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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene I

Act II

[A room in Polonius’s house]

Pol.Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.Rey.I will, my lord.Pol.You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,Before you visit him, to make inquiryOf his behaviour.Rey.My lord, I did intend it.Pol.Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,What company, at what expense; and findingBy this encompassment and drift of questionThat they do know my son, come you more nearerThan your particular demands will touch it.Take you, as ’twere, some distant knowledge of him,As thus, “I know his father and his friends,And in part him.” Do you mark this, Reynaldo?Rey.Ay, very well, my lord.Pol.“And in part him; but,” you may say, “not well.But, if ’t be he I mean, he’s very wild,Addicted so and so;” and there put on himWhat forgeries you please; marry, none so rankAs may dishonour him,—take heed of that;But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slipsAs are companions noted and most knownTo youth and liberty.Rey.As gaming, my lord?Pol.Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,Drabbing; you may go so far.Rey.My lord, that would dishonour him.Pol.Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.You must not put another scandal on him,That he is open to incontinency.That’s not my meaning. But breathe his faults so quaintlyThat they may seem the taints of liberty,The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,A savageness in unreclaimed blood,Of general assault.Rey.But, my good lord,—Pol.Wherefore should you do this?Rey.Ay, my lord,I would know that.Pol.Marry, sir, here’s my drift,And, I believe, it is a fetch of warrant:You laying these slight sullies on my son,As ’twere a thing a little soil’d i’ the working,Mark you,Your party in converse, him you would sound,Having ever seen in the prenominate crimesThe youth you breathe of guilty, be assur’dHe closes with you in this consequence;“Good sir,” or so, or “friend,” or “gentleman,”According to the phrase and the additionOf man and country.Rey.Very good, my lord.Pol.And then, sir, does he this—he does—What was I about to say? [By the mass,] I was about to say something. Where did I leave?Rey.At “closes in the consequence,” at “friend or so,” and “gentleman.”Pol.At “closes in the consequence,” ay, marry.He closes with you thus: “I know the gentleman.I saw him yesterday, or t’ other day,Or then, or then, with such and such; and, as you say,There was he gaming; there o’ertook in ’s rouse;There falling out at tennis;” or, perchance,“I saw him enter such a house of sale,”Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.See you now;Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth;And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,With windlasses and with assays of bias,By indirections find directions out.So by my former lecture and advice,Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?Rey.My lord, I have.Pol.God buy you; fare you well.Rey.Good my lord.Pol.Observe his inclination in yourself.Rey.I shall, my lord.Pol.And let him ply his music.Rey.Well, my lord.Pol.Farewell!Exit REYNALDO.

How now, Ophelia! what’s the matter?Oph.Alas, my lord, I have been so affrighted!Pol.With what, in the name of God?Oph.My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac’d,No hat upon his head, his stockings foul’d,Ungart’red, and down-gyved to his ankle,Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,And with a look so piteous in purportAs if he had been loosed out of hellTo speak of horrors,—he comes before me.Pol.Mad for thy love?Oph.My lord, I do not know,But truly, I do fear it.Pol.What said he?Oph.He took me by the wrist and held me hard;Then goes he to the length of all his arm,And, with his other hand thus o’er his brow,He falls to such perusal of my faceAs he would draw it. Long stay’d he so.At last, a little shaking of mine arm,And thrice his head thus waving up and downHe rais’d a sigh so piteous and profoundThat it did seem to shatter all his bulkAnd end his being. That done, he lets me go;And, with his head over his shoulder turn’d,He seem’d to find his way without his eyes,For out o’ doors he went without their help,And, to the last, bended their light on me.Pol.[Come,] go with me, I will go seek the King.This is the very ecstasy of love,Whose violent property fordoes itselfAnd leads the will to desperate undertakingsAs oft as any passion under heavenThat does afflict our natures. I am sorry,—What, have you given him any hard words of late?Oph.No, my good lord, but, as you did command,I did repel his letters and deni’dHis access to me.Pol.That hath made him mad.I am sorry that with better heed and judgementI had not quoted him. I fear’d he did but trifleAnd meant to wreck thee; but beshrew my jealousy!By heaven, it is as proper to our ageTo cast beyond ourselves in our opinionsAs it is common for the younger sortTo lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.This must be known, which, being kept close, might moveMore grief to hide than hate to utter love.[Come.]Exeunt.