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    Act 3. Scene I

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    Chapter 8
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    SCENE I. A room in the castle.

    Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN
    KING CLAUDIUS
    And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
    Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
    Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
    With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

    ROSENCRANTZ
    He does confess he feels himself distracted;
    But from what cause he will by no means speak.

    GUILDENSTERN
    Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
    But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
    When we would bring him on to some confession
    Of his true state.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    Did he receive you well?

    ROSENCRANTZ
    Most like a gentleman.

    GUILDENSTERN
    But with much forcing of his disposition.

    ROSENCRANTZ
    Niggard of question; but, of our demands,
    Most free in his reply.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    Did you assay him?
    To any pastime?

    ROSENCRANTZ
    Madam, it so fell out, that certain players
    We o'er-raught on the way: of these we told him;
    And there did seem in him a kind of joy
    To hear of it: they are about the court,
    And, as I think, they have already order
    This night to play before him.

    LORD POLONIUS
    'Tis most true:
    And he beseech'd me to entreat your majesties
    To hear and see the matter.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    With all my heart; and it doth much content me
    To hear him so inclined.
    Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,
    And drive his purpose on to these delights.

    ROSENCRANTZ
    We shall, my lord.

    Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
    For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
    That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
    Affront Ophelia:
    Her father and myself, lawful espials,
    Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing, unseen,
    We may of their encounter frankly judge,
    And gather by him, as he is behaved,
    If 't be the affliction of his love or no
    That thus he suffers for.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    I shall obey you.
    And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
    That your good beauties be the happy cause
    Of Hamlet's wildness: so shall I hope your virtues
    Will bring him to his wonted way again,
    To both your honours.

    OPHELIA
    Madam, I wish it may.

    Exit QUEEN GERTRUDE

    LORD POLONIUS
    Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you,
    We will bestow ourselves.

    To OPHELIA

    Read on this book;
    That show of such an exercise may colour
    Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,--
    'Tis too much proved--that with devotion's visage
    And pious action we do sugar o'er
    The devil himself.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    [Aside] O, 'tis too true!
    How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
    The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
    Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
    Than is my deed to my most painted word:
    O heavy burthen!

    LORD POLONIUS
    I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord.

    Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS

    Enter HAMLET

    HAMLET
    To be, or not to be: that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause: there's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life;
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
    The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office and the spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, puzzles the will
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
    The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins remember'd.

    OPHELIA
    Good my lord,
    How does your honour for this many a day?

    HAMLET
    I humbly thank you; well, well, well.

    OPHELIA
    My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
    That I have longed long to re-deliver;
    I pray you, now receive them.

    HAMLET
    No, not I;
    I never gave you aught.

    OPHELIA
    My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
    And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed
    As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
    Take these again; for to the noble mind
    Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
    There, my lord.

    HAMLET
    Ha, ha! are you honest?

    OPHELIA
    My lord?

    HAMLET
    Are you fair?

    OPHELIA
    What means your lordship?

    HAMLET
    That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
    admit no discourse to your beauty.

    OPHELIA
    Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
    with honesty?

    HAMLET
    Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
    transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
    force of honesty can translate beauty into his
    likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
    time gives it proof. I did love you once.

    OPHELIA
    Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

    HAMLET
    You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
    so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
    it: I loved you not.

    OPHELIA
    I was the more deceived.

    HAMLET
    Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
    breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest;
    but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
    were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
    proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at
    my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
    imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
    in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
    between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
    all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
    Where's your father?

    OPHELIA
    At home, my lord.

    HAMLET
    Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the
    fool no where but in's own house. Farewell.

    OPHELIA
    O, help him, you sweet heavens!

    HAMLET
    If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for
    thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
    snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
    nunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
    marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough
    what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,
    and quickly too. Farewell.

    OPHELIA
    O heavenly powers, restore him!

    HAMLET
    I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
    has given you one face, and you make yourselves
    another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
    nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
    your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath
    made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:
    those that are married already, all but one, shall
    live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
    nunnery, go.

    Exit

    OPHELIA
    O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
    The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
    The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
    And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
    That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
    Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
    Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
    That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
    Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
    To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

    Re-enter KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Love! his affections do not that way tend;
    Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
    Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
    O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
    And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
    Will be some danger: which for to prevent,
    I have in quick determination
    Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England,
    For the demand of our neglected tribute
    Haply the seas and countries different
    With variable objects shall expel
    This something-settled matter in his heart,
    Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
    From fashion of himself. What think you on't?

    LORD POLONIUS
    It shall do well: but yet do I believe
    The origin and commencement of his grief
    Sprung from neglected love. How now, Ophelia!
    You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said;
    We heard it all. My lord, do as you please;
    But, if you hold it fit, after the play
    Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
    To show his grief: let her be round with him;
    And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
    Of all their conference. If she find him not,
    To England send him, or confine him where
    Your wisdom best shall think.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    It shall be so:
    Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.

    Exeunt
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