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What is't, but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

Queen. More matter, with less art.

Pol. Madam, I swear I use no art at all :
That he is mad 'tis true ; 'tis true, 'tis pity ;
And pity it is, 'tis true; a foolish figure,
But farewel 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 fay, the cause of this defect;
For this effect, defective, comes by cause ;
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus,
I have a daughter ; have, whilft she is mine,
Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath giv'n me this; now gather, and surmise:

[He opens a letter and reads.] To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia. That's an ill phrafe, a vile phrafe, beautified is a vile phrase ; but you shall hear These to her excellent white bosom, these

Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?
Pol. Good Madam, stay a while, I will be faithful.

Doubt thou, the stars are fire, [Reading
Doubt, that the sun doth move ;
Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt, I love. Ob dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers ; I have not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, ob most beft, believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear Lady, whilst this

Machine is to him, Hamlet.
This in obedience hath my daughter shewn me :
And, more above, hath his sollicitings
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.

King. But how hath she receiv'd his love?
Pol. What do you think of me?


King. As of a man, faithful and honourable.

Pol. I would fain prove so. But what might you think? When I had seen his hot love on the wing, (As I perceiv'd 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 play'd the desk or table-book, Or given my heart a working, mute and dumb, Or look'd upon this love with idle light, What might you think? no, I went round to work, And my young mittress thus I did bespeak; Lord Hemlet is a Prince out of thy sphere, This must not be; and then I precepts gave her, That she should lock her self from his resort, Admit no messengers, receive no cokens : Which done, she took the fruits of my advice, And he repulsed, a short tale to make, Fell to a sadness, then into a faft, Thence to a watching, thence into a weakness, Thence to a lightness, and by this declension Into the madness wherein now he raves, And all we wail for. King. Do you think this? Queen. It may be very likely.

Pol. Hath there been such a time, I'd fain know that,
That I have positively said, 'tis fo,
When it prov'd otherwise?

King. Not that I know.
Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise ;

[Pointing to bis bead and body.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the center.

King. How may we try it further?

Pol. You know sometimes he walks ? 'for hours together, Here in the lobby. Queen. So he does indeed.



Pol. Ac 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 fall’n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.

King. We will try it.

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Enter Hamlet reading.
Queen. But look where, fadly, the poor wretch comes

Pel. Away, I do beseech you, both away.
I'll board him presently. [Exeurt King and Queen,
O give me leave: how does my good Lord Hamlet?

Ham. Well, God-a-mercy.
Pol. Do you know me, my Lord ?
Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Pol. Not I, my Lord.
Ham. Then I would you were so honest a man.
Pol. Honest, my Lord ?

Ham. Ay, Sir ; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one pick'd out of ten thousand.

Pol. That's very true, my Lord.

Ham. For if the fun breed maggots in a dead dog,
Being a 8 God' kisling carrion
Have you a daughter?

Pol. I have, my Lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i'th' sun ; conception is a blessing, but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't.

Pol. How say you by that? still harping on my daughter Yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a filhmonger. He is far gone ; and truly in my youth, [Aside. I suffer'd much extremity for love ;

Very 8 good ... Warb. emend.

Z 2

Very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my Lord ?

Ham. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter, my Lord ?
Ham. Between whom?
Pol. I mean the matter that you read, my Lord.

Ham. Slanders, Sir: for the fatyrical Nave says here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled ; their eyes purging thick amber, and plumbtree 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, your self, Sir, shall be but as old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method in't: Will you walk out of the air, my Lord ?

Ham. Inco my grave ?

Pol. Indeed that is out o'th' air:
How pregnant (sometimes) his replies are ?
A happiness that often madnels hits on,
Which sanity and reason could not be
So prosp'rously deliver'd of. I'll leave him,
And suddenly contrive the means of meeting
Between him and my daughter.
My honourable Lord, I will most humbly
Take my leave of you.

Ham. You cannot, Sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal, except my life.

Pol. Fare you well, my Lord.
Ham. These tedious old fools!
Pol. You go to seek Lord Hamlet; there he is. (Exit.


Enter Rosincrofle and Guildenstern,
Rof. God save you, Sir.
Guil. Mine honour'd Lord'

Ror le as

Rof. My most dear Lord !

[denstern? Ham. My excellent good friends! how dost thou, GuilOh, Rosincrone! good lads, how do ye 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 foals of her shoe.
Rof. Neither, my Lord.

Ham. Then you live about her waste, or in the middle of her favours ?

Guil. 'Faith, in her privates we.

Ham. In the secret parts of fortune? oh, most true; she is a strumpet. What news ?

Rof. None, my Lord, but that the world's grown honest.

Ham. Then is dooms-day near ; but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular : what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that the sends you to prison hither?

Guil. Prison, my Lord !
Ham. Denmark's a prison.
Rof. Then is the world one.

Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons ; Denmark being one o'ch' worst.

Rof. We think not so, my Lord.

Ham. Why then, 'cis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it fo: to me it is a prison.

Ros. Why then your ambition makes it one : 'tis too narrow for your mind.

Ham. Oh God, I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and count my felf 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 meerly the shadow of a dream.

Ham. A dream it self is but a shadow.

Ros: Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow. Ham. Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs 2 3


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