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SCENE II.-The same. A Roon of State

in the Castle.


VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, and Lords Attendant. King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's

death The memory be green ; and that it us befitted To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole king

dom To be contracted in one brow of woe; Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature, That we with wisest sorrow think on him, Together with remembrance of ourselves. Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen, The imperial jointress of this warlike state, Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,With one auspicious and one dropping eye, With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in mar

riage, In equal scale weighing delight and dole, Taken to wife : nor have we herein burr'd Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone With this affair along :--for all, our thanks. Now follows, that you know, young Fortin

bras, Holding a weak supposal of our worth; Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death, Our state to be disjoint and out of frame, Colleaguèd with the dream of his advantage,He hath not fail'd to pester us with message, Importing the surrender of those lands Lost by his father, with all bonds of law, To our most valiant brother,-So much for him.

Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is : we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
His further gait herein ; in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject, and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearing of this greeting to old Norway ;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.
Farewell ; and let your haste commend your

duty. Cor., Vol. In that, and all things, will we

show our duty. king. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell.

And now, Laertes, what's the news with you ?
You told us of some suit : what is't, Laertes ?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And lose your voice : what wouldst thou beg,

That shall not be my offer, not thy asking ?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes ?

Dread my lord, Your leave and favour to return to France ; From whence though willingly I came to Den

mark, To show my duty in your coronation ; Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,

My thoughts and wishes bend again towards

France, And bow them to your gracious leave and

pardon. King. Have you your father's leave? What

says Polonius? Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my

slow leave, By laboursome petition; and, at last, Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent I do beseech you, give him leave to go. King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes ; time be

thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will ! But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son, Ham. [aside.] A little more than kin, and

less than kind. King. How is it that the clouds still hang on


Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the


Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nightly colour

off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids Seek for thy noble father in the dust : Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must

Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee ?
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is ; I know

not seems. 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black,

Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly : these, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play ;
But I have that within which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your

nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father :
But, you must know, your father lost a father ;
That father lost, lost his ; and the survivor

bound, In filial obligation, for some term To do obsequious sorrow : but to perséver In obstinate condolement, is a course Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief : It shows a will most incorrect to heaven; A heart unfortified, a mind impatient, An understanding simple and unschool'd : For what, we know, must be, and is as common As any the most vulgar thing to sense, Why should we, in our peevish opposition, Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd; whose common theme Is death to fathers, and who still hath cried, From the first corse, till he that died to-day, This must be so.

We pray you, throw to earth This unprevailing woe; and think of us As of a father : for let the world take note, You are the most immediate to our throne, And, with no less nobility of love, Than that which dearest father bears his son, Do I impart towards you. For your intent

In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire ?
And, we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers,

I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply ; Be as ourself in Denmark.—Madam, come; This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet Sits smiling to my heart : in grace whereof, No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day, But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell; And the

king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again, Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.

[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, Lords, &C., POLONIUS,

and LAERTES. Ham. O, that this too too solid flesh would

melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew ! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd . His canon 'gainst self-slaughter ! O God!

O God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seems to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in

nature, Possess it merely. That it should come to this ! But two months dead !-nay, not so much, not So excellent a king ; that was, to this, Hyperion to a satyr : so loving to my mother, That he might not beteem the winds of heaven


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