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HAMLET'S ADVICE 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 your players do, I had as lief the town-crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much - your hand thus but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul, to see 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 shows and noise: I could have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing 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 the 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 the 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, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, 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 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 meantime 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. Go, make you ready.
SOLILOQUY OF THE KING, HAMLET'S UNCLE.
O MY offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood?
And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,-
Or pardoned, being down? Then I'll look up;
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice;
Art more engaged! Help, angels, make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart, with strings of steel, Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe:
All may be well!
OTHELLO'S ADDRESS TO THE SENATE.
MOST potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
The very head and front of my offending
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battle;
In speaking for myself: Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnished tale deliver
Of my whole course of love: what drugs, what charms,
(For such proceeding I am charged withal,)
I won his daughter.
I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary,
And let her speak of me before her father:
If you do find me foul in her report,
The trust, the office, I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.
Ancient, conduct them: you best know the place. And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
I do confess the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I'll present
Her father loved me; oft invited me ;
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach;
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And portance. In my traveller's history,
(Wherein of antres vast, and desarts idle,'
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven, It was my hint to speak,) such was my process;—
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to hear
1 Sterile, barren.
Would Desdemona seriously incline;
But still the house affairs would draw her thence;
Devour up my discourse: Which I observing,
She swore,-In faith, 't was strange, 't was passing strange; 'T was pitiful, 't was wondrous pitiful:
She wished she had not heard it; yet she wished
That heaven had made her such a man: she thanked me:
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake :
LADY MACBETH'S SOLILOQUY.
"THEY met me in the day of success; and I have learned by the perfectest report, that they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who all hailed me, 'Thane of Cawdor;' by which title, before, these weird