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Pol. It shall do well; but yet, I do believe,
It shall be so;
SCENE II. A Hall in the same.
Enter Hamlet, and certain Players. Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the towncrier 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. 0, 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
i See note on Act ii. Sc. 2. 2 The first quarto has, “ I'd rather hear a town-bull bellow, than such a fellow speak my lines.”
3 The first quarto reads, “ of the ignorant.” Our ancient theatres were far from the commodious, elegant structures which later times have seen. The pit was an unfloored space, in the area of the house, sunk considerably beneath the level of the stage; and it was necessary to elevate the head very much to get a view of the performance. Hence this part of the audience were called groundlings.
noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant;' it out-herods Herod. 'Pray you, avoid it.
1 Play. I warrant your honor.
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 mirror 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. O, 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 Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
1 Play. I hope we have reformed that indifferently
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
1. Termagaunt is the name given in old romances to the tempestuous god of the Saracens.
2 Pressure is impression, resemblance. 3 i. e. approval, estimation.
4 The quarto 1603, “ Point in the play then to be observed.” Afterwards is added, “ And then you have some again that keeps one suit of jests, as a man is known by one suit of apparel; and gentlemen quotes his jests down in their tables before they come to the play, as thus :Cannot you stay till I eat my porridge? and you owe me a quarter's wages; and your beer iš sour ; and blabbering with his lips: And thus keeping
villanous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Enter Polonius, ROSENCRANTZ, and GuildENSTERN. How
now, my lord! will the king hear this piece of work? Pol. And the queen too, and that presently. Ham. Bid the players make haste.
Exit POLONIUS. Will you two help to hasten them? Both. Ay, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. What, ho; Horatio!
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
Hor. O my dear lord,
Nay, do not think I flatter;
flattered? No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp; And crook the pregnant? hinges of the knee, Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear? Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice, And could of men distinguish her election, She hath sealed thee for herself. For thou hast been As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing ; A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and blessed are those, Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled,
in his cinque a pace of jests; when, God knows, the warme Clown cannot make a jest unless by chance, as the blind man catcheth a hare : Masters, tell him of it.” 1 Pregnant, quick, ready.
? Quarto 16044 co-medled."
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
Well, my lord;
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle: Get you a place.
Danish march. A flourish. Enter King, Queen, Po
LONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GuildENSTERN,
Ham. Excellent, i' faith ; of the chameleon's dish. I eat the air, promise-crammed; you cannot feed capons so.
1 Vulcan's stithy is Vulcan's workshop or smithy.
“ And if he do not blench and change at that,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen;
Hor. My lord, mine eyes shall still be on his face,
That shall appear in him, but I shall note it."
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now. My lord,- you played once in the university, you say? [To Polonius.
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 killed i' the Capitol ; Brutus killed 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. 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? [To the King Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
[Lying down at Ophelia's feet. Oph. No, my lord. Ham. I mean my head upon your lap? Oph. Ay, my lord. Ham. Do you think I meant contrary : matters ? Oph. I think nothing, my lord.
Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.
Oph. What is, my lord ?
Ham. Ở ! 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 twice two months, my lord.
1 A Latin play, on the subject of Cæsar's death, was performed at Christ's Church, in Oxford, in 1582.
2 i. e. " they wait upon your sufferance or will."
3 This is the reading of the quarto 1603. The quarto 1604, and the folio, read country.
4 It may here be added that a jig sometimes signified a sprightly dance, as at present.