Hamlet is in Shakespeare's Plays.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 13 February 1661. 13 Feb 1661. At the office all the morning; dined at home, and poor Mr. Wood with me, who after dinner would have borrowed money of me, but I would lend none. Then to Whitehall by coach with Sir W. Pen (39), where we did very little business, and so back to Mr. Rawlinson's, where I took him and gave him a cup of wine, he having formerly known Mr. Rawlinson, and here I met my uncle Wight, and he drank with us, and with him to Sir W. Batten's (60), whither I sent for my wife, and we chose Valentines' against to-morrow1, my wife chose me, which did much please me; my Lady Batten Sir W. Pen (39), &c. Here we sat late, and so home to bed, having got my Lady Batten to give me a spoonful of honey for my cold.
Note 1. The observation of St. Valentine's day is very ancient in this country. Shakespeare makes Ophelia sing "To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window To be your Valentine". Hamlet, act iv. sc. 5.—M. B.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 24 August 1661. 24 Aug 1661. At the office all the morning and did business; by and by we are called to Sir W. Batten's (60) to see the strange creature that Captain Holmes hath brought with him from Guiny; it is a great baboon, but so much like a man in most things, that though they say there is a species of them, yet I cannot believe but that it is a monster got of a man and she-baboon. I do believe that it already understands much English, and I am of the mind it might be taught to speak or make signs.
Hence the Comptroller (50) and I to Sir Rd. Ford's and viewed the house again, and are come to a complete end with him to give him £200 per an. for it.
Home and there met Capt. Isham (68) inquiring for me to take his leave of me, he being upon his voyage to Portugal, and for my letters to my Lord which are not ready. But I took him to the Mitre and gave him a glass of sack, and so adieu, and then straight to the Opera, and there saw "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", done with scenes very well, but above all, Betterton (26)1 did the prince's part beyond imagination. Hence homeward, and met with Mr. Spong and took him to the Sampson in Paul's churchyard, and there staid till late, and it rained hard, so we were fain to get home wet, and so to bed.
Note 1. Sir William Davenant (55) introduced the use of scenery. The character of Hamlet was one of Betterton's (26) masterpieces. Downes tells us that he was taught by Davenant (55) how the part was acted by Taylor of the Blackfriars, who was instructed by Shakespeare himself.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 27 November 1661. 27 Nov 1661. This morning our maid Dorothy and my wife parted, which though she be a wench for her tongue not to be borne with, yet I was loth to part with her, but I took my leave kindly of her and went out to Savill's (52), the painter, and there sat the first time for my face with him; thence to dinner with my Lady; and so after an hour or two's talk in divinity with my Lady, Captain Ferrers and Mr. Moore and I to the Theatre, and there saw "Hamlett" very well done, and so I home, and found that my wife had been with my aunt Wight and Ferrers to wait on my Lady to-day this afternoon, and there danced and were very merry, and my Lady very fond as she is always of my wife. So to bed.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 05 December 1661. 05 Dec 1661. This morning I went early to the Paynter's (52) and there sat for my picture the fourth time, but it do not yet please me, which do much trouble me. !Thence to the Treasury Office, where I found Sir W. Batten (60) come before me, and there we sat to pay off the St. George.
By and by came Sir W. Pen (40), and he and I staid while Sir W. Batten (60) went home to dinner, and then he came again, and Sir W. Pen (40) and I went and dined at my house, and had two mince pies sent thither by our order from the messenger Slater, that had dressed some victuals for us, and so we were very merry, and after dinner rode out in his coach, he to Whitehall, and my wife and I to the Opera, and saw "Hamlett" well performed. Thence to the Temple and Mrs. Turner's (38) (who continues still very ill), and so home and to bed.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 28 May 1663. 28 May 1663. Up this morning, and my wife, I know not for what cause, being against going to Chelsey to-day, it being a holy day (Ascension Day) and I at leisure, it being the first holy day almost that we have observed ever since we came to the office, we did give Ashwell leave to go by herself, and I out to several places about business. Among others to Dr. Williams, to reckon with him for physique that my wife has had for a year or two, coming to almost £4.
