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ACT III. Scene I. 


Elsinore. A room in the Castle.

Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.

 KING.

And can you by no drift of circumstance
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

 ROSENCRANTZ.

He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause he will by no means speak.

 GUILDENSTERN.

Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.

 QUEEN.

Did he receive you well?

 ROSENCRANTZ.

Most like a gentleman.

 GUILDENSTERN.

But with much forcing of his disposition.

 ROSENCRANTZ.

Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.

 QUEEN.

Did you assay him
To any pastime?

 ROSENCRANTZ.

Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,Ô

 POLONIUS.

'Tis most true;
And he beseech'd me to entreat your Majesties
To hear and see the matter.

 KING.

With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose on to these delights.

 ROSENCRANTZ.

We shall, my lord.

Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

 KING.

Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.
Her father and myself (lawful espials)
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge
And gather by him, as he is behav'd,
If't be th' affliction of his love, or no,
That thus he suffers for.

 QUEEN.

I shall obey you;
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
To both your honours.

 OPHELIA.

Madam, I wish it may.

[Exit Queen.]

 POLONIUS.

Ophelia, walk you here.- Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves.- [To Ophelia] Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness.- We are oft to blame in this,
'Tis too much prov'd, that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The Devil himself.

 KING.

[aside] O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O heavy burthen!

 POLONIUS.

I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.

Exeunt King and Polonius].

Enter Hamlet.

 HAMLET.

To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-Ô, my lord.

 HAMLET.

Ha, ha! Are you honest?

 OPHELIA.

My lord?

 HAMLET.

Are you fair?

 OPHELIA.

What means your lordship?

 HAMLET.

That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no
discourse to your beauty.

 OPHELIA.

Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

 HAMLET.

Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transformÔle, and you lisp; you nickname God's creatures and make your
wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't! it hath made
me mad. I say, we will have no moe marriages. Those that are
married already- all but one- shall live; the rest shall keep as
they are. To a nunnery, go

Exit.

 OPHELIA.

O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, scholar's, soldier's, eye, tongue, sword,
Th' expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th' observ'd of all observers- quite, quite down!Ô with him;
And I'll be plac'd so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him; or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.

 KING.

It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go
Exeunt.

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