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Oph. What means this, my Lord?

Ham. Marry, this is miching Malicho; it means mifchief.

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

Enter Prologue.

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

Oph. Will he tell us, what this show meant?

Ham. Ay, or any show that you'll fhew him. Be not you afhamed to fhew, he'll not fhame to tell you what

it means.

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

Prol. For us, and for our tragedy,

Here ftooping to your clemency,

We beg your hearing patiently.

Ham. Is this a prologue, or the poesy of a ring?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my Lord.

Ham. As woman's love.

Enter Duke, and Dutchefs, Players.

Duke. Full thirty times hath Phabus' carr gone round
Neptune's falt wafh, and Tellus' orbed ground;
And thirty dozen moons with borrowed fheen
About the world have time twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands,
Unite commutual, in moft facred bands.

Dutch. So many journeys may the fun and moon
Make us again count o'er, ere love be done.
But woe is me, you are fo fick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I diftruft you; yet though I diftruft,
Difcomfort you, my Lord, it nothing muft:
For women fear too much, ev'n as they love.


And womens' fear and love hold quantity ; 'Tis either none, or in extremity.

Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is fiz'd, my fear is fo. (19)

Where love is great, the fmalleft doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows
Duke. 'Faith, I muft leave thee, love, and fhortly too :
My operant powers their functions leave to do,
And thou fhalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, belov'd; and, haply, one as kind
For husband fhalt thou-

Dutch. Oh, confound the reft!

Such love muft needs be treason in my

In fecond hufband let me be accurft!


None wed the second, but who kill the first.

Ham. Wormwood, wormwood !

Dutch. The inftances, that fecond marriage move, Are base refpects of thrift, but none of love.

A fecond time I kill my husband dead,

When fecond husband kiffes me in bed.

Duke. I do believe, you think what now you speak; But what we do determine, oft we break ; Purpose is but the flave to memory,

Of violent birth, but poor validity:

Which now, like fruits unripe, sticks on the tree,
But fall unshaken, when they mellow be.
Moft neceffary 'tis, that we forget

'To pay ourfelves what to ourselves is debt:

(19) And as my Love is fix'd, my Fear is fo.] Mr. Pope fays, I read fiz'd: and, indeed, I do fo: becaufe, I obferve, the Quarto of 1605 reads, ciz'd; that of 1611 cizft; the Folio in 1632, fix; and that in 1623, fiz'd: and because, befides, the whole Tenour of the Context demands this Reading: For the Lady evidently is talking here of the Quantity and Proportion of her Love and Fear; not of their Continuance, Duration, or Stability. Cleopatra exprefles herfelf much in the fame manner, with regard to her Grief for the Lofs of Antony.

--our Size of Sorrow, Proportion'd to our Cause, must be as great As that which makes it.


What to ourfelves in paffion we propofe,
The paffion ending, doth the purpose lose;
The violence of either grief or joy,

Their own enactors with themselves deftroy.
Where joy moft revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on flender accident.
This world is not for aye; nor 'tis not ftrange,
That ev'n our loves fhould with our fortunes change.
For 'tis a queftion left us yet to prove,

Whether love leads fortune, or elfe fortune love.
The great man down, you mark, his fav'rite flies;
poor advanc'd, makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,

For who not needs, fhall never lack a friend;
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly feasons him his enemy.

But orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do fo contrary run,

That our devices ftill are overthrown;

Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
Think ftill, thou wilt no fecond husband wed;
But die thy thoughts, when thy firft Lord is dead.
· Dutch. Nor earth to give me food, nor heaven light
Sport and repofe lock from me, day and night!
To defperation turn my truft and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prifon be my scope!
Each oppofite, that blanks the face of joy,
Meet what I would have well, and it deftroy!
Both here, and hence, purfue me lasting strife!
If, once a widow, ever I be wife.

Ham. If the fhould break it now

Duke. 'Tis deeply sworn; sweet, leave me here a while;

My fpirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile

The tedious day with fleep.

Dutch. Sleep rock thy brain,


And never come mifchance between us twain! [Exit.

Ham. Madam, how like you this play?

Queen. The lady protefts too much, methinks.

Ham. Oh, but he'll keep ler woɔrd.

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

Ham. No, no, they do but jeft, poifon in jeft, no offence i'th' world.

King. What do you call the play? Ham. The Moufe-Trap; Marry, how? tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna; Gonzago is the Duke's name, his wife's Baptifta; you fhall fee anon, 'tis a knavish piece of work; but what o' that? your Majefty, and we that have free fouls, it touches us not; let the gall'd jade winch, our withers are unrung.

Enter Lucianus.

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the Duke.
Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my


Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if

I could fee 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 miftake your hufbands.

Begin, murderer.-Leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge. Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing:

Confederate feafon, and no creature feeing:

Thou mixture rank, of mid-night weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blafted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magick, and dire property,

On wholfome life ufurp immediately.

[Pours the poifon into his ears. Ham. He poifons him i'th' garden for's eftate; his name's Gonzago; the ftory is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

Oph. The King rifes.

Ham. What, frighted with falfe fire!


Queen. How fares my Lord ?

Pol. Give o'er the Play.

King. Give me fome light. Away!

All. Lights, lights, lights!

Manent Hamlet and Horatio.

Ham. Why, let the ftrucken deer go weep,

The hart ungalled play;

For fome must watch, whilft some must sleep;
So runs the world away.


Would not this, Sir, and a forest of Feathers, (if the reft of my fortunes turn Turk with me) with two provincial roses on my rayed fhoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of Players, Sir?

Hor. Half a share.

Ham. A whole one, I.

"For thou dost know, oh Damon dear, "This realm difmantled was

"Of Jove himself, and now reigns here "A very, very, (20) Paddock.

(20) A very very Peacock.] The old Copies have it Paicock, Paicocke, and Pajocke. I fubftitute Paddock, as nearest to the Traces of the corrupted Reading. I have, as Mr. Pope fays, been willing to fubftitute any Thing in the place of his Peacock. He thinks a Fable alluded to, of the Birds chufing a King; inftead of the Eagle, a Peacock. I fuppofe, he must mean the Fable of Barlandus, in which it is faid, the Birds being weary of their State of Anarchy, mov'd for the fetting up of a King: and the Peacock was elected on account of his gay Feathers, But, with Submiffion, in this Paffage of our Shakespeare, there is not the leaft mention made of the Eagle is Antithefis to the Peacock; and it must be by a very uncommon Figure, that Jove himself ftands in the place of his Bird. I think, Hamlet is fetting his Father's and Uncle's Characters in Contraft to each other: and means to fay, that by his Father's Death the State was ftripp'd of a godlike Monarch, and that now in his Stead reign'd the most despicable poisonous Animal that could be: a meer Paddock, or Toad. PAD, bufo, rubeta major; a toad. This Word, I take to be of Hamlet's own fubftituting. The Verses, repeated, feem to be from fome old Ballad; in which, Rhyme being neceffary, I doubt not but the laft Verse ran thus;

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