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not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee beft,

ob most beft, believe it.


Thine evermore, moft dear Lady, whilst

this Machine is to bim, Hamlet,

This in obedience hath my daughter fhewn me,'
And, more above, hath his folicitings,

As they fell out by time, by means and place,
All given to mine ear.

King. But how hath the receiv'd his love?
Pol. What do you think of me?

King. As of a man faithful and honourable.

Pol. I would fain prove fo. But what might you think

When I had feen this hot love on the wing,
(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me:) what might you,
Or my dear Majefty your Queen here, think
3 If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or giv❜n my heart a working, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle fight?

What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did befpeak;
Lord Hamlet is a Prince out of thy fphere,

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This must not be; and then, I precepts gave
That she should lock herself from his refort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens:

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+ Which done, she took the fruits of my advice; And he repulfed, a fhort tale to make,


Fell to a fadness, then into a fast,

Thence to a watching, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightnefs, and, by this declenfion,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we wail for.

King. Do you think this?

Queen. It may be very likely.

Pol. Hath there been fuch a time, I'd fain know that,

That I have pofitively faid, 'tis fo,

When it prov'd otherwise?

King. Not that I know.

Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise.

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[Pointing to his Head and Shoulder.

If circumstances lead me, I will find

Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed

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this character is here admirably
fuftained. He would not only
be thought to have discovered
this intrigue by his own fagacity,
but to have remarked all the
ftages of Hamlet's disorder, from
his fadnefs to his raving, as re-
gularly as his physician could
have done; when all the while
the madness was only feigned.
The humour of this is exquifite
from a man who tell us, with a
confidence peculiar to fmall po-
liticians, that he could find

Where truth was hid, though
it were hid indeed
Within the centre.


Within the center.

King. How may we try it further?

Pol. You know, fometimes he walks four hours together,

Here in the lobby.

Queen. So he does, indeed.

Pol. At fuch a time I'll loofe my daughter to him; .

Be you and I behind an Arras then,

Mark the encounter; If he love her not,
And be not from his reafon fall'n thereon,
Let me be no affistant for a State,
But keep a farm and carters.
King. We will try it.


Enter Hamlet reading.

Queen. But, look, where, fadly the poor wretch comes reading.

Pol. Away, I do befeech you, both away.

I'll board him presently.

Oh, give me leave.


[Exeunt King and Queen

How does my good Lord

Ham. Well, God o' mercy.

Pol. Do you know me, my Lord ?

Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.

Pol. Not I, my Lord.

Ham. Then I would you were fo honest a man.

Pol. Honeft, my Lord?

Ham. Ay, Sir, to be honeft, as this world goes, is to be one man pick'd out of ten thousand.

Pol. That's very true, my Lord.


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Ham. For if the fun breed maggots in a dead dog, Being a God, kiffing carrionHave you a daughter?

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Being a God, kiffing carrionAs to the fenfe we may obferve, that the illative particle [for] fhews the speaker to be reafoning from fomething he had faid before: What that was we learn in these words, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one picked out of ten thousand. Having faid this, the chain of ideas led him to reflect upon the argument which libertines bring against Providence from the circumftance of abounding Evil. In the next fpeech therefore he endeavours to aufwer that objection, and vindicate Providence, even on a fuppofition of the fact, that almost all men were wicked. His argument in the two lines in quef. tion is to this purpofe, But why need we wonder at this abounding of evil? for if the Sun breed


maggots in dead dog, which tho' a God, yet hedding its heat and influence upon carrion--Here he ftops fhort, left talking too confequentially the hearer fhould fufpect his madness to be feigned; and fo turns him off from the fubject, by enquiring of his daughter. But the inference which he intended to make, was a very noble one, and to this purpofe, If this (fays he) be the cafe, that the effect follows the thing operated upon [carrion] and not the thing operating [a God;] why need we wonder, that the fupreme caufe of all things diffufing its bleffings on mankind, who is, as it were, a dead carrion, dead in original fin, man, inftead of a proper return of duty, fhould breed only corruption and vices? This is the argument at length; and is as noble a one in behalf of providence as could come from the fchools of divinity. But this wonderful man had an art not only of acquainting the audience with what his actors Say, but with what they think. The fentiment too is altogether in character, for Hamlet is perpetually moralizing, and his circumftances make this reflexion very natural. The fame thought, fomething diverfified, as on a different occafion, he ufes again in Meafure for Meafure, which will ferve to confirmthefe obfervations?


Pol. I have, my Lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i' th' Sun; conception is a bleffing, but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't.

Pol. How fay you by that? Still harping on my daughter?

Yet he knew me not at first; he faid, I was a fish


He is far gone; and, truly, in my youth,
I fuffered much extremity for love;

Very near this.I'll fpeak to him again.
What do you read, my Lord?

Ham. Words, words, words.

Pol. What is the matter, my Lord?
Ham. Between whom?


Pol. I mean the matter that you read, my Lord. Ham. Slanders, Sir: for the fatirical flave fays here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit; together with most weak hams. All which,

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