Page images
PDF
EPUB

Might, by the sovereign power you have of us, Put your dread pleasures more into command Than to entreaty.

Guil. But we both obey;

And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.

[stern.

King. Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle GuildenQueen. Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle RosenAnd I beseech you instantly to visit [crantz: My too-much changed son.- -Go, some of you, And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is. Guil. Heavens make our presence, and our pracPleasant and helpful to him!

[tices,

Queen. Ay, amen!

[exeunt Rosen. Guild. and some Attendants. Enter Polonius.

Pol. The ambassadors from Norway, my good Are joyfully return'd. [lord,

King. Thou still hast been the father of good news. Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege, I hold my duty, as I hold my soul, Both to my God, and to my gracious king: And I do think (or else this brain of mine Hunts not the trail of policy so sure As it hath us'd to do), that I have found The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

King. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear. Pol. Give first admittance to the ambassadors; My news shall be the fruit to that great feast. King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in. [exit Polonius. He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found The head and source of all your son's distemper.

Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main; His father's death, and our o'er-hasty marriage. Re-enter Polonius, with Voltimand and Cornelius. Kiny. Well, we shall sift him.-Welcome, my good friends!

Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness: whereat griev'd,-
That so his sickness, age, and impotence,
Was falsely borne in hand,-sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle, never more
To give th' assay of arms against your majesty
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee;
And his commission, to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shown,

Ĺgives a paper. That it might please you to give quiet pass Through your dominions, for this enterprise; On such regards of safety, and allowance, As therein are set down.

King. It likes us well:

And, at our more consider'd time, we'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business,
Mean time, we thank you for your well-took labour:

1

Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together: Most welcome home! [exeunt Volt. and Cor Pol. This business is well ended.

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,

Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,--
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't, but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

Queen. More matter, with less art.

Pol. Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true, 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis, 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him then: and now remains,
That we find out the cause of this effect;
Or rather say, the cause of this defect;
For this effect, defective, comes by cause
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
Perpend.

I have a daughter; have, while she is mine;
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now, gather and surmise.
To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most
beautified Ophelia,'-

beautified' is Thus:

That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase;
a vile phrase; but you shall hear.
In her excellent white bosom, these, &c.'
Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?
Pol. Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.
Doubt thou, the stars are fire; [reads.

Doubt, that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt, I love.

O, dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; 1 have not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, O, most best, believe it. Adieu.

Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him, Hamlet.

This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me: And more above, hath his solicitings,

As they fell out by time, by means, and place, All given to mine ear.

King. But how hath she

Receiv'd his love?

Pol. What do you think of me?

King. As of a man faithful and honourable. Pol. I would fain prove so. But what might you When I had seen this hot love on the wing, [think, (As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that, Before my daughter told me,) what might you, Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think, If I had play'd the desk, or table-book; Or given my heart a working, mute and dumb; Or look'd upon this love with idle sight? What might you think? No, I went round to work, And my young mistress thus did I bespeak; 'Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy sphere; This must not be;' and then I precepts gave her That she should lock herself from his resort, Admit no messengers, receive no tokens. Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,

[ocr errors]

And he repulsed, (a short tale to make,)
Fell into a sadness; then into a fast;
Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.

King. Do you think, 'tis this?

Queen. It may be, very likely..

Pol. Hath there been such a time (I'd fain know that,)

That I have positively said, 'tis so,
When it prov'd otherwise?

King. Not that I know.

Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise: [pointing to his head and shoulders. If circumstances lead me, I will find Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed Within the centre.

King. How may we try it further? [together Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours Here in the lobby.

Queen. So he does, indeed.

Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to Be you and I behind an arras then; [him: Mark the encounter: if he love her not, And be not from his reason fallen thereon, Let me be no assistant for a state, But keep a farm, and carters. King. We will try it.

Enter Hamlet, reading.

Queen. But look, where sadly the poor wretch comes, reading.

Pol. Away, I do beseech you, both away; I'll board him presently.-O, give me leave. [exeunt King, Queen, and Attendants. How does my good lord Hamlet? Ham. Well, God-'a-mercy.

Pol. Do you know me, my lord?

Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger. Pol. Not I, my lord.

Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man. Pol. Honest, my lord?

Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.

Pol. That's very true, my lord.

Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god, kissing carrion,-have you a daughter?

Pol. I have, my lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i'the sun: conception is a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive, -friend, look to't.

Pol. How say you by that? [aside] Still harping on my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said, I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone: and, truly, in my youth I suffered much extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord?

Ham. Words, words, words!

Pol. What is the matter, my lord?
Ham. Between who?

Pol. I mean, the matter that you read, my lord. Ham. Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here, that old men have grey beards; that their fâces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plumtree gum; and that they have a plentiful |

| lack of wit, together with most weak hams: all of which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, shall be as old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's 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 preg. nant 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 most humbly take my leave of you.

Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal; except my life, except my life, except my life. Pol. Fare you well, my lord.

Ham. These tedious old fools!

[blocks in formation]

Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow. Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies, and our monarchs, and outstretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows. Shall we to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

7448

Ros. & Guil. We'll wait upon you. Ham. No such matter; I will not sort you with the rest of my servants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore? q no alam

Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you: and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear, a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come; deal justly with me; come, come; nay, speak.

Guil. What should we say, my lord?

You

Ham. Any thing-but to the purpose. were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to colour: I know, the good king and queen have sent for you.

Ros. To what end, my lord?

Ham. That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for,

På 1.k

Ros. What say you?

[to Guildenstern. Hum. Nay, then I have an eye of you; [aside] -if you love me, hold not off.

er no?

