Hamlet

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Original text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Polonius, and Reynoldo.

Polon.
Giue him his money, and these notes Reynoldo.

Reynol.
I will my Lord.

Polon.
You shall doe maruels wisely: good Reynoldo,
Before you visite him you make inquiry
Of his behauiour.

Reynol.
My Lord, I did intend it.

Polon.
Marry, well said; / Very well said. Looke you Sir,
Enquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
And how, and who; what meanes; and where they keepe:
What company, at what expence: and finding
By this encompassement and drift of question,
That they doe know my sonne: Come you more neerer
Then your particular demands will touch it,
Take you as 'twere some distant knowledge of him,
And thus I know his father and his friends,
And in part him. Doe you marke this Reynoldo?

Reynol.
I, very well my Lord.

Polon.
And in part him, but you may say not well;
But if't be hee I meane, hees very wilde;
Addicted so and so; and there put on him
What forgeries you please: marry, none so ranke,
As may dishonour him; take heed of that:
But Sir, such wanton, wild, and vsuall slips,
As are Companions noted and most knowne
To youth and liberty.

Reynol.
As gaming my Lord.

Polon.
I, or drinking, fencing, swearing, / Quarelling,
drabbiug. You may goe so farre.

Reynol.
My Lord that would dishonour him.

Polon.
Faith no, as you may season it in the charge;
You must not put another scandall on him,
That hee is open to Incontinencie;
That's not my meaning: but breath his faults so quaintly,
That they may seeme the taints of liberty;
The flash and out-breake of a fiery minde,
A sauagenes in vnreclaim'd bloud
of generall assault.

Reynol.
But my good Lord.

Polon.
Wherefore should you doe this?

Reynol.
I my Lord,
I would know that.

Polon.
Marry Sir, heere's my drift,
And I belieue it is a fetch of warrant:
You laying these slight sulleyes on my Sonne,
As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i'th' working:
Marke you
your party in conuerse; him you would sound,
Hauing euer seene. In the prenominate crimes,
The youth you breath of guilty, be assur'd
He closes with you in this consequence:
Good sir, or so, or friend, or Gentleman.
According to the Phrase and the Addition,
Of man and Country.

Reynol.
Very good my Lord.

Polon.
And then Sir does he this? / He does: what
was I about to say? I was about to say
somthing: where did I leaue?

Reynol.
At closes in the consequence: / At friend,
or so, and Gentleman.

Polon.
At closes in the consequence, I marry,
He closes with you thus. I know the Gentleman,
I saw him yesterday, or tother day;
Or then or then, with such and such; and as you say,
There was he gaming, there o'retooke in's Rouse,
There falling out at Tennis; or perchance,
I saw him enter such a house of saile;
Videlicet, a Brothell, or so forth.
See you now;
Your bait of falshood, takes this Cape of truth;
And thus doe we of wisedome and of reach
With windlesses, and with assaies of Bias,
By indirections finde directions out:
So by my former Lecture and aduice
Shall you my Sonne; you haue me, haue you not?

Reynol.
My Lord I haue.

Polon.
God buy you; fare you well.

Reynol.
Good my Lord.

Polon.
Obserue his inclination in your selfe.

Reynol.
I shall my Lord.

Polon.
And let him plye his Musicke.

Reynol.
Well, my Lord.

Polon.
Farewell:
Exit.
Enter Ophelia.
How now Ophelia, what's the matter?

Ophe.
Alas my Lord, I haue beene so affrighted.

Polon.
With what, in the name of Heauen?

Ophe.
My Lord, as I was sowing in my Chamber,
Lord Hamlet with his doublet all vnbrac'd,
No hat vpon his head, his stockings foul'd,
Vngartred, and downe giued to his Anckle,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a looke so pitious in purport,
As if he had been loosed out of hell,
To speake of horrors: he comes before me.

Polon.
Mad for thy Loue?

Ophe.
My Lord, I doe not know:
but truly I do feare it.

Polon.
What said he?

Ophe.
He tooke me by the wrist, and held me hard;
Then goes he to the length of all his arme;
And with his other hand thus o're his brow,
He fals to such perusall of my face,
As he would draw it. Long staid he so,
At last, a little shaking of mine Arme:
And thrice his head thus wauing vp and downe;
He rais'd a sigh, so pittious and profound,
That it did seeme to shatter all his bulke,
And end his being. That done, he lets me goe,
And with his head ouer his shoulders turn'd,
He seem'd to finde his way without his eyes,
For out adores he went without their helpe;
And to the last, bended their light on me.

Polon.
Goe with me, I will goe seeke the King,
This is the very extasie of Loue,
Whose violent property foredoes it selfe,
And leads the will to desperate Vndertakings,
As oft as any passion vnder Heauen,
That does afflict our Natures. I am sorrie,
What haue you giuen him any hard words of late?

Ophe.
No my good Lord: but as you did command,
I did repell his Letters, and deny'de
His accesse to me.

Pol.
That hath made him mad.
I am sorrie that with better speed and iudgement
I had not quoted him. I feare he did but trifle,
And meant to wracke thee: but beshrew my iealousie:
It seemes it is as proper to our Age,
To cast beyond our selues in our Opinions,
As it is common for the yonger sort
To lacke discretion. Come, go we to the King,
This must be knowne, wc being kept close might moue
More greefe to hide, then hate to vtter loue.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter King, Queene, Rosincrane, and Guildensterne
Cum aliys

King.
Welcome deere Rosincrance and Guildensterne.
Moreouer, that we much did long to see you,
The neede we haue to vse you, did prouoke
Our hastie sending. Something haue you heard
Of Hamlets transformation: so I call it,
Since not th'exterior, nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should bee
More then his Fathers death, that thus hath put him
So much from th'vnderstanding of himselfe,
I cannot deeme of. I intreat you both,
That being of so young dayes brought vp with him:
And since so Neighbour'd to his youth, and humour,
That you vouchsafe your rest heere in our Court
Some little time: so by your Companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from Occasions you may gleane,
That open'd lies within our remedie.

Qu.
Good Gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you,
And sure I am, two men there are not liuing,
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To shew vs so much Gentrie, and good will,
As to expend your time with vs a-while,
For the supply and profit of our Hope,
Your Visitation shall receiue such thankes
As fits a Kings remembrance.

