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How now, my lord! will the king hear this piece of work?

Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
Ham. Bid the players make haste.


Will you two help to hasten them?
Both. We will, my lord."

[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and Guildenstern. Ham. What, ho! Horatio!


Hor. Here, sweet lord, at your service. Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man As e'er my conversation cop'd withal.

Hor. O! my dear lord, -

Nay, do not think I flatter;
For what advancement may I hope from thee,
That no revenue hast, but thy good spirits,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be
flatter'd ?

No; let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,"
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for herself:9 for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;

7 So the folio; the quartos, "Ros. Ay, my lord." 8 Pregnant is quick, ready.


Thus the folio; the quartos make election the object of distinguish, and use She as the subject of hath seal'd. — In the fourth line after, the quartos have co-meddled instead of co-mingled.


A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards

Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and blest are those,
Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that


That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.—Something too much of this.
There is a play to-night before the king;
One scene of it comes near the circumstance,
Which I have told thee, of my father's death.
I pr'ythee, when thou seest that act a-foot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul 10
Observe my uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen;
And my imaginations are as foul

As Vulcan's stithy." Give him heedful note:
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face;

And, after, we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.


Well, my lord:
If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing,
And scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

Ham. They are coming to the play: I must be idle; Get you a place.

10 That is, with the most intense direction of every faculty. The folio has "my soul," which Knight and Collier strangely prefer, on the ground that "Hamlet is putting Horatio in his place, for the purpose of watching the king." One would think that Hamlet, though he "must be idle," that is, appear so, means to stand in his own place, for that purpose; else why should he say,-"1 mine eyes will rivet to his face?"


11 That is, Vulcan's workshop or smithy; stith being an anvil.

A Flourish.

Danish March.
Enter the King, the

King. How fares our cousin Hamlet?

Ham. Excellent, i'faith; of the chameleon's dish: I eat the air, promise-cramm'd. You cannot feed

capons so.

King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.

Ham. No, nor mine now. -[To POLON.] My lord, you play'd once i'the university, you say?

Pol. That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.

Ham. And what did you enact?

Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was kill'd i'the Capitol; Brutus kill'd me.12

Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there.- Be the players ready?

Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.' Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me. Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.


Pol. [To the King.] O ho! do you mark that?
Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

[Lying down at OPHELIA'S Feet. Oph. No, my lord.

12 A Latin play on Cæsar's death was performed at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1582. Malone thinks that there was an English play on the same subject previous to Shakespeare's. Cæsar was killed in Pompey's portico, and not in the Capitol but the error is at least as old as Chaucer's time,

13 That is, they wait upon your sufferance or will. Johnson would have changed the word to pleasure; but Shakespeare has it in a similar sense in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act iii. se. 1: "And think my patience more than thy desert is privilege for thy departure hence."

Ham. I mean, my head upon your lap? 14

Oph. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Do you think, I meant country matters?

Oph. I think nothing, my lord.

Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.

Oph. What is, my lord?

Ham. Nothing.

Oph. You are merry, my lord.

Ham. Who, I?

Oph. Ay, my lord.

Ham. O God! your only jig-maker.' What should a man do, but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.


Oph. Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.

Ham. So long? Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables.16 O heavens ! die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year: But, by'r-lady, he must build churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse; whose epitaph is, “For, O! for, O! the hobby-horse is forgot.'

99 17

14 This question and the answer to it are only in the folio.


15 See Act ii. sc. 2, note 51. 52,

16 Hanmer would read ermine, on the ground that sable is itself a mourning colour. But sables were among the most rich and costly articles of dress; and a statute of the reign of Henry VIII. made it unlawful for any one under the rank of an earl to wear them. The meaning is well explained by Knight, thus: "If Hamlet had said, 'Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of ermine,' he would merely have said, 'Let the devil be in mourning, for I'll be fine.' But, as it is, he says, 'Let the devil wear the real colours of grief, but I'll be magnificent in garb that only has a facing of something like grief.""


17 Alluding to the expulsion of the hobby-horse from the May

Trumpets sound. The Dumb Show enters. Enter a King and a Queen, very lovingly; the Queen embracing him. She kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck; lays him down upon a bank of flowers: she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a Fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King's ears, and exit. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The Poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in again, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The Poisoner woos the Queen with gifts: she seems loth and unwilling awhile, but in the end accepts his love.


Oph. What means this, my lord? Ham. Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief.18

Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play.

Enter Prologue.

Ham. We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.

Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant?

Ham. Ay, or any show that you'll show him: Be not you asham'd to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.

Oph. You are naught, you are naught: I'll mark the play.

games, where he had long been a favourite. See Love's Labour's Lost, Act iii. sc. 1, note 6.


18 Miching mallecho is lurking mischief, or evil doing. To mich, for to skulk, to lurk, was an old English verb in common use in Shakespeare's time; and mallecho or malhecho, misdeed, he has borrowed from the Spanish.

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