Guil. My lord, we were sent for.

Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and queen moult no feather. I have of late (but, wherefore, I know not,) lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercises: and, indeed, 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 firmament, this majestical roof frotted 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 faculties! 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, nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say 80. #5. [thoughts. Ros. My lord, there is no such stuff in my Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said, 'man delights not me?"

#29 20.

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 adven

turous knight shall use his foil and target the lover shall not sigh gratis: the humorous 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 such delight in, the tragedians of the city.

Ham. How chances it, they travel? their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways,

Ros. I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation.

Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed? Ros. No, indeed, they are not.

Ham. How comes it? Do they grow rusty? Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace; but there is, sir, an aiery of children, little eyases that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for't: these are now the fashion; and so beruttle the common stages (so they call them) that many, wearing rapiers, are afraid of goose quills, and dare scarce coine thither.

Ham. What, are they children? who' maintains them? how are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common players (as it is most like, if their meaus are no better,) their writers do them wrong, to make them exclaim against their own succession? Ros. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and the nation hold it no sin, to tarre them on to controversy; there was, for awhile, no money bid for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.

Ham. Is it possible?

Guil. O, there has been much throwing about of brains.

Y PUT.

Ham. Do the boys carry it away?

Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his load too. St Jo

Ham. It is not very strange: for my uncle is king of Denmark; and those, that would make mouths at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred, ducats a-piece, for his picture in little. Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. 35 13 79288

ALMORAL

[flourish of trumpets within. Guil. There are the players. Hum. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands,Come; then the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb; lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome; but my unclefather, and aunt-mother, are deceived.

Guil. In what, my dear lord?

Ham. I am but mad north-north west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a hand-saw. BOND #S

Enter Polonius. Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen! Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern;—and you too;

с

[ocr errors]

-at each ear a hearer: that great baby, you see | speaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in your there, is not yet out of his swaddling clouts.

Ros. Happily, he's the second time come to them; for, they say, an old man is twice a child.

memory, begin at this line; let me see, let me see;The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast, -'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.

Ham. I will prophecy, he comes to tell me of the players; mark it. You say right, sir: o'Monday morning; 'twas then, indeed.

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.

Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor in Rome,

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Ham. Buz, buz!

Pol. Upon my honour,

Ham. Then came each actor on his ass,Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy,comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragicalcomical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men.

Ham. O Jephthah, judge of Israel,'—what a treasure hadst thou

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord? Ham. Why-One fair daughter, and no more, The which he loved passing well.' Pol. Still on my daughter. [aside. Ham. Am I not i'the right, old Jephthah? Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well.

Ham. Nay, that follows not.

Pol. What follows then, my lord?

·

Ham. Why, As by lot, God wot,' and then, you know, 'It came to pass, as most like it was.' The first row of the pious chanson will shew you more; for look, my abridgment comes, Enter four or five Players.

You are welcome, masters; welcome, all:-I am glad to see thee well:-welcome, good friends. O, my old friend! Why, thy face is valanced since I saw thee last. Comest thou to beard me in Denmark?-What! my young lady and mistress! By'r lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: we'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.

1 Play. What speech, my lord?

Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once,— but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general: but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top of mine) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection: but called it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved: 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he

The rugged Pyrrhus,-he, whose sable arms, Black as his purpose, did the night resemble, When he lay couched in the ominous horse, Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd With heraldry more dismal; head to foot Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets, That lend a tyrannous and a damned light To their lord's murder. Roasted in wrath, and fire, And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore, With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus Old grandsire Priam seeks.-So proceed you. Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion. 1 Play. Anon, he finds him

Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage, strikes wide
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd in the air to stick:
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood;
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.

But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stands still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death; anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region: So, after Pyrrhus' pause
A roused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.-

Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod, tak away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel.
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!

Pol. This is too long.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

That he should weep for her? What would he do.
Had he the motive and the cue for passion,
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears.
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech;
Make mad the guilty, and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant; and amaze, indeed,
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
Yet I,

A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property, and most dear life,
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across;

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?
their desert.
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i'the throat,
As deep as to the lungs? who does me this?
Ha!

In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made
(Unless things mortal move them not at all,)
Would have made milch the burning eye of
And passion in the gods.

[heaven,

Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and has tears in's eyes.-Pr'ythee, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.-Good, my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time: After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.

Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better: use every inan after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and lignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.

Pol. Come, sirs.

[exit Polonius, with some of the Players. Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow. Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago?

[ocr errors]

|

Why, I should take it: for it cannot be,
But I am pigeon-liver'd, and lack gall
To make oppression bitter; or, ere this,
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: bloody, bawdy, villain !
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless, vil-
Why, what an ass am I? this is most brave; [lain!
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion!

1 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in't; could you not?

1 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Very well.-Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [exit Player.] My good friends, [to Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.

Ros. Good, my lord!

[exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you. Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous, that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit,
That, from her working, all his visage wann'd;
Tears in his eyes, distraction in 's aspéct,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
MI
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,

[have heard,
Fie upon't! foh! About my brains! Humph! I
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul, that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father,
Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick; if he do blench,
I know my course. The spirit, that I have secu,
May be a devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps,
Out of my weakness, and my melancholy,
(As he is very potent with such spirits,)
Abuses me to damn me; I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

Lexit

ACT III.

SCENE I. A ROOM IN THE CASTLE.

Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosen-
crantz, and Guildenstern.

King. And can you, by no drift of conference,
(iet from him, why he puts on this confusion;
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

Ros. He does confess, he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded;
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confes-
sion

Of his true state.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »