Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights
of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the
obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a
better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with
me, whether you were sent for or no.

[To Guildenstern.] What say you?

[Aside.] Nay, then, I have an eye of you. — If you love me, hold
not off.

My lord, we were sent for.

I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your
discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no
feather. I have of late, — but wherefore I know not, — lost all my
mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so
heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth,
seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the
air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical
roof fretted with golden fire, — why, it appears no other thing
to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a
piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in
faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in
action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the
beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what
is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman
neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.

Why did you laugh then, when I said 'Man delights not me'?

To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten
entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted them
on the way; and hither are they coming to offer you service.

He that plays the king shall be welcome, — his majesty shall
have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foil and
target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall
end his part in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
lungs are tickle o' the sere; and the lady shall say her mind
freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't. What players are

Even those you were wont to take such delight in, — the
tragedians of the city.

How chances it they travel? their residence, both in
reputation and profit, was better both ways.

I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late

Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the
city? Are they so followed?

No, indeed, are they not.

How comes it? do they grow rusty?

Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: but there is,
sir, an aery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top
of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for't: these are
now the fashion; and so berattle the common stages, — so they call
them, — that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills and
dare scarce come thither.

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