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And, with a sudden vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter barked about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatched:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not!
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and incest.
But howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,'
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once !
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu, adieu! remember me.

Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell ?-O fy!-Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up!-- Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,

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All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter: yes, by heaven.
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain !
My tables, - meet it is, I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain :
At least, I am sure, it


be so in Denmark:
So uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is, Adieu, adieu ! remember me.
I have sworn 't.


The better to concea his purposes


vengeance, Hamlet feigns madness. Portions of his conduct seem to indicate that he was to some extent also really mad, or at least under that sort of partial derangement which we often see in real life, when intense excitement for some great injury causes a temporary dethronement of reason. The feeling of indignation at the shameless conduct of his mother and uncle seems to have taken complete possession of his soul, to the exclusion of every other consideration. No more striking evidence could be given of his perfect abandonment to this one idea, than his conduct to Ophelia. He had loved her with an affection peculiarly delicate and tender. His whole conduct towards her now becomes changed. At first he behaves towards her only in a wild and incoherent manner, but subsequently he treats her with a cold and cruel mockery which drives her to madness, and withal, from first to last, he does not seek or seem to desire to give her the least explanation of his

conduct. All this is incompatible with his having for the time any regard for her. Love, the great ruling passion of the young, is placed in complete abeyance, and one overpowering, all-pervading sentiment has possession of his breast. His strong natural sense of wrong is lashed into a state of frenzy, by the appear ance and language of his father's ghost, and he presents the singular, but I think intelligible spectacle of a person feigning madness, and at the same time a real mono-maniac.

Pol. How now, Ophelia ? what's the matter?
Oph. O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted !
Pol. With what, in the name of heaven?

Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet,— with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other ;
And with a look so piteous in purport,
As if he had been loosed out of hell,
To speak of horrors, - he comes before me.

Pol. Mad for thy love?

My lord, I do not know;
But, truly, I do fear it.

What said he?
Oph. He took me by the wrist, and held me hard ;

goes he to the length of all his arm;
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of
As he would draw it. Long stayed he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,

my face,

And thrice his head thus waving up and down, -
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound,
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk,
And end his being : That done, he lets me go;
And, with his head over his der turned,
He seemed to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their helps,
And to the last, bended their light on me.

Hamlet's account of himself to Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, who had been sent by the king to act as spies upon him, and to penetrate if possible the true cause of his strange demeanour:


Ham. I have of late, (but wherefore, I know not,) lost all my mirth; forgone all custom of exercises : and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical 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 man! How noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel ! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Hamlet's soliloquy after seeing a player act the pari of Hecuba.

Ham. 0, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous, that this player here,
But in fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit,

That, from her working, all his visage wanned;
Tears in his eyes, distraction in 's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing !
For Hecuba!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her ? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cure for passion,
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech;
Make mad the guilty, and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant; and amaze, indeed,
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property, and most dear life,
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward ?
Who calls me villain ? breaks my pate across ?
Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose ? gives me the lie i' the throat,
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha !
Why, I should take it: for it cannot be,
But I am pigeon-livered, and lack gall
To make oppression bitter; or, ere this,
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: Bloody, bawdy villain !
Reinorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain !
Why, what an ass am I? This is most brave;
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to niy revenge by heaven and hell,

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