« AnteriorContinuar »
vendile, his brother, being at a banquet with his friends, sodainely set uppon him and slewe him as traiterously as cunningly he purged himselfe of so detestable a murder to his subjectes; and under a vaile of meere simplicitie, that, being favoured for the honest love that he bare to his sisterin-lawe, for whose sake, hee affirmed, hee had, in that sorte, murthered his brother, that his sinne found excuse among the common people, and of the nobilitie was esteemed for justice. For that Geruth being as courteous a princesse as any then living in the North partes,' this 'murtherer slaundered his dead brother, that hee would have slaine his wife, and that hee, by chance, finding him upon the pointe, ready to do it, in defence of the lady, had slaine him, bearing of the blows which as then hee strooke at the innocent princesse, without any other cause of malice whatsoever : wherein hee wanted no false witnesses to approve his act, which deposed in like sorte as the wicked calumniator himselfe protested, being the same persons that had borne him companie and were participants of his treason. The courtiers admired and flattered him in his good fortune.' Fengon, "boldned and encouraged such impun
durst venture to couple himself in marriage with her, and the unfortunate and wicked woman, that had receaved the honour to bee the wife of one of the valiantest and wisest princes of the North, imbased herself in such vile sort as to falsifie her faith unto him, and, which is worse, to marrie him that had bin the tyranous murtherer of her lawful husband; which made divers men thinke that she had beene the cause of the murther' (III, iv),
CHAP. II. 'Geruth* having (as I sayd before) so much forgotten herselfe, the Prince Hamblet, perceiving himselfe to be in danger of his life, as beeing abandoned of his owne mother and forsaken of all men; and assuring himselfe that Fengon would not detract the time to send him the same way his father Horvendile was gone; to beguile the tyrant in his subtilties (that esteemed him to bee of such a minde, that if hee once attained to man's estate, he would not long delay the time to revenge the death of his father), counterfeiting the madman with such craft and subtile practises, that he made shewe as if he had utterly lost his wittes' (III, iv, 188, 189), 'and under that vaile hee covered his pretence and defended his life from the treasons and practises of the tyrant his uncle' (I, v, 169-179; II, i, 76-99, ii, 172-215; III,
i, 90-148, etc.). He ran through the streets like a man distraught, not speaking one worde but such as seemed to proceede from madnesse and meere frenzie, all his actions and gestures being no other than the right countenances of a man wholly deprived of all reason and understanding.?
But the young prince' was minded one day to be revenged in such manner that the memorie thereof should remaine perpetualy in the world' (II, ii, 524-582; III, iii, 73-95; IV, iv, 31-65, etc.).
Hamblet in this sorte, counterfeiting the maddeman, many times did divers actions of great and deep consideration and often made such and so fitte answers, that a wise man would have judged from what spirit so fine an invention might proceede' (11, ii, 204, 207-210), 'for that standing by the fire and sharpning sticks like poynards, one, in smiling manner, asked him wherefore hee made those little staves so sharpe at the pointes, I prepare (saith hee) piersing dartes and sharpe arrowes to revenge my father's death. Fooles, as I said before, esteemed those his wordes as nothing ; but men of quicke spirits and such as hadde a deeper reache began to suspect somewhat, esteeming that under that kinde of folly there lay hidden a great and rare subtilty such as might one day be prejudicial to their prince, saying that under colour of such rudenes he shadowed a crafty policy, and by his devised simplicitie he concealed a sharp and pregnant spirit, for which cause they counselled the king to try and know if it were possible, how to discover the intent and meaning of the young prince, and they could find no better, nor more fitte invention to intrap him, than to set some faire beautiful woman * in a secret place, that with flattering speeches, and all the craftiest meanes she could use, should purposely seek to allure his mind' (III, i, 91-187). 'And surely the poore prince, at this assault, had bin in great danger, if a gentleman + (that in Horvendile's time had been nourished with him'-I, ii, 160-178) 'had not shewne himself more affectioned to the bringing up he had received with Hamblet, than desirous to please the tirant;}. and therefore, by certaine signes, he gave Hamblet intelligence in what danger he was like to fall," which much abashed the prince, as then beeing wholly in affection to the lady—but by her he was likewise informed of the treason-as beeing one that from her infancy loved and favoured him and would have beene exceeding sorrowful for his misfortune,' 'whome she
loved more than herselfe.' The prince 'deceived the courtiers ;' every man thereupon assured themselves that without doubt hee was distraught of his senses, that his braines were as then wholly void of force, and incapable of reasonable apprehension, so that as then Fengon's practise took no effect.
