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With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.1

Ah me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ? 2
Ham. Look here upon this picture, and on this
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow!
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury,
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination, and a form, indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man.

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This was your husband.-Look you now, what follows.
Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear,

Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for, at your age,
The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment. And what judgment
Would step from this to this? [Sense sure you have,
Else could you not have motion: but, sure, that sense
Is apoplexed; for madness would not err;
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled,
But it reserved some quantity of choice,


To serve in such a difference.] What devil was't,

1 The quarto of 1604 gives this passage thus:

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2 Index is here used in one of its least common senses, as a preparatory sketch in dumb show, prefixed to the act of a play.

3 It is evident, from this passage, that whole-length pictures of the two kings were formerly introduced. Station does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing, the attitude.

4 Here the allusion is to Pharaoh's dream, Genesis, xli.

5 Sense here is not used for reason; but for sensation, feeling, or perception.

That thus hath cozened you at hoodman blind? 1
[Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense,
Could not so mope.2]

O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine 3 in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,

And melt in her own fire; proclaim no shame,
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge;
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,

And reason panders will.

Queen. O Hamlet, speak no more. Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained 5 spots As will not leave their tinct.


Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed;

Stewed in corruption; honeying, and making love

Over the nasty sty;


O, speak to me no more;

These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.

Ham. A murderer, and a villain;

A slave, that is not twentieth part the tithe


Of your precedent lord ;-a vice of kings;

1 "The hoodwinke play, or hoodman blind, in some place, called blindmanbuf."-Baret. It is hob-man-blind in the quarto of 1603.

2 i. e. could not be so dull and stupid.

3 Mutine for mutiny. This is the old form of the verb.

4 Thus in the quarto of 1603:

"Why, appetite with you is in the wane,

Your blood runs backward now from whence it came;
Who'll chide hot blood within a virgin's heart,

When lust shall dwell within a matron's breast?

5 "Grained spots;" that is, dyed in grain, deeply imbued.

6 i. e. greasy, rank, gross. It is a term borrowed from falconry. The seam of any animal was the fat or tallow; and a hawk was said to be enseamed when she was too fat or gross for flight. It should be remarked, that the quarto of 1603 reads incestuous, as does that of 1611.

7 i. e. "the low mimic, the counterfeit, a dizard, or common vice and jester, counterfeiting the gestures of any man."-Fleming. Shakspeare afterwards calls him a king of shreds and patches, alluding to the particolored habit of the vice or fool in a play.

A cutpurse of the empire and the rule;
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!


No more.

Enter Ghost.1

A king


Of shreds and patches.

Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,

You heavenly guards!-What would your gracious figure?

Queen. Alas, he's mad.


Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
O, say!

Ghost. Do not forget. This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits.
O, step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
Speak to her, Hamlet.


How is it with you, lady?
Queen. Alas, how is't with you?
That you do bend your eyes on vacancy,


And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,"
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?

1 The first quarto adds, "in his night-gown."

2 "Lapsed in time and passion." Johnson explains this-"That having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, lets go by," &c. This explanation is confirmed by the quarto of 1603:

"Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That I thus long have let revenge slip by?"

3 Conceit, for conception, imagination.

4 The hair is excrementitious; that is, without life or sensation.

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Ham. On him! on him!-Look you, how pale he


His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable.'-Do not look upon me;
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern affects: 2 then what I have to do

Will want true color; tears, perchance, for blood.
Queen. To whom do you speak this?


Do you see nothing there? Queen. Nothing at all; yet all, that is, I see.

Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?

Queen. No, nothing, but ourselves.

Ham. Why, look you, there! look, how it steals


My father, in his habit as he lived!

Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal !

[Exit Ghost. Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain. This bodiless creation ecstasy 3

Is very cunning in.



My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness,
That I have uttered; bring me to the test,
And I the matter will reword; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks.
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,

1 Capable for susceptible, intelligent.

2 "My stern affects." All former editions read-" My stern effects." We should certainly read affects, i. e. dispositions, affections of the mind; as in that disputed passage of Othello:-"the young affects in me defunct." 3 This speech of the queen has the following remarkable variation in the quarto of 1603:—

"Alas, it is the weakness of thy brain

Which makes thy tongue to blazon thy heart's grief;
But as I have a soul, I swear to heaven,

I never knew of this most horrid murder:

But, Hamlet, this is only fantasy,

And for my love forget these idle fits."

Infects unseen. Confess yourself to Heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue,
For in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg;

Yea, curb1 and woo, for leave to do him good.

Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain. Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it,

And live the purer with the other half.

Good night; but go not to my uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.


[That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this;
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock, or livery,
That aptly is put on.] Refrain to-night; 3
And that shall lend a kind of easiness

To the next abstinence; [the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either quell the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency.] Once more, good night!
And when you are desirous to be blessed,
I'll blessing beg of you.-For this same lord,

[Pointing to POLONIUS. I do repent. But Heaven hath pleased it so,To punish me with this, and this with me; 5

1 i. e. bow. "Courber (Fr.), to bow."

2 Dr. Thirlby proposed to read, "Of habits evil.” Steevens would read, "Or habits' devil." It is evident that there is an intended opposition between angel and devil; but the passage will, perhaps, bear explaining as it stands:" That monster custom, who devours all sense (feeling, or perception) of devilish habits, is angel yet in this," &c. This passage might, perhaps, have been as well omitted, after the example of the editors of the folio.

3 Here the quarto of 1603 has two remarkable lines :

"And, mother, but assist me in revenge,
And in his death your infamy shall die."

4 "The next more easy," &c. This passage, as far as potency, is also omitted in the folio. In the line

"And either quell the devil, or throw him out,"

the word quell is wanting in the old copy.

5 "To punish me by making me the instrument of this man's death, and to punish this man by my hand."

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