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The observed of all observers! quite, quite down!
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Hamlet's Instructions to the Players.
HAMLET. 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 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 show and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for out-doing Termagant; it out-herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.
PLAYER. I warrant your honour.
HAMLET. 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 spécial 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 't were, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body
†That portion of the audience occupying the pit of the theatre.
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, overweigh 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.
PLAYER. I hope we have reformed that indifferently with us.
HAMLET. 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 villanous: and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.
Hamlet's Esteem for his friend Horatio.
Nay, do not think I flatter:
For what advancement may I hope from thee,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flatter'd ?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp;
And crook the pregnant* hinges of the knee,
And could of men distinguish her election,
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and bless'd are those
'Tis now the very witching time of night;
Would quake to look on. Soft; now to my mother-
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
The King's Despairing Soliloquy.
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
Or pardoned, being down? Then I'll look up;
But 'tis not so above:
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
To give in evidence.
Try what repentance can: What can it not?
Art more engag'd!
Help, angels, make assay !
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of steel, Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe;
may be well!
Hamlet and his Mother.
QUEEN. What have I done, that thou darest
In noise so rude against me?
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty ;
Calls virtue hypocrite; takes off the rose
A rhapsody of words: heaven's face doth glow;
With tristfult visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
Ah me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
HAMLET. Look here, upon this picture, and on this;
eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
This was your husband.—Look you now, what follows;
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
The hey-day in the blood is tame, 'tis humble,
* Contract of wedlock. + Mournful.