Act II

Hey, seeing as we couldn’t get the extract text for Tapor to work out for us, here is a copy of act two that can be uploaded to Tapor or Voyeur.

Act 2, Scene 1

 

A room in Plns’ house.

Enter PLNS and RNLDO.

Plns

Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.

Rnldo

I will, my lord.

Plns

You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,

Before you visit him to make inquire

Of his behaviour.

Rnldo

My lord, I did intend it.

Plns

Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,

Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,

And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,

What company, at what expense, and finding

By this encompassment and drift of question

That they do know my son, come you more nearer

Than your particular demands will touch it:

Take you, as ’twere some distant knowledge of him,

As thus, ‘I know his father and his friends,

And in part him’ – do you mark this, Reynaldo?

Rnldo

Ay, very well, my lord.

Plns

‘And in part him,’ but you may say, ‘not well:

But, if’t be he I mean, he’s very wild,

Addicted so and so’, and there put on him

What forgeries you please. marry, none so rank

As may dishonour him – take heed of that –

But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips

As are companions noted and most known

To youth and liberty.

Rnldo

As gaming, my lord?

Plns

Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,

Quarrelling, drabbing – you may go so far.

Rnldo

My lord, that would dishonour him.

Plns

‘Faith, as you may season it in the charge.

You must not put another scandal on him

That he is open to incontinency –

That’s not my meaning – but breathe his faults so

Quaintly

That they may seem the taints of liberty,

The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,

A savageness in unreclaimed blood

Of general assault.

Rnldo

But, my good lord –

Plns

Wherefore should you do this?

Rnldo

Ay, my lord,

I would know that.

Plns

Marry, sir, here’s my drift –

And, I believe, it is a fetch of wit –

You laying these slight sallies on my son

As ’twere a thing a little soiled with working,

Mark you, your party in converse (him you would

sound)

Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes

The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured

He closes with you in this consequence:

‘Good sir’ (or so), or ‘friend’ or ‘gentleman’,

According to the phrase or the addition

Of man and country.

Rnldo

Very good, my lord.

Plns

And then, sir, does ‘a this, ‘a does –

what was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to

say something! where did I leave?

Rnldo

At ‘closes in the consequence’.

Plns

At ‘closes in the consequence’, ay, marry.

He closes thus: ‘I know the gentleman,

I saw him yesterday, or th’ other day,

Or then, or then, with such, or such; and, as you say

There was ‘a gaming; there o’ertook in’s rouse;

There falling out at tennis’, or perchance

‘I saw him enter such a house of sale’,

Videlicet a brothel, or so forth. See you now

Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth,

And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,

With windlasses and with assays of bias,

By indirections find directions out:

So by my former lecture and advice

Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?

Rnldo

My lord, I have.

Plns

God buy ye; fare ye well.

Rnldo

Good my lord.

Plns

Observe his inclination in yourself.

Rnldo

I shall, my lord.

Plns

And let him ply his music.

Rnldo

Well, my lord.

Plns

Farewell.

Exit Rnldo.

Enter OPLA.

How now, Ophelia, what’s the matter?

Opla

O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted.

Plns

With what, i’ the name of God?

Opla

My lord, as I was sewing in my closet

Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,

No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,

Ungartered and down-gyved to his ankle;

Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,

And with a look so piteous in purport

As if he had been loosed out of hell

To speak of horrors, he comes before me.

Plns

Mad for thy love?

Opla

My lord, I do not know,

But truly I do fear it.

Plns

What said he?

Opla

He took me by the wrist and held me hard,

Then goes he to the length of all his arm

And with his other hand thus o’er his brow

He falls to such perusal of my face

As ‘a would draw it. Long stayed he so;

At last, a little shaking of mine arm

And thrice his head thus waving up and down,

He raised a sigh so piteous and profound

As it did seem to shatter all his bulk

And end his being. That done, he lets me go

And with his head over his shoulder turned

He seemed to find his way without his eyes

(For out o’ doors he went without their helps)

And, to the last bended their light on me.

Plns

Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.

