Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

GRAVEDIGGER

20Ay, marry, is ’t. Crowner’s quest law.

GRAVEDIGGER

It sure is. The coroner’s inquest law.

OTHER

Will you ha' the truth on ’t? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.

OTHER

Do you want to know the truth? If this woman hadn’t been rich, she wouldn’t have been given a Christian burial.

GRAVEDIGGER

Why, there thou sayst. And the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They hold up Adam’s profession.

GRAVEDIGGER

Well there, now you’ve said it. It’s a pity that the rich have more freedom to hang or drown themselves than the rest of us Christians. Come on, shovel. The most ancient aristocrats in the world are gardeners, ditch-diggers, and gravediggers. They keep up Adam’s profession.

OTHER

30Was he a gentleman?

OTHER

Was he an aristocrat? With a coat of arms?

GRAVEDIGGER

He was the first that ever bore arms.

GRAVEDIGGER

He was the first person who ever had arms.

OTHER

Why, he had none.

OTHER

He didn’t have any.

GRAVEDIGGER

What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand 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—

GRAVEDIGGER

What, aren’t you a Christian? The Bible says Adam dug in the ground. How could he dig without arms? I’ll ask you another question. If you can’t answer it—

OTHER

Go to.

OTHER

Go ahead!

GRAVEDIGGER

What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

GRAVEDIGGER

What do you call a person who builds stronger things than a stonemason, a shipbuilder, or a carpenter does?

OTHER

The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

OTHER

The one who builds the gallows to hang people on, since his structure outlives a thousand inhabitants.

GRAVEDIGGER

I like thy wit well, in good faith. The gallows does well, but how does it well? It does well to those that do ill.

GRAVEDIGGER

You’re funny, and I like that. The gallows do a good job. But how? It does a good job for those who do bad.