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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
’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.
Enter POLONIUS. God bless
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. 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, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world : Now could I drink hot
• They fool me to the top of my bent.] They compel me to play the fool, till I can endure it no longer. VOL. X.
And do such business as the bitter day
A Room in the same.
Enler King, RosENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.
King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,
We will ourselves provide:
Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
be shent,] To shend, is to reprove harshly, to treat with rough language.
4 To give them seals —) i. e. put them in execution. s Out of his lunes.] i. e. his madness, frenzy.
What's near it, with it: it is a massy wheel,
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
We will haste us. [Exeunt RosenCRANTZ & 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 mother, 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 my lord.
[Exit Polonius. O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon't, A brother's murder !-Pray can I not, Though inclination be as sharp as will;8
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,] The arras-hangings in Shakspeare's time, were hung at such a distance from the walls, that a person might easily stand behind them unperceived.
of vantage.] By some opportunity of secret observation. Though inclination be as sharp as will;] What the King ineans to say, is, “ That though he was not only willing to pray, but strongly inclined to it, yet his intention was defeated by his guilt.
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
9 May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence ?] He that does not amend what can be amended, retains his offence. The King kept the crown from the right heir. Johnson.
Yet what can it, when one can not repent ?] What can repentance do for a man that cannot be penitent, for a man who has only part of penitence, distress of conscience, without the other part, resolution of amendment? Johnson.
a O limed soul;] This alludes to bird-lime,
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of
steel, Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe; All may be well!
[Retires, and kneels.
Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do't;—and so he goes to heaven: And so am I reveng'd! That would be scann'd:* A villain kills my father; and, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. He took my father grossly, full of bread; With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May; And, how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven? But, in our circumstance and course of thought, 'Tis heavy with him: And am I then reveng'd, To take him in the purging of his soul, When he is fit and season'd for his passage? No. Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent: When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage ; Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed ; At gaming, swearing; or about some act That has no relish of salvation in't: Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven: And that his soul may be as damn'd, and black, As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays : This physick but prolongs thy sickly days. [Exit.
That would be scann'd:] i. e. that should be considered, estimated. * Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:) To hent is
Hent is, used by Shakspeare for to scize, to catch, to lay hold on. therefore, hold, or seizure. Lay hold on hini, sword, at a more horrid time.
As hell, whereto it goes.] This speech, in which Hamlet, re