« PreviousContinue »
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Do you think, 'tis this?
Not that I know.
[Pointing to his head and shoulder.
How may we try it further ?
So he does, indeed.
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 :-0, give me leave.
(Exeunt King, QUEEN, and Attendants. How does my good lord Hamlet ?
Ham. Excellent well.
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 ?
leave of you.
Pol. (Aside.] Still harping on my daughter —yet he knew me not at first; he said 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 !
Ham. Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here, that old men have gray beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plum-tree gum; and thai 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 vo 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 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 honorable lord, I will most humbly take my
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.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.
[ To POLONIUS.
[Exit POLONIUS. Guil. My honor'd lord !
Ham. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern ? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both? What news ?
Ros. None, my lord ;- but that the world's grown honest.
Ham. Then is doomsday near : But your news is not true. But in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore ?
Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.
Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation ? Come, come; deal justly with me: come, come ;
Guil. What should we say, my lord ?
Ham. Any thing—but to the purpose. You were sent for; and here is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties nave not craft enough to color: '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 letter proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no ? Ros. What say you ?
[To GUILDENSTERN. Ham. Nay, then I have an eye of you; [Aside.)—if you love me, hold not off.
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, forgone all custom of exercises : and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a 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 iš this quintessence of dust? man delights not me, nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.
Ros. My lord, there is no such stuff in my thoughts.
Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive for you: we met 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 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.
llam. How chances it, they travel ? their residence, both in repuation 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. 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. There is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
[Flourish of trumpets within. Guil. There are the players.
Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands. You are welcome: but my uncle-father, and aunt-mother, are deceived.
Guil. In what, my dear lord ? Ham. I am but mad north-northwest: when the wind is southeriy know a hawk from a handsaw.
Enter POLONIUS. Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen! Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern,—and you too ;-at each ear a hearer; that great baby, you see there, is not yet out of his swaddling clothes.
Ros. Happily, he's the second time come to them; for, they say, an old man is twice a child.
Ham. I will prophesy, he comes to tell me of the players; mark --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.
Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical, 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 !
The which he loved passing well.
[Aside. Ham. Am not İ 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.
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 show you more; for look, my abridgment comes.
The Players enter, and at Hamlet's request, the first player recites a spernh. 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 re bort while you
Ham. Much better: Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping! Use them after your own honor and dignity: 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 ?
1st 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 ?
1st 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
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.