest gentleman ! 
That ever I should live to see thee dead ! 

Jul. What storm is this that blows so contrary ? 
Is Romeo slaughter'd ? and is Tybalt dead ? 
My dear-lov'd cousin, and my dearer lord ? — 
Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom ; 
For who is living, if those two are gone? 

Nurse. Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banished: 
Romeo, that kill'd him, he is banished. 

Jid. O God ! — did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's 
blood ? 

Nurse. It did, it did ; alas the day ! it did. 

Jul. O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face ! 
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave ? 
Beautiful tyrant ! fiend angelical ! 
Dove-feather'd raven ! wolvish-ravening lamb ! 
Despised substance of divinest show ! 
Just opposite to what thou justly seem'st; 
A damned saint, an honourable villain I — 
O, nature ! what hadst thou to do in hell. 
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend 
In mortal paradise of such sweet flesh ? — 
Was ever book containing such vile m-itter. 
So fairly bound ? O, that deceit should dwell 
In such a gorgeous palace ! 

Nurse. There's no trust, 

No faith, no honesty in men ; all perjur'd, 
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers. — 
Ah ! Where's my man ? give me some aqua vitee : — 
These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me 

Shame come to Romeo ! 





Jul. Blister'd be thy tongue, 

For sucli a wisli ! lie was not born to shame: 
Upon his brow shame is asham'd to sit ; 
For 'tis a throne where honour may be crown'd 
.Sok' monarcli of the universal earth. 
U, what a beast was 1 to chide at him! 

Aurse. Will you speak well of him that kill'd 
your cousin ? 

Jul. Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband? 
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy 

When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it ? — 
But, wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin ? 
TUaX villain cousin would have kill'd my husband: 
Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring; 
Your tributary drops belong to woe, 
Which you, mistakins;, offer up to joy. 
My Inisband lives, that Tybalt would have slain ; 
And Tybalt's dead, that would have slain my hus- 
band : 
All this is comfort ; wherefore weep I then ? 
Some word there was, worser than Tybalt's death, 
That murder'd me. I would forget it fain ; 
But, O ! it presses to my memory. 
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners' minds: 
Tybalt is dead, and Romeo — banished ! 
That — banisheii, that one word — banished, 
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt's death 
Was woe enough, if it had ended there : 
Or, — if sour woe delights in fellowship. 
And needly will be ranked with other griefs, — 
Wiiy foliow'd not, when she said — Tybalt's dead. 
Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both. 
Which modern lamentation might have mov'd? 
But, with a rear-ward following Tybalt's death, 
Romeo is banished ! — to speak that word. 
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, 
All slain, all dead : — Romeo is banished ! — 
There is no end, no limit, measure, bound, 
In that word's death ; no words can that woe 

sound. — 
Where is my father, and my mother, nurse ? 

Nurse. Weeping and wailing over Tybalt's corse : 
Will you go to them ? I will bring you thither. 

Jul. Wash they his w^ounds with tears ? mine 
shall be spent. 
When theirs are dry, for Romeo's banishment. 
Take up those cords. — Poor ropes, you arebeguil'd, 
Both you and 1, for Romeo is exil'd : 
He made you for a highway to my bed. 
But I, a maid, die maiden-widowed. 
Come, cords ; come, nurse : I'll to my wedding bed; 
And deatii. not Romeo, take my maidenhead I 

Nurse. Hie to your chamber; I'll find Romeo 
To comfort you : — I wot well where he is. 
Hark ye, yonr Konifo will be here at night: 
Ml to him; he is hid at Laurence' cell. 

./'//. ( ), find liim I give this ring to my true knight. 
And bid him come to take his last farewell. [Exeunt. 

Scene III. — Friar Laurence's Cell. 
Enter Friar Laurence and Romeo. 

Fri. Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fcar- 
fid man : 
Aflliction is enamour'd of thy parts, 
And thou ail wedded to calamity. 

Jiom. Father, what news? what is the prince's 
doom ? 
What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand, 
That I yet know not ? 


Fri. Too familiar 

Is my dear son with such sour company : 
I bring thee tidings of the prince's doom. 

Rom. What less than dooms-day is the prince's 
doom ? 

Fri. A gentler judgment vanished from his lips, 
Not body's death, but body's banishment. 

Rom. Hal banishment? be merciful, say — death; 
For exile hath more terror in his look. 
Much more than death : do not say — banishment. 

Fri. Hence from Verona art thou banished : 
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide. 

Rom. There is no world without Verona walls, 
But purgatoiy, torture, hell itself. 
Hence banished is banish'd from the world. 
And world's exile is death : — then, banished 
Is death mis-term'd : — calling death — banishment, 
Thou cut'st my head ofi" with a golden axe. 
And smil'st upon the stroke that nuuders me. 

Fri. O deadly sin ! U rude unthankfulness ! 
Thy fault our law calls death ; but the kind prince, 
Taking thy part, hath rush'd aside the law. 
And turn'd that black word death to banishment : 
This is dear mercy, and thou secst it not. 

Rom. 'Tis torture, and not mercy : heaven is here, 
Where Juliet lives ; and every cat, and dog. 
And little mouse, every unworthy thing. 
Live here in heaven, and may look on her; 
But Romeo may not. — More validity. 
More honourable state, more courtship lives 
In canion flies, than Romeo : they may seize 
On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand. 
And steal immortal blessing from her lips ; 
Who, even in pure and vestal modesty, 
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin ; 
This may flies do, when I from this must fly : 
And say'st thou yet, that exile is not death ! 
But Romeo may not; he is banished. 
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly : 
They are free men, but I am banished. 
Hadst thou no poison mix'd, no sharp-giound knife, 
No sudden mean of death, though ne'er so mean, 
But — banished — to kill nie ; banished? 
O friar ! the damned use that word in hell : 
Howling attends it : how hast thou the heart. 
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor, 
A sin-absolver, and my friend piofess'd. 
To mangle me with that word — banished ? 

Fri. Thou fond mad man, hear me but speak a 

Rom. O ! thou wilt speak again of banishment. 

Fri. I'll give thee armour to keep oft' that word ; 
Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy. 
To comfort thee, though thou art banished. 

Rom. Yet banisiied ? — Hang up jihilosophy : 
Unless philosophy can make a Juliet, 
Displaiit a town, reverse a prince's doom. 
It helps not, it prevails not : talk no more. 

Fri. O ! then I see that madmen have no eai-s. 

Rom. How should they, when that wise men 
liave no eyes ? 

Fri. Let me dispute with thee of thy estate. 

Rotn. Thou canst not speak of what thou dost 
not feel. 
Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love. 
An hour but married, Tybalt murdered. 
Doting like nie, and like me banished. 
Then inight'st thou speak, then might'st thou tear 

thy hair. 
And fall upon the ground, as T do now. 
Taking the measure of an unmade grave. 




Fii. Arise ; one knocks : good Romeo, hide thy- 
self. [Knocking icithin. 
Roin. Not I ; unless the breath of heart-sick 
Mist-Uke, infold me from the search of eyes. 

Fri. Hark, how they knock I — Who's there ? — 
Romeo, arise ; 
Thou wilt be taken. — Stay a while. — Stand up ; 

Run to my study. — By and by : — God's will ! 
What wilfulness is this ! — I come, I come. 

Who knocks so hard ? whence come you ? what's 
. your will ? 
Nurse. [IVithin.] Let me come in, and you shall 
know my errand : 
I come from lady Juliet. 

Fri. Welcome, then. 

Enter Nurse. 

Nurse. O holy friar, O, tell me, holy friar, 
Where is my lady's lord ? where's Romeo ? 

Fri. There on the ground, with his own tears 
made drunk. 

Nurse. O ! he is even in my mistress' case ; 
Just in her case. 

Fri. O woeful sympathy ! 

Piteous predicament ! 

Nurse. Even so lies she, 

Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering. — 
Stand up, stand up ; stand, an you be a man : 
For Juliet's sake, for her sake, rise and stand ; 
Why should you fall into so deep an O ? 

Rom. Nurse! 

Nurse. Ah sir! ah sir ! — Death is the end of all. 

Rom. Spak'st thou of Juliet ? how is it with her? 
Doth she not think me an old murderer. 
Now I have stain'd the childhood of our joy 
With blood remov'd but little from her own ? 
Where is she ? and how doth she ? and what says 
My conceal'd lady to our cancell'd love ? 

Nurse. O, she says nothing, sir, but weeps and 
weeps ; 
And now falls on her bed ; and then starts up, 
And Tybalt calls ; and then on Romeo cries. 
And then down falls again. 

Rom. As if that name, 

Shot from the deadly level of a gun. 
Did murder her; as that name's cursed hand 
Murder'd her kinsman. — O tell me, friar, tell me, 
In what vile part of this anatomy 
Doth my name lodge ? tell me, that I may sack 
The hateful mansion. [Drawing his sword. 

Fri. Hold thy desperate hand : 

Art thou a man ? thy form cries out, thou art ; 
Thy tears are womanish ; thy wild acts denote 
The unreasonable fury of a beast : 
Unseemly woman, in a seeming man ; 
Or ill-beseeming beast, in seeming both ! 
Thou hast amaz'd me : by my holy order, 
I thought thy disposition better temper'd. 
Hast thou slain Tybalt? wilt thou slay thyself? 
And slay thy lady, too, that lives in thee, 
Bv doing damned hate upon thyself? 
Why rail'st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and 

earth ? 
Since birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet 
In thee at once, which thou at once would'st lose. 
Fie, fie ! thou sham'st thy shape, thy love, thy wit. 
Which, like an usurer, abound'st in all, 

And usest none in that true use indeed 
Which should bedeck thy shape, thy love, thy wit. 
Thy noble shape is but a form of wax. 
Digressing from the valour of a man ; 
Thy dear love, sworn, but hollow perjury. 
Killing that love which thou hast vow'd to cherish ; 
Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love, 
Mis-shapen in the conduct of them both. 
Like powder in a skill-less soldier's flask. 
Is set afire by thine own ignorance, 
And thou dismember'd with ihine own defence. 
What ! rouse thee, man : thy Juliet is alive. 
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead ; 
There art thou happy : Tybalt would kill thee, 
But thou slew'st Tybalt ; there art thou happy too 
The law, that threaten'd death, becomes thy friend, 
And turns it to exile ; there art thou happy : 
A pack of blessings lights upon thy back ; 
Happiness courts thee in her best array ; 
But, like a mis-behav'd and sullen wench, 
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love. 
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable. 
Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed. 
Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her ; 
But, look, thou stay not till the watch be set. 
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua ; 
Where thou shalt live, till we can find a time 
To blaze your maniage, reconcile your friends, 
Beg pardon of the prince, and call thee back, 
With twenty hundred thousand times more joy 
Than thou went'st forth in lamentation. — 
Go before, nurse : commend me to thy lady ; 
And bid her hasten all the house to bed. 
Which heavy sorrow makes them apt unto : 
Romeo is coming. 

Nurse. O Lord ! I could have stay'd here all the 
To hear good counsel : O, what learning is ! — 
My lord, I'll tell my lady you will come. 

Rom. Do so, and bid my sweet prepare to chide. 

Nurse. Here, sir, a ring she bid me give you, sir. 
Hie you, make haste, for it grows very late. 

[Exit. Nurse. 

Horn. How well my comfort is reviv'd by this ! 

Fri. Go hence. Good night ; and here stands 
all your state : — 
Either be gone before the watch be set. 
Or by the break of day disguis'd from hence. 
Sojourn in Mantua ; I'll find out your man, 
And he shall signify from time to time 
Every good hap to you that chances here. 
Give me thy hand ; 'tis late : farewell ; good night. 

Rom. But that a joy past joy calls out on me. 
It Avere a grief, so brief to part with thee : 
Farewell. [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — A Room in Capulet's House. 

Enter Capulet, Lady Capclet, and Paris. 

Cap. Things have fallen out, sir, so unluckily, 
That we have had no time to move our daughter. 
Look you, she lov'd her kinsman Tybalt dearly. 
And so did I : — well, we were born to die. — 
'Tis very late, she'll not come down to-night : 
I promise you, but for your company, 
I would have been a-bed an hour ago. 

Par. These times of woe afford no time to woo. — 
Madam, good night : commend me to your daughter. 

La. Cap. I will, and know her mind early to- 
morrow ; 
To-night she's mew'd up to her heaviness. 


ACT in. 



Cap. Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender 
Of my child's love : I think, she will he rul'd 
In all respects by me ; nay more, I doubt it not. 
Wife, go you to her ere you go to bed ; 
Acquaint her here of my son Paris' love, 
Anil bid her, mark you me, on Wednesday next — 
J3ut, soft ! W^liat day is this .' 

Par. Monday, my lord. 

Cap. Monday? ha! ha! Well, Wednesday is 
too soon ; 
O' Thursday let it be :— o' Tliursday, tell her, 
She shall be married to this noble earl. — 
Will you be ready ? do you like this haste? 
We'll keep no great ado : — a friend or two ; — 

For hark you, Tybalt being slain so late, 
It may be thought we held him carelessly, 
Being our kinsman, if we revel much. 
Therefore, we'll have some half a dozen friends. 
And there an end. But what say you to Thursday ? 

Par. My lord, I would that Thursday were to- 

Cap. Well, get you gone: o' Thursday be it 
then. — 
Go you to Juliet, ere you go to bed. 
Prepare her, wife, against this wedding day. — 
Farewell, my lord. — Light to my chamber, ho! 
Afore me ! it is so very late, that we 
May call it early by and by. — Good night. {Excunl. 

Scene V. — Loggia, or Balcony of .Juliet's 

£n(€r Romeo and Juliet. 

Jul. Wilt thou be gone ? it is not yet near day : 
It was the nightingale, and not the lark. 
That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine car ; 
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree. 
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale. 

Rom. It was tlie lark, the herald of the morn. 
No nightingale : look, love, wliat envious streaks 
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east. 
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day 
Sumds tiptoe on the misty mountain tops : 
I must be gone and live, or stay and die. 

Jul. Yon light is not day-light ; I know it, I : 
It is some meteor that the sun exhales. 
To be to thee this night a torch-bearer, 
And light thee on thy way to Mantua : 
Therefore, stay yet; thou need'st to be gone. 

Rom. Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death; 
I am content, so thou wilt have it so. 
I'll say, yon grey is not the morning's eye, 
'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow ; 


Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat 
The vaulty heaven so high above oiir heads : 
I have more care to stay, tlian will to go : — 
Come, death, and welcome I Juliet wills it so. — 
How is't, my soul ? let's talk, it is not day. 

Jul. It is, it is; hie hence, be gone, away! 
It is the lark that sings so out of tune, 
Straining harsh discords, and unpleasing sharps. 
Some say, the lark makes sweet division ; 
This doth not so, for she divideth us : 
Some say, tlie lark and loathed toad change eyes ; 
O! now I would they had chang'd voices too. 
Since arm from arm that voice doth us allVny. 
Hunting tliee hence with hunts-up to the day. 
O ! now be gone : more light and light it grows. 

Rom. More light and light ? — more dark and dark 
our woes. 

Enter Nu/rse. 

Nurse. Madam! 
Jul. Nurse. 

Nurse. Your lady mother's comi 
chamber : 
The day is broke ; be wary, look about. [Exit Nurse. 

to your 

ACT 111. 



Jul. Then, window, let day in, and let life out. 
Rom. Farewell, farewell ! one kiss, and I'll de- 

[Romeo descends. 
Jul. Art thou gone so ? love, lord ! ay, husband, 
friend ! 
I must hear from thee every day in the hour, 
For in a minute there are many days : 

O ! by this count I shall be much in years. 
Ere I again behold my Romeo. 

Rom. Farewell ! I will omit no opportunity 
That may convey my greetings, love, to thee. 

Jid. O ! think'st thou, we shall ever meet again ? 

Rom. I doubt it not ; and all these woes shall serve 
For sweet discourses in our time to come. 

Jul. O God ! I have an ill-divining soul : 

/I'. Orr Se. ^^ 

Methinks, I see thee, now thou art so low, 
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb : 
Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale. 

Rom. And trust me, love, in my eye so do you : 
Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu ! adieu ! 

[Exit RoMEO. 

Jul. O fortune, fortune ! all men call thee fickle : 
If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him 
That is renown'd for faith ! Be fickle, fortune ; 
For, then, I hope thou wilt not keep him long. 
But send him back. 

La. Cap. [IVithin.] Ho! daughter, are you up ? 

Jul. Who is't that calls ? is it my lady mother ? 
Is she not down so late, or up so early / 
What unaccustom'd cause procures her hither ? 

Enter Lady Capulet. 

La. Cap. Why, how now, Juliet ? 

Jul. Madam, I am not well. 

La. Cap. Evermore weeping for your cousin's 
death ? 
What ! wilt thou wash him from his grave with 

tears ? 
An if thou could'st, thou could'st not make him live ; 
Therefore, have done. Some grief shows much of 

love ; 
But much of grief shows still some want of wit. 
Jul. Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss. 
La. Cap. So shall you feel the loss, but not the 
AVhich you weep for. 

/;//. Feeling so the loss, 

I cannot choose but ever weep the friend. 

La. Cap. Well, girl, thou weep'st not so much 
for his death. 
As that the villain lives which slaughter'd him. 


ACT lil. 



Jul. What villain, madam ? 

La. Cup. That same villain, Kumeo. 

./ill. Villain and he are many miles asunder. 
(to(1 pardon liinil I do, with all my heart; 
And yet no man, like he, doth grieve my heart. 

La. Cap. That is, because the traitor nmrderer 

Jul. Ay, madam, from the reach of these my 
Would none but 1 might venge my cousin's death ! 

La. Cap. We will have vengeance for it, fear 
thou not : 
Then, weep no more. I'll send to one in Mantua, — 
Where that same banish'd nmagatc doth live, — 
Shall give him such an unaccustom'd dram 
That he shall soon keep Tybalt company ; 
And then, I hope, thou wilt l)e satisfied. 

Jul. Indeed, 1 never shall be satisfied 
Willi Romeo, till I behold him — dead — 
Is my poor heart so lor a kinsman vex'd. — 
Madam, if you could find out but a man 
To bear a poison, I would temper it. 
That Komeo should upon receipt thereof 
Soon sleep in quiet. — O ! how my heart abhors 
To hear him nam'd, — and cannot come to him, — 
To wreak the love I bore my cousin Tybalt 
Upon his body that hath slaughter'd him I 

La. Cap. Find thou the meaus, and I'll find such 
a man. 
But now I'll tell thee joyful tidings, girl. 

Jul. And joy conies well in such a needy time. 
What are they, I beseech your ladyship ? 

La. Cap. Well, well, thou hast a careful father, 
child ; 
One who, to put thee from thy heaviness, 
Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy, 
That thou expect'st not, nor I look'd not for. 

Jul. Madam, in happy time, what day is that ? 

La. Cap. Marry, my child, early next Thursday 
The gallant, young, and noble gentleman. 
The county Paris, at Saint Peter's church 
Shall happily make thee a joyful bride. 

.Jul. Now, by saint Peter's church, and Peter 
He shall not make me there a joyful bride. 
I wonder at this haste ; that I must wed 
Ere he, that sliould be husl)and, comes to woo. 
I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam, 
I will not marry yet ; and, when I do, I sweiu-. 
It shall be Romeo, wlioni you know I hate, 
Rather than Paris. — These are news indeed ! 

La. Cap. Here comes your father ; tell him so 
And see how he will take it at your hands. 

Enter Capulet and Nurse. 

Cap. When the sun sets, the earth doth drizzle 
dew ; 
But for the sunset of my brother's son, 
It rains dowrn-i^ht. — 

How now! a conduit, girl ? what! still in tears ? 
Evermore showering? In one little body 
Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind : 
For still ihy eyes, which I may call the sea. 
Do ebb ami flow with tears; the bark thy body is, 
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thv sijihs; 
Wlio, racing with thy tears, and they with them, 
Without a surldeii ealm, will overset 
Thy tempe>t-tossed body. — How now, wife! 
Have yon deliver'd to her our decree? 


La. Cap. Ay, sir ; but she will none, she gives 
you thanks. 
I would, the fool were married to her grave ! 

Cap. Soft, take me with you, take me with you, 
How ! will she none ? doth she not give us thanks ? 
Is she not proud ? doth she not count her bless'd, 
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought 
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom ? 

Jul. Not proud you have, but thankful that you 
have : 
Proud can I never be of what I hate ; 
But thankful eveu for hate, that is meant love. 

Caj). How now ! how now, chop-logic ! What 
is this ? 
Proud, — and, I thank you, — and, I thank you not; — 
And yet not proud ; — mistress minion, you. 
Thank me no thankings, nor i)roud me no prouds, 
But settle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next 
To go witii Paris to St. Peter's church. 
Or i will drag thee on a hurdle thither. 
Out, you green-sickness carrion ! out, you baggage ! 
You tallow face ! 

La- Cap. Fie, fie ! what are you mad ? 

Jul. Good father, I beseech you on my knees, 
Hear me with patience but to speak a word- 

Cap. Hang thee, young baggage ! disobedient 
wretch I 
I tell thee what, — get thee to church o' Thursday, 
Or never after look me in the face. 
Speak not, reply not, do not answer me ; 
My fingers itch. — Wife, we scarce thought us 

That God had lent us but this only child ; 
But now I see this one is one too much. 
And that we have a curse in having her. 
Out on her, hilding ! 

Nurse. God in heaven bless her ! 

You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so. 

Cap. And why, my lady wisdom? hold your 
Good prudence : smatter with your gossips ; go. 

Nurse. I speak no treason. 

Cap. O ! God ye good den. 

Nurse. May not one speak ? 

Cap. Peace, you mumbling fool ! 

Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl. 
For here we need it not. 

La. Cap. You are too hot. 

Cap. God's bread ! it makes me mad. 
Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, plaj". 
Alone, in company, still my care hath been 
To have her match'd ; and having now provided 
A gentleman of noble parentage. 
Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train'd, 
Stutf'd (as they say) with honourable parts, 
Proportion'd as one's thought would wish a man, — 
And then to have a wretched puling fool, 
A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender. 
To answer — " I'll not wed," — " I cannot love," 
"I am too young," — " I pray you, pardon me;" — 
But, an you will not wed, I'll pardon you; 
Graze where you will, you shall not house with me : 
Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest. 
Thursdaj" is near ; lay hand on heart, advise. 
An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend ; 
An yoii be not, hang, beg, starve, die i' the streets, 
For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee, 
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good. 
Trust to't, bethink you ; I'll not be forsworn. [Exit. 

Jul. Is there no pity sitting in the clouds. 




That sees into the bottom of my grief? — 
O, sweet my mother, cast me not away ! 
Delav this marriage for a month, a week ; 
Or, if vou do not, make the bridal bed 
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies. 

La. Cap. Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a 
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee. [Exit. 

Jul. O God ! — O nurse ! how shall this be pre- 
vented ? 
Mv hixsband is on eaith, my faith in heaven ; 
How shall that faith return again to earth. 
Unless that husband send it me from heaven 
By leaving earth ? — comfort me, counsel me. — 
Alack, alack ! that heaven should practise stratagems 
Upon so soft a subject as myself! — 
What say'st thou ? hast thou not a word of joy ? 
Some comfort, nurse. 

Surse. Faith, here 'tis. Romeo 

Is banished ; and all the world to nothing, 
That he dares ne'er come back to challenge you ; 
Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth. 
Then, since the case so stands as now it doth, 
I think it best you married with the county. 
O I he's a lovely gentleman ; 
Romeo's a dishclout to him : an eagle, madam, 

Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye, 
As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart, 
I think you are happy in this second match, 
For it excels your first : or if it did not, 
Your first is dead ; or 'twere as good he were, 
As living here and you no use of him. 

Jul. Speakest thou from thy heart ? 

Nurse. And from my soul too ; 

Or else beshrew them both. 

Jul. Amen ! 

Nurse. What ? 

Jul. Well, thou hast comforted me mai-vellous 
Go in ; and tell my lady I am gone. 
Having displeas'd my father, to Laurence' cell, 
To make confession, and to be absolv'd. 

Nurse. ManT, I will ; and this is wisely done. 


Jul. Ancient damnation I O most wicked fiend ! 
Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn. 
Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue 
Which she hath praised him with aI)ove compare 
So many thousand times ? — Go, counsellor; 
Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain. — 
I'll to the friar, to know his remedy ; 
If all else fail, myself have power to die. [Exit. 


Scene I. — Friar Laurence's Cell. 
Enter Friar Laurence and Paris. 

Fri. On Thursday, sir ? the time is very short. 

Par. My father Capulet will have it so ; 
And I am nothing slow, to slack his haste. 

Fri. You say, you do not know the lady's 
mind : 
Uneven is the course ; I like it not. 

Par. Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death, 
And, therefore, have I little talk'd of love ; 

For Venus smiles not in a house of tears. 
Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous. 
That she doth give her sorrow so much sway ; 
And in his wisdom hastes our maiTiage, 
To stop the inundation of her tears ; 
Which, too much minded by herself alone. 
May be put from her by society. 
Now do you know the reason of this haste. 

Fri. I would I knew not why it should be slow'd. 

I Look, sir, here comes the lady towards my cell. 


Enter Juliet. 

Par. Happily met, my lady, and my wife ! 
Jul. That may l)e, sir, when I may be a wife. 
Par. That may be, must be, love, on 'i'liursday 

./id. What nuist be shall be. 
■^'''■'- ^ That's a certain text. 

Par. Come you to make confession to this 

father ? 



For it 

To answer that, I should confess to you. 
Do not deny to him, that you love me. 

I will confess to you, that I love him. 
So will yon, I am sure, that you love me. 

If 1 do so, it will be of more price, 
spoke behind your back, than to your face. 
. Poor soul, thy face is much abus'd with 


The tears have got small victory by that ; 
was bad enough before their spite. 




Par. Thou wrong'st it, more than tears, with 
that report. 

Jul. That is no slander, sir, which is a truth; 
And what I spake, I spake it to my face. 

Par. Tliy lace is mine, and thou hast slander'd it. 

Jul. It may be so, for it is not mine own. — 
Are you at leisure, holy father, now, 


Or shall I come to you at evening mass ? 

Fri. My leisure serves me, pensive 
now. — 
My lord, we must entreat the time alone. 

Par. God shield, I should disturb devotion ! — 
Juliet, on Thursday early will I rouse you : 
Till then, adieu ; and keep this holy kiss. \_Exit Par. 

Jul. O ! shut the door ; and when thou hast 
done so. 
Come weep with me ; past hope, past cure, past 
help ! 

Fri. Ah, Juliet ! I already know thy grief; 
It strains me past the compass of my wits : 
I hear thou must, and nothing must prorogue it. 
On Thursday next be married to this county. 

Jul. Tell me not, friar, that thou hear'st of this. 
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it : 
If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help. 
Do thou but call my resolution wise. 
And with this knife I'll help it presently. 
God join'd my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands ; 
And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd, 
Shall be the label to another deed. 
Or my true heart with treacherous revolt 
Turn to another, this shall slay them both. 
Therefore, out of thy long-experienc'd time. 
Give me some present counsel ; or, behold, 

'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody liniffe 
Shall play the umpire ; arbitrating that 
Which the commission of thy years and art 
Could to no issue of true honour bring 
Be not so long to speak ; I long to die. 
If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy. 

Fri. Hold, daughter! I do spy a kind of hope, 
.Which craves as desperate an execirtion 
As that is desperate which we would prevent. 
If, rather than to marry county Paris, 
Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself. 
Then is it likely thou wilt imdertake 
A thing like death to chide away tlfis shame. 
That cop'st with death himself to scape from it; 
And, if thou dar'st, I'll give thee remedy. 

Jul. O ! bid me leap, rather than marry Paris, 
From off the battlements of yonder tower; 
Or walk in thievish ways ; or hid me lurk 
Where serpents are ; chain me with roaring bears ; 
Or hide me nightly in a charnel-house, 





O'er-covered quite with dead men's rattling bones, 
With reeky shanks, and yellow chapless skulls ; 
<h- l)i<l nie^o i"t<> =» new-made grave, 
And hide me with a dead man in his sliroud ; 
Things that to hear them told have made me trem- 
ble ; 
And I will do it whhout fear or doubt, 
To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love. 

Fri. Hold, then : go home, be merry, give con- 
To marry Paris. Wednesday is to-morrow; 
To-morrow night look that thou lie alone. 
Let not thy nurse lie with thee in thy chamber: 
Take thou this phial, being then in bed, 
And this distilled liquor drink thou oft'; 
When, presently, through all thy veins shall ran 
A cold and drowsy humour ; for no pulse 
Shall keep his native progress, but siucease : 
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest; 
The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade 
To paly ashes ; thy eyes' windows fall. 
Like death, when 'he shuts up the day of life; 
Each part, depriv'd of supple government. 
Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death : 
And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death 
Thou shalt continue two and forty hours, 
And then awake as from a pleasant sleep. 
Now, when the bridegroom in the morning comes 
To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead : 
Then, as the manner of our country is, 
In thy best robes uncover'd on the bier, 
Be borne to burial in thy kindred's grave . 
Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault. 
Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie. 
In the mean time, against thou shalt awake. 
Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift ; 
And hither shall he come, and he and I 
Will watch thy waking, and that very night 
Shall Romeo bear thee hence to iMantua. 
And this shall free thee from this present shame, 
If no unconstant toy, nor womanish fear. 
Abate thy valour in the acting it. 

Jul. Give me, give me ! O I tell me not of fear. 

Fri. Hold ; get you gone : be strong and pros- 
In this resolve. I'll send a friar with speed 
To Mantua, with my letters to thy lord. 

Jul. Love, give me strength ! and strength shall 
help afford. 
Farewell, dear father. [Exeunt. 

ScKNE II. — A Room in Capulkt's House. 

Enter Capulkt, Lady Capulkt, Nurse, and Ser- 

Cap. So many guests invite as hero are writ. — 

[ Ent Servant. 
Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks. 

2 Serv. You shall have none ill, sir; for I'll try 
if they can lick their fingers. 

Ca/u IIow canst thou try them so? 

2 Serv. Marry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot 
lick his own fingers: therefore, he that cannot lick 
his finsjers goes not with me. 

Cn/K (to, iiegone. — \Kr'it Servant. 

We shall be mtich unfnrnisli'd for this time. — 
What, is my daughter gone to Friar Laurence? 

Nurse. Av, forsooth. 

C'ip. Well, he may chance to do some good on 
A peevish self-will'd harlotry it is. 

49 " 

Enter Julikt. 

Nurse. See, where she comes from shiift with 

merry look. 
Cap. How now, my headstrong ! where have you 

been gadding? 
Jul. Where I have learn'd me to repent the sin 
Of disobedient opposition 
To you, and your behests ; and am enjoin'd 
By holy Laurence to fall prostrate here. 
And beg your pardon. — Pardon, I beseech you : 
Hencef^orward I am ever rul'd by you. 

Cap. Send for the county : go tell him of this. 
I'll have this knot knit up to-morrow morning. 

Jul. I met the youthful lord at Laurence' cell ; 
And gave him what bccomed love I might. 
Not stepping o'er the bounds of modesty. 

Cap. Why, I am glad on't ; this is well, — stand up : 
This is as't should be. — Let me see the county : 
Ay, many, go, I say, and fetch him hither. — 
Now, afore God, this reverend holy friar, 
All our whole city is much bound to him. 

Jul. Nurse, vviil you go with me into my closet. 
To help me sort such needful ornaments 
As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow ? 

La. Cap. No, not till Thursday : there is time 

Cap. Go, nurse, go with her. — We'll to church 
to-morrow. [Exeunt Juliet and Nurse. 
La. Cap. We shall be short in our provision : 
'Tis now near night. 

Cap. Tush! I will stir about, 

And all things shall be well, I warrant thee, wife. 
Go thou to Juliet ; help to deck up her : 
I'll not to bed to-night ; — let me alone ; 
I'll play the housewife for this once. — What, ho I — 
They are all forth: well, I will walk myself 
To county Paris, to prepare up him 
Against to-morrow. My heart is wond'rotts light, 
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim'd. 


Scene III. — Juliet's Chamher. 

Enter Juliet and Nurse. 
Jul. Ay, those attires are best: — but, gentle 
I pray thee, leave me to myself to-night ; 
For I have need of many orisons 
To move the heavens to smile upon my state, 
Which, weU thou know'st, is cross and full cf sin. 

Enter Lady Capulet. 

La. Cap. What, are you busy, ho ? need you 

my help ? 
Jul. No, madam; we have cull'd such neces- 
As are behoveful for our state to-morrow : 
So please you, let me now be left alone. 
And let the nurse this night sit up w ith you ; 
For, I am sure, you have your hands full all. 
In this so sudden business. 

Tja. Cap. Good night : 

Get thee to bed, and rest; for thou hast need. 

[Exeunt Lndy Capulet and Nurse. 
Jid. Farewell I — God knows when we shall meet 
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins, 
That almost freezes up the heat of life : 
I'll call them back again to comfort me. — 
Nurse! — What should she do here? 
My dismal scene I needs must act alone. — 




Come, phial. — 

What if this mixture do not work at all, 

Shall I be married, then, to-morrow morning ? — 

No, no ; — this shall forbid it : — lie thou there. — 

[Laying down a dagger. 
What if it be a poison, which the friar 
Subtly hath minister'd to have me dead, 
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour'd, 
Because he married me before to Romeo ? 
I fear, it is; and yet, methinks, it should not, 
For he hath still been tried a holy man : 
I will not entertain so bad a thought. — 
How if, when I am laid into the tomb, 
I wake before the time that Romeo 
Come to redeem me ? there's a fearful point ! 
Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault. 
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in. 
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes ? 
Or, if 1 live, is it not very like. 
The horrible conceit of death and night, 
Together with the terror of the place, — 

As in a vault, an ancient receptacle. 
Where for these many hundred years, the bones 
Of all my buried ancestors are pack'd ; 
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth, 
Lies festering in his shroud ; where, as they say, 
At some hours in the night spirits resort : — 
Alack, alack ! is it not like, that I, 
So early waking, — what with loathsome smells. 
And shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth, 
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad; — 
O ! if I wake, shall I not be distraught, 
Environed with all these hideous fears. 
And madly play with my forefathers' joints. 
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud ? 
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone, 
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains ? 
O, look ! methinks, I see my cousin's ghost 
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body 
Upon a rapier's point. — Stay, Tybalt, stay ! — 
Romeo ! Romeo I Romeo ! — here's drink — 1 drink 
to thee. [She falls upon the bed. 

Scene IV. — Capulet's Hall. 

Enter Lady Capulet and Nurse. 

La. Cap. Hold, take these keys, and fetch more 

spices, nurse. 
Nurse. They call for dates and quinces in the 


Enter Capulet. 

Cap. Come, stir, stir, stir ! the second cock hath 
The curfew bell hath rung, 'tis three o'clock : — 
Look to the bak'd meats, good Angelica: 
Spare not for cost. 

La. Cap. Go, go, you cot-quean, go. 

Get you to bed : 'faith, you'll be sick to-morrow 
For this night's watching. 

Cap. No, not a whit. What! I have watch'd 
ere now 
All night for lesser cause, and ne'er been sick. 
La. Cap. Ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in 
your time ; 
But T will watch you from such watching now. 

[Exeunt Lady Capulet and Nurse. 
Cap. A jealous-hood, a jealous-hood ! — ^Now, 
What's there ? 

Enter Servants, uith spits, logs, and baskets. 

1 Serv. Things for the cook, sir; but I know 
not what. 

Caj). Make haste, make haste. [Exit 1 Serv.\ — 
SiiTah, fetch drier logs, 
Call Peter, he will show thee where they are. 

2 Sen-. I have a head, sir, that will find out logs. 

And never trouble Peter for the matter. [Exit. 

Cap. 'Mass, and well said ; a merry whoreson, 


Thou shalt be logger-head. — Good father ! 'tis day : 

The county will be here with music straight, 

[Music within. 
For so he said he would. — I hear him near. — 
Nurse ! — wife ! — what, ho ! — what, nurse, I say ! 

Enter Nurse. 

Go, waken J uliet ; go, and trim her up : 
ril go and chat with Paris. — Hie, make haste. 
Make haste ; the bridegroom he is come already : 
Make haste, I say. [Exeunt. 

Scene V. — Juliet's Chamber ; Juliet on the bed. 

Enter Nurse. 

Nurse. Mistress ! — what, mistress ! — .Tuliet I — 

fast, I warrant her, she : — 
Why, lamb ! — why, lady ! — fie, you slug-a-bed ! — 
Why, love, I say I — madam ! sweet-heart ! — why, 

bride ! — 
Wliat ! not a word ? — you take your pennyAvorths 

now : 
Sleep for a week ; for the next night, I warrant, 
The county Paris hath set up his rest, 





That you shall rest but little. — Ood forgive me. 
Marry, and amen, how sound is she asleep ! 
I needs must wake her. — iMadani, madam, madam ! 
Ay, let the county take you in your bed: 
He'll frittht you u'p, i' Hiith. — Will it not be ? 
What, (best ! and iti your clothes ! and down again I 
1 must needs wake you. Ijady ! lady, lady ! — 
Alas! alas! — Help! help! uiy lady's dead ! — 
(), well-a-day, that ever 1 was born! — 
Some aqua-vita;, ho ! — my lord ! my lady ! 

Enter Lady CAruuET. 

La. Cap. What noise is here ? 

Nurse. O lamentable day ! 

La. Cap. What is the matter I 

Nurse. Look, look ! O heavy day ! 

La. Cap. O me ! O me ! — my child, my only life, 
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee ! — 
Help, help I^-call help. 

Enter Capulet. 

Cap. For shame I bring Juliet forth ; her lord is 

Nurse. She's dead, deceas'd, she's dead; alack 

the day ! 
Im. Cap. Alack the day ! she's dead, she's dead, 

she's dead. 
Cap. Ha ! let me see her. — Out, alas ! she's cold ; 
Her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff; 
Life and these lips have long been separated : 
Death lies on her, like an untimely frost 
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field. 
Nurse. O lamentable day ! 
La. Cap. O woful time ! 

Cap. Death, that hath ta'cn her hence to make 
me wail, 
Ties up my tongue, and will not let me speak. 

Enter Fy'x^x Laurence and Paris, with Musicians. 

Fri. Come, is the bride ready to go to church ? 

Cap. Ready to go, but never to return. — 
O son ! the night before thy wedding day 
Hath death lain with thy wife : — there she lies, 
Flower as she was, deflowered by him. 
Death is my son-in-law, death is my heir ; 
My daughter he hath wedded. I will die. 
And leave him all ; life, living, all is death's ! 

Par. Have I thought long to see this morning's 
And doth it give me such a sight as this? 

La. Cap. Accurs'd, unhappy, wretched, hateful 
day ! 
Most misenible hour, that e'er time saw 
In lasting labour of his pilgrimage I 
But one, poor one, one ])oor and loving child, 
But one thing to rej(jice and solace in, 
And cruel death hath catch'd it from my sight. 

Nurse. O woe, O wofnl, woful, woful day ! 
Most lamentable day ! most woful day. 
That ever, ever, I did yet heliold ! 
() day ! O day ! ( ) day ! ( ) hateful day ! 
Never was seen so black a day as this : 
O woful day, () woful day ! 

Par. Beguil'd, divorced, wronged, spited, slain ! 
Most detestable death, by thee beguil'd, 
By cruel cruel thee (piite overthrown ! — 
O love ! O life !— not life, but love in death ! 

Cap. Despis'd. distressed, hated, marlvr'd, kill'd! 
Uncomfortable time, why cam'st tliou liow 

"■P !..„ I 1 •. 1 

To nnnder, murder our solemnifv .' 
< ) child ! O child ! — my soul, am! 


mv child!— 

Dead art thou ! — alack, my child is dead ; 
And with my child my joys are buried. 

Fri. Peace, ho! for shame! confusion's cure 
lives not 
In these confusions. Heaven and yourself 
Had part in this fair maid, now heaven hath all ; 
And all the better is it for the maid : 
Your part in her you could not keep from death. 
But heaven keeps his part in eternal life. 
The most you sought was her promotion. 
For 'twas your heaven she should be advanc'd ; 
And weep ye now, seeing she is advanc'd 
Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself? 
O ! in this love, you love your child so ill. 
That you run mad, seeing that she is well : 
She's not well married that lives married long. 
But she's best married that dies manied young. 
Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary 
On this fair corse : and, as the custom is, 
In all her best array bear her to church ; 
For though fond nature bids us all lament, 
Yet nature's tears are reason's merriment. 

Ca]^. All things that we ordained festival, 
Turn from their office to black funeral: 
Our instruments to melancholy bells ; 
Our wedding cheer, to a sad burial feast ; 
Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change ; 
Our bridal flowere serve for a buried corse. 
And all things change them to the contrarj'. 

Fri. Sir, go you in, — and, madam, go with him ; — 
And go, sir Paris : — every one prepare 
To follow this fair corse unto her grave. 
The heavens do low'r upon you, for some ill ; 
Move them no more, by crossing their high will. 

[Exeunt Capulet, Lady Capulet, Paris, and 

1 Mus. 'Faith, we may put up our pipes, and be 

Nurse. Honest good fellows, ah ! put up ; put 
up ; for well you know, this is a pitiful case. 

[Exit Nurse. 

1 3Ius. Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended. 

Enter Peter. 

Pet. Musicians, O, musicians ! " Heart's ease. 
Heart's ease :" O ! an you will have me live, play — 
" Heart's ease." 

1 Mus. Why " Heart's ease ?" 

Pet. O, musicians ! because my heart itself 
plays — " My heart is full of woe." O ! play me 
some merry dimip, to comfort me. 

2 Mus. Not a dump we : 'tis no time to play now. 
Pet. You will not then ? 

Mus. No. 

Pet. I will, then, give it yon soundly. 

1 j\[us. Wliat will you give us? 

Pet. No money, on my faith ; but the gleek : I 
will give you the minstrel. 

1 Mus. Then, will I give you the serving-creature. 

Pet. Then, will I lay the serving-creature's dag- 
ger on your pate. 1 will carry no crotchets : I'll 
re you, I'll/o you. Do you note me? 

1 Mus. An you re us, and/f? us, you note us. 

2 Mus. Pray you, put up your dagger, and put 
out your wit. 

Pet. Then have at you with my wit. I will dry- 
beat you with an iron wit, and put up my iron dag- 
ger. — Answer me like men : 

When £r?/>?» o- enV/" the heart doth uvund. 

And doleful dumps the mind oppress. 
Then music, u-ith her silccr sound ; 



SCK.NK \ . 

Why, "silver sound?" why, "music with lier sil- 
ver sound ?" What say you, Simon Catling ? 

1 Mas. Mairy, sir, because silver hath a sweet 

Pet. Pretty ! What say you, Hugh Rebeck ? 

2 Mils. I say — " silver sound," because musi- 
cians sound for silver. 

Pet. Pretty too I — What say you, James Sound- 
post ? 

3 Mus. 'Faith, I know not what to say. 

Pet. O .' I cry you mercy ; you are the singer : 

I will say for you. It is — " music with her silv(>r 
sound," because musicians have seldom gold for 
sounding : — 

Tlien music nith her silver sound. 
With sjicedy lielp doth lend redress. 

[Exit, sinewing, 

1 Mus. What a pestilent knave is this same. 

2 Mus. Hang him, Jack ! Come, we'll in here ; 
tarry for the mourners, and stay dinner. 


Scene I. — Mantua. A Street. 

Enter Romeo. 

Rom. If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep, 
My dioams presage some joyful news at hand. 
My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne ; 
And, all this day, an unaccustom'd spirit 
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts. 
I dreamt, my lady came and found me dead ; 
(Strange dream! that gives a dead man leave to 

A.nd breath'd such life with kisses in my lips, 
That I reviv'd, and was an emperor. 
Ah me I how sweet is love itself possess'd. 
When but love's shadows are so rich in joy ? 

Enter Balthasar. 

News from Verona ! — How now, Balthasar ? 
Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar ? 
How doth my lady ? Is my father well ? 
How fares my Juliet ? That I ask again ; 
For nothing can be ill if she be well. 

Bal. Then she is well, and nothing can be ill : 
Her body sleeps in Capels' monument. 
And her immortal part with angels lives. 
I saw her laid low in her kindred's vault, 
And presently took post to tell it you. 

pardon me for bringing these ill news, 
Since you did leave it for my office, sir. 

Rom. Is it e'en so? then, I defy you, stars! — 
Thou know'st my lodging : get me ink and paper. 
And hire post horses ; I will hence to-night. 

Bal. I do beseech you, sir, have patience : 
Your looks are pale and wild, and do import 
Some misadventure. 

Rom. Tush ! thou art deceived ; 

Leave me, and do the thing I bid thee do. 
Hast thou no letters to me from the friar? 

Bal. No, my good lord. 

Rom. No matter ; get thee gone. 

And hire those horses: I'll be with thee straight. 

[Exit Balthasar. 
"Well, .Tuliet, I will lie with thee to-niglit. 
Let's see for means : — O, mischief! thou art swift 
To enter in the thoughts of desperate men ! 

1 do remember an apothecary. 

And hereabouts he dwells, which late I noted 
Tn fatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows, 
Culling of simples: meagre were his looks, 
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones : 
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung. 
An aiiiiiator stutY'd, and otlicr skins 
Of ill-shap'd fislics; and al)()uf his shelves 
A beggarly account of empty boxes, 
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds, 


Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses. 
Were thinly scatter'd to make up a show. 
Noting this penury, to myself I said — 
An if a man did need a poison now, 
Whose sale is present death in Mantua, 
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him. 
O ! this same thought did but fore-run my need. 
And this same needy man must sell it me. 
As I remember, this should be the house : 
Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut. — 
What, ho ! apothecary ! 

Enter Apothrcury. 

Ap. Who calls so loud ? 

Rom. Come hither, man. — I see, that thou art 
poor ; 




Hold, there is forty ducats : let me have 

A dram of poison ; such soon-speeding geer 

As will disperse itself through all the veins, 

That the life-weary taker may fall dead ; 

And that the tmnk may be discharg'd of breath 

As violently, as hasty powder fir'd 

Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb. 

Ap. Such mortal drugs I have ; but Mantua's law 
Is death to any he that utters them. 

Rom. Art thou so bare, and full of wretchedness, 
And fear'st to die ? famine is in thy cheeks, 
Need and oppression starveth in thy eyes. 
Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back, 
The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law : 
The world atibrds no law to make thee rich ; 

Then, be not poor, but break it, and take this. 

Ap. My poverty, but not my will, consents. 

Rom. 1 pay thy poverty, and not thy will. 

Ap. Put this in any liquid thing you will. 
And drink it off; and, if you had the strength 
Of twenty men, it would despatch jou straight. 

Rom. There is thy gold; worse poison to men's 
Doing more murders in this loathsome world, 
Than these poor compounds that thou may'st not 

I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none. 
Farewell; buy food, and get thyself in flesh. — 
Come, cordial, and not poison, go with me 
To Juliet's grave, for there must I use thee. [Exeunt. 


Scene II. — Friar Laurence's Cell. 

Enter Friar John. 
John. Holy Franciscan friar ! brother ! ho ! 

Enter Friar Laurence. 

Lau. This same should be the voice of friar 
John. — 
Welcome from Mantua : what says Romeo ? 
Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter. 

.Tohn. Going to find a bare-foot brother out, 
One of our order, to associate me. 
Here in this city visiting the sick. 
And finding him, the searchers of the town, 
Suspecting that we both were in a house 
Where the infectious pestilence did reign, 
Seal'd up the doors, and would not let us forth ; 
So that my speed to Mantua there was stay'd. 

Lau. Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo? 

John. I could not send it, — here it is again, — 
Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, 
So fearful were they of infection. 

Lau. Unhappy fortune ! by my brotherhood, 
The letter was not nice, but full of charge, 
Of dear import ; and the neglecting it 
May do much danger. Friar John, go hence ; 
Get me an iron crow, and bring it straight 
Unto my cell. 

John. Brother, I'll go and bring it thee. [Exit. 

Lau. Now must I to the monument alone. 
Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake ; 
She will beshrew me much, that Romeo 
Hath had no notice of these accidents ; 
But I will write again to Mantua, 
And keep her at my cell till Romeo come : 
Poor living corse, clos'd in a dead man's tomb! 


Scene III. — A Churchyard ; in it a Monument 
belonging to the Capulets. 

Enter Paris, and his Page, bearing Jlmcers, and a 


Par. Give me thy torch, boy : hence, and stand 
aloof; — 
Yet put it out, for I would not be seen. 
Under yond' yew-trees lay thee all along. 
Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground ; 
So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread. 
Being loose, unfirm with digging up of graves. 
But thou shalt hear it: whistle then to me, 
As signal that thou hear'st something approach- 
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee ; go. 

Page. I am almost afraid to stand alone 
Here in the churchyard ; yet I will adventure. 




acr.yv. m. 

Par. Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed 
I strew. 
O woe ! thy canopy is dust and stones, 
Wliicli with sweet water niglitlj^ 1 will dew. 
Or wanting that with tears distill'd by moans : 
The obsequies, that 1 for thee will keep. 
Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep ! 

[The boy wliistles. 
The boy gives warning sometliing doth approach. 
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night, 
To cross my obsetpiies and true love's rite ? 
What ! with a torch ? — niufHe me, night, a while. 


Enter Romeo and Balthasar, with a torch, mat- 
tock, !^x. 

Rom. Give me that mattock, and the wrenching 
Hold, take this letter : early in tiie morning 
See thou deliver it to my lord and father. 
Give me the light. Upon thy life I charge thee, 
Whate'er thou hear'st or seest, stand all aloof, 
And do not interrupt lue in my course. 
Why I descend into this bed of death 
Is, partly, to behold my lady's face ; 
But, chiefly, to take thence, from her dead finger 
A precious ring, a ring that I must use 
In dear employment. Therefore hence, be gone : 
But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry 
In what I further shall intend to do. 
By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint. 
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs. 
The time and my intents are savage, wild ; 
More fierce, and more inexorable far. 
Than empty tigers, or the roaring sea. 

Bal. I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you. 

Rom. So shalt thou show me friendship. — Take 
thou that : 
Live, and be prosperous; and farewell, good fellow. 

Bal. For all this saiue, I'll hide me liere about : 
His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt. [Retires. 

Rom. Thou detestable maw, thoxx womb of death, 
Gorg'd with the dearest morsel of the earth. 
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, 

[Breaking open the door of the Monument. 
And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food I 

Par. This is that banish'd haughty Montague, 
That murder'd my love's cousin, — with which grief. 
It is supposed, the fair creature died, — 
And here is come to do some villainous shame 
To the dead bodies : I will apprehend him. — 

Stop thy xuihallow'd toil, vile Montague. 
Can vengeance be pursu'd further than death ? 
Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee : 
Obey, and go with me ; for thou nuist die. 

Rom. I must, indeed; and therefore came I 
hither. — 
Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man ; 
Fly hence and leave me: — think upon these gone ; 
Let them affright thee. — 1 beseech thee, youth, 
Put not another sin upon my head, 
By urging me to fury : — ( ), l)e gone ! 
By heaven, 1 love thee better than myself, 
For I comi^ hither arm'd against myself: 
Stay not, be gone ; — live, and hereafter say — 
A madman's mercy bade thee nin away. 

Par. I do defy thy eoinniisiMation, 
And apprehend thee for a felon here. 

Rom. Wilt thou provoke me ? then, have at tliee, 
boy. [They ft Sill I. 


Page. O Lord! they fight: I will go call the 
watch. [Kxil Page. 

Par. O! I am slain. — [Falls.] Ifthou be mer- 
Open the tomb, lay me with .Tuliet. [Dies. 

Rom. In faith, I will. — Let me peruse this 
face : — 
Mercutio's kinsman, noble county Paris. — 
What said my man, when my betossed soul 
Did not attend him as we rode 1 1 think. 
He told me, Paris should have married Juliet : 
Said he not so ? or did I dream it so ? 
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet, 
To think it was so ? — O ! give me thy hand, 
One writ with me in soiu' misfortune's book ! 
I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave, — 
A grave ? O, no ! a lantern, slaugliter'd youth. 
For here lies .luliet ; and her beauty makes 
This vault a feasting presence full of light. 
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr'd. 

[Laying Paris in tJte Monument. 
How oft, when men are at the point of death. 
Have they been merry, which their keepers call 
A lightning before death : O ! how may I 
Call this a lightning? — O, my love! my wife ! 
Death, that hath suck'd the honey of tlxy breath, 
Hath had no jjower yet upon thy beauty : 
Thou art not conquer'd ; beauty's ensign yet 
Is crii7ison in thy lips, and in thy cheeks. 
And death's pale flag is not advanced there. — 
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet ? 
O ! what more favour can I do to thee. 
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain, 
To sunder his that was thine enemy ? 
Forgive me, cousin! — Ah! dear .luliet. 
Why art thou yet so fair? I will believe — 
Shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous ; 
And that the lean abhoiTed monster keeps 
Thee here in dark to be his i)aramour ? 
For fear of that I still will stay with thee, 
And never from this palace of dim night 
Depart again : here, here will I remain 
With worms that are thy chamber-maids ; O ! 

Will I set up my everlasting rest. 
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars 
From this world-wearied flesh. — Eyes, look your 

last : 
Arms, take your last embrace ; and lips, O ! you 
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss 
A dateless bargain to engrossing death ! — 
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide ! 
Thou desperate |iilot, now at once nm on 
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark! 
Here's to my love ! — [Drinks.] O, tuie apothecary ! 
Thy drugs are quick. — Thus with a kiss I die. 


Enter, at the other end of the Cliurchyard, Friar 
Laurenck, icith a lantern, crow, and spade. 

Fri. Saint Francis be my speed ! how oft to- 
Have my old feet stumbled at graves ? — Who's 
there ? 
Bal. IL-re's one, a friend, and one that knoAvs 

you well. 
Fri. Bliss be upon you ! Tell me, good my 
What torch is yond', that vainly lends his light 
To grubs and eyeless skulls? as I discern, 
It burnetii in the Capels' monument. 




Bal. It doth so, holy sir; and there's my master, 
One that you love. 

Fri. Who is it ? 

Bat. Romeo. 

Fri. How long hath he been there ? 

Bal. Full half an hour. 

Fri. Go with me to the vault. 

Bal. I dare not, sir. 

My master knows not, but I am gone hence ; 
And fearfully did menace me with death, 
If I did stay to look on his intents. 

Fri. Stay, then, I'll go alone. — Fear comes upon 
me ; 
O ! much I fear some ill unthrifty thing. 

Bal. As I did sleep under this yew-tree here, 
I dreamt my master and another fought, 
And that my master slew him. 

Fri. Romeo ! — [Advancing. 

Alack, alack ! what blood is this, which stains 
The stony entrance of this sepulchre ? — 
What mean these masterless and gory swords 
To lie discolour'd by this place of peace ? 

[Enferinff the Monument. 
Romeo ! O, pale ! — Who else ? what ! Paris too ? 
And steep'd in blood ? — Ah ! what an unkind hour 
Is guilty of this lamentable chance ! — 
The lady stirs. [Juliet walies. 

Jul. O, comfortable friar ! where is my lord ? 
I do remember well where I should be. 
And there I am. — Where is my Romeo ? 

[Noise witltin. 

Fri. I hear some noise. — Lady, come from that 
Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep. 
A greater Power than we can contradict 
Hath thwarted our intents : come, come away. : 

Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead ; 
And Paris too : come, I'll dispose of thee 
Among a sisterhood of holy nuns. 
Stay not to question, tor the watch is coming ; 
Come, go, good Juliet. — [Noise again.'] 1 dare no 

longer stay. [Exit. 

Jul. Go, get thee hence, for I will not away. — 
What's here .' a cup, clos'd in my true love's hand ? 
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end. — 
O churl ! drink all, and left no friendly drop, 
To help me after ? — I will kiss thy lips ; 
Haply, some poison yet doth hang on them. 
To make me die with a restorative. [Kisses him. 
Thy lips are warm ! 

1 Watch. [\Vitlnn .] Lead, boy : — which way? 
Jul. Yea, noise ? — then I'll be brief. — O happy 

dagger! [Snatching 'Royi¥.o''s dagger. 

This is thy sheath ; [Stabs herself;] there rust, 

and let me die. [Dies. 

Enter Watch, with the Page q/* Paris. 

Page. This is the place ; there, where the torch 

doth burn. 
1 Watch. The ground is bloody : search about 
the churchyard. 
Go, some of you ; whoe'er you find, attach. 

[Ei'eunt soine. 
Pitiful sight ! here lies the county slain ; — 
And Juliet bleeding; warm and newly dead. 
Who here hath lain these two days buried. — 
Go, tell the Prince, — run to the Capulets, — 
Raise up the Montagues, — some others search : — 

[Exeunt other Watchmen. 
We see the ground whereon these woes do lie ; 
But the true ground of all these piteous woes. 
We cannot without circumstance descry. 

(Tomb of the Capulets.) 




Enter some of the Watch, with Balthasar. 

2 IVatch. Here's Romeo's man; we foimd him 

in the churchyard. 
1 IVatch. Hold him in safety, till the Prince 
come hither. 

Enter another Watchman, tcith Friar Laurence. 

3 Watch. Here is a friar, that trembles, sighs, 

and weeps : 
We took this mattock and this spade from him. 
As he was coming from this churchyard side. 
1 Watch. A great suspicion : stay the friar too. 

Enter the Prince and Attendants. 

Prince. What misadventure is so early up, 
That calls our person from our morning rest? 

Enter Capulet, Lady Capulet, and others. 

Cap. What should it be, that they so shriek 

abroad ? 
La. Cap. O ! the people in the street cry Romeo, 
Some Juliet, and some Paris ; and all run 
With open outcry toward our monument. 

Prince. What fear is this, which startles in your 

ears ? 
1 Watch. Sovereign, here Ues the county Paris 
slain ; 
And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before, 
Warm and new kill'd. 

Prince. Search, seek, and know how this foul 

murder comes. 
1 Watch. Here is a friar, and slaughter'd Ro- 
meo's man. 
With instruments upon them, fit to open 
These dead men's tombs. 

Cap. O, heaven ! — O, wife ! look how our daugh- 
ter bleeds ! 
This dagger has mista'en, — for, lo ! his house 
Is empty on the back of Montague, — 
And is mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom. 
La. Cap. O me! this sight of death is as a 
That warns my old age to a sepulchre. 

Enter Montague and others. 

Prince. Come, Montague ; for thou art early up. 
To see thy son and heir more early down. 

Mnn. Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night; 
(jrief of my son's exile hath stopp'd her breath. 
What further woe conspires against mine age? 

Prince. Look, and thou shalt see. 

Mon. O thou untaught ! what manners is in this, 
To press before thy father to a grave ? 

Prince. Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while, 
Till we can clear these ambiguities. 
And know their spring, their head, their true de- 
scent ; 
And then will I be general of your woes, 
And lead you even to death. Mean time forbear, 
And let mischance be slave to patience. — 
Bring forth the parties of suspicion. 

Fri. 1 am the greatest, able to do least. 
Yet most suspected, as the time and place 
Doth make against me, of this direful murder; 
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge 
Myself condemned, and myself excus'd. 

Prince. Then, say at once what thou dost know 
in this. 

Fri.. I will be brief, for my short date of breath 

Is not so long as is a tedious tale. 
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet ; 
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife : 
I married them ; and their stolen marriage-day 
Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death 
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from this city ; 
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin'd. 
You, to remove that siege of grief from her, 
Betrotli'd, and would have married her perforce, 
To county Paris : then, comes she to me. 
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some means 
To rid her from this second marriage. 
Or in my cell there would she kill herself. 
Then gave I her, (so tutor'd by my art) 
A sleeping potion ; which so took effect 
As I intended, for it wrought on her 
The form of death : meantime, I writ to Romeo, 
That he should hither come, as this dire night, 
To help to take her frotn her borrow'd grave, 
Being the time the potion's force should cease. 
But he which bore my letter, friar John, 
Was stay'd by accident, and yesternight 
Retiun'd my "letter back. Then, all alone, 
At the prefixed hour of her waking. 
Came I to take her from her kindred's vault, 
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell, 
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo : 
I But, when I came, (some minute ere the time 
Of her awakening) here untimely lay 
The noble Paris!, and true Romeo, dead. 
She wakes ; and I entreated her come forth. 
And bear this work of heaven with patience: 
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb. 
And she, too desperate, would not go with me, 
But (as it seems) did violence on herself. 
All this I know, and to the marriage 
Her nurse is privy ; and, if aught in this 
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life 
Be sacrific'd some hour before his time, 
Unto the rigour of severest law. 

Prince. We still have known thee for a holy 
man. — 
Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this? 
Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's 
And then in post he came from Mantua, 
To this same place, to this same monument. 
This letter he early bid me give his father ; 
kr\^ threaten'd me with death, going in the vault. 
If J departed not, and left him there. 

Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.— 
Where is the county's page, that rais'd the 

watch ? — 
Sirrah, what made your master in this place ? 
Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's 
And bid me stand aloof, and so I did : 
Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb. 
And, t)V and by, my master drew on him; 
Anc then I ran away to call the watch. 

Prince. This letter doth make good the friar's 
Their course of love, the tidings of her death : 
And here he writes, that he did buy a poison 
Of a poor 'pothecary ; and therewithal 
Came to this vauh to die, and lie with Jidiet. — 
Where be these enemies ? Capulet ! Montague ! 
See, \vhat a scourge is laid upon your hate, 
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with 

love : 
And T, foi winking at your discords too. 




Have lost a brace of kinsmen : — all are pxmish'd. 

Cap. O, brother Montague ! give me thy hand : 
This is my daughter's jointure ; for no more 
Can I demand. 

Mon. But I can give thee more ; 

For I will raise her statue in pure gold, 
That, while Verona by that name is known, 
There shall no figure at such rate be set. 
As that of true and faithful Juliet. 

Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie ; 
Poor sacrifices of our enmity ! 

Prince. A glooming peace this morning with it 
The sun for sorrow will not show his head. 
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things ; 
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished: 
For never was a story of more woe. 
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo. [ Exeunt. 

'i\ .I- 



(Jl liet's Tomb, from an origiDiil dia« ing.) 


" Chorus" — As TVIalone sugt^ested, means only that 
the Prologue was spoken bj' the same performer who 
delivered the chorus at the end of act i. The Pro- 
logue, as it is in the quarto, 1597, varies from the cor- 
rection in every line. It runs lileratim thus : — 

Two household Frcnds, alike in dignitic, 

(In faire Verona, where we lay our Scene,) 
From ciuill bro> ies broke into enmitie, 

Whose civil! warre makes civill hands vncleane. 
From forth the fatall lo> nes of these two foes 

A paire of starre-crosst Lovers tooke their life ; 
Whose iiiisaduentures, piteous oucrthrowes, 

(Through the continuing of their Fathers strife, 
And death-markt passage of their Parents' rage,) 

Is now the two Iiowres trattique of our Stage. 
The which if you with patient eares attend, 

What here we want, wee'l studie to amend. 

" — fair Vkrona." — Vermia, the city of Italy where, 
next to Rome, the antiquary most luxuriates ; — where, 
blended with the remains of theatres, and amphithe- 
atres, and triumphal arches, are the palaces of the frac- 
tious nobles, and the tombs of the despotic princes of 
the Gothic ages ; — Verona, so rich in the associations 
of real history, has even a greater charm for those who 
would live in the poetry of the past : 

Are these the distant turrets of Verona? 

And shall I sup where Juliet at the masque 

Saw her lov'd Montague, and now sleeps by him .' 

So felt the tender and graceful poet, Rogers. He adds, 
in a note, " The old palace of the Cappelletti, with its 
uncouth balcony and irregular windows, is still stand- 
ing in a lane near the market-place; and what Eng- 
lishman can behold it with indiiference ?" When we 
enter Verona, we forget ourselves, and are almost in- 
clined to say with Dante, — 

Vicni a reder Montccchi, c Cappelletti. 

ACT I.— Scene I. 

" Gregory, on my word, we'll not carry coah." — This 
phrase was used proverbially for submitting to degra- 
dation, putting up with insult. Its origin is tlius ex- 
plained by Mr. Gilford: — "In all great houses, but 
particularly in the royal residences, there were a num- 
ber of mean and dirty dependents, whose office it was 
to attend the wood-yard, sculleries, &c. Of these (for 


in the lowest deep there was a lower still) the most 
forlorn wretches seem to have been selected to carry 
coals to the kitchen, halls, &c. To this smutty regi- 
ment, who attended the progresses, and rode in the 
carts with the pots and kettles, which, with everj' other 
article of furniture, were then removed from palace to 
palace, the people in derision gave the name of black- 
guards ; a term since become sufficiently familiar, and 
never properly explained." 

" — thou hadst been poor John." — Dried and salted 
fish was so called. 

" — li-hich is a disgrace to them, if they bear it." — 
The meaning of this is shown by the followin? passage 
from Decker's "Dead Term," 1608, where he is ad- 
verting to the persons who visited the walks in St. 
Paul's church: — " What swearing is there, what shoul- 
dering, what justling, what jeering, what biting of 
thumbs to beget quarrels !" 

"Gregory, remember thy swashing blow." — We 
have " swashing" in As You Like It, " We'll have a 
swashing and a martial outside." Barret, in his "Al- 
vearie," 1580, states that " to swash is to make a noise 
with swords against targets." Ben Jonson also, in his 
" Staple of News," speaks of " a swashing blow." 

" Clubs, bills, and partisans .'" — The cry of clubs is as 
thoroughly of English origin as the ." bite my thumb" 
is of Italian. Scott has made the cry familiar to us in 
"The Fortunes of Nigel;" and when the citizens of 
Verona here raise it, we involuntarily think of the old 
watch-maker's hatch-door in Fleet-street, and Jin Vin 
and Tunstall darting off for the aflVay. " The great 
long club," (as described by Stowe,) on the necks of the 
London apprentices, was as characteristic as the flat cap 
of the same quarrelsome body, in the days of Elizabeth 
and James. The use by Shakespeare of home phrases, 
in the mouths of foreign characters, was a part of his 
art. It is the same thing as rendering Sancho's Spanish 
proverbs into the corresponding English proverbs, in- 
stead of literally translating them. The cry of clubs, 
by the citizens of Verona, expressed an idea of popular 
movements, which could not have been conveyed half 
so emphatically m a foreign phrase. — Knight. 


« — the grove of sycamore." — When Shakespeare 
has to deal with descriptions of natural scenery, he 
almost invariably localizes himself with the utmost 
distinctness. He never mistakes the sycamore groves 
of the south for the birch woods of the north. In such 
cases he was not required to employ familiar and con- 
ventional images, for the sake of presenting an idea 
more distinctly to his audience than a rigid adherence 
to the laws of costume (we employ the word in its 
hirger sense of rnanners) would have allowed. The 
grove of sycamore 

That westward rooteth from this city's side, 
takes us at once to a scene entirely different from one 
presented by Shakespeare's own experience. The syca- 
more is the Oriental plane, (little known in England,) 
spreading its broad branches — from which its name, 
plantanus, — to supply the most delightful of shades 
under the sun of Syria or of Italy. Shakespeare might 
have found the sycamore in Chaucer's exquisite tale of 
the Flower and the Leaf, where the hedge that 

Closed in alle the green arhere, 

With sycamore was set and eglantere. Ksight. 

" Pnrsu'd my hnrnovr." — The reading of the two 
preceding lines in this edition, is that preferred by 
Collier, being that of all the early editions, except the 
first. The plain meaning is, tliat Benvolio, like Ro- 
meo, was indisposed for society, and sought to be most 
where fewest people were to be found, being one too 
many, even when by himself. The popular text, since 
Pope's time, has usually been that of the quarto, 1597, 
viz : — 

I measuring his alTections by my own, 

That most are hiisied when they're most alone, 

Pursued my humour. 

" Or dedicate his beauty to the srx." — The old copies 
here, instead of " to the sun," read " to the same." 
This prosaic termination of so beautiful a passage was 
altered at the suggestion of Theobald, as a typographi- 
cal mistake for " sunne," in the old orthography. Dan- 
iel, in his sonnets (1594) has a passage somewhat 
similar : — 

And while thou spread's! unto the rising sun 
Tlie fairest (lower that ever saw the light, 
Now 'joy thy tiiiic, before thy sweet be done. 

Collier retains " same." 

" Enter Romeo," etc. 
If we are right, from the internal evidence, in pro- 
nouncing this one of Shakespeare's early dramas, it 
affords a strong instance of the fineness of his in- 
sight into the nature of the passions, that Romeo is 
already love-bewildered. The necessity of loving cre- 
ates an object for itself in man and woman ; and yet 
there is a difl'erence in this respect between the sexes, 
though only to be known by a perception of it. It 
would have displeased us if Juliet had been represented 
as already in love, or as fancying herself so; — but no 
one, I believe, ever experiences any shock at Romeo's 
forgetting his Rosaline (who had been a mere name for 
the yearning of his youthful imagination) and rushing 
into his passion for Juliet. Rosaline was a mere crea- 
tion of his fancy; and we should remark the boastful 
positiveness of Romeo in a love of his own making, 
which is never shown where love is really near the 
heart : — 

When the devout religion of mine eye 

Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires! 

One fairer than my love ! the all-seeing sun 
Ne'er saw her match since first the world t>ogiin. 


"O braxcting love! O loving hate!" — This anti- 
thetical combination of contraries originated in the Pro- 
vencal poetry, and was assiduously cultivated by Pe- 
trarch. Shakespeare, in this passage, may be distinctly 
traced to Chaucer's translation of the " Romaunt of 


the Rose," where we have love described as a hateful 
peace — a truth full of falsehood — a despairing hope — a 
void reason — a sick heal, etc. — Knight. 

(Lady masked, from Vzcellio.) 

Scene II. 

" — lady of my earth." — The heiress of my lands, 
as Stevens (I think rightly) explains it. But Malone 
thinks that Shakespeare uses earth for the mortal part, 
as in the 146th Sonnet : — 

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth. 
and in this play, 

Turn bacli, dull earth. 

"This night I hold an old accusfom'd feast." — "The 
day is hot," says Benvolio. The Friar is up in his 

Now ere the sun advance his burning eye. 

Juliet hears the nightingale sing from the pomegranate 
tree. During the whole course of the poem, the action 
appears to move under the " vaulty heaven" of Italy, 
with a soft moon 

That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops, — 
and "day's pathway" made lustrous by 

Titan's fiery wheels. Kwkjht. 

" Earth-treading stars," etc. — Warburton calls this 
line nonsense, and would read, 

Earth-treading stars that make dark even light. 
Monck Mason would read, 

Earth-treading stars that make dark, heaven's light, 
that is, that make the liglit of heaven appear dark in 
comparison with them. It appears unnecessar)' to alter 
the original reading, especially as passages in the mas- 
querade scene would indicate that the banquetting-room 
opened into a garden — as. 

Her beauty hangs upon the cheek ofnis,ht. 

" Which, on more view of many, mine being one." 
The editions following Stevens's text, retain the 
reading of the first unrevised quarto, "Such amongst 
view of many ;" the sense of which, most readers will 
say, with Johnson, "I do not understand." The pres- 
ent text agrees with that of the later editors, Singer and 
Collier, being from the revised quartos, (with the cor- 
rection of an obvious error of the press,) reading " on" 
view of many, for one view, etc. Singer thus states the 
meaning : — 

'•Hear all, see all, and like her most who has the 
most merit; her, which, after regarding attentively the 
many, my daughter being one, may stand unique in 
merit, though she may be reckoned nothing, or held in 
no estimation. The allusion, as Malone has shown, 



is to the old proverbial expression, 'One is no number,' 
thus adverted to in Decker's ' Honest Whore :' — 

— to fall to one 
Is to fall to none, 
For one no number is. 

And in Shakespeare's 136th Sonnet : — 

Among a number one is reckoned none, 
Then in the number let me pass untold. 
It will be unnecessary to inform the reader that which 
is here used for icho, a substitution common with 
Shakespeare, as in all the writers of liis time." 

a — CRUSH a cup of xcine." — This expression is met 
with in many old plays ?nd tracts of the time. 

(Plantain leaf.) 

Scene III. 

The character of the Nurse is the nearest of any 
thing in Shakespeare to a direct borrowing from mere 
observation ; and the reason is, that as in infancy and 
childhood the individual in nature is a representative 
of a class, — just as in describing one larch tree, you 
generalize a grove of them, — so it is nearly as much so 
in old ase. Tiie generalization is done to the Poet's 
hand. Here you have the garrulity of age strengthened 
by the feelings of a lonar-trusted servant, whose sympa- 
thy with the mother's affections gives her privileges and 
rank in the household ; and observe the mode of con- 
nection by accidents of time and place, and the child- 
like fondness of repetition in a second childhood, and 
also that happy, humble, duckins; under, yet constant 
resurgence against, the check of her superiors ! — 
Yes, madam! — Vet I cannot choose but laugh, kc. 


" Even or odd." — The speeches of the Nurse, from 
hence, are given as prose in all the early editions. 
Capell had the great merit of first printing them as 
verse; and not " erroneously," as Boswell appears to 
think, for there is not in all Shakespeare a passage in 
which the rhythm is more happily characteristic. — 

" .^nd, pretty foot, it stinted" — i. e. it stopped cry- 
ing. To stint is frequently used for to stop in wiiters 
of the time. 

"Examine every married lineament" — i. e. Eveiy 
harmoniously united lineament. This is the reading of 
the quarto, 1599, the oldest authority for this part of 
the iday : the quarto, 1609, and the folio, 1623, have 
poorly, " Examine every several lineament." 

"The fish lives in the sea" — i. e. Is not yet caught. 
Fish-skin covers to books anciently were not uncom- 
mon. Such is Farmer's explanation of this passage. — 


Scene IV. 
"Enter Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio," etc. 

In the fourth scene we have Mercutio introduced to 
us. O ! how shall I describe that exquisite ebullience 
and overflow of youthful life, wafted on over the laugh- 
ing waves of pleasure and prosperity, as a wanton 
beauty that distorts the face on which she knows her 
lover is gazing enraptured, and wrinkles her forehead 
in the triumph of its smoothness! Wit ever wakeful, 
fancy busy and procreative as an insect, courage, — an 
easy mind that, without cares of its own, is at once 
disposed to laugh away those of others, and yet to be 
interested in them,— these and all congenial qualities, 
melting into the common copula of them all, the man 
of rank and the gentleman, with all its excellences and 
all its weaknesses, constitute the character of Mercu- 
tio ! — Coleridge. 

In Arthur Brooke's rhymin? poem of " Romeus and 
Juliet," there is mention of Mercutio : — 

At th' one side of her chair her lover Romeo, 
And on the other side there sat one called Mercutio ; — 
A courtier that eachwhere was highly had in, 
For he was courteous of his speecli and pleasant of device : 
Even as a lion would among the lambs be bold, 
Such was among the bashful maids, Mercutio to behold. 
With friendly gripe lie seized fair Juliet's snowish liand : 
A gift he had tliat nature gave him in his swathing band,— 
That frozen mountain-ice was never half so cold 
As were his hands, though ne'er so near the tire he did them hold. 
On this slight hint, Shakespeare founded the admira- 
ble character bearing the same name. — Illust. Shak. 

" Well have no Cupid hood-wink'd with such a scarf," 
etc. — This "device" was a practice of courtly life, 
before and during the time of Shakespeare. The 
" Tartar's painted bow of lath" is the bow of the Asi- 
atic nations, with a double curve, so as to distinguish 
the bow of Cupid from the old English long-bow. The 
" crow-keeper," who scares the ladies, had also a bow : 
he is the shuffle or mawkin — the scarecrow of rags and 
straw, with a bow and arrow in his hand. "That fel- 
low handles his bow like a crow-keeper," says Lear. 
The "without-book prologue faintly spoke after the 
prompter," is supposed by Warton to allude to the boy- 
actors that we find noticed in Hamlet. 

" Give me a torch." — The character, (says Stevens,) 
which Romeo declares his resolution to assume, will be 
best explained by a passage in "Westward Hoe," by 
Decker and Webster, 1607 :— " He is just like a torch- 
bearer to maskers; he wears good cloathes, and is 
ranked in good company, but he doth nothing." 

« — doth QUOTE deformities" — i. e. Aote or observe 

" Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels" — Al- 
luding to the rushes with which apartments were an- 
ciently strewed, before the ordinary use of carpets. 

" Tut ! dun's the mouse." — AVe have a string of say- 
ings here which have much puzzled the commentators. 
When Romeo exclaims, " I am done," Mercutio, play- 
ing upon the word, cries "dun's the mouse." This is 
a proverbial phrase, constantly occurring in tiie old 
comedies. It is probably something like the other cant 
phrase tliat occurs in Lear, " the cat is grey." The 
following line, 

If thou art dun, we 11 draw thee from the mire, 
was fully as puzzling, till Gilford gave us a solution: — 
" Dun is in the mire ! then, is a Christmas gambol, at 
which I have often played. A log of wood is brought 
into the midst of the room : this is dun, (the cart horse,) 
and a cry is raised, that he is stuck in the mire. Two 
of the company advance, either with or without ropes, 
to draw him out. After repeated attempts, they find 
themselves unable to do it, and call for more assist- 
ance. The game continues till all the company take 
part in it, when dun is extricated of course; and the 
merriment arises from the awkward and affected efforts 


of the rustics to lift the log, and from siindrj' arch con- 
trivances to let it fall on one another's toes. This will 
not be thought a very exquisite amusement; and yet I 
have seen much honest mirth at it, and have been far 
more entertained with the ludicrous contortions of pre- 
tended struggles, than with the writhing, the dark 
scowl of avarice and envy exhibited by the same de- 
scription of persons, in the genteeler amusement of 
cards, now the universal substitute lor all our ancient 
sports."— Gifford's Ben Jmison's Works. 

" Mer. O ! then, I see, queen Mab hath been xcith you." 
This exquisitely fanciful piece of descriptive humour 
was strangely printed as prose in all the quartos and 
folio, where it appears with the author's last correction 
of language. The first quarto, being the first draft, is 
less perfect as to language, but has the metrical ar- 
rangement. We cannot but follow JMr. Knight's ex- 
ample in exhibiting to our readers the first draft of a 
performance so exquisitely finished as this celebrated 
description, in which every word is a study. The origi- 
nal quarto of 1597 gives the passage, as follows : — 

All then I see queen Mah hath heen with you. 

She is the fairies' midwife, and doth come 

In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 

On the forefluger of a buigomaster, 

Drawne with a team of little atomy, 

Athwart men's noses when they lie asleep. 

Her waggon spokes are made of spinners' webs, 

The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers, 

The traces are the moon-shine watery beams, 

The collars cricket bones, the lash of films. 

Her waggoner is a small gray -coated fly 

Not half so big as is a little worm, 

Picked from the lazy finger of a maid. 

And in this sort she gallops up and down 

Througli lovers' brains, and then they dream of love. 

O'er courtiers' knees, who strait on courtesies dream; 

O'er ladies' lips who dream on kisses strait, 

Which oft the anpry Mab with blisters plagues 

Because their breath with sweetmeats tainted are. 

Sometimes she gallops o'er a lawyer's lap. 

And then dreams he of smelling out a suit ; 

And someimesshe with a tythe pig's tail 

Tickling a parson's nose that lies asleep 

And then dreams he of another benefice. 

Sometimes she gallops o'er a soldier's nose. 

And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, 

Of breaches, amlmscadoes, countermines. 

Of healths five fathom deep, and tlien anon 

Drums in his ears, at whicji he starts and wakes, 

And swears a prayer or two, and sleeps again. 

This is that Mab that makes maids lie on tlieir backs, 

And proves them women ol good carriage. 

This is the very Mab, 

That plaits the mains of horses in the night. 

And plaits the elfe locks in foul sluttish hair. 

Which once untangled much misfortune breeds. 

"She is the fairies^ midwife" — Warburton supposes 
this to be an error of the press for " fancy's midwife," 
a conjecture worth preserving for its ingenuity, though 
it does not seem wanted. Commentators have differed 
about the sense of the allusion, and Stevens's explana- 
tion has been commonly adopted. I prefer that of T. 
Warton. The reader may choose for himself: — 

" The ' fairies' midwife' does not mean the midwife 
io the fairies, but that she was the person among the 
fairies, whose department it was to deliver the fancies 
of sleeping men of their dreams, those children of an 
idle brain. When we say ' the king's judges,' we do not 
mean persons who are to judge the king, but persons 
appointed by him to judge his subjects." — Stevens. 

" I apprehend, and with no violence of interpretation, 
that by ' the fairies' midwife' the Poet means — tlie 
midwife among the fairies, because it was her peculiar 
employment to steal the new-born babe in the night, 
and to leave another in its place. The Poet here uses 
her general appellation and character, which yet have so 
far a proper reference to the present train of fiction, 
as that her illusions were practised on persons in bed 
or asleep; for she not only haunted women in childbed, 
but was likewise the incubus or nightmare : Shake- 
speare, by employing her here, alludes at large to her 
midnight pranks performed on sleepers ; but denomin- 

ates her from the most notorious one, of her personating 
the drowsy midwife, who was insensibly carried away 
into some distant water, and substituting a new birth 
in the bed or cradle. It would clear the appellation to 
read the fairy midwife. The Poet avails himself of 
Mab's appropriate province, by giving her this noctur- 
nal agency." — T. Warton. 

" This is that very Mab 
That plats the manes of horses in the night 

"This alludes to a singular superstition, not jet for- 
gotten in some parts of the continent. It was believed 
that certain malignant spirits, whose delight was to 
wander in groves and pleasant places, assumed occa- 
sionally the likenesses of women clothed in white ; 
that in tliis character they sometimes haunted stables 
in the night-time, carrying in their hands tapers of 
wax, which they dropped on the horses' manes, thereby 
plaiting them in inextricable knots, to the great annoy- 
ance of the poor animals, and the vexation of their 
masters. These hags are mentioned in the works of 
William Auvergne, Bishop of Paris, in the thirteenth 
century. There is a very uncommon old print by 
Hans Burgmair, relating to this subject. A witch 
enters the stable willi a lighted torch ; and previously 
to the operation of entangling the horse's mane, prac- 
tises her enchantment on the groom, who is lying asleep 
on his back, and apparently influenced by the night- 
mare. The belemites, or elf-stones, were regarded as 
charms against the last-mentioned disease, and against 
evil spirits of all kinds ; but the ceraunite, or boetuli, 
and all perforated flint-stones, were not only used for 
the same purpose, but more particularly for the protec- 
tion of horses and other cattle, by suspending them in 
stables, or tying them round the necks of the animals. 

" The next line. 

And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs, 
seems to be unconnected with the preceding, and to 
mark a superstition, which, as Dr. Warburton has ob- 
served, may have originated from the plina Polonica, 
which was supposed to be the operation of the wicked 
elves, whence the clotted hair was called elf-locks, and 
elf-knots. Thus Edgar talks of 'elfing all his hair in 
knots.' " — Douce. 

" Strike, drum." — Here the folio adds : — " They 
march about the stage, and serving-men come forth 
with their napkins." This stage-direction shows that 
the scene was supposed to be immediately changed to 
the hall of Capulet's house. 

Scene V. 

" — remove the corKT-cupBOARD" — i. e. A sideboard 
or buffet, for the display of plate, etc., often mentioned 
by old writers. "Here shall stand my court -cupboard 
with its furniture of plate," — Chapman's Monsieur 
d'Olive, 1606. 

" — a piece of marchpane." — Marchpanes, says 
Stevens, were composed of filberts, almonds, pistachios, 
pine-kernels, and sugar of roses, with a small propor- 
tion of flour. It is supposed to be the same that we 
now call a macaroon. 

"J hall ! a hall .'" — King James, in Scott's "Mar- 
mion," has made this antiquated phrase familiar to the 
modern reader. It was an exclamation used to make 
room in a crowd, and especially to clear a hall for a 

« — good COUSIN Capulet." — M. Mason observes 
that the word cousin Shakespeare applies to any col- 
lateral relation of whatever degree; thus we have in 
this play " Tybalt, my cousin ! — Oh my brother's child !" 
Richard the Third calls his nephew York, cousin ; while 
the boy calls Richard, uncle. In the same play, York's 
grandmother calls him, cousin ; while he replies, gran- 



"Her beauty hangs upon the check of night." 
All the old copies anterior to tlic second folio read — 
" It seems she han<js upon the cheek of night." So much 
is gained in poetic beauty, and the other reading is so 
tame in expression, and so little in Shakespeare's man- 
ner, whose faults of languaije are never on that side, 
that it seems quite probable that this was a correction 
of the Poet's own, obtained from some other manuscript 
altered during the author's life. It is besides confirmed 
by the repetition of the word " beauty" in the next line 
but one. Collier and Singer adhere to the old reading 
of " It seems," etc., but most other editors agree with 
the reading in the text. 

"This trick may chance to scath yort" — i. e. To 
do you injury. 

" This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this." — The old 
copies read sin for " fine," an easy misprint when sin 
was written sinne with a long .5. " Sin" scarcely af- 
fords sense, while " fine" (which Warburton introduced) 
has a clear meaning. 

" Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie." 
Our impression of Juliet's loveliness and sensibility 
is enhanced, when we find it overcoming in the bosom 
of Romeo a previous love for another. His visionary- 
passion for the cold, inaccessible Rosaline, forms but 
the prologue, the threshold to the true — the real senti- 
timent which succeeds it. The incident which is found 
in the original story has been retained by Shakespeare 
■with equal feeling and judgment; — and far from being 
a fault in taste and sentiment, far from prejudicing us 
against Romeo, by casting upon him, at the outset of 
the piece, the stigma of inconstancy, it becomes, if 
properly considered, a beauty in the drama, and adds a 
fresh stroke of truth to the portrait of the lover. Why, 
after all, should we be offended at wliat does not offend 
Juliet herself/ for in the original story we find that 
her attention is first attracted towards Romeo, by see- 
ing him " fancy sick, and pale of cheer," for love of a 
cold beauty. We must remember that in those times, 
every young cavalier of any distinction devoted himself, 
at his first entrance into the world, to the service of 
some fair lady, who was selected to be his fancy's 
queen : and the more rigorous the beauty, and the more 
hopeless the love, the more honourable the slavery. To 
go about " metamorphosed by a mistress," as Speed hu- 
morously expresses it, — to maintain her supremacy in 
charms at the sword's point ; to sigh ; to walk with 
folded arms ; to be neglisent and melancholy, and to show 
*'a careless desolation," was the fashion of the day. 
Tiie Surreys, the Sydneys, the Bayards, the Herberts of 
that time — all those who were the mirrors " in which 
the noble youth did dress themselves," were of this fan- 
tastic school of gallantry — the last remains of the age 
of chivalry; and it was especially prevalent in Italy. 
Shakespeare has ridiculed it in many places with ex- 
quisite humour; but he wished to show us that it has 
its serious as well as its comic aspect. Romeo, then, 
is introduced to us witli perfect truth of costume, as the 
thrall of a drcamini, fanciful passion for the scornful 
Rosaline, who had forsworn to love ; and on her charms 
and her coldness, and on the power of love generally, 
he descants to his companions in pretty phrases, quite 
in the style and taste of the day. 

But when once he had beheld Juliet, and quaffed 
intoxicating draughts of hope and love from her soft 
glance, how all these airy fancies fade before the soul- 
absorbing reality ! The lambent fire that played round 
his heart, burns to that heart's very core. We no 
longer find him adorninsr his lamentations in picked 
phrases, or makin? a confidant of his gay companions; 
he is no longer " for the numbers that Petrarch flowed 
in;" but all is concentrated, earnest, rapturous, in the 
feeling and the expression. 

How different ! and how finely the distinction is 
drawn ! Ilis first passion is indulged as a waking 


dream, a reverie of the fancy : it is depressing, indolent, 
fantastic ; his second elevates him to the third heaven, 
or hurries him to despair. It rushes to its object through 
all impediments, defies all dangers, and seeks at last a 
triumphant grave, in the arms of her he so loved. 
Thus Romeo's previous attachment to Rosaline is so 
contrived as to exhibit to us another variety in that 
passion which is the subject of the poem, by showing 
us the distinction between the fancied and the real 
sentiment. It adds a deeper effect to the beauty of 
Juliet ; it interests us in the commencement for the 
tender and romantic Romeo; and gives an individual 
reality to his character, by stamping him like an his- 
torical, as well as a dramatic portrait, with the very 
spirit of the age in which he lived. — Mrs. Jameson. 

ACT II.— Scene I. 

" Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim." — The 
old copies have "Abraham Cupid," which Upton ju- 
diciously altered to Mam, understanding the reference 
to be to Adam Bell, the famous archer; as in Much 
Ado about Nothing, " he that hits me, let him be 
called Adam." " Trim" is from the quarto, the other 
editions reading true. The passage applies to the bal- 
lad of " King Cophetua and the Beggar-Maid." The 
portion particularly in Shakespeare's mind runs thus : — 

The Minded hoy that shootes so trim 

From heaven downe so high, 
He drew a dart, and shot at him 

In place where he did lye. 

" — the HUMOROUS night" — Dewy — vaporous — as 
in Chapman's Homer, "the humorous days;" and else- 
where, " the humorous fogs." 

Scene II. 

Take notice in this enchanting scene of the contrast 
of Romeo's love with his former fancy; and weigh the 
skill shown in justifying him from his inconstancy by 
making us feel the difference of his passion. Yet this, 
too, is a love in, although not merely of, the imagina- 
tion. — Coleridge. 

"That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops." 
This happy expression of a beautiful thought has 
often reappeared in modern poetry. Thus Pope used 
it to decorate the simpler night-landscape of Homer, by 
introducing it into his translation of the famous moon- 
light description at the end of the eighth book of the 
lUiad :— 

And tips with silver everj' mountain top. 

And again in his imitation of the sixth satire of Horace, 
where the "jamque tenebat — Nox medium coeli spa- 
tium" of the Latin poet is enriched by the Shake- 
spearian imagery — 

Tell how the moonbeam trembling falls, 
And tips with silver all the walls. 

Tom Moore has put it to a profane use in the way of 
parody, when alluding to the rouge with which his 
dandy sovereign used to disguise the ravages of age, 
he makes it — 

— tip his whiskers' tops with red. 

"Jul. Well, do not swear. .Althofughl joyin thee, 
I have no joy of this contractto-night" etc. 
With love, pure love, there is always an anxiety for 
the safety of the object, a disinterestedness, by which 
it is distinguished from the counterfeits of its name. 
Compare this scene with act iii. scene 1, of the Tem- 
pest. I do not know a more wonderful instance of 
Shakespeare's mastery in playing a distinctly remem- 
berable variety on the same remembered air, than in 
the transporting love-confessions of Romeo and Juliet, 
and Ferdinand and Mii'anda. There seems more pas- 
sion in the one, and dignity in the other; yet you feel 
that the sweet girlish lingering and busy movement of 


Juliet, and the calmer and more maidenly fondness of 
JMiranda, might easily paso into each other. — Cole- 

" To lure this tercel-gentle hack again." — The 
" tercel" is the male of the goss-hawk. This species 
of hawk had the epithet of" gentle" annexed to it, from 
the ease with which it was tamed. It was thought the 
most beautil'ul and graceful kind of hawk, and appro- 
priated to the use of princes. 

Scene III. 

The reverend character of the Friar, like all Shake- 
speare's representations of the great professions, is very 
delightful and tranquillizing, yet it is no digression, but 
immediately necessary to the carrying on of the plot. — 

" — and Titan's fiery wheels" — This is the reading 
of the first edition : in the revised copies it reads 
"burning wheels," evidently a misprint from taking 
the word '• burning" from the line below. But, the 
four lines beginning "The grey-ey'd morn" are also 
printed in the folio as part of Romeo's speech just be- 
fore, as if by some accidental error of a copyist, so that 
they are inserted twice; and there the reading is — 
" From forth day's pathway made by Titan's wheels," 
which is preferred by many editors. Both readings are 
from Shakespeare himself. It seems probable that the 
reading of the text was the one la5t preferred, and the 
later editors have adopted it. 

"The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb." 
Milton, in Paradise Lost, has the same idea, — 
The womb of nature, and, perhaps, her grave. 

The editors of Milton have given a parallel passage in 

Oinniparens, eadem rcrum commune sepulchnun. 

Knight asks, '•' Did Shakespeare and Milton go to the 
same common source 1" 

" O ! mickle is the powerful grace that lies 
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities." 
Dr. Farmer remarked that " this eulosium on the 
hidden powers of nature aflbrds a natural introduction 
to the Friar's furnishing Juliet with the sleepins po- 
tion in Act IV." Here is one of the many instances in 
which the train of thought was suggested by Brooke's 
poem : — 

But not in vain, my chiM, hath all my wandering been : — 
What force the stones, the plants, and metals have to work, 
And divers other things that in the bowels of earth do lurk 
With care I have sought out ; with pain I did them prove. 

"Tico such opposed kixgs." — The first edition has 
"foes," followed in the common modern editions, but 
all the other old editions read kings — moral chiefs, 
contending for the rule of man — a thoroughly Shake- 
spearian phrase. 

" — both our remedies 
Within thy help ami holy physic lies." 

Dr. Percy, who brought to the elucidation of our old 
authors, the knowledge of an antiquary and the feeling 
of a poet, has observed, that " in ver}- old Endish the 
third person plural of the present tense endeth in eth 
as well as the singular, and often familiarly in es .-" 
it has been further explained by Mr. Toilet, that "the 
third person plural of the Anglo-Saxon present tense 
endeth in eth, and of the Dano-Saxon in es." Malone's 
principle upon which such idioms, which appear false 
concords to us, should be corrected is, " to substitute 
the modern idiom in all places except where either 
the metre or rhyme renders it impossible." Knight 
adds. " but to those who can feel the value of a slight 
sprinkling of our antique phraseology, it is pleasant to 
drop upon the instances in which correction is impossi- 
sible." Thus : 

Hark ! hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings, 

And Phipbus 'gins arise, 
His steeds to water at those springs 

On chalic'd flowers that Zies. 

And again in " Venus and Adonis :" 

She lifts the coflfcr lids that close his eyes 
Where lo ! two lamps burnt out, in darkness lies. 

Scene IV. 
" — the very pix of his heart cleft." — The "pin" 
was the peg by which the white mark or clout, at 
which archers shot, was fastened. To " cleave the 
pin" was a matter of more difficulty than to hit the 
clout or white. 

" More than prince of cats." — Tybalt or Tybert was 
the name of a cat ; and the cat in the old allegory of 
"Reynard the Fox" was called Tybert. Nash, in liis 
" Have with you to Saffron Walde'n," 1596, has, " Ty- 
balt, prince of cats." 

" He fights as you sing prick-soxg" — Music pricked, 
or noted down, so as to read according to rule ; in con- 
tradistinction to music learned by the ear, or sung from 

" — the hay" — All the terms of the modern fencing- 
; school were originally Italian ; the rapier, or small 
j thrusting-sword, being first used in Italy. The " hay" 
is the word hai, " you have it," used when a thrust 
reaches the antagonist ; from which our fencers, on 
the same occasion, without knowing, I suppose, any 
reason for it, cry out, ha ! — Johnson. 

" — these PARDONNEZ-Mois" — " Pardonnez-moi" be- 
came the language of doubt or hesitation among men 
of the sword, when the point of honour was grown so 
delicate that no other mode of contradiction would be 
endured. — Johnson. 

