ACT 3, SCENE 2: The Castle.

Enter HAMLET and three of 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 live 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                  [5]
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 totters, to very rags, to split the ears of the ground-                      [10]
lings, who for the most part are capable of nothing
but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. I would have
such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant, it
out-Herods Herod, pray you avoid it.

FIRST PLAYER: I warrant your honour.                                                          [15]

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 special observance,
that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for any
thing so o'erdone is from the purpose of playing,                              [20]
whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to
hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature: to show virtue
her 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 makes the                     [25]
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               [30]
having th' accent of Christians nor the gait of Chris-
tian, 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.                                                                        [35]

FIRST PLAYER: I hope we have reformed that indifferently
with us, sir.

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                    [40]
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 villainous,
and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses
it. Go make you ready.                                                                              [45]

Exeunt Players.
Enter POLONIUS, GUILDENSTERN, and ROSENCRANTZ.
How now, my lord? Will the King hear this piece of
work?

POLONIUS: And the Queen too, and that presently.

HAMLET: Bid the players make haste.

Exit Polonius.

Will you two help to hasten them?                                                       [50]

ROSENCRANTZ: Ay, my lord.

Exeunt they two.

HAMLET: What ho, Horatio!

Enter HORATIO.

HORATIO: Here, sweet lord, at your service.

HAMLET: Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
As e'er my conversation coped withal.                                                 [55]

HORATIO: O my dear lord --

HAMLET:                           Nay, do not think I flatter,
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,                                     [60]
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,
Sh' hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been                           [65]
As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well co-meddled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger                                       [70]
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee. Something too much of this.
There is a play to-night before the King,                                               [75]
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father's death.
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt                                                 [80]
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note,
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,                                                     [85]
And after we will both our judgments join
In censure of his seeming.

HORATIO:                           Well, my lord.
If 'a steal aught the whilst this play is playing,
And scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

Enter Trumpets and Kettle-drums, KING, QUEEN,
POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN,
and other LORDS attendant, with his GUARD carrying
torches. Danish march. Sound a flourish.

HAMLET: They are coming to the play. I must be idle;                                 [90]
Get you a place.

KING: How fares our cousin Hamlet?

HAMLET: Excellent, i' faith, of the chameleonıs dish:
I eat the air, promise-crammed; you cannot feed
capons so.                                                                                                     [95]

KING: I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet, these
words are not mine.

HAMLET: No, nor mine now. [To Polonius.] My
lord, you played once i' thı university, you say?

POLONIUS: That did I, my lord, and was accounted a                                   [100]
good actor.

HAMLET: What did you enact?

POLONIUS: I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i' thı
Capitol; Brutus killed me.

HAMLET: It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a                                 [105]
calf there. Be the players ready?

ROSENCRANTZ: Ay, my lord, they stay upon your
patience.

QUEEN: Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.

HAMLET: No, good mother, here's metal more                                             [110]
attractive.

POLONIUS: [To the King.] O ho, do you mark that?

HAMLET: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

[He lies at Ophelia's feet.]

OPHELIA: No, my lord.

HAMLET: I mean, my head upon your lap?                                                    [115]

OPHELIA: Ay, my lord.

HAMLET: Do you think I meant country matters?

OPHELIA: I think nothing, my lord.

HAMLET: That's a fair thought to lie between maidsı
legs.                                                                                                                [120]

OPHELIA: What is, my lord?

HAMLET: Nothing.

OPHELIA: You are merry, my lord.

HAMLET: Who, I?

OPHELIA: Ay, my lord.                                                                                         [125]

HAMLET: O God, 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's two
hours.

OPHELIA: Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.                                              [130]

HAMLET: So long? Nay then let the devil wear black,
for I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens, die two
months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope
a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year,
but, by'r lady, ıa must build churches then, or else                             [135]
shall 'a suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse,
whose epitaph is, "For O, for O, the hobby-horse is
forgot."

The trumpets sounds. Dumb show follows.

Enter a King and a Queen very lovingly, the Queen
embracing him and he her. She kneels and makes show of
protestation unto him. He takes her up and declines his head
upon her neck. He lies him down upon a bank of flowers.
She, seeing him asleep, leaves him. Anon come in another
man, takes off his crown, kisses it, pours poison in the sleeper's
ears, and leaves him. The Queen returns, finds the King dead,
makes passionate action. The poisoner with some three or
four mutes come in again, seem to condole with her. The
dead body is carried away. The poisoner woos the Queen
with gifts; she seems harsh and unwilling awhile, but in the
end accepts love.

