Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LAERTES

A document in madness. Thoughts and remembrance fitted.

LAERTES

A case study in madness, to connect memory and thought.

OPHELIA

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.—Oh, you must wear your rue with a difference.—There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say he made a good end (sings) For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy

OPHELIA

(to GERTRUDE ) Here are fennel and columbines for you—they symbolize adultery. (to CLAUDIUS) And here’s rue for you—it symbolizes repentance. We can call it the merciful Sunday flower. You should wear it for a different reason. And here’s a daisy, for unhappy love. I’d give you some violets, flowers of faithfulness, but they all dried up when my father died. They say he looked good when he died. (sings) For good sweet Robin is all my joy.

LAERTES

Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favor and to prettiness.

LAERTES

Sadness and torment, suffering, hell itself—she makes them almost pretty.

OPHELIA

160 (sings)
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
  No, no, he is dead,
  Go to thy deathbed.
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll.
  He is gone, he is gone,
  And we cast away moan,
God ha' mercy on his soul.—
And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.

OPHELIA

(sings)
And won’t he come again?
And won’t he come again?
  No, no, he’s dead.
  Go to your deathbed.
He’ll never come again.
His beard was white as snow,
His hair was all white too.
  He’s gone, he’s gone,
  And we moan as we’re cast away.
God have mercy on his soul.
And on the souls of all good Christians, I hope. Goodbye, God be with you.
Exit OPHELIA
OPHELIA exits.

LAERTES

Do you see this, O God?

LAERTES

Do you see this, oh, God?

CLAUDIUS

Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
165Make 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 touched, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we can ours,
170To you in satisfaction. But if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labor with your soul
To give it due content.

CLAUDIUS

Laertes, I have a right to share your grief. Go choose your wisest friends, and have them listen to both of us and decide which of us is right. If directly or indirectly they find me implicated in your father’s murder, I’ll give up my kingdom, my crown, my life, and everything I call my own to you as restitution. But if they find me innocent, then be patient and I’ll work to satisfy to the fullest extent your deepest need for revenge.