" — they cannot sit at ease on the old bench." — It is 
said that during the ridiculous fashion which prevailed 
of great " boulstered breeches," it was necessary to cut 
away hollow places in the benches of the House of 
Commons, to make room for these monstrous protu- 
berances, without which those " who stood on the new 
form could not sit at ease on the old bench." — Singer. 

"Thisbe, a grey eve or so." — Mercutio means to 
allow that Thisbe had a venfine eye; for, from various 
passages, it appears that a gray eye was in our author's 
time thought eminently beautiful. This may seem 
strange to those who are not conversant with ancient 
phraseology ; but a gray eye undoubtedly meant what 
we now denominate a blue eye. — Malone. 

" — a Fretich salutation to ycnir French slop." — 
Slops were loose breeches or trousers. 

" Why, then is jr.y pjimp well flowered." — It was the 
custom to wear ribands in the shoes, formed into the 
shape of roses, or of any other flowers. So in the 
"Masque of Gray's Inn,"' (1614,)— " Ever%- masker's 
pump was fastened with a flower suitable to his cap." — 
Steven s- 

" — what saucy merchant was this, that xras so full 
of his ropery ?" — An aristocratic distinction of the 
olden time, when a " merchant" was not a " gentle- 
man." This old retainer of a noble family means to 
vent her contempt by the phrase. " Ropery" is a word 
found in "The Three Ladies of London," 1584, in a 
sense somewhat similar to roguery. 

" R is for thee ? no." — The meaning of this pas- 
sage seems to have been hitherto mistaken, owing to 
" thee" in the old copies (as was often the case) having 
been misprinted the ; it there runs thus : " R is for the 
no." The nurse means to ask, " how can R, which is 
the dog's name, be/br //icf .?" And she answers her- 
self, " no : I know Romeo begins with some other let- 
ter." The modern text, at the suggestion of Tyrwhitt, 
has usually been, " R is for the dog." — Collier. 



R was called the dog's letter. In his English Gram- 
mar, Ben Jonson says, " R is the dog's letter, and hir- 
retli in the sound.'' In our old writers we have a verb 
formed from the noise of a dog. Tiius, in Nashe, 1600, 

They arre and bark at night against the moon : 
and in Holhind's translation of Plutarch Morals, " a 
do? is, by nature, fell and quarrelsome, given to arre 
and war ujjon a very small occasion." Erasmus has a 
meaning for R being the dog's letter, which is not de- 
rived from the sound : — " R, lilera quae ia iiixando 
prima est, canina vocatur." 

ScE>'E V. 
" O ! she is lame : love's heralds should be ihotighls.'' 
The first sketch in quarto follows up the line above 
quoted thus : — 

And run more swift than hasty powder fir'd 
Doth nurry from the fearful cannon's mouth. 
O ! now she comes. Tell me, gentle nurse, 
What says my love. 


This scene was rewritten by the author in his re- 
vision. As the original scene has its peculiar beauties, 
which were sacrificed to the graver tone of the revised 
scene, the reader will doubtless be gratified by being 
enabled to compare the two : 

Rom. Now, father Laurence, in thy holy grant 
Consists the good of me and Juliet. 

Friar. Without mtire words, I will do all I may 
To make you happy, if in me it lie. 

Rom. Tliis morning here she 'pointed we should meet, 
And consummate those never-parting bands, 
Witness of our hearts' love, by joining hands; 
And come she will. 

Friar. I guess she will indeed : 
Youth's love is quick, swifter than swiftest speed. 

Enter Juliet somewhat fast, and embraceth Romeo, 

See where she comes ! — 

So light a foot ne'er hurts the trodden flower ; 
Of life and joy, see, see the sovereign power ! 
Jul. Romeo ! 

Ko?ii. My Juliet, welcome ! As do waking eyes 
(Clos'd in night's mists) attend the frolick day, 
So Romeo hath expected Juliet ; 
And thou art come. 

Jvl. I am (if I be day) 
Come to my sun ; shine forth, and make me fair. 
Rom. .\]\ beauteous fairness dwelleth in thine eyes. 
Jul. Romeo, from thine all brightness doth arise. 
Friar. Come, wantons, come, the stealing hours do pass; 
Defer embracements to some future time ; 
Part for a tim ■, you shall not be alone. 
Till holy church hath joined you both in one. 
Rom. Lead, holy father, all delay seems long. 
Jul. Make haste, make haste, this ling'rmg doth us wrong. 
Friar. O, soft and fair makes sweetest work they say ; 
Haste is a coimnon hind'rer in cross-way. ^Exeunt, 

ACT III.— Scene I. 

"The day is hot, the Capukts abroad." — It is ob- 
served that, in Italy, almost all assassinations are com- 
mitted during the heat of summer. — Johnson. 

"A LA STOCCATA Carries it away." — ~1 la sloccata 
is the Italian term of art for the thrust with a rapier. 

« — your su-ord out of his pilcher by the ears." — 
So all the old editions but the first, which has scab- 
bard, thereby explainini what was meant by " pilcher." 
A pilch is a covering of leather, but no other instance 
has been adduced of the use of the word " pilcher." 

" My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt." — Dryden 
mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his 
time, of a declaration made by Sliakespeare, that " he 
was obliged to kill INIercutio in the tliird act, lest he 
should have been killed by him." Yet he thinks him 
" no sueli formidable person, b\U that he misht liave 
lived through the play, and died in his bed," without 
danger to the Poet. Dryden well knew, had he been 
in quest of truth, that in a pointed sentence, more re- 

gard is commonly had to the words tlian the thought, 
and that it is very seldom to be rigorously understood. 
Mercutio's wit, gayety, and courage, will always pro- 
cure him friends that wish him a longer life ; but his 
death is not precipitated ; he has lived out the time 
allotted him in the construction of the play ; nor do I 
doubt the ability of Shakespeare to have continued him 
in existence, though some of his sallies are perhaps 
out of the reach of Dryden ; whose genius was not 
very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humour, but 
acute, argumentative, comprehensive, and sublime. — 

Hallam suggests a different motive for the untimely 
end of this general favourite. He thinks that there is 
so much of excessive tenderness in Romeo's character, 
that we might be in some danger of mistaking it for 
effeminacy, if the loss of his friend had not aroused his 
courage. " It seems," says he, (Literature of Europe,) 
" to have been necessary to keep down the other char- 
acters, that they misht not overpower the principal one ; 
and though we can by no means agree with Dryden, 
that if Shakespeare had not killed Mercutio, Mercutio 
would have killed him, there might have been some 
dan<ier of his killing Romeo. His brilliant vivacity 
shows the softness of the other a little to a disadvan- 
tage." Perhaps Hallam has hit upon the true reason, 
for it is worthy of note that the death of Mercutio is 
wholly the Poet's own invention. It does not come 
from the poem or novel, where is merely an accidental 
contest between the Capulets and INIontagues, whom 
Romeo, endeavourins; to part, is assailed by Tybalt, 
and kills him in self-defence, not in anger for the murder 
of a friend. 

"How NICE the quarrel was" — i. e. How trifling 
how slight : as in act v. scene 2 : " The letter was not 
nice," not a matter of small moment. 

" Jffection makes h im false, he speaks not true." — The 
charge of falsehood on Benvolio, though produced at 
hazard, is very just. The author, who seems to intend 
the character of Benvolio as good, meant perhaps to 
show how the best minds, in a state of faction and dis- 
cord, are distorted to criminal partiality. — Johnson. 

Scene II. 

« Enter Juliet." 
The famous soliloquy, " Gallop apace, you fier^'-footed 
steeds," teems with luxuriant imager)'. The fond ad- 
juration, " Come night, Come Romeo, come thou day 
in night!" expresses that fulness of enthusiastic admi- 
ration for her lover, which possesses her soul ; but ex- 
presses it as only Juliet could or would have expressed 
it, — in a bold and beautiful metaphor. Let it be re- 
membered that in this speech, Juliet is not supposed to 
be addressimj an audience, nor even a confidant. And 
I confess I have been shocked at the utter want of 
taste and refinement in those who, with coarse derision, 
or in a spirit of prudery, yet more gross and perverse, 
have dared to comment on this beautiful " Hymn to the 
Nisrht," breathed out by Juliet, in the silence and soli- 
tude of her chamber. She is thinking aloud ; it is the 
youn? heart " triumphing to itself in words." In the 
midst of all the vehemence with which she calls upon 
the ni^ht to brins Romeo to her arms, there is some- 
thins so almost infantine in her perfect simplicity, so 
playful and fantastic in the imasery and language, 
that the charm of sentiment and innocence is thrown 
over the whole ; and her impatience, to use her own 
expression, is truly that of" a child before a festival, 
that hath new robes, anrl may not wear them." It is 
at the very moment loo that her whole heart and fancy 
are abandoned to blissful anticipation, that the nurse 
enters with the news of Romeo's banishment; and the 
immediate transition from rapture to despair has a 
most powerful eflect. — Mrs. Jameson. 


" That, UNAWARES, eyes may wink." — Thus Knight, 
■with whom Collier agrees. They owe the reading to 
Jackson's " Shakespeare's Genius Justified."' 

"Tlie common reading, (says Knight,) which is that 
of all the old copies, is 

That runaways' eyes may weep. 

" This passage has been a perpetual source of conten- 
tion to the commentators. Their dilliculties are well 
represented by Warburton's question — ' What run-aways 
are these, whose eyes Juliet is wishing to have stopt ?' 
Warburton says, Phcebns is the run-away. Stevens ar- 
gues that Night is the run-away. Douce thinks that 
Jutiet is the run-away. Monck Mason is confident 
that the passage ought to be, ' that Reomy's eyes may 
wink,' Reomy being a new personaijc, created out of 
the French Renornmee, and answering, we suppose, 
to the 'Rumour' of Spenser. After all this learning, 
there comes an unlearned compositor, Zachary Jackson, 
and sets the matter straight. Riui-uivays is a misprint 
for unawares. The word unawares, in the old orth- 
ography, is unawayres, (it is so spelled in the third part 
of Hexry VI.,) and the r having been misplaced, pro- 
duced this word of puzzle, run-awayes. We have not 
the least hesitation in adopting Jackson's reading." 

" Hood my un.'mann'd blood, bating in my cheeks." — 
Terms of falconry. An unmanned hawk, says Stevens, 
is one that is not brought to endure company. Bating, 
is fluttering with the wings, as striving to fly away. 

" — say thou but I." — The affirmative ay was, in 
Shakespeare's time almost invariably spelt with a capi- 
tal / ; and " that bare vowel" it is obviously necessary 
to retain here. 

Scene V. 
" Enter Romeo and Juliet." 
The stage-direction in the first edition is: — "Enter 
Romeo and Juliet, at the window." In the later edi- 
tions, "Enter Romeo and Juliet aloft." They ap- 
peared, probably, as Malone remarks, in the balcony 
at the back of the stage. The scene in the Poet's eye 
was doubtless the larire and massy projecting balcony 
before one or more windows, common in Italian pal- 
aces, and not unfrequent in Gothic civil architecture. 
The loggia, an open sallery, or high terrace, communi- 
cating with the upper apartments of a palace, is a com- 
mon feature in Palladian architecture, and would also be 
well adapted to such a scene. Malone and Collier also 
have shown, in the accounts of the old Enslish staee, 
the actors were intended to appear on the balcony or 
upper stage, usual in the construction of the old Eng- 
lish theatre, which was used for many similar purposes, 
as for the exhibition of the play in Hamlet, for dia- 
logues, where part is from the walls of a castle or for- 
tified town, as in the historical plays, &c. 

" — the lark makes sweet division." — A division in 
music is a number of quick notes sung to one syllable; 
a kind of warbling. This continued to prevail in vocal 
music till recently. 

" So?ne say, the lark and loathed toad change eyes." — 
The toad having very fine eyes, and the lark very ugly 
ones, was the occasion of a sayin? that the lark and 
toad had changed eyes. This tradition Dr. Johnson 
states himself to have heard in a rustic rhyme : — 

To heaven I'd fly, 
But that the toad beguiled me of mine eye. 
Juliet means that the croak of the toad would have 
been no indication of the appearance of day, and conse- 
quently no signal for her lover's departure. 

The '• hunts-up" was the name of the tune anciently 
played to wake the hunters, and collect them together. 
See Chappell's " National English Airs." 

" Enter Lady Capulet." 
In the dialogue between Juliet and her parents, and 
in the scenes with the Nurse, we seem to have before 

us the whole of her previous education and habits : we 
see her on the one hand, kept in severe subjection by 
her austere parents; and on the other fondled and 
spoiled by a foolish old nurse — a situation perfectly ac- 
cordant with the manners of the time. Then Lady 
Capulet comes sweeping by with her train of velvet, 
her black hood, her fan, and rosary — the very beau-ideal 
of a proud Italian matron of the fifteenth century, 
whose offer to poison Romeo in revenge for the death 
of Tybalt, stamps her with one very characteristic trait 
of the age and country. Yet she loves her daughter; 
and there is a touch of remorseful tenderness in her 
lamentations over her, which adds to our impression of 
the timid softness of Juliet, and the harsh subjection in 
which she has been kept. — Mrs. Jameson. 

" O ! he's a lovely gentleman." — The character of the 
Nurse exhibits a just picture of those whose actions 
have no principles for their foundation. She has been 
unfaithful to the trust reposed in her by Capulet, and is 
ready to embrace any expediency that offers, to avert 
the consequences of her first infidelity. The picture is 
not, however, an original ; the nurse in the poem ex- 
hibits the same readiness to accommodate herself to the 
present conjuncture. Vanbrugh, in The Relapse, has 
copied, in this respect, the character of his nurse from 
Shakespeare. — Stevens and Malone. 

ACT ly.— Scene I. 

"jSnd ere this hand, by thee to Romeo seal'd." — The 
seals of deeds were not formerly impressed on the parch- 
ment itself, but were appended on distinct slips or labels 
affixed to it. Hence, in King Richard II., the Duke 
of York discovers, by the depending seal, a covenant 
with his son, the Duke of Aumerle, had entered into: 
What seal is that which hangs without thy bosom .' 

"Shall keep his native progress, but surcease." — The 
quarto, 1597, has, 

A dull and heavy slumber, which shall seize 
Each vital spirit; for no pulse shall kecpe 
His natural progress, but surcease to beat. 

This may seem preferable ; but the whole speech is 
much briefer in the earliest edition, occupying only four- 
teen lines. 


"In thy best robes uncoverd on the bier." — The 
ian custom here alluded to is still continued. Ro: 
in his " Italy," describes such a scene : — 

But now by fits 
A dull and dismal noise assailed the ear, 
A wail, a chant, louder and louder yet : 
And now a strange fantastic troop appeared! 
Thronging they came, as from the shades below ; 
All of a ghostly white ! — "O say, (I cried,) 
Do not the living here bury the dead ? 
Do spirits come and fetch them ? Wliat arc these 
That seem not of this world, and mnck the day ; 
Each with a burning taper in his hand ?" — 
" It is an ancient brotherhood thou scest. 
Such their apparel. Through the long, long line. 
Look where thou wilt, no likeness of a man: 
The livmi' masked, tlie dead alone unovered. 
But mark .'" — And, lying on her funeral couch. 
Like one asleep, her eyelids closed, her hands 
Folded together on her modest breast. 
As 'twere )ier nightly posture, through the crowd 
She same at last,— and richly, gaily clad, 
As for a birth-day feast .' 

Scene II. 

" Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks." — The 
"cunning cook," in the time of Shakespeare, was, as he 
is at present, a great personage. According to an entry 
in the books of the London Stationers' Co., for 1560, 
the preacher was paid six shillings and two pence for 
his labour ; the minstrel twelve shillings ; and the cook 
fifteen shillings. The relative scale of estimation for 
theology, poetry, and gastronomy, has not been much 
altered during two centuries, either in the city gene- 
rally, or in the company which represents the city's 



literature. Ben Jonson has described a master-cook in 
his gorgeous style : — 

A master cnok ! why, he is the man of men. 
For a professor; he designs, he draws, 
He paints, he carxes, he builds, he fortifies, 
Makes citadels of curious fowl and fish. 
Some he dry-ditches, some m itcs round with broths, 
Mounts marrow-bones, cuts fifty angled custards 
■ Rears bulwark pies ; and, for his outer works. 
He niiseth ramparts of immortal crust. 
And tcacheth all the tactics at one dinner — 
What ranks, what files, to put his disties in, 
The whole art military ! Then he knows 
The influence i f the stars upon his meats, 
And all the seasons, tempers, qualities. 
And so to fit his relishes and sauces. 
He has a nature in a pot, 'bove all the chemists, 
Or bare-brcech'd brethren of the rosy cross. 
He is an architect, an engineer, 
A soldier, a physician, a philosopher, 
A general mathematician. 

Old Capulet, in his exuberant spirits at his daugh- 
ter's approaehin<r marriage, calls for " twenty" of these 
artists. The critics tliink this too large a number. 
Ritson says, with wonderl\il simplicity, "Either Capu- 
let had altered his mind strangely, or our author forgot 
what he had just made him tell us." This is, indeed, 
to understand a poet with admirable exactness. The 
passage is entirely in keeping witli Shakespeare's habit 
of hittins off a character almost by a word. Capulet 
is evidently a man of ostentation; but his ostentation, 
as is most generally the case, is covered with a thin 
veil of affected indifference. In the first act, he says to 
his guests, 

We have a trifling foolish banquet toward. 
In the third act, when he settles the day of Paris's mar- 
riage, he just hints, — 

We'll keep no great ado — a friend or two. 
But Shakespeare knew that these indications of the 
" pride which apes humility," were not inconsistent 
with the " twenty cooks," — the regret that 

We shall be much unfurnish'd for this time, — 
and the solicitude expressed in 

Look to the baked meats, good Angelica. 

Stevens turns up his nose aristocratically at Shake- 
speare, for imputing " to an Italian nobleman and his 
lady, all the petty solicitudes of a private house, con- 
cernin? a provincial entertainment ;" and he adds, very 
grandly, " To such a bustle our author might have been 
witness at home ; but the like anxieties could not well 
have occurred in the family of Capulet." Stevens had 
not well read the history of society, either in Italy or in 
England, to have fallen into the mistake of believing 
that tlie great were exempt from such " anxieties." 
The baron's lady overlooked tlie baron's kitchen from 
her private chamber ; and the still-room and the spicery 
not unfrequently occupied a large portion of her atten- 
tion. — Knight. 

"^lul gave him what becomed" — i. e. becoming. 

Scene III. 

" Laying down a dagger." — " Daggers, or, as they 
are commonly called, knives, (says Gilford, Ben Jon- 
son's Works,) were worn at all times by every woman 
in England — whether they were so in Italy, Shake- 
speare, I believe, never inquired, and I cannot tell." 

" I will not entertain so bad a thought." — This line 
is only in the quarto, 1.597; it seems necessary to the 
completeness of the rejection of Juliet's suspicion of the 

"c/?.* in a vault." — It has been conjectured that the 
charnel-house under the church at Stratford, which con- 
tains a vast collection of human bones, suggested to 
Shakespeare this description of "the ancient recep- 
tacle" of theCapulets. 

" Romeo ! Romeo ! Romeo ! — here^s dj-ink — T drink to 
thee." — The last line of the original sketch, has been 


substituted to this of the original enlarged copies, by 
Stevens and Malone, and appears in the ordinary edi- 
tions, following their text, tliough rejected by the au- 
thor, in order to substitute more wildly frenzied words. 
This speech of Juliet, like other great passages through- 
out the play, received the most careful elaboration. In 
the first edition it occupies eighteen lines ; it extends 
to forty-five in the "amended" edition of 1599. We 
print the lines of the early play, that the reader may 
see the character of the author's corrections. 

Farewell, God knows when we shall meet again. 

Ah, I do take a fearful thing in hand. 

What if this potion should not work at all, 

Must I of force be married to the county ? 

This shall forbid it. Kni:e, lie thou there. 

What if the friar should give me this drink 

To poison me, for fear I should disclose 

Our former marriage.' Ah, I wrong him much, 

He is a holy and religious man : 

I will not entertain so bad a thought. 

What if I should be stifled in the tomb? 

Awake an hour before the appointed time: 

Ah, then I fear I shall be lunatic: 

And playing with my dead forefathers' bones. 

Dash out my frantic brains. Jlethinks I see 

My cousin Tybalt weltering in his blood, 

Seeking for Romeo : Stay, Tybalt, stay. 

Romeo I come, this do I drink to thee. 

Scene IV. 

"They call for dates and quinces in the pastry." — 
i. e. in the room where what we now call pastry was 

" Go, go, you cot-quean, go." — In the old copies this 
speech is given to the Nurse, which is Ibllowed in the 
ordinary editions, as well as by Collier. It is clearly an 
error of the press, the nurse having been sent to fetch 
spices, and made to re-enter shortly after. The cor- 
rection is due to the ingenuity of Z. Jackson. "Can 
we imagine that a nurse would take so great a liberty 
with her master, as to call him a cot-quean, and order 
him to bed. Besides, what business has a nurse to 
make a reply to a speech addressed to her master ! 
Lady Capulet afterwards calls her husband a mmtse- 
hunt, another appellation which, like cot-quean, none 
but a wife would dare to use." — Shakespeare's Genius, 

Cot-quean is a term now obsolete, but which lasted 
in use until the time of the Spectator, where it is used 
as here, for a man interfering in such household affairs 
as belong to the other sex. 

" — a mouse-hunt" — A hunter of mice, but evidently 
said here with allusion to a different object of pursuit, 
such as is called mouse only in playful endearment, as in 
Hamlet: — " Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his 
mouse." — See Nare's Glossary. 

Scene V. 
" — life, LIVING, all is death's." — Most modern edi- 
tors, since Stevens, have thought fit to read, " life leav- 
ing, all is death's." Every old copy gives the passage 
as it stands in our text, and there is no reason for 
changing " living" to leariiis;. Capulet says that death 
is his heir — that he will die, and leave death all he 
has, viz : — " life, living, and every thing else." I con- 
cur with Mr. Collier, in his return to the authentic 

" — to see this morning's face." — The quarto, 1597, 
after this line, continues the speech of Paris thus: — 

And doth it now present such prodigies? 

Accurst, unhappy, miserable man! 

Forlorn, forsaken, destitute I am; 

Born to the world to be a slave in it 

Distrest, remediless, and unfortunate. 

O heavens I Oh nature! wherefore did you make me 

To live so vile, so wretched as I shall .' 

The rest of the scene is considerably enlarged in the 
later editions. 

"For thous^h fond nature." — "Fond" is from the 
folio, 1632 : the earlier editions have " For though 


some nature ;" probably a misprint. Some was of old 
written with a long s, which might be easily mistaken 
for an/, and frequently it was so mistaken. Yet some 
may have possibly been the true word, meaning "some 
impulses of nature, some part of our nature." 

"£n/€r Peter." 
As the audience know that Juliet is not dead, this 
scene is, perhaps, excusable. But it is a strong warn- 
ing to minor dramatists not to introduce at one time 
many separate characters agitated by one and the same 
circumstance. It is diiEcult to understand what efl'ect, 
whether that of pity or of laughter, Shakespeare meant 
to proiluce; — the occasion and the characteristic 
speeches are so little in harmony ! For example, what 
the Nurse says is excellently suited to the Nurse's 
character, but grotesquely unsuited to the occasion. — 

'^ My heart is full of woe." — This and "Heart's 
ease," were the names of popular tunes of the time. 
" Heart's ease" is mentioned in "Misogonus," a play 
by Rychardes, written before 1570. A " dump" was a 
species of dance, (see Chappell's " National English 
Airs,") but it was also the name given to a species of 
poem. In Titus Andronicus we have had " dreary 
dumps," and iti the Two Gentlemen of Yerona we 
meet with " Tune a deploring dump." Shortly after 
we have " doleful dumps." 

" ril re you, ril FA yon." — Re and fa are the syl- 
lables, or names, given in solmization, or sol-faing to 
the sounds d and f in the musical scale. 

" What say you, Simon Catling" — A lute-string. 

" What say you, Hugh Rebeck" — The three-stringed 

ACT v.— Scene I. 

" My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne." — This 
and the two lines following, are very gay and pleasing. 
But why does Shakespeare give Romeo this involuntary 
cheerfulness just before the extremity of unhappiness ? 
Perhaps to show the vanity of trusting to those uncer- 
tain and casual exaltations or depressions which many 
consider as certain foretokens of good and evil. — John- 

" What, ho ! apothecary .'" — We must imitate Knight 
and Collier, in trespassing upon our limited space by 
giving the speech descriptive of the apothecary, from 
the first edition. "The studies in poetical art, which 
Shakespeare's corrections of himself supply, are among 
the most instructive in the whole compass of literature :" 

Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night. 

Let's see fur means. As I do remember 

Here dwells a pothecary whom oft I noted 

As I past by, whose needy shop is stufft 

With beggarly accounts of empty boxes: 

And in the same an alligator hangs, 

Old ends of packthread, and cakes of roses, 

Are thinly strewed to make up a show. 

Him as I noted, thus with myself I thought: 

An if a man should need a poison now 

(Whose present sale is death in Mantua) 

Here he might buy it. This thought of mine, 

Did hut forerim my need : and hereabout he dwells. 

Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut. 

What, ho ! apothecary ! come forth I say. 

"Need and oppression sfarveth in thy eyes. 
Contempt and beggary hang upon thy back." 
Instead of these lines, the quarto, 1597, has. 

Upon thy back hangs ragged misery, 

And starved famine dwelleth m thy cheek. 

Certainly very sood lines, which might ver\' well keep 
their place, if the author had chosen it, but we have no 
right, with Stevens, and the ordinary text, to make an 
entire new reading, by piecing together the two, thus : — 

Need and oppression starrcth in thine eyes, 
Upon thy back hangs ragged misery. 


Otway, in his bold plagiarism of the whole play, in 
Caius iVIarius, altering it so as to adapt to Roman instead 
of Italian story, changed starveth to " stareth in thine 
eyes," a poetical and probable emendation, which is 
followed by Singer. Yet the original phrase, though 
harsh, is powerful and expressive, and not to be thrown 
out on mere conjecture. The singular verb starveth, 
with the two nouns, was not a grammatical error, ac- 
cording to old English usage, when both nominatives, 
as here, made up one compound idea. Unless, there- 
fore, we choose to erase all the peculiarities of ancient 
idiom, there is no reason to adopt Pope's double emen- 
dation : — 

Need and oppression stare within thy eyes. 

Scene II. 
"Going to find a bare-foot brother out." — This monk- 
ish custom the Poet learned from the old poem of " Ro- 
meus and Juliet." 

Apace our friar John to Mantua hies ; 

And, for because in Italy it is a wonted guise. 

That friars in the town should seldom walk alone. 

But of their convent aye should be accompanied with one 

Of his profession. 

They travelled in pairs, says Baretti, that one might 
be a check on the other; a shrewd piece of policy, 
which has been adopted by our American Shakers. 

Scene III. 
" — strew thy grave and weep." — Instead of these 
lines, the quarto has these verses : — 

Sweet tomb, that in thy circuit dost contain 
The perfect model of eternity, 
Fair Juliet, that with angels dost remain, 
Accept this latest favour at my hands. 
That living honour'd thee, and being dead. 
With funeral praises do adorn thy tomb. 

"Thou detestable maw." — The word "detestable," 
which is now accented on the second syllable, was once 
accented on the first; therefore this line was not ori- 
ginally inharmonious. In King John, act iii. scene 3, 
we read — " And I will kiss thy detestable bones." So, 
also, in Paris's lamentation, act. iv. : — " Most detest- 
able death, by thee beguil'd." 

" Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man." — 
The gentleness of Romeo was shown before, as soft- 
ened by love ; and now it is doubled by love and sor- 
row, and fear of the place where he is. — Coleridge. 

" ^ grave ? O, no ! a lantern." — A " lantern" does 
not, in tills instance, signify an enclosure for a lighted 
candle, but a louvre, or what in ancient records is 
styled lantemium, i. e. a spacious round or octagonal 
turret, full of windows, by means of which cathedrals 
and sometimes halls are illuminated ; such as the beau- 
tiful lantern at Ely Minster. 

The same word, with the same sense, occurs in 
Churchyard's "Siege of Edinbrough Castle:" — 

This lofty seat and lantern of that land, 

Like lodestarre stode, and lokte o'er ev'ry street. 

And in Holland's translation of Pliny's Nat. Hist. b. 
xxxv.: — "Hence came the louvers and lanternes reared 
over the roofes of temples." 

A presence is a public room, which is at times the 
presence-chamber of a sovereign. This thought, extrav- 
agant as it is, is borrowed by Middleton in his " Blunt 
Master Constable :" — 

The darkest dungeon which spite can devise 

To throw this carcase in, her glorious eyes 

Can make as lightsome as the fairest chamber 

In Paris Louvre. Stxveks. 

" ^h, dear Juliet." — In the quarto of 1597, the above 
passage appears thus : — 

Ah, dear Juliet, 

How well thy beauty doth become this grave! 
O, I believe that unsubstantial death 
Is amorous, and doth court mv love. 


Therefore will I, O here, O ever here, 
Set up my ercrlasting rest 
With worms, that are thy chamber-maids. 
Come, desperate pilot, now at once run on 
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary hargc: 
Here's to my love. — true apothc<.-ary. 
Thy drugs are swift : thus with a kiss I die. 

The text follows the quarto of 1599, which corresponds 
with the folio; except that some superfluous words and 
lines, which were repeated bj' the carelessness of the 
transcriber or printer, are here omitted. 

*■' I dfea mt my master and another fought." — This is 
one of the touclies of nature that would have escaped 
the hand cf any painter less attentive to it than Shake- 
speare. What happens to a person while he is under 
the manifest influence of fear, will seem to him, when 
he is recovered from it, like a dream. Homer (book 
viii.) represents Rhesus dying, fast asleep, and, as it 
were, beholding his enemy in a dream, plunging a sword 
into his bosom. Eustathius and Dacier both applaud 
this image as very natural; for a man in such a con- 
dition, says Mr. Pope, awakes no further than to see 
confusedly what environs him, and to think it not a 
reality, but a vision. — Stevens. 

" The lady stirs." — In the alteration of this play, 
now exhibited on the stage, Garrick appears to have 
been indebted to Otway, in his " Caius Marius," who, 
perhaps without any knowledge of the story as told by 
Da Porto and Bandello, does not permit his hero to die 
before his wife awakes. 

We somewhat reluctantly extract from Mrs. Inch- 
bald's edition of Romeo and Juliet, as now acted, 
the alterations of the tomb-scene, as manufactured by 
Garrick, on the basis of a similar scene by Otway, 
between young Marius and Lavinia, in his Romanized 
" Romeo and Juliet." Had Shakespeare chosen to 
have so managed his catastrophe, liis picture of bit- 
ter mental suffering, combined with the physical horrors 
of prolonged and violent death, would have been in- 
tensely painful. Otway's forced extravatrance, which 
still, in substance, keeps possession of the stage, interpo- 
lated in Shakespeare's dialogue, is not only offensive as 
an unnatural rant, but also, as Browne acutely remarks, 
" as intruding on our better thoughts the possibility of 
so unalloyed and so unmerited a horror," 

Rom. Soft ! — She breathes and stirs ! 

Jul. Where am I .' — Defend me, powers! 

Rnm. She speaks, she lives, and we shall still be blcss'd ; 
My kind propitious stars o'erpay me now 
For all my sorrows past Rise, rise, my Juliet; 
And from this cave of death, this house of horror, 
Quick let me snatch thee to thy Romeo's arms ; 
There breathe a vital spirit in thy lips, 
And call thee back, my soul, to life and love. (Raises her. 

Jul. Bless me, how cold it is ! — Who's there? 

Rom. Thy husbnnd ; 
'Tis thy Romeo, Juliet, raised from despair 
To joys unutterable. — Quit, quit this place. 
And let us lly together. (Brings her from the tomb 

Jul. Why do you force me so.' — I'll ne'er consent ; — 
My strength may fail me, but my will's unmr;ved ; — ■ 
I'll not wed Paris; — Romeo is my husband. 

Rom. Romeo is thy husband I I am that Romeo; 
Nor all the opposing powers of earth or man 
Shall break our bonds, or tear thee fnmi my heart. 

Jul. I know that voice ; — Its magic sweetness wakes 
My traneeil soul : — I now remember well 
Each circumstance. 

my lord, my husband ! — 
Dost thou avoid me, Romeo ? 

You fright me: — Speak ; — O, let me hear some voice 
Besiiles my own, in this drear vault of death, 

Or I shall faint. Support mc — 

Rom. O, I cannot ; 

1 have no strength; but want thy feeble aid. — 
C'mel poison ! 

Jul. Poison ! What means my lord .' Thy trembling voice, 
Pale lips, and swinuning eyes, — Death's in thy f.i'c. 

Rom. It is indeed ; I struggle with him now ; 
The transports that I felt 
To hear thee speak, and sec thy opening eyes, 
Stopp'd, for a moment, his impetuous course, 
And all my mind happiness and thee; — 
But now the poison rushes throu|!h my veins: — 
I have not time to tell, — 
Fate brought me to this plaee, to lake a last, 
Last farewell of my love, and with thee die. 

Jul. Die ? — Was the friar false .' 

Rom. I know not that. 
I thought tliee dead ; distracted at the sight, — 
O fatal speed I — drank poison, — kiss'd thy lips, 
And found withm thy arms a precious grave: — 
But, in that moment, — O ! — 

Jul. And did I wake for this ! 

Rom. My powers are blasted: 
'Twixt death and love I'm torn, I am distracted : 
But death's strongest: — And must I leave thee, Juliet! 
O, cruel, cursed fate ! in sight of Heaven, — 

Jul. Thou ravest ; lean on my breast. 

Rom. Fathers have (linty hearts, no tears can melt 'cm : — 
Nature pleads in vain ; children must be wretched. 

Jul. O, uiy breaking heart ! 

Rom. She is my wife, — Our hearts are twined together, — 
Capulet, forbear ; — Paris, loose your hold ; — 
Pull not our heart-strings thus; — they crack, — they break, — 
O, Juliet ! Juliet 1 — {Dies. Jisi-isT faints on his body. 

But Otway and Garrick were moderate in their inno- 
vations, compared with an older dramatic manufacturer, 
James Howard, who, as we learn from the " Roscius 
Anglicanus," being of a compassionate disposition, pre- 
served the lives of the lovers, and ended the play with 
their happy marriage. When Davenant was a man- 
ager, he had the original and Howard's alteration per- 
formed alternately, thus giving his audience their choice 
of joy or tears. 

" — the watch is coming." — Malone maintains that 
there is no such establishment as the watch in Italy, 
Mr. Armitage Brown, more familiar with Italian cus- 
toms, says, " If Dogberry and Verges should be pro- 
nounced nothing else than the constables of the night 
in London, before the new police was established, I can 
assert that I have seen those very officers in Italy." 
Still, he does not think that Romeo and Juliet indi- 
cates any knowledge of Italy and Italian manners be- 
yond what could be gained from the original, whence 
the plot was taken ; this play having been written be- 
fore the period in which he conjectures Shakespeare to 
have visited Italy, and to have acquired some know- 
ledge of the Italian language. 

" Thy lips are warm." — Upon Shakespeare's prefer- 
ence of the catastrophe of the old poem to that of the 
original tale, Augustus Schlesel remarks, that " the 
Poet seems to have hit upon what was best. There is 
a measure of agitation, beyond which all that is super- 
added becomes torture, or glides oif ineffectually from 
the already saturated mind. In case of the cruel re- 
union of the lovers for an instant, Romeo's remorse for 
his over-hasty self-murder, Juliet's despair over her 
deceitful hope, at first cherished, then annihilated, that 
she was at the goal of her wishes, must have deviated 
into caricatures. Nobody surely doubts that Shake- 
speare was able to represent these with suitable force; 
but here every thing soothing was welcome, in order 
that we may not be frighted out of the melancholy, to 
which we willingly resign ourselves, by too painful dis- 
cords. Why should we heap still more upon accident, 
that is already so guilty ? Wherefore shall not the 
tortured Romeo quietly 

Shake the yoke of inauspicious stars, 
From his world-wearied flesh? 

He holds his beloved in his anns, and, dying, cheers 
himself with a vision of everlasting marriase. She 
also seeks death, in a kiss, upon his lips. These last 
moments m\ist belong unparticipated to tenderness, that 
we may hold fast to the thought, that love lives, al- 
though the lovers perish." 

" I will be brief." — It is to be lamented that the Poet 
did not conclude the dialogue with the action, and avoid 
a narrative of events which the audience already 
knew. — Johnson. 

Shakespeare was led into this narrative by follow- 
ing Brooke's " Tragical Hystory of Romeus and Juliet." 
In this poem, the bodies of the dead are removed to a 
public scaffold ; and from that elevation is the Friar's 
narrative delivered. A similar circumstance is intro- 
duced in Hamlet, near the conclusion. 


"Romeo and Juliet is a picture of love and its pit- 
iable fate, in a world whose atmosphere is too rough for 
this tenderest blossom of human life. Two beings cre- 
ated for each other, feel mutual love at first glance ; 
every consideration disappears before the invisible in- 
fluence of living in one another: they join themselves 
secretly, under circumstances in the highest degree hos- 
tile to the union, relying merely on the i)rotection of an 
irresistible power. By unfriendly events following blow 
upon blow, their heroic constancy is exposed to all man- 
ner of trials, till, forcibly separated from each other, 
they are united in the grave to meet again in another 

"All this is to be found in the beautiful story which 
Shakespeare has not invented ; and which, however 
simply told, will always excite a tender sympathy : but 
it was reserved for Shakespeare to unite purity of heart 
and the glow of imagination, sweetness and <iignity of 
manners and passionate violence, in one ideal picture. 
By the manner in which he has handled it, it has be- 
come a glorious song of praise on that inexpressible 
feeling which ennobles the soul, and gives to it its high- 
est sublimity, and which elevates even the senses them- 
selves into soul ; and at the same time is a melancholy 
elegy on its frailty, from its own nature and external 
circumstances : at once the deilication and the burial 
of love. It appears here like a heavenly spark that, 
descending to the earth, is converted into a flash of 
lightning, by which mortal creatures are almost in the 
same moment set on fire and consumed. 

"Whatever is most intoxicating in the odour of a 
southern spring, languishing in the song of the nightin- 
gale, or voluptuous in the first opening of the rose, is 
to be found in this poem. But, even more rapidly than 
the first blossoms of youth and beauty decay, it hurries 
on from the first timidly-bold declaration of love and 
modest return, to the most unlimited passion, to an irre- 
vocable union : then, amidst alternating storms of rap- 
ture and despair, to the death of the two lovers, who 
still appear enviable as their love survives them, and 
as by their death they have obtained a triumph over 
every separating power. 

" The sweetest and the bitterest love and hatred, fes- 
tivity and dark forebodings, tender embraces and sepul- 
chres, the fulness of life and self-annihilation, are all 
here brought close to each other : and all these con- 
trasts are so blended, in the harmonious and wonderful 
work, into a unity of impression, that the echo which 
the whole leaves behind in the mind resembles a sin- 
gle but endless sigh." — Schlegel. 

It is the plan of this edition to present at least an 
outline of the higher Shakespearian criticism, and with- 
out confining the reader to those views which accord 
with the editor's own conclusions, to indicate generally 
such other critical opinions as have received the sanc- 
tion of eminent critics. 

It is therefore proper to add to this glowing eulogy, 
the masterly but sterner criticism of Hallam : — 

" In one of the Italian novels to which Shakespeare 
had frequently rccours'e for his fable, he had the good 
fortune to meet with this simple and pathetic subject. 
What he found he has arranged with great skill. The 
incidents in Romeo and Juliet are rapid, various, un- 
intermitting in interest, sufficiently probable, and tend- 
ing to the catastrophe. The most regular dramatist 
has hardly excelled one writing for an infant and bar- 
barian stage. It is certain that the observation of the 
unity of time, which we find in this tragedy, unfash- 
ionable as the name of unity has become in our criti- 
cism, gives an intenseness of interest to the story, which 
is often diluted and dispersed in a dramatic history. 
No play of Shakespeare is more frequently represented, 
or honoured with more tears. 

" If from this praise of the fable we pass to other 
considerations, it will be more necessary to modify our 
eulogies. It has been said of the Midsummer Night's 

Dkeam, that none of Shakespeare's plays have fewer 
blemishes. We can by no means repeat this commenda- 
tion of Romeo and Juliet. It may be said rather that 
few, if any, are more open to reasonable censure ; and 
we are almost equally struck by its excellences and its 

"Mad. de Stael has truly remarked, that in Romeo 
and Juliet we have, more than in any other tragedy, 
the mere passion of love; love, in all its vernal prom- 
ise, full of hope and innocence, ardent beyond all re- 
straint of reason, but tender as it is warm. The con- 
trast between this impetuosity of delirious joy, in which 
the youthful lovers are first displayed, and the horrors 
of the last scene, throws a charm of deep melancholy 
over the whole. Once alone each of them, in these 
earlier moments, is touched by a presaging fear; it 
passes quickly away from them, but is not lost on the 
reader. To him there is a sound of despair in the wild 
effusions of their hope, and the madness of grief is min- 
gled with the intoxication of their joy. And hence it 
is that, notwithstanding its many blemishes, we all read 
and witness this tragedy with delisjht. It is a symbolic 
mirror of the fearful realities of life, where " the course 
of true love" has so often " not run smooth," and mo- 
ments of as fond illusion as beguiled the lovers of Ve- 
rona have been exchanged, perhaps as rapidly, not 
indeed for the dagger and tlie bowl, but for the many- 
headed sorrows and sufferings of humanity." 

After remarking upon the character of Romeo, as 
one of excessive tenderness, and observing that his first 
passion for Rosaline, which no vulgar poet would have 
brought forward, displays a constitutional susceptibility, 
Hallam notices the character of Mercutio, as already 
mentioned, (see note on act iii. scene 1,) and thus pro- 
ceeds : — 

"Juliet is a child, whose intoxication in loving and 
being loved whirls away the little reason she may have 
possessed. It is however impossible, in my opinion, to 
place her among the great female characters of Shake- 
speare's creation. 

" Of the language of this tragedy what shall we say ? 
It contains passages that ever}' one remembers, that 
are among the nobler efforts of^ Shakespeare's poetry, 
and many short and beautiful touches of his proverbial 
sweetness. Yet, on the other hand the faults are in 
prodigious number. The conceits, the phrases that jar 
on the mind's ear, if I may use such an expression, and 
interfere with the very emotion the Poet would excite, 
occur, at least in the first three acts, without intermis- 
sion. It seems to have formed part of his conception 
of this youthful and ardent pair, that they should talk 
irrationally. The extravagance of their fancy, how- 
ever, not only forgets reason, but wastes itself in frigid 
metaphors and incongruous conceptions ; the tone of 
Romeo is that of the most bombastic common-place of 
gallantrj', and the young lady differs only in being one 
degree more mad. The voice of vu'gin love has been 
counterfeited by the authors of many fictions : I know 
none who have thought the style of Juliet would repre- 
sent it. Nor is this confined to the happier moments 
of their intercourse. False thoughts and misplaced 
phrases deform the whole of the third act. It may be 
added that, if not dramatic propriety, at least the in- 
terest of the character, is affected by some of Juliet's 
allusions. She seems indeed to have profited by the 
lessons and language of her venerable guardian ; and 
those who adopt the edifying principle of deducing a 
moral from all they read, may suppose that Shakespeare 
intended covertly to warn parents against the contami- 
nating influence of such domestics. These censures 
apply chiefly to the first three acts ; as the shadows 
deepen over the scene, the language assumes a tone 
more proportionate to the interest ; many speeches are 
exquisitely beautiful ; yet the tendency to quibbles is 
never wholly eradicated." — Hallam's Literature of 



Yet the plays upon words, and sports of fancy in the 
lighter dialogue, were but a picture of the more ambi- 
tious and courtly style of conversation of those who 
aspired to the praise of refined elegance in the Poet's 
age, while the extravagance of metaphor and of lan- 
guage may well be excused if not del'ended for the ef- 
fect it pro<iuces in harmonizing with the general tone 
of a tale of romantic passion, and conducing to the 
grand effect as a whole, however open to criticism it 
may be when examined critically in detail. Such 
seems to be the impression made upon Coleridge, Haz- 
litt, Mrs. Jameson, and Schlegel. Other names might 
be added. 

"This highly figurative and antithetical exuberance 
of language appears natural, however critics may argue 
against its taste or propriety. The warmth and viva- 
city of Juliet's fancy, which plays like a light over 
every part of her character — which animates every line 
she utters — which kindles every thought into a picture, 
and clothes her emotions in visible images, would natu- 
rally, under strong and unusual excitement, and in the 
conflict of opposing sentiments, run into some extrava- 
gance of diction." — Mrs. Jameson. 

"The censure," says Schlegel, "originates in a fan- 
ciless way of thinking, to which every thing appears 
unnatural that does not suit its tame insipidity. Hence 
an idea has been formed of simple and natural pathos, 
which consists of exclamations destitute of imagery, 
and nowise elevated above every-day life; but ener- 
getic passions electrify the whole mental powers, and 

will, consequently, in highly-favoured natures, express 
themselves in an ingenuous and figurative manner." 

Mr. Hallam has justly remarked upon the increased 
interest given to the action by the Poet's adherence to 
the unity of time, but he has not observed that the pe- 
culiarities which he notices as faults, (and, separately 
considered, they may be so,) arise from and powerfully 
conduce to the poetic unity of feeling to which this 
drama owes so much of its effect. On this point, Co- 
leridge thus incidentally remarks : — 

" That law of unity, which has its foundations, not 
in the factitious necessity of custom, but in nature it- 
self, the unity of feeling, is everywhere and at all times 
observed by Shakespeare in his plays. Read Romeo 
AND Juliet; — all is youth and spring; — youth with 
its follies, its virtues, its precipitancies; — spring, with 
its odours, its flowers, and its transiency; it is one and 
the same feeling that commences, goes through, and 
ends the play. The old men, the Capulets and the 
Montagues, are not common old men ; they have an 
eagerness, a heartiness, a vehemence, the effect of 
sprins : with Romeo, his change of passion, his sudden 
marriage, and his rash death, are all the effects of 
youth ; — while, in Juliet, love has all that is tender 
and melancholy in the nightingale, all that is volup- 
tuous in the rose, with whatever is sweet in the fresh- 
ness of spring ; but it ends with a long deep sigh, like 
the last breeze of the Italian evening. This unity of 
feeling and character pervades every drama of Shake- 

(Toiub of the Scaligeri, Vciona.) 






OTHELLO, with fewer ol' those deep, ethical reflec- 
tions, suggested by experience but generalized by 
the intellect, which characterize the later works 
of Shakespeare, yet contains, more than any other, the 
evident results of accurate personal observation of 
human nature and intimate acquaintance with man's 
inmost being — his very " heart of hearts." The emo- 
tions and passions it paints, are those which most pow- 
erfully agitate domestic life. If, happily, in modern 
civilized society, they rarely rise to the height of Othello's 
" wide revenge," they are yet too often found growing 
" like a thick scurf o'er life" and embittering existence. 
They are, in themselves, such as cannot be reasoned out 
by the young Poet from his own mind, or depicted by 
any eflort of his inexperienced imagination. Richard, 
and RoMEO, and the Tempest, (whatever may have been 
their actual dates,) might have been the creations of 
youthful genius; but Othello required actual expe- 
rience, or close observation, of the workings of bitter 
passions, in however humble a form, yet, in actual life. 
This noblest of domestic tragedies, therefore, in my 
opinion, speaks for itself that its author had looked upon 
"human dealings" with as "learned a spirit" as lago; 
while, unlike him, he had been taught by the experience 
of his own heart a liberal and pitying sympathy with 
man's weakness and guilt, and a deep reverence for 
woman's virtues and affections. I should accordingly, 
upon this internal evidence, have been disposed to as- 
cribe the composition of Othello to some period when 
the author, no longer younsj, could draw upon the treas- 
ures of long (perhaps of sad) experience. In this view, 
Malone's theory' that it was written in 1611, and that of Chalmers, who ascribed it to 1614, appeared probable; 
but later antiquarian inquiries seem to have fixed the date of its authorship about 1602. This was the thirty- 
ninth year of Shakespeare's age, — a period of life something earlier than I should have supposed, theoretically ; 
but in a mind like his, not incompatible with the views just expressed. 

We now know from the " Egerton Papers," not long ago published by the Camden Society, that a play called 
"Othello" was acted for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth, (6th August, 1602,) at a visit to the residence 
of Lord-Keeper Egerton, by "Burbidge's players;" and Collier (the highest authority in matters relating to the 
history of the old English drama) adds that "the probability is, that it was selected for performance because it 
was a new play, having been brought out at the Globe Theatre in the spring of that year." The late publication 
of "Extracts from the Accounts of Revels at Court," by the Sliakespearian Society, gives official evidence that 
some piece called "The Moor of Venice" was performed at Whitehall Palace, in 1604. As there is no vestige 
or tradition of any other piece on this subject, this must have been Shakespeare's Othello in some form or other. 
We know besides from the poetical tributes to the memory of Burbage, whose name is connected with the per- 
formance in 1602, that he was the original representative of Shakespeare's Othello, and with "that part his 
course began, and kept it many a year." He died in 1619. In the lately discovered elegy upon his death, after 
enumerating his numerous characters, his admirer adds — 

' But let me nnt forget that chicfest part, 
Wherein, beyond the rest, he moved the heart: 
The grieved Moor, made jealous by a slave, 
Who sent his wife to till a timeless grave, 
Then slew himself upon the bloody bed, — 
All these, and many more, with him are dfad.' 

But it is not improbable that the Othello of 1602 may have been, like the original Hamlet, barely an outline, 
sufficient for dramatic effect, containing all the incidents and characters, but wanting some of the heightened 
poetry and intense passion of the drama we now read. This conjecture, for it is no more, receives some s>ipport 
from the fact that the first printed copy of the play, (quarto, 1622,) published twenty years after the first repre- 
sentation, though substantially complete, still does not contain all the author's latest improvements ; for, besides 
numerous slight variations of words and phrases, it appears that some of the most poetical passages were added 



ill the manuscripts from which the folio of 1623, and the second quarto of 1630, were printed. Besides, if the com- 
mentators are correct in thinking that one passage of the play contains an allusion to the creation of baronets, 
and another to the language and provisions of the English statute against sorcery, one of these passages must 
have been added after 1603, and the other after 1611. It may, therefore, be doubted whether this first quarto 
was not itself an improved version of the earliest Othkllo, as performed in 1602 and 1604. 

The first published edition of Othello was in a quarto pamphlet, (1622,) the original of which has now be- 
come one of the scarcest of books, for which rich bibliomaniacs have paid thirty, forty, and even fifty-six pounds 
sterling. The copy contained in the first folio of the " Tragedies and Comedies," perhaps then already printed, 
was not published until the next year. The folio differs not only in very many smaller variations of phrase, but 
in the addition of above one hundred and fifty lines, containing several of the most beautiful and touching passages. 
In 1630, another quarto pamphlet appeared, containing Othello with all these additions. Johnson, Stevens, 
Malone, and most of the modern editors have formed their text on the first quarto, with the insertion of the added 
lines from the second. Mr. Knight's Pictorial, and other editions, are as usual founded entirely on the first 
folio, with slight coiTections of probable typographical errors. The second quarto was considered of little value, 
and supposed to be merely a reprint of the folio. Mr. Collier was the first to observe that this second quarto was 
itself an original authority, and incontestably printed from a difierent manuscript from either of the original edi- 
tions. This is very manifest from the inspection of Stevens's accurate reprint and collation of the original 
quartos. The edition of 1630 much oftener agrees in the slighter variations with the first edition than with the 
folio, and yet contains the folio additions, though varying enough to show that they were printed from some dif- 
ferent manuscrii)t. The present text is founded on the principle that there are three independent copies of the 
original text. In all the minor variations, where there is no marked reason (from the sense or context) to prcfei 
one reading to another, the folio is followed where it is supported by either of the others; but when the quartos 
agree, their reading has been preferred. 

These variations are so numerous and so very unimportant, (beginning, for example, with the omission or in- 
sertion of the first word, " Tush !" with many longer but not more important differences in the succeeding lines.) 
that it has not been thought worth while to encumber the notes with the several readings and their authorities. 
It is sufficient to apprize the reader of the general rule of preference, that he may not impute any such variance 
from the text of Stevens on one side, or of Knight on the other, to any error of the printer, or capricious inno- 
vation of the editor. There are, however, some differences of readings affecting the sense or the poetical forn- 
of expression, and two or three are among the most vexed questions of critical discussion. In these cases, the in- 
ternal evidence of sense, and that of contemporary use of language, are entitled to greater weight than meic 
preponderance of the evidence of printed copies. The reasons for preference in such cases, together with tie 
differing readings, are given in original or selected notes. 

With these few exceptions, the ordinary text is in a very satisfactory state; and the metrical arranirenu ni 
has been little meddled with by modern editors, who have generally suflTered the verses to stand as they were 
originally printed. 


The plot is taken from the Hecatommithi, or Hundred Tales of Giraldi Cinthio, an Italian novelist and drama- 
tist of the second class, in the sixteenth century. No English translation anterior to the date of the play has been 
discovered; but there was a contemporary French translation printed at Paris in 1584. Shakespeare must have 
read it either in this translation, or the original; for he has interwoven in his play too many of the minor and 
unessential circumstances of the story, to have derived his knowledge of it from any second-hand account cl' 
the plot. 

The following is the outline of the original story; sufficient to enable the reader to judge of the extent of ll;c 
English dramatist's oblifrations to the Italian novelist; which are much less than is commonly supposed by those 
who take their ideas of the Italian story from some of the critics, and suppose it to be a novel, filled with dialiu'ue 
and sentiment, instead of a meagre tale, not longer than one act of Othello. 

There lived at Venice a valiant Moor, held in great esteem for his militaiy talent and services. Desdemoni, a 
lady of man-ellous beauty, attracted not by female fancy (ajjpclito dminesco) but by his hi^h virtues, became ena- 
moured of the Moor, who returned her love; and, in spite of the opposition of her relations, married her. Tliy 
lived in great happiness in Venice until the Moor (he has no other name in the storj') was chosen to the milii.ny 
command of Cyprus, whither his wife insisted on accompanying him. He took with him a favourite ensign, a n ;in 
of great personal beauty, but of the most depraved heart, — a boaster and a coward. His wife is the frieii;! i f 
Desdemona. The ensign falls passionately in love with Desdemona, who, wrapped up in love of her huslvKid. 
pays no regard to him. His love then turns to bitter hate, and he resolves to charge her with infidelity, and in 
fix the Moor's suspicions upon a favourite captain of his. Soon after, that officer strikes and wounds a soldier m 
guard, for which the Moor cashiers him. Desdemona endeavours to obtain his pardon; and this gives the ( li.-i.Mi 
an opportunity of insinuating accusations against her, and rousing the Moor's jealousy. These suspicii iis l-.r 
confirms by stealing from her a favourite worked handkerchief, and leaving it on the captain's bed. Then ihi' 
Moor and his ensign plot together to kill Desdemona and her supposed lover. Tlie latter is waylaid and Avcumlcd 
in the dark by the ensign. Desdemona is beaten to death by him also "with a stocking filled with sand;" and 



then the Moor and he attempt to conceal their murder by pulling down the ceiling, and giving out that she was 
killed by the fall of a beam. The Moor becomes almost frantic with his loss, — turns upon the ensign, whom 
lie degrades and drives from liim. The ensign revenges himself by disclosing the murder to the captain, upon 
whose accusation to the senate the Moor is arrested, tried, tortured, and then banished, and afterwards killed 
by Desdcmona's relations. 

Tlie tale has little beauty of style, power of narration, or Aivid delineation of character. Indeed, none of the 
personages, except Desdemona, have any name, nor any distinctly and naturally drawn character; nor has the 
narrative any of that charm of expression and sentiment which has made others of the Italian stories, through 
"old Boccaccio's lore or Dryden's lay," a portion of the popular literatui-e of everj- civilized nation. Its merit 
consists in the air of reality and apparent truth of the storj' ; which, I can scarcely doubt, was in substance drawn 
from real events preserved in tlie traditionaiy or judicial history of Venice. 

Shakespeare owes to it the general plan of his plot, and the suggestion of the first passion and the character 
of Desdemona, which, however, he has softened and elevated as well as expanded. The peculiarities and minuter 
incidents of the story give to the drama a character of reality, such as pure invention can seldom attain. He has 
also some obligation to Cinthio fur the artful and dark insinuations by which lago first rouses the Moor's suspi- 
cions. But all else that is essentially poetic or dramatic is the Poet's own. Cinthio's savage Moor and cunning 
ensign have scarcely any thing in common with the heroic, the gentle, the terrible OtheUo, — or with lago's proud, 
contemptuous intellect, bitter wit, cool malignity, and " learned spirit." Cassio and Emilia owe to Shakespeare 
all their individuality : Roderigo, Brabantio, and the rest, are entii'ely his creation. , 

If, however, some of Shakespeare's English critics have overstated his obligations to the old novelist, that injus- 
tice, or rather carelessness, is more than compensated by the eloquent and discriminating criticism of a living 
French scholar and statesman. M. Guizot thus contrasts the Italian " Moro di Venezia" with the English 
Otkello : — 

"There was wantine in Cinthio's narrative the poetical genius which filled the scene with actors — which 
created the individuals — which gave each of them his own aspect, form, and character — which made us see their 
actions, and listen to their words — which unfolded their thoughts and penetrated their feelings : — that vivifying 
power which summons events to arise, to progress, to expand, to be completed : — that creative breath which, 
breathing over the past, calls it again into being, and fills it with a present and imperishable life : — this was the 
power which Shakespeare alone possessed, and by this, out of a forgotten novel, he has made Othello." 

(Venetian Remains at Famagusta.) 

(Venetian General.) "Farewell the plumed troops." 


Reed places the precise period of the action in 1570, from the historical facts mentioned in the play, — the 
junction of the Turkish fleet at Rhodes, for the invasion of Cyprus, — which it first threatened and then went to 
Rhodes. Whether or not this is the exact date, it is certain that the period must be taken somewhere between 1471, 
when the island first came under the sway of Venice, and was garrisoned by her troops, and 1571, when it was 
conquered by the Turks. The various references to customs, arms, government, etc., agree perfectly with this 
period. The first act is in Venice, in her day of splendour and power, of which the decaying monuments still re- 
main. These have become familiar to the untravelled reader by beautiful and accurate paintings and ensravings, 
from Canaletto to Prout, and by the not less vivid descriptions of Byron and Cooper. How they (and other Italian 
scenery) became familiar to Shakespeare, is a question which can be more appropriately examined in another 
place. All the allusions, however, to Venice and Venetian manners, have a character of reality, and no inac- 
curacy has been detected. 

The rest of the action passes in Cyprus. The old copies do not mention the precise place; but Rowe, followed 
by all the editions until Malone, headed Act II. with "The Capital of Cyprus." He, with Hanmer, Theobald, 
and others, supposed that to be the place where the scene lay for the last four acts. But Malone showed tliat 
this could not have been Shakespeare's intention ; " Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, being nearly in the centre 
of the island, and thirty miles from the sea. The principal seaport town of Cyprus was Famagusta ; where there 
was formerly a strong fort and commodious haven, the only one of any magnitude in the island ; and there un- 
doubtedly the scene should be placed. ' Neere unto the haven (says KnoUes) standeth an old castle, with four 
towers, after the ancient manner of building.' To this castle, we find Othello repairs." 

In this the later editors, of course, concur. 

The costume of Venice in her glory has been preserved in all its details, in every form and degree of art, from 
the intellectual speaking portraits of Titian to the mere engravings of costimie and armour. Some of them are 
transferred to this edition, and otlier authorities are easily accessible. The only question susceptible of contro- 
versy is as to the costume of Othello liimself. Upon this point, painters and tragedians have difi'ered from one 
another very widely ; some attiring the Moor of Venice as a Mohammedan prince, while within some forty years, 
he was arrayed in an English major-general's uniform on the London boards. In historical strictness, it is very 
certain that the Venetian general, (wlio from motives of state policy as to their aristocracy, was always a for- 
eigner, if not to Italy, at least to Venice,) wore an official dress, described by Vicellio, a contemporary of Sliake- 
speare's, as a gown of crimson velvet, with loose sleeves; over which was a mantle of cloth-of-gold, buttoned 
over the shoulder with massy gold buttons. His cap was of crimson velvet, and he bore a silver baton like those 



which are still the official designations of the field-marshals of Europe. When in actual ser\-ice, he wore the 
knight's ai-mour of the age, with the mantle and baton. Othello, though he could not hold this office if he were 
a Venetian, could not have held office at all unless a Christian in profession, and must, of course, have assumed 
the appropriate costume as much as if he had been a Frenchman, or a German, or a Neapolitan. 

Thus much for the antiquarian accuracy of the costume, without regard to what may have been Shakespeare's 
own ideal portrait of the Moor. But of his intention on this point, there cannot be much doubt. He did not 
conceive his Moor as attired in Mohammedan costume. The Moor is one who would not " renounce his bap- 
tism, the seals and symbols of redeemed sin." In his last breath, he describes the "dog" whom he smote 
for beating a Venetian and traducing Venice, as a "malignant and a iurbuu'd Turk." This the Poet could not 
mean for a portrait of the state's own commanding general, who elsewhere speaks of his own " helm." The 
Turks too, are the enemies of Venice; and no dramatic poet could have conceived so gross an incongruity as the 
general of any Christian state wearing the uniform and customai7 attire of the enemies whom he is to combat. 
But Othello — so far from being represented as a person negligent of these matters — is a soldier, delighting in " all 
quality, pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war." 

(General of Venice, in full liicss. Viceluo — Habiti Auliclii.) 

Scene I. — Venice. A Street. I Rod. Thou lold'st rne tliou didst hold him in thy 

Enter Roderigo and Iago. Ja^o/rTespise me if I do not. Three great ones 

Hod. Tush! never tell me; I take it much un- , of the city, 

kindly, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, 

That thou, iago, who hast had my purse, ' OlV-capp'd to liim; and, by the faith of man, 

As if the strings were thine, should'st know of I know my price : I am worth no worse a place ; 
this. But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, 

Iago. But you'll not hear me : if ever I did Evades them, with a bombast circumstance, 
dream Horribly stuff "d with epithets of war; 

Of such a matter, abhor me. ii And, in conclusion, 





Nonsuits my mediators; "For certes," says he, 
" I have aheady chose my officer." And what was 

Forsooth, a great arithmetician, 
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, 
A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife; 
That never set a s(|uadron in the field, 
Nor the division of a battio knows 
More than a spinster ; unless the bookish theoric. 
Wherein the tongued consuls can propose 
As masterly as he : mere prattle, without i)ractice, 
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th' election ; 
And I, — of whom his eyes had seen the proof, 
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds, 
Christen'd and heathen, — must be be-lee'd and 

By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster: 
He, in good time, nmst his lieutenant be, 
And I, (God bless the mark!) his Moor-ship's an- 
Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his 

lago. But there's no remedy: 'tis the curse of 

Preferment goes by letter, and affection, 
Not by the old gradation, where each second 
Stood heir t' the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself. 
Whether t in any just term am atfin'd 
To love the Moor. 

Rod. I would not follow him, then. 

Taf>o. O, sir ! content you ; 
I follow him to serve my turn upon him : 
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters 
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark 
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave. 
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage. 
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass. 
For nought but provender; and when he's old, 

cashier'd : 
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are, 
Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty, 
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves. 
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords. 
Do well thrive by them ; and when they have lin'd 

their coats. 
Do themselves homage : these fellows have some 

soul ; 
And such a one do I profess myself. For, Sir, 
It is as sure as you are Roderigo, 
Were I the Moor, I would not be lago : 
In following him, I follow but myself; 
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty. 
But seeming so, for my peculiar end: 
For when my outward action doth deinonstrate 
The native act and figure of my heart 
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after 
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve 
For daws to peck at : I am not what I am. 

Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lips 

If he can carry't thus ! 

laffo. Call up her father ; 

Rouse him : make after him, poison his delight. 
Proclaim him in the streets : incense her kinsmen: 
And though he in a fertile climate dwell. 
Plague him with flies : though that his joy be joy, 
Yet throw such changes of vexation on't. 
As it may lose some colour. 

Rod. Here is her father's house : I'll call aloud. 
Ias;o. Do; with like timorous accent, and dire 



As when, (by night and negligence,) the fire 
Is spied in populous cities. 

Rod. What ho I Brabantio ! signior Brabantio, 

lago. Awake! what, ho! Brabantio! thieves! 
thieves ! thieves ! 
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags ! 
Thieves ! thieves ! 

Enter Brabantio, above, at a window. 

Bra. What is the reason of this terrible sum- 
mons ? 
What is the matter there ? 

Rod. Signior, is all your family within ? 

lago. Are your doors lock'd ? 

Bra. Why ? wherefore ask you this ? 

lago. Sir! you are robbed; for shame, put on 
your gown ; 
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul : 
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram 
Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise ! 
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell. 
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you. 
Arise, I say. 

Bra. What ! have you lost your wits? 

Rod. Most reverend signior, do you know ray 
voice ? 

Bra. Not I : what are you? 

Rod. My name is Roderigo. 

Bra. The worse welcome : 

I have charg'd thee not to haunt about my doors. 
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say. 
My daughter is not for thee ; and now, in madness. 
Being full of supper and distempering draughts, 
Upon malicious bravery dost thou come 
To start my quiet. 

Rod. Sir, sir, sir, — 

Bra. But thoti must needs be sure. 

My spirit, and my place, have in them power 
To make this bitter to thee. 

Rod. Patience, good sir. 

Bra. What tell'st thou me of robbing? this is 
Venice ; 
My house is not a grange. 

Rod. Most grave Brabantio, 

In simple and pure soul I come to you. 

lago. 'Zounds, sir! you are one of those, that 
will not serve God, if the devil bid you. Because 
we come to do you service, and you think we are 
ruffians, you'll have your daughter covered with a 
Barbary horse : you'll have your nephews neigh to 
you ; you'll have coursers for cousins, and gennets 
for germans. 

Bra. What profane wi-etch art thou ? 

lago. I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your 
daughter and the Moor are now making the beast 
with two backs. 

Bra. Thou art a villain. 

lago. You are — a senator. 

Bra. This thou shalt answer: I know thee, 

Rod. Sir, I will answer any thing. But I be- 
seech you, 
If 't be your pleasure, and most wise consent, 
(As i)artly, I find, it is) that your fair daughter. 
At this odd-even and dull watch o' the night. 
Transported with no worse nor better guard. 
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier. 
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor, — 
If this be known to you, and your allowance. 
We tlien have done you bold and saucy wrongs ; 




But if you know not this, my manners tell me, 

We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe. 

That from the sense of all civility, 

I thus would play and trille with your reverence : 

Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, 

I say again, hath made a gross revolt. 

Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes. 

In an extravagant and wheeling stranger. 

Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself: 

If she be in her chamber, or yotir house, 

Let loose on me the justice of the state 

For thus deluding you. 

Bra. Strike on the tinder, ho ! 

Give me a taper! — call up all my people! — 
This accident is not unlike my dream ; 
Belief of it oppresses me already. — 
Light, I say! light! \^Exitfrom abave. 

lago. Farewell, for I must leave you ; 

It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place, 
To be produc'd (as if I stay I shall) 
Against the Moor : for, I do know, the state, — 
However this may gall him with some check, — 
Cannot with safety cast him ; for he's embark'd 
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars, 
(Which even now stand in act) that, for their souls. 
Another of his fathom they have none. 
To lead their business; in which regard. 
Though I do hate him as I do hell pains. 
Yet for necessity of present life, 
I must show out a flag and sign of love. 
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely 

find him. 
Lead to the Sagittary the raised search; 
And there will I be with him. So, fai-ewell. [Exit. 

(Court of tlie Ducal Palace, Venice.) 

E7iter Brabantio, and Servants with torches. 

Bra. It is too true an evil : gone she is ; 
And what's to come of my despised time. 
Is nought but bitterness. — Now, Roderigo, 
Where didst thou see her ? — O, ixnhappy girl ! — 
With the Moor, say'st thou ? — Who would be a 

father? — 
How didst thou know 'twas she ? — O ! she de- 
ceives me 
Past thought. — What said she to you? — Get more 

tapers ! 
Raise all my kindred ! — Are they married, think 
Rod. Truly, I think, they are. 
Bra. O heaven ! — How got she out ? — O, trea- 
son of the blood! — 
Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' 

By what you see them act. — Are there not charms. 
By which the property of youth and maidhood 
May be abus'd ? — Have you not read, Roderigo, 
Of some such thing ? 

Rod. Yes, sir ; I have, indeed. 

Bra. Call up my brother. — O, would you had 
had her ! — 
Some one way, some another. — Do yoti know 
Where we may apprehend her and the Moor ? 

Rod. I think, I can discover him, if you please 
To get good guard, and go along with me. 

Bra. Pray you, lead on. At eveiy house I'll 
I may command at most. — Get weapons, ho ! 
And raise some special officers of night. — 
On, good Roderigo; — I'll deserve your pains. 


Scene II. — The Same. Another Street. 

Enter Othello, Iago, and Attendants, with 


Iago. Though in the trade of war I have slain 
Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience 
To do no contriv'd murder : I lack iniquity 





Sometimes, to do me service. Nine or ten times 
I had thought to have yerk'd him here, under the 
Olh. 'Tis better as it is. 
lago. Nay, but he prated, 

And spoke such scui-vy and provoking terms 
Against your honour, 
That, with the Httle godhness I have, 
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray, sir. 
Are you fast married ? for, be sure of this. 
That the magnifico is much beloved ; 
And hath, in his effect, a voice potential 
As double as the duke's : he will divorce you ; 
Or put upon you what restraint, or grievance. 
The law (with all his might to enforce it on) 
Will give him cable. 

0th. Let him do his spite : 

My services, which I have done the signiory. 
Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know. 
Which, when I know that boasting is an honour, 
I shall promulgate, I fetch my life and being 
From men of royal siege ; and my demerits 
May speak, unbonneted, to as proud a fortune 
As this that I have reach'd : for know, lago. 
But that I love the gentle Desdemona, 
I would not my unhoused free condition 
Put into circumscription and confine 
For the sea's worth. But, look ! what lights come 

lago. These are the raised father, and his friends : 
You were best go in. 

Oth. Not I ; I must be found : 

My parts, my title, and my perfect soul. 
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they? 

lago. By Janus, I think no. 

Enter Cassio, and certain Officers with torches. 

Oth. The servants of the duke, and my lieutenant. 
The goodness of the night upon you, friends. 
What is the news ? 

Cas. The duke does greet you, general ; 

And he requires your haste, post-haste appearance, 
Even on the instant. 

Oth. What is the matter, think you ? 

Cas. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine. 
It is a business of some heat : the galleys 
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers 
This very night at one another's heels ; 
And many of the consuls, rais'd and met, 
Are at the duke's already. You have been hotly 

call'd for ; 
When, being not at your lodging to be found, 
The senate hath sent about, three several quests. 
To search you out. 

Oth. 'Tis well I am found by you. 

I will but spend a word here in the house. 
And go with you. \^Exit. 

Cas. Ancient, what makes he here ? 

lago. 'Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land 
carack : 
If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever. 

Cas. I do not understand. 

lago. He's married. 

Cas. To whom? 

Re-enter Othello. 

lago. Marry, to — Come, captain, will you go ? 
Olh. Have with you. 

Cas. Here comes another troop to seek for you. 
Tago. It is Brabantio. — General, be advis'd : 
He comes to bad intent. 


Enter Brabantio, Roderigo, and Officers, with 
torches and weapons. 

Oth. Holla ! stand there ! 

Rod. Signior, it is the Moor. 

Bra. Down with him, thief! 

[ They draw on both sides. 

lago. You, Roderigo ! come, sir, I am for you. 

Oth. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew 
will rust them. — 
Good signior, you shall more command with years, 
Than with your weapons. 

Bra. O, thou foul thief ! where hast thou 'stow'd 
my daughter? 
Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her; 
For I'll refer me to all things of sense. 
If she in chains of magic were not bound. 
Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, 
So opposite to marriage, that she shunn'd 
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation. 
Would ever have, to incur a general mock. 
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom 
Of such a thing as thou, — to fear, not to delight. 
Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense. 
That thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms ; 
Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs, or minerals. 
That weaken motion. — I'll have't disputed on ; 
'Tis probable, and palpable to thinking. 
I, therefore, apprehend, and do attach thee, 
For an abuser of the world, a practiser 
Of arts inhibited, and out of warrant. — 
Lay hold upon him! if he do resist, 
Subdue him at his peril. 

Oth. Hold your hands I 

Both you of my inclining, and the rest : 
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it 
Without a prompter. — Where will you that I go 
To answer this your charge ? 

Bra. To prison ; till fit time 

Of law, and course of direct session, 
Call thee to answer. 

Oth. What if I do obey ? 

How may the duke be therewith satisfied. 
Whose messengers are here about my side, 
Upon some present business of the state, 
To bear me to him ? 

Off. 'Tis true, most worthy signior : 

The duke's in council, and your noble self, 
I am sure, is sent for. 

Bra. How ! the duke in council ! 

In this time of the night ! — Bring him away. 
Mine's not an idle cause ; the duke himself, 
Or any of my brothers of the state, 
Cannot but feel this wrong, as 'twere their own ; 
For if such actions may have passage free. 
Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be. 


Scene III. — The Same. A Council- Chamber. 

The Duke, and Senators, sitting at a table ; 
Officers attending. 

Duke. There is no composition in these news. 
That gives them credit. 

1 Sen. Indeed, they are disproportion'd : 
My letters say, a hundred and seven galleys. 

Dtike. And mine, a hundred and forty. 

2 Sen. And mine, two hundred: 
But though they jump not on a just account, 
(As in these cases, where the aim reports 




'Tis oft with difference) yet do they all confirm 
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus. 

Duke. Nay, it is possible enough to judgment. 
I do not so secure me in the error. 
But the main article I do approve 
In fearful sense. 

Sailor. [ Within.] What ho ! what ho ! what ho ! 

Enter an Officer, with a Sailor, 

Off. A messenger from the galleys. 

Duke. Now, the business ? 

Sail. The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes : 
So was I bid report here to the state, 
By signior Angelo. 

Duke. How say you by this change ? 

1 Sen. This cannot be. 

By no assay of reason : 'tis a pageant, 
To keep us in false gaze. When we consider 
The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk ; 
And let ourselves again but understand. 
That, as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes, 
So may he with more facile question bear it. 
For that it stands not in such warlike brace. 
But altogether lacks th' abilities 
That Rhodes is dress'd in : if we make thought of 

We must not think the Turk is so unskilful, 
To leave that latest which concerns him first, 
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain, 
To wake, and wage, a danger profitless. 

Duke. Nay, in all confidence, he's not for Rhodes. 

Off. Here is more news. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. The Ottomites, reverend and gracious. 
Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes, 
Have there injointed them with an after fleet. 
1 Sen. Ay, so I thought. — How many, as you 

guess ? 
Mess. Of thirty sail ; and now do they re-stem 
Their backward course, bearing with frank appear- 
Their purposes toward Cyprus. — Signior Montano, 
Your trusty and most valiant servitor. 
With his free duty recommends you thus. 
And prays you to believe him. 

Duke. 'Tis certain then for Cyprus. — 
Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town ? 
1 Sen. He's now in Florence. 
Duke. Write from us to him; post, post-haste 

1 Sen. Here comes Brabantio, and the valiant 

Enter Brabantio, Othello, Iago, Roderigo, 

and Officers. 

Duke. Valiant Othello, we must straight employ 
Against the general enemy Ottoman. — 
I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior; 

[To Brabantio. 
We lack'd your counsel and your help to night. 
Bra. So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon 
Neither my place, nor aught I heard of business. 
Hath raised me from my bed; nor doth the gen- 
eral care 
Take hold of me, for my particular grief 
Is of so flood-gate and o'er-bearing nature. 
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows, 
And it is still itself. 


Duke. Why, what's the matter? 

Bra. My daughter! O, my daughter ! 

Sen. Dead ? 

Bra. Ay, to me; 

She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and corrupted 
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks ; 
For nature so preposterously to err, 
(Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense) 
Sans witchcraft could not — 

Duke. Whoe'er he be that, in this foul 

Hath thus beguil'd your daughter of herself, 
And you of her, the bloody book of law 
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter. 
After your own sense; yea, though our proper son 
Stood in your action. 

Bra. Humbly I thank your grace. 

Here is the man, this Moor ; whom now, it seems. 
Your special mandate, for the state afl'airs. 
Hath hither brought. 

Duke and Sen. We are very sorry for it, 

Duke. What, in your own part, can you say to 
this? [To Othello. 

Bra. Nothing, but this is so. 

Oth. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors. 
My very noble and approv'd good masters. 
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter. 
It is most true ; true, I have married her : 
The very head and front of my oflending 
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my 

And little bless'd with the set phrase of peace; 
For since these arms of mine had seven years' 

Till now, some nine moons wasted, they have us'd 
Their dearest action in the tented field ; 
And little of tliis great world can I speak. 
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle ; 
And, therefore, little shall I grace my cause. 
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious 

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver 
Of my whole course of love ; what drugs, what 

What conjuration, and what mighty magic, 
(For such proceeding I am charged withal) 
I won his daughter with. 

Bra. A maiden never bold ; 

Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion 
Blush'd at herself; and she, — in spite of nature. 
Of years, of country, credit, every thing, — 
To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on ? 
It is a judgment maim'd, and most imperfect, 
That will confess perfection so could err 
Against all rules of nature ; and must be driven 
To find out practices of cunning hell. 
Why this should be. I, therefore, vouch again, 
That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood. 
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect, 
He wrought upon her. 

Duke. To vouch this is no proof: 

Without more certain and more overt test, 
These are thin habits, and poor likelihoods 
Of modern seeming, you j)refer against him. 

1 Sen. But, Othello, speak : 
Did you by indirect and forced causes 
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections ; 
Or came it by request, and such fair question 
As soul to soul affordeth ? 

Oth. I do beseech you, 

Send for the lady to the Sagittary, 


Of huir-breadth scapes i 

breach ; 

Of being taken by the insolent foe, 
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence, 
And portance in my travel's history : 
Wherein of antres vast, and deserts idle, 
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch 

It was my hint to speak, such was the ])rocess; 
And of the cannibals that each other cat. 
The anthropophagi, and men whose lieads 
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These to hear. 
Would Desdemona seriously incline : 
But still the house alfairs would draw her thence; 
Which ever as she could with haste despatch, 
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear 
Devour up my discourse. Which I observing, 
Took once a pliant hour; and found good means 
To draw from her a ])rayer of earnest heart, 
Tliat T would all my pilgrimage dilate. 
Whereof by parcels she liad something lieard, 
lint not intentively: I did consent; 
And often did beguile her of her tears, 


/»'/ And let her speak of me before her father 
'!, If you do find me foul in her report, 
The trust, the office, I do hold of you, 
Not only take away, but let your sentence 
Even fall upon my life. 
Duke. Fetch Desdemona hither. 

Olli.. Ancient, conduct them ; you best know the 
place. — [Exeunt Iago and Attendants. 
And, till she come, as truly as to heaven 

lo confess the vices of my blood, 
Su justly to your grave ears I'll present 
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love, 
And she in mine. 

Duke. Say it, Othello. 
Oth. Her father lov'd me ; oft invited me; 
Still question'd me the story of my life. 
From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortunes, 
That I have pass'd. 

I ran it through, even from my boyish days. 
To the very moment that he bade me tell it : 
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances. 
Of moving accidents, by Hood and field; 
' th' imminent deadly 

When I did speak of some distressful stroke. 
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done, 
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs: 
She swore, — in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing 

'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful : 
She wished she had not heard it; yet she wish'd 
That heaven had made her such a man : she thank'd 

me ; 
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her, 
I sliould but teach him how to tell my story. 
And that would woo her. Upon this hint 1 

spake ; 
She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd. 
And I loved her that she did pity them. 
This only is the witchcraft I have us'd : 
Here comes the lady ; let her witness it. 

Enter Dksdemona, Iago, and Attendants. 

Duke. I think, this tale would win my daughici 
Good Brabantio, 
Take up (his mansled matter at the best : 

ACT 1. 



Men do their broken weapons rather use, 
Than their bare hands. 

Bra. I pray you, hear her speak : 

If she confess that she was half the wooer, 
Destruction on my head, if my bad blame 
Light on the man. — Come hither, gentle mistress : 
Do you perceive in all this noble company, 
Where most you owe obedience ? 

Des. My noble father, 

I do perceive here a divided diUy. 
To you, I am boimd for life, and education: 
My life, and education, both do learn me 
How to respect you ; you are the lord of duty ; 
I am hitherto your daughter : but here's my hus- 
band ; 
And so much duty as my mother show'd 
To you, preferring you Ijefore her fatlier. 
So much I challenge that I may profess 
Due to the Moor, my lord. 

Bra. God be with you ! — 1 have done. — 

Please it your grace, on to the state aflairs : 
I had rather to adopt a child, than get it. — 
Come hither. Moor : 

I here do give thee that with all my heart, 
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart 
I would keep from thee. — For your sake, jewel, 
I am glad at soul I have no other child, 
For thy escape would teach me tyranny. 
To hang clogs on them. — I have done, my lord. 

Duke. Let me speak like yourself; and lay a 
Which, as a grise, or step, may help these lovers 
Into your favour. 

When remedies are past, the griefs are ended 
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended. 
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone 
Is the next way to draw more mischief on. 
What cannot be presei-v'd when fortune takes, 
Patience her injury a mockery makes. 
The robb'd, that smiles, steals something from the 

He robs himself, that spends a bootless grief. 

Bra. So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile : 
We lose it not, so long as we can smile. 
He bears the sentence well, that nothing bears 
But the free comfort which from thence he hears ; 
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow. 
That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow. 
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall. 
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal: 
But words are words ; I never yet did hear, 
That the bruis'd heart was pierc'd through the ear. 
Beseech you, now to the affairs of state. 

DuJce. The Turk with a most mighty prepara- 
tion makes for Cyprus. — Othello, the fortitude of 
the place is best known to you ; and though we 
have there a substitute of most allowed sufficiency, 
yet opinion, a sovei-eign mistress of effects, throws 
a more safer voice on you : you must, therefore, 
be content to slubber the gloss of your new for- 
tunes with this more stubborn and boisterous ex- 

Oth. The tyrant custom, most grave senators. 
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war 
My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnize 
A natural and prompt alacrity, 
I find in hardness ; and do undertake 
These present wai's against the Ottomites. 
Most humbly, therefore, bending to your state, 
I crave fit disposition for my wife; 
Due reference of place, and exhibition, 


With such accommodation, and besort. 
As levels with her breeding. 

Duke. If you please, 

Be't at her fathers. 

Bra. I'll not have it so. 

Oth. Nor I. 

Des. Nor I ; I would not there reside, 

To put my father in impatient thoughts. 
By being in his eye. Most gracious duke. 
To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear : 
And let me find a charter in your voice, 
T' assist my simpleness. 

Duke. What would you, Desdemona? 

Des. That I did love the Moor to live with him, 
My downright violence and storm of fortunes 
May trumpet to the world : my heart's subdued 
Even to the very quality of my lord : 
I saw Othello's visage in his mind ; 
And to his honours, and his valiant parts. 
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate. 
So that, dear lords, if I be left behind, 
A moth of peace, and he go to the war. 
The rites for which I love him are bereft me, 
And I a heavy interim shall support 
By his dear absence. Let me go with him. 

Oth. Your voices, lords : 'beseech you, let her 
Have a free way. 

Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not. 
To please the palate of my appetite ; 
Nor to comply with heat (the young affects 
In me defunct) and proper satisfaction ; 
But to be free and bounteous to her mind: 
And heaven defend your good souls, that you think 
I will your serious and great business scant. 
For she is with me. No, when light-wing'd toys 
Of feather'd Cupid foil with wanton dulness 
My speculative and active instruments. 
That my disports corrupt and taint my business, 
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm. 
And all indign and base adversities 
Make head against my reputation ! 

Duke. Be it as you shall privately determine. 
Either for her stay or going. Th' affair cries haste, 
And speed must answer it : you must hence to-night. 

Des. To-night, my lord ? 

Duke. This night. 

Oih. With all my heart. 

Duke. At nine i' the moi-ning here we'll meet 
Othello, leave some officer behind. 
And he shall our commission bring to you ; 
With such things else of quality and respect, 
As doth import you. 

Oth. Please your grace, my ancient; 

A man he is of honesty, and trust : 
To his conveyance I assign my wife. 
With what else needful your good grace shall 

To be sent after me. 

Duke. Let it be so. — 

Good night to every one. — And, noble signior, 

[To Brabantio. 
If virtue no delighted beauty lack. 
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black. 

1 Sen. Adieu, brave Moor ! use Desdemona well. 

Bra. Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see : 
She has deceiv'd her father, and may thee. 

\Excunt Duke, Senators, Officers, Sfc. 

Oth. My life upon her faith. — Honest lago. 
My Desdemona must I leave to thee : 





I pr'ythee, let thy wife attend on her. 
And bring her after in the best advantage. — 
Come, Desdemona; I have but an hour 
Of love, of worldly matters and direction, 
To spend with thee : we must obey the time. 

[Exeunt Othello and Desdemona. 

Rod. lago. 

lago. What say'st thou, noble heart ? 

Rud. What will I do, thinkest thou ? 

lago. Why, go to bed, and sleep. 

Rod. I will incontinently drown myself. 

lago. Well, if thou dost, I shall never love thee 
after it. Why, thou silly gentleman ! 

Rod. It is silliness to live, when to live is a tor- 
ment; and then have we a pi-escription to die, 
when death is our physician. 

lago. O villainous ! I have looked upon the world 
for four times seven years, and since I could dis- 
tinguish betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never 
found a man that knew how to love himself. Ere 
I would say, I would drown myself for the love of 
a Guinea-hen, I would change my humanity with a 

Rod. What should I do ? I confess, it is my 
shame to be so fond ; but it is not in my virtue to 
amend it. 

lago. Virtue ? a fig ! 'tis in ourselves that we 
are thus, or thus. Our bodies are gardens, to the 
which, our wills are gardeners ; so that if we will 
plant nettles, or sow lettuce ; set hyssop, and weed 
up thyme ; supply it with one gender of herbs, or 
distract it with many : either to have it steril with 
idleness, or manured with industry ; why, the 
power and coiTigible authority of this lies in our 
wills. If the balance of our lives had not one scale 
of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood 
and baseness of our nattxres would conduct us to 
most preposterotis conclusions : but we have reason 
to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our 
unbitted lusts, whereof I take this, that you call — 
love, to be a sect or scion. 

Rod. It cannot be. 

lago. It is merely a lust of the blood, and a per- 
mission of the will. Come, be a man : drown thy- 
self? drown cats, and blind puppies. I profess me 
thy friend, and I confess me knit to thy deserving 
with cables of perdurable toughness ; I could never 
better stead thee than now. Put money in thy 
purse ; follow these wars ; defeat thy favour with an 
usurped beard ; I say, put money in thy purse. 
It cannot be, that Desdemona should long continue 
her love to the Moor, — put money in thy purse ; — 
nor he his to her : it was a violent commencement, 
and ihou shalt see an answerable sequestration ; — 
put but money in thy purse. — These Moors are 
changeable in their wills ; — fill thy purse with 
money : the food that to him now is as luscious 
as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as colo- 
quintida. She must change for youth : when she 
is sated with his body, she will find the error of 
her choice. — She must have change, she must : 
therefore, put money in thy purse. — If thou wilt 
needs damn thyself, do it a more delicate way than 
drowning. Make all the money thou canst. If 
sanctimony and a frail vow, betwixt an erring bar- 
l)arian and a super-subtle Venetian, be not too 
hard for my wits, and all the tribe of hell, thou 
shalt enjoy her ; therefore make money. A pox 
of drowning thyself I it is clean out of the way : 
seek thou rather to be hanged in compassing thy 
joy, than to be drowned and go without her. 


Rod. Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if 1 depend 
on the issue ? 

lago. Thou art sure of me. — Go, make money. — 
I have told thee often, and I re-tell thee again and 
again, I hate the Moor : my cause is hearted ; thine 
hath no less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our 
revenge against him : if thou canst cuckold him, 
thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There 
are many events in the womb of time, which will 
be delivered. Traverse ; go ; provide thy money. 
We will have more of this to-morrow. Adieu. 

Rod. Where shall we meet i' the morning ? 

lago. At my lodging. 

Rod. I'll be with thee betimes. 

lago. Go to ; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo? 

Rod. What say you ? 

lago. No more of drowning, do you hear. 

Rod. I am changed. I'll sell all my land. 

lago. Go to ; farewell : put money enough in 
your purse. [Exit Roderigo. 

Thus do I ever make my fool my piirse ; 
For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane. 
If I woidd time expend with such a snipe. 
But for my si)ort and profit. 1 hate the Moor; 
And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets 
He has done my office : I know not if 't be true ; 
Yet I, for mere suspicion in that kind. 
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well : 
The better shall my purpose work on him. 
Cassio's a proper man : let me see now ; 
To get his place, and to plume up my will ; 
In double knavery, — How, how? — Let's see: — 
After some time, to abuse Othello's ear, 
That he is too familiar with his wife : 
He hath a person, and a smooth dispose, 
To be suspected ; fram'd to make women false. 
The Moor is of a free and open nature. 
That thinks men honest, that but seem to be so, 
And will as tenderly be led by the nose, 
As asses are. — 

I have't ; — it is engender'd : — hell and night 
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's 



(A rsenal at Venice.) " Lead to tlie Sagittary the raised seareti." 

p^cr ; 

Scene I. — A Sea-port Town in Cyprus. 
A Platform. 

Enter Montano, and two Gentlemen. 
Mon. What from the cape can you discern at 

sea : 

it is a high-wrought 

1 Gent. Nothing at all 

flood ; 

I cannot, 'twixt the heaven and the main, 
Descry a sail. 

Mon. Methinks, the wind hath spoke aloud at 

land ; 
A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements : 
Tf it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea, 
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them. 
Can hold the mortise ? what shall we hear of this ? 

2 Gent. A segregation of the Turkish fleet: 
For do but stand upon the foaming shore, 
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds, 
The wind-shak'd surge, with high and monstrous 

Seems to cast water on the burning bear, 
And quench the guards of th' ever-fixed pole: 
I never did like molestation view 
On the enchafed flood. 

Mon. If that the Turkish fleet 

Be not inshelter'd and embay'd, they are drown'd; 
It is impossible to bear it out. 

Enter a third Gentleman. 

n Gent. News, lads I our wars are done. 
The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks, 

That their designment halts : a noble ship of V enice 
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufl'erance 
On most part of their fleet. 

Mon. Howl is this true ? 

3 Gent. The ship is here put in : 

A Veronese ; Michael Cassio 
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor, Othello, 
Is come on shore : the Moor himself 's at sea. 
And is in full commission here for Cyprus. 

Mon. I am glad on't; 'tis a worthy governor. 

3 Gent. But this same Cassio, though he speak 
of comfort, 
Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly, 
And prays the Moor be safe ; for they were parted 
With foul and violent tempest. 

Mon. Pray heaven he be ; 

For I have serv'd him, and the man commands 
Like a full soldier. Let's to the sea-side, ho ! 
As well to see the vessel that's come in, 
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello, 
EveJi till we make the main, and th' aerial blue. 
An indistinct regard. 

3 Gent. Come, let's do so; 

For every minute is expectancy 
Of more arrivance. 

Enter Cassio. 

Cas. Thanks you, the valiant of the warlike isle, 
That so approve the Moor. — O ! let the heavens 
Give him defence against the elements, 
For I have lost him on a dangerous sea. 

Mon. Is he well shipp'd ? 

Cas. His bark is stoutly timber'd, and his pilot 



SCK>"E I. 

Of very expert and approv'd allowance ; 
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death. 
Stand in bold cure. 

[Within.] A sail, a sail, a sail! 

Enter a Messenger. 
Cas. What noise ? 

Mess. The town is empty ; on the brow o' the 
Stand ranks of people, and they cry, " A sail." 
Cas. My hopes do shape him for the governor. 

[Guns heard. 
2 Gent. They do discharge their shot of cour- 
tesy : 
Our friends, at least. 

Cas. I pray you, sir, go forth. 

And give us truth who 'tis that is arriv'd. 

2 Gent. I shall. [Exit. 

Man. But, good lieutenant, is your general wiv'd ? 
Cas. Most fortunately : he hath achiev'd a maid. 
That paragons description, and wild fame; 
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens, 
And in th' essential vesture of creation. 
Does bear all excellency. — How now ? who has 
put in ? 

Re-enter second Gentleman. 

2 Gent. 'Tis one lago, ancient to the general. 

Cas. He has had most favourable and happy 
speed : 
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds. 
The gutter'd rocks, and congregated sands. 
Traitors ensteep'd to clog the guiltless keel, 
As having sense of beauty, do omit 
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by 
The divine Desdemona. 

Mon. What is she? 

Cas. She that I spake of, our great captain's 
Left in the conduct of the bold Ligo; 
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts, 
A se'nnight's speed. — Great Jove ! Othello guard, 
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath. 
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship. 
Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms. 
Give renew'd fire to our extincted spirits. 
And bring all Cyprus comfort. — O, behold ! 

Enter Desdemo:sa, Emilia, L\go, Roderigo, and 


The riches of the ship is come on shore. 
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees. — 
Hail to thee, lady ! and the grace of heaven, 
Before, behind thee, and on every hand, 
Enwheel thee round! 

Des. I thank you, valiant Cassio. 

What tidings can you tell me of my lord? 

Cas. He is not yet aiTiv'd : nor know I aught 
But that he's well, and will be shortly here. 

Des. O ! but I fear. — How lost you company ? 

Cas. The great contention of the sea and skies 
Parted our fellowship. 

[Within.] A sail, a sail ! 
But, hark! a sail. [Guns heard. 

2 Gent. They give their greeting to the citadel ! 
This likewise is a friend. 

Cas. See for the news. — 

[Exit Gentletnan. 
Good ancient, you are welcome. — Welcome, mis- 
tress. — [To Emilia. 
Let it not gall your patience, good lago, 
That I extend my manners : 'tis my breeding 


That gives me this bold show of courtesy. 

[Kissing her. 

lago. Sir, would she give you so much of her 
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me, 
You'd have enough. 

Des. Alas ! she has no speech. 

lago. In faith, too much; 
I find it still, when I have leave to sleep : 
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant. 
She puts her tongue a little in lier heart, 
And chides with thinking. 

Emil. You have little cause to say so. 

lago. Come on, come on; you are pictures out 
of doors. 
Bells in your parlours, wild cats in your kitchens. 
Saints in your injuries, devils being offended, 
Players in your housewifery, and housewives in 
your beds. 

Des. O, fie upon thee, slanderer! 

lago. Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk : 
You rise to play, and go to bed to work. 

Emil. You shall not write my praise. 

lago. No, let me not. 

Des. What would'st thou write of me, if thou 
should'st praise me ? 

lago. O gentle lady, do not put me to't. 
For I am nothing, if not critical. 

Des. Come on; assay. — There's one gone to the 
harbour ? 

lago. Ay, madam. 

Des. I am not meny ; but I do beguile 
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise. — 
Come ; how wouldst thou praise me ? 

lago. I am about it, but, indeed, my invention 
Comes from my pate, as birdlime does from frize, 
It plucks out brains and all ; but my muse labours, 
And thus she is deliver'd. 
If she be fair and wise, — fairness, and wit. 
The one's for use, the other useth it. 

Des. Well prais'd ! How, if she be black and 
witty ? 

lago. If she be black, and thereto have a wit, 
She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit. 

Des. Worse and worse. 

Emil. How, if fair and foolish ? 

lago. She never yet was foolish that was fair; 
For even her folly help'd her to an heir. 

Des. These are old fond paradoxes, to make 
fools laugh i' the alehouse. What miserable praise 
hast thou for her that's foul and foolish ? 

lago. There's none so foul, and foolish thereunto, 
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do. 

Des. O heavy ignorance ! thou praisest the worst 
best. But what praise could'st thou bestow on a 
deserving woman indeed ? one that, in the author- 
ity of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of 
very malice itself? 

lago. She that was ever fair, and never proud ; 
Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud ; 
Never lack'd gold, and yet went never gay ; 
Fled from her wish, and yet said, — "now I may;" 
She that, being anger'd, her revenge being nigh, 
Bade her wrong stay, and her displeasure fly; 
She that in wisdom never was so frail. 
To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail; 
She that could think, and ne'er disclose her mind. 
See suitors following, and not look behind ; 
She was a wight, — if ever such wight were, — 
Des. To do what? 
laao. To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer. 



I ' IS)-' 

Des. O, most lame and impotent conclusion ! — 
Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy 
husband. — How say you, Cassio ? is he not a most 
profane and liberal counsellor? 

Cas. He speaks home, madam ; you may relish 
him more in the soldier, than in the scholar. 

lago. [^5?VZe.] He takes her by the palm : ay, 
well said, whisper: with as little a web as this, will 
I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon 
her, do ; 1 will gyve thee in thine own courtship. 
You say true ; 'tis so, indeed : if such tricks as 
these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had 
been better you had not kissed your three fingers 
so oft, which now again you are most apt to play 
the sir in. Very good : well kissed ! an excellent 
courtesy ! 'tis so indeed. Yet again your fingers 
to your lips ? would, they were clyster-pipes for 
your sake. — \A trumpet heard.'] The Moor! I 
know his trumpet. 

Cas. 'Tis traly so. 

Des. Let's meet him, and receive him. 

Cas. Lo, where he comes! 

Enter Othello, and Attendants. 

0th. O, my fair warrior! 

Des. My dear Othello ! 

Oth. It gives me wonder great as my content. 
To see you here before me. O, my soul's joy ! 
If after every tempest come such calms, 
May the winds blow, till they have waken'd death; 
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas, 
Olympus-high, and duck again as low 
As hell's from heaven ! If it were now to die, 
'Twere now to be most happy ; for, I fear, 
My soul hath her content so absolute, 

That not another comfort like to this 
Succeeds in unknown fate. 

Des. The heavens forbid, 

But that our loves and comforts should increase, 
Even as our days do grow I 

Oth. Amen to that, sweet powers ! — 

I cannot speak enough of this content; 
It stops me here ; it is too much of joy : 

j And this, and this, the greatest discords be, 

j [Kissi7ig Iter. 

I That e'er our hearts shall make ! 

I lago. [Aside.] OI you are well tun'd now ; 

i But I'll set down the pegs that make this music, 
As honest as I am. 

Oth. Come, let us to the castle. — 

News, friends ; our wars are done, the Turks are 

How does my old acquaintance of this isle ? — 
Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus, 
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet, 
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote 
In mine own comforts. — I pr'ythee, good lago. 
Go to the bay, and disembark my coffers. 
Bring thou the master to the citadel: 
He is a good one, and his worthiness 
Does challenge much respect. — Come, Desdemona, 
Once more well met at Cyprus. 
[Exeunt Othello, Desdemo>'a, and Attendants, 
lago. Do thou meet me presently at the har- 
bour. — Come hither. — If thou be'st valiant — as 
they say base men, being in love, have then a no- 
bility in their natures more than is native to them, 
list me. The lieutenant to-night watches on the 
court of guard. — First, I must tell thee this — Des- 
demona is directly in love with him. 





Rod. With him ! why, 'tis not possible. 

lago. Lay thy finger — thus, and let thy soul be 
instructed. Mark me with what violence she first 
loved the Moor, but for bragging, and telling her 
fantastical lies ; and will she love hira still for 
prating ? let not thy discreet heart think it. Her 
eye must be fed ; and what delight shall she have 
to look on the devil ? When the blood is made 
dull with the act of sport, there should be, — again 
to inflame it, and to give satiety a fresh appetite, — 
loveliness in favour, sympathy in years, manners, 
and beauties ; all which the Moor is defective in. 
Now, for want of these required conveniences, her 
delicate tenderness will find itself abused, begin to 
heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; 
very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her 
to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted, (as 
it is a most pregnant and unforced position,) who 
stands so eminently in the degree of this fortune, 
as Cassio does ? a knave very voluble ; no further 
conscionable, than in putting on the mere form of 
civil and humane seeming, for the better compass- 
ing of his salt and most hidden loose affection ? 
why, none ; why, none : a subtle slippery knave ; 
a finder out of occasions; that has an eye can 
stamp and counterfeit advantages, thougli true ad- 
vantage never present itself: a devilish knave! 
besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath 
all those requisites in him, that folly and green 
minds look after; a pestilent complete knave, and 
the woman hath found him already. 

Rod. I cannot believe that in her : she is full of 
a most blessed condition. 

lago. Blessed fig's end ! the wine she drinks is 
made of grapes : if she had been blessed, she would 
never have loved the Moor: bless'd pudding! 
Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of 
his hand ? didst not mark that ? 

Rod. Yes, that I did ; but that was but courtesy. 

lago. Lechery, by this hand ; an index, and 
obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul 
thoughts. They met so near with their lips, 
that their breaths embraced together. Villainous 
thoughts, Roderigo ! when these mutualities so 
marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master 
and main exercise, the incorporate conclusion. 
Pish! — But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have 
brought you from Venice. AVatch you to-night ; 
for the command, I'll lay't upon you : Cassio 

knows you not : — I'll not be far from you : do 
you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by 
speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline ; or 
from what other course you please, which the 
time shall more favourably minister. 

Rod. Well. 

lago. Sir, he is rash, and very sudden in choler, 
and, haply, with his tnincheon may strike at you : 
provoke him, that he may ; for even out of that 
will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose 
qualification shall come into no true taste again, 
but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you 
have a shorter journey to your desires, by the 
means I shall then have to prefer them ; and the 
impediment most profitably removed, without the 
which there were no expectation of our prosperity. 

Rod. I will do this, if I can bring it to any op- 

lago. I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at 
the citadel : I must fetch his necessaries ashore. 

Rod. Adieu. [Exit. 

lago. That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it ; 
That she loves him, 'tis apt, and of great credit : 
The Moor — howbeit that I endure him not, — 
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature ; 
And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdcmona 
A most dear husband, Now, I do love her too ; 
Not out of absolute lust, (though, peradventure, 
I stand accountant for as great a sin.) 
But partly led to diet my revenge. 
For that I do suspect the lustful Moor 
Hath leap'd into my seat ; the thought whereof 
Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards, 
And nothing can, or sliall, content my soul, 
Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife; 
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor 
At least into a jealousy so strong 
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do, — 
If this poor trash of Venice, wliom I trace 
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on, — 
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip; 
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb, — 
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too ; — 
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me, 
For making him egregiously an ass. 
And practising upon his peace and quiet. 
Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confus'd : 
Knavery's plain face is never seen, til) us'd. [Exit. 

(Citailel, Famagusta.) 




Scene IL — A Street. 

Enter Otitello's Herald, with a Proclamation ; 
People following. 

Her. It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and 
valiant general, that upon certain tidings now ar- 
rived, importing the mere perdition of the Turkish 
fleet, every man put himself into triumph; some 

to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what 
sport and revels his addiction leads him ; for, be- 
sides these beneficial news, it is the celebration of 
his nuptials. So much was his pleasure should 
be proclaimed. All offices are open ; and there is 
full liberty of feasting, from this present hour of 
five, till the bell hath told eleven. Heaven bless 
the isle of Cyprus, and our noble general, Othello I 



Scene III.— .4 Hall in the Castle. 

Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and 


Oth. Good Michael, look yon to the guard to- 
night : 
Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop, 
Not to out-sport discretion. 

Cas. lago hath direction what to do ; 
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye 
Will I look to't. 

Oth. lago is most honest. 

Michael, good night : to-morrow with your earliest. 
Let me have speech with you. — Come, my dear 

love : 
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue ; 

\_To Desdemona. 
That profit's yet to come 'twixt me and you. — 
Good night. \^Exeunt Oth., Des., and Attend. 

Enter Iago. 

Cas. Welcome, lago : we must to the watch. 

Iago. Not this hour, lieutenant ; 'tis not yet ten 
o'clock. Our general cast us thus early for the 
love of his Desdemona, whom let us not therefore 
blame : he hath not yet made wanton the night 
with her, and she is sport for Jove. 

Cas. She's a most exquisite lady. 

Iago. And, I'll warrant her, full of game. 

Cas. Indeed, she is a most fresh and delicate 

Iago. What an eye she has I methinks it sounds 
a parley of provocation. 

Cas. An inviting eye; and yet methinks right 

Iago. And, when she speaks, is it not an alarum 
to love ? 

Cas. She is, indeed, perfection. 

Iago. Well, happiness to their sheets ! Come, 
lieutenant, I have a stoop of wine; and here with- 
out are a brace of Cyprus gallants, that would fain 
have a measure to the health of the black Othello. 

Cas. Not to-night, good Iago. I have very poor 
and unhappy brains for drinking : I could well wish 
covirtesy would invent some other custom of enter- 

Iago. O, they are our friends ; but one cup : I'll 
drink for you. 

Cas. I have drunk but one cup to-night, and 
that was craftily qualified too, and behold, what in- 
novation it makes here. I am unfortunate in the 
infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any 

Iago. What, man ! 'tis a night of revels : the 
gallants desire it. 

Cas. Where are they? 

Iago. Here at the door ; I pray you, call them in. 

Cas. I'll do't, but it dislikes me. 

{Exit Cassio. 

Iago. If I can fasten but one cup upon him, 
Witii that which he hath drunk to-night already, 
He'll be as full of quarrel and offence 
As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool, 

Whom love has turn'd almost the wrong side out- 
To Desdemona hath to-night carous'd 
Potations pottle deep ; and he's to watch. 
Three lads of Cyprus, — noble, swelling spirits, 
That hold their honours in a wary distance, 
The very elements of this warlike isle, — 
Have I to-night fluster'd with flowing cups. 
And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of 

Am I to put our Cassio in some action 
That may offend the isle. — But here they come. 





If consequence do but approve my dream, 

My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream. 

Re-enter Cassio, ivith him Montano, and Gen- 

Cas. 'Fore heaven, they have given me a rouse 

Mon. Good faith, a little one ; not past a pint, 
as I am a soldier. 

lago. Some wine, ho ! 

And let me the canakin clink, clink ; [Sings. 
And let me the canakin clink: 

A soldier'' s a Jtian ; 

A life's but a span ; 
Why then let a soldier drink. 

Some wine, boys ! [ Wine brought in. 

Cas. 'Fore heaven, an excellent song. 

lago. I learned it in England, where (indeed) 
they are most potent in potting ; your Dane, your 
German, and your swag-bellied Hollander, — 
Drink, ho! — are nothing to your English. 

Cas. Is your Englishman so exquisite in his 
drinking ? 

lago. Why, he drinks you, with facility, your 
Dane dead drunk ; he sweats not to overthrow your 
Almain ; he gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the 
next pottle can be filled. 

Cas. To the health of our general. 

Mon. I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you 

lago. O sweet England! 

King Stephen was a worthy peer. 
His breeches cost him but a croivn. 

He held them sixpence all too dear, 
With that he called the tailor — town. 

He was a wight of high renown. 
And thou art but of loiv degree: 

^Tis pride that pulls the country down. 
Then take thine auld cloak about thee. 

Some wine, ho ! 

Cas. Why, this is a more exquisite song than 
the other. 

lago. Will you hear it again ? 

Cas. No ; for I hold him to be unworthy of his 
place, that does those things. — Well, heaven's 
above all ; and there be souls must be saved, and 
there be souls must not be saved. 

lago. It is true, good lieutenant. 

Cas. For mine own part, — no offence to the 
general, nor any man of quality, — I hope to be 

logo. And so do I too, lieiUenant. 

Cas. Ay; but, by your leave, not before me: 
the lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. 
Let's have no more of this ; let's to our aflairs. — 
Forgive us our sins ! — Gentlemen, let's look to our 
business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk : 
this is my ancient ; — this is my right hand, and 
this is my left hand. — I am not drunk now ; I can 
stand well enough, and speak well enough. 

All. Excellent well. 

Cas. Why, very well, then ; you must not think, 
then, that I am drunk. [Exit. 

Mon. To the platform, masters : come, let's set 
the watch. 

lago. You see this fellow, that is gone before : 
He is a soldier, fit to stand by C;esar 
And give direction ; and do but see his vice. 
'Tis to his virtue a just equinox, 


The one as long as th' other : 'tis pity of him. 
I fear, tlie trust Othello puts him in, 
On some odd time of his infirmity, 
Will shake this island. 

Mon. But is he often thus ? 

lago. 'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep: 
He'll watch the horologe a double set, 
If drink rock not his cradle. 

Mon. It were well. 

The general were put in mind of it. 
Perhaps, he sees it not ; or his good nature 
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio, 
And looks not on his evils. Is not this true ? 

Enter Roderigo. 

lago. How now, Roderigo ? [Aside to him. 

I pray you, after the lieutenant ; go. 

[Exit Roderigo. 

Mon. And 'tis great pity, that the noble Moor 
Should hazard such a place as his own second, 
With one of an ingraft infirmity : 
It were an honest action to say 
So to the Moor. 

lago. Not I, for this fair island : 

I do love Cassio well, and would do much 
To cure him of this evil. But hark! what noise? 
[ Cry within, — Help ! Help ! 

Re-enter Cassio, driving in Roderigo. 

Cas. You rogue ! you rascal ! 

Mon. What's the matter, lieutenant? 

Cas. A knave ! — teach me my duty ? 
I'll beat the knave into a wicker bottle. 

Rod. Beat me! 

Cas. Dost thou prate, rogue ? 

[Striking Roderigo. 

Mon. Nay, good lieutenant; 

[Staying him. 
I pray you, sir, hold your hand. 

Cas. Let me go, sir, 

Or I'll knock you o'er the mazzard. 

Mon. Come, come; you're drunk. 

Cas. Drunk! [They fight. 

lago. Away, I say! [Aside to ^on.^ go out, "and 
cry — a mutiny. [_E.;77 Rod. 

Nay, good lieutenant, — alas, gentlemen ! — 
Help ho ! — Lieutenant, — sir, — Montano, sir; — 
Help, masters! — Here's a goodly watch, indeed! 

[Bell rings. 

Who's that that rings the bell ?- ~ ' 

The town will rise : God's will I 

You will be sham'd for ever. 

-Diabolo, lio ! 
lieutenant, hold! 

Enter Othello, and Attendants, with weapons. 

0th. What is the matter here? 

Mon. 'Zounds! I bleed still; I am hurt to the 
death. [He faints. 

Oth. Hold, for your lives! 

lago. Hold, hold, lieutenant I — sir, INIontano, — 
gentlemen ! — 
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty ? 
Hold, hold I the general speaks to you : hold, for 
sliame ! 
Oth. Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth 
tliis ? 
Are we turn'd Turks, and to oiu-selves do that, 
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites ? 
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl : 
He that stirs next to cai-ve for his own rage, 
Holds his soul light ; he dies upon his motion. — 
Silence that dreadful bell ! it frights the isle 




From her propriety. — What is the matter, mas- 
ters ? — 
Honest lago, that look'st dead with grieving, 
Speak, who began this ? on thy love, 1 charge thee. 

lago. I do not know : friends all but now, even 
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom 
Divesting them for bed ; and then, but now, 
(As if some planet had unwitted men) 
Swords out, and tilling one at others breast, 
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak 
Any beginning to this peevish odds : 
And would in action glorious I had lost 
Those legs, that brought me to a part of it. 

Oth. How came it, Michael, you were thus for- 
got ? 

Cas. I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak. 

Oth. Worthy Montano, you were wont to be 
civil ; 
The gravity and stillness of your youth 
The world hath noted, and your name is great 
In mouths of wisest censure: what's the matter, 
That you unlace your reputation thus. 
And spend your rich opinion, for the name 
Of a night-brawler ? give me answer to it. 

Man. Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger: 
Your officer, lago, can inform you. 
While I spare speech, which something now of- 
fends me. 
Of all that I do know ; nor know I aught 
By nre that's said or done amiss this night, 
L^nless self-charity be sometime a vice. 
And to defend ourselves it be a sin. 
When violence assails us. 

Olh. Now, by heaven, 

My blood begins my safer guides to rule ; 
And passion, having my best judgment collied. 
Assays to lead the way. If I once stir. 
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you 
Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know 
How this foul rout began, who set it on ; 
And he that is approv'd in this offence, 
Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth, 
Shall lose me. — What! in a town of war. 
Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear. 
To manage private and domestic quarrel, 
In night, and on the court and guard of safety I 
'Tis monstrous. — lago, who began it ? 


Mon. If partially affined, or leagu'd in office, 
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth. 
Thou art no soldier. 

lai^o. Touch me not so near. 

I had rather have this tongue cut from my moull!, 
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio ; 
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth 
Shall nothing wrong him. — Thus it is, general. 
Montano and myself being in speech, 
There conies a fellow, crying out for help. 
And Cassio following him with determined sword 
To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman 
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause : 
Myself the crying fellow did pursue, 




8CE^■E in. 

Lest by his clamour (as it so fell out) 
The town might lall iu fright : he, swift of foot, 
Outran my purpose : and I return'd, the rather 
For that 1 heard the clink and fall of swords, 
And Cassio high in oath, which till to-night 
1 ne'er might say before. When I came back, 
(For this was brief) I found them close together, 
.\t blow and thrust, even as again they were, 
When you yourself did part them. 
More of this matter can I not report; — 
But men are men; the best sometimes forget: — 
Though Cassio did some little wrong to him, 
As men in rage strike those that wish them best, 
Yet, surely, Cassio, I believe, received 
From him that lied some strange indignity. 
Which patience could not pass. 

Oth. I know, lago, 

Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter, 
Making it light to Cassio. — Cassio, I love thee; 
But never more be officer of mine. — 

Enter Desdemona, attended. 

Look, if my gentle love be not rais'd up! — 
I'll make thee an example. 

Des. What's the matter ? 

Oth. All's well now, sweeting ; come away to 
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon. — 
Lead him off. [Mo.nta.xo is led off. 

lago, look with care about the town. 
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted. — 
Come, Desdemona; 'tis the soldier's life. 
To have their balmy slumbers wak'd with strife. 

[Exeunt all but Lago and Cassio. 

lago. What, are you hurt, lieutenant ? 

Cas. Ay, past all surgery. 

lago. Marry, heaven forbid ! 

Cas. Reputation, reputation, reputation ! O! I 
have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal 
part of myself, and what remains is bestial. — My 
reputation, lago, my reputation ! 

lago. As I am an honest man, I thought you 
had received some bodily wound ; there is more 
offence in that, than in reputation. Reputation is 
an idle and most false imposition ; oft got without 
merit, and lost without deserving : you have lost 
no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself 
such a loser. What, man! there are ways to re- 
cover the general again : you are but now cast in 
his mood, a punishment more in policy than in 
malice ; even so as one would beat his offenceless 
dog, to affright an imperious lion. Sue to him 
again, and he's yours. 

Cas. I will rather sue to be despised, than to de- 
ceive so good a commander, with so light, so 
dnuiken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drank ? and 
speak paiTot ? and squabble? swagger? swear? and 
discourse fustian with one's own shadow? — O thou 
invisible spirit of wine ! if thou hast no name to be 
known by, let us call thee— devil. 

lago. What was he that you followed with your 
sword ? AVhat had he done to you ? 

Cas. I know not. 

lago. Is't possible ? 

Cas. I remember a mass of things, but nothing 
distinctly ; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. — O 
God ! that men should put an enemy in their 
mouths, to steal away their brains ! that we should, 
with joy, revel, pleasure, and applause, transform 
ourselves into beasts ! 


lago. Why, but you are now well enough : how 
came you thus recovered ? 

Cas. It hath pleased the devil, diimkenness, to 
give place to the devil, wrath : one unpeifectness 
shows me another, to make me frankly despise my- 

lago. Come, you are too severe a moraler. As 
the time, the place, and the condition of this countrj' 
stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen ; 
but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good. 

Cas. I will ask him for my place again : he shall 
tell me, I am a diiinkard. Had I as many mouths 
as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. 
To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and 
presentlj' a beast ! O strange ! — Every inordinate 
cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil. 

lago. Come, come ; good wine is a good familiar 
creature, if it be well used : exclaim no more against 
it. And, good lieutenant, I think, you think 1 love 

Cas. I have well approved it, sir. — I drunk ! 

lago. You, or any man linng, may be drunk at 
some time, man. I'll tell you what yoii shall do. 
Our general's wife is now the general : — I may say 
so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given 
up himself to tlie contemplation, mark, and devote- 
nient of her parts and graces : — confess yourself 
freely to her ; importune her; she'll help to put you 
in your place again. She is of so free, so kind, so 
apt, so blessed a disposition, that she holds it a vice 
in her goodness, not to do more than she is re- 
quested. This broken joint between you and her 
husband entreat her to splinter, and my fortunes 
against any lay worth naming, this crack of yoiu' 
love shall grow stronger than it was before. 

Cas. You advise me well. 

lago. I protest, in the sincerity of love, and hon- 
est kindness. 

Cas. I think it freely ; and, betimes in the morn- 
ing, I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to un- 
dertake for me. I am desperate of my fortunes, if 
they check me here. 

lago. You are in the right. Good night, lieu- 
tenant ; I must to the watch. 

Cas. Good night, honest lago. [Exit Cassio. 

lago. And what's he, then, that says I play the 
villain ? 
WTien this advice is free I give, and honest, 
Probal to thinking, and, indeed, the course 
To win the Moor again ? For 'tis most easy 
The inclining Desdemona to subdue 
In any honest suit : she's fram'd as fnxitlul 
As the free elements. And, then, for her 
To win the Moor, — were't to renounce his baptism. 
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin, — 
His soixl is so enfetter'd to her love. 
That she may make, unmake, do what she list, 
Even as her appetite shall play the god 
With his weak function. How am I, then, a villam. 
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course, 
Du'ectly to his good ? Divinity of hell ! 
When devils will their blackest sins put on. 
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows, 
As I do now ; for whiles this honest ibol 
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes. 
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, 
I'll ]iour this pestilence into his ear, — 
That she repeals him for her body's lust ; 
And, by how much she strives to do him good. 
She shall undo her credit with the Moor : 
So will I turn her virtue into pitch. 




And out of her own goodness make the net, 

That shall enmesh them all. — How now, Roderigo ! 

Enter Roderigo. 

Roth I do follow here in the chase, not like a 
hound that hunts, but one that fills up the ciy. My 
money is almost spent : I have been to-night ex- 
ceedingly well cudgelled ; and, I think, the issue 
will be — I shall have so much experience for my 
pains, and so, with no money at all, and a little 
more wit, return again to Venice. 

laso. How poor are they, that have not patience! 
What wound did ever heal, but by degrees ? 
Thou know'st, we work by wit, and not by witch- 
craft ; • 
And wit depends on dilatory time. 

Does't not go well ? Cassio hath beaten thee, 
And thou by that small hurt hast cashier'd Cassio. 
Though other things grow fair against the sim, 
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe : 
Content thyself a while. — By the mass, 'tis morning; 
Pleasure, and action, make the hours seem short. 
Retire thee ; go where thou art billeted : 
Away, I say ; thou shalt know more hereafter : 
Nay, get thee gone. [Exit Rod.] Two things are 

to be done. 
My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress ; 
I'll set her on : 

Myself, the while, to draw the Moor apart. 
And bring him juiup when he may Cassio find 
Soliciting his wife. — Ay, that's the way : 
Dull not device by coldness and delay. [Exit. 

-" -X ff/-' * ■ 

(View of t'crini.) 

. \> 

Scene 1. — Before the Castle. 
Enter Cassio, and some Musicians. 

Cos. Masters, play here, I will content your pains : 
Somethins that's brief; and bid good-morrow, gen- 
eral. [Music. 
Enter Clown. 

Clo. Why, masters, have your instruments been 
in Naples, that they speak i' the nose thus ? 

1 Mus. How, sir, how ? 

Clo. Are these, I pray you, called wind instru- 
ments ? 

1 Mus. Ay, many, are they, sir. 

Clo. O ! thereby hangs a tail. 

1 Mus. Whereby hangs a tale, su- ? 

Clo. Marry, sir, by many a wind instrament that 
I know. But, masters, here's money for you ; and 
the general so likes your music, that he desires you, 
for love's sake, to make no more noise with it. 

1 Mus. Well, sir, we will not. 

Cb. If you have any music that may not be 
heard, to't again ; but, as they say, to hear music 
the general does not greatly care. 

1 Mus. We have none such, sir. 

Clo. Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll 
away. Go ; vanish into air ; away ! 

[Exeunt Musicians. 

Cas. Dost thou hear, mine honest friend ? 

Clo. No, I hear not your honest friend ; I hear 

Cas. Pr'ythee, keep up thy quillets. There's a 
poor piece of gold for thee. If the gentlewoman 
that attends the general's wife be stimng, tell her 
there's one Cassio entreats her a little favour of 
speech : wilt thou do this ? 

Clo. She is stirring, sir: if she will stir hither, I 
shall seem to notify unto her. [Exit. 

Enter Iago. 

Cas. Do, good my friend.— In hapjjy time, Iago. 

Iago. You have not been a-lied, then ? 

Cas. Why, no ; the day had broUe 
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago, 
To send in to your wife : my suit to her 
Is, that she will to virtuous Desderaona 
Procure me some access. 

laso. I'll send her to you presently ; 

And I'll devise a mean to draw the Moor 
Out of the way, that your converse and business 
May be more free. [Exit. 

Cas. I humbly thank you for't. I never knew 
A Florentine more kind and honest. 

Enter Emilia. 
Emil. Good morrow, good liouteiinnt : I am sony 
For your displeasure ; but all will soon be well. 


The general, and his wife, are talking of it. 
And she speaks for you stoutly : the Moor replies. 
That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus, 
And great affinity, and that in wholesome wisdom 
He might not but refuse you ; but, he protests, he 

loves you, 
And needs no other suitor but his likings, 
To take the safest occasion by the front. 
To bring you in again. 

Cas. " Yet, I beseech you,— 

If you think fit, or that it may be done, — 
Give me advantage of some brief discourse 
With Desdemona alone. 

Emil. Pray you, come in : 

I will bestow you where you shall have time 
To speak your bosom freely. 

Cas. I am much boiind to you. 


Scene II. — A Room, in the Castle. 
Enter Othello, Iago, and Gentlemen. 

Oth. These letters give, Iago, to the pilot, 
And by him do my duties to the state : 
That done, I will be walking on the works ; 
Repair there to me. 

Iago. Well, my good lord ; I'll do't. 

OOi. This fortification, gentlemen, — shall we 
see't ? 

Gent. We wait upon your lordship. [Exeunt. 

Scene III.— Before the Castle. 
Enter Desdemona, Cassio, and Emilia. 

Des. Be thou assur'd, good Cassio, I will do 
All my abilities in thy behalf. 

En'iil. Good madam, do: I know it grieves my 
As if the case were his. 

Des. O ! that's an honest fellow. — Do not doubt, 
But I will have my lord and you again 
As friendly as you were. 

Cas. Bounteous madam, 

AVhatever shall become of Michael Cassio, 
He's never any thing but your true senant. 

Des. O, sir! I thank you. You do love my lord; 
You have known him long, and be you well assur'd. 
He shall in strangeness stand no further off 
Than in a politic distance. 

Cas. Ay, but, lady. 

That policy may either last so long. 
Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet, 
Or breed itself so out of circumstance, 
That, I being absent, and my place supplied, 
My general will forget my love and sei-vice. 




Des. Do not doubt that: before Emilia here 
I give thee warrant of thy place. Assure thee, 
If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it 
To the last article : my lord shall never rest ; 
I'll watch him tame, and talk him out of patience ; 
His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift ; 
I'll intermingle every thing he does 
With Cassio's suit. Therefore, be merry, Cassio ; 
For thy solicitor shall rather die, 
Than give thy cause away. 

Enter Othello and Iago, at a distance. 

Emil. Madam, here comes my lord. 
Cos. Madam, I'll take my leave. 
Des. Why, stay, and hear me speak. 
Cas. Madam, not now : I am very ill at ease, 
Unfit for mine own purpose. 

Dcs. Well, do your discretion. \_Exit Cassio. 
Ias;o. Ha ! I like not that. 

Oth. What dost thou say ? 

Ias;o. Nothing, my lord : or if — I know not what. 
Olh. Was not that Cassio, parted from my wife ? 

Iago. Cassio, my lord ? No, sure ; I cannot 
think it. 
That he would steal away so guilty-like. 
Seeing you coming. 

Otii. I do believe 'twas he. 

Des. How, now, my lord ! 
I have been talking with a suitor here, 
A man that languishes in your displeasure. 

Oth. Who is't you mean ? 

Des. Why, your lieutenant Cassio. Good, my 
If I have any grace, or power to move you. 
His present reconciliation take ; 
For if he be not one that tiixly loves you, 
That eiTS in ignorance, and not in cunning, 
I have no judgment in an honest face. 
I pr'ythee, call hmi back. 

Oth. Went he hence now ? 

Dcs. Ay, sooth ; so humbled, 
That he hath left part of his grief with me. 
To suffer with him. Good love, call him back. 

Oth. Not now, sweet Desdemon ; some other time 

Dps. But shall't be shortly ? 

Oth. The sooner, sweet, for you ? 

Des. Shall't be to-night at supper ? 

Oth. No, not to-night. 

Des. To-morrow dinner then ? 

Oth . I shall not dine at home : 

I meet the captains at the citadel. 

Des. Why then, to-morrow night ; or Tuesday 
morn ; 
On Tuesday noon, or night ; on Wednesday morn ; 
I pr'ythee, name the time, but let it not 
Exceed three days : in faith, he's penitent ; 
And yet his trespass, in our common reason, 
(Save that, they say, the wars must make examples 
Out of her best,) is not almost a fault 
T' incur a private check. AVhen shall he come ? 
Tell me, Othello : I wonder in my soul. 
What you could ask me that I should deny, 

Or stand so mammering on. What ! Michael Cassio, 

That came a wooing with you, and so many a time, 

When I have spoke of you dispraisingly. 

Hath ta'en your part, to have so much to do 

To bring him in ! Trust me, I could do much, — 

Ot]i. Pr'ythee, no more : let him come when he 
will ; 
I will deny thee nothing. 

Des. Why, this is not a loon; 

'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves, 
Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm. 
Or sue to j'ou to do a peculiar profit 
To j'our own person : nay, when I have a suit 
Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed. 
It shall be full of poize and difficult weight. 
And fearful to be granted. 

Oth. I will deny thee nothing : 

Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this, 





To leave me but a little to myself. 

Des. Shall I deny you ? no. Farewell, my lord. 

OtJi. Farewell, my Desdemona : I'll come to thee 

Des. Emilia, come. — Be it as your fancies teach 
Whate'er you be, I am obedient. 

[Exit, with Emilia. 

Oth. Excellent Avretch ! Perdition catch my soul, 
But I do love thee, and when I love thee not. 
Chaos is come again. 

lago. My noble lord, — 

Otii. What dost thou say, lago ? 

lago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my 
Know of your love ? 

Oth. He did, from first to last : why dost thou ask ? 

lago. But for a satisfaction of my thought ; 
No further harm. 

Oth. Why of thy thought, lago? 

lago. I did not think, he had been acquainted 
with her. 

Otii. O, yes ; and went between us very oft. 

lago. Indeed ? 

Oth. Indeed ! ay, indeed : — discern'st thou aught 
in that ? 
Is he not honest ? 

lago. Honest, my lord ? 

Oth. Honest ? ay, honest. 

lago. My lord, for aught I know. 

Oth. What dost thou think ? 

[ago. Think, my lord ? 

Oth. Think, my lord ! 

By heaven, he echoes me, 
As if there were some monster in his thought 
Too hideous to be shown. — Thou dost mean some- 
I heard thee say but now, — thou lik'dst not that. 
When Cassio left my wife : what didst not like ? 
And, when I told thee, he was of my cotmsel 
In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst, " In- 
deed !" 
And didst contract and purse thy brow together, 
As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain 
Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me, 
Show me thy thought. 

lago. My lord, you know I love yoti. 

Offi. I think, thou dost ; 

And, — for I know thou art fuU of love and honesty% 
And weigh'st thy words before thou giv'st them 

breath, — 
Therefore, these stops of thine fright me the more ; 
For such things, in a false disloyal knave, 
Are tricks of custom ; but in a man that's just. 
They are close denotements, working from the 

That passion cannot i-ule. 

lago. For Michael Cassio, 

I dare be sworn, I think that he is honest. 

Oth. I think so too. 

lago. Men should be what they seem ; 

Or, those that be not, would they might seem none ! 

Oth. Certain, men should be what they^ seem. 

lago. Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man. 

Oth. Nay, yet there's more in this. 
1 pray thee, speak to me as to thy thinkings. 
As thou dost nnninate ; and give thy worst of thoughts 
The worst of words. 

lago. Good my lord, pardon me : 

Though I am bound to every act of duty, 
I am not botiud to that all slaves are free to. 


Utter my thoughts ? Why, say, they are vile and 

false, — 
As where's that palace, whereinto foul things 
Sometimes intrude not ? who has a breast so pure. 
But some uncleanly apprehensions 
Keep leets and law-days, and in session sit 
With meditations lawful ? 

Oth. Thou dost conspire against thy friend, lago. 
If thou but think'st him wrong'd, and mak'st his ear 
A stranger to thy thoughts. 

lago. I do beseech jou, — 

Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess, 
(As, I confess, it is my nature's plague 
To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy 
Shapes faults that are not,) — that yotu- wisdom yet. 
From one that so imperfectly conceits. 
Would take no notice ; nor build yourself a trouble 
Out of his scattering and unsure obseiTauce. 
It were not for your quiet, nor your good. 
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom. 
To let you know my thoughts. 

Oth. What dost thou mean ? 

lago. Good name, in man, and woman, dear my 
Is the immediate jewel of their souls : 
Who steals my ptu'se, steals trash ; 'tis something, 

nothing ; 
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands ; 
But he, that filches from me my good name, 
Robs me of that, which not enriches him. 
And makes me poor indeed. 

Olh. I'll know thy thoughts — 

lago. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand ; 
Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody. 

Oth. Ha! 

lago. O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; 
It is the gi-een-ey'd monster, which doth make 
The meat it feeds on : that cuckold lives in bliss. 
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger; 
But, O ! what damned minutes tells he o'er. 
Who dotes, jet doubts ; suspects, j'et strongly loves! 

Oth. O miseiy ! 

lago. Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough ; 
But riches, fineless, is as poor as winter, 
To him that ever fears he shall be poor. — 
Good heaven, the sovds of all my tribe defend 
From jealousy ! 

Oth. Why ? why is this ? 

Think'st thou, I'd make a life of jealousy. 
To follow still the changes of the moon 
With fresh suspicions ? No : to be once in doubt. 
Is once to be resolv'd. Exchange me for a goat. 
When I shall turn the business of my soul 
To such exsufflicate and blown surmises, 
Matching ihy inference. 'Tisnot to make me jealous. 
To say — my vdfe is fair, feeds well, loves companj% 
Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well ; 
Where virtue is, these are more viitiious : 
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw 
The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt ; 
For she had eyes, and chose me : no, lago ; 
I'll see, before I doubt; when I doubl, prove; 
And, on the proof, there is no more but this. 
Away at once with love, or jealousy. 

lago. I am glad of it ; for now I shall have reason 
To show the love and duty that I bear you 
With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound, 
Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof. 
Look to your wife ; observe her well with Cassio : 
Wear yoitr eye — thus, not jealous, nor secure : 
I would not have your free and noble nature, 




Out of self-bounty, be abus'd ; look to't. 
I know our country disposition well : 
In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks 
They dare not show their husbands ,' their best con- 
Is, not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown. 
Olh . Dost thou say so ? 

lago. She did deceive her father, manying you ; 
And, when she seem'd to shake, and fear your looks. 
She lov'd them most. 

0th. And so she did. 

lago. Why, go to, then ; 

She that, so young, could give out such a seeming. 
To seal her father's eyes up, close as oak, — 
He thought, 'twas wtchcraft. — But I am much to 

blame ; 
I humbly do beseech you of your pai'don, 
For too much loving you. 

OOi. I am bound to thee for ever. 

lago. I see, this hath a little dash'd your spirits. 
Otii. Not a jot, not a jot. 
lago. Tnist me, I fear it has. 

I hope, you will consider what is spoke 
Comes from my love. — But, I do see you are mov'd : — 
I am to pray you, not to strain my speech 
To grosser issues, nor to lai^ger reach, 
Thau to suspicion. 
0th. I will not. 

lago. Should you do so, my lord. 

My speech should fall into such vile sticcess 
As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worthy 

My lord, 1 see you are mov'd. 

Olh. No, not much mov'd. — 

I do not think but Desdemona's honest. 

lago. Long live she so; and long live you to think 

so ! 
Oth. And yet, how nature en'ing from itself, — 
lago. Ay, there's the point : — as, — to be bold with 
Not to afiect many proposed matches. 
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree. 
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends. 
Foh ! one may smell in such a will most rank. 
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural. — 
But pardon me ; I do not in position 
Distinctly speak of her, though I may fear. 
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment, 
May fall to match you with her countiy forms. 
And happily repent. 

Olh. Farewell, farewell. 

If more thou dost perceive, let me know more ; 
Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, lago. 
lago. My lord, I take my leave. \_Going. 

Oth. Why did I many ? — This honest creature, 
Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds. 
lago. My lord, I would, I might entreat your 
honour [Returning. 

To scan this thing no further ; leave it to time. 
Although 'tis fit that Cassio have his place, 
(For, sure, he fills it up with great ability,) 
Yet if voir please to hold him off" a while, 
Vou shall by that perceive him and his means : 
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment 
With any strong or vehement importunity ; 
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time. 
Let me be thought too busy in my fears, 
(As worthy cause I have to fear I am,) 
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour. 
OtJi. Fear not my government. 

lago. I once more take my leave. [Exit. 

Oth. This fellow's of exceeding honesty. 
And knows all qualities with a learned spirit 
Of hiuuan dealings : if I do prove her haggard. 
Though that her jesses were my deai' heart-strings, 
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind. 
To prey at fortime. Haply, for I am black. 
And have not those soft parts of conversation 
That chamberers have ; or, for I am declin'd 
Into the vale of years ; — yet that's not miich : — • 
She's gone ; I am abus'd ; and my relief 
Must be to loath her. O curse of mairiage ! 
That we can call these delicate creatures ours, 
And not theh appetites. I had rather be a toad. 
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon, 
Than keep a corner in the thing I love. 
For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of gi'eat ones , 
Prerogativ'd are they less than the base ; 
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death : 
Even then this forked plague is fated to us. 
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes : 

Enter Desdemona and Emilia. 

If she be false, O ! then heaven mocks itself. — 
I'll not believe it. 

Des. How now, my dear Othello ! 

Your dinner and the generous islanders. 
By you invited, do attend your presence. 

Oth. I am to blame. 

Des. Why is your speech so faint ? ai'e you not 
well ? 

Oth. I have a pain upon my forehead here. 

Des. Faith, that's with watching ; 'tsviU away 
again : 
Let me but bind it hard, within this hour 
It will be well. 

Oth. Your napkin is too little ; 

[Lets fall her handlcerchief. 
Let it alone. Come, I'U go in with you. 

Des. I am very sony that you are not well. 

[Exeunt Othello and Desdemona. 

Emil. I am glad I have found this napkin. 
This was her first remembrance from the Moor : 
My wayward husband hath a hundred times 
Woo'd me to steal it ; but she so loves the token, 
(For he conjvu-'d her she should ever keep it,) 
That she resei^es it evermore about her. 
To kiss, and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out, 
And give't lago : wdiat he will do with it. 
Heaven knows, not I ; 
I nothing, but to please his fantasy. 

Enter Iago. 

lago. How now ! what do you here alone ? 

Emil. Do not you chide, I have a thing for you. 

Iago. A thing for me ? — it is a common thing. 

Emil. Ha? 

Iago. To have a foolish wife. 

Emil. O ! is that all ? What will you give me 
For that same handkerchief? 

Iago. What handkerchief? 

Emil. What handkerchief! 
Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona ; 
That wliich so often you did bid me steal. 

Iago. Hast stolen it from her ? 

Emil. No, 'faith : she let it drop by negligence ; 
And, to th' advantage, I, being here, took't up. 
Look, here it is. 

Iago. A good wench ; give it me. 





Eiiiil. What will yoii do with't, that you have 
been so earnest 
To have me filch it ? 

lago. Why, what's that to you ? 

[Snalchinff it. 

Emil. If it be not for some purpose of import, 
Give't me a2;ain : poor lady ! she'll ran mad, 
When she shall lack it. 

lago. Be not acknown on't ; I have use for it. 
Go ; leave me. [Exit Emilia. 

I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin. 
And let him find it : trifles, light as air, 
Are to the jealous confirmations strong 
As proofs of holy writ. This may do something. 
The Moor already changes with my poison : 
Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons, 
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste ; 
But with a little act upon the blood, 
Burn like the mines of sulphur. — I did say so: — 

Enler Othello. 

Look, where he comes ! Not poppy, nor mandra- 

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world. 
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep 
Which thou ow'dst yesterday. 

Oth. Ha ! ha I false to me ? to me ? 

laoo. Why, how now, general ! no more of that. 

Oth. Avaunt I be gone ! thou hast set me on the 
rack. — 
I swear, 'tis better to be much abus'd, 
Than but to know't a little. 

lago. How now, my lord ! 

Oth. What sense had I of her stolen hours of lust? 
I saw it not, thovight it not, it hami'd not me : 
I slept the next night well, fed well, was free and 

merry ; 
I foixnd not Cassio's kisses on her lips : 
He that is rohb'd, not wanting what is stolen. 
Let him not know't, and he's not robb'd at all. 

lago. I am sorry to hear this. 

OtJi. I had been happy, if the general camp, 
Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body. 
So I had nothing known. O! now, for ever, 
Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content: 
Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars. 
That make ambition virtue : O, farewell ! 
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump. 
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife. 
The royal banner, and all quality. 
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war! 
And O ! you mortal engines, whose rade throats 
Th' immorial Jove's dread clamoui-s counterfeit, 
Farewell ! Othello's occupation's gone I 

(Venetian Glaive, Halberds, au-! Sw,)rcl ot an i^str.iiliui.) 




lago. Is it possible ? — My lord, — 

Otk. Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore ; 
Be sure of it: give me the ocular proof, 

\_Seizing him by Oie throat. 
Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul, 
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog, 

Than answer my wak'd wrath. 

lago. Is it come to this? 

OUi. Make me to see't ; or, at the least, so prove it, 
That the probation bear no hinge, nor loop. 
To hang a doubt on, or woe upon thy life ! 

lago. My noble lord, — 

0th. If thou dost slander her, and torture me, 
Never pray more : abandon all remorse ; 
On horror's head horrors accumulate ; 
Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amaz'd, 
For nothing canst thou to damnation add, 
Greater than that. 

lago. O grace ! O heaven defend me ! 

Are you a man ? have you a soul or sense ? — 
God be wi' you ; take mine office. — O wretched fool, 
That liv'st to make thine honesty a vice ! — 

monstrous world ! Take note, take note, O world ! 
To be direct and honest, is not safe. — 

1 thank you for this profit ; and, from hence, 

I'll love no friend, since love breeds such offence. 

Olh. Nay, stay. — Thou shouldst be honest. 

lago. I should be wise ; for honesty's a fool. 
And loses that it works for. 

Oih. By the world, 

I think my wife be honest, and think she is not ; 
I think that thou art just, and think thou art not. 
I'll have some proof: my name, that was as fresh 
As Dian's visage, is now begrim'd and black 
As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives, 


Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, 

I'll not endure it. — Would I were satisfied ! 

lago. I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion : 
I do repent me that I put it to you. 
You would be satisfied .' 

Oth. Would ! nay, I will. 

lago. And may; but how? how satisfied, ray lord ? 
Would you the supervision grossly gape on ? 
Behold her topp'd ? 

Oth. Death and damnation ! O ! 

lago. It were a tedious difficulty, I think. 
To bring them to that prospect. Damn them then, 
If ever mortal eyes do see them holster, 
More than their own ! What then ? how then ? 
What shall I say ? Where's satisfaction 1 
It is impossible you should see tliis. 
Were tliey as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys 
As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross 
As ignorance made drunk ; but yet, I say, 
If imputation, and strong circumstances. 
Which lead directly to the door of truth. 
Will give you satisfaction, you may have it. 

Olh. Give me a living reason she's disloyal. 




lago. I do not like tlie office ; 
But, sith I am enter'd in this cause so far, 
Prick'd to't by foolish honesty and love, 
I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately. 
And being troubled with a raging tooth, 
I could not sleep. 

There are a kind of men so loose of soul, 
That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs ; 
One of this kind is Cassio. 

In sleep I heai'd him say, — " Sweet Desdemona, 
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves !" 
And then, sir, would he gripe, and wring my hand. 
Cry, — "O sweet creature!" and then kiss me hard. 
As if he pluck' d up kisses by the roots, 
That grew upon my lips : then, laid his leg 
Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd ; and then 
Cried, — " Cursed fate, that gave thee to the Moor !" 

Oth. O monstrous ! monstrous ! 

lago. Nay, this was but his dream. 

Oth. But this denoted a foregone conclusion : 
'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream. 

lago. And this may help to thicken other proofs, 
That do demonstrate thinly. 

OLh. I'll tear her all to pieces. 

lago. Nay, but be wse : yet we see nothing done; 
She may be honest yet. Tell me but this : 
Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief, 
Spotted with strawberries, in your wife's hand ? 

OOi. I gave her such a one : 'twas my first gift. 

lago. I know not that ; but such a handkerchief, 
(I am sure it was your wife's) did I to-day 
See Cassio wipe his beard with. 

Oth. If it be that, — 

lago. If it be that, or any that was hers. 
It speaks against her with the other proofs. 

Oth. O, that the slave had forty thousand lives ! 
One is too poor, too weak for my revenge. 
Now do I see 'tis tine. — Look here, lago; 
All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven: 'tis 

gone. — 
Arise, black vengeance, from the hollow hell ! 
Yield up, O love ! thy crown, and heai-ted throne. 
To tyrannous hate I swell, bosom, with thy fraught, 
For 'tis of aspics' tongues ! 

lago. Pray, be content. 

Otii. O, blood, lago, blood ! 

lago. Patience, I say ; your mind, perhaps, may 

Oth. Never, lago. Like to the Pontick sea. 
Whose icy cun-ent and compulsive coiu'se 
Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on 
To the Propontick, and the Hellespont : 
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace. 
Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to hmuble love. 
Till that a capable and wide revenge 
Swallow them up. — Now, by yond' marble heaven. 
In the due reverence of a sacred vow [Kneeling. 
I here engage my words. 

lago. Do not rise yet. — [Kneeling. 

Witness, you ever-burning lights above 1 
You elements that clip us round about ! 
Witness, that here lago doth give up 
The execution of his wit, hands, heart. 
To wrong'd Othello's service. Let him command, 
And to obey shall be in me remorse. 
What bloody work soe'er. 

Oth. I greet thy love, 

-i Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous, 
And will upon the instant jiut thee to't. 
Within these three days let me hear thee say. 
That Cassio's not alive. 


lago. My friend is dead : 'tis done at your request ; 
But let her live. 

Oth. Damn her, lewd minx ! O, damn her I 
Come, go with me apart ; I will withdraw. 
To furnish me with some swift means of death 
For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenaiU. 

lago. I am your own for ever. [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — The Same. 
Enter Desdemona, Emilia, and Clovm. 

Des. Do you know, sinah, where the lieutenant 
Cassio lies ? 

do. I dare not say, he lies anywhere. 

Des. Why, man? 

Clo. He is a soldier ; and for one to say a soldier 
lies, is stabbing. 

Des. Go to. Where lodges he ? 

Clo. To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you 
where I lie. 

Des. Can any thing be made of this? 

Clo. I know not where he lodges ; and for me to 
devise a lodging, and say, he lies here, or he lies 
there, were to lie in mine own throat. 

Des. Can you inquire him out, and be edified by 
report ? 

Clo. I will catechize the world for him ; that is, 
make questions, and by them answer. 

Des. Seek him ; bid him come hither : tell him, 
I have moved my lord in his behalf, and hope, all 
will be well. 

Clo. To do this is within the compass of man's 
wit; and therefore I will attempt the doing it. [Exit. 

Des. Where should I lose that htmdkerchief, 

Emil. I know not, madam. 

Des. Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse 
Full of ciiizadoes ; and but my noble Moor 
Is trtie of mind, and made of no such baseness 
As jealous creatures are, it were enough 
To put him to ill thinking. 

Emil. Is he not jealous ? 

Des. Who ? he ! I think the sun, where he was 
Drew all such humours from him. 

Emil. Look, where he comes. 

Enter Othello. 

Des. I will not leave him now, till Cassio 
Be call'd to him. — How is't with you, ray lord ? 

Oth. Well, my good lady. — [Aside.~\ O, hardness 
to dissemble ! — 
How do you, Desdemona ? 

Des. Well, my good lord. 

Oth. Give me yotir hand. This hand is moist, 
my lady. 

Des. It yet has felt no age, nor known no son-ow. 

Oth. This argues fniitfidness, and lil)eral heart. 
Hot, hot and moist : this hand of yoius requires 
A sequester from libertj', fasting and praying. 
Much castigation, exercise devout ; 
For here's a young and sweating devil here. 
That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand ; 
A frank one. 

Des. You may, indeed, say so ; 

For 'twas that hand that gave away my hcait. 

Oth. A liberal hand : the hearts of old gave hands, 
But our new heraldiy is — hands, not hearts. 

Des. I cannot speak of this. Come now, your 

OtJt. What promise, chuck? 




Des. I have seut to bid Cassio come speak with 

OOi. I have a salt and sullen rheum oft'ends me. 
Lend me thy handkerchief. 

J)cs. Here, my lord. 

OlJi. That which I gave you. 
Des. I have it not about me. 

Olh. Not? 

Des. No, indeed, my lord. 

Oth. That is a fault. 

That handkerchief 
Did an Egyptian to my mother give; 
She was a charmer, and could almost read 
The thoughts of people : she told her, while she 

kept it, 
'Twould make her amiable, and subdue my father 
Entirely to her love; but if she lost it, 
Or made a gift of it, my father's eye 
Should hold her loathed, and his spirits should hunt 
After new fancies. She, dying, gave it me ; 
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive, 
To give it her. I did so ; and take heed on't : 
Make it a darling like your precious eye ; 
To lose or giv't away, were such perdition, 
As nothing else could match. 

Des. Is't possible ? 

Oth. 'Tis true : there's magic in the web of it. 
A sibyl, that had number'd in the world 
The sun to course two hundred compasses. 
In her prophetic fury sew'd the work ; 
The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk. 
And it was dy'd in mummy, which the skilful 
Consei-v'd of maiden's hearts. 

Des. Indeed ! is't true ? 

OHi. Most veritable ; therefore look to't well. 
Des. Then, would to heaven that I had never 

seen it! 
Olh. Ha ! wherefore ? 

Des. Why do you speak so startingly and rash ? 
Oth. Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out o' the 

way ? 
Des. Heaven bless us ! 
Oth. Say you ? 

Des. It is not lost ; but what an if it were ? 
Oth. How? 

Des. I say, it is not lost. 
Oth. Fetch't, let me see't. 

Des. Why, so I can, sir ; but I will not now. 
This is a trick, to put me from my suit : 
I pray, let Cassio be receiv'd again. 

Oth. Fetch me that handkerchief: my mind mis- 
Des. Come, come ; 
You'll never meet a more sufficient man. 
Oth. The handkerchief,— 
Des. I pray, talk me of Cassio. 

Oth. The handkerchief,— 
Des. A man that, all his time. 

Hath founded his good fortunes on your love ; 
Shar'd dangers Avitli vou ; — 
Oth. The handkerchief,— 
Des. In sooth, you are to blame. 
Oth. Away! [_E.rii Othello. 

Einil. Is not this man jealous ? 
Des. I ne'er saw this before. 
Sure, there's some wonder in this handkei-chief : 
I am most unhappy in the loss of it. 

Emil. 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man : 
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food ; 
They eat us hungerly, and when they are full, 
They belch us. 

Enter Iago and Cassio. 
Look you! Cassio, and my husband. 

Iago. There is no other way ; 'tis she must do'l : 
And, lo, the happiness ! go, and importune her. 

Des. How now, good Cassio ! what's the news 
with you ? 

Cas. Madam, my former suit. I do beseech you, 
That by your virtuous means I may again 
Exist, and be a member of his love, 
Whom I, with all the oflfice of my heart. 
Entirely honour: I would not be delaj-'d. 
If my offence be of such mortal kind. 
That nor my seiTice past, nor present sonows. 
Nor purpos'd merit in futurity. 
Can ransom me into his love again. 
But to know so must be my benefit ; 
So shall I clothe me in a forc'd content. 
And shut myself up in some other course. 
To fortune's alms. 

Des. Alas ! thrice-gentle Cassio, 

My advocation is not now in tune ; 
My lord is not my lord ; nor should I know him. 
Were he in favour, as in humour, alter'd. 
So help me every spirit sauctitied. 
As I have spoken for you all my best, 
And stood within the blank of his displeasure. 
For my free speech. You nmst a while be patient : 
What I can do, I will ; and more I will. 
Than for myself I dare : let that suffice you. 

Iago. Is my lord angi'y ? 

Emil. He went hence but now; 

And, certainly, in strange unquietness. 

Iago. Can he be angry ? I have seen the cannon. 
When it hath blown his ranks into the ah'. 
And, like the devil, from his very arm 
Putf'd his own brother; — and can he be angry? 
Something of moment, then : I will go meet him. 
There's matter in't, indeed, if he be angiy. 

Des. I pr'ythee, do so. [_E.n7 Iago.] — Something, 
sure, of state. 
Either from Venice, or some imhatch'd practice. 
Made demonstrable here in Cyprtis to him, — 
Hath puddled his clear spirit ; and, in such cases. 
Men's natixres wrangle with inferior things, 
Though gi-eat ones are their object. "Tis even so; 
For let our finger ache, and it indues 
Our other healthful members ev'n to that sense 
Of pain : nay, we must think, men are not gods ; 
Nor of them look for such obsenances 
As fit the bridal. — Beshrew me much, Emilia, 
I was (unhandsome warrior as I am) 
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul ; 
But now I find, I had suborn'd the witness. 
And he's indicted falsely. 

Emil. Pray heaven, it be state matters, as you 
And no conception, nor no jealous toy. 
Concerning you. 

Des. Alas, the day ! I never gave him cause. 

Emil. But jealous souls will not be answer'd so ; 
They are not ever jealous for the cause, 
But jealous for they are jealous : 'tis a monster. 
Begot upon itself, born on itself. 

Des. Heaven keep that monster from Othello's 
mind ! 

Emil. Lady, amen. 

Des. I will go seek him. — Cassio, walk hereabout : 
If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit. 
And seek to effect it to my uttermost. 
Cas. I humbly thank your ladyship. 

[Exeurit Desdemona and Emilia. 

ACT lU. 



Enter BiANCA. 

Bian. Save you, friend Cassio ! 

Cas. What make you from home ? 

How is it with you, my most fair iJianca? 
I' faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house. 

Bian. A.nd I was going to your lodging, Cassio. 
What! keep a week away? seven days and nights? 
Eight score eight hours ? and lovers' absent hours. 
More tedious than the dial eight score times ? 

weary reckoning ! 

Cas. Pardon me, Bianca; 

1 have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd ; 
But I shall, in a more continuate time. 

Strike oft' this score of absence. Sweet Bianca, 

[Criving her Desdemona's handkerchief. 
Take me this work out. 

Bian. O Cassio ! whence came this ? 

This is some token from a newer friend : 
To the felt absence, now, I feel a cause. 
Is it come to this ? Well, well. 

Cas. Go to, woman ! 

Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth, 
From whence you have them. You are jealous now. 
That this is from some mistress some remembrance : 
No, in good troth, Bianca. 

Bian. Why, whose is it? 

Cas. I know not, sweet : I found it in my chamber. 
I like the work well ; ere it be demanded, 
(As like enough it will) I'd have it copied : 
Take it, and do't ; and leave me for this time. 

Bian. Leave you ! wherefore ? 

Cas. I do attend here on the general, 
And think it no addition, nor my wish. 
To have him see me woman'd. 

Bian. Why, I ])ray you ? 

Cas. Not that I love you not. 

Bian. But that you do not love me. 

I pray you, bring me on the way a little ; 
And say, if I shall see you soon at night. 

Cas. 'Tis but a little way, that I can bring you. 
For T attend here ; but I'll see you soon. 

Bian. 'Tis very good : I must be circumstanc'd. 


(General View of Famagusta. Fri.m Lc Bnin — Voyage en Orient.) 


Scene I. — The Same. 
Enter Othello and Iago. 

Think so, Iago ? 

Ia<ro. Will you think so ? 


lagv. " What ! 

To kiss in private ? 

OtJt. An unauthoriz'd kiss. 

Iago. Or to be naked with her friend abed, 
An hour, or more, not meaning any harm ? 

Oth. Naked abed, Iago, and not mean hann ? 
It is hypocrisy against the devil : 
They that mean virtuously, and yet do so. 
The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven. 

Iago. If they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip : 
But if I give mv wife a handkerchief, — 

OtJi. What then? 

Iago. Why, then, 'tis hers, my lord ; and, being 
She may, T think, bestow't on any man. 

Oth. She is protectress of her honour too : 
May she give that ? 

Iago. Her honour is an essence that's not seen ; 
They have it very oft, that have it not : 
But, for the handkerchief, — 

Oth. By heaven, I would most gladly have for- 
got it. 
Thou saidst, — O ! it comes o'er my memory. 
As doth the raven o'er the infected house. 
Boding to all, — he had my handkerchief. 

Iago. Ay, Avhat of that? 

Oth. That's not so good, now. 

Iago. What, if I had said, I had seen him do you 
wrong ? 
Or heard him say, — as knaves be such abroad. 
Who having, by their own importunate suit. 
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress. 
Convinced or su]iplied them, cannot choose 
But they must blab — 

OtJi . Hath he said any thing ? 

Iago. He hath, my lord ; but be you well assur'd. 
No more than he'll unswear. 

Oth. What hath he said ? 

Iago. 'Faith, that he did, — I know not what he 

Oth. What? what? 

Iago. Lie — 

Oth. With her? 

Iago. With her, on her ; what you will. 

Oth. Lie with her ! lie on her ! — We say, lie on 
her, when they belie her. Lie with her! that's 
fulsome. — Handkerchief, — confessions, — handker- 
chief. — To confess, and be hanged for his labour. — 
First, to be hanged, and then to confess : — I tremble 
at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shad- 

owing passion, without some instniction. It is not 
words, that shake me thus : — Pish ! — Noses, ears, 
and lips. — Is it possible? — Confess! — Handker- 
chief ! — O devil ! — [Falls, in a trance. 

Iago. Work on. 
My medicine, work ! Thus credulous fools are 

caught ; 
And many worthy and chaste dames, even thus. 
All guiltless, meet reproach. — What, ho ! my lord ! 

Enter Cassio. 

My lord, I say ! Othello ! — How now, Cassio ! 

Cas. What's the matter? 

Iago. My lord is fallen into an epilepsy : 
This is his second tit; he had one yesterday. 

Cas. Rub him about the temples. 

Iago. No, forbear. 

The lethargy must have his quiet course. 
If not, he foams at mouth ; and, by and by. 
Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he stirs : 
Do you withdraw yourself a little while. 
He will recover straight : when he is gone, 
I would on great occasion speak with you. — 

[Exit Cassio. 
How is it, general? have you not hurt your head? 

Oth. Dost thou mock me ? 

Iago. I mock you ! no, by heaven. 

Would you would bear your fortunes like a man. 

Oili. A horned man's a monster, and a beast. 

Iago. There's many a beast, then, in a populous 
And many a civil monster. 

Oth. Did he confess it ? 

Iago. Good sir, be a man ; 

Think, every bearded fellow, that's but yok'd. 
May draw with you : there's millions now alive. 
That nightly lie in those unproper beds. 
Which they dare swear peculiar : your case is 

O ! 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock, 
To lip a wanton in a secure couch. 
And to suppose her chaste. No, let me know; 
And, knowing what I am, I know what she shall be. 

OtJi. O ! tiiou art wise ; 'tis certain. 

Iago. Stand you awhile apart ; 
Confine yourself but in a patient list. 
Whilst you were here, o'erwhelmed with your grief, 
(A passion most imsuiting such a man,) 
Cassio came hither : I shifted him away, 
And laid good 'scuse upon your ecstasy ; 
Bade him anon return, and here speak with me; 
The which he promis'd. But encave yourself, 
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns, 
That dwell in every region of his face ; 
For I will make him tell the tale anew, 


Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when 
He hath, and is again to cope your wife : 
I say, but mark his gesture. — Marry, patience ; 
Or 1 shall say, you are all in all iu spleen, 
And nothing of a man. 

Oth. Dost thou hear, lago ? 

I will be found inost cunning in my patience ; 
But (dost thou hear?) most bloody. 

lago. That's not amiss; 

But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw? 

[Othello retires. 
Now will I question Cassio of Bianca, 
A housewife, that by selling her desires, 
Buys herself bread and clothes : it is a creature. 
That dotes on Cassio, as 'tis the strumpet's plague, 
To beguile many, and be beguil'd by one. 
He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain 
From the excess of laughter : here he comes. — 

Re-enter Cassio. 

As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad ; 
And his unbookish jealousy must constinie 
Poor Cassio's smiles, gestures, and light behaviour, 
Quite in the wrong. — How do you now, lieutenant ? 

Cos. The worser, that you give me the addition. 
Whose want even kills me. 

lago. Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on't. 
Now, if this suit lay in Bianca's power, 

[S2)eakmg lower. 
How quickly should you speed ? 

Cas. Alas, poor caitiff! 

Oth. Look, how he laughs already ! \^Aside. 

lago. I never knew woman love man so. 

Cas. Alas, poor rogue ! I think, i' faith, she loves 

Oth. Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out. 


lago. Do you hear, Cassio ? 

Oth. Now he impoitunes him 

To tell it o'er. Go to ; well said, well said. \_Aside. 

lago. She gives it out, that you shall raaiTy her : 
Do von intend it ? 


Cas. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Oth. Do you triumph, Roman ? do you triumph ? 


Cas. I marry her ! — what ! a customer ? 1 pr'y- 
thee, bear some charity to my wit; do not think it 
so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Oth. So, so, so, so. They laugh that win. 


lago. 'Faith, the cry goes, that you shall many 

Cas. Pr'ythee, say tnae. 

lago. I am a very villain else. 

OtJi. Have you scored me ? Well. [Aside. 

Cas. This is the monkey's own giving out: she 
is persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love 
and flattery, not out of my promise. 

Oth. lago beckons me; now he begins the story. 


Cas. She was here even now ; she haunts me in 
every place. I was, the other day, talking on the 
sea-bank with certain ^^enetians, and thither comes 
this bauble ; and, by this hand, she falls me thus 
about my neck ; — 

Otli. Crying, O dear Cassio ! as it were : his ges- 
ture imports it. [Aside. 

Cas. So hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me ; 
so hales, and pulls me : ha, ha, ha ! — 

Otli. Now he tells, how she plucked him to my 
chamber. O ! I see that nose of yours, but not 
that dog I shall throw it to. [Aside. 

Cas. Well, I must leave her company. 

lago. Before me ! look where she comes. 

Enter Bianca. 

Cas. 'Tis such another fitchew ! marry, a per- 
fumed one. — What do you mean by this haunting 
of me ? 

Bian. Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What 
did you mean by that same handkercliief, you gave 
me even now ? I was a fine fool to take it. I must 
take out the work ? — A likely piece of work, that 
you should find it in yoiir chamber, and know not 




who left it there. This is some minx's token, and 
I must take out tlie work ? There, give it your 
hobby-horse : wheresoever you had it, I'll take out 
no work on't. 

Cas. How now, my sweet Bianca ! how now, 
how now ! 

Oth. By heaven, that should be my handker- 
chief"! [Aside. 

Blan. An you'll come to supper to-night, you 
may : an you will not, come when you are next 
prepared for. \_Exit. 

[ago. After her, after her. 

Cas. 'Faith, I must; she'll rail in the street else. 

lago. Will you sup there ? 

Cas. 'Faith, I intend so. 

lago. Well, I may chance to see you, for I 
would very fain speak with you. 

Cas. Pr'ythee, come ; will you ? 

lago. Go to ; say no more. [Exit Cassio. 

Oth. [A(lvancing.'\ How shall I murder him, lago ? 

lago. Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice ? 

Oth. O, lago ! 

lago. And did you see the handkerchief? 

Oth. Was that mine ? 

lago. Yours, by this hand : and to see how he 
prizes the foolish woman your wife ! she gave it 
him, and he hath given it his whore. 

Oth. I would have him nine years a killing. — A 
fine woman ! a fair woman I a sweet woman I 

lago. Nay, you must forget that. 

Oth. Ay, let her rot, and perish, and be damned 
to-night, for she shall not live. No, my heart is 
turned to stone; I strike it, and it hurts my hand. 
O ! the world hath not a sweeter creature : she 
might lie by an emperor's side, and command him 

lago. Nay, that's not your way. 

Oth. Hang her! I do but say what she is. — So 
delicate with her needle ! — An admirable mtisician ! 
O ! she will sing the savageness out of a bear. — Of 
so high and plenteous wit and invention ! — 

lago. She's the worse for all this. 

Oth. O! a thousand thousand times. And then, 
of so gentle a condition. 

lago. Ay, too gentle. 

Oth. Nay, that's certain: — but yet the pity of it, 
lago ! — O, iago ! the pity of it, lago ! 

lago. If you are so fond over her iniquity, give 
her patent to offend ; for if it touch not you, it comes 
near nobody. 

Oth. I will chop her into messes.^Cuckold me ! 

lago. O ! 'tis foul in her. 

Oth. With mine officer ! 

Tago. That's fouler. 

Oth. Get me some poison, lago; this night: — I'll 
not expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty 
unprovide my mind again. — This night, lago. 

Iago. Do it not with poison, strangle her in her 
bed, even the bed she hath contaminated. 

OOi. Good, good : the justice of it pleases ; veiy 

laoo. And for Cassio. let me be his undertaker. 
You shall hear more by midnight. 

[A trumpet within. 

Oth. Excellent good.— AVhattnimpet is that same ? 

Iago. .Something from Venice, sure. 'Tis Lo- 
de vie o. 
Come from the duke ; and, see, yourwife is with him. 

Enter Lodovico, Desdemona, and Attendants. 
Lad. 'Save you, worthy general ! 

Oth. With all my heart, sir. 

Lod. The duke and senators of Venice greet you. 

[Giving him a imcket. 

Oth. I kiss the instrument of theii-^ pleasures. 

[Opens the packet, and reads. 

Des. And what's the news, good cousin Lodovico ? 

Iago. I am veiy glad to see you, signior : 
Welcome to Cypnis. 

Lod. I thank you. How does lieutenant Cassio ? 

Iago. Lives, sir. 

Des. Cousin, there's fallen between him and mv 
lord ^ 

An unkind breach, but you shall make all well. 

Oth. Are you sure of that ? 

Des. My lord ? 

Ojjh. " This fail you not to do, as you will" — 


Lod. He did not call ; he's busy in the paper. 
Is there division 'twixt my lord and Cassio ? 

Des. A most unhappy one : 1 would do much 
To atone them, for the love I bear- to Cassio. 

Oth. Fire and brimstone ! 

Des. My lord ? 

Oth. Are you wise ? 

Des. What I is he angiy ? 

Lod. May be, the letter mov'd him ; 

For, as I think, they do command him home, 
Deputing Cassio in his government. 

Des. By my troth, I am glad on't. 

Oth. Indeed. 

Des. My lord ? 

Oth. I am glad to see you mad. 

Des. How, sweet Othello ? 

Oth. Devil! [Striking her. 

Des. I have not deserv'd this. 

Lod. My lord, this would not be believ'd in Venice, 
Though I should swear I saw it. 'Tis very much ; 
Make her amends, she weeps. 

Oth. O devil, devil ! 

If that the earth could teem with woman's tears, 
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile. — 
Out of my sight ! 

Des. I w^ill not stay to offend you. 

[ Gmng. 

Lod. Truly an obedient lady. — 
I do beseech your lordship, call her back. 

Oth. Misti-ess! 

Des. My lord ? 

Oth. What would you with her, sir ? 

Lod. WTio, I, my lord ? 

Oth. Ay, you did wish, that I would make her 
turn : 
Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on, 
And turn again ; and she can weep, sii", weep ; 
And she's obedient, as you say, — obedient, — 
Very obedient. — Proceed yoti in your tears. — 
Concerning this, sir, — O well painted passion ! 
I am commanded home. — Get you away ; 
I'll send for you anon. — Sir, I obey the mandate, 
And will return to Venice. — Hence I avaunt ! 

[Exit Desdemona. 
Cassio shall have my place. And, — sir, to-night, 
I do entreat that we may sup together: 
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. — Goats and 
monkeys ! [Exit. 

Lod. Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate 
Call all-in-all sufficient ? — This the noble nature 
Whom passion could not shake ? whose solid virtue 
The shot of accident, nor dart of chance. 
Could neither graze, nor pierce ? 

Iago. He is much chang'd. 





Lod. Are liis wits safe ? is lie not light of brain ? 

lago. He's that he is : 1 may not breathe my 
What he might be, — if, what he might, he is not, — 
I would to heaven, he were. 

Lod. What ! strike his wife ? 

lago. 'Faith, that was not so well ; yet would I 
That stroke would prove the worst. 

Lod. Is it his use ? 

Or did the letters work upon his blood. 
And new-create this fault? 

lago. Alas, alas! 

It is not honesty in me, to speak 
What I have seen and known. You shall obseiTe 

him ; 
And his own courses will denote him so. 
That I may save my speech. Do but go after. 
And mark how he continues. 

Lod. I am sorry, that I am deceiv'd in him. 


Scene II. — A Room in the Castle. 
Enter Othello and Emilia. 

0th. You have seen nothing then? 

Emit. Nor ever heard ; nor ever did suspect. 

Otii. Yes, you have seen Cassio and her together. 

Eniil. But then I saw no harm; and then i heard 
Each syllable that breath made up between them. 

OtJi. What ! did they never whisper ? 

Emit. Never, my lord. 

Oth. Nor send you out o' the way ? 

Emit. Never. 

Oth. To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor 
nothing ? 

Emil. Never, my lord. 

Oth. That's strange. 

Emil. I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest, 
Lay down my soul at stake : if you think other. 
Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom. 
If any wretch have put this in your head. 
Let heaven requite it with the serpent's curse, 
Foi' if she be not honest, chaste, and true. 
There's no man happy ; the purest of their wives 
Is foul as slander. 

Oth. Bid her come hither : — go. — 

{Exit Emilia. 
She says enough ; — yet she's a simple bawd. 
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore, 
A closet-lock-and-key of villainous secrets: 
And yet she'll kneel, and pray ; I have seen her do't. 

Re-enter Emilia, iviOi Desdemona. 

Des. My lord, what is your will ? 
Oth. Pray, chuck, come hither. 

Des. What is your pleasure ? 
Oth. Let me see your eyes: 

Look in my face. 

Des. What horrible fancy's this ? 

Oth. Some of your function, mistress; 

[To Emilia. 
Leave procreants alone, and shut the door; 
Cough, or cry hem, if any body come : 
Your mystery, your mystery; — nay, despatch. 

[Exit Emilia. 
Des. Upon my knees, what doth your speech 
import ? 
I understand a fuiy in your words. 
But not the words. 

Oth. WHiy, what art thou ? 

Des. Your wife, my lord ; your true 

And loyal wife. 

Oth. Come, swear it, damn thyself; 

Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves 
Should fear to seize thee : therefore, be double- 

damn'd ; 
Swear thou art honest. 

Des. Heaven doth truly know it. 

Oth. Heaven truly knows, that thou art false as 

Des. To whom, my lord ? with whom ? How 
am I false ? 

Oth. O Desdemona ! — away, away, away ! 

Des. Alas, the heavy day ! — Why do you weep ? 
Am I the occasion of these tears, my lord ? 
If, haply, you my father do suspect 
An instrument of this your calling back. 
Lay not your blame on me : if you have lost him. 
Why, I have lost him too. 

Oth. Had it pleas'd Heaven 

To try me with affliction ; had he rain'd 
All kinds of sores, and shames, on my bare head; 
Steep'd me in poverty to the very lips ; 
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes ; 
I should have found in some part of my soul 
A drop of patience : biit, alas ! to make me 
A fixed figure, for the time of scorn 
To point his slow unmoving finger at; 
Yet could I bear that too ; well, very well: 
But there, where I have garner'd up my heart, 
Where either I must live, or bear no life. 
The fountain from the which my cuiTent runs, 
Or else dries up ; to be discarded thence. 
Or keep it as a cistern, for foul toads 
To knot and gender in ! — turn thy complexion there, 
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin ; 
Ay, there, look grim as hell ! 

Des. I hope, my noble lord esteems me honest. 

Oth. O ! ay ; as summer flies are in the shambles. 
That quicken even with blowing. O thovi weed ! 
Who art so lovely fair, and smell'st so sweet, 
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst 
ne'er been born ! 

Des. Alas ! what ignorant sin have I committed ? 

Oth. Was this fair paper, this most goodly book. 
Made to write whore upon ? What committed ? 
Committed! — O thou public commoner! 
I should make very forges of my cheeks. 
That would to cinders burn up modesty. 
Did I but speak thy deeds. — AVhat committed? 
Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks : 
The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets. 
Is hush'd within the hollow mine of earth. 
And will not hear it. What committed ? — 
Impudent strumpet! 

Des. By heaven you do me wrong. 

Oth. Are not you a strumpet ? 

Des. No, as I am a Christian. 

If to preserve this vessel for my lord. 
From any other, foul, unlawful, touch. 
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none. 

Oth. What, not a whore ? 

Des. No, as I shall be saved. 

Oth. Is it possible ? 

Des. O, heaven forgive us ! 

Oth. I cry you mercy, then ? 

I took you for that cunning whore of Venire, 
That married with Othello. — You, mistress. 

Re-enter Emilia. 
That have the office opposite to Saint Peter. 

And keep the gate of hell ; you, you, ay, you : 
We have done our course ; there's money for your 

I pray you, turn the key, and keep our counsel. 


Emit. Alas ! what does this gentleman conceive ? 
How do you, madam ? how do you, my good lady ? 

Des. 'Faith, half asleep. 

Emil. Good madam, what's the matter with my 

Des. With whom ? 

Emil. Why, with my lord, madam. 

Des. Who is thy lord ? 

Emil. He that is yours, sweet lady. 

Des. I have none : do not talk to me, Emilia; 
T cannot weep ; nor answer have I none, 
But what should go by water. Pr'ythee, to-night 
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets, — remember; — 
And call thy husband hither. 

Emil. Here is a change, indeed ! 


Des. 'Tis meet I should be us'd so, very meet. 
How have I been behav'd, that he might stick 
The small'st opinion on my least misuse ? 

Re-enter Emilia, with Iago. 

lago. What is your pleasure, madam ? How is 
it with you ? 


Des. I cannot tell. Those, that do teach young 
Do it with gentle means, and easy tasks : 
He might have chid me so; for, in good faith, 
I am a child to chiding. 

Iago. What's the matter, lady ? 

Emil. Alas I Iago, my lord hath so bewhor'd her, 
Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her, 
As tnie hearts cannot bear. 

Des. Am I that name, Tago ? 

Iago, What name, fair lady ? 

Des. Such as, she says, my lord did say I was. 

Emil. He call'd her whore : a beggar in his drink. 
Could not have laid such terms upon his callat. 

Iago. Why did he so ? 

Des. I do not know ; I am sure, I am none such. 

Iago. Do not weep, do not weep. Alas the day ! 

Emil. Has she forsook so many noble matches, 
Her father, and her countiy, and her friends. 
To be call'd whore ? would it not make one weep ? 

Des. It is my wretched fortune. 

Iago. Beshrew him for it ! 

How comes this trick upon him ? 

Des. Nay, heaven doth know. 

Emil. I will be hang'd, if some eternal villain. 
Some busy and insinuating rogue. 
Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office. 
Have not devis'd this slander ; I'll be hang'd else. 





lasro. Fie! there is no such man: it is impossible. 

Dcs. If any such there be, heaven pardon him ! 

Eniil. A haker pardon him, and hell gnaw his 
bones ! 
Why should he call her, whore? who keeps her 

company ? 
What place ? what time ? what form ? what like- 
lihood ? 
The Moor's abus'd by some most villainous kiiave, 
Some base notorious knave, some scuny fellow. — 
O, heaven ! that such companions thou'dst unfold, 
And put in every honest hand a whip. 
To lash the rascals naked through the world, 
Even from the east to the west! 

lago. Speak within door. 

Emil. O, fie upon them ! some such squire he was. 
That turn'd your wit the seamy side without. 
And made you to suspect me with the Moor. 

lago. You are a fool; go to. 

Des. O good lago ! 

What shall I do to win my lord again ? 
Good friend, go to him ; for, by this light of heaven, 
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel : — 
If e'er ray will did trespass 'gainst his love. 
Either in discourse, or thought, or actual deed; 
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense, 
Delighted them in any other form ; 
Or that I do not yet, and ever did. 
And ever will, — though he do shake me off 
To beggarly divorcement, — love him dearly. 
Comfort forswear me ! Unkindness may do much; 
And his unkindness may defeat my life. 
But never taint my love. I cannot say whore; 
It does ablior me, now I speak the word ; 
To do the act that might the addition earn. 
Not the world's mass of vanity could make me. 

lago. I pray you, be content ; 'tis but his humour : 
The business of the state does him offence. 
And he does chide with you. 

Des. If 'twere no other, — 

lago. 'Tis btit so, I warrant. [Trumpets. 

Hark, how these instruments summon to supper ! 
The messengers of Venice stay the meat. 
Go in, and weep not ; all things shall be well. 

[Exeunt Desdemo>'a and Emilia. 

Enter Roderigo. 

How now, Roderigo ! 

Rod. I do not find that thou deal'st justly with me. 

lago. What in the contrary ? 

Rod. Every day thou doff'st me with some device, 
lago ; and rather, as it seems to me now, keep'st 
from me all conveniency, than suppliest me with the 
least advantage of hope. I will, indeed, no longer 
endure it; nor am I yet persuaded, to put up in 
peace what already I have foolishly suffered. 

laso. Will you hear me, Roderigo ? 

Rod. 'Faith, I have heard too much ; for your 
words, and performances, are no kin together. 

Ingo. You charge me most unjustly. 

Rod. With noitght but truth. I have wasted 
myself out of my means : the jewels you have had 
from ine, to deliver to Desdemona, would half have 
corrupted a votarist : you have told me, she has re- 
ceived them, and returned me expectations and 
comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance ; but I 
find none. 

lago. Well; goto; very well. 

Red. Very well ! go to ! I cannot go to, man ; 
nor 'tis not ver^- well ; by this hand, I say, it is very 
scurvy ; and begin to find myself fobbed in it. 


lago. Very well. 

Rod. I tell you, 'tis not very well. I will make 
myself known to Desdemona : if she will return me 
my jewels, I will give over my' suit, and repent my 
unlawful solicitation ; if not, assure yomself, I will 
seek satisfaction of you. 

lago. You have said now. 

Rod. Ay, and I have said nothing, but what I 
protest intendment of doing. 

lago. Why, now I see there's mettle in thee ; and 
even, from this instant, do build on thee a better 
opinion than ever before. Give me thy hand, Rod- 
erigo : thou hast taken against me a most just ex- 
ception ; but yet, I protest, I have dealt most directly 
in thy affair. 

Rod. It hath not appeared. 

lago. I grant, indeed, it hath not appeared, and 
your suspicion is not without wit and judgment. 
But, Roderigo, if thou hast that within thee indeed, 
which I have greater reason to believe now than 
ever, — I mean, ptirpose, courage, and valour, — this 
night show it : if thou the next night following en- 
joyest not Desdemona, take me from this world with 
treachery, and devise engines for my life. 

Rod. Well, what is it ? is it within reason, and 
compass ? 

lago. Sir, there is especial commission come from 
Venice, to depute Cassio in Othello's place. 

Rod. Is that true ? why, then Othello and Des- 
demona return again to Venice. 

lago. O, no ! he goes into Mauritania, and takes 
away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode 
be lingered here by some accident; wherein none 
can be so determinate, as the removing of Cassio. 

Rod. How do you mean removing of him ? 

lago. Why, by making him uncapable of Othel- 
lo's place ; knocking out his brains. 

Rod. And that you would have me do ? 

lago. Ay; if you dare do yotirself a profit, and a 
nght. He sups to-night with a harlotry, and thither 
will I go to him ; he knows not yet of his honour- 
able fortune. If you will watch his going thence, 
(which I will fashion to fall oiU between twelve and 
one,) you may take him at your pleasure : I will be 
near to second your attempt, and he shall fall be- 
tween us. Come, stand not amazed at it, but go 
along with me ; I will show you such a necessity 
in his death, that you shall think yourself botmd to 
put it on him. It is now high supper-time, and the 
night grows to waste : about it. 

Rod. I will hear further reason for this. 

lago. And you shall be satisfied. [Exeunt. 

Scene III. — Another Room in the Castle. 

Enter Othello, Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia, 

and Attendants. 

Lod. I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no 

0th. O! pardon me; 'twill do me good to walk. 
Lod. Madam, good night; I humbly thank your 

Des. Yotir honotir is most welcome. 
Oth. Will you walk, sir? — 

O ! — Desdemona, — 

Dcs. My lord ? 

Oth. Get you to bed on the instant; I will be 
returned forthwith. Dismiss your attendant there; 
look, it be done. 

Des. I will, my lord. 
[Exeunt Othello, Lodovico, and Attendants. 




Emit. How goes it now ? he looks gentler than 
he did. 

Des. He says, he will return incontinent ; 
He hath commanded me to go to bed, 
And bade me to dismiss you. 

Eniil. Dismiss me ! 

Des. It was his bidding ; therefore, good Emilia, 
Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu ; 
We must not now displease him. 

Einil. I would you had never seen him. 

Des. So would not I : my love doth so approve him. 
That even his stubbornness, his checks, and frowns, — 
Pr'ythee, unpin me, — have grace and favour in them. 

Emit. I have laid those sheets you bade me on 
the bed. 

Des. All's one. — Good father! how foolish are our 
minds I — 
If I do die before thee, pr'jthee, shroud me 
In one of those same sheets. 

Einil. Come, come, you talk. 

Des. 3Iy mother had a maid called Barbara : 
She was in love ; and he she lov'd prov'd mad, 
And did forsake her : she had a song of — willow. 
An old thing 'tvvas, but it express'd her fortune, 
And she died singing it : that song, to-night, 
Will not go from my mind ; I have much to do, 
But to go hang my head all at one side, 
And sing it like poor Barbara. Pr'ythee, despatch. 

Einil. Shall I go fetch your night-gown ? 

Des. No, unpin me here. — 

This Lodovico is a proper man. 

Einil. A veiy handsome man. 

Des. He speaks well. 

Einil. I know a lady in Venice would have walked 
barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip. 

Des. [Singing. 

The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree, 

Sing all a green icillow ; 
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee. 

Sing willow, willow, u'illow : 
Tlie fresh streams ran by her, and murmur'd her moans ; 

Sing ivillow, willou; willow: 
Her salt tears fell from her, and softeri'd the stones ; 

Lay by these. — 

Sing icilloiv, willow, willoic. 
Pr'ythee, hie thee ; he'll come anon. — 

Sing all a green willow must be my garland. 

Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve, — 

Nay, that's not next. — Hark ! who is it that knocks ? 

Emil. It is the wind. 

Des. [Singing. 

I calVd my love, false love ; but what said he then ? 

Sing icillow, icillow, willcnc : 
If I court mo xcomen, you'll couch with mo men. 
So, get thee gone ; good night. Mine eyes do itch ; 
Doth that bode weeping ? 

Emil. 'Tis neither here nor there. 

Des. I have heaid it said so. — O, these men, these 
men! — 
Dost thou in conscience think, — tell me, Emilia, — 
That there be women do abuse their husbands 
In such gross kind ? 

Emil. There be some such, no question. 

Des. Would'st thou do such a deed for all the 
world ? 

Emil. Why, would not you ? 

Des. No, by this heavenly light. 

Emil. Nor I neither by this heavenly light : 
I might do't as well i' the dark. 

Des. Would'st thou do such a deed for all the 
world ? 

Emil. The world is a huge thing : 'tis a gieat price 
For a small vice. 

Des. I troth, I think thou would'st not. 

Emil. I troth, I think I should, and undo't, when 
I had done. Many, 1 would not do such a thing 
for a joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for 
gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty exhibi- 
tion ; but, for the whole world, — why, who would 
not make her husband a cuckold, to make him a 
monarch ? I should venture purgatoiy for't. 

Des. Beshrew me, if I would do such a MTong 
for the whole world. 

Emil. Why, the wrong is but a wrong i' the world ; 
and, having the world for your labour, 'tis a wrong 
in your own world, and you might quickly make it 

Des. I do not think there is any such woman. 

Emil. Yes, a dozen ; and as many 
To the vantage, as would store the world they play'd 

But, I do think, it is their husbands' faults, 
If wives do fall. Say, that they slack their duties, 
And pour our treasures into foreign laps ; 
Or else break out in peevish jealousies. 
Throwing restraint upon us : or, say, they strike us. 
Or scant our former having in despite, 
Why, we have galls ; and, though we have some 

Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know, 
Their wives have sense like them : they see, and 

And have their palates, both for sweet and sour. 
As husbands have. What is it that they do, 
\\^len they change us for others ? Is it sport ? 
I think, it is ; and doth affection breed it ? 
I think, it doth. Is't frailty^ that thus errs ? 
It is so too : and have not we affections. 
Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have ? 
Then, let them use us well ; else, let them know, 
The ills we do, their ills instruct us so. 

Des. Good night, good night: heaven me such 
uses send. 
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend ! 



Scene 1. — A Street. 

Enter Iago and Roderigo. 

lago. Here, stand behind this bulk ; straight will 
he come : 
Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home. 
Quick, quick ; fear nothing ; I'll be at thy elbow. 
It makes us, or it mars us; think on that, 
And fix most firm the resolution. 

Rod. Be near at hand ; I may miscarry in't. 

Iago. Here, at thy hand : be bold, and take thy 
stand. [Retires to a little distance. 

Rod. I have no great devotion to the deed ; 
And yet, he has given me satisfying reasons. — 
'Tis but a man gone : — forth, my sword ; he dies. 

[Goes to his stand. 

Iago. I have rubb'd this young quat almost to 
the sense. 
And he grows angry. Now, wliether he kill Cassio, 
(3r Cassio him, or each do kill the other, 
Every way makes my gain : live Roderigo, 
He calls me to a restitution large 
Of gold, and jewels, that I bobb'd from him, 
As gifts to Desdemona; 
It must not be : if Cassio do remain, 
He hath a daily beauty in his life, 
That makes me ugl}- ; and, besides, the Moor 
May unfold me to him : there stand I in much peril. 
No, he must die : — be't so ; I hear him coming. 

Enter Cassio. 

Rod. I know his gait ; 'tis he. — Villain, thou diest. 
[Rushing out, and maTcing a pass at Cassio. 
Cas. That thrust had been mine enemy indeed, 
But that my coat is better than thou know'st : 
I will make proof of thine. 

[Draws, and wounds Roderigo. 
Rod. O ! I am slain. 

[Iago rushes from his -post, cuts Cassio 
behind in the leg, and exit. 
Cas. I am maim'd for ever. — Light, ho ! murder ! 
murder ! [Falls. 

Enter Othello, at a distance. 

Oth. The voice of Cassio. — Iago keeps his word. 

Rod. O villain that I am ! 

OOu It is e'en so. 

Cas. O, help ! ho ! light ! a surgeon ! 

Oth. 'Tis he. — O brave Iago ! honest, and just, 
That hast such noble sense of thy friend's wrong; 
Thou teachest me. — Minion, your dear lies dead. 
And your imblest fate hies: — strumpet, I come! 
Forth of mine heart those charms, thine eyes, are 
blotted ; 


Thy bed, lust-stain'd, shall with lust's blood be 
spotted. [Exit Othello. 

Enter Lodovico and Gratiano, at a distance. 

Cas. What, ho! no watch? no passage? murder! 
murder ! 

G-ra. 'Tis some mischance ; the cry is very direful. 

Cas. O, help ! 

Lod. Hark ! 

Rod. O wretched villain ! 

Lod. Two or three groan. — It is a heavy night : 
These may be counterfeits ; let's think't unsafe 
To come in to the cry without more help. 

Rod. Nobody come ? then shall I bleed to death. 

Enter Iago, uith a light. 

Lod. Hark! 

Gra. Here's one comes in his shirt, with light 
and weapons. 

Iago. Who's there ? whose noise is this, that 
cries on nuirder ? 

Lod. We do not know. 

Iago. Did not you hear a cry ? 

Cas. Here, here ! for heaven's sake, help me. 

Iago. What's the matter? 

Gra. This is Othello's ancient, as I take it. 

Lod. The same indeed ; a very valiant fellow. 

Iago. What are you here, that cry so grievously ? 

Cas. Iago ? O ! I am spoil'd ; undone by villains ; 
Give me some help. 

Iago. O me, lieutenant ! w-hat villains have done 
this ? 

Cas. I think that one of them is hereabout, 
And cannot make away. 

Iago. O treacherous villains ! — 

What are you there ? come in, and give some help. 
[To Lodovico and Gratiano. 

Rod. O, help me ! here. 

Cas. That's one of them. 

Iago. O murderous slave ! O villain ! 

[Iago stabs Roderigo. 

Rod. O damn'd Iago ! O inhuman dog I — 
O! O! O! 

Iago. Kill men i' the dark ! — Where be these 
bloody thieves ? — 
How silent is this town! — Ho! murder! murder! 
What may you be? are you of good, or evil ? 

Lod. As you shall prove us, praise us. 

Iago. Signior Lodovico ? 

Lod. He, sir. 

Iago. I cry you mercy. Here's Cassio hurt by 

Gra. Cassio ? 

Iago. How is it, brother? 




Cas. My leg is cut in two. 
I(^S"- 3Iarrv, heaven forbid !— 

Liglit, gentlemen ; I'll bind it with my shirt. 

Enler Bianca. 

Bian. What is the matter, ho? who is't that 

cry'd ? 
lago. Who is't that cry'd ! 
Bian. O my dear Cassio ! my sweet Cassio! 

Cassio, Cassio, Cassio ! 

lago. O notable strumpet !— Cassio, may you sus- 

Who they should be, tliat have thus mangled vou '' 
Cas. No. -" ■' 

Gra. I am sorry, to find you thus : I have been 

to seek you. 
lago. Lend me a garter :— so.— O, for a chair, 

1 o bear liim easily hence ! 
Bian. A\7is\ he faints.— O Cassio I Cassio! Cas- 

sio : 

lago. Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash 
To be a party in this injuiy. — 
Patience a while, goodCs^ssio.- Come, come. 
Lend me a light— Know we this face, or no ? 
Alas ! my friend and my dear countryman. 
Roderigo ? no .-—yes, sure. O heaven ! Roderigo. 

Gra. What, of Venice ? 

lago. Even he, sir; did you know him? 

^'■^- ^. Know him ? ay. 

7aoo SigniorGratiano ? I ciy you gentle pardon : 
1 hese bloody accidents must excuse my manners 
1 hat so neglected you. ' 

p''^- I am glad to see you. 

lago. How do you, Cassio !— O, a chair, a chair' 
Gra. Roderigo ! 

lago. He, he, 'tis he.— O ! that's well said ;— the 
chair.— [A chair brought in. 

fc>ome good man bear him caiefully from hence; 
1 11 tetch the general's surgeon.— For you, mistress, 

C , , . [^° BlA>-CA. 

^^ave you your labour — He that lies slain here, 

Was my dear friend. What malice was between 
Cos. None in the world ; nor do I know the man. 
lago. What, look you pale ?— O, bear him out 
o' the air. [Cassio and Rod. are home off. 
fetay you, good gentlemen.— Look you pale, mis- 
tress ? 
Do you perceive the gastness of her eye ^— 

Nay, an you stir:— we shall hear more anon 

Behold her well ; I pray you, look upon her : 
-Uo yoii see, gentlemen ? nay, guiltiness will speak, 
i Hough tongues were out of use. 

Enter Emilia. 

Emil. Alas! what's the matter ? what's the mat- 
ter, husband ? 
logo. Cassio hath here been set on in the dark 
Oy Roderigo, and fellows that are scap'd : 
He's almost slain, and Roderigo dead. 

Emil. Alas, good gentleman ! alas, good Cassio ' 

lago. This IS the fruit of whoring— Pr'vthee 

Emilia, *^ 

Go know of Cassio where he supp'd to-nicrht — 

What ! do you shake at that ? supp'd at my house ; but I therefore 

shake not. 
lago O ! did he so ! I charge you, go with me. 
J^mii. U, he upon thee, strumpet. 

Bian. I am no strumpet; but of life as honest. 
As you that thus abuse me. 

Emil. As 1 ? fie upon thee ! 

lago. Kind gentlemen, let's go see poor Cassio 

dress d 

Come, mistress, you must tell's another tale 

Emilia, nin you to the citadel. 
And tell my lord and lady what hath happ'd.— 
Will you go on I pray ?-This is the night, [Aside. 
1 hat either makes me, or fordoes me quite. [Exeunt. 

Scene II.— ^ Bedchamler. 

Desdemona in bed asleep. A light lurning. 
Enter Othello. 

Oth. It IS the cause, it is the cause, mv soul,— 
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars !— 
It IS the cause— Yet I'll not shed her blood; 
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, 
And smooth as monumental alabaster. 
Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men. 
Put out the light, and then— put out the light ? 
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, 
I can again thy former light restore. 
Should I repent me ; but once put otit thy light, 
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,' 
I know not where is that Promethean heat. 
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd 

thy rose, 
I cannot give it vital growth again, 
It needs must wither :— I'll smell it on the tree.— 

„ , , , , ^ [Kissing her. 

O balmy breath, tliat dost almost persuade 
Justice to break her sword '—One more, one more- 
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee. 
And love thee after.— One more, and this the last : 
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep. 
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow's heavenly 
It strikes, where it doth love.— She wakes— 
Des. Who's there ? Othello ? 

^'''- ^^^.„ Av, Desdemona. 

nes. Will you come to bed, my lord ? 

Olh. Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona? 

Uth. if you bethink yourself of any crime, 
Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace, 
Sohcit for it straight. 

Des. Alas, my lord ! what may you mean by that ' 

OtJi. Well, do it, and be brief; "l will walk by : 
I Avould not kill thy unprepared spirit ; 
No,— heaven forefend— I would not kill thy soul. 

Des. Talk you of killing ? 

Oth. Ay, I do. 

„-^^^- Then, heaven 

Have mercy on me ! 

Oth, Amen, with all my heart! 

Des. If you say so, I hope vou wi"ll not kill me. 
Oth. Humph! • 

iir?^^' ^"^ ^^^ ^ ^^^^ >'°" '- '°'' ^'^^'^ ^^'^ ^^f^' then. 
When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear, I know 

Since guiltiness I know not ; but yet, I feel I fear. 

Oth. Think on thy sins. 

-^f'- They are loves I bear to you. 

Olh. Ay, and for that thou diest. 

Des. That death's unnatural, that kills for loving.— 
Alas ! why gnaw you so your nether lip ? 
Some bloody passion shakes your veiy frame : 
These are portents ; but yet, "l hope, I hope, 
They do not point on me. 




SCEXE 11. 

Oth. Peace, and be still ! 

Des. I will so. What's the matter ? 

Oth. That handkerchief, which I so lov'd, and 
save thee. 
Thou gav'st to Cassio. 

Des. No, by my life and soul ! 

Send for the man, and ask him. 

Oth. Sweet soul, take heed. 

Take heed of perjury ; thou'rt on thy death-bed. 

Des. Ay, but not yet to die. 

Oth. Yes, presently : 

Therefore, confess thee freely of thy sin ; 
For to deny each article with oath. 
Cannot remove, nor choke, the strong conception, 
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die. 

Des. Then, Lord, have mercy on lue! 
• Oth. I say, amen. 

Des. And have you mercy too ! — I never did 
Offend you in my life ; never lov'd Cassio, 
But with such general warranty of heaven 
As I misht love : I never gave him token. 

Oth. By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in's hand. 

perjur'd woman ! thou dost stone my heart. 
And mak'st me call, what I intend to do, 

A murder, which I thought a sacrifice : 

1 saw the handkerchief. 

Des. He found it then ; 

I never gave it him. — Send for him hither; 
Let him confess a truth. 

Oth. He hath confess'd. 

Des. What, my lord ? 

Oth. That he hath — us'd thee. 

Des. How ? unlawfully ? 

Oth. Ay. 

Des. He will not say so. 

Otii. No, his mouth is stopjVd ; 

Honest lago hath ta'en oider for't. 

Des. My fear inteq^rets tlien. — What I is he dead ? 

Oth. Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge 
Had stomacli for them all. 

Des. Alas ! he is betray'd, and I vindone. 

Oth. Out, strumpet ! Weep'st thou for him to 
my face? 

Des. ! banish me, my lord, but kill me not. 

Oth. Down, stnimpet ! 

Des. Kill me to-morrow; let me live to-night. 

Oth. Nay, if you strive, — 

Des. But half an hour. 

Oth. Being done, 

There is no pause. 

Des. Bi;t while I say one prayer. 

Oth. It is too late. [He smothers her. 




Emil. [ JVithin.] My lord, my lord I what ho ! my 
lord, my lord ! 

Oth. What noise is this? — Not dead! not yet 
quite dead ? 
I, that am cruel, am yet merciful ; 
I would not have thee linger in thy pain. — 
So, so ! 

Emil. [Wilhin.] What hoi my lord, my lord I 

Oth. Who's there ? 

Emil. [Within.] O, good my lord ! I would speak 
a word with you. 

Oth. Yes ; — 'tis Emilia,— By andby.— She's dead. 
'Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio's death; 
The noise was high. — Ha! no more moving ? 
Still as the grave. Shall she come in ? Were't good ? 
I think she stirs again: — no. — What's the best ? 
If she come in, she'll sure speak to my wife : 
My wife ! my wife I what wife ? — 1 have no wife : 
O, insupportable, O hea\y hour! 
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse 
Of sun and moon, and that th' atirighted globe 
Should yawn at alteration. 

Emil. \_Within.] I do beseech you, I may speak 
with you. 
O, good my lord ! 

Oth. I had forgot thee. O, come in, Emilia. — 
Soft, — by and by : — let me the curtains draw. — 
Where art thou ? What's the matter with thee 
now ? [ Unlocks the door. 

Enter Emilia. 

Emil. O, good my lord ! yonder's foul murder 

Oih. What! now? 

Emil. But now, my lord! 

Oth. It is the very error of the moon ; 
She comes more near the earth than she was wont, 
And makes men mad. 

Emil. Cassio, my lord, has kill'd ayoung Venetian, 
Call'd Roderigo. 

Oth. Roderigo kill'd! 

And Cassio kill'd ? 

Emil. No r Cassio is not kill'd. 

Oth. Not Cassio kill'd ? Then murder's out of 
And sweet revenge grows harsh. 

Des. O, falsely, falsely murder'd ! 

Emil. Alas ! what cry is that? 

Oth. That! what? 

Emil. Out, and alas ! that was my lady's voice : — 
Help ! Help, ho ! help ! — O lady, speak again ! 
Sweet Desdemona ! O, sweet mistress, speak ! 

Des. A guiltless death I die. 

Emil. O! who hath done 

This deed ? 

Des. Nobody ; I myself; farewell : 

Commend me to my kind lord. O fai'ewell ! [Dies. 

Oth. Why, how should she be murder'd? 

Emil. Alas, who knows ? 

Oth. You heard her say herself, it was not I. 

Emil. She said so ; I must needs report a tnith. 

Oth. She's like a liar gone to burning hell : 
'Twas I that killed her. 

Emil. O I the more angel she, 

And you the blacker devil. 

Oth. She turn'd to folly, and she was a whore. 

Emil. Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil. 

Oth. She was false as water. 

Emil. Thou art rash as fire, to say 

That she was false : O ! she was heavenly true. 

Oth. Cassio did top her; ask thy husband else. 

! I were damn'd beneath all depth in hell, ^ 
But that 1 did proceed upon just grounds 

To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all. 

Emil. My husband ? 

Oth. Thy husband. 

Emil. That she was false to wedlock ? 

Oth. Ay, with Cassio. Nay, had she been true, 
If heaven would make me such another world 
Of one entire and perfect chrjsolite, 
I'd not have sold her for it. 

Emil. My husband ? 

Otli. Ay, 'twas he that told me first: 

An honest man he is, and hates the slime 
That sticks on filthy deeds. 

Emil. My husband ? 

Oth. What needs this iteration, woman ? I say, 
thy husband. 

Emil. O mistress ! villainy hath made mocks with 
love. — 
My husband say, that she was false ? 

Oth. He, woman; 

1 say, thy husband : dost understand the word ? 
3Iy friend, thy husband, honest, honest lago. 

Emil. If he say so, may his pernicious soul 
Rot half a grain a day ! he lies to the heart : 
She was too fond of her most filthy bargain. 

Oth. Ha! 

Emil. Do thy worst : 

This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven, 
Than thou wast worthy her. 

Oth. Peace ! you were best. 

Emil. Thou hast not half the power to do me 
As I have to be hurt. O gull ! O dolt ! 
As ignorant as dirt ! thou hast done a deed, — 
I care not for thy sword ; I'll make thee known. 
Though I lost twenty lives. — Help I help, ho! help! 
The Moor has kill'd my mistress ! Murder ! murder ! 

Enter Montano, Gratiano, and Iago. 

Man. What is the matter? — How now, general! 

Emil. O ! are you come, Iago ? you have done 
That men must lay their murders on your neck. 

Gra. AVhat is the matter ? 

Emil. Disprove this villain, if thou be'st a man : 
He says, thou toldst him that his wife was false. 
I know, thou didst not, thou'rt not such a villain. 
Speak, for my heart is fidl. 

Iago. I told him what I thought ; and told no 
Than w'hat he found himself was apt and tnie. 

Efnil. Biu did you ever tell him, she was false ? 

Iago. I did. 

Emil. You told a lie ; an odious, damned lie ; 
Upon my soul, a lie ; a wicked lie. — 
She false with Cassio ! — Did you say with Cassio ? 

Iago- With Cassio, mistress. Go to, charm your 

Emil. I will not charm my tongue ; I am bound 
to speak. 
My mistress here lies murder'd in her bed. 

All. O heavens forefend ! 

Emil. And your reports have set the murder on. 

Oth. Nay, stare not, masters : it is true, indeed. 

Gra. 'Tis a strange truth. 

Man. O monstrous act! 

Emil. Villainy! villainy! villainy! 

I think upon't. — I think, — I smell't : — O villainy ! 
I thought so then : — I'll kill myself for grief. — 
O villainy, villainy ! 




StK>K 11. 

lago. What ! are you mad ? I charge you, get 
you home. 

Emit. Good gentlemen, let me have leave to 
speak : 
'Tis proper I obey him, but not now. — 
Perchance, lago, I will ne'er go home. 

Oth. O ! O ! O ! ^Falling on the led. 

Emil. Nay, lay thee down and roar. 

For thou hast kill'd the sweetest innocent, 
That e'er did lift up eye. 

OlJi. O ! she was foul. — [Rising. 

I scarce did know you, uncle : there lies your niece, 
Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly 

I know, this act shows terrible and grim. 

Gra. Poor Desdemona ! I am glad thy father's 
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief 
Shore his old thread in twain : did he live now, 
This sight would make him do a desperate turn, 
Yea, curse his better angel from his side, 
And fall to reprobation. 

Oth. 'Tis pitiful; but yet lago knows, 
That she with Cassio hath the act of shame 
A thousand times committed : Cassio confcss'd it ; 
And she did gratify his amorous works 
With that recognizance and pledge of love 
Which I first gave her. I saw it in his hand ; 
It was a handkerchief, an antique token 
My flither gave my mother. 

Emil. O heaven ! O heavenly powers ! 

lago. Come, hold your peace. 

Emil. 'Twill out, 'twill out : — I hold my peace, 
sir? no; 
No, I will speak as liberal as the north. 
Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all. 
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak. 

lago. Be wise, and get you home. 

Emil. I will not. 

[Iago offers to stab his IT7/e. 

Gra. Fie ! 

Your sword upon a woman ? 

Emil. O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou 
speak'st of, 
I found by fortune, and did give my husband ; 
For often, with a solemn earnestness, 
(More than, indeed, beiong'd to such a trifle,) 
He begg'd of me to steal it. 

Iago. Villainous whore ! 

Emil. She give it Cassio ! no, alas ! I found it. 
And I did give't my husband. 

Iago. Filth, thou liest. 

Emil. By heaven, I do not ; I do not. gentlemen. 
O murderous coxcomb ! what should such a fool 
T)o with so good a woman ? 

[The Moor runs at Iago, and is held and dis- 
armed by MoNTAXo. Iago stabs Emilia, 
then runs out. 

Oth. Are there no stones in heaven. 

But what serve for the thunder? — Precious villain ! 

Gra. The woman falls: sure, he has kill'd his 

Emil. Ay, ay. O, lay me by mistress' side ! 

Gra. He's gone, but his wife's kill'd. 

Mon. 'Tis a notorious villain. Take you this 
Which I have here recover'd from the Moor. 
Come, guard the door without: let him not pass. 
But kill him rather. I'll after that same villain, 
For 'tis a damned slave. 

[Exeunt Mom'ano and Gratiano. 

Oth. I am not valiant neither, 

But every puny whipster gets my sword. 
By why should honour outlive honesty ? 
Let it go all. 

Emil. What did thy song bode, lady ? 

Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan, 
And die in music : — IVillou', willou; liilloic. — 
Moor, she was chaste ; she lov'd thee, cruel Moor: 
So come my soul to bliss, as I speak tiiie ; 
So speaking as 1 think, I die, — I die. [Dies. 

Oth. I have another weapon in this chamber, 
It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper. — 
O! here it is. — Uncle, I must come forth. 

Gra. [Within.'] If thou attempt it, it will cost 
thee dear : 
Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must sufl'er. 

Oth. Look in upon me, then, and speak to me. 
Or, naked as I am, I will assault thee. 
Re-enter Gratiano. 

Gra. What is the matter? 

Oth. Behold! I have a weapon; 

A better never did itself sustain 
LTpon a soldier's thigh : I have seen the day. 
That, with this little arm, and this good sword, 
I liave made my way through more impediments 
Than twenty times your stop. — But, O vain boast! 
Who can control his fate ? 'tis not so now. — 
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd; 
Here is my journey's end, here is my btitt. 
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. 
Do you go back dismay 'd ? 'tis a lost fear; 
Man but a rush against Othello's breast, 
And he retires. — Where should Othello go? — 
Now, how dost thou look now ? O ill-starr'd wench ! 
Pale as thy smock I when we shall meet at compt', 
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven, 
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl; 
Even like thy chastity. — O, cursed slave I 
Whip me, ye devils, 

From the possession of this heavenly sight ! 
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur! 
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire! 
O Desdemona! dead? Desdemon! O! O! O! 

Enter Lodovico, Montano, Cassio, (carried in a 
chair,) and Officers, icith Iago, prisoner. 

Lod. Where is this rash and most unfortunate 
man ? 

Oth. That's he, that was Othello : here I am. 

Lod. Where is that viper ? bring the villain forth. 

Oth. I look down towards his feet; but that's a 
fable : 
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee. 

[Othello uvunds Iago. 

Lod. Wrench his sword from him. 

Iago. I bleed, sir; but not kill'd. 

Oth. I am not sorry neither: I'd have thee live; 
For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die. 

Lod. O thou Othello ! thou werl once so good, 
Fall'n in the practice of a damned slave, 
What shall be said to thee ? 

Oth. Why, any thing: 

An honourable murderer, if you will; 
For nought I did in hate, but all in honour. 

Lod. This wretch hath part confess'd his villainy. 
Did you and he consent in Cassio's death ? 

Oth. Ay. 

Cas. Dear general, I never gave you cause. 

Otii. I do believe it, and I ask you pardon. 
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil. 
Why he hath thus ensnar'd my soul and body ? 




lago. Demand me nothing : what you know, you 
From this time forth I never will speak word. 

Lod. What ! not to pray ? 

Gra. Torments will ope your lips. 

Oth. Well, thou dost best. 

Lod. Sir, you shall understand what hath befalTn, 
Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter, 
Found in the pocket of the slain Iloderigo ; 
And here another : the one of them imports 
The death of Cassio to be undertook 
By Roderieo. 

Olh. O villain I 

Cos. IMost heathenish, and most gross! 

Lod. Now, here's another discontented paper. 
Found in his pocket too ; and rtiis, it seems, 
Roderigo meant to have sent this danuied villain : 
But that, belike, lago in the interim 
Came in and satisfied him. 

Oth. O, the pernicious caitilTI — 

How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief, 
That was my wife's ? 

Cas. I found it in my chamber; 

And he himself confess'd, but even now, 
That there he dropp'd it, for a special purpose. 
Which wrought to his desire. 

OOi. Ofool! fool! fool! 

Cas. There is, besides, in Roderigo's letter. 
How he upbraids lago, that he made him 
Brave me upon the watch ; whereon it came 
That I was cast : and even but now he spake. 
After long seeming dead, — lago hurt him, 
lago set him on. 

Lod. You must forsake this room, and go with 
Your power and your command is taken off. 
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave, 
If there be any cunning cruelty, 
That can torment him much, and hold him long. 
It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest. 
Till that the nature of your fault be known 


To the A'enetian state. — Come ; bring him away. - 

Oth. Soft you; a word or two before you go. 
I have done tlie state some sen'ice, and they know it; 
No more of that. — I pray you, in your letters. 
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate. 
Speak of me as I am ; nothing extenuate. 
Nor set down aught in malice : then, must voit 

Of one that lov'd, not wisely, but too well : 
Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought, 
Perplex'd in the extreme ; of one, whose hand, 
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away, 
Richer than all his tribe ; of one, whose subdued 

Albeit unused to the melting mood. 
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees 
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this; 
And say, besides, that in Aleppo once. 
Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk 
Beat a Venetian, and traduc'd the state, 
I took by the throat the circumcised dog. 
And smote him — thus. \^Stahs himself. 

Lod. O bloody period ! 

Gra. All that's spoke is marr'd. 

Oth. I kiss'd thee, ere I kill'd thee : — no way but 

this, [^Falling upon Desdemoa. 

Killing myself, to die upon a kiss. \^Dics. 

Cas. This did I fear, but thought he had no 
For he was great of heart. 

Lod. O Spartan dog I 

3Iore fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea. 
Look on the tragic loading of this bed; [!/'o L\go. 
This is thy work : the object poisons sight; 
Let it be hid. — Gratiano, keep the house. 
And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor, 
For they succeed on you. — To you, lord governor, 
Remains the censure of his hellish villain ; 
The time, the place, the torture: — O, enforce it! 
3Iyself will straight aboaid, and to the state 
This heavy act with heavy heart relate. \^Ex€nnt. 





(Piazza of the Mosque at Fama^usta.) 


ACT I.— Scene T. 

"Enter RoDERiGo and Iago." 
Admirable is the preparation, so truly and peculiarly 
Shakespearian, in the introduction of Roderigo, as the 
dupe on whom Iago shall first exercise his art, and in 
so doing display his own character. Roderigo, with- 
out any fixed principle, but not without the moral no- 
tions and sympathies with honour, which his rank and 
connections had hung upon him, is already well fitted 
and predisposed for the purpose ; for, very want of char- 
acter and strength of passion, like wind loudest in an 
empty house, constitute his character. The first three 
lines happily state the nature and foundation of the 
friendship between him and Iago, — the purse, — as also 
the contrast of Roderigo's intemperance of mind with 
laso's coolness, — the coolness of a preconceiving ex- 
perimenter. The mere language of protestation — 

' If ever I did dream of such a matter, aI)lior me' — 
which falling in with the associative link, determines 
Roderigo's continuation of complaint — 

'Thou toldst me, thou didst hold him in thy hate' — 
elicits at length a true feeling of lago's mind, the 
dread of contempt habitual to those, who encourage in 
themselves, and liave their keenest pleasure in the ex- 
pression of contempt for otliers. Observe la^o's high 
self-opinion, and the moral, that a wicked man will 
employ real feelings, as well as assume those most 
alien from his own, as instruments of his purposes : — 

' — and, by the faith of man, 
I know my price: I am wortli no worse a place.' 

In what follows, let the reader feel how, by and 
through the iilass of two passions, disajipointed vanity 
and envy, the very vices of which he is complaining, 
are made to act upon him as if they were so many ex- 


cellences, and the more appropriately, because cunning 
is always admired and wished for by minds conscious 
of inward weakness ; — but they act only by Jmlf, like 
music on an inattentive auditor, swelling the thoughts 
which prevent him from listening to it. — Coleuidge. 

" Off-capp'!) to him" — So the folio; the quarto, oft 
capp'd. The latter has been adopted by the editors, 
and is used as an example of the antiquity of the aca- 
demical phrase to-cap, meaning to take olf the cap. 
We admit that the v.-ord cap is used in this sense by early 
English authors. But is oft capp'd supported by the 
context / As we read the passage, three great ones of 
the city wait upon Othello; they off-capp'it — they took 
cap-in-hand — in personal suit that lie should make Iago 
his lieutenant ; but he evades them, ice. He has 
already chosen his officer. Here is a scene painted in 
a manner befitting both the dignity of the great ones 
of the city and of Othello. The audience was given, 
the solicitation was humbly made, the reasons for re- 
fusing it assigned. But take the reading, oft capp'd; 
and then we have Othello perpetually Imunted by the 
three great ones, capping to him, and rciieating to him 
the same prayer, and he perpetually denying them with 
the same bombast circumstance. — Knight. 

'' — a great arithmetician, 
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine.'" 
Charles Armitage Browne, in his original'and very 
inrrenious volume on the autobiographical character of 
Shakespeare's poems, notes the close jn-eservation of 
Venetian customs and manners in Othello, as cor- 
robative of his opinion that the Poet, at some period 
after his earlier works, and before the composition of 
The Merchant ok Venice (first jirinted in KiOO) and 
Othello, had visited Italy, and that he had acquired 


enough Italian to read it. On this passage he remarlcs, 
<' Not one of the annotatois has attempted to give a 
reason wliy Cassio, the Florentine, is called in derision 
'a great arithmetician,' and 'a counter-caster,' with 
'his debitor and creditor;' but there is a good reason. 
A soldier from Florence, famous for its bankers through- 
out Europe, and for its invention of bills of exchange, 
book-keeping, and every thing connected with a count- 
ing-house, might well be ridiculed for his promotion by 
an lago in this manner." 

" Jl fellow almost damti'd in a fair wife."" 
This is one of the debateable grounds of annotators. 
Cassio, being a bachelor, several critics have rejected 
" wife" in the reading of all tlie old copies, and pro- 
posed to read, a fair /nee, or (with Hanmer) jj/ii/-, or 
guise, alluding to Cassio's style of dress; or, with 
Tyrwhitt, lair life. Tlie last is ingeniously explained 
of Cassio's "daily beauty in his life" subjecting him to 
the scriptural curse as one "of whom all men speak 
well." Coleridge, taking it more literally, approves 
the reading as expressing " lago's contempt for all that 
did not display intellectual power." The later editors 
have been satisfied with the original reading, and Ste- 
vens's interpretation of it — that Cassio is almost ruined 
by being nearly married to a frail beauty. In act iv., 
the report of Cassio's being about to marry Bianca is 
mentioned by lago, and explained by Cassio. 

" Wherein the tongued" — So the folio, and the 1630 
quarto ; the first quarto reads toged, which is preferred 
by Collier and others, as referring to the toga or robe 
worn by the Venetian civil officers — men of the gown, 
not of the sword. 

ci — unless the bookish theouic" — " Theoric" is the 
same as theory, and the word was not uncommonly so 

" Christen'd and heathen, — innst be be-lee'd and 
calm'd." — In one quarto. Christian. lago uses terms 
of navigation to express that Cassio had out-sailed him. 

" Whether I in any just term am affined." 
i. e. Do I stand irilhin any such terms of propinquity 
to the Moor, as that I am bound to love him ? The 
first quarto has assigned, 

" What a FULL /or/7tuc"— The folio prints " full" 
/(///; but both the quartos read "full." In Cymbe- 
LiNE we have the expression " full fortune," and in 
Antony and Cleopatra "full fortun'd." Knight has 
thus defended the folio reading, and may be right in 
his preference. " If the Moor can carry it thus — ap- 
point his own officer, in spite of the great ones of the 
city who capp'd to him, and, moreover, can secure Des- 
demona as his prize, — he is so successful, that fortune 
Gives him a heavy fall. To owe is used by Shakespeare 
not only in the ancient sense of to own, to possess, but 
in the modern sense of to be indebted to, to hold or 
possess for another. Fortune here owes the thick-lips 
a fall, in the same way that we say, ' He owes him a 
good or an evil turn.' This reading is much in Shake- 
speare's manner of throwing out a hint of coming ca- 

" — the thick-lips^' — Othello's complexion and race 
have furnished a fruitful theme of discussion. Was he, 
as this phrase would indicate, a negro of the enslaved 
African race, or was he to be viewed as Coleridge and 
others have thousrht, as a " descendant of the proud 
Arabs who had borne sovereisn sway in Europe (men 
'of royal siesre') and had filled an age of comparative 
darkness with their poetry and science ?" " We do not 
think, (says Knisrht, summing up this view of the 
question,) that Shakespeare had any other intention 
than to paint Othello as one of the most noble and ac- 
complished of the proud children of the Ommades and 
the ^bbasides. The expression " thick-lips" from the 

mouth of Roderigo can only be received dramatically, 
as a nickname given to Othello by the folly and ill- 
nature of this coxcomb. Whatever may have been the 
practice of the stage, even in Shakespeare's time, the 
whole context of the play is against tlie notion." Co- 
leridge has remarked M'ith reference to the practice of 
making him a blackamoor, " Even if we supposed this 
an uninterrupted tradition of the theatre, and that 
Shakespeare himself, from the experience that nothing 
could be made too marked for the senses of his au- 
dience, had practically sanctioned it, would this prove 
aught concerning his own intention as a poet for ail 
ages ?" 

On the other hand, actors and artists had familiarized 
England to an Othello of the unmixed African race; 
and this in former days furnished the ground to Rymer, 
(the learned editor of the Fadera, the great storehouse 
of English documentary history,) for a famous attack 
upon the utter improbability of the plot of Othello. 
In our own days and country, a very original article 
of criticism, bearing tlie initials of a distinguished 
American statesman, (See American Monthly Mag., 
1838,) while it renders the highest tribute to the Poet's 
skill and power, has transferred the attack to the 
character of Desdemona ; the points of which he thus 
sums up : — 

" First — That the passion of Desdemona is unnatural, 
solely and exclusively because of his colour. 

" Second — That her elopement to Othello, and secret 
mairiage with him, indicate a personal character not 
only very deficient in delicacy, but totally regardless of 
filial duty, of female modesty, and of ingenuous shame. 

"Third — That her deficiency in delicacy is discern- 
ible in her conduct and discourse throughout the play. 

"The moral of the tragedy is, that the intermarriage 
of black and white blood is a violation of the law of 
nature. This is the lesson to be learned from the 

He adds, "That it does not need any laborious effort 
of the imagination to extend the moral precept result- 
ing from the story to a salutary admonition against all 
ill-assorted, clandestine, and unnatural marriages." 

I should arm as Desdemona's champion against any 
assailant, even against this tremendous veteran, ter- 
rible in every field of controversy; but I refrain, 
(partly it may be because "me ierret Jupiter hostis" 
and I would not wantonly provoke him.) but mainly 
because Desdemona's appeal for herself from lago's 
calumny, and the critics' wrong, is sustained by the 
pervading sentiment of all spectators and readers. I 
should add, too, that I have found whatever I could 
say better said, and with more authority, by a female 
critic, Mrs. Jameson. 

But it is of importance to the true understanding and 
feeling of this drama, that we should not mistake the 
author's own intention, and the understanding of his 
times, as to the relative social position of Othello and 
his bride. The truth here will be found, as truth so 
often is, half way between the two extreme opinions. 

The constant designation of Othello as the Moor, 
with the reference to Barbaiy as his native country, his 
royal descent, his education and experience as a soldier, 
mark him as descended from a civilized, mixed Arab and 
African race, then as well understood as now to be dif- 
ferent from the otlier African races. This was a race 
that had met upon equal terms with the soldiers and 
nobles of Europe ; and we may learn from histor}-, poe- 
trv, and romance, how much the ordinary feeling to- 
wards them difi'ered from that which has since arisen, 
from other causes, towards the African race. There 
was nothing in the Moor's descent so to affect his social 
position in the eyes of Cinthio's readers or Shakespeare's 
audience, as to surprise them at his being received on 
equal footing in the family of a Venetian noble, or at- 
taining the highest military rank in the service of the 



Yet it is equally clear that, in regard to Desdemona, 
his race and colour are not a matter of indifference; 
they are especially dwelt upon as one of the grounds of 
jealousy ; they place between the Moor and the V^ene- 
tian lady a natural barrier, which it requires '• a down- 
right violence and storm of fortune" to break down. It 
is the admiration of high intellect, of heroic qualities 
and achievements — such as has been sometimes known 
in real life to overcome most strange disparities of age, 
character, and external circumstances — which gives the 
lady to see Othello's visage only " in his mind." She 
does not lose her own social position by marriage with 
one under whom Italian and Cypriot nobles (Cassio, 
lago, IMontano) are ambitious to serve, and with whom 
the princes and rulers of the state associate as compan- 
ions ; yet her love to him would appear in itself strange 
and unaccountable, had not the Poet opened to us " the 
pure recesses of her mind," and showed us whence it 
sprung. Let us listen to Mrs. Jameson. 

" The love of Desdemona for Othello, appears at iirst 
such a violation of all probabilities, that her father at 
once imputes it to magic, ' to spells and mixtures pow- 
erful o'er the blood.' And the devilish malignity of 
lago, whose coarse mind cannot conceive an affection 
founded purely ih sentiment, derives from her love itself 
a strong argument against her. 

'Aye, there's the point; as to be bolJ with you, 
Not to affect miiny proposed matelies 
Of her owu eliiiie, complexion, and degree. 
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends.' 

"Notwithstanding this disparity of age, character, 
country, complexion, we, who are admitted into the 
secret, see her love rise naturally, and necessarily out 
of the leading propensities of her nature. 

'•' At the period of the story, a spirit of wild adventure 
had seized all Europe. The discovery of both Indies 
was yet recent ; over the shores of the western hemi- 
sphere still fable and mystery hung, with all their dim 
enchantments, visionary terrors, and golden promises ; 
perilous expeditions and distant voyages were everyday 
undertaken from hope of plunder, or mere love of en- 
terprise; and from these the adventurers returned with 
tales of ' Antres vast and deserts wild, of cannibals that 
did each other eat, of anthropophasri, and men whose 
heads did gi-ow beneath their shoulders.' With just 
such stories did Raleigh and Clifford, and their follow- 
ers, return from the new world ; and thus by their splen- 
did or fearful exaggerations, which the imperfect know- 
ledge of these times could not refute, was the passion 
for the romantic and marvellous nourished at liome, 
particularly among the women. A cavalier of those 
days had no nearer, no surer way to his mistress' heart, 
than by entertaining her with these wondrous narra- 
tives. What was a general feature of his time, Shake- 
speare seized and adapted to his purpose with the most 
exquisite felicity of eflcct. Desdemona, leaving her 
household cares in haste, to han? breathless on Othel- 
lo's tales, was doubtless a picture from the life ; and 
her inexperience and her quick imagination lend it an 
added propriety; then her compassionate disposition is 
interested by all the disastrous chances, hair-breadth 
'scapes, and moving accidents by flood and field, of 
which he has to tell; and her exceedin2 gentleness and 
timidity, and her domestic turn of mind, render her more 
easily captivated by the military renown, the valour, 
and lofty bearing of the noble Moor — 

'And to his honours and his valiant parts 
Docs she her soul and fortunes consecrate.' 

"The confession and the excuse for her love is well 
placed in the mouth of Desdemona, while tlie history 
of the rise of that love, and of his course of wooing, is, 
with the most graceful propriety, as far as she is con- 
cerned, spoken by Othello, and in her absence. The 
last two lines summing up the whole — 

'She loved me for the dangers I had passed, 
And I loved her that she did pity them,' 

comjirisc whole volumes of sentiment and metaphysics. 


"Desdemona displays at times a transient energy, 
arising from the power of affection, but gentleness gives 
the prevailing tone to the character — gentleness in its 
excess — gentleness verging on passivencss — gentleness 
which not only cannot resent, but cannot resist." 

" Yet throw such changes" — The folio has chances ; 
both the quartos " changes." 

"My house is not a grange" — That is, we are in a 
populous city, not in a lone house where robbery might 
easily be committed. A grange is, strictly, the farm of 
a monastery; but in the northern counties of England 
every lone house or farm which stands solitary is called 
a grange. — Warton. 

" — you'll have your nephews neigh to you" — The 
word nephews was formerly used to signify a grandson, 
or any lineal descendant. In Richard III., the Duchess 
of York calls her grand-daughter niece. Nephew here 
is the Latin nepos. 

'^ M this ODD-EVEN and. dull icatch o' the night." — 
"Odd-even of the night" is explained to be the interval 
between twelve at night and one in the morning. 

" In an extravagant and icheeling stranger." — The 
word " in" is here used in the sense of " to." This is 
one of the many obsolete peculiarities of ancient phrase- 
ology. " Extravagant" has its Latin signification of 
"wandering." As in Haailet : — "The extravagant 
and erring spirit." 

" O, she deceives me past thought." — One quarto 
reads, " Thou deceiv'st me." 

Scene IL 

" Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience." — ^The 
very stuff of the conscience, is the very substance of the 

"./?.s double as the duke's." — Some editors give this a 
literal construction, supposing that Shakespeare adopted 
the popular though incorrect notion, that the doge had 
two voices in the senate. It is clear that Shakespeare 
did not take the phrase in a literal sense; for, if he 
had supposed that the duke had a double voice as the 
duke, he would not have assigned the same privilege 
to the senator Brabantio. It means, as much above 
others — as powerful. 

" From men of royal siege ; and my demerits 
May speak, vnhonncted, to as proud a fortune," etc. 
The quartos read " royal height." " Men of royal 

siege" signifies men who have sat upon royal seats or 

thrones. " Siege" is used for " seat" by many writers. 

" Demerits" has here the signification of "merits." As 

in CoRioLANUs : — 

' Opinion, that so sticks on Martius, may 
Of his demerits roll Cominius.' 

Mereo and dcmcrco had the same meaning in the Latin, 
Fuseli has given the best explanation of " unbon- 
neted :" — " I am his equal or superior in rank : and 
were it not so, such are my merits, that unbonneted, 
without the addition of patrician or senatorial dignity, 
they may speak to as proud a fortune," &c. At Ven- 
ice, the bonnet was a badge of aristocratic honours. 

"/ u-onld not my unhoused free condition" — " Un- 
housed" — free from </o?HC.s/ic cares; a thought natural 
to an adventurer, says Johnson. Whalley says that 
Othello, talking as a soldier, means that he has no set- 
tled habitation. 

" For the sea's u-orth." — So in Henry V., act i, 
scene ii. 

' — ns rich with praise 
As is the ooze and bottom of the sea 
With sunken wreck ami sumlcss treasuries.' 

Pliny, whom Shakespeare may have read in Holland's 
translation, if not in Latin, has a chapter on " The 
Riches of the Seas." 


« 'Faith, he io-nighi hath hoarded a land carack." — 
" Carack," a vessel of heavy burden. 

" — weaken motion'" — The old editions agree in this 
reading, and the sense must be — drugs that impair the 
faculties, and deaden those natural inclinations which 
would have led to the choice of younaer and more 
suitable lovers. Yet there is probability in Hanmer's 
conjecture of an early error of the press of weaken for 
waken ; and that " motion" is used in the sense of " the 
wanton stings and motions of the senses," 

Scene IIL 

" ^^s ill these cases, where the aim reports." — " Aim" 
is used in the sense of conjecture, as in The Two Gen- 
tlemen OF Verona : — 

' But fearing lest my jealous aim might err.' 
And in Julius Cjesar : — 

'What you would wish me to, I have some aim.' 
The quartos read, " Thus aim reports," which Johnson 
prefers, as meaning " when men report by conjecture." 

" Valiant Othello, ice must straight employ you 

Against the general enemy Ottoman." 
It was part of the policy of the Venetian state never 
to entrust tlie command of an army to a native. "By 
land (says Thomas), they are served of strangers, both 
for generals, for captains, and for all other men of war; 
because their law permitteth not any Venetian to be 
captain over an army by land : fearing, I think, Caesar's 

"Stood in your action" — "Action" in its legal 
sense — even were it my own son against whom you 
bring your suit. 

" I icon his daughter with." — The last word is not in 
the oldest editions, and Malone and those editors who 
follow his text also omit it, maintaining this to be the 
elliptical phraseolog)" of Shakespeare's acre. But as it 
is added in the second folio, 1632, this would show that 
such an omission was as harsh then as now, and was 
considered as an error of the press ; and so it has been 
considered by Johnson and Stevens and the majority of 

" Send for the lady to the Sagitt.ajiy" — " Sagittary" 
was the name applied to a fictitious being, compounded 
of man and horse. As used in the text, it was formerly 
supposed to be the sicn of an inn; but later inquiry 
shows that it was the residence of the commanding 
officers of the republic's army and navj" : it is said that 
the fi2ure of an archer, over the gate, still indicates 
the spot. 

" And portance in 7n!/ travel's history." — Thus the 
quarto. The folio reading is traveller's history, which 
Knight thus supports : " Othello modestl.v, and some- 
what jocosely, calls his wonderful relations a travel- 
ler's history — a term by which the marvellous stories 
of the Lithgows and Coryats were wont to be desig- 
nated in Shakespeare's day." 

" — and deserts idle" — Thus all the old copies until 
the second folio, (1632.) which reads "desarts wilde." 
This Pope adopted. Johnson manels that Pope should 
have rejected a word " so poetically beautiful" as idle ; 
while Giflbrd, in his notes on Ben Jonson, supports the 
emendation, because " wilde adds a feature of some im- 
port even to a desert, whereas idle leaves it just where 
it first found it." He holds Pope's emendation to be 
better poetry as well as better rhythm, and it is certain 
that the typographical error of idle for icilde would be 
an easy one. Yet idle strikes my ear as more in 
Shakespeare's manner of describinsr the qualities of 
natural objects in lanauase drawn from similar quali- 
ties of living persons — a half personification. To my 
judgment, the old editions need no emendation, though 
the weight of authoritv is the other wav. 

"The anthropophagi," etc. — Sliakespeare did not 
mean that Othello should win his bride (as lago ac- 
cuses him) by telling "fantastical lies." He took as 
true Sir Walter Raleigh's report of what he had heard 
and vouched as his "own belief," in his Voyage to 
Guiana. Extracts from Raleigh, and copies of some 
of the old plates in his narrations, are given in several 
of the English editions of Shakespeare. 

"Bid not intentively" — i. e. attentively ; for so the 
word was used in Shakespeare's time. 

"She srcore" — The modern reader is likely to be 
shocked at the lady's swearing; for that word now, 
when not taken in its legal sense, conveys the idea of 
coarse profanity. But it was formerly used in a larger 
sense for any strong asseveration, as the context shows 
here, that her swearing was "in faith, 'twas strange." 
Thus, Whitaker, in his Vindication of Queen Mary, says 
of Mary : — "To aver upon faith and honour, was then 
called swearing, equally with a solemn appeal to God ; 
and considered as the same with it. This is plain from 
the passage immediately before us : ' I swear — upon my 
faith and honour,' she says expressly. She also says 
she does this 'again ;' thus referring to the commence- 
ment of this letter, where she ' appeals to her God as 
witness.' " 

" — yet she wish'd 
That heaven had made her such a man." 
Tieck says that Eschenburg has fallen into a mistake 
of translating this passage into German as if Desde- 
mona had wished that heaven had made such a man 
for her, instead of wishing that heaven had created her 
as brave as the hero to whose stor}- she had given " a 
world of siglis." Knight is not sure that Eschenburg 

" She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd." 
Rymer, the learned liistorian, and Lord Shaftesbury, 
in other days a high authority both in philosophy and 
in taste, had sneered at this, on which Johnson thus 
comments: — "'Whoever ridicules this account of the 
progress of love, shows his ignorance, not only of his- 
tory but of nature and manners. It is no wonder that 
in any ase, or in any nation, a lady, recluse, timorous, 
and delicate, should desire to hear of events and scenes 
which she could never see, and should admire the man 
who had endured dangers, and performed actions which, 
however great, were magnified by her timidity." 

" — a grise, or step" — The word "grise" is explained 
by " step," which follows it. So, in Tlmon — 
' — every grise of fortune.' 

" — was pierced through the ear" — Warburton sug- 
gested that "we" ought to read pieced; but "pierced," 
as INIalone remarked, means penetrated or reached ; and 
in Marlowe's " Tamburlaine," 1590, we have the ex- 
pression "my heart to be with gladness pierc'd." 

'• Shibber the gloss." — Modern use has confined slid)- 
ber 01- slobber tothe nursery; but it originally meant, 
to take oflf the aloss or brightness of any thing ; as, in 
an old poet, " The evening slubbers day." 

« — I do agnize" — i. e. acknowledge or recognise. 

"The young affects in me defunct." — This passage 
has siven rise to pages of controversial commentary and 
critical conjecture ; and yet Stevens predicts that it will 
" be a lasting souixe of doubt and controversy." The 
old copies all read, and the two quartos punctuate 

thus — 

' Not to comply with heat, the younp affects 
In my defunct, and proper satisfaction.' 

The general intent of this is evident enough ; but it is 

difficult to extract a precise meaning from the words, 
so that editors have had recourse to conjecture. Dr. 
Johnson's is preferred in the text of this edition, (as it 
has been in that of Singer and some others,) as giving 



the best sense, with the slight change of one letter, ine 
for >mj — monosyllables always pronounced alike in old- 
fashioned colloquial English, unless my is specially em- 
phatic. According to this reading, the Moor, remark- 
ing that he had reached that age when, (in Hamlet's 
phrase,) " the heyday of the blood is tame, and waits 
on judgment," says that he asks this favour, not in in- 
dulgence to the heat of youthful passion (which had 
passed away in him) nor for his own satisfaction, but 
to indulge the wishes of his bride. Proper, for oim, was 
of common use, (as the Duke in this scene says, " though 
our proper son ;") and affects for passiaiis may be found 
in all the poets of that age. 

Stevens, and others, have substituted "disiinct satis- 
faction," wliich also gives a reasonable sense, and may 
have been so written originally, for to me it is manifest 
that there is some typographical error in the old copies. 
]\Ir. Collier, however, retains the folio reading, and 
thus explains it : — "Nothing can be clearer, allowing 
only a little latitude of expression. Othello refers to 
his anjc, elsewhere several times alluded to, and 'in my 
defunct and proper satisfaction' is merely 'in my own 
dead satisfaction' or gratification ; the youthful passions, 
or ' young affects,' being comparatively ' defunct' in 

" For she is with 77!c" — i. e. Because she is with me. 
The folio substitutes When for " For" of both the 

" — and active instruments^'' — Our text is from the 
two quartos, agreeing. In the folio, 1623, seel is printed 
for "foil;" offic'd for "active;" instrument for " in- 
struments ;" and estimation for "reputation." 

" — if thoH hast eyes to see" — The quarto, 1622, 
alone reads, "have a quick eye to see." 

"/ have looked upwi the world for four times seven 
years" — It is clear that Shakespeare has fixed lago's 
age at twenty-eisrht, since he makes him distinguish 
between the whole time he had looked upon the world, 
and the time since he could " distincruish between a 
benefit and an injury." The common notion of care- 
less readers is otherwise ; and the actors who have been 
most celebrated in the part, from Quin to Cooke, are 
understood to have represented him as at least a mid- 
dle-aged man. Yet the incident of lago's youth seems 
to add much to the individuality and intensity of the 
character. An old soldier of acknowledged merit, who 
after years of service, sees a young man like Cassio 
placed over his head, has not a little to plead in justi- 
fication of deep resentment, and in excuse, though not 
in defence of his revenge : such a man may well brood 
over imaginary wronss. The caustic sarcasm and con- 
temptuous estimate of mankind are at least pardonable 
in a soured and disappointed veteran. But in a young 
man, the revenge is more purely gratuitous, tlie hypoc- 
risy, the knowledge, and dexterous management of the 
worst and weakest parts of human nature, the reckless- 
ness of moral feeling, — even the stern, bitter wit, intel- 
lectual and contemptuous, without any of the gaycty 
of youth, — are all precocious and peculiar; separating 
lago from the ordinary sympathies of our nature, and 
investing him with higher talent and blacker guilt. 

« — as luscious as locusts — The old and still the 
popular name for the ceratonia, or cnrob, an evergreen 
of the south of Europe, bearing sweet black pods. The 
Mediterranean commerce had made the fruit familiar 
enough to a London audience, and the comparison was 
well suited to tiie month of an Italian. This is more 
probable than the opinion of some of the annotators 
that there is an allusion to the Baptist's food of " lo- 
custs and wild honey." 

" — defeat thy favour"' — Means, alter thy appear- 
ance, or, more strictly, thy countenance. 

'' Traverse" — An ancient military word of command. 
Bardolph gives it to Wart in Henhy IV. 


ACT II.— Scene I. 

" Observe in how many ways Othello is made, first, 
our acquaintance, then our friend, then the object of 
our anxiety, before the deeper interest is to be ap- 
proached." — Coleridge. 

" — with high and monstrous mane." — In the folio, 
this word is spelt maine ; in the quarto, mayne. Most 
modern editions read ' main.' This gives no tolera- 
ble sense, " the surge with high and monstrous main 
sea !" We have therefore adopted the reading of Col- 
lier and Knight, the latter of whom well observes : — 
"In the high and monstrous mane we have a picture 
which was probably suggested by the noble passage in 
Job : ' Hast thou given the horse strength ? Hast thou 
clothed his neck with thunder V One of the biblical 
commentators upon this passage remarks, that Homer 
and Virgil mention the mane of the horse : but that the 
sacred author, by the bold figure of thunder, expresses 
the shaking of the mane, and the fakes of hair which 
suggest the idea of lightning. The horse of Job is 
the war-horse, ' who swalloweth the ground with fierce- 
ness and rage;' and when Shakespeare pictured to him- 
self his jnane wildly streaming, 'when the quiver rat- 
tleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield,' 
he saw an image of the fury of ' the wind-shak'd surge,' 
and of its very form ; and he painted it ' with high and 
monstrous mane.' " 

" — cast water on the burning bear." 
The " burning bear" is the constellation near the 
pole. The next line alludes to the star Arctophylax, 
w^hich word signifies the guard of the bear. 

"^ Veronese." — This is printed in the quarto Ver- 
onessa, and in the folios Verrennessa. There is no 
doubt that this means a Veronese, with the final e ac- 
cented, to give the Italian sound ; just as Spenser has 
" Albanese ;" but the doubt is, whether it is Cassio who 
is called a Veronese, or the ship. Warton, Malone, 
and the later editors, prefer the latter, as it is certain 
that Cassio is elsewhere made a Florentine ; and they 
maintain the vessel to be called a Veronese, (as we 
now say of ships, an American, a Dane, a Hamburgher,) 
because fitted out by Verona, a subject city of Venice. 
On the other hand, the old editions agree in punctu- 
ating as here; and Cassio is called a Veronese, either 
from a slip of the poet's memory, or, if the reader pre- 
fer it, from a mistake of the relater. I have, with Col- 
lier, chosen to retain the original punctuation, without 
being very confident that Warton (who seldom errs) is 
not right here. 

"Thanks yon, the valiant of the warlike isle." — The 
reading of the quarto is — 

' Thanks to the of this worthy isle' 
Many editors give us a mixed reading. 

" — does bear all excellency" — Tlie folio reads, "does 
tire the ingeniuer," which has been taken for inginer. 
Our text is that, not only of the quarto, 1622, but of 
the quarto, 1630. By the "essential vesture of crea- 
tion" the poet means her ordivard form, which he in 
another place calls " the muddy vesture of decay." If 
the reading of the folio be adopted, the meaning would 
be this — She is one who excels all description, and in 
real beauty, or outward form, goes beyond the power 
of the inventive pencil of the artist. Flcckno, in his 
Discourse on the English Stage, 1664, speaking of 
painting, mentions " the stupendous works of your great 
ingeniers." And Ben Jonson, in his Sejanus, act iv., 
sc. 4 : — 

'No, Silius, wc are no good ingeniers, 
We want the fine arts.' 

An ingcnicr or ingeniuer undoubtedly means an artist 
or painter ; and is ]ierhaps only anotlier form for en- 
gineer, anciently used for any kind of artist or artificer. 


"If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace." — 
" Trace" seems used to indicate some species of con- 
finement (like a trace applied to horses) in order to 
keep back a dog that is too quick in hunting. 

"in the rank garb" — Having puzzled Stevens and 
Malone, is merely — in the right down, or straight for- 
ward fashion. In As You Like It we have " the right 
butterwoman's rank to market." And in King Lear, 
Cornwall says of Kent in disguise, that he "doth alfect 
a saucy roughness, and constrains the garb (i. e. as- 
sumes the fashion) quite from his nature." Gower 
says of Fluellen, in King Henry V. : — "You thought, 
because he could not speak Ensjlisli in the native garb, 
he could not therefore handle an English cudgel." 
The folio reads " in the right garb." — Singer. 

"Knavery's plain face," etc. — An honest man acts 
upon a plan, and forecasts his designs ; but a knave 
depends upon temporary and local opportunities, and 
never knows his own purpose, but at the time of exe- 
cution. — Johnson. 


" — they have given me a rouse already" — Respect- 
ing the word "rouse," see the King's "rouse" in 

« J life's but a span" — The folio reads " Oh man's 
life's but a span." 

" King Stephen was a worthy peer" — The ballad from 
which these two stanzas are quoted is to be found en- 
tire in Percy's '•' Reliques." In Camden's " Remains" 
is a stoiT respecting the breeches of William Rufus; 
but there the kins complained, not that his breeches 
were " all to dear," but that they did not cost enough. 

" //■ drink rock not his cradle" — That is, if he have 
no drink he'll keep awake while the clock strikes two 
rounLJs, or four-and-twenty hours. Chaucer and other 
old writers use "' horologe" familiarly. 

"' Diablo" — An exclamation employed by other drama- 
tists. It is the Spanish title of the devil. 

" jlnd passion, having my best judgment collied," — 
Blackened, discoloured. The quarto reads cooled ; evi- 
dently a mistake. 

"Probal" — Thus, all the old editions. There may 
be (says Stevens) such a contraction of the word 
probable, but I have not met with it in any other book. 

" When devils will the blackest sins pnt on. 
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows." 

The term " put on" is here and in various other 
places used in the sense of urge on. The meaning 
is, when devils mean to instigate men to commit the 
most atrocious crimes, they prompt or tempt at first 
with appearances of vutue. — Malone. 

"That she repeals him" — i. e. recalls him; its ety- 
mological sense. To repeal a statute is to recall it. 

ACT III.— Scene I. 

" — 7 never knew 
A Florentine more kind and honest." 

Cassio does not mean to call laso a Florentine, since 
he was a Venetian, as is evident from several parts of 
this tragedy, but to say that he, Cassio, never knew 
even one of his own countrymen more kind and honest. 

Scene ITT. 

"I'll watch him tame." — Hawks and other birds 
were tamed by beins kept from sleep. Thus, in Cart- 
wright's " Lady Errant"^ 

' We'll keep ynii. 
As they ilo liawks, watching until you leave 
Tour wildness.' 

" Not now, sweet Desdemon." — In five passages of 
this play, in the folio edition, Desdemona is called Des- 
demon, and here in the second quarto. The abbrevia- 
tion was not a capricious one, nor introduced merely 
for the sake of rhythm. It is clearly used as an epithet 
of familiar tenderness. In the present instance Otlullo 
playfully evades his wife's solicitation with a rarely- 
used term of endearment. In act iv. scene ii.,it comes 
out of the depth of conflicting love and jealousy — 

' Ah I Desdemon, away, away, away !' 
In act V. scene ii., it is used upon the last solemn occa- 
sion when he speaks to her, — 

•Have you pray'd to-night, DesdemonV 
And, lastly, it is spoken by him when he has discovered 
the full extent of his guilt and misery : — 

' O Desdemon! dead? Desdemon!'' — 
The only other occasion in which it is employed is by 
her uncle Gratiano — 

' Poor Desdemon !' 
We have no warrant for rejecting such a marked pe- 
culiarity. — Knight. 

"Save that, they say, the wars must make examples 
Out of her best." 

That is, the severity of military' discipline must not 
spare the best men of the army, when their punishment 
may afford a wholesome example. — Johnson. " Her 
best," a personification of war, changing the number. 

'• Or stand so mammering on." — One quarto has 
muttering. The word — in the meaning of suspense, 
hesitating — is used by old writers, as in Ljly's " Eu- 
phues" — "Neither stand in a Tnarwwieringj whether it 
be best to depart or not." 

" Excellent wretch !" — The meaning of the word 
wretch is not generally understood. It is still, in some 
parts of England, a term of the softest and fondest ten- 
derness. It expresses the utmost degree of amiableness, 
joined with an idea, which perhaps all tenderness in- 
cludes, of feebleness, softness, and want of protection. 
" Excellent wretch" expresses " Dear, harmless, help- 
less excellence." — Johnson. 

There is a singular coincidence of phrase between 
these lines and two in a Latin poem of Buchanan's : — 

' Ccsset amor, pariter cessaliunt focdera rerum. 
In Chaos antiquum, cuncta elciuenta ruent.' 

"By HEAVEN, he echoes me" — Thus, the quarto, 
1622: the folio, " ^/«« .' he echoes me;" and the quar- 
to, 1630, "Why dost thou echo me?" 

" They are close delations" — The word "' denote- 
ments" stands in the quarto, 1622, for delations of the 
folio and of the quarto, 1630. Johnson conjectures 
"delations" are accusations or informations ; and in 
this sense Ben Jonson used the verb to delate in his 
" Volpone," — 

' Tet, if I do not, they may delate 
3Iy slackness to my patron.' 

I have preferred the reading which gives a clear sense 
without the aid of conjectural correction. 

"Keep LEETS, and law-days" — Leets and law-days 
are synonymous terms. " Lcet (says Jacob, in his Law 
Dictionary) is otherwise called a law-day." They are 
there explained to be courts, or meetinss of the htui- 
dred, " to certify the kins of the good manners, and 
government, of the inhabitants," and to inquire of all 
offences that are not capital. The Poet's meanins then 
is — Who has a breast so pure but that foul thousrhts 
and surmises will not sometimes intrude, hold a sessicm 
there as in a lawful court, and sit judicially by the side 
of lawful thoughts ? 

" // is the grecn-cy'd monster, which doth make 

The meat it feeds on." 
The old copies have "mock." The correction was 
made by Sir T. Hanmer. I have not the smallest doubt 
J that Shakespeare wrote '■ make," and have, there- 



fore, inserted it in the text. The words " make" and 
" mocke" (for such was the old speliinir) are often con- 
founded in these plays. — Malone. 

1 have received Hanmer's emendation : because "to 
mock" does not signify " to loathe ;" and because, 
when lago bids Othello " beware of jealousy, the grcen- 
ey'd monster," it is natural to tell why he should be- 
ware ; and, lor caution, he gives him two reasons : — 
that jealousy often creates its own cause, and tliat, when 
the causes are real, jealousy is misery. — Johnsox. 

Passages, from Shakespeare and other writers, are 
quoted in support of this reading. The chief is what 
Emilia says of jealousy, in the last scene of Ihis act: — 
" 'Tis a monster, begot upon itself, born on itself."' 

This emendation was first made by the poet Southern, 
in manuscript, in his folio copy, and all his emendations 
are of great authority, as he approached nearer Shake- 
speare's age than any other of his commentators, was a 
native of the same town, and had much poetic taste 
anil feeling. Collier has no difficulty in regarding 
mock as a mere error of the press. Yet Stevens defends i 
and Knight retains the original reading, which is thus i 
explained — "which doth play with, half receive and ; 
half reject, the meat it feeds on." Stevens takes it as 
an allusion to the tiger or the cat, that sports with its 
victim on which it feeds. 

"Exsuj/licate" — Todd, in his edition of Johnson's 
Dictionary, says that " exsufflicate" may be traced to the 
low Latin cxmfflare, to spit down upon, an ancient form 
of exorcising, and fisruratively to spit out in abhorrence 
or contempt. Exsvfflicate may thus signify contempt- 
ible. Richardson, in his Dictionary, dissents from this : 
considering the word "not improbably a misprint for 
exsnfflate, i. e. efflate or cfflatcd, puffed out ; and, con- 
sequently, exaggerated, extravagant." 

"She did deceive her father, marrying ywi : 
Jtid, when she seem'd to shake, and fear your looks, 
She lov'd them iiiost." 

This and the following argument of Othello ought to 
be deeply impressed on every reader. Deceit and false- 
hood, whatever conveniences they may for a time prom- 
ise or produce, are in the sum of life obstacles to hap- 
piness. Those who profit by the cheat distrust the de- 
ceiver, and the act by which kindness was sought, puts 
an end to confidence. The same objection may be 
made, with a lower degree of strength, against the 
imprudent generosity of disproportionate marriages. 
When the first heat of passion is over, it is easily suc- 
ceeded by suspicion that the same violence of inclination 
which caused, one irresularity, may stimulate to an- 
other; and those that have shown that their passions 
arc too violent tor their prudence, will, with vei-y slight 
appearances against them, be censured as not very 
likely to restrain them by their virtue. — Johnson. 

" — if I do prove her hat^i^ard, 
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings." 
A " hasgard" is a ivild, and, as Johnson truly says, 
an nnredaimcd hawk. "Jesses" were short straps of 
leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she was 
held on the fist. The falconers (Johnson observes) let 
lly the hawk against the wind : if she flies with the 
wind behind her, she seldom returns. If, tlierefore, a 
hawk was for any reason to be dismissed, she was let 
down the wind, and from that time shifted for itself, and 
jireyed. at fortune. 

" Your NAPKIN." — "Napkin" and handkerchief were 
synonymous. The expression was used as recently as 
the date of the Scotch proceedings in the Doucrlas cause, 
in whicli a lady is described as constantly dressed in a 
hoop, with a large napkin on her breast. A pocket- 
handkerchief is still a pocket-napkin in Scotland, and 
the north of England. 

"Be not ACKNowN on'/'" — The quarto "Be not you 
known oft." The more poetical word, acknojvv, is 


used in a similar manner in the "Life of Ariosto," sub- 
joined to Sir John Harrington's translation of it, 1607: 
" Some say he was mairied to her privily, but durst not 
be ucknown of it." 

"Ao/ poppy, nor mandragora" — The "mandra- 
gora," or mandrake, has a sorporific quality ; and the 
ancients (says Stevens) used it when they wanted an 
opiate of the most powerful kind. " Ow'dst" is aicn- 
edest, a sense of the verb " owe" of which we have 
many examples. 

"The sjnrit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife." 
Warton (still known in literature by the familiar 
name lie bore in his life, as Tom Warton) has left a 
commentary on this line, in which his boy-like love of 
the drum and fife, gives zest to his antiquarian know- 
ledge. He tells us, that Shakespeare paints from the 
life: the drum and fife (accompanying each other) being 
in his age used by the English soldiery, and common 
throughout Europe. The fife, as a martial instrument, 
was then long discontinued in England, until it was 
revived by the Duke of Cumberland (the victor of Cul- 
loden) in 1747, since which it became general in the 
English service. It was at that time borrowed from 
the German or Dutch allies, and its use is of great an- 
tiquity on the continent. Warton traces his " beloved 
fife" back to the siege of Paria in 1525, and follows 
the "drommes and viffleurs" through the military drill, 
feasts, masques, and processions, to Philip and ISIary, 
in 1554. It was formerly used in the French service, 
especially by the Swiss regiments ; but since the revo- 
lution, it has gone out of use in France. M. de Vigny, 
in his spirited translation of this passage, gives only the 
drum ; which Knijht attributes to " the fife being un- 
known to the French in the present day." It is more 
probably because fifre is less poetical to a French ear, 
than even the shrill sounding -word fife is to us, 

' Allien, beaux liataillons aux jianaches flottants; 
Adieu, piierre, adieu, toi ilont les jeux eclatants 
Font de raiiLliition unc vcrtu sublime ! 
Adieu done, le eoursier que la trumpette anime, 
Et ses hennissements et les bruits du tambour, 
L'etendard qu'on deploie avcs des ciis d'araour!' 

" — RUDE throats." — The two quartos read "wide 
throats;" and as Milton has spoken of the "deep- 
throated" thunder of artillery, this may have been the 
author's original phrase. Yet rude seems to me so 
much in unison with Shakespeare's characteristic of 
giving human expression to inanimate objects, that I 
conjecture this to be an emendation of his own in the 
later copies — wide having been the first epithet, descrip- 
tive and appropriate, but unimpassioned. 

« — of MINE eternal soul" — In the quarto, 1622, 
" maii'seternal soul;" a finer reading than that in the 
text, which, however, is retained, as havinsi the concur- 
rent autliority of the other old copies and a sufficient 

"MT?!ff?«c, that ivas as fresh." — This speech is con- 
tained only in tlie last quarto and the folios; the latter 
having the reading here sziven, the quarto substituting 
"her name." This last is now the common reading, 
bavins; been preferred by all the editors except Rowe, 
Malone, and Knisrht. I^ither reading gives a clear and 
forcible sense; but the passion of the scene, to my feel- 
ing of it, is with the folios. As Othello's name, accord- 
inc to the usual unjust estimate of the world, would be 
sullied by his wife's infidelity, liis intense feelinu' of per- 
sonal honour is deeply wounded, even while he still 
doubts as to her real guilt ; — 

' I tliink my wife be boncst, and tliinV slie is not.- — 
Would I were s;itislied.' 

and he bursts into umrovernable passion at the thouyUt 
of his disgrace — "I'll not endure it." 

"Jlrise, black vengeance, from the hollow hell .'" 
Thus the folios. The two quartos concur in reading 
"thy hollow cell;" which Collier, upon the weight of 


their concurring authority, with several other editors, as 
a matter of taste, prefers and adopts. I think the first 
reading more poetic and appropriate: " hollow," as ap- 
plied to cell, strikes me, as it did Warburton, to be un- 
meaning; but "the hollow hell" is in consonance with 
the feeling of the speaker, and the poetic phraseology' 
of the age. Milton has repeatedly adopted and applied 
it — '■ the hollow deep of hell resounds,"' and " hell's 
concave;"' and in the old translations of Homer and 
Seneca, which Shakespeare must have read, the same 
phrase is used. Besides, the context seems to lead to 
this very word. Othello in the preceding line sajs — 
' All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven'' — 

and the antithesis of Revenge arising from hell, was 
naturally suggested." 

" Xe'er feels retiring ebb" — Tlie folios (followed in 
the Pictorial edition) had it, " Ne'er keeps retiring ebb." 
Pope altered keep.^ to "feels." This conjecture was 
happy, as is proved by the quarto, 1630, which was ex- 
actly the same word, "Ne'er/cc/s retiring ebb." The 
later tolios repeat keeps, but Southern altered the word, 
in his copy of the edition of Ui85, to knows. 

From the word " Like" to "' marble heaven," inclu- 
sively, is not found in the quarto, 1(J22. Pope thinks 
that it would be better omitted, as an unnatural excur- 
sion in this place. Shakespeare probably derived his 
knowledge upon this subject from the second book and 
ninety-seventh chapter of Pliny's Natural Histor)-, 
1(301 : — " And the sea Pontus evermore floweth and 
runneth out into Propontis ; but the sea never retireth 
backe againe within Pontus." Mr. Edwards conceived 
this simile might allude to Sir Philip Sidney's device, 
whose impress Camden, in his " Remains" says, was 
the Caspian Sea, with this motto — Sine Reflexu. 

There is also a continual flow of the tide at Gib- 
raltar, where the Mediterranean " ne'er feels retiring 
ebb, but keeps due on" to the Atlantic. 

" — shall be in me remorse." — Stevens and others 
have given numerous quotations from old English wri- 
ters, showing remorse to have been anciently used by 
them for pity, compassion ; as in Hollingshed — " to have 
remorse and compassion upon others' distresses." lago 
must therefore be understood as saying — Let him com- 
mand any bloody work, and to obey will not be an act 
of cruelty, but of compassion for his wrongs. 

" My friend is dead." — It is remarkable how the im- 
press of Shakespeare's mind can be traced through all 
English poetiy and eloquence, even where one would 
least expect to find it. In Lord Clive's defence of his 
conduct in India, a speech famous in the last genera- 
tion, and ascribed to Wedderburn, is this passage, evi- 
dently suggested by the above words : " Ali Kawn was 
my friend, whom I loved ; but the service of my coun- 
try required that he should die — and he was dead." 


" Full of cRuzADOEs" — A Portugucsc gold coin, so 
called from the cross stamped upon it. 

" Bui our new heraldry is — hands, not hearts." 
Warburton, with his accustomed ambitious ingenuity, 
maintains this to be a satirical allusion to the bloody 
hand borne on the arms of the order of baronets, first 
created by James I. This is approved by the high au- 
thority of Johnson, Douce, and Judge Blackstone. Ste- 
vens, and other later editors, reject it, and apparently 
with reason. This creation was not until ten years 
after the now ascertained date of the first performance of 
Othello ; the passage therefore must have been added 
to the first draft of the play. This is possible ; as we 
know that many other small and some important alter- 
ations and additions were made. Yet it is hardly pos- 
sible that Shakespeare would have introduced so obvious 
an anachronism as making Othello refer to the last 


heraldic innovation of the day ; and this for the purpose 
of a needless allusion, olfensive to the court and the 
new order. 

"That handkerchief." — Mrs. Jameson (a much bet- 
ter judge in this, as well as in many other matters, tlian 
the male critics) observes, that this handkerchief was 
one of those embroidered handkerchiefs, which were as 
fashionable in Shakespeare's lime as in our own, it 
being described in the Italian as " lavorato alia moris- 
co;" which, she says, " is the pattern we now call ara- 
besque. This slight description suggested to the poeti- 
cal fancy of Shakespeare one of the most exquisite and 
characteristic passages in the whole play." In the last 
scene of the play, Othello says, that this was "' an an- 
tique token, my father gave my mother." This has 
been noted as an oversight ; but Stevens considers it as 
a fresh proof of the Poet's art : — " The first account was 
purposely ostentatious, in order to alarm his wife the 
more. When he again mentions it, the truth was suf- 

" — in a more coxtikuate time." — One quarto, con- 
venient. Continuate time is — time uninterrupted. 

"' / 7n7tst be circumstanc'd" — i. e. I must yield to cir- 

[Venetian Soldier off Guard.! 

ACT IV.— Scene I. 

" — hypocrisy against the devil" — ]Means, hypocrisy to 
cheat the devil. As common hypocrites cheat men, by 
seeming good and yet living wickedly, these men would 
cheat the devil, by giving him flattering hopes, and at 
last avoiding the crime which he thinks them ready to 
commit. — Johnson. 

"Convinced or supplied them" — i.e. overcome or 
satisfied them. This is an ordinary sense of " con- 
vince;" as, in Macbeth, a malady is said " to convince 
the assay of art." 

a — withmit some instruction." — Warburton would 
read induction. Johnson thus explains "instruction:" 
"There has always prevailed in the world an opinion, 
that when any great calamity happens at a distance, 



uotice is given of it to the sulierer by some dejection or 
perturbation of mirnJ, of which he discovers no external 
cause. This is ascribed to that general communication 
of one part of tlie universe with another which is called 
sympathy and antipathy; or to the secret monition, in- 
struction, and influence of a superior Being, whicli su- 
perintends the order of nature. Othello says, 'Na- 
ture could not invest herself in such shadowing passion 
yf'ithvut imt lud ion.' 'It is not words that shake me 
thus.' This passion, whicli spreads its clouds over me, 
is the ellect of some agency more than the operation of 
words ; it is one of those notices which men have of 
unseen calamities." 

Sir Joshua Reynolds says — " Othello alludes only to 
Cassio's dream, which had been invented and told him 
by lago. When many confused and very interesting 
ideas pour in upon the mind all at once, and with such 
rapidity that it has not time to shape or digest them, 
if it does not relieve itself by tears, (which we know it 
often does, whether for joy or grief,) it produces stupe- 
faction and fainting. 

" Othello, in broken sentences and single words, all 
of which have a reference to the cause of his jealousy, 
shows, that all the proofs are present at once to his 
mind, which so overpowers it that he falls into a trance, 
the natural consequence." 

" — in a patient list" — i. e. in a patient limit or 

" Fitchew" — The polecat ; apparently a cant phrase 
for a courtesan. 

" To ATONK them" — i. c. to reconcile them, or at one 
them ; as in Coriolanus and elsewhere. 

Scene IL 
" A fixed figure, for the time of scorn," etc. 
By the " fixed figure," we understand a living man 
exjiosed to public shame ; or, an effigy exhibited to a 
multitude, as Butler has it : — 

•To puuish in effigic criminals.' 

By " the time," we receive the same idea as in Ham- 
let: — 

'For who would bear tbc wliips and scorns of timeV 
" Time" is by Hamlet distinctly used to express the 
times, the age ; and it is used in the same way by Ben 
Jonson : — 

' O how I hate the monstrousncss of time !' 
In the passage before us, then, the "time of scorn" is 
the age of scorn. Shakespeare has also personified 
scorn in his 78th sonnet : — 

'When thou shalt lie dispos'd to set me light, 
And place my merit in the eye of scorn.' 

The slow finger is the pausing finger, pointing at the 
fixed figure ; but, while it points, it moves in mockery. 
Shakespeare was, perhaps, thinking of the Digito Mon- 
strari of the ancients ; or, it may be, of the finger ges- 
ticulations of the Italians." — Knight. 

"Patience, thoit. young and rose-lipped cherubin." — 
Cherubin, in the singular, as elsewhere in Shakespeare; 
not cherubim, as it appears in very many good editions. 
Cherubin is the older English word for cherub, as also 
seraphin lor seraph. Cherubim is the Hebrew plural 
adopted through the Latin into our language, and used 
in solemn and devotional style for cherubs. 

" — discourse, or thought, or actual deed." — The 
folio reading is " discourse of thought," which is fol- 
lowed in many of the best editions. This gives a good 
and clear sense, in old poetic language, as meaning 
•' the discursive range of thought ;" like Hamlet's " dis- 
course of reason." But the quarto reading is, as here 
printed, "discourse, or thought;" which Pope adopted, 
and Stevens defends. It ai)pears to me more probable 
in itself, because more impressive, and more in unison 
with the particularity of Desdemona's asseveration of 
innocence in every possible manner : — 

' — that mine eyes, mine cars, or any sense, 
Delighted them in any other form ; 
Or that I do not yet, and ever did. 
And ever will,' etc. 

It is natural that, in this minute asseveration, she should 
also alfirm her innocence ol" any trespass against her 
plighted love, even in word or discourse. The phrase 
too, resembles, and is supposed to have been per- 
haps suggested by the language of the liturgy and old 
catechisms, — " offending in thought, word, or deed." 
The authorities being balanced, I rest my own decided 
preference for the reading in the text, upon the superior 
intensity of expression thus gained by the repetition 
of or. 

Scene IIL 

"He looks gentler than he did." — "Here is one of 
those side-intimations of the fluctuations of passion, 
which Ave seldom meet with but in Shakespeare. He 
has here put into half a line what some authors would 
have spun into ten set speeches." — Hazlitt. 

" — she had a song of — willow." — In Percy's " Re- 
liques," will be found an old ballad, from the black-letter 
copy in the Pepys Collection, entitled " A Lover's Com- 
plaint, being forsaken of liis Love." Shakespeare, in 
adopting a portion of this ballad, accommodated the 
words to the story of " poor Barbara." We subjoin two 
stanzas of tlie original from which the song in tlie text 
has been formed : — 

* A poore soulc sat sigliing under a sicainorc tree ; 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
With his hand ou his liosoni, his head on his knee; 

O willow, willow, willow ! 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
Sing, O the grcenc willow shall be my garland. 

'The cold streams ran by him, his eyes wept apace; 

O willow, willow, willow .' 
The salt tears fell from him, which drowned his face : 

O willow, etc. 
Sing, O the grcene willow,' etc. 

ACT v.— Scene L 

" — this young quat" — The quarto reads gnat ; and 
the older commentators were much puzzled by either 
reading, until Johnson explained, that a quat, in the 
midland counties, is a pimple, which by rubbing is made 
to smart, or is rubbed to sense. It has since been found 
in other old authors. 

"7 will make proof of thine" — Malone explains that 
Cassio's speech implies that he wore some secret ar- 
mour. The coat was the buff jerkin, which agreed 
with the Italian costume, and was usual in England 
until after Charles I. Walter Scott mentions it in 
some of his novels. 

"O inhuman dog!" — The modern stage-direction 
here in several editions is "Dies," but it is evident 
from what is said at the end of the act, that Rodcrigo 
does not die immediately. This stage-direction is not 
in any of the old copies. 

" Good GENTLEMEN." — The quarto reads, good gentle- 
woman, which Malone adopts; but Lodovico and Gra- 
tiano are going away with Cassio, when lago stops 
them, to hear Ills accusation of Bianca. 

Scene IL 

" Put out the light, and then — put out the light ?" 
This passage is printed in the old copies — 

' Put out the light, and then put out the light.' 

This has long been a favourite text for critical and the- 
atrical discussion. Nearly a century ago. Fielding, in 
his " Journey to the Next World," makes Betterton and 
Booth, the great actors of the i)receding generation, 
dispute in the Elysian Fields on the diflerent readings 
or meanings of the line, and finally refer it to Shake- 
speare himself, who frankly confesses that he is not 


able to decide the controversy. But the author had a 
clear meaning in his mind, and the only dithculty is to 
decide which of the several meanings presented by va- 
ried punctuation and emphasis, is the one intended. 
The punctuation adopted in the text is that first sug- 
gested by Upton and Warburton, which adds so much 
beauty and force, that it lias at last obtained general 
reception even among those critics most tenacious of 
the original readings. Warburton thus comments on 
his reading : — 

" The meaning is — I will put out the light, and then 
proceed to the execution of my purpose. But the ex- 
pression of puttine: out the light bringing to mind the 
effects of the extinction of the light of life, he breaks 
short, and questions himself about the effects of this 
metaphorical extinction, introduced by a repetition of 
his first words, as much as to say — But hold, let me 
first weigh the reflections which this expression so na- 
turally excites." 

But the learned Dr. Farmer treats this as a fanciful 
refinement, "giving a spirit which was never intended 
by the author." He says — " It seems a mere play upon 
words ; to put the lisht out, was a phrase for to kill." 
Malone supports this opinion warmly, maintaining that 
the Poet meant merely to say, " I will now put out the 
lighted taper which I hold, and then put out the light 
of life." He conjectures, too, the true reading to be 
"and then put out thy lisht." But the internal evi- 
dence of the connection of thought, the Shakespearian 
characteristics of manner, and the increased imprcssive- 
ness and pathos, have overcome these objections, and 
now give very general acceptance to the later reading. 
Knight, averse as he is to innovation upon the folio, 
agrees with Singer and Collier in adopting the amended 
punctuation; and the younger Boswcll, while he leaves 
Malone's text unaltered, thus comments upon it : — 

" Broken sentences, as I have had occasion more 
than once to observe, are much in our Poet's manner, 
and are surely natural in the perturbed state of 
Othello's mind. I am unwilling to persuade myself 
that a resulation of the text which contains so much 
beauty could be merely the refinement of a critic, and 
that our great author, in one of his most highly-wrought 
scenes, instead of it, intended nothing but a cold con- 

'^ And inak'st me call, what I intend to do, 
A murder — " 

"This line is difficult. Thmi hast hardened my 
heart, and makest me kill thee with the rage of a inur- 
derer when I thought to have sacrificed thee to justice 
with the calmness of a priest strikinsj a victim. 

"One of the quartos reads — 'thou, dost stone thy 
heart;' which I suspect to be genuine. The meaning 
then will be — thou forcest me to dismiss thee from the 
world in the state of the murdered without preparation 
for death, tvhen I intended that thy punishment should 
have been a sacrifice atoning for thy crime. 

" I am glad that I have ended my revisal of this 
dreadful scene. It is not to be endured." — Johnson. 

" ' Thy hearf is the reading of the original quarto, 
1622."— Malone. 
Singer's alteration of the punctuation is ingenious, 

and may possibly be risht : 

' And mak'st mc call, what I intend to do 
(A murder which I thought) a sacrifice.' 

i. e. Thou dost harden my heart, and mak'st me call 
what I before thought a murder, now only a sacrifice. 

"So, so!" — There is no stage-direction at this place 
in the original copies ; but it is most probable that the 
Poet intended Othello here to stab Dcsdernona, accord- 
ing to the practice of the modern stnire. His previous 
resolution, " I'll not slicd her blood," is forgotten in 
the agony and terror of the moment, when he says — 
"Not dead ! not yet quite dead ?" 

" — a THOUSAND times committed." — Dr. Johnson 

thinks that this and other passages seem to suppose 
a longer space comprised in the action of this play than 
the scene includes. Mr. Toilet has adduced several 
instances in suppoi-t of this opinion, as that in act iii. 
scene 3 : — 

' I slept the next night well, fed well, was free and uierrj- ; 
I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips.' 

" On Othello's wedding night, he and Cassio embarked 
from Venice, where Dcsdernona was left under the 
care of lago. They all met at Cyprus ; and since 
their arrival there, the scenes include only one night, 
the night of the celebration of their nuptials. What 
night was there to intervene between Cassio's kisses 
and Othello's sleeping the next night well ? lago has 
said, ' I lay with Cassio lately,' which he could not 
well have done, unless they had been longer at Cyprus 
than is represented in this play ; nor could Cassio have 
kept away for the space of a whole week from Bianca." 
Stevens obviates one objection, by supposing that what 
Othello mentions might have passed before he was 
married, when Cassio went between them, and that 
a thousand times is only an aggravated term for many 

The laws of dramatic writing as to time, are founded 
on the degree of acquiescence the mind can give to any 
imaginarj' prolongation of the supposed period of dra- 
matic action beyond that which actually passes, as the 
spectator witnesses the representation. The classic and 
regular French drama, somewhat arbitrarily, confined 
the duration of the plot to twenty-four hours. In the 
English, German, and what is called generally the Ro- 
mantic drama, there is given great allowance for a 
lapse of time of days and weeks in those intervals be- 
tween the acts and scenes when the stage is empty ; 
and the spectator may as well believe a day to have 
elapsed as an hour. To this the imagination readily 
lends itself. But ordinarily the mind is not ready to give 
assent to a very much greater lapse of time, claimed by 
the poet as necessan" for his story, than actually passes 
while the stage is occupied by the same continuous dia- 

Now, to my mind, there are two distinct grounds of 
defence for our Poet in his alleged breach of the com- 
mon law of the English stage ; for no one pretends 
that he is amenable to the stricter statute of the clas- 
sic drama. The English commentators have quite 
overlooked the first and most obvious defence, which 
is strange. There is an intert'al of a sea-voyage be- 
tween the first and second acts, after the marriage. 
There is again an interval between the first and third 
scenes of the third act, quite sufficient to allow as large 
an interval as an imagination at all excited by the 
interest of the plot, could require. Cassio, after re- 
questing an opportunity to solicit Desdemona's inter- 
cession for him, is not of necessity immediately admit- 
ted to an interview. For aught that appears, a week 
may have elapsed in the two intervals, between the 
first and third scenes, while the stage is twice va- 
cant. There is also an indefinite interval after the 
first strong suspicions have been infused into Othello's 
breast, between the third and fourth acts. To my un- 
derstanding this is quite sufficient for Shakespeare's 
vindication, upon the naked literal facts of the case, to 
the most matter-of-fact and unpoetical comprehension. 

But the higher ground of the Poet's justification is, 
that even the fault charged does not oflend against the 
principle and intent of the dramatic law. It is the pur- 
pose of the rule that the reader or spectator should not 
be offended by palpable impossibility, so as to prevent 
him from giving that transient assent to the reality of 
the scene, which is necessary for any lively interest or 
deep emotion. Now in ever)' scene of quick and ex- 
citing action, whether it be the torrent-like rapidity of 
events in Macbeth, or the crowded interest of the 
Agamemnon of Eschylus, or Corneille's Cid, or even 
the colder succession of incident in Addison's Cato, the 
events occurring as related are such as by no possi- 



bility could occur within the limits of the actual repre- 
sentation; yet these are all received by the inind as at 
least probable or conventional truths, sometimes even 
as living realities. Their sui;2;eslions are tilled out by 
the workings of our thoughts, as the eye fills up for 
itself the outline of a masterly sketch with the details 
necessary for truth of imitation. When the imagina- 
tion is warmed, the feelings engaged, the attention 
fixed, the intellect busy, we do not stop to look at the 
watch. Therefore it is that we follow latro's machina- 
tions, and Othello's wrath kindling till it blazes into a 
devouring flame, not as the mere witness of so many 
minutes' dialogue, but as made pri^y to a plot of which 
this dialogue is but tlie outline, and which may have 
occupied days, and weeks, and even months, in its 
progress. When the Poet has once subjected us to his 
control on the stage, there seems no reason why we 
should be more sensible o( the short space of time into 
which he crowds his events, than the reader is in pursu- 
ing any imaginative and impassioned narrative. It does 
not occur to us to inquire whether the catastrophe was 
attained in an hour or two, or in as many weeks. 

Such is certainly the experience as to Othello; for 
until it became the subject of minute criticism by pro- 
fessed critics and laborious commentators, it had been 
the delight of the stage and the closet, for a century 
and a half, before it occurred to any one that there was 
the smallest incongruity as to the time of action. 

If my own experience can add any thing to the gen- 
eral suffrage, I can say that after thirty years' admira- 
tion and study of this drama, the dilliculty above sug- 
gested never attracted my attention until the prepara- 
tion of this edition led to a more minute examination 
of the commentators. 

"Iago stabs Emilia, then runs out," etc. — The old 
stage-direction is " IVic Moor runs at Iago ; Iago kills 
his wife ;" but his exit is not marked until after Emil- 
ia's next speech, although Gratiano before says " He's 
gone." It appears from the text that Montano disarms 
Othello. Wishing to preserve the author's original idea 
of the stage action, I have restored so much of the old 
stage-direction as had been omitted. 

" — the ice-brook's temper." — Thus the folio ; but as 
it was printed in the quartos " iscbrookes," Pope and 
Sir W. Blackstone would read, the " Ebro's temper." 
The folio is risht, and the other a misprint, for the 
swords or blades of Spain were famous in these days, 
as we may learn from ISen Jonson and others, and it 
was the common practice to temper steel by putting it 
red-hot into very cold water. Stevens has shown from 
Justin and Martial, that in ancient Spain this was done 
by plunging weapons hot from the forge in the icy 
waters of the Salo and the Chalybes. '• Gelidis hunc 
Salo tin.vit aquis." It is not necessai'y to suppose that 
Shakespeare got this knowledge from classic reading, 
for the mode of tempering a " Toledo" in those days, 
when every gentleman wore a sword and was curious 
as to its quality, must have been a common topic of 

" — towards his feet" — To sec (observes Johnson) 
if, according to the common opinion, his feet were 

'•Like the base Indian" — The first quarto reads dis- 
tinctly Indian ; the first folio, ludean. The controversy 
as to reading Indian, or Judean, and who was the base 
Judean, occupies six pages of the Variorum Editions, 
which Kniirht thus sums up: — 

'•Theobald maintained that he was 'Herod, who, in 
a fit of blind jealousy, threw away such a jewel of a 
wife as IMariamne was to him.' Stevens brings forward 
an old story of a Jew, who threw a pearl into the Adri- 
atic. This story looks excessively like a forgery, in 
which art Stevens dabbled. He will not have the In- 
dian, because he thinks 'base' an improper epithet. 
Malone rejects him, because the word tribe appears to 


have a peculiarly Hebrew signification. We may men- 
tion that a correspondent wishes to impress upon us 
that the allusion was to Judas Iscariot. BoswpII shows 
that tribe meant in Shakespeare's day kindred ; that 
base is used in the sense of ignorant ; and, what is very 
imi)ortant, that two poets, after Shakespeare, have de- 
scribed the Indians as casting away jewels of which 
they knew not the value. Harrington, in his ' Cas- 
tara,' has these lines : — 

'So the unskilful Indian those liright gems 
Which might add majesty to diadems 
'Mung the waves scatters.' 

And Sir Edward Howard, in ' The Woman's Conquest/ 

has — 

' Behold my queen — 
Who with no more concern I'll cast away 
Than Indians do a pearl, tliat ne'er did know 
Its value.' 

Coleridge prefers Indian. He says ' Othello wishes to 
excuse himself on the score of ignorance, and yet not to 
excuse himself — to excuse himself by accusing. This 
struggle of feeling is finely conveyed in the word ' base,' 
which is applied to the rude Indian, not in his own 
character, but as the momentary representative of 
Othello's.' " 

To these observations it may be added, that the rhythm 
agrees better with Indian, unless the accent is laid 
upon the first syllable of Judean, which (though not 
without example) is not usual. Thus stood the ques- 
tion, the better critical opinion inclining to the quarto 
reading, when Collier settled this with several other 
doubttui readings in this play, by showing conclusively 
that the quarto of 1630 was a separate and distinct au- 
thority, bearing internal evidence that the two quartos 
and the folio M'ere all from separate manuscripts. This 
last edition of original authority agrees with the first 
in " Indian," showing therefore that Judean was clearly 
a misprint, as well it might be. 

[j^ftradiot, or Greek .Soldier, in service of Venice.] 

"The beauties of this play impress themselves so 
strongly upon the attention of the reader, that they can 
draw no aid from critical illustration. The fiery open- 
ness (if Othello, magnanimous, artless, and credulous, 
l)(i\ui(llrss in his confidence, ardent in his atfection, in- 
flexible in his resolution, and obdurate in his revenge ; — 


the cool malignity of lago, silent in his resentment, 
subtle in his designs, and studious at once of his inter- 
est and his vengeance; — the soft simplicity of Desde- 
mona, conlident of merit and conscious of innocence ; 
her artless perseverance in her suit, and her slowness 
to suspect that she can be suspected ; — are such proofs 
of Shakespeare's skill in human nature, as, 1 suppose, 
it is in vain to seek in any modern writer. The gradual 
progress which lago makes in the Moor's conviction, 
and the circumstances wliich he employs to inflame him, 
are so artfully natural, that tliough it will not, perhaps, 
be said of him, as he says of himself, tliat he is a man 
'not easily jealous,' yet we cannot but pity him when 
at last we find him ' perplexed in the extreme.' There 
is always danser lest wickedness, conjoined with abili- 
ties, should steal upon esteem, though it misses of ap- 
probation : but the ciiaracter of lago is so conducted 
tliat he is, from the first scene to the last, hated and 

" Even the inferior characters of this play would be 
very conspicuous in any other piece, not only for their 
justness but their strength. Cassio is brave, benevo- 
lent, and honest; ruined only by his want of stubborn- 
ness to resist an insidious invitation. Roderigo's sus- 
picious credulity and impatient submission to the cheats 
which he sees practised upon him, (and which by per- 
suasion he suffers to be repeated,) exhibit a strong pic- 
ture of a weak mind betrayed by unlawful desires to a 
false friend : — and the virtue of^ Emilia is such as we 
often find, — worn loosely, but not cast off; easy to com- 
mit small crimes, but quickened and alarmed at atro- 
cious villanies. 

'■ The scenes, from the beginning to the end, are busy, 
varied by happy interchanges, and regularly promoting 
the progress of the story : and the narrative in the end, 
though it tells but wliat is known already, yet is neces- 
sary to produce the death of Othello. Had the scene 
opened in Cyprus, and the preceding incidents been oc- 
casionally related, there had been little wanting to a 
drama of the most exact and scrupulous regularity." — 

Johnson has left little to be added to his just and 
discriminating criticism ; unless it be to observe that if 
the scene of the play throuiihout had been laid in Cy- 
prus, accordinir to his wish, the drama would have 
indeed acquired the arbitrary unity of the classic stage 
as to time and place, but nothing would be gained as 
to the more important unity of action and interest ; 
while mere narrative could hardly have given us that 
familiar acquaintance with the personases of the drama, 
and tliat deep respect for Othello's lofty and generous 
nature, which we derive from the actual exhibition of 
the prior part of his story during the first act at Venice. 

Within a few years, a new view of Othello's charac- 
ter has been maintained by Schlegel, which has found 
favour with several English critics, who have repeated 
it in various forms. It is that in Othello the Poet has 
painted not general nature, but the half-civilized Afri- 
can Prince. Schlegel recognizes in him " the wild 
nature of that glowing zone which generates the most 
furious beasts of prey, and the most deadly poisons, 
tamed only in appearance by the desire of fame, by 
foreign laws of honour, and by gentler manners. — 
His jealousy," says the German critic, " is not of the 
heart, which is compatible with the tenderest feeling 
and adoration of the beloved object; it is of that sen- 
sual sort whicli in torrid climes gives birth to the im- 
prisonment of wives and otlier barbarous usages. A 
drop of this poison flows in the Moor's veins, and all 
his blood is inflamed. He seems, and ii noble, frank, 
confiding, grateful, a hero, a worthy general, a faithful 
servant of the State; but the phy.-ical force of passion 
puts to flight at once all his acquired and accustomed 
virtues, and gives the savage within him the rule over 
the moral man. The tyranny of the blood over the 
will betrays itself in his desire of revenge against Cas- 
sio. In his repentant sorrow, a genuine tenderness for 

his murdered wife bursts forth, with the painful senti- 
ment of annihilated reputation, and he assails himself 
with the rage which a despot displays in punishing a 
runaway slave. He suflers as a double man ; at once 
in the higher and the lower sphere into which his being 
is divided." 

All this is ingenious, original and eloquent; yet to 
my mind widely diiierent from the Poet's intention, and 
the actual character he has so vividly pourtrayed. 

So far as the passions of Love and Jealousy are 
the results of our common nature, their manifestations 
must be alike in the I\Ioor and the European ; differing 
only as modified by the more quickly excited and in- 
flammable temperament of the children of the sun, or 
the slower and steadier temperament of the men of the 
north. But the critic confounds with this dLfl'erence 
another one, — that resulting from the degraded and en- 
slaved state of woman in the half-civilized nations of 
the East. There the jealous revenge of the master- 
husband, for real or imagined evil, is but the angry 
chastisement of an ofiending slave, not the terrible 
sacrifice of his own happiness involved in the victim's 
punishment. When woman is a slave, a property, a 
thing, all that jealousy may prompt is done, to use 
Othello's own distinction, " in hate" and " not in love." 
But Othello is pourtrayed with no single trait in com- 
mon with the tyrant of the Eastern or African se- 
raglio. His early love is not one of wild passion, but 
of esteem for Desdemona's gentle virtue, of gratitude 
for her unlooked-for interest in himself and his his- 
tory, and of pride in her strong attachment. The 
Poet has laboured to show that his is the calm and 
steady affection of "a constant, noble nature;" it is 
respectful, confiding, " wrapt up in measureless con- 
tent," and manifesting a tender and protecting superi- 
ority which has in it something almost parental. In 
his jealousy and revenge, he resembles not the Ma- 
hometan so much as the proud and sensitive Cas- 
tilian. He is characterized by all the higher qualities 
of European chivalry, and especially by that quick 
sense of personal reputation " wliich feels a stain like 
a wound," and makes his own life and that of others 
alike cheap in his eyes compared with his honour. 
It is this, together with the other habits and character- 
istics of one trained in an adventurous military life, 
by which he is individualized. He is made a Moor, 
not because that is at all necessary to the story, but 
because the Poet found it in the tale from which he 
derived the outline of his plot; and it was adopted as an 
incident plastic to his purpose, and by its peculiarity 
giving that air of reality to the story which accidental 
and unessential circumstances, such as pure imagination 
would not have indicated, can alone confer. It is on 
this account indeed that the original tale itself, to my 
mind, has not the appearance of a product of fancy, 
but seems, like many of our traditionary romantic nar- 
ratives, founded upon some occurrence in real life. 

Othello's Moorish blood is thus (to use a logical 
phrase) an accident, distinguishing the individual char- 
acter, and adding to it the effect of life and reality; 
but it is not in any sense essential to its sentiment or 
passion. The tone of chivalrous honour and military 
bearing is much more so, and yet that serves only to 
modify and colour the exhibition of passions common 
to civilized man. The history and domestic traditions 
and legal records of Spain and Italy, — and even of Ger- 
many, England, and America, — can exliibit many an 
instance, in coarser and unpoetical forms, of jealous 
revenge as fatal as that of the Moor. Even while this 
edition is passing through the press, the newspapers 
relate two such bloody stories as having recently oc- 
curred in private life within the United States : and the 
jealous murderer was in one instance an Englishman, 
and in the other a Frenchman. 

Were Othello but the spirited portrait of a half-tamed 
barbarian, we should view him as a bold and happy 
poetical conception, and, as such, the Poet's work might 



satisfy our critical judgment ; but it is because it depicts 
a noble mind, wrought by deep passion and dark devices 
to agonies such as every one might feci, that it awakens 
our strongest sympatliies. We see in this drama a 
gi'and and true moral picture ; we read in it a profound 
ethical lesson ; for (to borrow the just image of the 
classical Lowth) while the matchless work is built up 
to the noblest height of poetry, it rests upon the deepest 
foundations of true philosophy. 

These notes upon Othello cannot be more appro- 
priately closed than by the remarkable criticism of 
Bishop Lowth, (just alluded to,) contained in his Lec- 
tures on Hebrew Poetry, which, often before quoted in 
its original exquisite Latinity, deserves to be more fam- 
iliarly known to the English reader : — 


" He whose genius has unfolded to him the know- 
ledge of man's nature and the force of his passions ; 
has taught him the causes by which the soul is moved 
to strong emotions, or calmed to rest ; has enabled him 
not only to explain in words those emotions, but to ex- 
hibit them vividly to other eyes; thus ruling, exciting, 
distracting, soothing our feelings, — this man, however 
little aided by the discipline of learning, is, in my judg- 
ment, a philosopher of the highest rank. In this man- 
ner, in a single dramatic fable of our own Shakespeare, 
the passion of jealousy, its causes, progress, incidents, 
and effects, have been more truly, more acutely, more 
copiously, and more impressively delineated than has 
been done by all the disquisitions of all the philosophers 
who have treated on this dark argument." 

(Faiiiagusta, from a recent sketch.) 

,I| \'| ''iii|i!ii|iiii|iiiiiiiiiu'nirr 

mm , 




1 i^: 



AMLET was first printed in 1603, having 
probably been written and performed 
some years before. This edition was 
unknown to editors and commentators until with- 
in a few years ; a copy, supposed to be the only 
one preserved, having been then discovered and 
reprinted in 1825. It is but the skeleton of the 
Hamlet which soon after was printed in quarto, and reprinted 
in 1604, 1605, 1607, 1609, 1611,— "enlarged," as the title-pages bear, «to almost 
as much again as it was, according to the true and perfect coppie." The story 
and the characters were struck out at once, and received but little alteration. But 
tlie difference, between the first and the improved edition, consists mainly in mag- 
nificent additions of philosophical thought and splendid expansions of poetical lan- 
guage and imagery. Thus, to take one of the shortest examples, — the line in the 

first Hamlet — ■ 

"Anon as mild and gentle as a dove," 

breaks out in the next edition, like a blossom in spring, into the beautiful exu- 
berance of — 

" Anon as patient as the female dove, 
When that her golden couplets are disclosed, 
His silence will sit brooding." 

In the first folio edition of the poet's "Tragedies and Comedies," published by "his fellows," Heminge and 
Condell, in 1623, Hamlet appears with so many variations from the enlarged quartos published during tlie poet's 
life, as to prove that it was then printed from some other copy, — probably, as is conjectured, from the manu- 
script used in the theatre. That edition contains many verbal differences from the quartos, some of which, as 
in other plays, indicate, not so much the correction of a prior erroneous text as the emendation by the author 
himself. On the other hand, the quartos sometimes afford the better and more probable reading; and there 
are besides very noble and characteristic passages preserved in them only, having been apparently omitted in 
the copy used by the folio editors, as not necessai7 for the plot, and too long for the business of the stage. 
Thus, the solemn grandeur of the allusion to the prodigies of Rome, " ere the mightiest Julius fell ;" the general- 
ized reflection on the moral efiect of " the monster, custom," in the closet scene with the Queen ; and the deep 
morality with which Hamlet muses upon the war between Norway and Poland, and his own indecision, — are not 
to be found in the folios. 

