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[reads.] To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most ACT II beautified OpheliaSc. II

That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; beautified is a vile phrase: but you shall hear. Thus:

[reads.] In her excellent white bosom, these, etc.

QUEEN. Came this from Hamlet to her?

POLO. Good Madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.


Doubt thou the Stars are fire;
Doubt that the Sun doth move ;
Doubt Truth to be a liar ;

But never doubt I love.

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O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers: I have not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, O most Best, believe it. Adieu.

Thine evermore, most dear Lady, whilst this
machine is to him, HAMLET.

This, in obedience, hath my daughter shewn me;
And, more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.


But how hath she

Receiv'd his love?
What do you think of me?
KING. As of a man faithful and honourable.


POLO. I would fain prove so. But what might you think,

When I had seen this hot love on the wing

(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,

Before my daughter told me) what might you, dear Majesty your Queen here, think,



If I had play'd the desk or table-book;

Or given my heart a winking,1 mute and dumb;

Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;

What might you think? No; I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:

Lord Hamlet is a Prince, out of thy Star;2

This must not be. And then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens:
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;

1 blinded my heart.

2 Destiny.


Sc. II

And he, repulsed (a short tale to make)
Fell into a sadness; then into a fast;
Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,

And all we mourn for.
Do you think 'tis this?
QUEEN. It may be, very likely.

POLO. Hath there been such a time (I'd fain know that)
That I have positively said 'Tis so,

When it prov'd otherwise?


Not that I know.

POLO. [pointing to his head and shoulder.] Take this from this, if this be otherwise.

If circumstances lead me, I will find

Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed

Within the centre.


How may we try it further?
POLO. You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.

So he does, indeed.

POLO. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;

POLO. Away, I do beseech you,
I'll board' him presently.

Mark the encounter: if he love her not,

And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,

Let me be no assistant for a State,
But keep a farm and carters.
We will try it.
QUEEN. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes

both away:


Enter HAMLET, reading.

[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, and Attendants.

O, give me leave :

How does my good Lord Hamlet?
HAM. Well, God-a-mercy.
POLO. Do you know me, my Lord?

HAM. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.

1 sleeplessness.


2 accost.



POLO. Not I, my


HAM. Then I would you were so honest a man.

POLO. Honest, my Lord!

HAM. Ay, Sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be

one man pick'd out of ten thousand.

POLO. That's very true, my Lord.


HAM. For, if the Sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion1- Have you a daughter? POLO. I have, my Lord.

HAM. Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is a blessing; but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to 't.

POLO. How say you by that? [aside.] Still harping on my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and truly in my youth I suffer'd much extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to him again. What do you read, my Lord?

HAM. Words, words, words.

POLO. What is the matter, my Lord?

HAM. Between who?

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POLO. I mean, the matter that you read, my Lord.
HAM. Slanders, Sir: for the satirical rogue says here, that
old men have gray beards; that their faces are wrinkled;
their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum;
and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with
most weak hams: all which, Sir, though I most power-
fully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to
have it thus set down; for you yourself, Sir, should be
old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward. 204
POLO. [aside.] Though this be madness, yet there is

method in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my Lord? HAM. Into my grave ?

POLO. Indeed, that is out o' the air. [aside.] How

pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness that soften madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be deliver'd of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter. My honourable Lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.


1 i.e. a carrion good to kiss.

Sc. II



Sc. II

HAM. You cannot, Sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal-except my life, except my life, except my life.

POLO. Fare you well, my Lord.

HAM. These tedious old fools!


POLO. You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is. 220
ROSEN. [to POLONIUS.] God save you, Sir!


GUILD. My honour'd Lord!
ROSEN. My most dear Lord!
HAM. My excellent good Friends!
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz!
do ye both?

How dost thou, Good Lads, how

ROSEN. As the indifferent children of the Earth.
GUILD. Happy, in that we are not overhappy;

On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
HAM. Nor the soles of her shoe?


ROSEN. Neither, my Lord.

HAM. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours?

GUILD. 'Faith, her privates we.

HAM. In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true; she is a strumpet. What's the news?

ROSEN. None, my Lord, but that the world's grown honest.

HAM. Then is Doomsday near: but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular: What have you, my good Friends, deserv'd at the hands of Fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?

GUILD. Prison, my Lord!

HAM. Denmark's a prison.

ROSEN. Then is the World one.


HAM. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst. ROSEN. We think not so, my Lord.

HAM. Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.


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ROSEN. Why, then your ambition makes it one; 'tis too ACT II
narrow for your mind.
Sc. II

HAM. O God, I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and
count myself a King of infinite space, were it not that
I have bad dreams.

GUILD. Which dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the
very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow
of a dream.

HAM. A dream itself is but a shadow.


ROSEN. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a
quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow.

HAM. Then are our beggars bodies, and our Monarchs
and outstretch'd' heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall
we to the Court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

EN: }


We'll wait upon you.


HAM. No such matter: I will not sort you with the rest
of my servants; for, to speak to you like an honest
man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the
beaten way2 of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
ROSEN. To visit you, my Lord; no other occasion.
HAM. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but
I thank you and sure, dear Friends, my thanks are
too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it
your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come,
deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.
GUILD. What should we say, my Lord?

HAM. Why, any thing-but to the purpose. You were
sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your
looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to
colour. I know the good King and Queen have sent
for you.


ROSEN. To what end, my Lord?

HAM. That you must teach me. But let me conjure you,
by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of
our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserv'd love,
and by what more dear a better proposer could charge
you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you
were sent for, or no.

ROSEN. [aside to GUILD.] What say you


I dilated.

2 i.e. frank speech.


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