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It shall be so: Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
A Hall in the same.
Enter Hamlet, and certain Players. Ilam. 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 lief 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 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 tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'er-doing Termagant;& it out-berods Herod:o Pray you, avoid it.
1 Play. I warrant your honour.
Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word,
periwig-pated —] This is a ridicule on the quantity of false hair worn in Shakspeare's time, for wigs were not in common use till the reign of Charles II.
the groundlings;] In our early play-houses the pit had neither foor nor benches. Hence the term of groundlings for those who frequented it.
Termugant;] Termagaunt (says Dr. Percy) is the name given in the old romances to the god of the Sarazens; in which he is constantly linked with Mahound, or Mohammed.
out-herods Herod :] The character of Herod in the ancient mysteries, was always a violent one.
the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'er-step not the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirrour up to nature; to show virtue her own 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 make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one, must, in your allowance, o'er-weigh 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 having the accent of christians, nor the gait of christian, 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.
1 Play. I hope, we have reformed that indifferently with us.
Ham. 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, 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 piti
- pressure.) Resemblance as in a print.
the censure of which one,] The meaning is, “ the censure of one of which.”
in your allowance,] In your approbation.
speak no more than is set down for them :) The clown very often addressed the audience, in the middle of the play, and entered into a contest of raillery and sarcasm with such of the audience as chose to engage with him. It is to this absurd practice that Shakspeare alludes.
ful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and Guilden
STERN. How now, my lord? will the king hear this piece of work?
Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
[Exit Polonius. Will you two help to hasten them? Both. Ay, my lord.
[Exeunt RosenCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. What, ho; Horatio!
Hor. Here, sweet lord, at your service.
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
Hor. O, my dear lord, --
Nay, do not think I flatter:
flatter'd ? No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp; 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, She hath seal'd thee for herself: for thou hast been As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing; A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards
the pregnant hinges of the knee,] I believe the sense of pregnant in this place, is, quick, ready, prompt. JOHNSON.
Hast ta’en with equal thanks: and bless'd are those,
Well, my lord:
Ham. They are coming to the play; I inust be idle: Get you a place.
Danish March. A Flourish. Enter King, Queen,
POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDEN-
* Whose blood and judgment -) According to the doctrine of the four humours, desire and confidence were seated in the blood, and judgment in the phlegm, and the due mixture of the humours made a perfect character. Johnson.
i-Vulcan's stithy.] Stithy is a smith's anvil.
I eat the air, promise-crammed: You cannot feed capons so.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now.8 My lord,—you played once in the university, you say?
[To Polonius. Pol. That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
Ham. And what did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was killed i'the Capitol; Brutus killed me.
Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there.—Be the players ready?
Ros. Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience. Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
Pol. O ho! do you mark that? [To the King Ham. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
[Lying down at Ophelia's Feet." Oph. No, my lord. Ham. I mean, my head upon your lap? Oph. Ay, my lord. Ham. Do you think, I meant country matters? Oph. I think nothing, my lord.
Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maid's legs. Oph. What is, my lord? Ham. Nothing Oph. You are merry, my lord. Ham. Who, I?
nor mine now.] A man's words, says the proverb, are his own no longer than he keeps them unspoken.
at Ophelia's feet.] To lie at the feet of a mistress during any dramatick representation, seems to have been a common act of gallantry.