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And thy best graces spend it at thy will.'-
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,


Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the sun.
Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, forever, with thy veiled lids,3
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

1 In the first quarto this passage stands thus:-


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Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly. These, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,

King. With all our heart, Laertes, fare thee well.
Laert. I in all love and dutie take my leave.

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If it be,

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The king's speech may be thus explained:-"Take an auspicious hour,
Laertes; be your time your own, and thy best virtues guide thee in
spending of it at thy will." Johnson thought that we should read, “ And
my best graces."

2 A little more than kin has been rightly said to allude to the double
relationship of the king to Hamlet, as uncle and step-father; his kindred
by blood and kindred by marriage. By less than kind, Hamlet means de-
generate and base. Dr. Johnson says that kind is the Teutonic word for
that Hamlet means that he was something more than cousin, and
less than son.

3 i. e. with eyes cast down.

[ACT i

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To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation, for some term,



To do obsequious sorrow. But to perséver
In obstinate condolement,3 is a course

SC. II.]

Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to Heaven;
A heart unfortified, or mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschooled.
For what we know must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to Heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day,
This must be so.
We pray you,
pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father. For let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love,5


Than that which dearest father bears his son,


Do I impart toward you. For
your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire;
And, we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet ;
I pray thee, stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply;

1 The first quarto reads, "That father dead, lost his."

2 Obsequious is used with an allusion to obsequies, or funeral rites.
3 Condolement for grief.

4 Unprevailing was used in the sense of unavailing, as late as Dryden' time.

5 This was a common form of figurative expression.

6 i. e. dispense, bestow.

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Be as ourself in Denmark.-Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart; in grace whereof
No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell;
And the king's rouse1 the heaven shall bruit again,
Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.

[Exeunt King, Queen, Lords, &c., POLO-

Ham. O that this too, too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve 2 itself into a dew!

Or that the Everlasting had not fixed


His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden

That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature,
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!


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But two months dead!-nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,



Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had
By what it fed on. And yet, within a month,-
Let me not think on't ;-Frailty, thy name is woman !—

1 The quarto of 1603 reads:

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"The rouse the king shall drink unto the prince."

A rouse appears to have been a deep draught to the health of any one


it may be only an abridgment of carouse.

2 To resolve had anciently the same meaning as to dissolve.

3 The old copy reads, cannon; but this was the old spelling of canon,

a law or decree.

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4 i. e. solely, wholly.

5 Hyperion, or Apollo, always represented as a model of beauty.

6 i. e. deign to allow. Steevens had the merit of pointing out the passage in Golding's Ovid, which settles the meaning of the word:

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SC. II.]


A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she followed my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears-why she, even she,-
O Heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,1
Would have mourned longer,-married with my uncle,
My father's brother; but no more like my father,
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,-
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,-
She married.-O most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to, good;
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue!

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Hor. Hail to your lordship!
Horatio,--or I do forget myself.

I am glad to see you well;

Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever. Ham. Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you.


And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?Marcellus?

Mar. My good lord, Ham. I am very glad to see you; good even, sir. But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg? Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord. Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so; Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,

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is your blood

So madly hot, that no discourse of reason-
can qualify the same?"

1 "Discourse of reason was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time; and, indeed, the Poet again uses the same language in Troilus and Cressida, Act ii. Sc. 2:



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In the language of the schools, "Discourse is that rational act of the mind by which we deduce or infer one thing from another." Discourse of reason, therefore, may mean ratiocination. Brutes have not this reasoning faculty, though they have what has been called instinct and memory. The first quarto reads, "a beast devoid of reason."

2 i. e. what do you?



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To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.

Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked


Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
'Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven,
Or1 ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father,―methinks I see my father.
My lord?

Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Hor. I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.

Hor. My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw! who?

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Hor. My lord, the king, your father.
The king, my father?
Hor. Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear; till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.


For God's love, let me hear.
Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,

In the dead waste and middle of the night,2
Been thus encountered: A figure like your father,
Armed at all points, exactly, cap-à-pé,
Appears before them, and, with solemn march,

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1 This is the reading of the quarto of 1604. The first quarto and the folio read, "Ere I had ever."

2 The first quarto, 1603, has :


"In the dead vast and middle of the night.”

We have "that vast of night" in The Tempest, Act i. Sc. 2.

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[ACT 1

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