by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other.
You do remember all the circumstance?
That’s enough about that. Now I’ll tell you the other story about my journey. Do you remember the circumstances?
Remember it, my lord?
How could I forget, my lord!
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
5That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly—
And praised be rashness for it: let us know
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well
When our deep plots do pall, and that should teach us
10There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will—
There was a kind of war in my brain that wouldn’t let me sleep. It was worse than being a captive in chains. Sometimes it’s good to be rash—sometimes it works out well to act impulsively when our careful plans lose steam. This should show us that there’s a God in heaven who’s always guiding us in the right direction, however often we screw up—
That is most certain.
Well, of course.
Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark
15Groped I to find out them, had my desire,
Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again, making so bold
(My fears forgetting manners) to unseal
Their grand commission, where I found, Horatio—
20O royal knavery!—an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reasons
Importing Denmark’s health, and England’s too,
With—ho!—such bugs and goblins in my life
That, on the supervise (no leisure bated,
25No, not to stay the grinding of the ax)
My head should be struck off.
So I came up from my cabin with my robe tied around me, groped in the dark to find what I was looking for, found it, looked through their packet of papers, and returned to my cabin again. I was bold enough (I guess my fears made me forget my manners) to open the document containing the king’s instructions. And there I found, Horatio, such royal mischief—a precisely worded order, sugared with lots of talk about Denmark’s well-being and England’s too, to cut off my head, without even waiting to sharpen the ax.