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Enter First ACTOR, Actress, and Second Actor. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all:40, old friend! Why, thy face is valanc'd since I saw thee last: Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark ?What! my young lady and mistress! By-r-lady, your ladyship is nearer Heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine.—You are all wel
We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: We'll have a speech straight :Come, give us a taste of your quality : come, a passionate speech.
1 Act. What speech, my lord ?
Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once,—but it was never acted: or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleas'd not the million; 'twas caviare to the general : but it was an excellent play ; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. One speech in it I chiefly lov'd: 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter: If it live in
your memory, begin at this line ;
The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,-
Pol. 'Fore Heaven, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion.
Ham. So;-proceed you.
1 Act. Anon, he finds him
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
for proof eterne,
Pol. This is too long.
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. Say on: Come to Hecuba. 1 Act. But who, ah woe! had seen the mobled
queen, Ham. The mobled queen! Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Act. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the
flames ; A clout upon that head, Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe, 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 pronounc'd?
Pol. Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.—'Pr’ythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon. Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow'd ? do you hear, let them be well us’d; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: After
were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. Much better. Use every m.. after his desert, and who shall '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, sir.
Ham. Follow him, friends : we'll hear a play tonight.-Old friend,
[Exeunt Polonius, Second ACTOR, and Actress, My good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.
[Exeunt RoSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Can you play the murder of Gonzago?
1 Act. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it to-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?
1 Act. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Very well.-Follow that lord; and look you mock him not.
[Exit First Actor. 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 do blench, I know my course. The spirit, that I have seen, May be a 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 damn me: I'll have grounds More relative than this; the play's the thing, Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.
ACT THE THIRD.
A Theatre in the Palace.
Enter POLONIUS, QUEEN, KING, OPHELIA, Rosen
CRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.
Ros. He does confess he feels himself distracted; 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. Queen. Did you assay
him To any pastime?
Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players We o'er-raught on the way: of these we told him; And there did seem in him a kind of joy To hear of it: They are about the court; And, as I think, they have already order This night to play before him.
Pol. 'Tis most true:
Ros. We shall, my lord.
[E.reunt GUILDENSTERN and RosenCRANTZ.
Queen. I shall obey you:-
honours. Oph. Madam, I wish it may. [Exit Queen. Pol. Ophelia, walk you
here:Read on this book; That show of such an exercise may colour Your loneliness.--We are oft to blame in this,"Tis too much prov'd that with devotion's visage, And pious action, we do sugar o'er The devil himself.
King. O, 'tis too true.--How smart
lord. [Exeunt King and Polonius.
Enter HAMLET. Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question : Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them ?- To die?—to sleep, No more ;-and, by a sleep, to say we end