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24

As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on;
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this head-shake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
as, Weữ, well, we know; or, We could, an if we would; or, If
we list to speak; or, There be, an if they might;
Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note
That
you

know aught of me: this not to do,
So Grace and Mercy at your most need help you,
Swear.
Ghost. [Beneath.] Swear.

[They kiss the Hilt of Hamlet's Sword.
Ham. Rest, rest, perturbed spirit ! — So, gentlemen,
With all my love I do commend me to you;
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do t'express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together ;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint:

O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come ; let's go together.

[Exceunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.

A Room in POLONIUS'

Elsinore.

House.

Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDO.

Pol. Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
Rey. I will, my lord.

Poi. You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquiry
Of his behaviour.
Rey.

My lord, I did intend it.
Pol. Marry, well said ; very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Dan ers are in Paris ; 1

24 This has been taken as proving that Hamlet's “antic disposition is merely assumed for a special purpose. But our ripest experts in the matter are far from regarding it so. They tell us that veritable madmen are sometimes inscrutably cunning in arts for disguising their state; saying, in effect, To be sure, you may find me acting rather strangely at times, but you must not think me crazy; I know what I am about, and have a purpose in it." 1 Dansker is Dane; Dansk being the ancient name of Denmark.

And how, and who; what means, and where they keep,'
What company, at what expense; and finding,
By this encompassment and drift of question,
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it:
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him ;
As thus, I know his father and his friends,
And in part him;-

do you mark this, Reynaldo ? Rey. Ay, very well, my lord.

Pol. And in part him ; but, you may say, not wel:
But, if't be he I mean, he's very wild;
Addicted so and so ; — and there put on him
What forgeries you please ; marry, none so rank
As

may dishonour him, take heed of that;
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips,
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.
Rey.

As gaming, my lord ?
Pol. Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
Quarrelling, drabbing :- you may go so far.

Rey. My lord, that would dishonour him.
Pol

. 'Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge.
You must not put another scandal on him,
That he is open to incontinency;
That's not my meaning : but breathe his faults so quaintly,
That they may seem the taints of liberty ;
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind;
A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
Of general assault.
Rey.

But, my good lord,
Pol. Wherefore should you do this?
Rey. Ay, my lord, I would know that.

Pol. Marry, sir, here's my drift;
And I believe it is a fetch of warrant:5
You laying these slight sullies on my son,
As 'twere a thing a little soild i' the working,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assur'd

Mark you,

2 The Poet repeatedly has keep in the sense of lodge or dwell. See page 267, note 22.

3 Quaintly, from the Latin comptus, properly means elegantly, but is here used in the sense of adroitly or ingeniously. See page 121, note 2.

4 A wildness of untamed blood, such as youth is generally assailed by.

5 “A fetch of warrant” seems to mean an allowable stratagem or artifice.

6 Having at any time seen the youth you spack of guilty in the forenumed

C

He closes with you

in this consequence :
Good sir, or so; or friend, or gentleman, -
According to the phrase, or the addition,
Of man and country ;
Rey.

Very good, my lord. Pol. And then, sir, does he this, -- he does what was I about to say ? - By the Mass,' I was about to say something :

- where did I leave?

Rey. At, closes in the consequence,
At friend or so and gentleman.

Pol. At closes in the consequence, -ay, marry;
He closes with you thus : I know the gentleman ;
I saw him yesterday, or other day,
Or then, or then ; with such, or such ; and, as you say,
There was he gaming; there o’ertook in's rouse ;
There falling out at tennis. See you now,
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth ; 8
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlaces and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out:
So, by my former lecture and advice,
Shall you my son.

You have

me,
have
you

not?
Rey. My lord, I have.
Pol. God b’ wi' you! fare you

well.
Rey. Good my lord !
Pol. Observe his inclination in yourself.10
Rey. I shall, my lord.

Pol. And let him ply his music. 11 vices. “ Closes with you in this consequence means, apparently, agrees with you in this conclusion. – Addition again for title.

7 Mass is the old name of the Lord's Supper, and is still used by the Roman Catholics. It was often sworn by, as in this instance. —

- As marry occurs several times here, it may be well to remark that this use of the word grew from the custom of swearing by Saint Mary the Virgin.

