A Piece Of Them
Home Up A Piece Of Them Nothing's First Adieu


      This play came about as an outgrowth of a college acting class assignment, in which each student had to write an autobiography of the character he or she would be portraying in a scene that would serve as a final project (i.e. we had to tell the story of our character's life up to the point he or she first appeared in the play we were assigned).  My character was Hamlet, which indicated to me that his early story would have to be written in the same language, speech pattern, etc. as his later story had been written by the original author -- in this case, of course, meaning blank verse.  For whatever reason, my professor had not been expecting such a literal translation of the assignment, and truly shocked me with her overwhelmingly positive reaction ("This is a whole play in itself!"), insisting from that moment on that I perform not  a scene from Hamlet as my final project, but a portion instead of my own Hamlet-related work. 
     It was subsequently at her urging, therefore, that I went on to create several additional autobiographies  for characters from Hamlet, and in the interest of giving them a practical use outside the classroom, I eventually combined them into this one-act play (which went on to be selected as a finalist in a national playwriting competition, and in various productions of which I also performed).


Based on William Shakespeare's  HAMLET,


(A Look Inside the Characters from HAMLET)

A One-Act Play


Mildred C. Scott  



SETTING:   A large card stands on an easel on the far side  of the hall.  The card reads

                   " Elsinore Castle, Denmark .  A Day Long Ago".  An imaginary line divides the

                    hall in half.  On one side of this line, 5 chairs are arranged in a semi-circle

                     facing front.  The other side is vacant.




           GERTRUDE, and HAMLET are seated (like wax

           entire hall is covered in a level of darkness that allows the seated characters to be only

           dimly perceived in the shadows.  Gradually, as the GRAVEDIGGER enters slowly, carrying a

           shovel,   a light comes up on him alone while the darkness on the seated characters deepens,

           making them invisible.


           The GRAVEDIGGER stops and addresses the audience.



Greetings, friends, and welcome to this ground

On which the mind, unbounded, freely roams,

And may along its journey chance upon

The past, in such a way, that it is brought

Into the present, and perhaps,

Even, into the future. . .

With this in mind may we now return

To the Denmark of days long since gone by,

Where, for centuries, a tale hath been told

Of a certain prince, whose father died,

To be replaced as husband and as king,

To the dismay of this young prince,

By his uncle.

Lest ye not already know this tale,

Its outcome can be witness'd in a play

By a man named Shakespeare, or, Will - if you will.

It is within his play that I do live,

And, as in it I liv'd at Elsinore

For thirty years ere I first appeared,

Digging a grave for a person here unnamed,

I could tell many tales about that tale

That Will chose not to share.

But, that is not my purpose for this day.

Instead, I invite you, be as still as mice

That the most famous in that famous play

May impart to you the matter of their minds

As they hold discourse with the air.

Allow them, thus, to make themselves be known

To those of you who know them not, and to deepen

Their acquaintance with those of you who do.

And now let us hasten, without further delay,

To embark on this journey, which is, this play.


                          The light fades from the GRAVEDIGGER as he exits and

                          the vacant area of the hall.   As HORATIO begins speaking, the

                          lone figure.



'Tis a troubled state our present Denmark .

Since the death of her goodly sometime king

Her enemies make noise on ev'ry hand.

Young Fortinbras, heir to conquered Norway

Doth wait upon a most convenient hour

To recover his family's fortunes, lost

To the father of my most honoured lord.

I fear, soon, this time may come upon us,

Hastened by the sudden shift of kingship

From a well loved and respected ruler

To his brother, in leadership untried.

Indeed, this intent hath been imparted

By th' old counsel to the new king

Who hath measures taken for our defense,

And doth now view the threat as nothing more

Than storm clouds bringing darkness without rain.

Alas, Denmark's darkness hath so deepened

That the rain is certain, ere long, to fall

From a Heav'n sharing grief with the lord Hamlet.

Sadly, I have held no counsel with him

Since th' impartment of dread news from Denmark

Did arrive to fill our hearts with sorrow

And speed my lord to homeward journey.

I, too, did hie from Wittenberg that day

To pay honor to my country's fall'n king

And stand prepared for service to his son.

