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villanous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN. How now, my lord! will the king hear this piece of work? Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
Ham. Bid the players make haste.—
Will you two help to hasten them?
Both. Ay, my lord.
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. What, ho; Horatio!
Hor. Here, sweet lord, at your service.
As e'er my conversation coped withal.
Hor. O my dear lord,
Nay, do not think I flatter;
For what advancement may I hope from thee,
That no revénue hast, but thy good spirits,
To feed, and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp;
And crook the pregnant1 hinges of the knee,
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear? Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish her election,
She hath sealed thee for herself. For thou hast been
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blessed are those,
in his cinque a pace of jests; when, God knows, the warme Clown cannot make a jest unless by chance, as the blind man catcheth a hare : Masters, tell him of it."
1 Pregnant, quick, ready.
2 Quarto 1604-" co-medled."
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
As Vulcan's stithy.' Give him heedful note;
Well, my lord;
If he steal aught, the whilst this play is playing,
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle: Get you a place.
Danish march. A flourish. Enter King, Queen, PoLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDEnstern, and others.
King. How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish. I eat the air, promise-crammed; you cannot feed
1 Vulcan's stithy is Vulcan's workshop or smithy.
2 Here the first quarto has:-
“And if he do not blench and change at that,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen;
Horatio, have a care, observe him well.
Hor. My lord, mine eyes shall still be on his face,
And not the smallest alteration
That shall appear in him, but I shall note it."
3 i. e. judgment, opinion.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now. My lord,-you played once in the university, you say ? [TO POLONIUS. Pol. That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
Ham. And what did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar. I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed me.1
Ham. It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there.-Be the players ready?
Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience. Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me. Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attractive. Pol. O ho! do you mark that? [To the King. Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Oph. No, my lord.
[Lying down at OPHELIA's feet.
Ham. I mean my head upon your lap?
Oph. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Do you think I meant contrary3 matters ?
Oph. I think nothing, my lord.
Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maids'
Oph. What is, my lord?
Oph. You are merry, my lord.
Ham. Who, I?
Oph. Ay, my lord.
Ham. O! you only jig-maker. What should a man do, but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
Oph. Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
1 A Latin play, on the subject of Cæsar's death, was performed at Christ's Church, in Oxford, in 1582.
2 i. e. "they wait upon your sufferance or will.”
3 This is the reading of the quarto 1603. The quarto 1604, and the folio, read country.
4 It may here be added that a jig sometimes signified a sprightly dance, as at present.
Ham. So long? Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables.1 O Heavens! die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year. But, by'r-lady, he must build churches then; or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse ; 2 whose epitaph is, For, O, for, O, the hobby-horse is forgot.
Trumpets sound. The Dumb Show 3 follows.
Enter a King and a Queen, very lovingly; the Queen embracing him, and he her. She kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck; lays him down upon a bank of flowers; she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King's ears, and exit. The Queen returns; finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner wooes the Queen with gifts; she seems loath and unwilling awhile; but, in the end, accepts his love. [Exeunt.
Oph. What means this, my lord?
Ham. Marry, this is miching malicho; it means
1 i. e. a dress ornamented with the rich fur of that name, said to be the skin of the sable martin. Hamlet meant to use the word equivocally.
2 The hobby-horse was driven from his station by the Puritans, as an impious and pagan superstition, but restored after the promulgation of the Book of Sports. The hobby-horse was formed of a pasteboard horse's head, and probably a light frame made of wicker work to form the hinder parts; this was fastened round the body of a man, and covered with a footcloth, which nearly reached the ground, and concealed the legs of the performer, who displayed his antic equestrian skill, and performed various Juggling tricks, wigh-hie-ing, or neighing, to the no small delight of the bystanders. Vide. vol. 2, p. 101.
3 This dumb show appears to be superfluous, and even incongruous; for as the murder is there circumstantially represented, the king ought to have been struck with it then, without waiting for the dialogue.
4 Miching malicho is lurking mischief, or evil doing. To mich, for to
Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play.
Ham. We shall know by this fellow. The players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant?
Ham. Ay, or any show that you'll show him. Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
Oph. You are naught, you are naught; I'll mark the play.
Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord,
Ham. As woman's love.
Enter a King and a Queen.
P. King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart1 gone round
Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground;
P. Queen. So many journeys may the sun and
Make us again count o'er, ere love be done!
skulk, to lurk, was an old English verb in common use in Shakspeare's time; and malicho or malhecho, misdeed, he has borrowed from the Spanish. 1 Cart, car, or chariot, were used indiscriminately for any carriage, formerly.