Bringing Myths and Legends to Life...

of William Shakespeare's Hamlet


First Madness Of Ophelia
Horatio - Ophelia - Claudius - Gertrude


~ Ophelia Sings In Her Madness~
Grieving over the death of her father and the loss of her love, Ophelia delves into madness.


~ SCENE V ~ Elsinore. (A room in the castle) ~
Enter Queen Gertrude, Horatio, and a Gentleman

Queen Gertrude  I will not speak with her.
Gentleman She is importunate, indeed distract: Her mood will needs be pitied.
Queen Gertrude What would she have?
Gentleman She speaks much of her father; says she hears there's tricks i' the world; And hems, and beats her heart; Spurns enviously at straws; Speaks things in doubt, that carry but half sense: Her speech is nothing, Yet the unshaped use of it doth move the hearers to collection; They aim at it, and botch the words up fit to their own thoughts; Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures yield them, Indeed would make one think there might be thought, Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
Horatio 'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
Queen Gertrude Let her come in. ~ Exit Horatio ~  
To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is, Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss: So full of artless jealousy is guilt, It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.


~ Re-enter Horatio, with Ophelia ~


Ophelia Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?
Queen Gertrude How now, Ophelia!


~ Act IV, scene v. Ophelia Distracted. ~


Ophelia ~Sings~ How should I your true love know From another one? By his cockle hat and staff, And his sandal shoon.
Queen Gertrude Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
Ophelia Say you? nay, pray you, mark. ~Sings~
He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass-green turf, at his heels a stone.
Queen Gertrude Nay, but, Ophelia,--
Ophelia Pray you, mark. ~Sings~ White his shroud as the mountain snow,--


~ Enter King Claudius ~


Queen Gertrude Alas, look here, my lord.
Ophelia ~Sings~ Larded with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the grave did go;
With true-love showers.
King Claudius How do you, pretty lady?
Ophelia Well, God 'ild you! 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!
King Claudius Conceit upon her father.
Ophelia Pray you, let's have no words of this;
but when they ask you what it means, say you this: ~Sings~ 
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. 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.
King Claudius Pretty Ophelia!
Ophelia Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't: ~Sings~
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. 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.
King Claudius How long hath she been thus?
Ophelia I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it: and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies; good night, good night.


~ Exit Ophelia ~


King Claudius Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you. 

~ Exit Horatio ~

O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies But in battalions. First, her father slain: Next, your son gone; and he most violent author Of his own just remove: the people muddied, Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers, For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly, In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia Divided from herself and her fair judgment, Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts: Last, and as much containing as all these, Her brother is in secret come from France; Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds, And wants not buzzers to infect his ear With pestilent speeches of his father's death; Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd, Will nothing stick our person to arraign In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this, Like to a murdering-piece, in many places Gives me superfluous death.


~ Ophelia enters the room... her brother has just returned to find out about the death of their father and now the state of mind of his dear sweet sister ~


Laertes 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.
Ophelia ~Sings~
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!
Laertes Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, It could not move thus.
Ophelia ~Sings~
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.
Laertes This nothing's more than matter.
Ophelia There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
Laertes A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
Ophelia 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 with 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,--
~Sings~ For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
Laertes Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself, She turns to favour and to prettiness.
Ophelia ~Sings~
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.


~ Exit Ophelia ~

Taken from Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

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