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and signify to him, that thus I have resigned to you my charge.

[Exit. 1st Vil. You may, sir, 'tis a point of wisdom: you well.


2d Vil. What, shall we stab him as he sleeps?

1st Vil. No; he'll say, 'twas done cowardly, when he wakes.

2d Vil. When he wakes! why, fool, he shall never wake until the great judgment day.

1st Vil. Why, then he'll say, we stabbed him sleeping.

2d Vil. The urging of that word, judgment, hath bred a kind of remorse in me.

1st Vil. What? art thou afraid?

2d Vil. Not to kill him, having a warrant for it: but to be damned for killing him, from the which no warrant can defend me.

1st Vil. I'll back to the duke of Glo'ster, and tell him so.

2d Vil. Nay, pr'ythee, stay awhile: I hope this holy humour of mine will change: it was wont to hold me but while one could tell twenty.

1st Vil. How dost thou feel thyself now?

2d Vil. Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are yet within me.

1st Vil. Remember the reward, when the deed's done.

2d Vil. Come, he dies: I had forgot the reward.

1st Vil. Where's thy conscience now?

2d Vil. O, in the duke of Glo'ster's purse.

1st Vil. When he opens his purse to give us our reward, thy conscience flies out.

2d Vil. 'Tis no matter, let it go; there's few or none will entertain it.

1st Vil. What if it come to thee again?

2d Vil. I'll not meddle with it; it is a dangerous thing, it makes a man a coward: a man cannot steal, but it accuseth him; a man cannot swear, but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his neighbour's wife, but it detects him. "Tis a blushing shame-faced spirit, that mutinies in a man's bosom: it fills one full of obstacles. It made me once restore a purse of gold, that by chance I found. It beggars any man, that keeps it. It is turned out of towns and cities for a dangerous thing; and every man, that means to live well, endeavours to trust to himself, and live without it. 1st Vil. 'Tis even now at my elbow, persuading me not to kill the duke.




Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at grave-making?

Hor. Custom hath made it to him a property of easiness.

Ham. 'Tis e'en so; the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.-That scull had a tongue in it, and could sing once; how the knave jowles it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jawbone that did the first murder! this might be the

pate of a politician, which this ass o'er-offices, one that could circumvent God, might it not? Hor. It might, my lord.

Ham. Or of a courtier, which could say,' Good morrow, sweet lord; how dost thou, great lord?' this might be my lord such a one, that prais'd my lord such a ones horse, when he meant to beg it; might it not?

Hor. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Why, e'en so: and now my lady Worm's chapless, and knocked about the mazzard with a sexton's spade. Here is a fine revolution, if we had the trick to see it. Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with 'em? mine ake to think on't.-There's another: why may not that be the scull of a lawyer? where be his quiddits now; his quillets? his cases? his tenures, and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? hum! this fellow might be in his time, a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? the very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more? ha?

Hor. Not a jot more, my lord.

Ham. Is not parchment made of sheep-skins? Hor. Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.

Ham. They are sheep and calves that seek out assistance in that. I will speak to this fellow: Whose skull was this, sirrah?

Clown. A whoreson mad fellow's it was; whose do you think it was?

Ham. Nay, I know not.

Clown. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he poured a flaggon of rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.

Ham. This?

Clown. E'en that.

Ham. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy : he hath borne me on his back a thousand times: and now how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises in it. Here hung those lips, that I have kiss'd I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now; your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table in a roar? not one now to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this savour she must come; make her laugh at that-Pr'ythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Hor. What's that, my lord?

Ham. Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' th' earth?

Hor. E'en so.

Ham. And smelt so.

[Smelling to the skull.

Hor. E'en so, my lord.

Ham. To what base uses we may return, Ho






Jaques. HERE comes a strange beast, which in all tongues is called fool.

Clown. Salutation and greeting to you all.

Jaques. Good my lord bid him welcome. This is the motley-minded gentleman, that I have so often met in the forest: he hath been a courtier, he


Clown. If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation. I have trod a measure; I have flattered a lady; I have been politic with my friend; smooth with mine enemy; I have had four quarrels, and like to have fought one:

Jaques. And how was that taken up?

Clown. 'Faith, we met; and found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause.

Jaques. How the seventh cause? Good, my lord, like this fellow.

Duke. I like him very well.

Clown. I press in here, sir, among the rest of the country copulatives. Rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house, as your pearl in your foul oyster.

Duke. By my honour, he is very swift and sententious.

Clown. According to the fool's bolt, sir, and such dulcet diseases.

Jaques. But for the seventh cause; how do you find the quarrel on the seventh cause.

Clown. Upon a lie seven times removed; as thus, sir: I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier's VOL. IV.


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