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O'er which his melancholy sits on brood.
For the demand of our neglected tribute:
This something settled matter in his heart;
My lord, do as you please;
But, if you hold it fit, after the play,
King. It shall be so :
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
Enter the first ACTOR, and HAMLET.
Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but, if you mouthe it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say,) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise: I would have
such a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod : 'Pray you, avoid it.
1 Act. I warrant your honour.
Ham. Be not too tame, neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor : suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: For any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirrour up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this, overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one, must in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others.-0, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that neither having the accent of christian, nor the gait of christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellow'd, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
1 Act. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us.
Ham. O, reform it altogether. And let those, that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered: that's villainous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.[Exit FIRST ACTOR.
Hor. Here, sweet lord, at your service.
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
Ham. Nay, do not think I flatter:
To feed and clothe thee? Should the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and bless'd are those,
Hor. Well, my lord,
[Flourish of Trumpets and Drums.
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle: Get you a place.
A grand March.
Enter POLONIUS, KING, QUEEN, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, OSRICK, MARCELlus, BERNARDO, FRANCISCO, GENTLEMEN, and LA
King. How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the camelion's dish : I eat the air, promise-cramm'd: you cannot feed capons so.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now.-My lord,—you play'd once in the university, you say?
Pol. That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
Ham. And what did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was kill'd i' the capitól; Brutus kill'd me.
Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there. Be the players ready?
Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience. [Bell rings, and the Curtain rises for the Play. Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me. Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
Pol. O ho! do you mark that?
Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Oph. You are merry, my lord.
[Lying down at OPHELIA's feet. Ham. O! your only jig-maker. What should a man do, but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
Oph. Nay, 'tis two months, my lord.
Ham. So long? Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables. Die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year: But, by-'r-lady, he must build churches then.
Oph. What means the play, my lord?
Ham. Miching mallecho: it means mischief.
Enter Second ACTOR, as the Prologue.
Ham. We shall know by this fellow.
[Exit Second Actor. Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Oph. "Tis brief, my
Ham. As woman's love.
Enter the ACTRESS, and First ACTOR, as a Duchess,
1 Act. Full thirty times hath Phœbus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground;
Actress. So many journies may the sun and moon
So far from cheer, and from your former state,
1 Act. Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too; My operant powers their functions leave to do: