Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

CLAUDIUS

As of a man faithful and honorable.

CLAUDIUS

I know you are loyal and honorable.

POLONIUS

I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing—
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
125Before my daughter told me—what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
If I had played the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or looked upon this love with idle sight?
130What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
“Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.
This must not be.” And then I prescripts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
135Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repelled—a short tale to make—
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
140Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves
And all we mourn for.

POLONIUS

I would like to prove to you that I am. But what would you have thought of me if I had kept quiet when I found out about this hot little love (which I noticed even before my daughter told me about it)? My dear queen, what would you have thought of me if I had turned a blind eye to what was happening between Hamlet and my daughter? No, I had to do something. And so I said to my daughter: “Lord Hamlet is a prince, he’s out of your league. You have to end this.” And then I gave her orders to stay away from him, and not to accept any messages or little gifts from him. She did what I said. When she rejected Hamlet, he became sad, and stopped eating, stopped sleeping, got weak, got dizzy, and as a result lost his mind. And that’s why he’s crazy now, and all of us feel sorry for him.

CLAUDIUS

(to GERTRUDE ) Do you think ’tis this?

CLAUDIUS

(to GERTRUDE) Do you think that’s why Hamlet’s crazy?

GERTRUDE

    It may be, very like.

GERTRUDE

It may be, it certainly may be.

POLONIUS

Hath there been such a time—I would fain know that—
145That I have positively said, “'Tis so,”
When it proved otherwise?

POLONIUS

Has there ever been a time—I’d really like to know—when I’ve definitely said something was true, and it turned out not to be true?

CLAUDIUS

    Not that I know.

CLAUDIUS

Not that I know of.