Page images

souls, it touches us not: Let the galled jade wince, our withers any unwrung:

Enter a Player, as Lucianus. This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see une puppets dallying.-Begin, murderer ;-begin ;

- The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge. Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing; Confederate season, else no creature seeing ; Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected, With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected, Thy natural magic and dire property, On wholesome life usurp immediately.

[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 !
Queen. How fares my lord ?
Pol. Give o'er the play.
King. Give me some light :-away!
Pol. Lights, lights, lights!

[Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIU. Ham. Why, let the strucken deer go weep,

The hart ungalled play:
For some must watch, while some must sleep;

Thus runs the world away :-
O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pounde
Did'st perceive ?

Hor. Very well, my lord.
Ham. Upon the talk of the poisoning,
Hor. I did very well note him.
Ham. Ah, ha !Come, some music; come, the recorders.

For if the king like not the comedy, .
Why then, belike,-he likes it not, perdy.

Come, some music.

Guil. Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Ham. Sir, a whole history.
Guil. The king, sir,-
Ham. Ay, sir, what of him ?
Guil. Is, in his retirement, marvellous distempered.
Ham. With drink, sir?

Guil. No, my lord, with choler.

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. Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame, and start not so 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 courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment: if not, your pardon, and my return, shall be the end of my business.

Ham. Sir, I cannot.
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 behavior hath struck her into amazement and admiration.

Ham. O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother ! But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's admiration; impart.

Ros. She desires to speak with you in her closet.

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

Ros. My lord, you once did love me.
Ham. And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

Ros. Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? you do, surely, but bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.

Ham. Sir, I lack advancement.

Ros. How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?

Ham. Ay sir, but While the grass grows,—the proverb is something musty

Enter the Players, with recorders. O, the recorders :,let me see one.-To withdraw with you :-Why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?

Guil. O, 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 dipe? Guil. My lord, I cannot. Ham. I pray you. Guil. Believe me, I cannot.

Ham. I do beseech you.
Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord.

Ham. 'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it wil. discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.

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

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 there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it . speak. S'blood, 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.

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.
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.--I will come by ard by. Pol. I will say so.

[Exit POLONIUS. Ham. By and by is easily said.-Leave me, friends.

[Exeunt Ros., GUIL., HOR., fc. 'Tis now the very witching time of night; When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world : Now could I drink hot blood, 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: I will speak daggers to her, but use none.


SCENE III.A Room in the same.
King. I like him not: nor stands it safe with us,
To let his madness range. Therefore, prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure

Hazard so near us.
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
Ros. Guil.

We will haste us.


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 home.
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.
King. Thanks, dear my lord,

O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon it,
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 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 compellid,
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 cannot 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;
All may be well!

[Retires and kneels

SCENE IV.-Another Room in the same.

Enter Queen and POLONIUS.
Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him;
Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear with;
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood betwein
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 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 ?

What's the matter now?
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 speak.

Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;
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!

Pol. [Behind.] What, ho! help!

How now! a rat? [Draws. Dead, for a ducat, dead.

HAMLET makes a pass through the arras Pol. [Behind.] 0, I am slain.

[Falls, and dies. Queen. O me, what hast thou done? Нат.

Nay, I know not: Is it the king ?

(Lifts up the arras, and draws forth POLONIUS Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this !

« PreviousContinue »