Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
From “Hamlet,” Act I. Sc. 2.

  QUEEN.—Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, forever, with thy veilèd lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know’st ’t is common,—all that live must die,        5
Passing through nature to eternity.
  HAMLET.—Ay, madam, it is common.
  QUEEN.—                    If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
  HAMLET.—Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.
’T is not alone my inky cloak, good mother,        10
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,        15
That can denote me truly: these, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within, which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe.

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