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Hazard so near us.
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
We will haste us.
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN,
Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet :
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,
To hear the process; I'll warrant, she'll tax him home,
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet, that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o’erhear
The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege:
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
King. Thanks, dear my lord,
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon 't,
A brother's murder !–Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will;
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood ?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence ?
And what's in prayer, but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled, ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd, being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder !
That cannot be ; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence ?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice;
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law : But 'tis not so above :
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In bis true nature; and we ourselves compelld,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests ?
Try what repentance can : What cun it not ?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent ?
O wretched state ! O bosom, black as death !
O luned soul; that struggling to be free,
Art more engag’d! Help, angels, make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees ! and, heart, with strings cf steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe;
All may be well !
[Retires and kner.lt
SCENE IV.-Another Koom in the same.
Enter QUEEN and POLONIUS.
Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him;
Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear with;
And that your grace hath screen’d and stood betweun
Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
Pray you, be round with him.
I'll warrant you;
Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.
(POLONIUS hides himsel
Ham. Now, mother; what's the matter ?
Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Ham. Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet ?
What's the matter now?
Queen. Have you forgot me ?
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.
Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall 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 me?
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.] 0, I am slain.
[Falls, and dies. Queen. O me, what hast thou done? Ham.
Nay, I know not: Is it the king ?
[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 mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
Queen. As kill a king!
Ah, lady, 'twas my word. 'Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better;
Leave wringing of your hands : Peace, sit you down,
And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If t 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 : 0, 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.
Ah me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ?
Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this ;
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,
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 follows
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 batten 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?
O shame! where is thy blush ?
Queen. O Hamlet, speak no more,
Thou turn'st my eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots,
As will not leave their tinct.
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 tithe
Of your precedent lord :-a vice of kings :
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule;
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!
Enter Ghost. Ham.
Of shreds and patches :
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards !—What would your gracious figure ?
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 ?
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;
Speak to her, Hamlet.
How 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 ?
O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look ?
Ham. On him! on him !-Look you, how pale he glares !
His form and cause conjoin’d, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable.—Do not look upon me;
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true color; tears, perchance, for blood.
Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Ham. Do you see nothing there?
Queen. Nothing at all; yet all, that is, I see.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen. No, nothing, but ourselves.
Ham. Why, look. you there! look how it steals away!
My father, in his native habit as he lived !
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal ! (Exit Ghost
Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain:
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
Ham. Ecstasy !
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time.
And makes as healthful music : It is not madness,
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness, speaks :
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past: avoid what is to come.
Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain
Ham. O throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night :-
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you.—For this same lord,
[Pointing to POLONTUS
I do repent :
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night!
I must be cruel, only to be kind :
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
The guilty King and Queen, alarmed at the consequences which may result from Hamlet's evident knowledge of their crimes, determine to send him to England under the charge of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, with private instructions to the king of England to effect “ The present death of Hamlet.". This is done, and the young prince sails for England. Ophelia, overcome with grief, at the death of her father, becomes distracted, and seeks an interview with the Queen. Young Laertes returns from Franoe, and charges the King with being privy to the murder of Polonius,
SCENE V.-Elsinore. A Room in the Castle.
Enter QUEEN and HORATIO. Queen. I will not speak with her. Hor. She is importunate ; indeed, distract. Queen. Let her come in.
[Exit FIORATIO "Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.