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Ham. Oh, reform it altogether. And let thofe, that play your Clowns, fpeak no more than is fet down for them: For there be of them that will themfelves laugh, to fet on fome quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, fome neceffary queftion of the Play be then to be confidered. That's villainous; and fhews a most pitiful ambition in the fool that ufes it. Go make you ready.


[Exeunt Players.


Enter Polonius, Rofincrantz, and Guildenstern.

How now, my Lord; will the King hear this piece

of work?

Pol. And the Queen too, and that presently.

Ham. Bid the Players make hafte.

Will you two help to haften them?

Both. We will, my Lord.

Ham. What, ho, Horatio!

[Exit Polonius.


Enter Horatio to Hamlet.

Hor. Here, fweet Lord, at your fervice.
Ham. Horatio, thou art e'en as just a Man,
As e'er my converfation cop'd withal.
Hor. Oh my dear Lord,

Ham. Nay, do not think, I flatter:

For what advancement may I hope from thee,
That no revenue haft, but thy good fpirits,

To feed and cloath thee? Should the poor be flatter'd?
No, let the candied tongue lick abfurd Pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,

Where thrift may follow fawning. Doft thou hear?
Since my dear foul was mistress of her choice,


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the pregnant hinges of the knee,] I believe the fenfe of pregnant in this place is, quick,

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And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath feal'd thee for herself; for thou hast been
As one, in fuffering all, that fuffers nothing;
A man, that fortune's buffets and rewards
Haft ta'en with equal thanks. And bleft are those,
5 Whose blood and judgment are fo well co-mingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger,
To found what stop the please. Give me that man,
That is not paffion's flave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core; ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee. Something too much of this.
There is a Play to-night before the King,
One Scene of it comes near the circumftance,
Which I have told thee, of my father's death.
I pr'ythee, when thou seeft that Act a-foot,
Ev'n with the very comment of thy foul
Obferve mine uncle; if his occult guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned Ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul


As Vulcan's Stithy. Give him heedful note;
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face;

And, after, we will both our judgments join,
In cenfure of his Seeming.

Hor. Well, my Lord.

If he steal aught, the whilft this Play is playing,
And 'scape detecting, I will pay the theft.

5 Whofe blood and judgment-] According to the doctrine of the four humours, defire and confidence were feated in the blood, and judgment in the phlegm,

and the due mixture of the hu-
mours made a perfect character.
6 Vulcan's Stithy.
Stithy is a smith's anvil.

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Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rofincrantz, Guildenstern, and other Lords attendant, with a guard carrying torches. Danish March. Sound a flourish.

Ham. They're coming to the Play; I must be idle. Get you a place.

King. How fares our coufin Hamlet?

Ham. Excellent, i' faith, of the camelion's difh. I eat the air, promife-cramm'd. You cannot feed capons fo.

King. I have nothing with this anfwer, Hamlet ;

these words are not mine.


Ham. No, nor mine now.

-My Lord; you play'd once i' th' univerfity, you say? [To Polonius. Pol, That I did, my Lord, and was accounted a good actor.

Ham. And what did you enact?

Pol. I did enact Julius Cæfar, I was killed i' th' Capitol. Brutus kill'd me,

Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill fo capital a calf there. Be the players ready?


Rof. Ay, my Lord, they stay upon your patience. Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, fit by me. Ham. No good mother, here's metal more attrac


Pol, Oh ho, do you mark that?

7 nor mine now.] A man's words, fays the proverb, are his own no longer than he keep them unfpoken.

they stay upon your patience.]

May it not be read more intelligible, They stay upon your pleafure. In Macbeth it is,

Noble Macbeth, we flay upon your leifure.


Ham. Lady, fhall I lie in your lap?

Oph. No, my Lord.

[Lying down at Ophelia's feet.

Ham. I mean, my Head upon your Lap?

Oph. Ay, my Lord,

Ham. Do you think, I meant country matters? Opb. I think nothing, my Lord.

Ham. That's a fair thought, to lie between a maid's legs.

Oph. What is, my Lord!

Ham. Nothing,

Oph. You are merry, my Lord.
Ham. Who, I?

Oph. Ay, my Lord.

Ham. Oh! your only jig-mafter; what fhould a man do, but be merry? For, look you, how chearfully my mother looks, and my father dy'd within these two hours.

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Oph. Nay, 'tis twice two months, my Lord. Ham. So long? nay, then let the Devil wear black,

? Do you think, I meant countrymatters I think we must read, Do you think, I meant country manners? Do you imagine that I meant to fit in your lap, with fuch rough gallantry as clowns ufe to their laffes ?

then let the Devil wear nay, black, FOR I'll have a fuit of fables.] The conceit of thefe words is not taken. They are an ironical apology for his mother's chearful looks: Two months was long enough in confcience to make any dead hufband forgotten. But the editors, in their nonfenfical blunder, have made Hamlet fay just the contrary.

That the Devil and he would both go into mourning, tho' his mother did not. The true reading is this, Nay, then let the Devil wear black, 'FORE I'll have a fuit of fable. 'Fore, i. e. before. As much as to fay, Let the Devil wear black forme, I'll have none. The Oxford Editor defpifes an emendation fo eafy, and reads it thus, Nay, then let the Devil wear black, for I'll have a fuit of ERMINE. And you could expect no lefs, when fuch a critic had the dreffing of him. But the blunder was a pleafant one. The senseless editors had wrote fables, the fur fo called, for fable,


black, for I'll have a fuit of fables. Oh heav'ns! die two months ago, and not forgotten yet! then there's hope, a Great man's memory may outlive his life half a year: but, by'r-lady, he must build churches then; or elfe fhall he 2 fuffer not thinking on, with the hobby horfe; whofe epitaph is, For ob, for ab, the hobby-horse is forgot.

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I know not why our editors fhould, with fuch implacable anger, perfecute our predeceffors. Oi vexpor un davo, the dead it is true can make no resistance, they may be attacked with great fecurity; but fince they can neither feel nor mend, the fafety of mauling them feems greater than the pleasure; nor perhaps would it much mifbefeem us to remember, amidst our triumphs over the nonfenfical and the fenfeless, that we likewife are men; that debemur morti, and as Swift observed to Burnet, fhall foon be among the dead ourselves.

I cannot find how the common reading is nonfenfe, nor why Hamlet, when he laid afide his drefs of mourning, in a country where it was bitter cold, and the air was nipping and eager, fhould not have a fuit of fables. I fuppofe it is well enough known, that the fur of fables is not black.

Juffer not thinking on, with the bobby-borfe;] Amongst the country may-games, there was an hobby-horfe, which, when the puritanical humour of those times oppofed and difcredited these games, was brought by the poets and balladmakers as an inftance of the ridiculous zeal of the fectaries: from these ballads Hamlet quotes a line or two.

WARBURTON. This may be true, but seems to be faid at hazard.


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