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Bow, stubborn knees ! and, heart, with strings of

steel, Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe; All may be well!

[Retires, and kneels.

Enter HAMLET. Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do't ;-and so he goes to heaven: And so am I reveng’d! That would be scannd :: A A villain kills my father; and, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. He took my father grossly, full of bread; With all bis crimes broad blown, as flush as May; And, how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven? But, in our circumstance and course of thought, ”Tis heavy with him : And am I then reveng'd, To take him in the purging of his soul, When he is fit and season'd for his passage ? No. Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:* When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage ; Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed ; At gaming, swearing; or about some act That has no relish of salvation in't: Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven: And that his soul may be as damn'd, and black, As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays : This physick but prolongs thy sickly days. [E.rit.

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That would be scann'd:] i. e. that should be considered, estimated.

Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:] To hent is used by Shakspeare for to seize, to calch, to lay hold on. Hent is, therefore, hold, or seizure. Lay hold on him, sword, at a more horrid time.

As hell, whereto it goes.] This speech, in which Hamlet, re.

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The King rises, and advances. King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain be

low : Words, without thoughts, never to heaven_go.



Another Room 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 between Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here. Pray you, be round with him. Queen.

I'll warrant you; Fear me not :-withdraw, I hear him coming.

[Polonius hides himself.

Enter HAMLET. Ham. Now, mother; what's the matter ? Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much of

fended. Ham. Mother, you have my father much of


presented as a virtuous character, is not content with taking blood for blood, but contrives damnation for the man that he would punish, is too horrible to be read or to be uttered. Johnson.

This speech of Hamlet's, as Johnson observes, is horrible indeed ; yet some moral may be extracted from it, as all his subsequent calamities were owing to this savage refinement of revenge.

M.Mason, I'll silence me e'en here.] i.e. I'll use no more words.



Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle

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

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. 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.]

O, I am slain.

[Falls, and dies. Queen. O me, what hast thou done? Нат.

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 mo

ther, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

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




Ay, lady, 'twas my word. Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!

[To POLONIUS. 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 : 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:9

Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this ;'


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- from the body of contraction - Contraction for marriage contract.

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 uncommon.

"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,?
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 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? 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-blinds




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.

* 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.

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

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 ef fect produced by the impulse of nature.

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



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