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King. Have

you heard the argument ? Is there no offence in't?

Ham. No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest ; no offence i'the world.

King. What do you call the play ?

Ham. The mouse-trap.* Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is the duke's name ; his wife, Baptista: you shall see anon;

see anon ; 'tis a knavish piece of work : But what of that? your majesty, and we that have free souls, it touches us not : Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.–


This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.

Oph. You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
Ham. It would cost you a groaning, to take off

my edge.

Oph. Still better, and worse.

Ham. So you mistake your husbands.—Begin, murderer ;-leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come;

-The croaking raven Doth bellow for revenge. Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and

time agreeing; Confederate season, else no creature seeing; Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected, With Hecat's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,

* The mouse-trap. ] He calls it the mouse-trap, because it is

the thing
“ In which he'll catch the conscience of the king."


Thy natural inagick and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.

[Pours the Poison into the Sleeper's Ears. Ham. He poisons him i’the garden for his estate. His name's Gonzago; the story is extant, and written in very choice Italian: You shall see anon, how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

Oph. The king rises.
Ham. What! frighted with false fire!
Queen. How fares my lord?
Pol. Give o'er the play.
King. Give me some light :-away!
Pol. Lights, lights, lights!

[Exeunt all but Hamlet and HORATIO. Ham. Why, let the strucken deer go weep,

The hart ungalled play:
Forsome must watch, while some must sleep;

Thus runs the world away:Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers, (if the rest of my fortunes turn Turko with me,) with two Provencial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players, sir?

Hor. Half a share.
Ham. A whole one, I.'


5 Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers, &c.] It appears from Decker's Gul's Hornbooke, that feathers were much worn on the stage in Shakspeare's time.

turn Turk with me,] This means to change condition fantastically

Provencial roses on my razed shoes,] Provencial, or (with the French ç) Provençal. He means roses of Provence, a beautiful species of rose, much cultivated. Razed shoes may mean slashed shoes, i. e. with cuts or openings in them. The poet might have written raised shoes, i. e. shoes with high heels; such as by adding to the stature, are supposed to increase the dignity of a player.

a cry of players,) Allusion to a pack of hounds, which was once called a cry of hounds.

'Ham. A whole one, I.] The actors in our author's time had not


For thou dost know, O Damon dear,

This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here

A very, very-peacock.
Hor. You might have rhymed.

Ham. O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?

Hor. Very well, my lord.
Ham. Upon the talk of the poisoning,
Hor. I did very well note him.

Ham. Ah, ha!-Come, some musick; come, the recorders.

For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy. —

Come, some musick.

Guil. Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Ham. Sir, a whole history.
Guil. The king, sir,
Ham. Ay, sir, what of him?
Guil. Is, in his retirement, marvellous distempered.
Ham. With drink, sir?
Guil. No, my lord, with choler.

Ham. Your wisdom should show itself more richer, to signify this to the doctor; for, for me to

annual salaries as at present. The whole receipts of each theatre were divided into shares, of which the proprietors of the theatre, or house-keepers, as they were called, had some ; and each actor had one or more shares, or part of a share, according to his merit.

O Damon dear,) Hamlet calls Horatio by this name, in allusion to the celebrated friendship between Damon and Pythias.

Why then, belike.] Hamlet was going on to draw the consequence, when the courtiers entered. Johnson.


he likes it not, perdy.) Perdy is the corruption of par Dieu, and is not uncommon in the old plays.

4 With drink, sir?] Hamlet takes particular care that his uncle's love of drink shall not be forgotten.


put him to his purgation, would, perhaps, plunge him into more choler.

Guil. Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame, and start not so wildly from my

affair. Ham. I am tame, sir :-pronounce.

Guil. The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

Ham. You are welcome.

Guil. Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment: if not, your pardon, and my return, shall be the end of my business.

Ham. Sir, I cannot.
Guil. What, my lord?

Ham. Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased: But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command; or, rather, as you say, my mother: therefore no more, but to the matter: My mother, you say,

Ros. Then thus she says; Your behaviour hath struck her into amazement and adıniration.

Ham. O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother!—But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's admiration? impart.

Ros. She desires to speak with you in her closet, ere you go to bed.

Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade' with us?

Ros. My lord, you once did love me.
Ham. And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

Ros. Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? you do, surely, but bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.


further trade -) Further business; further dealing.
by these pickers, &c.] By these hands.

Ham. Sir, I lack advancement.

Ros. How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?

Ham. Ăy, sir, but, While the grass grows,-the proverb is something musty."

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Enter the Players, with Recorders. O, the recorders:- let me see one.—To withdraw with you::—Why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?

Guil. O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly. Ham. I do not well understand that. Will

you play upon this pipe?

Guil. My lord, I cannot.
Ham. I pray you.
Guil. Believe me, I cannot.
Ham. I do beseech you.
Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord.

Ham. 'Tis as easy as lying : govern these ventages? with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent musick. Look you, these are the stops.


by death


the proverb is something musty.] The remainder of this old proverb is " While grass


growe, the silly horse he starves." Hamlet means to intimate, that whilst he is waiting for the succession to the throne of Denmark, he may himself be taken off

Recorders.] i. e. a kind of large Aute. 9 To withdraw with you:] Here Mr. Malone adds the following stage direction :-[Taking Guildenstern aside.] But these obscure words may refer to some gesture which Guildenstern had used, and which, at first, was interpreted by Hamlet into a signal for him to attend the speaker into another room. « To withdraw with you?" (says he) Is that your meaning ? But finding his friends continue to move mysteriously about him, he adds, with some resentment, a question more easily intelligible. STEEVENS.

ventages —] The holes of a flute.


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