This is the very ecstasy of love,

Whose violent property fordoes itself

And leads the will to desperate undertakings

As oft as any passions under heaven

That does afflict our natures. I am sorry –

What, have you given him any hard words of late?

Opla

No, my good lord, but as you did command,

I did repel his letters and denied

His access to me.

Plns

That hath made him mad.

I am sorry that with better heed and judgement

I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle

And meant to wrack thee – but, beshrew my jealousy –

By heaven it is as proper to our age

To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions

As it is common for the younger sort

To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:

This must be known which, being kept close, might

move

More grief to hide than hate to utter love.

Come.

Exeunt.

 

Act 2, Scene 2

 

A room in the castle.

Enter KNG, QUEEN, RSNCRZ, GLDSTN, and

Attendants.

Kng

Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

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 call it

Sith nor th’ exterior nor the inward man

Resembles that it was. What it should be

More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him

So much from th’ understanding of himself

I cannot dream of. I entreat you both

That, being of so young days brought up with him

And sith so neighboured to his youth and haviour

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 opened lies within our remedy.

Grtde

Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you

And sure I am two men there is not living

To whom he more adheres. If it will please you

To show us so much gentry and good will

As to expend your time with us awhile

For the supply and profit of our hope,

Your visitation shall receive such thanks

As fits a king’s remembrance.

Rsncrz

Both your majesties

Might by the sovereign power you have of us

Put your dread pleasures more into command

Than to entreaty.

Gldstn

But we both obey

And here give up ourselves in the full bent

To lay our service freely at your feet

To be commanded.

Kng

Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.

Grtde

Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz.

And I beseech you instantly to visit

My too much changed son. Go, some of you

And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.

Gldstn

Heavens make our presence and our practices

Pleasant and helpful to him.

Grtde

Ay, amen.

Exeunt Rsncrz, Gldstn, and some Attendants.

Enter Plns.

Plns

Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,

Are joyfully returned.

Kng

Thou still hast been the father of good news.

Plns

Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege

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

Hunts not the trail of policy so sure

As it hath used to do, that I have found

The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.

Kng

O, speak of that, that do I long to hear.

Plns

Give first admittance to th’ ambassadors.

My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.

Kng

Thyself do grace to them and bring them in.

Exit Plns.

He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found

The head and source of all your son’s distemper.

Grtde

I doubt it is no other but the main –

His father’s death and our hasty marriage.

Kng

Well, we shall sift him.

Re-enter Plns, with VLTMND and CRNLS.

Welcome, my good friends.

Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?

Vltmnd

Most fair return of greetings and desires.

Upon our first he sent out to suppress

His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared

To be a preparation ‘gainst the Polack;

But, better looked into, he truly found

It was against your highness; whereat, grieved

That so his sickness, age and impotence

Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests

On Fortinbras, which he, in brief obeys,

Receives rebuke from Norway and, in fine,

Makes vow before his uncle never more

To give th’ assay of arms against your majesty.

Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,

Gives him threescore thousand crowns in annual fee

And his commission to employ those soldiers

So levied (as before) against the Polack,

With an entreaty herein further shown

Giving a paper.

That it might please you to give quiet pass

Through your dominions for this enterprise

On such regards of safety and allowance

As therein are set down.

Kng

It likes us well,

And at our more considered time we’ll read,

Answer and think upon this business;

Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labour.

Go to your rest, at night we’ll feast together:

Most welcome home.

Exeunt Vltmnd and Crnls.

Plns

This business is well ended.

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, 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.

Grtde

More matter with less art.

Plns

Madam, I swear I use no art at all.

That he’s 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.

Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.  Perpend,

I have a daughter — have while she is mine –

Who in her duty and obedience, mark,

Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.

Reads.

To the celestial and my soul’s idol, the most

Beautified Ophelia — That’s an ill phrase, a

Vile phrase, ‘beautified’ is a vile phrase, but

You shall hear – thus in

Her excellent white bosom, these, etc.

Grtde

Came this from Hamlet to her?

Plns

Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.

Reads.

Doubt thou the stars are fire,

Doubt that the sun doth move,

Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt I love.

O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art

to reckon my groans, but that I love thee best, O most best,

believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst

this machine is to him. Hamlet.

