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Ham. Why did you laugh, then, when I said, man delights not me * Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you : we coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service. Ham. He that plays the king shall be welcome ; his Majesty shall have tribute of me: the adventurous knight shall use his foil and target: the lover shall not sigh gratis: the humorous man shall end his part in peace : the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled o' th' sere; 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 such 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 follow'd : 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 eyry of children, little. eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapp'd 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 'em how are they escoted 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 most like, if their means are not 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 controversy: 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 F 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 strange ; for my uncle is King of Denmark, and those, that would make mowes at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. [Flourish of trumpets within. Guil. There are the players. . Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come. The appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players, (which, I tell you, must shew fairly outward,) should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome ; but my uncle-father, and aunt-mother, are deceiv'd. 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.

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. Haply, 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: for o' Monday morning ; 'twas 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 my honour, — Ham. Then came each actor on his ass, – Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-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. 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 P

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 will shew 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, old friend ' Why, thy face is valanc'd 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 to 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 crack'd 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. 1 Player. 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, pleas'd not the million; 'twas caviare, to the general: but it was (as I receiv'd 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 was no sallets 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 lov'd : '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 th' Hyrcanian beast.” —’tis 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 With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, Bak’d and impasted with the parching streets, That lend a tyrannous and damned light To their lord's murther. Roasted in wrath and fire, And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore, With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus Old grandsire Priam seeks; ” — [So proceed you.] Pol. Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good accent and good discretion. . . 1 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 match'd, Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage, strikes wide; But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword Th’ unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium, Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash

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