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but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general: but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top of mine,) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection: but call'd it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved: '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; let me see, let me see;

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast, 'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.

The rugged Pyrrhus,--he, whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons ;
Bak’d and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and a damned light
To their lord's murder: 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 this 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 winds speechless, and the orb below As hush as death: anon, the dreadful thunder Doth rend the region: So, after Pyrrhus' pause, A roused vengeance sets him new a-work; And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall On Mars's armour, forg’d 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 nave 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, ah woe! had seen the mobled

queen : Ham. The mobled queen? Pol. That's good? mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning

the flames IVith bisson rheum; a clout upon 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

nounc'd: 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 hea

ven, And passion in the gods.

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 used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time: After your death, you were

you live.

You

better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while

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

Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better: Use every man 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, sirs.

Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play tomorrow.-Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago?

1 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. 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. Very well. -- Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exeunt Polonius and Players.] My good friends, [to Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord !

[Exeunt Rosencrantz und Guildenstern. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you :-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 own 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 vil

lain! Why, what an ass am I? This is most brave; That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,

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