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Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need, we have to use you, did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it,
Since nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was: What it should be, [him
More than his father's death, that thus hath put
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of: I entreat you both, [him; 25
That,-being of so young days brought up with
And, since, so neighbour'd to his youth and hu-



That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time: so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures; and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd 35
of you;

And, sure I am, two men there are not living,
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To shew us so much gentry2, and good will,
As to expend your time with us a while,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.

Ros. Both your majesties

Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

Guil. But we both obey;

And here give up ourselves, in the full bent3,
To lay our service freely at your feet,

To be commanded.

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King. Thou still hast been the father of good
Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God, and to my gracious king:
And I do think (or else this brain of mine
As it hath us'd to do) that I have found
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.


King. O, speak of that; that I do long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to the embassadors;
My news shall be the fruit' to that great feast.
King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them
[Exit Polonius.
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main;
His father's death, and our o'er-hasty marriage.
Re-enter Polonius, with Voltimand, and Cornclius.
King. Well, we shall sift him.-Welcome, my
good friends!

Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found

It was against your highness: Whereat griev'd,-
That so his sickness, age, and impotence,
Was falsely borne in hand,—sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
40 Receives rebuke from Norway; and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle, never more
To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him threescore thousand crowns in annual



And his commission, to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shewn,
That it might please you to give quiet pass
50 Through your dominions for this enterprize;
On such regards of safety, and allowance,
As therein are set down.

King. It likes us well;

And, at our more consider'd time, we'll read,
55 Answer, and think upon this business. [bour:

Mean time, we thank you for your well-took la-
Go to your rest; at night we 'll feast together:
Most welcome home! [Exeunt Volt. and Cor.
Pol. This business is well ended.

1i. e. This must be made known to the king, for (being kept secret) the hiding Hamlet's love might occasion more mischief to us from him and the queen, than the uttering


occasion hate and resentment from Hamlet. application. The trail is the course of an i. e. deceived, imposed on.



Gentry, for complaisance. animal pursued by the scent.

or revealing of it will Bent, for endeavour, 'The dessert after the

Fee in this place, signifies reward, recompence.


My liege, and madam, to expostulate'
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,--
I will be brief: Your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is 't, but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

Queen. More matter, with less art.

Pol. Madam, I swear, I use no art at all.—
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true, 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis, 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.

Mad let us grant him, then : and now remains,
That we find out the cause of this effect;
Or, rather say, the cause of this defect;
For this effect, defective, comes by cause:


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And my young mistress thus I did bespeak;
Lord Hamlet is a prince:-out of thy sphere;
This must not be: and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice:
And he, repulsed, (a short tale to make)

10 Fell into a sadness; then into a fast;
Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.


King. Do you think, 'tis this?

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,

Thus it remains, and the remainder thus perpend. 20 When it prov'd otherwise?

I have a daughter;--have, whilst she is mine;
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,

Hath given me this: Now gather, and surmise.
To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beau-
tified Ophelia-

That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; beautify'd
Is a vile phrase; but you shall hear:

These in her excellent white bosom, these, &c.-
Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?


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King. As of a man, faithful and honourable.

King. Not that I know.

Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise: [Pointing to his head and shoulder. If circumstances lead ine, 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,

HIcre in the lobby.


Queen. So he does, indeed.


Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to you and I behind an arras then:

Mark the encounter: if he love her not,

35 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.



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Pol. Away, I do beseech you, both away; I'll board him presently:-O, give me leave.[Exeunt King, and Queen.

How does my good lord Hamlet?

Ham. Well, god-a'-mercy.

Pol. Do you know me, my lord?
Ham. Excellent well;

Pol. I would fain prove so. But what might 50 You are a fishmonger.

you think,

When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me) what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
3 If I had play'd the desk, or table-book;
Or given my heart a working, mute and dumb;
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight?

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To expostulate, for to enquire or discuss. 2 i.e. moreover, besides. 3 i. e. if either I had conveyed intelligence between them, and been the confident of their amours, [play'd the desk or tublebook] or had connived at it, only observed them in secret, without acquainting my daughter with my discovery [given my heart a mute and dumb working]; or, lastly, had been negligent in observing the intrigue, and overlooked it [looked upon this love with idle sight]; what would you have thought of me? 3T 2


Being a god, kissing carrion',-Ilave you a daugh-)


Pol. I have, my lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is a blessing; but not as your daughter may con- 5 ceive: 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 hin again. What do you read, my lord? Ham. Words, words, words! Pol. What is the matter, iny Ham. Between who?




