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And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood ?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence ?
And what's in prayer, but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled," ere we come to fall,
Or pardon’d, being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence ?(77)
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice;
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law : But 'tis not so above :
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature, and we ourselves compellid,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: What can it not ?
Yet what can it, when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom, black as death!
O limed soul; that struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels, make assay

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Whereto serves mercy,

But to confront the visage of offence?] With a benign and softened aspect to meet or encounter the harsh features of crime. To be forestalled ere we come to fall] Prevented from falling.

there the action lies In bis true nature, and we ourselves compell’d.] The transaction shews, or presents itself; the suit, stripped of all chicane, is entertained and prosecuted simply as it is; and there it is that we are compelled, &c. For the use of the personal pronoun here, see his own scandal.” 1. 4. Haml.

Yet what can it, when one can not repent] What can that course, though it can do all, do, if I cannot pursue it?

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Bow, stubborn knees ! and, heart, with strings of

Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe;
All may be well!

[Retires, and kneels,


but now, 4tos.


* foule,

Ham. Now might I do it, pat,* now he is pray. And now I'll do't; and so he goes to heaven: And so am I revenged ? That would be scann'd:·

A villain kills my father; and, for that, 1623, 32. I, his sole* son, do this same villain send

To heaven.
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, (78) full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And, how his audit stands, who knows, save

But, in our circumstanced 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?
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep; or in his raġe;
Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed;

· That would be scann'd] Requires to be fully weighed and considered.

I, his sole son] Such is the reading of the quartos : but foule may be offending, degenerate; though most probably a misprint. . . hire and salary] A thing, for which from him I might claim a recompense. The quartos read “ base, and silly.”

d our circumstance] Measure or estimate of what may have reached us.

e hent] Task, undertaking. In the sense of “ seise or occupy,'' the verb occurs in M. for M. “ Have hent the gates." IV. 6. Friar Pet. Drunk asleep, is in a drunken sleep.

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.[79

) My mother stays : This physick but prolongs thy sickly days. [Erit.

The King rises, and advances.

King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain

below: Words, without thoughts, never to heaven go.



Another Room in the same.

Enter Queen and POLONIUS.

Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay

home to him: Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear

with; And that your grace hath screen’d and stood be.

tween Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here." Pray you, be round with him.

HAM. [Within.] Mother, mother, mother!

* relish of salvation in't] Smack or savour. blay home to him] Pointedly and closely charge. o pranks too broad] Open and bold.

silence me e'en here] Without a word more said, here snugly stow myself.


I'll warrant you; Fear me not :-withdraw, I hear him coming.

[Polonius hides himself. (8


HAM. Now, mother; what's the matter ?
QUEEN. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much of-

fended. Ham. Mother, you have my father much of

fended. QUEEN. Come, come, you answer with an idle

tongue. HAM. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue. Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet ? HAM.

What's the matter now? QUEEN. Have you forgot me? HAM.

No, by the rood," not so: You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife; But would you were not so. You are my mother. QUEEN. Nay, then I'll set those to you that can

speak. Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall

not budge; You go not, till I set you up a glass Where you may see the inmost part of you. Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not mur

der me? Help, help, ho!

Pol. [Behind.) What, ho! help!

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by the rood] From the A. S. rode. crux. a cross. Skinn, See M1. H. IV. Shal. III. 2. • The quartos and modern editors read

And, would it were not so!—you are my mother.”


How now! a rat?

[Drawuss Dead, for a ducat, dead.

[Hamlet makes a pass through the Arras, Pol. [Behind.)

0, I am slain.

[Falls, and dies. QUEEN. O me, what hast thou done? HAM.

Nay, I know not: Is it the king?

[Lifts up the Arras, and draws forth Polo


• better, 4to.

QUEEN. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this !
HAM. A bloody deed ;-almost as bad, good

As kill a king, (81) and marry with bis brother.

QUEEN. As kill a king!

Ay, lady, 'twas


word. Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!

I took thee for thy betters; * take thy fortune:
Thou find'st, to be too busy, is some danger.
Leave wringing of your hands : Peace; sit you

And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff'; (89)
If damned custom have not braz'd it so,
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
Queen. What have I done, that thou dar’st wag

thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
HAM. .

Such an act, That blurs the grace and blush of modesty; Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose

· Proof and bulwark against sense] Against all feeling.


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