Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 1

HAMLET.
Ay, marry, why was be sent into England?

1 CLOWN.
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there;
or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.

HAMLET.
Why?

1 CLOWN.
'Twill not he seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

HAMLET.
How came he mad?

1 CLOWN.
Very strangely, they say.

HAMLET.
How strangely?

1 CLOWN.
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

HAMLET.
Upon what ground?

1 CLOWN.
Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man and boy,
thirty years.

HAMLET.
How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?

1 CLOWN.
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.

HAMLET.
Why he more than another?

1 CLOWN.
Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd 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
in the earth three-and-twenty years.

HAMLET.
Whose was it?

1 CLOWN.
A whoreson, mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

HAMLET.
Nay, I know not.

1 CLOWN.
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'a pour'd a flagon of
Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's
skull, the king's jester.

HAMLET.
This?

1 CLOWN.
E'en that.

HAMLET.
Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Yorick! — I knew him,
Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he
hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred
in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those
lips that I have kiss'd 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
favour she must come; make her laugh at that. — Pr'ythee, Horatio,
tell me one thing.

HORATIO.
What's that, my lord?

HAMLET.
Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' the earth?

HORATIO.
E'en so.

Continued on next page...

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