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On Mars's armor, forged for proof eterne,
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.— 'Pr’ythee, say on.—He's for a jig,' or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps.-Say on: come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah, woe! had seen the mobled ?
queenHam. The mobled queen ? Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threatening the
flames With bisson 3 rheum; a clout upon that head, Where late the diadem stood ; and, for a robe, About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up, Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounced. But if the gods themselves did see her then, When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs; The instant burst of clamor that she made, (Unless things mortal move them not at all,) Would have made milchthe burning eye of heaven, And passion in the gods.
1 Giga, in Italian, was a fiddle, or crowd; gigaro, a fiddler, or minstrel. Hence a jig (first written gigge, though pronounced with a g soft, after the Italian) was a ballad, or ditty, sung to the fiddle. There are several of the old ballads and dialogues called jägs in the Harleian Collection.
2 The folio reads inobled, an evident error of the press, for mobled, which means muffled.
3 Bisson is blind. Bisson rheum, therefore, is blinding tears.
4 i. e. mild, tender-hearted.—TODD.—By a hardy poetical license, this expression means, “Would have filled with tears the burning eye of heaven.” To have “made passion in the gods” would have been to move them to compassion. VOL. VII.
Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his color, and has tears in's eyes.--'Prythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.-Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed ? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping ? Use them after your own honor and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in. Pol. Come, sirs.
[Exit Polonius, with some of the Players. Ham. Follow him, friends; we'll hear a play tomorrow.-Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago?
i Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't ? could
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Very well.—Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exit Player.]—My good friends, [To Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night; you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord !
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. Ay, so, good bye to you ;-—now I am alone. O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! Is it not monstrous, that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit, That from her working, all his visage wanned ;
1 The folio reads warmed, which reading Steevens contended for; but surely no one can doubt, who considers the context, that wanned is the Poet's word.
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspéct,
1 i. e. the hint or prompt word; the word or sign given by the prompter for a player to enter on his part.
2 John-a-dreams, or John-a-droynes, was a common term for any dreaming or droning simpleton. Unpregnant is not quickened or properly impressed with.
3 Defeat here signifies destruction. It was frequently used in the sense of unulo or take away by our old writers.
4 Kindless is unnatural.
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
by the very cunning of the scene, Been struck so to the soul, that presently They have proclaimed their malefactions ; For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players Play something like the murder of my father, Before mine uncle ; I'll observe his looks ; I'll tent him to the quick; if he do blench, I know my course. The spirit that I have seen, May be a devil; and the devil hath power To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps, Out of my weakness, and my melancholy, (As he is very potent with such spirits,) Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds More relative 6 than this. The play's the thing, Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
1 The first folio reads thus :
That I the sonne of the Deere murthered.” The quarto of 1604 omits “Oh vengeance," and reads, “a deere mur thered;" the quarto of 1603, “ that I the son of my dear father.”
2 « About my brains" is nothing more than “to work, my brains." Steevens quotes the following from Heywood's Iron Age:
“ My brain about again! for thou hast found
New projects now to work on." 3. A number of instances of the kind are collected by Thomas Heywood in his Apology for Actors.
4 To tent was to probe, to search a wound. 5 To blench is to shrink or start. Vide Winter's Tale, Act i. Sc. 2. 6 i. e. more near, more immediately connected. The first quarto reads, “ I will have sounder proofs."
SCENE I. A Room in the Castle.
Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosen
CRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.
Ros. He does confess, he feels himself distracted; But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded;
Queen. Did he receive you well ?
Ros. Niggard of question ; but, of our demands,
Did you assay him
Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players We o'er-raught on the way. Of these we told him; And there did seem in him a kind of joy To hear of it. They are about the court ; And, as I think, they have already order This night to play before him. Pol.
'Tis most true; And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties, To hear and see the matter.
King. With all my heart; and it doth much content
? « Slow to begin conversation, but free enough in answering our demands."
3 i. e. reached, overtook.