Rosin.
Both your Maiesties
Might by the Soueraigne power you haue of vs,
Put your dread pleasures, more into Command
Then to Entreatie.

Guil.
We both obey,
And here giue vp our selues, in the full bent,
To lay our Seruices freely at your feete,
To be commanded.

King.
Thankes Rosincrance, and gentle Guildensterne.

Qu.
Thankes Guildensterne and gentle Rosincrance.
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed Sonne. / Go some of ye,
And bring the Gentlemen where Hamlet is.

Guil.
Heauens make our presence and our practises
Pleasant and helpfull to him.

Queene.
Amen.
Exit.
Enter Polonius.

Pol.
Th'Ambassadors from Norwey, my good Lord,
Are ioyfully return'd.

King.
Thou still hast bin the Father of good Newes.

Pol.
Haue I, my Lord? Assure you, my good Liege,
I hold my dutie, as I hold my Soule,
Both to my God, one to my gracious King:
And I do thinke, or else this braine of mine
Hunts not the traile of Policie, so sure
As I haue vs'd to do: that I haue found
The very cause of Hamlets Lunacie.

King.
Oh speake of that, that I do long to heare.

Pol.
Giue first admittance to th'Ambassadors,
My Newes shall be the Newes to that great Feast.

King.
Thy selfe do grace to them, and bring them in.
He tels me my sweet Queene, that he hath found
The head and sourse of all your Sonnes distemper.

Qu.
I doubt it is no other, but the maine,
His Fathers death, and our o're-hasty Marriage.

King.
Well, we shall sift him.
Enter Polonius, Voltumand, and Cornelius.
Welcome good Frends:
Say Voltumand, what from our Brother Norwey?

Volt.
Most faire returne of Greetings, and Desires.
Vpon our first, he sent out to suppresse
His Nephewes Leuies, which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Poleak:
But better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your Highnesse, whereat greeued,
That so his Sicknesse, Age, and Impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out Arrests
On Fortinbras, which he (in breefe) obeyes,
Receiues rebuke from Norwey: and in fine,
Makes Vow before his Vnkle, neuer more
To giue th'assay of Armes against your Maiestie.
Whereon old Norwey, ouercome with ioy,
Giues him three thousand Crownes in Annuall Fee,
And his Commission to imploy those Soldiers
So leuied as before, against the Poleak:
With an intreaty heerein further shewne,

That it might please you to giue quiet passe
Through your Dominions, for his Enterprize,
On such regards of safety and allowance,
As therein are set downe.

King.
It likes vs well:
And at our more consider'd time wee'l read,
Answer, and thinke vpon this Businesse.
Meane time we thanke you, for your well-tooke Labour.
Go to your rest, at night wee'l Feast together.
Most welcome home.
Exit Ambass.

Pol.
This businesse is very well ended.
My Liege, and Madam, to expostulate
What Maiestie should be, what Dutie is,
Why day is day; night, night; and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste Night, Day, and Time.
Therefore, since Breuitie is the Soule of Wit,
And tediousnesse, the limbes and outward flourishes,
I will be breefe. Your Noble Sonne is mad:
Mad call I it; for to define true Madnesse,
What is't, but to be nothing else but mad.
But let that go.

Qu.
More matter, with lesse Art.

Pol.
Madam, I sweare I vse no Art at all:
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'Tis true 'tis pittie,
And pittie it is true: A foolish figure,
But farewell it: for I will vse no Art.
Mad let vs grant him then: and now remaines
That we finde out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect;
For this effect defectiue, comes by cause,
Thus it remaines, and the remainder thus.
Perpend,
I haue a daughter: haue, whil'st she is mine,
Who in her Dutie and Obedience, marke,
Hath giuen me this: now gather, and surmise.
The Letter.
To the Celestiall, and my Soules Idoll, the most beautifed
Ophelia. / That's an ill Phrase, a vilde Phrase, beautified
is a vilde Phrase: but you shall heare these
in her excellent white bosome, these.

Qu.
Came this from Hamlet to her.

Pol.
Good Madam stay awhile, I will be faithfull.
Doubt thou, the Starres are fire,
Doubt, that the Sunne doth moue:
Doubt Truth to be a Lier,
But neuer Doubt, I loue.
O deere Ophelia, I am ill at these Numbers: I haue not Art
toreckon my grones; but that I loue thee best, oh most Best
beleeue it. Adieu.
Thine euermore most deere Lady, whilst
this Machine is to him,
Hamlet.
This in Obedience hath my daughter shew'd me:
And more aboue hath his soliciting,
As they fell out by Time, by Meanes, and Place,
All giuen to mine eare.

King.
But how hath she
receiu'd his Loue?

Pol.
What do you thinke of me?

King.
As of a man, faithfull and Honourable.

Pol.
I wold faine proue so. But what might you think?
When I had seene this hot loue on the wing,
As I perceiued it, I must tell you that
Before my Daughter told me what might you
Or my deere Maiestie your Queene heere, think,
If I had playd the Deske or Table-booke,
Or giuen my heart a winking, mute and dumbe,
Or look'd vpon this Loue, with idle sight,
What might you thinke? No, I went round to worke,
And (my yong Mistris) thus I did bespeake
Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of thy Starre,
This must not be: and then, I Precepts gaue her,
That she should locke her selfe from his Resort,
Admit no Messengers, receiue no Tokens:
Which done, she tooke the Fruites of my Aduice,
And he repulsed. A short Tale to make,
Fell into a Sadnesse, then into a Fast,
Thence to a Watch, thence into a Weaknesse,
Thence to a Lightnesse, and by this declension
Into the Madnesse whereon now he raues,
And all we waile for.

King.
Do you thinke 'tis this?

Qu.
It may be very likely.

Pol.
Hath there bene such a time, I'de fain know that,
That I haue possitiuely said, 'tis so,
When it prou'd otherwise?

King.
Not that I know.

Pol.
Take this from this; if this be otherwise,
If Circumstances leade me, I will finde
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeede
Within the Center.

King.
How may we try it further?

Pol.
You know sometimes / He walkes foure houres together,
heere / In the Lobby.

