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For if the king like not the comedy,
tages,4 with your fingers and thumb, give it breath Why then, belike,―he likes it not, perdy.with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Come, some music.
Guil. But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.
Guil. Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Ham. Sir, a whole history.
Guil. The king, sir,
Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me. You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops: you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass: and
Ham. Ay, sir, what of him?
Guil. Is, in his retirement, marvellous distem- there is much music, excellent voice, in this little pered.
Ham. With drink, sir?
Guil. No, my lord, with choler.
organ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think, I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
Ham. Your wisdom should show itself more richer, to signify this to the doctor; for, for me to put him to his purgation, would, perhaps, plunge him into more choler.
Guil. What, my lord?
Ham. Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased: But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command; or, rather, as you say, my mother: therefore no more, but to the matter: My mother,|| you say,
Ros. Then thus she says; Your behaviour hath struck her into amazement and admiration.
God bless you, sir!
Pol. My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.
Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a camel?
Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
Ham. Methinks, it is like a weasel.
Pol. It is backed like a weasel.
And do such business as the bitter day
Would quake to look on. Soft; now to my mother.
O, heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom :
Let me be cruel, not unnatural :
Ham. Or, like a whale?
Pol. Very like a whale.
Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by. -They fool me to the top of my bent.5-I will come by and by.
Pol. I will say so.
[Exit Polonius. Ham. By and by is easily said.-Leave me, friends. [Exeunt Ros. Guil. Hor. &c. 'Tis now the very witching time of night; When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes
Contagion to this world: Now could I drink hot blood,
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
How in my words soever she be shent,6
To give them seals? never, my soul, consent! [Ex.
SCENE III-A room in the same. Enter King,
Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,
To let his madness range. Therefore, prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith despatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so near us, as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunes.8
We will ourselves provide :
Most holy and religious fear it is,
To keep those many many bodies safe,
That live, and feed, upon your majesty.
Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from 'noyance: but much more
That spirit, upon whose weal depend and rest
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it, with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which when it falls,
(7) Authority to put them in execution.
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
King. Arin you, I pray you, to this speedy
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
With all his crimes broad-blown, as flush as May;
And, how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven?
But, in our circumstance and course of thought,
voy-Tis heavy with him: And am I then reveng'd,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
We will haste us. [Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Enter Polonius.
Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:
Behind the arras! I'll convey myself,
To hear the process; I'll warrant, she'll tax him
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet, that some more audience, than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege;
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
Thanks, dear my lord.
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder!-Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will;
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence?
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent :
When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed;
At gaming, swearing; or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't:
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven;
And that his soul may be as damn'd, and black,
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days. [Exit.
(1) Tapestry. (2) Caught as with bird-lime. (3) Should be considered. (4) Only.
And what's in prayer, but this two-fold force,-
To be forestalled, ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd, being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder!—
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice;
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: But 'tis not so above:
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom, black as death!
O limed2 soul; that struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels, make assay !
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart with strings of
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe ;
All may be well.
[Retires and kneels Help, help, ho!
Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood be-
Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
Pray you, be round with him.
I'll warrant you;
Fear me not-withdraw, I hear him coming.
[Polonius hides himself.
Ham. Now, mother; what's the matter?
Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much of-
Ham. Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
What's the matter now?
Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet?
Queen. Have you forgot me?
No, by the rood," not so:
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And,-'would it were not so!-you are my mother.
Queen Nay, then I'll set those to you that can
Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall
You go not, till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not mur-
Pol. [Behind.] What, ho! help!
How now! a rat? [Draws.
Dead, for a ducat, dead.
[Hamlet makes a pass through the arras. Pol. [Behind.] O, I am slain. [Falls, and dies.
Queen. O me, what hast thou done?
Is it the king?
[Lifts up the arras, and draws forth Polonius.
(6) Seize him at a more horrid time. (7) Cross.
Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this! || And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame,
Ham. A bloody deed;-almost as bad, good When the compulsive ardour gives the charge;
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.
O, Hamlet, speak no more:
word.-Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots,
As will not leave their tinct.12
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
Queen. As kill a king!
Ay, lady, 'twas my
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune:
Thou find'st, to be too busy, is some danger.-
Leave wringing of your hands: Peace; sit you
And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff;
If damned custom have not braz'd it so,
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag
In noise so rude against me?
Such an act,
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty ;
Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And sets a blister there; makes marriage-vows
As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction! plucks
The very soul; and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words: Heaven's face doth glow:
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful2-visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten6 on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it, love: for, at your age,
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment; and what judg-
Would step from this to this? Sense,7 sure, you have,
Else, could you not have motion: But, sure, that
Is apoplex'd: for madness would not err;
Nor sense to ecstasy8 was ne'er so thrall'd,
But it reserv'd some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't,
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind ?9
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans10 all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope. 11
O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseameď13 bed;
Stew'd in corruption; honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty ;-
O, speak to me no more;
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears:
No more, sweet Hamlet.
Ah me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ?3
Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this;
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow:
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A stations like the herald Mercury,
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination, and a form, indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man:
How is it with you, lady?