This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me;

And more about hath his solicitings

As they fell out, by time, by means and place,

All given to mine ear.

Kng

But how hath she

Received his love?

Plns

What do you think of me?

Kng

As of a man faithful and honourable.

Plns

I would fain prove so. But what might you think

When I had seen this hot love on the wing –

As I perceived it (I must tell you that)

Before my daughter told me — what might you,

Or my dear majesty your queen here, think

If I had played the desk or table-book,

Or given my heart a working mute and dumb,

Or looked upon this love with idle sight,

What might you think? No, I went round to work

And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:

‘Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.

This must not be.’ and then I prescripts 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, repelled, a short tale to make,

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.

Kng

Do you think this?

Grtde

It may be, very like.

Plns

Hath there been such a time – I would fain know that –

That I have positively said ‘Tis so

When it proved otherwise?

Kng

Not that I know.

Plns

Pointing to his head and shoulders

Take this from this if this be otherwise.

If circumstances lead me I will find

Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed

Within the centre.

Kng

How may we try it further?

Plns

You know, sometimes he walks four hours together

Here in the lobby?

Grtde

So he does, indeed.

Plns

At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.

Be you and I behind an arras then,

Mark the encounter: if he love her not

And be not from his reason fallen thereon

Let me be no assistant for a state,

But keep a farm and carters.

Kng

We will try it.

Grtde

But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.

Plns

Away, I do beseech you both, away.

I’ll board him presently.  O, give me leave.

Exeunt King, Queen, and Attendants.

Enter HMLT, reading.

How does my good Lord Hamlet?

Hmlt

Well, God-a-mercy.

Plns

Do you know me, my lord?

Hmlt

Excellent well, you are a fishmonger.

Plns

Not I, my lord.

Hmlt

Then I would you were so honest a man.

Plns

Honest, my lord?

Hmlt

Ay, sir, to be honest as this world goes is to be

one man picked out of ten thousand.

Plns

That’s very true, my lord.

Hmlt

For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,

being a good kissing carrion – have you a daughter?

Plns

I have, my lord.

Hmlt

Let her not walk i’ th’ sun: conception is a

blessing but as your daughter may conceive, Friend –

look to’t.

Plns

Aside

How say you by that? Still harping on

my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first, ‘a said I was a

fishmonger! ‘a is far gone; and truly in my youth I

suffered much extremity for love, very near this.

I’ll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord?

Hmlt

Words, words, words.

Plns

What is the matter, my lord?

Hmlt

Between who?

Plns

I mean the matter that you read, my lord.

Hmlt

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 plumtree

gum and that they have a 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

grow old as I am – if like a crab you could go

backward.

Plns

Aside

Though this be madness, yet there is

method in’t. – Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

Hmlt

Into my grave.

Plns

Aside

Indeed, that’s out of the air. How

pregnant sometimes his replies are – a happiness that

often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could

not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him and

my daughter. – My lord, I will take my leave of you.

Hmlt

You cannot take from me anything that I will

not more willingly part withal – except my life, except

my life, except my life.

Plns

Fare you well, my lord.

Hmlt

These tedious old fools.

Enter RSNCRZ and GLDSTN.

Plns

You go to seek the Lord Hamlet? there he is.

Rsncrz [To Plns]

God save you, sir!

Exit Plns.

Gldstn

My honoured lord.

Rsncrz

My most dear lord.

Hmlt

My excellent good friends. How dost thou,

Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do

You both?

Rsncrz

As the indifferent children of the earth.

Gldstn

Happy, in that we are not ever happy.

On fortune’s cap we are not the very button.

Hmlt

Nor the soles of her shoe?

Rsncrz

Neither, my lord.

Hmlt

Then you live about her waist, or in the middle

of her favours?

Gldstn

‘Faith, her privates we.

Hmlt

In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true –

she is a strumpet. What news?

Rsncrz

None, my lord, but the world’s grown

honest.

Hmlt

Then is doomsday near – but your news is not

true. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make

you at Elsinore?

Rsncrz

To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.