Pol. I mean, the matter that you read, my 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 20 plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: All which, sir, though I most powerfully 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 back-25


Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's me-
thod in 't.

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 35 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.


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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.

Hum. Then is doom's-day 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 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.

1 Dr. Warburton's comment (which Dr. Johnson says almost sets the critic on a level with the author) on this passage is as follows: "The illative particle [for] shews the speaker to be reasoning from something he had said before: what that was we learn in these words, To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one picked out of ten thousand. Having said this, the chain of ideas led him to reflect upon the argument which libertines bring against Providence from the circumstance of abounding evil. * In the next speech therefore he endeavours to answer that objection, and vindicate Providence, even on a supposition of the fact, that almost all men were wicked. His argument in the two lines in question is to this purpose, But why need we wonder at this abounding of evil? For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, which though a god, yet shedding its heat and influence upon carrion-Here he stops short, lest talking too consequentially, the hearer should suspect his madness to be feigned; and so turns him off from the subject, by enquiring of his daughter. But the inference which he intended to make, was a very noble one, and to this purpose: If this (says he) be the case, that the effect follows the thing operated upon [carrion] and not the thing operating [a god], why need we wonder, that, the supreme cause of all things diffusing its blessings on mankind, who is, as it were, a dead carrion, dead in original sin, man, instead of a proper return of duty, should breed only corruption and vices? This is the argument at length; and is as noble a one in behalf of Providence as could come from the schools of divinity. But this wonderful man had an art not only of acquainting the audience with what his actors say, but with what they think. The sentiment too is altogether in character; for Hamlet is perpetually moralizing, and his circumstances make this reflection very natural." The meaning, Says Mr. Steevens, seems to be, Conception (i. e. understanding) is a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive, (i. e. be pregnant,) friend, look to't, i. e. have a care of that. By the satirical rogue he incans Juvenal, in his tenth satire. Pregnant is ready, dexterous, apt.


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 out-stretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows:-Shail we to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

Both. 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 15 you at Elsinour?

Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. Ham. Beggar that I am; I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you: and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear at a half-penny. Were 20 you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come; deal justly with ine: come, come; nay, speak.

Guil. What should we say, my lord? Ham. Any thing-but to the purpose. You 25 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?

and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me,-nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.

Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.

Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said, Man delights not me?

Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted' them on the way; and hither are they coming to offer you service.

Ham. He that plays the king, shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me: the adventurous knight shall use his foil, and target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humourous man shall end his part in peace; the clown shall make those laugh, whose lungs are tickled o' the sere*; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for 't.-What players are they?

Ros. Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the tragedians of the city.

Ham. How chances it, they travel? their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better 30 both ways.

Ham. That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserv'd love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be 35 even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no?

[To Guilden.

Ros. What say you? Ham. Nay, then I have an eye of you';-if you love me, hold not off.

Guil. My lord, we were sent for.


Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather. I have of late, (but, wherefore, I know not) lost all 45 my mirth, foregone all custom of exercises: and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firma-50 ment, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul

Ros. I think, their inhibition comes by the means of their late innovation".

Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so follow'd? Ros. No, indeed they are not.

Ham. How comes it? Do they grow rusty? Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: But there is, sir, an aiery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question', and are most tyrannically clapp'd for 't: these are now the fashion; and so berattle the common stages, (so they call them) that many, wearing rapiers, are afraid of goose quills, and dare searce come thither. Ham. What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? how are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common players, (as it is most like, if their means are no better) their writers do them wrong, to make them exclaim against their own succession?

