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Pol. I have, my lord.

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Ham. Let her not walk i' the sun conception a blessing; but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to 't.

Pol. Aside. How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord? 192 Ham. Words, words, words.

Pol. What is the matter, my lord?
Ham. Between who?

Pol. I mean the matter that you read, my lord. Ham. Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here that old men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.

Pol. Aside. Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

Ham. Into my grave?

210

Pol. Indeed, that is out o' the air. Aside. How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and

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Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours?

Guil. Faith, her privates we.

Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? O! most true; she is a strumpet. What news? 241

Ros. None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.

Ham. Then is doomsday near; but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular: what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?

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Ham. O God! I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

Guil. Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.

Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.

Ham. Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

Ros., Guil. We'll wait upon you.

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Ham. No such matter; I will not sort you with the rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore ?

Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you : and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you

not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come; deal justly with me come, come; nay, speak.

Guil. What should we say, my lord?

Ham. Why, any thing, but to the purpose. You were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to colour: I know the good king and queen have sent for you.

Ros. To what end, my lord?

292

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Ros. Aside to GUILDENSTERN. What say you? Ham. Aside. Nay, then I have an eye of you. If you love me, hold not off.

Guil. My lord, we were sent for.

Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather. 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 appears 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? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.

Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said 'man delights not me'?

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Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted them on the way; and hither are they coming to offer you service.

Ham. He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foil and target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall end his part in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickle o' the sere; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for 't. What players are they?

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Ros. Even those you were wont to take delight in, the tragedians of the city.

Ham. How chances it they travel? their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Ros. I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation.

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Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? are they so followed? Ros. No indeed they are not.

Ham. How comes it? do they grow rusty? Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace but there is, sir, an aery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for 't: these are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages, so they call them, that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills and dare scarce come thither.

Ham. What! are they children? who maintains 'em? how are they escoted? Will they pursne the quality no longer than they can sing will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common players, as it is most like if their means are no better, their writers do them wrong, to make them exclaim against their own succession?

I

Ros. Faith, there has been much to-do on both sides; and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy: there was, for a while, no money bid for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question. Ham. Is 't possible?

Guil. O there has been much throwing about of brains.

Ham. Do the boys carry it away?

Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his load too.

Ham. It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. Flourish of trumpets within. Guil. There are the players.

Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands. Come, then; the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome; but my unclefather and aunt-mother are deceived.

Guil. In what, my dear lord?

Ham. I am but mad north north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Re-enter POLONIUS.

Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen!

Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern; and you too; at each ear a hearer: that great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.

Ros. Happily he's the second time come to them; for they say an old man is twice a child.

Ham. I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players; mark it. You say right, sir; o' Monday morning; 'twas so indeed.

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you. When
Roscius was an actor in Rome,-

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Ham. Buz, buz!

Pol. Upon my honour,

Ham. Then came each actor on his ass.

Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoralcomical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical. tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene indi

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It came to pass, as most like it was,the first row of the pious chanson will show you more; for look where my abridgment comes.

Enter four or five Players.

You are welcome, masters; welcome, all. I am glad to see ye well: welcome, good friends. O my old friend. Why, thy face is valanced since I saw thee last : comest thou to beard me in Denmark? What! my young lady and mistress! By'r lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en tot like French falconers, fly at any thing we see : we'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.

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First Play. What speech, my good lord? Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general: but it was, as I received it, and others, whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine, an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation; but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved; 'twas Eneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line: let me see, let me see ;

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,—
'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus :-
The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,

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That lend a tyrannous and a damned light
To their vile murders: roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.

So, proceed you.

Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good accent and good discretion.

First Play.
Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd the air to stick :
And like a neutral to his will and matter,
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
Did nothing.

But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.

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Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod, take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven
As low as to the fiends!

Pol. This is too long.

510

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Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Prithee, say on: he 's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on; come to Hecuba.

First Play. But who, O! who had seen the mobled queen

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rest of this soon. Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live. 553

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

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Ham. God's bodikins, man, much better; use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in. Pol. Come, sirs. Ham. Follow him, friends: we 'll hear a play to-morrow. Exit POLONIUS, with all the Players but the First. Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the Murder of Gonzago?

First Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll ha't to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in 't, could you not?

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First Play. Ay, my lord. Ham. Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. Exit First Player. My good friends, I'll leave you till night; you are welcome to Elsinore.

Ros. Good my lord!

Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' ye.

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDEN

STERN. Now I am alone.

580

O! what a rogue and peasant slave am I :
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his whole conceit
That from her working all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in 's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!

What's Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba

That he should weep for her? What would he do

Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,

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And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
Yet I,

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A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the
throat

As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha!

'Swounds! I should take it, for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-liver'd, and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!

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Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and bell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion!

Fie upon 't! foh! About, my brain! I have heard

That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these
players

Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle; I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick: if he but blench
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil; and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play 's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
Exit.

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HAMLET, PRince of deNMARK.

SCENE I.]

Ros. We shall, my lord.

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDEN- 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. Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

STERN.

King.
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.

Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behav'd,
If 't be the affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.

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I shall obey you.
Queen.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness; so shall I hope your

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virtues

Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.

Oph.

Madam, I wish it may. Exit QUEEN. Pol. Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you,

We will bestow ourselves. To OPHELIA. Read on this book,

That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,
"Tis too much prov'd, that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.

Good my lord,
Oph.
How does your honour for this many a day?
Ham. I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them.

Ham.

King. Aside. O! 'tis too true;

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How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!

805

No, not I;

I never gave you aught.

Oph. My honour'd lord, you know right well
you did;

And, with them, words of so sweet breath com-
pos'd

As made the things more rich: their perfume
lost,

The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burden!

Pol. I hear him coming; let's withdraw, my
lord.
Exeunt KING and POLONIUS.
Enter HAMLET.

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Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest?
Oph. My lord?

Ham. Are you fair?

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Ham. 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,
There's the respect
Must give us pause.
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 con-
tumely,

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The pangs of dispriz'd 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,

Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.

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Oph. What means your lordship?

Ham. That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

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Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

Oph. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. Ham. You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I loved you not.

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Oph. I was the more deceived.

Ham. Get thee to a nunnery: why would'st thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had I am very proud, revengeful, not borne me. ambitious; with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves all; Go thy ways to a nunnery. believe none of us. Where's your father?

Oph. At home, my lord.

Ham. Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.

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Oph. O help him, you sweet heavens. Ham. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go; farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make

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