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HAM. [aside.] Nay, then, I have an eye of you. If you love me, hold not off.
GUILD. My Lord, we were sent for.
HAM. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
ROSEN. To think, my Lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten3 entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.
HAM. He that plays the King shall be welcome; his Majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous Knight shall use his foil and target; the Lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall end his part in peace; the Clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickle o' the sere; and the Lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank-verse shall halt for 't. What players are they?
ROSEN. 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.
3 meagre. • passed by. 5 light on the trigger.
ROSEN. I think their inhibition comes by the means of ACT II the late innovation.
HAM. Do they hold the same estimation they did when
I was in the City? are they so follow'd?
ROSEN. No, indeed, they are not.
ROSEN. Nay; their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace;
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 themselves 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 ?
ROSEN. 'Faith, there has been much to-do on both sides; and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy: 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?
GUILD. O, there has been much throwing about of brains.
ROSEN. Ay, that they do, my Lord; Hercules and his
HAM. It is not very strange; for mine uncle is King of Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while my father liv'd, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. [Flourish of trumpets within. GUILD. There are the players.
HAM. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come; the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony: let me comply with you in the garb;
lest my extent1 to the players, which, I tell
GUILD. In what, my dear Lord?
HAM. I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
POLO. 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 swaddling-clouts.
ROSEN. Happily he's the second time come to them; for they say an old man is twice a child.
HAM. I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players; mark it. You say right, Sir: o' Monday morning; 'twas so, indeed.
POLO. My Lord, I have news to tell you.
HAM. My Lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor in Rome
POLO. The actors are come hither, my Lord.
HAM. Buz, buz!
POLO. Upon mine honour
HAM. Then came each actor on his ass
POLO. What a treasure had he, my Lord?
POLO. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historicalpastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historicalpastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited; Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men.
HAM. O Jephthah, Judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!
One fair daughter, and no more,
POLO. [aside.] Still on my daughter.
HAM. Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah?
POLO. If you call me Jephthah, my Lord, I have a ACT II
As by lot, God wot;
and then, you know,
It came to pass, as most like it was
the first row of the pious chanson will shew you more; for look, where my abridgements come.
• excelled. ♦ piquancies.
Enter four or five Players.
You are welcome, Masters; welcome, all. I am glad to see thee well. Welcome, good Friends. O, my old Friend! thy face is valanc'd1 since I saw thee last: comest thou to beard me in Denmark? What, my young Lady and Mistress! By'r Lady, your Ladyship is nearer to Heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. 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 French falconers, fly at any thing we see: we'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.
FIRST PLAY. What speech, my Lord?
2 Venetian high wooden shoe.
it live in your memory, begin at this line: let me see, let me see
The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast
it is not so; it begins with Pyrrhus :
The rugged Pyrrhus-he whose sable arms,
To their vile murders. Roasted in wrath and fire,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
So, proceed you.
POLO. 'Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword,
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick:
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the Heavens, the rack1 stand still,
1 mass of clouds.
Anon he finds him