Preparation made I none, however,

For th' events that did so soon unfold ...

Ay, they fill this poor Dane's heart with wonder -

And, if this be so, how much more wondrous sad

Must they be to my good lord, Hamlet,

Possessor of strong reason and noble heart?

Oft have I wished a moment's speech with him

'Midst the confusion of ceremonies

Of mourning mingled bitterly with mirth.

Yet, I do not wish to intrude upon

Private matters or affairs of court,

But do keep an open ear and watchful eye

That I might act as the humble servant

Of my lord should the need arise.

I know not what a common man might do

To ease the suff'rings of this noble hart;

Yet, as his fellow, both student, and Dane,

I have stayed my return to Wittenberg

'Til peace be restored to this great country

And health restored to that great soul

Who will one day it rule, and which

Hath so oft shared with me its joys, e'en as

It now doth speak silently to me of sorrow.

Yet, this is but one reason for delay;

Yesternight, Marcellus, my longtime friend,

Did most disturbing news to me impart,

And though I think his report mistaken,

Yet do I believe his story portends ill

For the future of our once peaceful nation.

The king usurped by death was a strong ruler -

Sharp in thought, brave in battle, kind in heart -

The sort to strike deep terror in his foes

And command love and 'legience from his friends.

Nay, I do not so speak from dimmed eyes,

But as the son of a liege to the king,

Who did oft in his comp'ny myself find,

And thus myself did witness that, indeed,

He was a goodly king.                     

This loss hath placed a sore and loathsome weight

On the countrymen he ruled, and brought relief

To those who hope his land at last to conquer.

It is to fear borne of this knowledge

That I ascribe cause for Marcellus' tale

Of a disturbed ghost who walks the night

To disturb the spirits of the watchmen;

Indeed, I've heard that signs do portend ill

Soon to befall a people or its king,

But do pray Denmark not to be so fated.

And for the sake of my good lord Hamlet,

Do I beseech Heav'n to grant us peace

That his thoughts might not be further troubled

By fear for the kingdom he shall one day rule

As, sure, they are by those who rule it now ...

Oft in our acquaintance hath he spoken

With deep and loving pride of th' old king,

And in tones of gentle rev'rance

Of the queen ... How the course of late events

Hath this perception altered know I not,

Nor shall I boldly strew conjectures

As to their effect on my lord's keen mind

And noble heart.

Still, this hope do I hold in my heart's core -

That Marcellus' tale be but conceit

Fed by rumor and superstitious dread -

That my lord, and land, be both spared further grief.

Marcellus hath me urged this night to share the watch,

And thus avouch to me his story's truth.

For his humor have I agreed to go,

And will thence weigh the meaning of his words.

Yet, whate'er befalls this night, I hereby swear

To leave to God th' issue of the matter

As befitting our purpose in this world,

Where destiny lies not within our hands,

But where our hands, and hearts, with Destiny

Do lie . . .

                          The light on HORATIO goes out. During HORATIO's speech, his chair

                          has been removed from the semi- circle. A dim light comes up on

                          the remaining seated characters

                          wax-figure poses).  OPHELIA becomes animated, rises, and crosses

                          to the vacant area of the hall.  As she speaks, complete darkness

                          again descends on the seated characters, and her chair is

                          removed from the semi-circle.                     



Elsinore 'tis home, the Lord Hamlet, life.

So is 't now and so 't hath been for as long

As God hath giv'n me breath upon this earth.

My father did to me give all he had

Of wisdom sprinkled lib'rally with love,

And him did I learn quickly to revere.

My brother did and do I also love,

And it is through the beauty I see in him

That her reflection shines as in a glass,

And my soul doth in this manner so oft see

The mother that mine eyes did ne'er behold ...

Alas, to think on her brings pain so keen

For that felt by my father and Laertes

Who remember her by both smile and touch,

Not just as a warm light within their souls.

But for myself I have no pain;

For, ere such could within my being rise,

Its tears were gently swept away by love

As the tears cried down on th' earth each morn

Are by the tender blades of grass soon drunk,

And I knew that I would never be alone

Before I learnt that I had e'er been so.

