Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS
HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS enter.

HAMLET

The air bites shrewdly. It is very cold.

HAMLET

The air is biting cold.

HORATIO

It is a nipping and an eager air.

HORATIO

Yes, it’s definitely nippy.

HAMLET

What hour now?

HAMLET

What time is it?

HORATIO

I think it lacks of twelve.

HORATIO

A little before twelve, I think.

MARCELLUS

5No, it is struck.

MARCELLUS

No, it’s just after twelve; I heard the clock strike.

HORATIO

Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

HORATIO

Really? I didn’t hear it. So it’s nearly the time when the ghost likes to appear.
A flourish of trumpets and two pieces of ordnance goes off
Trumpets play offstage and two cannons are fired.
What does this mean, my lord?
What does that mean, sir?

HAMLET

The king doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
10Keeps wassail and the swaggering upspring reels,
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

HAMLET

The king is staying up all night drinking and dancing. As he guzzles down his German wine, the musicians make a ruckus to celebrate his draining another cup.

HORATIO

Is it a custom?

HORATIO

Is that a tradition?

HAMLET

15Ay, marry, is ’t.
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
20Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.

HAMLET

Yes, it is. But though I was born here and should consider that tradition part of my own heritage, I think it would be better to ignore it than practice it. Other countries criticize us for our loud partying.