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The Legally Annotated HAMLET – Act Three Scenes 1 & 2

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by Mark Andre Alexander

Act One | Act Two | Act Three | Act Four | Act Five


Scenes 1 & 2 | Scenes 3 & 4

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Scene 1

Enter King, Queene, Polonius, Ophelia,

Rosencraus, Guyldensterne, Lords.

King. An can you by no drift of conference

Get from him why he puts on this confusion,

Grating so harshly all his dayes of quiet

With turbulent and dangerous lunacie?

Ros. He dooes confesse he feeles himselfe distracted,

But from what cause, a will by no meanes speake.

Guyl. Nor doe we find him forward to be sounded,

But with a craftie madnes keepes aloofe

When we would bring him on to some confession

Of his true state.

Quee.                Did he receiue you well? [10]

Ros. Most like a gentleman.

Guyl. But with much forcing of his disposition.

Ros. Niggard of question, but of our demaunds

Most free in his reply.

Quee. Did you assay him to any pastime?

Ros. Maddam, it so fell out that certaine Players

We ore-raught on the way, of these we told him,

And there did seeme in him a kind of ioy

To heare of it: they are heere about the Court,

And as I thinke, they haue already order [20]

This night to play before him.

Pol.                                    Tis most true,

And he beseecht me to intreat your Maiesties

To heare and see the matter.

King. With all my hart, And it doth much content me

To heare him so inclin’d.

Good gentlemen giue him a further edge,

And driue his purpose into these delights.

Ros. We shall my Lord.

Exeunt. Ros. & Guyl.

King.                           Sweet Gertrard, leaue vs two,

For we haue closely sent for Hamlet hether,

That he as t’were by accedent, may heere [30]

Affront Ophelia;

her father and my selfe, [lawful espials]

Wee’le so bestow our selues, that seeing vnseene,

We may of their encounter franckly iudge,

And gather by him as he is behau’d,

Ift be th’affliction of his loue or no

That thus he suffers for.

Quee.                          I shall obey you.

And for your part Ophelia, I doe wish

That your good beauties be the happy cause

Of Hamlets wildnes, so shall I hope your vertues, [40]

Will bring him to his wonted way againe,

To both your honours.

Oph.                          Maddam, I wish it may. [Exit Queen]

Pol. Ophelia walke you heere, gracious so please you,

We will bestow our selues; reade on this booke,

That show of such an exercise may cullour

Your lowlines; we are oft too blame in this,

Tis too much proou’d, that with deuotions visage

And pious action, we doe sugar ore

The deuill himselfe.

King.                    O tis too true,

How smart a lash that speech doth giue my conscience. [50]

The harlots cheeke beautied with plastring art,

Is not more ougly to the thing that helps it,

Then is my deede to my most painted word:

O heauy burthen.

Enter Hamlet.

Pol. I heare him comming, with-draw my Lord.

Ham. To be, or not to be, that is the question,

Whether tis nobler in the minde to suffer

The slings and arrowes of outragious fortune,

Or to take Armes against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing, end them, to die to sleepe [60]

No more, and by a sleepe, to say we end

The hart-ake, and the thousand naturall shocks

That flesh is heire to; tis a consumation

Deuoutly to be wisht to die to sleepe,

To sleepe, perchance to dreame, I there’s the rub,

For in that sleepe of death what dreames may come

When we haue shuffled off this mortall coyle

Must giue vs pause, there’s the respect

That makes calamitie of so long life:

For who would beare the whips and scornes of time, [70]

Th’oppressors wrong, the proude mans contumely,

The pangs of despiz’d loue, the lawes delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurnes

That patient merrit of th’vnworthy takes,


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Continuing with J. Anthony Burton’s analysis of lost inheritance in Hamlet: “Faced with total disinheritance, Hamlet makes no secret of his displeasure, and his plea of poverty ‘Beggar that I am, I am evn poor in thanks’ (2.2.272) may be the literal truth. It is precisely the sort of motive Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent to discover, but they let its significance pass over their heads.” (103)

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When he himselfe might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin; who would fardels beare,

To grunt and sweat vnder a wearie life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The vndiscouer’d country, from whose borne

No trauiler returnes, puzzels the will, [80]

And makes vs rather beare those ills we haue,

Then flie to others that we know not of.

