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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 pith1 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 remembered.


Good my lord,

How does your honor for this many a day?
Ham. I humbly thank you; well.

Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours, That I have longed long to re-deliver;

I pray you, now receive them.


I never gave you aught.

No, not I;

Oph. My honored lord, you know right well, you


And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost, Take these again; for to the noble mind,

Rich gifts wax poor, when givers prove unkind.

There, my lord.

Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest?

Oph. My lord?

Ham. Are you fair?

Oph. What means your lordship

Ham. That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.3

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

Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner

1 Quartos-pitch.

2 Folio-away.

3 i. e. "your honesty should not admit your beauty to any discourse with her." The first quarto reads, "Your beauty should admit no discourse to your honesty;" that of 1604, "You should admit no discourse to your beauty.

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transform honesty from what it is to a bawd, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness; this was some time 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.

Oph. I was the more deceived.

Ham. Get thee to a nunnery; why wouldst 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 not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck, than I have thoughts to put them in,1 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; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery. 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. 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; farewell.3 Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough, what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell.

Oph. Heavenly powers, restore him!


Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp,

1 "Than I have thoughts to put them in.” To put "a thing into thought," is "to think on it."

2 Folio-way.

3 Folio-Go, farewell.

4 The folio, for paintings, has prattlings; and for face has pace.

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and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to; I'll no more of it; it hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go. [Exit HAMLET.

Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown! The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword; The expectancy and rose of the fair state,

The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers! quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune, and harsh ;
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth,
Blasted with ecstasy.3 O, woe is me!


To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

Re-enter King and POLONIUS.

King. Love! his affections do not that way tend; Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little, Was not like madness. There's something in his soul, O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;

And, I do doubt, the hatch, and the disclose,*

Will be some danger; which for to prevent,

I have, in quick determination,

Thus set it down. He shall with speed to England, For the demand of our neglected tribute.

Haply, the seas, and countries different,

With variable objects, shall expel

This something-settled matter in his heart;
Whereon his brains still
From fashion of himself.

beating, puts him thus

What think

What think you on't?

1 “You mistake by wanton affectation, and pretend to mistake by


2 Quarto-time.

3 Ecstasy is alienation of the mind. Vide Tempest, Act iii. Sc. 3.

4 To disclose was the ancient term for hatching birds of any kind; from the Fr. esclos.

Pol. It shall do well; but yet, I do believe,
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected iove.-How now, Ophelia ?
You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all.-My lord, do as you please;

But, if you hold it fit after the play,
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief; let her be round1 with him;
And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him; or confine him, where
Your wisdom best shall think.

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Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the towncrier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and

1 See note on Act ii. Sc. 2.

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2 The first quarto has, "I'd rather hear a town-bull bellow, than such a fellow speak my lines."

3 The first quarto reads, "of the ignorant." Our ancient theatres were far from the commodious, elegant structures which later times have seen. The pit was an unfloored space, in the area of the house, sunk considerably beneath the level of the stage; and it was necessary to elevate the head very much to get a view of the performance. Hence this part of the audience were called groundlings.


noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod. 'Pray you, avoid it.

1 Play. I warrant your honor.


Ham. Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form, and pressure. Now this, overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one, must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players, that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly,-not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.


1 Play. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us.

Ham. O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That's


1 Termagaunt is the name given in old romances to the tempestuous god of the Saracens.

2 Pressure is impression, resemblance. 3 i. e. approval, estimation.

4 The quarto 1603, "Point in the play then to be observed." Afterwards is added, " And then you have some again that keeps one suit of jests, as a man is known by one suit of apparel; and gentlemen quotes his jests down in their tables before they come to the play, as thus:Cannot you stay till I eat my porridge? and you owe me a quarter's wages ; and your beer is sour; and blabbering with his lips: And thus keeping

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