The present editor, after careful collation of tlie texts, and examination of the editions, has selected the 
text of Mr. Collier's recent edition, to place in the printer's hands as the basis of the present impression. He 
has, however, departed from Mr. Collier's text in more than twenty places, chiefly by restoring the old folio read- 
ings, where Mr. Collier has preferred those of the quartos. 

All the various readings affecting the sense will be found in the notes. Many of these are of equal, or nearly 
equal probability with those preferred in the text ; and some of them are perhaps the poet's own variations in 
different copies of his play. 




" The history of Hamlet, or Hamleth, is found in the Danish historian, Saxo Grammaticus, who died about 1204. 
The works of Saxo Grammaticus are in Latin, and in Shakespeare's time had not been translated into any modern 
language. It was inferred, therefore, by Dr. Grey, and Mr. Whalley, that Shakespeare must have read the 
original. The storj-, however, is to be found in Belleforest's collection of novels, begun in 1654 ; and an English 
translation of this particular storj' was published as a quarto tract, entitled ' The Historie of Hamblet, Prince of 
Denmarke.' Capell, in his ' School of Shakespeare,' has given some extracts from an edition of this A'ei7 rare 
book, dated 1608; but he conjectures that it first appeared about 1570. He has also printed the heads of chapters 
as they are given in this ' History.' Horvendile is here the name of Hamlet's father, Fengon that of his uncle, 
and Geruth that of his mother. Fengon traitorously slays Horvendile, and marries his brother's wife. In the 
second chapter we are informed, ' how Hamlet counterfeited the madman, to escape the tyranny of his uncle, 
and how he was tempted by a woman, (through his uncle's procurement) who thereby thought to undermine the 
Prince, and by that means to find out whether he counterfeited madness or not.' In the third chapter we learn, 
' how Fengon, uncle to Hamlet, a second time to entrap him in his politic madness, caused one of his counsellors 
to be secretly hidden in the Queen's chamber, behind the arras, to hear what speech passed between Hamlet and 
the Queen ; and how Hamlet killed him, and escaped that danger, and what followed.' It is in this part of the 
action that Shakespeare's use of this book may be distinctly traced. Capell says, ' Amidst this resemblance of 
persons and circumstances, it is rather strange that none of the relater's expressions have got into the play : and 
yet not one of them is to be ibund, except the following, in Chapter III., where Hamlet kills the counsellor (who 
is described as of a gi-eater reach than the rest, and is the poet's Polonius) behind the arras : here, beating the 
hangings, and perceiving something to stir under them, he is made to cry out — ' a rat, a rat,' and presently 
drawing his sword, thrust it into the hangings, which done, pulled the counsellor (half dead) out by the heels, 
made an end of killing him.' In the fourth chapter Hamlet is sent to England by Fengon, ' with secret letters 
to have him put to death ;' and while his companions slept, Hamlet counterfeits the letters ' willing the King 
of England to put the two messengers to death.' Here ends the resemblance between the hisloi'j' and the play. 
The Hamlet of the history returns to Denmark, slays his uncle, burns his palace, makes an oration to the Danes, 
and is elected king. His subsequent adventures are rather extravagant. He goes back to England, kills the 
king of that country, returns to Denmark with two English wives, and finally, falls himself, through the treachery 
of one of these ladies. 

" It is scarcely necessary to point out how little these rude materials have assisted Shakespeare in the composition 
of the great tragedy of Hamlet. He found, in the records of a barbarous period, a tale of adulter}- and murder 
and revenge. Here, too was a rude indication of the character of Hamlet. But what he has given us is so 
essentially a creation from first to last, that it would be only tedious to point out the lesser resemblances between 
the drama and the history. That Shakespeare adopted the same period of action as related by Saxo Grammaticus, 
there can be no doubt. The following passage is decisive : — 

•And England, if my love thou hold'st as aught, 
(As my great power thereof may give the sense; 
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red 
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe 
Pays homage to us,) thou raay'st not coldly set 
Our sov'reign process.' 

"We have here a distinct indication of the period before the Norman Conquest, when England was either under 
the sovereignty of the Northmen, as in the time of Canute, or paid tribute to the Danish power." — C. Knight, 

The tract above described was so rare, that the indefatigable editor just quoted seems to have been obliged to 
rely upon a second-hand, though accurate, account of it. It has since been reprinted in Collier's " Shakespeare's 
Librarj'," just published in London, and received by the American editor after the above extract was in type. It 
is ver)^ interesting, as enabling us to trace out the slight hints which expanded in the poet's mind into the grandest 
conceptions of this drama. Thus, a passing phrase, of the Prince's " over-great melancholy," is the germ from 
which Hamlet's whole character has been created; while the majestic spirit of the Royal Dane, and his revela- 
tion of his brother's guilt, seem to have been suggested only by the mention'of "Hamlet's acquaintance with the 
art whereby the wicked spirit advertiseth him of things past." 

The nearest resemblance is in the closet interview between Hamlet and his mother, the comparison of the two 
brothers, etc. ; where, while the coarse and common-place thoughts of the original have been transmuted into 
glorious gold by the poet's alchemy, the forms of the original materials may still be traced. It is worthy of 
remark, that the poet has brought down the date of his plot to a later period than the novelist, and has given his 
personages the faith and usages of the Christianity of the middle ages, instead of dating, like the old novel, 
" Long time before Danemark embraced the faith of the Christians." 



The local illustrations of this play are from original 
sketches bj^ C. F. Sargent, for the Pictorial edition. 
The architecture and scenery- are more nearly those 
of the poet's ase than that of the period of the drama : 
but the designs cannot claim the merit of most of the 
similar embellishments of this edition — that of suggest- 
ing to the reader some idea of the poet's own concep- 
tion of the scenes which he filled with the ever-living 
creations of his mind. They are transferred to the 
present edition, chiefly on account of the interest they 
possess from being connected (in Mr. Knight's language) 
" with the supposed scenes of Hamlet's history, and 
with the popular traditions which have most likely 
sprung from the European reputation of the drama." 

As Shakespeare has placed the period of his drama 
during the term of the Danish power over England, the 
costume, in strictness, should be that of the age of 
Canute, which differed little in Denmark from that of 
the contemporary Anglo-Saxons. The outline of Canute 

and his Queen, from a nearly contemporary' drawing, ex- 
hibits the royal dress ; while the spirited sketch of the 
"angry parle" with "the sledded Polacks on the ice," 
by Harvey, delineates the arms and armour of the time 
with antiquarian accuracy. 

StiU there is little or nothing in the drama to con- 
nect it closely with the precise costume of any period : 
the poet thought not of it ; and provided the artist or 
the actor throws it back from any immediate associa- 
tion with our own age, the spectator is not disturbed 
by any incongruity, more than the reader is by the 
anachronism of the firing of cannon at the royal ban- 
quet. The ordinan,- old English dress and armour of 
the loth and 16th centuries, have been found, for every 
purpose of art, to answer all the demands of the most 
sluggish imagination, and the most fastidious criticism. 
They were indeed, probably, verj- nearly the costume 
in which his characters passed before the mind's eye 
of the poet himself. 

He ^mota tli« sledded f olacks on the ics. 

ScKNE I. — Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle. 

Francisco oh his jJost. Enter to him Berxardo. 

Ber. Who's there ? 

Fran. Nay, answer rae: stand, and unfold 

Ber. Long live the king ! 
Fran. Bernardo? 

Ber. He. 

Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. 
Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve : get thee to bed, 


Fran. For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter 
And I am sick at heart. 

Ber. Have you had quiet guard .' 

Fran. Not a mouse stirring. 

Ber. Well, good night. 
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, 
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste. 

Enter Horatio and Marcej^lus. 
Fran. I think I hear them. — Stand, ho ! Who 

is there ? 





Hor. Friends to this ground. 

Mar. And liegemen to the Dane. 

Fran. Give you good night. 

Mar. O ! farewell, honest soldier : 

Who hath reliev'd you ? 

Fran, Bernardo has my place. 

Give you good night. \_Exit Francisco. 

Mar. Holla! Bernardo! 

Ber. Say. 

What ! is Horatio there ? 

Hor. A piece of him. 

Ber. Welcome, Horatio : welcome, good Mar- 

Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again to- 

Ber. I have seen nothing. 

Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy, 
And will not let belief take hold of him. 
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us : 
Therefore, I have entreated him along 
With us to watch the minutes of this night ; 
That, if again this apparition come, 
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it. 

Hor. Tush, tush ! 'twill not appear. 

Ber. Sit down awhile ; 

And let us once again assail your ears, 
That are so fortified against our story. 
What we two nights have seen. 

Hor. Well, sit we down, 

And let us hear Bei-nardo speak of this. 

Ber. Last night of all. 
When yon same star, that's westward from the pole. 
Had made his course t' illume that part of heaven 
Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself. 
The bell then beating one, — 

Mar. Peace! break thee off: look, where it 
comes again ! 

Enter Ghost. 

Ber. In the same figure, like the king that's dead. 

Mar. Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio. 

Ber. Looks it not like the king ? mark it, Horatio. 

Hor. Most like ; — it harrows me with fear, and 

Ber. It would be spoke to. 

Mar. Question it, Horatio. 

Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of 
Together with that fair and warlike form, 
In which the majesty of buried Denmark 
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, 
speak ! 

Mar. It is offended. 

Ber. See ! it stalks away. 

Hor. Stay I speak, speak I I charge thee, speak ! 

\^Exit Ghost. 

Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer. 

Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble, and look 
Is not this something more than fantasy ? 
What think you on't ? 

Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, 
Without the sensible and true avouch 
Of mine own eyes. 

Mar. Is it not like the king? 

Hor. As thou art to thyself. 
Such was the very armour he had on, 
When he th' ambitious Nor\vay combated : 
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle, 


He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice. 
'Tis strange. 

Mar. Thus, twice before, and just at this dead 
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. 

Hor. In what particular thought to work, ] 
know not ; 
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion. 
This bodes some strange eruption to our state. 

Mar. Good now, sit down ; and tell me, he that 
Why this same strict and most observant watch 
So nightly toils the subject of the land ? 
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon. 
And foreign mart for implements of war ? 
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task 
Does not divide the Sunday from the week ? 
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste 
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day ? 
Who is't, that can inform me ? 

Hor. That can I ; 

At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king, 
Whose image even but now appear'd to us. 
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, 
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride, 
Dar'd to the combat ; in which our valiant Hamlet 
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him) 
Did slay this Fortinbras ; who, by a seal'd compact. 
Well ratified by law and heraldry. 
Did forfeit with his life all those his lands. 
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror: 
Against the which, a moiety competent 
Was gaged by our king; which had retum'd 
To the inheritance of Fortinbras, 
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same cov'nant 
And carriage of the ai'ticle desigu'd. 
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras, 
Of unimprov'd mettle hot and full, 
Hath in the skirts of Nonvay, here and there, 
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes, 
For food and diet, to some enterprise 
That hath a stomach in't : which is no other 
(As it doth well appear unto our state) 
But to recover of us, by strong hand 
And terms compulsative, those 'foresaid lands 
So by his father lost. And this, I take it. 
Is the main motive of our preparations, 
The source of this our watch, and the chief head 
Of this post-haste and romage in the land. 

Ber. I think, it be no other, but e'en so : 
Well may it sort, that this portentous figure 
Comes armed throvigh our watch ; so like the king 
That was, and is, the question of these wars. 

Hor. A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye. 
In the most high and palmy state of Rome, 
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell. 
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead 
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets : 

As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, 
Disasters in the sun ; and the moist star. 
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands. 
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse : 
And even the like precurse of fierce events — 
As harbingers preceding still the fates. 
And prologue to the omen coming on, — 
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated 
Unto our climatures and countrymen. — 

Re-enter Ghost. 

But, soft ! behold ! lo, where it comes asain ! 

I'll cross it, though it blast me. — Stay, illusion! 

If thou hast any sound or use of voice, 

Speak to me : 

If there be any good thing to be done, 

That may to thee do ease, and grace to me, 

Speak to me : 

If thou art privy to thy country's fate, 

Which happily foreknowing may avoid, 

O, speak ! 

Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life 

Extorted treasure in the womb of earth. 

For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death, 

\^Cock cr OIL'S. 
Speak of it : — stay, and speak ! — Stop it, Marcellus. 

Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan? 

Hor. Do, if it will not stand. 

Ber. 'Tis here ! 

Hor. 'Tis here ! 

Mar. 'Tis gone. [Exit Ghost. 

We do it wrong, being so majestical. 
To offer it the show of violence ; 
For it is, as the air, invulnerable. 
And our vain blows malicious mockery. 

Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew. 

Hor. And then it started, like a guilty thing 
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard. 
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn. 
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat 
Awake the god of day ; and at his warning. 
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air, 
Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies 
To his confine; and of the truth herein 
This present object made prol)ation. 

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock. 
Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated. 
This bird of dawning singeth all night long : 
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad ; 
The nights are wholesome ; then no planets strike. 
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, 
So hallow'd and so gracious is that time. 





Hor. So have I heard, and do in part beheve it. 
Brit, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad. 
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill. 
Break we our watch up -, and, by my advice, 
Let us impart what we have seen to-night 
Unto young Hamlet ; for, upon my life, 
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. 
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it. 
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty ? 

Mar. Let's do't, I pray ; and I this morning 
Where we shall find him most conveniently. 


Scene H. — The same. A Room of State. 

Enter the King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, 
Laertes, Voltimand, Cornelius, Lords, and 

King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's 

The memory be green, and that it us befitted 
To bear our hearts in grief, and oiu' whole kingdom 
To be contracted in one brow of woe ; 
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature. 
That we with wisest sorrow think on him. 
Together with remembrance of ourselves. 
Therefore, our sometime sister, now our queen, 
Th' imperial jointress of this warlike state. 
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy, — 
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye, 
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage, 
In equal scale weighing delight and dole, — 
Taken to wife : nor have we herein barr'd 
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone 
With this affair along : for all, our thanks. 
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras, 
Holding a weak supposal of our worth, 
Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death 
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame, 
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage. 
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message, 
Importing the surrender of those lands 
Lost by his father, with all bands of law, 
To our most valiant brother. — So much for him. 
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting. 
Thus much the business is : we have here writ 
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras, — 
AVho, iuipotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears 
Of this his nephew's purpose, — to suppress 
His fartlier gait herein, in that the levies, 
The lists, and full proportions, are all made 
Out of his subjects : and we here despatch 
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand, 
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway; 
Giving to you no farther personal power 
To business with the king, more than the scope 
Of these dilated articles allow. 
Farewell ; and let your haste commend your duty. 
Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show 

our duty. 
King. We doubt it nothing : heartily farewell. 

\^Exeunt Voltimand and Cornelius. 
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you? 
You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes? 
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane, 
And lose your voice : what would'st thou beg, 

That shall not be my offer, not thy asking ? 
The head is not more native to the heart. 
The hand more instrumental to the mouth, 


Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father. 
What would'st thou have, Laertes ? 

Lacr. My dread lord, 

Yoiu' leave and favor to return to France ; 
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark, 
To show my duty in your coronation, 
Yet now, I nnrst confess, that duty done. 
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France, 
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. 

King. Have you your father's leave ? What 
says Polonius ? 

Pol. He hath, my lord, wi-ung from me my slow 
By laborsome petition ; and, at last. 
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent : 
I do beseech you, give him leave to go. 

King. Take thy fair hovu-, Laertes ; time be 
And thy best graces : spend it at thy will. — 
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son, — 

Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind. 


King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you ? 

Ham. Not so, my lord; I am too muchi'thesun. 

Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, 
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. 
Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids 
Seek for thy noble father in the dust : 
Thou know'st, 'tis common : all that live must die, 
Passing through nature to eternity. 

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common. 

Queen. If it be. 

Why seems it so particular with thee ? 

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not 
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, 
Nor customary suits of solemn black. 
Nor windy suspiralion of forc'd breath. 
No, nor tire fruitful river in the eye. 
Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage. 
Together with all forms, moods, shows of grief. 
That can denote me truly : these, indeed, seem. 
For they are actions that a man might play; 
But I have that within, which passeth show, 
These but the trappings and the suits of woe. 

King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your 
natiu-e, Handet, 
To give these mourning duties to your father : 
But, you must know, your father lost a father; 
That father lost, lost his ; and the survivor bound 
In filial obligation, for some term. 
To do obsequious sorrow : but to persevere 
In obstinate condolement is a course 
Of impiouf. stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief: 
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven ; 
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient, 
An understanding simple and unschool'd : 
For what, we know, must be, and is as common 
As any the most vulgar thing to sense. 
Why should we, in our peevish opposition. 
Take it to heart ? Fie I 'tis a fault to heaven, 
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, 
To reason most absurd, whose common theme 
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried. 
From the first corse till he that died to-day, 
" This must be so." We pray you, throw to earth 
This unprcvailing woe, and think of us 
As of a father; for let the world take note, 
You are the most immediate to our throne ; 
And, with no less nobility of love 
Than that which dearest father bears his son, 



SCENE ir. 

Do I impart toward you. For your intent 
In going bacli to school in Wittenberg, 
It is most retrograde to our desire : 
And, we beseecii you, bend you to remain 
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye, 
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son. 

Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, 

Hamlet : 
I pray thee stay with us ; go not to Wittenberg. 
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam. 
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply ; 
Be as ourself in Denmark. — Madam, come ; 
This gentle and unforc"d accord of Hamlet 
Sits smiling to my heart : in grace whereof, 
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-dav. 
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell. 
And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again, 
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come awav. 

[Flourish. Exeunt all hut Hamlet. 
Ham. O I that this too, too solid flesh would 

Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew ; 
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd 
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God ! O God I 
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable 
Seem to me all the uses of this world I 
Fie on't I O fie ! 'tis an unweeded iiarJen, 
That grows to seed ; things rank, and gross in 

Possess it merely. That it should come to this I 
But two months dead I — nay, not so much, not two: 
So excellent a king ; that was, to this, 
Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother, 
That he might not beteera the winds of heaven 
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth I 
Must I remember ? why, she would hang on him. 
As if increase of appetite had grown 
By what it fed on; and yet, within a month, — 
Let me not think on't. — Frailty, thv name is 

woman I — 
A little montli: or ere those shoes were old. 
With which she follow'd my poor father's body. 
Like Niobe, all tears : — why she, even she, 
(O God I a beast, that wants discourse of reason, 
Would have mourn"d longer) — mairied with my 

My father's brother, but no more like mv father. 
Than I to Hercules : within a month ; 
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears 
Had left the flushing in her galled eves. 
She maiTied. — O, most wicked speed, to post 
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets ! 
It is not, nor it cannot come to, good ; 
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue I 

Enter Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus. 

Hor. Hail to your lordship I 

Ham. I am glad to see you well ; 

Horatio, — or I do forget myself. 

Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant 

Ham. Sir, my good friend : I'll change that 
name with you. 
And what make vou from Wittenberg, Horatio ? — 
Marcellus ? 

Mar. My good lord. — 

Ham. I am very glad to see you ; good even, 
sir. — 
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg? 

Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord. 

Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so ; 

Nor shall you do mine ear that violence, 
To make it truster of your own report 
Against yourself: I know, you aie no tnaaut. 
But what is your aflair in Elsinore ? 
We'll teach you to drink deep, ere you depart. 

Hor. 3Iy lord, I came to see your father's funeral. 

Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow- 
student ; 
I think, it was to see my mother's wedding. 

Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon. 

Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio I the funeral bak'd 
Did coldly furnish forth the mamage tables. 
'Would 1 had met my dearest foe in heaven 
Ere ever I had seen that day, Horatio I— 
My father, — methinks, I see my father. 

Hor. O ! where, my lord ? 

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio. 

Hor. 1 saw him once : he was a goodly king. 

Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all, 
I shall not look upon his like again. 

Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yestei-night. 

Ham. Saw I who ? 

Hor. My lord, the king yoiu- father. 

Ham. The king my father I 

Hor. Season j^our admiration for a while 
With an attent ear, till 1 may deliver. 
Upon the witness of these gentlemen, 
This man'el to you, 

Ham. For God's love, let me hear. 

Hor. Two nights together, had these gentlemen, 
^larcellus and Bernardo, on their watch. 
In the dead waste and middle of the night. 
Been thus cncounter'd. A figure, like your father, 
Arm'd at all points, exactly, cap-a-pie. 
Appears before them, and with solemn march 
Goes slow and stately by them : thrice he walk'd, 
By their oppress'd and fear-surprised eyes, 
Within his truncheon's length : whilst they, dislill'd 
Almost to jelly with the act of fear, 
Stand dumb, and speak not to liim= This to me 
In dreadful secrecy impart they did. 
And I with them the third night kept the watch ; 
Where, as they had delivered, both in time, 
Form of the thing, each word made tnie and good. 
The apparition comes. I knew your father ; 
These hands are not more like. 

Ham. But where was this? 

Mar. 3Iy lord, \ipon the platform where ^\e 

Ham. Did vou not speak to it ? 

Hor. ' My lord. I did. 

But answer made it none ; yet once, methought, 
It lifted up its head, and did address 
Itself to motion, like as it would speak : 
But, even then, the morning cock crew loud, 
And at the sound it slirvmk in haste away, 
And vanish'd from our sight. 

Ham. 'Tis very strange. 

Hor. As I do live, my honour'd lord, 'tis tiaie ; 
And we did think it writ down in oiu" duty. 
To let you know of it. 

Ham. Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me. 
Hold you the watch to-night ? 

All. We do, my lord. 

Ham. Arm'd, say you ? 

All. Arai'd, my lord- 

Ham. From top to toe ? 

All. My lord, from head to foot. 

Ham. Then, saw you not his face ? 

Hor. O I yes, my lord : he wore his beaver up, 




Ham. What ! look'd he fiowningly ? 

Hor. A countenance more 

In sorrow tlian ni anger. 

Ham. Pale, or red ? 

Hor. Nay, very pale. 

Ham. And fix'd his eyes upon you? 

Hor. Most constantly. 

Ham,. I would 1 had been there. 

Hor. It would have much amaz'd you. 

Ham. Very like, 

Very like. Stay'd it long ? 

Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell 
a hundred. 

Mar. Ber. Longer, longer. 

Hor. Not when I saw it. 

Ham. His beard was grizzled 1 no] 

Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life, 
A sable silver'd. 

Ham. I will watch to-night : 

Perchance, 'twill walk again. 

Hor. I warrant it will. 

Ham. If it assume my noble father's person, 
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape. 
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all, 
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight, 
Let it be tenable in your silence still ; 
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night. 
Give it an understanding, but no tongue : 
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well : 
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve, 
I'll visit you. 

All. Our duty to your honoiu". 

Ham. Your loves, as mine to you. Farewell. 
[Exeunt Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo. 
My father's spirit in arms ! all is not well ; 
I doubt some foul play : would the night were come ! 
Till then sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise. 
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's 
eyes. [Exit. 

Scene III. — A Room in Polonius' House. 
Enter Laertes and Ophelia. 

Laer. My necessaries are embark'd ; farewell : 
And, sister, as the winds give benefit. 
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep, 
But let me hear from you. 

Ojjh. Do you doubt that ? 

Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour, 
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood ; 
A violet in the youth of primy nature. 
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting. 
The perfume and suppliance of a minute ; 
No more. 

Oph. No more but so ? 

Laer. Think it no more : 

For nature, crescent, does not grow alone 
In thews and bulk ; but, as this temple waxes. 
The inward service of the mind and soul 
Grows wide withal. Perhaps, he loves you now ; 
And now no soil, nor cautel, doth besmirch 
The virtue of his will : but you must fear. 
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own, 
For he himself is subject to his birth : 
He may not, as unvalued persons do. 
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends 
The sanctity and health of this whole state ; 
And therefore must his choice be circumscrib'd 
Unto the voice and yielding of that body, 
Whereof he is the head. Then, if he says he 
loves you, 


It fits your wisdom so far to believe it, 

As he in his particular act and place 

May give his saying deed; which is no further. 

Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal. 

Then, weigh what loss your honour may sustain. 

If with too credent car you list his songs. 

Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open 

To his unmaster'd importunity. 

Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister; 

And keep you in the rear of your afi'ection, 

Out of the shot and danger of desire. 

The chariest maid is prodigal enough. 

If she unmask her beauty to the moon. 

Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes : 

The canker galls the infants of the spring. 

Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd ; 

And in the morn and liquid dew of youth 

Contagious blastments are most imminent. 

Be wary, then ; best safety lies in fear : 

YoiUh to itself rel)els, though none else near. 

Ojih. I shall th' effect of this good lesson keep, 
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother, 
Do not, as some imgracious pastors do. 
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, 
Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine. 
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, 
And recks not his own read. 

Laer. O ! fear me not. 

I stay too long ; — but here my father comes. 

Enter Polonius. 

A double blessing is a double grace ; 
Occasion smiles upon a second leave. 

Pol. Yet here, Laertes ? aboard, aboard, for 
shame ! 
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, 
And you are stay'd for. There, my blessing with 
you ; [Laying his hand on Laertes' head. 
And these few precepts in thy memory 
Look thou character, (rive thy thoughts no tongue. 
Nor any unproi)ortion'd thought his act. 
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar: 
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, 
Grapple them to ihy soul with hoops of steel; 
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment 
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade. Beware 
Of entrance to a quarrel ; but, being in, 
Bear't, that tli' opposed may beware of thee. 
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice ; 
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. 
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy. 
But not express'd in fancy ; rich, not gaudy : 
For the ajjparel oft proclaims the man ; 
And they in France, of the best rank and station. 
Are of a most select and generous chief in that. 
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be ; 
For loan oft loses both itself and friend. 
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. 
This above all, — to thine ownself be true; 
And it must follow, as the night tlie day. 
Thou canst not then l)e false to any man. 
Farewell : my blessing season this in thee I 

Laer. Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord. 

Pol. The time invites you : go ; your servants 

Laer. Farewell, Oj)lielia; and remember well 
What I have said to you. 

Opli. 'Tis in my memory lock'd, 

And you yotirself shall keep the key of it. 

Laer. Farewell. [Exit Laertes. 

Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath said to you ? 




Oph. So please yovi, something touching the 
luid Hamlet. 

Pol. Marry, well bethought: 
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late 
Given private time to you; and you yourself 
Have of your audience been most free and boun- 
If it be so, (as so 'tis put on me, 
And that in way of caution,) I must tell you, 
You do not understand yourself so clearly, 
As it behoves my daughter, and your honour. 
What is between you .' give me up the truth. 

Oph. He hath, my lord, of late made many 
Of his affection to me. 

Pol. Affection ? pooh ! you speak like a green 

Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. 

Do you believe his tenders, as you call them? 

Oph. I do not know, my lord, what I should 

Pol. Marry, I'll teach you : think yourself a 
baby ; 
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay. 
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more 

dearly ; 
Or, not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, 
Wronging it thus, you'll tender me a fool. 

Oph. 3Iy lord, he hath importun'd me with love, 
In honourable fashion. 

Pol. Ay, fashion yovi may call it; go to, go to. 

Oph. And hath given countenance to his speech, 
my lord, 
With almost all the lioly vows of heaven. 

Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do 
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul 
Lends the tongue vows : these blazes, daughtei-, 
Giving more light than heat, — extinct in both. 
Even in their promise, as it is a making, — 
You must not take for fire. From this time. 
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence : 
Set your entreatments at a higher rate. 
Than a command to parley. For lord Hamlet, 
Believe so much in him, that he is young ; 
And with a larger tether may he walk. 
Than may be given you. In few, Ophelia, 
Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers 
Not of that die which their investments show, 
But mere implorators of unholy suits. 
Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds. 
The better to beguile. This is for all, — 
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, 
Have you so slander any moment's leisure. 
As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet. 
Look to't, I charge you ; come your ways. 

Oph. I shall obey, my lord. \^Exewit. 

Scene IV. — The Platform. 
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus. 

Ham. The air bites shrewdly ; it is very cold. 
Hnr. It is a nipping, and an eager air. 
Ham. What hour now ? 

Hor.. I think, it lacks of twelve. 

Mar. No, it is struck. 

Hor. Indeed ? I heard it not : it then draws 
near the season, 
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk. 

[vl Flourish of Trumpets., and Ordnance 
shot off, within. 

What does this mean, my lord ? 

Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes 
his rouse. 
Keeps w'assel, and the swaggering up-spring reels ; 
And as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down, 
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out 
The triumph of his pledge. 

Hor. Is it a custom ? 

Ham. Ay, marry, is't: 
But to my mind, — though I am native here, 
And to the manner born, — it is a custom 
More honour'd in the breach, than the observance. 
This heavy-headed revel, east and west 
Makes us traduc'd and tax'd of other nations : 
They clepe lis drunkards, and with swinish phrase 
Soil our addition ; and, indeed, it takes 
From our achievements, though perform'd at height, 
The pith and marrow of our attribute. 
So, oft it chances in particular men. 
That for some vicious mole of nature in them. 
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty, 
Since nature cannot choose his origin,) 
By their o'ergrowth of some complexion. 
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason ; 
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens 
The form of plausive manners ; — that these men, — 
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect 
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star, — 
Their virtues else, be they as pure as grace. 
As infinite as man may undergo. 
Shall in the general censvire take corruption 
From that particular fault : the dram of base 
Doth all the noble substance often dout. 
To his own scandal. 

Enter Ghost. 

Hor. Look, my lord ! it comes. 

Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us I 
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd. 
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell. 
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable. 
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape. 
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee, Hamlet, 
King, Father, Royal Dane: O! answer me: 
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell. 
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death. 
Have burst their cerements ? why the sepulchre, 
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd. 
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws. 
To cast thee up again ? What may this mean, 
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel, 
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon. 
Making night hideous ; and we fools of nature. 
So hori'idly to shake our disposition. 
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls ? 
Say, why is this ? wherefore ? what should we do ? 
\_The Ghost beckons Hamlet. 

Hor. It beckons you to go away with it, 
As if it some impartment did desire 
To you alone. 

Mar. Look, with what courteous action 

It waves you to a more removed ground : 
But do not go with it. 

Hor. No, by no means. 

Ham. It will not speak ; then, will I follow it. 

Hor. Do not, my lord. 

Ham. Whv, what should be the fear? 

I do not set my life at a pin's fee ; 
And, for my soul, what can it do to that. 
Being a thing immortal as itself? 
It waves me forth again : — I'll follow it. 





Hor. What, if it tempt you towards the flood, 
my lord, 
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff, 
That beetles o'er his base into the sea, 
And there assume some other horrible form, 
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason. 
And draw you into madness ? think of it : 
The very place puts toys of desperation, 
Witlrout more motive, into every brain 
That looks so many fathoms to the sea. 
And hears it roar beneath. 

Ham. It waves me still : — Go on, 

I'll follow thee. 

Mar. You shall not go, my lord. 

Ham. Hold off your hands. 

Hor. Be rul'd: you shall not go. 

'.Hi ,1 m- 


m . . 



Ilaiii. jMy fate cries out, 

An 1 makes each petty artery in this body 
As hardy as the Nemeau lion's nerve. 

[Ghost beckons 
^ ill am I call'd. — Unhand me. gentlemen, — 

[Breaking from them. 
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me : — 
I b ly, away I — Go on, I'll follow thee. 

[Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet. 
Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. 
]\[ar. Let's follow ; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. 
Hor. Have after. — To what issue will this come ? 
Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Den- 
Hor. Heaven will direct it. 
Mar. Nay, let's follow- him. 


Scene V. — A more remote part of the Platform. 
Enter Ghost and Hamlet. 

Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me? speak, I'll 
go no further. 

Ghost. Mark me. 

Ham. I will. 

Ghost. My hour is almost come, 

When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames 
Must render up myself. 

Ham. Alas, poor ghost ! 




Ghost. Pity me not ; but lend thy serious hearing 
To what I shall unfold. 

Ham. Speak, I am bound to hear. 

Gliost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shall 

Ham. What? 

Ghost. 1 am thy father's spirit ; 
Doom'd for a cei'tain term to walk the night, 
And for the day confin'd to fast in lires, 
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature. 
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid 
To tell the secrets of my prison-house, 
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word 
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, 
3Iake thy two eyes, like stars, stai't from their 

Thy knotted and combined locks to part. 
And each particular hair to stand an-end, 
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine: 
But this eternal blazon must not be 
To ears of flesh and blood. — List, list, O list I — 
If thou didst ever thy dear father love, — 

Ham. O God ! 

Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural 

Hani. Murder? 

Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is; 
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural. 

Ham. Haste me to know't, that I, with wings 
as swift 
As meditation, or the thoughts of love, 
May sweep to my revenge. 

Ghost. I find thee apt ; 

And duller should'st thou be, than the fat weed 
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf, 
Would'st thou not stir in this : now, Hamlet, hear. 
'Tis given out, that sleeping in mine orchard, 
A serpent stung me : so the whole ear of Denmark 
Is by a forged process of my death 
Rankly abus'd ; but know, thou noble youth, 
The serpent that did sting thy father's life 
Now wears his crown. 

Ham. O, my prophetic soul ! my uncle ! 

Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast. 
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, 
(O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power 
So to seduce !) won to his shameful lust 
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen. 
O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there I 
From' me, whose love was of that dignity. 
That it went hand in hand even with the vow 
I made to her in marriage ; and to decline 
Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor 
To those of mine ! 

But virtue, as it never will be mov'd. 
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven. 
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd, 
Will sate itself in a celestial bed. 
And prey on garbage. 

But, soft! methinks, I scent the morning air: 
Brief let me be. — Sleeping within mine orchard. 
My custom always in the afternoon, 
L^pon my secure hour thy uncle stole. 
With juice of cursed hebenon in a phial. 
And in the porches of mine ears did pour 
The leperous distilment ; whose effect 
Holds such an enmity with blood of man, 
That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through 
The natural gates and alleys of the body ; 
And with a sudden vigour it doth posset. 
And curd, like eager droppings into milli. 

The thin and wholesome blood : so did it mine ; 

And a most instant tetter bark'd about. 

Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust 

All my smooth body. 

Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand. 

Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd : 

Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, 

Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd ; 

No reckoning made, but sent to my account 

With all my imperfections on my head. 

Ham. O, horrible ! O, hoi-rible I most horrible ! 

Ghost. If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not ; 
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be 
A couch for luxury and damned incest. 
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act. 
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive 
Against thy mother aught : leave her to heaven, 
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge. 
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once. 
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near. 
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire : 
Adieu, adieu ! Hamlet, remember me. 


Ham. O, all you host of heaven I O earth! 
What else ? 
And shall I couple hell ? — O fie ! — Hold, hold, my 

lieart ; 
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old, 
But bear me stiffly up I — Remember thee ? 
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat 
In this distracted globe. Remember thee? 
Yea, from the table of my memory 
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records. 
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past. 
That yoiith and observation copied there. 
And thy commandment all alone shall live 
Within the book and volume of my brain, 
Unmix'd with baser matter : yes, by heaven. 
O, most pernicious woman ! 

villain, villain, smiling, damned villain ! 
My tables, — meet it is, I set it down. 

That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain; 
At least, I am sure, it may be so in Denmark : 

[ Writing. 
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word ; 
It is, "Adieu, adieu! remember me." 

1 have sworn't. 

Hor. [Within.] My lord ! my lord ! 

Mar. [Within.] Lord Hamlet! 

Hor. [Within.] Heaven secure him! 

Mar. [Within.] So be it! 

Hor. [Within.] lUo, ho, ho, my lord ! 

Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy I come, bird, come. 

Enter Horatio and Marcellus. 

3Tar. How is't, my noble lord ? 

Hor. What news, my lord ? 

Ham. O, wonderful ! 

Hor. Good, my lord, tell it. 

Ham. No ; 

You'll reveal it. 

Hor. Not I, my lord, by heaven. 

Mar. Nor I, my lord. 

Ha7n. How say you, then ; would heart of man 
once think it ? — 
But you'll be secret. 

Hor. Mar. Ay, by heaven, my lord. 

Ham. There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all 
But he's an ai-rant knave. 


Hor. There needs no ghost, my lord, coine from 
the grave 
To tell us this. 

Ham. Why, right ; you are i' the right ; 

And so, without more circumstance at all, 
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part : 
You, as your business and desire shall point you, 
For every man hath business and desire. 
Such as it is; and, for mine own poor part, 
Look you, I'll go pi'ay. 

Hor. These are but wild and whirling worlds, 
my lord. 

Ham. I am sorry they offend you, heartily ; 
Yes, 'faith, heartily. 

Hor. There's no offence, my lord. 

Ham. Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, 
And much oliTence too. Touching this vision here, 
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you : 
For your desire to know what is between us, 


O'er-master 't as you may. And now, good friends, 
As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers, 
Give me one poor request. 

Hor. What is't, my lord ? we will. 

Ham. Never make known what you have seen 

Hor. Mar. My lord, we will not. 

Ham. Nay, but swear't. 

Hor. In faith, 

My lord, not I. 

Mar. Nor I, my lord, in faith. 

Ham. Upon my sword. 

Mar. We have sworn, my lord, already. 

Ham. Indeed, upon my sword, indeed. 

Ghost. [Beneath.] Swear. 

Ham. Ha, ha, boy ! say'st thou so ? art thou 
there, true-penny ? 
Come on, — you hear this fellow in the cellarage, — • 
Consent to swear. 

Hor. Propose the oath, my lord. 



SCE>'K V. 

Ham. Never to speak of this that you have seen. 
Swear by my sword. 

Ghost. [Beneath.'] Swear. 

Ham. Hie et ubique ? then, we'll shift our 
ground. — 
Come hither, gentlemen. 
And lay your hands again upon my sword : 
Never to speak of this that you have heard. 
Swear by my sword. 

Ghost. [Beneath.] Swear. 

Ham. Well said, old mole ! can'st work i' the 
eaith so fast? 
A worthy pioneer ! — Once more remove, good 
Hor. O day and night, but this is wondrous 

strange ! 
Ham. And therefore as a stranger give it wel- 
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. B ut come; — 
Hei'e, as before, never, so help you mercy, 
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself, — 
As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet 

To put an antic disposition on, — 
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall, 
With arms encumber'd thus, or this head-shake, 
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase. 
As, " Well, well, we know ;" — or, " We could, an 

if we would ;" — 
Or, "If we list to speak;" — or, "There be, an if 

they might;" — 
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note 
That you know aught of me : — this not to do, 
So grace and mercy at your most need help yon, 

Ghost. [Beneath.] Swear. 

Ham. Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! — So, gen- 
With all my love I do commend me to you : 
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is 
May do, t' express his love and friending to you, 
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together ; 
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray. 
The time is out of joint; — O cursed spite ! 
That ever I was born to set it right. 
Nay, come ; let's go together. [Exeunt. 

'I I 

[The Platform at Elsinorc] 

nm H. 

Scene I. — A Room in Polonius' House. 
Enter Polomus and Reynaldo. 

Pol. Give him this money, and these notes, 

Rey. I will, my lord. 

Pol. You shall do marvellous wisely, good Rey- 
Before you visit him, to make inquiry 
Of his behaviour. 

Rey. My lord, I did intend it. 

Pol. Marry, well said: very well said. Look 
you, sir. 
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris ; 
And how, and who, what means, and where they 

What company, at what expense ; and finding, 
By this encompassment and drift of question, 
That they do know my son, come you more nearer 
Than your particular demands will touch it. 
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of 

him ; 
As thus, — " I know his father, and his friends. 
And, in part, him :" — do you mark this, Reynaldo ? 

Rey. Ay, very well, my lord. 

Pol. " And, in part, him ; but," you may say, 
" not well : 
But, if 't be he I mean, he's very wild, 
Addicted so and so ;" — and there put on him 
What forgeries you please ; man-y, none so rank 
As may dishonour him : take heed of that ; 
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips. 
As are companions noted and most known 
To youth and liberty. 

Rey. As gaming, my lord. 

Pol. Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quar- 
Drabbing : — you may go so far. 

Rey. My lord, that would dishonour him. 

Pol. 'Faith, no ; as you may season it in the 
You must not put another scandal on him, 
That he is open to incontinency : 
That's not my meaning ; but breathe his faults so 

That they may seem the taints of liberty ; 
The flash and out-break of a fiery mind ; 
A savageness in unreclaimed blood. 
Of general assault. 

Rey. But, my good lord, — 

Pol. Wherefore should you do this ? 

Rey. Ay, my lord, 

I would know that. 

Pol. Marry, sir, here's my drift ; 

And, I believe, it is a fetch of warrant. 
You laying these slight sullies on my son. 
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i'the working, 
Mark you. 

Your party in converse, him you would sound, 
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes 
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assur'd, 
He closes with you in this conseqvxence : 
" Good sir," or so ; or "friend," or " gentleman," — 
According to the phrase, or the addition, 
Of man and country. 

Rey. Very good, my lord. 

Pol. And then, sir, does he this, — he does — 
What was I about to say ? — By the mass, I was 
About to say something : — Avhere did I leave ? 

Rey. At closes in the consequence. 
As "friend or so," and "gentleman." 

Pol. At, closes in the consequence, — ay, marry ; 
He closes thus : — " I know the gentleman ; 
I saw him yesterday, or t'other day. 
Or then, or then ; Avith such, or such ; and, as you 

There was he gaming ; there o'ertook in's rouse ; 
There falling out at tennis : or perchance, 
I saw him enter such a house of sale, 
Videlicet, a brothel," or so forth. — 
See you now ; 

Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth : 
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach. 
With windlaces, and with assays of bias, 
By indirections find directions out : 
So, by my former lecture and advice, 
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not ? 

Rey. My lord, I have. 

God be wi' you ; fare you well. 
Good my lord. 

Obsei-ve his inclination in yourself. 
I shall, my lord. 
And let him ply his music. 

Well, my lord. [Exit. 

Enter Ophelia. 

Farewell! — How now, Ophelia? what's 
the matter? 
Oph. Alas, my lord ! I have been so aftrighted ! 
Pol. With what, in the name of God? 
OjjJi. My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber. 
Lord Hamlet, — with his doublet all unbrac'd; 
No hat upon his head ; his stockings foul'd, 
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle ; 
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other; 
And with a look so piteous in purport, 






SCENE rr. 

As if he had been loosed out of hell, 

To speak of horrors, — he comes before me. 

Pol. Mad for thy love ? 

Oph. My lord, I do not know ; 

But, truly, I do fear it. 

Pol. What said he ? 

Oph. He took me by the wrist, and held me hard ; 
Then goes he to the length of all his arm. 
And, with his other hand thus, o'er his brow. 
He falls to such perusal of my face, 
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so : 
At last, — a little shaking of mine arm, 
And thrice his head thus waving up and down, — 
He rais'd a sigh so piteous and profound, 
That it did seem to shatter all his bulk, 
And end his being. That done, he lets me go, 
And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd, 
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes ; 
For out o' doors he went without their help, 
And to the last bended their light on me. 

Pol. Come, go with me : I will go seek the king. 
This is the very ecstasy of love ; 
Whose violent property fordoes itself, 
And leads the will to desperate undertakings, 
As oft as any passion under heaven. 
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry, — 
What ! have you given him any hard words of late ? 

Oph. No, my good lord; but, as you did com- 
I did repel his letters, and denied 
His access to me. 

Pol. That hath made him mad. 

I am sorry that with better heed and judgment 
I had not quoted him : I fear'd, he did but trifle. 
And meant to wreck thee ; but, beshrew my jeal- 

ousv ! 
It seems, it is as proper to our age 
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions, 
As it is common for the younger sort 
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king : 
This must be known ; which, being kept close, 

might move 
More grief to hide, than hate to utter love. 


Scene II. — A Room in the Castle. 

Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, Guixden- 
STERN, and Attendants. 

K~inff. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz, and Guil- 
denstern : 
Moreover, that we much did long to see you, 
The need we have to use you, did provoke 
Our hasty sending. Something have vou heard 
Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it, 
Sith nor th' exterior nor the inward man 
Resembles that it was. What it should be. 
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him 
So much from the understanding of himself, 
I cannotdreamof: I entreat you both. 
That, being of so young days broixght up with him, 
And since so neighbour'd to his youth and humour. 
That you vouchsafe your rest here in oitr court 
Some little time ; so by your companies 
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather. 
So much as from occasion you may glean, * 
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus. 
That, open'd, lies within our remedy. 

Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd 
of you ; 
And, sure I am, two men there are not living. 

To whom he more adheres. If it will please you 

To show us so much gentry, and good will. 

As to expend your time with us a while. 

For the supply and profit of our hope. 

Your visitation shall receive such thanks 

As fits a king's remembrance. 

JRos. Both your majesties 

Might, by the sovereign power you have of us, 
Put your dread pleasures more into command 
Than to entreaty. 

Guil. But we both obey ; 

And here give up ourselves, in the full bent, 
To lay our service freely at your feet, 
To be commanded. 

King. Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guil- 

Queen. Thanks, Guildenstem, and gentle Ro- 
And I beseech you instantly to visit 
My too much changed son. — Go, some of you, 
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is. 

Guil. Heavens make our presence, and our 
Pleasant and helpful to him I 

Queen. Ay, amen! 

{^Exeunt Rosencrantz, Guildenstern 
and some Attendants. 

Enter Polonius. 

Pol. Th' ambassadors from Norway, my good 
Are joyftiUy return'd. 

King. Thou still hast been the father of good 

Pol. Have I, my lord ? Assure you, my good 
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul. 
Both to my God, one to my gracious king: 
And I do think, (or else this brain of mine 
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure 
As it hath us'd to do,) that I have found 
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy. 

King. O I speak of that ; that do I long to hear. 

Pol. Give first admittance to th' ambassadors ; 
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast. 

King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring 
them in. \_Exit Polonius. 

He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found 
The head and source of all your son's distemper. 

Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main; 
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage. 

Re-enter Polonius, with Voltimand and Cor- 

King. Well, we shall sift him. — Welcome, my 
good friends, 
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Noi-way ? 

Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires. 
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress 
His nephew's levies ; which to him appear'd 
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack, 
But, better look'd into, he truly found 
It was against your highness : whereat griev'd, — 
That so his sickness, age, and impotence. 
Was falsely borne in hand, — sends out arrests 
On Fortinbras ; which he in brief obeys. 
Receives rebuke from Nonvay, and, in fine. 
Makes vow before his uncle, never more 
To give th' assay of arms against your majesty. 
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy. 
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee ; 





And his commission to employ those soldiers, 
So levied as before, against the Polack : 
With an entreaty, herein further shown, 

\^Giving a paper. 
That it might please you to give quiet pass 
Through your dominions for this enterprize ; 
On such regards of safety, and allowance. 
As therein are set down. 

King. It likes us well; 

And, at our more consider'd time, we'll read. 
Answer, and think upon this business : 
Mean time, we thank you for your well-took labour. 
Go to your rest ; at night we'll feast together : 
Most welcome home. 

\_Exeunt Voltimand and Cornelius. 

Pol. This business is well ended. 

My liege, and madam ; to expostulate 
What majesty should be, what dvity is. 
Why day is day, night, night, and time is time. 
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. 
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit. 
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, 
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad : 
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness. 
What is't, but to be nothing else but mad : 
But let that go. 

Queen. More matter, with less art. 

Pol. Madam, I swear, I use no art at all. 
That he is mad, 'tis true : 'tis true 'tis pity. 
And pity 'tis 'tis true : a foolish figure ; 
But farewell it, for I will use no art. 
Mad let us grant him, then ; and now remains. 
That we find out the cause of this effect ; 
Or rather say, the cause of this defect. 
For this effect defective comes by cause: 
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. 

I have a daughter ; have, while she is mine ; 
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark, 


Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise. 

— " To the celestial, and my soul's idol, ihe most 

beautified Ophelia," — 

That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase ; " beautified" is 

a vile phrase ; but you shall hear. — Thus : 

" In her excellent white bosom, these," &:c. — 
Quee7i. Came this from Hamlet to her ? 
Pol. Good madam, stay awhile ; I will be faith- 

"Doubt thou the stars are fire, [^Reads. 

Doubt, that the sun doth move ; 
Doubt truth to be a liar, 
But never doubt I love. 
" O dear Ophelia ! I am ill at these numbers ; I 
have not art to reckon my groans ; but that I love 
thee best, O most best ! believe it. Adieu. 

Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst 
this machine is to him, Hamlet." 

This in obedience hath my daughter shown me : 
And more above, hath his solicitings. 
As they fell out by time, by means, and place, 
All given to mine ear. 

King. But how hath she 

Receiv'd his love ? 

Pol. What do you think of me ? 

King. As of a man faithful, and honourable. 

Pol. I would fain prove so. But what might you 
When I had seen this hot love on the wing, 
(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that, 
Before my daughter told me,) what might you. 
Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think. 
If I had play'd the desk, or table-book; 
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb; 
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight ; 
What might you think ? no, I went round to work. 
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak : 
"Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star; 

ACT It. 



This must not be :" and then I precepts gave her, 
That she should lock herself from his resort, 
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens. 
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice ; 
And he, repulsed, a short tale to make, 
Fell into a sadness ; then into a fast ; 
Thence to a watch ; thence into a weakness ; 
Thence to a lightness ; and by this declension, 
Into the madness wherein now he raves. 
And all we wail for. 

King. Do you think 'tis this ? 

Queen. It may be, very likely. 

Pol. Hath there been such a time, I'd fain know 
That I have positively said, " 'Tis so," 
When it prov'd otherwise ? 


Not that I know. 

Pol. Take this from this, if this be othenvise. 

[Poinfinff to his head and shoulder. 
If circumstances lead me, I will find 
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed 
Within the centre. 

King. How may we try it further ? 

Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours 
Here in the lobby. 

Queen. So he does, indeed. 

Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him : 
Be you and I behind an arras, then: 
3Iark the encounter; if he love her not. 
And be not from his reason fallen thereon. 
Let me be no assistant for a state. 
But keep a fann, and carters. 

King. We will try it. 

Enter Hamlet, reading. 

Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch 

comes reading. 
Pol. Away I I do beseech you, both away. 
I'll board him presently : — O ! give me leave. — 

\^Exeunt King. Queen, and Attendants. 
How does my good lord Hamlet ? 
Ham. Well, god-'a-mercy. 
Pol. Do vou know me, mv lord ? 

Ham. Excellent well ; you are a fishmonger. 

Pol. Not I, my lord. 

Ham. Then, I would you were so honest a man. 

Pol. Honest, my lord ? 

Ham. Av, sir : to be honest, as this world goes, 
is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. 

Pol. That's very true, my lord. 

Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead 
dog, being a good kissing carrion, — Have you a 
daughter ? 





Pol. I have, my lord. 

Ham. Let her not walk i' the sun ; conception 
is a blessing ; but not as your daughter may con- 
ceive : — friend, look to't. 

Pol. [Aside.] How say you by that? Still 
harping on my daughter : — yet he knew me not at 
first ; he said, I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, 
far gone : and truly in my youth I suffered much 
extremity for love ; very near this. I'll speak to 
him again. — What do you read, my lord ? 

Ham. Words, words, words. 

Pol. What is the matter, my lord ? 

Ham. Between whom ? 

Pol. I mean, the matter that you read, my lord. 

Ham. Slanders, sir : for the satirical rogue says 
here, that old men have gray beards ; that their 
faces are wrinkled ; their eyes purging thick amber, 
and plum-tree gum ; and that they have a plentiful 
lack of wit, together with most weak hams : all of 
which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently 
believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus 
set down ; for you yovirself, sir, should be old as I 
am, if like a crab you could go backward. 

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there is meth- 
od in't. [Aside.] Will you walk out of the air, 
my lord ? 

Ham. Into my grave ? 

Pol. Indeed, that is out o' the air. — How preg- 
nant sometimes his replies are ! a happiness that 
often madness hits on, which reason and sanity 
could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will 
leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of 
meeting between him and my daughter. — My hon- 
ourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of 

Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing 
that I will more willingly part withal ; except my 
life, except my life, except my life. 

Pol. Fare you well, my lord. 

Ham. These tedious old fools ! 

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 

Pol. You go to seek the lord Hamlet; there he is. 

Ros. God save you, sir! [To Polonius. 

[Exit Polonius. 

Guil. Mine honotxr'd lord I — 

Ros. My most dear lord ! 

Ham. My excellent good friends ! How dost 
thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, 
how do ye both ? 

Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth. 

Guil. Happy, in that we are not overhappy ; 
On Fortune's cap we are not the very button. 

Ham. Nor the soles of her shoe ? 

Ros. Neither, my lord. 

Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the 
middle of her favours? 

Guil. 'Faith, her privates we. 

Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune ? O I most 
true ; she is a strumpet. What news ? 

Ros. None, my lord, but that the world's grown 

Ham. Then is doomsday near; but your news 
is not true. Let me question more in particular: 
what have you, my good friends, deserved at the 
hnnds of Fortune, that she sends you to prison 
■ Giiil. Prison, my lord ! 

Ham. Denmark's a prison. 

Ros. Then, is the world one. 

Ham. A goodly one ; in which there are many 

confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one 
of the worst. 

Ros. We think not so, my lord. 

Ham. Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is 
nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it 
so : to me it is a prison. 

Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one : 
'tis too narrow for vour mind. 

Ham. O God ! I could be bounded in a nut-shell, 
and count myself a king of infinite space, were it 
not that I have bad dreams. 

Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are ambition ; for 
the very substance of the ambitious is merely the 
shadow of a dream. 

Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow. 

Ros. Triily, and I hold ambition of so airy and 
light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow. 

Ham. Then are our beggars bodies, and our 
monarchs, and outstretched heroes, the beggars' 
shadows. Shall we to the court ? for, by my fay, 
I cannot reason. 

Ros. Guil. We'll wait upon you. 

Ham. No such matter : I will not sort you with 
the rest of my sei-vants ; for, to speak to you like 
an honest man, I am most dreadfttlly attended. 
But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make 
you at Elsinore ? 

Ros. To visit you, my lord ; no other occasion. 

Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in 
thanks ; but I thank you : and sure, dear friends, 
my thanks are too dear, a halfpenny. Were you 
not sent for ? Is it your own inclining ? Is it a 
free visitation ? Come, come ; deal justly with 
me : come, come ; nay, speak. 

Guil. What should we say, my lord? 

Ham. Why any thing, but to the purpose. You 
were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in 
your looks, which your modesties have not craft 
enough to colour : I know, the good king and 
queen have sent for you. 

Ros. To what end, my lord ? 

Ham. That you must teach me. But let me 
conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the 
consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our 
ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better 
proposer could charge you withal, be even and 
direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no ? 

Ros. What say you? [To Guildenstern. 

Ham. Nay, then I have an eye of you. [Aside.] 
If you love me, hold not oft". 

Guil. My lord, we were sent for. 

Ham. I will tell you why ; so shall my anticipa- 
tion prevent your discovery, and your secresy to 
the king and queen moult no feather. I have of 
late, (but wherefore I know not,) lost all my mirth, 
foregone all custom of exercises ; and, indeed, it 
goes so heavily with my disposition, that this 
goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile pro- 
montory ; this most excellent canopy, the air, look 
you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majes- 
tical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appeareth 
nothing to me, but a foul and pestilent congrega- 
tion of vapours. What a piece of work is a man I 
How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in 
form, and moving, how express and admirable! in 
action, how like an angel ! in apprehension, how 
like a god ! the beauty of the world ! the paragon 
of animals ! And yet, to me, what is this quintes- 
sence of dust ? man delights not me ; no, nor wo- 
man neither, though by your smiling you seem to 
say so. 





Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my 

Ham. Why did you laugh, then, when I said, 
man delights not me ? 

Kos. To think, my lord, if you delight not in 
man, what lenten entertainment the players shall 
receive from you : we coted them on the way, 
and hither are they coming to offer you service. 

Ham. He that plays the king, shall be welcome ; 
his majesty shall have tribute of me: the adven- 
turous knight shall use his foil, and target : the 
lover shall not sigh gratis : the humourous man 
shall end his part in peace : the clown shall make 
those laugh, whose lungs are tickled o' the sere ; 
and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank 
verse shall halt for't. — What players are they ? 

Ros. Even those you were wont to take such 
delight in, the tragedians of the city. 

Ham. How chances it, they travel? their resi- 
dence, both in reputation and profit, was better 
both ways. 

Ros. I think, their inhibition comes by the 
means of the late innovation. 

Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they 
did when I was in the city ? Are they so fol- 
lowed ? 

Ros. No, indeed, they are not. 

Ham. How comes it ? Do they grow rusty ? 

Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted 
pace : but there is, sir, an eyry of children, little 
eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are 
most tyrannically clapped for't : these are now the 
fashion; and so berattle the common stages, (so 
they call them,) that many, wearing rapiers, are 
afraid of goose quills, and dare scarce come thither. 

Ham. What ! are they children ? who maintains 
them .' how are they escoted ? Will they pursue 
the quality no longer than they can sing ? will they 
not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves 
to common players, (as it is most like, if their 
means are not better,) their writers do them wrong, 
to make them exclaim against their own succes- 

Ros. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both 
sides ; and the nation holds it no sin, to tarre them 
to controversy : there was, for a while, no money 
bid for argument, unless the poet and the player 
went to cuffs in the question. 

Ham. Is it possible ? 

Guil. O ! there has been much throwing about 
of brains. 

Ham. Do the boys carry it away ? 

Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord ; Hercules, and 
his load too. 

Ham. It is not very strange, for my uncle is 
king of Denmark, and those, that would make 
mowes at him while my father lived, give twenty, 
forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece, for his pic- 
ture in little. There is something in this more 
than natural, if philosophy could find it out. 

[Flourish of Trumpets within. 

Guil. There are the players. 

Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. 
Your hands. Come, then ; the appurtenance of 
welcome is fashion and ceremony : let me comply 
with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players, 
(which, I tell you, must show fairly outward,) should 
more appear like entertainment than yours. You 
are welcome ; but my uncle-father, and aunt-moth- 
er, are deceived. 

Guil. In what, my dear lord ? 

Ham. I am but mad north-north-west : when 
the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a hand- 

Enter Poloxius. 

Pol, Well be with you, gentlemen ! 

Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern ; — and you too ; — 
at each ear a hearer : that great baby, you see 
there, is not yet out of his swathing-clouts. 

Ros. Haply, he's the second time come to them; 
for, they say, an old man is twice a child. 

Ham. I will prophesy, he comes to tell me of 
the players ; mark it. — You say right, sir : o' 
Monday morning; 'twas then, indeed. 

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you. 

Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you. When 
Roscius was an actor in Rome, — 

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord. 

Ham. Buz, buz ! 

Pol. Upon my honour, — 

Ham. Then came each actor on his ass, — 

Pol. The best actors in the world, either for 
tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comi- 
cal, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical- 
comical -historical -pastoral, scene individable, or 
poem unlimited : Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor 
Plautus too light. For the law of writ, and the 
liberty, these are the only men. 

Ham. O Jephthah, Judge of Israel, what a treas- 
ure hadst thou I 

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord ? 

Ham. AVhy— 

" One fair daughter, and no more, 

The which he loved passing well." 

Pol. Still on my daughter. [Aside. 

Ham. Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah ? 

Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a 
daughter that I love passing well. 

Ham. Nay, that follows not. 

Pol. What follows, then, my lord ? 

Ham. Why, 

"As by lot, God wot," 
And then, you know, 

" It came to pass, as most like it was," — 
The first row of the pious chanson will show you 
more ; for look, where my abridgment comes. 

Enter Four or Five Players. 
You are welcome, masters; welcome, all. — lam 
glad to see thee well ; — welcome, good friends. — 
O, old friend ! Why, thy face is valanced since I 
saw thee last : com'st thou to beard me in Den- 
mark ? — What ! my young lady and mistress ! By-'r- 
lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when 
I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray 
God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be 
not cracked within the ring. — Masters, you are all 
welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly 
at any thing we see : we'll have a speech sti-aight. 
Come, give us a taste of your quality ; come, a pas- 
sionate speech. 

1 Play. What speech, my good lord ? 

Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once, — 
but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above 
once, for the play, I remember, pleased not the 
million ; 'twas caviare to the general : but it was 
(as I received it, and others, whose judgments in 
such matters cried in the top of mine,) an excellent 
play ; well digested in the scenes, set down with as 
much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said, 
there were no sallets in the lines to make the mat- 
ter savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might 


ACT 11 r 



indict the author of affectation, but called it an 
honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by 
very much more handsome than fine. One speech 
in it I chieHy loved : 'twas ^Eneas' tale to Dido ; 
and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of 
Priam's slaugliter. If it live in your memory, 
begin at this line : — let me see, let me see ; — 
"The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast," 
— 'tis not so ; it begins with Pyrrhus. 
" The rtxgged Pyrrhus, — he, whose sable arms, 
"Black as his purpose, did the night resemble 
" When he lay couched in the ominous horse, 
"Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd 
" With heraldry moi'e dismal ; head to foot 
" Now is he total gules ; horridly trick'd 
"With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons; 
"Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets, 
" That lend a tyrannous and a damned light 
"To their lord's mtirder: Roasted in wrath, and 

" And thus o'ersized with coagulate gore, 
" With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish PyiThus 
" Old grandsire Priam seeks ;" — 
So proceed you. 

Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken ; with 
good accent, and good discretion. 

1 Play. "Anon he finds him 
" Striking too short at Greeks : his antique sword, 
"Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls, 
'^' Repugnant to command. Unequal match'd, 
" Pyrrhus at Priam drives ; in rage, strikes wide ; 
" But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword 
" The unnei-ved father falls. Then senseless Illium, 
" Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top 
" Stoops to his base ; and with a hideous crash 
" Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear : for, lo ! his sword 
" Which was declming on the milky head 
"Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick: 
" So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood ; 
"And, like a neutral to his will and matter, 
" Did nothing. 

" But, as we often see, against some storm, 
" A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still, 
"The bold winds speechless, and the orb below 
" As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder 
"Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus' pause, 
" Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work, 
"And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall 
" On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterae, 
" With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword 
" Now falls on Priam. — 

" Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune I All you gods, 
"In general synod, take away her power; 
"Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel, 
" And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven, 
"As low as to the fiends!" 

Pol. This is too long. 

Harn. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. — 
Pr'ythee, say on: — he's for a jig, or a tale of 
bawdry, or he sleeps. — Say on : come to Hecuba. 

1 Play. " But who, O ! who had seen the mobled 
queen" — 

Ham. The mobled qtxeen ? 

Pol. That's good ; mobled queen is good. 

1 Play. " Run barefoot up and down, threal'ning 
the flames 
" With bisson rhettm ; a clout tipon that head, 
" Where late the diadem stood ; and, for a robe, 
" About her lank and all o'erteemed loins, 
"A blanket, in th' alarm of fear caught up; 
" Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd 


" 'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pro- 

nounc'd : 
"But if the gods themselves did see her then, 
" When she saw Pyrrhtis make malicious sport 
" In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs, 
" The instant burst of clamour that she made, 
" (Unless things mortal move them not at all,) 
" Would have made milch the burning eyes of 

" And passion in the gods." 

Pol. Look, whether he has not tnrn'd his colour, 
and has tears in's eyes ! — Pr'ythee, no more. 

Ham. 'Tis well ; I'll have thee speak out the rest 
of this soon. —Good my lord, will you see the play- 
ers well bestowed ? Do you hear, let them be well 
used; for they are the abstracts and brief chroni- 
cles of the time : after your death you were better 
have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you 

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their 

Ham. God's bodkin, man, mtich better : use 
every man after his desert, and who should 'scape 
whipping ? Use them after yotir own honour and 
dignity : the less they desei-ve, the more merit is 
in yoiu- bounty. Take them in. 
Pol. Come, sirs. 

[Exit PoLONius, with some of the Players. 
Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play 
to-morrow. — Dost thou hear me, old friend ? can 
you play the murder of Gonzago ? 
1 Play. Ay, my lord. 

Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. Yoti 
could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen 
or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert 
in't, could you not ? 
1 Play. Ay, my lord. 

Ham. Very well. — Follow thai lord ; and look 
you mock him not. [Exit Player.] My good 
friends, [ To Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till 
night : you are welcome to Elsinore. 
Ros. Good my lord. 

[Exeunt Roskncraxtz and Guildenstern. 
Ham. Ay, so, good bye you. — Now I am alone. 
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I ! 
Is it not monstrous, that this jilayer here, 
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, 
Could force his soul so to his own conceit, 
That, from her working, all his visage wann'd ; 
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect, 
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting 
With forms to his conceit ? and all for nothing I 
For Hecuba? 

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, 
That he should weep for her ? What would he do, 
Had he the motive and the cue for passion. 
That I have ? He would drown the stage with 

And cleave the general ear with horrid speech ; 
Make mad the guilty, and appal the free, 
Confotind the ignorant ; and amaze, indeed. 
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I, 
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak. 
Like .lohn a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, 
And can say nothing ; no, not for a king, 
Upon whose proj)crty, and most dear life, 
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward? 
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across? 
Plucks oft' my beard, and blows it in my face ? 
Tweaks me by the nose ? gives me the lie i' the 




As deep as to the lungs ? Who does me this ? Ha ! 
'Swounds ! I should take it ; for it cannot be, 
Btit I am pigeon-liver'd, and lack gall 
To make oppression bitter, or ere this 
I should have fatted all the region kites 
With this slave's otfal. Bloody, bawdy villain ! 
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless vil- 
lain ! 
O, vengeance ! 

Why, what an ass am I ? This is most brave ; 
That I, the son of the dear murthered, 
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell. 
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words, 
And fall a cursing, like a very drab, 
A scullion I 

Fie upon't ! foh I About my brain ! I have heard, 
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play, 

Have by the very cunning of the scene 
Been struck so to the soul, that presently 
They have proclaim'd their malefactions ; 
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak 
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players 
Flay something like the murder of my father. 
Before mine uncle : I'll observe his looks ; 
I'll tent him to the quick : if he but blench, 
I know my course. The spirit, that I have seen. 
May be the devil : and the devil hath power 
T' assume a pleasing shape ; yea, and, perhaps, 
Out of my weakness, and my melancholy, 
As he is very potent with such spirits. 
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds 
More relative than this : the play's the thing. 
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. 





Scene I. — A Room in the Castle. 

Enter King, Queen, Poloxius, Ophelia, Rosen- 
CRANTz, and Guildenstern. 

King. And can you, by no drift of conference. 
Get from him, why he puts on this confusion. 
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet. 
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy ? 

Ros. He does confess, he feels himself distracted ; 
But from what cause he will by no means speak. 

Quit. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded. 
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof. 
When we would bring him on to some confession 
Of his true state. 

Queen. Did he receive you well ? 

Ros. Most like a gentleman. 

Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition. 

Ros. Niggard of question ; but, of our demands. 
Most free in his reply. 

Queen. Did you assay him 

To any pastime ? 

Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players 
We o'er-raught on the way : of these we told him ; 
And there did seem in him a kind of joy 
To hear of it. They are about the court ; 
And, as I think, they have already order 
This night to play before him. 

Pol. 'Tis most true : 

And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties. 
To hear and see the matter. 

King. With all my heart; and it doth much 
content me 
To hear him so inclin'd. 
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge, 
And drive his purpose on to these delights. 

Ros. We shall, my lord. 

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 

King, Sweet Gertrude, leave us too ; 

For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither. 
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here 
Affront Ophelia: her father, and myself (lawful 

Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen. 
We may of their encounter frankly judge ; 
And gather [)y him, as he is behav'd, 
If't be til' afiliction of his love, or no, 
That thus he suffers for. 

Queen. I shall obey you. — 

And, for your part, Ophelia, I do wish. 
That your good beauties be the happy cause 


Of Hamlet's wildness; so shall I hope, your virtues 
Will bring him to his wonted way again, 
To both your honours. 

OjjJi. Madam, I wish it may. 

[Exit Queen. 

Pol. Ophelia, walk you here. — Gracious, so please 
We will bestow ourselves. — Read on this book ; 

[To Ophelia. 
That show of such an exercise may colour 
Your loneliness. — We are oft to blame in this, — 
'Tis too much prov'd, — that, Avith devotion's visage. 
And pious action, we do sugar o'er 
The devil himself. 

King. O ! 'tis too true : [Aside.] how smart 
A lash that speech doth give my conscience ! 
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art. 
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it. 
Than is my deed to my most painted word. 
O heavy burden ! 

Pol. I hear him coming : let's withdraw, my lord. 
[Exeunt King and Polonius. 

Enter Hamlet. 

Ham. To be, or not to be ; that is the question : — 
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune ; 
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles. 
And by opposing end them? — To die, — to sleep, — 
No more ; — and, by a sleep, to say we end 
The lieart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks 
That flesh is heir to, — 'tis a consummation 
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die ; — to sleep : — 
To sleep I perchance to dream : — ay, there's the rub ; 
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, 
When we have shufitled off this mortal coil, 
Must give us pause. There's the respect 
That makes calamity of so long life: 
For who would l)ear the whips and scorns of time. 
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 
The pangs of dispriz'd love, the law's delay, 
The insolence of office, and the spurns 
That patient merit of the unworthy takes. 
When he himself might his quietus make 
With a bare bodkin ? who would these fardels bear, 
To grunt and sweat under a weary life. 
But that the dreail of something after death, — 
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn 
No traveller returns, — puzzles the will, 
And makes us rather bear those ills we have, 




Than fly to others tliat we know not of? 
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ; 
And thus the native hue of resolution 
Is sickhed o'er with the pale cast of thought, 
And enterprises of great pith and moment, 
With this regard their currents turn awry. 
And lose the name of action. — Soft you, now I 
The lair Ojihelia. — Nymph, in thy orisons 
Be all my sins remember'd. 

Oph. Good ray lord, 

How does your honour for this many a day ? 

Ham. I humbly thank you ; well, well, well. 

Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours. 
That I have longed long to re-deliver; 
I pray you now receive them. 

Ham. No, not I ; 

I never gave you aught. 

Oph. My honour'd lord, you know right well 
you did ; 
And with them, words of so sweet breath compos'd, 
As made the things more rich : their perfume lost, 
Take these again ; for to the noble mind, 
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind. 
There, my lord. 

Ham. Ha, ha ! are you honest ? 

Oph. My lord ! 

Ham. Are you fair? 

Oph. What means your lordship? 

Ham. That if you be honest, and fair, your hon- 
esty should admit no discourse to your beauty. 

Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better com- 
merce than with honesty ? 

Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will 
sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd, 
than the force of honesty can translate beauty into 
his likeness : this was some time a paradox, but 
now the time gives it proof. I did love you once. 

Oph. Indeed, my lord, yotiinade me believe so. 

Ham. You should not have believed me; for 
virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock, but we 
shall relish of it. I loved you not. 

0/>h. I was the more deceived. 

Ham. Get thee to a nunnery : why would'st 
thou be a breeder of sinners ? I am myself indif- 
ferent honest : but yet I could accuse me of such 
things, that it were better, my mother had not 
borne me. I am very proud, revengefid, ambi- 
tious ; with more offences at my beck, than I have 
thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them 
shape, or time to act them in. What should such 
fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth ? 
We are arrant knaves, all ; believe none of us. Go 
thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father? 

Oph. At home, my lord. 




Ham. Let the doors be shut upon him, that he 
may play the fool no where but in's own house. 

Oph. O! help him, you sweet heavens! 

Ham. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this 
plague for thy dowry : be thou as chaste as ice, as 
pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get 
thee to a nunnery; go, farewell. Or, if thou wilt 
needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well 
enough what monsters you make of them. To a 
nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell. 

Oph. Heavenly powers, restore him ! 

Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well 
enough : God hath given you one face, and you 
makeyourselves another : you jig, you amble, and 
you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make 
your wantonness your ignorance. Go to ; I'll no 
more on't: it hath made me mad. I say, we will 
have no more marriages : those that are manned 
already, all but one, shall live ; the rest shall keep 
as they are. To a nunnery, go. \^Exit Hamlet. 

Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown ! 
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, 

sword : 
Th' expectancy and rose of the fair state. 
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form, 
Th' observ'd of ail obsei-vers, quite, quite down ! 
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched. 
That suck'd the honey of his music vows. 
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason, 
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh ; 
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth. 
Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me I 
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see I 

Re-enter King and Polonius. 

King. Love ! his affections do not that way tend ; 
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little. 
Was not like madness. There's something in his 

O'er which his melancholy sits on brood ; 
And, I do doubt, the hatch, and the disclose. 
Will be some danger : which for to prevent, 
I have, in quick determination. 
Thus set it down. He shall with speed to England, 
For the demand of our neglected tribute: 
Haply, the seas, and countries difterent, 
With variable objects, shall expel 
This something settled matter in his heart ; 
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus 
From fashion of himself. What think you on't? 

Pol. It shall do well : but yet do I believe, j 
The origin and commencement of his grief 
Sprung from neglected love. — How now, Ophelia! 
You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said ; 
We heard it all. — My lord, do as you please ; 
But, if you hold it fit, after the play 
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him 
To show his griefs : let her be round with him : 
And I'll be plac'd, so please you, in the ear 
Of all their conference. If she find him not. 
To England send him, or confine him where 
Your wisdom best shall think. 

King. It shall be so : 

Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go. 


Scene II. — A Hall in the Same. 
Enter Hamlet, and certain Players. 
Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pro- 
nounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue ; but 


if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had 
as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not 
saw the air too much with your hand, thus ; but 
use all gently : for in the very torrent, tempest, and 
(as I may say) wliirlwind of passion, you must ac- 
quire and beget a temperance, that may give it 
smoothness. O ! it ofi'ends me to the soul, to hear 
a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to 
tattei-s, to very rags, to split the ears of tlie ground- 
lings ; who, for the most part, are capable of noth- 
ing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise : I 
would have such a fellow whipped for o'er-doing 
Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you avoid it. 
1 Play. I warrant your honour. 
Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your 
own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to 
the word, the word to the action, with this special 
observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of 
nature ; for any thing so overdone is from the pur- 
pose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and 
now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror 
up to nature ; to show virtue her own feature, 
scorn her own image, and the very age and body 
of the time, his form and pressure. Noav, this 
overdone, or come tardy off", though it make the 
iinskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious 
grieve ; the censure of which one must, in your 
allowance, o'er-weigh a whole theatre of others. 
O ! there be players, that I have seen play, — and 
heard others praise, and that highly, — not to speak 
it profanely, that, neither having the accent of 
Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor 
man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have 
thought some of Nature's journeymen had made 
men, and not made them well, they imitated hu- 
manity so abominably. 

1 Play. I hope, we have refonned that indiffer- 
ently with us. 

Hatn. O! reform it altogether. And let those, 
that play yovu- clowns, speak no more than is set 
down for them : for there be of them, that will 
themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of bar- 
ren spectators'to laugh too ; though in the mean 
time some necessary question of the play be then 
to be considered : that's villainous, and shows a 
most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, 
make you ready.— [Exeunt Players. 

Enter Polomus, Rosencrantz, and Guilden- 

How now, my lord ! will the king hear this piece 
of work ? 

Pol. And the queen too, and that presently. 
Ham. Bid the players make haste. — 

[Exit Polonius. 
Will you two help to hasten them ? 
Both. We will, my lord. 

Exeunt RosKNCRANTz and Guildenstern. 
Ham. What, ho ! Horatio ! 

Enter Horatio. 

Hnr. Here, sweet lord, at your service. 

Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man 
As e'er my conversation cop'd withal. 

Hor. O ! my dear lord, — 

Ham. Nay, do not think T flatter; 

For what advancement nray I hope from thee. 
That no revenue hast, but thv good spirits. 
To feed and clothe thee .' Why should the poor 

be flatter'd ? 
No ; let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp, 




And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee, 
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear ? 
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice. 
And could of men distinguish, her election 
Hath seal'd thee for herself: for thou hast been 
As one, in suliering all, that sutiei's nothing ; 
A man, that fortune's butiets and rewards 
Hast ta'en with equal thanks : and bless'd are those, 
AVhose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled. 
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger 
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man 
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him 
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart, 
As I do thee. — .Something too much of this. — 
There is a play to-night before the king ; 
One scene of it comes near the circumstance, 
Which I have told thee, of my father's death : 
I pr'ythee, wlien thou seest that act a-foot. 
Even with the very comment of ray soul 
Observe mine uncle : if his occulted guilt 
Do not itself unkennel in one speech. 
It is a damned ghost that we have seen. 
And my imaginations are as foul 
As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note; 
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face. 
And, after, we will both our judgments join 
In^censure of his seeming. 

Hor. Well, my lord ; 
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing. 
And "scape detecting, I will pay the theft. 

Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be 
idle ; 
Get you a place. 

Danish March. A Flourish. Enter Kintr, Queen, 
PoLOMus, Ophelia, Rosencra.ntz, Guilden- 
STERN, and others. 

King. How fares our cousin Hamlet? 

Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the camelion's dish : 
I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed 
capons so. 

King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet : 
these words are not mine. 

Hum. No, nor mine now. — My lord, you played 
once in the university, you say? [To Polonius. 

Pol. That did I, my lord ; and was accounted a 
good actor. 

Ham. And what did you enact? 

Pol. I did enact Julius Cfesar: I was killed i' the 
Capitol; Brutus killed me. 

Ham. It was a brute part of him to kill so capi- 
tal a calf there. — Be the players ready ? 

Ros. Ay, my lord ; they stay upon your patience. 

Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me. 

Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more at- 

Pol. O ho ! do you mark that ? [ To the King. 

Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap? 

[Lying down at Ophelia's Feet. 

Oph. No, my lord. 

Ham. I mean, my head upon your lap? 

Oph. Ay, my lord. 

Ham. Do you think, I meant country matters ? 

Oph. I think nothing, my lord. 

Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maids' 

Oph. What is, my lord? 

Ham. Nothing. 

Oph. You are merry, my lord. 

Ham. Who, I ? 

Oph. Ay, my lord. 

Ham. O God ! your only jig-maker. What 
should a man do, but be merry ? for, look you, 
how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father 
died within these two hours. 

OjjJi. Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord. 

Ham. So long ? Nay then, let the devil wear 
black, for I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens ! 
die two months ago, and not forgotten yet ? Then 
there's hope, a great man's memory may outlive 
his life half a year ; but, by'r-lady, he must build 
churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking 
on, with the hobby-horse ; whose epitaph is, " For, 
O ! for, O ! the hobby-horse is forgot." 

Trumpets sound. The dumb Shotc enters. 

Enter a King and Queen, very lovingly ; the Queen em- 
bracing him. She kneels, and makes show of protes- 
tation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his 
head upon her neck; lays him down upon a bank of 
flowers: she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon 
comes in a fellow, lakes off his crown, kisses it, and 
potcrs poison in the King's ear, and exit. The Queen 
returns, finds the King dead, and 7nukcs passionate 
action. The poisoner, ivilh some two or three Mutes, 
comes in again, seeming to lament icith her. The 
dead body is carried away. The poisoner woos the 
Queen u-ith gifts : she seems loath and unwilling 
awhile; but in the end accepts his love. [Exeunt. 

Oph. What means this, my lord ? 

Ham . Marry, this is miching mallecho ; it means 

Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of 
the play. 

Enter Prologue. 

Ham. We shall know by this fellow : the players 
cannot keep counsel ; they'll tell all. 

Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant ? 

Ham. Ay, or any show that you will show him : 
be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to 
tell you what it means. 

Opli. You are naught, you are naught. I'll 
mark the play. 

Pro. " For us, and for our trasedy, 

Here stooping to your clemency, 
We beg your hearing patiently." 

Ham. Is this a prologue, or the poesy of a ring ? 
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord. 
Ham. As woman's love. 

Enter a King and a Queen. 

P. King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone 
Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground; 
And thirty dozen moons, with borrow'd sheen, 
About the world have times twelve thirties been ; 
Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands, 
Unite commutual in most sacred bands. 

P. Queen. So many journeys may the sun and moon 
Make us asain count o'er, ere love be done. 
But, woe is me ! you are so sick of late, 
So far from cheer, and from your former state, 
That I distrust you. Yet, thousrh I distrust, 
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must ; 
For women's fear and love hold quantity, 
In neither aught, or in extremity. 
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know, 
And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so. 
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear ; 
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there. 

P. King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly 
My operant powers their functions leave to do : 
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind, 




SCENE 11. 

Honour'd, belov'd ; and, haply, one as kind 
For liusband shall thou — 

P. Queen. 0, confound the rest! 

Such love must needs be treason in my breast : 
In second husband let me be accurst ; 
■ None wed the second, but who kill'd the first. 

Ham. [Aside] Wormwood, wormwood. 

P. Queen. The instances, that second marriage move. 
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love : 
A second time I kill my husband dead. 
When second husband kisses me in bed. 

P. King. I do believe you think what now you speak, 
But what we do determine oft we break. 
Purpose is but the slave to memory. 
Of violent birth, but poor validity ; 
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree. 
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be. 
Most necessary 'tis, that we forget 
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt : 
What to ourselves in passion we propose. 
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose. 
The violence of either grief or joy 
Their own enactures with themselves destroy : 
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament ; 
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident. 
This world is not for aye; nor 'tis not strange. 
That even our loves should with our fortunes change ; 
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove. 
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love. 
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies ; 
The poor advanc'd makes friends of enemies : 
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend, 
For who not needs shall never lack a friend ; 
And who in want a hollow friend doth ti"j', 
Directly seasons him his enemy. 
But, orderly to end where I begun, 
Our wills and fates do so contrary run. 
That our devices still are overthrown ; 
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own : 
So think thou wilt no second husband wed. 
But die thy thoughts, when thy fii-st lord is dead. 

P. Queen. Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven 
light ! 
Sport and repose lock from me, day and night ! 
To desperation turn my trust and hope ! 
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope ! 
Each opposite, that blanks the face of joy, 
Meet what I would have well, and it destroy ! 
Both here, and hence, pursue me lasting strife, 
If, once a widow, ever I be wife ! 

Ham. If she should break it now,— 

P. King. 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here 
a while : 
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile 
The tedious day with sleep. [Sleeps. 

P. Queen. Sleep rock thy brain ! 

And never come mischance between us twain ! [Exit. 

Ham. Madam, how like you this play ? 

Queen. The lady doth protest too much, me- 

Ham. O ! but she'll keep her word. 

King. Have you heard the argument ? Is there 
no offence in't? 

Ham. No, no ; they do but jest, poison in jest : 
no offence i' the world. 

King. What do you call the play ? 

Ham. The mouse-trap. Marry, how ? Tropi- 
nlly. This p\ny is the image of a murder done in 
Vienna: Gonzago is the duke's name; his wife, 
Pjiptista. You shall see anon: 'tis a knavish piece 
of work ; but what of that ? your majesty, and we 
that have free souls, it touches us not : let the 
galled jade wince, our withers are unvvrung. 


Enter Lucianus. 

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king. 

Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my lord. 

Ham. I could interpret between you and your 
love, if I coidd see the puppets dallying. 

Oph. You are keen, my lord, you are keen. 

Ham. It would cost you a groaning to take off 
my edge. 

Oph. Still better, and worse. 

Ham. So you must take your husbands. — Begin, 
murderer: leave thy damnable faces, and begin. 
Come : — The croaking raven doth bellow for re- 

Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time 
agreeing ; 
Confederate season, else no creature seeing ; 
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected. 
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected. 
Thy natural magic and dire property, 
On wholesome life usurp immediately. 

[Pouis the poison into the sleeper's ears. 

Ham. He poisons him i' the garden for his estate. 
His name's Gonzago : the story is extant, and writ- 
ten in very clioice Italian. You shall see anon, 
how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife. 
Oph. The king rises. * 

Ham. What I frighted with false fire ? 
Queen. How fares my lord? 
Pol. Give o'er the play. 
King. Give me some light I — away I 
All. Lights, lights, lights! 

[Exeunt all htd Hamlet and Horatio. 
Ham. Why, let the stricken deer go weep, 
The iiart ungalled play ; 
For some must watch, while some must sleep : 
Thus runs the world away. — 
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers, (if the 
rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me,) with two 
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fel- 
lowship in a cry of players, sir? 
Hot. Half a share. 
Ham. A whole one, I. 

For thou dost know, O Damon dear! 

This realm dismantled was 
Of Jove himself ; and now reigns here 
A very, very — peacock ! 
Hot. You might have rhymed. 
Ham. O good Horatio ! I'll take the ghost's 
word for a thousand povnid. Didst perceive ? 
Hor. Very well, my lord. 
Ham. Upon the talk of the poisoning, — 
Hor. I did very well note him. 
Ham. Ah, ha! — Come; some music! come; 
the recorders ! 

For if the king like not the comedy. 

Why then, belike, — he likes it not, perdy. — 

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 

Come ; some music ! 

Guil. Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with 

Ham. Sir, a whole history. 

Guil. The king, sir, — 

Ham. Ay, sir, wliat of him? 

Guil. Is in his retirement marvellous distem- 

Ha7n. With drink, sir? 

Guil. No, my lord, with choler. 

Ham. Your wisdom should show itself more 
I richer, to signify this to his doctor; for, for me to 




put him to his purgation would, perhaps, plunge 
him into more choler. 

Guil. Good my lord, put your discourse into 
some frame, and start not so wildly from my affair. 

Ham. 1 am tame, sir : — pronounce. 

Guil. The queen your mother, in most great 
affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you. 

Ham. You are welcome. 

Guil. Nay, good my lord, this covirtesy is not 
of the right breed. If it shall please you to make 
me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's 
commandment ; if not, your pardon and my return 
shall be the end of my business. 

Ham. Sir, I cannot. 

Guil. What, my lord ? 

Ham. Make you a wholesome answer ; my wit's 
diseased : but, sir, such answer as I can make, you 
shall command ; or, rather, as you say, my mother : 
therefore no more, but to the matter. My mother, 
you say, — 

Ros'. Then, thus she says. Your behaviour hath 
struck her into amazement and admiration. 

Ham. O wonderful sou, that can so astonish a 
mother! — But is there no sequel at the heels of 
this mother's admiration ? impart. 

Ros. She desires to speak with you in her closet, 
ere you go to bed. 

Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our 
mother. Have you any further trade with us ? 

Ros. My lord, you once did love me ? 

Ham. And do still, by these pickers and stealers. 

Ros. Good my lord, what is your cause of dis- 
temper? you do, surely, but bar the door upon 
your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your 

Ham. Sir, I lack advancement. 

Ros. How can that be, when you have the voice 
of the king himself for your successsion in Den- 

Ham. Ay, sir, but "while the grass grows," — 
the proverb is something musty. 

Enter the Players, tvith Recorders. 

O ! the recorders : — let me see one. — To withdraw 
with you : — why do you go about to recover the 
wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil ? 
■ Guil. O, my lord ! if my duty be too bold, my 
love is too unmannerly. 

Ham. I do not well understand that. Will you 
play upon this pipe ? 

Guil. My lord, I cannot. 

Ham. I pray you. 

Guil. Believe me, I cannot. 

Ham. I do beseech you. 

Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord. 

Ham. It is as easy as lying : govern these vent- 
ages with your finger and thumb, give it breath 
with your mouth, and it will discourse most elo- 
quent music. Look you, these are the stops. 

Guil. But these cannot I command to any utter- 
ance of harmony : I have not the skill. 

Ham. Why Took you now, how unworthy a thing 
you make of ine. You would play upon me ; you 
would seem to know my stops ; you would pluck 
out the heart of my mystery ; you would sound me 
from my lowest note to the top of my compass; 
and there is miich music, excellent voice, in this 
little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. Why I 
do you think I am easier to be played on than a 
pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though 
you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. — 

Enter Poloius. 

God bless yovi, sir ! 

Pol. My lord, the queen would speak with you, 
and presently. 

Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost 
in sTiape of a camel ? 

Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed. 

Ham. Methinks, it is like a weasel. 

Pol. It is backed like a weasel. 

Ham. Or, like a whale? 

Pol. Very like a whale. 

Ham. Then, will I come to my mother by and 
by. — They fool me to the top of my bent. — I will 
come by and by. 

Pol. I will say so. [Exit Polomus. 

Ham. By and by is easily said. — Leave me, 
friends. [Exeunt Ros., Guil., Hor., S^r. 
'Tis now the very witching time of night. 
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes 

Contagion to this world : now could I drink hot 

And do such bitter business as the day 
Would quake to look on. Soft ! now to my mother. — 
O, heart ! lose not thy nature ; let not ever 
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom : 
Let me be cruel, not unnatural. 
I will speak daggers to her, but use none ; 
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites : 
How in my words soever she be shent. 
To give them seals never, my soul, consent ! [Exit. 

Scene III. — A Room in the Same. 
Enter King, Rosexcrantz, and Guildenstern. 

King. I like him not ; nor stands it safe with us, 
To let his madness range. Therefore, prepare you : 
I your commission will forthwith despatch, 
And he to England shall along with you. 
The terms of our estate may not endure 
Hazard so dangerous, as doth hourly grow 
Out of his lunacies. 

Guil. We will ourselves provide. 

Most holy and religious fear it is. 
To keep those many many bodies safe, 
That live, and feed, upon your majesty. 

Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound. 
With all the strength and annour of the mind. 
To keep itself from 'noyance; but much more 
That spirit, upon whose weal depend and rest 
The lives of many. The cease of majesty 
Dies not alone ; but like a gulf doth draw 
What's near it, with it : it is a massy wheel, 
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount. 
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things: 
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd ; which, when it falls. 
Each small annexment, petty consequence. 
Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone 
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan. 

King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage ; 
For we will fetters put upon this fear. 
Which now goes too free-footed. 

Ros. and Guil. We will haste us. 

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and GuiLDE^fsxERy. 

Enter Poloxius. 
Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet. 
Behind the arras I'll convey myself. 
To hear the process : I'll warrant, she'll tax him 

home ; 
And, as you said, and wisely was it said, 





'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother, 
Smce natme makes them partial, should o'erhear 
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege : 
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, 
And tell you what I know. 

King. Thanks, dear my lord. 

\^K.vit PoLONius. 
O! my offence is rank, it smells to heaven ; 
It liath the primal eldest curse upon't, 
A brother's murder! — Pray can I not, 
Though inclination be as sharp as will : 
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent ; 
And, like a man to double business bound, 
I stand in pause where I shall first begin. 
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand 
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood. 
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens. 
To wash it white as snow ? Whereto sei-ves mercy. 
But to confront the visage of offence ? 
And what's in prayer, but this two-fold force, — 
To be forestalled, ere we come to fall, 
Or pardon'd, being down? Then, I'll look up: 
My fault is past. But, O! what form of prayer 
Can serve my turn ? Forgive me my foul murder I — 
That cannot be ; since I am still possess'd 
Of those effects for which I did the murder, 
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. 
May one be pardon'd, and retain th' ofience ? 
In the corrupted currents of this world. 
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice, 
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself 
Buys out the law; but 'tis not so above : 
There, is no shuffling, there, the action lies 
In his true nature ; and we ourselves compell'd. 
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults. 
To give in evidence. What then ? what rests ? 
Try what repentance can : what can it not ? 
Yet what can it, when one can not repent ? 
O wretched state ! O bosom, black as death ! 
O limed soul, that struggling to be free. 
Art more engaged ! Help, angels ! make assay : 
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart, with strings of 

Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe. 
All may be well. {Retires and kneels. 

Enter Hamlet. 

Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying ; 
And now I'll do't : — and so he goes to heaven. 
And so am I reveng'd ? That would be scann'd : 
A villain kills my father ; and for that, 
I, his sole son, do this same villain send 
To heaven. 

Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. 
He took my father grossly, full of bread; 
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May, 
And how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven ? 
But, in our circumstance and course of thoixght, 
'Tis heavy with him ; and am I then reveng'd, 
To take him in the purging of his soul. 
When he is fit and season'd for his passage ? 

Up, sword ; and know thou a more homd hent. 
When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage ; 
Or in th' incestuous pleasures of his bed; 
At gaming, swearing, or about some act. 
That has no relish of salvation in't ; 
Then trip liim, that his heels may kick at heaven, 
And that his soul may be as damn'd, and black. 
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays : 
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days. {Exit. 


The King rises, and advances. 

King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain 
below : 
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. 


Scene IV. — A Roorn in the Same. 
Enter Queen and Polonius. 

Pol. He will come straight. Look you, lay 
home to him ; 
Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear 

And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between 
Mvich heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here. 
Pray you, be round with him. 

Ham. {Within.] Mother, mother, mother! 
Queen. I'll warrant you ; 

Fear me not : — withdraw, I hear him coming. 

[PoLONius hides himself. 

Enter Hamlet. 

Ham. Now, mother ! what's the matter ? 
Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much of- 
Ham. Mother, you have my father much of- 
Queen. Come, come; you answer with an idle 

Ham. Go, go ; you question with a wicked tongue. 
Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet ! 
Ham. What's the matter now ? 

Queen. Have yoit forgot me? 
Ham. No, by the rood, not so : 

You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife; 
And, — would it were not so ! — you are my mother. 
Queen. Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can 

Ham. Come, come, and sit you down ; you shall 
not budge : 
You go not, till I set you up a glass 
Where yoit may see the inmost part of you. 

Queen. What wilt thou do ? thou wilt not mur- 
der me. 
Help, help, ho ! 

Pol. {Behifid.] What, ho ! help! help! help! 
Ham. How now! a rat? {Draws.] Dead for a 
ducat, dead. 
[Hamlet maJccs a pass through the arras. 
Pol. {Behind.] O! I am slain. {Falls and dies. 
Queen. O me ! what hast thou done ? 

Ham. Nay, I know not : 

Is it the king ? 

{Lifts vp the arras, and draws forth Polonius. 
Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this ! 
Ham. A bloody deed; almost as bad, good mother, 
As kill a king, and marry with his brother. 
Queen. As kill a king ! 

Ham. Ay, lady, 'twas my word. — 

Thou wretched, rash, inti-uding fool, farewell. 

[ To Polonius. 
I took thee for thy better ; take thy fortune : 
Thou fmd'st to be too busy is some danger. — 
Leave wringing of your hands. Peace ! sit you 

And let me wring your heart : for so I shall, 
If it be made of penetrable stuff; 
If damned custom have not braz'd it so. 
That it is proof and bulwark against sense. 

Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag 
thy tongue 




In noise so rude against me ? 

Ham. Such an act, 

That blurs the grace and blush of modesty ; 
Calls virtue, hypocrite ; takes off the rose 
From the fair forehead of an innocent love, 
And sets a blister there ; makes marriage vows 
As false as dicers' oaths : O ! such a deed, 
As from the body of contraction plucks 
The very soul ; and sweet religion makes 
A rhapsody of words : Heaven's face doth glow. 
Yea, this solidity and compound mass, 
AVith tristful visage, as against the doom. 
Is thought-sick at the act. 

Queen. Ah me I what act, 

That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ? 

Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this ; 
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. 
See, what a grace was seated on this brow : 
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; 
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command ; 
A station like the herald Mercury, 
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill; 
A combination, and a form, indeed. 
Where every god did seem to set his seal. 
To give the world ;issurance of a man. 
This was your husband : look you now, what follows. 
Here is your husband ; like a mildew'd ear. 
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes ? 
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed. 
And batten on this moor? H? I have you eyes? 
You cannot call it, love ; for, at your age, 
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble. 
And waits upon the judgment ; and what judgment 
Would step from this to this ? Sense, sure, you 

Else could you not have motion : but sure that 

Is apoplexed : for madness would not err ; 
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled, 
But it reserved some quantity of choice 
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't 
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind ? 
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight. 
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all. 
Or but a sickly part of one true sense. 
Could not so mope. 

