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temper? you do freely bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.

HAM. Sir, I lack advancement.

Ros. How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?

HAM. Ay, sir, but While the grass grows,-the proverb is something musty.

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Enter the Players, with a Recorder."


O, the recorder:-let me see one.--To withdraw

:-(68)Why do you go about to recover the wind of me,

as if you would drive me into a toil ?

Guil. O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.'

HAM. I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe ?

Guil. My lord, I cannot.

pray you.

you do freely bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend] By your own act you close the way against your own ease, and the free discharge of your griefs, if you open not the source of them to your friends. The quartos read, “ you do surely bar the door upon..

you have the voice of the king himself for your succession] " The most immediate to our throne.” 1. 2. King.

cWhile the grass grows,”-the proverb is something musty] Partakes of the staleness it is descriptive of. He was, as he had just told the king, “ promise-cramm'd: you can't feed capons so.” « Recorder] Flagellet. See M. N. Dr. V. 1. Hippol.

if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmanner!y] If my sense of duty have led me too far, it is affection and regard for you that makes the carriage of that duty border on disrespect.

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GUIL. Believe me, I cannot.
HAM. I do beseech you.
Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord.

HAM. 'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with

your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most excellent music. Look you, these are the stops.

Guil. But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.

Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me? You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass : and there is much musick, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think, I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play

upon me, (70)


God bless you, sir !

Pol. My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.

HAM. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a camel ?

Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
HAM. Methinks, it is like a weasel.
Pol. It is backed like a weasel.
HAM. Or, like a whale ?

·govern these ventages—and it will discourse most excellent music] Justly order these vents, or air-holes, and it will breathe or utter, &c. For excellent, the quartos read eloquent.

Pol. Very like a whale.

HAM. Then will I come to my mother by and by.) They fool me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by Pol. I will say so.

[Exit POLONIUS. HAM. By and by is easily said.-Leave me, friends.

[Exeunt Ros. Guil. Hor. &c. 'Tis now the very witching time of night; When churchyards yawn,

(12) and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world : Now could I drink hot

blood, (73)

• loose,

And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft; now to my mo-

O, heart, lose* not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, (+4) but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites :
How in my words soever she be shent, (15)
To give them seals never, my soul, consent !


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They fool me to the top of my bent] To the height; as far as they see me incline to go: an allusion to the utmost flexure of a bow,

give my words seals] Make my “ sayings a deed ;" as is nearly his language in 1. 3. Laert. and Tim. V. 1. Painter.

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A Room in the same.


#near us, 4tos.

King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,"
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
I your commission will forth with despatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so dangerous*, as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies. (76)

We will ourselves provide :
Most holy and religious fear it is,
To keep those many many bodies safe,
That live, and feed, upon your majesty.

Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from ’noyance; but much more
That spirit, upon whose spirit* depends and rests weal, 4tos.
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it, with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit* of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoined; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.


somnet, 0. C.

* stands it safe with us] Is it consistent with our security.

o the ccuse of majesty] Demise, fall. Throughout our author a strong sense is attached to the verb cease. See « fall and cease," Lear, last sc. Alb. The quartos give cesse.


King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy.

voyage ;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
Ros. GUIL.

We will haste us. (Exeunt Rosencrantz and GuildENSTERN.


Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet: Behind the arras I'll convey myself, To hear the process; I'll warrant, she'll tax him

home : And, as you said, and wisely was it said, 'Tis meet, that some more audience than a mo

ther, Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear The speech of vantage. Fare you well, my liege: I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know. King.

Thanks, dear



[Erit POLONIUS. O, ту offence is rank, it smells to heaven;" It hath the primal eldest curse upon A brother's murder !- Pray can I not, Though inclination be as sharp as will ;a My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;


* this fear] Bugbear. See Ant. and CI. II. 3. Sooths.

o'erhear the speech of vantage] If conveying any thing distinctly; " that gives the means of availing itself of occurrences.'

O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven] Even there, where the odour of sacrifice only should rise, to the seat of the gods, its offensive steam reaches.

Though inclination be as sharp as will] “ Though desire, though my wishes, be as earnest as my willingness :" bias, inclination to any thing, being stronger than mere will or consent to it.

Something of the nature of contrast or opposition, by how licentious an use soever of the word “ inclination,” must have been here meant.

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