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Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.

Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring? Oph. "Tis brief, my lord,

Ham. As woman's love.

Enter a King and a Queen.

King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground; And thirty dozen moons, with borrow'd sheen, About the world have times twelve thirties been; Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands, Unite commutual in most sacred bands.

Queen. So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er, ere love be done!
But, woe is me! you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer, and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women's fear and love hold quantity; 20
In neither aught, or in extremity.

Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so.
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.21

King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too; My operant powers their functions leave to do:

19 Cart, car, and chariot were used indiscriminately. -"The stye," says Coleridge, " of the interlude here is distinguished from the real dialogue by rhyme, as in the first interview with the players by epic verse."


"For women fear too much, even as they love;
And women's fear and love hold quantity."

20 So the folio; the quartos have a different reading, giving two lines for one:

21 The last two lines of this speech are not in the folio.




And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, belov'd; and, haply, one as kind
For husband shalt thou-


O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second, but who kill'd the first.

Ham. [Aside.] That's wormwood.

Queen. The instances, that second marriage move,
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love:
A second time I kill my husband dead,
When second husband kisses me in bed.

King. I do believe you think what now you speak; But what we do determine oft we break.

Purpose is but the slave to memory,

Of violent birth, but poor validity;
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.
Most necessary 'tis, that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy

Their own enactures 22 with themselves destroy:
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye; nor 'tis not strange,

That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,

Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark, his favourite flies;
The poor advanc'd makes friends of enemies:
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;
For who not needs, shall never lack a friend;
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.23

22 That is, their own determinations, what they enact. 23 Season was very commonly used in the sense of to temper,

But, orderly to end where I begun,

Our wills and fates do so contrary run,
That our devices still are overthrown;

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Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts, when thy first lord is dead.

Queen. Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light!
Sport and repose lock from me, day and night!
To desperation turn my trust and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope! 24
Each opposite, that blanks the face of joy,
Meet what I would have well, and it destroy!
Both here, and hence, pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!

Ham. [To OPHE.] If she should break it now,

King. 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile: My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile

The tedious day with sleep.



Sleep rock thy brain;
And never come mischance between us twain!

Ham. Madam, how like you this play? Queen. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

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Ham. O! but she'll keep her word.

King. Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in't?

Ham. No, no; they do but jest, poison in jest: no offence i'the world.

King. What do you call the play?

Ham. The mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in

as before in this play: "Season your admiration for a while." See, also, Act i. sc. 3, note 14.


24 Anchor's for anchoret's.

Thus in Hall's second Satire:

"Sit seven years pining in an anchor's cheyre,
To win some patched shreds of minivere."

Vienna: Gonzago is the duke's name; 25 his wife, Baptista. You shall see anon: 'tis a knavish piece of work; but what of that? your majesty, and we that have free souls, it touches us not: Let the gall'd jade wince, our withers are unwrung.—


This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my lord.26 Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.

Oph. You are keen, my lord, you are keen. Ham. It would cost you a groaning, to take off my edge.

Oph. Still better, and worse.

Ham. So you must take your husbands.27-Begin, murderer: leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come: - The croaking raven both bellow for revenge.

Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing; Confederate season, else no creature seeing;

25 All the old copies read thus. Yet in the dumb show we have, "Enter a King and Queen ;" and at the end of this speech, " Lucianus, nephew to the king." This seeming inconsistency, however, may be reconciled. Though the interlude is the image of the murder of the duke of Vienna, or in other words founded upon that story, the Poet might make the principal person in his fable a king. Baptista is always the name of a man.

26 The use to which Shakespeare put the chorus may be seen in King Henry V. Every motion or puppet-show was accompanied by an interpreter or showman.


27 Alluding, most likely, to the language of the Marriage service To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer," &c. - All the old copies, but the first quarto, have mistake; which Theobald conjectured should be must take, before any authority for it was known.


Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,2
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.

[Pours the Poison into the Sleeper's Ears. Ham. He poisons him i'the garden for his estate. His name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and written in very choice Italian. You shall see anon, how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

Oph. The king rises.

Ham. What! frighted with false fire? 29
Queen. How fares my lord?
Pol. Give o'er the play.
King. Give me some light! — away!
All. Lights, lights, lights!



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[Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO. Ham. Why, let the stricken deer go weep, The hart ungalled play;

For some must watch, while some must sleep : Thus runs the world away.


Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers, (if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk31 with me,) with two Provincial roses on my rac'd shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players, sir ? 32

28 That is, weeds collected at midnight; as in Macbeth: "Root of hemlock, digg'd i'the dark."


29 This speech is found only in the folio and the quarto of 1603.

н. H.

30 In the quartos, this speech is given to Polonius.

31 To turn Turk was a familiar phrase for any violent change of condition or character.

32 Mr. Douce has shown that the Provincial roses took their name from Provins, in Lower Brie, and not from Provence. Rac'd shoes are most probably embroidered shoes. The quartos read, raz'd. To race, or rase, was to stripe. So in Markham's County Farm, speaking of wafer cakes: "Baking all together between two irons, having within them many raced and checkered draughts after the manner of small squares." It was usual to call a pack

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