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How now, Ophelia! what's the matter?
OPHE. Alas, my Lord, I have been so affrighted!
POLO. With what, i' the name of God?
OPHE. My Lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac'd ;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ankle ;2
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of Hell
To speak of horrors-he comes before me.
POLO. Mad for thy love?
My Lord, I do not know;
But, truly, I do fear it.
What said he?
OPHE. He took me by the wrist, and held me hard;
Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
At last a little shaking of mine arm,
And thrice his head thus waving up and down
1 circuitous courses in the chase and in the game of bowls.
2 hanging about his ankles like fetters.
He rais'd a sigh so piteous and profound,
That it did seem to shatter all his bulk,
And end his being: that done, he lets me go;
And with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their help,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.
POLO. Come, go with me: I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself,
And leads the will to desperate undertakings,
As oft as any passion under Heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late? OPHE. No, my good Lord; but, as you did command, I did repel his letters, and denied
His access to me.
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted1 him. I fear'd he did but trifle,
And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my jealousy!
By Heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions, As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King:
This must be known; which, being kept close, might
More grief to hide than hate to utter love. [exeunt.
SCENE II. The Same. A Room in the Castle.
Enter the KING, the QUEEN, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDEN-
STERN, and Attendants.
KING. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it,
Since nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was.
What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both,
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And since so neighbour'd to his youth and humour,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our Court
Some little time; so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
QUEEN. Good Gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of
Ay, amen! [Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants.
POLO. The ambassadors from Norway, my good Lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
KING. Thou still hast been the father of good news.
POLO. Have I, my Lord? Assure you, my good Liege,
I hold my duty, as I hold my
Both to my God, and to my gracious King:
And I do think (or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath us'd to do) that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
KING. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
POLO. Give first admittance to the ambassadors;
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found The head and source of all your son's distemper. QUEEN. I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage. KING. Well, we shall sift him.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast. KING. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in. [Exit POLONIUS.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS.
Welcome, my good Friends!
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
VOLT. Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your Highness: whereat griev'd—
That so his sickness, age, and impotence,
Was falsely borne in hand'-sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway; and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your Majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee;
1 practised upon.
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shewn,
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards' of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.
It likes us well;
And at our more consider'd time we 'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business:
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour.
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together :
Most welcome home!
[Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS.
This business is well ended.
My Liege, and Madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: Your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is 't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter, with less art.
POLO. Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect;
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
I have a daughter (have whilst she is mine)
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.