Page images

And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff ;
If damned custom have not brazed it so,
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st

wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?

Such an act, That blurs the grace and blush of modesty Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there; makes marriage vows As false as dicers' oaths : O, such a deed As from the body of contraction plucks The very soul ; and sweet religion makes A rhapsody of words : heaven's face doth glow; Yea, this solidity and compound mass, With tristful visage, as against the doom, Is thought-sick at the act. Queen.

Ah me, what act, That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ?

Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See what a grace was seated on this brow: Hyperion's curls ; the front of Jove himself ; An eye like Mars, to threaten or command ; A station like the herald Mercury, New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill ; A combination, and a form, indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world assurance of a man : This was your husband. -Look you now, what

follows : Here is your husband ; like a mildew'd ear, Blasting his wholesome brother.-Have you eyes?



Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha ! have you eyes ?
You cannot call it love : for, at your age,
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment : and what judg-

ment Would step from this to this ? Sense, sure, you

have, Else, could you not have motion : but sure, that Is apoplex'd : for madness would not err; Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrallid But it reserved some quantity of choice, To serve in such a difference. What devil was't, That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind ? Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight, Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all, Or but a sickly part of one true sense Could not so mope. O shame! where is thy blush ? Rebellious hell, If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones, To flaming youth let virtue be as wax, And melt in her own fire : proclaim no shame, When the compulsive ardour gives the charge ; Since frost itself as actively doth burn, And reason panders will. Queen.

O Hamlet, speak no more : Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots, As will not leave their tinct. Ham.

Nay, but to live In thc rank sweat of an enseamed bed ; Stew'd in corruption ; honeying, and making

love Over the nasty stye ; Queen.

O, speak to me no more ;

These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet !

A murderer, and a villain :
A slave, that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord :-a vice of kings :
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule ;
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket !

No more! Ham. A king of shreds and patches :

Enter Ghost. Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards ! — What would you,

gracious figure ? Queen. Alas ! he's mad.

Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide, That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by The important acting of your dread command ? O, say !

Ghost. Do not forget : this visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits :
O, step between her and her fighting soul ;
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works :
Speak to her, Hamlet.

How is it with you, lady ?
Queen. Alas, how is't with you?
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse ?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep ;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do


look ?

Ham. On him! on him !-Look you, how

pale he glares ! His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to

stones, Would make them capable.—Do not look upon

me; Lest, with this piteous action, you convert My stern effects: then what I have to do Will want true colour; tears, perchance, for

blood. Queen. To whom do you speak this ? Ham.

Do you see nothing there? Queen. Nothing at all ; yet all that is I see. Ham. Nor did you nothing hear ? Queen.

No, nothing, but ourselves. Ham. Why, look you there ! look how it

steals away! My father, in his habit as he lived ! Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal !

[Exit Ghost. Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain : This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.

Ham. Ecstasy! My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, And makes as healthful music : it is not madness That I have utter'd : bring me to the test, And I the matter will re-word; which madness Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace, Lay not

that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass, but my madness speaks : It will but skin and film the ulcerous place ; Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven ; Repent what's past ; avoid what is to come ; And do not spread the compost on the weeds,

To make them ranker.-[Aside.] Forgive me

this, my virtue : For in the fatness of these pursy times, Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg ; Yea, curb and woo, for leave to do him good. Queen. O Hamlet ! thou hast cleft my heart

in twain. Ham. O throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. Good night : but go not to mine uncle's bed ; Assume a virtue, if you have it not. That monster, custom, who all sense doth eatOf habits devil, -is angel yet in this, That to the use of actions fair and good He likewise gives a frock, or livery, That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night : And that shall lend a kind of easiness To the next abstinence : the next more easy ; For use almost can change the stamp of nature, And master thus the devil, or throw him out With wondrous potency.

Once more, good night : And when you are desirous to be bless'd, I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,

[Pointing to POLONIUS. I do repent : but heavens hath pleased it so,To punish me with this, and this with me, That I must be their scourge and minister. I will bestow him, and will answer well The death I gave him. So again, good night !(Aside.] I must be cruel, only to be kind : Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind. One word more, good lady. Queen.

What shall I do? Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you

do :

« PreviousContinue »