« PreviousContinue »
And my young mistress thus did I bespeak;
King. Do you think, 'tis this?
King. Not that I know.
[Pointing to his head and shoulder.
King. How may we try it further?
gether, Here in the lobby.
Queen. So he does, indeed.
Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him : Be you and I behind an arras then ; Mark the encounter: if he love her not,
And be not from his reason fallen thereon,
King. We will try it.
Enter Hamlet, reading. Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes
reading. Pol. Away, I do beseech you, both away; I'll board him presently :-0, give me leave.
[Exeunt King, Queen, and attendants. How does my good lord Hamlet ?
Ham. Well, god-'a-mercy.
Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Pol. That's very true, my lord.
Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god, kissing carrion,- Have you a daughter?
Pol. I have, my lord.
Ham. Let her not walk i’the sun : conception is a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive--friend, look to't.
Pol. How say you by that ? [Aside.] Still harping on my daughter :---yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger: He is far gone, far gone : and truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love ; very near this. I'll speak to bim again.---What do you read, my lord ?
Ham. Words, words, words !
Ham. Slanders, sir : for the satirical rogue says here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: All of which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, shall be as old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method in it. [Aside.] Will you walk out of the air, my lord ?
Ham. Into my grave ?
Pol. Indeed, that is out o’the air.---How pregnant sometimes his replies are ! a happiness that often madness hits on, wbich reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him. and my daughter.---My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal ; except my life, except my life, except my life.
Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Enter RosenCRANTZ and GuildENSTERN. Pol. You go to seek the lord Hamlet; there he is.
Ros. God save you, sir !--
Guil. My honour'd lord !---
Ham. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guil. Happy, in that we are not overhappy;
Ham. Nor the soles of her shoe?
Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours ?
Ham. In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; she is a strumpet. What news?
Ros. None, my lord ; but that the world's grown
Ham. Then is dooms-day near: But your news is not true. Let me question more in particular: What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?
Guil. Prison, my lord !
Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many con, fines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.
Ros. We think not so, my lord.
thing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.
Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one; 'tis too narrow for your mind.
Ham. O God! I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and count myself a king of infinite space; were it not, that I have bad dreams.
Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.
Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is a shadow's shadow.
Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs, and outstretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows: Shall we to the court? for, by my say, I cannot reason.
Ros. Guil. We'll wait upon you.
Ham. No such matter : I will not sort you with the rest of my servants ; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
Ros. To visit you, my lord ; no other occasion.
Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks ; but I thank you: and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear, a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation ? Come, come; deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.
Guil. What should we say, my lord ?
Ham. Any thing—but to the purpose. You were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to