CHAP. III. ' Among the friends of Fengon, there was one* that, above all the rest, doubted of Hamblet's practises in counterfeiting the madman, who, for that cause, said that it was impossible that so craftie a gallant as Hamblet, that counterfeited the foole, should be discovered with so common and unskilful practises, which might easily be perceived, and that to find out his politique pretense it were necessary to invent some subtile and crafty meanes more attractive, whereby the gallant might not have the leysure to use his accustomed dissimulation, which to effect he said he knewe a fit waie, and a most convenient meane to effect the king's desire, and thereby to intrap Hamblet in his subtilties, and cause him of his owne accord to fall into the net prepared for him, and thereby evidently shewe his secret meaning. His devise was this: that King Fengon should make as though he were to goe some long voyage, concerning affayres of great importance, and that in the meanetime Hamblet should be shut up alone in a chamber with his mother, wherein some other should secretly be hidden behind the hangings, unknowne either to him or his mother, there to stand and heere their speeches, and the complots by them to be taken,' 'and withall offered himselfe to be the man that should stand to hearken and beare witness of Hamblet's speeches with his mother' (III, iii). “This invention pleased the king exceeding well. He issued out of his pallace, and rode to hunt in the forest; meantime the counseller entered secretly into the queene's chamber, and there hid himself behinde the arras, not long before the queene and Hamblet came thither, who being craftie and politique as soone as he was within the chamber, doubting some treason, and fearing, if he should speak severely and wisely to his mother touching his secret practises, he should be understood, and by that meanes intercepted, used his ordinary manner of dissimulation, and began to come like a cocke beating with his armes (in such manner as cockes use to strike with their winges) upon the hangings of the chamber, whereby feeling something stirring under them, he cried, Á
rat, a rat!' (IV, I, 10);‘and presently drawing his sword, thrust it into the hangings, which done, pulled the counsellour (halfe dead) out by the heeles, made an end of killing him'(III, iv). “He came againe to his mother, who, in the meantime, wept and tormented herself to see all her hopes frustrate.' While in this sorte she sate tormenting herselfe, Hamblet entered into the chamber, who, having once againe searched every corner of the same, distrusting his mother as well as the rest, and perceiving himselfe to bee alone, beganne in sober and discreet manner to speak unto her, saying, What treason is this
that covereth the most wicked and detestable crime that man could ever imagine or was committed ? How may I be assured to trust you that''given over to her pleasure, runnest spreading forth her armes joyfully to embrace the trayterous, villanous tyrant that murthered my father,' 'entertaining him insteede of the deere father of your miserable and discomforted sonne?
Is this the parte of a queene and daughter to a king ?-to follow the pleasure of an abhominable king, that hath murthered a farre more honester and better man than himselfe in massacring Horvendile, the honour and glory of the Danes, who are now esteemed of no force nor valour at all, since the shining splendure of knighthood was brought to an ende by the most wickedest and cruellest villain living upon earth : I for my part will never account him for my kinsman, nor once know him for mine uncle, nor you, my dear mother, for not having respect to the blud that ought to have united us so straightly together, and who neither with your honour nor without suspition of consent to the death of your husband could ever have agreed to have marryd with his cruel enemie : 0 Queene Geruthe,
it was an unbridled desire that guided the daughter of Rodericke to imbrace the tirant Fengon, and not to remember Horvendile (unworthy of so strange intertainment), neither that he killed his brother traiterously, and that shee beeing his father's wife betrayed him, although hee so well favoured and loved her, that for her sake hee utterly bereaved Norway of her riches and valiant souldiers, to augment the treasures of Rodericke, and make Geruthe wife to the hardyest prince in Europe.' It is not the parte of a woman, much lesse of a princesse, in whome all modestie, curtesie, compassion, and love ought to abound, thus to leave her deere child to fortune in the bloudy and murtherous hands of a villain and traytor. Bee not offended, I pray you, madam, if transported with dolour and griefe I speeke so boldly unto you, and that I respect you lesse than dutie requireth, for you, having forgotten mee, and wholly rejected the memorye of the deceased king, my father, must not be abashed if I also surpasse the bounds and limits of due consideration. Beholde into what distress I am now fallen, and to what mischief my fortune and your over-lightnesse and want of wisdom have reduced mee, that I am constrained to play the madde man to save my life, insteed of using and practising armes, following adventures, and seeking all meanes to make myselfe knowne to be the true and undoubted heire of the valiant and vertuous King Horvendile' (III, iv). "The gestures of a foole are fit for me to the end, that guiding myself wisely therein, I may preserve my life for the Danes, and the memory of my late deceased father, for that the desire of revenging his death is so ingraven in my heart, that, if I dye not shortly, I hope to take such and so great vengeance, that these countreyes shall for ever speeke thereof. “To conclude, weepe not (madam) to see my folly, but rather sigh and lament your owne offence, tormenting your conscience in regard of the infamie that hath so defiled the ancient renowne and glorie that in times past) honoured Queene Geruth; for we are not to grieve at other men's vices, but for our owne misdeedes and great follyes.'
‘The queene perceived herselfe neerly touched, and that Hamblet mooved her to the quicke, where shee felt herselfe intressed; nevertheless shee forgot all disdaine and wrath, which thereby shee might as then have had, hearing herselfe so sharply chiden and reproved, for the joy sheethen conceaved, to behold the gallant spirit of her sonne, and to think what shee might hope and the easier expect of his so great policie and wisdome. But, on the other side, she durst not lift up her eyes to behold him, remembring her offence, and, on the other side, she would gladly have imbraced her sonne in regard of the wise admonitions by him given unto her, which as then quenched the flames of unbridled desire that before had mooved her to affect King Fengon : to engraff in her heart the vertuous actions of her lawfull spouse, whome inwardly shee much lamented, when shee beheld the lively image and portraiture of his vertue and grete wisdome in her childe, representing his father's haughtie and valiant heart : and so, overcame and vanquished with this honest passion, and weeping most bitterly, having long time fixed her eyes upon Hamlet, as beeing ravished with some great and deepe contemplation, and as it were wholy amazed ; at the last, imbracing him in her armes (with the like love that