« PreviousContinue »
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Re-enter King and POLONIUS.
Pol. It shall do well ; but yet do I believe,
And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
It shall be so: Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
SCENE II.-A Hall in the same.
Enter Hamlet and certain Players. Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: hut if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus: but use all gently : for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise : I could have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant : it out-herods Herod : pray you, avoid it.
I Play. I warrant your honour.
Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this, overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of the which one, must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players, that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
I Play. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us, sir.
Ham. O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered : that's villanous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN. How now, my lord ? will the king hear this piece of work ?
Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
Ham. Bid the players make haste. [Exit POLONIUS.] Will you too help to hasten them? Both. We will, my lord.
(Exeunt ROSEN. and GUILD. Ham. What, ho! Horatio !
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
Hor. O, my dear lord,
Nay, do not think I flatter:
be flatter'd ? No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp; And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee, Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou
hear? Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice, And could of men distinguish, her election Hath seal'd thee for herself: for thou hast been As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing; A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards Has ta'en with equal thanks : and bless'd are
Whose blood and judgment are so well co
mingled, That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger To sound what stop she please. Give me that man That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart, As I do thee.-Something too much of this. There is a play to-night before the king; One scene of it comes near the circumstance Which I have told thee of my father's death. I prythee, when thou see'st that act a-foot,
Even with the very comment of my soul
Well, my lord :
be idle : Get you a place.
Enter King, QUEEN, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, Rosen
CRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and other Lords Attendant, with the Guard, carrying torches. Danish March ; flourish. King. How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the cameleon's dish: I eat the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now. [To POLONIUS.] My lord, - you played once in the university, you say?
Pol. That I did, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
Ham. And what did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar : I was killed i' the Capitol: Brutus killed me.
Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there. —Be the players ready?