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Enter First ACTOR, ACTRESS, and Second Actor. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all:0, old friend! Why, thy face is valanc'd since I saw thee last : Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark? What! my young lady and mistress! Byér-lady, your ladyship is nearer Heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine.—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.

1 Act. What speech, my 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 caviare to the general : but it was an excellent play ; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. 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 your memory, begin at this line ;

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,-
"Tis not so: it begins with Pyrrhus.
The rugged Pyrrhus,-he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble,
Old grandsire Priam seeks.

Pol. 'Fore Heaven, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion.

Ham. So;—proceed you.

1 Act. Anon, he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks ; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to conimand : Unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives ; in rage, strikes wide ;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls.
But, as we often see, against some storma


A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death: anon, the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region : So, after Pyrrhus' pause,
A roused vengeance sets him new a-work ;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet, Furtune!

Pol. This is too long.

Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Say on: Come to Hecuba. i Act. But who, ah woe! kad seen the mobled

queen, Ham. The mobled queen! Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Act. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the

flames; A clout upon

that head, Where late the diadem stood ; and, for a robe, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up : Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd?

Pol. Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.—'Prythee, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.--Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow'd ? do you hear, let them be well us’d; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

Ham. Much better. Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping ? Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.

Pol. Come, sir.

Ham. Follow him, friends : we'll hear a play tonight.-Old friend,

Excunt POLONIUS, SECOND ACTOR, and ACTRESS. My good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.

[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Can you play the murder of Gonzago?

1 Act. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll have it to-night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't? could you not?

1 Act. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him not.

[Exit First ACTOR.
-I have heard,
"That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul, that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions:
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players -
Play something like the murder of my father,
Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick; if he do blench,
I know my course.

The spirit, that I have seen,
May be a devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps,
Out of my weakness, and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me, to damn me: I'll have grounds
More relative than this; the play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.


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A Theatre in the Palace.


King. And can you by no drift of conference
Get from him, why he puts on this confusion ?

Ros. He does confess he feels himself distracted; But from what cause he will by no means speak.

Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded; But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof, When we would bring him on to some confession Of his true state.

Queen. Did you assay him To any pastime?

Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players We o'er-raught on the way : of these we told him ; And there did seem in him a kind of joy To hear of it: They are about the court; And, as I think, they have already order This night to play before him.

Pol. 'Tis most true:
And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties,
To hear and see the matter.
King. With all my heart; and it doth much con-

tent me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
And drive his purpose on to these delights.


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Ros. We shall, my

lord. [E.ceunt GUILDENSTERN and ROSENCRANTZ. King. Sweet Gertrude, leave us too: For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither; That he, as 'twere, by accident, may here Affront Ophelia: Her father, and myself (lawful espials,) Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen, We may of their encounter frankly judge; · And gather by him, as he is behav’d, If 't be the affliction of his love, or no, That thus he suffers for.

Queen. I shall obey you: And, for your part, Ophelia, I do wish, That your good beauties be the happy cause Of Hamlet's wildness; so shall I hope, your virtues Will bring him to his wonted way again, "To both


honours. Oph. Madam, I wish it may. [Exit Queen.

Pol. Ophelia, walk you here :-Read on this book; That show of such an exercise may colour Your loneliness./We are oft to blame in this, "Tis too much prov'd —that with devotion's visage, And pious action, we do sugar o'er "The devil himself.

King. O, 'tis too true.--How smart A lash that speech doth give my conscience! Pol. I hear him coming ; let's withdraw, my lord.

[Exeunt King and Polonius.

Enter HAMLET, Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question : Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer "The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them ?-To die?—to sleep, No more;--and, by a sleep, to say we end

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