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Histories and Tragedies: Hamlet, 4.4.33-67

Line numbers are from the Bevington Necessary Shakespeare.

[HAMLET:]How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time                                          [35]
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unused. Now whether it be                                             [40]
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th' event --
A thought which quartered hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward -- I do not know
Why yet I live to say, łThis thing's to do,                       [45]
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed                                                   [50]
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,                                                     [55]
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father killed, a mother stained,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep, while to my shame I see                                 [60]
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent                                          [65]
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!


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