Ros. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both

An eye of you means, I have a glimpse of your meaning. 2 i. e. sparing, like the entertainments given in Lent. 3 To cote is to overtake. i. e. (says Mr. Steevens) those who are asthmatical, and to whom laughter is most uneasy, which is the case with those whose lungs are tickled by the sere or serum. i. c. (says Mr. Steevens) their permission to act any longer at an established house is taken away, in consequence of the new custom of introducing personal abuse into their comedies.-Several companies of actors in the time of our author were silenced on account of this licentious practice. The poet here steps out of his subject, to give a lash at home, and sneer at the prevailing fashion of following plays performed by the children of the chapel, and abandoning the established theatres.— Little Eyases mean young nestlings, creatures just out of the egg, Children that perpetually recite in the highest notes of voice that can be uttered. • i. e. paid; from the French escot, a shot or reckoning. ? Quality for profession. sides;


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tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragicalcomical-historical-pastoral,scene undividable,or poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor 5 Plautus too light: For the law of writ', and the liberty, these are the only men.


Ham. It is not very strange: for my uncle is king of Denmark; and those, that would make mouths at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in little. There is something in this more 15 than natural, if philosophy could find it out.

[Flourish of trumpets.

Guil. There are the players.

Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinour. Your hands. Come then: the appurtenance of 20 welcome is fashion and ceremony: let me comply with you in this garb; lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must shew fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome: but my uncle-father, 25 and aunt-mother, are deceiv'd.

Guil. In what, my dear lord?

Ham. I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a hand-saw *.

Enter Polonius.

Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen! Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern;—and you too ;| -at each ear a hearer: That great baby, you see there, is not yet out of his swadling-clouts.

Ros. Haply, he's the second time come to them; for, they say, an old man is twice a child.


Ham. I will prophesy, he comes to tell me of the players; mark it.-You say right, sir: Monday morning; 'twas then, indeed.

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you.-When
Roscius was an actor in Rome,-

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Ham. Buz, buz'!

Pol. Upon mine honour,

Ham. Then came each actor on his ass",-
Pol. The best actors in the world, either for



Ham. O Jephtha, judge of Israel,-what a treasure hadst thou!

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord?
Ham. Why,-One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved pussing well.

Pol. Still on my daughter.

[Aside. Ham. Am I not i' the right, old Jephtha? Pol. If you call me Jephtha, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well. Ham. Nay, that follows not.

Pol. What follows then, my lord?

Ham. Why, as By lot, God wot,—and then, you know, It came to pass, As most like it was, The first row of the pious chanson will shew you more; for look, where my abridgement


Enter four or five players.


You are welcome, masters; welcome, all:-I am glad to see thee well :-welcome, good friends.— O, old friend! Why, thy face is valanc'd since I saw thee last; Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark?-What! my young lady and mistress! By-'r-lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than 30 when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chioppine". Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring.—Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: We'll have a speech straight: Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.


1 Play. What speech, my good lord?

Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once,— but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above 40 once: for the play, I remember, pleas'd not the million: 'twas caviare" to the general: but it was (as I receiv'd it, and others, whose judgements, in such matters, cried in the top of mine1) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down 45 with as much modesty" as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection":


To provoke any animal to rage, is to tarre him. 2 i. c. They not only carry away the world, but the world-bearer too: alluding to the story of Hercules' relieving Atlas; or the allusion may be to the Globe playhouse, on the Bankside, the sign of which was Hercules carrying the Globe. i. c. in miThis was a common proverbial speech. Buz, buz! are, probably, only interjections employed to interrupt Polonius. "This seems to be a line of a ballad. 'Writ, for writing, composition. These were quotations from an old song, 'Mr. Steevens explains this allusion thus: "The pious chansons were a kind of Christmas Carols, containing some scriptural history thrown into loose rhymes, and sung about the streets by the common people when they went at that season to solicit alms. Hamlet is here repeating some scraps from a song of this kind; and when Polonius enquires what follows them, he refers him to the first row (i. e. division) of one of these, to I obtain the information he wanted." 10 i. e. as Dr. Johnson thinks, those who will shorten my talk.An abridgement is used for a dramatic piece in the Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V. Sc. I. "1 A chioppine is a high shoe worn by the Italians. 12 That is, crack'd too much for use. 13 The caviare is the spawn of the sterlett, a fish of the sturgeon kind, which seldom grows above thirty inches long. It is found in many of the rivers of Russia.-The general means the people, or multitude. 14 i. e. were higher than mine. Modesty, for simplicity. i. e. convict the author of being a fantastical affected writer.




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