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A Hall in the Same.
Enter HAMLET and certain Players.
Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O! it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'er-doing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray
you avoid it.
1 Play. I warrant your honour.
Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion 116 be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, were, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one must, in your allowance, o’er-weigh a whole theatre of others. 0! there be players, that I have seen play,
and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor Turk, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
1 Play. I hope, we have reformed that indifferently with us. 117
Ham. 0! reform it altogether. And let those, that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too: though in the mean
time some necessary question of the play be then to be con-
Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.
Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. What, ho! Horatio! | 118
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
Hor. 0! my dear lord,
Nay, do not think I flatter;
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
Well, my lord;
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle;
OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and Others.
Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the camelion's dish: I eat the air, promise - crammed. You cannot feed capons so.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet: these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now. My lord, you played once in the university, you say?
[To POLONIUS. Pol. That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor. Ham. And what did you enact ?
Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed me.
Ham. It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there. Be the players ready?
Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.
[To the King.
[Lying down at OPHELIA's Feet. |
Ham. Who, I?
Ham. O God! your only jig - maker. What should a man do, but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
Oph. Nay, 't is twice two months, my lord.
Ham. So long? Nay then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens! die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year; but, by -'r- lady, he must build churches then, or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse; whose epitaph is, “For, O! for, 0! the hobby - horse is forgot."
Hautboys play. The dumb Show enters.
He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck; lays him down upon a bank of flowers: she, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King's ears, and exit. The Queen returns, finds the King dead, and makes passionate action. The poisoner, with some two or three Mutes, comes in ayain, seeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The poisoner wooes the Queen with gifts: she seems loath and unwilling awhile; but in the end accepts his love.
Oph. What means this, my lord?
Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play. | 123
Enter Prologue. Ham. We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counsel; they 'll tell all.
Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant?
Ham. Ay, or any show that you will show him: be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it
Oph. You are naught, you are naught. I'll mark the play.
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.”
Oph. 'T is brief, my lord.
Enter a King and a Queen.
P. Queen. So many journeys may the sun and moon
P. King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
0, confound the rest!
Ham. [Aside.] Wormwood, wormwood!
P. Queen. The instances, that second marriage move,
P. King. I do believe you think what now you speak,