by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
75That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
80The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
85And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,
90The fair Ophelia!—Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.
After all, who would put up with all life’s humiliations—the abuse from superiors, the insults of arrogant men, the pangs of unrequited love, the inefficiency of the legal system, the rudeness of people in office, and the mistreatment good people have to take from bad—when you could simply take out your knife and call it quits? Who would choose to grunt and sweat through an exhausting life, unless they were afraid of something dreadful after death, the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns, which we wonder about without getting any answers from and which makes us stick to the evils we know rather than rush off to seek the ones we don’t? Fear of death makes us all cowards, and our natural boldness becomes weak with too much thinking. Actions that should be carried out at once get misdirected, and stop being actions at all. But shh, here comes the beautiful Ophelia. Pretty lady, please remember me when you pray.
Good my lord,
How does your honor for this many a day?
Hello, my lord, how have you been doing lately?
I humbly thank you. Well, well, well.
Very well, thank you. Well, well, well.
95My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longèd long to redeliver.
I pray you now receive them.
My lord, I have some mementos of yours that I’ve been meaning to give back to you for a long time now. Please take them.
No, not I. I never gave you aught.
No, it wasn’t me. I never gave you anything.
My honored lord, you know right well you did,
100And with them, words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost,
My lord, you know very well that you did, and wrote letters to go along with them, letters so sweetly written that they made your gifts even more valuable. Their perfume is gone now, so take them back. Nice gifts lose