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Pol. Fare you well, my Lord.
Guildenstern? Oh, Rosincrantz, good lads ! how do you both?
Rof. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guil. Happy, in that we are not over-happy; on Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Ham. Nor the foles of her shoe ?
Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours ?
Guil. 'Faith, in her privates we.
Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? oh, most true; she is a frumpet. What news?
Ros. None, my Lord, but that the world's grown honest.
Ham. Then is doomsday near; but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular; what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune,'that she sends you to prison hither?
Guil. Prison, my Lord ?
Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst.
Rof. We think not so, Lord.
E T, Ham. Why, then it is none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it fo: to me it is a prison.
Rof. Why, then your ambition makes it one : 'tis too parrow for your mind.
Ham. Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutfhell, and count myself a king of infinite fpace, were it not that I have bad dreams.
Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very fubftance of the ambitious is merely the fhadow of a dream.
Hum. A dream itself is but a shadow.
Ros. Truly, and I hold ambition of fo airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow's fhadow.
Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs and out-stretched heroes, the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th' Court? for, by my fay, I cannot reafon.
Both. We'll wait upon you.
Ham. No such matter. I will not fort you with the rest of my servants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended: but in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elfinoor?
Ros. To visit you, my Lord; no other occasion.
Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you; and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear of a half-penny. Were you not sent for? is it your own inclining? is it a free vifitation? come, deal juitly with me; come, come; nay, speak.
Guil. What should we say, my Lord ?
Ham. Any thing, but to the purpose. You were fent for: and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to colour. I know, the good King and Queen have sent for you.
Rof. To what end, my Lord ?
Ham. That you must teach me; but let me conjure you by the rights of our fellowfhip, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear, a bet. ter proposer could charge you withal; be even and direct with me, whether you were fent for or Rof. What fay you?
[T. Guilden. Ham. Nay, then I have an eye of you: if you love me, hold not off.
Guil. My Lord, we were sent for.
Ham. I will tell you why; so fhall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no feather. I have of late, but wherefore I know not, loft all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercise; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my difpofition, that this goodly frame, the earth, feems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'er-hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foal and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man? how noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehenfion 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, nor woman neither; though by your smiling you seem to say fo.
Rof. My Lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Ham. Why did you laugh, when I said, man de-lights not me?
Rof. To think, my Lord, if you delight not in
man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you; we accosted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.
Ham. He that plays the King thall be welcome; His Majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foyle and target; the lover 1hall not sigh gratis ; the humorous man thall end his part
peace; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verfe shall halt fort. What players are they?
ROS. Even.those you were wont, to take delight in, the tragedians of the city.
Ham. How chances it they travel ? their ree fidence both in reputation and profit was. better,
Roj. I think their inhibition comes by the means: of the late innovation.
Ham. Do they hold the fame estimation they did when I was in the city? are they so followed ?
Rof. No, indeed, they are not.
Rof. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: but there is, Sir, an aiery of children, little eyafes, (30) that cry out on the top of question; and are most tyrannically clapt før't; these are now
(30) But there is, Sir, 'an aicry of children, little yafes, th.it cry out on the top of question ;] The Poet here steps out of his fubject to give a lath at home, and sneer at the prevailing fashion of following plays performed by the children of the chapel, and abandoning the established theatres, But why are they called little yoles ? I with some of the editors would have expounded ihis fine new word to us; or, at least, told us where we might meet with it. Till then, I thall make bold to suspect it; and, without overstraining fagacity, attempt to retrieve the true word. As he first calls ihem an a'ery of children, (now, an alery or eyery is a hawk's. or eagle's nest) there is not the least question but we ought
the fafhion, and so berattle the common stages, (so they call them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills, and dare scarce come thither.
Ham. What, are they children? who maintains 'em? how are they escorted? will they puriue the quality no longer than they can sing? will ihey not say afterwards, if they thould grow themiilves to common players, (as it is most like, if their means are no better :) their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against their own lucceflion?
Ros.. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both fides; and the nation holds it no fin to tarre them on to controversy. There was, for a while, no money bid for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuifs in the question.
Ham. Is't poflible? Guil. Oh, there has been much throwing abont of brains.
Ham. Do the boys carry it away?
Rofi Ay, that they do, my Lord, Hercules and his load too.
Ham. It is not strange ; for mine uncle is King of Denmark; and those, that would make mowes at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an bundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in Jittle. There is something in this more than batu-ral, if philofopby. could find it out, a
[Flourish for the Players-Guil. There are the players..
Hamı Gentlmen, you are welcome to Elfinoor; to restore-little eyases; i. e. young nenkings, creatures jult out of the eng. (Apiyans or wys hawk, un mais, alipier isidarius, qui recens ex ovu emerfis. Skinner:) So Mss Ford says to-Falstaff's dwarf page: How.pow, my eyus-musket? what news with you?
Alerry Woveso). W indico's.