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Ham. Into my grave?

Pol. Indeed, that is out o' the air.How pregnant sometimes his replies arel a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be deliver'd of. I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter.-My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of


356 Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal ; except my life, except my life, except my life.

Pol. Fare you well, my lord.
Ham. These tedious old fools !

Enter ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN. Pol. You go to seek lord Hamlet : there he is.

[Exit. Ros. God save you, sir ! Guil. Mine honour'd lord ! Ros. My most dear lord !

Ham. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lacks, how do

ye both

Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.

Guil. Happy, in that we are not over-happy; 370 On fortune's cap we are not the very button.

Ham. Nor the soals of her shoe?
Ros. Neither, my lord.

Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours

Guil. 'Faith, hur privates we.

Ham. In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; she is a strumpet. What news ?

Ros. None, my lord; but that the world's grown honest.

380 · Ham. Then is dooms-day near: But your news is not true. (Let me question more in particular : What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?

Guil. Prison, my lord !
Ham. Denmark's a prison.
Ros. Then is the world one.

Ham. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.

390 Ros. We think not so, my lord.

Ham. Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.

Ros. Why, then your ambition makes it one; 'tis too narrow for

your mind. Ham. O God! I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and count myself a king of infinite space ; were ir not that I have bad dreams.

399 Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are ambition ; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.

Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's shadow,


like an

Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs, and out-stretch'd heroes, the beggars" shadows : Shall we to the court for, by my fay, I' cannot reason. Both. We'll wait upon you.

410 Ham. No such matter : I will not sort you withthe rest of my servants; for, to speak to you honest man, I am most dreadfully attended). But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at, Elsineur?

Ros. To visit you, my lord ; no other occasion.

Ham. Beggar that I am; I am even poor in thanks;. but I thank you : and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear at a half-penny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation ? Come, come; deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.

Guil. What should we say, my lord ?

Ham. Any thing but to the purpose. You were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in

your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to colour: I know, the good king and queen have sent for you. Ros, To what end, my lord ?

429 Ham. That you must teach me.

But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our everpreserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no?



Ros. What say you?

[To Guild. Ham. Nay, then I have an eye of you ;--if you : love me, hold not off. Guil. My lord, we were sent for.

439 Ham. I will tell you why ; só shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather.. I have of late (but, wherefore, I'know not), lost all my nirth, foregone allcustom 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'er-hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with goldenfire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties ! in forin, 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? man delights not me,nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so. Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my

thoughts. Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said Man delights not me?

Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted them on the way; and


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hither are they coming, to offer you

service. Ham. He that plays the king, shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me: the adventurous knight shall use his foil, and target : the lover shall not sigh gratis ; the humourous man shall end his part in peace: the clown shall make those laugh, whose lungs are tickled o' the sere; and the lady shall

say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't.-What players are they?

473 Ros. Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the tragedians of the city.

Ham. How chances it, they travel their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Ros. I think, their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation.

Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so follow'd?

Ros. No, indeed, they are not.
[ Ham. How comes it? Do they grow rusty?

Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: But there is, sir, an aiery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapp'd for't: these are now the fashion; and so berattle the common stages (so they call them), that many, wearing rapiers, are afraid of goose-quills, and dare scarce come thither,

490 Ham. What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? how are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to



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