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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

Part 3 out of 4

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Ham.
Nay, I know not: is it the king?

[Draws forth Polonius.]

Queen.
O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

Ham.
A bloody deed!--almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.

Queen.
As kill a king!

Ham.
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.--
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
[To Polonius.]
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 braz'd it so
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.

Queen.
What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?

Ham.
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty;
Calls virtue hypocrite; takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And sets a blister there; makes marriage-vows
As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
The very soul, and sweet religion makes
A 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.

Queen.
Ah me, what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?

Ham.
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 Mercury
New 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 milldew'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 age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion: but sure that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err;
Nor sense to ecstacy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserv'd some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That 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 sense
Could 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 shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.

Queen.
O Hamlet, speak no more:
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.

Ham.
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty,--

Queen.
O, speak to me no more;
These words like daggers enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet.

Ham.
A murderer and a villain;
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of 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 his pocket!

Queen.
No more.

Ham.
A king of shreds and patches!--

[Enter Ghost.]

Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!--What would your gracious figure?

Queen.
Alas, he's mad!

Ham.
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, laps'd in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
O, say!

Ghost.
Do not forget. This visitation
Is 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.

Ham.
How is it with you, lady?

Queen.
Alas, how is't with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And 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 hairs, like life in excrements,
Start up and stand an end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience! Whereon do you look?

Ham.
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 convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.

Queen.
To whom do you speak this?

Ham.
Do you see nothing there?

Queen.
Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

Ham.
Nor did you nothing hear?

Queen.
No, nothing but ourselves.

Ham.
Why, look you there! look how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he liv'd!
Look, where he goes, even now out at the portal!

[Exit Ghost.]

Queen.
This is the very coinage of your brain:
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.

Ham.
Ecstasy!
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music: it is not madness
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering 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 times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

Queen.
O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

Ham.
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 evil, is angel yet in this,--
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either curb the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good-night:
And when you are desirous to be bles'd,
I'll blessing beg of you.--For this same lord
[Pointing to Polonius.]
I do repent; but heaven hath pleas'd 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 well
The 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, good lady.

Queen.
What shall I do?

Ham.
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.

Queen.
Be thou assur'd, if words be made of breath,
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

Ham.
I must to England; you know that?

Queen.
Alack,
I had forgot: 'tis so concluded on.

Ham.
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 enginer
Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
But 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 counsellor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish peating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you:--
Good night, mother.

[Exeunt severally; Hamlet, dragging out Polonius.]

ACT IV.

Scene I. A room in the Castle.

[Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

King.
There's matter in these sighs. These profound heaves
You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?

Queen.
Bestow this place on us a little while.

[To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who go out.]

Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!

King.
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?

Queen.
Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend
Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries 'A rat, a rat!'
And in this brainish apprehension, kills
The unseen good old man.

King.
O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there:
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt
This mad young man. But so much was our love
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?

Queen.
To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done.

King.
O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed
We must with all our majesty and skill
Both countenance and excuse.--Ho, Guildenstern!

[Re-enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

Friends both, go join you with some further aid:
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
And let them know both what we mean to do
And what's untimely done: so haply slander,--
Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,
Transports his poison'd shot,--may miss our name,
And hit the woundless air.--O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.

[Exeunt.]

Scene II. Another room in the Castle.

[Enter Hamlet.]

Ham.
Safely stowed.

Ros. and Guil.
[Within.] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!

Ham.
What noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.

[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

Ros.
What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?

Ham.
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.

Ros.
Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence,
And bear it to the chapel.

Ham.
Do not believe it.

Ros.
Believe what?

Ham.
That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be
demanded of a sponge!--what replication should be made by the son
of a king?

Ros.
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

Ham.
Ay, sir; that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards,
his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in
the end: he keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw;
first mouthed, to be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry
again.

Ros.
I understand you not, my lord.

Ham.
I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

Ros.
My lord, you must tell us where the body is and go with us to
the king.

Ham.
The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.
The king is a thing,--

Guil.
A thing, my lord!

Ham.
Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.

[Exeunt.]

Scene III. Another room in the Castle.

[Enter King,attended.]

King.
I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
He's lov'd of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And where 'tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause: diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
Or not at all.

[Enter Rosencrantz.]

How now! what hath befall'n?

Ros.
Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
We cannot get from him.

King.
But where is he?

Ros.
Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

King.
Bring him before us.

Ros.
Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.

[Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern.]

King.
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

Ham.
At supper.

King.
At supper! where?

