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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 milchs the burning eye of heaven,
And passion in the gods.

Pol, Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.-Pr’ythee, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time : After your death 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. Odd's bodikin, man, much better: Use every man after his desert, and who shall '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.

[Erit 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 murder of Gonzago?

Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll have it 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? 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.

- milch--) i. e. Mild, tender-hearted.-Todd.

Ros. Good my lord !

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and GuildENSTERN. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you:—Now I am alone. 0, 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 be do, Had he the motive and the cue for passion, That I have? He would drown the stage with tears, And cleave the general eari with horrid speech; Made 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,
As deep as to the lungs ? Who does me this?
Ha !
Why, I should take it : for it cannot be,
But I am pigeon-liver’d, and lack gall

wann'd;] i. e. Turned pale.

the cue-] i. e. The hint, the direction. This phrase is theatrical, and occurs at least a dozen times in our author's plays.-Johnson and Steevens.

the general ear-) i. e. The ear of all mankind. * John-a-dreams,] A name apparently coined to suit a dreaming stupid cbasacter, quasi, “ dreaming John.”—Nares.

unpregnant-] i. e. Having no due sense of.-WARBURTON.
defeat-] i. e. Destruction.

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To make oppression bitter; or, ere this,
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless" villain!
Why, what an ass am I? This is most brave;
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion !
Fye upon't! foh! About my brains !o Humph! I have

heard,
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul, that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions ;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father,
Before mine uncle : I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent himp to the quick; if he do blench,
I know my course. The spirit, that I have seen,
May be a devil : and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape: yea, and, perhaps,
Out of my weakness, and my melancholy,
(As he is very potent with such spirits,)
Abuses me to damn me : I'll have grounds
More relativer than this: The play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. [Exit.

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kindless—] Unnatural.

About my brains!) Wits, to your work. Brain, go about the present business.-Johnsox.

tent him---] Search his wounds.-Joinson.
blench,] i. e. Shrink, or start.
More relative,] i. e. More neurly related, closely connected.-Jounson.

P

ACT III.

SCENE I.-A Room in the Castle.

Enter King, Queen, POLONIUS, Ophelia, Rosen

CRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.

King. And can you, by no drift of conference
Get from him, why he puts on this confusion;
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

Ros. He does confess, he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.

Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded;
But with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
Queen.

Did he receive you well?
Ros. Most like a gentleman.

Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition.
· Ros. Niggard of question; but, of our demands,
Most free in his reply.
Queen.

Did you assay him
To any pastime?

Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players
We o'er-raught on the way; of these we told him;
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it: They are about the court;
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
Pol.

'Tis most true: And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties, To hear and see the matter.

King. With all my heart; and it doth much content me To hear him so inclin'd. Good gentlemen, give him a further edge, And drive his purpose on to these delights.

o'er-ruught-] Over-reached, over-took.

P

Ros. We shall, my lord.

[Exeunt RosENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. King.

Sweet Gertrude, leave us too:
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither;
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia :
Her father, and myself (lawful espials,)"
Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge;
And gather by him, as he is behav’d,
If't be the affliction of his love or no,
That thus he suffers for.
Queen.

I shall obey you:
And, for your part, Ophelia I do wish,
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness: so shall I hope, your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.
Oph.
Madam, I wish it may.

[Erit Queen. Pol. Ophelia, walk you here:-Gracious, so please you, We will bestow ourselves :—Read on this book;

[To Ophelia.
That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness.- We are oft to blame in this,
'Tis too much prov'd, that, with devotion's visage,
And pious action, we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.
King.

O, 'tis too true! how smart
A lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it,'
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burden!

[Aside.

u

• Affront-] i. e. Meet directly, encounter.

espials,)] i. e. Spies. s 'Tis too much prov'd,] It is found by too frequent experience.- Johnson.

- more ugly to the thing that helps it.] That is, compared with the thing hat helps it.-Johnson.

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