8 The shrewd old wire-puller is fond of angling arts. The carp is a species of fish.

9 “Of wisdom and of reach is here equivalent to by cunning and overreaching.– Windlaces is here used in the sense of taking a winding, circuitous, or round-about course to a thing, instead of going directly to it; or, as we sometimes say, “ beating about the bush,” instead of coming straight to the point. This is shown by a late writer in the Edinburgh Review, who quotes two passages in illustration of it from Golding's translation of 'Ovid, which is known to have been one of the Poet's books. Here is one of the quotations:

The winged god, beholding them returning in a troupe,
Continu'd not directly forth, but gan me down to stoupe,

And fetch'd a windlass round about.” “ Assays of bias " are trials of inclination. A bias is a weight in one side of a ball, which keeps it from rolling straight to the mark, as in ninepins.

10 Use your own eyes and judgment upon him, as well as learn from others.

11 Eye him sharply, but do it slyly, and let him fiddle his secrets all

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out.

Rey. Well, my lord.
Pol. Farewell!

[Exit REYNALDO. Enter OPHELIA.

How now, Ophelia! what's the mattor ?
Oph. Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted!
Pol. With what, i’ the name of God?

Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Lord Hamlet, — with his doublet all unbrac'd ; 12
No hat upon his head ; his stockings fould,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ankle ; 18
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other ;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of Hell
To speak of horrors, he comes before me.

Pol. Mad for thy love?
Oph.

My lord, I do not know ;
But, truly, I do fear it.
Pol.

What said he?
Oph. He took me by the wrist, and held me hard ;
Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of

my

face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so:
At last,

a little shaking of mine arm,
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,-
He rais’d a sigh so piteous and profound,
That it did seem to shatter all his bulk,14
And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
And, with his head over his shoulder turn’d,
He seem’d to find his way without his eyes ;
For out o' doors he went without their help,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.

Pol. Come, go with me: I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love;
Whose violent property fordoes itself,15
And leads the will to desperate undertakings,
As oft as any passion under heaven

12 Unbrac'd is the same as our unbuttoned. So used twice in Julius Cæsar.

13 Hanging down like the loose cincture which confines the fetters or gyves round the alikles.

14 Bulk is breast. “The bulke or breast of a man, Thorax, la poitrine.” BARET.

15 Fordo was the same as undo or destroy. Ecstasy occurs several times in this play for madness. Such was the more common meaning of the word in Shakespeare's time; though it was also used for any violent working of the mind.

That does afflict our natures. I am sorry,
What, have you given him any hard words of late ?

Oph. No, my good lord; but, as you did command,
I did repel his letters, and denied
His access to me.
Pol.

That hath made him mad.
I'm
sorry

that with better heed and judgment I had not quoted him : 16 I fear'd he did but trifle, And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy ! 17 By Heaven, it is as proper to our age To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions, As it is common for the younger sort To lack discretion.1 Come, go we to the King : This must be known ; which, being kept close, might move More grief to hide than hate to utter love.19 [Exeunt.

SCENE II. The Same. A Room in the Castle.

Enter the KING, the QUEEN, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN,

and Attendants.
King. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
Moreover that we much did long to see you,"
The need we had to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it,
Since nor th' exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from th' understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of: I entreat you both,
That, — being of so young days brought up with him,
And since so neighbour'd to his youth and humour,-
That you vouchsafe your

rest here in our Court
Some little time; so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,

16 To quote is to note, to mark, or observe.

17 In this admirable scene, Polonius, who is throughout the skeleton of bis own former skill in state-craft, hunts the trail of policy at a dead scent, supplied by the weak fever-smell in his own nostrils. - COLERIDGE.

is We old men are as apt to overreach ourselves with our own policy, as the young are to miscarry through inconsideration.

19 The sense is rather obscure, but appears to be, - By keeping Hamlet's love secret, we may cause more of grief to others, than of hatred on his part by disclosing it. The Poet sometimes goes out of his way to close a scene with a rhyme.

1 I do not recollect another instance of moreover that used in this way. It means the same as besides that.

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