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Pol. Fare you well, my Lord.
Guildenstern ? Oh, Rosincrantz, good lads ! how do you both ?
Rof. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guil. Happy, in that we are not over-happy; on Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Ham. Nor the foles of her tkoe?
Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours ?
Guil. 'Faith, in her privates we.
Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune ? oh, most true ; fhe is a strumpet. What news?
Rof. 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, deferved at the hands of Fortune, that the sends you to prison hither?
Gail. Prifon, my Lord ?
Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst. Rof. We think not so, my
Ham. Why, then it is none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it fo: to me it is a prison.
Rof. Why, then your ambition makes it one : 'uis too narrow for
mind. Ham. Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. 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.
Ref. Truly, and I hold ambition of fo airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow.
Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs and out-stretched heroes, the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th’ Court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.
Both. We'll wait upon you.
Ham. No such matter. I will not fort you with the rest of my fervants; 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 Elsinoor?
Rof. To visit you, my Lord; no other occasion.
Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you; and fure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear of a half-penny. Were you not sent for? is it your own inclining ? is it a free vifitation ? come, deal juitly 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.
Rof. To what end, my Lord ?
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-preserved love, and by what more dear, a bete ter proposer could charge you withal; be even and direct with me, whether you were fent for or no? Rof. What say you?
[To Guilden. 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 snall my antici. pation prevent your discovery, and your fecrecy to the King and Queen moult no feather. I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercise; and, indeed, it goes fo heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'er-hanging firmament, this majestical root fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and peftilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a inan! 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 fo.
Rol. My Lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Ham. Why did you laugh, when I said, man delights not me?
Rof: To think, my Lord, if you delight not in
man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you; we accosted them on the way, in hither are they coming to offer- you service.
Han. He that plays the King shall be welcome; his Majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foyle and target; the lover thall not figh gratis ; the humorons man skall end Jiis parc in peace; and the lady thall fay ber mind frcely, or the blank verfe shall halt for't. What flayers are they?
Rof. Even those you were wont to take delight in, the tragedians of the city.
Ham. How chances it they travel? their refidence both in reputation and profit was better,
Rof. I think their inhibition comes by the means. of the late innovation.
Ham. Do they hold the fame estimation they did when I was in the city? are they so followed ?
Rof. No, indeed, they are not.
Rof. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: but there is, Sir, an aiery of children, little eyases, (30) that cry out on the top of question ; and are most tyrannically clapt for't; these are now
(30) But there is, Sir, an aiery of children, little yases, that rry out on the top of question ;] The Poet bere steps out of his subject to give a lash at home, and ineer at the prevailing, fashion of following plays performed by the children of the chapel, and abandoning the establimed theatres. But why are they called little y.ifos ? I widh fuine of the editor's would have expounded this fine new word to us; or, at least, told us where we might meet with it. Till then, I Thall make bold to fufpect it; and, without overstraining fagacity, attempt to retrieve the true word. As he firft calls. them an aiery of children, (now, an aiery or eyery is a bawk's: or cagle's neit) there is got the last question but we ought
the fashion, and so berattle the common lages, (fo they call them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills, and are scarce come thither.
Ham. What, are they children? who maintains 'em? how are they escorted ? will they purlue liie quality no longer than they can sing will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themtelves 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 luccellion?
Rof. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and the nation holds it no fin to tarre them on to controversy. There was, for a while, no money bid for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.
Ham. Is't poflible ?
Guil. Oh, there has been much throwing about of brains.
Ham. Do the boys carry it away?
Rof. Ay, that they do, my Lord, Hercules and his load too.
Ham. It is not ftrange; for mine uncle is King of Denmark; and those, that would make moves 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 than natural, if pbilosophy could find it out.
[Flourish for the Players. Guil. There are the players.
Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Ellinoor; to restore-litile cyafes; i. e. young neftlings, creatures jurt out of the egg. (AD (0.5 or is hawk, in nurs, a.ciperanza darius, qui recens ex svo emner fit. Skinner.) So Mrs Ford fays to Falstaff's dwarf page: How now, my eyus-musket? what news with you ?
Alerry iVives by Lindfor,