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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.
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 behaviour hath struck her into amazement and adıniration.
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, ere you go to bed.
Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trades with us?
Ros. My lord, you once did love me.
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
further trade -] Further business; further dealing. by these pickers, &c.] By these hands.
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.8 O, the recorders:let me see one.—To withdraw with you:9–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 pipe? Guil
. My lord, I cannot.
Ham. 'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages' with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent musick. Look you, these are the stops.
the proverb is something musty.) The remainder of this old proverb is
“ While grass doth growe, the silly horse he starves." Hamlet means to intimate, that whilst he is waiting for the suce cession to the throne of Denmark, he may himself be taken off by death.
Recorders.] i. e. a kind of large flute. 9 To withdraw with you:) Here Mr. Malone adds the following stage direction :-[Taking Guildenstern aside.) But these obscure words may refer to some gesture which Guildenstern had used, and which, at first, was interpreted by Hamlet into a signal for him to attend the speaker into another room.
" To withdraw with you?" (says he) Is that your meaning? But finding his friends continue to move mysteriously about him, he adds, with some resentment, a question more easily intelligible. STEEVENS.
ventages -] The holes of a flute.
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 musick, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, 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.
Enter POLONIUS. 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.2-I will come by and by. Pol. I will say so.
[Exit Polonius. Ham. By and by is easily said. Leave me, friends.
[Exeunt Ros. Guil. Hor. &c. '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
? They fool me to the top of my bent.] They compel me to play the fool, till I can endure it no longer. VOL. IX.
And do such business as the bitter day
A Room in the same.
Enter King, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.
King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,
We will ourselves provide:
Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
3 — be shent,] To shend, is to reprove harshly, to treat with rough language.
4 To give them seals-) i. e. put them in execution. s Out of his lunes.] i. e. his madness, frenzy.
What's near it, with it: it is a massy wheel,
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
We will haste us. [Exeunt RoSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN.
: I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell
what I know. King.
Thanks, dear my lord.
6 Behind the arras Ill convey myself,] The arras-hangings in Shakspeare's time, were hung at such a distance from the walls, that a person might easily stand behind them unperceived.
of vantage.] By some opportunity of secret observation. * Though inclination be as sharp as will;] What the King means to say, is, “ That though he was not only willing to pray, but strongly inclined to it, yet his intention was defeated by his guilt.