Page images

A CT V. SC E N E 1.

Enter two Clowns, with spades and mattocks.

I febles there buried viation
S lhe to be buried in christian burial, that wilfully

2 Clown. I tell thee, she is, therefore make her Grave straight; the crowner hath fat on her, and finds it christian burial.

1 Clown. How can that be, unless the drowned herself in her own defence ?

: Clown. Why, tis found lo.

i Clown. It must be se offendendo, it cannot be else. For here lies the point ; if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an a& ; and an ac hath three branches; It is to act, to do, and to perform ; argal, she drown'd herself wittingly.

2 Clown. Nay, but hear you, goodman Delver.

1 Clown. Give me leave; here lies the water, good : here stands the man, good: if the man go to this water, and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes; mark you

that: but if the water come to him, and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he, that is not guilty of his own death, shortens not his

own life.

2 Clown. But is this law?
I Clown. Ay, marry is't, crowner's quest-law.

2 Clown. Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.

1 Clown. Why, there thou say'ft. And the more pity, that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their

christian. Come, my spade; there is no ancient gentelmen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers ; chey hold up Adam's profession.

2 Clown



2 Clown. Was he a gentleman;
1 Clown. He was the first, that ever bore arms.
2 Clown. Why he had none.

1 Clown. What, art a heathen ? how dost thou un. derstand the Scripture? the Scripture says, Adam digg'd; could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to thee; if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself

2 Clown. Go to.

1 Clown. What is he that builds stronger than ei. ther the mason, the ship-wright, or the carpenter ?

2 Clown. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1 Clown. I like thy wit well, in good faith ; the gallows does well; but how does it well ? it does well to those that do ill: now thou doft ill, to say the gallows is built stronger than the church ; argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.

2 Clown. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter ?

i Clown. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.
2 Clown. Marry, now I can tell.
i Clown. To't.
2 Clown. Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio, at a distance.
1 Clown. Cudgel thy brains no more about it; for
your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating;
and, when you are ask'd this question next, fay a
· grave-maker. The houses, he makes, laft 'till dooms-
day: go, get thee to Youghan, and fetch. me a stoup
of liquor.

(Exit 2 Clown.
He digs, and sings,
In youth when I did love, did love,

Methought, it was very sweet ;
To contract, oh, the time for, a, my behove,
Oh, methought, there was nothing to meet.



Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he fings at Grave-making ?

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

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

[merged small][ocr errors]

Clown sings.
But age, with his stealing seps,

Hath claw'd me in his clutch :
And hath shipped me into the land,

As if I had never been such.
Ham. That fcull had a tongue in it, and could sing
once; how the knave jowles it to the ground, as if it
were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! this
might be ihe pate of a politician, which this ass
o'er-offices ; one that would circumvent God, might
it not ?

Hor. It might, my lord.

Ham. Or of a courter, which could say, goodmorrow, sweet lord; how dost thou, good lord ? this might be my lord such a one, that prais'd my lord such a one's horse, when he meant to beg it'; might it not ?

Hor. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Why, e'en so: and now my lady Worm's chapless, and knockt about the mazzard with a sexton's spade. Here's a fine revolution, if we had the trick to see't. Did these bones coft no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with 'em ? mine ake to think on't.

Clown fings.

A pick-axe and a spade, a spade

and a shrouding Sheet!
0, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.



[ocr errors]

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? hum! this fellow might be in's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt ? will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breath of a pair of indentures ? the very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more ? ha ?

Hor. Not a jot more, my lord.
Ham. Is not parchment made of sheep-skins ?
Hor. Ay, my lord, and of calves-skins too.

Ham. They are sheep and calves that seek out af-
surance in that. I will speak to this fellow : Whose
Grave's this, Sirrah?
Clown. Mine, Sir

0, a pit of clay for to be made

For fuch a Guest is meet, Ham. I think, it be thine, indeed, for thou lieft in't.

Clown. You lie out on't, Sir, and therefore it is not yours; for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.

Ham. Thou doft lie in't, to be in't and say, 'tis thine: 'tis for the dead, and not for the quick, therefore thou ly'ft.

Clown. "Íis a quick lie, Sir, 'twill away again from me to you.

Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?
Clown. For no man, Sir.
Ham. What woman then ?
Clown. For none neither.



Han. Who is to be buried in't ?

Clown. One, that was a woman, Sir; but rest her soul, she's dead.

Han. How absolute the knave is ? we mustspeak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked, that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of our courtier, he galls his kibe. How long hast thou been a grave-maker ? Clown. Of all the days i' th' year,


came to't that day that our last King Hamlet o'ercame Fortinbras.

Ham. How long is that since ?

Clown. Cannot you' tell that? every fool can tell that: it was that very day that young

Hamlet born, he that was mad, and fent into England.

Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England ?

Clown. Why, because he was mad; he shall recover his wits there ; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.

Ham. Why?

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

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

Ham. Why, here, in Denmark. I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

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

Clown. I' faith, if he be not rotten before he die, (as we have many pocky coarses now-a-days, that will Icarce hold the saying in) he will last you some eight year, or nine year; a tanner will last you nine

years. Ham. Why he, more than another?

Clown. Why, Sir, his hide is so tann'd with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while. And



« PreviousContinue »