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HAMLET, waiting.-Enter Ghost.
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Ghost. Mark me.
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit; Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night; And, for the day, confin'd to fast in fires, Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature, Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres ;
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther.
Ghost. Murther most foul, as in the best it is;
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
I find thee apt;
Ham. O my prophetic soul! mine uncle!
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
Of my most seeming virtuous queen;
But soft! methinks I scent the morning's air.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young And shall I couple hell ?—O fye !—Hold, my heart,
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
Room in Polonius' House.
And thy commandment all alone shall live
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
Enter POLONIUS and OPHELIA. Pol. How now, Ophelia? what's the matter? Oph. Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted! Pol. With what, in the name of heaven?
Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
To speak of horrors, he comes before me.
My lord, I do not know;
What said he?
But, truly, I do fear it.
Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
Pol. Go with me; I will go seek the king.
I did repel his letters, and denied
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment,
SCENE.-A Room in the Castle.
How does my good lord Hamlet?
Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
is to be one man picked out of a thousand. Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, Have you a daughter?
Pol. I have, my lord.
harping on my daughter; yet he knew me not at
Pol. What is the matter, my lord?
Pol. I mean the matter that you read, my lord. Ham. Slanders, sir; for the satirical slave says here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled. All of which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for you yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
Pol. Though this be madness, yet there is method in it. [Aside.] Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
Ham. Into my grave?
Pol. Indeed, that is out o' the air. How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter.-My honourable lord, I will humbly take my leave of you. Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal; except my life, my life.
Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Ham. These tedious old fools!
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.
Pol. You go to seek my lord Hamlet; there he
*Hanging down like fetters.
Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my
Ham. My excellent good friends!
Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.
is not true.
Ham. Then is doom's-day near: But your news Let me question more in particular: What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?
Guil. Prison, my lord!
Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.
Ros. We think not so, my lord.
Hum. Why, then 'tis none to you: for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so; to me it is a prison.
Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one; 'tis too narrow for your mind.
Ham. Why did you laugh, then, when I said,
Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted them on the way; and hither are they coming, to offer you service.
Ham. He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foil and target: the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humourous man shall end his part in peace: the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled o' the sere; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't.-What players are they?
Ros. Even those you were wont to take delight in, the tragedians of the city. Enter POLONIUS. Ham. 'Tis well; rest soon.-Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts, and brief chronicles, of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you lived.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
[Exit POLONIUS with ROSENCRANTZ and GUIL
Ham. O God! I could be bounded in a nut- Ham. Odd's bodikin man, better: Use every shell, and count myself a king of infinite space: man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipwere it not that I have bad dreams. I have ping! Use them after your own honour and of late (but wherefore, I know not) lost all my dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is mirth, forgone all custom of exercises: and, in-in your bounty. deed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging-this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me, no, nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.
Pol. Come, sirs, I have heard,
Play something like the murther of my father,
SCENE.-A Room in the Castle.
Enter KING, QUEEN, POLONIUS, OPHELIA,
King. And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
Ros. He does confess he feels himself distracted;
This night to play before him.
Pol. 'Tis most true: And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties, To hear and see the matter.
King. With all my heart; and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
[Exeunt Ros. and GUIL.
Her father, and myself (lawful espials),
Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen,
If't be the affliction of his love or no,
I shall obey you :
That your good beauties be the happy cause
To both your honours. Oph.
Madam, I wish it may. [Exit QUEEN. Pol. Ophelia, walk you here:-Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves :-Read on this book;
That show of such an exercise may colour
The devil himself.
O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! [Aside. Pol. I hear him coming; let's withdraw, my lord. [Exeunt KING and POLONIUS. Enter HAMLET.
Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question : Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them ?-To die,-to sleep,No more; and, by a sleep, to say we end The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to-'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, —to sleep ;To sleep! perchance to dream;-ay, there's the
rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,* Must give us pause: there's the respect, That makes calamity of so long life: For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of dispriz'd love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make
*Coil means care, bustle.
With a bare bodkin?t who would these fardelst bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life;
I pray you, now receive them.
Ham. No, no. I never gave you aught.
Oph. My honour'd lord, I know right well you did;
And, with them, words of so sweet breath com
As made the things more rich their perfume lost,
Hum. Ha, ha! are you honest ?
Ham. Are you fair?
Oph. What means your lordship?
Ham. That if you be honest, and fair, your honesty 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, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness: this was sometime 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 lov'd you not.
Oph. I was the more deceived.
Ham. Get thee to a nunnery. I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck 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 heaven and earth! 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 way but in his own house. Farewell.
Oph. O, help him, you sweet heavens !
Ham. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this
† Bodkin was an ancient term for small dagger. Fardels means burdens.
plague for thy dowry: Be thou as pure as snow, if you mouth it, as many of you players do, I had thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a as lief as the town-crier had spoke my lines. Nor nunnery, go; farewell: Or, if thou wilt needs do not saw the air too much-your hand thus: but marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well use all gently for in the very torrent, tempest, enough what monsters you make of them. To a and (as I may say) the whirlwind of passion, you nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell. must acquire and beget a temperance, that may Oph. O heavenly powers, restore him! give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well to see a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a enough. God hath given you one face, and you passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and the groundlings ; who, for the most part, are you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows your wantonness your ignorance: Go to, I'll no and noise: I could have such a fellow whipped more on't; it hath made me mad. I say, we will for o'er-doing Termagant; it out-herods_Herod ! have no more marriages: those that are married pray you, avoid it. already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see.
Re-enter KING and POLONIUS.
King. Love! his affections do not that way tend;
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
Thus set it down: He shall with speed to England,
Pol. It shall do well; but yet I do believe,
SCENE. A Hall in the same.
* Ecstacy here means madness,
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 anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the 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. 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 nathem well, they imitated humanity so abomiture's journeymen had made men, and not made nably.
1 Play. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.
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 question 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.
What, ho; Horatio!
Hor. Here, sweet lord, at your service.
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
Well, my lord:
†The meaner people sat in the pit, and were termed