The queen did give me all one might receive

Who had been born of a union so noble

As that which gave Denmark Lord Hamlet

To shine in brightness like the summer sun

Sent from Heav'n to warm this chilly clime.

How a child of the king's humble servant

Hath been so sweetly blessed I do not know,

But for such favor am most grateful.

And yet, of all the happiness I've known

From my father, Laertes, and the queen,

None compares to that in me awakened

By th' attentions of Lord Hamlet

Which he hath on me so gen'rously bestowed.

How sweetly stirs my heart within my breast

At the mere thought of his gentle smile,

And the words like sweetest nectar dripped

From his pen unto mine eyes which drink

Them in to nourish my soul as the bees

Are nourished from the bounty of petals that

Bloom in the garden where I walk each day,

And by the brook whose gentle waters speak

In lullaby tones of invitation,

Bidding me to repose upon its shore

'Midst the violets smiling up at the warm sun.

It is in this place I can oft be found,

Gazing 'pon the endless pale blue sky

Uninterrupted save by tiny puffs

Which seem to be of cotton composed

To play short lived games of hide-go-seek

With the majestic brightness reflecting

The violets' cheer - and that within my heart.

Betimes the Lord Hamlet joins me there,

And oft remarks upon the fairness of

The flowers that there bloom, 'mongst which the roses

He proclaims as the most beauteous.

One day I gave him some I'd plucked and asked

If they were not the loveliest he'd e'er beheld.

He answered that they were right pretty

But paled when with the loveliest compared,

And then laughed at my puzzled coutenance ...

Alas, of late, his laughter 's not oft heard.

Since the passing of his goodly father

A mantle of grief hath covered the peace

And contentment that were the Lord Hamlet

I first loved -  not that I now love him less -

Indeed, my love hath been increased

By th' increase of his need for 't.

Yet - e'en so do I most eagerly wait

For the clouds to pass from Denmark 's brightest son,

That by his smile might I again be warmed ...

God grant that I might somehow bless this prince

With joy so deep as that giv'n unto me

By the sweetness of his close acquaintance,

And that the tears of grief he now doth shed

Soon in the pool of my heart's love be drowned . . .

But, enough on thoughts of the Lord Hamlet;

My brother, Laertes, calls to bid farewell

As he prepares for his return to France .

So to Laertes, and my thoughts - adieu,

And soon, to the sorrows of Lord Hamlet, too . . .


                          The light follows OPHELIA as she exits, becoming dimmer until the entire hall is again

                           in total darkness.  CLAUDIUS crosses, unseen, to the vacant area of the hall and begins

                          speaking while still in darkness.  At the line "I am Denmark 's king", the light

                          suddenly appears on him. The seated characters remain in darkness.



Where doth one begin a tale so wretched

In its glory, so glorious in its

Wretchedness?  At last, I am Denmark 's king -

Brother of her once king, son of him before -

Yet one more branch of this mighty river

Of kingly blood that hath coursed through th' ages

To feed that great ocean of ambition,

From whence the cream of all young princes

Thereon cast adrift, do rise to grapple

For their thrones.

Ah yes, I know that luck hath favored

Those few, who through no merit of their own,

Have been blessed by order of their birth,

And thereby do expect to occupy

A seat for which they are, indeed, thought destined,

A seat which will but posthaste be refilled

Once th' adulterous eye of lady luck

Hath wandered to light upon another,

Leaving for the firstborn the misfortune

To be as well the first to taste of death. . .

This, luck once more hath chanced to bring to pass,

And she hath now taken a new lover,

Who's proved to be none other than myself.

Nay, 'tis but fantasy this speech of luck -

To argue in a more temperate vein,

'Tis not luck which directs the destiny

Of men of strength, though, p'raps, those of weakness. . .

Instead, a more steady hand doth choose

Who is most aptly fitted for duty

As a servant of the people he doth rule.

Such speech speaketh this - by strength I've risen;

'Twill take more than luck to make me fall.

As Jacob surpassed Esau, and Ephraim

Manasseh, so now doth stand Claudius.

