Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 3

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Now thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church. Argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To ’t again, come.
Now, it’s wrong to say that the gallows are stronger than a church. Therefore, the gallows may do you some good. Come on, your turn.

OTHER

“Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?”

OTHER

Let’s see, “Who builds stronger things than a stonemason, a shipbuilder, or a carpenter?”

GRAVEDIGGER

Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

GRAVEDIGGER

That’s the question, so answer it.

OTHER

Marry, now I can tell.

OTHER

Ah, I’ve got it!

GRAVEDIGGER

50To ’t.

GRAVEDIGGER

Go ahead.

OTHER

Mass, I cannot tell.

OTHER

Damn, I forgot.
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO afar off
HAMLET and HORATIO enter in the distance.

GRAVEDIGGER

Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating. And when you are asked this question next, say “A grave-maker.” The houses that he makes last till doomsday. Go, get thee in. Fetch me a stoup of liquor.

GRAVEDIGGER

Don’t beat your brains out over it. You can’t make a slow donkey run by beating it. The next time someone asks you this riddle, say “a gravedigger.” The houses he makes last till Judgment Day. Now go and get me some booze.
Exit OTHER
The OTHER GRAVEDIGGER exits.
(digs and sings)
In youth when I did love, did love,
  Methought it was very sweet
To contract–o–the time, for–a–my behove,
  Oh, methought, there–a–was nothing–a–meet.
(the GRAVEDIGGER digs and sings)
In my youth I loved, I loved,
  And I thought it was very sweet
To set—ohh—the date for—ahh—my duty
  Oh, I thought it—ahh—was not right.

HAMLET

Has this fellow no feeling of his business? He sings at grave- making.

HAMLET

Doesn’t this guy realize what he’s doing? He’s singing while digging a grave.