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so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'er-hanging 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 faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in a&ion 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; nor woman neither, tho' by your smiling you seem to say so.
Rof. My lord there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the Players thall receive from you; we accosted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.
Ham. He that plays the. King shall be welcome; his majesty Thall have tribute of ine; the adventurous knight shall use his foyle and target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall end his part in peace; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verle shall hale for’t. What players are they?
Rof. 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.
Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? are they so follow'd :
Ros. No indeed, they are not.
there is, Sir, an + Airy of Children, little yases, that cry out on the top of question; and are most tyrannically clapt for’t; these are now the fashion, and so be-rattle the common stages (so they call then) 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 pursue the Quality no longer than they can sing? will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themfelves 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.
Ros. Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and the nation holds it no lin, to tarre them to controversie. 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 ?
Ham. It is not strange; for mine uncle is King of Denmark, and those that would make mowes at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducates a-peice, for his picture in little.
There is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. [Flourish for the players.
Guil. There are the players.
Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Ellinoor; your hands: come then, the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony Let me comply with you in this garbe, left my extent to the players (which I tell you must shew fairly outward) should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome; but my Uncle-father and Aunt-mother are deceiv’d. Guil. In what, my dear lord?
Ham. + Relating to the playhouses then contending, the Bankside, the Fortune, &c.
play'd by the Children of his majesty's chappel.
Ham. I am but mad north, north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
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 swathling clouts.
Rof. Haply he's the second time come to them; for they say, an old man is twice a child.
Ham. I will prophesie, he comes to tell me of the players. Mark it, you say right, Sir; for on Monday morning 'twas so indeed.
Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you,
Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, scene undividable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light, for the law of wit, and the liberty. These are the only men.
Ham. Ob Jephta, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadīt thou! Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord ?
Ham. Why one fair daughter, and no more,
Pol. Still on my daughter.
Pol. If you call me Jephta, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well.
Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Ham. Why as by lot, God wot ----- and then you know, it came to pass, as most like it was; the first row of the † rubrick will Thew you more. For look where my abridgements come.
Enter four or five players, Y’are welcome masters, welcome all. I am glad to see thee well; welcome good friends. Oh! old friend! thy face is valanc'd since I saw thee last: com'st thou to beard me in Denmark? What my young lady and mistress? berlady your ladyship is nearer heaven then whan I saw you last, by the altitude of af chioppine. Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome; we'll e’en to’t like friendly faulconers, fly at any thing we see; we'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.
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 pleas’d not the million, ’twas Caviar to the general; but it was, (as I receiv'd it, and others, whose judgment in such matters, cryed 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 was no salts in the lines, to make the matter favoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection; but calld it, an honest method. One speech in it I chiefly lov’d; 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido, and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in + Rubrick. It is Pons chansons in the first folio edition. The old ballads sung on bridand from thence calld Pons chansons. Hamlet is here repeating ends of old songs. + Chioppine, a bigh-heel'd fleoe, or a slipper. c french.
your memory, begin at this line, let me fee, let me see- The
Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent, and good discretion.
1 Play. Anon he finds him,
But e frests.