Hmlt

Beggar that I am, I am ever poor in thanks, but

I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too

dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own

inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly

with me. come, come. nay speak.

Gldstn

What should we say, my lord?

Hmlt

Anything, but to th’ 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.

Rsncrz

To what end, my lord?

Hmlt

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 better proposer can

charge you withal, be even and direct with me whether

you were sent for or no.

Rsncrz

What say you?

Hmlt

Nay then, I have an eye of you. If you love me,

Hold not off.

Gldstn

My lord, we were sent for.

Hmlt

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 my mirth, forgone 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 firmament,

this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it

appeareth nothing to me but a foul 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 women neither, though by your smiling you

seem to say so.

Rsncrz

My lord, there was no such stuff in my

thoughts.

Hmlt

Why did ye laugh then, when I said man

delights not me?

Rsncrz

To think, my lord, if you delight not in

Man what lenten entertainment the players shall recieve

from you; we coted them on the way and hither are they

coming to offer you service.

Hmlt

He that plays the King shall be welcome – his

majesty shall have tribute on me – the Adventurous

Knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall not

sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his part in

peace, and the lady shall say her mind freely or the

blank verse shall halt for’t. What players are they?

Rsncrz

Even those you were wont to take such

delight in, the tragedians of the city.

Hmlt

How chances it they travel? Their residence,

both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Rsncrz

I think their inhibition comes by the

means of the late innovation.

Hmlt

Do they hold the same estimation they did

when I was in the city? Are they so followed?

Rsncrz

No, indeed are they not.

Hmlt

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, a hundred

ducats a-piece for his picture in little. ‘Sblood, there is

something in this more than natural if philosophy

could find it out.

Flourish of trumpets within.

Gldstn

There are the players.

Hmlt

Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your

hands, come, then! Th’ appurtenance of welcome is

fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this

garb lest my extent to the players, which I tell you

must show fairly outwards, should more appear like

entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my

uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.

Gldstn

In what, my dear lord?

Hmlt

I am but mad north-north-west. When the

wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Re-enter PLNS.

Plns

Well be with you, gentlemen.

Hmlt

Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too – at each

Ear a hearer. That great baby you see there is not yet out

of his swaddling clouts.

Rsncrz

Happily he is the second time come to

them, for they say an old man is twice a child.

Hmlt

I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the

Players. Mark it. – You say right, sir, o’ Monday

Morning, ’twas then indeed.

Plns

My lord, I have news to tell you.

Hmlt

My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius

was an actor in Rome –

Plns

The actors are come hither, my lord.

Hmlt

Buzz, buzz.

Plns

Upon my honour,

Hmlt

– Then came each actor on his ass.

Plns

The best actors in the world, either for

tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,

historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem

unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy nor Plautus too

light for the law of writ and the liberty. These are the

only men.

Hmlt

O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst

thou?

Plns

What a treasure had he, my lord?

Hmlt

Why,

One fair daughter and no more,

The which he loved passing well.

Plns

Aside

Still on my daughter.

Hmlt

Am I not i’ th’ right, old Jephthah?

Plns

If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a

daughter that I love passing well.

Hmlt

Nay, that follows not.

Plns

What follows then, my lord?

Hmlt

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 show you more,

for look where my abridgement comes.

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 valanced 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 when I saw you last by the altitude of a chopine.

Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be

not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all

welcome. We’ll e’en to’t like French falconers – fly at

anything we see. We’ll have a speech straight. Come,

give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate

speech.

First Player

What speech, my good lord?

Hmlt

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 pleased not the million, ‘twas caviare to the

general. But it was, as I received it, and others whose

judgements in such matters cried in the top of mine, an

excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down

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 indict

the author of affection, but called it an honest method,

as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more

handsome than fine. One speech in’t I chiefly loved –

‘t was Aeneas’ talk to Dido, and thereabout of it

especially when he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live

in your memory begin at this line – let me see, let me

see –

The rugged Pyrrhus like th’ Hyrcanian beast …

– ‘Tis not so. It begins with Pyrrhus.

