[Enter the Players with recorders]
Hamlet. Oh, the recorders. Let me see one. To withdraw with,
why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you
would drive me into a toil?
Guildenstern. Oh my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is
Hamlet. I do not well understand that. Will you play upon
Guildenstern. My lord, I cannot.
Hamlet. I pray you.
Guildenstern. Believe me, I cannot.
Hamlet. I do beseech you.
Guildenstern. I know no touch of'it, my lord.
Hamlet. It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with
your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and
it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are
Guildenstern. But these cannot I command to any utterance
of harmony. I have not the skill.
Hamlet. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you
make of me. You would play upon me, you would seem to
know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my
mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the
top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice,
in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. Why, do
you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me
what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you
cannot play upon me.
God bless you, sir.
Polonius. My lord, the Queen would speak with you, and
Hamlet. Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a
Polonius. By th'mass and 'tis like a camel indeed.
Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius. It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet. Or like a whale.
Polonius. Very like a whale.
Hamlet. Then I will come to my mother by and by. [Aside]
They fool me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.
Polonius. I will say so.
Hamlet. 'By and by' is easily said. Leave me, friends.
[Exit all but Hamlet]
'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature.