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O, 'tis too true! how smart A lash that speech doth give my conscience ! The harlot's cheek, beautied 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 Poconius.
Enter HAMLET. 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, 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,
more ugly to the thing that helps it,] That is, compared with the thing that helps it.
shuffled off this mortal coil,] i. turmoil, bustle.
the whips and scorns of time,] It may be remarked, that Hamlet, in his enumeration of miseries, forgets, whether properly or not, that he is a prince, and mentions many evils to which inferior stations only are exposed. Johnson.
When he himself might his quietus make
Good my lord,
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,
might his quietus make With a bare bodkin?] The first expression probably alluded to the writ of discharge, which was formerly granted to those barons and knights who personally attended the king on any foreign expedition; and were therefore exempted from the claims of scutage, or a tax on every knight's fee. This discharge was called a quietus. A bodkin was the ancient term for a small dagger.
Nymph, in thy orisons, &c.] This is a touch of nature. Hamlet, at the sight of Ophelia, does not immediately recollect, that he is to personate madness, but makes her an address grave and solemn, such as the foregoing meditation excited in his thoughts. JOHNSON.
And, with them, words of so sweet breath compos'd
Ham. That if you be honest, and fair, you 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 believed me: for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock, but we shall relish of it: I loved
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
into his likeness:] The modern editors read—its likeness; but the text is right. Shakspeare and his contemporaries frequently use the personal for the neutral pronoun.
with more offences at my beck, than I have thoughts to put them in,] To put a thing into thought, is to think on it.
knaves, all; believe none of us: Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's
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; farewell: Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough, what monsters you make of them. nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell.
Oph. Heavenly powers, restore him!
Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance: Go to, I'll 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 courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue,
sword: 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 ladies most deject and wretched, That suck'd the honey of his musick vows, Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
make your wantonness your ignorance:] You mistake by wunton affectation, and pretend to mistake by ignorance.
- The mould of form,] The model by whom all endeavoured to form themselves. Johnson.
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
Re-enter King and Polonius. 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
soul, O'er which his melancholy sits on brood; And, I do doubt, the hatch, and the disclose, Will be some danger: Which for to prevent, I have, in quick determination, Thus set it down; He shall with speed to England, For the demand of our neglected tribute: Haply, the seas, and countries different, With variable objects, shall expel This something-settled matter in his heart; Whereon his brains still beating, puts him thus From fashion of himself. What think
on't? Pol. It shall do well: But yet I do believe, The origin and commencement of his grief Sprung from neglected love.—How now, Ophelia? You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said; We heard it all.—My lord, do as you please; But, if you hold it fít, after the play, Let his queen mother all alone entreat him To show his grief; let her be round with him;' And I'll be plac'd, so please you, in the ear Of all their conference: If she find him not, To England send him; or confine him, where Your wisdom best shall think.
with ecstasy:) The word ecstasy was anciently used 19 signify some degree of alienation of mind.
be round with him;] Reprimand him with freedom. VOL. X.