Then to the Exchange, where I hear that the King (32) had letters yesterday from France that the King (24) there is in a [way] of living again, which I am glad to hear. At the coffee-house in Exchange Alley I bought a little book, "Counsell to Builders", by Sir Balth. Gerbier. It is dedicated almost to all the men of any great condition in England, so that the Epistles are more than the book itself, and both it and them not worth a turd, that I am ashamed that I bought it.
Home and there found Creed, who dined with us, and after dinner by water to the Royall Theatre; but that was so full they told us we could have no room.
And so to the Duke's house; and there saw "Hamlett" done, giving us fresh reason never to think enough of Betterton (27). Who should we see come upon the stage but Gosnell, my wife's maid? but neither spoke, danced, nor sung; which I was sorry for. But she becomes the stage very well.
Thence by water home, after we had walked to and fro, backwards and forwards, six or seven times in the Temple walks, disputing whether to go by land or water. By land home, and thence by water to Halfway House, and there eat some supper we carried with us, and so walked home again, it being late we were forced to land at the dock, my wife and they, but I in a humour not willing to daub my shoes went round by the Custom House.
So home, and by and by to bed, Creed lying with me in the red chamber all night.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 25 March 1664. 25 Mar 1664. Lady-day. Up and by water to White Hall, and there to chappell; where it was most infinite full to hear Dr. Critton (71). Being not knowne, some great persons in the pew I pretended to, and went in, did question my coming in. I told them my pretence; so they turned to the orders of the chappell, which hung behind upon the wall, and read it; and were satisfied; but they did not demand whether I was in waiting or no; and so I was in some fear lest he that was in waiting might come and betray me. The Doctor (71) preached upon the thirty-first of Jeremy, and the twenty-first and twenty-second verses, about a woman compassing a man; meaning the Virgin conceiving and bearing our Saviour. It was the worst sermon I ever heard him make, I must confess; and yet it was good, and in two places very bitter, advising the King (33) to do as the Emperor Severus did, to hang up a Presbyter John (a short coat and a long gowne interchangeably) in all the Courts of England. But the story of Severus was pretty, that he hanged up forty senators before the Senate house, and then made a speech presently to the Senate in praise of his owne lenity; and then decreed that never any senator after that time should suffer in the same manner without consent of the Senate: which he compared to the proceeding of the Long Parliament against my Lord Strafford. He said the greatest part of the lay magistrates in England were Puritans, and would not do justice; and the Bishopps, their powers were so taken away and lessened, that they could not exercise the power they ought. He told the King (33) and the ladies plainly, speaking of death and of the skulls and bones of dead men and women1, how there is no difference; that nobody could tell that of the great Marius or Alexander from a pyoneer; nor, for all the pains the ladies take with their faces, he that should look in a charnels-house could not distinguish which was Cleopatra's, or fair Rosamond's, or Jane Shoare's.
Thence by water home.
After dinner to the office, thence with my wife to see my father and discourse how he finds Tom's matters, which he do very ill, and that he finds him to have been so negligent, that he used to trust his servants with cutting out of clothes, never hardly cutting out anything himself; and, by the abstract of his accounts, we find him to owe above £290, and to be coming to him under £200.
Thence home with my wife, it being very dirty on foot, and bought some fowl in Gracious. Streets and some oysters against our feast to-morrow.
So home, and after at the office a while, home to supper and to bed.
Note 1. The preacher appears to have had the grave scene in "Hamlet" in his mind, as he gives the same illustration of Alexander as Hamlet does.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 13 November 1664. 13 Nov 1664. Lord's Day. This morning to church, where mighty sport, to hear our clerke sing out of tune, though his master sits by him that begins and keeps the tune aloud for the parish.
Dined at home very well, and spent all the afternoon with my wife within doors, and getting a speech out of Hamlett, "To bee or not to bee",' without book.
In the evening to sing psalms, and in come Mr. Hill (34) to see me, and then he and I and the boy finely to sing, and so anon broke up after much pleasure, he gone I to supper, and so prayers and to bed.
