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Ham. O Jephthah, judge of Israel, --what a treasure hadst thou !

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord ?
Ham. Why--One fair daughter, and no more,

The which he loved passing well.
Pol. Still on my daughter.

[Aside. Ham. Am I not i'the right, old Jephthah ?

Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well,

Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Pol. What follows then, my lord ?

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 pious chanson will show you more; for look, my abridgment comes.

Enter Four or Five Players. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all:-I am glad to see thee well :-welcome, good friends.-0, old friend! Why, thy face is valanced) since I saw thee last; Com'st thou to beard 8 me in Denmark ?What! my young lady and mistress ! By-'r-lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a thopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring.--Masters, you are all wel

We'll e’en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: We'll have a speech straight: Come, give us a taste of your quality;' come, a passionate speech.

1 Play. What speech, my lord ?


* Christinas carols. 7 Fringed. 8 Defy. 9 Clog. • Profession.

Ham. I beard thee speak me a speech once,—but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare? to the general: 3 but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top 4 of mine,) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no sallads in the lines, to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indites the author of affection:6 but called it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved : 'twas Æneas tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter: If it live in your memory, begin at this line; let me see, let me see;

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beust,-'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.

The rugged Pyrrhus,-he, whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules ;? horridly trick'd 8
IVith blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons;
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and a damned light
To their lord's murder: Roasted in wrath, and fire,

2 An Italian dish made of the roes of fishes. 3 Multitude. 4 Above.

5 Convict. 6 Affectation, 7 Red.

8 Blazoned.

And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks ;—So proceed you.

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, Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage, strikes wide; But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium, Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear : for, lo! his sword Which was declining on the milky head Of reverend Priam, seem'd i'the air to stick: So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood; And, like a neutral to his will and matter, Did nothing. But, as we often see, against some storm, A silence in the heavens, the rack9 stand still, The bold winds speechless, and the orb below As hush as death: anon the dreadful thunder Doth rend the region: So, after Pyrrhus' pause, A roused vengeance sets him new a work; And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall On Mars's 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,

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In general synod, take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And howl the round nave down the hill of heaten,
As low as to the fiends !
Pol. This is too long.

Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.— Prythee, say on :-He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps :-say on: come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah woe! had seen the mobled 2

queenHam. The mobled queen ? Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the

With bisson3 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 the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pro-

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 instant burst of clamour that she made,
(Unless things mortal move them not at all,)
Would have made milch 4 the burning eye of heaven,
And passion in the gods.

Pol. Look, whether he has not turn'd his colour, and has tears in's eyes.-Pr’ythee, no more.

Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest

2 Muffled,

3 Blind,

4 Milky.


of this soon.-Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used ; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time : After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.

Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

Ham. Odd's bodikin, 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.

[Exit Polonius, with some of the Players. Ham. Follow him, friends : we'll hear a play tomorrow.-Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago ?

i Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't? could

you not?

1 Play. Ay, my lord.

Ham. Very well.-- Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exit. Player.] My good friends, [To Ros, and Guil.) I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore, Ros. Good


lord! [Excunt RosencRANTZ and Guildenstern. Ham. Ay, so, God be wi' you :-Now I am alone. O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!



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