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To the next abstinence; the next more easy;

For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either
the devil, or throw him


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With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:


And when you are desirous to be blest,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
[Pointing to Polonius.

I do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so,
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
I must be cruel, only to be kind:

Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.


What shall I do?
Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wantom on your cheek, call you his


And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd

Make you to ravel all this matter out,

That I essentially am not in madness,

169. "And either

the devil"; some such word as "master," "quell," "shame," has been omitted in Qq., which read "and either the devil."-I. G.

184. "reechy kisses"; reeky and reechy are the same word, and always applied to any vaporous exhalation, even to the fumes of a dunghill.-H. N. H.

But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him


For who, that 's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, 190
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy,

Unpeg the basket on the house's top,

Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep

And break your own neck down.

Queen. Be thou assured, if words be made of breath

And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

Ham. I must to England; you know that?

Alack, 200

I had forgot: 'tis so concluded on. Ham. There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,

Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,

199. "What thou hast said to me"; "I confess," says Coleridge, "that Shakespeare has left the character of the Queen in an unpleasant perplexity. Was she, or was she not, conscious of the fratricide?" This "perplexity," whatever it be, was doubtless designed by the Poet; for in the original form of the play she stood perfectly clear on this score; as appears from several passages in the quarto of 1603, which were afterwards disciplined out of the text. Thus, in one place of this scene, she says to Hamlet,—

"But, as I have a soul, I swear to Heaven,

I never knew of this most horrid murder."


And in this place she speaks thus:

"Hamlet, I, vow by that Majesty,

That knows our thoughts and looks into our hearts,

I will conceal, consent, and do my best,

What stratagem soe'er thou shalt devise."-H. N. H、

They bear the mandate; they must sweep my


And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petar: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most

When in one line two crafts directly meet. 210
This man shall set me packing:

I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room.
Mother, good night. Indeed this counselor
Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.

Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night, mother.

[Exeunt severally; Hamlet dragging in Polonius.



A room in the castle.

Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, and

King. There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:

You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?

Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while.

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen to-night! King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet? Queen. Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend

Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,

Behind the arras hearing something stir,

Whips out his rapier, cries 'A rat, a rat!' 10
And in this brainish apprehension kills

The unseen good old man.


O heavy deed!

It had been so with us, had we been there:

His liberty is full of threats to all,

To you yourself, to us, to every one.

4. Omitted in Ff.-I. G.

Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence

Should have kept short, restrain'd and out of

This mad young man: but so much was our

We would not understand what was most fit, 20
But, like the owner of a foul disease,

To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,

Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done. King. O Gertrude, come away!


The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guilden-

Re-enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Friends both, go join you with some further aid:

Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,

And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:

Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body

Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

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