O shame ! where is thy blush ? Rebellious hell. 
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones. 
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax. 
And melt in her own fire : proclaim no shame 
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge ; 
Since frost itself as actively doth burn, 
And reason panders will. 

Queen. O Hamlet! speak no more ! 

Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul ; 
And there I see such black and grained spots. 
As will not leave their tinct. 

Ham. Nay, but to live 

In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed ; 
Stew'd in corruption ; honeying, and making love 
Over the nasty stye ; — 

Queen. O, speak to me no more ! 

These words, like daggers enter in mine ears : 
No more, sweet Hamlet. 

Ham. A murderer, and a villain ; 

A slave, that is not twentieth part the tithe 
Of your precedent lord : — a vice of kings ! 
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule. 
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole. 
And put it in his pocket! 

Queen. No morel 


Enter Ghost. 

Ham. A king of shreds and patches. — 
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings. 
You heavenly guards ! — What would you, gracious 
figure ? 

Queen. Alas ! he's mad. 

Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide, 
That, laps'd in time and passion, lets go by 
Th' important acting of your dread command ? 
O, say ! 

Ghost. Do not forget. This visitation 
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. 
But, look ! amazement on thy mother sits : 
O! step between her and her fighting soul: 
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works. 
Speak to her, Hamlet. 

Ham. How is it with you, lady ? 

Queen. Alas ! hovr is't with you. 
That you do bend your eye on vacancy, 
And with th' incorporal air do hold discourse ? 
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep ; 
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th' alarm, 
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements. 
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son! 
Upon tlie heat and flame of thy distemper 
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look ? 

Ham. On him, on him ! — Look you, how pale 
he glares ! 
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones. 
Would make them capable. — Do not look upon me; 
Lest with this piteous action you convert 
My stern eflects : then, what I have to do 
Will want true colour ; tears, perchance, for blood. 

Queen. To whom do you speak this? 

Ham. Do you see nothing there ? 

Queen. Nothing at all : yet all, that is, I see. 

Ham. Nor did vou nothins hear ? 

Queen. No, nothing but ourselves. 

Ham. Why, look you there ! look, how it steals 
away ! 
My father, in his habit as he liv'd ! 
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal I 

{Exit Ghost. 

Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain; 
This bodily creation epstasy 
Is very cunning in- 

Ham. Ecstasy! 
^ly pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time. 
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness. 
That I have utter'd : bring me to the test. 
And I the matter will re-word, which madness 
Would gambol from. 3Iother, for love of grace, 
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul. 
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks : 
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place, 
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within. 
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven ; 
Repent what's past : avoid what is to come. 
And do not spread the compost on the weeds. 
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue ; 
For in the fatness of these pursy times. 
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg. 
Yea, curb and woo, for leave to do him good. 

Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in 

Ham. O throw away the worser part of it, 
And live the pm-er with the other half. 
Good night ; but go not to mine uncle's bed : 
Assume a virtue, if you have it not. 
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat 
Of habits, devil, is an^el yet in this ; 
" 39 




That to the use of actions fair and good 

He likewise gives a frock, or hvery. 

That aptly is put on : refrain to-night ; 

And that shall lend a kind of easiness 

To the next abstinence : the next more easy ; 

For use almost can change the stamp of nature, 

And master the devil, or throw him out 

With wondrous potency. Once more, good night: 

And when you are desirous to be bless'd, 

I'll blessing beg of you. — For this same lord, 

[Pointing to Polonius. 
I do repent : but Heaven hath pleas'd it so, — 
To punish me with this, and this with me, 
That I must be their scoui-ge and minister. 
1 will bestow him, and will answer well 
The death I gave him. So, again, good night. — 
I must be cruel, only to be kind : 
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind. — 
One word more, good lady. 

Queen. What shall I do ? 

Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you do : 
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed ; 
Pinch wanton on your cheek ; call you his mouse ; 
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses, 
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers, 
Make you to ravel all this matter out. 
That I essentially am not in madness. 
But mad in craft. 'Twere good, you let him know ; 
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise, 
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, 
Such dear concernings hide ? who would do so ? 

No, despite of sense, and secresy. 
Unpeg the basket on the house's top, 
Let the birds fly, and, like the famous ape, 
To try conclusions in the basket creep, 
And break your own neck down. 

Queen. Be thou assur'd, if words be made of 
And breath of life, I have no life to treathe 
What thou hast said to me. 

Ham. I must to England; you know that. 

Queen. Alack ! 

I had forgot : 'tis so concluded on. 

HafTi. There's letters seal'd, and my two school- 
fellows, — 
Whom I will trust, as I will adders fang'd, — 
They bear the mandate ; they must sweep my way. 
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work; 
For 'tis the sport, to have the enginer 
Hoist with his own petar, and it shall go hard, 
But I will delve one yard below their mines. 
And blow them at the moon. O! 'tis most sweet. 
When in one line two crafts directly meet. — 
This man shall set me packing : 
I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room. — 
Mother, good night. — Indeed, this counsellor 
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave. 
Who was in life a foolish prating knave. 
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you. 
Good night, mother. 

[Exeu7it severally ; Hamlet dragging in 


t- f i«r:ci»JT 3' 

[Palaop of Rosentierg.] 

* ,t '-' 

Mcr iv 

Scene I. — The Same. 
Enter King., Queen, Rosencrantz, and Guil- 


King. There's matter in these sighs : these pro- 
found heaves 
You must translate ; 'tis fit we understand them. 
Where is your son ? 

Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while. — 
{^Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 
Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night ! 

King. What, Gertrude ? How does Hamlet ? 

Queen. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both 
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit, 
Behind the arras hearing something stir, 
He whips his rapier out, and cries, " A rat ! a rat !" 
And in his brainish apprehension kills 
The unseen good old man. 

King. O heavy deed ! 

It had been so with us, had we been there. 
His liberty is full of threats to all ; 
To you yourself, to us, to every one. 
Alas I how shall this bloody deed be answer'd ? 
It will be laid to us, whose providence 
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt. 
This mad young man ; but so much was our love, 
We would not understand what was most fit, 
But, like the owner of a foul disease, 
To keep it from divulging, let it feed 
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone ? 

Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd ; 
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore 
Among a mineral of metals base. 
Shows itself pure : he weeps for what is done. 

King. O, Gertrude ! come away. 
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch. 
But we will ship him hence ; and this vile deed 
We must, with all our majesty and skill, 
Both countenance and excuse. — Ho ! Guildenstern! 

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 

Friends both, go join you with some further aid. 
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain. 
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him : 
Go, seek him out ; speak fair, and bring the body 
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this. 

[Exeunt Ros. and Guil. 
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends ; 
And let them know, both what we mean to do, 

And what's untimely done : so, haply, slander, — 

Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter. 

As level as the cannon to his blank. 

Transports his poison'd shot, — may miss our name. 

And hit the woundless air. — O, come away ! 

My soul is full of discord, and dismay. [Exeunt. 

Scene II. — Another Room in the Same. 

Enter Hamlet. 

Hain. Safely stowed. — [Ros. S^x. within. 

Hamlet! lord Hamlet!] But soft! — what noise! 
who calls on Hamlet ? O I here they come. 

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 

Ros. What have you done, my lord, with the 
dead body ? 

Ham. Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin. 

Ros. Tell VIS where 'tis; that we may take it 
And bear it to the chapel. 

Ham. Do not believe it. 

Ros. Believe what? 

Ham. That I can keep your counsel, and not 
mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, 
Avhat replication should be made by the son of a 
king ? 

Ros. Take you me for a sponge, my lord ? 

Ham. Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's coun- 
tenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such 
officers do the king best service in the end : he 
keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw, 
first mouthed, to be last swallowed : when he needs 
what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, 
and, sponge, you shall be dry again. 

Ros. I understand you not, my lord. 

Ham.. I am glad of it : a knavish speech sleeps 
in a foolish ear. 

Ros. My lord, you must tell us where the body 
is, and go with us to the king. 

Ham. The body is Avith the king, but the king 
is not with the body. The king is a thing — 

Guil. A thing, my lord! 

Ham. Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, 
and all after. [Exeunt. 

Scene III. — Another Room in the Same. 

Enter King, attended. 
King. I have sent to seek him. and to find the 





How dangerous is it, that this man goes loose ! 
Yet must not we put tlie strong law ou him : 
He's lov'd of the distracted multitude. 
Who like not in tlieir judgment, but their eyes; 
And where 'tis so, th' otlender's scourge is weigh'd, 
But never the oti'euce. To bear all smooth and 

This sudden sending him away must seem 
Deliberate pause : diseases, desperate grown, 
By desperate appliance ai'e reliev'd, 

Enter Rosencrantz. 

Or not at all. — How now ! what hath befallen ? 

Ros. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord. 
We cannot get from him. 


&• . 

But where is he ? 

Ros. Without, my lord ; guarded, to know your 

King. Bring him before us. 
Ros. Ho, Guildenstern ! bring in my lord. 

Enter Hamlet and Guildexstern. 

King. Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius? 

Ham. At supper. 

King. At supper ! Where ? 

Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten : 
a certain convocation of politic wonns are e'en at 
him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet : 
we fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat our- 
selves for maggots : your fat king, and your lean 
beggar, is but variable semce ; two dishes, but to 
one table : that's the end. 

King. Alas, alas ! 

Ham. A man may fish with the worm that hath 
eat of a king ; and eat of the fish that hath fed of 
that worm. 

King. What dost thou mean by this ? 

Ham. Nothing, but to show you how a king 
inay go a progress through the guts of a beggar. 

King. Where is Polonius ? 

Ham. Tn heaven : send thither to see ; if your 
messenger find him not there, seek him i' the other 

place yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not 
within this month, you shall nose him as you go 
up the stairs into the lobby. 

King. Go seek him there. [ To some Attendants. 

Ham. He will stay till you come. 

[Exeunt Attendants. 

King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial 
safety, — 
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve 
For that which thou hast done, — must send thee 

With fiery quickness : therefore, prepare thyself. 
The bark is ready, and the wind at help, 
Th" associates tend, and every thing is bent 
For England. 

Ham. For England ? 

King. Ay, Hamlet. 

Ham. Good. 

King. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes. 

Ham. I see a cherub that sees them. — But, 
come; for England I — Farewell, dear mother. 

King. Thy loving father, Hamlet. 

Ham. My mother: father and mother is man 
and wife, man and wife is one flesh ; and so, my 
mother. Come, for England. [Exit. 

King. Follow him at foot ; tempt him with 
speed aboard : 
Delay it not, I'll have him hence to-night. 
Away, for every thing is seal'd and done. 
That else leans on th' affair : pray you, make haste. 

[Exeunt Ros. and Guil.. 
And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught, 
(As my great power thereof may give thee sense, 
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red 
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe 
Pays homage to us,) thou may'st not coldly set 
Our sovereign process, which imports at full, 
By letters conjuring to that eflect. 
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England; 
For like the hectic in my blood he rages, 
And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done, 
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun. [Exit. 



Scene IV. — A Plain in Denmarlc. 
Enter Fortinbras, and Forces, marching. 

For. Go, captain ; from me greet the Danish 
king : 
Tell him, that by his license Fortinbras 
Claims the conveyance of a promis'd march 
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous. 
If that his majesty would aught with us. 
We shall express our duty in his eye; 
And let him know so. 

Cap. I will do't, my lord. 

For. Go safely on. 

[^Exeunt Fortinbras and Forces. 

Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guilden- 

STERN, (^r. 

Ham. Good sir, whose powers are these ? 

Cap. They are of Norway, sir. 

Ham. How purpos'd, sir, 

I pray you ? 

Cap. Against some pait of Poland. 

Ham. Who 

Commands them, sir? 

Cap. The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras. 

Ham. Goes it against the main of Poland, sir, 
Or for some frontier ? 

Cap. Truly to speak, and with no addition, 
We go to gain a little patch of ground. 
That hath in it no profit but the name. 
To pay five ducats, five, I would not faiTn it; 
Nor will it yield to Norway, or the Pole, 
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee. 

Ham. Why, then the Polack never will defend it. 

Cap. Yes, 'tis already garrison'd. 

Ham. Two thousand souls, and twenty thousand 
Will not debate the question of this straw : 
This is th' imposthume of much wealth and peace, 
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without 
Why the man dies. — I humbly thank you, sir. 

Cap. God be wi' you, sir. \_Exit Captain. 

Ros. Will't please you go, my lord ? 

Ham. I'll be with you straight. Go a little 
before. {Exeunt Ros. and Guil. 

How all occasions do inform against me, 
And spur my dull revenge ! What is a man, 
If his chief good, and market of his time. 
Be but to sleep, and feed ? a beast, no more. 
Sure, He, that made us with such large discourse, 
Looking before and after, gave us not 
That capability and godlike reason. 
To fust in us imus'd. Now, whether it be 
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple 
Of thinking too precisely on th' event, — 
A thought, which, quarter'd, hath but one part 

And ever three parts coward, — I do not know 
Why yet I live to say, " This thing's to do ;" 
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means, 
To do't. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me : 
Witness this army, of such mass and charge, 
Led by a delicate and tender prince. 
Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd. 
Makes mouths at the invisible event ; 
Exposing what is mortal, and inisure. 
To all that fortune, death, and danger, dare. 
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great, 
Is not to stir without great argument. 
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw. 
When honour's at the stake. How stand I, then. 
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd. 
Excitements of my reason, and my blood. 
And let all sleep ? while, to my shame, I see, 
The imminent death of twenty thousand men, 
That for a fantasy, and trick of fame. 
Go to their graves like beds ; fight for a plot 
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause ; 
Which is not tomb enough, and continent. 
To hide the slain? — O! from this time forth. 
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth ! 





Scene V. — Elsinore. A Room in the Castle. 

Enter Queen, and Horatio. 
Queen. I will not speak with her. 
Hor. She is importunate ; indeed, distract : 
Her mood will needs be pitied. 

Queen. What would she have ? 

Hor. She speaks much of her father ; says, she 
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 

Indeed would make one think, there might be 

Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily. 

Queen. 'Twere good she were spoken with, for 
she may strew 
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds. 
Let her come in. \_Exit Horatio. 

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, xvith Ophelia. 
Oph. Where is the beauteous majesty of Den- 
Queen. How now, Ophelia? 

Oph. How should I your trueloveknoio {^Singing. 
From another one ? 
By his cockle hat and staff, 
And his sandal shoon. 
Queen. Alas, sweet lady ! what imports this song ? 
Ojih. Say you ? nay, pray you, mark. 

He is dead and gone, lady, [Singing. 

He is dead and gone ; 
At his head a grass-green turf, 
At his heels a stone. 
O, ho ! 

Queen. Nay, but Ophelia, — 
Oph. Pray you, mark. 

White his shroud as the mountain snow, 

Enter King. 
Queen. Alas ! look here, my lord. 
Oph. Larded with sweet flowers ; 

Which bewept to the grave did not go, 
With true-love showers. 
King. How do you, pretty lady ? 
Oph. 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 ! 

King. Conceit upon her father. 
Oph. 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 don'd his clothes, 

And dupp'd. the chamber door ; 
Let in the maid, that out a maid 

Never departed more. 



oath, I'll make an 

King. Pretty Ophelia ! 
Ojyh. Indeed, la ! without an 
end on't : 

By Gis, and by Saint Charity, 

Alack, and fie for shame ! 
Young men will do^t, if they come toH; 

By cock they are to blame. 
Quoth sJie, before you tuynbled me, 

You promised me to wed : 
He answers. 

So would I ha'' done, by yonder sun, 

An thou hadst not come to my bed. 

King. How long hath she been thus ? 

Oph. I hope, all will be well. We must be 
patient; but I cannot choose but weep, to think, 
they would 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. 


King. Follow her close ; give her good watch, 
I pray you. [Exit Horatio. 

0! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs 
All from her father's death. And now, behold, 
O Gertrude, Gertnide ! 

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 

For good Polonius' death; and we have done but 

In hugger-mugger to inter liini ; 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 persons to arraign 
In ear and ear. O, luy dear Gertrude ! this. 
Like to a murdering piece, in many places 
Gives me superfluous death. [A noise xvitliin. 

Queen. Alack ! what noise is this ? 

Enter a Gentleman, 

King. Attend I 
Where are my Switzers ? Let them guard the 

What is the matter? 

Gent. 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 ofliccrs ! The rabble call him, lord ; 
And, as the world were now but to begin. 
Antiquity forgot, custom not known, 
The ratiflers 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!" 

Queen. How cheerfully on the false trail they cry ! 
O ! this is counter, you false Danish dogs. 

King. The doors are broke. \^Noise wiOiin. 

£«ier Laertes, armed; Danes follotving. 

Laer. Where is this king ? — Sirs, stand you all 

Dan. No, let's come in. 

Laer. I pray you, give me leave. 

Dan. We will, we will. 

[ They retire without the door. 

Laer. I thank you : keep the door. — O thou vile 
Give me my father. 

Queen. Calmly, good Laertes. 

Laer. 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. 

King. 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 incens'd. — Let him go, Ger- 
trude. — 
Speak, man. 

Laer. Where is my father ? 

King. Dead. 

Queen. But not by him. 

King. Let him deiuand his fill. 

Laer. How came he dead ? I'll not be juggled 
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 reveng'd 
Most thoroughly for my father. 

King. Who shall stay you ? 

Laer. My will, not all the world's : 

And, for my means, I'll husband them so well. 
They shall go far with little. 

King. 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? 

Laer, None but his enemies. 

King. Will you know them, then? 

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

King. Why, now you speak 

Like a good child, and a true gentleman. 
That I am guiltless of your father's death, 
And am most sensibly in grief for it. 
It shall as level to your judgment pierce, 
As day does to your eye. 

Danes. [ Within.'] Let her come in. 

Laer. 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 turns the beam. O rose of May ! 
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia ! — 

heavens! is't possible, a yotmg maid's wits 
Should be as mortal as an old man's life ? 
NatiU'e is fine in love ; and, where 'tis fine, 

It sends some precious instance of itself 
After the thing it loves. 

Oph. 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 I 

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

Oph. You must sing, Down a-dorcn, an you call 
him a-doicn-a. O, how the wheel becomes it! It 
is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter. 

Laer. This nothing's more than matter. 

Oph. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance ; 
pray you, love, remember : and there is pansies, 
that's for thoughts. 

Laer. A document in madness ; thoughts and 
remembrance fitted. 

Oph. There's fennel for you, and columbines ; — 
there's rue for you ; and here's some for me : we 
may call it, herb of grace o' Sundays : — you may 
wear your rue with a dift'erence. — There's a daisy : 

1 would give you some violets ; but they withered 
all when my father died. — They say, he made a good 
end, — 

For bonny siveet Robin is all my joy, — [Sings. 

Laer. Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself. 
She turns to favour, and to prettiness. 

Oph. And will he not come again? [Sings. 
And will he not come again ? 

No, 710, he is dead ; 

Go to thy death-bed. 
He never icill come again. 

His heard was as white as snow. 
All flaxen icas his poll; 

He is gone, he is gone. 

And ice cast away moan: 
God ha' mercy on his soul ! 




And of all Christian souls ! I pray God. God be 
\vi' you. [Exit Ophelia. 

Laer. Do you see this, O God ? 

Kino;. Laertes, I must commune with your grief. 
Or you deny me right. Go but apart, 
Mai^e 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 call 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. 

Laer. 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. 

King. So you shall ; 

And, where th' offence is, let the great axe fall. 
I pray you, go with me. [Exeunt. 

So EXE VI. — Another Room in the Same. 
Enter Horatio, and a Servant. 

Hor. What are they, that would speak with me ? 

Serv. Sailors, sir: they say, they have letters for 

Hor. 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. 

1 Sail. God bless you, sir. 

Hor. Let him bless thee too. 

1 Sail. 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 Hora- 
tio, as I am let to know it is. 

Hor. [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 appoint- 
ment 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 re])air thou to me with as much 
haste as thou would'st 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 give you way for these your letters ; 
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me 
To him from whom you brought them. 


I ... ■! 


r v[ 


Scene VII. — Another Room in the Same. 

Enter King and Laertes. 

King. Now must your conscieuce my acquit- 
tance seal, 
And you must put me in your heart for friend, 
Sitli you bave heard, and with a knowing ear, 
That he, which hath your noble father slain, 
Pursu'd my life. 

Laer. It well appears : but tell me, 

Why you proceeded not against these feats, 
So crimeful and so capital in nature, 
As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else, 
You mainly were stirr"d up. 

King. OI for two special reasons. 

Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsiuew'd. 
But yet to me they are strong. The queen, his 

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, 
1 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 afteclion, 
Work 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. 

Laer. 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. 

King. 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, 

How now ! what news ? 


Ships.] • 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. Letters, my lord, from Hamlet. 

This to your majesty : this to the queen. 

King. From Hamlet I who brought them ? 

Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say ; I saw them not : 
They were given me by Claudio, he receiv'd them 
Of him that brought them. 

King. Laertes, you shall hear them. — 

Leave us. \_Exit Messenger. 

[Heads.] "High and mighty, you shall know, ] 
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 
occasions of my sudden and more strange return. 


What should this mean? Are all the rest come 

back ? 
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing ? 

Laer. Know you the hand ? 

King. 'Tis Hamlet's chai-acter. "Naked," — 
And, in a postscript hei-e, he says, "alone:" 
Can you advise me ? 

Laer. 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 diddest thou." 

King. If it be so, Laertes, 

(As how should it be so ? how othenvise ?) 
Will you be ruled by me ? 

Laer. Ay, my lord ; 

So you will not o'er-ioile me to a peace. 

King. To thine own peace. If he be now re- 
tuni'd, — 
As liking not 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 practice. 
And call it, accident- 

Laer. My lord, I will be rul'd ; 

The rather, if you could devise it so. 
That I might be the organ. 




8CE?(K VII. 

King. 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. 

Laer. What part is that, my lord ? 

King. 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 

Here was a gentleman of Normandy, — 
I have seen myself, and serv'd against the French, 
And they can well on horseback ; but this gallant 
Had witchcraft in't ; he grew iinto his seat ; 
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse. 
As he had been incorps'd and demi-natur'd 
With the brave beast : so far he topp'd my 

That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks. 
Come short of what he did. 

Laer. A Norman, was't? 

King. A Norman. 
Laer. Upon my life, Lamord. 
King. The very same. 

Laer. I know him well : he is the brooch, 
And gem of all the nation. 

King. 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 

He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye, 
If you oppos'd 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 you. 
Now, out of this, — 

Laer. What out of this, my lord ? 

King. Laertes, was your father dear to you? 
Or are you like the painting of a soiTOW, 
A face without a heart ? 

Laer. Why ask you this ? 

King. Not that I think you did not love your 
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 snuft', that will abate it, 
And nothing is at a like goodness still ; 
For goodness, growing to a pleurisy. 
Dies in his own too-much. That we would do, 
We should do when we would; for this "would" 

And hath abatements and delays as many, 
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents; 
And then this "should" is like a spendthrift's 

That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o' the 

Hamlet comes back : what would you undertake. 
To show yourself your father's son in deed. 
More than in words ? 

Laer. To cut his throat i' the church. 


King. No place, indeed, should murder sanc- 
tuarize ; 
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes, 
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber. 
Hamlet, returned, shall know you aie 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 to- 
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 practice 
Requite him for your father. 

Laer. I will do't ; 

And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword. 
I bought an tinction 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 
Lender 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. 

King. 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 perform- 
'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 vour 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 prepar'd 

A chalice for the nonce ; w'hereon but sipping. 
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck. 
Our purpose may hold there. But stay! what noise? 

Enter Qneen. 

How, sweet queen ! 

Queen. One woe doth tread upon another's heel. 
So fast they follow. — Your sister's drown'd, La- 
Laer. Drown'd ! O, where ? 
Queen. 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. 


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 

And, mermaid-like, a while they bore her up ; 
Which time, she chanted snatches of old lauds ; 
As one incapable of her own distress. 
Or like a creature native and indu'd 
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. 

Laer. Alas I then, is she drown'd ? 

our cold maids do dead men's fingers call 




Queen. Drown'd, drown'd. 

Laer. Too much of water hast thou, poor 
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 drowns it. [Exit. 

King. 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. 


Scene I. — A Church Yard. 
Enter Two Clowns, icith Spades, S^'c. 

1 Clo. Is she to be buried in Christian burial, 
that wilfully seeks her own salvation? 

2 Clo. I tell thee, she is ; and therefore make 
her grave straight : the crowner hath sat on her, 
and finds it Christian burial. 

1 do. How can that be, unless she drowned 
herself in her own defence ? 

2 Clo. Why, 'tis found so. 

1 Clo. It must be se offcndendo ; 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, and to perform : 
argal, she drowned herself wittingly. 

2 Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodraan delver. 

1 Clo'. 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 
liimself: argal, he that is not guilty of his own 
death shortens not his own life. 

2 Clo. But is this law ? 

1 Clo. Ay, marry, is't; crowner's quest-law. 

2 Clo. Will you ha' the truth on't ? If this 
liad not been a gentlewoman, she should have 
been l)uried out of Cliristian burial. 

1 Clo. Why, there thou say'st ; and the more 
pity, that great folk shall 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 
grave-makers; they hokl up Adam's profession. 
2 Clo. Was he a gentleman .' 

1 Clo. He was the first that ever bore arms. 

2 Clo. Why, he had none. 

1 Clo. What, art a lieathen ? How dost thou un- 
derstand 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 

2 Clo. Go to. 

1 Clo. What is he, that builds stronger than either 
the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter? 

2 Clo. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives 
a thousand tenants. 

1 Clo. I like thy wit well, in good faith : the gal- 
lows 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, 



SCE^'E I. 

the gallows may do well to thee. To't 

2 Clo. Who buikls stronger than 
shipwright, or a carpenter? 

1 Clo. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke 

2 Clo. Marry, now I can tell. 

1 Clo. To't. 

2 Clo. Mass, I cannot tell. 


a mason, a 

Enter Hamlet and Horatio, at a distance^ 

1 Clo. Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for 
your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating; 
and, when you are asked tliis question next, say, a 
grave-maker : the houses that he makes, last till 
doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan ; fetch me a 
stoop of liquor. [Exit 2 Cloicn. 

[C liurrti at 

1 Clown digs, and sings. 

In youth, when I did love, did love, 

Methought it ivas very sweet, 
To contract, O! the time, for, ah! 7ny behove, 

O, methought there was nothing meet. 

Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his business, 
that he sings at grave-making ? 

Hor. Custom hath made it in him a property of 

Ham. 'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employ- 
ment hath the daintier sense. 

1 Clo. But age, with his stealing steps. 
Hath claw'd me in his clutch. 
And hath shipped me intill tlic land. 
As if I had never been such. 

[Throics up a skidl. 

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-reaches, one that would 
circumvent God, might it not? 

Hor. It misht, my lord. 

Ham. Or of a courtier, which could say, "Good- 
nu)rrow, sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord?" 


This might be my lord such-a-one, that pi'aised 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 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 them ? 
mine ache to think on't. 

1 Clo. A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade, \^Sings, 
For — and a shrouding-sheet : 
O! a 2>it of clay for to be made 
For such a guest is meet. 

[Throns up another skull. 
Ham. 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 sufl'er this rude knave now to knock 
him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will 
not tell him of his action of battery? Humpli ! 
This fellow mi^ht 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? 

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 fellow. — 
Whose grave's this, sir? 

1 Clo. Mine, sir. — 

O, a pit of clay for to he made [Sings. 
For such a guest is meet. 

Ham. I think it be thine, indeed ; for thou liest 

1 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 ; there- 
fore, thou liest. 

1 Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, 
from me to you. 

Ham. What man dost thou dig it for ? 

1 Clo. For no man, sir. 

Ham. What woman, then ? 

1 Clo. For none, neither. 

Ham. Who is to be buried in't? 

1 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 ? 

1 Clo. Of all the days i' the year, I came to't 
that day that our last king Hamlet overcame For- 


Ham. How long is that since ? 

1 Clo. 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. 

Ham. Ay, marry ; why was he sent into Eng- 

1 Clo. Why, because he was mad : he shall re- 
cover his wits there ; or, if he do not, 'tis no great 
matter there. 

Ham. Why? 

1 Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there ; there, 
the men are as mad as he. 

Ham. How came he mad? 

1 Clo. Very strangely, they say. 

Ham. How strangely ? 

1 Clo. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits. 

Ham. Upon what ground? 

1 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 ? 

1 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 ? 

1 Clo. 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 hath 
lain you i' the earth three-and-twenty years. 

Ham. Whose was it? 

1 Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was : whose 
do you think it was? 

Ham. Nay, I know not. 

1 Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue ! a' 
poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. 
This same skull, sir, this same skull, sir, was 
Yorick's skull, the king's jester. 

Ham. This? [Takes the skull. 

1 Clo. E'en that. 

N V^ 


Ham. Let me see. Alas, poor Yorick ! — I knew 
him, Horatio : a fellow of infinite jest, of most ex- 
cellent fancy : he hath borne me on his back a 
thousand times ; and now, how abhorred in my 
imagination it is I 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. — Pr'ythee, 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 dotcn the sTcuU. 

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 ? 

Imperial Cn?sar, 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 t' expel the winter's flaw I 
But soft I but soft! aside: — here comes the king, 

Enter Priests, S^v., in Procession ; the Corpse of 
Ophelia, Laertes and Mourners following ; 
King, Queen, their Trains, S^v. 

The queen, the courtiers. Who is that they 

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 a while, and mark. 

[Retiring with Horatio. 

Laer. What ceremony else ? 

Ham. That is Laertes, 

A very noble youth : mark. 

Laer. What ceremony else ? 

1 Priest. Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd 
As we have warranty : her death was doubtful; 
And but that great command o'ersways the order, 
She should iu ground unsanctified have lodg'd. 
Till the last trumpet ; for charitable prayers. 
Shards, flints, and pebbles, should be thrown on 

Yet here she is allow'd her virgin rites, 
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home 
Of bell and burial. 

Laer. 3Iust there no more be done ? 

1 Priest. No more be done. 

We should profane the seiTice of the dead, 
To sing a requiem, and such rest to her 
As to peace-parted souls. 

Laer. Lay her i' the eaith ; 

And from her fair and unpolluted flesh, 
May violets spring ! — I tell thee, chuilish priest, 
A ministering angel shall my sister be. 
When thou liest howling. 

Ham. "What! the fair Ophelia ? 

Queen. Sweets to the sweet : farewell. 

[Scattering floioers. 
1 hop'd thou should'st have been my Hamlet's 

wife : 
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet 

And not to have strew'd thy grave. 

Laer. O ! treble woe 

Fall ten times treble on that cursed head, 


Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense 
Depriv'd thee of! — Hold off the earth awhile. 
Till I have caught her once more iu mine arms. 

[Leajfing into the grave. 
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead, 
Till of this flat a moimtain you have made. 
To o'er-toj) 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 wondering stars, and makes them 

Like wonder-wounded hearers ? this is I, 
Hamlet the Dane. [Leaping into the grave. 

Laer. The devil take thy soul I 

[Grappling xvith him. 
Ham. Thou pray'st not well. 
I ])r'ythee, 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. Hold oft' thy hand. 
King. Pluck them asunder. 
Queen. Hamlet! Hanflet ! 

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 
Until my eyelids will no longer wag. 
Queen. O my son! what theme ? 
Ham. I lov'd Ophelia: forty thousand brothers 
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'lt do : 
Woul't weep? woul't fight? woul't fast? woul't 

tear thyself? 
Woul't drink up Esill ? 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 
3Iillions 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. 

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 dav. 


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



A Hall in the Castle 

Enter Hamlet and Horatio. 

Ham. So nmch for this, sir: now shall you see 
the other. — 
You do remember all the circumstance. 

Hor. Remember it, my lord ! 

Ham. 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, — 
A.nd prais'd 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. 

Hor. That is most certain. 

Ham. Up from my cabin, 
My sea-gown scarf' d about me, in the dark 
Grop'd 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 oft'. 

Hor. Is't possible ? 

Ham. Here's the commission : read it at more 
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed? 

Hor. I beseech you. 

Ham. Being thus benetted round with villains, — 
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains, 


They had begun the play, — 1 sat me down, 
Devis'd 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 ? 

Hor. Ay, good my lord. 

Ham. An earnest conjuration from the king, — 
As England was his faithful tributary. 
As love between them like the palm might flourish, 
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear, 
And stand a comma 'tween their amities. 
And many such like ases of great charge, — 
That on the view and know of these contents, 
Without debatement further, more or less. 
He should the bearers put to sudden death, 
Not shriving-time allow'd. 

Hor. How was this seal'd ? 

Ham. 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; 
Subscrib'dit; gave't th' impression; plac'd it safely, 
The changeling never known. Now, the next day 
Was our sea-fight, and what to this was sequent 
Thou know'st already. 

Hor. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't. 

Ham. 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. 

Hor. Why, what a king is this I 

Ham. Does it not, think thee, stand me now 
upon — 





He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother; 
Popp'd in between th' election and my hopes ; 
Thrown out his angle for my proper life, 
And with such cozenage — is't not perfect con- 
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 ? 

Hor. It must be shortly known to him from Eng- 

What is the issue of the business there. 

Ham. It will be short : the interim is mine ; 
And a man's life 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 count his favours : 
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me 
Into a towering passion. 

Hor. Peace ! who comes here ? 

Enter Osric 

Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to 

Ham. I humbly thank you, sir. — Dost know this 
water-fly ? 

Hor. No, my good lord. 

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious, for 'tis a 
vice to knowhim. 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. 

Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, 
I should impart a thing to you from his majesty. 

Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of 
spirit. Your bonnet to his right use ; 'tis for the 

Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot. 

Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold : the wind 
is northerly. 

Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed. 

Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry, and 
hot for my complexion. 

Osr. 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, — 

Hatn.l beseech you, remember — 

[Hamlet moves him to ])ut on his hat. 

Osr. Nay, in good faith ; for mine ease, in good 
faith. Sir, hereis newly come to court, Laertes ; 
believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most ex- 
cellent 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 

Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in 
you ; though, I know, to divide him inventorially, 
would dizzy the arithmetic of memory ; and yet 
but raw 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. 

Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of 

Ham. The conceraancy, sir? why do we wrap 
the gentleman in our more rawer breath ? 

Osr. Sir? 

Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another 
tongue ? You will do't, sir, really. 

Ham. What imports the nomination of this gen- 
tleman ? 

Osr. Of Laertes? 

Hor. His purse is empty already ; all his golden 
words are spent. 

Ham. Of him, sir. 

Osr. I know, you are not ignorant — 

Ham. I would, you did, sir ; yet, m faith, if you 
did, it would not much approve me. — Well, sir. 

Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence 
Laertes is — 

Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should com- 
pare with him in excellence ; but to know a man 
well were to know himself. 

Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the 
imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he's 

Ham. What's his weapon ? 

Osr. Rapier and dagger. 

Ham. That's two of his weapons : but, well. 

Osr. 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. 

Ham. What call you the can-iages? 

Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the margin, 
ere you had done. 

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers. 

Ham. The phrase would be more german to the 
matter, if we could carry a 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? 

Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, sir, that in a dozen 
passes between yourself and him, he shall not ex- 
ceed you three hits : he hath laid, on twelve for 
nine ; and that would come to immediate trial, if 
your lordship would vouchsafe the answer. 

Ham. How, if I answer, no ? 

Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your 
person in trial. 

Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall : if it 
please his majesty, it is 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, if I can : if not, I will gain nothing but 
my shame, and the odd hits. 

Osr. Shall I deliver you so ? 

Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish 
your nature will. 

Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit. 

Ham. Yours, yours. — He does well to commend 
it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn. 

Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on 
his head. 

Ham. He did comply with his dug before he 
sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the 
same breed, that, I know, the drossy 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 win- 
nowed opinions; and do but blow them to their 
trial, the bubbles are out. 

Enter a Lord. 

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. 

Ham. I am constant to my ptii-poses ; they fol- 
low the king's pleasure : if his fitness speaks, mine 
is ready ; now, or whensoever, provided I be so able 
as now. 

Lord. The king, and queen, and all are coming 

Ham. In happy time. 

Lord. The queen desires you to use some gen- 
tle entertainment to Laertes, before you fall to play. 

Ham. She well instructs me. [Exit Lord. 

Hor. You will lose this wager, my lord. 

Ham. I do not think so : since he went into 
France, I have been in continual practice ; I shall 
win at the odds. Thou would'st not think, how ill 
all's here about my heart ; bvit it is no matter. 

Hor. Nay, good my lord, — 

Ham. It is but foolerj^; but it is such a kind of 
gaingiving, as would, perhaps, trouble a woman. 

Hor. If your mind dislike any thing, obey it; I 
will forestall their repair hither, and say you are 
not fit. 

Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury: there is 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, of aught he leaves, 
knows, what is't to leave betimes ? Let be. 

Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Lords, Osric, and 
Attendants uith Foils, Sfc. 

King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand 
from me. 
[The King puts the hand of Laertes into 
that q/' Hamlet. 

Ham. 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 purpos'd evil 
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts, 
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house, 
And hurt my brother. 



Laer. 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 ray name ungor'd. But till that time, 
I do receive your offer'd love like love, 
And will not wrong it. 

Ham. I embrace it freely ; 

And will this brother's wager frankly play. — 
Give us the foils ; come on. 

Laer. Come ; one for me. 

Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes : in mine ignor- 
Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night, 
Stick fiery off indeed. 

Laer. You mock me, sir. 

Ham. No, by this hand. 

King. Give them the foils, young Osric. — 
Cousin Hamlet, 
You know the wager ? 

Ham. Very well, my lord ; 

Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side. 

King. I do not fear it : I have seen you both ; 
But since he's better'd, we have therefore odds. 

Laer. This is too heavy ; let me see another. 

Ham. This likes me well. These foils have all 
a length ? [ Tkey prejpare to play. 

Osr. Ay, my good lord. 

King. 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 drinks to Hamlet!" — Come, 

begin; — 
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye. 

Ham. Come on, sir. 

Laer. Come, my lord. [They play. 

Ham. One. 

Laer. No. 

Ham. Judgment. 

Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit. 

Laer. Well : — again. 

King. Stay ; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl 
is thine ; 
Here's to thy health. — Give him the cup. 

[ Trumpets sound ; and cannon shot officithin. 

Ham. I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. 
Come. — Another hit ; what say you ? [ They play. 

Laer. A touch ; a touch, I do confess. 




King. Our son shall win. 

Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath. — 

Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows: 
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet. 
Ham. Good madam, — 

King. Gertrude, do not drink. 

Queen. I will, my lord : I pray you, pardon me. 
King. It is the poison'd cup ! it is too late. 

Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam ; by and by. 
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face. 
Laer. My lord, I'll hit him now. 
King. I do not think it. 

Laer. And yet it is almost against my con- 
science. [Aside. 
Ham. 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. 

Laer. Say you so ? come on. [They play. 

Osr. Nothing, neither way. 
Laer. Have at you now. 

[Laertes wounds Hamlet ; then, in scuffling, 
they change rapiers, and Hamlet icounds 
King. Part them ! they are incens'd. 

Ham. Nay, come again. [The Quten falls. 

Osr. Look to the queen there, ho! 

Hor. They bleed on both sides. — How is it, my 

Osr. How is't, Laertes ? 

Laer. Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, 
Osric ; 
I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery. 
Ham. How does the queen ? 
King. She swoons to see them bleed. 

Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink, — O my dear 
Hamlet I — 
The drink, the drink : I am poison'd. [Dies. 

Ham. O villainy! — How? let the doorbelock'd: 
Treachery! seek it out. [Laertes /a/Zs. 

Laer. 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; 
L^nbated, and envenom'd. The foul practice 
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. 

Ham. The point 
Envenom'd too ! — Then, venom, to thy work. 

[Stabs the King. 
All. Treason ! treason ! 
King. O ! yet defend me, friends ; I am but 

Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned 
Drink off this potion : — is thy union here ? 
Follow my mother. [King dies. 

Laer. He is justly serv'd ; 

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 ! [Dies. 

Ham. Heaven make thee free of it ! I follow 
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 liv'st : report me and my cause aright 
To the unsatisfied. 

Hor. Never believe it ; 

I am more an antique Roman than a Dane : 
Here's yet some liquor left. 

Ham. As thou'rt a man. 

Give me the cup: let go ; by heaven I'll have it. — 

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 ? 
Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from 
To the ambassadors of England gives 
This warlike volley. 

Ham. O ! I die, Horatio ; 

The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit: 

1 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. [Dies. 
Hor. 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 

Fort. W^here is this sight ? 

Hor. What is it ye would see ? 

If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search. 

Fort. This quarry cries on havock. — O proud 
Death ! 
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, 
That thou so many princes at a shot 
So bloodily hast struck ? 

1 Amb. The sight is dismal. 

And our afl'airs 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 ? 

Hor. Not from his mouth. 

Had it th' 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 arriv'd, 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 forc'd cause. 
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook 
Fall'n on the inventors' heads: all this can I 
Truly deliver. 

Fort. 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. 


Hor. 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 mis- 
On plots and errors, happen. 

Fort. Let four captains 

Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage ; 

For he was likely, had he been put on, 
To have prov'd most royally : and for his passage. 
The soldiers' music, and the rites of war, 
Speak loudly for him. — 
Take up the body. — Such a sight as this 
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. 
Go, bid the soldiers shoot. \_A dead march. 

\_Exeunt, marching ; after which, a peal of 
ordnance is shot off. 

I aracr\l\^ 

[Hamlet's Grave] 

[Cockle Hat and Staff.] 


The antiquarian researches of various commentators 
have successfully traced the fragments of songs, in 
which Ophelia pours forth her wandering, incoherent 
feelings and fancies, to the popular works of Shake- 
speare's age, and the ballads then familiar to the public 
ear. The music still sung on the stage in this charac- 
ter is thought, on good authority, to be tlie same, or 
nearly so, that was used in the original representation, 
and transmitted by stage tradition to our own days. 
This is connected with so many interesting associations, 
that we are grateful to Mr. Ayrton for enabling us to 
present it to the American public. "When Drury 
Lane Theatre," he informs us, in the pictorial edition, 
"was destroyed by fire, in 1812, the copy of these songs 
suffered the fate of the whole musical library ; but Dr. 

Arnold noted down the airs from Mrs. Jordan's recollec- 
tion of them ; and the present three stanzas, as well as 
the two beginning — ' And will he not come again ?' are 
from his collection." 

"The two stanzas commencing, 'To-morrow,' are 
from the notation of the late William Linley, as he 
'remembered them to have been exquisitely sung by 
Mrs. Forster.' The stanzas beginning, ' By Gis and by 
St. Charity,' may go to the notes set to ' To-morrow.' 

" We have given the melodies as noted by Dr. Arnold 
and Mr. W^. Linley, but for their bases and accompani- 
ments we hold ourselves alone responsible ; having 
added such as, in our opinion, are best adapted to the 
characters of the airs, musically viewed, and to the 
feeling of the sceae, dramatically considered." 






1st. How should I your true love know, 

From a. no - - ther 




2nd. He is dead and 

gone, la - dy, 

He is dead 




ie= f o 



3rd. White his shroud as the moun . tain snow, 

Lard - ed 

all with sweet 














:? — P — » — ^: 



-r— »<— »■ 

1st. one ? 

By his coc - kle hat and staff, 

And his san - dal shoon. 







2nd. gone ! 

At his head 


a grass - green turf, 

At his heels 

a stone. 


H h 



3rd. flowers, Which be-wept to the grave did not go, 


With true - love showers. 






3Ioderatcly Oay. 


^ Lj 

4 1 * — mi— 


-o- ' 









-#— # 





1st. To . mor - row is 

St. Val-en - tine's day, All in the mom-ing be- 

-«— ^— •— a- 

-F— I — I — F — •zat 



F P F— 1»- 

2nd. Then up he rose, and don'd his clothes. And dupp'd the cham - ber 









1st. time. And I a maid at your win-dow, To be your Va - len - tine- 

-* ^—^ ^. 








2nd. door, Let in a maid that out a maid, 

Nev-er de-part - ed more. 









L^ r--r 









1st. And will he not come 

gain i 






2nd. His beard was as white 

















1st. will he not come a 




no, he IS 


2nd. flax 


^— ^ 

en was his 

poll ; 



dead, Go 



He is gone I he is gone. And we 























1st. to thy death - bed ; He nev- er 

— jH — P ns — 

will come 






2nd. cast a - way moan : God a mer 

^ ^ 



cv on 



soul ! 







c ^ 




[Hamlet. — Sir T. Lawrence.] 


ACT I.— Scene I. 

" Ber. Who's there ? 
Fran. I^'ay, answer me ; stand, and unfold yourself." 

The striking and eminently dramatic opening of this 
great tragedy has been often praised ; but never with 
more taste and congenial spirit than by Mrs. Radcliffe. 

" In nothing," says this great artist of the terrific, 
" has Shakespeare been more successful, than in select- 
ing circumstances of manners and appearance for his 
supernatural beings, which, though wild and remote, in 
the highest degree, from common apprehension, never 
shock the understanding by incompatibility with them- 
selves ; never compel us, for an instant, to recollect that 
he has a license for extravagance. Above every ideal 
being, is the Ghost of Hamlet, with aD its attendant 
incidents of time and place. The dark watch upon the 
remote platform; the dreary aspect of the night; the 
very expression of the officer on guard, ' The air bites 
shrewdly ; it is very cold ;'* the recollection of a star, 
an unknown world, are all circumstances which excite 
forlorn, melancholy, and solemn feelings, and dispose 
us to welcome, with trembling curiosity, the awful be- 
ing that draws near; and to indulge in that strange 
mixture of horror, pity, and indignation, produced by 
the tale it reveals. Every minute circumstance of the 
scene between those watching on the platform, and of 
that between them and Horatio, preceding the entrance 
of the apparition, contributes to excite some feeling of 
dreariness, or melancholy, or solemnity, or expectation, 
in unison with, and leading on towards that hish curi- 
osity and thrilling awe with which we witness the con- 
clusion of the scene. So, the first question of Bernardo 
and the words in reply, ' Stand, and unfold yourself.' 
But there is not a single circumstance in either dia- 

* There is a lapse of memory in the writer. The words here 
quoted are used by Hamlet at the commencement of Scene 4. The 
occasion, however, is similar. 


logue, not even in this short one with which the play 
opens, that does not take its secret effect upon the im- 
agination. It ends with Bernardo desiring his brother 
officer, after having asked Avhether he has had ' quiet 
watch,' to hasten the guard if he should chance to meet 
them ; and we immediately feel ourselves alone on this 
di-eary ground. 

" When Horatio enters, the challenge — the dignified 
answers, ' Friends to this ground,' ' And liegemen to the 
Dane' — the question of Horatio to Bernardo touching 
the apparition — the unfolding of the reason why • Ho- 
ratio has consented to watch with them the minutes of 
this night' — the sitting down together, while Bernardo 
relates the particulars of what they had seen for two 
nights — and, above all, the few lines with which he 
begins his story, 'Last night of all' — and the distin- 
guishing, by the situation of ' yon same star,' the very 
point of time when the spirit had appeared — the abrupt- 
ness with which he breaks off", ' the bell then beating 
one' — the instant appearance of the Ghost, as though 
ratifying the story for the very truth itself: all these are 
circumstances which the deepest sensibility only could 
have suggested ; and which, if you read them a thou- 
sand times, still continue to affect you almost as much 
as at first. I thrill with delightful awe, even while I 
recollect and mention them as instances of the exquisite 
art of the poet." 

"Rivals of my xvatch." — Rivals, for associates, part- 
ners ; as, in Antony and Cleopatra — " Caesar denied 
him rivality." 

"./Approve our eyes." — That he may confirm the tes- 
timony of mtr eyes by his oirii ; as, in Lear — "This 
approves her letter that she should soon be here." 

" Jiist at this dead hour.'' — The quartos read "jump." 
It is the more ancient word for the same sense, and 
is so used elsewhere in this play. The folios substi- 
tute the more modern word. 


" — all these lands 
Which he stood seized of." 
" Stood seized of," i. e. Of which he was rightfully 
possessed. The folio reads "seized on," an erroneous 
correction of the quarto reading, made in ignorance 
that " stood seized of" was the peculiar phrase of the 
law of England, and used with Shakespeare's accus- 
tomed precision in the use of technical common-law 

"By the same covenant." — The quartos, and most mo- 
dern editions, read " By the same co-mart," a word not 
found in any other author, but supposed, from its deri- 
vation, to mean, a mutual bargain or compact. It is, 
probably, an error of the press. The previous employ- 
ment of a common-law phrase would suggest the word 
" covenant," as the folios read. 

" Of unimproved valour." — Of unimpeached or un- 
questioned courage ; as, in Florio's Dictionarj' — " Im- 
probarc, to improve, to impugn." 

" Lawless resolutes." — The folio reads landless, which 
may be the true reading. 

"That hath a stomach in it." — Any enterprise de- 
manding courage, resolution. 

" I think, it be no other, but e'en so." 
This and the seventeen following lines are not in the 
folio, nor is any trace of them to be found in the earliest 
quarto. It has been probably conjectured that the poet 
suppressed this passage in representation, af\er he had 
written Julius Caesar, where he had used similar im- 
agery- . 

"Palmy." — Victorious, triumphant; the palm being 
the emblem of A'ictory. 

"jIs, stars ivith trains of fire and dews of blood." 
There is evidently some corruption here, which it 
is, perhaps, impossible now to set right. It is thought 
that a line had been accidentally omitted. Collier sus- 
pects that "disasters" may be a misprint, the composi- 
tor having been misled by the words " as stars" in the 
preceding line. 

"And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad." 

The reading of the quartos, adopted by most modern 
editors, is — 

" No spirit dare stir abroad." 

I have, with Mr. Knight, preferred the folio reading ; 
he, upon his system of general deference to that autho- 
rity ; the present editor, because the word " walk" is 
more expressive and probable, as the ancient phrase 
pertinent to ghostly visitations. 

"The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn." 
" Extravagant" is here used in its original and Latin 
sense, extra-vagans, straying beyond its bounds ; so, 
too, erring, as errans, wandering. 

" There can be no doubt that this fine description is 
founded upon some similar description in the Latin lan- 
guage. The pecu^liar sense of the words extravagant, 
erring, confine, points to such a source. The first hymn 
of Prudentius has some similarity ; but Douce has also 
found in the Salisbury Collection of Hymns, printed by 
Pynson, a passage from a hymn attributed to Saint 
Ambrose, in which the images may be more distinctly 
traced : — 

' Preco diei jam sonat, 

Noctis profunda- pervigil ; 

Nocturna hix Tiantilnis, 

A Docte noctem scRrcgans. 

Hoc cxcitatus Lucifer, 

Solvit polum caligine ; 

Hoc omnis crrorura chorus 

Viam noccndi deserit. 

Gallo eanente spes redit,' &c. 

The above note, from Douce and Knight, is curious, 
and I think correct. Some future Dr. Farmer may, per- 
haps, show how Shakespeare became acquainted with 

this passage, without being able to read the original; 
for the resemblance is too close to be accidental. But 
this, with many other passages, and especially his origi- 
nal Latinisms of phrase, give evidence enough of a cer- 
tain degree of acquaintance with Latin ; doubtless, not 
familiar nor scholar-like, but sufficient to give a colour- 
ing to bis style, and to open to him many treasures of 
poetical thought and diction not accessible to the merely 
English reader. Such a degree of acquirement might well 
appear low to an accomplished Latinist, like Ben Jon- 
son, and authorize him to say of his friend — 

"Though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek," — 

Yet the very mention of his " small Latin" indicates 
that Ben knew that he had some. 

" No fairy takes." — No fairy blasts, infects, injures. 

Scene II. 

" — wore than the scope 
Of these dilated articles allow." 
i. e. The scope of these articles when dilated and ex- 
plained in full. Stevens pronounces the obvious gram- 
matical impropriety, " and all other such defects in our 
author," to be merely the error of illiterate transcribers 
or printers. It may be often so. But such errors are 
to be found in the best contemporary writers, and were 
a common license of that age. Similar inaccuracies 
have been remarked in the works of Fuller, one of the 
most learned as well as original writers of the follow- 
ing age. Mr. Knight observes that — '•' The use of the 
plural verb, with the nominative singular, a plural 
genitive inter^'ening, can scarcely be detected as an 
error, even by those who consider the peculiar phrase- 
ology of the time of Elizabeth as a barbarism. It is 
only within the last half century- that the construction 
of our language has acquired that precision which is 
now required. We find, in all the old dramatists, many 
such lines ; as, this in Marlow : — 

'The outside of her garments were of lawn.' 
And too many such lines have been corrected by the 
editors of Shakespeare, who have thus obliterated the 
traces of our tongue's history." 

"A little more than kin, and less than kind." 
Commentators give different explanations of these 
words, chiefly founded on the different meanings of the 
word " kind" when used as a substantive or an adjec- 
tive. The expression was proverbial, and the use of it 
in several contemporary writers satisfies me that Ham- 
let means that he (Hamlet) is more than kin by his 
double relationship to the king, but less than kind, as 
bearing no kind feeling to him. Thus, in " Mother 
Bombie" — "The nearer in blood, the further from love ; 
the greater the kindred, the less the kindness." And, 
in Rowley, (1609) — " I would he were not so near to us 
in kindred, then sure he would be nearer in kindness." 

"Vailed lids." — Lowered, cast down. 

" Obsequious sorrow." — " Obsequious" is here derived 
from " obsequies" or funeral ceremonies. " To shed ob- 
sequious tears upon his trunk." — Titus Andron. 

" The king's rouse." — A ronse was a deep draught 
to one's health, by which it was customary to empty 
the goblet or cup. It has the same primitive meaning 
as " carouse." 

"He might not betecm the u-inds of heaven 
Visit her face too roughly." 
Beteem, for allow, or permit : this is the reading of 
all the old editions, except as varied by evident literal 
errors in the folios. The uncommonness of the word 
induced editors to chansre the phrase to "that he per- 
mitted not;" or to "might not let." These conjectures 
kept possession of the text until Stevens restored the old 
reading, and showed its meaning from the use in Geld- 
ing's Ovid, (1587,) compared with the Latin. John 



Kemble soon after familiarized the general ear to its 
use. He deserves well of his mother-tongue, who thus 

" Commands old words, that long have slept, to wake : 
Words that wise Bacon or brave Raleigh spake." 

" — a beasf, that wants discourse of reason, 
Would have jnourned longer." 
The modern reader generally interprets this as mean- 
ing the want of the power of rational speech. Such was 
not the sense in which our poet and his contemporaries 
used this expression. " Discourse of reason" was a 
phrase of the intellectual philosophy of that age, which 
had passed from the schools into the language of poetry 
and eloquence. According to old Glanville — " The act 
of the mind, which connects propositions and deduceth 
conclusions, the schools call discourse." It is the reas- 
oning facult}', the power of pursuing a chain of argu- 
ment, of deducing inferences. In this sense Milton makes 
the angel instruct Adam that the essence of the soul is — 

" Reason, — 
Discursive or intuitive. Discourse 
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours; 
DilTering but in degree, of kind the same." 

*' Sir, my good friend, Pll change that name with you." 
John Kemble's manner of giving this line is the best 
explanation of its sense, which has been mistaken : — 

"My good friend, I'll change that name with you" — 
as if he had said, "No, not my poor servant. We are 
friends ; that is the style I will interchange with you." 
The following " Good even, Sir," Kemble addressed to 
Bernardo more distantly, after the cordial welcome to 
Horatio and Marcellus. The quartos print that saluta- 
tion in a parenthesis, which agrees with this under- 
standing as to the person addressed. 

" Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven." 
Caldicott proves, (in opposition to Johnson and Home 
Tooke,) that throughout Shakespeare, and all the writers 
of his age, the epithet dearest is applied to the person or 
thing, which, whether for us or against us, excites the 
liveliest interest. It answers to " veriest," " extremest." 
According to the context, thereibre, it may mean the 
most beloved or most hated object. 

"In the dead waste and middle of the night." 
The folios, and some of the quartos, read tcast ; the 
first and one other quarto, vast; either reading may 
stand as expressive of the same meaning : " the vacancy 
or void of night," the deserted emptiness and stillness 
of midnight ; vast being taken in its primitive Latin 
sense for desolate, void ; and icaste, in the sense used by 
the translators of the Bible, — " They that made the 
waste," — " the waste wilderness." To suppose that the 
poet meant ivaisl, for middle, as several editors have 
maintained, and many printed the text, seems ludici'ously 

Scene III. 

"This scene must be regarded as one of Shakespeare's 
lyric movements in the play, and the skill with which 
it is interwoven with the dramatic parts is peculiarly 
an excellence of our poet. You experience the sensa- 
tion of a pause without the sense of a stop. You will 
observe in Ophelia's sliort and general answer to the 
long speech of Laertes, the natural carelessness of in- 
nocence, which cannot think such a code of cautions 
and prudences necessary to its own preservation." — 

"The sanctity and health of this whole state." 
The word sanctity is from the folios. The quartos 
read — 

"The safety nai health of this whole state." 

If this is followed, safety must be pronounced as a word 
of three syllables, as was often done by the poets of that 
age. I prefer the folio, as giving a better sense without 
tautology, and referring to the feeling of reverence to- 
wards the sovereign authority of the state. 


"Recks not his own read." — "Cares not for his own 
admonitions to others." Read was used as a substan- 
tive in old English. 

"Look thon, character" — "See that you imprint, as 
in character." 

" .£re of a most select and generous chief in that." 
Thus the folio, and, with slight discrepancies, the old 
quartos. Chief, or cheff, is said to be taken for supe- 
riority, distinction. The phrase is harsh and unusual ; 
and it is probable enough that the line was written — 
"Are most select and generous, chief in that." 

" Wrcmging it thus." — The folios read, " Roaming it 
thus," and the quartos, " Wrong it thus." Collier thinks 
the true reading may have been, " Running it thus." 
Warburton printed "Wringing;" and Coleridge sus- 
pected that " wronging" was used much in the same 
sense as wringing or wrenching . 

" Like sanctified and pious bonds." — Commentators 
have found this so obscure, as to think the passage 
required conjectural correction. Yet the language and 
meaning are familiar to the poet. " These vows breathe 
like love's bonds new made;" they resemble the "con- 
tract and eternal bond of love," as he has elsewhere 
expressed it, while they are yet, (in his phrase,) " false 
bonds of love." 

Scene IV. 
" Keeps tvassel, and the swaggering up-spring reels." 

Wassel ordinarily meant holiday festivity, but was 
applied to any sort of bacchanalian revel. The " swag- 
gerins up-spring" means, according to Johnson, " the 
bloated upstart;" but as up-spring is the name of a 
German dance, in Chapman, the line may mean, that 
the kins keeps his drunken revels, and staggers through 
some boisterous heavy dance. 

" — the drain of base 
Doth all the noble substance often dout." 

Some corruption is evident in the old copies, which 
read, dram of cale, or case, and of a doubt ; Collier sub- 
stitutes " dram of ill," which gives a consistent meaning : 
"ill" might be misprinted eale, and "often dout" of a 
doubt, the compositor having taken the passage by his 
ear only. To "dout" is to do out, to destroy or extin- 
guish, and the word is still not out of use in the north of 
England. (See Holloway's "Provincial Dictionary.") 
But case is a more natural error for base, and that read- 
ing has been preferred here ; especially as it agrees 
with the poet's habit of opposing base to noble, as, in 
Corioliinus, "the base tongue," to "the ncble heart." — 
"Baseness nobly undergone," Timon. The slightest 
baseness, he says, mars and disgraces the general noble 

"And for my soul, ^vhat can it do to that, 
Being a thing immortal as itself?" 

The diflerence of emphasis with which this passage 
was pronounced by Garrick and by Kemble, affords us 
a fine examiile of the suggestive or associative effect of 
emphasis, though no direct change may be made in the 
sense. Garrick said, rapidly — 

" And for my soul — what can it do to that, 
Being a thing inmiortal as itself.'" 

This is the natural rapid reasoning of a brave man 
under the dread of supernatural visitation ; and in any 
other character than Handct, would be the only proper 
enunciation. Kemble raised the passage to the dignity 
of philosophical argument, suited to the meditative 
Prince, by a double emphasis, necessarily compelling a 
more deliberate utterance — 

" And for my soul — what can it do to that, 
Being a thing immortal, as itself?" 

"Pll make a ghost of him that lets me." 
Of him that hinders or obstructs me ; a common sense 
of the word in the reign of Elizabeth, though now ob- 


Scene V. 

" — the fat weed 
That rots itself in ease, on Lethe irharf." 
Thus the folio. All the quartos read " roots itself 
in ease," which reading is preferred by Collier and 
other editors. There is good argument for either read- 
ing. I prefer the folio, "rots itself;" first, because, to 
my mind, "roots itself" conveys a notion of some exer- 
tion of power; second, because "rots" is in more natural 
association with death, and the whole train of gloomy 
thoughts just expressed; and, thirdly, because a similar 
phrase is elsewhere applied by our poet to a water- 
weed — 

" Like a vagabond flag upon the stream, 
Go to, and back ; lackeying the varying tide 
To rot itself with motion." — Antony and Cleopatra. 

" Eager droppings." — Eager, sharp, acid, sour; in 
its primary sense, from aigre. 

'•' UnhonseVd, disappointed, unanePd," 
" Unhousel'd," without having received the commu- 
nion, (Saxon, ht(sel, the eucharist;) "disappointed," 
un-appointed, not prepared; "' unaneFd," without ex- 
treme unction, which was called "' anoiling." 

" O, horrible ! O, horrible ! most horrible !" 
This line appears in the old copies as part of the 
Ghost's speech. Johnson says, "It was ingeniously 
hinted to me by a verj' learned lady, that this line seems 
to belong to Hamlet, in whose mouth it is a proper and 
natural exclamation, and who, according to the prac- 
tice of the stage, may be supposed to interrupt so long 
a speech." Garrick so delivered it, and this, according 
to Knight, "as belonging to the Prince, according 
to the tradition of the stage." In the earliest edition 
of the tragedy, the Ghost's speech is here broken by 
Hamlet's interjection of "Oh, God!" On this autho- 
rity, added to the strong internal evidence, I have ven- 
tured to deviate from the old copies. This has been 
done with less reluctance here, because errors of this 
nature, the assisrning words or lines to the wrong per- 
son, are not uncommon in the old editions ; and, in sev- 
eral instances, no editor has hesitated to correct them. 

"My tables, — meet it is I set it down." 
Hamlet, after the intense and solemn horror of the 
supernatviral visitation, gives way to a wild excitement ; 
first, of bitter passion, and then of frantic gayety, which 
last is sustained afterwards by his strange appellation 
of the Ghost, as "old true-penny," "fellow in the cel- 
larage," &c. This is certainly not common or obvious 
nature, yet it impresses me with its truth. It resembles 
the reckless merriment sometimes produced by the ex- 
citement of the battle-field — the startling gayety often 
seen upon the scaffold. 

ACT II.— Scene I. 

" Fetch of warrant." — A justifiable or warrantable 
trick. The quartos read " Fetch of wit," which may 
be right. 

" Quoted Mttu" — Noted or observed him. 

Scene II. 

"My liege ajid Madam, to crpostnlaic, 
What majesty should be, what duty is," etc. 

To " expostulate," is used in its primitive sense, to 
inquire. Johnson has discussed the conflicting quali- 
ties in the character of Polonius, in one of his best 
notes. "Polonius," he remarks, " is a man bred in 
courts ; exercised in business ; stored with observation ; 
confident in his knowledge; proud of his eloquence; 
and declininsr into dotage. His mode of orator}- is de- 
signed to ridicule the practice of those times, of pre- 
faces that made no introduction, and of method that 
embarrassed rather than explained. This part of his 
character is accidental, the rest natural. Such a man 
is positive and confident, because he knows that his i 

mind was once strong, and knows not that it is become 
weak. Such a man excels in general principles, but 
fails in particular application ; he is knowing in retro- 
spect, and ignorant in foresight. While he depends 
upon his memory, and can draw upon his depositories 
of knowledge, he utters weighty sentences, and gives 
useful counsel; but as the mind, in its enfeebled state, 
cannot be kept long busy and intent, the old man is 
subject to the dereliction of his faculties ; he loses the 
order of his ideas, and entangles himself in his own 
thoughts, till he recovers the leading principle, and 
falls into his former train. The idea of dotage en- 
croaching ixpon wisdom, wiU solve all the phenomena 
of the character of Polonius." 

"Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star." 
Not within thy destiny; in allusion to the then com- 
mon notion of stariy influence on the destiny of life. 
Thus, all the old editions, until the second foUo, 1632, 
where " star" was altered to " sphere," which has kept 
its place in most modern editions. 

" You are a fishmonger." 
" You are sent to fish out this secret. That is Ham- 
let's own meaning." — Colekidge. 

" Being a good kissing carrion." 
Thus the passage stands in all the old editions. I 
understand Hamlet as saying, in " wUd and whii'ling 
words," — If even a dead dog can be kissed by the 
sun, ("common-kissing Titan," as the poet elsewhere 
styles him,) how much more is youthful beauty in 
danger of corruption, unless it seek the shade. But 
the editors have not been satisfied with any sense the 
passage can affbrd, as it was originally printed, and 
have generally followed Warburton's famous conjectural 
emendation, though few are satisfied with his explana- 
tion. He maintains that the author wrote " Being a 
god, kissing carrion," and his commentaiT is one of the 
most celebrated curiosities of Shakespearian literature. 
He finds in Hamlet's remark a great and sublime argu- 
ment " as noble as could be drawn from the schools of 
divinity," vindicating the ways of "Providence in per- 
mitting evil to abound in the world ;" which he thus sums 
up: "If the efl'ect follows the thing operated upon, 
carrion, and not the thing operating, a God, why need 
we wonder that the supreme Cause of all things, dif- 
fusing blessings on man, who is a dead carrion, he, 
instead of a proper return, should breed corruption and 
vices ?" 

" Ros. Truly ; and I hold ambition of so airy and 
light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow. 

"Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies ; and our mon- 
archs and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows." 

Meaning, according to Johnson, " If ambition is sucTi 
an unsubstantial thing, then are our beggars (who at 
least can dream of greatness) the only things of sub- 
stance ; and monarchs and heroes, though appearing to 
fill such mighty space with their ambition, but the sha- 
dows of the beggars' dreams." 

" This brave overhanging firmament." — The folio 
omits the word " firmament" which had appeared in the 
prior editions. If this be an intentional correction of 
the author, as has been suggested, then "o'erhanging" 
is to be taken substantively : " This brave o'erhanging, 
this magnificent roof," &c. The eloquence of the pas- 
sage loses nothing by the condensation, and the trans- 
mutation of the participle into a substantive is very 
Shakespearian. " The thankings of a king ;" " Strew- 
ings for graves," &c. 

« We coted them on the way."— To cote, is to pass by 

'^Tickled in the sere."— The "sere" is a dry aflTec- 
tion of the throat by which the lungs are tickled ; but 
the clown provokes laughter even in those who habitu- 
ally cough." — Knight. 



" By the means of the late innovation." — This pas- 
sage probably refers to the limiting of public theatrical 
performances to the two theatres, the Globe on Bank- 
side, and the Fortune in Golden Lane, in ItJOO and 
1601. The players, by a " late innovation," were " in- 
hibited," or forbidden, to act in or near " the city," 
and therefore "travelled," or strolled, into the country. 

"Jin eyry of children, little eyases, that cry md on 
the top of question." — Shakespeare here alludes to the 
encouragement at that time given to some " eyry" or 
nest of children, or " eyases" (young hawks) who spoke 
in a high tone of voice. There were several companies 
of young performers about this date engaged in acting, 
but cliiefly the children of Paul's, and the children of 
the Revels, who, it seems, were highly applauded, to 
the injury of the companies of adult performers. From 
an early date, the choir-boys of St. Paul's, Westminster, 
Windsor, and the Chapel-Royal, had been occasionally 
so employed, and performed at court. — Collier. 

" Hercules and his globe too." — The allusion seems to 
be to the Globe playhouse; the sign of which was, sajs 
Stevens, Hercules carrying the Globe. 

" I know a hawk from a h andsa w." — The original form 
of the proverb was, " To know a hawk from a hern- 
shaw," i. e. to know a hawk from the heron it pur- 
sues. The corruption was prevalent in the time of 

" For the law of icrit, and the liberty." — The players 
were good, whether at written productions or at extem- 
poral plays, where liberty was allowed to the perform- 
ers to invent the dialogue, in imitation of the Italian 
comedia al improviso. — Collier. 

" O Jephthah, judge of Israel, ichat a treasure hadst 
thou .'"— 

In Percy's " Reliques," there is an imperfect copy 
of the old ballad to which Hamlet here refers. It has 
been since entirely recovered, and is printed entire in 
Evans's "Collections of Old Ballads," (1810.) 
The first stanza comprises the various quotations in 
the text : — 

" I hare hoarii tbat many years agoc, 

When Jephtha, judge of Israel, 
Haii ODe lair ilauglitcr, ami no more: 

Wlinni he lovcil passing well. 
As by lot, God wot, 

It came to passe most like as it was, 

Great wairs there should be, 
And who should be the chiefe, but he, but he." 

"Thy face is ralanced." — Fringed with a beard; a 
better sense than the folio reading of "valiant." 

"By the altitude of a chopine." — A "chopine," or 
more properly cioppino, was a cork or wooden soled 


shoe, worn by the Italian ladies to add to theii- height. 

63 ■ 

It is often mentioned in the writers of Shakespeare's 
age. Ben Jonson, T. Heywood, Dekker, and other dra- 
matists, speak of it in the same way; and in Marston's 
"Dutch Courtesan," 1605, one of the characters asks, 
" Dost thou not wear high corked shoes — chopines ?" — 

" 'Twas caviare to the general." — This word is gen- 
erally written caviare; but it is caviarie in the folio, 
following the Italian caviaro. Florio, in his "New 
World of Words," has, " Caviaro, a kind of salt black 
meat made of roes of fishes, much used in Italy." In 
Sir John Harrington's 33d epigram, we find the word 
forming four syllables, and accented, as written by 
Shakespeare — 

"And caveare, but it little boots." 

This preparation of the roes of sttirgeons was formerly 
much used in England among the refined classes. It 
was imported from Russia. — Knight. 

" To the general," — to the many. In modern phrase, 
a dish too recherche to please the popular taste. 

"No sallcts in the lines." — Sallets is given in con- 
temporary books as answering to the Latin sales, jests, 

"The rugged Pyrrhus, — he, whose sable arms." 
Schlegel is acute and right in his remark, that " this 
speech must not be judged by itself, but in connection 
with the place where it is introduced. To distinguish 
it as dramatic poetry in the play itself, it was necessary 
that it should rise above the dignified poetry of that in 
the same proportion that the theatrical elevation does 
above simple nature. Hence Shakespeare has composed 
the play in Hamlet altogether in sententious rhymes, 
full of antithesis. But this solemn and measured tone 
did not suit a speech in which violent emotion ought to 
prevail ; and the poet had no other expedient than the 
one of which he made use, overcharging the pathos." 

This criticism is confirmed by the comparison of the 
original Hamlet with the revised play, showing the de- 
liberate rejection of flowing and elegant lines, and the 
substitution of others of a more buskined elevation, so 
as to mark the distinction between the interlude and the 
drama itself. Thus, the Duke (or Player King) began — 

"Full forty years are past, their- date is gone, 
Since happy time joined both our hearts as one ; 
And now the blood that till'd my youthful veins, 
Runs weakly in their pipes ; and all the strains 
Of music which whilome pleased mine ear, 
Is now a burthen that age cannot bear." 

This the poet rejected, and substituted the lines be- 
ginning — 

"Full thirty times has Phoebus' cart gone round," — 

inferior in themselves, but contrasting better with the 
other dialogue. 

" Total gules." — Entirely red, an heraldic term. 

"Mobled queen." — Hastily and carelessly muffled up; 
her " bisson rheum" means, blinding tears. 

"Ml his visage wann'd" — or became wan, a very 
Shakesperian expression in the quartos, and much supe- 
rior to wamfd, which is the tame reading of the folio. 
It is, besides, a genuine old English poetical phrase. 
Stonyheart, in his hexameter version of the ^neid, ren- 
ders Virgil's "Pallida, morte futura," by " Her visage 
waning with murther approaching." 

"Appal the free," — those free from guilt. 

" John a-dreams" — "A nickname for a sleepy, apa- 
thetic fellow. The only mention yet met with of John 
a-dreams, is in Armin's 'Nest of Ninnies,' 1608, where 
the following passage occurs : ' His name is John, in- 
deed, says the cinnick ; but neither John a-nods, nor 
John a-dreams, yet either, as you take it.' John a- 
droynes, mentioned by Whetstone and Nash, was, in all 
probability, a different person." — Collier. 


" That I, the son of the dear murihered." 
This is the reading of the folio. Some of the quartos, 
followed by most modern editors, read — 

"That I, the son of a dear father murthered." 

But the word father is omitted in others of the quartos ; 
so that the weight of evidence is much in favour of the 
reading here preferred, while I think that there can be 
no comparison in the beautj' and expressiveness of the 
two. " The dear murthered" — the loved and mourned, 
whose revenge fills all Hamlet's thoughts. How is this 
weakened and diluted, by the general words, " a dear 
father !" 

"I'll tent him to the quick ; if he but blench." 

Tent, to probe, a phrase of ancient surgerj*. Blench, 
to start, or shrink; as, in Fletcher, "Blench at no 

ACT III.— Scene I. 

"Jffront Ophelia." — Not in our modern sense of the 
phrase, but, as confront, meet her. 

" To take up arms against a sea of trembles." 

The fastidious criticism of the last century was 
shocked by this confusion of metaphor. Warburton 
proposed to remedy it by reading " an assail ;" and an- 
other editor (I am sorry that it was Pope !) conjectured 
" a siege of troubles." The poet and the divine appear 
but small critics here, contrasted with David Garrick, 
who, in his Oration at the Shakespeare Jubilee, 1769, 
rises from the explanation and defence of the passage to 
a bold strain of lofty criticism and philosophical elo- 

" His language, like his conceptions, is strongly 
marked with the characteristic of nature ; it is bold, 
figurative, and significant; his terms, rather than his 
sentences are metaphorical ; he calls an endless multi- 
tude A SEA, by a happy allusion to the perpetual suc- 
cession of wave to wave ; and he immediately expresses 
opposition by taking up arms, which, being fit in itself, 
he was not solicitous to accommodate to his first image. 
This is the language in which a figurative and rapid 
conception will always be expressed : this is the lan- 
guage both of the prophet and the poet, of native elo- 
quence and divine inspiration." 

In cast of thought and attic elegance of style, this 
oration strongly resembles the contemporary discourses 
of Reynolds on the arts of design ; and if, as has been 
conjectured, Garrick, though a wit and a scholar, feel- 
ing his inadequacy to his task, had recourse to some 
friendly hand for aid, that aid was probably contributed 
by Reynolds. Yet I would ratfier believe that venera- 
tion for " the god of his idolatry," whose works had 
been the study of his life, raised the great actor above 
his ordinary powers as an author. 

" The proud man's contumely." 
The folio reading is, " the poor man's contumely," 
i. e. the contumely endured by poverty. Tlie reading 
in the text is that of the quartos. They, however, give 
" the pangs of despised love," instead of disprized, in 
the folio ; — a phrase more Shakespearian, and convey- 
ing a more poetical sense. 

" When he himself might his quietus 7nake 
With a bare bodkin V 

The word " quietus" signifies, discharire or acquit- 
tance. Evei7 sheriff received his " quietus" on settling 
his accounts at the Exchequer. " Bodkin" was the 
term in use to signify a small dagger. 

" To gnmt and siveat binder a weary life." 
This is the trae reading, according to all the old co- 
pies ; " although," as Johnson obsen'es, " it can scarce- 
ly be borne by modern ears." On this point, Malone 
remarks, " I apprehend that it is the duty of an editor 
to exhibit what his author wrote ; and not to substitute 

what may appear to the present age preferable. I have, 
therefore, though with some reluctance, adhered to the 
old copies, however unpleasing this word may be to the 
e£ir. On the stage, without doubt, an actor is at liberty 
to substitute a less offensive word. To the ears of our 
ancestors it probably conveyed no unpleasing sound, 
for we find it used by Chaucer and others." 

The same remark applies to many other old English 
words used by the poets, divines, and scholars of 
Shakespeare's age. They had a general sense, which 
modern use has nanowed down to some ludicrous or 
coarse meaning. Thus, " guts" for " entrails," and many 

" IMio would these fardels bear?" — This reading of 
the folios is here preferred to that of the other edi- 
tions, as giving a more natural connection to the whole 
passage. It resumes the thought of the preceding sen- 
tence — "Who would bear the whips and scorns of 
time," &c., and asks. Who would bear these burdens, 
" the oppressor's wrong," " the proud man's contume- 
ly," &,c., " were it not for the dread of an hereafter ?" 
The common reading, founded on the quartos, (Who 
would fardels bear ?) merely asks, Wlio would bear any 
of the loads of life, were it not for this reason ? The 
continuity of thought, the evolution of the sentence 
from the preceding, effected by the insertion of " these," 
is very characteristic of Shakespeare. 

"Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest ?" 
Every lover of Shakespeare is familiar with the 
doubts, speculations, and controversies excited by the 
startling harshness of Hamlet towards Ophelia. The 
solution of this difficulty involves another more radical 
and equally disputed question, whether Hamlet's mad- 
ness is real or pretended. Among the most ingenious 
modes of reconciling Hamlet's sanity with his conduct 
in this scene, is that of Coleridge, " that the penetrating 
prince perceives, from the strange and forced manner 
of Ophelia, that the sweet giid was not acting a part 
of her own, but was a decoy, and his after speeches 
are not so mucli directed to her as to the listeners and 
spies." The other theory, maintained by some English 
writers, and recently adopted and enforced by M. VLlle- 
main, in France, is, that Hamlet is really insane ; while, 
Avith the craft of lunacy, he also counterfeits a difl~erent 
madness ; and that his treatment of Ophelia is one of 
the suspicious and causeless sudden antipathies not un- 
common in some forms of mental derangement. 

The necessary limits of commentary imposed by the 
plan of this edition, preclude the editor from entering 
into any fuU or controversial examination of these opin- 
ions. I must content myself with stating my own view 
of the author's intent, in wliich I can make no claim to 
originality, since I believe that it corresponds with the 
common understanding of the matter by the great ma- 
jority of readers as well as some of the ablest critics. 

Hamlet, after the interview with his father's spirit, 
has announced to his friends his probable intent to 
" bear himself strange and odd," and put on an " antic 
disposition." But the poet speaks his own meaning 
through Hamlet's mouth, when he makes the Prince 
assure his mother " It is not madness." The madness 
is but simulated. Still, it is not " cool reason" that 
directs his conduct and governs his impulses. His 
weakness and his melancholy, the weariness of life, the 
intruding thoughts of suicide, the abrupt transitions, the 
towering passion, the wild or scornful levity, the infirmity 
of purpose, — these are not feigned. They indicate crush- 
ed affections and blighted hopes. They show the sove- 
reign reason, — not overthrown by disease, not captive 
to any illusion, not paralyzed in its power of attention 
and coherent thought, — but perplexed, darkened, dis- 
tracted by contending and natural emotions from real 
causes. His mind is overwhelmed with the oppressive 
sense of supernatural horrors, of more horrible earthly 
wrongs, and terrible duties. Such causes would throw 
any mind from its propriety ; but it is the sensitive, 



meditative, yet excitable and kind-hearted prince, quick 
in feeling, warm in affection, rich in thought, "full of 
large discourse, looking before and after," yet, (perhaps 
on account of these very endowments,) feeble in will 
and irresolute in act, — he it is, who 

Hatha father killed, and mother stain'd, 
Excitements of his reason and his blood. 

Marked and peculiar as is his character, he is yet, in 
this, the personification of a general truth of human 
nature, exemplified a thousand times in the biography 
of eminent men. He shows the ordinary incompati- 
bility of high perfection of the meditative mind, whether 
poetical or philosophical, (and Hamlet's is both,) with 
the strong will, the prompt and steady determination 
that give energy and success in the active contests of 

It is thus that, under extraordinary and terrible cir- 
cumstances impelling him to action, Hamlet's energies 
are bent up to one great and engrossing object, and 
still he shrinks back from the execution of his resolves, 
and would willingly find refuge in the grave, 

It may be said that, after all, this view of Hamlet's 
mental infirmity differs from the theoi7 of his insanity 
only in words ; that the unsettled mind, the morbid me- 
lancholj', the inconstancy of purpose, are but in other 
language the description of a species of madness. In 
one sense this may be tiiie. Thin partitions divide 
the excitement of passion, the absorbing pursuit of tri- 
fles, the delusions of vanity, the malignity of revenge, — 
in short, any of the follies or vices that " flesh is heir 
to," — from that stage of physical or mental disease, 
which, in the law of every civilized people, causes the 
sufferer to be regarded as " of unsound mind and me- 
mory," incompetent to discharge the duties of society, 
and no longer to be trusted with its privileges. It was 
from the conviction of this truth, that a distinguished 
and acute physician, of great eminence and experience 
in the treatment of insanity, (Dr. Haslam,) was led, in 
the course of a legal inquiiy, in reply to the customary 
question, "Was Miss B of sound mind ?" to aston- 
ish his professional audience by asserting that he had 
" never known any human being of sound mind." 

But the poet's distinction is the plain and ordinary' 
one. It is that between the irregular fevered action of 
an intellect excited, goaded, oppressed, and disturbed 
by natural thoughts and real causes, too powerful for its 
control, — and the same mind, after it has been affected 
by that change — modern science would say, by that 
physical change — which may deprive the sufferer of his 
power of coherent reasoning, or else inflict upon him 
some self-formed delusion, influencing all his percep- 
tions, opinions, and conduct. If, instead of the conven- 
tional reality of the ghostly interview, Hamlet had been 
painted as acting under the impulses of the self-raised 
phantoms of an overheated brain, that would be in- 
sanity in the customary sense, in which, as a morbid 
physical affection, it is to be distinguished from the fit- 
ful struggles of a wounded spirit, — of a noble mind 
torn with terrible and warring thoughts. 

This is the difference between Lear, in the agony of 
intolerable passion from real and adequate causes, and 
the Lear of the stormy heath, holding an imaginary 
court of justice upon Goneril and her sister. 

Now as to this scene with Ophelia. How does it cor- 
respond with this understanding of the poet's intent? 

Critics, of the highest authority in taste and feeling, 
have accounted for Hamlet's conduct solely upon the 
ground of the absorbing and overwhelming influence 
of tlie one paramount thought which renders hopeless 
and worthless all that formerly occupied his affections. 

Such is Mrs. Jameson's theory, and that of Calde- 
cott's note in his excellent unpublished edition of Ham- 
let; and Kean gave great dramatic effect to the same 
conception on the stage. The view is, in conception 
and feeling, worthy of the poet ; but it is not directly 
supported by a single line in his text, while it overlooks 
the fact that he has taken pains to mark, as an incident 


of his plot, the unfortunate effect upon Hamlet's mind 
of Ophelia's too-confiding obedience to her father's sus- 
picious caution. The author could not mean that this 
scene should be regarded as a sudden and causeless out- 
break of passion, unconnected with any prior interview 
with Ophelia. He has shown us that, immediately after 
the revelation of the murder, the suspicious policy of 
Polonius compels his daughter to " repel Hamlet's let- 
ters," and deny him access. This leads to that inter- 
view, so touchingly described by Ophelia, — of silent but 
piteous expostulation,of sorrow, suspicion, and unutter- 
ed reproach : — 

"With his other hand thus, o'er his brow, 
He falls to such perusal of my face 
As he would draw it." 

This silence, more eloquent than words, implies a 
conflict of mixed emotions, which the poet himself was 
content to suggest, without caring to analyze it in words. 
Whatever these emotions were, they had no mixtuie of 
levity, anger, or indifference. 

When the Prince again meets Ophelia it is with calm 
and solemn courtesy. She renews the recollection of 
her former refusal of his letters, by returning " the re- 
membrances of his that she had longed to re-deliver." 
The reader knows that, in the gentle Ophelia, this is an 
act, not of her will, but of her yielding and helpless 
obedience. To her lover it must appear as a confirma- 
tion of her abrupt and seemingly causeless breaking off 
of all former ties at a moment when he most needed 
sympathy and kindness. This surely cannot be received 
with calmness. Does she, ioo, repel his confidence, and 
turn away from his altered fortunes and his broken 
spirit ? The deep feelings, that had before choked his 
utterance, cannot but return. He wraps himself in his 
cloak of assumed madness. He gives vent to intense 
emotion in agitated and contradictory expressions, ("I 
did love you once," — " I loved you not,") and in wild 
invective, not at Ophelia personally, but at her sex's 
frailties. In short, as elsewhere, where he fears to 
repose confidence, he masks, under his assumed " antic 
disposition," the deep and real " excitement of his 
reason and his blood." 

This understanding of this famous scene seems to me 
required by the poet's marked intention to separate 
Ophelia fiom Hamlet's confidence, by Polonius com- 
pelling her — 

" To lock herself from his resort ; 

Admit no messenger, receive no tokens." 

All which would otherwise be a useless excrescence on 
the plot. It besides appears so natural in itself, that 
the only hesitation I have as to its correctness arises 
from respect to the differing opinions of some of those 
who have most reverenced and best understood Shake- 
speare's genius. 

The reader who wishes to follow out the literature 
of this interesting question, will be eratified by turning 
to the supplementary notice to Hamlet, in Mr. Knight's 
edition. Some of its conclusions will be found to re- 
semble those above expressed, though the latter hap- 
pen to be draAvn from different souixes of reading and 

" / have heard of your paintings " etc. 
The folios read "I have heai'd of your prattlings, too; 
God hath given you one face, and you make yourself 
another." Both readings may be genuine, and the al- 
teration made for some reason of that day now beyond 

Scene II. 

" — in the very torrent, tempest, and {as I may say) 
whirlwind of passion." 

" No apology ought to be received for offences com- 
mitted against the vehicle (whether it be the organ of 
seeing, or of hearing) by which our pleasures are con- 
veyed to the mind. We must take care that the eye 
be not perplexed and distracted by a confusion of equal 


parts, or equal lights, or offended by an unharmonious 
mixture of colours, as we should guard against ofiend- 
ing the ear by unharmonious sounds. We may venture 
to be more confident of the truth of this observation, 
since we find that Shakespeare, on a parallel occasion, 
has made Hamlet recommend to the players a precept 
of the same kind, — never to offend the ear by harsh 
sounds: In the very torrent, tempest, and whirlwind of 
your passion, says he, you must acquire and beget a 
temperance, that may give it smoothness. And, yet, at 
the same time, he very justly observes, Tlie end of 
playing, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, 
as 'twere, the mirror up to nature. No one can deny, 
that violent passions will naturally emit harsh and dis- 
agreeable tones ; yet, this great poet and critic thought 
that this imitation of nature would cost too much, if | 
purchased at the expense of disagreeable sensations, or, ' 
as he expresses it, of splitting the ear." — Reynolds's ! 
Discourses. I 

" To split the ears of the groundlings ; who, for the 
most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb 
shows and noise." 

The pit, in the early theatres, had neither floor nor 
benches, and was frequented by the poorer classes. 
Ben Jonson speaks with equal contempt of the " under- 
standing gentlemen of the ground." Of the "dumb 
shows," we have a specimen in the play-scene of this 
tragedy. " The meaner people," says Dr. Johnson, 
" then seem to have sat [stood] below, as tliey now sit 
in the upper galleiT; who, not well understanding 
poetical language, were sometimes gratified by a mimi- 
cal and mute representation of the drama, previous to 
the dialogue." — Illust. Shak. 

" I would have such a fellow whipped for o^er-doing 
Termagant ; it out-herods Herod." 

Termagant, according to Percy, was a Saracen deity, 
ven' clamorous and violent in the Old Moralities. He- ; 
rod, also, was a constant character in these entertain- 
ments, and his outi-ageous boasting is sometimes highly 
amusing. Subjoined are two short specimens. The 
first is from the " Chester Whitsun Pla}s :" — 

"For I am kinije of all mankin'ie, 
I byd, I beatc, I loose, I bynde ; 
I master the moone ; — take this in mynde 
That I am most of mighte. 
1 am the greatest above degree, 
That is, that was, or ever shall be; 
The Sonne it dare not shuie on me, 
And I bid him go downe." 

It appears that this amiable personage had no less 
conceit of his "bewte" than of his "boldness." In one 
of his " Coventrj- Plays," he exclaims : — 

" Of bewte and of boldness I her evermor the belle, 
Of mayn and of niyglit I master every man ; 
I dynge with my dowtiness the devil down to helle, 
For both of hevyn and of earth I am kynge certayn." 

Jllust. Shak. 

" — thou hast been 
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing," etc. 
While everj' other character of this play, Ophelia, 
Polonius, and even Osric, has been analyzed and dis- 
cussed, it is remarkable that no critic has stept forward 
to notice the great beauty of Horatio's character, and 
its exquisite adaptation to the effect of the piece. His 
is a character of great excellence and accomplishment ; 
but while this is distinctly shown, it is but sketched, 
not elaborately painted. His qualities are brought out 
by single and seemingly accidental touches — as here, 
and in the ghost-scene, "You are a scholar, Horatio," 
&c. The whole is toned down to a quiet and unob- 
trusive beauty that does not tempt the mind to wander 
from the main interest, which rests alone upon Hamlet ; 
while it is yet distinct enough to increase that interest 
by showing him worthy to be Hamlet's trusted friend in 
life, and the chosen defender of his honour after death. 
Such a character, in the hands of another author, 
would have been made the centre of some secondary 


plot. But here, while he commands our respect and . 
esteem, he never lor a moment divides a passing inter- 
est witlr the Prince. He does not break in upon the 
main current of our feelings. He contributes only to 
the general effect, so that it requires an eflbrt of the 
mind to separate him for critical admiration. 

" Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap ? 
" Oph. A'o, my lord." 

On the publication of the original edition of this play, 
which had been previously unknown to the public, 
some remarks upon it appeared in an English journal, 
from which we select tlie following, as well worthy of 
attention, in reference to some parts of Shakespeare's 
text, which the reader, without being afl'ectedly delicate, 
may be pardoned for wishing away : — 

"Many striking peculiarities in this edition of Ham- 
let tend strongly to confirm our opinion, that no small 
portion of the ribaldry to be found in the plays of our 
great poet is to be assigned to the actors of his time, 
who flattered the vulgar taste with the constant repe- 
tition of many indecent, and not a few stupid jokes, till 
they came to be considered, and then printed, as part 
of the genuine text. Of these, the two or three brief 
but oflensive speeches of Hamlet to Ophelia, in the 
play-scene, (act iii.,) are not to be found in the copy of 
1603 ; and so far are we borne out in our opinion ; for 
it is not to be supposed that Shakespeare would insert 
them upon cool reflection, three years after the success 
of his piece had been determined. Still less likely is it 
that a piratical printer would reject any thing actually 
belonging to the play, which would prove pleasing to 
the vulgar bulk of those who were to be the purchasers 
of his publication." 

" We have no desire to be numbered among those 
who are in the habit of visiting the sins of Shakespeare, 
real or imaginary, on the heads of the actors ; but 
there is certainly something in the fact here stated that 
deserves consideration. In justice both to poet and 
players, we subjoin Mr. Campbell's judicious comment 
on the remarks just cited : — 

" ' I am inclined, upon the whole, to agree with these 
remarks, although the subject leaves us beset with un- 
certainties. This copy of the play was apparently pi- 
rated ; but the pirate's omission of the improper passages 
alluded to, is not a perfect proof that they were absent 
in the first representation of the piece ; yet it leads to 
such a presumption; for, looking at the morality cf 
Shakespeare's theatre in the main, he is none of your 
poetical artists who resort to an impure influence over 
the fancy. Little sallies of indecorum he may have 
now and then committed; but they are few, and are 
eccentricities from his general character, partially par- 
donable on account of the bad taste of his age. What 
a frightful contrast to his purity is displayed among his 
nearest dramatic successors — love in relations of life 
where Nature forbids passion ! Shakespeare scorns to 
interest ns in anv love that is not purely natural.' " — 
Illicst. Shak. 

" Oph. 'Tis brief, 7ny lord. 

"Ham. j3s ivojnan's love." 
I cannot but think that Hamlet's reply conveys a 
gentle but reproachful allusion to Ophelia's own con- 
duct, as it appeared to him. 

"An anchor's cheer." — The cheer or fare of an an- 
chorite ; a customary abbreviation in old English wri- 

''The mouse-trap. Marry how? Tropically." — 
Tropically, i. e. in a trope, or figuratively, referring to 
his own ideas of the play, as the thing, in which he'll 
"catch the conscience of the king." 

" Tow are as good as a chorus," etc. — This use of 
the chorus may be seen in Henry V. Every motion or 
puppet-show was accompanied by an interpreter or 
showman. — Stevens. 



"Let the devil wcarblack,for Fll have a suit of sables." 
Meaning, probably, a suit that shall be expressive of 
the reverse feeling to sorrow or humiliation. "A suit 
of sables (says Malone) was, in Shakespeare's time, the 
richest dress worn by men in England. Wherever his 
scene might happen to be, the customs of his own 
country were still in his thoughts." By the statute of 
apparel (24 Hen. YIII.) it is ordained that none under 
the degree of an earl may use sables. 

"^For O,for O, the hobby-horse is forgot." 
The banishment of the hobby-horse from the May 
games is frequently lamented in the old dramas. The 
line quoted by Hamlet appears to have been part of a 
ballad on the subject of poor Hobby. He was driven 
from his station by the Puritans, as an impious and pa- 
gan superstition ; but restored on the promulgation of 
" The Book of Sports." The hobby-horse was formed 
of a pasteboard horse's head, and probably a light frame 
made of wicker-work, to form tlie hinder parts ; this 
was fastened round the body of a man, and covered 
with a footcloth which nearly reached the ground, and 
concealed the legs of the performer. Similar contri- 
vances, in burlesque pieces, are not unusual at this day. 

"This is MicHiNG mallecho ; it meaiis mischief." — 
The quartos (with the exception of tlie first of 1603) 
read "munching mallico:" " miching," i. e. stealing, 
is no doubt the right word ; and by Minshew's Diction- 
ary, 16J7, it appears that "mallecho" is Spanish for a 
malefaction — any ill deed. — Collier. 

" The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge." 
This is printed here, as in the old edition, appearing 
as an expression of Hamlet's own feelings. Most mo- 
dern editors print it as verse, and consider it as a part 
of the mock play. So, it is said, Garrick pronounced 
it, addressing Lucianus. Henderson and Kemble gave 
it as Hamlet's own reflection ; which seems more natu- 
ral, more poetical, as well as m.ore consonant to the 
old text. It resembles the poet's own strong figure 
elsewhere : — 

" — the raven himself is hoarse 
That croaks the entrance of Duncan 
Under my battlements." 

" Trim Turk." — This phrase seems to have been 
equivalent of old to a " total change," and is found in 
writers of the time. 

" r?('o PROVINCIAL roses on my razed shoes." — "Pro- 
vincial" was erroneously changed to "Provengal," at 
the suggestion of Warton. Mr. Douce rectified the er- 
ror by showing that the Provincial roses took their 
name in Provins, in Lower Brie, and not from Pro- 
vence. " Razed" shoes are most probably embroidered 
shoes. The quarto reads, "rac'd." To race or rase, 
was, to stripe. — Singer. 

