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Queen. It may be, very likely.
Pol. Hath there been such a time, (I'd fain

know that,)
That I have positively said, 'Tis so,
When it prov'd otherwise?
King.

Not that I know.
Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise:

[Pointing to his head and shoulder.
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? Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours

together, Here in the lobby. Queen.

So he does, indeed. Pol. 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, reading. Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch

comes reading Pol. Away, I do beseech

you, I'll board him presently :-0, give me leave.

[Excunt King, Queen, and Attendants. How does my good lord Hamlet?

both away;

Ham. Well, god-'a-mercy.
Pol. Do you know me, my lord ?
Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Pol. Not I, my lord.
Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
Pol. Honest, my lord?

Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick'd out of ten thousand.

Pol. That's very true, my lord.

Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god, kissing carrion,--Have you a daughter?

Pol. I have, my lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i’the sun: conception is a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive, friend, look to't.

Pol. How say you by that? [Aside.] Still harping on my daughter:—yet he knew me not at first; he said, I was a fishmonger: He is far gone, far gone: and, truly, in my youth I suffer'd much extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.—What do you read, my lord ?

Ham. Words, words, words !
Pol. What is the matter, my lord?
Ham. Between who?
Pol. I mean, the matter that

lord. Ham. 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

you read,

read, my

and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, shall be as old as I am, if, like a crab, you could

go

backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method in it. [Aside. ] Will you walk out of the air,

my lord

Ham. Into my grave?

Pol. Indeed, that is out o’the air.—How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be deliver'd 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.

Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal; except my life, except my life, except my life. Pol. Fare you well, my lord.

. Ham. These tedious old fools !

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Pol. You go to seek the lord Hamlet; there he is. Ros. God save you, sir!

[To Polonius.

[Exit Polonius. Guil. My honour'd lord !Ros. My most dear lord !

Ham. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye

both?

Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth,

Guil. Happy, in that we are not overhappy;
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.

Ham. Nor the soles of her shoe?
Ros. Neither, my lord.

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

Guil. ’Faith, her privates we.

Ham. In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; she is a strumpet. What news?

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

Ham. 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?

Guil. Prison, my lord!
Ham. Denmark's a prison.
Ros. Then is the world one.

Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many. confines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.

Ros. We think 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.

Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one; 'tis too narrow for

your

mind. Ham. 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.

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Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.

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

Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs, and outstretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows: Shall we to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

Ros. & Guil. We'll wait upon you.

Ham. 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?

Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor

I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you:

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.

Guil. What should we say, my lord?

Ham. Any thing—but to the 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. Ros. To what end, my

lord? Ham. That you must teach me.

But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the

and sure,

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