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With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears — why she, even she,
Married with mine uncle, my father's brother,
But no more like my father, than I to Hercules. -
It is not, nor it cannot come to good. -
But, break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
I HAVE of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercises; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appeareth nothing to me, but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties ! in form, and moving, how express and admirable ! in action, how like an angel ! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither.
HAMLET'S SOLILOQUY ON DEATH.
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 consuinmation
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 groan and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death -
That undiscover'd country, from whose bourne
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!
HAMLET’S DIRECTIONS TO THE PLAYERS.
SPEAK the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with the hand, thus; but use 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 give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious, periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb show, and noise; I would have such a fellow whipped, for overdoing termagant; it out-herods Herod; pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor ; suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature ; for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at first and now, was and is, to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature ; scorn her own image ; and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this, overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one, must, in your allowance, o’erweigh a whole theatre of others. ' Oh, there be players that I have seen play, and heard 'others praise
- and that highly, too — not to speak it profanely, that neither having the accent of a christian, nor the gait of christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and had not made them well; they imitated humanity so abominably.
And let those, that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them : for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too: though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered : that's villanous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee —
I have thee not; and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling, as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind ? a false creation
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain ?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw. —
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going ;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest.— I see thee still ;
And on the blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. - There's no such thing !---
It is the bloody business, which informs
Thus to mine eyes. — Now o'er the one-half world,
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep: now witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither’d Murder,
(Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch) thus with his stealthy pace,
Towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
The very stones prate of my whereabout ;
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. — While I threat, he lives -
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.
SPEECH OF HENRY V. AT HARFLEUR.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more ;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility :
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage ;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon ; let the brow o’erwhelm it,
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height. Now on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fetch'd from fathers of war-proof ;
Fathers, that like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheath’d their swords for lack of argument :
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war: and you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs are made in England, shew us here
The mettle of your pasture ; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not:
For there is none of you so mean and base
That hath not noble lustre in your eye;
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's a-foot ;
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge,
Cry, Heav'n for Harry, England, and St. George !