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So he does, indeed.
We will try it.
Enter HAMLET, reading a book. Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch
comes reading. Pol. Away! I do beseech you, both away. I'll board him presently : Exeunt King, Queen, and Attendants.
0, give me leave. How does my good Lord Hamlet ?
Ham. Well, God-'a-mercy.
Do you know me, my lord ?
Ham. Ay, sir: to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick'd out of ten thousand.
Pol. That's very true, my lord.
- For if the sun breed. maggots in a dead dog, being & god kissing carrion," - Have you a daughter
Pol. I have, my lord.
Ham. Let her not walk i' th sun: conception is a blessing ; but not as your daughter may conceive : friend, look to't.
Pol. [Aside.] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter :— yet he knew me not at first; he said, I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone : and truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord ?
Ham. Words, words, words.
Ham. Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here, that old men have grey beards ; that their faces are wrinkled ; their eyes purging thick amber, or plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: all of which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for you yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.
Pol. [Aside.] Though this be madness, yet there is method in't. - Will you walk out of the air, my lord ?
Ham. Into my grave ?
Pol. [Aside.] Indeed, that is out o' the air. How pregnant sometimes his replies are ! a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be deliver’d of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter. - My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal ; [aside.] except my life, except my life, except my life.
Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.
Pol. You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is. Ros. God save you, sir !
[Exit POLONIUS. Guil. Mine honour'd lord ! Ros. My most dear lord !
Ham. My excellent good friends! How do'st thou, , Guildenstern ? Ah, Rosencrantz ! Good lads, how do
ye both ?
Ros. As the indifferent children of the Earth.
Guil. Happy, in that we are not overhappy;
Ham. Nor the soles of her shoe?
Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favour ?
Guil. 'Faith, her privates we.
Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true ; she is a strumpet. What's the news ?
Ros. None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
Ham. Then is dooms-day near; but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular: what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?
Guil. Prison, my lord !
Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o'th' worst.
Ros. We think not so, my lord.
nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.
Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one : ’tis too narrow for your mind.
Ham. O God! I could be bounded in a nut-shell and .count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are ambitica ; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.
Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow.
Ham. Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs, and outstretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th’ Court ? for, by my fay, I cannot
We'll wait upon you. Guil.
Ham. No such matter: I will not sort you with the rest of my servants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore ?
Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.
Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you : and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear, a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come ; deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.
Guil. What should we say, my lord ?
Ham. Why any thing, but to the purpose. You were sent for ; and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to colour : I know, the good King and Queen have sent for you.
Ros. To what end, my lord ?
But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our everpreserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge youth withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no ?
Ros. [To GUILDENSTERN.] What say you ?
Ham. [Aside.] Nay, then I have an eye of you. - If you love me, hold not off.
Guil. My lord, we were sent for.
Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no feather. I have of late, (but wherefore I know not) lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercises; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man ! How noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.