Queen. Alas, how is't with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
This was your husband.-Look you now, what fol- And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements, 16
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
Ham. On him! on him!-Look you, how pale
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. 17--Do not look upon me;
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects:18 then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears, perchance,19 for blood.
Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Do you see nothing there?
Queen. Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
No, nothing, but ourselves.
Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals
A murderer, and a villain :
A slave, that is not twentieth part the tythe
Of your precedent lord :-a vicel4 of kings:
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule;
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!
Of shreds and patches:
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!-What would your gracious
Queen. Alas, he's mad.
Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, laps'd in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
Ghost. Do not forget: This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits:
O. step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit15 in weakest bodies strongest works;
Speak to her, Hamlet.
My father, in his habit as he liv'd?
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal! [Exit Ghost. Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain:
(1) Marriage-contract. (2) Sorrowful.
(3) Index of contents prefixed to a book.
(4) Anollo's. (5) The act of standing.
(6) 1o grow fat. (7) Sensation. (8) Frenzy.is,
(9) Blindman's buff. (10) Without.
(11) Be so stupid. (12) Colour. (13) Greasy.
(14) Mimic. (15) Imagination.
(16) The hair of animals is excrementitious, that
without life or sensation.
(17) Intelligent. (18) Actions. (19) Perhaps.
This bodiless creation ecstasy!
Is very cunning in.
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music: It is not madness,
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness, speaks:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost2 on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue:
For in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg;
Yea, curb3 and woo, for leave to do him good.
Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in
Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this;
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock, or livery,
That aptly is put on: Refrain to-night;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy:
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either curb the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night!
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you.-For this same lord,
[Pointing to Polonius.
I do repent: But heaven hath pleas'd it so,-
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night!
I must be cruel, only to be kind :
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.-
But one word more, good lady.
What shall I do?
Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you, his mouse ;4
And let him, for a pair of reechys kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. 'Twere good, you let him know:
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock,6 from a bat, a gib,7
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despite of sense, and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
Let the birds fly; and, like the famous ape,
To try conclusions,8 in the basket creep,
And break your own neck down.
O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there :
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas! how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt,11
This mad young man: but, so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore,
Among a mineral12 of metals base,
Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done.
King. O, Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,
Queen. Be thou assur'd, if words be made of Both countenance and excuse.-Ho! Guildenstern!
Which is the mightier: In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, A rat! a rat!
And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
The unseen good old man.
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Friends both, go join you with some further aid:
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
Go, seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
(9) Having their teeth.
(10) Blown up with his own bomb.
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
[Exeunt Ros. and Guil.
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done so, haply, slander,-
Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,'
Transports his poison'd shot,-may miss our name,
And hit the woundless air.-O come away;
My soul is full of discord, and dismay. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-Another room in the same. ter Hamlet.
Ham. That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge -what replication should be made by the son of a king?
Ros. Take you me for a sponge, my lord? Ham. Ay, sir; that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end: He keeps them like an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to be last swallowed: When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
Ros. I understand you not, my lord.
Ham. I am glad of it: A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
Ros. My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.
Ham. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thingGuil. A thing, my lord?
Ham. Of nothing: bring me to him.
and all after.2
Hide fox, [Exeunt. SCENE III.-Another room in the same. Enter King, attended.
King. I have sent to seek him, and to find the
How dangerous is it, that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
He's lov'd of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And, where 'tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause: Diseases, desperate grown,
By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
King. Bring him before us.
Ros. Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.
Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern.
King. Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?
Ham. At supper.
King. At supper? Where?
Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eater: a certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else, to fat us; and we fat ourselves for maggots: Your fat king, and your lean beggar, is but variable service; two dishes, but to one table; that's the end.
King. Alas, alas!
Ham. A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king; and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
King. What dost thou mean by this?
Ham. Nothing, but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar. King. Where is Polonius?
Ham. In heaven; send thither to see: if your messenger find him not there, seek him i'the other place yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
King. Go seek him there. [To some Attendants.
Ham. He will stay till you come.
Exeunt Attendants. King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done,-must send thee
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,3
With fiery quickness: Therefore, prepare thyself;
The associates tend,4 and every thing is bent
King. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.
Ham. I see a cherub, that sees them.-But, come;
England!-Farewell, dear mother.
King. Thy loving father, Hamlet.
Ham. My mother: Father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England. [Exit.
King. Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard;
Delay it not, I'll have him hence to-night:
Away; for every thing is seal'd and done
That else leans on the affair: Pray you, make haste.
[Exeunt Ros. and Guil.
And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,
(As my great power thereof may give thee sense;
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us,) thou may'st not coldly sets
Our sovereign process; which imports at full,
By letters conjuring to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me: Till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps,6 my joys will ne'er begin. [Ex.
Or not at all.-How now? what hath befallen?
Ros. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord, SCENE IV-A plain in Denmark. Enter Fortinbras, and Forces, marching. We cannot get from him. King.
But where is he? Ros. Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.
(2) A sport among children.
For. Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king; Tell him, that, by his license, Fortinbras
(3) Right, ready.
(5) Value, estimate.