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• sphere, Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy *star, *
"prescripts This must not be: and then I precepts* 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, repulsed, (a short tale to make,)
Fell into a sadness; then into a fast ;(21)
Thence to a watch ;c thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we waile* for.
KING.

Do you think, 'tis this?
Queen. It may be, very likely. **
Pol. Hath there been such a time, (l'd fain

know that,)
That I have positively said, 'Tis so,
When it prov'd otherwise?
KING.

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

[Pointing to his Head and Shoulder.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
King.

How may we try it further ?
Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours

together,
Here in the lobby.
QUEEN.

So he does, indeed.
Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to

him :

* out of thy star] Is, as a constellation of a higher class or order. This is also the reading of the 4to. 1611.

b Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;] She took the fruits of advice when she obeyed advice, the advice was then made fruitful. Johnson.

cuatch] Sleepless state.

Be you and I behind an arrasa 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,
And * keep a farm, and carters.
King.

We will try it.

• But, 4tos.

Enter Hamlet, reading.

Pol. Do you

QUEEN. But, look, where sadly the poor

wretch comes reading Pol. Away, I do beseech you, both away ; I'll boord* him presently:"-O, give me leave.- • bord. Atos

[Exeunt King, Queen, and Attendants. How does my good lord Hamlet ? HAM. Well, god-'a-mercy.

know me, my lord ? Ham. Excellent, 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 man picked out of two * thousand.

Pol. That's very true, my lord.

Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead
dog, being a good kissing carrion,
daughter?

Pol. I have, my lord,
Ham. Let her not walk i'the sun: conception is
* behind an arras] Hangings of the room. See I. H. IV. Ps.
Hen. II. 4.

I'll boord him presently] Accost, address. See Tw. N. I. 3. Sir Tob.

* ten, Atos,

-Have you a

read 4tos.

a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive,friend, look to't. (22)

Pol. How say you by that? [Aside.] Still harp. ing on my daughter :-yet he knew me not at first; he said, I was a fishmonger: He is far gone, 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 ?

HAM. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter, my lord ?
HAM. Between who?

Pol. I mean, the matter that you mean,* my

lord. rogue 4tos. HAM. Slanders, sir: for the satirical slave * says

here that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: All of 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 be as old as I am, if like a crab, you could

go

backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method in it. [Aside.] Will you walk out of the air,

my lord?

HAM. Into my grave?

Pol. Indeed, that is out o'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 suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter.--My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.

how pregnant his replies) Big with meaning. We have “ dull and unpregnant" at the end of this scene. Haml. “Quick and pregnant capacities." Puttenham's Arte of Poesie. p. 154.

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

Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
HAM. These tedious old fools !

Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.

ye both ?

Pol. You go to seek the lord Hamlet; there he is. Ros. God save you, sir! [To POLONIUS.

[Exit POLONIUS. Guil. My honour'd lord ! Ros. My most dear lord !

HAM. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do

Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth..

Guil. Happy, in that we are not overhappy;
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.

HAM. Nor the soles of her shoe?
Ros. Neither, my lord.

HAM. Then you live about her *waist, or in the wast,o.C. middle of her favours ?

Guil. 'Faith, her privates we.

HAM. In the secret parts of fortune ? O, most true; she is a strumpet.

What news?
Ros. None, my lord; but that the world's

grown honest.

the indifferent children of the earth] Who, not lifted too high, are, as is said, indifferentlywell off.

Faith, her privates we] One sense at least here is the military one, of not being in authority or command.

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 she sends you to prison hither?

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

HAM. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.

Ros. We think not so, my lord.

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

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

HAM. O God! I could be bounded in a nut. shell, and count myself 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 merely the shadow of a dream. (23)

HAM. A dream itself 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, and outstretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows:- Shall we to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

a Then are our beggars bodiesand our outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows] At this rate, and, if it be true, that lofty aims are no more than air, our beggars only have the nature of substance; and our monarchs and those who are blazoned so far abroad, as to be thought materially to fill so much space, are in fact shadows, and in imagination only gigantic.

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