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Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his business? he sings at grave-making.
Hor. Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
Ham. 'Tis e'en so; the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense. 1 Clo. But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
[Throws up a skull. Ham. That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing
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'erreaches;? one that would circumvent God, might it not?
Hor. It might, my lord.
Ham. Or of a courtier; which could say, Goodmorrow, sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord? This might be my lord such-a-one, that praised my lord such-a-one's horse, when he meant to beg it; might it not?
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
the grave-digger's breath at each stroke of the mattock. The original runs thus :
“ I lothe that I did love;
In youth that I thought swete:
Methinks they are not mete.
“ For nge with stealing steps
Hath claude me with his crouch;
As there had bene none such."
breeding, but to play at loggats? with them? mine
For—and a shrouding sheet,
[Throws up a 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 suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce : with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? Humph! This fellow might be in's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries,* to have his fine pate full of fine dirt ? will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures ? The very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more? ha?
Hor. Not a jot more, my lord.
Ham. They are sheep, and calves, which seek out
O, a pit of clay for to be made [Sings.
For such a guest is meet.
1 Loggats, small logs or pieces of wood. Hence loggets was the name of an ancient rustic game, in which a stake was fixed in the ground, at which loggats were thrown.
2 Quiddits are quirks, or subtle questions; and quillets are nice and frivolous distinctions. The quarto of 1603 has quirks instead of quiddits
3 i, e. head.
4 « Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries,” omitted in the quarto.
5 Deeds (of parchment) are called the common assurances of the realm
Ham. I think it be thine, indeed, for thou liest in't.
1 Clo. You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours; for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.
Ham. Thou dost lie in't, to be in't, and say it is thine. 'Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
1 Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.
Ham. What man dost thou dig it for ?
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 Fortinbras.
Ham. How long's that since ?
1 Clo. Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was that very day young Hamlet was born ;' he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England ?
1 “To speak by the card," is to speak precisely. It is a metaphor from the seaman's card or chart.
2 Seven, quarto 1603.
4 “ Look you, here's a skull hath been here this dozen year, let me see, ay, ever since our last king Hamlet slew Fortenbrasse in combat: young Hamlet's father, he that's mad.” Quarto of 1603. It will be seen that the Poet places this event thirty years ago in the present copy. See the next note by sir William Blackstone.
5 “ By this scene, it appears that Hamlet was then thirty years old, and knew Yorick well, who had been dead twenty-three years. And yet in the beginning of the play he is spoken of as a very young man, one that designed to go back to school, i. e. to the university of Wittenberg The Poet in the fifth act had forgot what he wrote in the first."— Blackstone.
1 Clo. Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.
1 Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
Ham. How came he mad ?
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 scarce will 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 hath lain you i’ the earth three-andtwenty 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, he poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester. Ham. This?
[Takes ihe skull. 1 Clo. E'en that.
Ham. Alas, poor Yorick !-I knew him, Horatio ; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips, that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now ? your gambols ? your songs ? your flashes of merriment, that were wont
to set the table on a roar ? Not one now, to mock your own grinning?' quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor 3 she must come; make her laugh at that.—'Prythee, 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.
[Throws down the skull. Hor. E'en so, my lord.
Ham. To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bunghole ?
Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to con
Ham. No, 'faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likeKhood to lead it: As thus; Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam: And why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel ?
Imperious 4 Cæsar, dead, and turned to clay,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw !5
Enter Priests, fc. in procession ; the corpse of
Ophelia, LAERTES, and Mourners following; King,
Queen, their Trains, foc. The queen, the courtiers! Who is this they follow, And with such maimed rites ? This doth betoken, The corse, they follow, did with desperate hand