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Pol. This is too long.
Had he the motive and the cue for passion,
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.- That I have? He would drown the stage with tears, Pr'ythee, say on:-He's for a jig, or a tale of baw-And cleave the general ear with horrid speech; dry, or he sleeps:-say on: come to Hecuba. Make mad the guilty, and appal the free, The very faculties of eyes and ears. Confound the ignorant; and amaze, indeed,
1 Play. But who, ah wo! had seen the mobled'
Ham. The mobled queen?
Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good.
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head,
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
heaven, 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 bestowed? 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
Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better: Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scare 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.
[Exit Polonius, with some of the Players. 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. [Exit Player.] My good friends, [To Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night: you
are welcome to Elsinore.
Ros. Good my lord!
[Exeunt Ros. and Guil. 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 aspect, 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,
(1) Muffled. (2) Blind. (3) Milky. (4) Destruction. (5) Unnatural.
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
A damn'd defeat4 was made. Am I a coward?
Why, I should take it: for it cannot be,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Fie upon't! foh! About my brains! Humph! 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,7 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. [Exit.
SCENE 1-A room in the castle. Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
King. And can you by no drift of conference Get from him, why he puts on this confusion; Grating so harshly all his days of quiet With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
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.
Did he receive you well? Ros. Most like a gentleman.
Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition. Ros. Niggard of question; but, of our demands,
(6) Search his wounds. (7) Shrink or start.
Did you assay him
Most free in his reply.
King. With all my heart; and it doth much
To hear him so inclin❜d.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
Her father, and myself (lawful espials,3)
Madam, I wish it may.
That show of such an exercise may colour
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
(1) Overtook. (2) Meet. (3) Spies.
That makes calamity of so long life:
Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours
I pray you, now receive them.
No, not I;
I never gave you aught.
Pol. I hear him coming; let's withdraw, my lord.
Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question:-
And, with them, words of so sweet breath compos'd
Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest?
Oph. What means your lordship?
Ham. That if you be honest, and fair, you should admit no discourse to your beauty.
Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?
Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness; this was some time a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
Oph. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. Ham. You should not have believed me: for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock, but we shall relish of it: I loved you not.
Oph. I was the more deceived.
Ham. Get thee to a nunnery; Why would'st thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things, that it were better, my mother had not borne me: am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck, 15 than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in: What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us: Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father?
Oph. At home, my lord.
Ham. Let the doors be shut upon him; that he may play the fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.
(11) The ancient term for a small dagger.
Oph. O, help him, you sweet heavens! Ham. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry; Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery; farewell: Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough, what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell.
Oph. Heavenly powers, restore him! Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance: Go to; I'll no more of't; it hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go. [Exit Hamlet. Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown! The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword:
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
Re-enter King and Polonius.
King. Love! his affections do not that way tend; Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little, Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
This something-settled matter in his heart;
King. It shall be so: Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go. [Exeunt. SCENE II-A hall in the same. Enter Hamlet, and certain Players.
Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as
(1) The model by whom all endeavoured to form themselves.
(2) Alienation of mind.
(3) Reprimand him with freedom.
lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings:4 who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb show, and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'er-doing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: Pray you, avoidit. 1 Play. I warrant your honour.
Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure.6 Now this, overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve: the censure of which one, must, in your allowance,' o'er-weigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players, that I have seen play,-and heard others praise, and that highly,not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of christians, nor the gait of christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
1 Play. I hope, we have reformed that indifferently with us.
Ham. O, reform it altogether. And let those, that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary questions of the play be then to be considered: that's villanous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.[Exeunt Players. Enter Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. How now, my lord? will the king hear this piece of work?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
Hor. 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.
Danish march. A flourish. Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern,
Ham. No, nor mine now. My lord,-you played once in the university, you say? [To Polonius. 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 killed i'the Capitol; Brutus killed me.
Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there.-Be the players ready?
Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay4 upon your patience. Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me. Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
Pol. O ho! do you mark that? [To the King. Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap? [Lying down at Ophelia's feet. Oph. No, my lord. Ham. I mean, my head upon your lap? 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?
Oph. You are merry, my lord.
Ham. Who, I?
man do, but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
King. How fares our cousin Hamlet ?
Ham. We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
Ham. Excellent, i'faith; of the chameleon's dish: I eat the air, promise-crammed: You cannot feed capons so.
Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant?
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet;|| Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to
these words are not mine.
Oph. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Ŏ! your only jig-maker. What should a
(1) Secret. (2) Shop: stithy is a smith's shop. (3) Opinion. (4) Wait. (5) The richest dress. (6) Secret wickedness.
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.5 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.
Trumpets sound. The dumb show follows. Enter a King and a Queen, very lovingly; the Queen embracing him, and he her. 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 loath and unwilling awhile, but, in the end, accepts his love. [Exeunt.
Oph. What means this, my lord? Ham. Marry, this is miching mallecho;6 it means mischief.
Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play.
tell you what it means.
Oph. You are naught, you are naught; I'll mark the play.
Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,
Ham. As woman's love.
Enter a King and a Queen.
P. King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus'9 orbed ground; And thirty dozen moons, with borrow'd sheen,10 About the world have times twelve thirties been; Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands, Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
P. Queen. So many journeys inay the sun and
Make us again count o'er, ere love be done!
(7) Short. (8) Car, chariot. (9) The earth's. (10) Shining, lustre.
(11) Magnitude, proportion.
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love;
P. King. I do believe, you think what now you
But, what we do determine, oft we break.
For who not needs, shall never lack a friend;
P. Queen. Nor earth to give me food, nor heaven
Sport and repose lock from me, day and night!
P. King. "Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
[Exit. Ham. Madam, how like you this play? Queen. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
(1) Active. (2) Motives. (3) Determinations. (4) Ever. (5) Anchoret's. (6) -the thing In which he'll catch the conscience of the king.
[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?
King. Give me some light :-away!
[Exeunt all but Hamlet and Horatio. Ham. Why, let the strucken deer go weep, The hart ungalled play:
For some must watch, while some must sleep;
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers? (if the
For thou dost know, O Damon dear, This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
Ham. O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive? Hor. Very well, my lord.
Ham. Upon the talk of poisoning,-
Ham. Ah, ha!-Come, some music; come, the recorders. 13
(7) This is a proverbial saying. (8) Curse. (9) For his head. (10) Change conditions. (11) Slashed. (12) Pack, company. (13) A kind of flute.