Ham.
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your
only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else to fat us, and
we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar
is but variable service,--two dishes, but to one table: that's
the end.

King.
Alas, alas!

Ham.
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat
of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

King.
What dost thou mean by this?

Ham.
Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through
the guts of a beggar.

King.
Where is Polonius?

Ham.
In heaven: send thither to see: if your messenger find him not
there, seek him i' the other place yourself. But, indeed, if you
find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up
the stairs into the lobby.

King.
Go seek him there. [To some Attendants.]

Ham.
He will stay till you come.

[Exeunt Attendants.]

King.
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,--
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done,--must send thee hence
With fiery quickness: therefore prepare thyself;
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
The associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.

Ham.
For England!

King.
Ay, Hamlet.

Ham.
Good.

King.
So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.

Ham.
I see a cherub that sees them.--But, come; for England!--
Farewell, dear mother.

King.
Thy loving father, Hamlet.

Ham.
My mother: father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is
one flesh; and so, my mother.--Come, for England!

[Exit.]

King.
Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard;
Delay it not; I'll have him hence to-night:
Away! for everything is seal'd and done
That else leans on the affair: pray you, make haste.

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught,--
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us,--thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process; which imports at full,
By letters conjuring to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me: till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.

[Exit.]

Scene IV. A plain in Denmark.

[Enter Fortinbras, and Forces marching.]

For.
Go, Captain, from me greet the Danish king:
Tell him that, by his license, Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promis'd march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.

Capt.
I will do't, my lord.

For.
Go softly on.

[Exeunt all For. and Forces.]

[Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, &c.]

Ham.
Good sir, whose powers are these?

Capt.
They are of Norway, sir.

Ham.
How purpos'd, sir, I pray you?

Capt.
Against some part of Poland.

Ham.
Who commands them, sir?

Capt.
The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.

Ham.
Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
Or for some frontier?

Capt.
Truly to speak, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

Ham.
Why, then the Polack never will defend it.

Capt.
Yes, it is already garrison'd.

Ham.
Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw:
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies.--I humbly thank you, sir.

Capt.
God b' wi' you, sir.

[Exit.]

Ros.
Will't please you go, my lord?

Ham.
I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.

[Exeunt all but Hamlet.]

How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unus'd. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,--
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward,--I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me:
Witness this army, of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince;
Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd,
Makes mouths at the invisible event;
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I, then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds; fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain?--O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

[Exit.]

Scene V. Elsinore. A room in the Castle.

[Enter Queen and Horatio.]

Queen.
I will not speak with her.

Gent.
She is importunate; indeed distract:
Her mood will needs be pitied.

Queen.
What would she have?

Gent.
She speaks much of her father; says she hears
There's tricks i' the world, and hems, and beats her heart;
Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt,
That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures yield them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

Queen.
Let her come in.

[Exit Horatio.]

To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Each toy seems Prologue to some great amiss:
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.

[Re-enter Horatio with Ophelia.]

Oph.
Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

Queen.
How now, Ophelia?

Oph. [Sings.]
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle bat and' staff
And his sandal shoon.

Queen.
Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Oph.
Say you? nay, pray you, mark.
[Sings.]
He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass green turf,
At his heels a stone.

Queen.
Nay, but Ophelia--

Oph.
Pray you, mark.
[Sings.]
White his shroud as the mountain snow,

[Enter King.]

Queen.
Alas, look here, my lord!

Oph.
[Sings.]
Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.

King.
How do you, pretty lady?

Oph.
Well, God dild you! They say the owl was a baker's daughter.
Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at
your table!

King.
Conceit upon her father.

Oph.
Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they ask you what
it means, say you this:
[Sings.]
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day
All in the morning bedtime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

Then up he rose and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.

King.
Pretty Ophelia!

Oph.
Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:
[Sings.]
By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.

Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promis'd me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.

King.
How long hath she been thus?

Oph.
I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot
choose but weep, to think they would lay him i' the cold ground.
My brother shall know of it: and so I thank you for your good
counsel.--Come, my coach!--Good night, ladies; good night, sweet
ladies; good night, good night.

[Exit.]

King.
Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.

[Exit Horatio.]

O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions! First, her father slain:
Next, your son gone; and he most violent author
Of his own just remove: the people muddied,
Thick and and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts:
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering piece, in many places
Give, me superfluous death.

[A noise within.]

Queen.
Alack, what noise is this?

King.
Where are my Switzers? let them guard the door.

[Enter a Gentleman.]

What is the matter?

