[3.4]
Enter Queen and Polonius.
2375Polonius
He will come straight. Look you lay home to him.
Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
And that your grace hath screened and stood between
Much heat and him. I'll silence me e'en here.
2380Pray you, be round with him.
Hamletwithin Mother, mother, mother!
Queen
I'll warrant you, fear me not.
Withdraw; I hear him coming.
[Polonius conceals himself behind the arras.]
Enter Hamlet.
2385Hamlet
Now mother, what's the matter?
Queen
Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet
Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen
Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet
Go, go, you question with an idle tongue.
2390Queen
Why, how now, Hamlet?
Hamlet
What's the matter now?
Queen
Have you forgot me?
Hamlet
No, by the rood, not so.
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife,
2395But--would you were not so!--you are my mother.
Queen
Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
Hamlet
Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.
You go not till I set you up a glass
2400Where you may see the inmost part of you.
Queen
What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?
Help, help, ho!
Polonius[Behind the arras]
What ho! Help, help, help!
Hamlet
How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!
[He stabs through the arras with his rapier.]
2405Polonius
[Behind the arras] Oh, I am slain!
[Hamlet] kills Polonius.
Queen
Oh, me, what hast thou done?
Hamlet
Nay I know not. Is it the King?
Queen
Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
Hamlet
A bloody deed--almost as bad, good mother,
2410As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
Queen
As kill a king?
Hamlet
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
[He parts the arras and discovers the dead Polonius.]
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy betters. Take thy fortune.
2415Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
[To the Queen]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 damnèd custom have not brazed it so
2420That 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?
Hamlet
Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
2425Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And makes a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers' oaths--oh, such a deed
As from the body of contraction plucks
2430The 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.
2435Queen
Ay me, what act,
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
Hamlet[Showing her two likenesses]:
Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See what a grace was seated on his brow:
2440Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten or command,
A station like the herald Mercury
New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill,
A combination and a form indeed
2445Where 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 mildewed ear,
Blasting his wholesome breath. Have you eyes?
2450Could 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 heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment, and what judgment
2455Would step from this to this? What devil was't
That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
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
2460And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
As reason panders will.
Queen
Oh, Hamlet speak no more!
2465Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grainèd spots
As will not leave their tinct.
Hamlet
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed,
2470Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty!
Queen
Oh, speak to me no more!
These words like daggers enter in mine ears.
No more, sweet Hamlet.
2475Hamlet
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
2480And put it in his pocket--
Queen
No more!
Enter Ghost.
Hamlet
A king of shreds and patches--
[Seeing the Ghost]Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
2485You heavenly guards! What would you, gracious figure?
Queen
Alas, he's mad!
Hamlet
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
Th'important acting of your dread command?
Oh, say!
2490Ghost
Do not forget. This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
Oh, step between her and her fighting soul!
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
2495Speak to her, Hamlet.
Hamlet
How is it with you, lady?
Queen
Alas, how is't with you,
That you bend your eye on vacancy,
And with th'incorporal air do hold discourse?
2500Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th'alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Start up and stand on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
2505Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
Hamlet
On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. [To the Ghost] Do not look upon me,
Lest with this piteous action you convert
2510My stern effects. Then what I have to do
Will want true color, tears perchance for blood.
Queen
To who do you speak this?
Hamlet
Do you see nothing there?
Queen
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.
2515Hamlet
Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen
No, nothing but ourselves.
Hamlet
Why, look you there, look how it steals away!
My father in his habit as he lived.
Look where he goes, even now out at the portal!
Exit [Ghost].
2520Queen
This is the very coinage of your brain.
This bodiless creation ecstasy is very cunning in.
Hamlet
Ecstasy?
My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
2525That I have uttered. Bring me to the test
And I the matter will reword, which madness
Would gambol from, Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not a flattering unction to your soul
That not your trespass but my madness speaks.
2530It 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 o'er the weeds
2535To make them rank. Forgive me this my virtue,
For in the fatness of this pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
Queen
Oh, Hamlet, 2540thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
Hamlet
Oh, 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. Refrain tonight,
2545And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence. Once more good night,
And when you are desirous to be blest,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so
2550To 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.
2555Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
Queen
What shall I do?
Hamlet
Not this by no means that I bid you do:
Let the blunt King tempt you again to bed,
Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
2560And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damned 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,
2565For 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 dispite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
2570Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.
Queen
Be thou assured, if words be made of breath
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
2575What thou hast said to me.
Hamlet
I must to England. You know that?
Queen
Alack, I had forgot. 'Tis so concluded on.
Hamlet
This man shall set me packing.
I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room.
2580Mother, good night. Indeed, this counselor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.--
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.--
Good night, mother.
2585Exit Hamlet, tugging in Polonius.