That from her working, all his visage wann'da;
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 freeb,
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?
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 villain!
O vengeance.
What an ass am I! ay, sure, this is most brave d;
That I, the son of the dear murtherede,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion!
Fye upon 't! foh! About, my brains! I have heard,
Wannd, so the quartos; the folio, warm'd.
Free,-free from offence.
John-a-dreams,-a soubriquet for a heavy lethargic fellow.
* So the folio. The quartos, omitting the short line, “O vengeance," read

“Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave.” . So the folio, and two of the quartos. In others, we have "a dear father murder'd.” The rejection, by the editors, of the beautiful reading of “ the dear murthered,” rests upon the belief that " father” is a material word.



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 murther, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murther of my father,
Before mine uncle: I 'll observe his looks;
I 'll tent him to the quick; if he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the 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.


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King. And can you, by no drift of circumstance a,

Get from him, why he puts on this confusion;
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet

With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
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.

Did he receive you well?
Circumstance, in folio; in quartos, conference.

Ros. Most like a gentleman.
GUIL. But with much forcing of his disposition.
Ros. Niggard of question; but, of our demands,

Most free in his replya,
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.

"T is most true : And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties,

To hear and see the matter.
King. With all my heart; and it doth much content me

To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,

And drive his purpose on to these delights.
Ros. We shall, my lord.


Sweet Gertrude, leave us too:
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither;
That he, as 't were by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.
Her father, and myself (lawful espials),
Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge;
And gather by him, as he is behavid,
If 't be the affliction of his love or no,

That thus he suffers for.

I shall obey you:
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish,
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness; so shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,

To both your honours.
Madam, I wish it may.

[Exit QUEEN. POL. Ophelia, walk you here :-Gracious, so please you, We will bestow ourselves :—Read on this book ;

[To OPHELIA. That show of such an exercise may colour Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,

'T is too much prov'd, that, with devotion's visage, • It was suggested by Warburton to read

“ Most free of question; but of our demands

Niggard in his reply." Afront, encounter, confront.

sugar o'er

And pious action, we

The devil himself.

O, 't is true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience a!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it,
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burden!

[Aside. Pol. I hear him coming; let's withdraw, my lord.

[Exeunt King and POLONIUS.

Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question :

Whether 't is nobler in the mind, to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles b,
And by opposing end them ?-To die,-to sleep?,-
No more; and, by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ach, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—'t is a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die,—to sleep ;-
To sleep! perchance to dream ;—ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect,
That makes calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud d man's contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'de love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make . Modern editors have destroyed the original metrical arrangement, and print these two lines thus, against all authority:

" The devil himself. KING.

O, 't is too true! how smart

A lash that speech doth give my conscience.” In the folio too is omitted.

Pope wished to print, “ a siege of troubles.” • This passage is sometimes printed thus:

“ To die;-to sleep;

No more?” It is so given in Ayscough's edition. The doubt whether death and sleep are identical comes too early, the passage being so pointed. The doubt is expressed in “perchance to dream.” The “no more" is nothing more-the “ rien de plus" of the French translators of Hamlet.

« Proud, in the quartos. In the folio we have “ the poor man's contumely,"—the contumely which the poor man bears.

Disprizd, in the folio; in the quartos, despis’d.



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