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And I beseech you instantly to visit
Guil. Heavens make our presence, and our practices,
Ay, Amen! [Exeunt Ros., Guil., and some Attendants.
Enter POLONIUS. Pol. The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord, Are joyfully returned.
King. I'hou still hast been the father of good news.
Pol. Have I, my lord ? Assure you, my good liege, I hold my duty, as I hold my soul, Both to my God, and to my gracious king; And I do think (or else this brain of mine Hunts not the trail of policy so sure As it hath“ used to do that I have found The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
King. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to the ambassadors; My news shall be the fruit' to that great feast. King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
[Exit POLONIUS. He tells me, my dear Gertude, he hath found The head and source of all your son's distemper.
Queen. I doubt it is no other but the main ; His father's death, and our o’erhasty marriage.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. King. Well, we shall sift him.—Welcome, my good
friends! Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Vol. Most fair return of greetings and desires. Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appeared
[Gives a paper.
It likes us well;
[Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. Pol.
This business is well ended. My liege, and madam, to expostulate : What majesty should be, what duty is, Why day is day, night, night, and time is time, Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. Therefore,-since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.
1 i.e. deluded, deceived by false appearances.
2 That is, a feud or fee in land of that annual value. The quartos read threescore thousand.
3 i. e. to inquire. The idea of dotage encroaching upon wisdom, will solve all the phenomena of the character of Polonius.
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
Queen. More matter, with less art.
Pol. Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
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 :
In her excellent white bosom, these, &c.'
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.
1 Formerly the word these was usually added at the end of the superscription of letters. The folio reads : -" These in her excellent white bosom these.”
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me;
But how hath she
you think of me? King. As of a man faithful and honorable. Pol. I would fain prove so.
But what might you think, When I had seen this hot love on the wing, (As I perceived it, I must tell Before my daughter told me,) what might you, Or my dear majesty your queen here, think, If I had played the desk or table-book ; Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb;' Or looked upon this love with idle sight; What might you think? No, I went round" to work, And my young mistress thus did I bespeak :Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star ; : This must not be ; and then I precepts gave her, That she should lock herself from his resort, Admit no messengers, receive no tokens. Which done, she took the fruits of my advice; And he, repulsed, (a short tale to make,) Fell into a sadness; then into a fast; Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness; Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension, Into the madness wherein now he raves, 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,) 1 That is, “If I had acted the part of depositary of their secret loves, or given my heart a hint to be mute about their passion.” The quartos read—“ given my heart a working," and the modern editors follow this reading.
2 Plainly, roundly, without reserve. 3 This was changed to sphere in the 4to. 1632, and that reading is followed by the modern editions. “Out of thy star,” is placed above thee by destiny
That I have positively said, 'Tis so,
Not that I know.
[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. King.
How may we try it further ? Pol. You know sometimes he walks four hours to
gether, Here in the lobby. Queen.
So he does, indeed.
and I behind an arras then;
We will try it.
Enter Hamlet, reading. Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch
comes reading Pol. Away, I do beseech
you, both away ; I'll board him presently.-0, give me leave.
[Exeunt King, Queen, and Attendants. How does my good lord Hamlet ?
Ham. Well, god-'a-mercy.
Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. Pol. That's very true, my
1 i. e. accost, address him.