Qu.
So he ha's indeed.

Pol.
At such a time Ile loose my Daughter to him,
Be you and I behinde an Arras then,
Marke the encounter: If he loue her not,
And be not from his reason falne thereon;
Let me be no Assistant for a State,
And keepe a Farme and Carters.

King.
We will try it.
Enter Hamlet reading on a Booke.

Qu.
But looke where sadly the poore wretch / Comes reading.

Pol.
Away I do beseech you, both away,
Ile boord him presently. / Oh giue me leaue.
Exit King & Queen.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?

Ham.
Well, God-a-mercy.

Pol.
Do you know me, my Lord?

Ham.
Excellent, excellent well: y'are a Fishmonger.

Pol.
Not I my Lord.

Ham.
Then I would you were so honest a man.

Pol.
Honest, my Lord?

Ham.
I sir, to be honest as this world goes, is to bee
one man pick'd out of two thousand.

Pol.
That's very true, my Lord.

Ham.
For if the Sun breed Magots in a dead dogge,
being a good kissing Carrion----- / Haue you a daughter?

Pol.
I haue my Lord.

Ham.
Let her not walke i'th'Sunne: Conception is a blessing,
but not as your daughter may conceiue. Friend looke
too't.

Pol.

How say you by that? Still harping on
my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was
a Fishmonger: he is farre gone, farre gone: and truly in my
youth, I suffred much extreamity for loue: very neere
this. Ile speake to him againe. What do you read my
Lord?

Ham.
Words, words, words.

Pol.
What is the matter, my Lord?

Ham.
Betweene who?

Pol.
I meane the matter you meane, my Lord.

Ham.
Slanders Sir: for the Satyricall slaue saies here,
that old men haue gray Beards; that their faces are
wrinkled; their eyes purging thicke Amber, or Plum-Tree
Gumme: and that they haue a plentifull locke of Wit, together
with weake Hammes. All which Sir, though I most
powerfully, and potently beleeue; yet I holde it not
Honestie to haue it thus set downe: For you your selfe Sir, should
be old as I am, if like a Crab you could go backward.

Pol.
Though this be madnesse, / Yet there
is Method in't: will you walke / Out of the ayre my Lord?

Ham.
Into my Graue?

Pol.
Indeed that is out o'th' Ayre: How
pregnant (sometimes) his Replies are? / A happinesse, / That
often Madnesse hits on, / Which Reason and Sanitie could
not / So prosperously be deliuer'd of. / I will leaue him,
And sodainely contriue the meanes of meeting / Betweene
him, and my daughter. / My Honourable Lord, I will
most humbly / Take my leaue of you.

Ham.
You cannot Sir take from me any thing, that I
will more willingly part withall, except my life,
my life.

Polon.
Fare you well my Lord.

Ham.
These tedious old fooles.
Enter Rosincran and Guildensterne.

Polon.
You goe to seeke my Lord Hamlet; there hee is.

Rosin.
God saue you Sir.


Guild.
Mine honour'd Lord?

Rosin.
My most deare Lord?

Ham.
My excellent good friends?
How do'st thou Guildensterne? Oh, Rosincrane;
good Lads: How doe ye both?

Rosin.
As the indifferent Children of the earth.

Guild.
Happy, in that we are not ouer-happy:
on Fortunes Cap, we are not the very Button.

Ham.
Nor the Soales of her Shoo?

Rosin.
Neither my Lord.

Ham.
Then you liue about her waste, or in the middle
of her fauour?

Guil.
Faith, her priuates, we.

Ham.
In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true:
she is a Strumpet. What's the newes?

Rosin.
None my Lord; but that the World's
growne honest.

Ham.
Then is Doomesday neere: But your newes is not
true. Let me question more in particular: what haue
you my good friends, deserued at the hands of Fortune,
that she sends you to Prison hither?

Guil.
Prison, my Lord?

Ham.
Denmark's a Prison.

Rosin.
Then is the World one.

Ham.
A goodly one, in which there are many Confines,
Wards, and Dungeons; Denmarke being one o'th'worst.

Rosin.
We thinke not so my Lord.

Ham.
Why then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is
a prison.

Rosin.
Why then your Ambition makes it one:
'tis too narrow for your minde.

Ham.
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and
count my selfe a King of infinite space; were it not that I
haue bad dreames.

Guil.
Which dreames indeed are Ambition:
for the very substance of the Ambitious, is meerely the
shadow of a Dreame.

Ham.
A dreame it selfe is but a shadow.

Rosin.
Truely, and I hold Ambition of so ayry and
light a quality, that it is but a shadowes shadow.

Ham.
Then are our Beggers bodies; and our Monarchs
and out-stretcht Heroes the Beggers Shadowes: shall
wee to th' Court: for, by my fey I cannot reason?

Both.
Wee'l wait vpon
you.

Ham.
No such matter. I will not sort you with the rest
of my seruants: for to speake to you like an honest man:
I am most dreadfully attended; but in the beaten way
of friendship, What make you at Elsonower?

Rosin.
To visit you my Lord, no other occasion.

Ham.
Begger that I am, I am euen poore in thankes;
but I thanke you: and sure deare friends my thanks are
too deare a halfepeny; were you not sent for? Is it your
owne inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, deale
iustly with me: come, come; nay speake.

Guil.
What should we say my Lord?

Ham.
Why any thing. But to the purpose; you were
sent for; and there is a kinde confession in your lookes;
which your modesties haue not craft enough to color,
I know the good King & Queene haue sent for you.

Rosin.
To what end my Lord?

Ham.
That you must teach me: but let mee coniure
you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy
of our youth, by the Obligation of our euer-preserued
loue, and by what more deare, a better proposer could charge
you withall; be euen and direct with me, whether you
were sent for or no.

Rosin.
What say you?

Ham.

Nay then I haue an eye of you: if you
loue me hold not off.

Guil.
My Lord, we were sent for.

