Alas Poor Yorick…

Shakespeare, Hamlet
HAMLET	They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance
	in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose
	grave's this, sirrah?

First Clown	Mine, sir.


	O, a pit of clay for to be made
	For such a guest is meet.

HAMLET	I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.

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

HAMLET	'Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine:
	'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

First Clown	'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away gain, from me to

HAMLET	What man dost thou dig it for?

First Clown	For no man, sir.

HAMLET	What woman, then?

First Clown	For none, neither.

HAMLET	Who is to be buried in't?

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

HAMLET	How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the
	card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord,
	Horatio, these three years I have taken a note of
	it; the age is grown so picked that the toe of the
	peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he
	gaffs his kibe. How long hast thou been a

First Clown	Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day
	that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

HAMLET	How long is that since?

First Clown	Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: it
	was the very day that young Hamlet was born; he that
	is mad, and sent into England.

HAMLET	Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

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


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

HAMLET	How came he mad?

First Clown	Very strangely, they say.

HAMLET	How strangely?

First Clown	Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

HAMLET	Upon what ground?

First Clown	Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man
	and boy, thirty years.

HAMLET	How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?

First Clown	I' faith, if he be not rotten before he die--as we
	have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce
	hold the laying in--he will last you some eight year
	or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.

HAMLET	Why he more than another?

First Clown	Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that
	he will keep out water a great while; and your water
	is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.
	Here's a skull now; this skull has lain in the earth
	three and twenty years.

HAMLET	Whose was it?

First Clown	A whoreson mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

HAMLET	Nay, I know not.

First Clown	A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! a' poured a
	flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same skull,
	sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.


First Clown	E'en that.

HAMLET	Let me see.

	[Takes the skull]

	Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
	of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
	borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
	abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
	it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
	not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
	gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
	that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
	now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
	Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let
	her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
	come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
	me one thing.

HORATIO	What's that, my lord?

HAMLET	Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i'
	the earth?

HORATIO	E'en so.

HAMLET	And smelt so? pah!

	[Puts down the skull]

HORATIO	E'en so, my lord.

HAMLET	To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
	not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
	till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

HORATIO	'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HAMLET	No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
	modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
	thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
	Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
	earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
	was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
	Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
	Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
	O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
	Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
	But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king.