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But if the gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
510 In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamor 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.

Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his color and has tears in's eyes. - Pray you, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest soon. Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for 520 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 lived.

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

Ham. Odd's bodikins, man, much better! Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.

530 Pol. Come, sirs.

Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to[Exit PoL., with some of the Players]


[Aside to 1 Player] Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play The Murder of Gonzago?

1 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. [Aside] We'll ha't to-morrow 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 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. [Aside] Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exit Player] My good friends [to Ros. and GUIL.], I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.

Ros. Good my lord!

Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you! —

[Exeunt ROSEN. and GUIL. Now I am alone.

Oh, 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 his visage wanned;
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspéct,
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 Hecuba,

That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion

That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
560 And cleave the general ear with horrid speech;
Make mad the guilty and appal 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?
570 Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?

Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the


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

'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 have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: bloody, bloody villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!

O, vengeance!

Why, what an ass am I! this is most brave;
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must fall a-cursing, like a very trull,

A scullion!

Fie upon't! foh! About, my brain! 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 he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the 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.







A Room in the Castle


King. And can you, by no drift of circumstance, Get from him why he puts on this confusion, Grating so harshly all his days of quiet With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

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.


Did he receive you well?

Ros. Most like a gentleman.

Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition.
Ros. Niggard of question; but of our demands
Most free in his reply.

Queen. Did you assay him to any pastime?

Ros. Madam, it so fell out that certain players

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