Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

HAMLET

How is it with you, lady?

HAMLET

How are you doing, madam?

GERTRUDE

    Alas, how is ’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th' incorporal air do hold discourse?
120Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th' alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
125Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?

GERTRUDE

And how are you doing, staring into the empty air and talking to nobody? Your eyes give away your wild thoughts, and your hair is standing upright, like soldiers during a call to arms. Oh my dear son, calm yourself and cool off your overheated mind! What are you staring at?

HAMLET

On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable.
(to GHOST) Do not look upon me,
130Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects. Then what I have to do
Will want true color—tears perchance for blood.

HAMLET

At him, at him! Look how pale he is and how he glares at me. Preaching even at stones, he could get them to act. (to the GHOST) Don’t look at me like that, unless you want me to cry instead of kill.

GERTRUDE

To whom do you speak this?

GERTRUDE

Who are you talking to?

HAMLET

    Do you see nothing there?

HAMLET

You don’t see anything?

GERTRUDE

Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

GERTRUDE

Nothing at all, but I can see everything that’s here.

HAMLET

135Nor did you nothing hear?

HAMLET

And you don’t hear anything?

GERTRUDE

    No, nothing but ourselves.

GERTRUDE

No, nothing but us talking.

HAMLET

Why, look you there! Look how it steals away—
My father, in his habit as he lived—
Look where he goes, even now, out at the portal!

HAMLET

Look, look how it’s sneaking away! My father, dressed just like he was when he was alive!
Look, he’s going out the door right now!
Exit GHOST
The GHOST exits.