Exeunt.

OPHELIA: What means this, my lord?

HAMLET: Marry, this' miching mallecho, it means                                      [140]
mischief.

OPHELIA: Belike this show imports the argument of
the play.

Enter PROLOGUE.

HAMLET: We shall know by this fellow. The players
cannot keep counsel, they'll tell all.                                                       [145]

OPHELIA: Will 'a tell us what this show meant?

HAMLET: Ay, or any show that you will show him.
Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell
you what it means.

OPHELIA: You are naught, you are naught. I'll mark                                    [150]
the play.

PROLOGUE: For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.

Exit.

HAMLET: Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?                                        [155]

OPHELIA: 'Tis brief, my lord.

HAMLET: As woman's love.

Enter [two Players as] KING and QUEEN.

PLAYER KING: Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellusı orbed ground,
And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen                                 [160]
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite comutual in most sacred bands.

PLAYER QUEEN: So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!                                         [165]
But woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must,
For women fear too much, even as they love,                                    [170]
For women's fear and love hold quantity,
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
And as my love is sized, my fear is so.
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;                                  [175]
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

PLAYER KING: Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
My operant powers their functions leave to do,
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honoured, beloved, and haply one as kind                                         [180]
For husband shalt thou --

PLAYER QUEEN:                          O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
In second husband let me be accursed!
None wed the second but who killed the first.

HAMLET: [Aside.] That's wormwood!                                                              [185]

PLAYER QUEEN: The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
A second time I kill my husband dead,
When second husband kisses me in bed.

PLAYER KING: I do believe you think what now you speak,                      [190]
But what we do determine, oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity,
Which now, the fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,
But fall unshaken when they mellow be.                                            [195]
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy                                                          [200]
Their own enactures with themselves destroy.
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change:                   [205]
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies,
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,                                             [210]
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run                                                  [215]
That our devices still are overthrown,
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed,
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.

PLAYER QUEEN: Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light,                [220]
Sport and repose lock from me day and night,
To desperation turn my trust and hope,
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope!
Each opposite that blanks the face of joy
Meet what I would have well and it destroy!                                      [225]
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If once I be a widow, ever I be a wife!

HAMLET: If she should break it now!

PLAYER KING: 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here a while,
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile                                   [230]
The tedious day with sleep.

Sleeps.

PLAYER QUEEN:                           Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!

Exit.

HAMLET: Madam, how like you this play?

QUEEN: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

HAMLET: O but she'll keep her word.                                                              [235]

KING: Have you heard the argument? is there no
offence in't?

HAMLET: No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest -- no
offence i' thı world.

KING: What do you call the play?                                                                      [240]

HAMLET: "The Mouse-trap." Marry, how? tropically:
this play is the image of a murder done in Vienna;
Gonzago is the duke's name, his wife, Baptista. You
shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what
of that? Your Majesty, and we that have free souls, it                       [245]
touches us not. Let the galled jade wince, our withers
are unwrung.

Enter LUCIANUS.

This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.

OPHELIA: You are as good as a chorus, my lord.

HAMLET: I could interpret between you and your                                         [250]
love, if I could see the puppets dallying.

OPHELIA: You are keen, my lord, you are keen.

HAMLET: It would cost you a groaning to take off
mine edge.

OPHELIA: Still better, and worse.                                                                        [255]

HAMLET: So you mistake your husbands. Begin,
murderer, leave thy damnable faces and begin. Come,
the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.

LUCIANUS: Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing,
Confederate season, else no creature seeing,                                       [260]
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property
On wholesome life usurps immediately.

Pours the poison in his ears.

HAMLET: 'A poisons him iı thı garden for his estate.                                    [265]
His name's Gonzago, the story is extant, and written
in very choice Italian. You shall see anon how the
murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

OPHELIA: The King rises.

HAMLET: What, frighted with false fire?                                                         [270]

QUEEN: How fares my lord?

POLONIUS: Give o'er the play.

KING: Give me some light. Away!

POLONIUS: Lights, lights, lights!

Exeunt all but Hamlet and Horatio.

HAMLET: "Why, let the stricken deer go weep,                                              [275]
The hart ungalled play,
For some must watch while some must sleep,
Thus runs the world away."
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers -- if the
rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me -- with two                         [280]
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellow-
ship in a cry of players?

HORATIO: Half a share.

HAMLET: A whole one, I.
"For thou dost know, O Damon dear,                                                   [285]
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself, and now reigns here
A very, very" -- pajock.

