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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 a; 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 delight in, the tragedians of the city. HAM. How chances it they travel ? their residence, both in reputation 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. How comes it? Do they grow rusty? Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: But there is, sir, an
aiery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for 't: these are now the fashion; and so berattle the common stages, (so they call them,) that many, wearing rapiers, are
afraid of goose quills, and dare scarce come thither. Ham. What, are they children? who maintains them? how are they escoted b?
Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common players, (as it is like most, if their means are no better,) their writers do them wrong, to
make them exclaim against their own succession ? Ros. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and the nation holds it
no sin, to tarre them to controversyo: there was, for a while, no money bid
for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question. HAM. Is 't possible? Guil. O, there has been much throwing about of brains. HAM. Do the boys carry it away? Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord ; Hercules and his load too. Ham. It is not stranged; for mine uncle is king of Denmark; and those that
would make mowese at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, 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. • The quarto of 1603 reads, “ that are tickled in the lungs.” The sere is a dry affection of the throat, by which the lungs are tickled; but the clown provokes laughter even from those who habitually cough.
* Escoted-paid. The scot or shot-the coin cast down-is the share of any common charge paid by an individual. The French escotter, is to pay the scot. Hence“ scot and lot."
• In modern editions, " to tarre them on." The folio has not on. In 'King John' (Act IV., Scene 2) we have
a Like a dog that is compelled to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on." To tarre is to exasperate, from the Anglo-Saxon tirian.
In quartos, very strange. • In quartos, mouths. The mowes of the folio is more Shaksperian-as in 'The Tempest:'
“ Sometimes like apes that moe and chatter at me."
GUIL. There are the players.
appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony : let me comply with you in the 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 handsawa.
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 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; 't was so, 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,Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral,
pastorical-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical - historical, tragical-comicalhistorical-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.
One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved passing well. Pol. Still on my daughter.
[Aside. Ham. Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah ? Pol. If you call me Jephthab, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing
well. Ham. Nay, that follows not.
• Handsaw—the corruption in this proverbial expression of heronshaw-hernshaw, a heron. In Spenser, we have
“As when a cast of falcons made their flight
At an herneshaw." Swathing, in folio; in quartos, swaddling. • The folio omits was.
Poll. What follows then, my lord?
“It came to pass, As most like it was.” The first row of the pious chanson will show you more": for look, where my abridgments come.
Enter Four or Five Players.
You're welcome, masters; welcome, all:—I am glad to see thee well:— welcome, good friends.—0, my old friend! Thy face is valiant" since I saw thee last; Com'st 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 anything we see: We'll have a speech straight: Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech. 1 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 caviarie 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" in the lines, to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase that might indite the author of affectation; but called it, an honest method [as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine]. One chief speech in it I chiefly loved: 't was 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 smear'd With heraldry more dismal; head to foot Now is he total gules"; horridly trick'd 4 With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons; Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets, That lend a tyrannous and damned light
* Valiant, in the folio; which is interpreted manly. The quarto has valanc'd, which is explained “fringed with a beard.”
* Sallets, ribaldry.
* Gules, red, in heraldic phrase.
* Trick d, painted; also a word in heraldry.
To their vile murthers 8 : Roasted in wrath and fire.
Old grandsire Priam seeks.
1 Play. Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
As low as to the fiends.
1 Play. But who, 0 who, had seen the mobled queenHam. The mobled queen? - Vile murthers, in the folios; in quartos, lord's murther.
A jig, a ludicrous interlude. • Mobled. This is the reading of quartos (A) and (B). In the folio we have inobled, which is, we have little doubt, a misprint. In the folio of 1632, the original reading was restored. Mobled, mabled, is hastily muffled up. The mobled queen has
"A clout about that head
Where late the diadem stood.” In Sandys' "Travels' we have “ their heads and faces are mabled in fine linen.” To mob, or mab, is to dress carelessly; a mob is a covering for the head,-a close covering, according to some, -2 mobile covering, more probably.
Pol. That's good : mobled queen is good.
1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning the flame
With bisson rheum ; a clout about that head,
And passion in the gods.
Pray you, no more. Ham. "T is 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 a, and brief chronicles, of the time: After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you
lived. Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert. Ham. Odd's bodikin man, better:b 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.
[Excit 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 murther of Gonzago ? 1 PLAY. Ay, my lord. . Ham. We'll have '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
1 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 my lord !
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you: Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Abstracts, in the folio; the general reading is abstract, adjectively.
Better, in the folio; in quartos, much better. • Whole, in folio; in quartos, own.