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but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general: but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top of mine,) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection: but call'd it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved: 'twas Eneas' 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; let me see, let me
The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,— 'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.
The rugged Pyrrhus,-he, whose sable arms,
eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus Old grandsire Priam seeks,-So proceed you.
Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion.
1 Play. Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
But, as we often see, against some storm,
Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel, And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven, As low as to the fiends!
Pol. This is too long.
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.Pr'ythee, say on:-He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps:-say on: come to Hecuba.
1 Play. But who, ah woe! had seen the mobled queen――
Ham. The mobled queen?
Pol. That's good? mobled queen is good.
1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head,
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
And passion in the gods.
Pol. Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.-Pr'ythee, 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 used; for they are the abstract, 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. Odd's bodikin, man, 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, sirs.
Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play tomorrow. Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it to-morrow 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 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Very well.-Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exeunt Polonius and Players.] My good friends, [to Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.
Ros. Good my lord!
[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you :-Now I am alone. O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! Is it not monstrous, that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit, That, from her working, all his visage wann'd; Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspéct,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing! For Hecuba!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Why, I should take it: for it cannot be,
Why, what an ass am I? This is most brave;
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,