Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

HAMLET

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.

HAMLET

Oh God—who is, by the way, the best comic of them all. What can you do but be happy? Look how cheerful my mother is, only two hours after my father died.

OPHELIA

Nay, ’tis twice two months, my lord.

OPHELIA

No, my lord, it’s been four months.

HAMLET

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, oh, for, oh, the hobby-horse is forgot.”

HAMLET

As long as that? Well, in that case these mourning clothes can go to hell. I’ll get myself a fur-trimmed suit. Good heavens, he died two months ago and hasn’t been forgotten yet? In that case, there’s reason to hope a man’s memory may outlive him by six months. But he’s got to build churches for that to happen, my lady, or else he’ll have to put up with being forgotten, like the hobby-horse in the popular song that goes, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, the hobby-horse is forgotten.”
125 Trumpets sound. The dumb show begins
Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly, the Queen embracing him and he her. She kneels and makes show of protestation 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, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the King’s ears, and exits. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts. She seems loath and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love
Trumpets play. The pantomime show begins. A king and queen enter and embrace lovingly. She kneels before him and resists his passion. He lifts her up and lays his head on her neck. He lies down on a bank of flowers. When she sees him sleeping, she leaves. Another man comes in, takes the crown from the king, pours poison in the sleeping man’s ear, and leaves. The queen returns and finds the king dead. She becomes hysterical. The killer comes back with three others and calms the queen. The body is carried away. The killer woos the queen with gifts. She is cold toward him for a while but then relents and accepts his advances.
Exeunt PLAYERS
The PLAYERS exit.

OPHELIA

What means this, my lord?

OPHELIA

What does this mean, my lord?

HAMLET

Marry, this is miching malhecho. It means mischief.

HAMLET

This means we’re having some mischievous fun.