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Pol. My Lord, the Queen would speak with you, and presently.

Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a camel?


Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed. Ham. Methinks, it is like a weasel.

Pol. It is back'd like a weasel.

Ham. Or, like a whale?

Pol. Very like a whale.

Ham. Then will 1 come to my mother by and They fool me to the top of my bent.

will come by and by.

Pol. I will say so.

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[Exit POLONIUS. Leave me,

Ham. By and by is easily said.

friends. [Exeunt Ros. GUIL. HOR. &c.

'Tis now the very witching time of uight;"

When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world: Now could I drink hot blood,

And do such business as the bitter day

Would quake to look on. Soft; now to my


O, heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom :
Let me be cruel, not unnatural:

I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites:
How in my words soever she be shent,

To give them seals never, my soul, consent! [Exit.


A Room in the same..

Enter King, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN. King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,

To let his madness range. Therefore, prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith despatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so near us, as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunes.

Guil. We will ourselves provide:
Most holy and religious fear it is,

To keep those many many bodies safe,
That live, and feed, upon your Majesty.

Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from 'noyance; but much more
That spirit, upon whose weal depend and rest
The lives of many. The cease of majesty,
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it, with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
Did the King sigh, but with a general groan.
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy

For we will fetters put upon this fear,

Which now goes too free-footed.

Ros, Guil. We will haste us.

[Exeunt ROSENcrantz and GUILDENSTERN.


Pol. My Lord, he's going to his mother's closet; Behind the arras I'll convey myself,

To hear the process; I'll warrant, she'll tax him home:

And, as you said, and wisely was it said,

"Tis meet, that some more audience, than a mother, Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my Liege: I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,

And tell you what I know.

King. Thanks, dear my Lord. [Exit POLONIUS.
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal el curse upon't,
A brother's murder!-'ray 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,
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, O, 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 compell'd,
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 soul; that, struggling to he free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels, make assay !
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of

Be soft as sinews of the new - born babe;
All may be well!

[Retires, and kneels.


Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't; · And so he goes to heaven:
And so am I reveng'd? That would be scaun'd:
A villain kills my father; and, for that,

I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.

Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes bread blown, as flush as May;
And, how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven?
But, in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: And am I then reveng'd,
To take him in the purging of his soul,

When he is fit and season'd for his passage?

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. [Exit.


Another Room in the same.

Enter Queen and POLONIUS.

Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him:

Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear with;

And that your grace hath screen'd and stood be


Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
Pray you, be round with him.
Queen. I'll warrant you;

Fear me not:

withdraw, I hear him coming.

[POLONIUS hides himself.


Ham. Now, mother; what's the matter? Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

Ham. Mother, you have my father much of


Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle


Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked


Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet?

Ham. What's the matter now?

Queen. Have you forgot me?

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