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A Theatre in the Palace.


King. And can you by no drift of conference
Get from him, why he puts on this confusion?
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.

Queen. 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.

Pol. "Tis most true:

And he 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 GUILDENSTERN and Rosencrantz. King. Sweet Gertrude, leave us too:

For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither;
That he, as 'twere, by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia :

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.

Pol. Ophelia, walk you here:

Read on this book;

[Exit QUEEN.

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. O, 'tis too true.-How smart

A lash that speech doth give my conscience!

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
The 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

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
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'd 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 groan and sweat under a weary life;
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 enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.- -Soft you, now!
[Seeing OPHELIA.
The fair Ophelia :-Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd!

Oph. Good my lord,

How does your honour for this many a day?
Ham. 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.

Ham. No, not I;

I never gave you aught.

Oph. My honour'd lord, you know right well, you did;

And, with them, words of so sweet breath compos'd
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind

Rich gifts wax poor, when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.

Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest ?
Oph. My lord!

Ham. Are you fair?

Oph. What means your lordship?

Ham. That, if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness this was some time a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

Oph. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. Ham. You should not have believ'd me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock, but we shall relish of it: I lov'd you not.

Oph. I was the more deceiv'd.

Ham. Get thee to a nunnery: Why would'st thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things, that it were better, my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck, than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in: What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and Heaven? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us: Go thy ways to a nunnery. -Where's your father?

Oph. At home, my lord. Ham. Let the doors be shut upon him; that he may play the fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.

Oph. O help him, you sweet Heavens!

Ham. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough, what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go.

Oph. Heavenly powers, restore him!

Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; Heaven hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp; you nickname Heaven's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance: Go to; Ill no more of't; it hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go. [Exit HAMLET. Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown! The expectancy and rose of the fair state, The glass of fashion, and the mould of form, The observ'd of all observers, quite, quite down! And I, of ladics most deject and wretched, That suck'd the honey of his music Vows, Now see that noble and most sovereign reason, Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh. O, woe is me!

To have seen what I have seen, see what I see! [Exit OPHELIA.


King. Love! his affections do not that way tend; Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little, Was not like madness. There's something in his


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