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Enter POLONIUS. Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet. Behind the arras I'll convey myself, To hear the process : I'll warrant, she'll tax him

home; And, as you said, and wisely was it said, Tis meet that some more audience than a mother, Since Nature makes them partial, should o’erhear The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege: I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know. King.

Thanks, dear my lord.

[Exit POLONIUS. O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t, A brother's murther ! — Pray can I not: Though inclination be as sharp as will, My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent; And, like a man to double business bound, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect. What if this cursed hand Were thicker than itself with brother's blood, Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens To wash it white as snow ? Whereto serves mercy, But to confront the visage of offence ? And what's in prayer but this two-fold force, 'To be forestalled ere we come to fall, Or pardon’d, being down? Then I'll look up: My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murther! That cannot be; since I am still possess’d Of those effects for which I did the murther, My crown, mine own ambition, and my Queen. May one be pardon'd, and retain th’ offence ?

In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft ’tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law ; but 'tis not so above :
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature ; and we ourselves compell’d,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can : what can it not ?
Yet whąt can it, when one can not repent ?
O wretched state! O bosom, black as death!
O limed soul, that struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels ! make assay:
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart, with strings of

Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe.
All may be well.

[Retires and kneels.


Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do't:- and so he goes to Heaven; And so am I reveng’d? That would be scann’d: A villain kills my father; and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To Heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. He took my father grossly, full of bread; With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May, And how his audit stands, who knows, save Heaven? But, in our circumstance and course of thought, 'Tis heavy with him ; and am I then reveng'd, To take him in the purging of his soul, When he is fit and season'd for his passage ? No. Up, sword ; and know thou a more horrid hent.

When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage ;
Or in th' incestuous pleasures of his bed ;
At gaming, swearing; or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at Heaven;
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As Hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays :
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.


The King rises and advances. King. My words fly up, my thoughts remain be

low :

Words without thoughts never to Heaven go. [Exit.


A Room in the Same.

Enter Queen and POLONIUS. Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home

to him ; Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear

with, And that your Grace hath screen’d and stood be

tween Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.

Pray you, be round with him.

Ham. [Within.] Mother, mother, mother !

I'll warrant you ; Fear me not: — withdraw, I hear him coming.

[POLONIUS hides himself.


Ham. Now, mother! what's the matter?

Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much of

fended. Ham. Mother, you have my father much offended. Queen. Come, come ; you answer with an idle

tongue. Ham. Go, go ; you question with a wicked tongue. Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet ! Ham.

What's the matter now? Queen. Have you forgot me ? Ham.

No, by the rood, not so : You are the Queen, your husband's brother's wife; And, would it were not so!- you are my mother. Queen. Nay then, I'll set those to you that can

speak. Ham. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall

not budge: You go not, till I set you up a glass Where you may see the inmost part of you.

Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murther


Help, help, ho!

Pol. [Behind.] What, ho! help! help! help! Ham. How now! a rat? [Draws.] Dead for a

ducat, dead. [Makes a pass through the arras. Pol. [Behind.] 0! I am slain. [Falls and dies. Queen.

O me! what hast thou done? Ham.

Nay, I know not: Is it the King

[Lifts up the arras, and sees POLONIUS. Queen. 0, what a rash and bloody deed is

this ! Ham. A bloody deed; almost as bad, good

mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

Queen. As kill a king !


Ay, lady, 'twas my word. Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell.

[To POLONIUS. I took thee for thy betters ; take thy fortune : Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.

[Drops the arrus. Leave wringing of your hands. Peace! sit you down, And let me wring your heart: for so I shall, If it be made of penetrable stuff ; If damned custom have not braz'd it so, That it is proof and bulwark against sense. Queen. What have I done that thou dar'st wag

thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?

Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty ;
Calls virtue, hypocrite ; takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And sets a blister there; makes marriage vows
As false as dicers' oaths : 0, such a deed,
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul; and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words : Heaven's face doth glow,
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.

Ah me! what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index ?

Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this ; The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See, what a grace was seated on this brow : Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; An eye like Mars, to threaten and command ; A station like the herald Mercury, New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;

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