Furthermore, I have no son - nor daughter -

And so the crown shall one day pass to him

On whom 'twould but more directly have sat

Had not a few small grains been let slip

From the hourglass of eternity. . .

Hamlet is yet a youth - not yet wisened

In the lessons taught by maturity

And the experience of battles won.

He hath lived the peace-filled life of scholars,

Not endured the hardships of warriors.

How then would he face young Fortinbras,

Whose ambition more than thrice outweighs his own,

And, which would guide him swiftly to success

In wresting the kingdom from Hamlet's grasp

Should Fortinbras exert his weakest effort?

But no - I have spared Denmark such grief,

And bought her future ruler time to gain

The knowledge he must come to possess

In order to retain the power

One day to be delivered into his hands.

That day, however, now stands afar off,

And I am left to taste of my rewards -

My fathers' country, and, my brother's wife. . .

Yet, the place I do now occupy was not,

As one might think, one on which my thoughts

Were focused from my youth - on the contrary,

As a child, I did love my brother well -

As well I should; he was good to me,

And to our father, and all who knew him.

But as the clear red sky of boyhood's dawn

Gave way to the hot noonday of manhood,

Our futures suddenly came into view,

With an ever more blinding clarity,

Which showed the brightness of his star's increase,

Whilst making plain the increase of darkness

Shining forth from the void set aside for me.

Had the kingdom been the only birthright

To which my birth gave me no right,

Perhaps this might I have borne with grace;

Not so was I to bear losing my life

By witnessing my brother wed my love. . .                


                          A light appears on GERTRUDE, still seated (as is HAMLET) in a wax- like pose. 

                          CLAUDIUS crosses to deliver the next portion of his



CLAUDIUS (continued)

The loveliest of all Denmark 's blossoms,

Her mantle of outward beauty surpassed

Only by that of her fair, gentle heart.

She knew not how her eyes to me did speak

With each glance, in a tongue heard not by th' ear,

But by the soul of him who loved her best.

I watched her rise from childhood ne'er hoping

I might win her love - I was a mere prince -

Fairytales do not with fairness tell the tale;

To what purpose win a prince's love,

When one might win that of a prince

Who will be king? 

I know I would have won her for my own

Had not the crown been placed between us

To block her vision of my heart,

Which burned for her alone from earliest youth.

Indeed, hath not this theory now been proved

By the commendably terrible speed

With which she did, with joy, accept my hand

Once th' obstacle was removed from our midst?

Yet, this victory beareth a hollow ring,

For, still must I think on the unalterable

Reality that hath allowed Denmark

To be ruled forever by her offspring,

But not mine. . . This punishment I ever bear,

And from it shall not ever be set free.


                          CLAUDIUS crosses back to the vacant area of the stage.  The lights go out once more

                          on GERTRUDE and HAMLET, remaining only on CLAUDIUS as he delivers  his final lines.


 CLAUDIUS (continued)

It is thus that I conclude that the end

I have attained doth justify the means.

I have only my life in which to live;

My brother no longer living lives on,

Through Hamlet, who in turn will, like as not,

Live on in this way as well, and so it goes

Forever. . .

Yet, to what purpose direct my sight

Toward a forever I shall not see?

Instead I dwell on that which is,

For this day do I rule, and this day

Do I live.


                          The light on CLAUDIUS goes out immediately as he finishes speaking.  He exits; 

                          then a light comes up dimly on GERTRUDE and HAMLET,

                          in their wax-figure poses.  GERTRUDE

                          walks to the vacant side of the

                         dimly on HAMLET as GERTRUDE delivers her



O, can it be that I was once a maid,

Carefree, and full of the wonder of life

Which did then lay before me to unfold

And unmask the endless joys in my conceit?

Strange as it now seems, indeed, once 'twas so.

Once I lived in blessed peace, a daughter

Of one who served the father of the father

Of my Hamlet, a king who sired two kings ...


                          The light on HAMLET goes out.  GERTRUDE's chair is removed from


 GERTRUDE (continued)

In those days knew I not I would be queen,

Though, this hope I must admit I did possess;

Yet to be twice so in my lifetime crowned

Would I have dreaded far beyond my hope.

