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Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
O shame! where is thy blush ? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame,
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge;
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.
Queen.

O Hamlet, speak no more:
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul ;
And there I see such black and grained spots,
As will not leave their tinct.9
Ham.

Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed ;1 Stew'd in corruption; honeying, and making love Over the nasty stye ;Queen.

O, speak to me no more; These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears ; No more, sweet Hamlet. Hum,

A murderer, and a villain : A slave, that is not twentieth part the tythe Of your precedent lord :-a vice of kings :? A cutpurse of the empire and the rule; That from a shelf the precious diadem stole, And put it in his pocket!

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6 Could not so mope.] i. e. could not exhibit such marks of stupidity.

i If thou canst mutine, &c.] To mutine, was the ancient term, signifying to rise in mutiny.

grained-] Died in grain, or perhaps, indented. 9 As will not leave their tinct.] To leave is to part with, give up, resign. enseamed bed ;] i. e.

greasy

bed. vi:e of kings:) A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a farce; from whence the modern punch is descended.

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2

[blocks in formation]

A king

, say!

Ham. Of shreds and patches :: Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards !-What would your gracious

figure? Queen. Alas, he's mad..

Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide;
That, laps'd in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
0,

Ghost. Do not forget : This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose,
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits :
O, step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works :
Speak to her, Hamlet.
Ham.

How is it with you, lady?
Queen. Alas, how is't with you?
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep ;
And as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,

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3 A king

Of shreds and patches :] This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of partycoloured patches.

laps'd in time and passion, ] That, having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, lets go,

&c.
5 Conceit in weakest bodies-] Conceit for imagination.

like life in excrements,] Not only the hair of animals having neither life nor sensation was called an excrement, but the feathers of birds had the same appellation.

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Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look ?
Ham. On him! on him !-Look you, how pale

he glares !
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable.?— Do not look upon me,
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects:then what I have to do
Will want true colour ; tears, perchance, for blood.

Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Ham.

Do you see nothing there?
Queen. Nothing at all; yet all, that is, I see.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen.

No, nothing, but ourselves. Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals

away! My father, in his habit as he liv'd! Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal !

[Exit Ghost. Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain : This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.

Ham. Ecstasy! My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, And makes as healthful musick: It is not madness, That I have utter'd: bring me to the test, And I the matter will re-word; which madness Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace, Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass, but my madness speaks : It will but skin and film the ulcerous place; Whiles rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;

Would make them capable.] Capable here signifies intelligent ; endued with understanding.

My stern effects :] Effects for actions ; deeds effected.

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Repent what's past: avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost' on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue:
For in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg;
Yea, curb' and woo, for leave to do him good.
Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft

my

heart in twain. Ham. O throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. Good night : but go

not to

my

uncle's bed ; Assume a virtue, if you have it not. That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this ; That to the use of actions fair and good He likewise gives a frock, or livery, That aptly is put on: Refrain to-night: And that shall lend a kind of easiness To the next abstinence : the next more easy : For use almost can change the stamp of nature, And either curb the devil, or throw him out With wondrous potency. Once more, good night; And when you are desirous to be bless'd, I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,

[Pointing to POLONIUS. I do repent: But heaven hath pleas'd it so,To punish me with this, and this with me, That I must be their scourge and minister. I will bestow him, and will answer well The death I gave him. So, again, good night!

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do not spread the compost, &c.] Do not, by any new indulgence, heighten your formr offences.

curb-] That is, bend and truck Fr. courber. 2 To punish me with this, and this with mo,] To punish me by making me the instrument of this man's death, and to punish this man by my hand.

I must be cruel, only to be kind :
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.-
But one word more, good lady.
Queen.

What shall I do? Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you

do: Let the bloat king: tempt you again to bed ; Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you, his mouse ;* And let him for a pair of reechy kisses," Or padling in your neck with his damn'd fingers, Make you to ravel all this matter out, That I essentially am not in madness, But mad in craft. "Twere good, you let him know : For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise, Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, Such dear concernings hide? who would do so? No, in despite of sense, and secrecy, Unpeg the basket on the house's top, Let the birds fly; and like the famous ape, To try conclusions, in the basket

creep, And break your own neck down. Queen. Be thou assur'd, if words be made of

breath, And breath of life, I have no life to breathe What thou hast said to me.

Ham. I must to England ;8 you know that?

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3 Let the bloat kingą] This again hints at his intemperance. He had already drank himself into a dropsy. BLACKSTONE.

his mouse ;] Mouse was once a term of endearment.

reechy kisses,] Reechy is smoky. The author meant to convey a coarse idea, and was not very scrupulous in his choice of an epithet.

a gib,] Gib was a common name for a cat. 7 To try conclusions,] i. e. experiments. 8 I must to England ;] Shakspeare does not inform us how Hamlet came to know that he was to be sent to England. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were made acquainted with the King's intentions for the first time in the very last scene; and they do not appear to have had any communication with the Prince since that time.

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