Polon. By'th' Masse, and it's like a Camell indeed

Ham. Me thinkes it is like a Weazell

Polon. It is back'd like a Weazell

Ham. Or like a Whale? Polon. Verie like a Whale

Ham. Then will I come to my Mother, by and by: They foole me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by

Polon. I will say so. Enter.

Ham. By and by, is easily said. Leaue me Friends: 'Tis now the verie witching time of night, When Churchyards yawne, and Hell it selfe breaths out Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood, And do such bitter businesse as the day Would quake to looke on. Soft now, to my Mother: Oh Heart, loose not thy Nature; let not euer The Soule of Nero, enter this firme bosome: Let me be cruell, not vnnaturall, I will speake Daggers to her, but vse none: My Tongue and Soule in this be Hypocrites. How in my words someuer she be shent, To giue them Seales, neuer my Soule consent. Enter King, Rosincrance, and Guildensterne.

King. I like him not, nor stands it safe with vs, To let his madnesse range. Therefore prepare you, I your Commission will forthwith dispatch, And he to England shall along with you: The termes of our estate, may not endure Hazard so dangerous as doth hourely grow Out of his Lunacies

Guild. We will our selues prouide: Most holie and Religious feare it is To keepe those many many bodies safe That liue and feede vpon your Maiestie

Rosin. The single And peculiar life is bound With all the strength and Armour of the minde, To keepe it selfe from noyance: but much more, That Spirit, vpon whose spirit depends and rests The liues of many, the cease of Maiestie Dies not alone; but like a Gulfe doth draw What's neere it, with it. It is a massie wheele Fixt on the Somnet of the highest Mount. To whose huge Spoakes, ten thousand lesser things Are mortiz'd and adioyn'd: which when it falles, Each small annexment, pettie consequence Attends the boystrous Ruine. Neuer alone Did the King sighe, but with a generall grone

King. Arme you, I pray you to this speedie Voyage; For we will Fetters put vpon this feare, Which now goes too free-footed

Both. We will haste vs.

Exeunt. Gent.

Enter Polonius.

Pol. My Lord, he's going to his Mothers Closset: Behinde the Arras Ile conuey my selfe To heare the Processe. Ile warrant shee'l tax him home, And as you said, and wisely was it said, 'Tis meete that some more audience then a Mother, Since Nature makes them partiall, should o're-heare The speech of vantage. Fare you well my Liege, Ile call vpon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know

King. Thankes deere my Lord. Oh my offence is ranke, it smels to heauen, It hath the primall eldest curse vpon't, A Brothers murther. Pray can I not, Though inclination be as sharpe as will: My stronger guilt, defeats my strong intent, And like a man to double businesse bound, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect; what if this cursed hand Were thicker then it selfe with Brothers blood, Is there not Raine enough in the sweet Heauens To wash it white as Snow? Whereto serues mercy, But to confront the visage of Offence? And what's in Prayer, but this two-fold force, To be fore-stalled ere we come to fall, Or pardon'd being downe? Then Ile looke vp, My fault is past. But oh, what forme of Prayer Can serue my turne? Forgiue me my foule Murther: That cannot be, since I am still possest Of those effects for which I did the Murther. My Crowne, mine owne Ambition, and my Queene: May one be pardon'd, and retaine th' offence? In the corrupted currants of this world, Offences gilded hand may shoue by Iustice, And oft 'tis seene, the wicked prize it selfe Buyes out the Law; but 'tis not so aboue, There is no shuffling, there the Action lyes In his true Nature, and we our selues compell'd Euen to the teeth and forehead of our faults, To giue in euidence. What then? What rests? Try what Repentance can. What can it not? Yet what can it, when one cannot repent? Oh wretched state! Oh bosome, blacke as death! Oh limed soule, that strugling to be free, Art more ingag'd: Helpe Angels, make assay: Bow stubborne knees, and heart with strings of Steele, Be soft as sinewes of the new-borne Babe, All may be well. Enter Hamlet.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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