Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

HAMLET

How long is that since?

HAMLET

How long ago was that?

GRAVEDIGGER

Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was the very day that young Hamlet was born, he that is mad and sent into England.

GRAVEDIGGER

You don’t know that? Any fool could tell you, it was the day that young Hamlet was born—the one who went crazy and got sent off to England.

HAMLET

Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

HAMLET

Why was he sent to England?

GRAVEDIGGER

Why, because he was mad. He shall recover his wits there, or, if he do not, it’s no great matter there.

GRAVEDIGGER

Because he was crazy. He’ll recover his sanity there. Or if he doesn’t, it won’t matter in England.

HAMLET

Why?

HAMLET

Why not?

GRAVEDIGGER

'Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.

GRAVEDIGGER

Because nobody will notice he’s crazy. Everyone there is as crazy as he is.

HAMLET

How came he mad?

HAMLET

How did he go crazy?

GRAVEDIGGER

135Very strangely, they say.

GRAVEDIGGER

In a strange way, they say.

HAMLET

How “strangely”?

HAMLET

What do you mean, “in a strange way”?

GRAVEDIGGER

Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

GRAVEDIGGER

By losing his mind.

HAMLET

Upon what ground?

HAMLET

On what grounds?

GRAVEDIGGER

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

GRAVEDIGGER

Right here in Denmark. I’ve been the church warden here for thirty years, since childhood.

HAMLET

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

HAMLET

How long will a man lie in his grave before he starts to rot?