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Hor. You might have rhym'd.

Ham. Oh, good Horatio, I'll take the Ghoft's word for a thousand pounds. Didft perceive?

Hor. Very well, my Lord.

Ham. Upon the talk of the poisoning?
Hor. I did very well note him.

Enter Rofincrantz and Guildenstern.

Ham. Oh, ha! come, fome mufick: Come, the recorders.

For if the King like not the comedy;

Why, then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.

Come, fome mufick.

Guil. Good my Lord, vouchfafe me a word with you. Ham. Sir, a whole hiftory..

Guil. The King, Sir

Ham. Ay, Sir, what of him?

Guil. Is, in his retirement, marvellous diftemper'dHam. With drink, Sir ?

Guil. No, my Lord, with choler.

Ham. Your wifdom fhould fhew itself more rich, to fignify this to his Doctor: for, for me to put him to his purgation, would, perhaps, plunge him into more choler.

Guil. Good my Lord, put your discourse into some frame, and start not fo wildly from my affair.

Ham. I am tame, Sir ;-pronounce.

Guil. The Queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

Ham. You are welcome.

Guil. Nay, good my Lord, this Courtefy is not of the right Breed. If it fhall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment; if not, your pardon, and my return fhall be the end of my bufinefs.

Ham. Sir, I cannot.

Guil. What, my Lord?

Ham. Make you a wholesome answer: my wit's difeas'd. But, Sir, fuch answer as I can make, you fhall


command; or, rather, as you fay, my mother. therefore no more but to the matter

you fay

my mother, Rof. Then thus fhe fays; your behaviour hath ftruck her into amazement, and admiration.

Ham. Oh wonderful fon, that can so astonish a mother! But is there no fequel at the heels of this mother's admiration?

Rof. She defires to speak with you in her clofet, ere you go to bed,

Ham. We fhall obey, were fhe ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?

Rof. My Lord, you once did love me,

Ham. So I do ftill, by these pickers and ftealers. Rof. Good my Lord, what is your caufe of diftemper? you do, furely, bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.

Ham. Sir, I lack advancement.

Rof. How can that be, when you have the voice of the King himself, for your fucceffion in Denmark? Ham. Ay, but while the grafs grows-the Proverb is fomething mufty.

Enter one, with a Recorder,

Oh, the Recorders; let me fee one. To withdraw with you why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toile?

Guil. Oh my Lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.

Ham. I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?

Guil. My Lord, I cannot.

Ham. I pray you.

Guil. Believe me, I cannot.

Ham. I do befeech. you.

Guil. I know no touch of it, my Lord.

Ham. 'Tis as eafy as lying; govern thefe ventiges with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your

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mouth, and it will difcourfe moft eloquent mufick. Look you, thefe are the stops.

Guil. But thefe cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.


Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing ૐ you make of me; you would play upon me, you would feem to know my ftops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery: you would found me from my lowest note, to the top of my compafs; and there is much mufick, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it fpeak. Why, do you think, that I am easier to be play'd on than a pipe? call me what inftrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play apon me, God blefs you, Sir.

Enter Polonius.

Pol. My Lord, the Queen would fpeak with you, and presently.

Ham. Do you fee yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a Camel?

Pol. By the mafs, and it's like a Camel, indeed.
Ham. Methinks, it is like an Ouzle.

Pol. It is black like an Ouzle.

Ham. Or, like a Whale?

Pol. Very like a Whale.

Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and bythey fool me to the top of my bent.I will come by and by.

Pol. I will fay fo.

Ham. By and by is eafily faid. Leave me, friends.


'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When church-yards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do fuch bitter business as the day

Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother-
O heart, lofe-not thy nature; let not ever
The Soul of Nero enter this firm bofom;


Let me be cruel, not unnatural;

I will speak daggers to her, but ufe none.
My tongue and foul in this be hypocrites ;
How in my words foever the be fhent,

To give them feals never my foul confent!

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King. I like him not, nor ftands it fafe with us To let his madness range. Therefore, prepare you; I your Commiffion will forthwith dispatch, And he to England fhall along with you. The terms of our eftate may not endure (21) Hazard fo near us, as doth hourly grow Out of his Lunes.

Guild. We will provide ourselves;
Moft holy and religious fear it is,

To keep those many, many, bodies fafe,
That live and feed upon your Majefty.

Rof. The fingle and peculiar life is bound,
With all the ftrength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from noyance; but much more,
That fpirit, on whose weal depends and refts
The lives of many. The ceafe of Majesty
Dies not alone, but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it with it. It's a maffy wheel
Fixt on the fummit of the highest mount,

(21) The Terms of our Eflate may not endure Hazard fo near us, as doth hourly grow Out of bis Lunacies.

Guil. We will provide ourselves.

The old Quarto's read,- -Out of bis Brows. This was from the Ignorance of the first Editors; as is this unneceffary Alexandrine, which we owe to the Players. The Poet, I am persuaded, wrote, -as doth bourly grow

Out of his Lunes.

i. e. his Madness, Frenzy. So our Poet, before, in his Winter's Tale.

Thefe dangerous, unfafe Lunes i'th King !- Lesbrew 'em,

He must be told of it, &c.

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To whofe huge fpokes ten thousand leffer things
Are mortiz'd and adjoin'd; which, when it falls,'
Each small annexment, petty confequence,
Attends the boift'rous ruin. Ne'er alone
Did the King figh; but with a general groan.

King. Arm you, I pray you, to this fpeedy voyage; For we will fetters put upon this fear,

Which now goes too free-footed.

Both. We will hafte us.

Enter Polonius.

[Exeunt Gentlemen.

Pol. My Lord, he's going to his mother's clofet; Behind the arras I'll convey myself

To hear the process. I'll warrant, fhe'll tax him home. And, as you faid, and wifely was it faid,

"Tis meet, that some more audience than a mother (Since nature makes them partial,) fhould o'er-hear The fpeech, of vantage. Fare you well, my Liege; I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know.

King. Thanks, dear my Lord.

Oh! my offence is rank, it fmells to heav'n,
It hath the primal, eldeft, curfe upon't; (22)
That of a brother's murder. Pray I cannot,
Though inclination be as fharp as will;
My ftronger guilt defeats my ftrong intent:
And, like a man to double bufinefs bound,
I ftand in paufe where I fhall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this curfed hand

(22) It bath the primal, eldeft, Curfe upon't:


A brother's Murder Pray I cannot,] The laft Verfe, 'tis evident,' halts in the Meafure; and, if I don't mistake, is a little lame in the Senfe too. Was a brother's Murder the eldeft Curfe? Surely, it was rather the Crime, that was the Caufe of this eldeft Curfe. We have no Affiftance, however, either to the Sense or Numbers, from any of the Copies. I have ventur'd at two Supplemental Syllables, as innocent in themselves as neceffary to the Purpofes for which they are introduc'd:


That of a brother's Murder.


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