Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

KING.
But how hath she
Receiv'd his love?

POLONIUS.
What do you think of me?

KING.
As of a man faithful and honourable.

POLONIUS.
I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing, —
As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me, — what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb;
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight; —
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy sphere;
This must not be:' and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed, — a short tale to make, —
Fell into a sadness; then into a fast;
Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we wail for.

KING.
Do you think 'tis this?

QUEEN.
It may be, very likely.

POLONIUS.
Hath there been such a time, — I'd fain know that —
That I have positively said ''Tis so,'
When it prov'd otherwise?

KING.
Not that I know.

POLONIUS.
Take this from this, if this be otherwise:
[Points to his head and shoulder.]
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.

KING.
How may we try it further?

POLONIUS.
You know sometimes he walks for hours together
Here in the lobby.

QUEEN.
So he does indeed.

POLONIUS.
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not,
And he not from his reason fall'n thereon
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.

KING.
We will try it.

QUEEN.
But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.

Continued on next page...

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