Page images
PDF

The unnero feel his blow with a hideou his sword,

Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their vile murders : 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 The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium, Seeming to feel his blow, with flaming top Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword, Which was declining on the milky head Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick: So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood ; And, like a neutral to his will and matter, Did nothing. But, as we often see, against some storm, A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still, The bold wind speechless, and the orb below As hush as death: anon the dreadful thunder Doth rend the region : so, after Pyrrhus' pause, A rousèd vengeance sets him new a-work; And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall On Mars his armour, forged for proof eterne, With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword Now falls on Priam. Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods, In general synod, take away her power ; Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel, And bowl the round navę down the hill of heaven, As low as to the fiends! Pol. This is too long.

Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Pr'ythee, say on :-he's for a jig, or a

tale of bawdry, or he sleeps :-say on; come to Hecuba.

1 Play. But who, O who, had seen the mobled queenHam. The mobled queen? Pol. That's good : mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threatening the

flame
With bisson rheum; a clout about that head,
Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pro-

nounced :
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 milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.

Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his colour and has tears in his eyes. - Pray you, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed ? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts, and brief chronicles, of the time : after your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you lived.

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

Ham. Odd's bodikin man, better : use every man after his desert, and who should '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.

Ham. Follow him, friends : we'll hear a play to-morrow. [Exit Pol., with some of the Players.] --[Aside to i Player.] Dost thou hear me, olā friend; can you play The Murder of Gonzago ?

i Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. [aside.] We'll have't 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?

i Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. [aside.] '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.

Ros. Good my lord !
Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you :

(Exeunt RosEN. and GUILD

Now I am alone. O, 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 whole 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 he do, Had he the motive and the cue for passion, That I have? He would drown the stage with

tears,

And cleave the general ear with horrid speech; Make 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
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 ! () vengeance ! What an ass am I! ay, sure, 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 ! Fie upon't! foh! About, my brains! 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 him to the quick; if he but blench, I know my course. The spirit that I have seen May be the 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 danın me : I'll have grounds More relative than this : the play's the thing, Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

kExit.

ACT III.
SCENE I.-A Room in the Castle.

Enter KING, QUEEN, POLONIUS, Ophelia, ROSEN

CRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.

King.

AQND can you, by no drift of circumstance, A Get from him, why he puts on this con

fusion;

Grating so harshly all his days of quiet With turbulent and dangerous lunacy? Ros. He does confess he feels himself dis

tracted; 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.

« PreviousContinue »