Thus conscience dooes make cowards,

And thus the natiue hiew of resolution

Is sickled ore with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pitch and moment,

With this regard theyr currents turne awry,

And loose the name of action. Soft you now,

The faire Ophelia, Nimph in thy orizons

Be all my sinnes remembred.

Oph.                                    Good my Lord, [90]

How dooes your honour for this many a day?

Ham. I humbly thanke you well.

Oph. My Lord, I haue remembrances of yours

That I haue longed long to redeliuer,

I pray you now receiue them.

Ham. No, not I, I neuer gaue you ought.

Oph. My honor’d Lord, you know right well you did,

And with them words of so sweet breath composd

As made these things more rich, their perfume lost,

Take these againe, for to the noble mind [100]

Rich gifts wax poore when giuers prooue vnkind,

There my Lord.

Ham. Ha, ha, are you honest.

Oph. My Lord.

Ham. Are you faire?

Oph. What meanes your Lordship?

Ham. That if you be honest & faire, you should admit

no discourse to your beautie.

Oph. Could beauty my Lord haue better comerse

Then with honestie? [110]

Ham. I truly, for the power of beautie will sooner transforme

honestie from what it is to a bawde, then the

force of honestie can translate beautie into his

likenes, this was sometime a paradox, but now the

time giues it proofe, I did loue you once.

Oph. Indeed my Lord you made me belieue so.

Ham. You should not haue beleeu’d me, for vertue cannot

so euocutat our old stock, but we shall relish of it, I

loued you not.

Oph. I was the more deceiued. [120]

Ham. Get thee a Nunry, why would’st thou be a

breeder of sinners, I am my selfe indifferent honest,

but yet I could accuse mee of such things, that it were

better my Mother had not borne mee: I am very

proude, reuengefull, ambitious, with more offences at

my beck, then I haue thoughts to put them in,

imagination to giue them shape, or time to act them in:

what should such fellowes as I do crauling betweene

earth and heauen, wee are arrant knaues, beleeue

none of vs, goe thy waies to a Nunry. Where’s your [130]


Oph. At home my Lord.

Ham. Let the doores be shut vpon him, That he may play

the foole no where but in’s owne house, Farewell.

Oph. O helpe him you sweet heauens.

Ham. If thou doost marry, Ile giue thee this plague for thy

dowrie, be thou as chast as yce, as pure as snow,

thou shalt not escape calumny; get thee to a Nunry,

farewell. Or if thou wilt needes marry, marry a

foole, for wise men knowe well enough what monsters [140]

you make of them: to a Nunry goe, and quickly

too, farewell.

Oph. Heauenly powers restore him.

Ham. I haue heard of your paintings well enough, God

hath giuen you one face, and you make your selfes

another, you gig & amble, and you list you nickname

Gods creatures, and make your wantonnes

ignorance; goe to, Ile no more on’t, it hath made

me madde, I say we will haue no mo marriage, those

that are married alreadie, all but one shall liue, [150]

the rest shall keep as they are: to a Nunry go.                 Exit.

Oph. O what a noble mind is heere orethrowne!

The Courtiers, souldiers, schollers, eye, tongue, sword,

Th’expectation, and Rose of the faire state,

The glasse of fashion, and the mould of forme,

Th’obseru’d of all obseruers, quite quite downe,

And I of Ladies most deiect and wretched,

That suckt the honny of his musickt vowes;

Now see what noble and most soueraigne reason

Like sweet bells iangled out of time, and harsh, [160]

That vnmatcht forme, and stature of blowne youth

Blasted with extacie, o woe is mee

T’haue seene what I haue seene, see what I see.               Exit.

Enter King and Polonius.