Ham.
I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
preuent your discouery of your secricie to the King
and Queene: moult no feather, I haue of late, but wherefore
I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custome
of exercise; and indeed, it goes so heauenly with my
disposition; that this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to
me a sterrill Promontory; this most excellent Canopy
the Ayre, look you, this braue ore-hanging,
this Maiesticall Roofe, fretted with golden fire: why, it
appeares no other thing to mee, then a foule and pestilent congregation
of vapours. What a piece of worke is a man!
how Noble in Reason? how infinite in faculty? in forme
and mouing how expresse and admirable? in Action, how
like an Angel? in apprehension, how like a God? the
beauty of the world, the Parragon of Animals; and yet
to me, what is this Quintessence of Dust? Man delights
not me; no, nor Woman neither; though by your smiling
you seeme to say so.

Rosin.
My Lord, there was no such stuffe in my
thoughts.

Ham.
Why did you laugh, when I said, Man
delights not me?

Rosin.
To thinke, my Lord, if you delight not in
Man, what Lenton entertainment the Players shall
receiue from you: wee coated them on the way, and
hither are they comming to offer you Seruice.

Ham.
He that playes the King shall be welcome; his
Maiesty shall haue Tribute of mee: the aduenturous
Knight shal vse his Foyle and Target: the Louer shall not
sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his part in
peace: the Clowne shall make those laugh whose lungs
are tickled a'th' sere: and the Lady shall say her minde
freely; or the blanke Verse shall halt for't: what Players
are they?

Rosin.
Euen those you were wont to take
delight in / the Tragedians of the City.

Ham.
How chances it they trauaile? their residence
both in reputation and profit was better both wayes.

Rosin.
I thinke their Inhibition comes by the
meanes of the late Innouation?

Ham.
Doe they hold the same estimation they did when
I was in the City? Are they so follow'd?

Rosin.
No indeed, they are not.

Ham.
How comes it? doe they grow rusty?

Rosin.
Nay, their indeauour keepes in the wonted
pace; But there is Sir an ayrie of Children, little Yases,
that crye out on the top of question; and are most tyrannically
clap't for't: these are now the fashion, and so
be-ratled the common Stages (so they call them) that
many wearing Rapiers, are affraide of Goose-quils, and dare
scarse come thither.

Ham.
What are they Children? Who maintains 'em?
How are they escoted? Will they pursue the Quality no
longer then they can sing? Will they not say afterwards
if they should grow themselues to common Players (as
it is like most if their meanes are not better) their
Writers do them wrong, to make them exclaim against
their owne Succession.

Rosin.
Faith there ha's bene much to do on both
sides: and the Nation holds it no sinne, to tarre them to
Controuersie. There was for a while, no mony bid for
argument, vnlesse the Poet and the Player went to Cuffes
in the Question.

Ham.
Is't possible?

Guild.
Oh there ha's beene much throwing about
of Braines.

Ham.
Do the Boyes carry it away?

Rosin.
I that they do my Lord. Hercules &
his load too.

Ham.
It is not strange: for mine Vnckle is King of
Denmarke, and those that would make mowes at him
while my Father liued; giue twenty, forty, an hundred
Ducates a peece, for his picture in Little. There is
something in this more then Naturall, if Philosophie could
finde it out.
Flourish for the Players.

Guil.
There are the Players.

Ham.
Gentlemen, you are welcom to Elsonower: your
hands, come: The appurtenance of Welcome, is
Fashion and Ceremony. Let me comply with you in the
Garbe, lest my extent to the Players (which I tell you must
shew fairely outward) should more appeare like entertainment
then yours. You are welcome: but my Vnckle Father,
and Aunt Mother are deceiu'd.

Guil.
In what my deere Lord?

Ham.
I am but mad North, North-West: when the / Winde
is Southerly, I know a Hawke from a Handsaw.
Enter Polonius.

Pol.
Well be with you Gentlemen.

Ham.
Hearke you Guildensterne, and you too: at each
eare a hearer: that great Baby you see there, is not yet
out of his swathing clouts.

Rosin.
Happily he's the second time come to
them: for they say, an old man is twice a childe.

Ham.
I will Prophesie. Hee comes to tell me of the
Players. Mark it, you say right Sir: for a Monday morning
'twas so indeed.

Pol.
My Lord, I haue Newes to tell you.

Ham.
My Lord, I haue Newes to tell you. / When Rossius
an Actor in Rome---

Pol.
The Actors are come hither my Lord.

Ham.
Buzze, buzze.

Pol.
Vpon mine Honor.

Ham.
Then can each Actor on his Asse---

Polon.
The best Actors in the world, either for
Tragedie, Comedie, Historie, Pastorall: Pastoricall-Comicall-
Historicall-Pastorall: Tragicall-Historicall: Tragicall-Comicall-Historicall-Pastorall:
Scene indiuidible: or Poem vnlimited.
Seneca cannot be too heauy, nor Plautus too
light, for the law of Writ, and the Liberty. These are the
onely men.

Ham.
O Iephta Iudge of Israel, what a Treasure
had'st thou?

Pol.
What a Treasure had he, my Lord?

Ham.
Why
one faire Daughter, and no more,
The which he loued passing well.

Pol.
Still on my Daughter.

Ham.
Am I not i'th'right old Iephta?

Polon.
If you call me Iephta my Lord, I haue a
daughter that I loue passing well.

Ham.
Nay that followes not.

Polon.
What followes then, my Lord?

Ha.
Why,
As by lot, God wot:
and then you know,
It came to passe, as most like it was:
The first rowe of the Pons Chanson will shew you more.
For looke where my Abridgements come.
Enter foure or fiue Players.
Y'are welcome Masters, welcome all. I am glad to
see thee well: Welcome good Friends. O my olde Friend?
Thy face is valiant since I saw thee last: Com'st
thou to beard me in Denmarke? What, my yong Lady
and Mistris? Byrlady your Ladiship is neerer
Heauen then when I saw you last, by the altitude of a
Choppine. Pray God your voice like a peece of vncurrant
Gold be not crack'd within the ring. Masters, you are
all welcome: wee'l e'ne to't like French Faulconers, flie
at any thing we see: wee'l haue a Speech straight. Come
giue vs a tast of your quality: come, a passionate
speech.

