The libretto




My necessaries are embark'd: farewell:
And, sister, as the winds give benefit
And convoy is assistant, do not sleep,
But let me hear from you.

Do you doubt that?

For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.

No more but so?

Think it no more;
For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will: but you must fear,
His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The sanctity and health of this whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,
It fits your wisdom so far to believe it
As he in his particular act and place
May give his saying deed; which is no further
Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.

I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.

O, fear me not.
I stay too long: but here my father comes.


Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

(POLONIUS & LAERTES sing simultaniously)

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.





Farewell, my blessing be with thee!

Farewell, Ophelia; and remember well
What I have said to you.

'Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.



What is't, Ophelia, be hath said to you?

So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.

Marry, well bethought:
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you;

He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.

Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl...

Enter Hamlet

O, that this too too solud flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a due;
Or that the Everlasting had not fix´d
His canon ´gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
He weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
Seam to me all the duties of this world.
Fie on´t! O fie! ´tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; thig ran and gross in nature
Posses it merely. That it should come to this!

For Hamlet the Prince,
Believe so much in him, that he is young
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you: in few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile.
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you: come your ways.

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O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!

With what, i' the name of God?

My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.

Mad for thy love?

My lord, I do not know;
But truly, I do fear it.

What said he?

He took me by the wrist and held me hard;
Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being: that done, he lets me go:
And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their helps,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.

Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?

No, my good lord, but, as you did command,
I did repel his fetters and denied
His access to me.

That hath made him mad.

I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:


This must be known; which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.


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How does your honour for this many a day?

I humbly thank you; well, well, well.

My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them.

No, not I;
I never gave you aught.

My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord... There, my lord... There, my lord...

Ha, ha! are you honest?

My lord?

Are you fair?

What means your lordship?

That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.

Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform
honesty from what it is to a bawd
than the force of honesty can translate
beauty into his likeness: this was sometime a paradox,
but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

You should not have believed me: I loved you not.

I was the more deceived.

Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?
I am myself indifferent honest;
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better
my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious,
with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in.
What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven?
We are arrant knaves, believe none of us.
Go thy ways to a nunnery, go to a nunnery, go to a nunnery.

O, help him, you sweet heavens!
O heavenly powers, restore him!
(Music pause)

Where's your father?

At home, my lord.

Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play
the fool no where but in's own house.
(OPHELIA & HAMLET sing simultaniously)

O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!

If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague
for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.
Get thee to a nunnery, go: farewell.
Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool;
for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.

And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

I have heard of your paintings too, well
enough; God has given you one face, and you
make yourselves another: you jig, you amble,
and you lisp, and nick-name God's creatures,
and make your wantonness your ignorance.
Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad.
To a nunnery, go.
To a nunnery, go.


Musical pause. "March"

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How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.

They say the owl was a baker's daughter.
Lord, we know what we are,
but know not what we may be.
God be at your table!


White his shroud as the mountain snow,--
Larded with sweet flowers
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.

Pray you, let's have no words of this;
but when they ask you what it means,
say you this:


To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day.

Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,

Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:


By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.


Keep the door. O thou vile king,
Give me my father! Give me my father! o give me my father...
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.

(OPHELIA & LAERTES sing simultaniously)

Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.

How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence

O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as moral as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
Fare you well, my dove!

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.

You must sing a-down a-down,
An you call him a-down-a.
O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
steward, that stole his master's daughter.

This nothing's more than matter.

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for

A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.

There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--


For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.


And will he not come again?

And will he not come again?

No, no, he is dead:

Go to thy death-bed:

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,

All flaxen was his poll:

He is gone, he is gone,

And we cast away moan:

God ha' mercy on his soul!

And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.

And will he not come again?

And will he not come again?

No, no, he is dead:

Go to thy death-bed:

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,

All flaxen was his poll:

He is gone, he is gone,

And we cast away moan:

God ha' mercy on his soul!


And will he not come again?

And will he not come again?

No, no, he is dead:

Go to thy death-bed:

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,

All flaxen was his poll:

He is gone, he is gone,

And we cast away moan:

God ha' mercy on his soul!

And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.

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Scene 1 Hamlet Act 1 Sc. 2

Scene 2 Hamlet Act 2 Sc. 1

Scene 3 Hamlet Act 3 Sc. 1

Scene 4 Hamlet Act 4 Sc. 5

last updated June 23, 2004

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