|The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark|
| Act 3, Scene 4
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Enter QUEEN MARGARET and POLONIUSLORD POLONIUS
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him:HAMLET
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.
Pray you, be round with him.
[Within] Mother, mother, mother!QUEEN GERTRUDE
I'll warrant you,HAMLET
Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.
POLONIUS hides behind the arras
Now, mother, what's the matter?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.HAMLET
Mother, you have my father much offended.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.HAMLET
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Why, how now, Hamlet!HAMLET
What's the matter now?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Have you forgot me?HAMLET
No, by the rood, not so:QUEEN GERTRUDE
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And--would it were not so!--you are my mother.
Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.HAMLET
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;QUEEN GERTRUDE
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?LORD POLONIUS
Help, help, ho!
[Behind] What, ho! help, help, help!HAMLET
[Drawing] How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!LORD POLONIUS
Makes a pass through the arras
[Behind] O, I am slain!QUEEN GERTRUDE
Falls and dies
O me, what hast thou done?HAMLET
Nay, I know not:QUEEN GERTRUDE
Is it the king?
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!HAMLET
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,QUEEN GERTRUDE
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
As kill a king!HAMLET
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.QUEEN GERTRUDE
Lifts up the array and discovers POLONIUSThou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune;
Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
Leave wringing of your hands: peace! sit you down,
And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damned custom have not brass'd it so
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongueHAMLET
In noise so rude against me?
Such an actQUEEN GERTRUDE
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage-vows
As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words: heaven's face doth glow:
Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-sick at the act.
Ay me, what act,HAMLET
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
Look here, upon this picture, and on this,QUEEN GERTRUDE
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man:
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserved some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
And reason panders will.
O Hamlet, speak no more:HAMLET
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.
Nay, but to liveQUEEN GERTRUDE
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty,--
O, speak to me no more;HAMLET
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!
A murderer and a villain;QUEEN GERTRUDE
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings;
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!
A king of shreds and patches,--QUEEN GERTRUDE
Enter GhostSave me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?
Alas, he's mad!HAMLET
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,Ghost
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command? O, say!
Do not forget: this visitationHAMLET
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul:
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works:
Speak to her, Hamlet.
How is it with you, lady?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Alas, how is't with you,HAMLET
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!QUEEN GERTRUDE
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.
To whom do you speak this?HAMLET
Do you see nothing there?QUEEN GERTRUDE
Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.HAMLET
Nor did you nothing hear?QUEEN GERTRUDE
No, nothing but ourselves.HAMLET
Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!QUEEN GERTRUDE
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!
This the very coinage of your brain:HAMLET
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music: it is not madness
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that mattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue;
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.HAMLET
O, throw away the worser part of it,QUEEN GERTRUDE
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to mine uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [ ] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
Pointing to POLONIUSI 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?HAMLET
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:QUEEN GERTRUDE
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know;
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
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.
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath,HAMLET
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
I must to England; you know that?QUEEN GERTRUDE
I had forgot: 'tis so concluded on.
There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way,
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
This man shall set me packing:
I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room.
Mother, good night. Indeed this counsellor
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
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