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ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb; lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome: but my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.

Guil. In what, my dear lord ?

Ham. I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

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 swathing-clouts.

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 it.—You say right, sir : o'Monday morning; 'twas so,(0) 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.
Ham. Buz, buz!
Pol. Upon mine honour,-
Ham. Then came each actor on his ass,—(41)

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 !

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord ?
Ham. Why,

“One fair daughter, and no more,

The which he loved passing well.”
Pol. [aside] Still on my daughter.
Ham. Am I not 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.
Pol. What follows, then, my lord ?
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 (42) will show you more; for look, where my abridgment comes.

Enter four or five Players. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all I am glad to see thee well :-welcome, good friends.—O, my old friend! Thy face is valanced (43) since I saw thee last; comest thou to beard me in Denmark ?—What, my young lady and mistress! By’r lady, your ladyship is nearer heaven, than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring.–Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en to 't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: we'll have a speech straight: come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.

First Play. What speech, my lord ?

Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once,—but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general: but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine) an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said there were no sallets (44) in the lines to make the matter savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation; but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved : 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter: if it live in your memory, begin at this line ;-let me see, let me see ;-

“The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,” -it is not so:-it begins with Pyrrhus :

“The rugged Pyrrhus,-he, whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse, -
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeard
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their vile murders : roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhu

Old grandsire Priam seeks."'-
So, proceed you.

Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion. First Play.

“Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command : unequal matchd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnervèd father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo ! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i'the air to stick:
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood;
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Arousèd vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars his armour, forg’d for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.-
Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,

In general synod, take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,

As low as to the fiends !"
Pol. This is too long.

Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.—Prithee, say on :-he's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps :say on ;-come to Hecuba.

First Play. "But who, 0, who had seen the mobled queen-"
Ham. “ The mobled queen ?"
Pol. That's good; “mobled queen” is good.
First Play. "Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames

With bisson rheum ; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood ; and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemèd loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up ;-
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd :
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made
(Unless things mortal move them not at all),
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,

And passion in the gods." Pol. Look, whêr he has not turned his colour, and has tears in's eyes.—Pray you, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well ; I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed ? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you

you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

Ham. God's bodykins, man, better: use every man after his desert, and who should scape whipping ? Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.

Pol. Come, sirs.
Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.

[Exit Polonius with all the Players except the First.

Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the Murder of Gonzago ?

First Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll ha't 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 ?

First Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Very well.—Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exit First Player.] My good friends (to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern], I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord !

Exeunt Rosen, and Guild. Ham. Ay, so, God b'wi'ye!—Now I am alone. O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! Is it not monstrous, that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit, That, from her working, all his visage wann'd; Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect, A broken voice, and his whole function suiting With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing ! For Hecuba? What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for her? What would he do, Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have? He would drown the stage with tears, And cleave the general ear with horrid speech ; Make mad the guilty, and appal the free, Confound the ignorant; and amaze, indeed, The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I, A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak, Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, And can say nothing; no, not for a king, Upon whose property and most dear life A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward ? Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across? Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face ? Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat,

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