" HoR. Half a share. 
" Ham. ^ ivhole one, I." 

Actors, in Shakespeare's time, had not salaries, as 
now. The receipts were divided into shares, of which 
the proprietors of the theatre, or " house-keepers," as 
they were called, had some ; and each actor had one 
or more shares, or parts of a share, according to his 
rank or interest. The custom is retained on the con- 
tinent of Europe. 

A recent antiquarian discover^' has shown that, in 
1608, the Blackfriars Theatre was held by eleven 
members of the company, on twenty shares ; of which 
Shakespeare owned four, while some others had but 
half a share each. 

"./? very, very — peacock." — The word "peacock," 
is printed in the old quartos " paiock" and "paiockc;" 
and "paiocke" also in the folio, 1623, which the folio, 
1632, alters to " pajock." Pope introduced " peacock ;" 
but if that were the word intended, it is singular that, 
being of such common occurrence, it should have been 

misprinted at first, and afterwards reiterated in the latei 
impressions of the play. Yet it seems to answer the 
sense better than any other word. 

"By these pickers and stealers." — Alluding to the 
phrase of the Anglican church-catechism, " to keep mj 
hands from picking and stealing." 

"Recorders." — Hawkins, in his History of Music, 
shows the recorder to have answered to the modern 
flageolet. It was not a flute, since Bacon and Milton 
speak of both, as distinct : — 

" — the Dorian mood 
Of flutes and soft recorders." 

"Though you can fret me" etc. — The musical allu- 
sion is continued. The frets of all instruments of the 
lute or guitar kind are thick wires, fixed at certain dis- 
tances across the finger-board, on which the strings are 
stopped, or pressed by the fingers. Nares thinks that 
the word is derived from fretuin ; but the French verb 
frotter seems the more likely souixe. — Collier. 

" Bitter business," etc. — Thus the folio. Nine out of 

ten of the modern editors, with Malone, follow the 

quartos, and read — 

" — such business as the bitter day 
Would quake to look on." 

The epithet bitter has no clear significance here as 
applied to day ; and unless the folio reading is adopted, 
as I think it should be, I would prefer an ingenious 
emendation suggested by Mr. E. Forrest — the better daY> 
i. e. better, as contrasted with night. 

" — she be shent" — i. e. rebuked, reproved. "To 
give them seals," to put them in execution, as the com- 
pletion of a deed. — Collier. 

" Should derhear the speech, of vantage." — Some one 
besides his mother. "Vantage" is used as it is defined 
by Bailey — " That which is given or allowed over 
weight, or over measure." 

" Sole son." — So all the quartos. The folio has "foul 
son ;" and it may be doubted whether this seli^ 
phrase be not the more expressive, as well as truer 

" More horrid hent." — To hcnt, is to seize ; " know 
thou a more horrid hent," is, have a more horrid grasp. 

Scene IV. 

".And, — ivould it were not so .' — you are my viothcr." 
The folio reads — 

" But would you were not so : you are my mother" — 

thus making Hamlet wish, not that she was not his 
mother, but that she was not his uncle's wife. Both 
readings have their beauty as well as autliority. Most 
editors have preferred the first, which best agrees with 
the Queen's answer. Mr. Knight has chosen the other ; 
and Henderson, of whose exquisite conception of the 
character tradition has preserved the fame, seems, from 
a note contributed by him to the Variorum edition, to 
have been of the same opinion. 

" Contraction" — for marriage-contract. 

" This solidity." — The solid earth. " Heaven and 
earth blush for you." — Knight. 

" Jlnd thunders in the index" — i. e. in the commence- 
ment, where the indexes of books were formerly placed. 

"Look here, upon this picture, and on this." 
Dr. Armstrong thus remarks, on the common stage 
action which accompanies tliis passage: "There is a 
tame impropriety, or even absurdity, in that action of 
Hamlet producing the two miniatures of his father and 
uncle out of his pocket. It seems more natural to sup- 
pose, that Hamlet was struck with the comparison he 
makes between the two brothers, upon casting his eyes 


on their pictures, as they hang up in the apartment 
whei-e this conference passes with the Queen. There 
is not only more nature, more elegance, and dignity, in 
supposing it thus ; but it gives occasion to more pas- 
sionate and more graceful action, and is, of conse- 
quence, likelier to be as Shakespeare's imagination had 
conceived it." 

"./3 STATION like the herald Mercury." — Staticm is 
here used, as elsewhere, for attitude, act, or manner of 
standing. The image has been transplanted by Milton 
into his Paradise Lost — 

" like Maia's son he stood." 

« Enter Ghost." 
" Here Hamlet exclaims — 

' Look how it steals away ! 
My father, in his habit as he lived !' 

Malone, Stevens, and Mason, argue the question, 
whether in this scene the Ghost, as in former scenes, 
ought to wear armour, or to be dressed in ' his own 
familiar habit;' and they conclude, either that Shake- 
speare had ' forgotten himself,' or had meant ' to vary 
the dress of the Ghost at this his last appearance.' The 
quarto of 1G03, shows how the poet's intention was 
carried into eflect ; for there we meet with tlie stage- 
direction, ' Enter the Ghost in his night-gown.' " — 

"Life in excrements." — Hair, nails, feathers, were 
called excrements. Izaak Walton, speaking of fowls, 
says, " their very excrements afford him a soft lodging 
at night." — Knight. 

" Enseamed bed." — A strong expression of disgust, 
from sea7n, grease — greas\', gross, filthy. Some of the 
quaitos read "incestuous," which, for popular use, is 
preferable, though the other cannot but be the true 

" — vice of kings." — The vice was the fool, clown, 
or jester of the older drama, and was frequently dressed 
in party-coloured clothes ; hence Hamlet just afterwards 
calls the usurper " a king of shreds and patches." — 

"7 the matter ivill re-word, which madness 
Would gambol from." 

Sir Henry Halford, the accomplished President of the 
Royal College of Physicians, (London,) has made this 
passage the text of one of his "Essays and Orations, 
read before the College," and relates a case which oc- 
curred in his own practice, to prove the correctness of 
Shakespeare's test of insanity. 

A gentleman of fortune had instructed his solicitor, 
a personal fiiend, to prepare a will for him, containing 
several very proper provisions, and then bequeathing 
the residue of his estate to this legal friend. He soon 
after became deranged and highly excited, so as to re- 
quire coercion. The excitement passed off, leaving him 
composed, but very weak, so that his life was doubtful. 
He was now anxious to execute his will, which had 
been prepared according to Ills previous instructions, 
and which Sir Henry, and the other attending i)liysi- 
cian, were requested to hear read to him and to wit- 
ness. When read to him, he assented distinctly to the 
several items. The physicians were perplexed, and re- 
tired to consult what was to be done under such ques- 
tionable circumstances. 

" It occurred to me, then, to propose to my colleague 
to go up again into the sick-room, to see whether our 
patient could re-word the matter, as a test, on Shake- 
speare's authority, of his soundness of mind. He re- 
peated the clauses which contained the addition to his 
mother's jointure, and which made provision for the 
natural children, with sufficient correctness; but he 
stated that he had left a namesake, though not a rela- 
tion, ten thousand pounds, whereas he had left him five 
thousand pounds only; and there he paused. After 

which I thought it proper to ask him, to whom he had 
left his real property, when these legacies should have 
been discharged, — in whom did he intend that his estate 
should be vested after his death, if he died without chil- 
dren ? 'In the heir-at-law, to be sure,' was the reply. 
Who is your heir-at-law ? ' I do not know.' 

" Thus he ' gambolled' from the matter, and laboured, 
according to this test, under his madness stilJ. 
" He died, intestate, four days afterwards." 
Our American commentator on the "Jurisprudence 
of Insanity," Dr. Ray, in his chapter on " Simulated 
Insanity," has also incidentally noticed this test. "In 
simulated mania, the impostor, when requested to repeat 
his disordered idea, will generally do it correctly ; while 
the genuine patient will be apt to wander from tiie track, 
or introduce ideas that had not presented themselves 
before." This he illustrates from a modern French 
legal report. i 

"That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat 
Of habits, devil, is angel yet in this." 

This is the old reading; and not "habit's," as in 
most editions. The punctuation is that adopted by 
Collier; and the meaning, though harshly expressed 
from the condensation of the language, is this — "That 
monster, custom, who devours all sen^e, (all sensibility or 
delicacy of feeling,) as to habits, devil as he is, is stiU 
an angel in this other regard." 

"From a pAnnocK, from a bat, a gib." — \ 2Mddock 
is a toad ; a gib, a cat. 

"Hoist with his Own petar." — A petard was a small 
mortar, used to blow up gates. The engineer is hoysed, 
thrown up, with his own engine. 

ACT IV.— Scene I. 

"So haply slander." — This half line is a conjectural 
insertion of some words to this effect, evidently omitted 
in the quartos, where only the passage is found. 

Scene II. 

" The body is with the king, but the king is not with 
the body." — Polonius's body is with the king, in his house, 
but the king (the true king) is not with the body, i. e. 
he is a spirit. 

" Hide fox, and all after." — This is supposed to refer 
to the boyish game of " All hid ;" and Sir T. Hanmer 
expressly tells us that it was sometimes called "Hide 
fox, and all after." — Collier. 

Scene IV. 

"Go safely on." — Go safely on, under the protection 
of the promised license — the " quiet pass of safety and 
allowance." It is the folio reading, and preferable to 
the softly of other copies. 

" — such large discourse, 
Looking before and after" — 
Such ample power of reasoning — "of reviewing the 
past and anticipating the future." To fist, in the sub- 
sequent line, is " to become mouldy," a verb long obso- , 
lete, though its adjective, fusty, retains its use collo- 

Scene V. 
" Re-enter Horatio, with Ophelia." 
— with Ophelia.- — The stage-direction in the quarto, 
1603, is curiously minute : " Enter Ophelia, playing on 
a lute, and her hair down, singing." She therefore ac- 
companied herself in her fragments of ballads. — Col. 

" Ophelia's madness is not the suspension, but the 
utter destruction of the reasoning powers : it is the to- 
tal imbecility which, as medical people well know, too 
frequently follows some terrible shock to the spirits. 
Constance is frantic; Lear is mad; Ophelia is insane. 



ir -t ill Mn .-^: 

[Dunisli kites.] 

Her sweet mind lies in fras^ments before us — a pitiful 
spectacle ! Her wild, rambling fancies ; her aimless, 
broken speeches ; her quick transitions from s;ayety to 
sadness — each equally purposeless and causeless ; her 
snatches of old ballads, such as perhaps her nurse sang 
her to sleep with in her infancy — are all so true to the 
life, that we forget to wonder, and can only weep. It 
belonged to Shakespeare alone, so to temper such a 
picture that we can endure to dwell upon it — 

"Thought and afiliotion, passion, htll iltelf, 
Slie turns to favour and to prcttiness." 

That in her madness she should exchange her bash- 
ful silence for empty babbling, her sweet maidenly de- 
meanour for the impatient restlessness that spurns at 
straws, and say and sing precisely what she never 
would or could have uttered had she been in possession 
of her reason, is so far from being an impropriety, that 
it is an additional stroke of nature. It is one of the 
symptoms of this species of insanity, as we are assured 
by physicians. I have myself known one instance, in 
the case of a young Quaker girl, whose character re- 
sembled that of Ophelia, and whose malady arose from 
a similar cause." — Mrs. Jameson. 

" Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?''^ 

Sir Joshua Reynolds observes that there is no part of 
this play, in its representation on the stage, more pa- 
thetic than this scene ; which he supposes to arise Irom 
the utter insensibility of Ophelia to her own misfortunes. 
" A great sensibility or none at all, (says lie,) seems to 
produce the same effect. In the latter case, the au- 
dience supply what is wanting; and with the former 
they sympathize." 

Over her, "the sweet Ophelia," even Johnson de- 
scends from his stern censorship to mourn, as " the 
younsr, the beautiful, the harmless, and the pious ;" while 
Hazlitt, in a strain of passionate eloquence, exclaims : 
"Ophelia is a character almost too exquisitely touching 
to be dwelt upon. ' Oh, rose of May !' oh, flower too soon 
faded ! Her love, her madness, her death, are described 
with the truest touches of tenderness aiul pathos. It 
is a character which nobody but Shakespeare could 
have drawn in the way he has done ; and to the con- 
ception of which there is not the smallest approach, 
except in some of the old romantic ballads." 

Mrs. Jameson, after having pourtrayed with great 
beauty and truth the effect of Ophelia's character, has 
with equal delicacy of discrimination, shown the prin- 
ciple by which that effect is produced: — "It is the 
helplessness of Ophelia, arising merely from her inno- 
cence, and pictured without any indication of weak- 
ness, which melts us with such profound pity. She is 
HO young, that neither her mind nor her person have 
attained maturity; she is not aware of the nature of 
her own feelings ; they are prematurely developed in 
their full force before she has strength to bear them ; 


and love and grief together rend and shatter the frail 
texture of her existence, like the burning fluid poured 
into a crystal vase. She says very little, and what she 
does say seems rather intended to hide than to reveal 
the emotions of her heart; yet in those few words we 
are made as perfectly acquainted with her character, 
and with what is passing in her mind, as if she had 
thrown forth her soul with all the glowing eloquence 
of Juliet." 

"GodHld you" — for God yield you, reward you. 

"They say, the owl was a baker's daughter." 
This transformation is said to be a common tradition 
in Gloucestershire. It is thus related by Mr. Douce : 
" Our Saviour went into a baker's shop where they were 
baking, and asked for some bread to eat : the mistress 
of the shop immediately put a piece of dough in the 
oven to bake for him ; but was reprimanded by her 
daughter, who, insisting that the piece of dough was 
too large, reduced it to a very small size : the dough, 
however, immediately began to swell, and presently be- 
came of a most enormous size ; whereupon the baker's 
daughter cried out, ' Heugh, heugh, heugh,' which owl- 
like noise probably induced our Saviour to transform 
her into that bird, for her wickedness." The story is 
related to deter chilcUen from illiberal behaviour to the 

"Which bcweptfothe grave did not go." — The quarto, 
1603, and the folio have "grave," the other quartos 
ground ; but all authorities read " did not go," which 
Pope considered an error ; but she alters the song in 
reference to her father's "obscure funeral," as men- 
tioned by Laertes and the King. 

"J« HUGGER-MUGGER." — This word, now used only 
in a ludicrous sense, was formerly employed to express 
any hurried or clandestine manner. 

"The ocean, over pee ring of his list." 

Breaking over his boundary. The phrase is used 

and explained in Henry IV. — 

" The very list, the Tery utmost bound 
Of all our fortunes." 

"0/ this is counter" — To hunt "counter," is to 
hunt contrary to the proper course. 

"0, how the vvrHEEL." — Stevens and Singer have 
shown that the ivheel is the burthen of the song or 

Scene VII. 

" Of the umvorthiest siege." — Siege is here used as 
in Othello, (act i. scene 2, &c.,) for seat ; and denotes 
place or rank, as in other poets of that age. 

" — the scRiMERS of their nation" — Escrimeur is 
French for a fencer; and hence "scrimer." 

"A sword unbated" — i. e. not blunted: in Love's 
Labour Lost, (act i. scene ],) we meet with the word 
"bate" for blunt— 

"That honour, which shall hate his scythe's keen edge." 

" j1 ivager on your cunnings" — On the skill of each 
of you; as in our English Bible — "Let my right hand 
forget her cunning." 

" — your venom\l stuck" — So all the copies, except- 
ing the quarto, 1637, which has tuck, a word sometimes 
used for a sword; but "stuck" is warranted by its ety- 
mology, stoccata, a term in the art of fencing: "ven- 
om'd stuck" is equivalent to "venom'd thrust." — Col. 

" There is a willow grows aslant a brook." 
In this exquisite passage, I have, with the correction 
of two literal errors, and one word from the quartos, 
followed the folio reading. The ordinary text is from 
the quartos, with a conjectural emendation of "There- 
with fantastic garlands did she make," for " There, 
with fantastic garlands did she make," as it appears in 


all the quartos. Independently of the external evi- 
dence, the sense is clearer ; and the passage has, to my 
ear, especially in the repetition of " there," a more 
touching melody than in the other readings. 

Instead, however, of " the snatches of old tunes," of 
the fulio and modern editions, I have restored the read- 
ing of the quarto, " old lauds," i. e. hymns of praise, 
psalms, canticles, or chants of thanksgiving. This word 
could not have crept accidentally into all the earlier 
editions; while iuues, as more I'amiliar, may well have 
been afterwards substituted in the playhouse copies. 
Besides, this is more congruous to the next line ; chant- 
ing harmonizes best with lauds ; and the " chanting 
snatclies of lauds," would indicate one " incapable of 
her own distress;" wliile tn)ies might have been wild — 
expressive of sorrow and lament. 

^'Liberal" is here used, as in Othello and elsewhere, 
for " free in language." 

ACT v.— Scene L 

" Crowner^s quest-law.'" — Sir John Hawkins originally 
pointed out that this ludicrous description of " crown- 
er's quest-law" was, in all probability, "a ridicule on 
the case of Dame Hales, reported by Plowden. This 
was a case regardins; tlie Ibrfeiture of a lease, in con- 
sequence of the suicide of Su- James Hales. The pre- 
cise thing, however, ridiculed, is in the speech of one 
of the counsel in the case : — 

" Walsh said that the act consists of three parts. 
The first is the imagination, which is a reflection or 
meditation of the mind, whether or no it is convenient 
for him to destroy himself, and what way it can be 
done. The second is the resolution, which is a deter- 
mination of the mind to destroy himself, and to do it in 
this or that particular way. The third is the perfection, 
which is the execution of what the mind has resolved 
to do. And this perfection consists of two parts, the 
beginning and the end. The besinning is the doins; 
of the act which causes the death, and the end is the 
death, which is only a sequel to the act." 

Again, the reasoning of one of the judges is nearly 
equal to that of the clown : — 

" Sir James Hales was dead, and how came he to his 
death ? It may be answered, by drowning ; and who 
drowned him? Sir James Hales: and when did he 
drown him >. In his lifetime. So that Sir James Hales, 
being alive, caused Sir James Hales to die ; and the act 
of the living man was the death of the dead man. And 
then for thisofience it is reasonable to punish the living 
man who committed the oflence, and not the dead man. 
But how can he be said to be punished alive when the 
punishment comes after his death ? Sir, this can be 
done no other way but by divesting out of him, from 
the time of the act done in his life which was the cause 
of his death, the title and property of those things 
which he had in his lifetime." 

It is clear that the ridicule here was especially 
meant for the case and argument above cited. Nor is 
there any thing very marvellous in a well-informed 
man, of general curiosity, having looked into and found 
matter of mirth in a book of reports published in his 
own time. It is indeed a natural illusion to suppose 
that such a book appeared to Shakespeare as it does 
now to the unprofessional reader, when seen clad in 
the solemn terrors of black letter and the antique mys- 
tery of law French. But the black letter was a cus- 
tomary mode of printina; in the poet's youth, and the 
French of Westminster-Hall verj' much resembled the 
Norman-French then still in familiar use as a common 
accomplishment. The poet having acquired that, as 
his historical plays show him to have done, it was no 
more strange for him to look into a remarkable report, 
pointed out by any of the " better brothers" of the 
courts, than for one of our authors to look into the 
State Trials, or Wheaton's Reports. The difficulty to 
be explained in Shakespeare's legal allusions is not 

in his use of matter so rich in absurd ingenuity as 
Dame Hales's case, but in the careless variety and 
playful abundance of his technical allusions, indicating 
a familiarity rarely acquired except by professional 
studies. In these he is invariably accurate, and his 
knowledge is far beyond the general information ac- 
quired by men of property and business, in their ordinary 
affairs, even at this day. It is the more remarkable in 
an age M'hen the legal mysteries were much more jeal- 
ously guarded than now from lay intrusion. Junius 
has been shown by a learned lawyer (Charles Butler) 
not to have been a law-bred man, from an error in al- 
lusion to the law of real property, although he was 
competent to discuss constitutional questions. In any 
particular point, reading and inquiry may protect the 
mere literary man from error as to any legal subject 
selected for literary use ; though Lord Coke denies even 
that as to the clergy. It is the transient and careless 
allusion that proves habitual familiarity, and would in- 
dicate the great poet to have been, in some way or 
other, at some early period of life, connected with the 

"Even Christian. 

-As, we now say, "Fellow- 

" To play at loggats with them.^' — "Loggats"is a 
game still much used in some parts of England, parti- 
cularly Norwich, and its vicinity. A stake is fixed in 
the ground, at which the loggats (small logs or pieces 
of wood) are thrown. The sport may be considered a 
rude kind of quoits. — Illust. Shak. 

" Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer ?" — Here 
is a profusion of legal lore, much of which has become 
obsolete in the progress of legal reform, even in Eng- 
land. Ritson, who was a la\V)'er, may explain : — "A 
recovery with double roucher is the one usually suffer- 
ed, and is so called from two persons being successively 
voucher, or called upon to warrant the tenant's title. Both 
fines and recoveries are fictions of law, used to convert an 
estate-tail into a fee-simple. Statutes are (not acts of 
parliament) but statutes merchant, and staple, particu- 
lar modes of recognizance or acknowledgment for se- 
curing debts, which thereby become a charge upon the 
party's land. Statutes and 7-ecognizances are constant- 
ly mentioned together in the covenants of a purchase 

The play upon " parchment" in the next lines, refers 
to deeds, (alwajs written upon parchment in England,) 
being, in legal language, " common assurances." 

"The CARD." — The "seaman's card" of Macbeth; 
a sea chart. 

"Picked" — Is explained by Minshew, in his diction- 
ary, as " trimmed or dressed sprucely." 

"It was that very day that young Hamlet was born." 
Judge Blackstone remarks on this as a slip of mem- 
ory in the poet. It appears, from what the Gravedigser 
subsequently says, that Hamlet must have been at this 
period thirty years old ; and yet, in the early part of the 
play, we are told of his intention to return to scliool at 
Wittenberg. In the first quarto, Yorick's skull is said 
to have laid in the ground twelve years, instead of three- 
and-twenty, as at present. 

The editor of the Illustrated edition acutely remarks 
that " It is probable that, in the reconstruction of the 
play, Shakespeare perceived that the general depth of 
Hamlet's philosophy indicated a mind too mature for 
the possession of a very young man." 

" Imperial Cczsar."—^ the folio ; the quartos, im- 
perious : the words were often used indifferently.— Col. 

" Virgin rites." — So the folio. The reading of the 

quarto, which is usually followed, is " crants," which 

means garlands. But the "maiden strewments" are 

the flowers, the garlands, which piety scatters over the 



bier of the young and innocent. The " rites" included 
these, and ''the bringing liome of bell and burial," i. e. 
with bell and burial. 

Warburton conjectured "chants;" I think with John- 
son that " crants" was the original word, which the au- 
thor discovering to be provincial and not understood, 
changed to a term more intelligible. I judge it to be 
the author's own correction, both because it is an im- 
provement for the reasons above stated, and from its 
analogy to the phrase " rites of war" applied to Ham- 
let's obsequies, at the end of the play. 

'■^WouVt drink up Esill ?" — "EsilP'was formerly 
a term in common use for vinegar ; and thus some have 
thought that Hamlet here meant. Will you take a 
draught of something very disagreeable ? There is, 
however, little doubt that he referred to the river Yssell, 
Issell, or Izel, the most northern branch of the Rhine, 
and that which is the nearest to Denmark. Stow and 
Drayton are familiar with the name. 

Scene II. 

" Worse than the mutines in the bilboes." — Here 
again we have "mutines" for mutineers, as in "King 
John." The " bilboes" seem to have been so called 
from the place where they were originally made, Bilboa, 
and they consisted of an iron bar with rings for con- 
fining the hands or legs of offenders on board ship. 

" j3nd stand a comma." — Caldecott explains this — 
" Continue the passage or intercourse of amity between 
them, and prevent the interposition of a period to it." 

"I'll COUNT his favours. — Rowe reads "court" for 
" count," with very considerable plausibility : however, 
" count" may be the word in the sense of count upon ; 
or as Singer interprets, "make account of his good- 

" Is it not possible to understand in another tongue ?" 
Walter Scott has made the reader familiar with the " eu- 
phemisms" or finical phraseology of Elizabeth's court, 
here ridiculed, as used by Osric, and retorted in a cari- 
catured extravagance by Hamlet, until Horatio impa- 
tiently asks if it is not possible to understand in another 
tongue; i. e. that of common use. 

"Ere you had done." — Horatio refers to the explana- 
tory comment upon the body of a work, sometimes in- 
serted in the margin of the page. 

"It is such a kind of gain-giving as would trouble 
a woman." — "Gain-giving," or giving against, is in 
present use, misgiving. 

Coleridge remarks, "Shakespeare seems to mean all 
Hamlet's character to be brought together before his 
final disappearance from the scene ; his meditative ex- 
cess in the grave-digging, his yielding to passion with 
Laertes, his love for Ophelia blazing out, his tendency 
to generalize on all occasions in the dialogue with Ho- 
ratio, his fine gentlemanly manners with Osric, and his 
and Shakespeare's own fondness for presentiment : — 

' But tluui wdul'l'st not thiulc, how ill all's here about my heart ; 
but it is DO matter.' " 

"Since no man, of aught he leaves, knoics, n-hat is't 
to leave betimes ? Let be." — We have preferred here 
the reading of the quarto, 1(104 : the folio has, "Since 
no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave 
betimes?" omitting "Let be." Johnson thus para- 
phrases, " Since no man can tell what other years will 
produce, why should he be afraid of leaving life be- 
times ? Why should he dread an early deatli, of which 
he cannot tell whether it be an exclusion of happiness 
or an interruption of calamity." 

" Fond and winnowed opinions.'" — Tliis is the folio 
reading, and may well mean that such frothy facility 
imposes alike on fond (or weak) judgments, and those 
more critical. If this is not satisfactory, we must adopt 
one of the conjectural emendations; as Mason's, 


"sound and winnowed;" — or Singer's, "fanned and 

"In the cup an union shall be thrown." — So the fclio, 
rightly; a union being the most valuable kind of pearl. 
Some of the quartos read "onyx." 

"He's fat, and scant of breath." — There are few 
readers among the young of either sex — very few, it is 
to be feared, among the ladies — who are not somewhat 
shocked at this notice of Hamlet's person, slight and 
transient as it is. In our own day, especially, the 
shadowy Hamlet of the imagination has been filled up 
and made distinct to the mind's eye by the grand, 
graceful, and intellectual representation of the Prince 
in the Kemble-Hamlet of Sir T. Lawrence, and the ex- 
cellent engravings from that majestic portrait. 

The probable, though very unpoetical, explanation 
of the apparently needless introduction of these words, 
is drawn from one of those hard necessities of the stage 
which so often mar the delicate creations of the fancy, 
by embodying them in the coarser forms of material 
imitation. It arose from the necessity of apologizing 
for the personal appearance and action of Richard 
Burbage, the "English Roscius" of his time, who was 
the original Hamlet. 

Mr. Collier has corrected the opinion of former edi- 
tors that Taylor was the original actor of Hamlet. We 
know from the manuscript Elegy upon Burbage, sold 
among Heber's books, that he was the earliest repre- 
sentative of Hamlet ; and there the circumstance of 
his being " fat and scant of breath," in the fencing- 
scene, is noticed the very words of Shakespeare : — 

" No more young Hamlet, though but scant of breath, 
Shall cry ' Revenge !' for his dear father's death." 

Thus it happened, oddly enough, that the original 
Hamlet resembled in all respects, the original Orestes 
of Racine, (and Orestes is the Hamlet of the classic 
drama,) in which Montfleuri's impassioned declamation 
produced a wonderful effect, " inalgre (says the critical 
Geoffroy) I'enormite dc son embonpoint." 

Yet it would require no great ingenuity to array a 
fair show of reasons (it may, perhaps, already have been 
done in Germany) why this casual speech may not be 
meant as a hint of the poet's own notion of our hero's 
constitution and temperament. His own observation 
had noted that the formidable conspirator, the danger- 
ous enemy, the man of iron will and prompt execution, 
resembled the lean and hungry Cassias;" while a ful- 
ler habit denoted a more indolent will, though it might 
be accompanied with an active intellect. But, to con- 
sider it so, "were to consider too curiously." We 
may be content to acquiesce in Mr. Collier's solution. 

With this matter-of-fact explanation, these words 
may be consideied as no more than a stage-direction 
for a particular purpose, not a permanent part of the 
text ; and the reader's imagination may be free to 
paint for itself, according to its own tastes and asso- 
ciations, the ideal presence of him who is elsewhere de- 
scribed as — 

" That unmatcli'd form and feature of blown youth," 

" The expectancy and rose of this fair state, 
The glass of fashion, "and the mould of form." 

" — the occurrents, more and less, 

Which have solicited." 

Hooker and Bacon use "occurrents" for events, oc- 
currences ; as here. " Solicited," for excited, prompted. 
Hamlet's conduct was importunately urged on, in the 
sense of the "supernatural solliciting," in JNIacbeth. 
In the same sense, Milton speaks of resisting Satan's 
" sollicitations," i. e. his temptations, strong induce- 
ments to evil. 

" Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters." 
Several critics (Goethe among them) have remarked, 
that the catastrophe of this drama resembles those fa- 


miliar to the Greek tragedy, where royal families, stain- 
ed like that of Demnark, with " carnal, bloody, and 
unnatural acts," are swept away by the torrent of irre- 
sistible destiny, confounding the innocent with the guilty 
in one common fate, while the sceptre passes to some 
unlineal hand. As Shakespeare has here entirely de- 
parted from the old legend, which made Hamlet, after 
punishing his father's murder, succeed to the tlirone ; 
and as it is not his custom to vary from the popular 
history or fable on which his drama happens to be 
founded, without some cogent reason ; it is clear, that 
this catastrophe seemed to him essential to the great 
end and effect of his poem. But its resemblance with 
the Grecian stage is one of coincidence, not of imitation. 
His theology or his philosophy holds, instead of ancient 
Destiny, an over-ruling Providence, directing man's 
weak designs to its own wise purposes : — 

" — a divinity, that sliapes our ends, 
Rougli-liew tlicin how we will." 

It is this, and not fixed fate, that at last nerves Hamlet's 
wavering will to be the instrument of signal judicial 
punishment. But the avenger is made to fall in the 
common ruin. To this the poet was led, neitlier by 
learned imitation nor by philosophical theory, but from 
his own sympathy with the character he had created. 
He could not but feel, as to this loved child of his fancy, 
what he has expressed as to Lear ; and therefore would 
not — 

" — upon the rack of this tough world 
Stretch him out longer." 

What could prolonged life, — what could power or royal 
pomp, do for Hamlet ? Sm-ely nothing, according to 
Shakespeare's habitual estimate of the worthlessness of 
life's empty shows. They could not restore to him the 
"freshness of the heart;" they could only leave him to 
toil on, and groan under the load of a weary existence. 
To the general mind this might not so appear ; and 
for that very reason it was the more necessary that the 
grand, melancholy effect of the Prince's character and 
story should not be weakened by any vulgar triumph at 
the close, confounding him with the common herd of 
i"omantic and dramatic heroes. 

" — Let four captains 
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage ; 
For he was likely, had he been put on, 
To have prov'd most royally." 
Coleridge remarks, that " The character of Hamlet 
may be traced to Shakespeare's deep and accurate 
science in mental philosophy ; that the character must 
have some connection with the common fundamental 
laws of nature, m.ay be assumed from the fact that Ham- 
let has been the darling of every country in which the 
literature of England has been fostered." Besides the 
vexed question of the nature and degree of his mental 
malad}', the intellectual peculiarities, and the moral 
cast of his character and conduct, have also afforded 
matter for mucti discussion. They have been flippantly 
assailed by Stevens, and dogmatically pronounced by 
Schlegel to exhibit a strange mixture of constitutional 
deceit, and hypocrisy, and universal skepticism ; while 
they have been analyzed in a higher mood of feeling 
and eloquence by Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, Mrs. Jam- 
eson, Hallam, the Pictorial editor, and several anonym- 
ous critics of almost equal ability. The very fact and 
nature of these differing; opinions, and the manner they 
are entertained by readers according to their own sev- 
eral habits of thousht and life, — all equally attest the 
truth and reality of the character which is thus ex- 
amined, not as a figment of the imagination, which may 
he ever so incongruous, but as a real personage, out of 
and far above the common class of minds, upon whose 
principles, motives, and actions, diffei-ent men may 
come to different conclusions. It is not a character of 
ideal perfection, either moral or mental; but, while it 
commands our admiration by brilliant qualities and lofty 
intellect, it is brought down to the level of our sym- 

pathy, and even of our compassion, by no common 
share of human weakness, error, and suffering. 

Goethe has pointed out the leading characteristic of 
Hamlet, upon which the interest of the whole drama 
mainly depends. 

He says — " It is clear to me that Shakespeare's in- 
tention was to exhibit the effects of a great action, im- 
posed as a dut}', upon a mind too feeble for its accom- 
plishment. In this sense, I find the character consist- 
ent throughout. Here is an oak planted in a china 
vase, proper to receive only the most delicate flowers : 
the roots strike out, and the vessel flies to pieces. A 
pure, noble, highly moral disposition, but without that 
energ5' of soul which constitutes the hero, sinks under 
a load which it can neither support nor resolve to 
abandon altogether. ^11 his obligations are sacred to 
him ; but this alone is above his powers. An impossi- 
bility is required at his hands; not an impossibility in 
itself, but that which is so to him. Observe how he 
shilts, turns, hesitates, advances, and recedes ; how he 
is continually reminded and reminding liimself of his 
great commission, which he, nevertheless, in the end, 
seems almost entirely to lose sight of; and this without 
ever recovering his former tranquillity." 

Coleridge's theory of Hamlet's character cannot be 
omitted. Without assenting to his intimation that 
Shakespeare drew it with any direct intent to inculcate 
a lesson of intellectual discipline, still we must allow 
the original and profound truth of the criticism ; the 
truer, we believe, and the more striking, because the 
critic drew his theory from his own character and ex- 

Shakespeare, painting from nature, (perhaps from 
himself,) has given to his hero the endowments and the 
defects common, in various degrees or proportions, to 
one of the nobler classes of human intellects ; and to 
that very class Coleridge himself belonged. He says — 

" In Hamlet, he (Shakespeare) seems to have wished 
to exemplify the moral necessity of a due balance be- 
tween our attention to the objects of our senses, and 
our meditation on the workings of our minds, — an equi- 
librium between the real and imaginary worlds. In 
Hamlet this balance is disturbed : his thoughts, and the 
images of his fancy, are far more vivid than his actual 
perceptions, — and his very perceptions, instantly pass« 
ing through the medium of his contemplations, acquire, 
as they pass, a form and colour not naturally their own. 
Hence, we see a great, an almost enormous, inteUectual 
activity, and a proportionate aversion to real action con- 
sequent upon it, with all its symptoms and accompany- 
ing qualities. This character Shakespeare places in cir- 
cumstances under which it is obliged to act on the spur 
of the moment : — Hamlet is brave and careless of death ; 
but he vacillates from sensibility, and procrastinates 
from thought, and loses the power of action in the en- 
ergy of resolve." 

The first edition of Hamlet bears the marks of a 
pirated and veiT inaccurate copy; still, it is as mani- 
festly not a m.utilated abridgment of the piece as we now 
have it, but an imperfect transcript of the poet's original 
sketch. This appears from the fact, that the difference 
consists not only in improved dialogue, added poetry of 
language and imagery, and more excursive thought, but 
also in some variation of the plot, as well as minor 
changes as to names, etc. Polonius is called Corambis. 
The Queen is made to attest her own innocence of her 
husband's murder. In the closet-scene, as the Ghost 
disappears, instead of — 

"This is the very coinage of your brain" — 
the Queen says — 

" A las ! it is the weakness of thy hrain 
Which makes thy tongue to hlazon thy heart's 
But, as I have a .soul, I swear tn heaven, 
I never knew of this most horrid murder. 
But, Ilamlct, this is only fantaM," etc. 


The following scene also, differs too materially from 
the revised play to be omitted : — 

Enter Horatio and the Queen. 

Hot. Madam, your son is safe arrived in Denmarke, 
This letter I even now received of him, 
Whereas he writes how he escaped the danger 
And subtle treason tl:at the King had plotted, 
Being crossed by the contention of the winds, 
He found the packet sent to the King of England, 
Wherein he saw himself betrayed to death, 
As at his next conversion with your grace 
He will relate the circumstance at full. 

Queen. Then I perceive tliere's treason in his looks, 
That seemed to sugar o'er liis villanies : 
But I will soothe and please him for a time, 
For murderous minds arc always jealous ; 
But know not you, Horatio, where he is.' 

Hor. Yes, madam, and he hath appointed me 
To meefhim on the east side of the city 
To-morrow morning. 

Q^uecn. O fail not, good Horatio, and withal commend me 
A mother's care to him, bid him awhile 
Be wary of his presence, lest that he 
Fail in that he goes about. 

Hor. Sladam, never make doubt of that; 
I think by this the news be come to court 

He is arrived : observe the King, and you shall 
Quickly find, Hamlet being here, 
Things fell not to his mind. 

Queen,. But what became of Gildtrstone and Rosscncraft.' 

Hor. He being set ashore, they went for England, 
And in the packet there writ down that doom 
To be performed on them 'pointed for him : 
And by great eliance he had his father's seal. 
So all was done without discovery. 

Queen. Thanks be to heaven for blessing of the prince. 
Horatio, once again I take my leave. 
With thousand mother's blessings to my son. 

Hor. Madam, adieu .' 

Coleridge, who had not seen this early sketch, has 
observed, that " the character of the Queen is left in an 
unpleasant perplexity. Was she, or was she not, con- 
scious of the fratricide ?" Most readers have felt this 
doubt ; but the early edition shows that this very effect 
was intended by the poet. In his revision he suppress- 
ed the evidence of Gertrude's freedom from the more 
atrocious guilt : and this was evidently done to heighten 
the mysterious gloom of the interest, and to leave an- 
other cause of horrible suspicion to prey upon his hero's 



nr,'' I '/.:',- i 

/ i I I - •{ 


1 \\, 

Why, look you there ; how it steals away ! 


As you have done to this. Act i. Scene vii. 

AOT II.. ScKVl 4. 



ACBETH was written and first performed at some period 

between 1603 and 1610. This is ascertained from two 

distinct points of evidence. The first is internal: the 

allusion to the union of the three kingdoms of Ensland, 

Scotland, and Ireland, in the '• two-fold balls and treble 

sceptres" carried by the descendants of Banquo. This places the date 

at some period after the accession of James I. to the English throne, 

in 1603. The other date is fixed by Dr. Forman's manuscript diar^-, 

(not long ago discovered by Mr. Collier in the Ashmolean Museum,) 

which contains a minute and very matter-of-fact account of this play, 

as Dr. Forman saw it represented at the Globe Theatre, April 20, 


IMalone infers that it was written in 1606, from the allusion in the 
Porter's soliloquy to the " expectation of plenty," that having been a 
year of abundant har%'est, succeeding a period of scarcity; and from 
another allusion to the doctrine of equivocation, which had been held 
by one of the leaders of the Gunpowder Plot, who was executed in that 
year. This is but doubtful proof; nor is the precise time of much 
interest. The only point of real interest is that satisfactorily ascer- 
tained, that Macbeth was one of Shakespeare's later works, written 
at some time during the last twelve years of his life, in the full maturity 
of his genius, when his mind was stored with accumulated thought and 
Icnowledge, and his imagination fertile and daring as ever, yet subjected to his judgment. It is (to use HaUam's 
happy phrase) " a grand epic drama," distinguished even among his own WTitings, and unsurpassed by any other 
author, for its overpowering unity of effect, amid the most magnificent abundance of thought and incident. 

While, in some of his plays, as in Hamlet, the framework of plot and character may have been first prepared, 
to be subsequently enriched by poetn' or humour ; and while in others he seems not " master of his genius" but 
mastered by it, and to follow the inspirations of his fancy as they were suggested by the story, or evolved themselves 
from each other, as unexpectedly to himself as to his reader, — Macbeth appears to me to have been completely 
meditated out before any part was written; so that it was presented to the poet's mind in all its parts, as a single 
conception, and the actual composition then 

" — flew an eagle's flight, bold and forth on." 

This is evidenced in the crowded rapidity of the action, and the hurried intensity of varied passion, all bearing 
to one end; so that the reader, at the close of an act, looks back with surprise at the small number of pages 
which have described so vividly such a multitude of stirring incidents and emotions. It is also shown in its 
compressed and suggestive diction, leaving no doubt as to the general idea intended, yet rather hinting the sense 
than fully developing it; and therefore more intelligible to the hearer, when spoken, than it is distinct to the 
reader. This is, indeed, a common occurrence in Shakespeare's verse, but it is a more special characteristic of 
this drama. This solemn yet fervid rapidity of imperfectly uttered thought, is the -.Main cause here, as it is some- 
times in his other plays, of the doubts and variations as to the text, and consequent conjectural emendation. 

The only editions of Macbeth of original authority are that of the folio of 1623, and (perhaps) the ver\- slightly 
varjang one in the second folio. There are, therefore, no contending authorities for the various readings. In the 
original, there are some obvious errors, either of the press or of the early transcribers of the manuscript copy, 
and some other obscurities which may, perhaps, arise from such eiTors. But, in general, I have not hesitated 
to reject conjectural emendations, and to restore the original text wherever it can be explained from the ancient 



use of language, or from the Shakespearian peculiarity of allusive and (if the phi-ase may be allowed) sketchy 
freedom of expression. 

But there is another cause of modern critical innovation upon the old text, which runs through all the later 
edition^, with the single exception of those of Knight. Some of the finest passages of Macbeth have been sub- 
jected to it. It arises from what has acquii-ed the technical name of the regulation of the metre. The English 
dramatic metre of Shakespeare's age is one of the happiest peculiarities of our language and literature — unri- 
valled, for its purpose, in any other. It is founded on the English heroic ten-syllable measure, or blank verse ; 
but it adapts that general rhythm to the utmost freedom of colloquial dialogue, and varying expression of sentiment 
or passion; passing from a careless rhythm, just rising above numerous prose, to strictly regular versification, 
often broken into imperfect lines ; then flowing over into the hypermeter or supernumerary syllable in the 
line ; or else into long, resounding Alexandrines ; even, occasionally, admitting the rhyming couplet. The 
errors of the old transcribers or editors of Shakespeare had doubtless sometimes confused his lines, and marred 
his versification ; and the earlier editors of the last centuiy, Rowe, and Theobald, have made some judicious 
restorations of the metre, along with others of a more doubtful character. Since their time it has been the 
apparent design of their successors, and especially of Stevens, to reduce the dramatic verse, wherever it is in 
any way possible, to the regular ten-syllable blank verse. This is effected chiefly by taking the lines to pieces, 
and joining them together in a new order, breaking up the hemistich, lopping ofl' some words and syllables, and 
inserting others. The poetry, language, and imagery cannot be destroyed ; but the dramatic muse, thus compelled 
to march to the measured cadence of epic verse, cannot but acquire something of the cold dignity of epic narra- 
tive. Wot unfrequenlly, too, the eflfect is to destroy the original melody to the ear, and make a regular verse 
which is verse only to the eye. John Kemble has the merit of having been the first to protest against this 
arbitrarj' regulation. Thirty years ago, in his "Essay on Macbeth and Richard III.," he maintained that "the 
native wood-notes wild," that could delight the cultivated ear of Milton, must not be modulated anew to indulge 
those who read verses by their fingers." Indeed, Milton's works prove him to have been the most devoted 
student of the "easy numbers" of him whom he has addressed as the "Great heir of fame ;" and his own verses 
are the best commentary on those of Shakespeare. When, therefore, this great master of that regular rhythm 
which he styles " the Ens;lish heroic verse without rhyme," in his " Sampson Agonistes" (a drama expressly 
designed for the closet only) breathed forth his own wrongs and lamentations in the person of his blinded and 
captive hero, he passed at once from the regular epic measure into broken and varied lines, such as he used to 
read in his folio Shakespeare, but which Stevens and others have laboured to eject from the popular text. 

]\Ir. Knight's editions have, among other great merits, that of rejecting these critical innovations which I re- 
gret to observe Collier has too frequently retained, especially in Macbeth. In this edition, the original metrical 
arrangement of the first and second folios has been preserved, except in a few passages where the corrections 
commend themselves to the ear and sense, and have the sanction of all prior editors from Rowe and Pope, and 
especially where they are made without arbitrary omission or transposition of words or insertion of expletives. 


The traditionaiT story of Macbeth, on which this drama is founded, is related by Hollingshed in his " Chron- 
icles," first published in London, 1577; and also by George Buchanan, in his Latin "History of Scotland," printed 
in Edinburgh, 1582. Both of these narratives contain not only the naked historical outline but the principal in- 
cidents of the drama, as the prophecy of Macbeth's destiny and that of Banquo's issue, the interview between 
Macduff" and Malcolm, and the influence of Macbeth's wife, whom Hollingshed describes as "burning with un- 
quenchable desire to beare the name of a queene." They difl'er from each other in various minor particulars : 
thus, the prophecy of the weird sisters, related by Hollingshed as it is in the play, Buchanan relates as made in 
a dream, wherein tliree women of more than human majesty successively hailed Macbeth as Thane of Angus, of 
Murray, and as King. It is thus clear that Shakespeare used Hollingshed's chronicle only, as he has not only 
embodied in his plot all the incidents there related, but has largely used the old chronicler's dialogue and language, 
without employing any of the variations or peculiarities of Buchanan's version of the story. He has also inter- 
woven with the narrative of Duncan's murder the incidents of the assassination of King Duff" by Donald, as Hol- 
lingshed relates them. These are also told by Buchanan. 

The only doubt as to Shakespeare's degree of obligation to the great Scotch historian is, whether or no he is 
not indebted to him directly or indirectly for the suggestion of this subject as fitted for dramatic use, Buclianan 
having given as a reason for omitting some of the supernatural parts of the tradition, that they were more fit for 
the stage than for the historian — " theatris apiiora quam historic." Sucli a hint, given by the learned preceptor 
of the then reigning British sovereign might well have reached the poet at the time when London was filled with 
educated and accomplished Scotchmen, at the accession of their countiTman to the English throne; even sup- 
posing the poet to have no knowledge of the history itself. But if he got his suggestion from this quarter, it is 
quite certain that he relied entirely on his customary- historical authority, Hollingshed, for his materials. 

More recent antiquarians have carried historical skepticism even further than Buchanan, and not content with 
paring off" or explaining away the supernatural appendages of the narrative, have maintained upon the authority 
of Irish annals and Norse sagas, that "the contest between Duncan and Macbeth was a contest of factions, and 
that Macbeth was raised to the thron% by his Norwegian allies, after a battle in which Duncan was killed, and 


that after a long rule, he was himself vanquished and killed by the son of Duncan, supported by his English 
allies."* This may possibly be the truth, yet on such a question, considered merely historically, I would rather de- 
pend upon the Scotcii Livy, who has weighed the historj- and traditions in a most impartial spirit, stripped off the 
apparently fabulous decorations, and even rendered the bloody usurper the strict justice of an unbiased historian, 
by relating, together with his crimes, his great wisdom and merit as a ruler. But the controversy is of little 
moment to the modern reader. The naked facts of petty and semi-barbarous civil war are but shadows of tl;e 
past, too faint to leave any trace on the memory or the heart ; while the romantic tradition, stamped by the 
mighty poet with the living truths of human nature, has become a part of the real and present historj' of man. 

.Maebcth's Castle.) 


The scenes of the several incidents of Macbeth's stor}' have been preserved both in history and in Scottish 
tradition, though with contending claims as to tlie precise locality of some of them. The general accuracy 
with which the localities are spoken of in the play, has led to the inquiry, whether the poet had himself visited 
those places, or drew his impressions from secondary sources. It has been within a few years ascertained by jMr. 
Collier, that an English theatrical company, called the "Queen's Comedians," performed at Edinburgh, in 1589, 
as it had before been known that they had been north of the Tweed in 1599, and were at Aberdeen in ICOl. It 
is, therefore, not improbable that Shakespeare accompanied them in some of their excursions. Even if he had 
not made a part of these theatrical expeditions, there is nothing improbable in his having visited Scotland at some 
other time. The expected accession of the Scottish king to the English throne had greatly increased the inter- 
course between the two countries; and although it was not an easy journey in those days, yet Shakespeare may 
have performed it on horseback in company with noble and wealthy friends, as poor Ben Jonson did some time 
after on foot. 

If, however, the poet had not personally visited those scenes, it is evident that he had taken pains to inform 
himself accurately in the topography of liis story, as well as in the general history and geography of Scotland. 

It has, therefore, been thought proper to transfer to this edition all the views and sketches of the historical or 
traditionary scenes of action contained in the late English editions, and to add to the notes the interesting local 
illustrations contributed by jMiss iMartineau to the Pictorial Shakespeare. 

* Slcfnp's " Ilifrhlan'lprs in .Sootlan'1. 


Macbeth is strongly associated in most 
imaginations with the peculiar and pictu- 
resque costume of tlie Highlanders, as that 
common to all ancient Scotland. Walter 
Scott relates with great satisfaction, how 
with his own hand he plucked the huge bunches 
of black plumes from the bonnet in which Kem- 
ble was just about to appear as Macbeth, and 
substituted the single broad eagle-quill feather 
of the Highland chief, sloping across his brow. Scott 
is an autliority not to be appealed from on any such 
point ; and Macbeth, from his name, was of Celtic 
race. Yet there may be some exaggeration m the 
idea of the universal prevalence of the Highland cos- 
tume in the courts and camps of the ancient Scottish 

The Lowland Scots were a mixed race, more Teu- 
tonic than Gaelic, as is testified by their language in 
its several dialects, so far back as it can be traced, 
evidently drawn chiefly from the same sources with the dialects of the 
north of England ; and they must have I'esembled their Saxon, or Saxo- 
Danish, neighbours in other habits as well as in language. The very 
name as well as the rank of thane, seems to come fi'om the Saxons, 
and not from the Celts ; and the border Scotch thane differed proba- 
bly but little in appearance from the English chiefs of Northumberland 



and Cumberland. Still, in the reigns of Duncan and Macbeth, (A. D., 1034 to 1060,) there may have been a 
predominance of the ancient Gaelic costume. Besides, whatever antiquarian industi-j' may determine as to the 
barren fact, the Highland costume is unquestionably the poetic and romantic attire of old Scotia's children. This 
is thus described by Knight, following and abridging the recent work of Mr. Skene on the Highlanders : — 

" It would be too much to affirm that the dress, as at present worn, in all its minute details, is ancient ; but it 
is very certain that it is compounded of three varieties in the form of dress which were separately worn by the 
Highlanders in the seventeenth centuiy, and that each of these may be traced back to the remotest antiquity. 
These are: — 1st, The belted plaid; 2d, The short coat or jacket; 3d, The truis. With each of these, or, at any 
rate, with the two fii'st, was worn, from the earliest periods to the seventeenth century, the long-sleeved, saffron- 
stained shirt, of Irish origin, called the Leni-croich. Piscotie, in 1573, says, 'they (the Scotch Highlanders) be 
cloathed with ane mantle, with ane schirt, saffroned afler the Irish manner, going barelegged to the knee.' Nic- 
olay d'Arfeville, cosmographer to the King of France, 1583, says, 'they wear, like the Irish, a large full shirt, 
coloured with saffron, and over this a garment hanging to the knee, of thick wool, after the manner of a cassock 
(soutane.) They go with bare heads, and allow their hair to grow very long, and they wear neither stockings 
nor shoes, except some who have buskins (botines) made in a very old fashion, which come as high as the knees.' 
Lesley, in 1578, says, 'all, both nobles and common people, wore mantles of one sort (except that the nobles pre- 
ferred those of different colours;) these were long and flowing, but capable of being gathered up at pleasure into 
folds They had also shaggy rugs, such as the Irish use at the present day The rest of their gar- 
ments consisted of a short woollen jacket, with the sleeves open below, for the convenience of throwing their darts, 
and a covering for the thighs of the simplest kind, more for decency than for show or defence against cold. They 
made also of linen very large shirts, with numerous folds and verj' large sleeves, which flowed abroad loosely on 
their knees. These the rich coloured with saflron, and others smeared with some grease to preserve them longer 
clean among the toils and exercises of a camp,' &c. Here we have the second variety — that of the short woollen 
jacket with the open sleeves ; and this confirms the identity of the ancient Scottish with the ancient Irish dress, 
as the Irish chieftains who appeared at court in the reign of Elizabeth were clad in these long shirts, short open- 
sleeved jackets, and long shasgy mantles. The third variety is the truis, or trowse, 'the breeches and stockings 
of one piece,' of the Irish of the time of Giraldus Cambrensis, and the bracchae of the Belgic Gauls and southern 
Britons in that of Caesar. The truis has hitherto been traced in Scotland only as far back as the year 1538 ; and 
many deny its having formed a portion of the more ancient Scottish dress : but independently that the document 
of the date above mentioned recognises it as an established ^Highland' garment at that time, thereby givins: one 
a right to infer its having long previously existed, the incontrovertible fact of a similar article of apparel having 
been worn by all the chiefs of the other tribes of the great Celtic or Gaelic family is sufficient, to give proba- 
bility to the belief that it was also worn by those of the ancient Scotch Highlanders. With regard to another 
hotly disputed point of Scottish costume, the colours of the chequered cloth, commonly called tartan and plaid, 
(neither of which names, however, originally signified its variegated appearance, the former being merely the 
name of the woollen stuff of which it was made, and the latter that of the garment into which it was shaped,) the 
most general belief is, that the distinction of the clans by a peculiar pattern is of comparatively a recent date : but 
those who deny ' a coat of many colours' to the ancient Scottish Highlanders altogether must as unceremoniously 
strip the Celtic Briton or Belgic Gaul of his tunic, 'flowered with various colours in divisions,' in which he has 
been specifically arrayed by Diodorus Siculus. The chequered cloth was termed in Celtic breacan, and the High- 
landers give it also the poetical appellation of ' ca//i-da?/i,' signifying 'the strife' or 'war of colours.' In Major's 
time (1512) the plaids or cloaks of the higher classes alone were %'ariegated. The common people appear to have 
worn them generally of a brown colour, 'most near,' says Moniepennie, 'to the colour of the hadder' (heather.) 
Martin, in 1716, speaking of the female attire in the Western Isles, says the ancient dress, which is yet worn by 
some of the vulgar, called arisad, is a white plaid, having a few small stripes of black, blue, and red. The plain 
black and white stuff, now generally known by the name of ' shepherd's plaid' is evidently, from its simplicity, 
of great antiquity, and could have been most easily manufactured, as it required no process of dyeing, being com- 
posed of the two natural colours of the fleece. Defoe, in his 'Memoirs of a Cavalier,' describes the plaid worn 
in 1639 as 'striped across, red and yeUow;' and the portrait of Lacy, the actor, painted in Charles the Second's 
time, represents him dressed for Sawney the Scot in a red, yellow, and black truis, and belted plaid, or, at any 
rate, in stufi' of the natural yellowish tint of the wool, striped across with black and red. 

"For the armour and weapons of the Scotch of the 11th century, we have rather more distinct authority-. The 
sovereign and his Lowland chiefs appear early to have assumed the shirt of ringmail of the Saxon ; or, perhaps, 
the quilted panzar of their Norwegian and Danish invaders : but that some of the Higliland chieftains disdained 
such defence must be admitted, from the well-known boast of the Earl of Strathearne, as late as 1138, at the 
Battle of the Standard: — 'I wear no armour,' exclaimed the heroic Gael, 'yet those who do will not advance 
beyond me this day.' It was indeed the old Celtic fashion for soldiers to divest themselves of almost everj' portion 
of covering on the eve of combat, and to rush into battle nearly if not entirely naked. 

"' The ancient Scottish weapons were the bow, the spear, the claymore (cledheamh-more.) the battle-axe, and 
the dirk, or bidag, with round targets, covered with buU's-hide, and studded with nails and bosses of brass or iron. 
For the dress and arms of the Anglo-Saxon auxiliaries of Malcolm, the Bayeux tapestry furnishes the nearest 

" The Scottish female habit seems to have consisted, like that of the Saxon, Norman, and Danish women — nay, 
we may even add, the ancient British — of a long robe, girdled round the waist, and a full and flowing mantle, 
fastened on the breast by a large buckle or brooch of brass, silver, or gold, and set with common cnstals, or pre- 
cious gems, according to the rank of the wearer. Dio describes Boadicea as wearing a variegated robe ; and the 
ancient mantle worn by Scotch women is described by Martin as chequered, and denominated the arisad." 

This summary of the learning of the subject seems sufficient for every ordinai7 purpose of taste or art, whether 
pictorial or sartorial. It only remains to add, for the benefit of the artist in either line, who may have to deal 
with the personal costume of Macbeth, that Sir John Sinclair maintains the truis to be the more ancient Scot- 
tish dress, but that the kilt is a comparatively modern invention ; and Walter Scott has pronounced ex cathedra, 
that "whatever Macbeth's garb might have been, a philabeg could have formed no part of it." 

Generals of his Army. 

Thanes of Scotland. 

neral of the 


DUNCAN, King of Scotland. 


DONALBAIN, ' ^is Sons. 










SIWARD, Earl of Northumberland, G» 

English Forces. 
Young SiWARD, his Son. 
Seyton an Officer attending Macbeth, 
Son to Macdoff. 

An English Doctor. A Scotch Doctor. 
A Soldier A Porter. An Old Man. 



Gentle'woman attending Lady Macbeth. 

HECATE and Witches. 

Lords, Gentlemen, Officers. Soldiers, Murderers, 
Attendants, and Messengers. 

The Ghost of EANCino, and other Apparitions. 

ScENS, in the end of the Fourth Act, in EnglEind ; 
through the rest of the Piny, in Scotland. 



Scene I. — An open Place. 

Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches. 

1 IVitch. When shall we three meet again, 
In thunder, lightnino;, or in rain ? 

2 Witch. When the hurlyburly's done. 
When the battle's lost and won. 

3 Witch. That will be ere the set of sun. 

1 Witch. Where the place ? 

2 Witch. Upon the heath: 

3 Witch. There to meet with Macbeth. 
1 Witch. I come, Graymalkin ! 


All. Paddock calls : — Anon. — 
Fair is foul, and foul is fair: 
Hover through the fog and filthy air. 

[ Witclien vanish. 

Scene II. — A Camp near Fores. 

Alarum ivithin. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm, 
DoNALBAiN, Lenox, with Attendants, meeting a 
bleeding Soldier. 
Dun. What bloody man is that ? He cati report. 

As seeraeth by his plight, of the revolt 

The newest state. 






3Ial. This is the sergeant, 

Who, Hke a good and hardy soldier, fought 
'(xainst my captivity. — Hail, brave friend! 
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil. 
As thou didst leave it. 

Sold. Doubtful it stood ; 

As two swimmers, that do cling together 
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald 
(Worthy to be a rebel, for to that 
The multiplying villanies of nature 
Do swarm upon him) from the western isles 
Of Kernes and Gallowglasses is supplied ; 
And fortune, on his damned quari-y smiling, 
Show'd like a rebel's whore : but all's too weak ; 
For brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name) 
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, 
Which smok'd with bloody execution. 
Like valour's minion, cai^v'd out his passage, 
Till he fac'd the slave; 

Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, 
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps, 
And fix'd his head upon our battlements. 

Dun. O, valiant cousin ! worthy gentleman ! 

Sold. As whence the sun 'gins his reflexion 
Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break. 
So from that spring, whence comfort seem'd to come. 
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark : 
No sooner justice had, with valour arin'd, 
Compell'd these skipping Kernes to trust their heels. 
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage. 
With furbish'd arms, and new supplies of men. 
Began a fresh assault. 

Dun. Dismay'd not this 

Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo ? 

Sold. Yes ; 

As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. 
If I say sooth, I must report they were 
As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks; 
So, they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe : 
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, 

Or memorize another Golgotha, 

I cannot tell. — 

But I am faint, my gashes cry for help. 

Dun. So well thy words become thee, as thy 
wounds : 

They smack of honour both. — Go, get him sur- 
geons. [Exit Soldier, attended. 

Enter Rosse and Angus. 

Who comes here ? 

jMal. The worthy thane of Rosse. 

Len. What a haste looks through his eyes ! 
So should he look, that seems to sj^eak things 

Rosse. God save the king I 

Dun. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane? 

Rosse. From Fife, great king ; 
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky 
And fan our people cold. 
Norway himself, wdth terrible numbers, 
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor. 
The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict; 
Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, 
Confronted him with self-comparisons. 
Point against point, rebellious arm 'gainst arm 
Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude, 
The victory fell on us ; — 

Dun. Great happiness ! 

Rosse. That now 
Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition ; 
Nor would we deign him burial of his men, 
Till he disbursed at Saint Colmes' Inch 
Ten thousand dollars to our general use. 

Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive 
Our bosom interest. — Go, pronounce his present 

And with his foriuer title greet Macbeth. 

Rosse. I'll see it done. 

Dun. AVhat he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath 
won. [Exeunt. 

(St. Colmes' Inch.) 

{Distant View of tlie Heath.) 

Scene III. — A Heath. 

Thunder. Enter the three Witches. 

1 Witch. Where hast thou been, sister? 

2 Witch. KilHng swine. 

3 Witch. Sister, where thou ? 

1 Witch. A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap. 
And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd : 

" Give me," quoth I : — 
"Aroint thee, witch!" the rump-fed ronvon cries. 
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger: 
But in a sieve I'll thither sail, 
And, like a rat without a tail, 
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do. 

2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind. 
1 Witch. Th'lirt kind. 

3 Witch. And I another. 

1 Witch. I myself have all the other; 
And the very ports they blow, 

All the quarters that they know 

r the shipman's card. 

I'll drain him dry as hay : 

Sleep shall, neither night nor day, 

Hang upon his pent-house lid ; 

He shall live a man forbid. 

Weary sev'n-nights, nine times nine, 

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine: 

Though his bark cannot be lost. 

Yet it shall be tempest-toss'd. 

Look what I have. 

2 Witch. Show me, show me. 

1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, 
Wreck'd as homeward he did come. [Drum within. 

3 Witch. A drum ! a drum! 
Macbeth doth come. 

All. The weird sisters, hand in hand. 
Posters of the sea and land. 
Thus do go about, about : 
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine. 
And thrice again, to make up nine. 
Peace ! — the charm's wound up. 

Enter Macbeth and BANquo. 
Mach. So foul and fair a day I have not seen. 
Ban. How far is't call'd to Fores ? — What are 
So wither'd and so wild in their attire. 
That look not like th' inhabitants o' the earth. 
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught 
That man may question ? You seem to understand 

By each at once her chappy finger laying 
Upon her skinny lips : — You should be women, 
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret 
That you are so. 

Macb. Speak, if you can. — What are you ? 

hail to thee, thane 
hail to thee, thane 
that shalt be king 

1 \¥itch. All hail, Macbeth! 

of Glamis ! 

2 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! 

of Cawdor ! 

3 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! 

Ban. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to 

Things that do sound so fair ? — I' the name of truth, 
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed 
Which outwardly ye show ? My noble partner 
You greet with present grace, and great prediction 
Of noble having, and of royal hope. 
That he seems rapt withal : to me you speak not. 
If you can look into the seeds of time. 
And say which grain will grow, and which will not. 
Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear. 
Your favours, nor your hate. 

1 Witch 

2 Witch. 

3 Witch. 

1 Witch. 

2 Witch. 

3 Witch. 

none : 
So, all hail, Macbeth, and Banquo ! 

1 Witch. Banquo, and Macbeth, all hail 


Hail ! 


Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. 

Not so happy, yet much happier. 

Tliou shalt get kings, though thou be 




Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me 
By Sinel's death, I know I am thane of Glamis ; 
But how of Cawdor .' the thane of Cawdor lives, 
A i)rosperous gentleman ; and to be king 
Stands not within the prospect of belief. 
No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence 
You owe this strange intelligence .' or why 
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way 
With such prophetic greeting ? — Speak, I charge 
you. [ Witches vanish. 

Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has. 
And these are of them. — Whither are they vanish'd ? 

Macb. Into the air; and what seem'd corporal, 
As breath into the wind. — 'Would they had stay'd ! 

Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak 
Or have we eaten on the insane root, 
That takes the reason prisoner? 

Macb. Your children shall be kings. 

Ban. You shall be king. 

Macb. And thane of Cawdor too : went it not so ? 

Ban. To the self-same tune, and words. Who's 
here ? 

Enter Rosse and Angus. 

Rnssc. The king hath happily receiv'd, Macbeth, 
The news of thy success ; and when he reads 
Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, 
His wonders and his praises do contend. 
Which should be thine, or his. Silenc'd with that, 
In viewing o'er the rest o' the self-same day, 
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks. 
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make. 
Strange images of death. As thick as tale, 
Came post with post; and every one did bear 
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence, 
And pour'd them down before him. 



We are sent, 
To give thee from our royal master thanks ; 
Only to herald thee into his sight. 
Not pay thee. 

Rosse. And for an earnest of a greater honour. 
He bade me from him call thee thane of Cawdor : 
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane. 
For it is thine. 

Ban. What ! can the devil speak true ? 

Macb. The thane of Cawdor lives : why do you 
dress me 
In borrow'd robes? 

Anff. Who was the thane, lives yet; 

But under heavy judgment bears that life 
Which he deserves to lose. 

Whether he was combin'd witli those of Norway, 
Or did line the rebel with hidden help 
And vantage, or that with both he labour'd 
In his country's wreck, I know not; 
But treasons capital, confess'd and prov'd. 
Have overthrown him. 

Macb. Glamis, and thane of Cawdor: 

The greatest is behind. — Thanks for your pains. — 
Do you not hope your children shall be kings. 
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me, 
Promis'd no less to them? 

Ban. That, trusted home, 

Might yet enkindle you unto the crown. 
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange: 
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm. 
The instruments of darkness tell us truths ; 
Win us with honest trifles, to betrav us 


In deepest consequence. — 
Cousins, a word, I pray you. 

Macb. Two truths are told. 

As happy prologues to the swelling act 
Of the imperial theme. — I thank you, gentlemen. 
This supernatural soliciting 
Cannot be ill ; cannot be good : — if ill. 
Why hath it given me earnest of success. 
Commencing in a truth ? I am thane of Cawdor : 
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion 
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair. 
And make my seated heart to knock at my ribs, 
Against the use of nature ? Present fears 
Are less than horrible imaginings. 
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical. 
Shakes so my single state of man, that function 
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is, 
But what is not. 

Ban. Look, how oiu' partner's rapt. 

Macb. If chance will have me king, why, chance 
may crown me. 
Without my stir. 

Ban. New honours come upon him, 

Like our strange garments, cleave not to their 

But with the aid of use. 

Macb. Come what come may. 

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. 

Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your lei- 

Macb. Give me your favom- : — 
My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten. 
Kind gentlemen, your pains are register'd 
Where every day I turn the leaf to read them. — 
Let us toward the king. — 

Think iipon what hath chanc'd ; and at more time. 
The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak 
Our free hearts each to other. 

Ban. Very gladly. 

Macb. Till then, enough. — Come, friends. 


Scene IV. — Fores. A Room in the Palace. 

Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, 
Lenox, and Attendants. 

Dun. Is execution done on Cawdor : or not 
Those in commission yet return'd ? 

Mai. My liege, 

They are not yet come back ; but I have spoke 
With one that saw him die, who did rejiort. 
That very frankly he confess'd his treasons, 
Implor'd your highness' pardon, and set forth 
A deep repentance. Nothing in his life 
Became him like the leaving it: he died 
As one that had been studied in his death. 
To throw away the dearest thing he ow'd. 
As 'twere a careless trifle. 

Dun. There's no art. 

To find the mind's construction in the face : 
He was a gentleman on whom I built 
An absolute trust. — 

Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse, and Angus. 

O worthiest cousin ! 

The sin of my ingratitude even now 

Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before. 

That swiftest wing of recompense is slow 

To overtake thee : would thou hadst less desei-v'd. 

That the proportion both of thanks and j^ayment 

Might have been mine ! only I have left to say. 




More is thy due than more than all can pay. 

Macb. The service and the loyally 1 owe, 
In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part 
Is to receive our duties : and our duties 
Are to your throne and state, children, and ser- 
vants ; 
Which do but what they should, by doing every 

Safe toward your love and honour. 

Dun. Welcome hither : 

I have begun to plant thee, and will labour 
To make thee full of growing. — Noble Banquo, 
Thou liast no less desei-v'd, nor must be known 
No less to have done so; let me infold thee. 
And hold thee to my heart. 

Ban. There if I grow, 

The harvest is your own. 

Dun. My plenteous joys. 

Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves 
In drops of sorrow. — Sons, kinsmen, thanes. 
And you whose places are the nearest, know, 
AVe will establish our estate upon 
Our eldest, Malcolm; whom we name hereafter, 
The prince of Cumberland : which honour must 

Not, unaccompanied, invest him only. 
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine 
On all deservers. — From hence to Inverness, 
And bind us further to you. 

Macb. The rest is labour, which is not us'd for 
you : 
I'll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful 
The hearing of my wife with your approach; 
So, humbly take my leave. 

Dun. My worthy Cawdor ! 

Macb. The prince of Cumberland! — That is a 
On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, 

For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires ! 
Let not light see my black and deep desires ; 
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be. 
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. 


Dun. True, worthy Banquo : he is full so valiant, 
And in his commendations I am fed ; 
It is a banquet to me. Let us after him. 
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome : 
It is a peerless kinsman. [Flourish. Exeunt. 


" (View from the Site of Macbeth's Custle, Inverness.) 

Scene V. — Inverness. A Room in Macbeth's 

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter. 

Lady M. " They met me in the day of success ; 
and I have learned by the perfectest report, they 
have more in them than mortal knowledge. When 
I burned in desire to question them further, they 
made themselves air, into which they vanished. 
AVhiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came mis- 
sives from the king, who all-hailed me, 'Thane of 
Cawdor ;' by which title, before, these weird sisters 
saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of 
time, with, ' Hail, king that shall be !' Tins have I 

thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner 
of greatness, that thou mightest not lose the dues 
of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness 
is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and fare- 

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be 
What thou art promis'd. — Yet do I fear thy na- 
ture ; 
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness, 
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great ; 
Art not without ambition ; but without 
The illness should attend it : what thou wouldst 

That wouldst thou holily ; wouldst not play false, 





And yet wouldst wrongly win : thou'dst have, great 

That which cries, " Thus thou must do, if thou 

have it; 
And that which rather tliou dost fear to do, 
Than wishest should be undone." Hie thee hither. 
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear. 
And chastise with the valour of my tongue 
All that impedes thee from the golden round. 
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem 
To have thee crown'd withal. — 

Enter an Attendant. 

What is your tidings? 

Atten. The king comes here to-night. 

Ladj/ M. Thou'rt mad to say it. 

Is not thy master with him ? who, wer't so, 
Would have inform'd for preparation. 

Atten. So please you, it is true : our thane is 
One of my fellows had the speed of him; 
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more 
Than would make up his message. 

Lady M. Give him tending : 

He brings great news. \^Exit Attendant.] The ra- 
ven himself is hoarse. 
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan 
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits 
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here. 
And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full 
Of direst cruelty I make thick my blood, 
Stop up th' access and passage to remorse ; 
That no compunctious visitings of nature 
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between 
Th' effect and it ! Come to my woman's breasts. 
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers. 
Wherever in your sightless substances 
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night. 
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell. 
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes. 
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, 
To cry, " Hold, hold !"— 

Enter Macbeth. 

Great Glamis ! worthy Cawdor! 
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter ! 
Thy letters have transported me beyond 
This ignorant present, and I feel now 
The future in the instant. 

Mach. My dearest love, 

Duncan comes here to-night. 

Lady M. And when goes hence ? 

Much. To-morrow, as he purposes. 



Lady M. 
Shall sun that morrow see. 
Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men 
May read strange matters : to beguile the time, 
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye. 
Your hand, your tongue : look like the innocent 

But be the serpent tmder it. He that's coming 
Must be provided for ; and you shall put 
This night's great business into my despatch, 
Which shall to all our nights and days to come 
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. 

Mach. We will speak further. 

Lady M. Only look up clear; 

To alter favottr ever is to fear. 
Leave all the rest to me. [Exeunt. 

Scene VL — The Same. Before the Castle. 

Hautboys and Torches. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, 
DoNALBAiN,BANquo, Lenox, Macduff, RossE, 

Angus, a7id Attendants. 

Dun. This castle hath a pleasant seat : the air 
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself 
Unto our gentle senses. 

Ban. This guest of summer. 

The temple-haunting martlet, does approve, 
By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's breath 
Smells wooingly here : no jutty, frieze. 
Buttress, nor coigne of vantage, but this bird 
Hath made his pendent bed, and procreant cradle ; 





Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd, 
The air is deUcate. 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 

Dun. See, see ! our houour'd hostess. — 

The love that follows us sometime is our trouble. 
Which still we thank as love : herein I teach you, 
How you shall bid God yield us for your pains, 
And thank us for your trouble. 

Lady M. All our seiTice, 

In every point twice done, and then done double, 
Were poor and single business to contend 
Against those honours deep and broad, wherewith 
Your majesty loads our house. For those of old, 
And the late dignities heap'd up to them, 
We rest your hermits. 

Dun. Where's the thane of Cawdor? 

We cours'd him at the heels, and had a purpose 
To be his purveyor; but he rides well, 
And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him 
To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess. 
We are your guest to-night. 

Lady M. Your servants ever 

Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in 

To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, 
Still to return your own. 

Duji. Give me your hand ; 

Conduct me to mine host : we love him highly, 
And shall continue our graces towcirds him. 
By your leave, hostess. {^Exeunt. 

Scene VH. — The Same. A Room in the Castle. 

Hautboys and Torches. Enter, and pass over the 
stage, a Seiver, and divers Servants ivith dishes 
and service. Then, enter Macbeth. 

Mach. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere 
It were done quickly : if the assassination 
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch 
With his surcease success ; that but this blow 
Might be the be-all and the end-all here. 
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, — 
We'd jump the life to come. But in these cases. 
We still have judgment here ; that we but teach 
Bloody instructions, which being taught, return 
To plague th' inventor. This even-handed justice 
Commends th' ingredients of our poison'd chalice 
To our own lips. He's here in double trust : 
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject; 
Strong both against the deed : then, as his host. 
Who should against his murderer shut the door, 
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan 
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 
So clear in his great office, that his virtues 
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 
The deep damnation of his taking-oft"; 
And pity, like a naked new-born babe. 
Striding the blast, or heaven's chervibin, hors'd 
Upon the sightless couriers of the air. 
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye. 
That tears shall drown the wind. — I have no spur 
To prick the sides of my intent, but only 
Vaulting ambition, which o'er-leaps itself, 
And falls on the other 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 

How now ! what news ? 

Lady M. He has almost supp'd. Why have 
you left the chamber ? 

Mad. Hath he ask'd for me? 

Lady M. Know you not, he has ? 

Macb. We will proceed no further in this busi- 
ness : 
He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought 
Golden opinions from all sorts of people. 
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, 
Not cast aside so soon. 

Lady M. Was the hope drunk. 

Wherein you dress'd yourself? Hath it slept 

And wakes it now, to look so green and pale 
At what it did so freely ? From this time, 
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard 
To be the same in thine own act and valour. 
As thou art in desire ? Would'st thou have that 
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life. 
And live a coward in thine own esteem. 
Letting I dare not wait upon I Avould, 
Like the poor cat i' the adage ? 

Macb. Pr'ythee, peace. 

I dare do all that may become a man; 
Who dares do more is none. 

Lady M. What beast was't, then, 

That made you break this enterprise to me? 
When you durst do it, then you were a man ; 
And, to be more than what you were, you would 
Be so much more the man. Nor time, nor place. 
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both : 
They have made themselves, and that their fitness 

Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know 
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me : 
I would, while it was smiling in my face. 
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, 
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you 
Have done to this. 

Macb. If we should fail — ? 

Lady M. We fail. 

But screw your courage to the sticking-place, 
And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep, 
(Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey 
Soundly invite him,) his two chamberlains 
Will I with wine and wassel so convince, 
That memory, the warder of the brain. 
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason 
A limbeck only : when in swinish sleep 
Their drenched natures lie, as in a death. 
What cannot you and I perform upon 
Th' unguarded Duncan ? what not put upon 
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt 
Of our great quell ? 

Macb. Bring forth men-children only .' 

For thy undaunted mettle should compose 
Nothing but males. Will it not be receiv'd. 
When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy 

Of his own chamber, and us'd their very daggers. 
That they have done't ? 

Lady M. Who dares receive it other, 

As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar 
Upon his death ? 

Macb. I am settled ; and bend up 

Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. 
Away, and mock the time with fairest show : 
False face must hide what the false heart doth 
know. [Exeunt. 


Scene I. — The Same. Court tvithin the Castle. 

Enter Banquo, and Fleance, with a torch before 


Ban. How goes the night, boy ? 

Fie. The moon is down ; I have not heard the 

Ban. And she goes down at twelve. 
Fie. I take't, 'tis later, sir. 

Ban. Hold, take my sword. — There's husbandry 
in heaven ; 
Their candles are all out. — Take thee that too. 
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, 
And yet I would not sleep : merciful powers ! 
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts, that nature 
Gives way to in repose ! — Give me my sword. — 


Enter Macbeth, and a Servant with a torch. 
Who's there ? 

Mach. A friend. 

Ban. What, sir! not yet at rest? The king's 
a-bed : 
He hath been in imusual pleasure, and 
Sent forth great largess to your offices. 
This diamond he greets your wife withal. 
By the name of most kind hostess, and shut up 
In measureless content. 

Mach. Being unprepar'd, 

Our will became the servant to defect. 
Which else should free have wrought. 

Ban. All's well. 

I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters : 
To you they have show'd some truth. 




Mach. I think not of them : 

Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve, 
We would spend it in some words upon that busi- 
If you would grant the time. 

Ban. At your kind'st leisure. 

Mach. If you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis, 
It shall make honour for you. 

Ban. So I lose none 

In seeking to augment it, but still keep 
My bosom franchis'd, and allegiance clear, 
I shall be counsell'd. 

Mach. Good repose, the while ! 

Ban. Thanks, sir : the like to you. 

[Exeunt Baxquo and Fleance. 

Mach. Go ; bid thy mistress, when my drink is 
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed. — 

[Exit Servant. 
Is this a dagger which I see before me, 
The handle toward my hand ? Come, let me clutch 

thee : — 
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. 
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible 
To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but 
A dagger of the mind, a false creation, 
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain ? 
I see thee yet, in form as p;ilpable 
As this which now I draw. 

Thou nrarshall'st me the way that I was going ; 
And such an instrument I was to use. — 
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, 
Or else worth all the rest : I see thee still ; 
And on thy blade, and dudgeon, gouts of blood, 
Which was not so before. — There's no such thing : 
It is the bloody business, which informs 
Thus to mine eyes. — Now o'er the one half world 
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse 
The curtain'd sleep : witchcraft celebrates 
Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd murder, 
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, 
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy 

With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design 
Moves like a ghost. — Thou sure and firm-set earth. 
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear 
Thy very stones prate of my where-about, 
And take the present horror from the time. 
Which now suits with it. — Whiles I threat, he 

lives : 
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives. 

\_A hell rings. 
I go, and it is done : the bell invites me. 
Hear it not, Duncan ; for it is a knell. 
That summons thee to heaven or to hell. [Exit. 

Scene II. — The Same. 
Enter Lady Macbeth. 

Lady M. That which hath made them drunk 
hath made me bold : 
What hath quench'd them hath given me fire. — 
Hark ! — Peace ! It was the owl that shriek'd, 
The fatal bellman, which gives the stern'st good- 
He is about it. The doors are open ; 
And the surfeited grooms do mock their charge 
With snores. I have drugg'd their possets, 
That death and nature do contend about them, 
Whether they live or die. 
Macb. [ WitJiin.] Who's there ?— what, ho ! 

As I descended ? 

Lady M. Alack I I am afraid they have awak'd. 
And 'tis not done : — the attempt, and not the deed, 
Confounds us. — Hark! — I laid their daggers ready. 
He could not miss them. — Had he not resembled 
My father as he slept, I had done't. — My husband ? 

Enter Macbeth. 

Mach. I have done the deed. — Didst thou not 
hear a noise ? 

Lady M. I heard the owl scream, and the crick- 
ets cry. 
Did not you speak? 

Mach. When ? 

Lady M. Now. 


Ladij M. Ay. 

Mach. Hark! 
Who lies i' the second chamber ? 

Lady M. Donalbain. 

Mach. This is a sorry sight. 

[Looking on his liands. 

Lady M. A foolish thought to say a sorry sight. 

Mach. There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one 
cried, "Murder!" 
That they did wake each other: I stood and heard 

them ; 
But they did say their prayers, and address'd them 
Again to sleep. 

Lady M. There are two lodg'd together. 

Mach. One cried, "God bless us !" and "Amen," 
the other. 
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands. 
Listening their fear, I could not say amen, 
When they did say God bless us. 

Lady M. Consider it not so deeply. 

Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce 
amen ? 
I liad most need of blessing, and amen 
Stuck in my throat. 

Lady M. These deeds must not be thought 
After these ways : so, it will make us mad. 

Mach. Methought, I heard a voice cry, " Sleep 
no more I 
Macbeth does murder sleep," — the innocent sleep ; 
Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care. 
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath. 
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, 
Chief nourisher in life's feast ; — 

Ladii ]\L What do you mean ? 

Mach. Still it cried, " Sleep no more !'' to all the 
" Glaniis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor 
Shall slee]) no more ; Macbeth shall sleep no more !" 

Lady M. Who was it that thus cried ? Why, 
worthy thane. 
You do luibeud your noble strength, to think 
So brainsickly of things. Go, get some w ater. 
And wash this filthy witness from your hand. — 
Why did you bring these daggers from the place ? 
They must lie there : go, carry them, and smear 
The sleepy grooms with blood. 

Mach. I'll go no more ; 

I am afraid to think what I have done ; 
Look on't again, I dare not. 

Lady M. Infirm of purpose ! 

Give rne the daggers. The sleepius;, and the dead. 
Are but as pictures : 'tis the eye of childhood 
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, 
I'll gild the Hices of the grooms withal. 
For it must seem their guilt. 

[Exit. — Knocking within. 


Lady ilACBETH. Hark: I laid their daggers ready ; tie could not miss them. 

Mach. Whence is that knocking ? — 

How is't with me, when every noise appals me ? 
What hands are here ? Ha ! they phick out mine 

Will all great Neptune's ocean wash tliis blood 
Clean from my hand I No ; this my hand will rather 
The multitudinous seas incarnardine, 
Making the green — one red. 

Re-enter Lady 3Iacbeth. 

Lady M. My hands are of your colour ; but I 

To wear a heart so wliite. — [A'woc/i:.] I hear a 

At the south entry : — retire we to our chamber. 
A little water clears us of this deed : 
How easy is it then ? Your constancy 
Hath left you unattended. — \_Knock.'\ Hark ! more 

Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us, 
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost 


So poorly in your thoughts. 

Mach. To know my deed, 'twere best not know 

myself. [Ktwck. 

Waive Duncan with thy knocking : I would thou 

couldst! [Exeunt. 

Scene HI. — The Same. 
Enter a Porter. [Knocking unthin.] 

Porter. Here's a knocking, indeed! If a man 
were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turn- 
ing the key. [Knocking.] Knock, knock, knock. 
Who's there, i' the name of Beelzebub? — Here's 
a farmer, that hanged himself on the expectation 
of plenty : come in time ; have napkins enough 
about you ; here you'll sweat for't. [Knocking. 
Knock, knock. Who's there, in the other devil's 
name? — 'Faith, here's an equivocator, that could 
swear in both the scales against either scale ; who 
committed treason enough for God's sake, yet 
could not equivocate to heaven : O ! come in, 




equivocator. [Knocking.'^ Knock, knock, knock. 
Who's there? — 'Faith, here's an EngUsh tailor 
come hither for steahng out of a French hose: 
come in, tailor; here you may roast your goose. 
[ii«oc>vi«o'.] Knock, knock. Never at quiet ! What 
are you? — But this place is too cold for hell. I'll 
devil-porter it no further : I had thought to have 
let in some of all professions, that go the primose 
way to the everlasting bonfire. [Knockins.] Anon, 
anon : I pray you, remember the porter. 

[ Opens the gate. 
Enter Macduff and Le>ox. 

Macd. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed, 
That you do he so late ? 

Port. 'Faith, sir, we were carousing till the se- 
cond cock ; and drink, sir, is a great provoker of 
three things. 

Macd. What three things does drink especially 
provoke ? 

Port. Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. 
Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes ; it pro- 
vokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. 
Therefore, much drink may be said to be an equi- 
vocator with lechery : it makes him, and it mars 
him ; it sets him on, and it takes him oft'; it per- 
suades him, and disheartens him ; makes him stand 
to, and not stand to ; in conclusion, equivocates 
him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him. 

Macd. I believe, drink gave thee the lie last night. 

Port. That it did, sir, i' the very throat of me: 
but I requited him for his lie ; and, I think, being 
too strong for him, though he took up my legs 
sometime, yet I made a shift to cast him- 

Macd. Is thy master stirring ? — 

Enter Macbeth. 

Our knocking has awak'd him ; here he comes. 

Len. Good-morrow, noble sir! 

Macb. Good-morrow, both ! 

Macd. Is the king stirring, worthy thane 1 

Mach. Not yet. 

Macd. He did command me to call timely on him ; 
I have almost slipp'd the hour. 

Macb. I'll bring you to him. 

Macd. I know, this is a joyful trouble to you ; 
But yet, 'tis one. 

Macb. The labour we delight in physics pain. 
This is the door. 

Macd. I'll make so bold to call. 

For 'tis my limited senice. [Exit Macduff- 

Len. Goes the king hence to-day ? 

Macb. He does : — he did appoint so. 

Len. The night has been unruly. 
Where we lay, our chimneys were blown down ; 
And, (as they say,) lamentings heard i' the air; 
Strange screams of death : — 
And prophesying with accents terrible 
Of dire combustion, and confus'd events, 
New hatch'd to the woeful time. 
The obscure bird clamour'd the livelong night. 
Some say, the earth was feverous, and did shake. 

Macb. 'Twas a rough night. 

Len. My young remembrance cannot parallel 
A fellow to it. 

Tongue, nor 

Re-enter Macduff. 
Macd. O horror ! horror I horror ! 
Cannot conceive, nor name thee ! 

Macb. Len. What's the matter? 

Macd. Confusion now hath made his master- 
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope 
The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 
The life o' the building. 

Macb. What is't you say ? the life ? 
Len. Mean you his majesty ? 
Macd. Approach the chamber, and destroy your 
With a new Gorgon. — Do not bid me speak : 
See, and then speak yourselves. — Awake ! awake ! 
[Exeunt Macbeth and Lenox. 
Ring the alanim-bell. — Murder, and treason I 
Banquo, and Donalbain I Malcolm, awake ! 
Shake oft" this downy sleep, death's counterfeit, 
And look on death itself I — up, up, and see 
The great doom's image I — iNIalcolm ! Banquo I 
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites 
To countenance this horror! Ring the bell. 

[Belt rings. 
Enter Ladt Macbeth. 

Lady M. What's the business. 
That such a hideous trum])et calls to parley 
The sleepers of the house .' speak, speak ! 

Macd. O, gentle lady I 

'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak : 
The repetition, in a woman's ear, 

Enter Banquo. 
AVould murder as it fell. — O Banquo ! Banquo ! 
Our royal master's murder'd ! 

Lady M. Woe, alas ! 

What ! in our house ? 

Ban. Too cruel, anywhere. 

Dear Dufi". I pr'Nlhee, contradict thyself, 
And say, it is not so. 

Re-enter Macbeth and Lenox. 

Macb. Had I but died an hour before this chance, 
I had lived a blessed time, for from this instant 
There's nothing serious in mortality : 
All is but toys : renown and grace, is dead ; 
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees 
Is left this vault to brag of. 

Enter 3L\lcolm and Donalbain. 

Do7i. What is amiss ? 

Macb. You are, and do not know't : 

The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood 
Is stopp'd ; the very source of it is stopp'd. 

Macd. Your roval father's murder'd. 

Mai. ' O ! by whom ! 

Len. Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had 
Their hands and faces were all badg'd with blood ; 
So were their daggers, which, unwip'd, we found 
Upon their pillows : they star'd, and were distracted. 
No man's life was to be trusted with them. 

Macb. O! vet I do repent me of my fury, 
That I did kill them. 




Macd. AVherefore did you so ? 

Much. Who can be wise, amaz'd, temperate and 
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man: 
The expedition of my violent love 
(Jut-ran the pauser reason. — Here lay Dtincan, 
His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood ; 
And his gasli'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature, 
For ruin's wasteful entrance : there, the murderers, 
Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers 
Unmannerly breech'd with gore. Who could re- 
That had a heart to love, and in that heart 
Courage, to make 's love known .' 

Lady M. Help me hence, ho ! 

Macd. Look to the lady. 

Mai. Why do we hold our tongues. 

That most may claim this argument for ours ? 

Don. What should be spoken 
Here, where our fate, hid in an auger-hole. 
May rush, and seize us ? Let's away : our tears 
Are not yet brew'd. 

Mai. Nor our strong sorrow 

Upon the foot of motion. 

Ban. Look to the lady. — 

[Lady Macbeth is carried out. 
And when we have our naked frailties hid, 
That suffer in exposure, let us meet. 
And question this most bloody piece of work. 
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us : 
In the great hand of God I stand ; and, thence, 
Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight 
Of treasonous malice. 

Macd. And so do I. 

All. So all. 

Much. Let's briefly put on manly readiness, 
And meet i' the hall together. 

All. Well contented. 

{^Exeunt all but Mal. and Don. 

Mai. What will you do ? Let's not consort 
with them : 
To show an unfelt sorrow is an office 
Which the false man does easy. I'll to England. 

Don. To Ireland, I : our separated fortune 
Shall keep us both the safer ; where we are. 
There's daggers in men's smiles : the near in blood, 
The nearer bloody. 

Mal. This mtirderous shaft that's shot 

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way 
Is to avoid the aim : therefore, to horse ; 
And let us not be dainty of leave-taking. 
But shift away. There's warrant in that theft 
Which steals itself, when there's no mercy left. 


Scene IV. — l^'lthout the Castle. 
Enter RossE and an Old Man. 

Old M. Threescore and ton I can remember well ; 
Within the vohune of which time I have seen 
Hours dreadful, and things strange, but this sore 

Hath trifled former knowings. 

Rosse. Ah ! good father. 

Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act, 
Threaten his bloody stage : by the clock 'tis day. 
And yet dark night strangles the travailing lamp. 
Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame, 
Tliat darkness does the face of earth entomb. 
When living liiilit should kiss it? 

Old M. 

'Tis unnatural. 


Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last, 
A falcon, towering in her pride of place. 
Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at, and kill'd. 

Rosse. And Duncan's horses (a thing moststrange 
and certain,) 
Beatiteous and swiit, the minions of their race, 
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flvuig out. 
Contending 'gainst ol)edience, as they would 
Make war with mankind. 

Old M. 'Tis said, they ate each other. 

Russe. They did so ; to th' amazement of mine 
That look'd upon't. Here comes the good Macduft". 

Enter Macduff. 
How goes the world, sir, now ? 

Macd. Why, see you not? 

Rosse. Is't known, who did this more than bloody 

Macd. Those that Macbeth hath slain. 

Rosse. Alas, the day ! 

What good could they pretend ? 

Macd. They were subom'd. 

Malcolm, and Donalbain, the king's two sons, 
Are stol'n away and fled ; which puts upon them 
Suspicion of the deed. 

Rosse. 'Gainst nature still : 

Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up 
Thine own life's means ! — Then, 'tis most like. 
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth. 

Macd. He is already nam'd, and gone to Scone 
To be invested. 

Rosse. Where is Duncan's body ? 

Macd. Carried to Colme-kill ; 
The sacred store-house of his predecessors, 
And guardian of their bones. 

Rosse. Will you to Scone ? 

Macd. No, cousin ; I'U to Fife. 

Rosse. Well, T will thither. 

Macd. Well, may you see things well done 
there : — adieu — 
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new ! 

Rosse. Farewell, father. 

Old M. God's benison go with you: and with those 
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes I 


(Coronation Chair.) 

Scene I. — Fores. A Room in the Palace. 

Enter Banquo. 

Ban. Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, 
As the weird women promis'd ; and, I fear, 
Thou play'dst most foully for't : yet it was said, 
It should not stand in thy posterity : 
But that myself should be the root, and father 
Of many kings. If there come truth from them, 
(As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine) 
Why, by the verities on thee made good, 
May they not be my oracles as well. 
And set me up in hope? But, hush; no more. 

Senet sounded. Enter Macbeth, as Kins; Lady 
Macbeth, as Queen; Lenox, Rosse, Lords, 
Ladies, and Attendants. 

Macb. Here's our chief guest. 

Ladji TV/. If he had been forgotten, 

It had been as a gap in our great feast. 
And all-thing unbecoming. 

Mach. To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir. 
And I'll request your presence. 

Ban. Let your highness 

Command upon me, to the which my duties 
Are with a most indissoluble tie 
For ever knit. 

Mach. Ride you this afternoon? 

Ban. Av, my good lord. 

Mach. We should have else desir'd your good 
(Which still hath been both grave and prosperous) 
In this day's council ; but we'll take to-morrow. 
Is't far you ride? 

Ban. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 
'Twixt this and supper : go not my horse the better, 
I must become a borrower of the night 
For a dark hour, or twain. 

Mach. Fail not our feast. 

Ban. My lord, I will not. 

Macb. We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd 
In England, and in Ireland; not confessing 
Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers 
With strange invention. But of that to-morrow; 
When, therewithal, we shall have cause of state 
Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse : adieu. 
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you ? 

Ban. Ay, my good lord : our time does call upon 

Mach. I wish your horses swift, and sure of foot ; 
And so I do commend you to their backs. 
Farewell. — [Exit Banquo. 

Let every man be master of his time 
Till seven at night. To make society 
The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself 
Till supper-time alone : while then, God be with you. 
[Exeunt Lady Macbeth, Lords, Ladies, ^-c. 
Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men 
Our pleasure ? 

Atten. They are, my lord, without the palace gate. 

Mach. Bring them before us. — [Exit Atten.] To 
be thus is nothing. 
But to be safely thus: — Our fears in Banquo 
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature 
Reigns that which would be feared : 'tis much he 

dares ; 
And to that dauntless temper of his mind. 
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour 
To act in safety. There is none but he 
Whose being I do fear, and under him 
My genius is rebuk'd, as, it is said, 
Mark Antony's was by C»sar. He chid the sisters, 
When first they put the name of King upon me. 
And bade them speak to him ; then, prophet-like, 
They hail'd him father to a line of kings. 
Upon my head they plac'd a fruitless crown. 
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, 





Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand, 

No son of mine succeeding. Ift be so, 

For Banquo's issue have 1 fil'd my mind, 

For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd ; 

Put rancours in the vessel of my peace 

Only for them ; and mine eternal jewel 

Given to the common enemy of man. 

To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings ! 

