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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! Ail you gods,
In general synod, take away her power ;
Breuk 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


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

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'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, 6 — the mebled queen - ] Mobled or mabled signifies veiled; or according to Johnson, huddled, grossly covered.

. With bisson rheum ;] Bisson or beesen, i. e. blind. A word still in use in some parts of the North of England.

(Unless thing's mortal move them not at all.) Would have made milch the burning eye of heaven, 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 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.

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.

Exit POLONIUS, with some of the Players. Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play tomorrow.—Dost thou hear me, old friend ; can you play the murder of Gonzago ?

i Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll have it to-morrow 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?

1 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exit Player.] My good friends, [To Ros. and Guil.) I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord !

[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you:-Now I am alone.

0, 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 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

As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Why, I should take it: for it cannot be,

8 the cue for passion,] The hint, the direction. This phrase is theatrical, and occurs at least a dozen times in our author's plays.

9 Like John a-dreams,] John a-dreams, i.e. of dreams, means only John the dreamer ; a nick-name for any ignorant silly fellow.

- unpregnant of my cause,] Not quickened with a new desire of vengeance ; not teeming with revenge.

* A damn'd defeat was made.] Defeat, for destruction.


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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!
Why, what an ass am I: This is most brave;
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
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 !4 Humph! 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 proclaim'd 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 he do blench,
I know my course. The spirit, that I have seen,
May be a 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.

[Exit. kindless —] Unnatural.

About my brains !] Wits, to your work. Brain, go about the present business.

tent him -] Search his wounds.

if he do blench,] If he shrink, or start. 7 More relative than this :] More nearly related, closely connected.



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SCENE I. A Room in the Castle.


CRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN. King. And can you, by no drift of conference 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. Queen. Did he receive


well ? Ros. Most like a gentleman. Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition. Ros. Niggard of question; hut, of our demands, Most free in his reply. Queen.


you To any pastime?

Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players We o'er-raught on the way:8 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. Pol.

'Tis most true: And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties, To hear and see the matter.

assay him


o'er-raught on the way :] O’er-raught, is over-reached, that is, over-took.

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