Indeed, 'twas not the title I desired,

But the means whereby I would obtain it -

The elder son of him who was then king

Did mine eyes follow, prompted by my heart,                          

And when I knew that I had won his love

My joy could not great Denmark 's bounds contain!

No joy did I then think could e'er surpass

That which filled my heart the day we wed;

Yet, soon I was to find this was untrue,

For when I gave birth to our only child,

A living symbol of love eternal,

Born of the sacred coupling of two souls -

Then did I know my joy was made complete.

And, when still radiant with his victory

O'er his enemy, Norway's Fortinbras

Did my husband, the new father, return,

O, what pride did swell that kingly heart!

Upon first gazing on Denmark's new prince

So great was the happiness of the king

That he did feel compelled to share his blessing

With all the peoples the world o'er,

And called for such festivities as Elsinore

Had ne'er yet seen, and, I fear, the like of which

These aged walls will not soon see again ...

How good it was to see King Hamlet laugh

At the antics of the new clown, Yorick,

And the radiance of his loyal subjects.

For, his gaity did not flow freely then

By cause of grief over his father's death

Which had come to pass a short while ere.

Too noble to possess vaulting ambition,

Long had he dreaded the day he would be king;

And when the news did on that sad day come

That while riding not far from the castle

With my husband's brother, Claudius,

The king had taken ill and shortly died,

What melancholy filled the new king's heart

Despite the attempts of his brother and

Myself to help him peace and healing find.

Yet, when at last the double blessing

Of great triumph and renewal of life

For him on the same day occurred,

Contentment once again did on him rest.

And, though his father could not be forgot

Indeed, the void that in his heart had ope'd

Following his loss did that day begin to fill,

And the sun returned to shine once more

In Elsinore's clear and beauteous sky.

O, what blessed days did we then share

Dimmed only by the king's too oft made journeys

Necessitated by th' affairs of state.

How sad were I and the young prince on days

When he would bid us a loving farewell

And charge to Claudius our protection,

Who, with the servant, Polonius,

Did provide us well with ev'ry comfort.

Still, did we long for the king to return

And spring nimbly from his steed to greet us.

Ay me, those were such painless blissful days!

Oft then, Polonius' son, Laertes,

In years like to our young Hamlet,

Would spend countless hours in play with him,

And, with blunt sticks to serve as rapiers,

They would fight pretended duels and all such

Games as young boys are wont to engage in.

What a sad intrusion on his childhood

That good Laertes was so young stripped

Of the most fair and gracious angel

Who was his mother, required of Heav'n

On the day his sister did to Earth descend

To become his well deserved comfort.

Polonius, who had served with honor

Th' old king, was raised to higher office

By the compassion of my husband

Who felt deeply the burden of his loss.

For my part, I did all that could be done

To help Laertes and Ophelia,

Left to brave the world without a mother,

Rest assured they'd always know a mother's love.

And my sweet Hamlet, though still of tender age

Did shed tears of grief for his young friend's loss

And for the babe he looked on with great wonder ...

Happily, the wounds of Polonius

And Laertes, though p'raps not healed

Did in time lose the potency of their sting,

And dear Ophelia, who ne'er felt the loss

Was spared by their best efforts and my own

Premature knowledge of the harshnesses

Of this world ...

Ne'er did a more sweet and loving child

Grace the arms of any mother -

Her face, a reflection of Heav'n itself,

Her spirit, of angel's breath composed -

How could it be else but that as Hamlet

Grew in stature and in heart, he did her

Come to love; 'twas as though God's wisdom

Had for each th' other provided,

And I look with happiness to the day

Methinks shall come when they as one be joined ...

Yet, that is in the future; for today

It is my hope that Ophelia's love

Might assay to depart the great sorrow

That my Hamlet doth now bear.

The loss of so noble a father

Was a great shock to such a gentle heart.

And the comfort I do so wish to offer

Hath been rejected by cause of the marriage

I did enter into as the means

Of seeking comfort for mine own distressed heart.

Indeed, do I know that he hath reason

To be angered with the wedding's haste.

Yet - must he know I loved his father well,

And that my heart can be as deeply cut

As that which beats within the breast of him,

Who is of mine own heart and flesh composed.

Doth not he know I could not bear such loss

Without the strength supplied by one

Much stronger than myself?

This strength from Hamlet's uncle did come

So tenderly that I could not refuse 't,

Nor find reason at all that I should do so.

Was not he, beside dear Hamlet and myself,

The best loved in all Denmark by my husband?

'Tis common in nature to cling to one

Most trusted by the one one did most trust.

The king himself oft placed me in his charge -

Ah, yes, 'tis true that wisdom cried "Delay".

Alas, the mind in torment oft forgets

The lessons learnt in happiness and health ...

And yet, delay would not events have changed,

So, to what purpose act propriety                             

For the benefit of those who watched

And the detriment of me who felt - ?

Ay me, but to think on might have been

Is surely not worth th' expense of thought.

What yet remains then to be pondered

Is that which might yet be accomplished

To speed return of that bright love

Once shared by my dearest Hamlet and myself ...

Not only for the sake of mine own heart

And that of my beloved Hamlet

Do I wish the sunshine to return,

But as well for all at Elsinore

Where my son is 'bove all others adored,

And all now share with him in sorrow

As they once shared with him in happiness.

His friend, Horatio, hath expended

His greatest effort to restore his peace

As hath Ophelia, and e'en the clowns.

Profit thus far hath not to them come.

Yet, do I believe that in God's mercy

The gift of time will supply their efforts

And Hamlet will smile on us all once more.

Then shall joy be restored to the subjects

Who will one day belong to him in word

As they so long have in love and deed ...

Ah, I pray that God might grant me length of years

To see Hamlet and his future queen be wed,

And share their joy at birth of a sweet prince

To bless their lives as mine own hath blessed me.

Yet, in prayer my soul yearns deeper still

That their blessings ne'er with pain be mingled

To mar the beauty of their memories

As 't hath stolen in to mar my own.

God, be merciful as thou art mighty

That Denmark 's days of mourning soon end

And the poisoned tears that Heav'n hath let drop

Be dried by the healing warmth of the sun;

Then may Elsinore be clothed in peace

E'en as I was once clothed in purity ...


                          The light gradually fades on GERTRUDE as she exits.  At the same time, it comes up 

                          on HAMLET, who, though still seated, is now

                          an animated being.  HAMLET watches

                          The light  follows him throughout his speech.  His chair is not removed from the

                          hall while he speaks, but remains standing alone on one side of the hall.



My life to date hath spanned a hundred years;

Or so long it seems to me

These troubled thoughts 'round my brain have tumbled.

In truth can my years be counted

Less than a score plus ten, and most of these

Lived in the peace of blissful ignorance.

On the day my father, the rightful king,

Did conquer Fortinbras of Norway

Was I brought into this world.

And it was on that day as well 

That I did first behold her whom I already lov'd,

The one who gave me life, and the one

Who hath since taken my life away.      

Pure, unspotted beauty of face

A reflection of her angel's soul,

Her touch as a gentle wind from Heav'n

Breathed on me as a glimpse of that fair land,

To which her child will one day be taken;      

Unless, I, too ...

O, how can it be that an angel

Is no stronger than a man?

That temptation can cause such sublime nature

To plunge into th' abyss, taking with her

One whom she did love, one who loves her still.

And yet, and yet - e'en though I am taken,

I am left behind - O, 'tis frightful strange    

This cleaving of my heart. Rent asunder,

Where now can I turn?  What am I to do?

In what comfort can I now take refuge?

Though I look upon her with loving eyes,

Yet, blind these traitorous orbs refuse to be.      

The stench of her foul act doth rise, e'en now,      

Mingled with the perfume of mother's love,      

To fill my very being with contagion.

My uncle by right, her husband by wrong -

How in brothers could distribution

So uneven fall that all qualities

Of merit rest on one, leaving so few

(This giving him the doubt) for the other?

I know not how, but know indeed it hath.

And how my mother could know this not      

Is a matter I know still less.

The burden placed upon her by the parting

Of one so full of good would be enough

In many to cause parting of reason, too.

But, for her to embrace one so lacking in

The merits to which she was accustomed

Sends my reason to the winds: and my heart,      

O, my heart ...

When I and my fellow, Horatio,

Did leave school in Wittenberg , I knew not

That we journeyed hence to view her wedding;

We came to grieve my father's passing, or

Rather, I to grieve, and Horatio,

To give me comfort.  Good Horatio,

Companion of my present youth, and God willing,

My old age.  To the letter a true friend -

Fine, Righteous, Inviolate, Even,

Necessary and Dear - these are, to me,

My noble Horatio ...

But, in my discourse do I now digress.

Let me then return to the days

Following the conquer of Fortinbras,

To my very earliest memories,

When Yorick, my father's jester at court,

Did cause the walls of Elsinore

To tremble in the wake of laughter,

And love did clothe the same so warmly

That the chill of the Danish clime could not

One quarter of their thickness penetrate.

O, to return to those blessed days

Spent basking in the warm glow of sunshine

That was the love of king and queen, two souls

Joined in union so complete that no one,

Not e'en this prince in whom their bloods do mingle

Could perceive where king ended and queen began,

Nor conceive need of such perception.

All at Elsinore lived in contentment

'Neath those peaceful all encompassing rays;

All, except my father's brother -

The only cloud in Elsinore 's clear sky.

Why it should seem thus then, in truth I cannot say;

Perhaps Divine portent of th' eclipse

That hath now blotted out the sun that shines no more.

Perhaps, merely my own jealous heart,

Wary of one who showed what seemed to me

O'er stepping familiarity with the queen.

In fairness, it cannot be said that he

Treated her without respect, but that, indeed,

He lacked th' awe beings of true heart

Exhibit before unearthly grace.

But, no matter.

The circumstance doth in no wise change

By mere pond'rance of its cause.

He was, and is, my uncle, but not my friend;

Though, hide this from king and queen I did,

That Elsinore 's beauteous sky might not

Be further clouded o'er by myself.

I now fear that, of me, this was unwise - for

Had my small cloud then poured forth its showers,

The present storm might not have broken.

But, alas, I cannot change what's past.

If I can change aught, it can be naught except

That which now is and what might be ...

And, as the fall of so supreme an angel

Portends certain descent of another,

It follows then, as wind to rain,

That I must quit the fair Ophelia

Before the poison now uncorked doth reach

This still unspotted maid and drag her

To that black pit where virtue hath been hurled.

Sweet, fragile, beautiful Ophelia -

A crown of corn silk atop rose petals,

Pools of clear, blue sky reflected 'gainst pure snow -

How inadequate is my halting tongue

To form description of the golden one

I cradled in my arms while I myself

Was yet a babe, listening to the queen,

Her gentle voice raised in lullabies and prayers

For her child and the tiny God-sent gift

Whose arrival took its vessel of deliv'rance.

From this queen, of such great love possessed

That it o'er spilled to this helpless bundle

Fathered by Polonius,

Did I, too, Ophelia come to love

As deeply and unthinkingly as I draw breath.

And now, how can my mind deceive my heart?

Love her still I do; love them both I always will.

Yet - in a roaring blaze of love

I know the queen was once engulfed.

Still, in one month's time, this fire did freeze.

How much more quickly 'stinguished then

Will be Ophelia's spark of love one day

When I am gone, or e'en ere?

No. It shall not be so!

I love her self; yet, still more her soul.

Too much do I love her soul

To ever take her as my wife,

And by uniting her with this ungodly flesh

Be the cause of such destruction.

Far better that she to a nunnery go,

Where temptation may not on her breathe

To steal her immortal peace and present purity.

In this way may we one day be joined forever

When these chains of mortal flesh have fall'n 'way.

O, would this need not be so, but ... but ...

Would I many things less needful were not so!

Would I that my father were yet living,

And my icon not become 

My obstacle;

Would I that my future were not stolen,

My past not erased, and my present ...

How I would that my present were not become

A blur of uncertainty and despair ...

O, would that I knew

That which I must do.  

                          Darkness descends.












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