« PreviousContinue »
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 indite the author of affection: but call'd it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved: 'twas Æneas' 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,
Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion.
1 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 i'the air to stick : So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood; And, like a neutral to his will and matter, 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, A roused 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.-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.
beard. Pr’ythee, say on :-He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps:—say on: come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah woe! had seen the mobled
queen-Ham. The mobled queen? Pol. That's good? mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning
the flames With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head,
a Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe, About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up; Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pro
nounc'd: But if the gods themselves did see her then, When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs; The instant burst of clamour that she made, (Unless things mortal move them not at all,) Would have made milch the burning eyes of hea
ven, And passion in the gods.
Pol. Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.—Pr’ythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.-Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow'd: Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time: After your death, you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while
live. Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better: Use every man after his desert, and who shall '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 tomorrow.-Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it 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?
Ham. Very well. -- Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exeunt Polonius and Players.] My good friends, [to Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good
[Exeunt Rosencrantz und Guildenstern. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi’you :-Now I am alone. 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 own 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
face? Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i'the
throat, As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this? Ha! Why, 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! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless vil
lain ! Why, what an ass am I? This is most brave; That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,