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Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle

Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet?

What's the matter now?

Queen. Have you forgot me? Ham. 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. shall

down; you

Ham. Come, come, and sit you
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

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.] O, I am slain.

[Falls, and dies.

Queen. O me, what hast thou done?

Is it the king?

Nay, I know not:

[Lifts up the Arras, and draws forth POLONIUS. Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this! Ham. A bloody deed;-almost as bad, good mo


As kill a king, and marry with his brother,
Queen. As kill a king!"

? Queen. As kill a king!] This exclamation may be considered as some hint that the Queen had no hand in the murder of Hanilet's father.

Ay, lady, 'twas my word.-
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 you down,
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 be proof and bulwark against sense.

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

In noise so rude against me?

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 contraction 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.

Queen. Ah me, what act, That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ? Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this;*

- from the body of contraction-] Contraction for marriage


9 and thunders in the index?] Bullokar in his Expositor, 8vo. 1616, defines an Index by " A table in a booke." The table was almost always prefixed to the books of our poet's age. Indexes, in the sense in which we now understand the word, were very



Look here, upon this picture, and on this:] It is evident from the following words,

"A station, like the herald Mercury," &c.

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,2
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 fol

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 batten3 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,
And waits upon the judgment; And what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
Else, could you not have motion :* But, sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd: for madness would not err;
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd,
But it reserv'd some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't,
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?5

that these pictures which are introduced as miniatures on the stage, were meant for whole lengths, being part of the furniture of the Queen's closet.

2 A station like the herald Mercury, &c.] Station, in this instance, does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing.

3 batten...] i, e. to grow fat. Bat is an ancient word for increase.

4 Sense, sure, you have,

Else, could you not have motion:] Sense is sometimes used by Shakspeare for sensation or sensual appetite; as motion is the effect produced by the impulse of nature.



at hoodman-blind?] Probably the same as blindman's


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Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope."

O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,"
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame,
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge;
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.

Queen. O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots, As will not leave their tinct.9

Ham. Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed;1 Stew'd in corruption; honeying, and making love Over the nasty stye;


O, speak to me no more; These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears; No more, sweet Hamlet.


A murderer, and a villain A slave, that is not twentieth part the tythe Of your precedent lord:-a vice of kings:2 A cutpurse of the empire and the rule; That from a shelf the precious diadem stolę, And put it in his pocket!

6 Could not so mope.] i. e. could not exhibit such marks of stupidity.

If thou canst mutine, &c.] To mutine, was the ancient term, signifying to rise in mutiny.


grained-] Died in grain, or perhaps, indented.

"As will not leave their tinct.] To leave is to part with, givę up, resign.


enseamed bed;] i. e. greasy bed.


rice of kings:] A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a farce; from whence the modern punch is descended.

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A king

Of shreds and patches:3-
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!-What would your gracious

Queen. Alas, he's mad.

Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, laps'd in time and passion,* lets
go by
The important acting of your dread command?
O, say!

Ghost. Do not forget: This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits;
O, step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit in weakest bodies' strongest works;
Speak to her, Hamlet.


How is it with you, lady? Queen. Alas, how is't with you? That you do bend your eye on vacancy, And with the incorporal air do hold discourse? Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep; And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm, Your bedded hair, like life in excrements," Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,


3 A king

Of shreds and patches:] This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of partycoloured patches.

laps'd in time and passion,] That, having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, lets go, &c.

5 Conceit in weakest bodies-] Conceit for imagination.


like life in excrements,] Not only the hair of animals having neither life nor sensation was called an excrement, but the feathers of birds had the same appellation.

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