Tragedy of Ophelia


A document in madness,—
thoughts and remembrance fitted.



There’s fennel for you, and columbines:—
there’s rue for you; and here’s some for me:—
we may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays:—
O, you must wear your rue with a difference.—
There’s a daisy:—I would give you some violets,
but they wither’d all when my father died:—
they say he made a good end,—
[Sings.] For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,—


Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.


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 b’ wi’ ye.




There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them.
There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb’ring to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indu’d
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.


Alas, then she is drown’d?


Drown’d, drown’d.



2 thoughts on “Tragedy of Ophelia

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this for some time now. Perhaps small exerpts into the book may give me motivation to push through!


    • You should read this as soon as you can find the time, I can promise you won’t regret it. It’s really quite an experience.

      And I’m glad I could prod the inspiration!


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