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Art more engaged! Help, angels, make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe;

All may be well!


[Retires and kneels.

Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do 't; and so he goes to heaven: And so am I revenged? That would be scanned.1 A villain kills my father; and, for that,

I, his sole son, do this same villain send

To heaven.


Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.

He took my father grossly, full of bread;

With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;

And, how his audit stands, who knows, save Heaven?
But, in our circumstance and course of thought,

'Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?

Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent.3
When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed;
At gaming, swearing; or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't:

Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven;
And that his soul may be as damned, and black,
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays;
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.

The King rises and advances.


King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; Words, without thoughts, never to heaven go. [Exit.

1 "That would be scanned"-that requires consideration.

2 The quarto reads, base and silly.


3 Shakspeare has used the verb to hent, to take, to lay hold on, elsewhere; but the word is here used as a substantive, for hold or opportunity. 4 First quarto :—

"No king on earth is safe, if God's his foe."

SCENE IV. Another Room in the same.

Enter Queen and POLONIUS.

Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him;

Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear with;
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
'Pray you, be round with him."



I'll warrant you;

Fear me not;-withdraw, I hear him coming.

[POLONIUS hides himself.


Ham. Now, mother, what's the matter?

Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended Ham. Mother, you have my father much offended. Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue. Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue. Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet?


What's the matter now?

Queen. Have you forgot me? Ham. No, by the rood, not so. You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife ; And,-'would it were not so!-you are my mother. Queen. Nay, then I'll set those to you that can speak. Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;

You go not, till I set you up a glass

Where you may see the inmost part of you.

Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?

Help, help, ho!

1 The folio here interposes the following speech:

"Ham. [Within.] Mother, mother, mother."

The circumstance of Polonius hiding himself behind the arras, and the manner of his death, are found in the old black letter prose Hystory of Hamblett.

[blocks in formation]

Is it the king?

Nay, I know not.

[Lifts up the arras, and draws forth POLONIUS. Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this! Ham. A bloody deed; almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

Queen. As kill a king!

Ham. Ay, lady, 'twas my word.Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!


I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune:
Thou find'st to be too busy, is some danger.-

Leave wringing of your hands. Peace; sit you


And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,

If it be made of penetrable stuff;

If damned custom have not brazed it so,

That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy


In noise so rude against me?

Such an act,

That blurs the grace and blush of modesty;
Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And sets a blister there; makes marriage-vows
As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul; and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words. Heaven's face doth glow;
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,

With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.1

Ah me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index? 2
Ham. Look here upon this picture, and on this
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow!
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station 3 like the herald Mercury,
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination, and a form, indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man.

This was your husband.---Look you now, what follows.
Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear,


Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for, at your age,
The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment. And what judgment
Would step from this to this? [Sense sure you have,
Else could you not have motion: but, sure, that sense
Is apoplexed; for madness would not err;
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled,
But it reserved some quantity of choice,


To serve in such a difference.] What devil was't,

1 The quarto of 1604 gives this passage thus:--


Heaven's face does glow

O'er this solidity and compound mass

With heated visage, as against the doom,

Is thought-sick at the act."

2 Index is here used in one of its least common senses, as a preparatory sketch in dumb show, prefixed to the act of a play.

3 It is evident, from this passage, that whole-length pictures of the two kings were formerly introduced. Station does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing, the attitude.

4 Here the allusion is to Pharaoh's dream, Genesis, xli.

5 Sense here is not used for reason; but for sensation, feeling, or perception.

That thus hath cozened you at hoodman blind?1
[Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense,
Could not so mope.2]

O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine 3 in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,


And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame,
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge;
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,

And reason panders will.


O Hamlet, speak no more. Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct.



Nay, but to live


In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed;
Stewed in corruption; honeying, and making love

Over the nasty sty;


O, speak to me no more ;

These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

Ham. A murderer, and a villain;

A slave, that is not twentieth part the tithe

Of your precedent lord ;-a vice of kings;

1 "The hoodwinke play, or hoodman blind, in some place, called blindmanbuf.”—Baret. It is hob-man-blind in the quarto of 1603.

2 i. e. could not be so dull and stupid.

3 Mutine for mutiny. This is the old form of the verb.

4 Thus in the quarto of 1603:

"Why, appetite with you is in the wane,

Your blood runs backward now from whence it came;
Who'll chide hot blood within a virgin's heart,

When lust shall dwell within a matron's breast?' "9

5 "Grained spots;" that is, dyed in grain, deeply imbued. 6 i. e. greasy, rank, gross. It is a term borrowed from falconry. The seam of any animal was the fat or tallow; and a hawk was said to be enseamed when she was too fat or gross for flight. It should be remarked, that the quarto of 1603 reads incestuous, as does that of 1611.

7 i. e. "the low mimic, the counterfeit, a dizard, or common vice and jester, counterfeiting the gestures of any man."-Fleming. Shakspeare afterwards calls him a king of shreds and patches, alluding to the particolored habit of the vice or fool in a play.

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