1. Play.
What speech, my Lord?

Ham.
I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was
neuer Acted: or if it was, not aboue once, for the Play I
remember pleas'd not the Million, 'twas Cauiarie to the
Generall: but it was (as I receiu'd it, and others, whose
iudgement in such matters, cried in the top of mine)
an excellent Play; well digested in the Scoenes, set downe
with as much modestie, as cunning. I remember one said,
there was no Sallets in the lines, to make the matter
sauouty; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite
the Author of affectation, but cal'd it an honest method.
One cheefe Speech in it, I cheefely lou'd, 'twas
Aeneas Tale to Dido, and thereabout of it especially,
where he speaks of Priams slaughter. If it liue in your
memory, begin at this Line, let me see, let me see:
The rugged Pyrrhus like th' Hyrcanian Beast.
It is not so: it begins with Pyrrhus
The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose Sable Armes
Blacke as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the Ominous Horse,
Hath now this dread and blacke Complexion smear'd
With Heraldry more dismall: Head to foote
Now is he to take Geulles, horridly Trick'd
With blood of Fathers, Mothers, Daughters, Sonnes,
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous, and damned light
To their vilde Murthers, roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o're-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like Carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Olde Grandsire Priam seekes.

Pol.
Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good
accent, and good discretion.

1. Player.
Anon he findes him,
Striking too short at Greekes. His anticke Sword,
Rebellious to his Arme, lyes where it falles
Repugnant to command: vnequall match,
Pyrrhus at Priam driues, in Rage strikes wide:
But with the whiffe and winde of his fell Sword,
Th'vnnerued Father fals. Then senselesse Illium,
Seeming to feele his blow, with flaming top
Stoopes to his Bace, and with a hideous crash
Takes Prisoner Pyrrhus eare. For loe, his Sword
Which was declining on the Milkie head
Of Reuerend Priam, seem'd i'th' Ayre to sticke:
So as a painted Tyrant Pyrrhus stood,
And like a Newtrall to his will and matter,
did nothing.
But as we often see against some storme,
A silence in the Heauens, the Racke stand still,
The bold windes speechlesse, and the Orbe below
As hush as death: Anon the dreadfull Thunder
Doth rend the Region. So after Pyrrhus pause,
A rowsed Vengeance sets him new a-worke,
And neuer did the Cyclops hammers fall
On Mars his Armours, forg'd for proofe Eterne,
With lesse remorse then Pyrrhus bleeding sword
Now falles on Priam.
Out, out, thou Strumpet-Fortune, all you Gods,
In generall Synod take away her power:
Breake all the Spokes and Fallies from her wheele,
And boule the round Naue downe the hill of Heauen,
As low as to the Fiends.

Pol.
This is too long.

Ham.
It shall to'th Barbars, with your beard.
Prythee say on: He's for a Iigge, or a tale of Baudry, or hee
sleepes. Say on; come to Hecuba.

1. Play.
But who, O who, had seen the inobled Queen.

Ham.
The inobled Queene?

Pol.
That's good: Inobled Queene is good.

1. Play.
Run bare-foot vp and downe, / Threatning the flame
With Bisson Rheume: A clout about that head,
Where late the Diadem stood, and for a Robe
About her lanke and all ore-teamed Loines,
A blanket in th' Alarum of feare caught vp.
Who this had seene, with tongue in Venome steep'd,
'Gainst Fortunes State, would Treason haue pronounc'd?
But if the Gods themselues did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his Sword her Husbands limbes,
The instant Burst of Clamour that she made
(Vnlesse things mortall moue them not at all)
Would haue made milche the Burning eyes of Heauen,
And passion in the Gods.

Pol.
Looke where he ha's not turn'd his colour,
and ha's teares in's eyes. Pray you no more.

Ham.
'Tis well, Ile haue thee speake out the rest,
soone. Good my Lord, will you see the Players wel
bestow'd. Do ye heare, let them be well vs'd: for
they are the Abstracts and breefe Chronicles of the time.
After your death, you were better haue a bad Epitaph,
then their ill report while you liued.

Pol.
My Lord, I will vse them according to their
desart.

Ham.
Gods bodykins man, better. Vse euerie
man after his desart, and who should scape whipping:
vse them after your own Honor and Dignity. The lesse
they deserue, the more merit is in your bountie. Take
them in.

Pol.
Come sirs. Exit Polon.

Ham.
Follow him Friends: wee'l heare a play to morrow.
Dost thou heare me old
Friend, can you play the murther of Gonzago?

Play.
I my Lord.

Ham.
Wee'l ha't to morrow night. You could for a
need study a speech of some dosen or sixteene lines,
which I would set downe, and insert in't? Could ye not?

Play.
I my Lord.

Ham.
Very well. Follow that Lord, and looke you mock
him not.
My good Friends, Ile leaue you til night / you are welcome
to Elsonower?

Rosin.
Good my Lord.

Ham.
I so, God buy'ye:
Exeunt. Manet Hamlet.
Now I am alone.
Oh what a Rogue and Pesant slaue am I?
Is it not monstrous that this Player heere,
But in a Fixion, in a dreame of Passion,
Could force his soule so to his whole conceit,
That from her working, all his visage warm'd;
Teares in his eyes, distraction in's Aspect,
A broken voyce, and his whole Function suiting
With Formes, to his Conceit? And all for nothing?
For Hecuba?
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weepe for her? What would he doe,
Had he the Motiue and the Cue for passion
That I haue? He would drowne the Stage with teares,
And cleaue the generall eare with horrid speech:
Make mad the guilty, and apale the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed,
The very faculty of Eyes and Eares. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-metled Rascall, peake
Like Iohn a-dreames, vnpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing: No, not for a King,
Vpon whose property, and most deere life,
A damn'd defeate was made. Am I a Coward?
Who calles me Villaine? breakes my pate a-crosse?
Pluckes off my Beard, and blowes it in my face?
Tweakes me by'th'Nose? giues me the Lye i'th'Throate,
As deepe as to the Lungs? Who does me this?
Ha? Why I should take it: for it cannot be,
But I am Pigeon-Liuer'd, and lacke Gall
To make Oppression bitter, or ere this,
I should haue fatted all the Region Kites
With this Slaues Offall, bloudy: a Bawdy villaine,
Remorselesse, Treacherous, Letcherous, kindles villaine!
Oh Vengeance!
Who? What an Asse am I? I sure, this is most braue,
That I, the Sonne of the Deere murthered,
Prompted to my Reuenge by Heauen, and Hell,
Must (like a Whore) vnpacke my heart with words,
And fall a Cursing like a very Drab,
A Scullion? Fye vpon't: Foh.
About my Braine. / I haue heard,
that guilty Creatures sitting at a Play,
Haue by the very cunning of the Scoene,
Bene strooke so to the soule, that presently
They haue proclaim'd their Malefactions.
For Murther, though it haue no tongue, will speake
With most myraculous Organ. Ile haue these Players,
Play something like the murder of my Father,
Before mine Vnkle. Ile obserue his lookes,
Ile tent him to the quicke: If he but blench
I know my course. The Spirit that I haue seene
May be the Diuell, and the Diuel hath power
T'assume a pleasing shape, yea and perhaps
Out of my Weaknesse, and my Melancholly,
As he is very potent with such Spirits,
Abuses me to damne me. Ile haue grounds
More Relatiue then this: The Play's the thing,
Wherein Ile catch the Conscience of the King.
Exit
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Polonius, with his man Reynaldo