King. Loue, his affections doe not that way tend,

Nor what he spake, though it lackt forme a little,

Was not like madnes, there’s something in his soule

Ore which his melancholy sits on brood,

And I doe doubt, the hatch and the disclose

VVill be some danger; which for to preuent,

I haue in quick determination [170]

Thus set it downe : he shall with speede to England,

For the demaund of our neglected tribute,

Haply the seas, and countries different,

With variable obiects, shall expell

This something setled matter in his hart,

Whereon his braines still beating Puts him thus

from fashion of himselfe. What thinke you on’t?

Pol. It shall doe well. But yet doe I belieue

the origin and comencement of his greefe,

Sprung from neglected loue: How now Ophelia? [180]

You neede not tell vs what Lord Hamlet said,

We heard it all: my Lord, doe as you please,

But if you hold it fit, after the play,

Let his Queene-mother all alone intreate him

To show his griefe, let her be round with him,

And Ile be plac’d (so please you) in the eare

Of all their conference, if she find him not,

To England send him: or confine him where

Your wisedome best shall thinke.

King.                                         It shall be so,

Madnes in great ones must not vnmatcht goe. [190]



Scene 2

Enter Hamlet, and three of the Players.

Ham. Speake the speech I pray you as I pronoun’d it to

you, trippingly on the tongue, but if you mouth it as

many of our Players do, I had as liue the towne cryer

spoke my lines, nor doe not saw the ayre too much with

your hand thus, but vse all gently, for in the very

torrent tempest, and as I may say, whirlwind of

your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance,

that may giue it smoothnesse, o it offends mee

to the soule, to heare a robustious perwig-pated fellowe

tere a passion to totters, to very rags, to spleet the eares [10]

of the groundlings, vvho for the most part are capable

of nothing but inexplicable dumbe showes, and noyse:

I would haue such a fellow whipt for ore-dooing

Termagant, it out Herods Herod, pray you auoyde it.

Player. I warrant your honour.

Hamlet. Be not too tame neither, but let your owne

discretion be your tutor, sute the action to the word,

the word to the action, with this speciall obseruance,

that you ore-steppe not the modestie of nature: For any

thing so ore-doone, is from the purpose of playing, [20]

whose end both at the first, and novve, was and is, to

holde as twere the Mirrour vp to nature, to shew vertue

her feature; scorne her own Image, and the very age

and body of the time his forme and pressure: Now

this ouer-done, or come tardie off, though it makes the

vnskilfull laugh, cannot but make the iudicious

greeue, the censure of which one, must in your

allowance ore-weigh a whole Theater of others. O

there be Players that I haue seene play, and heard

others praysd, and that highly, not to speake it [30]

prophanely, that neither hauing th’accent of Christians,

nor the gate of Christian, Pagan, nor man, haue so

strutted & bellowed, that I haue thought some of

Natures Iornimen had made men, and not made

them well, they imitated humanitie so abhominably.

Player. I hope we haue reform’d that indifferently with


Ham. O reforme it altogether, and let those that play your

clownes speake no more then is set downe for them,

for there be of them that wil themselues laugh, to [40]

set on some quantitie of barraine spectators to laugh

to, though in the meane time, some necessary question

of the play be then to be considered, that’s

villanous, and shewes a most pittifull ambition in the

foole that vses it : goe make you readie. [Exuent Players]

How now my Lord, will the King heare this peece

of worke?

Enter Polonius, Guyldensterne, & Rosencraus.

Pol. And the Queene to, and that presently.

Ham. Bid the Players make hast. [Exit Polonius]

Will you two help to hasten them. [50]

Ros. I my Lord.               Exeunt they two.

Ham. What howe, Horatio.               Enter Horatio.

Hora. Heere sweet Lord, at your seruice.

Ham. Horatio, thou art een as iust a man

As ere my conuersation copt withall.

Hor. O my deere Lord.

Nay, doe not thinke I flatter,

For what aduancement may I hope from thee

That no reuenew hast but thy good spirits

To feede and clothe thee, why should the poore be flatterd?

No, let the candied tongue licke absurd pompe, [60]

And crooke the pregnant hindges of the knee

Where thrift may follow fauning; doost thou heare,

Since my deare soule was mistris of her choice,

And could of men distinguish her election,

S’hath seald thee for herselfe, for thou hast been

As one in suffring all that suffers nothing,

A man that Fortunes buffets and rewards

Hast tane with equall thanks; and blest are those

Whose blood and iudgement are so well comedled,

That they are not a pype for Fortunes finger [70]

To sound what stop she please: giue me that man

That is not passions slaue, and I will weare him

In my harts core, I in my hart of hart

As I doe thee. Something too much of this,

There is a play to night before the King,

One scene of it comes neere the circumstance

Which I haue told thee of my fathers death,

I prethee when thou seest that act a foote,

Euen with the very comment of thy soule

Obserue my Vncle, if his occulted guilt [80]

Doe not it selfe vnkennill in one speech,

It is a damned ghost that we haue seene,

And my imaginations are as foule

As Vulcans stithy; giue him heedfull note,

For I mine eyes will riuet to his face,

And after we will both our iudgements ioyne

In censure of his seeming.

Hor.                               Well my lord,

If a steale ought the whilst this play is playing

And scape detected, I will pay the theft.

Enter Trumpets and Kettle Drummes,King, Queene,

Polonius, Ophelia

Ham. They are comming to the play. I must be idle, [90]

Get you a place.

King. How fares our cosin Hamlet?

Ham. Excellent yfaith,

Of the Camelions dish, I eate the ayre,

Promiscram’d, you cannot feede Capons so.

King. I haue nothing with this aunswer Hamlet,

These words are not mine.

Ham. No, nor mine now my Lord.

You playd once i’th Vniuersitie you say,

Pol. That did I my Lord, and was accounted a good Actor, [100]

Ham. What did you enact?

Pol. I did enact Iulius Caesar, I was kild i’th Capitall,

Brutus kild mee.

Ham. It was a brute part of him to kill so capitall a calfe there,

Be the Players readie?

Ros. I my Lord, they stay vpon your patience.

Ger. Come hether my deere Hamlet, sit by me.

Ham. No good mother, heere’s mettle more attractiue.

Pol. O ho, doe you marke that.

Ham. Lady shall I lie in your lap? [110]

Ophe. No my Lord.

[Ham. I mean, my head upon your lap.

Ophe. Ay, my lord.]

Ham. Doe you thinke I meant country matters?

Oph. I thinke nothing my Lord.

Ham. That’s a fayre thought to lye betweene maydes legs.

Oph. What is my Lord?

Ham. Nothing.

Oph. You are merry my Lord. [120]

Ham. Who I?

Oph. I my Lord.

Ham. O God your onely Iigge-maker, what should a man

do but be merry, for looke you how cheerefully my

mother lookes, and my father died within’s two howres.

Oph. Nay, tis twice two months my Lord.

Ham. So long, nay then let the deule weare blacke, for Ile

haue a sute of sables; o heauens, die two months agoe,

and not forgotten yet, then there’s hope a great

mans memorie may out-liue his life halfe a yeere, but [130]

ber Lady a must build Churches then, or els shall

a suffer not thinking on, with the Hobby-horse, whose

Epitaph is, for o, for o, the hobby-horse is forgot.

The Trumpets sounds. Dumbe show followes.

Enter a King and a Queene, the Queene embracing him,and he her,he takes her vp, and declines his head vpon her necke,he lyeshim downe vppon a bancke of flowers, she seeing him asleepe, leaues him: anon come in an other man, takes off his crowne, kisses it, pours poyson in the sleepers eares, andleaues him:the Queene returnes, finds the King dead, makes passionate action, the poysner with some three or foure come in againe, seemeto condole with her, the dead body is carried away, the poysner wooes the Queene with gifts, shee seemes harshawhile, but in the end accepts loue.

