Hamlet* by William Shakespeare § 3.3

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ACT III
PROLOGUE.
For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
[Exit]
2645 HAMLET.
Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
OPHELIA.
'Tis brief, my lord.
HAMLET.
2650 As woman's love.
[Enter two Players, King and Queen]
PLAYER KING.
Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
2655 And thirty dozen moons with borrow'd sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.
PLAYER QUEEN.
2660 So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done!
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,
2665 Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women's fear and love holds 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:
2670 Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
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:
2675 And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, beloved; and haply one as kind
For husband shalt thou--
PLAYER QUEEN.
O, confound the rest!
2680 Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who kill'd the first.
HAMLET.
[Aside] Wormwood, wormwood.
2685 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.
2690 PLAYER KING.
I do believe you think what now you speak;
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity;
2695 Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree;
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
2700 The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy:
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
2705 This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
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;
2710 The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.
2715 But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
2720 But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
PLAYER QUEEN.
Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven light!
Sport and repose lock from me day and night!
To desperation turn my trust and hope!
2725 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!
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
2730 HAMLET.
If she should break it now!
PLAYER KING.
'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile;
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
2735 The tedious day with sleep.
[Sleeps]
PLAYER QUEEN.
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!
2740 [Exit]
HAMLET.
Madam, how like you this play?
QUEEN GERTRUDE.
The lady protests too much, methinks.
2745 HAMLET.
O, but she'll keep her word.
KING CLAUDIUS.
Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in 't?
HAMLET.
2750 No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence
i' the world.
KING CLAUDIUS.
What do you call the play?
HAMLET.
2755 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 o'
that? your majesty and we that have free souls, it
2760 touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our
withers are unwrung.
[Enter LUCIANUS]
This is one Lucianus, nephew to the king.
OPHELIA.
2765 You are as good as a chorus, my lord.
HAMLET.
I could interpret between you and your love, if I
could see the puppets dallying.
OPHELIA.
2770 You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
HAMLET.
It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
OPHELIA.
Still better, and worse.
2775 HAMLET.
So you must take your husbands. Begin, murderer;
pox, leave thy damnable faces, and begin. Come:
'the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.'
LUCIANUS.
2780 Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
Confederate season, else no creature seeing;
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property,
2785 On wholesome life usurp immediately.
[Pours the poison into the sleeper's ears]
HAMLET.
He poisons him i' the garden for's estate. His
name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and writ in
2790 choice Italian: you shall see anon how the murderer
gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
OPHELIA.
The king rises.
HAMLET.
2795 What, frighted with false fire!
QUEEN GERTRUDE.
How fares my lord?
LORD POLONIUS.
Give o'er the play.
2800 KING CLAUDIUS.
Give me some light: away!
ALL.
Lights, lights, lights!
[Exeunt all but HAMLET and HORATIO]
2805 HAMLET.
Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch, while some must sleep:
So runs the world away.
2810 Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers-- if
the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me--with two
Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a
fellowship in a cry of players, sir?
HORATIO.
2815 Half a share.
HAMLET.
A whole one, I.
For thou dost know, O Damon dear,
This realm dismantled was
2820 Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
A very, very--pajock.
HORATIO.
You might have rhymed.
HAMLET.
2825 O good Horatio, I'll take the ghost's word for a
thousand pound. Didst perceive?
HORATIO.
Very well, my lord.
HAMLET.
2830 Upon the talk of the poisoning?
HORATIO.
I did very well note him.
HAMLET.
Ah, ha! Come, some music! come, the recorders!
2835 For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!
[Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN]
GUILDENSTERN.
2840 Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
HAMLET.
Sir, a whole history.
GUILDENSTERN.
The king, sir,--
2845 HAMLET.
Ay, sir, what of him?
GUILDENSTERN.
Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.
HAMLET.
2850 With drink, sir?
GUILDENSTERN.
No, my lord, rather with choler.
HAMLET.
Your wisdom should show itself more richer to
2855 signify this to his doctor; for, for me to put him
to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far
more choler.
GUILDENSTERN.
Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame and
2860 start not so wildly from my affair.
HAMLET.
I am tame, sir: pronounce.
GUILDENSTERN.
The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of
2865 spirit, hath sent me to you.
HAMLET.
You are welcome.
GUILDENSTERN.
Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right
2870 breed. If it shall please you to make me a
wholesome answer, I will do your mother's
commandment: if not, your pardon and my return
shall be the end of my business.
HAMLET.
2875 Sir, I cannot.
GUILDENSTERN.
What, my lord?
HAMLET.
Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased: but,
2880 sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command;
or, rather, as you say, my mother: therefore no
more, but to the matter: my mother, you say,--
ROSENCRANTZ.
Then thus she says; your behavior hath struck her
2885 into amazement and admiration.
HAMLET.
O wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother! But
is there no sequel at the heels of this mother's
admiration? Impart.
2890 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
2895 you any further trade with us?
ROSENCRANTZ.
My lord, you once did love me.
HAMLET.
So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.
2900 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.
2905 Sir, I lack advancement.
ROSENCRANTZ.
How can that be, when you have the voice of the king
himself for your succession in Denmark?
HAMLET.
2910 Ay, but sir, 'While the grass grows,'--the proverb
is something musty.
[Re-enter Players with recorders]
O, the recorders! let me see one. To withdraw with
you:--why do you go about to recover the wind of me,
2915 as if you would drive me into a toil?
GUILDENSTERN.
O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too
unmannerly.
HAMLET.
2920 I do not well understand that. Will you play upon
this pipe?
GUILDENSTERN.
My lord, I cannot.
HAMLET.
2925 I pray you.
GUILDENSTERN.
Believe me, I cannot.
HAMLET.
I do beseech you.
2930 GUILDENSTERN.
I know no touch of it, my lord.
HAMLET.
'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with
your lingers and thumb, give it breath with your
2935 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.
2940 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
2945 the top of my compass: and there 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 can fret me, yet you
2950 cannot play upon me.
[Enter POLONIUS]
God bless you, sir!
LORD POLONIUS.
My lord, the queen would speak with you, and
2955 presently.
HAMLET.
Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
LORD POLONIUS.
By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
2960 HAMLET.
Methinks it is like a weasel.
LORD POLONIUS.
It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET.
2965 Or like a whale?
LORD POLONIUS.
Very like a whale.
HAMLET.
Then I will come to my mother by and by. They fool
2970 me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.
LORD POLONIUS.
I will say so.
HAMLET.
By and by is easily said.
2975 [Exit POLONIUS]
Leave me, friends.
[Exeunt all but HAMLET]
Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
2980 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.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
2985 Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
How in my words soever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!
2990 [Exit]

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