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Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay, there's the rub ;
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,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Ophelia at the suggestion of her father and the other conspirators, comes in at this juncture and sounds Hamlet as to plighted love and gives back the gifts he gave her.
Hamlet pretending to madness still talks double and asks Ophelia if she be honest, fair and beautiful.
She says: "Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with beauty?"
Hamlet replies: "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 says: "Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so."
And then the fickle Hamlet says: "I loved you not," and with supercilious advice, exclaims:
"Get thee to a nunnery!
Why would'st thou be a breeder of sinners?
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 offenses at my back
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 heaven and earth?
We are arrant knaves all, believe none of us—
Go thy ways to a nunnery!
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for
Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow!
Thou shalt not escape calumny!
If thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool;
For wise men know well enough what monsters women make of them!
Go! get thee to a nunnery!"
Hamlet thus plays the madman to the eye and mind of Ophelia, that she may report his lunacy; and believing her former lover deranged, after his exit utters this wail of grief:
"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,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see.”
The instruction of Hamlet to the players is the most conclusive evidence that William Shakspere was not only the greatest dramatic author, but an actor and orator of matchless mould.
There was no character that his soul conceived in any of his plays, fool or philosopher, that he could not act better than any man in his company.
In the first rehearsal of his plays he usually read the lines to his men and gave them the cue and philosophy of the character to be enacted.
A few days before the play of Hamlet I heard him deliver this speech for the edification of the whole troupe, that they might know how to render their lines in an effective and oratorical manner:
"Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced
As I may say, whirlwind of your passion,
Ears of the groundlings, who for the most part
It out-herods Herod; pray you avoid it.
Though it make the unskilled laugh, cannot but
O, there be players that I have seen play,
In all the troubles and vicissitudes of Hamlet's life, young Lord Horatio remained his unfaltering friend; and this tribute to friendship is one of the best in Shakspere. Hamlet says:
"Horatio, thou art even as just a man
For what advancement may I hope from thee,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
Since my dear soul was mistress of its choice