Oph. VVhat meanes this my Lord?

Ham. Marry this munching Mallico, it meanes mischiefe.

Oph. Belike this show imports the argument of the play.

Ham. We shall know by this fellow,               Enter Prologue.

The Players cannot keepe, they’le tell all.

Oph. Will a tell vs what this show meant?

Ham. I, or any show that you will show him, be not you [140]

asham’d to show, heele not shame to tell you what it


Oph. You are naught, you are naught, Ile mark the play.

Prologue. For vs and for our Tragedie,

Heere stooping to your clemencie,

We begge your hearing patiently.

Ham. Is this a Prologue, or the posie of a ring?

Oph. Tis breefe my Lord.

Ham. As womans loue.

Enter King and Queene.

King. Full thirtie times hath Phebus cart gone round [150]

Neptunes salt wash, and Tellus orb’d the ground,

And thirtie dosen Moones with borrowed sheene

About the world haue times twelue thirties beene

Since loue our harts, and Hymen did our hands

Vnite comutuall in most sacred bands.

Quee. So many iourneyes may the Sunne and Moone

Make vs againe count ore ere loue be doone,

But woe is me, you are so sicke of late,

So farre from cheere, and from our former state,

That I distrust you, yet though I distrust, [160]

Discomfort you my Lord it nothing must.

For women feare too much, euen as they loue,

And womens feare and loue hold quantitie,

Eyther none, in neither ought, or in extremitie,

Now what my Lord is proofe hath made you know,

And as my loue is ciz’d, my feare is so,

Where loue is great, the litlest doubts are feare,

Where little feares grow great, great loue growes there.

King. Faith I must leaue thee loue, and shortly to,

My operant powers their functions leaue to do,

And thou shalt liue in this faire world behind, [170]

Honord, belou’d, and haply one as kind,

For husband shalt thou.

Quee.                         O confound the rest,

Such loue must needes be treason in my brest,

In second husband let me be accurst,

None wed the second, but who kild the first.                

Ham. That’s wormwood.

Quee. The instances that second marriage moue

Are base respects of thrift, but none of loue,

A second time I kill my husband dead,

When second husband kisses me in bed. [180]

King. I doe belieue you thinke what now you speake,

But what we doe determine, oft we breake,

Purpose is but the slaue to memorie,

Of violent birth, but poore validitie,

Which now the fruite vnripe sticks on the tree,

But fall vnshaken when they mellow bee.

Most necessary tis that we forget

To pay our selues what to our selues is debt,

What to our selues in passion we propose,

The passion ending, doth the purpose lose, [190]

The violence of eyther, griefe, or ioy,

Their owne ennactures with themselues destroy,

Where ioy most reuels, griefe doth most lament,

Greefe ioy, ioy griefes, on slender accedent,

This world is not for aye, nor tis not strange,

That euen our loues should with our fortunes change:

For tis a question left vs yet to proue,

Whether loue lead fortune, or els fortune loue.

The great man downe, you marke his fauourite flyes,

The poore aduaunc’d, makes friends of enemies, [200]

And hetherto doth loue on fortune tend,

For who not needes, shall neuer lacke a friend,

And who in want a hollow friend doth try,

Directly seasons him his enemy.

But orderly to end where I begunne,

Our wills and fates doe so contrary runne,

That our deuises still are ouerthrowne,

Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our owne,

So thinke thou wilt no second husband wed,

But die thy thoughts when thy first Lord is dead. [210]

Quee. Nor earth to me giue foode, nor heauen light,

Sport and repose lock from me day and night,

To desperation turne my trust and hope,

And Anchors cheere in prison be my scope,

Each opposite that blancks the face of ioy,

Meete what I would haue well, and it destroy,

Both heere and hence pursue me lasting strife,

If once I be a widdow, euer I be a wife.

Ham. If she should breake it now.

King. Tis deeply sworne, sweet leaue me heere a while, [220]

My spirits grow dull, and faine I would beguile

The tedious day with sleepe.

