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The GRAVEDIGGER digs and sings.

In youth when I did love, did love,

Methought, it was very sweet,
To contract, 0, the time, for, ah, my behove,

O, methought, there was nothing meet.

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

Hor. Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

Ham. 'Tis e'en so : the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.


But age, with his stealing steps,

Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
And hath shipp'd me into the land,
As if I had never been such.

[Throws up a Scull.

Ham. That scull had a tongue in it, and could sing, once: How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder ! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now over-reaches; one that would circumvent Heaven, might it not? [The GRAVE DIGGER throws ир

Bones. Hor. It might, my lord.

Ham. Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with them? mine ache to think on't.


A pick-are and a spade, a spade,

For-and a shrowding sheet ; 0, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet.

[Throws up another Scull.

Ham. There's another: Why may not that be the scull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery ?-I will speak to this fellow : -Whose grave's this, sirrah?

Graved. Mine, sir,

0, a pit of clay for to be made

For such a guest is meet.

Ham. I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in it.

Graved. You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is


Ham. Thou dos't lie in't, to be in't, and say, it is thine: 'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

Graved, 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.

Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?
Graved. For no man, sir.

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Ham. What woman then ?
Graved. For none neither.
Ham. Who is to be buried in't ?

Graved. One, that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul! she's dead.

Ham. How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. -How long hast thou been a grave-maker ? Graved. Of all

the days i' the year, I came to't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

Ham. How long is that since ?
Graved. Cannot

tell that?


fool can tell that: It was that very day, that young Hamlet was born: he that is mad, and sent into England. : Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England ? ...Graved. Why, because he was mad : he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.

Ham. Why?

Graved. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham. How came he mad? Graded. Very strangely, they say. Ham. How strangely? · Graved. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits. .:: Ham. Upon what ground?

Graced. Why, here in Denmark :- I have been sexton here, man, and boy, thirty years.

Ham. How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?

Gravd. 'Faith, if he be not rotten before he die, he will last you some eight year, or nine year: a tanner will last you


year, ... Ham. Why he more than another?

Graved. Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead

body. Here's a scull now has lain you i' the earth three and twenty years.

Ham. Whose was it?

Graved. A whoreson mad fellow's it was : -Whose do 'you think it was?

Ham. Nay, I know not.

Graved. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he pour'd a flaggon of Rhenish on my head once. This same scull, sir, was Yorick's scull, the king's jester. Ham. This?

[Taking the Scull. Graved. E'en that.

Ham. Alas, poor Yorick !—I knew him, Horatio ; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times: here hung those lips, that I have kiss'd I know not how oft; and now, how abhorr’d in my imagination it is! Where be your gibes now ? your gambols ? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar ? not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap fall’n? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.-'Pr’ythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Hor. What's that, my lord ?

Ham. Dost thou think, Alexander look'd o' this fashion i' the earth ?

Hor. E'en so. Ham. And smelt so ? pah! Hor. E'en so, my lord. Ham. To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bung hole?

Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider

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Ham. No, 'faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead

it: As thus; Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam: And why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beerbarrel ? Imperious Cæsar, dead, and turn'd to clay, Might stop a hole, to keep the wind away : O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!

[A Bell tolls. But soft! but soft!

-Aside; here comes the king, The queen, the courtiers :—Who is this they fol

And with such maimed rites!—This doth betoken,
The corse, they follow, did with desperate hand
Fordo its own life. 'Twas of some estate ;
Couch we a while, and mark.

[Retiring with Horar10.Bell tolls.



Bell tolls.

Laer. What ceremony else?

Ham. That is Laertes,
A very noble youth.

Laer. What ceremony else?
Friar. Her obsequies have been as far cnlarg’d

have warranty: Her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg’d
Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles, should be thrown on


As we

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