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And pity 'tis, 'tis true:-A foolish figure;
I have a daughter; have, while she is mine;
Hath given me this: Now gather, and surmise. [Reads.] To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia,
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; beautified is a vile phrase; but you shall hear :-Thus :
[Reads.] In her excellent white bosom, these, &c.— Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?
Pol. Good madam, stay a while; I will be faithful.
[Reads.] Doubt thou, the stars are fire;
Doubt, that the sun doth move:
But never doubt, I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art to reckon my groans: but, that I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this
machine is to him, Hamlet.
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me:
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
King. But how hath she
Receiv'd his love?
Pol. What do you think of me?
King. As of a man faithful and honourable.
Pol. I would fain prove so.
But what might you
When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
Thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
And all we mourn for.
King. Do you think, 'tis this?
Queen. It may be, very likely.
Pol. Hath there been such a time, (I'd fain know that,)
That I have positively said, 'Tis so,
King. Not that I know.
Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise. [Pointing to his head and shoulder. If circumstances lead me, I will find Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed Within the centre.
Here in the lobby.
King. How may we try it further?
Pol. You know, sometimes he walks for hours to
Queen. So he does, indeed.
Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him; Mark the encounter: if he love her not,
And be not from his reason fallen thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
King. We will try it.
Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
Pol. Away, I do beseech you both away; I'll board him presently. [Exeunt QUEEN and KING. Enter HAMLET, reading.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent well.
Pol. Do you know me, my
Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world to be one man pick'd out of ten thousand. Pol. That's very true, my lord.
Ham. For, if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god, kissing carrion,-Have you a daughter?
Pol. I have, my lord.
Ham. Let her not walk i' the sun conception is a blessing; but, as your daughter may conceive,-friend, look to't.
Pol. Still harping on my daughter :-yet he knew me not at first; he said, I was a fishmonger. I'll speak to him again.—What do you read, my lord? Ham. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter, my lord?
Ham. Between who?
Pol. I mean the matter that you read, my lord. Ham. Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: All which,
sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.
Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method in't.
you walk out of the air, my lord? Ham. Into my grave.
Pol. Indeed, that's out o' the air.-How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be deliver'd of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter. My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal; except my life, except my life, except my life.
Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Ham. These tedious old fools!
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and Guildenstern.
Pol. You go to seek the Lord Hamlet: there he is. Ros. Heaven save you, sir! [Exit POLONIUS. Guil. My honour'd lord! Ros. My most dear lord!— Ham. My excellent good friends! Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz!
How dost thou, Good lads, how
ye both? What news?
Řos. None, my lord; but that the world's grown honest.
Ham. Then is dooms-day near: But your news is not true. In the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore ?
Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you.-Were you not sent for? Is it your
own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come; deal justly with me: come; nay, speak. Guil. What should we say, my lord? Ham. Any thing, but to the purpose. You were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to colour: I know, the good King and Queen have sent for you.
But let me con
Ros. To what end, my lord? Ham. That you must teach me. jure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our everpreserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no?
Ros. What say you?
[To GUILDENSTern. Ham. Nay, then I have an eye of you.-If you love me, hold not off.
Guil. My lord, we were sent for.
Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no feather. I have of late, (but, wherefore, I know not,) lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercise; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air,-look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,-why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me,-nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.