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You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said ;
It shall be so :
SCENE II.-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 our 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; 3 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 outherods Herod : Pray you, avoid it.
1 Play. I warrant your honour.
reprimand him with freedom. • Alluding to the quantity of false hair then so much worn, and particularly by the players.
3 the meaner people, who then sat in the pit.
* Termagant was an uprorious Saracen deity, famous in the old Moralities.
Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'er-step 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, as 'twere, the mirrour 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, over-done, 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. O, 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 man, 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.
Ham. O, 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 considered : that's villainous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
[Exeunt Players. Enter Polonius, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN. How now, my lord ? will the king hear this piece of work?
Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
· beside, contrary to.
• your estimation,
Ham. Bid the players make haste. - [Exit Pol. Will you two help to hasten them? Both. Ay, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. What, ho; Horatio !
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
Hor. O, my dear lord,
Nay, do not think I flatter:
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
Well, my lord :
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle :
Polonius, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN,
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'th' 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.
istithy scems here to mean a shop. · his demeanour.
3 A man's words, says the proverb, are his own no longer than he keeps them unspoken.
Pol. O ho! do you mark that? [To the King. Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
(Lying down at Ophelia's feet. Oph. You are merry, my lord. Ham. Who, I? Oph. Ay, my lord.
Ham. 0! 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, 'tis 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.
Trumpets sound. The dumb show follows. Enter a King and a Queen, very lovingly; the Queen embracing
him, and he her. She kneels, and makes show of protestation unto him. 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 crowon, 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 again, 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.
[Exeunt. Oph. What means this, my lord ? Ham. Marry, it means mischief.
Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play.
Enter Prologue. Ham. We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
· A jig signified not only a dance, but also a ludicrous prose, or metrical composition.
• a magnificent dress, a suit trimmed with sables.