Ham. Begger that I am, I am euen poore in thankes; but I thanke you: and sure deare friends my thanks are too deare a halfepeny; were you not sent for? Is it your owne inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, deale iustly with me: come, come; nay speake

Guil. What should we say my Lord? Ham. Why any thing. But to the purpose; you were sent for; and there is a kinde confession in your lookes; which your modesties haue not craft enough to color, I know the good King & Queene haue sent for you

Rosin. To what end my Lord? Ham. That you must teach me: but let mee coniure you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the Obligation of our euer-preserued loue, and by what more deare, a better proposer could charge you withall; be euen and direct with me, whether you were sent for or no

Rosin. What say you? Ham. Nay then I haue an eye of you: if you loue me hold not off

Guil. My Lord, we were sent for

Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation preuent your discouery of your secricie to the King and Queene: moult no feather, I haue of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custome of exercise; and indeed, it goes so heauenly with my disposition; that this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to me a sterrill Promontory; this most excellent Canopy the Ayre, look you, this braue ore-hanging, this Maiesticall Roofe, fretted with golden fire: why, it appeares no other thing to mee, then a foule and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of worke is a man! how Noble in Reason? how infinite in faculty? in forme and mouing how expresse and admirable? in Action, how like an Angel? in apprehension, how like a God? the beauty of the world, the Parragon of Animals; and yet to me, what is this Quintessence of Dust? Man delights not me; no, nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seeme to say so

Rosin. My Lord, there was no such stuffe in my thoughts

Ham. Why did you laugh, when I said, Man delights not me? Rosin. To thinke, my Lord, if you delight not in Man, what Lenton entertainment the Players shall receiue from you: wee coated them on the way, and hither are they comming to offer you Seruice

Ham. He that playes the King shall be welcome; his Maiesty shall haue Tribute of mee: the aduenturous Knight shal vse his Foyle and Target: the Louer shall not sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his part in peace: the Clowne shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled a'th' sere: and the Lady shall say her minde freely; or the blanke Verse shall halt for't: what Players are they? Rosin. Euen those you were wont to take delight in the Tragedians of the City

Ham. How chances it they trauaile? their residence both in reputation and profit was better both wayes

Rosin. I thinke their Inhibition comes by the meanes of the late Innouation? Ham. Doe they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the City? Are they so follow'd? Rosin. No indeed, they are not

Ham. How comes it? doe they grow rusty? Rosin. Nay, their indeauour keepes in the wonted pace; But there is Sir an ayrie of Children, little Yases, that crye out on the top of question; and are most tyrannically clap't for't: these are now the fashion, and so be-ratled the common Stages (so they call them) that many wearing Rapiers, are affraide of Goose-quils, and dare scarse come thither

Ham. What are they Children? Who maintains 'em? How are they escorted? Will they pursue the Quality no longer then they can sing? Will they not say afterwards if they should grow themselues to common Players (as it is most like if their meanes are not better) their Writers do them wrong, to make them exclaim against their owne Succession

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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