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To be forstalléd, ere we come to fall,
Or pardoned, being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, 0, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder?
That cannot be ; since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned, and retain the offence ?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice;
And oft 't is seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law : But 't is not so above:
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compelled,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then ? what rests ?
Try what repentance can: What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one can not repent ?
O wretched state! O bosom, black as death !
O liméd soul; that struggling to be free,
Art more engaged ! Help, angels, make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe;
All may be well!
[Retires, and kneels.
Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do 't;— And no he goes to heaven: -
And so am I revenged? That would be scanned :
A villain kills my father; and, for that,
[, his sole son, do this same villain send
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And, how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: And am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage!
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage;
At gaming, swearing; or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in 't:
Then trip him that his heels may kick at heaven:
And that his soul may be as damned, and black,
As hell, whereto it goes.
Hamlet reproaches his mother for her crimes, and contrasts his father with her present husband.
Look here, upon this picture, and on this;
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 and 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 mildewed 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,
Che hey-day in the blood is tame, it ’s humble,
And waits upon the judgment; And what judgment
Would step from this to this ?
The miserable and guilty woman, though stung with remorse, seems to gather a momentary relief from a strangeness in some of Hamlet's words which she does not comprehend, and which she attributes to “ecstasy." Hamlet replies:
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music: It is not madness
That I have uttered : 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;
Whiles 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.
There is a willow grows ascaunt the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them :
There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies, and herself,
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time, she chanted snatches of old tunes ;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be,
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
(From Love's Labour's Lost.)
Love, first learnéd in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain;
But with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power;
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye;
A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind;
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound, I
When the suspicious head of theft is stopped ;
Love's feeling is more soft, and sensible,
Than are the tender horns of cockled snails;
Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste;
For valour, is not love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides ?
Subtle as sphinx ; as sweet, and musical,
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair ;
And, when love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write,
Until his ink were tempered with love's sighs ;
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears,
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
Soliloquy of Henry V. on the anxieties of great
Upon the king ! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives, our children, and
Our sins, lay on the king ; — we must bear all.
O hard condition ! twin-born with greatness,
Subjected to the breath of every fool,
Whose sense no more can feel but his own wringing!
What infinite heart's ease must kings neglect,
That private men enjoy ?
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony ?
And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that sufferest more
of mortal griefs, than do thy worshippers ?
What are thy rents ? what are thy comings-in?
O ceremony, show me but thy worth !
What is the soul of adoration ?