Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

GRAVEDIGGER
20Ay, marry, is ’t. Crowner’s quest law.
GRAVEDIGGER
It sure is. The coroner’s inquest law.
OTHER
Will you ha' the truth on ’t? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.
OTHER
Do you want to know the truth? If this woman hadn’t been rich, she wouldn’t have been given a Christian burial.
GRAVEDIGGER
Why, there thou sayst. And the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentleman but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They hold up Adam’s profession.
GRAVEDIGGER
Well there, now you’ve said it. It’s a pity that the rich have more freedom to hang or drown themselves than the rest of us Christians. Come on, shovel. The most ancient aristocrats in the world are gardeners, ditch-diggers, and gravediggers. They keep up Adam’s profession.
OTHER
30Was he a gentleman?
OTHER
Was he an aristocrat? With a coat of arms?
GRAVEDIGGER
He was the first that ever bore arms.
GRAVEDIGGER
He was the first person who ever had arms.
OTHER
Why, he had none.
OTHER
He didn’t have any.
GRAVEDIGGER
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture? The Scripture says Adam digged. Could he dig without arms? I’ll put another question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself—
GRAVEDIGGER
What, aren’t you a Christian? The Bible says Adam dug in the ground. How could he dig without arms? I’ll ask you another question. If you can’t answer it—
OTHER
Go to.
OTHER
Go ahead!
GRAVEDIGGER
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
GRAVEDIGGER
What do you call a person who builds stronger things than a stonemason, a shipbuilder, or a carpenter does?
OTHER
The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.
OTHER
The one who builds the gallows to hang people on, since his structure outlives a thousand inhabitants.
GRAVEDIGGER
I like thy wit well, in good faith. The gallows does well, but how does it well? It does well to those that do ill.
GRAVEDIGGER
You’re funny, and I like that. The gallows do a good job. But how? It does a good job for those who do bad.