Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LORD

My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings back to him that you attend him in the hall. He sends to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time.

LORD

My lord, Osric has told the king about your agreeing to the fencing match. The king wishes to know if you want to play against him right away, or wait awhile.

HAMLET

I am constant to my purpose. They follow the king’s pleasure. If his fitness speaks, mine is ready, now or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.

HAMLET

I’ll do whatever the king wants. If he’s ready now, so am I. Otherwise, I’ll do it anytime, as long as I’m able.

LORD

The king and queen and all are coming down.

LORD

The king and queen are coming down with everyone else.

HAMLET

In happy time.

HAMLET

Right on cue.

LORD

The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to
Laertes before you fall to play.

LORD

The queen wants you to chat with Laertes—politely—before you begin your match.
Exit LORD
The LORD exits.

HAMLET

195She well instructs me.

HAMLET

She’s full of good advice.

HORATIO

You will lose this wager, my lord.

HORATIO

You’re going to lose this bet, my lord.

HAMLET

I do not think so. Since he went into France, I have been in continual practice. I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart. But it is no matter.

HAMLET

I don’t think so. I’ve been practicing fencing constantly since he went off to France. With the handicap they’ve given me, I think I’ll win. But I have a sinking feeling anyway. Oh well.

HORATIO

Nay, good my lord—

HORATIO

Wait, my lord—

HAMLET

It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of gain-giving as would perhaps trouble a woman.

HAMLET

I know I’m being foolish, but I have the kind of vague misgiving women often get.