Rather than so, come, fate, into the list, 

And champion me to the utterance ! — Who's there ? 

Re-enter Attendant, ivith two Murderers. 

Now, go to the door, and stay there till we call. 

\_E.rit Attendant. 
Was it not yesterday we spoke together? 

1 Mur. It was, so please your highness. 

Macb. Well then, now 

Have you considered of my speeches ? Know, 
That it was he, in the times past, which held you 
So under fortune ; which, yovi thought, had been 
Our innocent self. This I made good to you 
In our last conference ; pass'd in probation with you, 
How you vv^ere borne in hand ; how crossed ; the 

instruments ; 
Who wrought with them ; and all things else, that 

To half a soul, and to a notion craz'd, 
Say, " Thus did Banquo." 

1 Mur. You made it known to us. 

Macb. I did so ; and went further, which is now 
Our point of second meeting. Do you find 
Your patience so predominant in your nature, 
That you can let this go ? Are you so gospell'd 
To pray for this good man, and for his issue. 
Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave. 
And beggar'd yours for ever ? 

1 Mur. We are men, my liege. 
Macb. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men. 

As hounds, and grayhounds, mongrels, spaniels, 

Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are cleped 
All by the name of dogs : the valued file 
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle. 
The house-keeper, the hunter, every one 
According to the gift which bounteous nature 
Hath in him clos'd, whereby he does receive 
Particular addition, from the bill 
That writes them all alike ; and so of men. 
Now, if you have a station in the file 
Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say it, 
And I will put that business in yol^r bosoms. 
Whose execution takes your enemy off. 
Grapples you to the heart and love of us, 
Who wear our health but sickly in his life, 
Which in his death were perfect. 

2 Mur. I am one, my liege, 
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world 
Have so incens'd, that I am reckless what 

I do to spite the world. 

1 Mur. And I another, 

So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune. 
That I would set my life on any chance, 
To mend it, or be rid on't. 

Macb. Both of you 

Know Banquo was your enemy. 

Though our lives — 

2 Mur. 

True, my lord. 

Macb. So is he mine ; and in such bloody dis- 
That every minute of his being thrusts 
Against my ncar'st of life : and though I could 
With bare-fac'd power sweep him from my sight, 


And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not. 
For certain friends that are botli his and mine. 
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall 
Whom I myself struck down : and thence it is, 
That I to your assistance do make love. 
Masking the business from the common eye 
For sundry weighty reasons. 

2 Mur. We shall, my lord, 

Perform what you command us. 

1 Mur. ~" 
Macb. Your spirits shine through you. Within 

this hour, at most, 
I will advise you where to plant yourselves. 
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time, 
The moment on't ; for't must be done to-night, 
And something from the palace : always thought, 
That I require a clearness : and with him. 
To leave no rubs, nor botches, in the work,) 
Fleance his son, that keeps him company, 
Whose absence is no less material to me 
Than is his father's, must embrace the fate 
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart : 
I'll come to you anon. 

2 Mur. We are resolv'd, my lord. [E.rcunt M. 
Macb. I'll call upon you straight : abide within. 

It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul's flight, 

If it find heaven, must find it out to-night. \^Erit. 

Scene II. — The Same. Another Room. 
Enter Lady Macbeth and a Servant. 

Lady M. Is Banquo gone from court? 

Serv. Ay, madam, but returns again to-night. 

Lady M. Say to the king, I would attend his 
For a few words. 

Serv. Madam, I will. \^Exit. 

Lady M. Nought's had, all's spent, 

Where our desire is got without content : 
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy, 
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. 

Enter Macbeth. 

How now, my lord ! why do you keep alone. 
Of sorriest fancies your companions making, 
Using those thoughts, which should indeed have 

With them they think on ? Things without all 

Should be without regard : what's done, is done. 

Macb. We have scotch'd the snake, not killed it : 
She'll close, and be herself, whilst our poor malice 
Remains in danger of her former tooth. 
But let the frame of things disjoint. 
Both the worlds sutler. 
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep 
in the affliction of these terrible dreams, 
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead. 
Whom we to gain our peace have sent to peace. 
Than on the torture of the mind to lie 
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave ; 
After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well ; 
Treason has done his worst : nor steel, nor poison. 
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing 
Can touch him further ! 

Lady M. Come on : 

Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks ; 
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night. 

Macb. So shall I, love ; and so, I pray, be you. 
Let your remembrance ajiply to Banquo : 
Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue : 



sce:se III. IV. 

Unsafe the while, that we must lave our honours 
In these flattering streams, and make our faces 
Vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are. 

Lady M. You must leave this. 

Much. O ! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife, 
Thou know'st that Banquo and his Fleance live! 

Lady M. But in them nature's copy's not eterne. 

Mach. There's comfort yet ; they are assailable : 
Then, be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown 
His cloister'd flight ; ere to black Hecate's summons 
The shard-borne beetle, with his drowsy hums, 
Hath rung night's yawning peal, 
There shall be done a deed of dreadful note. 

Lady M. What's to be done ? 

Mach. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest 

Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night, 
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day, 
And with thy bloody and invisible hand, 
Cancel, and tear to pieces, that great bond 
Which keeps me pale ! — Light thickens ; and the 

Makes wing to the rooky wood : 
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, 
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse. 
Thou mai-vell'st at my words ; but hold thee still : 
Things, bad begun, make strong themselves by ill. 
So, pr'ythee, go with me. \_Exeunt. 

liiglit thickens : and the crow makes win^ to the rooky wood. 

Scene HI. — The Same. A Park, uitk a road 
leading to the Palace. 

Enter Three Murderers. 

1 3Iur. But who did bid thee join with us? 

3 Mur. ' Macbeth. 

2 Mur. He needs not our mistrust ; since he de- 

Our offices, and what we have to do, 
To the direction just. 

1 Mur. Then stand with us. 

The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day : 
Now spurs the lated traveller apace, 
To gain the timely inn ; and near approaches 
The subject of our watch. 

3 Mur. Hark ! I hear horses. 
Ban. [JVithin.] Give us a light there, ho! 

2 Mur. Th'en, 'tis he : the rest 
That are within the note of expectation 
Already are i' the court. 

1 Mur. His horses go about. 

3 Mur. Almost a mile ; but he does usually, 
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate 
Make it their walk. 

Enter Banquo and Fleance, with a torch. 

2 Mur. 

3 Mur. 

1 Mur. Stand to't. 

A light, a light ! 

'Tis he. 

Ban. It will be rain to-night. 

1 Mur. Let it come down. 

[Assaults Banquo. 
Ban. O, treachery ! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, 
Thou may'st revenge. — O slave ! 

[Dies. Fleance escapes. 
3 3Iur. Who did strike out the light ? 

1 Mur. Was't not the way? 
3 Mur. There's but one down : the son is fled. 

2 Mur. We have lost best half of our aft'air. 

1 Mur. Well, let's away, and say how much is 
done. [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — A Room of State in the Palace. 

A Banquet jircjparcd. £«^fr Macbeth, Lady Mac- 
beth, RossE, Lenox, Lords, and Attendants. 

Mach. You know your own degrees ; sit down : 
at first 
And last, the hearty welcome. 

Lords. Thanks to your majesty. 

Mach. Ourself will mingle with society. 
And play the humble host. 
Our hostess keeps her state ; but in best time 
We will require her welcome. 

Lady M. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our 
friends ; 
For mv heart speaks thev are wolcome. 


ACT Ml. 



Enter first Murderer, to the door. 

Macb. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' 
Both sides are even: here I'll sit i' the midst. 
Be large in mirth ; anon, we'll drink a measure 
The table round. — There's blood upon thy lace. 

Mur. 'Tis Banquo's then. 

Macb- 'Tis better thee without, than he within. 
Is he despatch'd .' 

Mur. My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for 

Macb. Thou art the best o' the cut-throats ; 
Yet he is good, that did tlie like for Fleance : 
If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil. 

Mur. Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scap'd. 

Macb. Then comes my fit again : I had else 
been perfect ; 
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock, 
As broad, and general as the casing air ; 
But now, I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, botmd in 
To saucy doubts and fears. — But Banquo's safe ? 

Mur. Ay, my good lord, safe in a ditch he bides. 
With twenty trench'd gashes on his head ; 
The least a death to nature. 

Macb. Thanks for tliat.— 

There the grown serpent lies : tlie worm, that's fled, 
Hath natui'e that in time will venom breed, 
No teeth for the present.— Get thee gone : to-morrow 
We'll hear ourselves again. [Exit Murderer. 

Lady M. My royal lord, 

You do not give the cheer : the feast is sold, 
That is not often vouch'd while 'tis a making ; 
'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at 

home ; 
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony, 
Meeting were bare without it. 

Macb. Sweet remembrancer ! — 

Now, good digestion wait on ajipetite, 
And health on both ! 

Len. May it please your highness, sit ? 

[T/ie Ghost o/ Ban QUO enters, and sits in 
Macbeth's place. 

Macb. Here had we now our country's honour 
Were the grac'd person of our Banquo present; 
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness, 
Than pity for mischance ! 

Rosse. His absence, sir. 

Lays blame upon his promise. Please it your high- 
To grace us with vour royal company ? 

Macb. The table's full.' 

Len. Here is a place reserv'd, sir. 

Macb. Where ? 

Len. Here, my good lord. What is't that moves 
your highness ? 

Macb. Which of you have done this? 

Lords. What, my good lord ? 

Macb. Thou canst not say, I did it : never shake 
Thy gory locks at me. 

Rosse. Gentlemen, rise; his highness is not well. 

Lady M. Sit, wortliy friends. 3Iy lord is often 
And hath been from his youth : pray you, keep seat. 
The fit is momentary ; ui)on a thought 
He will asjnin be well. If nuuh you note him, 
Y''ou sliall offend him, and extend his passion ; 
Feed, and regard liim not. — Are you a man ? 

Macb. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that 
Which might appal the devil. 

Lady 31. O, proi)er stuff! 


This is the very painting of yoiu* fear : 
This is the air-drawn dagger, which, you said, 
Led you to Dtmcan. O ! these flaws, and starts, 
(Impostors to true fear) would well become 
A woman's story at a winter's fire, 
Authoriz'd by her grandam. Shame itself! 
Why do you make such faces ? When all's done, 
Y'^ou look but on a stool. 

Macb. Pr'ythee, see there! behold! look! lo ! 
how say you ? — 
Why, what care I ? If thou canst nod, speak too. — 
If charnel-houses, and our graves, must send 
Those that we bury back, our monuments 
Shall be the maws of kites. [Ghost disajipiars. 

Lady M. What! quite unmann'd in folly ? 

Macb. If I stand here, I saw him. 

Lady M. Fie ! for shame ! 

Macb. Blood hath been shed ere now i' th' oldcu 
Ere human statute purg'd the gentle weal; 
Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd 
Too terrible for the ear : the times liave been. 
That when the brains were out the man would die. 
And there an end; but now, they rise again. 
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns. 
And push us from our stools. This is more strange 
Than such a murder is. 

Lady M. My worthy lord. 

Your noble friends do lack you. 

Macb. I do forget. — 

Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends ; 
I have a strange infirmity, which is notliing 
To those that know me. Come, love and health 

to all ; 
Then, I'll sit down. — Give me some wine : fill full. — 

Re-enter Ghost. 

I drink to the general joy of the whole table. 
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss; 
Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst. 
And all to all. 

Lords. Our duties, and the pledge. 

Macb. Avaunt! and quit my sight. Let the 
earth hide thee ! 
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold ; 
Thou hast no si:)ecnIation in those eyes, 
AVhich thou dost glare with. 

Lady M. Think of this, good peers. 

But as a thing of custom : 'tis no other; 
Only it spoils the pleasiue of the time. 

Macb. Wliat man dare, I dare : 
Approach tliou like the rugged Russian bear. 
The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger; 
Take any shape but that, and niy firm neiTes 
Shall never tremble : or, be alive again, 
And dare me to the desert with thy sword; 
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me 
The baby of a girl. Hence, hoirible shadow f 

[ Ghost disappears. 
Unreal mockery, hence ! — Why, so ; — being gone, 
I am a man again. — Pray you, sit still. 

Lady M. You liave displac'd the mirth, broke 
the good meeting. 
With most admir'd disorder. 

Macb. Can such things be. 

And overcome us like a summer's cloud. 
Without our special wonder ? You make me 

Even to the disposition that I owe, 
When now I think you can behold such sights. 
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, 




When mine are blanch'd with fear. 

Jiosse. What sights, my lord ? 

Lady M. I pray you, speak not : he grows worse 
and worse ; 
Question enrages him. At once, good night : 
Stand not upon the order of your going, 
But go at once. 

Ltn. Good night ; and better heaUh 

Attend his majesty. 

Lady M. A i^ind good night to all ! 

\_Exeunt Lords and Attendants. 

Mach. It will have blood, they say; blood will 

have blood : 

Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak ; 

Augurs, and understood relations, have 

By magot-pies, and choughs, and rooks, brought 

The secret'st man of blood. — What is the night ? 
Lady M. Almost at odds with morning, which 

is which. 
Mach. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies 
his person, 

At our great bidding? 

Lady M. Did you send to him, sir ? 

Much. I hear it by the way; but 1 will send. 
There's not a one of them, but in his house 
I keep a servant fee'd. 1 will to-morrow, 
(And betimes I will) to the weird sisters : 
More shall they speak ; for now I am bent to 

By the worst means, the worst. For mine own 

All causes shall give way : I am in blood 
Stept in so far, that, should I wade no more. 
Returning were as tedious as go o'er. 
Strange things I have in head, that will to hand. 
Which must be acted, ere they may be scann'd. 
Lady 3L You lack the season of all natures, 

Mad. Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and 
Is the initiate fear, that wants hard use : 
We are yet but young in deed. 




Scene N .— The Heath. 

Thunder. Enter the three Witches, meeting 

1 Witch. Why, how now, Hecate ! you look au- 

Hcc. Have I not reason, beldam? as you are, 
Saucy, and overbold? How did you dare 
To trade and traffic with Macbeth, 
In riddles, and affairs of death; 
And I, the mistress of your charms. 
The close contriver of all harms, 
AVas never call'd to bear my part. 
Or shoAV the glory of our art ? 
And, which is worse, all you have done 
Hath been but for a wayward son, 
Spiteful, and wrathful ; who, as others do, 
Loves for his own ends, not for yoit. 
But make amends now: get you gone, 
And at the pit of Acheron 
Meet me i' the morning : thither he 

Will come to know his destiny. 

Your vessels, and your spells, provide, 

Your charms, and every thing beside. 

I am for the air; this night I'll spend 

Unto a dismal and a fatal end : 

Great business must be wrought ere noon. 

Upon the corner of the moon 

There hangs a vaporous drop profound ; 

I'll catch it ere it come to ground : 

And that, distill'd by magic sleights, 

Shall raise such artificial sprites. 

As by the strength of their illusion. 

Shall draw him on to his confusion. 

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear 

His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear; 

And, you all know, security 

Is mortals' chiefest enemy. 

Song. [Within.] Come aicay, Come aivay, S^'c. 
Hark ! I am call'd : my little spirit, see, 
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me. [Exit. 

1 Witch. Come, let's make haste : she'll soon be 
back again. [Exeunt. 





Scene VI. — Fores. A Room in the Palace. 
Enter Lenox and another Lord. 

Len. My former speeches have but hit your 
AVhich ciui interpret further : only, I say. 
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious 

Was pitied of Macbeth : — marry, he was dead ; 
And the right-valiant Banquo walk'd too late; 
Whom, you may say, if't please you, Fleance kill'd, 
For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late. 
Who cannot want the thought, how monstrous 
Tt was for Malcolm, and for Donalbain, 
To kill their gracious father? damned fact! 
How it did grieve Macbeth ! did he not straight, 
Tn pious rage the two delinquents tear. 

That were the slaves of drink, and thralls of sleep? 

Was not that nobly done ? Ay, and wisely, too ; 

For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive, 

To hear the men deny't. So that, I say. 

He has borne all things well; and I do think, 

That had he Duncan's sons under his key, 

(As, an't please heaven, he shall not,) they should 

What 'twere to kill a father ; so should Fleance. 
But, peace ! — for from broad words, and 'cause he 

His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear, 
Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell 
Where he bestows himself? 

Lord. The son of Duncan, 

From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth, 
Lives m the English court; and is receiv'd 
Of the most pious Edward with such grace. 
That the malevolence of fortune nothing 
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff 
Is gone, to pray the holy king upon his aid 
To wake Northumberland, and warlike Siward; 
That by the help of these, (with Him above 
To ratify the work,) we may again 
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights. 
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives, 
Do faithful homage, and receive free honours. 
All which we pine for now. And this report 
Hath so exasperate the king, that he 
Prepares for some attempt of war. 

Le?i. Sent he to Macduff? 

Lord. He did : and with an absolute " Sir, not I :" 
The cloudy messenger turns me his back. 
And hums, as who should say, " You'll rue the 

That clogs me with this answer." 

Len. And thai well might 

Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance 
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel 
Fly to the court of England, and unfold 
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing 
IMay soon return to this our suffering country 
Under a hand accurs'd ! 

Lord. I'll send my prayers with him ! 


'•'■-.////;/.;,■.' '■'■■■ -.1,111, 


(Fores. — Eminence . 'it the Western Extremity.) 


ScE.NK I. — ^4 darli Cave. In the middle, 
a Cauldron. 

Thunder. Enter the three Witches. 

1 Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd. 

2 Witch. Thrice ; and once the hedge-pig whin d. 

3 Witcli. Harper cries, — 'Tis time, 'tis time. 

1 Witch. Round about the cauldron go ; 

]n the poison'd entrails throw; — 
Toad, that under the cold stone, 
Days and nights has thirty-one 
Swelter'd venom sleeping got, 
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot. 
All. Double, double toil and trouble ; 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. 

2 Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake. 

In the cauldron boil and bake : 
Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog. 
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting. 
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 
All. Double, double toil and trouble ; 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. 

3 Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf ; 

Witches' mummy ; maw, and gulf 
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark; 
Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark ; 
Liver of blaspheming Jew; 
Gall of goat, and slips of yew, 
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse ; 
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips-, 
Finger of birth-strangled babe, 
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab. 
Make the gruel thick and slab : 
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron. 
For the ingredients of our cauldron. 
All. Double, double toil and trouble ; 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. 
2 Witch. Cool it with a baboon's blood ; 

Then the charm is firm and good. 







Enter Hecate, and three other Witches. 
Hcc. O, well done ! I commend your pains, 
And every one shall share i' the gains. 

And now about the cauldron sing, 
Like elves and fairies in a ring, 
Enchanting all that you put in. 
[Music and a song. " Black spirits,'' 
2 Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs, 
Something wicked this way comes. — [Knocking. 
Open, locks, whoever knocks. 

Enter Macbeth. 

Macl). How now, you secret, black, and midnight 
What is't you do ? 

All. A deed without a name. 

Much. I conjure you, by that which you profess, 
(Howe'er you come to know it) answer me : 
Though you untie the winds, and let them fight 
Against the churches ; though the yesty waves 
Confound and swallow navigation up ; 
Though bladed corn be lodged, and trees blown 

down ; 
Though castles topple on their warders' heads ; 
Though palaces, and pyramids, do slope 
Their heads to their foundations ; though the 

Of nature's germins tumble all together, 
Even till destruction sicken, answer me 
To what I ask you. 

1 Witch. Speak. 

2 Witch. Demand. 

3 Witch. We'll answer. 

1 Witch. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our 
Or from our masters' ? 

Macb. Call them : let me see them. 

1 Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten 
Her nine farrow ; grease, that's sweaten 

From the murderer's gibbet, throw 
Into the flame. 

All. Come high, or low ; 

Thyself, and office, deftly show. 

Thunder. 1st Apparition, an armed Head. 

Mach. Tell me, thou unknown power, — 

2 Witch. He knows thy thought : 
Hear his speech, but say thou nought. 

\ App. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware 
Beware the thane of Fife. — Dismiss me : — enough. 

Mach. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution 
thanks : 
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright. — But one word 
more : — 
1 Witch. He will not be commanded. Here's 
More potent than the first. 

Thunder. 2d Apparition, a blood rj child. 

App. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!— 

Macb. Had I three ears, I'd hear thee. 
App. Be bloody, bold, and resolute: laugh to 
The power of man, for none of woman born 
Shall harm IMacl)eth. [Descends. 

Macb. Then live, Macduff; what need I fear of 
But yet I'll make assurance double sure, 


And take a bond of fate : thou shalt not live ; 
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, 
And sleep in spite of thunder. — What is this, 

Thunder. 3d Apparition, a Child crowned, uith a 
tree iii his hand. 

That rises like the issue of a king ; 

And wears upon his baby brow the round 

And top of sovereignty ? 

All. Listen, but speak not to't. 

App. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care 
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are : 
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until 
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill 
Shall come against him. [Descends. 

Mach. That will never be : 

AVho can impress the forest ; bid the tree 
Unfix his earth-bound root? sweet bodements ! 

Rebellious head, rise never, till the wood 
Of Birnam rise ; and our high-plac'd Macbeth 
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath 
To time, and mortal custom. — Yet my heart 
Throbs to know one thing : tell me, if your art 
Can tell so much) shall Banquo's issue ever 
Reign in this kingdom ? 

All. Seek to know no more. 

Macb. I will be satisfied : deny me this. 
And an eternal curse fall on you ! Let me know. — 
Why sinks that cauldron ? and what noise is this ? 

1 Witch. Show! 2 Witch. Show! 3 Witch. 
Show ! 

All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; 
Come like shadows, so depart. 

A show of eight Kings, and Banquo last. 

Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo ; 
down ! 
Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls : — and thy hair. 
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the fust : — 
A third is like the former :— Filthy hags! 
Why do yqu show me this ? — A fourth ? — Start, 

eyes ! 
What! will the line stretch out to the crack of 

doom ? 
Another yet ?— A seventh ?— I'll see no more :— 
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass, 
Which shows "me many more; and some J see, 
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry. 
Honible sight !— Now, I see, 'tis tiiie ; 
For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me, 
And points at them for his.— What ! is this so ? 

1 Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so : but why 
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly ? 
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites. 
And show the best of our delights. 
I'll chann the air to give a sound, 
While you perform your antic round ; 
That tliis great king may kindly say. 
Our duties did his welcome pay. 

[Ml/sic. The Witchcs'dancc, and vanish. 
Macb. Where are they ? Gone ?— Let this per- 
nicious hour 
Stand aye accurs'd in the calendar ! — 
Come in ! without there .' 

Enter Lenox. 
Lrn. What's your grace's will ? 

Macb. Saw you the weird sisters ? 
Len. No, my lord. 




Mad. Came they not by you ? 

Len. No, indeed, my lord. 

Mad. Infected be the air whereon they ride. 
And damn'd all those that trust them ! — I did hear 
The galloping of horse : who was't came by? 

Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you 
Macduff is fled to England. 

Mad. Fled to England ? 

Len. Ay, my good lord. 

Mad. Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits: 
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook, 

Unless the deed go with it. From this moment, 
The very firstlings of my heart shall be 
The firstlings of my hand. And even now. 
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought 

and done : 
The castle of Macduff" I will surprise ; 
Seize upon Fife ; give to the edge o' the sword 
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls 
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool ; 
This deed I'll do, before this purpose cool : 
But no more sights. — Where are these gentlemen? 
Come ; bring me where they are. [^Exeunt. 


[The Harmuir, or Heath.] 

Scene II. — Fife. A Room in Macduff's Castle. 

Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Rosse. 

L. Macd. What had he done to make him fly 
the land? 

Rosse. You must have patience, madam. 

L. Macd. He had none : 

His flight was madness. When our actions do not. 
Our fears do make us traitors. 

Rosse. You know not, 

Whether it was his wisdom or his fear. 

L. Macd. Wisdom ! to leave his wife, to leave 
his babes. 
His mansion, and his titles, in a place 
From whence himself does fly ? He loves us not : 
He wants the natural touch ; for the poor wren. 
The most diminutive of birds, will fight. 
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl. 
All is the fear, and nothing is the love : 
As little is the wisdom, where the flight 
So runs against all reason. 

Rosse. My dearest coz, 

I pray you, school yourself: but, for your husband. 
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows 
The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much fur- 
ther : 
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors. 
And do not know ourselves ; when we hold rumour 
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear, 
But float upon a wild and violent sea. 
Each way and move. — I take my leave of you: 
Shall not be long but I'll be here again. 
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward 

To what they were before. — My pretty cousin, 
Blessing upon you ! 

L. Macd. Father'd he is, and yet he's father- 

Rosse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer. 
It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort. 
I take my leave at once. [Exit Rosse. 

L. Macd. Sirrah, your father's dead : 

And what will you do now ? How will you live ? 

Son. As birds do, mother. 

L. Macd. What, with worms and flies ? 

Son. With what I get, I mean ; and so do they. 

L. Macd. Poor bird I thou'dst never fear the 
net, nor lime. 
The pit-fall, nor the gin. 

Son. Why should I, mother ? Poor birds they 
are not set for. 
My father is not dead, for all your saying- 

L. Macd. Yes, he is dead : how wilt thou do for 
a father ? 

Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband ? 

L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any 

Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again. 

L. Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit ; 
And yet, i' faith, with wit enough for thee. 

Son. Was my father a traitor, mother ? 

L. Macd. Ay, that he was. 

Son. What is a traitor? 

L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies. 

Son. And be all traitors that do so ? 

L. Macd. Everv one that does so is a traitor, 
and must be hanged. 




SCENE 111. 

Son. And must they all be hanged, that swear 
and lie ? 

L. Macd. Every one. 

Son. Who must hang them ? 

L. Macd. Why, the honest men. 

Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools; for 
there are liars and swearers enow to beat the hon- 
est men, and hang up them. 

L. Macd. Now God help thee, poor monkey ! 
But how wilt thou do for a father ? 

Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him: if 
you would not, it were a good sign that I should 
quickly have a new father. 

L. Macd. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st! 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. Bless you, fair dame. I am not to you 

Though in your state of honour I am perfect. 
I doubt, some danger does approach you nearly : 
If you will take a homely man's advice. 
Be not found here; hence wiih your little ones. 
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage, 
To do worse to you were fell cruelty. 
Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve 

you I 
I dare abide no longer. [Exit Messenger. 

L. Macd. Wliither should I fly? 

I have done no harm ; but I remember now 
I am in this earthly world, where, to do harm 
Is often laudable ; to do good sometime 
Accounted dangerous folly : why then, alas ! 
Do I put up that womanly defence. 
To say I have done no harm ? — What are these 

faces ? 

Enter Murderers. 

Mur. Where is your husband ? 

L. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified, 
Where such as thou may'st find him. 

Mur. He's a traitor. 

Son. Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain. 

Mur. What, you egg, [Stabbing him. 

Young fry of treachery ? 

Son. He has killed me, mother: 

Run away, I pray you. [Dies. 

[Exit Lady Macduff, crying murder, and 
pursued by the Murderers. 

ScEXE III. — England. A Room in ihe King's 

Enter Malcolm and Macduff. 

Mai. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and 
Weep our sad bosoms empty. 

Macd. Let us rather 

Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men 
Bestride ourdown-fall'n birthdom. Each nevvmorn. 
New widows howl, new orphans cry ; new sorrows 
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds 
As if it felt with Scotland, and yell'd out 
Like syllable of dolour. 

Mai. What I believe, I'll wail ; 

What know, believe; and what I can redress, 
As I shall find the time to friend, I will : 
What you have spoke, it may be so, perchance. 
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues. 
Was once thought honest: you have lov'd him 


He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young; but 

You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom 
To oft'er up a weak, poor, innocent lamb 
To appease an angry god 

Macd. I am not treacherous. 

Mai. But Macbeth is. 

A good and virtuous nature may recoil, 
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your 

pardon : 
That which you are, my thoughts cannot trans- 
pose ; 
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell : 
Though all things foul would wear the brows of 

Yet grace must still look so. 

Macd. I have lost my hopes. 

Mai. Perchance, even there, where I did find 
my doubts. 
Why in that rawness left you wife and child, 
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love. 
Without leave-taking ? — I pray you. 
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours. 
But mine own safeties: you may be rightly just. 
Whatever I shall think. 

Macd. Bleed, bleed, poor country! 

Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure, 
For goodness dares not check thee I wear thou thy 

wrongs ; 
The title is affeer'd ! — Fare thee well, lord : 
I would not be the villain that thou think'st. 
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp. 
And the rich East to boot. 

Mai. Be not offended: 

I speak not as in absolute fear of you. 
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke; 
It weeps, it bleeds ; and each new day a gash 
Is added to her wounds: I think, withal. 
There would be hands uplifted in my right ; 
And here, from gracious England, have I offer 
Of goodly thousands ; but, for all this. 
When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head. 
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country 
Shall have more vices than it had before, 
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever. 
By him that shall succeed. 

Macd. What should he be? 

Mai. It is myself I mean ; in whom I know 
All the particulars of vice so grafted. 
That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth 
Will seem as pure as snow ; and the poor state 
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd 
W^ith my confineless harms. 

Macd. Not in the legions 

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd 
In evils to top Macbeth. 

Mai. I grant him bloody, 

Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful. 
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin 
That has a name ; but there's no bottom, none, 
In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters, 
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up 
The cistern of my lust; and my desire 
All conlinent impediments would o'er-bear, 
That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth, 
Than such a one to reign. 

Macd. Boundless intemperance 

In nature is a tyranny : it hath been 
Th' untimely emptying of the happy throne. 
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet 
To take upon you what is yours : you may 




Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty, 
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink. 
We have willing dames enough; there cannot be 
That vulture in you to devour so many 
As will to greatness dedicate themselves, 
Finding it so inclin'd. 

Mai. With this, there grows 

In my most ill-compos'd affection such 
A stanchless avarice, that, were I king, 
I should cut ott" the nobles for their lands ; 
Desire his jewels, and this other's house : 
And my more-having would be as a sauce 
To make me hunger more ; that I should forge 
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal. 
Destroying them for wealth. 

■ Macd. This avarice 

Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root 
Than summer-seeming lust; and it hath been 
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear; 
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will. 
Of your mere own. All these are portable 
With other graces weigh'd. 

Mai. But I have none. The king-becoming 
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness, 
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, 
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, 
I have no relish of them; but abound 
In the division of each several crime, 
Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should 
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, 
Uproar the universal peace, confound 
All unity on earth. 

Macd. O Scotland, Scotland I 

Mai. If such a one be fit to govern, speak : 
I am as I have spoken. 

Macd. Fit to govern ! 

No, not to live. — O, nation miserable I 
With an untitled tyrant, bloody-scepter'd, 
AVhen shalt thou see thy wholesome days again. 
Since that the truest issue of thy throne 
By his own interdiction stands accurs'd, 
And does blaspheme his breed ? — Thy royal father. 
Was a most sainted king : the queen, that bore thee, 
Oft'ner upon her knees than on her feet, 
Died every day she lived. Fare thee well. 
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself 
Have banish'd me from Scotland. — O, my breast ! 
Thy hope ends here. 

Mai. Macduft', this noble passion, 

Child of integrity, hath from my soul 
Wip'd the black scruples, reconcil'd my thoughts 
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth 
By many of these trains hath sought to win me 
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me 
From over-credulous haste; but God above 
Deal between thee and me, for even now 
I put myself to thy direction, and 
Unspeak mine own detraction ; here abjure 
The taints and blames I laid upon myself, 
For strangers to my nature. I am yet 
Unknown to woman : never was forsworn ; 
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own ; 
At no time broke my faith ; would not betray 
The devil to his fellow, and delic;ht 
No less in truth, than life : mv first false speaking 
Was this upon myself. What I am truly 
Is thine, and my poor country's, to command : 
Whither, indeed, before thy here-approach. 
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men. 
Already at a point, was setting fni-th. 

Now, we'll together ; and the chance of goodness 
Be like our warranted quarrel. Why are you 

Macd. Such welcome and unwelcome things at 

'Tis hard to reconcile. 

Enter a Doctor. 

Mai. Well ; more anon. — Comes the king forth, 
I pray you ? 

Doct. Ay, sir : there are a crew of wretched souls. 
That stay his cure : their malady convinces 
The great assay of art ; but at his touch. 
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand, 
They presently amend. 

Mai. I thank you, doctor. 

\^Exit Doctor. 

Macd. What's the disease he means ? 

Mai. 'Tis call'd the evil : 

A most miraculous work in this good king, 
Which often, since my here-remain in England, 
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven. 
Heaven best knows : but strangely-visited people, 
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye. 
The mere despair of surgery, he cures ; 
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks. 
Put on with holy prayers : and 'tis spoken, 
To the succeeding royalty he leaves 
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue, 
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy. 
And sundry blessings hang about his throne, 
That speak him full of grace. 

Enter Rosse. 

Macd. See, who comes here ? 

Mai. My countryman : but yet I know him not. 

Macd. Mv ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither. 

Mai. I know him now. Good God, betimes re- 
The means that make us strangers ! 

Rosse. Sir, amen. 

Macd. Stands Scotland where it did ? 

Rosse. Alas, poor country ! 

Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot 
Be call'd ourmother, butour grave; where nothing. 
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile: 
Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rend the 

Are made, not mark'd ; where violent sorrow seems 
A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell 
Is there scarce ask'd, for whom ; and good men's 

Expire before the flowers in their caps, 
Dying or ere they sicken. 

Macd. O, relation, 

Too nice, and yet too true I 

Mai. What is the newest grief? 

Rosse. That of an hotir's age doth hiss the speaker. 
Each minute teems a new one. 

Macd. How does my wife ? 

Rosse. Why, well. 

Macd. And all my children ? 

Rosse. Well too. 

Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace ? 

Rosse. No ; they were well at peace, when I did 
leave them. 

Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech : how 
goes it ? 

Rosse. When I came hither to transport the 
Which I have heavilv borne, there ran a rumour 





Of many worthy fellows that were out ; 
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather, 
For that I saw the tyrant's power a-foot. 
Now is the time of help. Your eye in Scotland 
Would create soldiers, make our women fight, 
To doff their dire distresses. 

3Ial. Be it their comfort, 

We are coming thither. Gracious England hath 
Lent us good Siward, and ten thousand men: 
An older, and a better soldier, none 
That Christendom gives out. 

Bosse. Would I could answer 

This comfort with the like ! But I have words, 
That would be howl'd out in the desert air. 
Where hearing should not latch them. 

Macd. What concern they 1 

The general cause, or is it a fee-grief. 
Due to some single breast? 

Rosse. No mind that's honest 

But in it shares some woe, though the main part 
Pertains to you alone. 

Macd. If it be mine. 

Keep it not from me : quickly let me have it. 

Rosse. Let not your ecirs despise my tongue for 
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound 
That ever yet they heard. 

Macd. Humph ! I guess at it. 

Rosse. Your castle is surpris'd ; your wife, and 
Savagely slaughter'd : to relate the manner. 
Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer, 
To add the death of you. 

Mai. Merciful heaven ! — 

What, man ! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows : 
Give sorrow words ; the grief, that does not speak. 
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break. 

Macd. My children too ? 

Rosse. Wife, children, servants, all 

That could be found. 

Macd. And I must be from thence ! 

My wife kill'd too ? 

Rosse. V I have said. 

Mai. Be comforted: 

Let's make us medicines of our great i-evenge. 
To cure this deadly grief. 

Macd. He has no children. — All my pretty ones ? 
Did you say, all ?— O, hell-kite !— All ? 
What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam. 
At one fell swoop ? 

Mai. Dispute it like a man. 

Macd. I shall do so ; 

But I must also feel it as a man : 
I cannot but remember such things were. 
That were most precious to me. — Did heaven look 

And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff! 
They were all struck for thee. Naught that I 

Not for their own demerits, but for mine, 
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them 

Mai. Be this the whetstone of your sword : let 
Convert to anger; blimt not the heart, enrage it. 

Macd. O! I could play the woman with mine 
And braggart with my tongue. — But, gentle Heaven, 
Cut short all intermission : front to front. 
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself; 
Within my sword's length set him ; if he 'scape. 
Heaven forgive him too ! 

Mai. This tune goes manly. 

Come, go we to the king : our power is ready ; 
Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth 
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above 
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you 

may ; 
The night is long that never finds the day. 


Scene I. — Dunsiuane. A Room in the Castle. 

Enter a Doctor of Physic, and a waiting Gentle- 


Doct. I have two nights watched with you, but 
can perceive no truth in your report. When was 
it she last waliied ? 

Gent. Since his majesty went into the field, I 
have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night- 
gown ixpon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, 
fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it, and 
again return to bed ; yet all this while in a most 
fast sleep. 

Doct. A great perturbation in nature, to receive 
at once the benefit of sleep, and do the eflFects of 
watching. In this slumbery agitation, besides her 
walking and other actual performances, what at any 
time have you heard her say ? 

Gent. That, sir, which I will not repeat after 

Doct. You may, to me ; and 'tis most meet you 

Gent. Neither to you, nor any one, having no 
witness to confirm my speech. 

Enter Lady Macbeth, with a taper. 

Lo you I here she comes. This is her very guise, 
and upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her : stand 

Doct. How came she by that light ? 

Gent. Why, it stood by her: she has light by 
her continually; 'tis her command. 

Doct. You see, her eyes are open. 

Gent. Ay, but their sense is shut. 

Doct. What is it she does now? Look, how she 
rubs her hands. 

Gent. It is an accustomed action with her to 
seem thus washing her hands : I have known her 
continue in this a quarter of an hour. 

Lady M. Yet here's a spot. 

Doct. Hark I she speaks. I will set down what 
comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the 
more strongly. 

Lady M. Out, damned spot ! out, I say ! — 
One; two: why, then 'tis time to do't. — Hell is 
murky I — Fie, my lord, fie ! a soldier, and afeard ? 
What need we fear who knows it, when none can 
call our power to account? — Yet who would have 
thought the old man to have had so much blood 
in him ? 

Doct. Do you mark that ? 

Lady M. The thane of Fife had a wife : where 
is she now? — What, will these hands ne'er be 
clean ? — No more o' that, my lord ; no more o' 
that : you mar all with this starting. 

Doct. Go to, go to : you have known what you 
should not. 

Gent. She has spoke what she should not, I 
am sure of that : Heaven knows what she has 

Lady M. Here's the smell of the blood still : all 
the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little 
hand. Oh! oh! oh! 

Doct. What a sigh is there ! The heart is sorely 

Gent. I would not have such a heart in my bo- 
som, for the dignity of the whole body. 

Doct. Well, well, well,— 

Gent. Pray God, it be, sir. 

Doct. This disease is beyond my practice : yet I 
have known those whicli have walked in their sleep, 
who have died holily in their beds. 


Lady M. Wash your hands, put on your night- 
gown ; look not so pale. — I tell you yet again, 
Banquo's buried : he cannot come out on's grave. 

Doct. Even so ? 

Lady M. To bed, to bed : there's knocking at 
the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your 
hand. What's done, cannot be undone : to bed, to 
bed, to bed. {Exit Ladv Macbeth. 

Doct. Will she go now to bed ? 

Gent. Directly. 

Doct. Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural 


Do breed imnatural troubles : infected minds 
To their deaf pillows will discharge their se- 
More needs she the divine, than the physi- 
cian. — 
God, God, forgive us all I Look after her; 
Remove from her the means of all annoyance. 
And still keep eyes upon her. — So, good night : 
My mind she has mated, and amaz'd my sight. 
I think, but dare not speak. 

Gent. Good night, good doctor. 



Scene II. — The Country near Dunsinane. 

Enter, with Drum, and Colours, Menteth, Cath- 
NESs, Angus, Lenox, and Soldiers. 

Ment. The English power is near, led on by 
His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff. 
Revenges burn in them; for their dear causes 
Would, to the bleeding and the grim alarm, 
Excite the mortified man. 

Ang. Near Birnam wood 

Shall we well meet them : that way are they coming. 

Cath. Who knows, if Donalbain be with his 
brother ? 

Len. For certain, sir, he is not. I have a file 
Of all the gentry : there is Siward's son, 
And many unrough youths, that even now 
Protest their first of manhood. 

Ment. What does the tyrant ? 

Cath. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies. 
Some say, he's mad : others, that lesser hate him. 
Do call it valiant fury ; but, for certain, 
He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause 
Within the belt of rule. 

Ang. Now does he feel 

His secret murders sticking on his hands ; 
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach : 
Those he commands move only in command. 
Nothing in love : now does he feel his title 
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe 
Upon a dwarfish thief. 

Ment. Who, then, shall blame 

His pester'd senses to recoil and start, 
When all that is within him does condemn 
Itself, for being there ? 

Cath. Well ; march we on. 

To give obedience where 'tis truly ow'd : 
Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal ; 
And with him pour we, in our country's purge. 
Each drop of us. 

Len. Or so much as it needs 

To dew the sovereign flower, and drown the weeds. 
Make we our march towards Birnam. 

[Exeunt, marching. 

Scene III. — Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle. 

Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants, 

Macb. Bring me no more reports; let them fly 

Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane, 
I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm ? 
Was he not born of woman ? The spirits that know 
All mortal consequences have pronounc'd me 

thus : — 
"Fear not, Macbeth ; no man that's born of woman 
Shall e'er have power upon thee." — Then fly, false 

And mingle with the English epicures : 
The mind I sway by, and the heart I bear. 
Shall never sag with doubt, nor shake with fear. 

Enter a Servant. 

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-fac'd loon I 
Where got'st thou that goose look ? 

Serv. There is ten thousand — 

Macb. Geese, villain ? 

Serv. Soldiers, sir. 

Macb. Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, 
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch ? 
Death of thy soul! those linen cheeks of thine 
Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face ? 

Serv. The English force, so please you. 

Macb. Take thy face hence. — Seyton ! — I am 
sick at heart, 
When I behold — Seyton, I say ! — This push 
Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now. 
I have liv'd long enough : my way of life 
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf; 
And that which should accompany old age, 
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 
I must not look to have ; but, in their stead. 
Curses, not loud, but deep, mouth-honour, breath. 
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. 
Seyton ! — 

Enter Seyton. 

Sey. What is your gracious pleasure ? 
Macb. AVhat news more ? 





Sey. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was re- 

Macb. I'll fight, till from my bones my flesh be 
Give me my armour. 

Sey. 'Tis not needed yet. 

Much. I'll put it on. 
Send out more horses, skirr the country round ; 
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine ar- 
mour. — 
How does your patient, doctor ? 

Doct. Not so sick, my lord, 

As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies, 
That keep her from her rest. 

Macb. Cure her of that : 

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd, 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow. 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain. 
And with some sweet oblivious antidote 
Cleanse the stuflfd bosom of that perilous stuff, 
Which weighs upon the heart? 

Doct. Therein the patient 

Must minister to himself. 

Macb. Throw physic to the dogs ; I'll none of 
it. — 
Come, put mine armour on ; give me my staff. — 
Seyton, send out. — Doctor, the thanes fly from me. — 
Come, sir, despatch. — If thou couldst, doctor, cast 
The water of my land, find her disease, 
And purge it to a sound and pristine health, 
I would applaud thee to the very echo. 
That should applaud again. — Pull't ofl', I say. — 
What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug. 
Would scour these English hence? — Hear'st thou 
of them ? 

Doct. Ay, my good lord : your royal preparation 
Makes us hear something. 

Macb. Bring it after me. — 

I will not be afraid of death and bane. 
Till Birnara forest come to Dunsinane. [E.vit. 

Doct. Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, 
Profit again should hardly draw me here. [Exit, 

(The Dunsinane Range.) 

Scene IV. — Country near Dunsinane: a Wood in 

Enter, with Drum and Colours, Malcolm, old 
SnvARD, and his Son, Macduff, Menteth, 
Cathness, Angus, Lenox, Rosse, and Soldiers 

Mai. Cousins, I hope, the days are near at hand. 
That chambers will be safe. 

^fcnt. We doubt it nothing. 

Siw. What wood is this before us ? 

^ent. The wood ofBirnam. 

Mai. Let every soldier hew him down a bough, 
And bear't before him : thereby shall we shadow 
The numbers of our host, and make discovery 
Err in report of us. 

SM. It shall be done. 

Siw. We learn no other but the confident tyrant 
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure 
Our setting down before't. 

J^^al. 'Tis his main hope ; 


For where there is advantage to be given, 
Both more and less have given him the revolt, 
And none serve with him but constrained things, 
Whose hearts are absent too. 

]^tacd.. Let our just censures 

Attend the true event, and put we on 
Industrious soldiership. 

'^'"■- The time approaches. 

That will with due decision make us know 
What we shall say we have, and what we owe. 
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate, 
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate; 
Towards which, advance the war. 

[Exeunt, marching. 

Scene V.— Dunsinane. Within the Castle. 

Enter, with Drums and Colours, Macbeth, Sey- 
ton, and Soldiers. 

Mach. Hang out our banners on the outward 
walls ; 




The cry is still, " They come !" Our castle's strength 
Will hiugh a siege to scorn : here let them lie, 
Till famine and the ague eat them up. 
Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours, 
We might have met them darel'ul, beard to beard, 
And beat them backward home. Wliat is that noise ? 

[A cry within, of Women. 

Sey. It is the cry of women, my good lord. 

Mach. I have almost forgot the taste of fears. 
The time has been, my senses would have cool'd 
To hear a night-shriek ; and my fell of hair 
Would at a dismal treatise rouse, and stir. 
As life were in't. I have supp'd full with horrors : 
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts. 
Cannot once start me. — Wherefore was that cry? 

Sey. The queen, my lord, is dead. 

Mach. She should have died hereafter: 
There would have been a time for such a word. — 
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, 
To the last syllable of recorded time ; 
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle ! 
Life's but a walking shadow ; a poor player. 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, 
And then is heard no more : it is a tale 
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing. 

Enter a Messenger. 
Thou com'st to use thy tongue ; thy story, quickly, 

Mess. Gracious my lord, 
I shall report that which I say I saw, 
But know not how to do't. 

Macb. Well, say, sir. 

Mess. As I did stand my watch upon the hill, 
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought. 
The wood began to move. 

Mach. Liar, and slave ! 

Mess. Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so. 
Within this three mile may you see it coming ; 
I say, a moving grove. 

Mach. If thou speak'st false. 

Upon the next tree shall thou hang alive. 
Till famine cling thee : if thy speech be sooth, 
J care not if thou dost for me as much. — 
I pull in resolution ; and begin 
To doubt th' equivocation of the fiend, 
That lies like truth : " Fear not, till Birnam wood 
Do come to Dunsinane ;" — and now a wood 
Comes toward Dunsinane. — Arm, arm, and out ! — 
If this, which he avouches, does appear. 
There is nor flying hence, nor tarrying here. 
I 'gin to be a-weary of the sun. 
And wish th' estate o' the world were now undone. — 
Ring the alarum bell ! — Blow, wind ! — come, wrack ! 
At least we'll die with harness on our back. 


Scene VI.— The Same. A Plain before the 

Enter, with Drums and Colours, Malcolm, old 
SiwARD, Macduff, S^-c, and their Army with 
Boughs. ^ 

Mai. Nownearenough: yourleafy screens throw 
And show like those you are.— You, worthy uncle. 
Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son, 
Lead our first battle : worthy Macdufl', and we. 
Shall take upon's what else remains to do. 
According to our order. — 

Stw. Fare you well.— 

Do we but find the tyrant's power to-niglii. 
Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight. 

Macd. Make all our trumpets speak: give them 
all breath, 

Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death. 

{Exeunt. Alarums continued. 

Scene VII.— The Same. Another Part of the 

Enter Macbeth. 
Mach. They have tied me to a stake : I cannot 


But, bear-hke, I must fight the course. — What's he, 
That was not born of woman ? Such a one 
Am I to fear, or none. 

Elder young Siward. 
Yo. Siiv. What is thy name ? 
Mach. Thou'lt be afraid to hear it. 

Yo. Siw. No ; though thou call'st thyself a hot- 
ter name. 
Than any is in hell. 

Macb. My name's Macbeth. 

Yo. Siw. The devil himself could not pronounce 
a title 
More hateful to mine ear. 

Macb. No, nor more fearful. 

Yo. Si^v. Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my 
I'll prove the lie thou speak'st. 

[They fight, and young Siward is slain. 
Macb. Thou wast born of woman : — 

But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, 
Brandish'd by man that's of a woman born. [Exit. 

Alarums. Enter Macduff. 

Macd. That way the noise is. — Tyrant, show 
thy face ! 
If thou be'st slain, and with no stroke of mine. 
My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still. 
I cannot strike at wretched kernes, whose arms 
Are hir'd to bear their staves ; either thou, Macbeth, 
Or else my sword, with an unbatter'd edge, 
I sheathe again undeeded. There thou should'st be ; 
By this great clatter, one of greatest note 
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune ! 
And more I beg not. [Exit. Alarum. 

Enter Malcolm and old Siward. 

Siw. This way, my lord. — The castle's gently 
render'd ; 
The tyrant's people on both sides do fight ; 
The noble thanes do bravely in the war. 
The day almost itself professes yours, 
And little is to do. 

Mai. We have met with foes 

That strike beside us. 

Siw. Enter, sir, the castle. 

[Exeunt. Alarum. 

Re-enter Macbeth. 

Macb. Why should I play the Roman fool, and 
On mine own sword ? whiles I see lives, the gashes 
Do better upon them. 

Re-enter Macduff. 

Mard. Turn, hell-hnunrl, turn. 

Macb. Of all men else I have avoided thee : 





But get thee back ; my soul is too much charg'd 
With blood of thine already. 

Macd. I have no words; 

My voice is in my sword : thou bloodier villain 
Than terras can give thee out ! \^T hey fight. 

Macb. Thou losest labour. 

As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air 
With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed : 
Let fall thy blade on vulnerabler crests ; 
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield 
To one of woman born. 

Macd. Despair thy charm ; 

And let the angel, whom thou still hast serv'd, 
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb 
Untimely ripp'd. 

Much. Accurs'd be that tongue that tells me so, 
For it hath cow'd my better part of man : 
And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd, 
That palter with us in a double sense ; 
That keep the word of promise to our ear, 
And break it to our hope. — I'll not fight with thee. 

Macd. Then, yield thee, coward, 
And live to be the gaze and show o' the time : 
We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, 
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit, 
" Here may you see the tyrant." 

Macb. I will not yield, 

To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, 
And to be baited with the rabble's curse. 
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, 
And thou oppos'd, being of no woman born. 
Yet I will try the last. Before my body 
I throw my warlike shield : lay on, Macdufl^; 
And damn'd be him that first cries, " Hold, enough." 

[Exeunt, fighting. 

Retreat. Flourish. Re-enter, with Drum and Co- 
lours, Malcolm, old Siward, Rosse, Thanes, 
and Soldiers. 

Mat. I would, the friends we miss were safe ar- 

Siw, Some must go off; and yet, by these I see, 
So great a day as this is cheaply bought. 

Mai. Macduff is missing, and your noble son. 
Rosse. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's 
He only liv'd but till he was a man, 
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd 

In the unskrinking station where he fought, 
But like a man he died. 

Siw. Then he is dead ? 

Rosse. Ay, and brought off the field. Your 
cause of sorrow 
Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then 
It hath no end. 

Siw. Had he his hurts before ? 

Rosse. Ay, on the front. 

Site. Why then, God's soldier be he ! 

Had I as many sons as I have hairs, 
I would not wish them to a fairer death : 
And so, his knell is knoll'd. 

Mai. He's worth more soiTow, 

And that I'll spend for him. 

Siw. He's worth no more : 

They say, he parted well, and paid his score. 
And so, God be with him ! — Here comes newer 

Re-enter Macduff, with Macbeth's Head. 

Macd. Hail, king ! for so thou art. Behold, 
where stands 
The usurper's cursed head : the time is free. 
I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl, 
That speak my salutation in their minds : 
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine, — 
Hail, king of Scotland ! 

All. Hail, king of Scotland I 


Mai. We shall not spend a large expense of time. 
Before we reckon with your several loves, 
And make us even with you. My thanes and kins- 
Henceforth be earls ; the first that ever Scotland 
In such an honour nam'd. What's more to do. 
Which would be planted newly with the time, — 
As calling home our exil'd friends abroad. 
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny ; 
Producing forth the cruel ministei's 
Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen. 
Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands 
Took off her life ; — this, and what needful else 
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, 
We will perform in measure, time, and place. 
So, thanks to all at once, and to each one. 
Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. 

[Flourish. Exeunt. 


ACT I.— Scene I. 

"Enter three Witches." 

Few lovers of Shakespeare need now to be informed, 
that the Weird Sisters are not the witches of vulgar su- 
perstition. He indeed used the materials of superstitious 
belief in his day, as to witches, their charms, their ma- 
lignity, and their league with the " common enemy of 
man;" but he elevated them from objects of material 
dread and disgust, mixed with contempt, into mysterious 
and powerful agents of spiritual wickedness. He has 
retained enough of the well-known adjuncts of the Scotch 
or Lancashire witches to give individuality and reality 
to his personages, and even selected so much of the 
wildly ludicrous as would add to the strange mystery 
of their being ; yet they are not miserable and decrepid 
hags, the dread of the village, but " the Weird Sisters" — 
that is, Says HoUingshed, " as ye would say, the god- 
desses of destiny, or else nymphs or fairies indued with 
prophecy by necromantical science." They are power- 
ful as well as malignant beings, whose amusement may 
be the persecution of the " tempest-tossed" mariner, but 
whose delight is to poison the minds of the brave, and 
to act upon the destinies of the great. Coleridge rightly 
remarks : — 

" The Weird Sisters are as true a creation of Shake- 
speare's, as his Ariel and Caliban, — fates, furies, and 
materializing witches being the elements. They are 
wholly different from any representation of witches in 
the contemporary writers, and yet presented a sufficient 
external resemblance to the creatures of vulgar preju- 
dice to act immediately on the audience. Their char- 
acter consists in the imaginative disconnected from the 
good ; they are the shadowy obscure and fearfully anom- 
alous of physical nature, the lawless of human nature — 
elemental avengers without sex or kin." 

In the same spirit of true criticism, Charles Lamb 
says : " They are foul anomalies, of whom we know not 
whence they are sprung, nor whether they have begin- 
ning or ending. As they are without human passions, 
so they seem to be without human relations. They 
come with thunder and lightning, and vanish to air- 
music. This is all we know of them. Except Hecate, 
they have no names, which heightens their mysterious- 

The account given by Dr. Forman, in his lately dis- 
covered diary, of the manner in which Macbeth was 

originally acted as he saw it in 1610, strongly indicates 
that these witches were, even on that humble stage, 
represented as much nobler beings than they have sinc-e 
been permitted to appear. 

"In Macbeth, at the Globe, 1610, the 20lh of April, 
Saturday, there was to be observed, first, how Macbeth 
and Banquo, two noblemen of Scotland, riding through 
a wood, there stood before them three women Fairies, 
or Nyinphs, and saluted Macbeto, saying three times 
unto him. Hail, Macbeth, King of Codor, for thou shalt 
be a King, but shalt beget no Kings, &c. Then, said 
Banquo, What ! all to Macbeth, and nothing to me ? 
Yes, said the Nymphs, Hail to thee, Banquo ; thou shalt 
beget Kings, yet be no King." 

" That will be. ere the set of sun." 
Coleridge was struck with the "direful music, the 
wild wayward rhythm, and abrupt lyrics of the open- 
ing of Macbeth." The English editors of the last age 
have done what they could to weaken this effect. I 
concur with Mr. Knight in restoring the old text, and 
in his reasons throughout. 

"Stevens strikes out the as harsh and unnecessarj'- 
Any one who has an ear for the lyrical movement of the 
whole scene will see what an exquisite variety of pause 
there is in the ten lines of which it consists. Take 

the line 

' There to meet with Macbeth ;' 

and contrast its solemn movement with what has pre- 
ceded it. But the editors must have seven syllables ; 
and so some read 

' There / go to meet Macbeth :' 

'There to meet with brave Macbeth :' 
and others, 

'There to meet with — IFAom?— Macbeth.' 
Malone has, however, here succeeded in retaining the 
original line, by persuading himself and others that 
there is a dissyllable."— Knight. 

Scene II. 

« — damn'd quarry"— i. e. his army doomed, or 
damned, to become the " quarry," or prey, of his ene- 
mies. This is the reading of all the old copies, which 
was deserted by most editors, although giving an ob- 
vious meaning, more forcible than quarrel, which, at 
Johnson's instance, they substituted for " quarrj-." 



" — and direful thunders break." — In the folio, 1623, 
the line ends at "thunders," and being obviously de- 
fective, the folio, 1G32, inserted breaking ; but the pre- 
sent tense, and not the participle, seems wanting, and 
Pope, therefore, changed the word to " break." 

" Bellona's bridegroom" — meaning Macbeth, a war- 
rior fit for the husband of the warlike goddess. "Lap- 
ped in proof," covered witli armour of proof. 

" ' Eellona's bridegroom' is here undoubtedly Mac- 
beth ; but Henley and Stevens, fancying that the God 
of War was meant, chuckle over Shakespeare's ignor- 
ance in not knowing that Mars was not the husband 
of Bellona." — Knight. 

Scene III. 

" ' Aroint thee, witch /' the rump-fed ronyon cries." — 
The meaning of " aroint" is begone, or stand off, and it 
is still used in the Craven district, and generally in the 
north of England, as well as in Cheshire. In some 
places it has assumed the form of rynt, but it is the 
same word. 

"Ronyon'''' — i. e. scabby or mangy woman. Fren. 
rogneux, royne, scurf. — Collier. 

" ril drain him as dry as hay." 
" Stevens says, ' As I cannot help supposing this scene 
to have been uniformly metrical when our author wrote 
it, in its present state I suspect it to be clogged with in- 
terpolations, or mutilated by omissions.' There appears 
no foundation for the supposition that the scene was 
uniformly metrical. It is a mixture of blank verse with 
the seven-syllable rhyme, producing, from its variety, a 
wild and solemn eflect, which no regularity could have 

'Where hast thou been, sister? 

Killing swine;' 
is a line of blank verse : 

'Sister, where thou?' 
a dramatic hemistich. We have then four lines of blank 
verse, before the lyrical movement, ' But in a sieve,' &c. 

' I'll give thee a wind. 

Th' art kind. 

And I another,' 

is a ten-syllable line, rhyming with the following octo- 
syllabic line. So, in the same manner — 

'I' the shipman's card. 

I'll drain him as dry as hay,' 

is a ten-syllable line, rhyming with the following one 
of seven syllables. The editors have destroyed this 
metrical arrangement, by changing 'Th' art kind,' into 
'Thou art kind:' and '/'//drain him as dry as hay,' 
into ' I will drain him as dry as hay.'" — Knight. 

" The WEIRD sisters, hand in hand." — All authorities 
agree that " weird" (spelled xceyward in the folio) is of 
Saxon origin, viz. from wyrd, whi^h has the same 
meaning as the Latin fa/um : " weird" is therefore 
fatal. ' The ballad of '' The Birth of St. George," in 
Percy's " Reliques," has the expression of "The iveird 
lady of the woods ;" and the same word occurs twice in 
the old Scottish drama of "Philotus," 1603 and 1612. 
Gawin Douslas, in his translation of the iEneid, calls 
the Parcce " the weird sisters." — Collier. 

" ^re ye kantastical" — i. e. creatures of f ant a si/ or 
imagination. Hollingshed says, that Macbeth and Ban- 
quo at first reputed the appearance of the witches 
"some va.\n, fantastical illusion." 

"By Sinel's death, I know I am thane of Cawdor." 

Sinel, according to Hollingshed, was the nameof Mac- 
beth's father. 

"Or have we eafen of the insane roof, 
That takes the reason prisoner f" 
This alludes to the ijualities anciently ascribed to 
hemlock. In Greene's " Never too Late," 1616, we have 
"You gazed against the sun, and so blemished your 


sight ; or else you have eaten of the roots of hemlock, 
that makes men's eyes conceit unseen objects." 

" Came post with post." — The old copies read, " Can 
post with post," which seems a misprint. The mean- 
ing is evident, when we take tale in the sense, not of a 
narrative, but of an enumeration, from the Saxon telan, 
to count. Johnson explains the passage correctly in 
these words : — " Posts arrived as fast as they could be 
counted." Rowe reads, " as thick as hail" which may 
be considered as a needless alteration. 

" — function 
Is smother'd in surmise ; and nothing is, 
But what is not." 
"All powers of action are oppressed and crushed by 
one overwhelming image in the mind, and nothing is 
present to me but that which is really future." — John- 

Scene IV. 
" Safe toward your love and honour." 
Blackstone would read, " sale towards you," and in- 
terprets the word safe as saved, conceiving that the 
whole speech is an allusion to feudal homage : ' The 
oath of allegiance, or liege homage, to the king, was 
absolute, and without any exception; but simple homage, 
when done to a subject for lands holden of him, was 
always with a saving of the allegiance (the love and 
honour) due to the sovereign. ' Sauf la foy que jeo 
doy a nosire seignor Ic roy.' But it is intelligible as it 
stands, taking safe in one of its senses still in use, for 
conferring security, as we say, " a safe port," " a safe 

" We will establish our estate upon 
Our eldest, Malcolm; whom we name hereafter, 
The prince of Cumberland." 

Cumberland was, at the time, held by Scotland of the 
crown of England, as a fief. Prince of Cumberland was 
the title borne by the declared successor to the throne 
of Scotland. Hollingshed explains Macbeth's uneasi- 
ness on this occasion: — "Duncan having two sons, he 
made the elder of them (called Malcolm) Prince of 
Cumberland, as it was thereby to appoint him his suc- 
cessor in his kingdom, immediately after his decease. 
Macbeth, sorely troubled therewith, for that he saw by 
this means his hope sore hindered (where, by the old 
laws of the realm the ordinance was, that if he that should 
succeed was not able of age to take the charge upon 
himself, he that was next of blood unto him should be 
admitted,) he began to take counsel how he might usurp 
the kingdom by force, having a just quarrel so to do (as 
he took the matter,) for that Duncan did what in him 
lay to defraud him of all maryier of title and claim 
which he might, in time to come, pretend to the crown." 

Scene V. 
"Enter Lady Macbeth." 
" Macbeth is described by Lady Macbeth so as at the 
same time to reveal her own character. Could he have 
eveiy thing he wanted, he would rather have it inno- 
cently ; — ignorant, as alas ! how many of us are, that 
he who wishes a temporal end for itself, does in truth 
will the means; and hence the danger of indulging 
fancies. Lady Macbeth, like all in Shakespeare, is a 
class individualized: — of high rank, left much alone, 
and feeding herself with day-dreams of ambition, she 
mistakes the courage of fantasy for the power of bear- 
ing the consequences of the realities of guilt. Hers is 
the mock fortitude of a mind deluded by ambition ; she 
shames her husband with a superhuman audacity of 
fancy which she cannot support, but sinks in the season 
of remorse, and dies in suicidal agony. Her speech — 

' Coine, all you spirits 
That tend on mortal thoughts, unscx me here,' etc. 

is that of one who had habitually familiarized her ima- 


gination to dreadful conceptions, and was trying to do 
so still more. Her invocations and rerjuisitions are all 
the false efforts of a mind accustomed only liitherto to 
the shadows of the imagination, vivid enough to throw 
the every-day substances of life into shadow, but never 
as yet brought into direct contact with their own cor- 
respondent realities. She evinces no womanly life, no 
wifely joy, at the return of her husband, no pleased ter- 
ror at the thought of his past dangers ; whilst Macbeth 
bursts forth naturally — 

' My dearest love — ' 
and shrinks from the boldness with which she presents 
his own thoughts to him." — Colehidge. 

" — keep peace between 
The effect, and it /" 

" Lady Macbeth's purpose was to be effected by ac- 
tion. 'To keep peace between the eff'ect and purpose,' 
means, ' to delay the execution of her purpose, to pre- 
vent its proceeding to effect.' Sir William Davenant's 
strange alteration of this play sometimes affords a reason- 
ably good commentary upon it. Thus, in the present 
instance — 

■ make thick 

My blood, stop all passage to remorse, 

That no relapses into mercy may 

Sliake my design, nor make it fall before 

'Tis ripen"d to elfcct.' Si.nger. 

" Come, you spirits."— The modern editors, who in- 
sert after Davenant, " all ye spirits," or, with Stevens, 
read, '• Come, come," so as to make a regular heroic 
verse, lessen the solemnity of the rliythm, and by taking 
away the long pause after the close of the preceding 
sentence, quite destroy the effect of the transition of 
thought and feeling required by the terrible impreca- 
tion which is next uttered. The break in the metre 
mariis this in common reading, and adds to the eff'ect in 
more elaborate delivery. 

"filter favour" — to change countenance. 

Scene VI. 

" This castle hath a pleasant seat," etc. 
" This short dialogue between Duncan and Banquo, 
as they approach Macbeth's castle, has always appeared 
to me a striking instance of what in painting is termed 
repose. Their conversation naturally turns upon the 
beauty of its situation, and the pleasantness of the air ; 
and Banquo, observing the martlets' nests in every re- 
cess of the cornice, remarks that, where these birds 
most breed and haunt, the air is delicate. The subject 
of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so 
necessary to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the 
preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of 
horror that immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shake- 
speare asked himself; ' What is a prince likely to say 
to his attendants on such an occasion ?' Whereas the 
modern writers seem, on the contrary, to be always 
searcliing for new thoughts, such as would never occur 
to men in the situation represented. This also is fre- 
quently the practice of Homer, who, from the midst of 
battles and horrors, relieves and refreshes the mind of 
the reader, by introducing some quiet rural image, or 
picture of familiar domestic life."— Sir J. Reynolds. 

''How you shall bid God yield us for your pains, 
And thank us for your trouble."' 
Duncan says, that even love sometimes occasions him 
trouble, but that he thanks it as love notwithstanding; 
and tliat thus he teaches Lady ftlacbeth, wliile she takes 
trouble on his account, to "bid God yield," or reward, 
hmi for giving that trouble.— Collier. 

Scene VII. 

" With his SURCEASE success." — To "surcease" is to 
finish, or conclude ; and the meaning (his being used for 
il'i) is, •' and catch success with its conclusion." 


" We rest your hermits" — beadsmen, bound to pray 
for a benefactor. 

" Upon this bank and shoal of time" — in the original, 
schoole. Theobald corrected the word to shoal, "by 
which," says Stevens, " our author means the shallow 
ford of life." The received reading is unquestionably 
the clearest. Tieck's defence of school is however suf- 
ficiently ingenious : — " Bank," he says, « is here the 
school-bench; tijne is used, as it frequently is, for the 
present time. The editors have altered school into 
shoal. But this would-be improvement does not fit with 
the context ; and smothers the idea of the author. 
Macbeth says — if we could believe that after perpe- 
trated wickedness we could enjoy peace in the present — 
(here occurs to him the image of a school, where a 
scholar anticipates a complaint or an injury) — if the 
present only were secure, I would care nothing for the 
future — what might happen to me — if this school were 

removed But we receive the judgment in this 

school, where we 'but teach bloody instruction,' " &c. 

"Vaulting ambition, u-hich overleaps itself, 
And fulls on the other" — 

" It has been proposed to read, instead of itself, its 
sell, its saddle. However clever may be the notion, we 
can scarcely admit the necessity for the change of the 
original. A person (and vaulting ambition is personi- 
fied) might be said to overleap himself, as well as over- 
balance himself, or overcharge himself, or overlabour 
himself, or overmeasure himself, or overreach himself. 
There is a parallel use of the word over in Beaumont 
and Fletcher: — 'Prove it again, sir; it may be your 
sense was set too high, and so overwrought itself.^ The 
word over, in all these cases, is used in the sense of too 
much." — Knight. 

Many editors follow Hanmer's conjectural insertion, 
and read, "falls on the other side." That, I presume, 
is meant ; but the poet's language was sufficiently clear 
to suggest that sense in his own rapid manner, and the 
sentence is broken off' by the entrance of Lady Macbeth, 
to whom Macbeth turns in agitated inquiry. This hur- 
ried agitation is better expressed by omitting side, as in 
the old copies, and printing the passage as an interrupt- 
ed and incomplete sentence. 

" We fail." — This punctuation is adopted, as giving 
the sense most congruous with the next line, and by far 
the most characteristic of the speaker's dauntless self- 
possession. " If we should fail ? what then ?" asks the 
hesitating chief. "Then we fail, and must take the 
consequences; but be bold and you will not fail." But 
both speeches are printed in the folios with a note of 
interrogation" — we fail ?" "We fail?" This too per- 
mits a natural sense. She repeats the question interroga- 
tively, but with a contemptuous tone. The note of ad- 
miration in many editions is wholly conjectural, and the 
sense not in unison with the C(jntext. Since the above 
was written, I find my opinion confirmed by the author- 
ity of Mrs. Siddons, and that of Mrs. Jameson, who 
says — 

" In her impersonation of the part of Lady Macbeth, 
Mrs. Siddons adopted three different intonations in giv- 
ing the words " We fail." At first, a quick contemp- 
tuous interrogation — We fail? Afterwards M'ith the 
note of admiration — We fail ! and an accent of indig- 
nant astonishment, laying the principal emphasis on the 
word we — We fail! Lastly, slie fixed on wliat I am 
convinced is the true reading — We fail. With the sim- 
ple period, modulating her voice to a deep, low, resolute 
tone, which settled the issue at once ; as though she had 
said, " If we fail, wliy then we fail, and all is over." 
This is consistent with the dark fatalism of the charac- 
ter, and the sense of the lines following ; and the effect 
was sublime, almost awful." 

" Will I with wine and wassel so convince" — i. e. so 
overcome. The word is again used in the same sense, 



(act iv. sc. 3,) and it is so applied in " Love's Labour I 

" A LIMBECK onlij''' — alembic. Shakespeare under- j 
stood the construction of a still, in this happy compari- 
son of the brain to that part of a vessel through which 
a distilled liquor passes. 

« Of our great quei.l."— To "quell" and to kill are 
in fact the same word in their origin, from the Saxon 
cvcllan. Here " quell'-' is used substantively. 

ACT II.— ScE.vE I. 

"Court icitliiii the Castle. Enter Banquo and 
Fleance," etc. 

" A large court, surrounded all or in part by an open 
galleiy ; the gallery ascended into by stairs, open like- 
wise ; with addition of a college-like gateway, in which 
opens a porter's lodije — appears to have been the poet's 
idea of the place of this srreat action. Tlie circum- 
stances that mark it are scattered through three scenes: 
in tlie latter, the hall (which moderns make the scene 
of this action) is appointed a place of second assemjly, 
in terms that show it plainly distinct from that assem- 
bled in then. Buildinss of this description rose in ages 
of chivalry, when kniglits rode into their courts, and 
paid their devoirs to ladies, viewing of their tiltinss and 
them from this open gallery. Fragments of some of 
them, over the mansions of noblemen, are still subsist- 
ing in London, changed to hotels or inns. Shakespeare 
might see them much more entii'e, and take his notion 
from them." — Capell. 

" There's husisaxdry in heaven" — i. e. thrift, or fru- 
gality in heaven. 

"Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature 
Gives way to in repose." 

" It is apparent from what Banquo says afterwards, 
that he had been solicited in a di-eam to do something 
in consequence of the prophecy of the Witches, that his 
waking senses were shocked at; and Shakespeare has 
finely contrasted his character with that of Macbeth. 
Banquo is praying against bein? tempted to encourage 
thoughts of guilt even in his sleep ; while Macbeth is 
hurrying into temptation, and revolving in his mind 
every scheme, however flagitious, that may assist him 
to complete his jnupose. The one is unwilling to sleep 
lest the same phantoms should assail his resolution 
again ; while the other is depriving himself of rest 
thi-ough impatience to commit the mui-der." — Stevens. 

"Sent forth great largess to your offices." — It is 
not only needless, but improper, with Malone, to change 
"offices" of the old copies into officers. There were 
various " offices" in the residences of the nobility, and 
servants belonging to each : to send largess "to the " of- 
fices" in Macbeth's castle, was to give it to the persons 
employed in them. 

" When my drink is ready." — It was a common lux- 
ury of the middle ases, and the Poet's own time, to take 
some warm mixture of wine, ale, or other " brewage," 
before sleep ; the various compositions of which, those 
•who are curious in ancient luxury, may find detailed in 
some of the commentators. Shakespeare has here allu- 
ded to it in a manner that would have made Racine or 
Voltaire sliudder, but evidently for the purpose of dra- 
matic cflect, — to bring out. by this allusion to an inci- 
dent of domestic comfort, familiar to liis hearers, the 
horror of Macbeth's real intention, the terror of his guilty 
meditations, and the visionary dagger, in deeper colours 
from the strong contrast. 

"And on thy blade, and dudgeon, gouts of blood." — 
The "dudgeon" is the handle or haft of a dagger: 
" gouts" of blood are drops of blood, from the Fr. goutte. 
The word was unusual in this sense. 

"The curtain'd sleep : witchcraft celebrates." — So all 

the old copies : editors since the time of Davenant (Mr. 
Knight is an exception) have inserted now before 
" witchcraft," but it is much more impressive in the 
original, and we have no right to attempt to improve 
Shakespeare's versification : if he thought fit to leave 
the line here with nine syllables, as in other instances, 
some may consider him wrong, but nobody ought to 
venture to correct him. — Collier. 

" With Tarquin's ravishing strides." — The folios 
have sides, out of which it is not easy to extract sense : 
the objections made to " strides" (which was Pope's 
word) have been two-fold; first, that it is not the read- 
ing of the old copies ; and next, that " strides" does not 
indicate a " stealthy pace," or moving " lilie a ghost." 
We cannot see the force of this last objection, inasmuch 
as a person with such a purpose would take "strides," 
in order that as few foot-falls as possible might be heard ; 
neither are "strides" inconsistent with secresy and si- 


" That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold." 
These lines are printed here in the slightly irregular 
metrical arrangement of the folios. This lyrical free- 
dom of verse, and the consequent hurried abruptness of 
pause, seem to me meant to express, as they do express, 
the deep excitement of the speaker, and thus " suit the 
present horror" of the scene. On the other liand, the 
attempt of the later editors to bring these lines into a 
regular ten-syllable metre, which is after all but im- 
perfectly attained, gives the passage a tone of studied 
declamation, — grand and solemn, indeed, but more like 
Racine than Shakespeare. The dramatic eli'ect is dead- 
ened, unless indeed the lines are spoken or read with 
just such breaks and pauses as will give to the ear the 
very same rhythm which they have to the eye in the 
original editions. The lines are arranged by Stevens, 
Malone, and others, as follows: the reader will judge 
for himself liow far they are improved. 

Lady M. That wliich Iiatli nmile them dnink liatli made mcbold: 
What liath queDch'd tliem liath given me lire. — Hark ! — Peat.-e! 
It was the owl that sliiick'd, tlie fatal Ijellinan, 
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it. 
The doors arc open ; and the surfeited grooms 
Do mock their charge with snores ! I have dnigg'd their possets, 
That death and nature do contend about them, 
Whether they live, or die. 

"I have drugged, their possets." — It was a general 
custom to eat possets just before bed-time. Randle 
Holmes, in his " Academy of Armory," says, "' Posset is 
hot milk jioured on ale or sack, Jiaving sugar, grated 
biscuit, and eggs, with other ingredients, boUed in it, 
which goes all to a curd." 

" — had he not resembled 
My father as he slept, I had don ft." 
Mrs. Jameson says — " In the murdering-scene, the 
obdurate inflexibility of purpose with which she drives 
on Macbeth to the execution of their project, and her 
masculine inditierence to blood and death, would in- 
spire unmitigated disgust and horror, biU for the in- 
voluntary consciousness that it is produced rather by 
the exertion of a strong power over herself, than by 
absolute- depravity of disposition and ferocity of temper. 
This impression of her character is brought home at 
once to our very hearts with tlie most profound know- 
ledge of the springs of nature within us, the most subtle 
mastery over their various operations, and a feeling of 
dramatic effect not less wonderful. The very passages 
in which Lady Rlacbeth displays the most savage and 
relentless determination, are so worded as to fill the 
mind with the idea of sex, and place the woman before 
us in all her dearest attribute.^, at once softening and 
refining the horror, and rendering it more intense. 
Thus, when she reproaches her husband for his weak- 
ness — 


' — From this time, 
Such I account thy love !' 
"Again — 

— Come to my woman's breasts, 
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, 
That no compunctious visitings of nature 
Shake my fell purpose, ice. 

I have given suck, and know how tender 'tis 
To love the babe that milks me, 4:c. 

"And lastly, in the moment of extremest horror comes 
that unexpected touch of feeling, so startling, yet so 
wonderfully true to nature — 

' Had he not resembled my father as he slept, 
I had done it!'" 

"This 'one touch of nature,' (Warburton obser^'es,) 
is very artful : for, as the poet has drawn the lady and 
her husband, it would be thnusht tlie act should have 
been done by her. It is likewise highly just : for though 
ambition had subdued in her all the sentiments of na- 
ture towards present objects, yet the likeness of one 
past, which she had always been accustomed to regard 
■with reverence, made her unnatural passions for a mo- 
ment give way to the sentiments of instinct and hu- 

" — the raveJVd sleave of care. ^^ — "Sleave" silk is 
coarse unwrought silk. This, and what follows, are 
Macbeth's reflections upon sleep, and ought not, there- 
fore, to form part of what he is supposed to have over- 

^^ Making the green — one red." 

Editors dLfier upon the mode of reading this line. In 
the original it stands 

' Making the green one, red.' 
The ordinary reading, 

'Making the green — one red,' 
•was first suggested by Murphy. We have a similar 
expression in MUton's " Comus" — 

'And makes one blot of all the air.' 
Besides, the "multitudinous seas" being plural, agree 
in grammar and sense with green, but cannot well be 
termed " the green, one." 

" To know my deed, 'twere best not kww myself," 
While I have the thought or recollection of this deed, 

I were better lost to myself; had better not have the 

consciousness of who I am. 

ScE^'E III. 

"He should have old turning the key." — The word 
" old" was a verj- common augmentative in Shake- 
speare's time. 

"The night has been unruly." — In all the later edi- 
tions, this passage is made to begin with a rhyming 
couplet, very much out of place — 

'The night has been unruly ; where we lay, 
Our chimneys were blown down, and as they say,'— 

as it then passes into nearly regular blank verse. This 
resrularity, such as it is, is obtained by putting together 
lines and parts of lines, in an order ver}' different from 
that of the old copies. The latter is here followed ex- 
actly, without the awkward rhyme, and with its imper- 
fect, broken verses, so common in the old dramatists, — 
and here so well corresponding in feelins to the sense 
they express. The only change of the old text is the 
substitution of a comma for a period after "woful 
times," so as to connect the owl, " the obscure bird," 
with the prophecy of dire events. This is an idea fam- 
iliar to the poet and his times. Thus, he says else- 
where, " The ominous and fearful owl of death;" and 
again, "Out, ye owls; nothing but songs of death." 

" — here lay Duncan, 
His silver skin laced o'er with his golden blood." 
"It is not improbable that Shakespeare put these 
forced and unnatural metaphors into the mouth of Mac- 
beth, as a mark of artifice and dissimulation, to show 

the difi'erence between the studied language of hypoc- 
risy and the natural outcries of sudden passion. This 
whole speech, so considered, is a remarkable instance 
of judgment, as it consists entirely of antithesis and 
metaphor." — Johxson. 

".Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight." — Pre- 
tence" is intention, design ; a sense in which it is often 
used by Shakespeare. Thus, Rosse asks, " What good 
could they pretend i" 


« — the TRAVAiLixG lamp." — The original reading 

is travelling; but travel, in old orthography, either 

meant to journey or to labour. Hooker, and other au- 

j thors of that age, use travel in this sense. I therefore 

il adopt 3Ir. Collier's opinion that travelling, the ordinary 

I readins, gives a peurile idea : whereas the poet, by 

|( "travailins," seems to have reference to the struggle 

between the sun and night, which induces Rosse to ask, 

'Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame,' etc. 

"RossE. Where is Duncan's body? 

Macd. Carried to Colme-kill ; 
The sacred store-house of his predecessors." 
This place (now called Icolm-kill) is the famous lona, 
one of the Western Isles, so eloquently described by Dr. 
Johnson. Kill, in Erse, signifies a cell or chapel. 


''For Banquo's issue have I fil'd my mind" — i. e. 
Defiled my mind. To " file" was often used for to defile, 
by elision of the preposition. 

" — the SEEDS of Banquo kings!" — So the old copies, 
which there is no sufficient reason for abandoning, es- 
pecially as Macbeth is speaking of Banquo's issue 
throughout in the plural. Seeds is thus used for de- 
scendants in our English Bible. 

" — the valued file" — i. e. the "file" or list in 
which they are valued and described. 

Scene II. 

" — Nought's had, all's spent. 
Where our desire is had without content." 

"Under the impression of her present wretchedness, 
I, from this moment, (says Mrs. Siddons,) have always 
assumed the dejection of countenance and manners 
which I thought accordant to such a state of mind ; 
and, though the author of this sublime composition has 
not, it must be acknowleds-ed, eiven any dii-ection what- 
ever to authorize this assumption, yet I venture to hope 
that he would not have disapproved of it. It is evi- 
dent, indeed, by her conduct in the scene which suc- 
ceeds the mournful soliloquy, that she is no longer the 
presumptuous, the determined creature that she was be- 
fore the assassination of the king : for instance, on the 
approach of her husband, we behold for the first time 
striking indications of sensibility, nay, tenderness and 
sympathy; and I think this conduct is nobly followed 
up by her during the whole of their subsequent event- 
ful intercourse. It is evident, I think, that the sad and 
new experience of affliction has subdued the insolence 
of her pride and the violence of her will ; for she comes 
now to seek him out, that she may at least participate 
his miser%'. She knows, by her own woful experience, 
the torment which he undergoes, and endeavours to al- 
leviate his sufferings by inefficient reasonings. 

"Far from her former habits of reproach and con- 
temptuous taunting, you perceive that she now listens 
to his complaints with sympathizing feelings; and, so 
far from adding to the weight of his affliction the bur- 
den of her own. she endeavours to ronceal it from him 
with the most delicate and unremitting attention. But 
it is in vain ; as we may observe in this beautiful and 
mournful dialogue with the phvsician on the subject of 



his cureless malady : ' Canst thou not minister to a mind 
diseas'd ?' &c. You now hear no more of her elud- 
ings and reproaches. No ; all Iier thoughts are now 
directed to divert his from those sorriest fancies, by 
turning them to the approaching banquet, in exhorting 
hiin to conciliate the good-will and good thoughts of his 
guests, by receiving them with a disengaged air, and 
cordial, bright, and jovial demeanour. Smothering her 
sufferings in the deepest recesses of her own wretched 
bosom, we cannot but perceive that she devotes herself 
entirely to the effort of supporting him." 

" We have scotch'd the snake" — i. e. wounded it. 
This word is best illustrated by a passage in CoRio- 


'He scotch'd him and notch'd Iiim like a carbonado.' 

« Whom ive to gain our peace." — For this last word 
of the orisinal, the editor of the second folio substituted 
place ; and it has been adopted by succeeding editors. 
The repetition of the word peace seems much in Sliake- 
speare's manner; and as every one who commits a 
crime such as that of Macbeth, proposes to himself, in 
the result, happiness, which is another word for peace, 
(as the very promptings to the crime disturb his peace,) 
there is something much higher in the sentiment con- 
veyed by the original word than in that of place. In 
the very contemplation of the murder of Banquo, Mac- 
beth is vainly seekins; for peace. Banquo is the object 
that makes him eat his meal in fear, and sleep in ter- 
rible dreams. His death, therefore, is determined; and 
then comes the fearful lesson — 

' Better be with tlie dead, 
AVhom we to gain our peace have sent to peace.' 

There is no peace with the wicked. — Kxight. 

" Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks." 
" An obvious and pervadins source of interest arises 
from that bond of entire affection and confidence which, 
through the whole of this dreadful tissue of crime and 
its consequences, unites Macbeth and his wife ; claim- 
ing from us an involuntary respect and sympathy, and 
shedding a softening influence over the whole tragedy. 
Macbeth leans upon her strensth, trusts in her fidelity, 
and throws himself on her tenderness. She sustains 
him, calms him, soothes him — 

' Come on : 
Gentle, my lord, sleek o'er your nipged looks ; 
Be bright and jovial 'mong your guests to-night.' 

"The endearins epithets, the terms of fondness in 
which he addresses her, and the tone of respect she in- 
variably maintains towards him, even when most exas- 
perated by his vacillation of mind and his brain-sick 
terrors, have, by the very force of contrast, a powerful 
effect on the fancy."— Mks. Jameson. 

"Oh ! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife." 
This expression of tenderness and remorseful confi- 
dence is wonderfully touchincr, amid the darkness of 
Macbeth's recent murder and his meditation of new 
crime. It is one of the traits that mark the distinction 
between his reluctant and remorseful guilt and the 
buovant atrocity of Richard. Coleridsje has admirably 
remarked, that Macbeth has "no reasonings of equivo- 
cal morality, no sophistry of self-delusion. His lan- 
guage is the grave utterance of tlic very heart, con- 
science-sick to the last faintings of moral death." 

« Nature's copy's not eterne."—" Copy" may be here 
taken in its usual sense ; the copy of human nature in 
the individual is not eternal. Yet I think Ritson and 
Johnson are right in understanding it to allude to the 
tenantry by copyhold, which was then so common in 
Endand, as to make the imaje quite as familiar as the 
similar one still is, where Macbeth speaks of livins out 
" the lease of nature." Here his wife says that their 
enemy's tenure, or cop}-, of life, is not perpetual. 

•" The sHAKD-fcornc beetle." — " Shard" is synonymous 

with scale ; and the allusion is to the scaly wings of the 
beetle, which bear him tlirough the air. Such is the 
construction of Stevens, who supports it from Gower's 
" Confessio Jlmaniis .•"' — 

' She sigh, her thought, a dragon thro, 
Whose schcrdes shynen as the sonne.' 

On the other hand, Toilet argues that "shard-borne" 
ought to be printed " shard-iorn," and that the epitliet 
had reference to the dung or shard in which the beetle 
was born. 

"Come, seeling night." — Seeling, blinding. The 
expression is taken from the practice of closing the eye- 
lids of hawks. 

Scene III. 

" Fleance and Servant escape." — " Fleance, afler the 
assassination, fled to Wales, where, by the daughter of 
the prince of that country, he had a son named Walter, 
who became Lord-Steward of Scotland, and thence as- 
sumed the name of Walter Steward (or Stuart.) From 
him, in a direct line, descended James the First of Ens- 
land : in compliment to whom, Shakespeare has chosen 
to describe Banquo, who was equally concerned with 
Macbeth in the murder of Duncan, as innocent of that 
crime." — Malone. 

Such was formerly the received histon,-; but Lord 
Hales, in his acute investigation of early Scotch history, 
has made Banquo, Fleance, and the gold-bound brows 
of their progeny, depart indeed '•' like shadows ;" for he 
has fairly erased them from the ancestr}- of the Stuarts, 
and left them but a shado^^-y existence in the annals of 
I Scotland. 

Scene IV. 
"'Tis better thee without, than he within." 
The proper reading may be "him within." That is, 
I am better pleased that Banquo's blood should be on 
thy face than in his body. Or we may follow the 
present readins, by supposing the latter part of the sen- 
tence to signify " than he in this room." 

" — the feast is sold 
That is not often vouch'd." 
The meaning is, — that which is not given freely and 
cheerfully, cannot properly be called a gift. It is like 
something which we are expected to pay for. 

« Impostors to true fear." — This phrase has embar- 
rassed commentators. Lady Macbeth's meaning here 
is, — '-True fear, the fear arising from real danger, is a 
rational thinsr; but your fears, orisinating solely in 
youi- own fancies, are mere impostors," and 
' — would well become 
A woman's story at a winter's fire, 
Authorized by her grandam.' 

"Ere human statute purg'd the gentle weal." — When 
a senile and peaceful state of society needed not the aid 
of human law. 

« Re-enter Ghost." 

It was the opinion of the late jNIr. B. Strutt that the 
Ghost which entered at this point was that of Duncan, 
and not of Banquo. The folio, 162.3, certainly, does 
not mention whose Ghost made its appearance, but the 
context, referring again to the absence of Banquo, seems 
to warrant the ordinary interpretation. Had it been 
the Ghost of Duncan, the old copies would hardly have 
failed to give us the information. They state, " Enter 
Ghost," having before stated, "Enter the Ghost of 
Banquo." Mr. H. C. Robinson supports Mr. B. Strutt's 
notion by several later portions of the scene, particu- 
larly by the passages, " Thy bones are marrowless," 
"Thou hast no speculation in those eyes," and "Take 
any shape but that ;'' which are supposed to be appli- 
cable to Duncan, who had been long dead, and not to 
Banquo, who had been very recently murdered. This 
opinion seems rather one of those conjectures in which 


original minds indulge, than founded upon a correct 
interpretation of the text. Macbeth would not address 
" And dare me to the desert with thy sword" to the 
shade of the venerable Duncan; and "Thou hast no 
speculation in those eyes," &c., is the appearance that 
eyes would assume just after death. Some have main- 
tained, against the positive evidence of aU the old 
copies, that the first Ghost was that of Duncan, and 
that Banquo afterwards appeared. — Collier. 

"If trembling I inhabit then." — This is the original 
reading of the folios. Pope, not understanding this, from 
want of familiarity with old English literature, changed 
inhabit to inhibit ; and Stevens altered then into thee; 
which Malone approving, became the standard text. 
Home Tooke, in his celebrated " Diversions of Purley," 
after denouncing the general "presumptuous license" 
of the commentators as "risking the loss of Shake- 
speare's genuine text," thus comments on these emen- 
dations : — " But for these commentators one can hardly 
suppose that any reader could have found a difficulty ; 
the original text is so plain, easy, and clear, and so 
much in the author's accustomed manner. ' — dare me 
to the desert with thy sword ; if I inhabit then' — i. e. 
If then I do not meet thee there; if trembling I stay at 
home, or under any roof, or within any habitation : If, 
when you call me to the desert, I then house me, or 
through fear hide myself in any dwelling — 

If trcmliling I do house me then, protest me 
The b;iby of a girl." 

Clear as this is, inhibit has kept its place even in the 
latest editions, except in those of Singer, Knight, and 
CoUier, who have ejected it from their texts. 

" You make me strange 
Even to the disposition that I oice." 
You prove to me that I am a stranger even to my 
own disposition, when I perceive that the verj^ object 
which steals the colour from my cheek, permits it to 
remain in yours. 

"Augurs, and understood relations." — By the word 
"relations," says Johnson, "is understood the connec- 
tion of effects with causes. To understand relations, as 
an augur, is to know how those things relate to each 
other which have no visible combination of depen- 
dence." The word " augurs" in the text, may (ac- 
cording to the suggestion of Mr. Singer) be understood 
in the sense of " auguries." — Illust. Shak. 

" How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person," 
etc. — i. e. What say you to the fact, that Macduff' will 
not come at our command ? This is M. Mason's inter- 
pretation, supported by the reply of Lady Macbeth, 
who had said nothing about the matter, and asks, in 
ignorance, whether Macduff' had been sent to ? Mac- 
beth then proceeds to inform her what he had heard 
" by the way." 

" You lack the season of all natures, sleep." 
Johnson explains this, " You want sleep, which seasons 
or gives the relish to all natures." Indiget somni vitas 
condimenti. So, in All's Well that Ends WeU : " 'Tis the 
best brine a maiden can season her praise in." It has, 
however, been suggested that the meaning is, "You 
stand in need of the time or season of sleep, which all 
natures require." I incline to the last interpretation. — 

" During the supper-scene, in which Macbeth is 
haunted by the spectre of the murdered Banquo, and 
his reason appears unsettled by the extremity of his 
horror and dismay, her indignant rebuke, her low whis- 
pered remonstrance, the sarcastic emphasis with which 
she combats his sick fancies, and endeavours to recall 
him to himself, have an intenseness, a severity, a bit- 
terness, which makes the blood creep. Yet, when the 
guests are dismissed, and they are left alone, she says 
no more, and not a syllable of reproach or scorn escapes 

her ; a few words in submissive reply to his questions, 
and an entreaty to seek repose, are all she permits her- 
self to utter. There is" a touch of pathos and of tender- 
ness in this silence which has always affected me beyond 
expression ; it is one of the most masterly and most 
beautiful traits of character in the whole play." — Mrs. 

Scene V. 

" Upon the corner of the moon 
There hangs a vaporous drop profound." 

This "vaporous drop" seems to be the virus lunare 
of the ancients, being a foam which the moon was 
supposed to shed on particular herbs or other objects, 
when strongly solicited by enchantments. " Profound," 
signifies having deep or secret qualities. — Johnson and 

ACT IV.— Scene I. 

"Enter the three Witches." 
Fuseli, in one of his fragments, remarks that "the 
minute catalogue of the ingredients of this cauldron de- 
stroys the terror attendant on mysterious darkness." 
This is the criticism of a man of genius, but erroneous in 
principle, as he might have learned from his own expe- 
rience ; for it was the cause of the failure of his ownflar- 
ing attempts in art fo reach the sublim'e, that he relied 
upon the indefinite general eff'ect, in utter contempt of 
the truth and eff'ect of the details. The Poet's design is 
just the reverse. The ingredients of this charm, as 
told, all tend to rouse the* tt&ntion by their almost gro- 
tesque strangeness, and their unfitness for any intelli- 
gible purpose, while their agreement with legendary 
belief gives to them somewhat of the effect of truth. 
They are, too, such as excite feelings of natural didike 
or antipathy, yet are so managed as not to produce dis- 
gust. Some of these are of deep horror — as the grease 
from the murderer's gibbet ; but the transient shadow 
of the ludicrous that passes across the mind as oflier 
images are presented, atlds to the wild interest as well 
as to the con^^3ntional truth of witchcraft, in which the 
mind willingly acquiesces. Mere shadowy obscurity 
could produce no similar effect. 

The conformity of the incantation to the old popular 
superstitions of Great Britain is shown in an excellent 
note of Johnson's, of which we subjoin an abiidgment. 

A cat was the usual interlocutor between witches 
and familiar spirits. A witch, who was tried about 
fifty years before the Poet's time, was said to have had 
a cat named Rutterkin ; and when any mischief was 
to be done, she would bid Rutterkin " go and fly." 
The common afllictions attributed to the malice of 
witches, were melancholy, fits, and loss of flesh. They 
were supposed to be very malicious to swine ; one of 
Shakespeare's hags says she has been killing swine ; 
and Dr. Harsnet observes that, in his time, " a sow 
could not be ill of the measles, nor a girl of the sullens, 
but some old woman was charged with witchcraft." 
Toads have long been reproached as the abettors of 
witchcraft. When Vanninus v\-as seized at Toulouse, 
there was found in his lodgings " a great toad, shut in 
a phial ;" upon which, those that persecuted him de- 
nounced him as a wizard. 

The ingredients of Shakespeare's cauldron are se- 
lected according to the formularies prescribed in books 
of magic. Witches were supposed to take up bodies 
to use in enchantments. On this great occasion, the 
circumstances of horror are multiplied. The babe, whose 
finger is used, must be strangled in birth. The grease, 
not only human, but must have dropped from a gibbet, — 
the gibbet of a murderer; even the sow, whose blood 
is used, must have offended nature by devouring her 
own farrow. A passage from Camden expla