POLONIUS
Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.

REYNALDO
I will, my lord.

POLONIUS
You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before you visit him, to make inquire
Of his behaviour.

REYNALDO
My lord, I did intend it.

POLONIUS
Marry, well said. Very well said. Look you, sir,
Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it.
Take you as 'twere some distant knowledge of him,
As thus, ‘ I know his father and his friends,
And in part him ’ – do you mark this, Reynaldo?

REYNALDO
Ay, very well, my lord.

POLONIUS
‘ And in part him, but,’ you may say, ‘ not well;
But if't be he I mean, he's very wild,
Addicted so and so.’ And there put on him
What forgeries you please – marry, none so rank
As may dishonour him – take heed of that –
But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.

REYNALDO
As gaming, my lord.

POLONIUS
Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Drabbing. You may go so far.

REYNALDO
My lord, that would dishonour him.

POLONIUS
Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
You must not put another scandal on him,
That he is open to incontinency.
That's not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimed blood,
Of general assault.

REYNALDO
But, my good lord –

POLONIUS
Wherefore should you do this?

REYNALDO
Ay, my lord,
I would know that.

POLONIUS
Marry, sir, here's my drift,
And I believe it is a fetch of warrant.
You laying these slight sullies on my son,
As 'twere a thing a little soiled i'th' working,
Mark you,
Your party in converse, him you would sound,
Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured
He closes with you in this consequence:
‘ Good sir,’ or so, or ‘ friend,’ or ‘ gentleman ’ –
According to the phrase or the addition
Of man and country –

REYNALDO
Very good, my lord.

POLONIUS
And then, sir, does 'a this – 'a does – What
was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say
something! Where did I leave?

REYNALDO
At ‘ closes in the consequence ’, at ‘ friend,’
‘ or so,’ and ‘ gentleman.’

POLONIUS
At ‘ closes in the consequence ’ – Ay, marry!
He closes thus: ‘ I know the gentleman.
I saw him yesterday, or th' other day,
Or then, or then, with such or such, and, as you say,
There was 'a gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse;
There falling out at tennis;’ or perchance
‘ I saw him enter such a house of sale,’
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.
See you now –
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out.
So, by my former lecture and advice,
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?

REYNALDO
My lord, I have.

POLONIUS
God bye ye, fare ye well.

REYNALDO
Good my lord.

POLONIUS
Observe his inclination in yourself.

REYNALDO
I shall, my lord.

POLONIUS
And let him ply his music.

REYNALDO
Well, my lord.

POLONIUS
Farewell.
Exit Reynaldo
Enter Ophelia
How now, Ophelia, what's the matter?

OPHELIA
O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!

POLONIUS
With what, i'th' name of God?

OPHELIA
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors – he comes before me.

POLONIUS
Mad for thy love?

OPHELIA
My lord, I do not know,
But truly I do fear it.

POLONIUS
What said he?

OPHELIA
He took me by the wrist and held me hard.
Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And with his other hand thus o'er his brow
He falls to such perusal of my face
As 'a would draw it. Long stayed he so.
At last, a little shaking of mine arm
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being. That done, he lets me go;
And, with his head over his shoulder turned,
He seemed to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their helps
And to the last bended their light on me.

POLONIUS
Come, go with me. I will go seek the King.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late?

OPHELIA
No, my good lord. But, as you did command,
I did repel his letters and denied
His access to me.

POLONIUS
That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgement
I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle
And meant to wrack thee. But beshrew my jealousy.
By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Come.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Flourish
Enter the King and Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,
with attendants

KING
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation – so call it,
Sith nor th' exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from th' understanding of himself
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighboured to his youth and 'haviour,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time, so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus,
That, opened, lies within our remedy.

QUEEN
Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you,
And sure I am two men there is not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.

ROSENCRANTZ
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

GUILDENSTERN
But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.

KING
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.

QUEEN
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. – Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.

GUILDENSTERN
Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!

QUEEN
Ay, amen!
Exeunt Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern with attendants
Enter Polonius

POLONIUS
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully returned.

KING
Thou still hast been the father of good news.

POLONIUS
Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious King.
And I do think – or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do – that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

KING
O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.

POLONIUS
Give first admittance to th' ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.

KING
Thyself do grace to them and bring them in.
Exit Polonius
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.

QUEEN
I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.

KING
Well, we shall sift him.
Enter Voltemand and Cornelius, the ambassadors,
with Polonius
Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?

VOLTEMAND
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack,
But, better looked into, he truly found
It was against your highness; whereat grieved,
That so his sickness, age, and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he in brief obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give th' assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack,
With an entreaty, herein further shown,
(He gives a paper to the King)
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.

KING
It likes us well.
And at our more considered time we'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour.
Go to your rest. At night we'll feast together.
Most welcome home!
Exeunt the ambassadors

POLONIUS
This business is well ended.
My liege and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
Mad call I it. For, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

QUEEN
More matter, with less art.

