Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Oh, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
(sings)
Oh, a pit of dirt is what we need
For a guest like this one here.

HAMLET

I think it be thine, indeed, for thou liest in ’t.

HAMLET

I think it really must be yours, since you’re the one lying in it.

GRAVEDIGGER

You lie out on ’t, sir, and therefore it is not yours. For my part, I do not lie in ’t, and yet it is mine.

GRAVEDIGGER

And you’re lying outside of it, so it’s not yours. As for me, I’m not lying to you in it—it’s really mine.

HAMLET

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.

HAMLET

But you are lying in it, being in it and saying it’s yours. It’s for the dead, not the living. So you’re lying.

GRAVEDIGGER

'Tis a quick lie, sir. 'Twill away gain from me to you.

GRAVEDIGGER

That’s a lively lie, sir—it jumps so fast from me to you.

HAMLET

110What man dost thou dig it for?

HAMLET

What man are you digging it for?

GRAVEDIGGER

For no man, sir.

GRAVEDIGGER

For no man, sir.

HAMLET

What woman, then?

HAMLET

What woman, then?

GRAVEDIGGER

For none, neither.

GRAVEDIGGER

For no woman, either.

HAMLET

Who is to be buried in ’t?

HAMLET

Who’s to be buried in it?

GRAVEDIGGER

115One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she’s dead.

GRAVEDIGGER

One who used to be a woman but—bless her soul—is dead now.

HAMLET

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 a 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?

HAMLET

How literal this guy is! We have to speak precisely, or he’ll get the better of us with his wordplay. Lord, Horatio, I’ve been noticing this for a few years now. The peasants have become so clever and witty that they’re nipping at the heels of noblemen.—How long have you been a gravedigger?

GRAVEDIGGER

Of all the days i' the year, I came to ’t that day that our last
King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

GRAVEDIGGER

Of all the days in the year, I started the day that the late King Hamlet defeated Fortinbras.