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Pel. 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,
(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me:) what might you,
Or my dear Majesty your Queen here, think?
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or giv'n my heart a working, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle fight;
What might you think? no, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak;
Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of thy sphere,
This must not be; and then, I precepts gave her,
That the should lock her felf from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens :
Which done, she took the fruits of


And he repulsed, a short tale to make,
Fell to a fadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watching, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we wail for.

King. Do you think this?
Queen. It may be very likely.
Pol. Hath there been such a time, I'd fain know

That I have positively faid, 'tis fo,
When it prov'd otherwise ?

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 center.

King. How may we try it further ?
Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours toge-

Here in the lobby.


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Queen. So he does, indeed.

Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him ;
Be you and I behind an Arras then,
Mark the encounter : If he love her not,
And be not from his reason fal’n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a State,
But keep a farm and carters.
King. We will try it.

Enter Hamlet reading.
Queen. But, look, where, fadly the poor wretch comes

Pol. Away, I do beseech


away. I'll board him presently. [Exe. King and Queen. Oh, give me leave.

How does my good lord
Hamlet ?
Ham. Well, God o' mercy.
Pol Do you know me, my lord ?
Ham. Excellent well ; you are a fifhmonger.
Pol. Not I, my lord.
Ham. Then I would you were so honeft a man.
Pol. Honest, my lord ?',

Ham. Ay, Sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is 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 good kissing carrion Have you a daughter?

Pol. I have, my lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i’th' Sun; conception is a blessing, but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't. Pol. How fay you by that? still harping on my daugh

ter! Yet he knew me not at first; he said, I was a fish

monger. He is far gone ; and, truly, in my youth, [Afide. I suffer'd much extremity for love ; Very near this. I'll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord ?


you read,

Ham. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter, my lord ?
Ham. Between whom?
Pol. I mean the matter that

my lord. Ham. Slanders, Sir: for the satyrical slave says here, that old men have grey beards ; that their faces are wrinkled ; their eyes purging thick amber, and plumtree

gum ; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit ; together with most weak hams. All which, Sir, tho' I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for your self, Sir, shall be as old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method in't : Will you

walk out of the air, my lord ? Ham. Into


Pol. Indeed, that is out o'th' air :
How pregnant (sometimes) his replies are?
A happineis that often madness hits on,
Which sanity and reason could not be
So prosp'rously deliver'd of. I'll 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.

Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Ham. These tedious old fools !
Pol. You go to seek lord Hamlet ; there he is. [Exit.

Enter Rosincrantz and Guildenstern.
Ros. God save you, Sir.
Guild. Mine honour'd lord !
Roj. My molt dear lord !
Ham. My excellent good friends! How doft thou,

Oh, Rosincrantz, good lads ! how do ye both?

Rof. As the indifferent children of the earth.

Guil. Happy, in that we are not over-happy; on fortune's cap, we are not the very

button. Ham. Nor the foals of her shoe? Ref. Neither, my lord.

Ham. Then you live about her waste, or in the middle of her favours ?

Guil. Faith, in her privates we.

Ham. In the secret parts of fortune! oh, most true ; he is a strumpet. What news?

Rof. None, my lord, but that the world's grown honeft.

Ham. Then is dooms-day near; but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular : what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison hither ?

Guil. Prison, my lord !
Ham. Denmark's a prison.
Ros. Then is the world one.

Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons ; Denmark being one o'th' wortt.

Rof. We think not so, my lord.

Ham. Why, then, 'tis none to you ; for there is no thing either good or bad, but thinking makes it fo: to me, it is a prison.

Rof. Why, then your ambition makes it one : 'tis too narrow for your mind.

Ham. Oh God, I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and count my self a King of infinite space; were it not, that I have bad dreams.

Guil. - Which dreams, indeed, are Ambition ; for the very substance of the ambitious is meerly the shadow of a dream.

Ham. A dream it self is but a shadow.

Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality,

that it is but a shadow's shadow. Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs and out-stretch'd heroes, the beggars' shadows; Shall we to th' Court ? for, by my fay, I cannot reafon. Vol. VIII.



Both. We'll wait upon you.
Ham. No such matter. I will not sort


with the rest of my servants: for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended : but in the beaten way of Friendship, what make you at Elfinoor?.

Rof. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.

Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks ; but I thank

you; and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear of a half-penny. Were you not fent for? is it your own inclining ? is it a free visitation ? come, deal juftly with me; come, 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 fent

for you.


Rof. To what end, my lord ?

Ham. That you must teach me; but let me conjure you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preferved love, and by what more dear, a better proposer could charge you withal; be even and direct with me, whether you

were fent for or no ? Rof. What fay you?

[To Guilden. Ham. Nay, then I have an eye you : if you love me, 'hold not off. Guil. My lord, we were sent for.

Ham. I will tell you why; fo fhall 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, loft all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercise ; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my dif. position, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a fteril promontory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'er- hanging firmament, this majeftical 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 a man! how noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties ! in form


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