POLONIUS
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he's mad, 'tis true. 'Tis true, 'tis pity,
And pity 'tis 'tis true – a foolish figure.
But farewell it; for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him then. And now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect –
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
Perpend.
I have a daughter – have while she is mine –
Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.
(He reads the letter)
To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified
Ophelia – That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; ‘ beautified ’
is a vile phrase. But you shall hear. Thus:
(He reads)
In her excellent white bosom, these, et cetera.

QUEEN
Came this from Hamlet to her?

POLONIUS
Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful.
(He reads)
Doubt thou the stars are fire.
Doubt that the sun doth move.
Doubt truth to be a liar.
But never doubt I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art
to reckon my groans. But that I love thee best, O most best,
believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst
this machine is to him,
Hamlet
This in obedience hath my daughter shown me,
And more above hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.

KING
But how hath she
Received his love?

POLONIUS
What do you think of me?

KING
As of a man faithful and honourable.

POLONIUS
I would fain prove so. But what might you think
When I had seen this hot love on the wing –
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me – what might you,
Or my dear majesty your Queen here, think
If I had played the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or looked upon this love with idle sight?
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
‘ Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star.
This must not be.’ And then I prescripts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,
And he, repelled, a short tale to make,
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves
And all we mourn for.

KING
Do you think 'tis this?

QUEEN
It may be, very like.

POLONIUS
Hath there been such a time – I would fain know that –
That I have positively said ‘ 'Tis so ’
When it proved otherwise?

KING
Not that I know.

POLONIUS
Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.

KING
How may we try it further?

POLONIUS
You know sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.

QUEEN
So he does indeed.

POLONIUS
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,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.

KING
We will try it.
Enter Hamlet

QUEEN
But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.

POLONIUS
Away, I do beseech you both, away.
I'll board him presently. O, give me leave.
Exeunt the King and Queen
How does my good Lord Hamlet?

HAMLET
Well, God-a-mercy.

POLONIUS
Do you know me, my lord?

HAMLET
Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.

POLONIUS
Not I, my lord.

HAMLET
Then I would you were so honest a man.

POLONIUS
Honest, my lord?

HAMLET
Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to be
one man picked out of ten thousand.

POLONIUS
That's very true, my lord.

HAMLET
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,
being a good kissing carrion – have you a daughter?

POLONIUS
I have, my lord.

HAMLET
Let her not walk i'th' sun. Conception is a blessing.
But as your daughter may conceive, friend, look
to't.

POLONIUS
(aside)
How say you by that? Still harping on
my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. 'A said I was
a fishmonger. 'A is far gone, far gone. And truly in my
youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near
this. I'll speak to him again. – What do you read, my
lord?

HAMLET
Words, words, words.

POLONIUS
What is the matter, my lord?

HAMLET
Between who?

POLONIUS
I mean the matter that you read, my lord.

HAMLET
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 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
grow old as I am – if, like a crab, you could go backward.

POLONIUS
(aside)
Though this be madness, yet there
is method in't. – Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

HAMLET
Into my grave?

POLONIUS
Indeed, that's out of the air. (aside) How
pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that
often madness hits on, which 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.

HAMLET
You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I
will not more willingly part withal – except my life,
except my life, except my life.

POLONIUS
Fare you well, my lord.

HAMLET
These tedious old fools!
Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz

POLONIUS
You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is.

ROSENCRANTZ
(to Polonius)
God save you, sir!
Exit Polonius

GUILDENSTERN
My honoured lord!

ROSENCRANTZ
My most dear lord!

HAMLET
My excellent good friends.
How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz!
Good lads, how do you both?

ROSENCRANTZ
As the indifferent children of the earth.

GUILDENSTERN
Happy in that we are not overhappy.
On Fortune's cap we are not the very button.

HAMLET
Nor the soles of her shoe?

ROSENCRANTZ
Neither, my lord.

HAMLET
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle
of her favours?

GUILDENSTERN
Faith, her privates we.

HAMLET
In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true!
She is a strumpet. What news?

ROSENCRANTZ
None, my lord, but that the world's
grown honest.

HAMLET
Then is doomsday 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?

GUILDENSTERN
Prison, my lord?

HAMLET
Denmark's a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.

HAMLET
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o'th' worst.

ROSENCRANTZ
We think not so, my lord.

HAMLET
Why, then 'tis none to you. For there is nothing
either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is
a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ
Why, then your ambition makes it one.
'Tis too narrow for your mind.

HAMLET
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and
count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.

GUILDENSTERN
Which dreams indeed are ambition.
For the very substance of the ambitious is merely the
shadow of a dream.

HAMLET
A dream itself is but a shadow.

ROSENCRANTZ
Truly; and I hold ambition of so airy and
light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.

HAMLET
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs
and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall
we to th' court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.

ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
We'll wait upon
you.

HAMLET
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?

ROSENCRANTZ
To visit you, my lord. No other occasion.

HAMLET
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.

GUILDENSTERN
What should we say, my lord?

HAMLET
Why, anything but to th' purpose. You were
sent for. And there is a kind of confession in your looks,
which your modesties have not craft enough to colour.
I know the good King and Queen have sent for you.

ROSENCRANTZ
To what end, my lord?

HAMLET
That you must teach me. But let me conjure
you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy
of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved
love, and by what more dear a better proposer can charge
you withal, be even and direct with me whether you
were sent for or no.

ROSENCRANTZ
(aside to Guildenstern)
What say you?

HAMLET
(aside)
Nay then, I have an eye of you. – If you
love me, hold not off.

GUILDENSTERN
My lord, we were sent for.

HAMLET
I will tell you why. So shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King
and Queen moult no feather. I have of late – but wherefore
I know not – lost all my mirth, forgone all custom
of exercises. And indeed it goes so heavily with my
disposition that this goodly frame the earth seems to
me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy,
the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament,
this majestical roof fretted with golden fire – why, it
appeareth nothing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation
of vapours. What a piece of work is a man,
how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form
and moving how express and admirable, in action how
like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the
beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet
to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights
not me – nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.

ROSENCRANTZ
My lord, there was no such stuff in my
thoughts.

HAMLET
Why did ye laugh then, when I said ‘ Man
delights not me?’

ROSENCRANTZ
To think, my lord, if you delight not in
man, what lenten entertainment the players shall
receive from you. We coted them on the way. And
hither are they coming to offer you service.

HAMLET
He that plays the king shall be welcome – his
majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous
knight shall use his foil and target; the lover shall not
sigh gratis; the humorous man shall end his part in
peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs
are tickle o'th' sere; and the lady shall say her mind
freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't. What players
are they?

ROSENCRANTZ
Even those you were wont to take such
delight in, the tragedians of the city.

HAMLET
How chances it they travel? Their residence,
both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

ROSENCRANTZ
I think their inhibition comes by the
means of the late innovation.

HAMLET
Do they hold the same estimation they did when
I was in the city? Are they so followed?

ROSENCRANTZ
No, indeed are they not.

HAMLET
How comes it? Do they grow rusty?

ROSENCRANTZ
Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted
pace. But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases,
that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically
clapped for't. These are now the fashion, and so
berattle the common stages – so they call them – that
many wearing rapiers are afraid of goosequills and dare
scarce come thither.

HAMLET
What, are they children? Who maintains 'em?
How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no
longer than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards,
if they should grow themselves to common players – as
it is most like, if their means are not better – their
writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against
their own succession?

ROSENCRANTZ
Faith, there has been much to-do on both
sides, and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to
controversy. There was, for a while, no money bid for
argument unless the poet and the player went to cuffs
in the question.

HAMLET
Is't possible?

GUILDENSTERN
O, there has been much throwing about
of brains.

HAMLET
Do the boys carry it away?

ROSENCRANTZ
Ay, that they do, my lord – Hercules and
his load too.

HAMLET
It is not very strange. For my uncle is King of
Denmark, and those that would make mows at him
while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred
ducats apiece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is
something in this more than natural, if philosophy could
find it out.
A flourish

GUILDENSTERN
There are the players.

HAMLET
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your
hands. Come then. Th' appurtenance of welcome is
fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this
garb, lest my extent to the players, which I tell you must
show fairly outwards, should more appear like entertainment
than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father
and aunt-mother are deceived.

GUILDENSTERN
In what, my dear lord?

HAMLET
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind
is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Enter Polonius

POLONIUS
Well be with you, gentlemen.

HAMLET
Hark you, Guildenstern – and you too – at each
ear a hearer. That great baby you see there is not yet
out of his swaddling clouts.

ROSENCRANTZ
Happily he is the second time come to
them. For they say an old man is twice a child.

HAMLET
I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the
players. Mark it. – You say right, sir. 'A Monday morning,
'twas then, indeed.

POLONIUS
My lord, I have news to tell you.

HAMLET
My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius
was an actor in Rome –

POLONIUS
The actors are come hither, my lord.

HAMLET
Buzz, buzz.

POLONIUS
Upon my honour –

HAMLET
Then came each actor on his ass –

POLONIUS
The best actors in the world, either for
tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral,
scene individable, or poem unlimited.
Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too
light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the
only men.

HAMLET
O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure
hadst thou!

POLONIUS
What a treasure had he, my lord?

HAMLET
Why,
‘ One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved passing well.’

POLONIUS
(aside)
Still on my daughter.

HAMLET
Am I not i'th' right, old Jephthah?

POLONIUS
If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a
daughter that I love passing well.

HAMLET
Nay, that follows not.

POLONIUS
What follows then, my lord?

HAMLET
Why,
‘ As by lot, God wot,’
and then you know,
‘ It came to pass, as most like it was.’
The first row of the pious chanson will show you more.
For look where my abridgement comes.
Enter the Players
You are welcome, masters, welcome, all. – I am glad to
see thee well. – Welcome, good friends. – O old friend,
why, thy face is valanced since I saw thee last. Comest
thou to beard me in Denmark? – What, my young lady
and mistress? By'r Lady, your ladyship is nearer to
heaven than when I saw you last by the altitude of a
chopine. Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent
gold, be not cracked within the ring. – Masters, you are
all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers: fly
at anything we see. We'll have a speech straight. Come,
give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate
speech.

FIRST PLAYER
What speech, my good lord?

HAMLET
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, pleased not the million. 'Twas caviary to the
general. But it was – as I received it, and others, whose
judgements 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 indict
the author of affectation, but called it an honest method,
as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome
than fine. One speech in't I chiefly loved. 'Twas
Aeneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially
when 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 th' 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 th' ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked 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'ersized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.’
So, proceed you.

POLONIUS
'Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good
accent and good discretion.

FIRST PLAYER
‘ Anon he finds him,
Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
Th' 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, seemed i'th' 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, forged 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!’

POLONIUS
This is too long.

HAMLET
It shall to the barber's, with your beard. –
Prithee say on. He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he
sleeps. Say on. Come to Hecuba.

FIRST PLAYER
‘ But who, ah woe!, had seen the mobled Queen –’

HAMLET
‘ The mobled Queen?’

POLONIUS
That's good. ‘ Mobled Queen ’ is good.

FIRST PLAYER
‘ Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood; and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'erteemed loins,
A blanket in the alarm of fear caught up –
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounced.
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 heaven
And passion in the gods.’

POLONIUS
Look, whe'er he has not turned his colour,
and has tears in's eyes. Prithee no more.

HAMLET
'Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest of this
soon. – Good my lord, will you see the players well
bestowed? Do you hear? Let them be well used, for
they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time.
After your death you were better have a bad epitaph
than their ill report while you live.

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

HAMLET
God's bodkin, 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.

POLONIUS
Come, sirs.

HAMLET
Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play tomorrow.
(aside to First Player) Dost thou hear me, old
friend? Can you play The Murder of Gonzago?

FIRST PLAYER
Ay, my lord.

HAMLET
We'll ha't tomorrow 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?

FIRST PLAYER
Ay, my lord.

HAMLET
Very well. – Follow that lord, and look you mock
him not.
Exeunt Polonius and Players
My good friends, I'll leave you till night. You are welcome
to Elsinore.

ROSENCRANTZ
Good my lord.

HAMLET
Ay, so, God bye to you.
Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
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 wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his 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 her,
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 damned 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'th' throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha, 'swounds, I should take it. For it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should ha' fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O, vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
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 stallion! Fie upon't, foh!
About, my brains. Hum – 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 proclaimed 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 'a do blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil, and the devil hath power
T' 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.
Exit
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL