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A brother's murder!—Pray can I not, · Though inclination be as sharp as will; My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent; And, like a man to double business bound, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect. What if this cursed hand Were thicker than itself with brother's blood? Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens, To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy, But to confront the visage of offence? And what's in prayer, but this two-fold force,To be forestalled, ere we come to fall, Or pardon’d, being down? Then I'll look up; My fault is past. But, 0, what form of prayer Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder!That cannot be; since I am still possess'd Of those effects for which I did the murder, My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. May one be pardon’d, and retain the offence? In the corrupted currents of this world, Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice; And oft ’tis seen, the wicked prize itself Buys out the law: But 'tis not so above: There is no shuffling, there the action lies In his true nature; and we ourselves compellid, Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults, To give in evidence. What then? what rests? Try what repentance can: What can it not? Yet what can it, when one can not repent? O wretched state! O bosom, black as death! O limed soal; that, struggling to be free, Art more engag'd! Help, angels, make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of
steel, Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe; All may be well!
[Retires, and kneels.
Enter Hamlet. Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is pray
ing; And now I'll do’t;—And so he goes to heaven: And so am I reveng’d?—That would be scann'd: A villain kills my father; and, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven. Why, this is bire and salary, not revenge. He took my father grossly, full of bread; With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May; And, how his audit stands, who knows, save hea
ven? But, in our circumstance and course of thought, 'Tis heavy with him: And am I then revengod, To take him in the purging of his soul, When he is fit and season'd for his passage? No. Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent: When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage; Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed; At gaming, swearing; or about some act That has no relish of salvation in't: Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven; And that his soul may be as damn’d, and black, As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays: This physick but prolongs thy sickly days. [Exit
The King rises, and advances. King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain
below: Words, without thoughts, never to heaven go.
ANOTHER ROOM IN THE SAME.
Enter Queen and Polonius.
home to him: Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood be
I'll warrant you;
[Polonius hides himself.
Enter Hamlet. Ham. Now, mother; what's the matter? Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much of
fended. Ham. Mother, you have my father much of .
fended. Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle
Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
What's the matter now?
No, by the rood, not so:
ther. Queen. Nay, then I'll set those to you that can
Pol. [Behind.] What, ho! help!
How now! a rat?
[Draws. Dead, for a ducat, dead.
[Hamlet makes a pass through the arras. Pol. [Behind.] O, I am slain.
[Falls, and dies. Queen. O me, what hast thou done? Ham.
Nay, I know not: Is it the king?
[Lifts up the arras, and draws forth Polonius. Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this ! Ham. A bloody deed;—almost as bad, good mo
Queen. As kill a king !
Ay, lady, 'twas my word. Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewel !
[To Polonius. I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune: Thou find’st, to be too busy, is some danger.Leave wringing of your hands: Peace; sit you
down, And let me wring your heart: for so I shall, If it be made of penetrable stuff; If damned custom have not braz'd it so, That it be proof and bulwark against sense. Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag
thy tongue In noise so rude against me? Ham. .
Such an act,
Ah me, what act,
Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this;