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commission will forthwith dispatch, And he to England shall along with you. The terms of our estate may not endure Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow Out of his lunacies.


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.
ROSEN. 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,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone

Did the King sigh, but with a general groan.

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

Which now goes too free-footed.



We will haste us.







POLO. 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?
And what's in prayer but this twofold 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 limed Soul, that, struggling to be free,

Art more engag'd! Help, Angels! Make assay!




Bow, stubborn Knees; and, Heart with strings of steel,

Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!



may be well.

[retires and kneels.


HAM. Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do 't. And so he goes to Heaven!
And so am I reveng'd? That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and, for that,

I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To Heaven.

O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.

He took my father grossly, full of bread,
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,
"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?

Up, Sword; and know thou a more horrid hent :1
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage;

Or in the incestuous pleasure 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.
KING [rising.] My words fly up, my thoughts remain



Words without thoughts never to Heaven go. [exit.


SCENE IV. The Same. The QUEEN's Closet.

Enter the QUEEN and POLONIUS.

POLO. He will come straight. Look you lay home to

Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with ;
And that your Grace hath screen'd and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.

Pray you, be round with him.

1 trick of seizure.

ACT III HAM. [within.] Mother, Mother, Mother!

Sc. IV


I'll warrant you;

Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.

[POLONIUS hides behind the arras.


HAM. Now, Mother, what's the matter?

QUEEN. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
HAM. Mother, you have my father much offended.
QUEEN. Come, come; you answer with an idle tongue.
HAM. Go, go; you question with a wicked tongue.
QUEEN. Why, how now, Hamlet!


QUEEN. Have you forgot me?


What's the matter now?

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 not


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 murder me?
Help, help, ho!

POLO. [behind.]

What, ho! help, help, help!


HAM. [drawing.] How now! a rat? Dead for a ducat,


[makes a pass through the arras. POLO. [behind.] O, I am slain !

QUEEN. O me! what hast thou done?

HAM. Nay, I know not: is it the King?

[falls and dies.

QUEEN. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
HAM. A bloody deed! almost as bad, good Mother,
As kill a King, and marry with his brother.
QUEEN. As kill a King!



Ay, Lady, 'twas my word.
[lifts up the arras, and discovers POLONIUS.
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
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 is proof and bulwark against sense.

you down,


Sc. IV

QUEEN. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue

In noise so rude against me? HAM.

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 contraction1 plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes

A rhapsody of words! Heaven's face doth glow;
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,

With tristful visage, as against the doom,

Is thought-sick at the act.


Ay me, what act,

That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ??
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 station 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:




This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:

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 batten 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,

the marriage vow.


2 i.e. in the pointing of it out.

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