The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,

Black as his purpose, did the night resemble

When he lay couched in th’ ominous horse,

Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared

With heraldry more dismal, head to foot.

Now is he total gules, horridly tricked

With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,

Baked and impasted with the parching streets

That lend a tyrannous and a damned light

To their lord’s murder; roasted in wrath and fire,

And thus o’ersized with coagulate gore,

With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus

Old grandsire Priam seeks.

So, proceed you.

Plns

‘Fore God, my lord, well spoken – with good

accent and good discretion.

First Player

Anon he finds him,

Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,

Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,

Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,

Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,

But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword

Th’ unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium

Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top

Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash

Takes prisoner Pyrrhus’ ear. For lo, his sword

Which was declining on the milky head

Of reverend Priam seemed i’ the air to stick.

So, as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood

And like a neutral to his will and matter,

Did nothing.

But as we often see against some storm

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, forged for proof eterne,

With less remorse than Pyrrhus’ bleeding sword

Now falls on Priam.

Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods

In general synod take away her power,

Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel

And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven

As low as to the fiends.

Plns

This is too long.

Hmlt

It shall to the barber’s, with your beard. Prithee,

say on – he’s for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps

say on, come to Hecuba.

First Player

But who – ah woe – had seen the mobled queen –

Hmlt

‘The mobled queen’!

Plns

That’s good.

First Player

– Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames

With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head

Where late the diadem stood and, for a robe,

About her lank and all – o’erteemed loins,

A blanket in the alarm of fear caught up.

Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped,

‘Gainst Fortune’s state would treason have pronounced.

But if the gods themselves did see her then,

When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport

In mincing with his sword her husband limbs,

The instant burst of clamour that she made

(Unless things mortal move them not at all)

Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven

And passion in the gods.

Plns

Look where he has not turned his colour and

Has tears in’s eyes. – Prithee, no more!

Hmlt

‘Tis well. I’ll have thee speak out the rest of this

soon. [to Plns] Good my lord, will you see the

players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well

used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of

the time: after your death you were better have a bad

epitaph than their ill report while you live.

Plns

My lord, I will use them according to their

desert.

Hmlt

God’s bodkin, man, much better! Use every

Man after 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.

Plns

Come, sirs.

Hmlt

Follow him, friends. We’ll hear a play

tomorrow.

Exit Plns with all the Players but the First.

Dost thou hear me, old

Friend? Can you play The Murder of Gonzago?

First Player

Ay, my lord.

Hmlt

We’ll ha’t to-morrow night. You could for need,

study a speech of some dozen lines, or sixteen lines,

which I would set down and insert in’t, could you not?

First Player

Ay, my lord.

Hmlt

Very well. Follow that lord – and look you mock

him not.

Exit First Player.

My good friends, I’ll leave

you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.

Rsncrz

Good my lord.

Hmlt

Ay so, God buy to you.

Exeunt Rsncrz and Gldstn.

Now I am alone.

O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!

Is it not monstrous that this player here,

But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,

Could force his soul so to his own conceit

That from her working all the visage wanned

– Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,

A broken voice, and his whole function suiting

With forms to his conceit – and all for nothing –

For Hecuba?

What’s Hecuba to him, or he to her,

That he should weep for her? What would he do

Had he the motive and that for passion

That I have? He would drown the stage with tears

And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,

Make mad the guilty and appall the free,

Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed

The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,

A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,

Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,

And can say nothing. No, not for a king

Upon whose property and most dear life

A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across,

Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face,

Tweaks me by the nose, gives me the lie i’ th’ throat

As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this,

Ha? ‘Swounds, I should take it. For it cannot be

But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall

To make oppression bitter, or ere this

I should ha’ fatted all the region kites

With this slave’s offal – bloody, bawdy villain,

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain.

Why, what an ass am I: This is most brave,

That I, the son of a dear murdered,

Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,

Must like a whore unpack my heart with words

And fall a-cursing like a very drab,

A stallion! Fie upon’t, foh! About, my brains!

Hum, 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 proclaimed 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 ‘a do blench

I know my course. The spirit that I have seen

May be a de’il, and the de’il hath power

T’ 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.

Exit.

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