Gent.
Save yourself, my lord:
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your offices. The rabble call him lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry 'Choose we! Laertes shall be king!'
Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds,
'Laertes shall be king! Laertes king!'

Queen.
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!

[A noise within.]

King.
The doors are broke.

[Enter Laertes, armed; Danes following.]

Laer.
Where is this king?--Sirs, stand you all without.

Danes.
No, let's come in.

Laer.
I pray you, give me leave.

Danes.
We will, we will.

[They retire without the door.]

Laer.
I thank you:--keep the door.--O thou vile king,
Give me my father!

Queen.
Calmly, good Laertes.

Laer.
That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard;
Cries cuckold to my father; brands the harlot
Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.

King.
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?--
Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will.--Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incens'd.--Let him go, Gertrude:--
Speak, man.

Laer.
Where is my father?

King.
Dead.

Queen.
But not by him.

King.
Let him demand his fill.

Laer.
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation:--to this point I stand,--
That both the worlds, I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
Most throughly for my father.

King.
Who shall stay you?

Laer.
My will, not all the world:
And for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.

King.
Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge
That, sweepstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?

Laer.
None but his enemies.

King.
Will you know them then?

Laer.
To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;
And, like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

King.
Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.

Danes.
[Within] Let her come in.

Laer.
How now! What noise is that?

[Re-enter Ophelia, fantastically dressed with straws and
flowers.]

O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!--
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!--
O heavens! is't possible a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love; and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.

Oph.
[Sings.]
They bore him barefac'd on the bier
Hey no nonny, nonny, hey nonny
And on his grave rain'd many a tear.--

Fare you well, my dove!

Laer.
Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.

Oph.
You must sing 'Down a-down, an you call him a-down-a.' O,
how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward, that stole his
master's daughter.

Laer.
This nothing's more than matter.

Oph.
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love,
remember: and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.

Laer.
A document in madness,--thoughts and remembrance fitted.

Oph.
There's fennel for you, and columbines:--there's rue for you;
and here's some for me:--we may call it herb of grace o'
Sundays:--O, you must wear your rue with a difference.--There's a
daisy:--I would give you some violets, but they wither'd all when
my father died:--they say he made a good end,--
[Sings.]
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,--

Laer.
Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.

Oph.
[Sings.]
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death-bed,
He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
God ha' mercy on his soul!

And of all Christian souls, I pray God.--God b' wi' ye.

[Exit.]

Laer.
Do you see this, O God?

King.
Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.

Laer.
Let this be so;
His means of death, his obscure burial,--
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation,--
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.

King.
So you shall;
And where the offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you go with me.

[Exeunt.]

Scene VI. Another room in the Castle.

[Enter Horatio and a Servant.]

Hor.
What are they that would speak with me?

Servant.
Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.

Hor.
Let them come in.

[Exit Servant.]

I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

[Enter Sailors.]

I Sailor.
God bless you, sir.

Hor.
Let him bless thee too.

Sailor.
He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you,
sir,--it comes from the ambassador that was bound for England; if
your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.

Hor.
[Reads.] 'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked
this, give these fellows some means to the king: they have
letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of
very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too
slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I
boarded them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so I
alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves
of mercy: but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for
them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou
to me with as much haste as thou wouldst fly death. I have words
to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb; yet are they much too
light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows will bring
thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course
for England: of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.
He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.'

Come, I will give you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.

[Exeunt.]

Scene VII. Another room in the Castle.

[Enter King and Laertes.]

King.
Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
And you must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursu'd my life.

Laer.
It well appears:--but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.

King.
O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself,--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which,--
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

Laer.
And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms,--
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections:--but my revenge will come.

King.
Break not your sleeps for that:--you must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine,--

[Enter a Messenger.]

How now! What news?

Mess.
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.

King.
From Hamlet! Who brought them?

Mess.
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
They were given me by Claudio:--he receiv'd them
Of him that brought them.

King.
Laertes, you shall hear them.
Leave us.

[Exit Messenger.]

[Reads]'High and mighty,--You shall know I am set naked on your
kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes:
when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the
occasions of my sudden and more strange return. HAMLET.'

What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

Laer.
Know you the hand?

King.
'Tis Hamlet's character:--'Naked!'--
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?

Laer.
I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'

King.
If it be so, Laertes,--
As how should it be so? how otherwise?--
Will you be rul'd by me?

Laer.
Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.

King.
To thine own peace. If he be now return'd--
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it,--I will work him
To exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind shall breathe;
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.

