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Re-enter Players with recorders. O, the recorders :-let me see one.(58)—To withdraw with you :-why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil ?
Guil. O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.
Ham. I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?
Guil. My lord, I cannot.
Ham. I pray you.
Guil. Believe me, I cannot.
Ham. I do beseech you.
Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord.
Ham. 'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with your finger and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.
Guil. But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.
Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass: and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak.(59) 'Sblood, do you think that I am easier to be played on than a pipe ? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me,
Enter POLONIUS. God bless you, sir!
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 backed like a weasel.
Ham. Or like a whale ?
Pol. Very like a whale.
Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by.—They fool me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.
Pol. I will say so.
Ham. By and by is easily said. [Exit Polonius.]-Leave me, friends. [Exeunt Ros., Guil., Hor., and Players. 'Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world : now could I drink hot blood, And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.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!
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 dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.
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 boisterous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
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.
Thanks, dear my lord.
[Exit Polonius. O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,A brother's murder !–Pray 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, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect. What if this cursèd 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 twofold force, -
To be forestallèd 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 compellid,
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 limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels! make assay:
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
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 scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and, for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad 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 pleasure 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 physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
[The King rises and advances. King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain below : Words without thoughts never to heaven go. [Exit.
Scene IV. ' 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 between
Much heat and him. I'll silence (60) me e'en here.
Pray you, be round with him.
Ham. [within] Mother, mother, mother!(61)
I'll warrant you ; Fear me not :-withdraw, I hear him coming.
[Polonius goes behind the arras.
Ham. Now, mother, what's the matter?
Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Ham. Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked (@) tongue.
Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet !
• What's the matter now?
Queen. Have you forgot me?
No, by the rood, not so: You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;