Quee.                                 Sleepe rock thy braine,

And neuer come mischance betweene vs twaine.               Exeunt.

Ham. Madam, how like you this play?

Quee. The Lady doth protest too much mee thinks.

Ham. O but shee’le keepe her word.

King. Haue you heard the argument? is there no offence


Ham. No, no, they do but iest, poyson in iest, no offence

i’th world. [230]

King. What doe you call the play?

Ham. The Mousetrap, mary how tropically, this play

is the Image of a murther doone in Vienna, Gonzago

is the Dukes name, his wife Baptista, you shall see

anon, tis a knauish peece of worke, but what of that ?

your Maiestie, and wee that haue free soules, it touches

vs not, let the gauled Iade winch, our withers are


Enter Lucianus.

Ham. This is one Lucianus, Nephew to the King.

Oph. You are as good as a Chorus my Lord. [240]

Ham. I could interpret betweene you and your loue

If I could see the puppets dallying.

Oph. You are keene my lord, you are keene.

Ham. It would cost you a groning to take off mine edge.

Oph. Still better and worse.

Ham. So you mistake your husbands. Beginne murtherer,

leaue thy damnable faces and begin, come,

the croking Rauen doth bellow for reuenge.

Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugges fit, and time agreeing,

Considerat season els no creature seeing, [250]

Thou mixture ranck, of midnight weedes collected,

VVith Hecats ban thrice blasted, thrice inuected,

Thy naturall magicke, and dire property,

On wholsome life vsurps immediatly.


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Quietus. In old English law. Quit; acquitted; discharged. a word used by the clerk of the pipe, and auditors in the exchequer, in their acquittances or discharges given to accountants; usually concluding with an abinde recessit quietus (hat gone quit thereof,) which was called a “Quietus est.” Cowell. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th edition.)

A remarkable use as a legal metaphor in a non-legal context.

Borne. Legally, a boundary between adjacent properties.

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Ham. A poysons him i’th Garden for his estate, his names

Gonzago, the story is extant, and written in very

choice Italian, you shall see anon how the murtherer

gets the loue of Gonzagoes wife.

Oph. The King rises.

[Ham. What, frighted with false fire?] [260]

Quee. How fares my Lord?

Pol. Giue ore the play.

King. Giue me some light, away.

Pol. Lights, lights, lights.

Exeunt all but Ham. & Horatio.

Ham. Why let the strooken Deere goe weepe,

The Hart vngauled play,

For some must watch while some must sleepe,

Thus runnes the world away.

Would not this sir & a forrest of feathers, if the rest

of my fortunes turne Turk with me, with prouinciall [270]

Roses on my raz’d shooes, get me a fellowship in a cry

of players?

Hora. Halfe a share.

Ham. A whole one I.

For thou doost know oh Damon deere

This Realme dismantled was

Of Ioue himselfe, and now raignes heere

A very very paiock.

Hora. You might haue rym’d.

Ham. O good Horatio, Ile take the Ghosts word for a [280]

thousand pound. Did’st perceiue?

Hora. Very well my Lord.

Ham. Vpon the talke of the poysning.

Hor. I did very well note him.

Ham. Ah ha, come some musique, come the Recorders,

For if the King like not the Comedie,

Why then belike he likes it not perdy.

Come, some musique.

Enter Rosencraus and Guyldensterne.

Guyl. Good my Lord, voutsafe me a word with you.

Ham. Sir a whole historie. [290]

Guyl. The King sir.

Ham. I sir, what of him?

Guyl. Is in his retirement meruilous distempred.

Ham. With drinke sir?

Guyl. No my Lord, with choller,

Ham. Your wisedome should shewe it selfe more richer to

signifie this to the Doctor, for, for mee to put him to

his purgation, would perhaps plunge him into more


Guyl. Good my Lord put your discourse into some frame, [300]

And stare not so wildly from my affaire.

Ham. I am tame sir, pronounce.

Guyl. The Queene your mother in most great affliction of spirit,

hath sent me to you.

Ham. You are welcome.

Guyl. Nay good my Lord, this curtesie is not of the right

breede, if it shall please you to make me a wholsome

aunswere, I will doe your mothers commaundement, if

not, your pardon and my returne, shall be the end of

busines. [310]

Ham. Sir I cannot.

Ros. What my Lord.

Ham. Make you a wholsome answer, my wits diseasd,

but sir, such answere as I can make, you shall

commaund, or rather as you say, my mother, therefore

no more, but to the matter, my mother you say.

Ros. Then thus she sayes, your behauiour hath strooke her

into amazement and admiration.

Ham. O wonderful sonne that can so stonish a mother, but

is there no sequell at the heeles of this mothers admiration, [320]


Ros. She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go

to bed.

Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our mother,

haue you any further trade with vs?

Ros. My Lord, you once did loue me.

Ham. And doe still by these pickers and stealers.

Ros. Good my Lord, what is your cause of distemper, you

do surely barre the doore vpon your owne liberty if you

deny your griefes to your friend. [330]

Ham. Sir I lacke aduauncement.

Ros. How can that be, when you haue the voyce of the

King himselfe for your succession in Denmarke.

Enter the Players with Recorders.

Ham. I sir, but while the grasse growes, the prouerbe is

something musty,

o the Recorders, let mee see one, to withdraw

with you, why doe you goe about to recouer the wind

of mee, as if you would driue me into a toyle?

Guyl. O my lord, if my duty be too bold, my loue is too

vnmanerly. [340]

Ham. I do not wel vnderstand that, wil you play vpon

this pipe?

Guyl. My lord I cannot.

Ham. I pray you.

Guyl. Beleeue me I cannot.

Ham. I doe beseech you.

Guyl. I know no touch of it my Lord.

Ham. It is as easie as lying; gouerne these ventages with

your fingers, & the vmber, giue it breath with your

mouth, & it wil discourse most eloquent musique, [350]

looke you, these are the stops.

Guil. But these cannot I commaund to any vttrance of

harmonie, I haue not the skill.

Ham. Why looke you now how vnwoorthy a thing you

make of me, you would play vpon mee, you would

seeme to know my stops, you would plucke out the

hart of my mistery, you would sound mee from my

lowest note to my compasse, and there is

much musique excellent voyce in this little organ, yet

cannot you make it speak, s’bloud o you think I [360]

am easier to be plaid on then a pipe, call mee what

instrument you wil, though you fret me not, you cannot

play vpon me. Enter Polonius.

God blesse you sir.

Pol. My Lord, the Queene would speake with you,

& presently.

Ham. Do you see yonder clowd that’s almost in shape of

a Camel?

Pol. By’th masse and tis, like a Camell indeed.

Ham. Mee thinks it is like a Wezell. [370]

Pol. It is backt like a Wezell.

Ham. Or like a Whale.

Pol. Very like a Whale.

Then I will come to my mother by and by,

They foole me to the top of my bent, I will

come by & by,

Leaue me friends. [Exuent all but Hamlet]

I will, say so. By and by is easily said,

Tis now the very witching time of night,

When Churchyards yawne, and hell it selfe breakes out [380]

Contagion to this world: now could I drinke hote blood,

And doe such busines as the bitter day

Would quake to looke on: soft, now to my mother,

O hart loose not thy nature, let not euer

The soule of Nero enter this firme bosome,

Let me be cruell, not vnnaturall,

I will speake dagger 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.               Exit. [390]


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Continuing with J. Anthony Burton’s analysis of lost inheritance in Hamlet: “There is repeated textual evidence that Hamlet sees Claudius’s offense in terms of property, not royal power… Hamlet interprets Lucianus’s speech to Claudius as provocatively as possible, going out of his way to explain that he killed his uncle for his property… After the murder, the essential next step in Lucianus’s scheme to make the property his own is to marry the uncle’s widow.” (103)

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