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Ham. Why, as by lot, God wot--and then you know, it.came to pass, as most like it was ; the first row of the rubrick will fhew you more.
For, look, where my abridgements come.
Enter four or five Players. Y’are welcome, mafters, welcome all. I am glad to see thee well; welcome, good friends. Oh! old friend ! thy face is valancd, since I saw thee laft : com'ft thou to beard me in Denmark? What! my young lady and mistress ? b'erlady, your ladysip is nearer heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chioppine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome ; we'll e’en to't like friendly faulconers, fly at any thing we see ; we'll have a speech itraight. Come, give us a taste of your quality ; come, a passionate speech.
1 Play. What speech, my good Lord ?
Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once; but it was never acted : or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleas'd not the million, 'twas Caviar to the general ; but it was. (as I received it, and others, whose judgment in such matters cried in the top of mine) an excellent play ; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modefty as cunning. I remember, one faid, there was no falt in the lines, to make the matter favoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection; but call'd it, an honest method. One speech in it I chiefly lov'd ; 'twas Æneas's tale to Dido ; and thereabout of it especially, where he fpeaks of Priam's slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line, let me fee, let me see — The rugged Pyrrhus, like th' Hyrcanian beast, It is not fo; it begins with Pyrrhus. The rugged Pyrrhus, he, whole fable arms, Black as his purpose, did the night resemble When he lay couched in the ominous horse ; Hash now his dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal ; head to foot,
Now is he total gules ; horridly trickt
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, fons,
Bak'd and impafted with the parching fires,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To murders vile. Roafted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandfire Priam seeks.
Pol. 'Fore God, my Lord, well spoken, with good accent, and good discretion.
1 Play. Anon he finds him,
Striking, too short, at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command; unequal match’d,
Pyrrbus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide ;
But with the whif and wind of his feil sword
Thi unnerved father falls. Then fenseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base; and with a hideous craih
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear. For lo, his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of rev'rend Priam, seem'd i'th' air to stick :
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood;
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
But as we often see, against some storm,
A filence in the heav'ns, the rack stand still,
The bold wiods speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death: anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region : So after Pyrrbus' pause,
vengeance fets him new a-work:
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars his armour, forg'd for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.-
Out, out, thou strumpet fortune ! all you Gods,
In general fynod take away her power :
Break all the fpokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heav'n,
As low as to the fiends.
Pol. This is too long.
Ham. It shall to th' barber's with your beard. Pr'ythee, say on ; he's for a jigg, or a tale of bawdry, or he Neeps. Say on, come to Hecuba.
1 Play. But who,oh! who,had seen the mobled Queen,-
Ham. The mobled Queen ?
Pol. That's good ; mobled Queen, is good.
i Play. Run bare-foot up and down, threatning the
With bision rheum ; a clout upon that head,
Where late the diadem stood ; and for a robe
About her lank and all-o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket in th' alarm of fear caught up :
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd:
But if the Gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs ;
The nstant burst of clamour that she made,
(Unless things mortal move them not at all)
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heav'n.
And passion in the Gods.
Pol. Look, whe're he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes. Prythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well, I'll have thee fpeak out the rest of this foon. Good my Lord, will you see the players well bestow'd ? Do ye hear, let them be well usd ; for they are the abstract, and brief chroniclers of the time. After your death, you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you liv'd.
Pol. My Lord, I will use them according to their defert.
Ham. God's bodikins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping? use them after your own honour and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in. Pol. Come, Sirs.
Ham. Follow him, friends : we'll hear a play to
Doft thou hear me, old friend, can you play the murder of Gonzago?
Play. Ay, my Lord.
Ham. We'll ha't to-morrow-night. You could, for a need, ftudy a speech of fome dozen or fixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't? could ye not?
Play. Ay, my Lord.
Ham. Very well. Follow that Lord, and, look, you: mock him not. My good friends, I'll leave you 'till night, you are welcome to Elfinoor. Rof, Good my Lord.
Ham. Ay, so, God b'w'ye : now I am alone;
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fi&ion, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul fo to his own conceit,
That, from her working, all his visage warm’d:
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting,
With forms, to his conceit? and all for nothing ?
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 cue for passion,
That I have ? he would drown the stage with tears, ,
And cleave the gen’ral ear with horrid fpeech, .
Make mad the guilty, and appall the free;
nd the ignorant, and amaze, indeed,
The very faculty of eyes and ears. -Yet Ig
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like Fohn-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing:10, not for a King,
Upon whose property and most dear life.
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward ??
Who calls me villain, breaks my pate a-cross,
Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my
face? Tweaks me by th' nose, gives me the lye i'th' throat;.
As deep as to the lungs ? who does me this ?
Yet I should take it -for it cannot be,
But I am pigeon-liver'd, 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 !
Remorseless, treacherous, letcherous, kindless villain !
Why, what an ass am I? this is moft brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heav'n and hell,
Muit, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a curfing like a very drab-(16)
A cullion, ---fy upon't ! foh!-about, my brain !
I've heard, that guilty creatures, at a play,
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck fo to the soul, that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions.
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father,
Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks ;
I'll tent him to the quick; if he but blench,
I know my course. This fpirit, that I have seen,
May be the devil; and the devil hath power
T'assume a pleasing shape ; yea, and, perhaps,
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
(As he is very potent with such spirits)
Abufes me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this : The play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King. [Exit.
(16) And fall a cursing like a very Drab
A Stallion--] But why a Stallion ? The two old Folio's have it, a Scullion : but that too is wrong. I am perfuaded, Shakes. Xpeare wrote as I have reformed the Text; a Cullion, i. e. a ftupid, near:lefs, faint-hearted, white-liver'd Fellow; one good for nothing, but curfing and talking big,