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Enter FIRST Actor, Actress, and Second Actor.
You are welcome, masters; welcome, all:—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-'rlady, your ladyship is nearer Heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine.—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 Act. What speech, my lord
Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once,—but it was never acted: or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleas'd not the million; 'twas caviare to the general: but it was an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. One speech in it I chiefly lov’d: 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter: If it live in your memory, begin at this line;
The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,-
Pol. 'Fore Heaven, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion.
Ham. So;—proceed you.
1 Act. Anon, he finds him
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still, The bold winds speechless, and the orb below As hush as death ; anon, the dreadful thunder Doth rend the region : So, after Pyrrhus' pause, A roused vengeance sets him new a-work ; And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne, With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword Now falls on Priam. Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune 1 Pol. This is too long. Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.— Say on: Come to Hecuba. 1 Act. But who, ah woe 1 had seen the mobled queen,_ Ham. The mobled queen! Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Act. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames ; A clout upon that head, Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up: is/ho this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd? Pol. Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.—'Pr'ythee, no more. Ham. "Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow'd do you hear, let them be well us'd; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live. Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert. . Ham. Much better. Use every man aster his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.
Pol. Come, sir. Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play tonight.—Old friend,-, [Ereunt Polonius, SEcond Actor, and Act Ress. My good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.— [Ereunt Rose.NcRANTz and GUILDENstERN. Can you play the murder of Gonzago? 1 Act. Ay, my lord. Ham. We'll have it to-night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't? could you not? 1 Act. Ay, my lord. Ham. Very well.—Follow that lord; and look you mock him not.— - [Erit FIRST Actor. —I have heard, That guilty creatures, sitting at a play, Have by the very cunning of the scene Been struck so to the soul, that presently They have proclaim'd their malefactions: For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players Play something like the murder of my father, Before mine uncle: I’ll observe his looks; I'll tent him to the quick; if he do blench, I know my course. The spirit, that I have seen, May be a devil: and the devil hath power To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps, Out of my weakness, and my melancholy, As he is very potent with such spirits, Abuses me, to damn me: I'll have grounds More relative than this; the play's the thing, Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King. [Erit.
ACT THE THIRD.
A Theatre in the Palace.
Enter Polon IUs, QUEEN, KING, OPHELIA, RosencRANTz, and GUILDENSTERN.
King. And can you by no drift of conference Get from him, why he puts on this confusion ?
Ros. He does confess he feels himself distracted; But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded; But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof, When we would bring him on to some confession Of his true state.
Queen. Did you assay him To any pastime
Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players
Pol. "Tis most true:
King. With all my heart; and it doth much con
To hear him so inclin'd.
Ros. We shall, my lord. [Ereunt GUILDENSTERN and RoseNcRANTz. Ring. Sweet Gertrude, leave us too: For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither; That he, as 'twere, by accident, may here Affront Ophelia: Her father, and myself (lawful espials) Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen, We may of their encounter frankly judge; And gather by him, as he is behav'd, If 't be the affliction of his love, or no, That thus he suffers for. Queen. I shall obey you: And, for your part, §. I do wish, That your good beauties be the happy cause Of Hamlet's wildness; so shall I hope, your virtues Will bring him to his wonted way again, To both your honours. Oph. Madam, I wish it may. [Erit QUEEN. Pol. Ophelia, walk you here:— Read on this book; That show of such an exercise may colour Your loneliness.-We are oft to blame in this, "Tis too much prov'd –that with devotion's visage, And pious action, we do sugar o'er The devil himself. King. O, 'tis too true.—How smart A lash that speech doth give my conscience! Pol. I hear him coming; let's withdraw, my lord. [Ereunt KING and Polonius.
Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question:— Whether’tis nobler in the mind, to suffer. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them —To die?—to sleep, + No more;—and, by a sleep, to say we end