The Queen's closet.
Enter QUEEN MARGARET and POLONIUS
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him:Tell him his pranks have been too broad to
bear with,And that your grace hath screen'd and stood betweenMuch heat and him. I'll sconce me even
here.Pray you, be round with him.
Within Mother, mother, mother!
I'll warrant you,Fear me not: withdraw, I hear him coming.
POLONIUS hides behind the arras
Now, mother, what's the matter?
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Mother, you have my father much offended.
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Why, how now, Hamlet!
What's the matter now?
Have you forgot me?
No, by the rood, not so:You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;Andwould it were not
so!you are my mother.
Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge;You go not till I set you up a glassWhere
you may see the inmost part of you.
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?Help, help, ho!
Behind What, ho! help, help, help!
Drawing How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!
Makes a pass through the arras
Behind O, I am slain!
Falls and dies
O me, what hast thou done?
Nay, I know not:Is it the king?
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
As kill a king!
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
Lifts up the array and discovers POLONIUS
Thou 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 soThat
it is proof and bulwark against sense.
What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongueIn noise so rude against me?
Such an actThat blurs the grace and blush of modesty,Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the roseFrom
the fair forehead of an innocent loveAnd sets a blister there, makes marriage-vowsAs false as dicers' oaths: O,
such a deedAs from the body of contraction plucksThe very soul, and sweet religion makesA 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,That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?
Look here, upon this picture, and on this,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 MercuryNew-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 ageThe hey-day in the blood is tame, it's
humble,And waits upon the judgment: and what judgmentWould step from this to this? Sense, sure, you
have,Else could you not have motion; but sure, that senseIs apoplex'd; for madness would not err,Nor
sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'dBut it reserved some quantity of choice,To serve in such a difference.
What devil was'tThat 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 senseCould 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 shameWhen the compulsive ardour gives the
charge,Since frost itself as actively doth burnAnd reason panders will.
O Hamlet, speak no more:Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;And there I see such black
and grained spotsAs will not leave their tinct.
Nay, but to liveIn the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making
loveOver the nasty sty,
O, speak to me no more;These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;No more, sweet Hamlet!
A murderer and a villain;A slave that is not twentieth part the titheOf 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
A king of shreds and patches,
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,You heavenly guards! What would your gracious
Alas, he's mad!
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go byThe important
acting of your dread command? O, say!
Do not forget: this visitationIs 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?
Alas, how is't with you,That you do bend your eye on vacancyAnd 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 distemperSprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,Would
make them capable. Do not look upon me;Lest with this piteous action you convertMy stern effects: then
what I have to doWill want true colour; tears perchance for blood.
To whom do you speak this?
Do you see nothing there?
Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.
Nor did you nothing hear?
No, nothing but ourselves.
Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!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:This bodiless creation ecstasyIs very cunning in.
Ecstasy!My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,And makes as healthful music: it is
not madnessThat I have utter'd: bring me to the test,And I the matter will re-word; which madnessWould
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 timesVirtue 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.
O, throw away the worser part of it,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 goodHe likewise gives a frock
or livery,That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,And that shall lend a kind of easinessTo the next abstinence: the
next more easy;For use almost can change the stamp of nature,And either [ the devil, or throw him outWith
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 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 wellThe 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,
What shall I do?
Not this, by no means, that I bid you do: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,And breath of life, I have no life to breatheWhat
thou hast said to me.
I must to England; you know that?
Alack,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 engineerHoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hardBut 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 counsellorIs
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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