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Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick; if he do blench 55,
I know my course. The spirit, that I have seen,
May be a deyil: and the devil hath

To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps,
Out of my weakness, and my melancholy,
(As he is very potent with such spirits,)
Abuses me to damn me: I'll have grounds
More relative than this: The play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.


A Room in the Castle.

Enter King, Queen, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, Rosen


King. And can you by no drift of conference
Get from him, why he puts on this confusion;
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

Ros. He does confess, he feels himself distracted; But from what cause he will by no means speak.

Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded;
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.

Did he receive you well ?
Ros. Most like a gentleman.
Guil. But with much forcing of his disposition.

Ros. Niggard of question; but, of our demands,
Most free in his reply 56.

Did you assay

him To any pastime?

Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players We o'er-raught on the way: of these we told him; And there did seem in him a kind of joy To hear of it: They are about the court; And, as I think, they have already order This night to play before him.


'Tis most true:
And be beseech'd me to entreat your majesties,
To hear and see the matter.
King. With all my heart; and it doth much con-

tent me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
And drive his purpose on to these delights.
Ros. We shall, my lord.

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. King.

Sweet Gertrude, leave us too. For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither; That he, as 'twere by accident, may here Affront Ophelia 57: Her father, and myself (lawful espials,) Will so bestow ourselves, that, seeing, unseen, We may of their encounter frankly judge; And gather by him, as he is behav'd, If't be the affliction of his love, or no, That thus he suffers for. Queen.

I shall obey you: And, for your part, Ophelia, I do wish, That your good beauties be the happy cause Of Hamlet's wildness; so shall I hope, your virtues Will bring him to his wonted way again, To both your honours. Oph.

Madam, I wish it may.

[Exit Queen. Pol. Ophelia, walk you here:-Gracious, so please We will bestow ourselves :-Read on this book ;


[To Ophelia. That show of such an exercise may colour Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this, 'Tis too much prov'd,—that, with devotion's visage, And pious action, we do sugar o'er The devil himself. King.

0, 'tis too true! how smart
A lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beauty'd with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it,
Than is my deed to my most painted word:
O heavy burden!

[Aside. Pol. I hear him coming ; let's withdraw, my lord.

[Exeunt King and Polonius.


Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them?-To die,- to sleep, No more ;—and, by a sleep, to say we end The heart-ach, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to,-'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die ;-to sleep;To sleep! perchance to dream;-ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil 58, Must give us pause : There's the respect,


That makes calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'a love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary
But that the dread of something after death,-
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,-puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprizes of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.-Soft you, now!
The fair Ophelia :—59 Nympb, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.



lord, How does your honour for this many a day?

Hom. I humbly thank you; well.

Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver ;
I pray you, now receive them.

No, not I;
I never gave you aught.

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