Hamlet Act IV
Hamlet Act IV Scene 7
Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part I
Enter King and Laertes.
Claudius. Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
And You must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
Laertes. It well appears. But tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.3140
Claudius. O, for two special reasons,
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The Queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself,-
My virtue or my plague, be it either which,
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive
Why to a public count I might not go
Is the great love the general gender bear him,
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gives to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.
Laertes. And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desp'rate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections. But my revenge will come.
Claudius. Break not your sleeps for that. You must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself,
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine-
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act Five Scene 4
Valentine. Thou common friend, that’s without faith or love,
For such is a friend now. Treacherous man,
Thou hast beguiled my hopes; nought but mine eye
Could have persuaded me. Now I dare not say
I have one friend alive; thou wouldst disprove me.
Who should be trusted when one’s right hand
Is perjured to the bosom? Proteus,
I am sorry I must never trust thee more,
But count the world a stranger for thy sake.
The private wound is deepest. O, time most accursed,
’Mongst all foes that a friend should be the worst!
Proteus. My shame and guilt confounds me.
Forgive me, Valentine. If hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offense,
I tender ’t here. I do as truly suffer
As e’er I did commit.
Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part II
[Enter a Messenger with letters.]
How now? What news?
Messenger. Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your Majesty; this to the Queen.
Claudius. From Hamlet? Who brought them?
Messenger. Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not.
They were given me by Claudio; he receiv'd them
Of him that brought them.
Claudius. Laertes, you shall hear them.
Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part III
[Reads]'High and Mighty,-You shall know I am set naked on your
kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes;3180
when I shall (first asking your pardon thereunto) recount the
occasion of my sudden and more strange return. 'HAMLET.'
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Laertes. Know you the hand?
Claudius. 'Tis Hamlet's character. 'Naked!'
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?
Laertes. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come!
It warms the very sickness in my heart
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'
Claudius. If it be so, Laertes
(As how should it be so? how otherwise?),
Will you be rul'd by me?
Laertes. Ay my lord,
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
Claudius. To thine own peace. If he be now return'd
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To exploit now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
And for his death no wind shall breathe
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.
Laertes. My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather, if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.
Claudius. It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say you shine, Your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.
Laertes. What part is that, my lord?
Claudius. A very riband in the cap of youth-
Yet needfull too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since
Here was a gentleman of Normandy.
I have seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback; but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't. He grew unto his seat,
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast. So far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.
Laertes. A Norman was't?
Claudius. A Norman.
Laertes. Upon my life, Lamound.
Claudius. The very same.
Laertes. I know him well. He is the broach indeed
And gem of all the nation.
Claudius. He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you. The scrimers of their nation
He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er to play with you.
Now, out of this-
Laertes. What out of this, my lord?
Claudius. Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart,'
Laertes. Why ask you this?
Claudius. Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too-much. That we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;3265
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But to the quick o' th' ulcer!
Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
Laertes. To cut his throat i' th' church!
Claudius. No place indeed should murther sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this? Keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home.
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads. He, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.
Laertes. I will do't!
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
This is but scratch'd withal. I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
Claudius. Let's further think of this,
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape. If this should fall,
And that our drift look through our bad performance.
'Twere better not assay'd. Therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold
If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see.
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings-
When in your motion you are hot and dry-
As make your bouts more violent to that end-
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepar'd him
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.- But stay, what noise,
Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part IV
How now, sweet queen?
Gertrude. One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
Laertes. Drown'd! O, where?
Gertrude. There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Laertes. Alas, then she is drown'd?
Gertrude. Drown'd, drown'd.
Laertes. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears; but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will. When these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord.
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze
But that this folly douts it. Exit.
Claudius. Let's follow, Gertrude.
How much I had to do to calm his rage I
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.
1851 to 1852. John Everett Millais Painter Baronet 1829-1896 (21). "Ophelia". Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part IV in which Queen Gertrude describes Ophelia's death to Laertes. Millais painted the scene near Tolworth using the River Hogsmill. Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862 (21) modelled in a bath-tub at 7 Gower Street. Note the initials PRB bottom right next to his name.