Laer.
My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.

King.
It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.

Laer.
What part is that, my lord?

King.
A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness.--Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy,--
I've seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't: he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.

Laer.
A Norman was't?

King.
A Norman.

Laer.
Upon my life, Lamond.

King.
The very same.

Laer.
I know him well: he is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.

King.
He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with him.
Now, out of this,--

Laer.
What out of this, my lord?

King.
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?

Laer.
Why ask you this?

King.
Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But to the quick o' the ulcer:--
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?

Laer.
To cut his throat i' the church.

King.
No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.

Laer.
I will do't:
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
This is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

King.
Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance.
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold
If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see:--
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings,--
I ha't:
When in your motion you are hot and dry,--
As make your bouts more violent to that end,--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepar'd him
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.

[Enter Queen.]

How now, sweet queen!

Queen.
One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow:--your sister's drown'd, Laertes.

Laer.
Drown'd! O, where?

Queen.
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indu'd
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Laer.
Alas, then she is drown'd?

Queen.
Drown'd, drown'd.

Laer.
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will: when these are gone,
The woman will be out.--Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.

[Exit.]

King.
Let's follow, Gertrude;
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.

[Exeunt.]

ACT V.

Scene I. A churchyard.

[Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c.]

1 Clown.
Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she wilfully
seeks her own salvation?

2 Clown.
I tell thee she is; and therefore make her grave straight: the
crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.

1 Clown.
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

2 Clown.
Why, 'tis found so.

1 Clown.
It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies
the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and an
act hath three branches; it is to act, to do, and to perform:
argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

2 Clown.
Nay, but hear you, goodman delver,--

1 Clown.
Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here stands the
man; good: if the man go to this water and drown himself, it is,
will he, nill he, he goes,--mark you that: but if the water come
to him and drown him, he drowns not himself; argal, he that is
not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.

2 Clown.
But is this law?

1 Clown.
Ay, marry, is't--crowner's quest law.

2 Clown.
Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a
gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.

1 Clown.
Why, there thou say'st: and the more pity that great folk
should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves
more than their even Christian.--Come, my spade. There is no
ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers: they
hold up Adam's profession.

2 Clown.
Was he a gentleman?

1 Clown.
He was the first that ever bore arms.

2 Clown.
Why, he had none.

1 Clown.
What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?
The Scripture says Adam digg'd: could he dig without arms? I'll
put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the
purpose, confess thyself,--

2 Clown.
Go to.

1 Clown.
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the
shipwright, or the carpenter?

2 Clown.
The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1 Clown.
I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows does well;
but how does it well? it does well to those that do ill: now,
thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the
church; argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come.

2 Clown.
Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?

1 Clown.
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.

2 Clown.
Marry, now I can tell.

1 Clown.
To't.

2 Clown.
Mass, I cannot tell.

[Enter Hamlet and Horatio, at a distance.]

1 Clown.
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will
not mend his pace with beating; and when you are asked this
question next, say 'a grave-maker;' the houses he makes last
till doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan; fetch me a stoup of
liquor.

[Exit Second Clown.]

[Digs and sings.]

In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet;
To contract, O, the time for, ah, my behove,
O, methought there was nothing meet.

Ham.
Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at
grave-making?

Hor.
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

Ham.
'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier
sense.

1 Clown.
[Sings.]
But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
And hath shipp'd me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.

[Throws up a skull.]

Ham.
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once: how the
knave jowls it to the ground,as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, that
did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician,
which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would circumvent God,
might it not?

Hor.
It might, my lord.

Ham.
Or of a courtier, which could say 'Good morrow, sweet lord!
How dost thou, good lord?' This might be my lord such-a-one, that
praised my lord such-a-one's horse when he meant to beg
it,--might it not?

Hor.
Ay, my lord.

Ham.
Why, e'en so: and now my Lady Worm's; chapless, and knocked
about the mazard with a sexton's spade: here's fine revolution,
an we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the
breeding but to play at loggets with 'em? mine ache to think
on't.

1 Clown.
[Sings.]
A pickaxe and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding sheet;
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.

[Throws up another skull].

Ham.
There's another: why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?
Where be his quiddits now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures,
and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock
him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him
of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in's time a
great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his
fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries: is this the fine of
his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine
pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more of
his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth
of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will
scarcely lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no
more, ha?

Hor.
Not a jot more, my lord.

Ham.
Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?

Hor.
Ay, my lord, And of calf-skins too.

