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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, HAMLETS UNCLE.
O MY offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon 't,
A brother's murther !— Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will ;
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood ?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence ?
And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,-
To be forestalled, ere we come to fall,
Or pardoned, being down ? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But 0, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder !-
That cannot be ; since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned, and retain the offence ?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice ;
And oft ’tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law : But 't is not so above :
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compelled,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then ? what rests ?
Try what repentance can: What can it not ?
Yet what can it, when one can not repent ?
O wretched state! O bosom, black as death!
O limed soul, that struggling to be free,
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 :
be well !
OTHELLO'S ADDRESS TO THE SENATE.
Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters,-
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true ; true, I have married her;
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more.
Rude am I in my speech,
And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace;
For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field ;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battle ;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause,
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,
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,
(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:
du 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
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love,
And she in mine.
Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still questioned me the story of my life,
From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortune,
That I have passed,
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances ;
Of moving accidents by flood and field ;
Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach ;
Of being taken by the insolent foe
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
Would Desdemona seriously incline ;
But still the house affairs would draw her thence ;
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse : Which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour; and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: I did consent ;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffered. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs :
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 :
She loved me for the dangers I had passed ;
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used;
Here comes the lady, let her witness it.
LADY MACBETH'S SOLILOQUY.
Reading a letter. “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