Hamlet: Act IV, Scene iv: Second Quarto


Hamlet         Act 4, Scene 4.      Hamlet

Interestingly, this monologue is not contained in the First Folio or the First Quarto.  It appears in the Second Quarto and is usually included in modern productions and texts.

(This text is featured in our interviews with Eric Tucker and David Carl)

Click here for a modern version

Click here for a Scanned Version

26.  How all occasions doe informe against me,
27.  And spur my dull reuenge. What is a man
28.  If his chiefe good and market of his time
29.  Be but to sleepe and feede, a beast, no more:
30.  Sure he that made vs with such large discourse
31.  Looking before and after, gaue vs not
32.  That capabilitie and god-like reason
33.  To fust in vs vnvsd, now whether it be
34.  Bestiall obliuion, or some crauen scruple
35.  Of thinking too precisely on th’euent,
36.  A thought which quarterd hath but one part wisedom,
37.  And euer three parts coward, I doe not know
38.  Why yet I liue to say this thing’s to doe,
39.  Sith I haue cause, and will, and strength, and meanes
40.  To doo’t; examples grosse as earth exhort me,
41.  Witnes this Army of such masse and charge,
42.  Led by a delicate and tender Prince,
43.  Whose spirit with diuine ambition puft,
44.  Makes mouthes at the invisible euent,
45.  Exposing what is mortall, and vnsure,
46.  To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
47.  Euen for an Egge-shell. Rightly to be great,
48.  Is not to stirre without great argument,
49.  But greatly to find quarrell in a straw
50.  When honour’s at the stake, how stand I then
51.  That haue a father kild, a mother staind,
52.  Excytements of my reason, and my blood,
53.  And let all sleepe, while to my shame I see
54.  The iminent death of twenty thousand men,
55.  That for a fantasie and tricke of fame
56.  Goe to their graues like beds, fight for a plot
57.  Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
58.  Which is not tombe enough and continent
60.  My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth

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