Page images


my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish her election,
She hath seald thee for herself: for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hath ta’en with equal thanks: and bless’d are those,
Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please : Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's cure, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thitt.—Something too much of this.-
There is a play to-night before the king:
One scene of it comes near the circumstance,
Which I have told thee of my father's death.
I pr’ythee, when thou seest that act a-foot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe my uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen;
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note:
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face;
And, after, we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.

Well, my lord.
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle :
Get you a place.

Danish march. A flourish. Enter King, QUEEN, POLONIUS,

OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others. King. How fares our cousin Hamlet ?

Ham. Excellent, i'faith ; of the camelion's dish: ( eat the air promise-crammed : You cannot feed capons so.

King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.

Ham. No, nor mine now. My lord,—you played once in the university, you say ?

[To POLONIUS. Pol. That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor. Ham. And what did you enact ? Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was killed i’the Capitol ; Brutus killed me.

Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there. Be the players ready ?

Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.
Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by ine.
Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attracti te.
Pol. O ho! do you mark that ?

[To the KING


Hum. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

[Lying down at OPHELIA's feet. Oph. You are merry, my lord. Ham. Who, I? Oph. Ay, my lord.

Ham. O! your only jig-maker. What should a man do but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.

Oph. Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.

Ham. So long ? Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens! die two months ago, and not forgotten

Then there's hope, a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year: But, by’r-lady, he must build churches then.

Oph. What means the play, my lord ?
Ham. Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief.
Oph. But what is the argument of the play?

Enter Prologue.
Ham. We shall know by this fellow.
Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,

Here stooping to your clemency,

We beg your hearing patiently.
Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring ?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord.
Ham. As woman's love.

The play selected by Hamlet is performed before the court; in which the supposed murder of his father is exhibited.

The player Queen protests to her husband--that

-Both here, and hence, pursue me lasting strife,
f, once a widow, ever I be wife!
Ham. If she should break it now,

P. King. 'Tis deeply sworni. Sweet, leave me here a while ;
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.

[Sleeps. P. Queen.

Sleep rock thy brain, And never come mischance between us twain!

[Exito Ham. Madam, how like you this play? Queen. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Ham. O, but she'll keep her word. King. Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in't ?

Ham. No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest· no offence i’the world.

King. What do you call the play?

Ham. The mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is the Duke's name; h's wife, Baptista : you shall see anon; 'tis a knavish piece of work: But what of that? your majesty, and we that have free

souls, it touches us not: Let the galled jade wince, our withers are 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 me 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 HORATIO. 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 pound 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 cor

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 thie 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 brced. 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,

Kos. 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 our 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 him self for your succession in Denmark?

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

Enter the Players, with recorders. 0, 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 wrive mo into a toil ?

Guil. O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is toc unmannerly.

Ham. I do not well understand that. Will you play unon 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 wih you fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it wil. dis. course 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

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 wbale ?
Pol. Very like a whale.

Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by.—They fool me to the top ot' 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.., dra. '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;
[your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure

« PreviousContinue »