Ham.
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that. I
will speak to this fellow.--Whose grave's this, sir?

1 Clown.
Mine, sir.
[Sings.]
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.

Ham.
I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.

1 Clown.
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore 'tis not yours: for my part,
I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.

Ham.
Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine: 'tis for
the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

1 Clown.
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 't will away again from me to you.

Ham.
What man dost thou dig it for?

1 Clown.
For no man, sir.

Ham.
What woman then?

1 Clown.
For none neither.

Ham.
Who is to be buried in't?

1 Clown.
One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.

Ham.
How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or
equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, these three
years I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked that
the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he
galls his kibe.--How long hast thou been a grave-maker?

1 Clown.
Of all the days i' the year, I came to't that day that our
last King Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

Ham.
How long is that since?

1 Clown.
Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: it was the
very day that young Hamlet was born,--he that is mad, and sent
into England.

Ham.
Ay, marry, why was be sent into England?

1 Clown.
Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there;
or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.

Ham.
Why?

1 Clown.
'Twill not he seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham.
How came he mad?

1 Clown.
Very strangely, they say.

Ham.
How strangely?

1 Clown.
Faith, e'en with losing his wits.

Ham.
Upon what ground?

1 Clown.
Why, here in Denmark: I have been sexton here, man and boy,
thirty years.

Ham.
How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?

1 Clown.
Faith, if he be not rotten before he die,--as we have many
pocky corses now-a-days that will scarce hold the laying in,--he
will last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will last
you nine year.

Ham.
Why he more than another?

1 Clown.
Why, sir, his hide is so tann'd with his trade that he will
keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of
your whoreson dead body. Here's a skull now; this skull hath lain
in the earth three-and-twenty years.

Ham.
Whose was it?

1 Clown.
A whoreson, mad fellow's it was: whose do you think it was?

Ham.
Nay, I know not.

1 Clown.
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! 'a pour'd a flagon of
Rhenish on my head once. This same skull, sir, was Yorick's
skull, the king's jester.

Ham.
This?

1 Clown.
E'en that.

Ham.
Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Yorick!--I knew him,
Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he
hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred
in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those
lips that I have kiss'd I know not how oft. Where be your gibes
now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that
were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your
own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now, get you to my lady's
chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this
favour she must come; make her laugh at that.--Pr'ythee, Horatio,
tell me one thing.

Hor.
What's that, my lord?

Ham.
Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' the earth?

Hor.
E'en so.

Ham.
And smelt so? Pah!

[Throws down the skull.]

Hor.
E'en so, my lord.

Ham.
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not
imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it
stopping a bung-hole?

Hor.
'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.

Ham.
No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty
enough, and likelihood to lead it: as thus: Alexander died,
Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is
earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he
was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside!--Here comes the king.

[Enter priests, &c, in procession; the corpse of Ophelia,
Laertes, and Mourners following; King, Queen, their Trains, &c.]

The queen, the courtiers: who is that they follow?
And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
The corse they follow did with desperate hand
Fordo it own life: 'twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile and mark.

[Retiring with Horatio.]

Laer.
What ceremony else?

Ham.
That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.

Laer.
What ceremony else?

1 Priest.
Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd
As we have warranties: her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'd
Till the last trumpet; for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her,
Yet here she is allowed her virgin rites,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

Laer.
Must there no more be done?

1 Priest.
No more be done;
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

Laer.
Lay her i' the earth;--
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!--I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.

Ham.
What, the fair Ophelia?

Queen.
Sweets to the sweet: farewell.
[Scattering flowers.]
I hop'd thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.

Laer.
O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv'd thee of!--Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms:
[Leaps into the grave.]
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
To o'ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.

Ham.
[Advancing.]
What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? this is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
[Leaps into the grave.]

Laer.
The devil take thy soul!
[Grappling with him.]

Ham.
Thou pray'st not well.
I pr'ythee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenetive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear: away thy hand!

King.
Pluck them asunder.

Queen.
Hamlet! Hamlet!

All.
Gentlemen!--

Hor.
Good my lord, be quiet.

[The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave.]

Ham.
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

Queen.
O my son, what theme?

Ham.
I lov'd Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.--What wilt thou do for her?

King.
O, he is mad, Laertes.

Queen.
For love of God, forbear him!

Ham.
'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:
Woul't weep? woul't fight? woul't fast? woul't tear thyself?
Woul't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't.--Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.

Queen.
This is mere madness:
And thus a while the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,
His silence will sit drooping.

Ham.
Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I lov'd you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.

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