Sir John Gielgud reads the three famous Hamlet's soliloquies:
0:33 - What a piece of work is a man (Act II, Scene 2)
1:41 - To be or not to be (Act III, Scene 1)
3:50 - There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow (Act V, Scene 2).
From Ages of Man by Sir John Gielgud. Caedmon Records, 1959.
Act II, Scene 2
I have of late - but wherefore I know not -
lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises;
and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition
that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me
a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy,
the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament,
this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,
why, it seams no other thing to me than a foul
and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man!
how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!
in form and moving how express and admirable!
in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a God!
the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
Act III, Scene 1
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Act V, Scene 2
But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here
about my heart: but it is no matter.
It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of
gain-giving, as might perhaps trouble a woman.
Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?