Public Domain Books, Science fiction/fantasy

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LORD POLONIUS

[Aside] Still on my daughter.

HAMLET

Am I not i’ the right, old Jephthah?

LORD POLONIUS

If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter

that I love passing well.

HAMLET

Nay, that follows not.

LORD POLONIUS

What follows, then, my lord?

HAMLET

Why,

‘As by lot, God wot,’

and then, you know,

‘It came to pass, as most like it was,’—

the first row of the pious chanson will show you

more; for look, where my abridgement comes.

Enter four or five Players

You are welcome, masters; welcome, all. I am glad

to see thee well. Welcome, good friends. O, my old

friend! thy face is valenced since I saw thee last:

comest thou to beard me in Denmark? What, my young

lady and mistress! By’r lady, your ladyship is

nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the

altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like

apiece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the

ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We’ll e’en

to’t like French falconers, fly at any thing we see:

we’ll have a speech straight: come, give us a taste

of your quality; come, a passionate speech.

First Player

What speech, my lord?

HAMLET

I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was

never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the

play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas

caviare to the general: but it was—as I received

it, and others, whose judgments in such matters

cried in the top of mine—an excellent play, well

digested in the scenes, set down with as much

modesty as cunning. I remember, one said there

were no sallets in the lines to make the matter

savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might

indict the author of affectation; but called it an

honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very

much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I

chiefly loved: ’twas Aeneas’ tale to Dido; and

thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of

Priam’s slaughter: if it live in your memory, begin

at this line: let me see, let me see—

‘The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,’—

it is not so:—it begins with Pyrrhus:—

‘The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,

Black as his purpose, did the night resemble

When he lay couched in the ominous horse,

Hath now this dread and black complexion smear’d

With heraldry more dismal; head to foot

Now is he total gules; horridly trick’d

With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,

Baked and impasted with the parching streets,

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