HORATIO: You might have rhymed.

HAMLET: O good Horatio, I'll take the ghostıs word                                     [290]
for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?

HORATIO: Very well, my lord.

HAMLET: Upon the talk of the poisoning?

HORATIO: I did very well note him.

HAMLET: Ah, ha! Come, some music! Come, the                                         [295]
recorders!
For if the King like not the comedy,
Why then belike he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!

Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.

GUILDENSTERN: Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word                              [300]
with you.

HAMLET: Sir, a whole history.

GUILDENSTERN: The King, sir --

HAMLET: Ay, sir, what of him?

GUILDENSTERN: Is in his retirement marvellous dis-                                [305]
tempered.

HAMLET: With drink, sir?

GUILDENSTERN: No, my lord, with choler.

HAMLET: Your wisdom should show itself more richer
to signify this to the doctor, for for me to put him to                        [310]
his purgation would perhaps plunge him into more
choler.

GUILDENSTERN: Good my lord, put your discourse
into some frame, and start not so wildly from my
affair.                                                                                                             [315]

HAMLET: I am tame, sir. Pronounce.

GUILDENSTERN: The Queen, your mother, in most
great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

HAMLET: You are welcome.

GUILDENSTERN: Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is                                  [320]
not of the right breed. If it shall please you to make me
a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's com-
mandment; if not, your pardon and my return shall
be the end of my business.

HAMLET: Sir, I cannot.                                                                                         [325]

ROSENCRANTZ: What, my lord?

HAMLET: Make you a wholesome answer -- my wit's
diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you shall
command, or rather, as you say, my mother. There-
fore no more, but to the matter: my mother, you say --                  [330]

ROSENCRANTZ: Then thus she says: your behaviour
hath struck her into amazement and admiration.

HAMLET: O wonderful son, that can so stonish a
mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this
mother's admiration? Impart.                                                                [335]

ROSENCRANTZ: She desires to speak with you in her
closet ere you go to bed.

HAMLET: We shall obey, were she ten times our
mother. Have you any further trade with us?

ROSENCRANTZ: My lord, you once did love me.                                       [340]

HAMLET: And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

ROSENCRANTZ: Good my lord, what is your cause of
distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your
own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.

HAMLET: Sir, I lack advancement.                                                                   [345]

ROSENCRANTZ: How can that be, when you have the
voice of the King himself for your succession in
Denmark?

              Enter the PLAYERS with recorders.

HAMLET: Ay, sir, but "While the grass grows" -- the
proverb is something musty. O, the recorders! Let                            [350]
me see one. -- To withdraw with you ‹ why do you go
about to recover the wind of me, as if you would
drive me into a toil?

GUILDENSTERN: O my lord, if my duty be too bold,
my love is too unmannerly.                                                                    [355]

HAMLET: I do not well understand that. Will you play
upon this pipe?

GUILDENSTERN: My lord, I cannot.

HAMLET: I pray you.

GUILDENSTERN: Believe me, I cannot.                                                           [360]

HAMLET: I pray you

GUILDENSTERN: Believe me, I cannot.

HAMLET: I do beseech you.

GUILDENSTERN: I know no touch of it, my lord.

HAMLET: It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages                                 [365]
with your fingers and thumbs, give it breath with your
mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
Look you, these are the stops.

GUILDENSTERN: But these cannot I command to any
utterance of harmony. I have not the skill.                                         [370]

HAMLET: Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing
you make of me! You would play upon me, you
would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out
the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from
my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there                         [375]
is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet
cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what
instrument you will, though you fret me, yet you
cannot play upon me.                                                                               [380]

Enter POLONIUS.
God bless you, sir.

POLONIUS: My lord, the Queen would speak with
you, and presently.

HAMLET: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in
shape of a camel?                                                                                       [385]

POLONIUS: By th' mass and ıtis, like a camel indeed.

HAMLET: Methinks it is like a weasel.

POLONIUS: It is backed like a weasel.

HAMLET: Or like a whale.

POLONIUS: Very like a whale.                                                                            [390]

HAMLET: Then I will come to my mother by and by. [Aside.]
They fool me to the top of my bent. -- I will
come by and by.

POLONIUS: I will say so.

Exit.

HAMLET: "By and by" is easily said. Leave me, friends.                           [395]

Exeunt all but Hamlet.

'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.                           [400]
O heart, lose not thy nature! let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom,
Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites --                                       [405]
How in my words somever she be shent,
To give them seals never my soul consent!

Exit.


Go to the next scene.
Go to the previous scene.
Return to the list of scenes